Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Latest poll trends

Labour's lead narrows to 2 percent according to latest MORI poll in the Financial Times.

I try not to get too excited over polls that give an indication the Tories are going to do reasonably well. Unfortunately, it also seems to imply that the Lib Dems will pretty much get a similar result to what they got in the 2001 Election, which could be a little risky given the wonders of our electoral system.

Another factor to consider is that MORI polls tend to overestimate support for Labour on a consistent basis. I don't have any factual evidence to back this up, but when I think back to previous elections I can recall MORI always seeming to give Labour 45% and above, when the election ended up nowhere near that.

Despite this closeness, the Labour majority will still be significant, not too far off the 100 mark.

There's an interesting part in the article where it talks about how bringing Tony Blair into the campaign seems to have had an impact on Labour voters. I think this is very true. Blair is something of a liability for Labour, particularly when it comes to the solid working class vote, and the fickle middle classes who stuck with Tony in 2001. Until very recently, you were very hard pressed to find an image of Blair on Labour's website, whereas the Tory and Lib Dem sites featured their leaders quite prominently. Says an awful lot, I thought.

If the Tories, and particularly the Lib Dems, can focus their entire campaigns on the untrustworthiness of Blair, and his "failure to deliver" in certain areas, and pursue it relentlessly, even if it requires some bending of the truth (and there will be plenty of that: we have already seen it over the immigration issue) ... then the mud will eventually stick.

It's already looking likely that turnout will be low. And if the polls start to show a considerable slide for Labour, then some things may not turn out as planned. Don't forget that a General Election is not guaranteed in May. If it starts to look like Labour will lose, then it could well be delayed until the autumn, or even next year. Probably unlikely, but worth bearing in mind.


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