Australian elections in the second half of the 1980s and the early 1990s produced the seemingly anomalous situation where a Government presiding over difficult economic times kept winning elections. Now there are signs that the British Labour Government is benefiting from a similar phenomenon. In the midst of this giant economic crisis where banks are being bailed out and recession has struck, Labour is narrowing the gap in the opinion polls between itself and the Conservatives.
The Guardian/ICM poll out this morning shows the gap between the two main parties has dropped from 15 points to just five.
The Guardian says that voters are sceptical of the opposition's ability to handle the economy. Asked to compare Conservative Leader David Cameron and Prime Minister Gordon Brown on a series of characteristics, Brown pulls ahead by 11 points as the person most likely to get the economy back on track. He scores 35% against 24% for Cameron.