The post referendum speech ‘bounce’ for David Cameron has proved smaller than most expected – we’re currently seeing a small reduction of the Labour lead (as judged by YouGov) to about nine points.
That’s little different to the polling before the Prime Minister’s speech. YouGov recorded exactly the same figures on the 18th January and the 10th December, for example.
Nor have the internals shifted:
On the 10th December and 17th January, 13% of those who voted Tory in 2013 now said they would vote UKIP.
In the latest poll, this has plummeted – to 12%.
Talking about promising that you’ll do a thing in four years time is not the same as actually doing something.
Cameron might have achieved some things with the speech. He has united his party somewhat, he has posed a question to Ed Miliband and the Labour party that probably needs an answer of some point.
To do this he’s paid a price. He’s opened the box of renegotiation, without being absolutely clear what he wants to take out of it and what would happen if someone else slammed it back shut.
On top of that, Labour could now effectively steal the ‘old’ Tory positioning on Europe. ‘In Europe, but not run by Europe‘ could easily spring from the lips of the Labour leadership.
I think the PM has made a governing mistake for a political purpose. Unfortunately, it’s not at all clear that the political purpose is one that matters a great deal to large numbers of voters.