A question that often pops up in the comments here – and in wider political commentary – is whether Labour “should be doing better”. This actually covers two different questions. One is “Should X be doing better…in order to win the election?“, the second is “Should X be doing better…given the current circumstances?“. The answers to the two questions are not necessarily the same – for example, a party with very favourable circumstances could be ahead in the polls and in an election winning position… but really could be doing even better than that (and vice-versa, in a really unfavourable political environment not being hammered too badly could the best position a party could realistically hope for!)

Let’s deal with the first question first – are Labour doing well enough to win the next election?

When people ask this question they obviously don’t mean “if there was an election tomorrow would their level of support give them a majority”. That’s a simple swing calculation, and while neck-and-neck isn’t enough for Labour, they’ve often had the necessary small leads to win an overall majority on current boundaries. No, the question means are they far enough ahead assuming they drop back to some degree as the election approaches?

I should say from the outset that I’m really not a fan of arguments about oppositions needing to be x points ahead midterm to win the next election; it implies a certain inevitability of polling movements in the run up to the election that simply doesn’t exist. That said, there is a an obvious pattern in historical movements of polls: when oppositions open up large leads in the mid term they normally fall back by the time of the next election. Oppositions that have gone on to win the next election have normally enjoyed mid-term leads of 20 points or more, oppositions with lower leads mid-terms have generally ended up losing.

What this does not mean, however, is that an opposition that doesn’t have a big lead currently might not get one in the future. While successful oppositions have had large leads, it doesn’t follow they’ve had large leads all the time. For example, the Conservative opposition in 1974-1979 did enjoy 20+ point leads, but only briefly after the IMF bailout and the winter of discontent. For most of the 1974-79 Parliament the Conservatives had far more modest leads. In the 1959-1964 Parliament the ultimately victorious Labour opposition was still behind in the polls in 1960 and early 1961, very large Labour leads didn’t emerge until 1963.

So being neck-and-neck now doesn’t mean Labour can’t do better later in the Parliament. That said, the fact they haven’t got a big lead now, isn’t particularly positive. Under normal circumstances they would have to up their game significantly to be in a position comparable to those historical oppositions who have gone on to win. However, these are not normal circumstances.

The normal pattern of public opinion during a Parliament is that governments get unpopular things done early and do popular things closer to the election. We expect to see people disappointed by the government drift away and register a protest by telling pollsters they would vote for the opposition (and doing so in mid-term local, European and by-elections). When the election itself comes close some of those people compare the alternative governments, decide the incumbent isn’t so bad compared to the alternative and government support recovers.

However, the narrowing of the polls so far in this Parliament seems to have very little to do with the usual mechanism. Conservative support has held up and Labour’s increase is almost all due to former Lib Dem supporters opposed to the coalition switching en masse to Labour. This could be more of a political realignment than mid-term blues and while it is possible that these supporters will drift back towards the Lib Dems as the election approaches, it equally possible that they will stick with Labour.

Under normal circumstances Labour’s paltry lead at the moment wouldn’t be enough to suggest they’ll go on to win the next election and the wise money would be on a Conservative victory next time round. Under present circumstances though… who knows?

The second version of the question is whether Labour are doing well or badly given the circumstances. I hate this question too, given it is impossible to measure and answers to it inevitably end up being entirely determined by the person answering’s views of Labour and their current policies or leader.

For what it’s worth though, the “doing badly” argument is that the coalition have announced drastic and unpopular cuts, are carrying out reforms to public services that polls suggest are unpopular and the economy is in a parlous state, with no immediate sign of improvement. Under these circumstances people would argue that the opposition should be doing very well, and that being neck-and-neck in the polls is a poor show or indicates some other problem with how voters see the opposition.

In contrast, the “doing well” argument is that Labour have just suffered one of their worst ever defeats. People have not forgiven them and it will take time for people to really give them a hearing. Under those circumstances, to be regularly polling 6-10 points above your general election score and neck-and-neck with the other main party isn’t that bad. Certainly it’s more than the Conservatives in 1997 could dream of.

Those would be the calculations under normal circumstances, but again, these are not normal circumstances. Labour’s increase of 6-10 points is almost wholly from the windfall gain of between a third and a half of those who voted Liberal Democrat at the last election. This happened pretty much without any input from Labour itself and they have gained minimal support beyond this.

Under normal circumstances it would be arguable that Labour were doing quite well given the situation, but probably not enough to win an election. Under the present circumstances one could well argue that Labour are not doing well at all, but if the realignment of Lib Dem support is stickier than normal mid term gains it’s possible it could be enough.


65 Responses to “Should Labour be doing better?”

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  1. Without meaning to plug myself, I put up a blog post about this issue earlier – I’m fascinated why the NHS debacle isn’t translating into a swing to Labour in the polls.

    Really quite baffled, as Anthony Wells has pointed out that polls indicate it is a salient issue…

    http://etonmess.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-havent-governments-health-social.html

  2. Mike – I think part of it is that people don’t trust the Conservatives on the NHS *anyway*. Cameron’s decontaminating the Tories on the NHS was never particularly successful (polls giving the Tories a lead on the NHS were few, transitory and showed only minute leads!).

    Another part is probably that no bugger understands it.

  3. “Under the present circumstances one could well argue that Labour are not doing well at all, but if the realignment of Lib Dem support is stickier than normal mid term gains it’s possible it could be enough.”

    This last sentence sums up in a nutshell what the Conservatives have to face up to re the next election – the harsh reality that even if they think Labour have been tainted in government and ineffective in opposition, Labour may win by the ‘default’ votes of leftwing ex-Lib Dem voters who feel they have nowhere else to go (except BNP?).

  4. AW

    You’ve articualted precisely what I’ve bene thinking. :-)

    So, pretty much all to play for.

    Of course, a significant issue is that all the parties befoe the GE said there would have to be cuts to reduce the deficit. So, it ouls be surprising if joe public then turned on Gov for implementiing them. However, we have yet to feel the full force/effect of the cuts…so views and VI may well change.

    Another apsect is that the Cons are enjoying focus on benefits scroungers and immigration, so they retain or obtain suppry from those who voted at the 2010 GE for them.

  5. Typos galore!

    “ouls” should be “would”

    “suppry” = “support”

    The others you can work out for yourselves

  6. BT –

    There is another part of that that I didn’t get into (the post was getting too long anyway), but I’ll need to crack open at some point.

    Some part of the LD to LAB transfer, possibly quite a large chunk, is people who really preferred Labour anyway but voted Lib Dem because they lived in an area where Labour couldn’t win. By definition, those people’s support is concentrated in places where it is no use for Labour, so the movement would only actually help the Conservatives take seats from the LDs, and not help Labour at all.

    It would be very difficult to measure though (especially since I think some “tactical voting” unwinds between elections anyway, as people don’t consider it away from elections and give their *real* preference)

  7. Mike N –

    “Of course, a significant issue is that all the parties befoe the GE said there would have to be cuts to reduce the deficit. So, it ouls be surprising if joe public then turned on Gov for implementiing them.”

    It wouldn’t have surprised me if they had! People are under no compulsion to be consistent or fair in their voting habits ;)

  8. Anthony.

    Very interesting -thanks very much.

    I love “Another part is probably that no bugger understands it.”……..I think that probably goes for the MPs too :-)

    BT
    @”This last sentence sums up in a nutshell what the Conservatives have to face up to re the next election – the harsh reality that even if they think Labour have been tainted in government and ineffective in opposition, Labour may win by the ‘default’ votes of leftwing ex-Lib Dem voters who feel they have nowhere else to go ”

    …and explains why DC gives NC such latitude & opportunity to try & portray LD positive effect in Government .

  9. ANTHONY

    @”Some part of the LD to LAB transfer, possibly quite a large chunk, is people who really preferred Labour anyway but voted Lib Dem because they lived in an area where Labour couldn’t win. By definition, those people’s support is concentrated in places where it is no use for Labour, so the movement would only actually help the Conservatives take seats from the LDs, and not help Labour at all.
    It would be very difficult to measure though (especially since I think some “tactical voting” unwinds between elections anyway, as people don’t consider it away from elections and give their *real* preference)”

    Now THAT would be really interesting-if it could be measured.

    Do have a go AW-please.

    Does your updated (proposed new boundaries) Swingometer take any element of that factor into account?

  10. Colin – no, the swingometer is just a straight UNS on the new boundaries. I don’t make any assumptions about tactical voting or tactical unwind or anything, given we have no good data to base it upon.

  11. AW 15.52

    Very interesting, thanks.

  12. Thanks Anthony.

    So there is a potential negative for Lab ( as opposed to a positive for Con) outwith the Swingometer prediction-of some undefined ( as yet :-) )magnitude.

  13. ANTHONY WELLS
    A very good post
    FWIW,I feel Labour are doing well but they should do better.
    BTW,I did try the 2001 swingometer on the BBC website for the 2005 elections.It still underestimated Labour and overestimated Tories.Did the swingometer predict the 2010 elections accurately as verfiable by the actual result?

    Labour are lumbered with speculation about their leadership and the bad press about their record in government (PFI etc)

    The Tories did Labour a massive favour by not getting a majority.The Lib-Lab transfer would never have happened…Also by abandoning the deficit reduction plan, the giveaway prior to the election is less than they hoped

    \I did try the 2001 swingometer on the BBC website for the 2005 elections.It still underestimated Labour and overestimated Tories.Did the 2010 swingometer predict the 2010 elections accurately?

  14. Good summary Anthony.
    FWIW – I am in the camp that Lab are doing OK if measured against a target of reducing the con lead over them to 5% or less next time and denying the cons an OM.
    Re LD tactical votes from Lab – I believe that whatever they say now most ABTs in unwinnable seats for LaB will vote LD next time.
    The new boundaries may make this harder for the LDs to organise though.

  15. It is also worth pointing out that the Conservatives were behind until the “veto boost”. That didn’t seem to come from Labour support but from others (I assume UKIP etc) who liked the euro-sceptic stance. It is more than possible that will stick into the next election. Coupled with boundry changes it looks like it’s going to be a very interesting one. My money is on a multi-party coalition ( ironic since it seemed to be peoples dislike for them that lost the AV referendum.) Or at the very least deals being done for unofficial support. Every seat really will count. I’m actually glad to see it. A few terms of minority or very small majority goverments will do Parliament the world of good. On a side note, did anybody happen to notice the re-launch of the NI Conservative Party? No? Happened just after the Ulster Unionists flatly rejected the offer of an amalgamation with the Conservatives.

  16. @ Anthony

    “Some part of the LD to LAB transfer, possibly quite a large chunk, is people who really preferred Labour anyway but voted Lib Dem because they lived in an area where Labour couldn’t win. By definition, those people’s support is concentrated in places where it is no use for Labour, so the movement would only actually help the Conservatives take seats from the LDs, and not help Labour at all.”

    Isn’t this exactly what happened at the local elections last year? It wasn’t really picked up as the reason for the lack of Tory losses in terms of cllrs elected – I think they roughly gained the same number from the LDs as they lost to Labour?

    On this score perhaps Labour supporters glee at the LDs discomfort at low poll ratings may actually play into Conservative hands? After all, if Labour doesn’t beat the Tories outright wouldn’t they prefer a hung parliament with a pssibility of weaning the LD MPs away to form a coalition with them rather than a new bunch of Conservatives sitting in ex-LD seats?

    When all is said and done is it not actually strategically in Labour’s interest for their supporters to vote LD in LD/Con marginals where they stand no hope of leapfrogging to challenge for themselves – just incase its a hung parliament with Labour as the largest party?

  17. Tony Dean,

    Ed Miliband’s stated intention is to destroy the Liberal Democrat party and establish Labour as the sole significant party of the left. I think he’d rather work a minority government than go into coalition with them.

  18. First polls are probably not as subject to the big swings they once were, changes in methodology have ironed them out to some extent. Secondly we have a Coalition government, some Libdems have gone back to Labour, some have switched to the Tories, whereas in the past the Libdems would have got the protest vote.

    Its becoming very difficult to see how either of the main parties will get a working majority, an overall majority perhaps, but a working one of 20 seats plus, very difficult. Unless there’s a total collapse caused by a major scandal etc. for one of the parties.

  19. There is an implicit assumption in Anthony’s excellent article that the pool of ex-LibDem voters who are currently showing up as Labour supporters (in YouGov polls at least) will either remain with Labour, or go back to the LibDems as the election approaches and they are faced with a real choice between the alternatives on offer.

    But this isn’t necessarily so. They might simply not vote, or they might switch to the Tories; after all, in ‘normal’ elections, key constituencies are generally won or lost by Labour/Tory switchers. An outcome where some of the current Labour support swings back towards both the LibDems and the Tories would be consistent with what we have seen in previous elections.

    Admittedly this is all largely guesswork, but I don’t see any reason to conclude either that the support of Labour by currently-disgruntled ex-LibDem voters is any more ‘sticky’ than traditional mid-term support for the opposition, or that it is destined to swing back only to the LibDems.

  20. On the main question of the thread: I think that Labour could do better and will. It’s very hard for me to imagine any government undertaking this kind of austerity year-after-year and then going on to win a majority at the next election. Short of a Labour civil war or some other big exogenous event, Ed Miliband is the next prime minister.

    The lesson of British history tells us that radical governments either mostly fail to effect radical change (Thatcher) or lose their power to effect radical change at the next election (Attlee, Asquith). Britain is an interest-group democracy, not an ideological democracy; if something is ideologically objectionable but supported by powerful interest-groups, like state-owned forests or private education, then it will survive.

    (I know that some will dispute the Thatcher claim, but look at these key areas: education- the opening up of private schooling to all was beaten by the establishment; inflation- back into double-digits soon before she left office; healthcare- still far closer to 1948 than to today; the poll tax- defeated soon after she left; crime- a total disaster; unemployment- an even greater disaster. Her successes were only so notable because her radicalism was so great that we’ve forgotten about all her failed ambitions.)

  21. The straight answer is “yes”.

    Labour has a major problem in that the electorate, and not just core Labour voters, are demanding a fairer society, particularly in relation to very high salaries. They also want politicians to be more responsive to voters and less responsive to financial interests. Yet Labour is unable to move to meet these demands because the party is effectively bankrupt and therefore unable to break away from the very far from the sort of Labour backers, some of them rather dodgy, to who the party sold out between 1997 and 2010.

    The LibDems, leaving aside the problems of being in a coalition, are similarly hamstrung.

    However, in relation to the LibDems, Labour has a problem in that even the LIbDem meltdown the polls currently suggest wouldn’t help them. They are so far behind in the South and South-West of England, where the LibDems have their largest number of seats, that a LIbDem to Labour swing even on a massive scale would simply present seats to the Tories,

    I am not sure how much Labour needs to do to demolish the LIbDems, who are nearly down to 1950s levels without any help from the left. The coalition is pursuing free market Liberal philosophy, like Thatcher from 1979 – 1990 and the pre-war Tories from 1924 to 1929 (ehn despite a large Tory majority in 1924 Baldwin appointed an ex-Lineral minister who had become a Constitutionalist, one Winston Churchill, to preside over an economic policy of sticking to the Gold Standard at an unrealisti rate which was foolish in the extreme). Surely the time has come when everybody realises that nineteenth centruy liberalism is a proven failure.

    Tony Dean may be right that Labour tactically might actually want to support the LibDems in Tory seats, but I don’t see how they can do that given how contaminated the LibDems are by the Coalition and other things as well.

    Perhaps it is more interesting what the Tories should do. Cameron’s “Big Society” ideas, if they are more than a slogan (a big if)) should take the Tories back to traditional conservative philosophy, and perhaps the one-nation ideas of DIsraeli and Macmillan. Which is how in my opinion they would be best advised to go. Listening to the radio last night, I gather this is not unlike Christopher Hitchens’ view of Conservatism, and it is also not unlike “The Tory PArty at prayer”. But have have a feeling that the too my mind almost pathological free market views of Tory backbenchers and party members will keep the Conservatives on the cruel do-nothing liberalism of their disastrous recent past. And where that will take us if there is no effective opposition to win the election after next goodness only knows.

    As I have just posted in relation to the latest opinion poll, the likeliest scenario for the next General Election to my mind, albeit there is a lot to happen before then that may change things, is a swing from the Conservatives to Labour, but a Tory majority because of a Liberal Democrat collapse. This is likely to be followed by a very right-wing Tory government. People in the country are not likely to like this scenario one little bit.

    Labour really needs to advance its philosophy, but I don’t see them having the people or dynamism to do that. Possibly over the next generation we need to see a new party emerge from the grassroots (not Limehouse!), as indeed Labour did at the start of the twentieth century.

    Any news of what is happening in the Money Reform Party?

  22. David,

    I think that the collapse of the Lib Dems makes a majority government more likely, rather than less. If one adds in the new boundaries, then the Tories are currently only 1% away from a majority on this poll and Labour are currently only 2% away from a majority.

    The most likely cause of a hung parliament in 2015, I think, would be a big boost to the SNP vote in Scotland which cuts back the Long-R’d Labour regiment enough to turn a small Labour majority into a hung parliament situation. That makes me wonder whether we’ll get two elections in 2015, despite the fixed-term rule. If so, I’d expect a boost to Labour under that scenario: the “we need a strong government” boosted their vote in 1951, 1966 and 1974.

  23. Isnt all this ignoring The Elephant in the room – why the voters say such contradictory things ? Currently the gap between Labour & Libdems in The Yougov VI Polls is about 30%. In recent Yougov Leadership Approval Polls however Milliband & Clegg have been running neck & neck.
    If we cant explain that discrepancy then we dont understand whats going on.

  24. It is hardly contradictory to disapprove of a leader and to approve of a party’s policies. Paul, perhaps Labour voters are doing just that.

    Another plausible hypothesis is that viters are unimpressed by both Clegg and E. MiIiband. However, Labour, unlike the LIbDems, has a considerable core of voters who will vote for the party despite the leader, and indeed policies. As probably happened with Labour in 1983.

  25. @Bill Patrick

    You said “…Ed Miliband’s stated intention is to destroy the Liberal Democrat party and establish Labour as the sole significant party of the left….”

    Given the UK is a centre-right country and would become more so if Scotland leaves, “the sole significant party of the left” would become a synonym for “perpetual second place”. I argued during the AV referendum that Labour were being forced to choose between having 30% of the power 100% of the time, or 100% of the power 30% of the time, and (by rejecting it) they chose the latter.

    You said “…I think he’d rather work a minority government than go into coalition with them….”

    He may be denied the luxury of choice.

    @Anthony Wells

    You said “…Some part of the LD to LAB transfer, possibly quite a large chunk, is people who really preferred Labour anyway but voted Lib Dem because they lived in an area where Labour couldn’t win. By definition, those people’s support is concentrated in places where it is no use for Labour, so the movement would only actually help the Conservatives take seats from the LDs, and not help Labour at all….”

    I have been saying this since week 1 of the Coalition. The Conservatives gain as Lib falls due to the destruction of tactical voting, and the combination of that plus the new boundaries implies (mutatis mutandis) a Con overall majority in 2015.

    Regards, Martyn

  26. ANTONY WELLS.

    Very many thanks for the detailed analysis about the state of the polls

  27. @Tony Dean
    LDs would be ill advised to take Labour tactical votes for granted, however much LDs might want to convince themselves that Labour supporters have nowhere else to go. Consider this:

    1. The LDs seem likely to continue to spend most of the rest of a five year parliament propping up a government that gives every impression of being as close to a true blue Conservative administration as could be imagined in the wildest nightmare of many Labour supporters. Past actions, not worthless words will be what determines perceptions of what the LDs are likely to do post 2015. Tactical votes won’t happen without there being some reason to expect that the LDs will change course.

    2. Taking a scenario of several elections, rather than just one, a Labour supporter might quite reasonably conclude that the best way to ensure that a LD candidate is dissuaded from ever jumping into bed again with the Conservatives will be to withhold a vote in 2015, then be prepared to give it back at the second GE in the knowledge that it will be less likely to be taken for granted.

    3. Again in the scenario of several elections, 2015 will be the best chance Labour has had since 1997 of displacing the LDs as the main challengers to the Cons in several seats where they could go on to challenge in later elections.

    4. With unnecessarily extensive boundary changes caused by the reduction of seats to 600, it will also be harder for a voter to identify if the LDs really stand a realistic chance of winning some seats that they might “notionally” hold now, especially when their national vote share is known to be well down. Without the certainty that a tactical vote for the LDs would be effective, then people will revert to voting according to allegiance.

  28. I would expect that if the Conservatives have benefited from a transfer of people who really voted UKIP at the last election… Then we should expect that to evaporate, because the Conservatives while making the right noises are not moving in the direction that UKIP voters want.

    If anything, the realities of government have forced Cameron to be more positive towards Europe in his deeds than his words before and after the election. So I doubt he’d be able to retain a UKIP vote transfer. I expect there will be pretty savage “All talk, no Trousers” attacks on Cameron from the right flank by UKIP sooner or later.

  29. Anthony, good blog, and it is difficult to dispute the balanced verdict you arrived at (especially as you have earned a few ‘splinters’ in the rear for your troubles!)

    Are we due any of the South West polls, or indeed any other regional polls, that tend to shed a bit of light on the LD situation ?

    And now that Ashcroft has some time on his hands after irritating the Nats, we could really do with one of his polls on marginals……..especially if it could be done on new boundaries……..otherwise we will continue to try and extract the most minute trends from the current national poll stasis…..

  30. Phil
    ‘The LDs seem likely to continue to spend most of the rest of a five year parliament propping up a government that gives every impression of being as close to a true blue Conservative administration as could be imagined in the wildest nightmare of many Labour supporters’

    The Tories stance on inheritance tax, 350k rather than a million which they promised their supporters, stamp duty, capital gains tax which Tories like to see reduced has actually been raised, currently no married person’s allowance, 50% higher tax bracket indicates that financially they are not meeting Tory idealogies at all. On EU the Tories are clamouring for return of powers to Westminster and DC is not delivering. No wonder the Tory right including right wing press pillory DC.

  31. @Jayblanc

    “Then we should expect that to evaporate, because the Conservatives while making the right noises are not moving in the direction that UKIP voters want.

    So, if you are sympathetic to the UKIP policies or an actual UKIP supporter and you look at what alternatives are available:

    LD – Pro Europe, unlikely to take the UK out of the EU.
    Lab – Pro and anti Europe, maybe will join the Euro, unlikely to stand up against the EU, unlikely to take the UK out of the EU.
    Con – Mainly anti Europe, will not adopt the Euro, has already stood up against all the rest of Europe, could take the UK out of the EU if necessary.
    UKIP – Not going to win the seat, but if I vote for them, then one of the above may just sneak the seat.

    Firstly: which of the above LD, Lab or Con is the most likely to implement policies, which are closest to my own preferences?
    Secondly: If my own choice cannot win my seat then how can my vote help the party next closest to my own preferences?

    Answer the above questions honestly and then reread your comment to see where it is flawed.

  32. @FrankG

    If they voted for UKIP *last* election, why would they let in-electability concern them in the next?

  33. @JayBlanc,

    For me, people on the Tory-UKIP fringes are a bit goldfish-like. If the Tories time their dog-whistles correctly, and don’t get banjo’d by some EU-inspired nightmare in early 2015, I think they have a good chance of swinging UKIP voters their way.

  34. HOODED MAN
    `And now that Ashcroft has some time on his hands after irritating the Nats, we could really do with one of his polls on marginals`

    Last election,every poll towards the end pointed towards a hung Parliament,and yet we were told that Ashcroft`s polling in marginal constituencies were showing that the Tories would get a majority…The results proved otherwise…However it would be interesting to see the polling in the marginals I suppose
    `

  35. @jayblanc

    “If they voted for UKIP *last* election, why would they let in-electability concern them in the next?”

    Not understood. You were postulating about UKIP supporters who tactically voted Con in the last election. Since then UKIP has undoubtedly gained in numbers and there could be seats where they had become more competitive. Any tactical voter must always reconsider the in-electability of their own party in their own seat before deciding to vote tactically. That surely is a given logic.

  36. Martyn
    “Given the UK is a centre-right country”

    Come on Martyn. You’re not getting away with that one without some evidence-backed substantiation.

    Excellent thread by the way. Might be the best I’ve read in 18 months of coming here. Hope no-one spoils it…

  37. @Neil A

    The problem is that Farage has a whole lot more practice with those dog whistles than Cameron has. And there is already enough ammunition for Farage to use. And we already know that Farage will not shy away from damaging the conservatives.

  38. @Frank G

    Re-read the comment. I said “who really voted UKIP” not “UKIP supporters who tactically voted Conservative”. I’m not entirely sure how you confused the two.

  39. The answer is simply yes. No debate required. Look at the economy, look at the jobs situation. simple as.

  40. imo virtualy all UKIP supporters who voted Cons in 2010 will do so again in 2015 except perhaps in seats where it does not matter eg safe Lab as they may as well make a point.
    This is why I use ATTUK less 2% hard core UKIP for adusting VI in current polls.

    Expect UKIP a15+% in the Euro Elections with Lab winning due to UKIP votes borrowed from Cons.

  41. @Martyn
    “Given the UK is a centre-right country”

    I think you meant to type “The UK is ruled by a centre-right coalition”. The Lib-dems being centre-left at the time of the last election, the voting share of that election was clearly majority left of centre. The Lib-dem Parliamentary Party may be centre-right *now*, but there is little evidence showing the nation has moved with them.

  42. @Henry
    Fair enough, although I disagree. It feels very much like a full blooded Conservative administration to me, and clearly it doesn’t to you. That’s beside the point really.

    Let me clarify. The point that I was intending to make (and didn’t really express very well first time around) was that, when LDs are touting for Labour tactical votes, it’s the perceptions of those Labour supporters that matter, not those of anyone else. Rightly or wrongly (and I think it’s rightly) this is perceived as a government of a very deep blue shade by most Labour supporters.

  43. @Henry

    To sum up… We think there will be a large tactical unwind against the Lib Dems, on the basis of “Vote for me to keep the Conservative MP out” loses the bulk of it’s effectiveness when in coalition with the Conservatives.

  44. @Jayblanc, Henry
    ““Vote for me to keep the Conservative MP out”

    I thought the LDs will go with the party with the most votes if there is a hung parliament. In that case” vote for me to keep the Conservative MP out” might sound a bit misleading.

  45. Jayblanc/Phil
    Phil
    ‘the perceptions of those Labour supporters that matter’

    Fair enough, although I am not sure of the logic if that is the way they think. If Labour is short of overall majority and need the 20-30 seats that say LD retain to form a Government then I assume that they will form a Coalition, which will be basically true red Labour, but include a few LD policies. Logically then Labour supporters, who believe in tactical voting and live in Tory/LD constituencies will return to voting LD.

  46. @Jatblanc

    You are absolutely correct, in that aspect of your post I was wrong. However the logical process I outlined still has to be followed for all UKIP sympathisers and supporters considering tactical voting, just the same at the next election, especially when boundary changes may have amended both the prospects of UKIP and of any alternative party for which they might consider tactically voting.

    Anyway what makes you think that GE2010 UKIP voters have been switching to Con as you seem to be postulating? Maybe AW has those figures for the ‘Others (UKIP)’ GE2010 VI, but not within the published poll data.

    Surely it is more likely to be the returning GE2010 Con voters who sometimes switch to UKIP and sometimes switch back to Con again that may contribute to an increase in Con VI, rather than actual GE2010 UKIP voters.

  47. @Jayblanc

    Apologies for the ‘t’ and not ‘y’ in your name. Getting late here in Cyprus.

  48. Smukesh,

    The Ashcroft polls from memory showed a swing in the noise of what was required for an OM but never convincingly so (clearly Ashcroft’s allegiances would have meant the polls were painted in a +ve manner too). Some of the marginals held firm in the end. Doesn’t mean that the overall picture of the marginal polls was so wrong – the Tories exceeded the swing required in some, but that doesn’t get you any extra seats……..

    On UKIP, I’m with Jay. They have the capacity to harm the Tories in a GE, and to assume rational thought when it comes to voting pays them too much credit. Farage trains his guns almost exclusively on the Tories as he knows that he won’t get much back from anywhere else on the political spectrum. And they seem quite happy to cut off the nose to spite the face. There was a UKIP voter on here a couple of months ago who was delighted to welcome a Europhile “socialist” government from 2015 onwards in the hope that the aftershock would be a wild swing right to UKIP by 2020…….
    There are various scenarios bandied about but it’s reasonable to conclude that UKIP cost the Tories somewhere around 5-15 seats last time around, which of course was crucial in the end. The Shadow Chancellor has them to thank for the 1,500 votes they accrued in Morley and Outwood, where the Labour maj was 1,100. If UKIP had voted on the basis of the party closest to their policies, especially in a well-publicized “decapitation” seat, they would have voted Tory, and Mr Balls’ life would have looked a lot different (ok, well he may have had to move to Old and Sad, but you get my drift)

  49. LIzH
    ‘I thought the LDs will go with the party with the most votes if there is a hung parliament. In that case” vote for me to keep the Conservative MP out” might sound a bit misleading.’

    You are quite right about the LDs supporting the largest Party. As someone who lives next door to and has helped campaign in a LD seat, I do not recall the slogan being used. In fact the MP has needed both Tory and squeezed Labour votes to win. Picking one or the other Party rather than seeing which is the largest Party wouyld probably backfire and result in the loss of the seat anyway.

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