A post-conference poll has shown the Conservative party leading for next year’s general election for the first time in over two and a half years, as the good news of tax cuts for those on low and middle-incomes generates renewed interest in the Tories among voters and puts them at 35 percent, reports The Times.
The polling by YouGov shows a gradual convergence of Labour and Conservative ratings over the past year, which has now been closed by a poor conference performance by Labour and a strong finish by the Conservatives, in a conference that has been described as ‘positive’ and even ‘ebullient’ by the press. As YouGov notes: “Ed Miliband received big conference boosts to his ratings last year and the year before, but barely any this year. The flatness of Labour’s conference in Manchester is matched by its underwhelming poll ratings”.
As the Conservative lead stands at just one percent, the result is well within the margin of polling error and may be nothing more than an anomaly. If the results continue to look positive over coming days and weeks, however, it will confirm the bounce, and the belief held by some Conservatives that voters care more about economic policy than defections to UKIP.
The announcement of the large tax cuts at one end form part of present political trends among the centre-right to take the lowest paid out of tax altogether as an alternative to raising the minimum wage. The other end of the cut, which reduces the tax burden for middle-income families by increasing the threshold for the 40p band too £50,000 will affect some 800,000 people.
Tax cuts are a broadly popular move that are easy to communicate on the doorstep and give Conservative canvassers something positive to campaign on in the run-up to next years general election. At 35 and 34 percent respectively, the vote-share enjoyed by the two main parties is down significantly from the Tories’ previous high-water mark of early 2012. It has dropped some ten percent since, which has coincided with UKIP’s vote share increase – by ten percent.