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Remember 2005 when LAB and CON were level pegging on votes in England but LAB won 92 more seats

January 29th, 2015

There’s little to suggest that such a distortion won’t happen again

The blue team has understandably found great cheer and encouragement in the latest polling from a range of firms. The race is undoubtedly getting closer in terms of votes but it’s seats that matter.

One of the reasons why I’ve been highlighting England is because of what happened in the 529 seats being fought there at GE2005 when the Tories just had the edge on votes but LAB came out with 92 more English seats.

That election was fought on different boundaries, they were revised for 2010, and, of course, there’s a very different electoral environment with the vote being far more fragmented than ever before.

Could the the English seat split in May be so much more favourable to Labour once again?

One of the great drivers has been tactical voting with those opposed to the Tories being much more ready to switch their votes than those opposed to Labour. This has helped the LDs enormously in their CON facing constituencies as well as Labour in the LAB CON marginals. My guess is that we’ll see a repeat of the pattern from previous elections.

This could be offset to an extent by the Tories being able to attract ANTI-LAB from other LD supporters and, of course, those who have switched to UKIP. But I’m less convinced that Tory voters will abandon their traditional reluctance to switch to stop the party most able in their seats to impede LAB.

The other factors that cause the system to appear biased against the blues remain. The boundaries are the same and LAB voters are likely to turnout at lower levels in the party’s traditional heartland.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble