The ConservativeHome poll of polls and a new survey for The Daily Telegraph from YouGov both give the Tories a 7% lead over Labour.
The most encouraging finding for David Cameron’s office, however, is YouGov’s discovery that 46% of voters would prefer a government led by David Cameron to 33% preferring a government led by Gordon Brown.
Friday morning (8.45am) update
New Telegraph Editor tilts newspaper towards David Cameron
A fortnight or so ago ConservativeHome speculated as to whether the new Editor of The Daily Telegraph would tilt the newspaper’s attitude towards David Cameron in a more friendly direction. It appears that the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Back in July The Telegraph/ YouGov poll had the Tories 5% ahead and The Telegraph chose a ‘Support for Cameron begins to cool’ headline. Today – with the Tories 7% ahead – the newspaper chooses a ‘Tory leader surges ahead of Brown as voters’ choice’ headline for its front page. Last week The Telegraph was quite gentle with the Tories on tax. Today’s Telegraph leading article still thinks David Cameron has more to do but contrast today with July’s assessment by Anthony King, the newspaper’s polling expert:
KING IN JULY: "The Conservative Party increasingly resembles a tired runner panting along in sweltering heat. He is ahead in the race but only because his main rival is even more exhausted. According to YouGov’s latest monthly survey for The Daily Telegraph, 38 per cent of voters now say they would back the Conservatives in an early general election. That represents a decline of one point since last month and only a modest improvement – five points – since the Tories’ poor showing in the general election last year. The Conservatives have been shuffling along with between 32 and 38 per cent support for most of the past three years. They have occasionally attained 40 per cent but it is more than a decade since they last exceeded 40 per cent. The Tories today are no better off than they were under William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard. David Cameron’s election as Tory leader last December has so far made remarkably little difference. An initial tick upwards has been followed by several ticks downwards. Voters still seem not to know who the Tories are or what they stand for." Today Professor King is preferring to emphasise that the Conservative lead (although virtually identical) has been sustained.
THE TELEGRAPH LEADER TODAY: "As for Mr Cameron, he has put the Tories back in the game. For the first time since Black Wednesday in 1992, they have opened a consistent — if hardly convincing — opinion poll lead. Now comes the tough part. Mr Cameron must turn his party into a ruthlessly effective opposition — for, when Mr Brown finally take the reins, he will strain every sinew to demonstrate that it is not just Tony Blair who can hammer the Tories. It promises to be quite a fight."