16 April 2010

Lib Dems striding effortlessly towards majority government?

Well, YouGov have results from a poll conducted just after the debate and it's pretty extraordinary stuff: Tory 33%, Lib Dems 30%, Labour 28%. Yep, if this is right, the Lib Dems are now in second place. A much bigger shift than I'd have thought, and they will probably drop back a bit, but I guess this just underlines that everyone's support is, as someone once said of Lyndon Johnson "a mile wide and an inch deep".

Just for fun, I fed the swings into the Guardian swingometer again. The Lib Dem gain - which would be up 9% on the 2005 result - was almost off the scale. Effectively an 8 or 9 percent swing from Labour to the Libs with the Tories stuck at their 2005 level of support. For the record, this produced:

Labour - 278 seats
Tories - 244
Lib Dems - 96

Once again this brings home the insanity of the electoral system - Labour with least votes but most seats?! Mental.

But the key thing is that - in contrast to the 1983 election where virtually all the votes the Lib Dems (or Lib-SDP Alliance as was) were gained from Labour, Clegg is drawing support pretty much equally from both parties. Intriguingly, a result with the Lib Dems getting 30% could mean that they could form a majority coalition with EITHER Labour or the Tories. Which way would Clegg jump? My guess is that Gordon would cave into a demand for full proportional representation with STV and we'd have a Lib Dem-Labour coalition. Only because Cameron looks least likely to compromise on voting reform - but I may be underestimating his guile.

This one really is up in the air now - I don't think the swingometers are at all reliable with swings of this magnitude, and there could be any result at all. Shit, if the Lib Dems keep trending up they could be looking at 40% support and a majority of about 300 or so. Well it would be an interesting result...

I agree with Red Two's comment on the last post that the acclaim for Clegg's performance seems to have ballooned out of proportion to how good he actually was. Maybe it's just that against the cheesiness of Cameron and the stiltedness of Brown, anyone - even the walking abomination that is Tony Blair - would have performed well. I'd love to have seen what would have happened to voting figures for UKIP or the Greens if they'd have been let into the debate.

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