Perhaps the amazing thing about the latest ICM Poll in the Guardian is not that Labour's support is falling, but how little it has fallen. Given the seemingly endless supply of own goals on peerages, the NHS and the ever present casualties in Iraq, Labour still records 32% support. The Tories, despite "Dave's" media blitz appear to be making no impact at all, and it will be interesting to see what happens there if they do not capitalise on 4th May.
I've only really got the canvass returns around here to go on, and as everyone knows canvassing can be pretty unreliable. We always work on the probability that about two-thirds of those who say they will support us will actually go out and vote. Well, our returns are down. People who have traditionally said they vote Labour, and have consistently actually voted, are saying they won't support us whilst Blair remains Leader. Not that many, I have to confess, but more than we usually expect to get. Reasons for not supporting us tend to be national issues: privatisation, attack on public sector pensions, the NHS financial issues, and sleaze. Interestingly, hardly any mention of Iraq, which was certainly an issue two years ago. Whilst I make the point that I have spent my working life opposing privatisation, I support the unions on the pension issue and I would abolish the whole system of patronage (as well as marched on several occasions against the illegal invasion of Iraq), I honestly cannot argue with the logic of those who say they will withhold their support because of these issues. If I, as the candidate, cannot defend the Party on these fairly fundamental issues, how can I expect the average voter to ignore them. The one thing that encourages me is that in general these people also have a deep-seated hatred of the Tories and as the Lib Dems are such an idle-arsed bunch (they don't put out a single leaflet or poster, and don't even turn up to their own count) it is unlikely that they will vote at all. All I can say is thank heavens there isn't a Green!