Starmer sinks back to Earth, but Labour expands lead.

Labour is leading 41% to 37% in the latest Opinium poll, which would hand them 288 seats, 275 for the Tories, and put Keir Starmer at the head of a minority Labour government. Does this mean Labour are heading to form the next government in 2024? No.

The polls are promising, but the government is holding up pretty well for a majority administration in the middle of its term. When taking into account everything they’ve presided over, that makes this lead look shockingly inadequate, especially considering it isn’t even a consistent Labour lead, and most polls show a dead heat or a small Tory lead.

The government has a relatively bump free vaccine rollout to tout, and can position themselves as our saviours coming out of coronavirus, splash the cash in certain key seats, and win a handy re-election (possibly with a fresher face at the helm) in 2024, with minimal Labour gains.

The long term factor in Labour’s favour is the simple pocketbook effect. if people are worse off, feeling the pain, come the next election, Labour may dethrone, or at least thoroughly dent the Tories, as a simple result of that. To sit and wait for that, however, would be immensely complicit, and could bite Labour in the arse, as it lets the Tories own and claim the new political ground in a post-Brexit, post-COVID Britain.

Keir Starmer’s personal ratings continue to decline, as for a while he was polling much higher than his own party, and is now being dragged back down to Earth. He is now branded with the “just another politician” label, which could have been avoided, but now has to be lived with. What forces will harness the resentment and disillusionment, because right now it doesn’t look like it could ever be the managerialism espoused by Labour.

Most disillusioned Tory voters aren’t going to Labour, they’re becoming “Don’t Know” voters. This could make 2024 a repeat of 2015, where Labour looks likely to form the next government, and in the end wavering Tories (or “Shy Tories”) come back to the fold at the last minute and deliver a solid Tory lead, and Tory win. Labour is running the risk right now of wooing people who’ll never vote for it, and annoying those it needs.

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