27 Apr 2015

General election 2015: David Cameron pumps it up

David Cameron has done another very psyched up outing to convince anyone who doubted it that he is desperately keen to carry on in the job and not quietly searching out a Cornwall holiday home.

His team says their own private polling is still suggesting that, for all the improved write-ups for Ed Miliband, voters still worry about the Labour leader leading the country. The constant Tory tracking question, asking who is your “preferred prime minister,”  has, they claim, Ed Miliband down slightly from 33 per cent to 31 per cent with 51 per cent backing their man, “pumped up” Dave.

Labour sources suggest the Tories are assuming a presidential style voting pattern and that their man doesn’t need to out-poll Mr Cameron on a man to man basis to get into No. 10. Voters just need to be “comfortable” with the idea of Mr Miliband in No. 10 not enraptured by it. On that measure, Labour feels, it’s made good progress on.

David Cameron profile: Gary Gibbon speaks to the Conservative leader

This is the moment in a general election campaign when parties show their real sense of how they’re doing by how they reposition their forces, drawing back to fight off attacks in citadels or diving deep into enemy territory, buoyed up by polling.

The only party doing the latter is the SNP for whom, it sometimes seems, there is no enemy territory with the possible exception of the Isle of Wight.

Labour is pulling back from defending all the Scottish seats it holds and is focusing on 12 to 15 it thinks it has a chance of holding.

Read more: Channel 4 News election live blog

Confusingly, Mr Cameron campaign speech on Sunday was in Yeovil, Lib Dem Majority 13,000. The Tories think the Lib Dem vote is evaporating in its South-West heartlands and think the “Vote Lib Dem get Ed Miliband as PM” line that the Conservatives are deploying is a big part of the problem for the Lib Dems.

The Tories think that’s why Lib Dems like Nick Clegg are distancing themselves from helping out Labour if the SNP’s MPs are in play and party to a side-deal.  But I haven’t heard any Tory claiming they think they are going to win Yeovil.

Read more: Tories gnawing the Lib Dem lifebelt

Labour thinks the Tories are drawing in their horns and focusing on seats that would get them in the 270 – 280 MPs area. Tories claim they are actually looking at 295 – 315 in the current tallies. (The Lib Dems for a while now have been focusing on 15 marginals above the 25 or so seats that they think they will hold.)

But the broad reality is that little has changed. Mr Cameron has upped the volume a little to appease some candidates who asked for that. Labour is narked by (as they see it) the Tories trying to introduce new constitutional conventions and delegitimise a government that has SNP support for confidence votes but is generally perky.

If something big is going to happen it hasn’t happened yet.

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