James Forsyth

More than half of those who voted Labour in 2005 say they won’t do so this time round

More than half of those who voted Labour in 2005 say they won't do so this time round
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The new ICM poll for The Guardian shows the Tories in an extremely strong position heading into conference season. They are on 43 percent, 17 points ahead of Labour. The extent of Labour’s fall since the last election is illustrated by the fact that only 47 percent of those who voted for the party then intend to do so again. Indeed, even 40 percent of those who have remained loyal to Labour now expect a Tory victory at the next election.

The poll also shows that Labour is not seen as credible on the state of the public finances by the electorate. Only 14 percent of voters believe that Labour is “telling the voters the truth about the size of the problem facing government finances.” By contrast, 36 percent think the Tories are and 32 percent say this of the Lib Dems. Although, a third of voters don’t think any of the main parties are being straight with the public.

One thing that surprised me was how the Labour brand is now almost as damaged as the Brown brand. 31 percent of voters have a favourable impression of Labour compared to 28 percent for Brown. The conventional wisdom in Westminster, and one of the arguments for Labour getting rid of Brown, was that this gap was far bigger than three percent, that people viewed Labour far more favourably than they viewed the Prime Minister.