The Dissenter's Voice

The ocassional comments, opinions, rambling and rants of a liberal dissenter in New Labour's Britain

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Reading the runes

The art of political fortune telling has come a long way since the local Chieftain's pollster would open a pig's bladder to discern his chances in the upcoming battle but after this week's polls we may have to reconsider that option. It's been an interesting week though with YouGov, ICM, Mori and Communicate Research all reporting widely different results.

The Tories' rating has been very similar in all 3 from 39-35% but there is disagreement among the pollsters on the split between Labour (ranging from 37-29%) and the LibDems on between 22-14%.

It's pretty clear that the Tories' support is in the high 30's, good but not good enough to guarantee victory in an election. Having said that though it is possible for the Tories to scrape home with that level of support. How? Well, its the gap between the two main parties that will decide the outcome of the next election. If the Tories can't increase their support over 40% they will need the LibDems to take Labour votes for them. That's why the uncertaintly over the split between Labour & the LibDems makes all the difference.

I suspect the reality is that Labour are in the low 30's & the LibDems in the high teens. Either way though, the real balance of support won't be settled until Tony Blair leaves Downing St. Only when Brown takes over will we see if Labour can recover some ground with the voters who have left them in the past few years. I don't place any great store in the hypothetical polls between Brown & Cameron. When he takes over perception of Brown will change. There will be a 'Brown Bounce' in the polls, though how high it will go and how long it will last no-one knows.

Until we see the nature of the linkely bounce and whether it signals a permanent consolidation of Labour support or a temporary hike we won't really know the landscape on which the next election will be fought. Until then interesting though they are the polls are fairly meaningless.


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