A Populus poll for this morning’s Times gives the Tories a narrow 1% lead over Labour. As noted by UK Polling Report the slightly disappointing change for the Tories is that the party’s share of the vote is down to 34% after being at 36% for the previous four Populus polls. Whatever the exact Tory lead might be it is clear that the Tory position is not strengthening. The overall Tory lead in ConservativeHome’s poll of polls is now just 3%.
A majority of Tory members will accept David Cameron’s modernisation project so long as it keeps the party ahead in the polls. His period of maximum danger will arise in the period after Gordon Brown’s near certain election as Labour leader. If Brown enjoys a sustained honeymoon effect there must be a real risk that members will decide that the sacrifices of traditional Conservatism won’t have been worthwhile. The comfort for David Cameron in The Times’ poll is that the Tory lead appears to grow to 7% if Gordon Brown became leader but we’ve previously discussed the unreliability of such ‘what it?’ polling.
* The ConservativeHome poll of polls has been adjusted slightly to take account of revised ICM data from their last poll for the News of the World.