• Labour lead just 1%.
  • Tories 3.7% ahead in the 120 most marginal seats.
  • Only 6% believe that Prime Minister Brown has made a real difference; 62% believe he has made no difference at all.

PopulusA new opinion poll for The Times confirms last week’s private polling for the Conservative Party.   The Populus pollster is suggesting that Labour only enjoys a 1% lead over the Conservatives.  There is other good news within the survey. 

In the 120 most marginal seats (see Times graphic on the right) the party has a 3.7% lead over the Labour Party.  This may partly reflect the huge effort being coordinated by Lord Ashcroft’s team – now based inside CCHQ.

Although this poll is encouraging – and vindicates David Cameron’s energetic fightback of the last two weeks – there is no room for complacency.  Brown did not campaign in August.  These polls were taken before he returned to the political stage.  Today’s Times’ front page – Voters end debate on snap election – is as OTT as yesterday’s Telegraph splash – Brown ignites election fever with appeal to Tory voters.  Brown will make his judgment in about three weeks.  There’ll be lots of activity from him over the next 21 days and he’ll then make a judgment.  CCHQ know that there remains a real risk of an autumn contest.  Tory strategists won’t be relaxing yet.

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