Good Tory results give Cameron a 2015 headache

What the 2011 Local election results show is that Cameron will not be able to erode the Labour lead by 'calling voters home' - Ed Miliband's lead may be small but hard to shift

The Westminster conventional wisdom – that Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is not doing well enough – appears to be based on two contradictory notions. The first is that Labour needs to build a larger opinion poll lead than its current typical 4-5 per cent,  as it will gradually erode before the next election. The other is that the Tory vote is holding up – as evidenced by last week’s election results. But if, in effect, the Tories have not lost any votes to Labour, it’s hard to see what erosion can take place.

Both opinion polling and the local election results provisionally point to the same picture: Labour has picked up votes from the Liberal Democrats, but not from the Conservatives. So, for example, from the findings of the latest Ipsos-Mori monthly poll, we find that almost 20 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters have gone over to Labour, only 3 per cent of Conservatives have. In fact, 5 per cent of Lib Dem voters have gone over to the Tories.



This would seem to be borne out by the 2011 local election results, which showed large gains for Labour by historical standards, the Liberal Democrats being decimated. Meanwhile, the Conservative actually added councillors – which you would expect if some Labour-aligned voters who backed the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 general election have ‘come home’, allowing the Lib Dem vote to fall below their Conservative challengers.

So if Cameron is to claw back those four to five points, it’s not going to come from Labour – who are either voters that stood with the party through the nadir of 2010, or are former Lib Dem voters, presumably unhappy with the decision of Nick Clegg to go into the coalition.

How the votes churned will only be fully understood after weeks of analysis. However, the prime minister’s best bet appears to be for the Lib Dem image to shift left, so his junior coalition partner can bring back some of those former voters, and may even leave their right flank vulnerable to the Tories. But that seems impossible under the leadership of the current deputy prime minister. Which suggests a very odd scenario:

It’s in David Cameron’s best interest that the Liberal Democrats dump Nick Clegg before the next election.

28 Responses to “Good Tory results give Cameron a 2015 headache”

  1. Daniel Pitt

    Good Tory results give Cameron a 2015 headache: #ConDemNation

  2. John Baxendale

    Anon E Mouse – wouldn’t it be better to respond to PJD’s point by point rebuttal of your argument, instead of just repeating your own rhetoric? These are important issues, and I would really like to know why you disagree with what seems to me quite a persuasive analysis.

  3. Colleen Wiltse

    Good Tory results give Cameron a 2015 headache | Left Foot Forward: What the 2011 Local election results show is…

  4. RedfishUK

    Anon E Mouse – you seem to think that somehow the worst is over for the Tories. That by announcing their cuts everyone will somehow move on.
    I don’t think that is the case. It is unsurprising that the coalition is unpopular in the North, Wales and Scotland where public sector jobs make up a higher percentage of the jobs available. Those working in the public sector are frightened and demoralised and the cuts haven’t happened yet. Fortunatley for the Tories figures on Thursday theyhad very few elected representatives to lose (funny how no one thinks it is strange that a major political party can have no councillors in some of the UKs major cities just because they are in the North?)
    Once the cuts take place a second wave of voters will be affected those that use the services and these will be more widely distributed, when schools and hospitals are hit by cuts and crime increases as the number of Police falls the Coalition will take a hit.

    At the end of the day it will be the economy (stupid or not!) you may think that Osborne’s plan will work, I tend to agree with Will Hutton’s excellent article in the Observer yesterday – I don’t think Osborne can deliver the growth the UK needs to move forward.

  5. Anon E Mouse

    RedfishUK – The governing party increased its showing at council elections in the face of unpopular cuts – it is pretty remarkable.

    I agree it’s the economy stupid but I also happen to believe in economic cycles – four years from now the banks will be sold off and the goodies dished out.

    The situation in the North and Scotland has always been the same – my grandfather was a Labour councillor in Manchester and said if they put a monkey up in a red shirt it would win so it’s not surprising.

    What is surprising is Scotland and that must have Labour wondering how to handle it. Alex Salmond is simply too good a politician for Labour to deal with – particularly without a decent leader or cabinet at Westminster.

    Where are the John Reid’s and Charles Clarke’s I ask because without them they have no chance. Who could compare Ed Miliband with Tony Blair or David Cameron – he isn’t in their league I’m afraid.

    I’m a Clegg supporter as it happens but Blair could inspire – people were walking on air in 1997 for weeks. Miliband just depresses and once the economy turns round, which historically it will he’s done for…

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