APOLOGIES FOR EARLIER TECHNICAL PROBLEMS
The great consolation for Labour with its current problems is that the Tories remain completely stuck. The following show the average annual opinion poll ratings from ICM for the Conservatives over the past ten years and although there has been a small improvement the figures remain pretty consistent.
1997 29.2% (General Election 31.4%)
2000 32.5% (excluding petrol crisis surveys)
2001 31.25% (General Election 32.7%)
Based on this trend it is hard to see the Tories doing much better than 34% – but it is also hard to see them finishing up at the General Election with less than 32% and the casual talk of the party’s imminent demise is somewhat premature.
The real issue on May 5 – if that is when it is – will be the extent that the Labour share is dilluted by the Liberal Democrats and whether the desire to keep the Tories out is still paramount.
This factor last time was the main reason why Labour got so many seats for its vote share. There was a huge amount of tactical voting and the Labour performance was much better in the Tory seats that had been won in 1997 than elsewhere.
Issues like the hunting ban, the Iraq war and its aftermath and the current Brown-Blair squabbles might not affect the mass of voters – but they could turn significant small sections of the electorate that might make the coming contest closer than it appears.
Latest General Election spread betting prices from Spreadfair see a small drop in the Labour buy price and a drop in the Lib Dem Dem sell price. The other parties remain at their previous levels.
LAB 352-354.8: CON 193-197: LD 68-71.5: SNP 5-6: PC 3.8-5: UKIP 0.5-1.1