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Will Crosby play his final week “Concession” trick?

April 22nd, 2005

    Can Tory voters be motivated and Labour ones demotivated at the same time

Ever since Lynton Crosby was appointed as Tory Campaign chief last October I have been intrigued by the possibility that he could play a final week tactic that worked to bring John Howard to power in the 1996 Australian General Election.

There, as things looked bleak John Howard all but conceded the election but urged that on polling day voters would “send a message” to the then Labour Prime Minister Paul Keating. Well a message was sent and Howard won.

Unlike Australia where there’s compulsory voting there such an approach would seem to be easier here because all the Tories have got to do is to take away the perceived risk amongst Labour voters of the consequences of them not voting.

And this is where Crosby’s final week “concession” strategy could come in. It would not have to be overt and could be pinned on the polls. Michael Howard could say, “Well the opinion polls do not look good and if Britain votes like that on Thursday then we will be defeated. All I hope is that enough people send a message to Mr. Blair that we do not trust him and do not like his style of leadership”.

    Surely Crosby could devise such a phrase for Michael Howard that would motivate Conservative voters and demotivate Labour ones?

It would not take too many Labour waverers to stay at home on May 5th for this approach to work. Unlike 2001 when Tony Blair went into the final week with ICM showing a Labour lead of 19% and Mori a margin of 23% things are much much closer this time. Today’s polls are with comparisons on the last similar poll:-

  • YouGov in the Telegraph CON 34(+1): LAB 37 (+1): LD 22%(-1)
  • Mori in the Sun has CON 32 (nc): LAB 39 (-1): LD 22 (+1)
  • Populus rolling poll in the Times has CON 34 (+1): LAB 39 (nc): LD 20 (-1)
  • A full round-up of all General Election Betting is available here

    Mike Smithson






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