Friday, January 14, 2011

Oldham East and Saddleworth was worse for the Lib Dems than the headline numbers suggest

Firstly congratulations to Debbie Abrahams, (any relation to the Abrahams Labour had so much trouble with on donations a while back ? ), though I think she spoke her first major fib as an elected representative when she said she would keep her promises. Since Labour have a blank bit of paper as their policies right now she can't possibly know that.

But back to the voting. It seems that the Lib Dems haemorrhaged votes to Labour, but that impact was hidden in the headline vote tallies by tactical voting by Conservative supporters whom voted Coalition rather than party.

The evidence for this ? Well at counts the parties get a lot more information that is widely known by the public. Each ward is counted separately, watched by representatives from each party. They know from canvassing returns what the support should be in each ward and can estimate and even count the votes as they come in. There were reports of large numbers of Conservatives votes going to the Lib Dems. Given the national political situation I can't believe that's because loads of traditional Tories have suddenly discovered they like Nick Clegg et al. This effect was reported by Laura Kuenssberg in her tweet last night and here.

What this means is that for the general public the Lib Dems will be able to keep up the front that all is fine, but their more savy activists will know the word on the street is that it ain't so. In a general election they could not rely on this sort of helping hand from the Tories - or perhaps they many conclude its their only chance ? Who knows ? What we do know is this result is far worse for the Lib Dems than the headlines suggest.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

It was basically a reaffirmation that people vote like sheep.