Election 2015

Election 2015: Polls still tight with Tories yet to gain

David Cameron Image copyright PA

Those who live for excitement will be disappointed by the campaign polls so far. Has anything shifted compared with the weeks before parliament was prorogued last month?

I have been looking at 25 campaign polls to date. The Conservatives have ranged between 30-37%, Labour 32-37%, the Lib Dems 6-12%, UKIP 10-19% and the Greens between 4-7%.

Out of those 25 polls, Labour has led in twelve, the Conservatives in eight and the remaining five have been dead heats.

No party can claim any decisive advantage out of any of this but it seems to me that the Conservatives have fewer reasons to be cheerful.

They had planned to be ahead in the polls by now with every successive week delivering knock-out blows to Labour that would consolidate and then increase their lead.

Fratricidal assassin

Instead they have, so far, come nowhere near opening up a decisive lead and the plan to attack Ed Miliband relentlessly seems to have come adrift in a sea of confusion.

Election 2015 poll tracker - BBC News

They have portrayed the Labour leader as a totally useless geek at one and the same time as being a bloody, fratricidal assassin straight out of a very dark Jacobean play. They need traction and so far it is eluding them.

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Labour has not yet registered the poll leads it needs in order to win an outright majority and their prospects of even becoming the largest single party in a hung parliament rest heavily on the election outcome in Scotland.

However, the Conservative campaign juggernaut that was supposed to crush them has yet to start its engine.

Ed Miliband has made some progress in raising his personal ratings and recent Ashcroft constituency polls suggest that Labour is winning the ground war in terms of contacting voters in key marginal seats.

The Lib Dems continue to face national polls that point towards virtual obliteration versus constituency polls that suggest they will retain many of their current seats.

The two propositions are not necessarily contradictory.

The party may be consigned to electoral irrelevance in many seats where they have no prospect of winning and over-perform in seats defended by Lib Dem incumbents.

But this is no repeat 2010 election for them: nobody's agreeing with Nick in 2015.

Vultures circle over UKIP, prepared to strike at the earliest sign of weakness. In England particularly, UKIP has been the political game-changer since 2010. There seems to have been a small decline in their poll support recently but not yet the collapse the Conservatives so desperately need if they are to win a majority.

The Greens are struggling to make any political weather. Out of the 25 campaign polls so far 7% is their highest rating and they have registered more than 5% in only three.

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In Scotland, where the polls persist in suggesting an electoral earthquake, little seems to have changed: the SNP continue to dominate the field and their political opponents are left to dig deep in the entrails of the polls to find any comfort. Will voters from all the other parties vote tactically to stop them? Is the SNP vote really that solid?

In Wales we have very infrequent polling but what we have suggests the Conservative 2010 vote is holding up, Labour is struggling to make any significant increase on its vote last time, Plaid is making no observable headway and UKIP and the Greens appear to be mopping up most of the collapsed Lib Dem vote.

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