The Conservatives lead in the polls for the first time since 2004. That is according to YouGov in The Sunday Times and the poll has been mirrored by other surveys in the Sunday papers. This is very interesting because, unlike previous Labour dips, it is not government unpopularity that is driving the shift; rather it is the Conservative leadership election and Cameron’s victory. Polls driven by a Conservative positive instead of a Labour negative are something new.
Of course polls aren’t important; only joking, they are hugely important. Everyone in the political process watches them, if they aren’t commissioning their own. Certainly the spate of results that put the Conservatives up, Labour down and the Liberal Democrats squeezed will cause a furore. Labour will be scrabbling about for a strategy to deal with a Conservative leader who doesn’t fit the right-wing core-vote stereotype. The Liberal Democrats will look even harder at Charles Kennedy’s leadership as MPs fighting the Conservatives at the next election start to feel the heat. The Conservatives, well, their challenge is to maintain momentum and not to get sucked back by the traditionalists in the party. Politics is shifting in Britain, and not before time.
Tories seize lead in polls