Desperation: Tories pin hopes on Royal baby bounce
The Conservatives are pinning their election hopes on the public crediting them for the birth of the next Royal baby.
According to the Telegraph: "The Conservatives believe that the "feel-good factor" resulting from the imminent birth of the royal baby could give them a much-needed boost in the polls and hope the prince or princess will arrive as close to the election as possible."
"It will raise people's spirits," one source told the paper.
"There was a real feel-good factor when Prince George was born and hopefully people will feel that again, feel positive about the country and vote for the party that rescued the economy."
Tory strategists are also reportedly concerned that Kate and William may name the child Edward, and therefore somehow boost Labour's chances.
There is little evidence to suggest previous Royal births have had any impact on the public's voting either way.
News of the Conservative's latest hopes of clinging on to Downing Street comes as Cameron comes under fire from leading figures in the party for failing to open up a lead against Labour during the campaign.
The latest poll of polls shows the two parties tied on 34% each, exactly where they were at the start of the campaign.
The Trinity Mirror poll of polls for March 30 (campaign start): Con 34, Lab 34, UKIP 14, LD8. Today: Con 34, Lab 34, UKIP 14, LD 8 #ge2015
— Jonathan Walker (@jonwalker121) April 24, 2015
If repeated next month, these figures would see Ed Miliband as prime minister.
Writing in the Independent, former deputy Conservative chairman and leading pollster Lord Ashcroft says the Tories' negative campaign, focused on fears of possible coalitions with the SNP, is putting off key swing voters.
"There has been too much emphasis from the Tories on the opposing leader's weaknesses (or, in this case, the deals he may or may not do to get himself into office), which suggests to voters a party that can’t have much to say for itself," he writes.
By contrast, Ashcroft suggests that Miliband is winning over wavering voters.
"Far from crumbling, Miliband has shown a good deal of resilience in the face of some rather unseemly attacks.
"This is one of the reasons why, though most still think Cameron would do a better job, Miliband’s personal ratings have on some measures actually improved over the course of the campaign…
"Some voters who prefer Cameron to Miliband but Labour to the Tories are starting to make their minds up – in favour of Labour."
Leading Conservative business figures are also unhappy with the Conservative campaign. Twenty major backers of the party told the Financial Times they have become "frustrated" with the "tactics and tone of the election campaign".
"The negative campaign has been disastrous," one company chairman told the paper.
One poll released yesterday suggests that voters are also tired of the Conservative campaign's focus on possible post-election deals between Labour and the SNP.
YouGov found the public believe there has been too much focus on Scotland during the campaign with not enough focus on issues like education, the environment and pensions.
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) April 24, 2015
Despite this the Conservatives will be pleased that their message is getting through to voters. They also remain determined to stick to the issue, and have unveiled a new billboard depicting former SNP leader Alex Salmond as a pickpocket.
"We are fighting the most positive campaign" – David Cameron pic.twitter.com/qdm0flZLX9
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) April 25, 2015
The Tories remain convinced that there will be a late swing to the party in these closing weeks of the campaign. Cameron's hopes of remaining in Downing Street also received a major boost today after Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said that a possible coalition between his party and a minority Labour government would be "illegitimate" as would any deal involving the SNP.
Clegg's intervention means that any post-election arrangement between Labour and a Clegg-led Lib Dems would be almost impossible.