It’s shouldn’t be too long before we get some more opinion polls. They will measure the impact of recent events. My prediction is that Brown’s lead will widen a little. The narrowing we saw in the most recent polls followed David Cameron’s successful August fightback. At that time we’d dominated the political stage in the same way a party does during the week of its Party Conference.
We need to keep remembering what I (and many others) said before Brown took over: We won’t know the underlying state of public opinion until after the Party Conference season. We shouldn’t over-react to any polls until then. There remains a real chance that Gordon Brown will have called a General Election by early October but that possibility has decreased because of the huge energy that David Cameron has displayed over the last month.
Anyway: here are the factors that could contribute to a larger Labour lead…
- Michael Ancram’s questioning of Tory strategy;
- The comfort given to Gordon Brown by John Bercow, Patrick Mercer and Johan Eliasch;
- Gordon Brown’s tough talk to the unions (unfortunately the media haven’t really covered the extra taxpayers’ money he has given to ‘the brothers’);
- The retreat from Basra has generally been interpreted positively;
- Criticism of Gummer-Goldsmith’s plans to ban plasma televisions and charge for supermarket parking etc.
…here are the factors that could reduce Brown’s advantage….
- The real sense that – despite lots of talk – Gordon Brown hasn’t really done anything that will make a difference to peoples’ lives;
- Incompetence over Foot & Mouth (there’s another suspected outbreak today);
- David Cameron’s National Citizen Service idea – warmly received in newspapers like The Sun;
- Growing concern at Brown’s broken promise on a vote on the EU Treaty;
- Continuing trickle-through effects from August’s rebalancing of the message.