Conservatives lead: what's stopping the party from pulling ahead ?

YouGov’s Tuesday poll for The Sun puts the Conservatives ahead of Labour by one point. But can they build on this?

The poll gave David Cameron’s party 34%, one point ahead of Ed Miliband’s on 33%. The poll also puts UKIP in third place on 15%, as well as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens on 6% each.

The poll is good news for the Conservative party, but they are unable to increase their tiny leads in the polls. The previous YouGov poll had them tied with Labour. The one before gave Labour a one point lead, and the one before that saw the Conservatives one point up.

The 2015 general election really is all to play for. Next May, either Cameron will be preparing for five more years in Number Ten or he will be walking out the door with his head held low. So why can’t the Conservatives increase their lead? What can break the stagnation?

The respondents (1589 GB adults) were questioned between the 7th and 8th of December. In fairness to the party, a year ago they were behind Labour by around six or so points so the gap has narrowed. For example, YouGov’s poll on the 20th December last year had the Conservatives on 34%, compared to Labour’s 40% - a level of support Ed Miliband would love to have right now.

But it recent weeks they have been stuck neck and neck with Labour. What’s stopping them pulling ahead?

One argument is that UKIP are continuing to eat away at their vote. Tuesday’s YouGov poll suggests that 15% of UKIP voters voted Tory in 2010 - compared to 9% of those who vote Labour. This is evidently having an effect in stopping the Conservatives taking 3-4 point leads in the polls.

Another reason is that people just do not approve of the government’s record to date. The YouGov poll suggests that some 54% of voters disapprove of the government’s record, compared to 32% who approve. Despite the fact that the economy is growing, voters just do not approve the government’s record.

For the Conservatives to win next May they must address the UKIP problem, either head on, by talking UKIP’s rhetoric (something which has not worked so well for them recently) or by finding another way to convince UKIP voters to come back to the fold. This will be particularly tricky as the recent UKIP by-election wins will weaken the ‘Vote UKIP, get Miliband’ message.

If they wish to win they must also emphasise their economic record. Stressing the growing economy and falling unemployment is a must for David Cameron.

If not he could find himself walking out of Number Ten next May.

The full results of the YouGov poll can be found here.

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