Is this good news for the Lib Dems?
In the next day or so Populus will be publishing the full detail of its latest Times poll and will be following ICM and now Communicate Research in showing how respondents answered based on what they told the interviewer they did at the 2005 general election.
This is great news – for as anybody who has done anything more than the most basic campaigning knows the most important electors are those that actually vote. With turnout at general elections now down to just over 60% this has become increasingly important.
Anybody can tell a pollster what they plan to do next time but it’s those with a record of voting who you should take most notice of.
Of course they might not be telling you the truth or have forgotten but the main phone pollsters – ICM, Populus and Communicate Research – have their own methodologies to take into account the “misrememberers”.
The above table is from yesterday’s CR survey for the Independent and shows in a slightly different way from ICM the linkage of future voting intention to what they said they did two years ago. The columns are the latest voting numbers while the lines are the declared actions in 2005.
What I find striking is that the well over a fifth of the intending Tory and Labour voters – 21% and 22% respectively – told the pollster that they did not vote in 2005. The Lib Dem proportion, by comparison, is just 14%. To my mind that is good news for Ming’s party and even though its poll share dropped its vote is probably more resilient.
The other figures show a fairly similar picture to what ICM has been finding. The Tories are retaining more of their 2005 vote but they are not that much ahead of the other parties.
On the Spreadfair commons seats market the latest polls have slightly taken the edge of Labour. The latest spread is 310-313 seats. At the end of last week Labour had been at 323 seats – just two short of the number required for an overall majority.