Conventional election wisdom says that Labour will struggle to win the 2015 election outright. If they do get the largest share of the vote, they will probably have to rely on forming a coalition with the Lib Dems.
The Labour lead has averaged about 11% for a very long time now, but it is true to say that the incumbent government always makes up ground when the reality of an election hoves into view. Even 15 or 20% leads can melt away to nothing when an election becomes a reality.
But this is not a normal time and normal rules don't apply. Not only do I think Labour will win an overall majority, I think the Conservative party as we know it will struggle to ever win an election again. The Tories know this (even if most of Labour don't) and have employed a host of tricks in an attempt to reverse the trend - reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600, changing constituency boundaries, increasing the vote of no confidence thresholds and no longer making it compulsory to register to vote, would all favour the Tories. As it happens, the first two may never happen anyway, since Clegg withdrew support in exchange for betrayal over Lords reform.
But even if they did, it's too late. As soon as Cameron failed to win an outright majority, despite the worst economic situation for 70 years, a tired Labour party and a hugely unpopular Labour leader, it was clear.
The modern Conservative party as we know it is finished.
It took 13 long years for the public to even think about trusting them again. The scars ran deep. Even when they finally did, they didn't trust them to govern alone and fettered them with Lib Dem concrete boots.
There is a schism at the heart of the Conservatives that has fatally wounded the party. For 20 years, they've staggered on in denial, but the party is divided and nothing has been able to paper over those divisions. So called "compassionate Conservatives" were prepared to compromise dearly held right wing principles in order to govern, but too many will not.
You only have to look at today's media to see their dilemma. It's often hard to tell who hates Cameron more - Guardian readers or Telegraph readers. The right wing press pillory him daily for not being right wing enough, while the left leaning press cry with horror that this is the most right wing government of all time. The Daily Mail and the Telegraph demand "real" Tory policies, but Cameron knows a majority of the public will never vote for them.
Most crucially though, the political landscape has changed in a fundamental way and it will not change back in a hurry. If ever.
For over 30 years, the left leaning vote in the UK has been split. As soon as the "Gang of Four" left the Labour party in 1981, we may as well have taken a gun and shot our own feet. Disgruntled Labour voters would evermore have an alternative. Much as Clegg would deny it now, that is how the Lib Dems were born and right up until the last election, that is how they were seen. People voted Lib Dem for lots of reasons, but few because they were actually Liberals, and even fewer who were comfortable with the "Orange Bookers"
Of course, it's not unusual for the Lib Dems to see a big slump in their support mid-term and they will almost certainly poll more than the scant 10% or so polls have indicated since 2010. But the betrayal voters feel is real. I've lost count of how many people have told me they voted lib dem at the last election and never, ever would again. It's highly unlikely they will win anything like the 57 seats they hold today. It may well be that they could only offer 10 - 15 seats to any future coalition anyway.
For the first time in a generation, left leaning voters only have one place to go. They must vote Labour or risk a right leaning government.
Right wing voters have no such quandary however. They can give up on the Conservatives once and for all and vote UKIP. If current polls are to be believed, many will do just that. UKIP regularly poll more than the Lib Dems and although this wouldn't necessarily translate to seats won, it will hurt the Tories very much. In many marginal seats it would only take a few hundred voters bailing to UKIP and the seat is lost. Not to UKIP, but lost all the same.
Of course, loyalty and logic may save the day. Natural UKIPpers may yet AGAIN be persuaded not to split the right wing vote, but I don't think they will. There comes a point where logic melts away and strategic voting is not enough. People vote far more with their hearts than their heads. If not, we would never have seen the left vote splinter in the first place.
I think natural right wing voters - the core Tory vote - have seen too many broken referendum promises, too many capitulations to Europe and immigration and crime. They know now that a Conservative like Cameron will never break away from Europe, never give them what they want. This was the last chance saloon.
Since the coalition came to power, they have divided public opinion in a way I've never seen in my lifetime. You either think they are making the best of a terrible situation, taking tough decisions and being cruel to be kind, or you think they are evil baby-eating-neo-cons who want to asset strip the country and eradicate the poor before 2015. There's little in between. On almost every policy question, just 29 - 30% support the government's position. This is core Tory vote territory and nowhere near enough to win an election.
Lurching further right won't help and sticking with a Cameroonian style fudge won't work. Even if some charismatic Tory appeared to unite the party and lead them to glory, screwing with the NHS can never be undone. The public might forgive many things, but they will never forgive anyone who breaks up the NHS.
The polls have been rock solid for many, many months now. Even the Olympics and Paralympics didn't offer a polling boost despite unprecedented national pride and feelgood factor. I've never seen polls stay so resolutely unimpressed through such hive-ecstasy.
As I've said all along, the cuts won't destroy this government, incompetence will. Cameron cheated the public once, then launched detested policies not mentioned in any manifesto. I am convinced they will not let him or - anyone standing under a blue flag - do it again.