My own view (and that of Dan Hannan) is that the autumn represents Gordon Brown’s best chance of winning an historic fourth term for Labour. Simon Heffer, writing today, adds to this view by highlighting the likelihood of mounting economic woes by next spring. Two new opinion polls will give Mr Brown’s autumn ambitions a little pause for thought, however.
CAUTION ONE: An Ipsos-MORI poll for today’s Sun gives Labour a 38% to 33% lead over the Tories – still an election winning advantage but not the runaway 9% lead identified by YouGov just two weeks ago. Interestingly both the main two parties are down – the Tories down 2% to 33% and Labour down 3% to 38% – leaking support to minor parties. The Sun describes its poll as a surge for Labour. That’s rubbish – the previous MORI survey actually gave Labour a slightly larger lead. Labour’s advantage is moderating a little.
Below the headline numbers there is, however, more to trouble the Tory leader:
- Brown has an 69% to 10% advantage over
BrownCameron when it comes to the best man to handle a crisis – 72% of voters are satisfed with Mr Brown’s handling of the Foot and Mouth outbreak.
- 51% think the Prime Minister best understands the problems facing Britain and only 17% think the same of Mr Cameron.
- By 54% to 37% Mr Brown also is seen as more trustworthy. More needs to be done to connect the PM with the last ten years of spin – not least his own decade of stealthy taxation and his broken promise on the EU referendum.
CAUTION TWO: North of the border things look a bit grim for Labour. Support for the SNP has grown by 15% to 48% since May’s elections according to a new poll. Gordon Brown will worry that the SNP could eat into his representation at Westminster at the same time that his candidates could perform well against David Cameron’s Tories in England. Brown has to balance the risk of his own honeymoon ending before First Minister Alex Salmond’s. Scotland’s Conservatives also must be hoping for a later polling day – they have only just started to select candidates for Westminster seats.
All Unionists can welcome the fact that support for independence has shrunk to 31% from a 51% high.