Isn’t he winning the battle for Ming’s supporters anyway?
The above chart shows how declared Lib Dem supporters in the regular monthly YouGov polls have responded to the pollster’s forced choice question of whether they would prefer a Cameron-led Tory government or a Brown-led Labour one.
This is not asking for voting intention; there is no option to choose the Lib Dems or one of the minor parties; but how the Lib Dem supporters split is regarded as a reasonable guide to possible tactical voting.
What the detailed data shows is that the sentiment amongst Lib Dem supporters has been moving progressively to Labour throughout 2007. At the end of last year LD supporters split virtually evenly on the question. By the end of May Gord’s Labour was the choice of 49% against 28% for Dave’s Tories.
So the potential market for Lib Dem switchers is now much greater for Brown than Cameron who might have almost exhausted the group as a source of new Tory support.
The question is whether the offers to Paddy Ashdown earlier in the week or to Lord Stevens, as reported this morning, will help Labour or not?
Could the manner of Brown’s approach by continuing with the offers in spite of Ming rejection be a turn-off to Lib Dem waverers or could it help? We’ll have to wait for further polling evidence.
Certainly if Brown’s objective was to screw his Fife neighbour and regular travelling companion, Ming Campbell, he appears to be succeeding. The Guardian carries reports of rumblings within the party and there’s news that a Lib Dem MP has recorded an interview for GMTV tomorrow being a touch critical.
There is a theory that replacing Ming with the young thrusting ex-elite public school boy and Cambridge graduate, Nick Clegg, would enable the party to win back votes from the Tories. That’s possible but a more dynamic Lib Dem party would have dangers for Labour as well.
Whatever it’s been a good week for Labour on the spread markets. The latest commons seats spreads are LAB 281-286 seats ahead of the Tories on 275-280 seats.