Opinium chart on tactical voting showing how Tory backers least likely to be making negative choce pic.twitter.com/Gz810cj5nA
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) February 10, 2015
It’s a term that we hear all the time. Because we have first past the post the only way that those not supporting the two parties perceived to be on top locally can use their vote effectively is by switching to one that is in contention in order to stop another party.
The theory is simple and with the proliferation of parties should, in theory at least, be highly significant in May. Will UKIP supporters go back to the Tories? Can LAB win over GRN backers in key fights? Most of all how will former LD backers move?
There are also other possible combinations. Will those backing the union in Scotland switch to the party that’s most likely to thwart the SNP in their constituency and could we see blues going purple to stop red?
What strikes me about the above polling from Opinium is that at this stage not many voters are telling the pollsters that they will make a switch to block a party they don’t want to win.
I was part of the sample for this Opinium poll and the voting preference I gave is possibly not the one I’ll end up voting for. I want my “team” to be seen to be doing well nationally but I’ve got distinct views on what I would like to happen locally. I’ve never switched before so it is very much in the balance.
No doubt that as the campaign hots up both the reds and blues where I live will be doing their best to encourage switching. What puts me off the former is their sheer tribalism and they don’t talk in a manner that makes moving easy.
Labour’s tactical voting rhetoric is simply awful. They seem to regard the support of non-Tories as an entitlement and there’s no sign that they’ve even started to comprehend what’s involved.
Tony Blair saw how to do it 1997 when he made a great pitch to those not in the LAB camp to “lend us your votes to get rid of the Tories”.
My guess is that the Tories are honing messages to encourage UKIP returners and the LDs will use tried and tested means to try to hold on to what they have got.