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Tory politicians usually have cause to complain about the polls that the BBC produces on election nights but the Corporation may have given David Cameron a significant symbolic (but exaggerated) victory on Thursday night. The BBC gave Cameron’s Conservatives a projected 40% share of the vote. Jeremy Vine’s computer analysis also put the LibDems in second place – a bonus for underperforming Ming.
In today’s Sunday Times, the local election specialists Colin Rawlings and Michael Thrasher suggest that the Tories actually fell slightly short of the magic 40% threshold and that the LibDems actually came third on 25% (1% behind Labour). The Tories would nonetheless have achieved a "small overall Commons majority" if those percentage shares were replicated in a General Election.
Writing in this morning’s Sunday Telegraph (in an article which focuses on the BNP threat) Norman Tebbit urges the Tory
leadership not to get too excited about Thursday’s performance:
"The local election results last week will hearten the
Conservatives. With 40 per cent of the vote, and the bulk of the
remainder split evenly between Labour and the Lib-Dems, things are
looking even better, and they won 320 seats or so, mostly from Labour,
but the Lib-Dems are still a threat in the Southern heartlands. What
is more, David Cameron would be lucky if he ever fights another
election against a Prime Minister who is the object of such contempt
and mistrust, or in the wake of such a shambles of ministerial
incompetence as in the run up to Thursday’s poll. With the Government
in such disarray, a gain of only 2 per cent from 38 per cent to 40 per
cent of the vote since these council seats were last contested in 2004,
is not a cause to uncork the champagne."