Ed Miliband's so-called ‘Paxo bounce’ in the opinion polls is ebbing away. The polls out this evening have the Conservatives either level pegging with Labour or slightly ahead. Tonight’s latest from YouGov/The Sun has both parties neck and neck, with the Conservatives and Labour on 35 per cent — a three point rise for the Tories on Sunday — while Ukip is on 12 per cent, the Lib Dems on eight and the Greens on five. In his weekly national poll, Lord Ashcroft has the Tories two points ahead on 36 per cent, up three points from last week. The Tory pollster has Labour on 34 per cent, Ukip on ten, the Lib Dems on six and the Greens on five.
Alongside the ComRes poll on Sunday night, which put the Tories four points ahead, and Populus’s twice-weekly poll, which has the two main parties tied on 34 per cent, it appears that any bounce Miliband had from the Q&A session last Thursday was just a blip. But again, all these numbers are within the margin of the error, so we still can't be certain if anyone is actually ahead. As we are now in full-on election season, there will be new polls every day. But watch the trend not the individual polls.
After the dissolution of Parliament, politicians will be now knocking on doors up and down the nation, trying to convince the electorate to vote for them. In case you were wondering what kind of houses each political party would be, Lord Ashcroft’s focus groups has the answers. Given the image problem of Miliband with working class voters, the Labour house is surprisingly normal. Ashcroft’s focus groups said it would be a terraced house, with the front door leading straight onto the pavement. High-viz jackets would be hanging in the hallway while in the living room, folks would be munching on their cottage pies and drinking beer. ‘The furniture is nice, but it’s all on HP,’ as one voter put it.
The Conservative house on the other hand would have thick carpets, ‘one of those kitchen islands’ and Hunter wellingtons in the hall. There would be an intercom at the gates and visitors would ‘have to wipe their feet upon arrival’. A ‘posh dog’, probably a chocolate Labrador, would be bounding around. The Lib Dem house would be in a cul-de-sac, with sandals by the door and solar panels on the roof. The focus groups said the décor would be plain, beige or ‘quite odd’, something selected by ‘trendy intellectuals’ who presumably live there.
And the Ukip house would be similar to that of Hyacinth Bucket — from the BBC sitcom Keeping up Appearances — with ‘a wrought iron fence all round it to keep everyone out’. The inhabitants would be aging, ‘don’t get on with their neighbours because they are a different colour’ and ‘talking about how it was in their day’. Who says the kippers have an image problem?