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The extraordinary impact of Lord Ashcroft’s two stage voting question – keeping LD hopes alive

December 5th, 2014

Why the party that’s lost ¾ of its vote isn’t panicking

One of the remarkable features of the past four and a half years of the coalition is that the party that appears to have suffered so much, the Lib Dems, has not panicked and appears to just shrug off one miserable national poll rating after another.

This morning’s YouGov once again has them in fifth place behind with just 7% drastically down on the 23.7% GB share at GE10.

    But as I keep on saying general elections are NOT decided on national vote shares but the outcome of 650 first past the post constituency elections and here the yellows are doing reasonably well when defending against CON

But just look at the chart. The strength of the LDs seats that it is defending only comes out when the second state seat specific question is put. The precise wording is: “Thinking specifically about your own PARLIAMENTARY constituency at the next General Election and the candidates who are likely to stand FOR ELECTION TO WESTMINSTER there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency?”

The data, from the the 11k aggregate sample in Lord A’s latest LD-CON battleground polling, shows that the difference is enormous. The LDs in the same poll move up from 22% to 36% while all the other parties fall.

Candidates matter and, of course, the approach highlights what appears to be quite a high level of tactical voting by LAB voters.

What I am really looking forward to is Lord Ashcroft’s promised round of Scottish seat polling. Will the seat specific questioning there show a different voting profile than that we have seen in the most recent Scotland-only polls? I just don’t know but it might.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble