Monday, 19 April 2010

But what about those LibDems who wouldn't want to back a winner?

A Next Left trend-spotting award for getting ahead of the game goes to John Rentoul and the Independent on Sunday, for publishing what may well have been the very first 'LibDems could win the election' story in a national newspaper.

On Sunday 30th January 2005.

Although 20 per cent of voters say they currently intend to vote for Charles Kennedy's party, 37 per cent of those surveyed agreed with the statement: "I would vote for the Liberal Democrats if they had a realistic chance of winning in my constituency". Those who say they would make the switch to the Liberal Democrats include 29 per cent of Labour supporters, 19 per cent of Conservatives and one-third of those backing other parties.

If people voted along these lines in winnable constituencies, Mr Kennedy would become Prime Minister with a majority of 126 over Labour, and the Conservatives would be reduced to a rump of 56 seats.

But there is something else rather curious about that poll, conducted by ComRes in January 2005.

While 29% of Labour voters and 19% of Conservatives might have been willing to switch to the LibDems, 15% of those intending to vote LibDem said they would not do so if they thought the party could win their seat.

I am sure the question will be asked frequently again. We will hear about the possibility of LibDem momentum building. So just keep half an eye out too for the minority of LibDem voters who might be put off by the possibility of victory!

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