So, we can be pretty confident now that there is a genuine surge in Lib Dems support. Apart from how long it lasts, and the affect on the narrative of the election, the other unknown is exactly who has shifted, and perhaps more importantly where. We will get a better idea of how things are moving when we get some polling of marginal seats, and when we get an updated version of YouGov’s weighted regional breaks. In the meantime, we can draw some very tentative conclusions on the info we have so far.

If we compare the crossbreaks in the two post-debate YouGov polls so far with the averages of the crossbreaks in the three YouGov polls before the Lib Dem manifesto launch, and we compare the ComRes poll with the averages of the crossbreaks in their polls from before the debate, we can get some idea of which groups have swung the most. We need to remember that even combined together these are small sample sizes and they are not internally weighted, so at best this can only give us a broad brush idea of what is going on, but there are some consistent trends.

We can be fairly confident in saying that young people have swung the most strongly towards the Liberal Democrats. In both YouGov’s post-debate polls they have had the Lib Dems in the 40s amongst under-35s, compared to the mid-20s prior to the debate, an average increase of 17 points. ComRes have a similar pattern. The Lib Dem boost amongst under 35s seems to be at least twice that amongst all older voters.

Secondly women may have swung to the Lib Dems more than men (more specifically, there’s been a swing from Conservative to Lib Dem amongst both sexes, but Labour’s vote has fallen much more amongst women). The contrast here is not as large as is it with age though, so I’m less confident this is a genuine pattern.

On social class there is no obvious pattern, YouGov seem to be showing a larger swing amongst C2DEs, but it is the other way round with ComRes. On regional breaks the evidence is also unclear, though both ComRes and YouGov seem to have the Lib Dems making the most progress in the North, and YouGov’s figures are striking for the almost complete lack of a Lib Dem boost in Scotland. On other hand, late respondents to YouGov’s new Scottish poll in the Scotland on Sunday today (whose fieldwork straddled the debate) did show swing towards the Lib Dems.

310 Responses to “Who is switching to the Liberal Democrats?”

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  1. Could you explain what the crosssbreaks are please?

  2. no surprise that their boost in Scotland is not as marked: they have been in governement there.

    Does anybody know which polls can we expect for tonight?

  3. @Eoin (b/f)


    It is something I have argued for some time but those, like us, obsessed with day to day politics don’t get.

    You’re never boxed in. The public have a memory like a gold fish….

    If Cameron come out tomorrow with a new counter eft strategy and a list of populist Royal Blue measures…..

    Rob is right 40% would lap it up. His earlier machinations would be forgotten in an instant. The only legacy would be a bunch of Cameron Cuties, to serve as a testimony to Blue’s lurch towards Poltiical Correctness.”

    I think there is something missing in your certainty. The VAT ploy would be disastrous as would going back on anything they have said. It is too late to adopt the strategy you propose.

    Though reading these posts one does sometimes find the odd captive piscatorial pet. Have you watched American Dad?

    Captcha code RSDP

  4. I’m not…..still think it will count for nothing in the scheme of things…IMHO

  5. It is the regional breaks, which matter the most. Since in terms of marginals, the midlands is especially crucial.

    In that case, a bunch of youngsters evenly spread throughout England and Wales, might have a negligible impact.

    I wonder when we can begin to make more substantive assumptions on the regionals?

  6. I’m looking forward to the next marginal’s poll. I thought there was supposed to be one a week!
    Or has time stopped because I’m waiting ;-)

  7. Al J,

    Mori are working on one, it will be ready soon.

  8. This is good info to have (within its limitations), and was quickly produced. Thank you, Anthony.

  9. @Éoin
    You’ve got me excited again. Do you mean ready tonight?

  10. Interesting early work. Thanks Anthony.

    The Tories will be hurt more than Labour if Clegg appeals to women. Women have shown to be more pro-Cameron than men.

    Labour will naturally be worried if the Libs are surging more in the north. The nightmare scenario of the Libs costing Labour Lab/Tory marginals because of their leftish appeal may be a legitimate concern.

    However I’m still confident that Labour voters will return to the fold and recognise that only voting Labour can keep out the Tories.

  11. If the younger voters actually turn out then they’re the ones who are, perhaps, more likely to stay with their shift. One assume the Lib Dems will be working on turnout.

  12. @Al J

    I doubt it…. let me go check Reuters :)

  13. Very interesting.

    But the key question is are the LDs taking votes away from the Conservatives or Lab in the decisive Lab/Con marginals in the Midlands/North of England?

  14. @AL J,

    I detect no discernible pattern to MORI marginals fieldwork. So it could literally appear at any moment. It will almost certainly appear before Thursday, since it would be outdated very quickly if they did not.

    The slow rate of marginal production actually improves my confidence in them.

    ICM and MORI have done well thus far.

  15. Oh yes – a Lib surge in the young vote is also more of a problem for leftish parties (Labour and the Greens) rather than thoe on the right (Tories/UKIP).

    As Eoin says – we need a marginal polls with special interest in the Midlands. The Midlands is traditionally not good territory for the Libs.

  16. @Quincel (if you’re a masochist and still on)

    “someone above say that they were insulted by the tag ‘hugely artisan’? I’ve heard worse.”


  17. The last tow marginal polls ICm and MORI had the libs at 11% and 18% respectively. That is quite a gap.

    But it certainly does suggest that in marginal constituency there are less liberals as Sunbeam correctly states.

  18. @Éoin

    Thanks You are brill ;-)
    I really look forward to it. The world is a cheery place now & spring has sprung lol ;-)

  19. @Al J,

    Are UNIT still on strike? Shall we call it the spring of contentment?

  20. @ Anthony

    When I was not clowning around, this was the standout for me when I crunched the numbers:

    “…both ComRes and YouGov seem to have the Lib Dems making the most progress in the North.”

    My understanding is that the North is where Labour most needed to hold onto seats, if they were to prevent a Tory majority.

    In the Northern change to LD, Lab lost 9% compared to the CON loss of 5%. As a LAB supporter, this is one thing that has given me cause for concern in the recent new world order.

    Marginal or CON Home regional poll required pronto to assess the ‘damage’. Lord Ashcroft must do us all a favour & reach for his wallet once more ;-)

  21. Sue, have just posted this on the previous thread but you may already have moved onto this thread

    @Sue (2.11)

    Sue, I read most of your posts yesterday and can confirm that even as a devout Lab supporter you were most supportive of the Lib Dem surge and the likelihood of a future PR system.

    While there is no denying where your support lies you have always been most fair in your comments

  22. @Amber Star
    Still have that crystal ball?

  23. Dermot O’Leary – of Big Brother and X Factor fame – is to interview David Cameron and Nick Clegg for BBC Three

  24. So are we now saying that it is hitting Labour and the Tories might get their majority after all. This is so complicated and seems to be changing every 5 mins.

    Yes, they used to say a week was a long time in politics, these days with twitter and internet polls, a day seems like a lifetime.
    Can we fast forward and have the election now. Not sure my nerves can take much more.
    Wonder if this volcanic ash is going to affect postal vote..
    Oh well, back to work tomorrow..

  25. @Eoin Clarke

    **Are UNIT still on strike? Shall we call it the spring of contentment**

    I don’t know which Unit you mean lol :-) but Unite are grounded anyway – poor things- hope they get paid.
    Nature is in control of our ”spring of contentment” ;-)

  26. My own reading of the cross breaks, I am a bit more willing to go out on a limb, is that the Tories are holding up well in Wales and London. I can only speculate that these regions had a fair knowledge of the Lib Dems beforehand, what with regional assembly elections and the Westminster village affect in London.

    It struck me that Lib gain was in areas where people know nuttin about them….

    Clegg should run in Belfast- he would walk it for I have not a notion what he stands for.

  27. @Pam F,

    dont read it like that…….
    anyoen trying to spin that line needs to take a look at the fact that the tories are -8% and labour are -2% since Wednesday

  28. Regarding polls and volcanoes – we’ll just have to let the dust settle….

  29. @Amber Star @Anthony
    I’m not sure how a Lab fall of 9% in the North would be commensurate with a big fall in the post-debate overall Tory vote share (and a steadying in the Lab vote share).
    Can someone explain this to me?

  30. @Eoin

    NC & GB vying for position as party of change and fairness for all.
    DC adopts strategy that prompts suggestions of “same old Tories”


  31. @Amber Star (3.22)

    I have said previously (in an exchange with Eoin) that I believe that the LDs will pick up seats from Lab in the NE. Even before the surge we would have hoped to win at least Durham & Newcastle North. Now we would be very upset not to gain these two and perhaps one or two others.

  32. @GreenG,

    two results…

    You and I say “told you so”
    at least 36% of Britain says phew!

  33. I still think the Labour/Conservative marginal and regional polls will be far more invaluable to analyse than current national polls. The marginals will decide who is in power IMHO.

  34. With the Lib Dem equivalent regional/marginals too, of course!

  35. @Woodsman
    “Regarding polls and volcanoes – we’ll just have to let the dust settle….”

    Regarding polls: I hope it doesn’t. This is far more exciting
    Regarding volcanoes: I hope the dust blows away

  36. Aberdeen South
    Swansea west

    These constituenices going yellow are a best case scenario for you (They are all red).

    Norwich s
    Glasgow North
    Edinburgh north
    Edinburgh south

  37. I think it is over emotional hype and people need to calm down and look at the small print. The result is far from decided and that was ONE debate. They (the polls) all echo the sameish trend, so it is not a rouge fluctuatin. (has there been a case where more then one poll showed a sample error or a rougish result?)

    YouGov has allready confirmed that the LibDems place in the sun is already subsiding. All eyes should be on David Cameron and see what he dose. Two more debates to go and remember: people don’t always vote the way they say they do. By the way the polls are shifting, one might be forgiven that is the silly season already.

  38. @Al J -“When I look into Amber’s Crystal Ball – I see
    Con 32
    Lab 31
    LD 30
    Oh look – it’s the same as her’s”

    That’s uncanny – I thought the same.

    Now for my very long and interesting post of the day.

    A while ago I talked about charting re the election. Now, there are many controversial reactions to charts – you either use them or you conclude they cannot possible predict the future only tell us what has passed.

    Well, I use charts every day, and I’ve given up caring why – IMO charts can be very accurate predictors.

    The chart I referred to seemed to imply that a 5 point gap was critical for the Tories. Anything below that, and the chart seemed to imply that the Tory vote would collapse. First there would be a little rally (we had that the first time the Con vote “bounced off” the support level of 5) followed by a collapse.

    Now of course, a chart can’t predict what the “event” will be that causes these things, but it seems to tie somewhere into a herd mentality. The reasoning seems to be that all the time this crucial support isn’t seriously breached all is well, but as soon as it is , voters start to desert a party like rats leaving a sinking ship. (or stockbrokers selling a stock, or house prices crashing to the floor etc)

    This is NOT me being partisan, you can look back and see I’ve posted on this many times, I was simply curious to see what the “event” would be (or if indeed it came, it wasn’t guaranteed.)

    Now, once a support level is convincingly breached, it becomes the new “resistance” level – in other words, a 5 point gap could be the highest the Tories can now expect.

    I find all of this stuff fascinating and I have seen it happen over and over and over so many times in my daily work (I’m sure Amber has too) that I am now drawn to the strange logic of it all.

  39. @Matt
    Totally agree with you. The marginals are all important. How the LD surge effects them will be crucial to the election. I wonder if we’ll see some surprises elsewhere also!

  40. @ PAM F

    Over-all it is clearly hitting the Tories hardest. They’ve lost 2% to LD for every 1% that LAB lost.

    But we need to know:

    1. Are target marginals affected; & if yes, what is the impact?
    2. Have previously safe seats become marginals in the ‘new world order’?

    As it stands, nobody can deny that the Tories have suffered a massive set back. We want to know just how much of a set-back it is; & obviuosly so will the CON team.

    They’ll have no idea what their strategy for the next 3 weeks should be without knowing where the damage has been done.

  41. I expect Labour to gain a lot on the marginals compared to the other recent marginal polls, but will it be enough to make them the largest party? Also, will the Lib Dems gain votes in the seats that count, or will their increase in vote be evenly spread?

    All fascinating questions IMO.

  42. @Amber
    “Lord, I get more irritating with every post…. :-)”

    Endearingly so though.

    Think I shall partake of jollities on Calton Hill for Beltane!

  43. Anthony: Cheers!

    Regarding how difficult it all is to work out, this just makes the point for a different system. We shouldn’t feel the need to vote tactically especially, as I wrote previously, when we’re not even sure whether our “tactics” are working with, or against, voters with a similar inclination. It’s utterly crazy.

    Fingers crossed we actually do come up with an answer that doesn’t simply prolong this awfully outdated system. If a change of voting method really is the will of the public it would be incredibly ironic if their votes failed to ensure the outcome they want.

    Surely no one can ind that democratic?

  44. RAF – OK, but it’ll have to settle somewhere ;-)

    Not trying to spoil anyone’s excitement!

  45. Amongst my friends at uni and more generally on facebook, the lib dems have definitely garnered the most support.
    Unfortunately this is the very demographic who are least likely to vote…

    I agree that the public is a fickle beast, unless Clegg can somehow continue to enthral the electorate continuously their polling boost will dissipate as they actually consider what a lib dem government would mean…

    Plus there is too more debates to go in which NC would have to deal with the pressure of the “promised one” persona that Cameron had in the first debate. However I don’t know if the other two debates will get the same hype and coverage as this one. Perhaps the BBC will, but that is on the economy if I dismember, which is the conservatives Achilles hill…

    I think if Labour comes third, and yet has the biggest party in parliament, there would be complete outrage amongst the people who don’t fully understand the FPTP system…

  46. @PaulCroft
    “If the younger voters actually turn out then they’re the ones who are, perhaps, more likely to stay with their shift. One assume the Lib Dems will be working on turnout.”

    DING! Thank you

  47. Eoin: “36% of Britain [not sure what percentage that is in voting terms – close to 50 maybe?] Phew!”

    What’s that mean then?

  48. @Sunbeam
    “a Lib surge in the young vote is also more of a problem for leftish parties ”

    your evidence for this assertion being…?

  49. @Eoin (3.40)
    We have had this discussion before and I conceed that you could well be right from a numbers perspective but I have been working in Newcastle N and Newcstle E and my gut feeling on the ground is that we will take North. Dont forget that the city Council is 46 LD , 27 Lab and a good number of people I have spoken to who have voted LD locally and Lab nationally are seriously considering an LD vote this time. A huge amount of effort has gone into this and other local constituencies during the past 5 years not just in the past 5 weeks. IMHO preditions based on previous data could go out of the window this time.

  50. **Breaking News**

    Re Sky News:-

    Government emergency meeting at 5.00pm to see what they can do to mitigate effects of volcanish ash & to get UK stranded back home.

    Wow! Can you believe we have an emergency right in the middle of an election?

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