Is voter retention Brown’s biggest challenge?

Is voter retention Brown’s biggest challenge?

    What should Labour do about those who were drawn to Tony?

One of the great polling developments of the past two years is that the three telephone firms that use past vote weighting are now providing data so you can see what those who said they voted for the main parties at the last general election plan to do at the next one.

I’ve extracted the above numbers from the latest ComRes, ICM and Populus surveys and have sought to present them in the same format. The figures are interesting because as I have long argued here the views of those who say they have voted in the past are probably more important than those who did not.

The balance of voters with each firm have either said they would support another party, refused to answer or said they don’t know.

The high Conservative retention numbers are hardly surprising even given the decline in current ratings. All the firms have them well above the 33% of the general election. The Lib Dem figures have the most variation while the picture of 2005 Labour voters is pretty consistent across the firms.

    But does Labour have a Tony problem? For a significant part of the support that brought them three general election victories came from voters who had never voted for the party before but had been persuaded by Blair that it was safe to support New Labour. Once Tony had gone there was always going to be a problem.

It should be noted that those who said they voted in 2005 represent only a proportion of those surveyed.

A large number of people who, for whatever reason, did not vote last time say they are planning to do so at the next one and it is is this group that has the most volatility. They swung behind Gordon in his honeymoon from July – September 2007 and they had been saying they will vote Tory until the past few weeks.

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Mike Smithson

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