Curtice is right: LD switchers aren’t going back “any time soon”
In a broad-ranging interview just published Britain’s leading political scientist, Professor John Curtice made these observations about Labour’s polling position and GE2015.
“..basically the reason why the Labour party is in the lead is because of the loss of Liberal Democrat support to Labour. It goes all the way back to 2010 and itâ€™s not obvious that itâ€™s going to go back anytime soon…
..I see no reason why the general election should result in a transfer of voters back from Labour to the Liberal Democrats unless there is a severe decline in Labourâ€™s ability to offer anything. Because in a sense those Liberal Democrat voters that are going to Labour are primarily there because of push rather than pull..”
This has prompted me to look at the polling in more detail and to produce the trend chart above showing the monthly average in the twice-weekly Populus polls of 2010 LD voters now saying that they’ll vote Labour.
I chose Populus because there are at least 8 polls a month with an aggregate sample of more than 15k and it presents its data in a manner which makes this analysis easier. While YouGov polls show the proportion of LD>LAB switchers they exclude the don’t knows and refusers. I wanted to show the switchers as a proportion of all those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 including the large numbers of those who have still to make up their minds.
The Populus series started just over a year ago and there have been about 100 polls each of which has been analysed.
At GE2010 the Lib Dems secured just under 24% of the GB vote and a quarter of that represents a large slice of the electorate. Because of the importance of this to the general election outcome I plan to continue collecting data and producing regular reports right up to polling day.