Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Latest ICM Poll

The Guardian ICM poll gives the Conservatives a 9-point lead; on 40% to Labour’s 31%, with the Liberal-Democrats on 22%. This is the highest rating (on an ICM poll) for the Conservatives since 1992, although they are only up 1% from ICM’s July poll. Labour are down 4% and the Liberal-Democrats up 5%. The Guardian thinks that Blair’s foreign policy partly explains this: 72% think it has made Britain more of a target for terrorists; only 1% think that Blair’s foreign policy has made Britain less of a target for terrorists. It is possible that the “Prescott factor” may also be a factor: the derision he continues to generate is hardly helpful. John Reid’s grandstanding seems to have done his personal rating some good, but hasn’t helped the party. The scenes of holidaymakers camping out at airports can’t help (a government is supposed to make the trains – or planes – run on time). And, of course, Cameron has made the Conservatives appear less “nasty” and more “touchy-feely”. The unresolved “succession crisis” is another factor: the longer it goes on the more damage it does. It is now too late for a formal challenge to Blair at the party conference; but in Sunday’s Observer Andrew Rawnsley was speculating that if a large enough number of Labour MP’s (over 100) called for Blair to go that might force his hand. Maybe, but I think the chances of an early departure (which I hitherto thought likely) are receding. The forthcoming conference will certainly be interesting: if Blair is undamaged by it he will not go soon. Its crunch time.


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