The Tory lead in ConservativeHome’s Poll of Poll has widened to a full five points. The monthly ICM poll for The Guardian puts the party just 1% below the important 40% mark. The Guardian’s coverage of its poll focuses on the LibDems’ poor 17% rating. The poll was taken before Ming Campbell began his aggressive criticism of Israel and the LibDem leader may hope that the Middle East crisis will flatter the LibDem rating in the same way that the Iraq war boosted Charles Kennedy’s leadership.
It is possible that the LibDem squeeze is the beginning of a re-emergence of a more two-party politics. Anti-Tory voters are choosing Labour – which will be pleased at its 35% rating given its many troubles – and anti-Labour voters are choosing the Conservatives. ConservativeHome recently suggested that a ‘Vote Tory to get rid of Labour‘ strategy might be the best way for CCHQ to start unseating LibDem MPs in traditionally Conservative seats.
More details are emerging of Labour’s ‘summer offensive’ against David Cameron. Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander MP yesterday compared the Tory makeover with putting lipstick on a pig (Daily Mail). Mr Alexander, who is one of Gordon Brown’s closest aides, appears determined to paint Mr Cameron as a closet right-winger:
"While David Cameron looks to the centre ground, he moves to the right. While he sounds right-on, he acts right-wing. The packaging may have changed but the substance hasn’t."
Many Tories – notably Norman Tebbit – probably wish Mr Cameron was a closet right-winger. Both Mr Alexander and Lord Tebbit are likely to be disappointed, however, if they expect much traditional right-wingery from ‘Mr Change To Win’.