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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tories in meltdown?

The Guardian reports this morning that the long predicted panic in Tory ranks as their poll ratings tumble is coming to pass. Mr Howard's attempts to divert reporters' attention onto his plans to crackdown on "yobs" and binge drinking were frustrated, they say, by repeated questions on Tory disunity, the party's dismal poll ratings and the media mogul Rupert Murdoch's opposition to his immigration plans.

A trio of opinion polls published today show the Tories trailing Labour by between five and 10 percentage points. The Financial Times/Mori poll is the worse for the Tories, predicting a Labour majority of about 138 seats.

Meanwhile the FT also reports that Mr Murdoch, whose company owns the Times, Sunday Times, Sun and News of the World, criticised Mr Howard's promise to put a cap on the number of immigrants allowed into Britain a year at a media conference in Los Angeles.

Labour's lengthening poll lead has caused senior Tories to wobble over Mr Howard's "dog-whistle" electoral strategy and warn the Tory leader against appearing to be a single-issue party.

The question now must be whether Michael Howard and his election team can adjust their strategy to reverse the Tories stagnating poll ratings? If he has not done so by next weekend then backroom mumblings may start to turn into a more substantial revolt.
Opinion polls ultimately are our best way of sampling the electorate but it seems that more and more attention is being brought to them. We seem to have less electorate interview input, hearing what people's reactions are to individual policies. We seem to be leaving the human face of elections behind. Maybe this is an important factor to look at when considering falling electoral turnout.
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