Is the Sunday Times poll a hammer blow to the Tories, or a gift from God? It sounds a weird question, but think of the logic. So far, Cameron’s big mistake was to allow the campaign to become a referendum on him. He was desperate to turn that into a basic question: do you want five more years of Brown? Until now, the voters’ response would be “yeah, right. Brown is going down. The question is whether I’m enthusiastic about you lot, with your fuzzy green tree logo and your lack of any discernable agenda, and the answer is no”. As James said, the message “five more years of Brown” was the main one that the Tories were trying to convey yesterday at the conference. And now the two-point YouGov lead makes this into a realistic prospect. The 37-35-17 breakdown makes Labour not just the largest single party (321 seats to 260) but just five seats short of a majority. If the election were held tomorrow, and YouGov remains as accurate a pollster as it has been in recent elections, then we would indeed get five more years of Gordon Brown. This is not a test. This nightmare is genuinely in prospect. Cameron’s mission now is simple: persuade the voters that this is genuinely in prospect.
PS – A note to the estimable team at politicshome. James Forsyth did not say the meeting was at Osborne's house last week – he just said it was in Notting Hill. That hardly narrows down the number of potential venues. James’ story was spot-on, and you can read it here.