Election Blog (13)
If that traditional piece of electoral wisdom - 'It's the economy, stupid' - is true then this election is over long before the fat lady sings or Peter Snow's swingometer swings. Yesterday's YouGov poll asked 'Which party do you trust to run the economy?'. The result:
Whilst first-time voters may not find that remarkable, it's a complete reversal of prevailing opinion throughout my lifetime. And it may prove decisive on 5th May.
Economic mis-management can destroy people's lives and those who remember the negative equity and housing re-posessions of the eighties may be unwilling to take a risk. I bought my first house in 1979 with a mortgage I could just afford. Then Thatcher came to power and interest rates soared to 15% and I had to sell and jump off the property ladder. The effects for many other people were far more catastrophic.
This will undoubtedly affect the number of Labour deserters.
It's only a hunch but I suspect that many people will walk to the polling station with an intention to vote one way and then do something quite different in the polling booth. That may be because of the economy or it may happen because of a mental image of Michael Howard walking into Downing Street. If true, it does mean that the opinion polls may be even less reliable than usual.