Tory lead falls to 5 points as third party vote share collapses

An Ipsos MORI poll released today gives the Tories a 5 point lead over Labour, with both parties on surprisingly high shares of the popular vote. This seems to provide backing to the narrative that the polls are narrowing significantly as election day approaches. 

The poll puts the Conservatives on 45% of the vote and Labour on 40%. Both of those figures are astonishingly high for a recent UK election - the Conservatives won a majority in 2015 with 36.9% of the popular vote, and Blair's landslide 1997 victory saw him win 43% of the popular vote. The polling company is reporting a significant fall in third party support, with the Lib Dems on 7% and UKIP on 2%. The Lib Dems secured 8% of the popular vote in 2015, the election which saw them lose all bar 8 of their MPs. UKIP secured 12% of the vote in 2015. 

Earlier in the campaign, the Tories boasted a consistent lead of more than 20 over Labour, while the Lib Dems were polling at 15%, and UKIP 12% at various points early on - before a rapid and dramatic collapse. Polls seem to show that the Lib Dems could be set to lose further seats this campaign, or at least fail to gain any on 2015's disaster result, while Tory support has fallen by less than 5 points as Labour support has grown by more than ten points. 

Few if any campaigners, activists or candidates have reported seeing such dramatic swings in public opinion, and such a shift in public opinion would be unprecedented in modern times. 

The Ipsos MORI poll also found that 50% of people think that May would be the best Prime Minister, compared to 35% for Corbyn. May's figure was six points higher two weeks ago, and Corbyn's six points lower. 

This comes in the wake of a series of difficult weeks for the Conservative campaign. With today's news that party's candidate for Thanet South has been charged over his election expenses in the the 2015 Tory campaign, the crisis within the campaign is becoming increasingly urgent as their once insurmountable poll lead looks increasingly small. However, the party would still win a majority under this poll.