It seems a long time since I sat at my Dad’s last April and read that the Lib Dems actually led in a major national Sunday poll. This was the weekend after the first leaders debate and the Lib Dem surge was going like a freight train. Those were the days. Things wouldn’t get any better for the party as Andy Coulson did his worst and fed the newspapers as many stories about Nick Clegg and his party as he could. Even if they weren’t exactly true and were murky at best it didn’t matter.
Gordon Brown and David Cameron realised that the Lib Dems might actually do something and hold the balance of power and they went on the attack. The collapse of the economy in Greece didn’t help and nor did the fact that Brits are scared of immigration at the moment – those two things along with the media berating the party hurt and we got what we saw come May.
Since then after the party went into coalition and student fees went up it has all been downhill for the Lib Dems. The party was going to sink into oblivion. I was told this on twitter so it must be true. However politics moves in mysterious ways sometimes and we have all seen elections which have changed course at the drop of a hat. John Major should never have won the 1992 General Election but he did but the one that I always look at was the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary.
Hillary Clinton on the weekend before the Primary was down by 13% in the polls. 13%. She won New Hampshire by 4%. So we saw a 17% swing within 48 hours. That shows that anything can happen in politics and that that no Lib Dem should think it’s over and more importantly why so many Labour voters shouldn’t say the Liberal Democrats are a dead party. That is just dumb. People who say that are well maybe not dumb but what they are saying most certainly is.
So anyway to the polls. On Tuesday we saw the Guardian/ICM poll have the Lib Dems up on 17%. Not a huge shock as they have for a while been the stand-out poll that has the Lib Dems way ahead of where they stand in the other polls…
But then we get to today and the Ipsos Mori/Reuters poll which has the Lib Dems up 4% to 15%. Which is the highest they have been in a non ICM poll since before the student fees fiasco.
As we all know it may well be a rogue but it’s the first time a different polling company has put the Lib Dems in a position to say to the doubters that this country is now not a two-party system. Labour seem intent on telling everyone that it is just Labour or the Conservatives because they know in that scenario they can win. In a three-way system it will be hard for anyone to win outright at the moment. Even if we started an election campaign today and went to the polls four weeks today can Ed Miliband really sustain himself for four weeks enough to win an outright majority? I am sceptical but I suspect so are most people.
With the 2015 General Election to be fought using the FPTP system I can’t see it being a landslide either way unless something dramatic happens (which is obviously could). It is in Labour’s benefit to attack and crush the Lib Dems as much as possible but if this tactic doesn’t work then it very well may come back to bite them in the bum – hard. Even if the Lib Dems hover around the 15%-17% mark come General Election time they’ll do damage and that is a concern to everyone in blue or red – but it is those in red who have far more to fear.
Screenshots courtesy of UK Polling Report
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