Will the week’s media spotlight have produced a higher LD share?
Here’s a ballsy prediction that could fall flat on its face – the Populus poll for March that should be due out this evening will not show a reduction for the Lib Dems but will have the party holding its own or moving forward.
On the face of it this would appear counter-intuitive given some of the savagings Nick Clegg has had to endure over the past few days following the revolt by a sizeable proportion of his MPs over his EU referendum vote strategy in the Commons. Because the party had the chance to seriously embarrass the government but didn’t it was inevitable that spotlight was on them.
My guess is that the level of media coverage that Clegg’s party commanded rather than what they actually did or didn’t do will be reflected in the survey.
The reason, of course, is that in normal times Britain’s third party finds it difficult getting its voice heard and can go for long periods receiving only the most minimal media attention. So when voters are called at random by the polling companies the party is at the back of their minds when they are asked how they would vote. This weekend’s Populus survey could have been different.
This is the same thinking behind my theory that Tory poll shares are directly correlated to the amount of coverage the party, and particularly the leader, have commanded in the days leading up to the fieldwork. This is irrespective of whether the stories are good or bad.
This last weekend – Populus fieldwork usually start on Friday and runs through till Sunday – things will have been different. Although much of the coverage for Clegg’s party has not been flattering at least voters will have been reminded of their existence and that what their MPs do in parliament can be important.
The issue of Europe, as discussed earlier in the week, is of almost no significance except to very minor groups of Euroloons on both sides of the argument who feel very passionately.
A month ago Populus had CON 40%: LAB 31%: LD 17%.