The Thick of It

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Labour romps into poll lead

With YouGov reporting that Labour is now 14% ahead of the Tories in its latest opinion poll it would be tempting for Labourites to get carried away thinking of victory in a 2015 general election. It might also be tempting to note that Labour is now ahead on "handling the economy". Tempting too to note that Ed Miliband now has better, or least worst, personal ratings that David Cameron.

Of course as "they" say, it is a Snickers not a sprint and the real test will come in three years time. At the moment though it shows that Labour is starting to reap the reward of not being the Tories or the Lib Dems. What matters for Labour is if this is the start of a longer term trend. If so it looks promising though I'd still warn that it is insufficient to expect to win by hoping that the other side mess up. It isn't enough. That will only lead to either defeat or another hung parliament.

Some things have changed recently. Miliband is performing with more confidence. His media appearances are more frequent and more assured. The real test will be whether people start to give him credit for making the right (and popular) call on the key issues as they arise. He has done so without credit on bank bonuses and phone hacking. If he can close that gap and build a coherent and appealing alternative Labour stands a good chance.

YouGov's expert Peter Kellner speculates that the Tories are still the likely winners of the next election, though the prospects of that happening could diminish if the coalition continues to struggle.

That the outcome and both political and economic landscape are so unclear makes predictions almost irrelevant as so much will change in the next three years. Will that also include our leaders?

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