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Cameron Fightback

YouGov Daily Tracker March 10:

Conservatives: 33

Labour: 31

Liberal Democrats: 8

UKIP: 15

Greens: 6

YouGov Daily Tracker March 9:

Conservatives: 35

Labour: 31

Liberal Democrats: 8

UKIP: 14

Greens: 6

YouGov/Sunday Times March 8:

Conservatives: 34

Labour: 33

Liberal Democrats: 8

UKIP: 15

Greens: 5

Ashcroft National Poll March 10:

Conservatives: 34

Labour: 30

Liberal Democrats: 5

UKIP: 15

Greens: 8

The conventional wisdom is that the Conservative share of the vote will rise in the polls as May 7 approaches and that Labour’s will fall – leaving David Cameron on course to beat Ed Miliband in terms of Commons seats.  This view is based on the poll trend since this Parliament’s mid-term or so.

It may be wrong – it could be that Labour’s showing will rise during the campaign and that the Tories’ will fall.  Or it could be that it is right, but Miliband will none the less be Prime Minister, because he will cobble together a deal with the SNP or Plaid Cymru or the Greens or even UKIP or all of them together that turfs Cameron out of Downing Street and puts him in – even if Labour wins fewer seats than the Conservatives.

But in these circumstances David Cameron will have incumbency on his side (as Jeremy Heywood is making clear), and if the Tories win more seats than Labour he will have first mover advantage – seeking perhaps to form a coalition or, if that doesn’t work, forming a minority government.

At any rate, overtaking Labour in the polls can’t do Cameron any harm, so it is worth noting that the Conservatives have now led their main opponents in three successive daily YouGov polls (see above).  They have also led Labour in two successive weekly Ashcroft National Poll surveys (again, see above for this week’s figure).  Anthony Wells of YouGov wrote on Monday that: “in YouGov’s daily poll we’ve reached the point that Conservative leads are a little more common than Labour ones”.

I have long thought that the Party won’t win a majority, but will overhaul Labour in the polls sooner or later – and believed that the turning-point might come at Christmas or even before.  I was wrong about the timing, but stick to the view that it will come sooner or later.

It may be that it has now been reached.  Or the Tory share could fall back a bit before recovering.  However, just because the Party will get ahead of Labour in vote share doesn’t necessarily mean that it will open up a big poll lead over them before election day: indeed, this is improbable.  See Lewis Baston’s recent magisterial piece on this site about whether or not general election campaigns make a difference for reference.

None the less, the poll trend will calm Conservative nerves.  Not that they have been all that jangly, as Mark Wallace and I found during the “Draft Boris” episode.  Like Labour’s campaign, the Tory one is swerving some urgent issues (see Ryan Bourne on this site today).  But unlike it, it appears to be doing the job.

A footnote. National vote shares don’t translate well into national results when parts of the United Kingdom are voting very differently to other parts – or if results in marginal seats are out of line with those in the rest of the country.  On the first point, the SNP surge in Scotland is clearly hitting Miliband very hard.  On the second, it would be odd if results in the marginals as a whole diverged greatly from those elsewhere.  The evidence of the Ashcroft polling to date is that they’re not doing so.

107 comments for: Is this the moment when the polls turned for Cameron – and put him on course to beat Miliband?

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