The latest ICM poll for The Guardian is interesting because it highlights the weakness in both the Tory and Labour positions. The Tories are 12 points behind on 29, doing appallingly with women voters—trailing Labour 25-51, and haven’t managed to halt UKIP’s momentum. But Labour’s position is not as strong as the headline figures suggest. A plurality of voters still places the blame for the economic slowdown on Labour’s ‘unsustainable spending’.

Polls in mid-term do not tell us that much. But the more bad news they bring for the Tories, the grimmer the mood on their benches will become. This is one of the things which makes Eastleigh so important for Cameron. A win there would cheer his own side and encourage them to believe that they can win a majority in 2015. Conversely, a failure to take the seat will add to the mood of despondency among Tory MPs.

Tags: By-election, Conservatives, Eastleigh, Maria Hutchings, poll, UK politics