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Has Cameron found an ace with the environment?

February 23rd, 2006
    But leading Tory donors are not happy

When David Cameron was first elected Tory leader just two and a half months ago he raised a few eyebrows both within and outside his party when he appeared to make the environment and global warming his first
cameron aces bike.jpgpriority.

For this has just not been perceived as a Tory issue. It was Margaret Thatcher, after all, who was attributed with the comment in 1986 that “any man who finds himself on a bus at the age of 26 can account himself a failure”. What she makes of her pedalling successor who knows?

Yet from the full data set of the latest ICM poll, just out, this is an area where he scores well above Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. For a Tory leader to be polling substantially better than Labour in this key policy area is a major shift.

Asked which of the three would “do most to protect the environment” it was Cameron 33%; Blair 24%: Brown 19%. With Lib Dem supporters it was Cameron 38%; Blair 21%: Brown 26%

The overall sample split 63-34% in their support for green taxes – something that might encourage Chris Huhne’s campaign for the Lib Dem leadership. What might cause Cameron problems is that just 61% of Tory supporters were enthusiastic about the idea compared with 64% of the Labour people and 78% of the Lib Dems.

    If the numbers stay like this might we see Gordon Brown’s “make-over” extend to include riding a bike as well?

But not everybody is happy in Camp Conservative.

The poll comes as the founder of the spread-betting firm IG Index and multi-million pound donor, Stuart Wheeler, has, according to the Telegraph, dismissed the environmental commission set up by Mr Cameron, which includes the green campaigner Zac Goldsmith, as “pie in the sky”.

Another leading Tory donor – the founder of Dixons Lord Kalms – today raises public doubts about policy direction that Cameron is taking. In a Guardian interview he says “there is a lot we have concerns about”. This comes after UKIP’s Nigel Farage said “We’re parking our tanks on David Cameron’s abandoned lawn.”

ICM’s data-set once again showed how the raw data from phone surveys is much more likely to be Labour than the population as a whole. A total 287 of those interviewed said they had voted for Labour last May compared with 173 who had supported the Tories.

Lib Dem Leadership betting. Chris Huhne’s price has continued to ease while Ming Campbell has tightened. The numbers as at 0400 were Huhne 0.78/1 and Campbell 1.56/1.

Mike Smithson






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