What's in a campaign wobble with nine days to go?

Voter on the doorstep

What's in a wobble? With nine days to go there is no question that the Tory juggernaut has slowed down. The yawning gap in the early polls has tightened. A more sceptical and questioning approach to Theresa May has emerged.

Voters seem less willing to take her Brexit slogans at face value. Her change of heart on social care has been felt on the doorstep. And there's evidence too of an extra willingness to listen at least to Jeremy Corbyn.

But does it really change the fundamentals of this election?

The prime minister was in Wolverhampton today, the kind of territory the Conservatives' sky-high poll ratings at the start of the campaign would suggest would fall to the Tories like dominos. But knocking doors today we found a subtler picture than a giant squeeze on May that will translate across to a fillip for Corbyn.

The kind of messages that would warm the cockles of Conservative election campaign strategist Lynton Crosby's heart were much in evidence.

"I like Theresa May, I don't like that Mr Corbyn," was echoed on different doorsteps. One voter even told us: "I'm frightened of Mr Corbyn," with concerns about his attitude to security clearly having cut through.

But doubts about Theresa May have crept in. A couple of former Labour voters who had been ready to vote Tory for the first time told us they no longer would, saying: "She's turned against the pensioners."

Another, Mike, who said 'I've been Labour all my life but can't vote for that idiot," said he had been attracted to the idea of Theresa May but now she'd shown she could change her mind, he was going to stay at home.

But there was another dynamic at play too.

Here, as in other areas held by Labour, there were voters who said: "I'd like to see Corbyn given a chance." And one female voter told me: "I'm torn." She expressed huge respect for the local Labour candidate who'd been the MP, "a very hard working girl," but nationally, wanted to vote for Theresa May.

While there are Labour candidates who have been able to use Jeremy Corbyn's appeal among some groups as part of their campaign, particularly towards young people, there are many more who have sat as MPs already who have been trying to steer well clear, with no mention of him on their literature.

Some have even told me privately they are telling voters that they will try to remove Mr Corbyn after the election.

But as that voter, still undecided, said: "There's nothing more they can say now, it's down to me." And perhaps that's the case for the parties more broadly.

As we enter this last circuit, don't expect massive new policy announcements, or big departures from their messages so far. Instead, as we saw today from the PM, a doubling down. For the Tories, this last stretch means a return to the core script - the Brexit message.

And the question they want to plant in swithering voters' minds? Do you trust him or her in brutal negotiations against others who don't want to help when it comes to Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn's confusion today provides more fuel for the Tory argument that only Mrs May is capable of the complexities. This is not a message designed to inspire - but perhaps it never was. It's an argument prepared to hammer home the contrast between the two main party leaders, to buckle down the doubters - ultimately of course, to win.