Is there any evidence that Tory voters are switching?
Labour party spinners are putting it about that a new type of voter is emerging that they are calling “Gordon Conservatives”. These are people, it is claimed, who voted Tory last time but have now decided to go with Labour.
According to Ben Brogan over the weekend Labour research has started to identify this group. Because this is coming from private polls we cannot see the data but from my research from publicly available polling sources this is a load of tosh.
For in spite of Labour’s soaring poll leads the evidence is that Brown’s party has been losing more 2005 Labour voters to the Tories than it has been gaining.
Having gone through every survey from both ICM and Populus since Brown became PM I have not found a single poll where the number of 2005 Tory voters who said they were now voting Labour was greater than Labour 2005 voters who were going the other way.
Thus in the September Guardian poll ICM found just two people who said they would vote Labour last time who had voted for Michael Howard’s Tories in 2005. That compares with four 2005 Labour voters who told they pollster that they were now voting Tory.
It’s the same picture with Populus which in its last poll found just three 2005 Tory voters who were switching to Labour. That compared with a staggering 21 2005 Labour voters who now say they would vote for Cameron’s party.
So how come Labour has taken a significant lead? The answer is that Gordon’s Labour is retaining a much higher proportion of Labour voters than Blair was and there has been a lot of switching from Lib Dems. Also Labour is picking up significant support from people who, for whatever reason, did not vote in 2005.