What really changed over the conference season?

Once  again Ukip has seized the political agenda and left the older parties flailing for a response. Douglas Carswell’s spectacular victory in Clacton was at least expected — but Ukip’s quiet insurgency in Heywood and Middleton has shocked the political establishment. If it can come close to snatching a safe seat from under Labour’s nose, where else could it strike?

My own regular national poll — as well as the daily YouGov polls published in The Sun — put the Tories tantalisingly ahead last week. But when it comes to the fundamentals, how much has really changed over the conference season?

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