A few days before a massive test of popular opinion I’m not sure we learn a great deal from these polls but an ICM poll in today’s Guardian shows a reduced Tory lead and that all that door-to-door work by Ming’s minions has pushed the LibDems up to 21%. Conservatives desperately need Ming as LibDem leader at the next election so moderately good results for Britain’s third party – at the expense of Labour councillors – will be welcome.
Perhaps the most interesting ICM finding is that by 54% to 21% voters want a change of government rather than Labour to stay in power. ‘Time for a change’ is the most irresistible slogan in politics if the incumbents look tired and noone is afraid of the opposition.
Where the Tories need to do the work is stop support flowing to ‘The Others’. A massive effort needs to be made over the next two years of persuading voters that the only sure way of ousting Labour is to vote Conservative. ConservativeHome’s new video-making arm is working on some ideas.
I expect the Tories to do very well next Thursday and the ‘halo effect’ of good results will see the party up at 40% in the opinion polls. Some dangers then follow. The Labour leadership election may push the Tories out of the headlines for much of the summer and without the oxygen of publicity the Conservative position might deteriorate a little. Brown desperately needs an opponent of some kind to make that contest reasonably newsworthy.