February 09, 2009

back to the nineteenth century ... yay

That's two polls now with Labour collapsing and there votes getting hoovered up by the Lib-Dems.

Of course this could simply be a rouge poll because you cannot got out in snow in sandals. So while Labour and Tory voters where pulling sickies and building snowmen the Lib-Dems where stuck inside trying to fight off a cold with Quorn based chicken soup.

However there is another option. Maybe people are actually waking up to the Lib-Dems and as Labour continue to slide, and they will, it will be the Lib-Dems that profit.

for exactly the same reason that they underperform so badly: third party squeeze.

One of the effects of the first past the post voting system is that it polarises things. There is only really room for two parties. People often vote for whomever is best to keep the other lot out rather than who actually best represents their views. People vote Conservative to keep Labour out. People vote Labour to keep the Conservatives out, and people generally do not vote for the Lib-Dems because they know that they will not have enough votes to keep out whomever it is they are most worried about. There are a lot of people that would vote Lib-Dem if they thought they could win. But since they can't, they don't. This is one of the reasons for the bar charts on Lib-Dem literature claiming that they really are the only people that can keep the others out.

The Lib-Dems would probably have been squeezed down to just another fringe party had they not occupied some strategically very ideological ground on the very centre of the political battleground.

Now what happens if the Lib-Dems poll better than Labour? Suddenly you have the classic Lib-Dem bar chart 'Only the Lib-Dems can keep the tories out,' and you have it across the entire country. Suddenly Labour are the third party. Suddenly it is Labour that is the wasted vote which could let the Tories in.

Not only that you have this fact broadcast into every home on prime time television because this would be a very big story. Millions of pounds of free advertising saying exactly the right thing just as people are beginning to see them as a viable place for their votes.

There will be a lot of people that are disgusted with Labour, but will still vote for them because they fear the Tories. Then suddenly they have a way out. As over the horizon appears a viable vaguely left wing party, untainted by all of Labour decade of authoritarianism and failure, which offers a better chance of keeping Labour out than Labour. A lot will rush to the banner and maybe, just maybe, a tipping point will be reached catapulting Nick Clegg into a position that no Liberal has held since Asquith.


Post a Comment

<< Home