In January, our editor reviewed the evidence from another of our regular survey questions: what members think the most likely outcome of the next general election.
During a difficult period for the Government the overall number thinking there would be a Conservative-led administration after 2022 had fallen to just 59 per cent, down almost nine points on the previous month. The number predicting a Tory majority was just 36 per cent.
But just as our Cabinet League Table has shown a recent rebound in the Prime Minister’s standing, so too is this renewed grassroots confidence reflected in assessments of the next election.
In total, 75 per cent of respondents believe that the Conservatives will be in power. Strangely the numbers expecting either a minority government or coalition are unchanged from December (at 17 and seven per cent respectively), so the whole growth is in the huge rise in the number predicting a majority: 51 per cent, over half of those polled.
There are several possible reasons for this renewed confidence. On the Government side, we have Theresa May’s deft handling of the Salisbury attack; the relatively smooth progress of the Brexit negotiations.
Meanwhile the Opposition appear to have lost their post-election momentum (no pun intended), with Jeremy Corbyn mired in the anti-Semitism scandal and London suffering a high-profile and lethal wave of knife crime.
Will it last? A miserable night for the Tories at the local elections next month still has the potential to put the spring back in Labour’s step. But with the Government currently a couple of points ahead of Labour in most of the polls, for all its woes, perhaps the members are right to judge 2022 a winnable proposition.