- Yesterday evening brought us six opinion polls, all showing Conservative leads of respectively: 12 points (ComRes), 11 points (ICM), 9 points (ORB), 6 points (Opinium), 4 points (YouGov) and one point (Survation).
- At this stage, such findings are indeed, as Lord Ashcroft likes to say “snapshots, not predictions”. Were the same companies to produce the same findings this Wednesday, however, one or more of them will face a steward’s inquiry after polling day.
- None the less, they all tell much the same story – namely, of a Tory fall and a Labour rise since the manifesto launches, driven by a shift of opinion against the Conservatives among women following the social care fiasco (and so does the Ashcroft Model).
- The difference in the headline figures is accounted for partly by sampling, by adjustments and, perhaps above all, by assumptions about turnout. The companies that give the Tories the biggest lead are assuming one similar to 2015.
- You might therefore conclude that if they are wrong – and the turnout is instead similar to that of last year’s EU referendum, in which younger voters turned up in larger numbers – the result will be a bad one for the Tories.
- But it ain’t necessarily so because, as we wrote recently, it depends where these votes are cast. There is no point in any party piling up votes in its safer seats. There is some evidence that this may happen to Labour on Thursday.
- We are where we were yesterday – namely, that “the Conservatives are still set for a substantial majority on Thursday. A polling move back to them during the last few days would not be surprising”. We set out reasons for believing so in detail.
- If we have a nagging doubt, it is a) that May could be “fighting the last war” – making an appeal to the national interest, but not to you and your family; and that b) the London and Manchester terror attacks frame her record as Home Secretary in a harsh light.
There must be a middle-ground between taking data-driven campaigning for granted and wild alarmism about its dangers
As May squares up to one security challenge, Cameron reminds us of another: Islamist extremism – and its wider dimensions.
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