Source: Politico’s poll of polls
If Downing Street wallpaper, James Dyson and Newcastle United are making a difference to voters, the opinion polls have yet to register the fact.
These narrowed when there seemed no way out of repeated lockdowns last autumn. And rallied when vaccines came on tap, earlier than in nearly all other countries, last winter and this spring.
With less than a fortnight to go until the local elections, the Conservative lead over Labour has stretched to nine points, its largest total for a year. We now give you the case for the allegations cutting through to make a polling differerence, and for them not doing so.
Case for: as with “sleaze” during the Tories’ fourth term, during the 1990s, the Party is currently on a fourth term – and the claims will either drip gradually through to voters’ consciousness, or an incident will take place which will make the Conservative rating suddenly collapse.
In which case, some say, Boris Johnson will swiftly be ousted by a Parliamentary Party which has never cared for him, only voted for him in 2019 because it believed there to be no other option, and has been infuriated by the chaos in Downing Street.
Case against: the Tories were on their 18th year by 1997, and will be on only their 14th by 2024 (if the election due that year doesn’t come before). Furthermore, the Prime Minister, by embracing and delivering Brexit, has given his party an entirely new start.
According to this view, it will take a lot more than tittle-tattle about wallpaper – which Johnson can’t take with him when he moves – to damage Johnson’s bond with Conservative voters, old and new. And Keir Starmer is no Tony Blair.
We don’t know which version will turn out to be nearer the truth – and neither does anyone else. But, for the moment, we think that reviving the “Next Tory Leader” question in our monthly survey would be premature.