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Could the Lib Dems really be reduced to six seats?

December 29th, 2006

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    Putting today’s Communicate Research figures into the Baxter calculator

The above is from Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus site and shows what happens if you put the party shares from this morning’s Communicate Research poll for the Independent into his Commons seat predictor. For the numbers the pollster reports are, compared with last month’s figures CON 36 (+2): LAB 37 (+1): LD 14 (-3).

The fieldwork for the survey took place in the week before Christmas and ended two days before the YouGov poll that was in the Sunday Times at the weekend and had the Lib Dems down at 15%. That poll, however, had the Tories with a 5% lead.

We have discussed before how the CR methodology, which is currently “under review”, does not use past vote weighting to ensure a politically balanced sample which would tend to give it bigger Labour shares.

    CR’s survey means that all the pollsters have shown a fall back in Lib Dem support during December which must start to get worrying for the party leadership.

With most of the pollsters the party is not faring as well as the first surveys taken after David Cameron’s election as Tory leader a year ago when Charles Kennedy was still in charge.

The Martin Baxter calculation is based on a uniform national swing and does not take into account regional variations or local factors like the strength of a Lib Dem incumbent. Lembit Opik’s Montgomery seat, for instance, comes out as a Tory gain. But the six seat prediction is not good. The other main calculator, from Anthony Wells at UK Polling Report, has a different way of calculating the swing and puts the Lib Dems at 30 seats.

I’ve long taken the view that as long as Ming remains in good health he would go on to lead his party at the next election. Now I think that unless there’s a reversal in the polling trend then he might just start to come under pressure.

Mike Smithson






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