Peter Hoskin

Keener to have an election, but less keen to vote

Keener to have an election, but less keen to vote
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Ok, so what to make of the latest Populus poll?  Here are the headline figures:

Conservatives --- 39 percent (unchanged from a poll 10 days ago)

Labour --- 27 percent (up 1)

Lib Dems --- 17 percent (down 5)

I imagine CCHQ will be slightly pleased and slightly concerned, but not by much either way.  The 12 point lead isn't to be sniffed at, and an unchanged position from 10 days ago is far from nightmarish.  But the Tories are below that magic 40 percent mark again, and they might have expected a little more buoyancy given Cameron's assured response to the expenses scandal.  

But what about the Lib Dems, down 5 percent?  Poll king Anthony Wells sets out his theories here.  But I rather suspect we're seeing a bit of volatility.  And that we'll have a clearer picture of the True State of Things in the aftermath of the June elections.

Putting that aside, two below-headline figures jump out.  The first: that the number of people saying they're certain to vote has dropped from 57 percent in April to 45 percent now.  It's a stark indication of just how disillusioned people have become about politics in the wake of the expenses scandal, and a sign that extremist parties stand to gain from low turnout in the June elections.

Second, there's the finding that 54 percent of respondents think there should be a general election now, against 38 percent who don't.  Again, it's a sign of the general disillusionment with Parliament.  But it also suggests that Cameron's mining a rich seam of popular sentiment with with his reheated and redoubled calls for an election.  Expect the Tory leader to keep repeating the point he made yesterday: "How can the answer to a crisis in a democracy be an unelected Prime Minister?"