Are the polls beginning to swing consistently towards the Conservatives? Two polls out yesterday have the Tories ahead by four points. In its latest poll for The Sun, YouGov has the Conservatives on 35 per cent, Labour on 31 per cent, Ukip on 14 per cent, the Lib Dems on eight per cent and the Greens on six per cent. Out of YouGov’s six polls in March so far, Labour has been ahead in one of them. Another last week had the main parties neck and neck while the Tories have been ahead in the others.
Lord Ashcroft reported similar results in his latest weekly poll. The Tory peer has the Conservatives on 34 per cent, Labour on 30 per cent, Ukip on 15 per cent, the Greens on eight per cent and the Lib Dems on five per cent. Again, this gives the the Tories a four-point lead, up slightly from the three point lead Ashcroft reported last week.
Both of these polls have a sample size of roughly a thousand people, which puts the same error at three per cent. So although these shifts are within that margin, the Tories’ lead is not, suggesting the party is definitely ahead of Labour. This could be the long-awaited ‘crossover’ moment Conservatives have been long hoping for — where the party moves consistently ahead of Labour in the polls. Or it could be a short bounce. Either way, the Tories will be hoping they can keep up this lead between now and the short election campaign, which kicks off on 30 March. If they enter the short campaign ahead of Labour, morale and momentum will be on their side.
And in the latest pressing questions of our time, his focus groups have suggested which jobs would suit the party leaders outside of politics. David Cameron ‘would be a headmaster, or a company director in charge of things’ while Nigel Farage would ‘almost certainly be a pub landlord, and a good one at that’ or running a small but successful business. Ed Miliband’s ideal job was reckoned to be a ‘university professor’ while Nick Clegg couldn’t be easily imagined in the outside world — the best Ashcroft’s focus groups could do was to say ‘something administrative or perhaps a supermarket store manager’.
Interestingly, these statements are all on the mark. Cameron was a senior communications director at Carlton Television in the 1990s, Nigel Farage was a successful businessman in a past life and Ed Miliband was a lecturer at Harvard University. Before entering the Commons, Nick Clegg spent his formative years working in the European Parliament. Although not quite a supermarket manager, it’s easy to imagine this being ‘something administrative’.