The most recent opinion poll has placed Labour only 2 points behind the Conservatives, which if repeated at a General Election would leave Labour as the largest party just short of a parliamentary majority. Those within the Tory party who are unconvinced by David Cameron’s leadership will no doubt be joined by others as their poll lead has plummeted.
This election was always going to be a challenge for the Conservative Party having to perform better than Labour did in 1997. In contrast to Labour under Blair who campaigned under the banner for change, Cameron is contemplating a continued stint as Leader of the Opposition. The proposition of a fourth term Labour government has been portrayed as a near impossibility. This was always a dangerous road to go down as the Tories were at an artificially high position. There is after all a difference between the governing party suffering from incumbency and meeting the challenges of the opposition – an opposition that has taken its lead for granted. The bottom line is that the election is too close to call. Labour has the momentum and are the governing party which is usually of benefit in during an election campaign. It would therefore not surprise me if Labour was to go ahead in the polls in the next week or two. On the other hand, the Tories have a war chest that is far beyond any party funding of the past. Labour’s response was originally intended to be a sustained campaign in the key marginals but these recent polls will have alerted the Tories’ need to re-enforce resources in these areas. Added to this, Labour’s situation in Scotland has strengthened, an region which is a Labour stronghold. The SNP poll numbers have nose-dived and Labour will perform well here. If I was to make a prediction at this stage I would go along with Gordon Brown remaining Prime Minister in a hung parliament. I am convinced that there will be no majority for either side. Whichever way you look at it, election night (whenever it is) will be an eventful occasion. It’s just too close to call.
There is little virtue in delaying an election at a time when support has haemorrhaged so drastically from Cameron. Brown should do now what David Cameron has been calling him to do for a long time now – Call an election.