Tories favored by 12 points over Labour

In a new poll released today by the Guardian, if the United Kingdom held elections for Parliament today 44% would vote Conservative, 32% for Labour, 16% for the Liberal-Democrats, and 8% would vote for another party. 

Across the poll, Labour is flatlining – the charge once thrown at struggling Conservative leaders who could not lift their party’s support below the low 30s. Labour has been on 31%, plus or minus two points, since August in ICM polls.

The prime minister can draw comfort from the fact that this new support has come almost entirely from the Lib Dems and smaller parties. Labour support is down only one point, and at 32% is well above the low points in the mid-20s it hit in the early summer last year.

But that simply suggests the party is on course for a big defeat rather than a calamity. One estimate suggests that the Conservatives would win around 360 seats on today’s figures, a majority of about 70. Labour could expect to win around 240, 30 more than it did at its nadir under Michael Foot in 1983.

The results seem largely driven by economic concerns. 

Elections must be held on or before 3 June 2010, as the maximum length of a Parliament is five years; however, Prime Ministers typically call elections after four years—unless they’re guaranteed defeat and think they can turn things around if given another year.  If elections are held this year, 4 June is a likely date, as they would then coincide with elections for the European Parliament.

This blog, which is more favorably predisposed to the Conservatives, predicts that Gordon Brown will not call elections this year and will let the current Parliament expire, or come very close to it before elections are held next year.  Furthermore, it is likely that David Cameron, the leader of the Conservatives, will probably be the next Prime Minister.

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