Will the LDs do better than the seat calculators?
Reflecting on last week’s Bedford election, which was bigger in terms of votes cast than all but two of the by elections in this parliament, the readiness of many Labour voters to ditch their allegiance and vote for the party best placed to beat the Tories was a key factor.
This is a reminder of how potent this is likely to be at the general election particularly in those key 20 – 30 LD>CON marginal seats which the uniform swing calculators suggest will go blue.
We saw this earlier in the month in the PoliticsHome mega marginals survey with the 33,000 sample. After taking into account questions designed to tease out the possibility of tactical voting and to measure it the poll produced the moves illustrated in the chart above.
The tactical voting questioning has been criticised for being leading. Maybe – just read it.
“As you will know, many people cast their vote at general elections for the party that they most support, many other people vote tactically â€“ that is, for a party that isnâ€™t their first choice, but are able to keep an even worse party from winning in their local constituency. Thinking about how you are likely to vote at the next election, will youâ€¦
* Vote for the party or candidate that I most want to win
* Vote for a party or candidate that is not my first choice, but who can stop a party I donâ€™t like from winning
* Donâ€™t know
And thinking specifically about your own constituency and the candidates who are likely to stand there which partyâ€™s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency at the next general election?
Before Bedford I had some sympathy with the critics. After watching that election closely I’ve changed my view.
The results from this questioning produced far fewer Tory gains from the Lib Dems than many had been expecting with Clegg’s party only seeing a drop of seven seats.
Fortunately for the blues the PH poll also found disproportionate Tory progress in target-rich parts of the midlands and the north.
I’m a buyer of Lib Dem seats on the spread markets.