One of the striking things about the next election is how what is going on at the macro level looks so different from what is happening at a micro level. On the macro front, things seem to be moving the Tories’ way. The economy is growing at a good clip and that is set to continue until polling day and David Cameron has a considerable advantage on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister. But to return to the micro, it is easier to see seats where Labour might gain from the Tories rather than the other way round. Ask even the most optimistic Tories what constituencies they might win to give them a double-digit majority, and they come up short.
The crucial question is whether these marginals are a lagging indicator or not. Or, does the political geography of Britain now mean that the Tories will run up huge majorities in their own seats but miss out in the key battlegrounds.
Over the next 12 months, we’ll find out the answer to this question. But what should worry Labour most is their share of the vote. The UK Polling Report average currently has them on 36%. A year out from the election, Labour would want to be higher than that. It is hard to see which voters are not currently backing the party but will shift to it over the next twelve months. By contrast, it is easy to see how the party could lose some support to the Tories as the election recovers and election-day nears.