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Is now the time to take this back off the shelf?

February 18th, 2009


PoliticsHome Sept 2008

Are September’s projections still applicable?

Last September the then new PoliticsHome site published an amazing poll that covered more than 34,000 separate online interviews in a total of 238 parliamentary constituencies where the big battles at the next election are going to be fought.

The sample was seventeen times the current maximum for the polling of marginals and the PH team, in conjunction with YouGov, devised some interesting approaches to testing things like tactical voting. Fieldwork was carried from July 22nd to August 4th and it took well over a month to process the data and put it into a presentable form.

    Alas the project was very quickly overtaken by events. The banking crisis suddenly erupted, we saw the early rumblings of Brown Bounce II and the results of a survey that had taken place during Labour’s nadir didn’t seem so relevant any more.

So the projected results that suggested that the Tories would end up with 398 seats, Labour 160 and the Lib Dems 44 looked a bit ridiculous and from a previous era.

But now we are back with double digit Tory leads and there’s a much bigger betting focus on specific marginal seats. I think the time is ripe to take the report off the digital shelf once again. And there are some gems in it. Just look at this table on the potential for tactical voting in CON-LD marginals which deals with one of the common topics on PB at the moment.

As well as a normal voting intention question respondent were then asked whether they were likely to vote tactically for a different party. Finally this was put: “And thinking specifically about your own constituency and the candidates who are likely to stand there which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency at the next general election?”

A key finding was that almost a third of those who answered Labour to national voting intention question said they would actually vote Liberal Democrat in their own constituency. Interestingly there was also a lower level of Conservative support when the specific constituency point was put suggesting, perhaps, a personal vote for LD incumbents.

The survey also found Tory tactical voting for Lib Dems when Clegg’s party was the main challenger to Labour. There was also evidence of Conservative supporters being willing to vote tactically against Labour by backing the Liberal Democrats. But the polling found very little evidence of Lib Dem supporters ready to vote Tory to get Labour out in a specific seat.

From my personal observation I think that that last point is changing and that there will be a level of LD>CON tactical switching where applicable.

There’s lots more in the poll. Check the poll out for yourself – it’s well worthwhile. Let’s hope that PoliticsHome carries out the exercise again. It’ll be doing a great service.






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