Tory nerves about the effect of the sleaze scandal will only be increased by a poll out in today’s Daily Mail showing Labour ahead by six points. This is a big turnaround from the last ComRes poll which had the Tories three points ahead. It is the biggest lead Labour has had since Keir Starmer became leader. It suggests that this self-inflicted wound is doing real damage to the Tories.
Now, this is obviously only one poll and we will have to see whether this shift is sustained. A YouGov poll in this morning’s Times has the two parties level on 35 per cent each. But that same poll has 60 per cent of voters saying that the Tories are ‘very sleazy and disreputable’.
The Tories are being hurt in the polls both by the unwinding of the vaccine bounce and the current sleaze scandals. In some ways, it is unsurprising that the governing party is behind almost two years into its term. But the new intake of Tory MPs aren’t used to their party trailing for any sustained period of time and Boris Johnson’s parliamentary allies worry that a poll deficit will make the parliamentary party even more difficult to manage. Add to this the fact that we know the next few months will be difficult for the government with inflation and the NHS waiting lists rising and Boris Johnson is clearly in for a choppy few months.