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The weekend saw Conservative announcements on the NHS and inheritance tax, which I wrote about yesterday here.

Tomorrow will see the launch of the Tory manifesto proper.

Today sees the launch of Labour’s, which we will write about later, so here in the meantime is a poll summary.

  • The last twelve polls have seen four Conservative leads, six Labour leads and two draws.
  • The highest Tory rating has been 36 per cent and the highest Labour one 35 per cent.
  • The lowest Conservative rating has been 30 per cent and the lowest Labour one 33 per cent.
  • The highest Liberal Democrat rating has been 12 per cent and the lowest 7 per cent.
  • The highest UKIP rating has been 18 per cent and the lowest 11 per cent.
  • In none of these polls has the Tory lead over Labour been more than two points – and vice-versa.

It may be that one of two main parties is carrying all before it in the target seats, and that the national polls are out of line with what’s happening in them.  However, last week’s survey of ten marginals by Lord Ashcroft polls suggested strongly that this is not the case.

A key question therefore remains “can the Conservatives fight back against Labour faster than Labour can fight back against the SNP?”, as he himself put it.

There are still almost four full campaigning weeks to go, and much may change in them, but there is no sign of the Party achieving the decisive poll breakthrough that some senior Party figures anticipated would come earlier this year or after the Budget.

James Forsyth wrote yesterday that “the Tories have a week to wrest back the initiative in this election campaign. If they haven’t done this by next Sunday, Tory discipline will begin to crack”.

That sounds about right, but there will still be a long way to go, even so.  Next Sunday, there will still be the best part of three full campaigning weeks ahead, and a lot can happen in that time.  But I stick to believing that the vote distribution, plus left-wing Liberal Democrat support going to Labour and UKIP on the whole drawing more from the Conservatives, puts a Tory majority out of range.

None the less, there is every chance that the Party will win a bigger slice of the vote than Labour.  Whether that translates into more seats, let alone a Conservative or Conservative-led government, is impossible to say.

We will have the latest Lord Ashcroft Polls weekly finding later today.


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