Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Post Election Polls

We have two polls, signalling a sharp increase in the Labour share of the vote since the general election and the formation of the ConDem coalition:

ComRes: 38%, Lab, 34%, LD 21%
ICM: Con 38%, Lab 33%, LD 21%

Note that both these pollsters have a habit of overstating the LibDems and understating Labour. Here's how their pre-election polls compared with the actual General Election result:

Election result 6th May: Con 36.1%, Lab 29%, LD 23%, others 11.9%
Com Res 5th May: Con 37%, Lab 28%, LD 28%
ICM 5th May: Con 36%, Lab 28%, LD 26%

So Labour has much to work with. Apart from electing a new leader, we need to defeat the attempt by the ConDems to fix parliament terms for five years with a 55% requirement for disolution. I understand that they are justifying these constitutional changes with "stability", in much the same way the Chinese government cites "stability" as the reason not to hold elections at all. We also need to hammer away at the weak points of the coalition (after all, the duty of the opposition is to oppose!)

Finally, we need to think about reclaiming the LibDem areas, where we traditionally don't bother to canvass overmuch, leaving our Labour supporters to "vote LibDem to keep the Tories out". Obviously that won't work anymore, and Labour needs to step into the vacuum in various parts of the country, and the sooner this work gets under way the better - after all, given the history of coalitions, there may be another general election next year.

Update: Check out this post by Tom Harris MP, where he quotes Nick Clegg in 2008: "Will I ever join with the conservative party? No, I refuse to be merely an annex of another government." He was just saying one thing to Labour voters, while no doubt saying something else to Conservatives to trick people into voting for him.

Update2: Very interesting to compare the current situation to the post-election ICM polls of 1992 and 1997. ICM came closest in predicting both those election results and here's what their post election polls looked like:

1997: Lab 61%, Con 23%, Lib 12%, Others 4%
1992: Lab 34%, Con 45%, Lib 17%, Others 4%

Part of the reason Labour got such a bounce in the post-1997 poll was because Brown made the BoE independent the day after the election, delighting the whole country, including Conservative voters, and restoring confidence to the property market. However, it's interesting to note that John Major got a bounce in the post 1992 poll too, fitting in with the pattern that most govts get a good-will post-election bounce.

Now we have a 1% bounce for the Tories, a 3% drop for the Libs, and Labour after being in govt for 13 years in govt, and losing an election, bouncing up 3% within a week. What is going on?

I think the country is in an uncertain mood - I'm not at all sure they liked all the horse-trading and negotiating. With normal election results, you pick a manifesto, those who voted for the winning party got the manifesto they wanted. With this horse-trading, almost no-one amongst the voters get the package they wanted, but the politicians got jobs they weren't expecting (e.g. Cameron fully expected to be turfed out by his party for not winning, and Clegg probably expected the same after winning fewer seats than Charlie Kennedy). Would not be at all surprised if the referendum on AV delivered a No.


Anonymous said...

Sour grapes,years in opposition ain't going to be much fun for you love.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. And now you want to listen to the polls when during the election your own party told us not to believe them? From despair springs delusion, and feeble attempts to rally the troops. Pick a better leader, get policies that people have faith in again, and show that you might be fit to govern. Then see what the polls say. All I am reading is that people are glad that Brown has gone, so you get a sympathy opinion vote that means nothing.

Anonymous said...

Not bitter then snowy...