James Forsyth

Tories back up to forty percent with ICM

Tories back up to forty percent with ICM
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An ICM poll for the News of the World has the Tories above the psychologically important forty percent mark. After a week that has been dominated by the controversy over Lord Ashcroft’s tax status, the Tories will be delighted to see a poll showing their lead growing; they are nine points ahead in this poll compared to the seven point lead they had in the last ICM poll. On a uniform national swing, this would leave the Tories six short of a majority, presuming that John Bercow continues as the speaker. But given the Tory advantage in the marginals, one would expect this result on election day to produce a working Tory majority.

One thing the Tory high command should take away from the ICM poll, is that Labour is—remarkably—ahead on the question of who is most trusted to set taxes. Now, we know from polling that taxes on the rich are, at least initially popular. But this number implies that the Tories need to do a lot more to emphasise how many other taxes Brown has raised and ram home the fact that the gap in Labour's plans mean that they will have to push through considerable tax increases if they win. 

The poll also suggests that more than half the electorate will watch one of the TV debates. Even if this number is inflated by people wanting to sound like good citizens, it does indicate that the audiences for these debates will be huge. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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