Election 2010: Smarter GB electorate playing with the political classes?

Alex Kane reckons that the Tories will still make it across the line in this election. My own view is that the forces at work are more complex than at any time in my memory (and I can go back to about 1970), not least because of the complex tools available via the net (take a bow Electoral Calculus). I suspect the humble two party swingometer is functionally dead from here on in. Regardless of the outcome of this election.

Interestingly though, he thinks (like Brian) that even if Cameron doesn’t make the majority, he will try to go it alone. And if the Scottish polls are right, the SNP will keep their customary distance on the opposition benches. Tim Bale in the FT outlines just how soft the support still remains:

First, an average of the three big polls published on Sunday (BPIX, ComRes and YouGov) puts the Tories on 34, the Lib Dems on 29 and Labour on 27. This suggests that the Lib Dem surge has plateaued and that, compared with a week ago, the Tories are a couple of points up, Labour a couple down. Measured by the same polls, however, the gap between the Tories and Labour remains exactly the same as it was the weekend before the debate.

Second, support for the Lib Dems is softer than that of its opponents – 42 per cent of those who told ICM they would vote Lib Dem confessed they might change their minds, compared with 26 per cent of Labour and 21 per cent of Tory supporters. Third, only 17 per cent of people think Nick Clegg would make the most capable prime minister, according to Mori. David Cameron beats Gordon Brown, but only by 32 to 28 – a much smaller lead than leaders on course for a majority usually enjoy at this stage. Finally, there lurk many voters – perhaps up to a quarter – who have yet to make up their minds.

All of which suggests this will be a watershed election, regardless of its outcome. Not least because, like the X Factor and many other of those trashy Saturday audience participation shows, the audience may be relishing toying with a political classes that has not yet discovered the means to ‘play’ the audience back.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty