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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Because I don't do polls

Those who say the Liberal Democrats had a bad conference must be pretty stunned by a series of polls that show us challenging and, in one case overtaking Labour for second place. These polls are only snapshots of course and no doubt will balance out over the Conference season however the latest is worth noting for its historical significance. It was 1982 when an opinion poll showed the Liberal Democrats (or our predecessor parties) ahead of Labour:

Tory 36%
Lib Dem 25%
Labour 24%

It is also worth noting what happens when this is fed into Electoral Calculus. That site allocates seats on this share of the vote at 327 for the Tories, 209 for Labour and 82 for the Liberal Democrats.

Electoral Calculus is of course flawed and I would expect the Liberal Democrats to do slightly better than that if they polled these figures in a General Election but nevertheless the trend is correct.

Labour can come third in the popular vote and still be the second largest party by a mile. If that does not show up the injustice of the electoral system then what will?

If you feel aggrieved with the voting system become a 21st century Sir Gawain and make it your quest, remember people prefer to vote for a person rather than a list.
I agree. I am not in favour of the Additional Member System (or lists) I prefer the Single Transferable Vote system whereby you get to vote for an individual.
The first MORI poll to show Labour third in decades - but not the first opinion poll.There was one earlier this year.

Two points .....

1. Which flavour of STV ?

2. Can we expect a strong campaign soon ?
There is only one flavour of STV though we can argue about the size of the constituencies and how many members are elected. I have been campaigning on this all my life as has my party.
I don't do opinion polls either. I do look at by-election results. The most recent ones don't show any dramatic gains for us, but they do show a patchy, but distinctive, increase in our percentage share.

Nor do the Conservatives results (actual votes in actual ballot boxes, as Paddy used to say) over the last six months give them any cause for cheer.

As to preferential voting, I see that one of the Milibands has now come out in favour of AV. Since this is the system that kept Australian conservative PM John Howard in power for at least one term longer than his popular support justified, one can see its attractions to a desperate Labour administration.
The only thing which would show up the injustice of the present system more would be a party winning a landslide majority in the Commons on 42% of the vote nationally.
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