Last week’s “silver saver” budget has cut through to the public, with polls showing the Tories now within striking distance of Labour. Giving people more control over their pensions is a popular move, but the Conservatives must act in order carry this momentum forward to win outright – only 16 per cent of ethnic minorities voted for them in 2010, and many working class communities feel disillusioned with all three parties. The Budget has put the Conservatives in a very strong position, but they still require an iconic policy that links deficit reduction to a rise in living standards. Rising employment and an improving economy will surely help. What is needed is a policy that affects people personally as well as the UK nationally. One option could be a government-guaranteed mass distribution of the remaining shares in Lloyds. Creating the biggest generation of shareholders could well see the Conservatives over the line in 2015. Nick Faith is director of communications at Policy Exchange.
Three polls do not a surge make. Last week’s Budget has had a short-term positive impact for the Conservatives, and the polls show a narrowing Labour lead to just one point will continue to build confidence in Tory ranks. But we’ve seen this before, with David Cameron’s bounce after the 2011 “veto” in Europe, and that didn’t last. While the 2012 “omnishambles Budget” proved to be the biggest game-changer since the general election, it remains to be seen what lasting impact this Budget will have. Labour are still the ones more trusted with putting money into the pockets of voters, although the Tories lead on growing the economy. The “personal” will likely end up beating the “national”, as voters go with their hearts. The polls will, as they often do, narrow come election time – but the task facing the Conservatives is huge. George Osborne may need a few more rabbits in the hat for Budget 2015 if the Tories are to stand a chance next year. Tom Mludzinski is head of political polling at ComRes.