Have avoided writing about polls and such like – partly because while I may be obsessed with them most normal folk are not. But mostly because Anthony Wells does such a great job reporting on them that what I add is usually pretty marginal.
However, I was struck by the front page headline in Metro this morning – “Labour loses third of voters”. Now before you all make jokes about Gordon’s carelessness, let’s look at the body of the report which relates to the findings of a Harris Poll for the paper:
“Just 66 per cent of those who backed labour in 2005 intend to vote for the party now, the research showed. It compared with 86 per cent of Conservative supporters who say they will back the party again. The Liberal Democrats have also shed a third of their 2005 voters according to our poll.”
Let’s be clear, if this is literally true that is over 6 million voters who are switching to a voting behaviour other that that in 2005. Polls suggest that about about 1m additional people are planning on voting Conservative. The Liberal Democrat polling figures are all over the place but the poll reported here puts them down 4 point on 2005 – about 1 million votes. And Labour have dropped about 1.5 million on 2005.
We still have 3 million missing voters – people who will not be voting for the main three parties. The Harris Poll shows “others” at 16% - that’s up about 1.5 million votes. So what’s happened to those other 1.5 million votes – about 6% of the electorate?
My guess is they won’t be voting. Expect turnout to drop to its lowest for some while – probably around 55%.
Looks like the good idiots are on course to top the poll come May!