Is this why Dave is going to find it hard to win?

Is this why Dave is going to find it hard to win?

ICM Aug 07 detail.JPG

    Does the Lib Dem switch to Labour look permanent?

One of the features that I focus on when the detailed data from ICM and CR polls comes out is how votes are churning between the parties. Both firms ask how respondents voted last time and both present their data in a way that gives some clues.

The latest data from this week’s survey for the Guardian has some encouraging short-term news for the Tories but does raise the question about whether there is any chance at all of them being able to win.

As can been seen above there’s been a clear shift back to their normal allegiance from Tory 2005 supporters. In the last couple of polls Cameron’s party was only retaining support of 85-87% of those who said they had voted Tory in May 2005. Now its at 92% not too far off the 95-96% that was being seen before the changeover at Number 10.

Much of the Brown bounce has come from more party supporters being ready to identify themselves to pollsters and saying they are more likely to vote than previously. That could easily move back a notch.

    But the movement that looks irreversible is the big shift from 2005 Lib Dem supporters to Brown’s Labour. There’s been a net 13-15% of Lib Dem 2005 voters switching to Labour and this trend looks robust.

So although the Tories are retaining more of their vote and picking up switchers from both Labour and the LDs it looks as though Labour’s got a permanent boost from the Lib Dems. These voters, one assumes, are the ones who could not stomach Blair following Iraq and chose Charles Kennedy’s party in 2005.

Unless there’s a step change prompted it’s hard to see the Tories getting back to more than 36-37% and it’s hard to see Labour dropping below 36%. For Labour those are general election winning vote shares.

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Mike Smithson

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