Clegg bubble boosts Brown

The Sun gloats over Brown trailing after the debate.

THE General Election was turned on its head tonight when the Lib Dems pushed Labour into THIRD place following the historic leaders’ telly debate. Nick Clegg – boosted by a convincing victory in Thursday’s showdown – saw his party leap eight points to 30 per cent. The sensational YouGov poll for The Sun had David Cameron’s Tories still in the lead on 33 per cent. But Gordon Brown’s ailing Labour Party was in disarray, relegated to a dismal 28 per cent.

What the Sun didn’t say.. From the UK Polling Report

On a uniform swing these figures would leave Labour the largest party, despite being in third place. The Lib Dems would have around about 100 seats. In reality though, it’s almost impossible to say how this would translate into an election result

And Peter Riddell in the Times confirms..

Peter Riddell….

the upside in terms of seats is limited. The Lib Dems’ current poll rating of 20 per cent would give them 51 seats. Raising that to 24 per cent would give them 75 seats However, if both Labour and the Lib Dems had 27 per cent of the vote, against 34 per cent for the Tories, Mr Clegg would still have only 86 MPs, against 261 for Mr Brown and 272 for Mr Cameron. Again the Tories would be the main losers. Only if the Lib Dems leapfrog Labour and win 30 per cent, against 26 per cent, will Mr Clegg have more than 100 MPs and make serious inroads into Mr Brown’s ranks


  • Cynic2

    …and on the You Gov poll Mr Clegg has done just that

    But it will be short lived and benefit the Tories . Once voters realise that a vote for the Lib Dems means a raft of barking and policies including adopting the Euro at this time, they will vote Tory

  • Sammy Morse

    You are assuming a Uniform National Swing here, Brian. It was that Uniform National Swing that saw the Alliance in 1983 return only a tenth the number of MPs as Labour despite polling over 90% of their vote share. However, 1983 was a long time ago and much has changed.

    First of all, the LibDems have become much better at turning votes into seats.

    Secondly, trust funding has to some degree evened up the resource disadvantage the Lib Dems have with the two biggest parties.

    Thirdly, the Alliance surge in 1983 happened at the same time as a Tory surge. Alliance overtook Labour in many seats but the Tories moved even further ahead and won them. This election is starting to deliver a Labour collapse (especially in southern England) along with, at best, a rather flaccid Tory boost, and a record vote minor parties, especially for right-wing splinter parties. Every UKIP vote in Eastbourne, say, makes it easier for the LibDems to take one against the head from the Tories in a town with a lot of poverty that belies its genteel image.

    If this poll is more than a blip and holds through the second debate, money, literature and phone banking resource will be turned on a host of second-tier target seats, especially from Labour. Most of these seats are dominated by the LibDems at council level anyway, so have an election-winning infrastructure in a way their equivalents did not in 1983. About 10% of the electorate in England consistently vote LibDem in local elections but Labour in General Elections, and that segment of the electorate is concentrated in about four dozen strong LibDem council areas.

    If the LibDems can harness half of that on the back of a credibility boost, they would be well into the 100s in terms of seats won on a 30% vote share. I am not privy to any LibDem targeting decisions, but I would imagine if canvass data and national polling figures are showing, say, Liverpool Wavertree is in the bag, resources will be poured into Garston and Halewood or St. Helen’s South. If City of Durham looks in the bag, Newcastle-upon-Tyne North will have a surge of HQ interest, if Islington South and Hampstead and Kilburn both look in the bag, resources will be piled into Holborn and St. Pancras, etc., etc.

    And on these sort of figures, you would also get the sort of gains from nowhere that Labour had in middle-class North London in 1997 (Red Metroland) – e.g. you might have all three Newcastle seats, Blaydon, Wansbeck and Blyth Valley falling if skilled working-class voters on Tyneside defect en masse as they already started doing in 2005, despite the fact that those the non-City seats have never had great party membership or activist bases despite persistently high Liberal votes since the ’80s.

    At the moment, the most likely scenario is that 30% is a blip and the LibDem poll rating will drift gently down to the mid 20s. So that sort of strategy can blow up in your face if there is a late swing away, but if ever there was a time when the LibDems should be marching towards the sound of gunfire, this is it.

    And who knows what will happen if the LibDems look like they actually might win the election? At the very least, if the LibDems outpoll Labour but only win 100-120 seats to Labour’s 200 or so, then the case for some form of PR, in a parliament that seems almost certain to be hung, becomes almost unanswerable.

    That’s still unlikely, but I can’t at this point see the LibDems not polling more than Kennedy managed in 2005. And that will probably keep all but the most hopeless of southern marginals (Romsey) in the bag.

  • Sammy Morse

    a vote for the Lib Dems means a raft of barking and policies

    Barking policies like inheritance tax cuts for millionaires while public services are decimated*, being the party that engineered the complete deregulation of the UK financial services sector and is still in its pocket, and spending close on 100 billion on a non-independent nuclear weapons system while public services are decimated so Cameron can induldge his bedtime fantasies of nuking China? (Hint on the UK’s “independent” nuclear deterrent: it’s a double key system – the Americans have the other key and Britian can’t fire without their say-so.)

    * It’s not that I have any illusions about the overall state of the UK’s public account and am not unaware that difficult resource decisions will have to be taken. It’s the glee in Tory eyes when they talk about “paring back the state” I don’t trust.

  • Drumlins rock

    The idea of the third place party having a majority and forming the government does rather take the mickey out of democracy does it not?

  • Mick Fealty


    riddells calculations seem sound enough. I’ve spent some time in the west country in the last week where you might have expected to see evidence of a squeeze from the Tories.

    Instead the Tories are implimenting dog whistle plans to activate their base, which I suspect is not going to bring in that tranche of Lib Dem seats they were expecting on Somerset and Cornwall. Where they might exceed Kennedy is in the north where they could start taking seats off Labour.

    But strategically, a hung parliament is an attractive pitch to people who think Labour is knackered and the Tories are untrustworthy. I would expect a degree of tactical voting for a hung parliament, and not just against Labour or the Tories as we have seen in the past.

    Vince Cable is box office both on the centre right and centre left. And Clegg is only now getting out of his box. And People like the change of tone.

    This looks like a short term effect. And I would expect things to settle back down. But in truth, the Lib Dems are speaking more expansively about the problems the UK is facing, if onlybbecause no one in the press is running the same tight rule over their proposals as Labour and the Cons.

    As for joining the Euro? Not a chance: even if the next gov were led by LDs.

  • Scaramoosh

    Oh yes, this is a short term thing, just like the early “Obama blip.” Let’s actually wait and see how things play out, rather than indulging in spurious predictions. Nobody saw this coming, and nobody knows what the real mood in the country is.

    The only certainty is that Cameron has blown it, and if he is to score points against Clegg in the next debate, he is going to be forced to move to the right, something that is going to significantly undermine the air-brushed middle of the road image that he has built up for himself over the last three years.

    Before the debate the odds were as follows; Conservative Majority 1.75; No Overall Majority 2.68; Labour Majority 17.0.

    After the debate :Conservative Majority 1.83; No Overall Majority 2.54; Labour Majority 17.5.

    Within twenty fours hours of the debate:Conservative Majority 2.10; No Overall Majority 2.14; Labour Majority 19.5.

    Money talks – if you are so sure that this is a blip and the that the Tories recover once “we all come to our senses” then put your money where your mouth is.

  • !. Discount the bookies’ odds: that nonsense is inflated by the spread-betters and the dire counter-intuitive rubbish spouting by Mike Smithson’s personal-puffery. Were that the sure-fire way to instant wealth, turf accountancy would be an extinct trade: in my neck of the woods their shopfronts are nearly as common as mobile ‘phones and shoeshops. Indeed, Scaramoosh @ 08:31 AM, money talks, but it’s not necessarily straight from the horse’s mouth.

    2. This polling is a blip in the campaign. Nearly three weeks to go, so don’t get the yips yet. What this shows is:

    * The tv companies know how to sell a concept (and all three, including Murdoch with the next one, have something to sell).
    * The first debate does seem to have got through to a remarkable audience. Is there any research on whether this was a “new” audience for politics? Even then, was it merely an appetite for Gladiator conflict? If the debates motivate people to vote, that must be good for the LibDems, not bad for Labour, and no great shakes for the Tories in the suburbs and shires. Now factor in how it affects expectations for rounds two and three: who has most to lose (and it’s certainly not Gordon Brown)?
    * It indicates that the Tory polling figures could be, just could be friable. I doubt if Mandelson and co. are wetting themselves.
    * Above all, this is metropolitan stuff. Among media liars and places where they swing it may be a water-cooler moment, but less enduringly so in the sticks and among the real life of us proles.

    By the way, I’m not wholly convinced by the usually-reliable Sammy Morse on the “hopeless” state of the new Romsey and Southampton North seat (why does that sound wrong? Like those announcements we Londoners hear of “southbound Northern Line trains”?).

    This is the Lib Dem “golden triangle”, along with Huhne’s seat at Eastleigh and the former Winchester seat. Yes, the Tories took control of Southampton in their annus mirabilis of 2008, but that was their first twitch in a quarter-century.

    Meanwhile, Sarah Gidley has been in situ for a decade, while this will be her fourth Tory opponent in as many elections (with a UKIPper to split the Tory natural vote). She has already squeezed any pips out of the Labour vote. My impression. too, is that the LibDems have the feet on the streets.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Jaysus Cameron came across as the second coming of Blair !

    I don’t even think that Cherie wants that !

    Because Blair “had” success for Labour the Tories decide to go with their own model. The populace have had more than enough of Blair or plastic Blairs though.

  • Sammy Morse


    I may be wrong, but I believe the boundary commission has reviewed you out of the perennial Lib Dem near miss of North Dorset into the LibDem held super-marginal and top Tory target of Mid Dorset and North Poole. Any chance of an blog on how being a voter on the receiving end on that sort of onslaught feels?

  • If Dorset is anything like Brent East/Central, Mick should have a couple of binfuls of bumpf by now featuring the inevitable barchart and a photo of the liberal candidate about to go to work on the graffiti outside his front door.