Peter Hoskin

A tale of two polls

A tale of two polls
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As the Tories descend on Gateshead, two polls will be giving them food for thought.  The first is one of party members conducted by ConservativeHome.  It's worth flicking through all the results, but here's the headline finding:  79 percent of members want the Tories to stop matching Labour spending targets, and use the money to fund tax cuts and get government borrowing down. 

The second is in the Times.  Post-Budget, it suggests, public support is slowly starting to crystallise around Brown and Darling on the economy.  The Labour line has been well-and-truly swallowed; with some two-thirds of respondents believing that “Britain’s economic position and prospects are affected much more by the conditions of the global economy than by anything that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does”.

Both polls show that the Tories need to, in some way, change their tune on the economy.  How they do so cuts right into the hare-and-tortoise debate.  Should the hares be appeased - and a more radical, tax cutting programme introduced?  Or should the Tories just start doing a better job of attacking the Government's catastrophic fiscal record?  As I see it, the problem with the second approach is that the Tories currently sound like they want to replay that record.  The immediate public come-back, blunt though it may be: "if Brown's been so bad for the economy, why are you copying him?"  In this case, rhetoric may have to go hand-in-hand with substantive change.  What do CoffeeHousers think?