That EU speech: pundits predict big Tory swing in opinion polls

While David Cameron will be framing today's Mail front page, for Ed Miliband it was a day to forget

Column LAST UPDATED AT 09:31 ON Thu 24 Jan 2013

DAVID CAMERON is in Davos today but his mind is on the opinion polls back home after his "game-changing" pledge of an in/out referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

The latest YouGov poll for The Sun shows Labour still have a 12-point lead over the Tories, but the polling yesterday was too soon to register any swing in public opinon. Cameron and leading commentators are convinced any polls in coming days will show Labour’s lead melting like thawing snow.

The Guardian’s political editor, Patrick Wintour, speculates this morning that the Labour lead will be cut by Monday once the dramatic shift in public opinion feeds through to the opinion polls. He tweeted: "No instant Cameron bounce from Europe speech in YouGov-Sun poll, but expect impact by Monday."

What’s important to the Cameron camp is that they see disgruntled Tories who have boosted UKIP’s support in recent months returning to the fold. The Sun poll shows UKIP only a percentage point behind the Lib Dems in popularity.

The Tories' cheerleaders in the press – particularly the Daily Mail - are convinced Cameron's offer of a referendum is a "game-changer" that could help him win a second term at the next general election. As the Daily Telegraph's Ben Brogan tweeted this morning: "Dave is going to be framing his copy of the Mail today."

The Daily Mail headlines scream their praise for Dave:

"MAX HASTINGS: The speech of his life! And if the PM can follow through, he might just seal a historic triumph"

"LIAM FOX: Mr Cameron's given us a real choice. Let's not squander it"

"SIMON HEFFER: How the Prime Minister outfoxed his foes"... and bear in mind Heffer is no friend of Moderniser Dave, which underlines just how big the turn-around in Camo’s fortunes could be.

Meanwhile Labour leader Ed Miliband looks set for a bumpy ride with or without a collapse in the polls – because he botched his response to Cameron yesterday. One Twitter critic said it was like watching Gareth Southgate step up to take a penalty in the European championships and miss.

Miliband had had months to prepare for Cameron’s speech yet managed to trip himself up by saying he did not want an in-out referendum. That line had to be changed later by aides, so that Labour could at least keep open the option of offering a referendum on a new deal in Europe if it proves necessary at the next election. · 

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Thanks for nothing Ed Miliband, now who's out of touch with reality and what the UK people want?

Tory "pundits" spouting the usual alarmist rhetoric. Britain will certainly go to the wall if Cameron gets his way.

There a lot of siren voices calling to UKIP defectors to return right now. I suspect most of us won't - and if you want the reason look at Cameron's plan to abolish marriage and redefine it with the half baked metropolitan elites current edict.

Its the end of marriage that's fuelled UKIP, not the EU, and the feeling that Cameron actively despises the majority of his own party and supporters. Saying he's willing to offer a referendum that he is likely to win easily once the fear card is played makes no difference.

I think we should expect a dead cat bounce in the polls - it will be interesting to see how they go.

If the Conservatives don't erode UKIP very significantly then they will have to conclude its Cameron who's now the problem, not just a few policies.

And, no, when it came to it, the swings weren't that big- probably because not that many people think that Europe's an important issue.