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.

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  • slug

    In NI the UCU link up is certainly livening up the debate. Danny Kennedy is being asked about gays, privatisation, tax etc on Radio Ulster. This is the first General Election with real issues being discussed and that is because of (i) the hung parliament being possible and (ii) the link up

    This may well be the start of something new, especially if a new voting system such as AV makes hung parliaments more and more likely. And if Elections to the new Upper House have a similar flavour.

  • slug

    Danny Kennedy’s Talkback session very informative on the new politics of Westminster elections – not one question on constitutional issues. All on economic and social.

  • aquifer

    This is a funny election all right. Scots and Welsh nationalists could do well, and I would not be surprised to see the Alternative Vote come out the other end.

  • For some time the polls have been showing that persistent uptick in “Others”. The weirdo Tories on ConHome lambasted UKIP. The Left has obsessed about BNP. I’ve always felt it represented a new rootlessness among uncommitted electors, prepared to say anything, to vote anything that amounted to the “none of the above”.

    From nowhere has sprung this orange dove, cooing seductively.

    With a week to go, it’s not going to go Norwegian Blue dead parrot.

    So, no Tory landslide. No Labour phew-by-a-whisker.

    Curiously, with the exception of “Lord” Ashcroft’s ability to find more mega-bucks, it then becomes everyone else’s interest to delay Round Two for a decent amount of time. And, quite frankly, having made a choice, the Great British Public (even its the NI outpost) won’t take easily to being made to do it all again. So, whatever happens next week, we’re probably stuck with it for at least a couple of years.

    By which time the new dispensation may even seem quite sane. A lot less legislation will be passed. Many consultants, think-tanks and political advisers will be at a loss. A neo-Butskellist economic consensus will gently evolve. Songs of joy will resound around the land.

    Or something.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I am still inclined to think that Cameron will be next PM…and the Tories will do better than most expect.
    The Conservative Party is Britains dirty little secret. People tell pollsters they are voting Lib Dem and Labour but safe within the polling booth they vote Tory.
    I am to some extent reminded of 1992.
    Labour ahead in polls.
    David DImbleby deflates us all at 10pm by telling us the exit polls are neck and neck.
    And the first four results show that the Tories will still govern.
    I hope Im wrong.