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When he goes will Labour lose Tony’s personal vote?

June 28th, 2006

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    Could 1 in 25 Labour supporters switch if there is no Blair?

With Tony Blair reported this morning to be ready to announce the date when he will stand down it is worth asking whether this will be all good for the party in the polls.

    For a close look at detailed findings from this week’s YouGov poll suggests that the Prime Minister has a small but significant personal vote which will not be there when he is gone.

These are electors who will only vote Labour if he is the leader. It has long been suggested that this group exists but until this survey, I believe, it has not been possible to make a reasonable guess at the numbers of Labour voters involved.

  • To the question If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Conservative Government led by David Cameron or a Labour Government led by Tony Blair? the Labour voters split: LAB 92% – CON 1%.
  • But when precisely the same question was put with Gordon Brown named as the party leader the Labour voters split LAB 88% – CON 4%.
    • So this seems to suggest that Tony does indeed have a personal vote with about one in 25 Labour voters prepared to switch when he steps down.

    This question was, of course, artificial and was forced. There were no options to indicate support for other parties but it is interesting nethertheless.

    The great consolation for Gordon Brown is from the responses of Lib Dem voters to the two questions. With Blair named as Labour leader the Lib Dems split LAB 40% – CON 33%. When the Chancellor’s name is substituted for Blair the numbers were LAB 48%: CON 28%. The reason, of course, that these shares do not add up to 100% is because of the “don’t knows”.

    It has long been known that when Tony Blair led Labour to the landslide victory in 1997 he attracted a significant number of Tory voters who had never before contemplated voting Labour. At the 2005 election the big move was from Labour to the Lib Dems and clearly some of these will return when Tony moves on.

    I find it extraordinary that after all his trials and tribulations Tony still has what appears to be a significant personal vote.

    Remember to enter the PBC by-elections competition. This closes this evening at 7pm. Get your predictions recorded here by that time. For latest by-election betting click here.

    Mike Smithson






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