The ‘meejah’ love an upset and right now they’re gunning for a dead duck – Blair. This doesn’t help with the real political situation facing the voters.
Despite the headlines nothing much has changed in the last month. The Tories are largely stuck. The “don’t knows” (Which are not shown in the main poll tables ) are a looming monster in the Brown / Cameron choice questions 37% and 40% . Separately there is shown the 7% who would not vote and the 14% “don’t knows” - 21% in total. (One must remember that in 2005 those who abstained vastly exceeded this 21% level)
There is a very sour feel about the poll generally
Voters abandon Blair's ship, but not for Tories
By Anthony King
Tony Blair's Government settles ever lower into the water and will shortly sink to the bottom, yet evidence still fails to suggest that HMS Tory is steaming to victory.
On the contrary, the battle remains more evenly joined than ever before, according to YouGov's latest monthly survey for The Daily Telegraph.
The Conservatives cannot sail past the crucial 40 per cent mark, and voters abandoning the good ship Labour are turning in as great numbers towards a variety of other parties as towards the Tories. The Conservatives have gained five percentage points since the last election but so, collectively, have the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, UKIP, the BNP, the Greens and an assortment of smaller parties.
One of YouGov's most remarkable findings over the past year has been the failure of the Liberal Democrats to capitalise on the low regard in which both Labour and the Conservatives are held.
At any time during the past half century when voters were unhappy with the Tories and Labour, the Liberals and their successor parties could count on a revival.
No longer — 23 per cent of voters backed the Liberal Democrats under Charles Kennedy at the May 2005 election. That figure has fallen to 18 per cent, remaining stubbornly in that vicinity for more than a year. It seems that large numbers of voters now lump the Liberal Democrats alongside Labour and the Tories as part of "them" — the lowly and despised political class as a whole.
YouGov's latest survey puts the Conservatives on 38 per cent, the same as a year ago, even though support for Labour has fallen from 40 per cent then to 31 per cent now.
Nearly a third of those who expect to vote at the next election and are prepared to declare a voting intention give a thumbs-down to both the Conservatives and Labour and back either the Liberal Democrats or some other party with no chance of governing.
That said, voters in their thousands will undoubtedly revert to a major party when the time comes to choose a new government, and YouGov's findings continue to suggest that the Conservatives under David Cameron will enjoy a modest lead over Labour if and when that party is led by Gordon Brown.
As the figures in the section of the chart headed "Forced choice" indicate, 44 per cent of voters say if they had to choose, they would opt for a Cameron-led Conservative government compared with only 38 per cent who would go for a Brown-led Labour government.
However, the Tories' lead among respondents answering that question is only six points now, compared with 12 points before Christmas.
The Tories have clearly gained support from erstwhile Liberal Democrats, but at the same time have lost support to both UKIP and the BNP. More importantly, however, is the Conservatives' manifest failure under David Cameron to establish a clear — and fresh — identity.
The sense that millions of voters are disenchanted with all three main parties is reinforced by the responses to YouGov's standard questions about who would make the best prime minister.
As the chart shows, more than one third of respondents reject all the major party leaders to reply "Don't know".
Asked why they apparently have no view, 66 per cent of those unwilling to choose among David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Sir Menzies Campbell respond either that they "don't think much of any of the three" (47 per cent) or else "don't think much of any politicians (19 per cent).
Meanwhile, Tony Blair's ship of state is taking in water at an unprecedented rate.
Only 21 per cent of voters now say they "approve of the Government's record to date", the lowest figure since Labour came to power nearly a decade ago. By contrast, in January 1998, during New Labour's first winter in power, the corresponding figure was an impressive 53 per cent. A mere 26 per cent of voters now say they are "satisfied" with Mr Blair as Prime Minister compared with the 66 per cent who applauded his performance in early 1998.
However, the party's principal problem is its almost total loss of the dual reputation for competence and integrity that New Labour fought so hard to acquire during the 1990s.
This also damages Gordon Brown. Having manned the bridge as Mr Blair's first lieutenant throughout New Labour's time in power, Mr Brown has also lost public standing. His taking over as ship's captain later this year will in itself make little difference. Everything turns on how he comports himself in office.
Fortunately for him, public expectations of his premiership are low. He has got, in the classic phrase, nowhere to go but up. As the chart shows, only 31 per cent of YouGov's respondents believe he "will prove a good prime minister" compared with 44 per cent who reckon he will not, and a further 25 per cent who suspend judgment.
Asked, in addition, whether Britain is likely to be governed better under Mr Brown than it has been under Tony Blair, most voters give the impression of tossing a mental coin. As the figures in the chart show, roughly the same small proportions are sanguine and dubious about him, with a clear majority reckoning his eventual ascent to power "will not make much difference".
Of course, the problem for the Tories at the moment is that a large majority of voters clearly think the same about them.
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€ Anthony King is professor of government at Essex University.