On the face of it, the YouGov poll in the Telegraph this morning could not be more badly timed. For the first time in months Labour and the Conservatives are level pegging. David Cameron's seven point lead has evaporated. 54% of people say that they are unclear about what the Conservatives stand for. 60% say that Cameron talks the talk but wonder about the substance behind the image.
However, a Harris poll for the Financial Times shows that 35% think David Cameron would be a good Prime Minister, whereas only 17% say the same about Gordon Brown. Only 1 in 10 people believe that David Cameron thinks everything Margaret Thatcher did was good.
So what do we make of all that? The Telegraph believes that the rise in Labour support is almost entirely down to Tony Blair's stupendous speech on Tuesday. I hope they are right, because if they're not it is not good news to be level pegging with the government when they are in such a state of disarray.
I am not worried by the number of people who appear not to know what the Conservatives stand for. I suspect the figure would be similar for the other two parties. The better figure for Cameron is the one about Margaret Thatcher. As I wrote in the New Statesman this week, David Cameron has tried to change the image and the brand of the Conservative Party in his ten months in charge, and this statistic would seem to show that he is succeeding.
It is very important that the issue of substance over style is addressed and the party conference is the best time to do that. The substance is there, but some people aren't looking very hard for it. It's now time for David Cameron to ram it down their throats.
The polls in late October and November will be more of a guide than the current ones.