'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."

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice