Friday, April 30, 2010

Can Cameron now go on to win outright?

I was very impressed by DC in last night’s debate. He finally took the opportunity to be clear and concise about policy, whilst making the audience aware of the inadequacies of the Lib Dems’ proposals. He shone most on immigration.

There was the feeling, I think, that DC didn’t need to attack Gordon – Gordon is attacking himself just fine. He didn’t need help, and, who knows, maybe there is further mayhem to come for the Prime Minister on the streets of Britain.

The media narrative is incredibly important. Everyone (even the Guardian) appears to acknowledge that David Cameron won the debate convincingly. YouGov’s final poll was especially encouraging.

Can DC now go on to win? Let’s take a gander at some numbers:

CON 33-36%

LD 26-31%

LAB 25-29%

These are rough guides to the parties’ current poll numbers. There’s no way the Tories can win a majority if those figures were translated into seats. But what about taking the extremes from those figures, say Con 36 LD 26 Lab 35? UK Elect (with tactical unwind) says:

Con Short by 1

Very close to an overall majority, then. Now, that’s all very well, but these figures assume several things:

  • Quite a few converted Lib Dems don’t turn up to vote
  • Labour do worse than predicted
  • Tories spread their vote more effectively
  • The Lib Dems gain seats predominantly from Labour – Tories lose a couple in the South West
  • The Lab->Con swing is larger in the marginals, especially in the Midlands and North.

Will these things happen on election night? Who knows – but, if the Tories can increase their share of the vote by 2-3% in the aftermath of the debate, Cameron can be more certain of gaining power without having to ask the Lib Dems for help. It should be noted that the Lib Dems can stay on 30% and the Tories can win only 6-7 points ahead. Figures such as Con 37 LD 30 Lab 25 do yield a Conservative majority, albeit a slim one.

I strongly feel that Labour is likely to do worse than suggested – don’t forget that most pollsters have still not accounted for so-called ‘tactical unwind’ – the electorate is no longer voting tactically in Labour’s favour: quite the reverse. The question is, will voters vote tactically in the Conservatives’ favour, or vote Lib Dem as a protest because they believe they can win. If people vote Lib Dem en masse across the country in this way, quite a few Labour and Conservative seats could fall.

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