Welcome to the age of fragmentation

Welcome to the age of fragmentation

    What will be the impact of “others”?

The macro polling trend of 2004 has been the emergence of “others” as a serious electoral force that looks set to have a big impact on the General Election outcome. This is how the main pollsters are showing others in their latest surveys compared with those in January 2004.

YouGov – Main three parties 88% (-6%) Others 12% (+6%)
Populus – Main three parties 90% (-3%) Others 10% (+3%)
ICM – Main three parties 90% (-3%) Others 10% (+3%)
Mori – Main three parties 90% (-3%) Others 10% (+3%)

The much higher YouGov figure is proably caused by those surveyed being able to look at the list of parties on the computer screen rather than have the options read to them by the interviewer. They can decide in their own time. Where no parties are mentioned and the participants are, as in the Communicate Research methodology, just asked “Which party would you vote for if there were a general election tomorrow?” the split is:- Main three parties 93% – others 7%.

All this is by way of introduction to the excellent analysis by Vino in his comment on the December YouGov poll which got somewhat lost during our server change and is worthy of a full discussion on its own.

….the Tories are still suffering the effects of the Major days –Labour no one trusts but who are the alternatives? –LDs the electorate seems to be at odds with all the Ld’s policies if they knew what they were. The big winners in the next GE will, in my opinion,be “others” namely:-
1. BNP – only stood in 33 seats in 2001 but it appears they intend to stand in about 100 this time. In Euro election they obtained 4.9%, over 800,000 votes, June locals they averaged 16.1% where they stood, July local by-elections they averaged 15.8%, in November 13.4%. It takes no great imagination therefore that if these % continue then the BNP could easily poll over 420,000 votes at the next GE or 1.6% of the total vote.
2. Greens – only stood in 145 seats in 2001, I have a sneaking admiration for this party for how many times it stands in local byelections. In Euro election they gained 6.2% with over 1,000,000 votes cast, they are averaging over 6% in local byelections. Assuming they continue this and stand in 50% of the seats they could easily increase their vote to about 818,000 or 3.2% of the total vote.
3. UKIP – stood in almost 400 seats last time so no additional candidates to boost total votes. In Euro election they totalled 16.2% with over 2,600,000 votes cast, in July locals they averaged 13.3%, in November 7.4%, in December so far they average 8.0%. In 2001 GE their average share was 2.1%, you can therefore easily imagine UKIP doubling their voters to 780,000 or 3.1 of the total vote. [All bets are off if Kilroy Silk ever takes over as party leader as UKIP will easily go back to Euro %]

Who, in my opinion, will lose out on the above?

  • Obviously Labour from BNP but not enough for the LD’s to make gains.
  • LD’s from the Greens and Respect, to make the Iraq War an election issue would in my opinion be the stupidest thing the LD’s could do – the least the voters know about the LD’s policies the more votes they will get.
  • I thought the Tories from UKIP but only if RKS becomes leader – looking at the latest local by-elections it appears UKIP takes votes from Labour and the LD’s
  • Thanks Vino – I agree with much of your analysis and would just add this. With the main three parties sharing between them 88% as against 93.6% actual in 2001 then small moves between the LDs, Labour and the Tories are going to have a disproportionate impact making this even harder to call.

    Latest General Election prices.

      Mike Smithson
    Comments are closed.