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Minding the gap: is 2015 election victory slipping away from Labour?

Minding the gap: is 2015 election victory slipping away from Labour?

🕔01.Jul 2013

edsAnyone who has travelled on the London Underground will be familiar with an annoying recorded message laden with doom that greets passengers as they prepare to board or leave a train – ‘mind the gap’.

That warning has taken on a new meaning for Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, and for the Labour leader and shadow chancellor it’s the narrowing of the gap that must be of the utmost concern.

A YouGov opinion poll at the weekend found that Labour’s lead over the Conservative Party had narrowed to five per cent, down from a consistently healthy nine to 12 per cent a few months ago. The chances of this being a rogue poll are remote since the trend in voting intentions has been moving very slowly away from Mr Miliband for a while now.

According to YouGov, 38 per cent of those questioned would vote Labour, 33 per cent Conservative, 11 per cent Liberal Democrat, 11 per cent Ukip and seven per cent other parties. This, if repeated at a General Election, would make Labour the largest party in the House of Commons but without an overall majority, according to YouGov president Peter Kellner.

The much maligned Nick Clegg should start to rest easy in his bed. Yes, his party’s support is pretty much down to core levels, but as things stand it could be the Liberal Democrat leader who finds himself kingmaker after the 2015 election, just as he did in 2010.

Will Mr Clegg do another deal with Cameron? Will he decide this time that Mr Miliband is a better bet? Perhaps a dozen or so Ukip MPs will put a right-wing Conservative party into power? These are the sort of fascinating questions that will play out over the next two years.

It is pretty clear by now that we are in the Age of Coalitions and are set to remain there until one of the main political parties can begin to get into the 42-45 per cent support range.

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