Has Janet Daly got PR all wrong?

Has Janet Daly got PR all wrong?

Would it really block the Tories out forever?

I suppose that this has been a period for ranting and perhaps I’ve been as guilty as anyone but have the Tories got the voting reform debate all wrong?

Just read this description from Janet Daly for tomorrow’s Telegraph: “.. it is the most shameless attempt to rig the electoral process in living memory. What the “alternative vote” would mean is that it would be virtually impossible for the Conservatives ever to regain power. Labour and LibDem supporters could simply institutionalise their game of tactical voting: by always placing each other’s party as their second choice, they would guarantee Left-liberal coalition governments forever.”

Her total opposition is based on a false premise – that Lib Dem and Labour supporters would always vote for each other and the Tories would not get a look in. If she took the trouble to read the polling in her own paper she would find a very different picture.

Almost every month the Telegraph’s YouGov polls asks this forced choice question: “.If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative government led by David Cameron or a Labour government led by Gordon Brown?”. In April, the last time this was put, the respondents split CON/CAMERON 54%: LAB/BROWN 32%.. The balance said they didn’t know.

So based on current polling if a PR system reduced it down to which party of the final two options people wanted then the Tories win by a mile.

More interesting from the data is the split of Lib Dem supporters. If Janet Daly’s thesis was right then all of them would be supporting Labour. Wrong! For this poll had Lib Dems supporters splitting CON/CAMERON 43%: LAB/BROWN 35%..

This has been quite a feature of polling for many months – more Lib Dem would prefer a Cameron-Tory victory than a Brown-Labour one.

So much of Tory thinking, I believe has been based on a wrong view of what LibDem voters would prefer. The notion that they all want Labour is nonsense.

Mike Smithson

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