Over on Left Foot Forward there is a paper by a Dr Matt Qvortrup arguing that the introduction of AV would help Labour and hurt the Conservatives, and therefore it would be in the Labour party’s partisan interest to support it.

The paper is almost all made up of polling evidence from elections between 1997 and 2010 which demonstrate that the Labour party would have gained more seats under AV (or at least, lost out less than the Tories!), and reference to the 2008 London mayoral election where Labour performed better under AV (Ken Livingstone still lost, but the re-allocated second preferences split in his favour, so AV was a plus for Labour)*

I wouldn’t make any argument with any of this, throughout this period AV would certainly have helped the Liberal Democrats and been kinder to Labour than to the Conservatives.

Where I would depart from the argument is the assumption that the same pattern would apply now. Normally, in the absence of other information it is a fair assumption that people will keep on doing what they have done in the past. In this case though, there has been a massive shift in British politics and it is fair to question whether that assumption is safe.

AV voting would have helped Labour between 1997 and 2010 because Labour voters were likely to give second preferences to the Lib Dems and vice-versa. To put it simplisticly the left-of-centre, anti-Conservative vote was split between two-parties, and AV would have effectively united that vote behind the better performing of the two parties in each seat.

The formation of the coalition will likely have changed that. People who voted Liberal Democrat seeing it as a left-of-centre, anti-Conservative party probably aren’t voting Lib Dem anymore. The rump of remaining Liberal Democrat supporters are likely to be more positively inclined to the Conservatives, and Conservative supporters themselves will likely see the Lib Dems more positively.

In his paper Dr Qvortrup acknowledges this with reference to an article by John Curtice floating the same possibilities, but handwaves it away by saying there is no evidence of it and Curtice is just making assumptions. As Carl Sagan once said, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

As it happens, while John Curtice didn’t cite it, there is evidence to back up Curtice’s assumptions. YouGov asked a “how would you vote under AV?” question at the time of the general election and found a similar pattern of second preference distribution as everyone else – Labour voters were more likely than Conservative voters to give second preferences to the Lib Dems, and Lib Dem second preferences broke in favour of the Labour party. However, YouGov then repeated the exercise in July 2010 after the formation of the coalition to test the hypothesis that pattern of second preferences would have shifted.

Indeed it had – Conservative voters had become more likely to give second preferences to the Liberal Democrats, Labour voters much less likely to give second preferences to the Lib Dems, and Lib Dem voters’ second preferences now split evenly between Labour and the Conservatives.

On a crude projection, these splits would still been slightly better for Labour than the Conservatives, but the more important finding was the change in the pattern of second preferences. That evidence comes from July 2010 when the Lib Dems were still in the high teens – my guess is that these trends would be even more pronounced now as the Lib Dems are ever more reduced to a rump of those supporters happy with the Conservative coalitions and Labour supporters become ever more antagonistic towards the Liberal Democrats.

Of course, that is still an assumption. While there are no more recent polls that specifically asked about second preferences under AV, we can at least look at what Liberal Democrat voters say in other questions that might act as a proxy for whether they prefer Labour or the Conservatives. Looking at the most recent YouGov polling this week:

Remaining Lib Dem voters think David Cameron would make a better PM than Ed Miliband by 31% to 1%.
Remaining Lib Dem voters would prefer a Conservative led government to a Labour led one by 60% to 26%
Remaining Lib Dem voters approval rating of Cameron is plus 44, of Miliband minus 31.

The assumption that these voters would still be more likely to give their second preferences to Labour than the Conservatives is, quite frankly, fanciful.

Of course, the main reason for this shift isn’t that Lib Dem voters have suddenly become more right-wing or more pro-Conservative. They haven’t – the opinions of people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 are still tilted towards Labour. The reason is that most Liberal Democrat supporters from 2010 don’t support them anymore! Many or most of those Liberal Democrat voters who in May 2010 would have told pollsters that their second preferences would go to Labour would now give their first preferences to Labour. Those that remain are a more pro-Conservative rump.

And there, as they say, is the rub. AV is not a system that automatically favours right wing parties or left wing parties, nor one that will always favour Labour or always favour the Conservatives. It depends entirely upon the circumstances – during recent decades it will have tended to have been better for the left because we’ve had a political landscape where there were two left-of-centre parties with supporters who were comparatively comfortable with voting tactically or lending their votes to each other.

If at the next election the landscape is instead a Lib Dem party whose support has been reduced to mainly those voters who are reasonably well disposed to the Conservatives, where many Conservatives view the Lib Dems as allies rather than enemies, and where many Labour voters see the Lib Dems as turncoats and Tory stooges, the pattern of second preference voting may be utterly different.

(*As an aside, I’m confused by the rather odd claim that Ken Livingstone would have won the London mayoralty had he secured an extra 11,182 votes. After second preferences had been re-allocated Boris Johnson won the election by 1,167,738 votes to Ken’s 1,028,966, a majority of 139,772.)


61 Responses to “Why AV won’t necessarily help Labour anymore”

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  1. Anthony, Is tonight’s YouGov the last of this year?

  2. PamF- it is indeed!

  3. All very interesting.

    I do wonder about the second preferences of people whose first preference is a minor party. According to the more recent YouGov poll, 18% of their second preferences would go to Labour, 18% to the Lib Dems and 14% to the Conservatives. If, as I suspect, more of that 18% for the Lib Dems have moved to Labour than the Conservatives, this could give the party an advantage of an extra few per cent at the next general election.

  4. War of Dreams is right: as the Lib Dem support dives below that of the ‘others’, the lower preferences of these voters becomes of greater interest than what is happening with the Lib Dem rump.

    From the figures WarofDreams cites, am I to gather that an astonishing 50% of the voters either had no second preference among the ‘big three’ or weren’t saying?

    The Lib Dem vote (and message) has always varied in its political character according to area. I imagine some left-inclined voters might still back them, for example, in a seat like Lewes, as where else are they going to go with any prospect of success?

  5. Howard – the figures are from the poll linked in Anthony’s article. It only asked for second preferences, so there’s no way of telling which of the three main parties would be the preferred choice of the people who had other parties as both first and second choice (of those with minor parties, the SNP or Plaid as first choice, 30% had a minor party in second, 1% had SNP or Plaid).

  6. Howard – part of that will be supporters of minor parties giving their second preferences to other minor parties, what we need to know is which of the major parties would be highest ranked on their paper.

    Going back to the BES survey at the election, they did offer respondents a whole ballot paper to rank (though of course, the caveat is that these splits may have changed since then in the same way as supporters of major parties).

    From that, UKIP voters, as you might expect, broke heavily for the Conservatives (49% gave the Conservatives as 2nd preference, compared to 8% Lab).

    Green voters, again as you might expect, broke heavily for the Liberal Democrats (52%), then Labour (25%). I suspect they may have become more likely to back Labour since then.

    BNP supporters broke most heavily for UKIP (45%), then the Conservatives. The BES survey did ask people to rank the whole ballot paper if they wished, so the data exists for the third preferences of BNP voters who ranked UKIP second, but it’s not reported in Sanders et al’s paper.

    Obviously we’d need some very large samples to get a quality idea of how minor parties second preferences would divide now, but given the aggregate of support for parties like the BNP and UKIP whose supporters are likely to rank the Conservatives higher than Labour is larger than the aggregate of support for parties like the Greens and Respect whose supporters are more likely to rank Labour higher, the impact of others is unlikely to work in Labour’s favour (unless, of course, the pattern of support for minor parties changes)

  7. I agree with these comments as I had already reached similar conclusion based on the same reasoning.

    As a Labour supporter I shall be voting against AV. This is not for partisan reasons but because I support GENUINE PR, which AV manifestly is not. However, I also would guess that if AV is defeated (as I expect) many LibDem MPs will be tempted to bail out of the coalition, since they have paid a terrible electoral price for abandoning their principles and got little or nothing in return. They might gain some credibility by withdrawing from the coalition leaving the Conservatives to govern as a minority (esp as they now can’t bring forward the date of the General Election). Given the Parliamentary arithmetic, a minority government would be the best outcome since it would leave the Conservatives with the burdens and unpopularity of office but without the ability to force through their more right wing policies – propped up as they now are by the LibDems.

  8. Robin – the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill is currently at the committee stage in the Commons, so should the coalition collapse there is nothing legally preventing Cameron requesting a dissolution (politically he’d have to go back on promising 5 year fixed Parliaments, but that’s somewhat different)

    Of course, come the referendum the Bill may have become law, but it isn’t there yet.

  9. @Robin No2

    “…”

    This is going to be confusing. There’s already a Robin here (me)…

    @AW

    “should the coalition collapse there is nothing legally preventing Cameron requesting a dissolution”

    I think (technically) if Cameron says he can’t form a government the Crown should first give Labour the chance to form a government (Rainbow alliance including LDs). Although in practice of course that wouldn’t happen.

  10. @Anthony.

    Agreed – that is really what I meant.

    But even if the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill does not get Royal Assent before the referendum, the LibDems could withdraw from the coalition at any time after it is enacted. Remember, the Conservatives tied the LibDems into the deal by linking the Referendum to the changes in the number and size of constituencies – this means that even if AV is approved, it would not come into operation until after the new boundaries are in place (3 years at least). If AV is lost, the LibDems could withdraw from the coalition, and the Conservatives would not want to forgo the assumed advantages of the boundary changes by fighting the election on the current boundaries.

  11. @Robin

    OK – I will be Robin 2.

  12. Does AV spell the end of tactical voting? My presumption is that what would have been a tactical vote under FPTP might now become a second preference vote under AV.

  13. I’d rather have all those ex-Dem 1st preferences than worry about not getting the remainder 2nd prefs. :-)

    Labour will likely get the Dem 2nd prefs in seats that matter – like Redcar.

    And quite frankly, this is the dynamite finding:
    Conservative voters had become more likely to give second preferences to Labour.

    Which begs the question: Would Labour voters give their 2nd prefs to the Tories?
    8-)

    [Erm, whoops, yes. That should be Conservatives more likely to give second preferences to the Lib Dems. Typical, the line where I make a typo is absolutely key to the post! – AW]

  14. @Robin

    You said “…As a Labour supporter I shall be voting against AV. This is not for partisan reasons but because I support GENUINE PR, which AV manifestly is not…”

    Please supply me with the name of the Labour MP, MEP or union delegate who is advocating including a PR referendum in the Labour manifesto. Because it sounds like you’re recommending a “No” vote on the knowledge that there will be a PR referendum instead. Because I’d hate to change my “Yes” vote to a “No” vote only to be told that there isn’t going to be a PR referendum. Cos, y’know, that’d be lying to me, right? And Labour doesn’t lie to its voters, now does it?… :-)

    Of course, if there isn’t a PR referendum scheduled, and you vote “No” in the AV referendum, then you (by definition) will be a supporter of FPTP. Which will make you anti-PR by definition.

    Regards, Martyn

  15. It doesn’t Martyn, it makes Robin anti-AV, not necessarily anti-PR. It may be some are voting anti-AV as they think it’s a poor substitute and PR will be less likely to happen. Who knows?

    Hoping Celtic lose doesn’t make me a Rangers supporter (far from it). Voting against something that isn’t PR doesn’t necessarily mean being in favour of FPTP.

    My hope with AV/PR is that the parties become Socialist Labour, New Labour, SDP, Liberals, One-Nation Conservative and Euro-Sceptic Tories. Really, it’s been that for many a year, we just weren’t able to vote for them, just some tight coalition.

  16. @Anthony Wells

    You said “…AV is not a system that automatically favours right wing parties or left wing parties, nor one that will always favour Labour or always favour the Conservatives…”

    Ye Gods, you’ve finally noticed… :-) Your point is one of the best arguments for its usage – AV is an unbiased voting system. Many people tie themselves into knots saying AV will foster coalitions, or help Red, or help Blue, or help Yellow, when the plain fact is – it won’t. Which is the point. We’ll get a system (AV) that’ll be more responsive to our needs as voters than the one we have (FPTP). Which is good news.

    Regards, Martyn

  17. Am I correct in thinking that as this is a hung parliament and as Labour and other parties have had no formal opportunity to try to form a government if the LibDems withdrew the queen consitutionally would be bound to offer Labour the opportunity to try to form a government….of course it would only be possible if the LibDems were a willing partner but as a matter of form surely Mr Cameron would not be able to request an immediate dissolution….?

    But I think this may all be pie in the sky. It seems to me the LibDems now have no obvious place to go….after what they’ve said about Labour, as opposed to what the might have said about Mr Brown, I don’t see how they could realisically then want to be in government with them….but perhaps I’m naive about the appetite of the LibDems for power.

    The interesting thing about this coalition business is it’s become really quite party-politically partisan between all three major parties. Indeed on the basis of the current rhetoric one might imagine a LAb/Con coalition would be easier than Lab/Lib Dem.

    That may make AV in the referendum very unattractive to voters because it may pre-commit the electorate to another Lib/Con coalition. I’m not so sure that’ll play well at the present.

    Indeed it’s now difficult to see that a party that has become as party-pris as the LibDems have become that they could honestly offer thmesleves as the balancing force between the two larger parties.

    It’s really rather interesting all in all…..

    I still think a LibDem split is more likely than a formal end to the coalition – despite the all protestations to the contrary.

  18. @ Martyn

    At the next election we are getting a Labour government, whatever the voting system is. ;-)

  19. @Martyn

    This is getting a bit off-topic, so I wont retaliate in kind, but the point is that, for supporters of PR, AV is not an improvement on FPTP. Indeed, depending on the electoral arithmetic, AV could result in an even more distorted outcome – e.g. as1983 and 1997. AV can thus be seen as a setback to the campaign for PR, especially as the voters’ appetite for electoral reform will probably be sated by then.

    So,sadly, I think supporters of PR will have to wait a few more years (decades?) for a chance of real reform. The AV referendum doesn’t help.

  20. Even if AV goes ahead I am not convinced whether many voters will use it. Many voters will just give their first preference without giving any second or third particulary tribal voters particularly those who vote against AV.

  21. @amberstar

    At the next election we are getting a Labour government, whatever the voting system is.

    God help us!

  22. @Starchief

    You said “…Hoping Celtic lose doesn’t make me a Rangers supporter (far from it)…”

    Lord love you, but I really wouldn’t try that argument in Glasgow… :-)

    Anyway, returning your point. In an election between A and B, in the absence of a third choice, voting “No” for B is equivalent to voting “Yes” for A, and vice versa. Since FPTP=anti-PR, voting “No” for AV is equivalent to voting “Yes” for FPTP is equivalent to voting “Yes” for anti-PR. So technically I am right, although I know what you mean… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  23. @John Murphy
    “after what they’ve said about Labour, as opposed to what the might have said about Mr Brown, I don’t see how they could realisically then want to be in government with them”

    It’s all posturing. If it ended and the LDs went with Labour, a few well-chosen phrases would allow a complete switch – “couldn’t stomach the unfairness” “Ed Milliband represents a new Labour Party as opposed to New Labour” “comparing this Tory policy with that Labour one means our values are best represented by an alliance with Labour” “went Tory for the good of the country in a difficult situation, even though it meant a sacrifice of our principles”

    That’s the trouble with politicians…they’re all so political

  24. “…AV is not a system that automatically favours right wing parties or left wing parties, nor one that will always favour Labour or always favour the Conservatives…”

    No, but it is one that automatically favours centrist parties. Given the opprobrium that the (previously) centrist LibDems are receiving, I think many people would vote against AV because the thing they object to in a Lab/Lib or a Con/Lib coalition is the Liberals.

  25. David

    @amberstar

    At the next election we are getting a Labour government, whatever the voting system is.

    God help us!

    ———-

    That’s a particularly well-informed and intelligent comment, isn’t it?

    Have Your Say on the BBC must have shut early for Xmas…

  26. @Amber

    I genuinely don’t care. Well, I do care (since they spend like teens with their dad’s credit cards until we run out of money then go “whoops” and blame it on the bankers), but that’s not the point. We have a system of government that is the fiefdom of one person, where our checks and balances involve somebody saying something sarcastic on “Have I Got News for You”, where most of the MPs wouldn’t know a day’s work if it hit them in the face with a crowbar, and an electoral system where the results bear no real resemblance to the votes cast. I know it sounds silly, but I’d like to live in a democracy, thank you, and AV is a step in the right direction.

    Regards, Martyn

  27. Just had a look at the original paper on Left Foot Forward. Stopped reading at the point where it describes STV as ‘fully proportional’… so not a very rigorous piece of work, I think.

    At risk of sounding like a glib vicar, it would be nice if people could look at electoral systems without exclusive regard to how it is likely to play for their own party. Particularly as no-one knows what an AV election would look like, given that it will get rid of the need to vote tactically, a feature which effectively distorts FPTP resuilts. That – and the fact that AV will make many more seats competitive – is sufficient reason to support it.

    I’m a recovering Lib Dem currently floating between the red and green, just for the record.

  28. @Chris Todd

    Like to think I am well informed. After all, I predicted the recession long before Gordon Brown said “No more oom or bust”!

    PS got bored with BBC HYS years ago!

  29. Sorry missed out the “b” in “boom”.

  30. I think with an LD rump of 10% or so their second preferences would break more Con than Labour as Anthony says.
    Should their vore recover by the time of the next GE to 15% or more would not more of the increased support beyond the rump split for Labour.
    FWIW – I am a Labour Party member who will vote for and argue for a yes vote regardless of who it benefits.

  31. This is an interesting debate & is making me think seriously about supporting the AV vote. As a blue, I was very much in favour of retaining the existing system, but the more I think about it, maybe AV is actually better than full PR as it would be more representative but it would unlikely to allow the crackpot parties, of the left & the right, any MP’s, whereas PR would. Perhaps my original stance had more to do with the opportunistic way that Brown became a sudden convert, prior to the GE.

    @Martyn
    “Of course, if there isn’t a PR referendum scheduled, and you vote “No” in the AV referendum, then you (by definition) will be a supporter of FPTP. Which will make you anti-PR by definition.”

    I agree with you, the problems is you are using logic, something that not many reds recognise. Reds had AV in their manifesto and they even tried to pass legislation prior to the GE, regarding making a referendum mandatory after the election, in the thought that they were stitching Cameron up somehow. So how can they possibly vote against the proposal? Where is the logic? If the policy was right in March, it must still be right now. And they say that Clegg has sold his soul. (At least he had one to start with.)

    As for all the predictions as to what the result of the next election will be…..as Christ Todd says…the HYS site is the place for fantacists.

  32. Treading over some very old ground here but…if you’re still interested…the problem with FPTP is that it does not reflect the current parliamentary reality, and hasn’t for at least 100 years.

    What I mean by this is that FPTP assumes that voters are voting for an individual MP to represent them at Westminster, when they are actually voting for someone who will do what their Party whips tell them to do (give or take a Tony Benn or Dennis Skinner). Given that, in reality, we no longer vote for an individual, but for a Party, isn’t a system that (to some degree) aggregates all the votes cast for each Party and apportions the Westminster seats accordingly (regionally or nationally) a more appropriate way of choosing a Government?

    And here’s my problem with AV. It’s not proportional (OK, it is to some degree but only at constituency level). As a result, AV is unlikely to change the current scenario where there are over 400 “safe” seats, where a vote for the losing parties is consigned to the political dustbin.

    But who knows. I could be wrong (I’m told it has happened before).

  33. @ Robert in France

    As for all the predictions as to what the result of the next election will be…..as Christ Todd says…the HYS site is the place for fantacists.
    —————————————————-
    Labour are 34 seats ahead according to Anthony’s own calculation on the Masthead.

    And I made my forecast based on:
    1. Current polling; &
    2. “Conservative voters had become more likely to give second preferences to Labour.”

    Forecasts based on polling facts are allowed on this site. :-)

    Partisan comments, like David’s response usually aren’t. Hence Chris Todd’s comment to David. But I don’t mind, I just take David’s comment in the spirit ’twas intended. 8-)

  34. @Howard – “I’m a recovering Lib Dem currently floating between the red and green, just for the record.”

    :( ? ;) ? :) ?

    1st or 2nd preference?

  35. @[Martyn], Robert in France – “… you are using logic, something that not many reds recognise.”

    I’m looking at affirming the consequent (formal fallacy) and false dichotomy (informal fallacy) at the moment.

  36. @ Amberstar

    “Which begs the question: Would Labour voters give their 2nd prefs to the Tories?”

    Sacre bleu!

  37. @ Amberstar
    “At the next election we are getting a Labour government, whatever the voting system is. ”

    Absolutely agree!

  38. @AmberStar

    Actually I find your comments and a number of others on this site quite partizan on the left so I feel I am just balancing things a bit.

  39. I’ve been a supporter of AV all my life – Aston Villa that is!!

    More seriously, I’m with RAF on this. The Alternative Vote is not a proportional voting system and will not prevent a party forming a government with a decent parliamentary majority on a minority of the popular vote. A pure PR system would prevent that ever happening, hence the outcome would always be a fairer representation of the democratic will of the people.

    That said, AV is an improvement on FPTP in that every winning candidate would have to gain the votes of over 50% of all those who voted, a state of affairs that hardly ever occurs with FPTP where quite often candidates win on 35% vote shares. The critics would say that this forces voters to choose a second preference that tends to be the least loathed as opposed to the next preferred, although I suspect that a lot of people when presented with this Hobson’s choice will tend not to give a second preference at all. What that might do to the outcome, if enough choose to ignore the second preference option, I don’t quite know.

    The politics of it all is fascinating. PR was/is a Lib Dem “die in the ditch” issue, seen by them as a pre-condition for co-operating with other parties. Cameron couldn’t get a PR referendum past his party so forced Clegg to accept a pig in a poke arrangement; a vote on a system he’d derided during the election campaign. I’ve said on these pages before that he was unwise to accept it and, with Cameron desperate to get into Number 10, I think he could have got a PR referendum if he’d have negotiated harder. The fact that he didn’t may reveal more than he’d like us to know about his real motivation in agreeing to form a coalition with the Tories. Now, coupling the vote in May with reduced MPs and constituency boundary changes, Clegg is leaving himself wide open to be a victim of counter political chicanery with many of his opponents now sorely tempted to hole both him and his coalition well below the waterline, even if the good ship AV goes down with him. And, do you know what, I think they will come May 2011.

  40. On the topic of Conservatives hugging the Lib Dems closer into the next election.

    There is a piece on Liberal Democrat Voice about “Downing Street sources” briefing the Sunday Times about a possible exit strategy (EU commissioner) for Nick Clegg in the event that he looks to be losing the Sheffield Hallam seat.

    The timetable would be in 2014, and speculation is that Conservatives (possibly some LDs) are attempting to limit opportunity for the party to select a new leader and restrict their room for manoeuvre approaching the next election.

  41. @Duncan

    “No, but it [AV] is one that automatically favours centrist parties.”

    No, it prevents left and right parties moving too far out to the extreme. Except in ultra-safe seats, it ensures candidates have to be near the centre otherwise they can’t pick up enough second and third preferences to be elected. The LDs problem has always been a lack of distinctive policies, and AV will simply ensure that Lab and Con move more towards the centre ground.

    It will also reward local candidates who build grass-roots support, since they will likely pick up a lot of lower preferences.

  42. @ David,

    Yes, that’s what I meant by ‘the spirit in which it was intended’. :-)

  43. PR = middle management politics for ever & ever.

    If that’s what people want…….
    8-)

  44. @ Anthony

    [Erm, whoops, yes. That should be Conservatives more likely to give second preferences to the Lib Dems. Typical, the line where I make a typo is absolutely key to the post! – AW]
    —————————————————-
    Bad Santa! You took my present back. ;-)

  45. @AmberStar
    Well, there’s still time for Santa to deliver a replacement…

    Anyway serves you right for opening your gift early.

  46. @ RAF

    Latest YouGov/Sun results 23rd Dec

    CON 39%, LAB 41%, LD 9%; APP -19

    So not quite as good as the first present – but this’ll do fine. :-)

  47. Anthony
    When I saw the article in LFF, I immediatly thought something along the lines you have erruditely explained. It seems to me that AV is attuned to countries like Australia that have two similar but distinctive right of centre parties with over-lapping electorates but not relevant to most other situations? My view is still that ordinary people will use the referendum to vote against Nick who seems to be this year’s fad and tomorrow’s Ninja Turtle ignored at the botttom of the toy box or worse, the European Commission

  48. To those who believe that AV would somehow be more representative than FPTP, please take a look at the findings of Electoral Calculus at
    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/PVSCBill_analysis2.html

    Scroll down to section 4, and you see that, on the reasonable assumptions made, although the LIbDems would gain (a little) from AV (which is why they support it), the Labour majority in 1997, 2001 and 2005 would actually be INCREASED by AV – despite getting much less than 50% of the popular vote. Even in 1983 and 1987 AV would not have prevented the Conservatives from winning a large overall majority. With the sole exception of 1992, AV would not have made a difference to the outcome.

    So if you want a more representative parliament, don’t vote for AV. It is a trap that will prevent further progress to genuine PR.

  49. AMBER Apologies, I wasn’t getting at you particularly, and I accept that you are basing your prediction on something, however flawed, rather than just making an unsubstantiated statement.
    Yes the calculator here says that on current polling Labour would have a small majority but you can’t seriously believe that the situation will be the same in 4 years time?
    Why are labour ahead? Simply because left leaning LD’s have deserted the LD’s and now support Labour. That may give them a few extra seats, or it might just pile up more votes in already safe seats. It may equally give the blues a few seats, as tactical voting is abandoned. Right leaning LD’s are still supporting the LD party, (although they may give their second preference vote to the blues if AV is enacted.)

    That is the only reason they are ahead. To come, is a boundary reorganisation, reduction in MP numbers, possible AV & most important of all, actual policies from EM. Plus unknown ‘events’, which will happen & may benefit one side or the other. And then there is the economy, which just may have returned to normal (or perhaps not).

    So please understand my scepticism when you assert with certainty that Labour will form the next govt. You may be right but it is just too soon to predict.

  50. It’s not really polling evidence, but I understand bookies are slashing the odds of an election next year as the money piles on.

    May mean nothing…

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