The Conservatives are up all average three points, to 32 per cent, and Labour is down by four,to 49 per cent, since the first week of the campaign. There have been seven polls published since my report last week and a clear pattern is emerging, led by the MORI poll in The Times last Thursday which so galvanised the Prime Minister.
At the last election the Tories won (barely) with 43 per cent. Unless and until they again get to 43 per cent, they will not be returned to office. Unless they get to 39 per cent, there will be an overall Labour majority. The last time the Tories had as much as 39 per cent was August 1992, the month before Black Wednesday when the pound was forced out of the ERM. So far in the campaigns, they have clawed back just three points of the 14 needed to return to office. And just 17 days to go.
Doesn't seem like much? To put it into perspective, the polls in the first week of the campaign would have given Labour a 261-seat majority over all other parties. This past week's average would be 177.