'Cameron effect' gives Tories seven-point lead

David Cameron's rejuvenated Conservative Party has opened a seven-point lead over Labour, according to The Independent's latest "poll of polls".

As the Tory leader completed six months in his post, the analysis of the opinion surveys taken in May put his party on 39 per cent (up four points on April), Labour 32 per cent (down one point) and the Liberal Democrats on 19 (down two points).

The figures will deepen the gloom among Labour MPs as they contemplate how long Tony Blair should carry on as Prime Minister. They suggest that the "Cameron effect" has revived the Tories' fortunes because the party has swapped places with Labour in the polls since he took over as leader in December. In the previous month, Labour had a six-point advantage.

"It looks as though we may have entered a new political era," said John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, who compiled the weighted average of the polls conducted by ICM, MORI, Populus and YouGov.

All eight surveys taken since Labour's "Black Wednesday" in April have put the Tories three or more points ahead of Labour. It is the first time since the Conservatives' own "Black Wednesday" in 1992 that there has been such a long run of polls showing them ahead of Labour. The previous longest run was at the time of the 2000 fuel crisis.

Professor Curtice said: "While individual polls have sometimes put the Conservatives ahead in recent years, this is the first time that all the pollsters have agreed that the Tories are in the lead."

If a general election were held now, on a uniform swing the "poll of polls" would give the Tories 295 seats, Labour 276, the Liberal Democrats 43 and others 32. That would leave Labour short of an overall majority even if it could secure the support of the Liberal Democrats.

When the new constituency boundaries on which the next election will be fought are taken into account, the Tories would have some 300 seats, still 26 short of a majority but capable of forming a majority with the Liberal Democrats.

Professor Curtice said the polls suggest Labour was on the slide before Mr Blair's Black Wednesday, when his government was on the ropes over the release of foreign prisoners, NHS job cuts and John Prescott's affair with his former diary secretary Tracey Temple.

"Rather than the result of one major 'shock', it appears more likely that the Government has suffered from the persistent bad headlines of the past two to three months, and that Black Wednesday simply made a bad situation worse," he said. It would be unwise, he added, for Labour to assume its problems stemmed from Mr Prescott's behaviour, despite some evidence that it has upset women voters.

Professor Curtice said: "The challenge for the Conservatives now will be to maintain their lead through June and into the summer, once the bloom of the local elections has passed. If they do, then Labour's 14-year-long dominance of the electoral scene will clearly finally be over."

Yesterday Mr Cameron made a further invasion into Labour's natural territory of public services, when he urged his own party to abandon "knee-jerk" hostility to the public sector and admit that private companies did not have a monopoly on good service.

In a speech to the National Consumer Council, he took a swipe at banks, insurance companies and utilities for poor customer care, insisting they often had lessons to learn from the public sector about how to treat people using their services.

Accusing ministers of "scapegoating" civil servants to evade responsibility for their policy failings, Mr Cameron set out his belief in the "high ideal" of public service. He admitted his party had sent out a negative message to public-sector workers, giving them the impression that it regarded them all as lazy and inefficient.

He insisted that he did not see them that way and rejected the "automatic and lazy assumption" that the private sector would always do things better than the public services. He urged his party: "Let's stop the knee-jerk attacks on public-sector workers and focus on what really matters: improving the quality of service in our lives, whoever is providing it."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game