Monday, 20 April 2009

Another Day, Another Poll...

Tonight has seen publication of the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian. The figures are as follows:

Conservative 40%
Labour 30%
Liberal Democrat 19%

Now, there is an issue with comparison - do we compare these figures with last weekend's Sunday Telegraph data or with last month's poll ?

Either way, the Conservatives are down and Labour and the Liberal Democrats are basically flat. I suspect the current 40-30-20 split of opinion isn't far off the "truth" and I suspect there hasn't been much movement since the departure of Tony Blair.

There has been some movement of course but we keep coming back to these core numbers.

The Budget this week will provide the next key test of opinion before the June elections. It remains to be seen if today's heavy falls on the stock markets are the precursor to the end of the recent rally and a new round of financial crisis.

Certainly, the economic news remains mixed - Ernst & Young's Item Club, among others, has stated the worst is over and there are good prospects for recovery in 2010. More bullish Wall Street pundits are calling the start of a new bull market.

I'm less convinced - Labour and the Tories have already started the dutch auction of outbidding each other over spending cuts. Alastair Darling has put up £15 billion over three years. George Osborne has also made clear it will be public spending cuts rather than tax rises that will be his main weapon for bringing public debt under control.

It's not to be pleasant though the Daily Mail and the Tory blogsphere will doubtless love it.

My belief is that at the moment we should be trying to help groups like pensioners by raising the State pension and concentrating tax rises on the wealthy. There is much to commend the Liberal Democrat proposals put forward today by Vince Cable and Jeremy Browne. It's a pity that a) no one is listening and b) the other parties are more interested in courting the "Mail" vote.

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