Don’t underestimate the impact of the activists

Don’t underestimate the impact of the activists


    Party workers win votes and seats

With the spread market Labour price moving down and the election appearing even tighter the robustness of the party organisations is going to come under more scrutiny because this can decide seats.

There’s absolutely no point in people supporting you if on the day they do not go to the polling station to put an X next to your candidate. Good work on the ground is vital and effective party machines can and do win elections.

    We are coming to the view that much of the general over-statement of Labour in the polls is a reflection of the relative efficiency of their local machines compared with the LDs and Tories. The Labour figures are accurate – it’s just that the party organisations on the ground are not as good as the other parties at translating that support into votes.

Clearly this varies enormously seat by seat and it might be that in the marginal constituencies things are fine. We’ve commented before on the lack of Labour web activity both nationally and locally. Our “Google Test” on the Hartlepool by-election is very revealing. In this day and age the internet is important and Labour seems miles behind.

A good example of the importance of the party machine came in the 2000 London Mayoral Election when Ken Livingstone was standing as an independent and didn’t have the same on the ground structure that the main parties have to translate his extraordinary poll leads into actual votes. The ICM final poll had him at 51% and Norris at 17%. Yet instead of being 34 points adrift Norris, with the support of the Tory machine, finished up only 11.9% behind.

A key part of our forecast that we might be heading for a hung parliament is the huge decline in Labour membership and local councillors. Morale is low and there could be a big reduction in the number of Labour workers on the streets.

    Last month’s ICM poll showed that quarter more of Tory supporters were “certain to vote” than those whose allegiance was Labour.

Several of the polling organisation weight their results in line with the response to the voting intention question. Maybe they ought to add a further weghting that’s linked to the proven efficiency of the party machine. A good measure of this are the local by-election results each Thursday where Labour have been doing very badly.

The latest spread prices are:-
LAB 340-348 seats (-2): CON 212-220 (+2): LIBD 66-70 (NC)

The Labour sell price is now just 16 seats more than the number required for an majority and has declined in a month from 346 when we suggested it was a good value SELL. We still think there’s value at 340. Before the July by-elections the SELL price was 330 before it soared, perversely as we commented at the time, in response to the Tories not doing well. The same is likely to happen again after Hartlepool so punters should refrain from betting until that market reaction has taken place.


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