It’s not all over

 

Although I’ve earlier reported the Kellner and Rallings predictions of 300 seats or so for the Conservatives that would almost certainly take them into a minority government position, I’m nonetheless puzzled by the extent of  defeatism reported to be coming from the Labour camp which the increasingly committed MSM is obligingly amplifying.  Hunting pack, Gadarene swine or what?

Today, it would seem  it’s all over, had it not been for the following timely corrective in mid morning.  While archanalyst Prof John Curtice has been hired for the duration by the bloodcurdingly partisan Sunday Telegraph, he’s anything but paper’s creature. Curtice confirms what a second squint at the figures tells us straight away. Try squeezing the Lib Dems from any direction just a millimetre or two in the BBC’s interactive election calculator  and see what happens.

 

John Curtice says

If the Conservatives could pull ahead by another of couple of points or so, then the winning post would at least be in sight. Yet equally, if the Tory lead were to narrow a little, Mr Cameron might yet still find he does not even lead the largest party.

There is little chance the Lib Dems will win more seats than Labour. The electoral system will ensure that does not happen. But if they push Labour into third place in votes for the first time since 1918, they will have a moral authority – and perhaps also the bargaining power – to argue for a change to the electoral system that seemed unimaginable just a few short weeks ago. At the moment, though, it seems Mr Clegg still needs to increase his party’s share of the vote by another point or two to achieve this objective.

Equally, Labour needs to advance a little, not only to ensure it does not end up third in the popular vote but also to keep alive its hopes that it might yet still come ahead of the Tories in seats.

Modest, yet crucial movements in the parties’ fortunes are certainly still possible. No less than 18% of voters still say they have not decided how they will vote, little different from the position at the beginning of the campaign.

 

 

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London