A good day to be a Tory
Despite the apparent defeatism prevalent in some of the press today it is a good day for the Tories. This YouGov poll shows the party with a solid lead over Labour, it shows the parties level-pegging on economic competence - a crucially significant polling figure - and the Conservative leader more popular than the Prime Minister for the first time ever. These are significant steps forward for the party, as is winning a by-election for the first time in over ten years.
True, it isn't a great day; the Bromley majority should have been greater and there was an alarming slump in the Conservative vote. That said, there was a collapse in the Labour vote, much of which will have gone to the Lib Dems, a vastly-reduced turnout and a pretty negative series of attacks on Bob Neil, the new MP. The campaign itself also left much to be desired. Progress is still to be made and sustained in the polls. The party needs to break 40% and our message needs to be more coordinated. The day is nevertheless a good one. It is a mark of how far Cameron has brought the party that it is so easy to be negative about events. It is also a mark of how much more work there is to be done - and I don't necessarily mean Francis Maude's "faster, deeper, wider change" - that it is not better.