If translated into seats at a General Election, the ICM poll would put the Tories on 273 seats; 19 fewer than Labour.
In tomorrow’s newspapers there is set to be a great deal about MPs (particularly Tory MPs) and allowances. In moves to distract attention from sleaze and in order to regain some hare-like momentum, David Davis and George Osborne are both making significant announcements:
- David Davis has told The Sunday Telegraph that he wants to give the police more freedoms to charge a wider range of offenders themselves – reducing the bureaucracy that is currently involved in the police making referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service.
- Again in The Sunday Telegraph, George Osborne confirms that Conservatives will vote against Alistair Darling’s £700m Capital Gains Tax hike and he promises to "plot a path" away from it once in Government. If Mr Osborne wasn’t copying Labour’s spending plans he would be able to afford to scrap it immediately.
We’ll have more detail on both of those sets of proposals tomorrow.
The 21% rating for the Liberal Democrats in the ICM poll is a warning to the Conservatives that voters unhappy with Labour do have a choice of alternative parties. They can also sit on their hands. As the Conservative Party looks to attract (1) voters floating between the parties and (2) voters floating between voting and non-voting it has a number of policy options. ICM asked about a few of those options and the desirability of those options is summarised in the graphic below:
Two immediate comments on the above findings:
- The second column would have been much more interesting if it referred to undecided voters rather than all non-Tories.
- The ‘Cut taxes and spending’ option doesn’t tell us much. ‘£75 off council tax paid for by slower growth in public spending’ would, for example, come a lot closer to what some of us are arguing for.