Lib Dems surge ahead in Britain

Written By: - Date published: 4:05 pm, April 18th, 2010 - 28 comments
Categories: International, uk politics - Tags:

Just checked out the latest polling numbers over in the UK. It seems Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s performance in the first leaders debate is paying off. Clegg’s party has surged ahead at the expense of the Conservatives, taking the lead in several polls. (Latest BPIX poll, LDEM 32%, CON 31%, LAB 29%).

This could have huge implications for British politics. The UK polling report states:

There is a BPIX poll in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday which has topline figures of CON 31%(-7), LAB 28%(-3), LDEM 32%(+12). That’s the biggest drop for Conservatives so far, and the biggest surge for the Lib Dems and it puts the Liberal Democrats up in first place. The Lib Dems were in equal first place in a poll back in 2003, but I think you need to go back to around 1982 to find polls with them (or their predecessor parties) consistently in first place (Update Tom in the comments has flagged up one poll from 1985 that had the Alliance ahead)

As with ComRes today and YouGov yesterday, all three parties are within 4 or 5 points of each other, so realistically if the polls remain like this it shouldn’t be a surprise to see polls with any of the three parties in the lead.

Even on current numbers the Lib Dems would still only have approximately a third of the seats of Labour and Conservatives. That’s thanks to the unjust FPP system – let’s hope we here in NZ avoid heading down that path again.

With a majority vote in the Lib Dems favour however, there would be a huge mandate for proportional representation. And that can only be a good thing for Britain.

But what about the Prime Ministership? Even with far fewer seats, if Nick Clegg wins a majority of votes, there’s surely a mandate for him to take Downing Street as well?

28 comments on “Lib Dems surge ahead in Britain”

  1. outofbed 1

    With such a potential unfair result of the Lib dems in terms of seats vs %
    This will be great for the keep MMP campaign here
    A shining example of all that is wrong with FPP

  2. Anne 2

    A shining example indeed outofbed. In the event of a near three way split, I assume two of the parties will have to form a coalition government in the interim anyway. Which party are the LDEM likely to go with?

    • I dreamed a dream 2.1

      A few elections ago, the Lib Dems were going to get into coalition with Labour, except that Labour won so overwhelmingly that a coalition was irrelevant. So, now I would say the Lib Dems should go with Labour. Historically, they’re closer to Labour and are centre-left.

    • Joel Walsham 2.2

      Nick Clegg has said that he will give his support to the party with the biggest mandate his support. But even still he has not clarified if this is based on popular vote or on seat in the House. Because again it could easily be Labour get less votes and more seats, because of FPP.

  3. gobsmacked 3

    The contrast with MMP is extraordinary.

    Even in their worst election result, the Lib Dems got nearly 17%. If a minor party in NZ got 17% they’d be delirious – none of them get close to that. But the Lib Dems have never had even a sniff of power. They might not get it this time, even with a quarter of the vote. That’s the FPP lottery.

    They are a very impressive electoral machine, though. They target their seats very effectively, over years/decades, and it pays off. On a (very rough) pro rata, the Lib Dems would hold six or seven NZ electorates – that’s not seats (i.e party vote), but individual electorates. Imagine a “third force” in NZ doing that, in general electorates (NZ First in 1996 and the Maori Party today have held Maori seats, but that’s a bit different).

    I hope they can break through this time, but I wouldn’t bet on the UK adopting PR. Too many vested interests in Labour and the Tories.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    Looks like the Conservative vote is collapsing in favour of the Lib Dems. Last I saw the Tories were sitting at 40% (about a month ago). How does a party lose 10% of their vote that quickly?

    • zonk 4.1

      It was a protest vote?

    • Captain Rehab 4.2

      They run an oppositional campaign against the incumbent party while offering nothing better than a protest vote and then forget about the big third party.

      • gobsmacked 4.2.1

        How did the Tories lose so much support, so fast?

        Well, David Cameron was young and fresh and offered change without awkward specifics.

        Which was enough, until somebody stood next to him on TV, looking young and fresh and offering change without awkward specifics.

        Live by the shallow, die by the shallow. Serves the Tories right.

        • Marty G

          It’s like United Future in 2002. A lot of former Nat voters were deserting National but worried about giving too much power to Labour – up pops Peter Dunne. Smae dynamic with ex-Labour voters not really wnating to vote Tory.

          • blacksand

            and NZ First in ’96 – ex Labour voters not quite trusting them yet and thinking that Winnie ‘no deal with Bolger, Birch or Shipley (I think…)’ Peters would see them right. From memory 2/3 of NZF voters expected him to go with Labour post-election.

            ’99 and ’02 results was the upside of this though, IMO

  5. coolas 5

    Great to see LibDems on the rise.

    Was living in the UK when the Liberals (Whigs) merged with the Social Democrats. Paddy Ashdown. Roy Jenkins and David Steele were the big players. Can’t remember who came from what party.

    Shame there’s not a Liberal Democrat third party capable of 30%+ in NZ.

    • I dreamed a dream 5.1

      I reckon the high polling by National in NZ is due to many voters moving away from Labour and taking temporary shelter under National, and they may stay there for a few years. It’s a real shame that NZ does not have a Lib Dem type party to take in those Labour deserters. Maybe NZFirst is the closest at the moment and Winston should capitalise on that. Maybe he is already trying to capitalise on that.

  6. Salsy 6

    It really goes to show how the public vote. They dont really vote on the issues anymore, but a Live TV debate a few weeks before the election seals the deal… Strong speakers with resonant messages really make headways… Personally Im highly concerned now for Labour and still we see no change –

    • I dreamed a dream 6.1

      @Salsy, don’t despair yet. The good news is that Labour’s support has now steadied and is still on the up. Colmar had National at 57% vs Labour 28% at one stage. Now National 54% Labour 33% is respectable. I don’t see Labour’s vote collapsing anytime soon or later, but National’s support is there to lose. It’s still a long time to 2011 election.

  7. The lift for the Lib Dems is very good news for Labour. They stand to gain most under the effective gerrymander FPP provides, almost to the point of being able to govern alone.

    Sweet Poll of Polls tool from the Grauniad here:

  8. Salsy 8

    Oh my God! Dont mention the one-news colmar brunton poll over at Red Alert. I never write offensive pieces and have just had two posts deleted and been warned Im about to be Banned by Trevor Mallard for even mentioning it. What is going on?

    • gobsmacked 8.1

      You were way off-topic (as you are here). You can write about whatever you want, on your own blog. Simple.

    • I dreamed a dream 8.2

      @salsy, you were off-topic at Red Alert.

    • lprent 8.3

      salsy: I just banned The Baron for demanding that we write about some poll (that appears to be similar to the previous in the series). I also bumped several other comments on the same topic to OpenMike. Dropping unrelated material into the middle of a discussion that doesn’t grow out of the discussion is generally frowned on.

      I’d suggest that you read the last section of the about, and the policy. At least he was doing it in the right thread – OpenMike. If you want to discuss it, then there is the appropriate place.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Here’s the BBC swingometer, if anyone wants to play – it shows you how hard it will be for the Tories to win.

    Click on the Con-Lib Dem swing, and try to give the Tories a majority. And that’s even before the latest post-debate poll boost for Clegg.

  10. Marty G 10

    “if Nick Clegg wins a majority”

    you mean plurality 😉

  11. lprent 11

    If anyone is looking for the thread started by NickC on the Colmar-Brunton poll. It has been moved to the correct thread – OpenMike. I don’t take kindly to people trying to inject different topics into a discussion thread. That is what OpenMike is for.

  12. Rich 12

    The Tories and Labour have a gerrymander that’s enabled a roughly 60% centre left vote to deliver a right-wing government for the last thirty years. I think they’ll try anything to keep that, even a Lab-Con alliance (that could be simply the Tories not voting against Labour on confidence and supply for a few months until they can hold a fresh election).

    Even if the Lib Dems get in, I think they have all the signs of fluffing it badly – settling for a referendum on AV some time in the future and letting Labour or Tory dump it after a further election (even if they get AV, it doesn’t make the UK electoral system democratic).

    If the UK did get fair votes, it might not be the promised land for the Lib Dems. Look at the Alliance here – 18% under FPP, then other parties sprung up and they went to 10% and broke up. I think that would happen in the UK. (The Lib Dems are a pretty uneasy coalition – what they believe in very much depends on where in the country they’re from).

    • I dreamed a dream 12.1

      @Rich – “The Tories and Labour have a gerrymander that’s enabled a roughly 60% centre left vote to deliver a right-wing government for the last thirty years.”

      I’m interested to know why you consider the Labour government in the UK is right-wing. I would have thought the UK Labour government is left wing.

      • Rich 12.1.1

        If you consider that colonial invasions of foreign countries, arbitrary criminal punishment for invented offences and an immigration policy based on blatant racism is “left-wing”, then Labour is that.

        Much in the same way that Michael Lhaws or Winston Peters are left-wing politicians, I suppose (although UK Labour are an awful lot keener on big business than NZ First).

      • Bill 12.1.2

        “I would have thought the UK Labour government is left wing.”


        If it was, then Plaid Cymru and the SNP wouldn’t get the support they do in Wales and Scotland respectively.

        The gerrymandering it seems extends to TV election debates where neither Plaid Cymru nor the SNP get to participate meaning that Welsh and Scottish viewers are potentially misled on domestic matters such as health and education which are the responsibility of their devolved governments….not Westminster. In the case of Scotland, the SNP is the party of government, yet it was denied a place on the debate.

        So the TV debate frames the questions…sets a UK/ English narrative…. and Welsh and Scottish voters get to decide who they vote for, at least in part, on that false premise.

  13. Daniel 13

    Nice quote from Lord Mandelson on the BBC: Lord Mandelson warned a hung parliament might give “disproportionate power” to the Lib Dems.

    From the latest YouGov poll they are in first place with 33%, but according to the BBC seat calculator the would only get 20% of the seats. I suspect that sort of disproportionality wasn’t what Mandelson was referring to.

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