A few weeks ago I wrote an article saying that the Lib Dems best hope of saving seats was to try to persuade centrist Conservatives that they were now a more natural home for them than the current Conservative party. I pointed out that the Lib Dems were losing roughly 10% of their 2010 vote to the Tories, and that they should be focusing on winning it back.
However, the problem has actually got worse for them – and it’s not just bad news for the Lib Dems – it’s bad news for Labour.
As many people have pointed out, the two central numbers that are the key to the next election are 1) Tory voters switching to UKIP, splitting the vote of the right, and 2) LD voters switching to Labour, particularly in marginal Lab/Con constituencies.
In the last few days, there seems to have been a fresh narrowing of the Labour lead. And, as the graph below shows, it is because Labour are losing some 2010 LD switchers. However – it seems that they are not going back to their original home – but actually moving to the Tories.
It’s best shown in the graph below, from the last couple of weeks of YouGov polling. As the LD>LAB switchers become fewer, the Labour lead narrows – and the Tories pick up more Lib Dems.
This is worrying for both Clegg and Miliband. Don’t forget – in most LD held seats, the Tories are in second place. As for Labour – they are not picking up anywhere near enough voters directly from the Tories – they are incredibly reliant on the Lib Dem switchers continuing to intend to vote Labour. We’ll see if the current trend of more LD>CON switchers continues.