August 22, 2008

Where are the Lib-Dems?

The Conservative lead is as big as the Labour share of the vote. If these results where replicated at a general election the Conservatives could get a 200 seat majority. It is particularly bad since Labour should be experiencing a bounce at the moment.

The reason that I think Labour should be getting a bounce are:
Parliament is not in session, which is always good for the governing party.
It is summer, which is good for the governing party.
The more affluent are on holiday, which is good for Labour.
Cameron isn't getting quite as much TV time as usual, which is bad for the Conservatives.
Nick Clegg seems to be wearing an invisibility cloak, which is bad for the Lib-Dems.
Gordon Brown isn't getting much TV either, which is good for Labour.
The Olympic success should be generating a feel good factor, which should be good for the governing party.

Yet all of this does not seem to have affected Labours terrible poll ratings, or perhaps it has. Maybe what we are seeing is the effect of a bounce caused by all of these positive factors. Maybe without them Labour would be doing even worse, and once the bounce fades away Labour will be doing even worse. The question is where are these votes going to go? I do not see the Conservatives getting much higher in the polls, they are already above Margaret Thatcher at the height of her powers, and the idea of any party getting above 50% of the polls seems just ridiculous. The obvious answer is the Liberal Democrats, but they are languishing down in the high teens.

Liberal Democrats certainly could pick up a lot of votes, but at the moment they aren't. I suspect that if he wants to get these votes Nick Clegg has to go into complete Media Whore mode. He has to get onto the panel games (like Charles Kennedy did), He has to get onto the chat shows (like Charles Kennedy did). He needs to be on Richard and Judy's sofa even f it means sewing himself into one of the cushions. When the Lib-Dems get on TV their poll share goes up and there are a lot of votes looking for a credible alternative to the Labour Party which isn't the Conservatives at the moment.

If Nick Clegg can remind them that the Liberal Democrats are a credible alternative to the Labour Party, or simply that they exist, then he is going to see his party's poll ratings go up a lot. He could even become the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition after the next election. If he does not it will not be that he is able to fit all of his parliamentary colleagues in the back of a taxi, as the Liberals could at their lowest ebb, but there will be major losses.


Blogger MatGB said...

"Liberal Democrats certainly could pick up a lot of votes, but at the moment they aren't."

Aren't they? Could've sworn last time there was a national election the Lib Dems beat Labour into 3rd place and got around 26%.

Oh, you mean they're not getting a high poll rating? Of course they're not, the polls are sampling a statistically valid sample of the national electorate.

The Lib Dems are putting their campaigning efforts into actualy seats on the ground—hence Nick is travelling the country a lot.

Opinion polls always underrate the Lib Dem polling—taking into account that even 'key marginal' polls concentrate on Tory/Labour fights, that doesn't actually surprise me. If the LDs get less than 25% at the next GE I'll be surprised, the polls are bollux, and pretty much always have been.

That's not to say the media presence couldn't be better, but the media likes a simple us v them message, it makes the story easier to cover.

12:13 pm  

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