Conservative lead slumps to five points as campaigning resumes

Labour support continues to climb, hitting 38 per cent

National campaigning by the major parties resumes today, and Theresa May will be feeling the pressure as YouGov’s latest polling shows a continuing collapse in her support.

The poll puts Labour on 38 per cent of the vote, its strongest performance since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015, while the Conservatives are down one on 43 per cent. This is the smallest lead the party has enjoyed since April 2016, when the Tories were tearing themselves apart over the EU referendum.

Theresa May’s personal approval ratings were also sliding at the beginning of the week, as she carried out an unprecedented u-turn on her own manifesto proposal to charge the elderly for their care. However, in the aftermath of the Manchester attacks, her net approval has risen from minus seven to plus one.

Although Corbyn’s ratings are still considerably worse — his net rating is minus 16 — given that he began the campaign on minus 42, his team will be happy with the latest polling.

In Tory HQ, however, there will be panic this morning as strategists are forced to face the possibility that May’s big gamble will not pay off. While it still seems unlikely that the Conservatives will lose the election, these voter intention figures would translate into a reduced majority of just two.

That said, YouGov warns that it is difficult to assess how the Manchester attack and its aftermath will affect the campaign. Political director Anthony Wells writes:

“It has been a highly unusual few days in an election campaign, arguably unlike any other in history. There is no way of guessing what will happen in the two weeks to polling day but we will be able to be more confident about how voting intention settles down over the next few days.”

See also: Labour sees massive rebound in Wales

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