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Introducing a new tracker: the 2010 LD switchers to LAB – the voters who form Labour’s “crutch”

April 14th, 2014

What’s the trend? Is this key group getting smaller or larger?

On Friday there was a lot of discussion on the thread about the detail from the latest Populus online poll which seemed to point to a big reduction in the proportion of 2010 LDs who are now saying they’ll vote LAB. Was this this just a sampling issue or were we seeing a trend that could change our whole view of the GE2015 outcome?

Well this was a subset in a single poll where because of its size there is a large margin of error. We do get with the Populus polling series the regular monthly aggregates and this is where we can best spot and draw conclusions about possible movements with that firm.

For the five times a week YouGov polls PB has for several months been producing weekly averages of the headline voting intention figures. Today I am extending that to the 2010 LD switchers.

    Given that at current levels these switchers represent a move to LAB greater than the entire increase in the Tory vote between 1997 and 2010 then any analysis of the GE2015 outcome is surely deficient unless it takes it into account.

For as long as this group remains with LAB it is hard to see how the red team will get fewer than 35-36% of the votes and that presents a massive challenge to the Tories. To secure a majority they need a margin of perhaps 9%+ and even the boldest blue optimists are not predicting shares on that scale.

The chart shows the switching percentage from the past four weeks and will be updated weekly. Currently, as can be seen, the switchers appear to be staying with LAB.

That might change and hopefully this tracker will give us early warning.

Note YouGov only provide the data excluding the don’t knows (DKs) and will not votes (WNVs) and that is what will appear. The term “Labour’s crutch” to describe LD switchers was first coined by Professor John Curtice.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble