Will the Lib Dem leaners stick with Labour?
After all the hype during the build-up what will be the impact of Gordon Brown’s ninth budget on the coming General Election? Has he done enough to reinforce Labour’s existing position and ensure that Tony Blair is return with a substantial majority?
In short – will more people put their crosses against their Labour candidate’s name on May 5 than might have been predicted beforehand?
The big electoral question is what will be the impact of the measures on the Lib Dem leaning Labour suporters whose relationship with Labour has been sorely tested by the Iraq War, tuition fees and the Government’s position on the anti-terror legislation.
As we’ve argued before it is this group, many of whom voted tactically in 2001, who hold the key to May 5th. If enough stay with Labour then Blair is home and dry. But if there’s a move to the Lib Dems on the scale of some poll ratings in the last eighteen months then the outcome could be in real doubt.
The constant feature of polling for quite a long time is that the aggregate LibDem/Labour share had hardly budged from the 58-60% range. When Labour goes up the Lib Dems go down and vice versa. The recent Tory progress has not eaten into this 58-60% figure.
Is Brown’s extra support for families and the “grey vote” going to be enough to persuade the leaners?
We’ll have to wait a few weeks to get an answer. When the campaign proper is launched then the Lib Dems are guaranteed more radio and TV coverage and this usually leads to rising ratings during the campaign.
If Charles Kennedy’s party can get anywhere near the poll shares of 25-29% that they were enjoying in September then Labour will be struggling. But if the LD are only at about 20% then the trend would suggest that Tony Blair who have about 38% which would see him home to a good victory.
There’s been hardly any movement on the spread markets:
IG Index – LAB 350-355(+1): CON 199-204 (-1): LD 68-71
Spreadfair – LAB 350 (-1) -350.8 (-1.2): CON 200-201.9 (-1): LD 68.7 (+0.2) -69
Meanwhile most punters seemed to have had a good day in the markets on the speech itself.
Â© Mike Smithson 2005