This morning’s blog by YouGov’s Anthony Wells on voting intention figures has got Tory backbenchers playing a game of “What if?”
The figures make fantastic reading for the party. Over the last two months, they have increased their percentage of the vote to the low 40s. And even though Labour has also gained ground, Lib Dem support has collapsed so sharply that it would now give the Tories a 13-seat majority and leave the Lib Dems languishing on just 22 seats, which is incidentally the number of Lib Dem ministers.
On top of that, Cameron’s personal ratings are also excellent. Fifty-eight per cent of voters currently think he is doing a good job, up 10 percentage points from when he first became PM.
All of which means right-wing Tories, digruntled by the coalition in the first place, are now especially annoyed by the fact that it has set in stone a five-year parliament. They are dreaming of an alternate reality, where the two parties had agreed to a less formal deal without any such binding measures, and the Tories could have gone back to the country to get their majority once they had proved they could govern.
Of course, the fixed term parliament was designed to prevent exactly this sort of manoeuvring, but Conservative backbenchers now believe Cameron was in a better negotiating position than he realised and if he had only hung on a bit longer he could have eventually secured a majority.
Then again, there is an alternative narrative. The speed with which Cameron signed up to a remarkably full agreement suggested he would almost rather share power than have a majority. That way, he could govern alongside that friendly Mr Clegg and his liberal colleagues rather than finding himself in hock to an angry group of right-wingers on his own benches.
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