Populus puts Lib Dems at 26%

Populus puts Lib Dems at 26%


    Labour down 7% over the past year

Today’s Populus Poll in the Times makes good reading for Simon Hughes (above) who was elected as President of the Liberal Democrats last week. The details are:-

CON 30% (-2), LAB 32% (No change), LD 26%(+2), OTH 12%

An indication of the challenge facing Labour is that its share is down 7% on a year ago which in itself was affected by the suicide a few weeks earlier of the scientist David Kelly. In the same period the LDs are up 7% – a rating that flies in the face of the widespread view that the poll “bounce” the party got after the July by-elections would not last and that the party would soon return to just above 20%. The poll also has a UKIP decline from 5% last month to 2% now. UKIP are completely irrelevant in General Election terms.

Putting the Populus figures into Martin Baxter’s “calculator” produces the seat split of LAB 357, CON 183, LD 75. We do not believe this because it applies the changes in vote shares to what happened last time on a uniform national swing and takes no account of factors such as the big reduction in LD to LAB tactical voting that last week’s Thanet South poll suggested.

    The higher that the LDs get in the polls the more credible they will seem and, in our view, the less likely that their supporters will continue to vote tactically to support another party.

The poll provides further reinforcement of the view that we are heading for a hung parliament. It also underlines our call that the current spread prices offer exceptional betting value by selling Labour. The spread prices are unchanged at:-

LAB 343-351: CON 210-218: LD 66-70

With the LDs soaring and tactical voting decline Labour are going to find it very hard with less than a third of the votes getting enough MPs to squeeze ahead of the 324 required for a majority.

The latest prices on Labour winning most seats have 2/7 as the best value bet. We think that this is now grossly over-priced because Labour are not the certainty that they were.

Mike Smithson

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