Since the 2012 ‘omnishambles’ budget, the Conservatives have done poorly in polls across the board. But in recent weeks they have performed a lot better.
Last Sunday’s YouGov poll showed the two main parties tying, as did Tuesday’s. Wednesday gave Labour a one point lead, whilst Thursday gave Ed Miliband’s party a three point lead. However, all the recent results show the Conservative and Labour parties’ points within the margin of error of each other.
And whilst Friday’s poll gives David Cameron’s party just a one point lead - a lead within the margin of error - could it be a sign of things to come.
Labour has, over the recent years, enjoyed strong leads, but strong performances from the Tories demonstrate that the political winds could be changing.
But what could be fueling this change?
Historically, the main party in government performs poorly in opinion polls and local and European elections. But nearer the general election the party, in this case the Conservatives, receive a boost. As the general election nears voters could be thinking that with May just around the corner the next election is not an opportunity to punish the incumbent government - it is a chance to choose the next government.
Another reason could be the Conservatives successfully pulling off the interpretation of the election they wish the voters to take - that it is a choice between David Cameron and Ed Miliband. With David Cameron generally more liked than his party and Ed Miliband generally less liked than his, it is possible that this ‘Presidential’ message of personality and charisma is managing to sink into voters across the country.
Additionally, Conservative fortunes could be changing as a result of the promised tax cuts if the party wins in 2015. It’s a basic incentive of ‘more money in a one’s pocket’ but this promise could be affecting voters.
However, the reasons for Conservative success are not necessarily positive for them. With the SNP’s rise in Scotland, taking votes in Westminster, from those who Peter Kellner recently called ‘red nats’, Tory success could be down to Labour failure.
With 48% of Scots intending to vote SNP in Friday’s YouGov poll, compared with the 23% intending to vote Labour, that could be affecting Labour’s polling performances.
Furthermore, with the Conservatives on just 33%, ahead of Labour on 32%, the fact that there share of the vote adds up to just 65% could show another reason for the tight race - people are moving away from the main party’s and towards the likes of the SNP, the Greens and UKIP.
Overall, of course the results for the two main parties are within the margin of error, but with the Conservatives and Labour tying in numerous polls, the polls could be whispering in the direction of a Cameron win next May. Whether that could be the case is down to so many different unpredictable factors, such as what will happen to UKIP and SNP voters.
Only time will tell.
Friday’s full results can be seen here: http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/nesj1j60m0/YG-Archive-Pol-Sun-results-301014.pdf