By Tim Montgomerie
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I won't comment here on the biggest poll of the weekend – over at Majority Conservatism Paul Goodman provides a comprehensive review of Lord Ashcroft's mega poll on the political attitudes of ethnic minority Britons.
The more regular opinion polls are not good for the Conservative Party. I summarise them within today's newslinks (scroll down this page). In today's Sunday Times (£) Peter Kellner of YouGov makes for gloomy reading:
"The Prime Minister is no longer a clear asset to his party. Immediately before the Budget, 44% thought he was doing well, while 49% thought he was doing badly. His net rating, minus 5, was pretty good for a Prime Minister in mid-term. Now his rating is minus 31 (well 32%, badly 63%). Only Gordon Brown can match such a collapse in popularity, when he scrapped plans to hold a snap election in October 2007. It is not a happy precedent."
Here's how respondents to the latest YouGov poll rate Cameron (PDF):
- 42% see the PM as competent, 47% as incompetent (-5%);
- 41% see him as strong and 44% as weak (-3%);
- 42% as likeable and 46% as dislikeable (-4%);
- 39% say he's in control of his government and 47% say not (-8%);
- 23% see him as in touch, 69% as out-of-touch (-46%);
76% say Cameron doesn't understand how ordinary people live and most of this group say it's because of his privileged background (50%) rather than other factors (26%).
Mr Kellner focuses on the threat that UKIP poses to the Tories. Noting that, as of today, UKIP is 10% in the latest YouGov survey and 1.4 million former Tories have transferred to the party, he proposes a scenario where they could "crucify" the Tories:
"Suppose the economy continues in the doldrums. Suppose Cameron’s ratings stay on the floor. In 2014, a year before the next general election, Europe’s voters will decide who represents them in the European Parliament. Voting will take place under a proportional system that helps smaller parties – and the anti-EU UKIP most of all. Last time, in 2009, it came second, ahead of Labour. Unless the Tories recover, I would not bet heavily against UKIP topping the poll in 2014, or coming close… UKIP would have the credibility it has always craved. Under our first-past-the-post system for electing MPs, it might end up with too few votes to win many seats for itself – but quite enough to scupper the Tories. Suppose it wins over just 2,000-3,000 unhappy Tories in each of the key marginals. This kind of division on the Right would be enough to cost Cameron up to thirty seats, and hand victory to Ed Miliband. If the shift to UKIP is much greater, Labour could win by a landslide."
The YouGov survey isn't ALL bad for the Conservatives, however:
- By 36% to 28% David Cameron and George Osborne are more trusted to run the economy than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls;
- By 54% to 27% voters accept that "big" spending cuts are necessary and would be being implemented whoever was in power;
- Only 32% blame the current government for the double dip recession – 29% blame global factors including the Eurozone, 17% blame the last Labour government's legacy and 10% blame the banks for not lending enough.