Coffee House

Despite everything last week, David Cameron is still on the up

23 October 2012

Finally, some good news for the government – the public seems unconcerned by its recent difficulties. In spite of plebgate and George Osborne’s train ticket dominating this weekend’s papers, polling out today shows the Conservatives have managed to reverse their voting share decline in the wake of their party conference. The Populus/Times poll places the Tories on 35 per cent, up five points from September while Labour are down by the same amount. This brings Labour’s lead down to where it was before this year’s budget in March 2012:

The Guardian/ICM polling shows a smaller increase, with Labour on 41 per cent and 33 per cent for the Conservatives. This is still a two point improvement on their last poll:

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However, the ICM figures are adjusted in favour of the Tories. The headline figures take into account ‘shy Tories’ – an assumption that a proportion of the ‘don’t knows’ will vote the same way they did at the last election. The raw polling figures place Labour on 43 per cent to 32 per cent for the Tories. This suggests a nine point gap compared to the 8 points in the adjusted figures. Although the difference is just one point, the ‘shy Tory’ vote is a group that No. 10 is increasingly focusing on for a 2015 victory, believing it could add as much as five points onto their current polling as James reported recently.

But one aspect of the poll will worry No 10. Despite falling unemployment and inflation, the ICM/Guardian poll reports that David Cameron and George Osborne’s prized economic competence rating is dropping, compared to Ed Balls and Ed Miliband:

This makes the autumn statement on 5 December all the more important for the Chancellor. Along with the March 2013 budget, it will be one of the last opportunities to announce reforms that will have a sporting chance of making a noticeable impact on the economy by the 2015 election. Yesterday, Tim Montgomerie tweeted that ‘Fleet St’s coverage of political trivia is now at epidemic levels’. Although this is certainly the case, the nation appears to be taking little notice of trains and gates, but voters will be far less kind if the economy — the core reason behind this coalition — appears to be on the road to nowhere.

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Show comments
  • Cogito Ergosum

    Please could we see error bars on those graphs.

  • TomTom

    The Guardian is thinking of exiting print. Newsweek is bankrupt. People are not paying attention to journalists – that is the message.

  • Russell

    It’s the EU that will finish Cameron and the Conservative party.
    Both Cameron and Shapps have said this week that they will NOT allow the British people to vote to leave the EU in any referendum, only to support their negotiated membership or as it is.
    I will never vote Conservative with this snake at the helm and the party supporting his EU position. I don’t care if voting UKIP will allow labour back into government. In my constituency the Conservatives only need a small % shift to remove Adrian Sanders (LibDem), but many Conservatives feel like me the time has come to vote UKIP and show our disgust, which will allow Sanders a win at the next election instead of a tory gain.

  • james102

    What this might show is that only a minority are interested in politics, so turnout will be so low the party that motivates its core voters to actually vote will stand the best chance.
    The non-committed are now so non- committed that mass murder in parliament would hardly cause them to pause between reading about celebrity gossip and the latest appalling crime.
    Could the average member of the public tell you which party Balls, Alexandre, Harman or May belonged to? What proportion could put names to their photographs?

  • james102

    The average member of the electorate hardly distinguishes between the political parties any more. They don’t read stories concerning politics and tune out when such stories come on the news.
    Real party supporters are like football fans, an Arsenal fan will never support Tottenham. A Liverpool fan Manchester United, to the general public it is all a bit strange.
    Judges,Quangocrats, EU Commissioners, all now have more influence than MPs.
    Turnout falls at each election: why do you think that is?

  • Rhoda Klapp

    If I don’t much care for bubble gossip, and the Spect knows that I don’t care and nor do most of its readers, what is the reason for its prevalence here?

    Might it just be that the editorial content is determined by what goes over best amongst the media community itself? Or with the proprietors? And the readers are just ungrateful plebs who don’t know what’s good for ’em?

    May I ask again for the Spect to get a grip? I know it’s wasted, but it makes me feel that I have done something.

  • Vulture

    Note that your polls choose not to include UKIP who in most polls are level with the LDs and rising. Even if you refuse to recognise reality the time will come – possibly when they knock the LDs into fourth place at the Corby by-election – when you are forced to.

    • Chris lancashire

      And yet again promote Labour to first place at Morley & Outwood.

    • telemachus

      But UKIP are simply Tory spoilers.
      A vote is a vote guaranteed to let Labour in

      • Chris lancashire

        Amazingly telemachus, you’ve got one right.

      • Arthur Dent

        Yes lots of votes for UKIP probably will let Labour in. However the Conservatives will hopefully become Conservative again in time to win next time around. There is no point in voting Conservative right now because they are not Conservative enough. Best to vote for a party that actually represents your views, in my case UKIP.

  • EJ

    Like so many recent Spectator articles I find this one staggering. It’s really a shock to you that the public don’t give a toss about the insider squabbling, posturing, jostling and nonsense that seems to render you Speccie journos speechless with admiration?

    The public care about the economy, crime, immigration, the EU, cultural displacement, Islamisation, the “Leftification” of our institutions, the failure of multiculturalism, the nonsense of human rights legislation etc etc.

    They do NOT care about what new clever ruse the H2B is going to come up with to pull the wool over our eyes while he carries on selling our country down the river.

  • Bez Priestley

    Don’t know what polls they are looking up, must be very upmarket etc., everyone I know thinks they are awful and as for that silly Osborne, if one of us ‘plebs’ tried that trick of trying to travel in first class with a second class ticket, we would have been dealt with most severely!

    • dorothy wilson

      See my post above. He did NOT try the “trick” of traveling first class with a second class ticket. He paid the difference and did so immediately.

      • peterbuss

        Absolutely right Dorothy -indeed his aide actually approached the “ticket guy”first to explain the situation!” Sadly its all passed into the public psyche as absolute truth and yet another proof of Goebbels boast “tell people a lie often enough and they will believe it.” Quite shocking and scandalous reporting.

        • Dimoto

          The idea that the Finance Minister of the UK, (whoever he is), should not be allowed to travel first class on a train at public expense (it’s not exactly an outrageous luxury is it ?) is so ridiculous, that Joe Public just shakes his head with disbelief.
          The ordinary citizen (as opposed to the permanently outraged numbnut), is fairly sensible about such things.
          A Jaguar with a government driver and a personal security detail is infinitely more costly and “luxurious”.
          Any middle-level exec of a decent company would have the “privilege” of travelling 1st class on a train.

  • AnotherDaveB

    35% is not good news for the Conservatives. This is just margin of error movement from their core vote. They are at the bottom of their support range.

  • ToryOAP

    Maybe, just maybe, the public are intelligent enough to understand that ‘plebgate’ and ‘firstgate’ as portrayed by the police federations, the press and labour were just not accurate portrayals of the facts and were the usual Westminster bubble tosh. God knows Cameron and Osborne are the most incompetent Conservative incumbents since Heath and Barber, but I would take these two over Milliband and Balls any time. I think we will find that the public will agree with me come 2015 also.

    • Olaf

      I don’t know if we will. I suspect we’ll see a liblab coalition unless the current lot decide to step out their bubble.

      • alexsandr

        cant be much of a liblab coalition with 1 liberal MP which is my expectation for 2015

        • Mirtha Tidville

          You mean Vince might not get back in again????? gosh

  • DavidDP

    “George Osborne’s train ticket dominating this weekend’s papers”
    That man buys a train ticket dominated weekend news is a damning indictment of the state of the media in this country.

    • telemachus

      No, a true reflection on the concerns and aspirations of those ruling us.
      I alternate between pity(Cameron yesterday) and loathing(Mitchell, Osborne)

      • Colonel Mustard

        When it comes to you and your serial trolling I alternate between loathing (you, most days) and more loathing (you, most days).

        • ToryOAP

          I urge you not to engage with telesaville. I am awaiting his IP address for some interesting developments.

          • Scott

            I agree, but to be fair, his arguments are so easy to counter. He isn’t as smart as he thinks!

            • telemachus

              I do not try to be smart
              I do decry the tendency for anyone who give a contra opinion to the right ring received wisdom ( and I note that includes the Speccie staff) are abused

              • Colonel Mustard

                And yet you are perfectly happy to constantly abuse the right whilst telling us you are a Tory. Looks like ToryOAP has you nailed.

              • Scott

                No you don’t. You spin everything as the Tories fault, even though Labour were in power for 13 years and gave us the longest deepest recession since 1930, that gave us the Iraq war over a compete lie, and promised education education education. Education was so good we had pupils receiving ever better GCSE grades, that we were actually sinking in the world league tables. How do you do that?

                • telemachus

                  Do not give me the education guff when the hated Gove is hell bent on destroying everything we know.

                • Amergin Selby

                  Are you still blaming Labour for the Global recession and the crumbling of the Euro. Blimey ! Talk about blinkered thinking.

            • ToryOAP

              My cat is smarter than the disgusting little troll and political pervert. He is also incoherent whichever alias he uses.

    • AnotherDaveB

      The point was he bought a second class ticket, and insisted on a first class seat. Refusing to either move, or pay when confronted by the ticket collector. Reveals character.

      • Colonel Mustard

        That’s the Labour/Socialist Media smear version of what happened. It is disputed.

        • AnotherDaveB

          No. That was the on-the-spot reporting from ITV’s Rachel Townsend.

          • Colonel Mustard

            That was just Rachel Townsend’s partisan view of what happened. Check her out. She is pro-Labour – like you.

            • treborc1

              So what is the Story Mr Pro Tory….

              • Colonel Mustard

                I’m not pro-Tory I’m just anti-pro-Labour. I have a finely tuned “which party represents the greatest danger to freedom, integrity and truth” radar and Labour are a constant big blip on the scope.

          • Airey Belvoir

            So we now know that ITV hacks travel First, while sniping at a Cabinet Minster for also doing so. Pathetic.

            • AnotherDaveB

              The issue was Mr Osborne refusing to pay for a first class ticket, or move to second class (which was the ticket he had paid for).

      • dorothy wilson

        He did NOT “insist” on a first class seat. He did NOT refuse to move. He did NOT “refuse to move or pay when confronted by the ticket collector”. His aide immediately sought out the “train manager” in order to pay for the up-grade.

        You have probably been looking at another supposed incident, apparently reported to someone called Larry who said he had been told it by the “train manager”. However, it has been totally discredited. “Larry” has admitted to being left wing and Osborn did not travel anywhere on the day in question.

        • AnotherDaveB

          Why are you defending Mr Osborne? He’s a weasel.

          • ToryOAP

            Maybe she is defending the truth? Something the left have a poor record with.

            • AnotherDaveB

              Ms Townsend’s moment-by-moment account strikes me as the more credible.


              • Colonel Mustard

                That’s because you are not impartial as describing him as a “weasel” reveals. You should lie down in a dark room and not get so worked up about Tory bogeymen in your fevered pro-Labour imagination. If there were less people like you we might be able to have a rational political debate.

      • ToryOAP
        • Amergin Selby

          I have no problem with anyone traveling First Class and Osborne’s defence that he could not travel with second-class ticket holders does hold some water.and I am sure Milliband has the same constrictions on travel.
          There are a lot of unhappy, angry,people out there who would welcome the chance to give the Chanellor or any recognisable political face a tongue lashing.That. it seems to me is more likely to happen in second class than first.
          I once invited Tony Benn to address a group . He accepted but explained he had to claim first class tickets for the reason I have given. As a matter of interest as I asked to pay his expenses he declined the lot. A real gentleman..

          • ToryOAP

            Yes, the Viscount Stansgate is a real toff and of course one of the richest men ever in parliament. I used to see him often at his mansion in Holland Park. The house must be worth at least £10 million now. His son Hillary is another very rich toff as well. So many very rich people in the labour party aren’t there? Milliband and wife must be worth a few million with a joint income of more than half a million. Cameron will be writing them a big cheque next year don’t you think?

            • Amergin Selby

              Why is it that some people think that being a millionaire precludes one from belonging to the Labour Party, the premise is as illogical as saying a flat capped dustbin man cannot vote tory. The fact that in most cases each would vote for the party you imagine he would does not make it logical.
              I know the Viscount’s history as well as you and can recall the tearful Hailsham sobbing for the cameras and Douglas- Home ‘lowering’ himself.
              Benn from my experience is a thoroughly decent man and a socialist to the core.

              • ToryOAP

                It’s not the Conservatives that are promoting a class war but your beloved millionaires Milliband and Balls in the labour party. I find calling someone as wealthy, and from essentially the same public school and Oxbridge background as yourself, a toff both hypocritical and offensive – much more so than the mild epithet pleb. I admired Wilson, Callaghan, Benn and Castle (not the trecherous Owen, Williams Rogers Jenkins though) etc for their political beliefs and skills, even if I fundamentally disagreed with them, Not for them this puerile toff baiting and shallow politics of the ‘masses to be avoided at all costs’. The labour party lost its soul and right to be taken seriously with Blair, Campbell and Mandelson and deserves all the opprobrium one can direct its way.

    • George_Arseborne

      What about the poll conducted by Lord Arschroft for the Corby bi election? Anither desperate headline for Desperate Dave. If the poll is translated to election will Dave have his so long overall majority?

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