Monday, June 09, 2008

Has Brown bottomed out?

Analysis on Politics Home has suggested that public opinion on Gordon Brown have finally stabilised. The bad news for Brown is that this represents 77% of voters believing that Brown is doing either a fairly bad job, or a very bad job. Not promising. To make things worse, Every new opinion poll seems to be confirming a new record low in Labour support. The ICM poll over the weekend gave a Tory lead of 16 points - the largest such lead ever recorded in the history of ICM, as well as the lowest Labour rating ever.
With Labour now at just 26% in the polls, and the Lib Dems at 21% there must be a real possibility that the Lib Dems, almost by default, will overtake Labour as the second party (in the popular vote at least, certainly not in representation in the House of Commons). The psychological damage that this would do hardly needs to be said. It would also, surely, offer Clegg an unmissable chance to position the Lib Dems as the centre left opposition to Labour, and thus challenge them in seats where the Tories don't stand a chance of victory.
But has Labour now reached its 'lowest low'? Is a partial recovery at least now inevitable? The chance for Brown may come in the current Tory expenses saga (is the timing of this purely fortuitous?). If Brown can somehow wangle a Commons victory over 42 days, and then pull something out of the bag in one of the three possible by-elections rumoured to be imminent (Henley of course, and also Winchester, where Mark Oaten is rumoured to be about to be standing down, and also a seat close to Brown's own constituency, whose Labour incumbent is very ill) he could plausibly claim to have recovered momentum.
As these impresions tend to have their own momentum, Brown's hope must be that his new narrative of renewal and recovery - perhaps then cemented with a reshuffle that brings at least some of the surplus backbench talent back into play - will be enough to give Labour a chance of holding the Tories to a wafer thin majority - or even better. For this to happen, however, Brown needs everything to go right - he's run out of last chances, and he's lost the benefit of the doubt.

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Blogger Letters From A Tory said...

Clegg, centre-left? Are you having a laugh?!

He's a Tory boy and will always try and drag the party to the right.

10:06 am  
Blogger Tim J said...

Maybe - but that won't be where the electoral space is. Besides, Clegg's majority over the Tories is pretty slender, who's to say he'll still be in the Commons after 2010!

3:14 pm  

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