A lot happened between Dec 1981 and June 1983
Whenever people raise the question of whether the Tories can win the next election I like to point to the above opinion poll by Gallup in December 1981.
At the time the big story was the rise of the SDP and this poll took place shortly after Shirley Williams had had a spectacular victory in the Crosby by-election.
The new party had the media narrative with it and quite a number of LAB MPs defected as well as a CON one.
That the Liberal/SDP Alliance should poll over 50% was quite remarkable.
It didn’t last. Events, in the name of the Falklands, intervened and within a seven months the whole political landscape had changed. At the June 1983 election the CON vote share dropped by 1.5% but Mrs. Thatcher government was returned with a majority of 144.
Looking back at that period there are certain similarities with the recent UKIP surge.
The main differences are that the purples have not won a Westminster by-election and in this parliament have not seen an MP of another party defecting to them. They still have zero MPs.
Also UKIP’s top poll rating of 22% is nowhere the 50.5% plus that the Lib/SDP saw.
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