by MONITOR THE first opinion poll for some time to show the Conservatives with a big enough lead over Labour to give an overall majority in the House of Commons was published yesterday in The Independent. The figures were:
Conservative 41 per cent (up 3 points on last month), Labour 30 per cent (no change), Liberals 17 per cent (no change), other parties 12 per cent (down 3 points. At a general election this would give the Conservatives a majority of
38 seats - not a landslide by any means but enough to govern without too much difficulty. The poll was taken soon after the Government announced its plan to nationalise Northern Rock. Apparently this did not affect Labour's support and it may not have helped the Conservatives greatly since they have not performed particularly well on this issue. Of greater interest is the breakdown of voting intentions which showed the Conservatives in the lead in every region of Britain, except Scotland, and in every social-economic group including the low-income DE group which Labour can usually be counted on to back Labour. This poll is good news for Mr Cameron who has been criticised for failing to take advantage of Labour's problems. However, he will not have been pleased to read Michael Portillo's carefully argued prediction in the Sunday Times that “Gordon Brown is likely to be prime minister after the next election”.