Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Election 2015 - still everything to play for

I believe that the result of the 2015 General election is wide open and there is still everythimg to play for. The result could be a Labur government, a Conservative government, or a hung parliament.

I was interested to read in the press the other day an opinion by one journalist, John Rentoul of the Independent, that shortly after the budget MPs from both sides told him they thought their party would lose the next election. The Labour MPs were depressed with Ed Miliband's, quote "disastrously bad" response to the budget (e.g. the fact that he failed to mention anything in it). The Conservative MPs were afraid they still had too much ground to make up.

Meanwhile the front page of The Times this morning is dominated by an opinion survey suggesting that a big majority of all voters, and even a slim majority of LABOUR voters, do not see Ed Miliband as a potential Prime Minister.

Mike Smithson at political betting reminds us that Margaret Thatcher's Conservatives won in 1979 in spite of Jim Callaghan leading in the "Best Prime Minister" polls at the time. That's a useful reminder that Britain has a parliamentary system, not a presidential one, and it would be as well not to read too much importance into leader ratings.

Having said that, it is worth remembering that

 * Margaret Thatcher in 1979 was the first woman challenging to be PM, and had to overcome a "dinosaur factor" of people who could not imagine a woman Prime Minister until there had been one. That factor must have distorted comparisons between the 1979 election polling and that for the 2015 election.

 * British politics has become much more presidential since 1979

 * The polling questions concerning Ed Miliband represent concerns a bit stronger than whether he is preferred as PM, they are also about whether people can imagine him in that office. If only 49% of Labour supporters think he is ready for the job, that is a more serious credibility problem than Maggie had in 1979.

We shall see. I don't believe anyone can afford to be complacent or to take the voters for granted.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Its very early to try and call this, very early indeed.

probably best not to try at this stage, but where is the fun in that? so here we go.

The torys were worried about the UKIP effect, and for a time it was quite a threat to them. Thing is I think UKIP have peaked, Farage keeps missing open goals, i expect to see the same in the farage clegg debate, he never seems to attempt to hit the "3 million Jobs", "government by fax" type arguments into the dustbin they belong. I think UKIP have peaked, also i dont think many labour voters will sway, though what we see is not a move to tory from UKIP or Labour, but a move from the polls "dont know" section. I personally would fall into the dont know who i would vote for camp. (But i do know who i would certainly not vote for).

That is the thing that will call this election, How many "none voters" can you get out to vote, the best way of doing this is not actually to convince them to vote tory, but highlight how to keep milliband and balls out.

I still expect it to be a very very low turnout,
Labour do have an advantage, under the current system, so a labour government is a possibility, though i would expect more of a hung parliament.

one thing is though Farage has promised to stand down if they fail to win a seat, if that does happen (farage quits) UKIP may well rise agian (this time actually with a plan).