Tories Expected to Gain in May 5 Election

Tony Blair is seeking a third term as Prime Minister, with the election one month from now. The latest polls show his Labour Party losing most of its current 161 seat lead over the Conservatives but still eeking enough seats to form a Government.

Blair sets 5 May as election date (BBC)

The general election will be held on 5 May, Tony Blair has formally announced. Speaking after asking the Queen to dissolve Parliament next week, Mr Blair said Labour had a “driving mission” for a third term in office. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat leaders pre-empted the announcement by starting nationwide tours of key seats. Michael Howard accused Mr Blair’s government of “losing the plot” while Charles Kennedy said he would focus on people’s hopes, not their fears.

[…]

Returning to Downing Street, Mr Blair said the election presented a big choice. “The British people are the boss and they are the ones that will make it,” he said. Mr Blair said he wanted to provide more chances for people to reach their potential and above all else to “entrench” economic stability and investment in public services.

[…]

Four opinion polls published on Tuesday suggest Labour’s lead over the Tories has slipped to between 2% and 5%. They suggest the Lib Dems trail the Tories by between 10 and 16 points. But one of the polls also suggests the Tories are 5% ahead of Labour among those “certain to vote”.

Big election gain for Tories, new poll shows (FT)

As Labour braces itself for what is set to be its toughest election campaign since 1992, the poll by MORI shows the Tories have a five-point lead over Labour among people who say they will definitely vote in 30 days’ time. The survey of those who describe themselves as “absolutely certain” to vote puts Michael Howard’s party on 39 per cent, Labour on 34 per cent, and Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats on 21 per cent. The Conservatives’ five-point lead is a sharp improvement on MORI’s poll on March 24, when the two main parties were neck and neck on 37 points each.

The survey, conducted at the weekend, shows that 55 per cent of the electorate say they will definitely go to the ballot box. If this result were replicated on election day, MORI says it would result in a hung parliament, with Labour as the biggest party in the Commons having 27 seats more than the Conservatives. In many ways the poll amounts to a worst-case scenario for Mr Blair and the government. But it captures the central challenge facing Labour’s election machine over the next four weeks. Labour must get as many of its supporters to overcome their anger over the Iraq war and apathy about politics and get to the ballot box.

Quite interesting. Since becoming interested in such things, I’ve always supported the Tories because their sympathies are much closer to those of the United States. Given Blair’s stalwart support during the Iraq War, though, my inclination is to root for him to stay in office. That could change, though, depending on the campaign run by the Conservatives.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    In their system, the voters are voting for their district’s MP, not the PM. I think most Labour voters will still voter their pocketbooks and still go with their Labour MP. If Iraq is still a big issue there, I might suspect an intra-party fight to oust Blair.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Well, they’re not idiots. So, people realize that the party they pick will directly affect who is PM. People in parliamentary systems thus almost always vote the party, not the man.

  3. Robert says:

    I predict the Conservatives are going to make a huge comeback and when the May 5 election. Tony Blair is finished, along with his party. On May 6, we will be waking up to the news of the Tory Comeback with Prime Minister Michael Howard.