Peter Hoskin

The good and/or bad news for the Tories is that there hasn’t been a Brown Bounce

The good and/or bad news for the Tories is that there hasn't been a Brown Bounce
Text settings

If you're still scratching your head over the latest opinion polls, then I'd recommend you read Anthony Wells' latest post over at UK Polling report.  In it, he outlines four potential reasons for the diminishing gap between the Tories and Labour: Cameron's "reverse" over the Lisbon Treaty; increased economic optimism; Labour performing better; and the absence of positive feeling towards the Tories.  To my mind, it's probably a case of "all of the above," to varying degrees – but, as Anthony concludes, "we can't tell for sure."

One further point that's worth making is that the reduced gap between the parties isn't due to a "Brown bounce".  After all – and unlike the end of last year – it's hard to put your finger on any one action, or claimed action, on the PM's part, which will have affected the national mood towards his government. Instead, the figures we see today are due to an incremental increase in Labour support, coupled with an incremental drop in Tory support, spread out over a couple of months.

This could be good or bad news for the Tories, depending on whether you're a glass-half-full or glass-half-full kind of Tory supporter:  

Bad news, because it implies that any shift in attitudes isn't just of the "bubble" variety we've seen before – where any increase in Labour support goes pop as soon as the bounce wears off.  This time, Labour's gains might stick.

Good news (of a kind), because it could show that Brown has exhausted all of his elasticity.  If it's taken a few relatively tranquil months to close the Tory support to around 10 points, then the governing party have got a hard slog ahead of them.  What's more, there's the likelihood of a "Cameron bounce", as the electorally popular Tory leader takes an even more public role during the run up to an election.  

So which is it?  CoffeeHousers, your thoughts please...