Lord Ashcroft conducted a poll into the CON/LD battleground today – and his findings – while not great for the Lib Dems – were not as bad as they could have been.
The reason that there is some good news for the Lib Dems is that it looks like Labour voters will still be prepared to vote tactically against the Tories. We already saw some possible indication of this in Eastleigh, and Ashcroft’s poll seems to back it up.
The table on the left shows how people would vote in a general election – the table on the right shows how they will vote in their local constituency at said election. On the face of it, you would think there should be very little difference in these figures. But just look at how the Labour vote drops, and the Lib Dem vote rises when voters are asked about their specific constituency. This shows us that many LD>LAB switchers in LD/CON marginals may still be prepared to vote tactically.
This is bad news for the Tories. Their main hope of getting a majority next year depends on them making good gains from the Lib Dems. If the Lib Dem position improves even slightly between now and 2015, we could see them holding on in seats that the Tories desperately need to gain.
The poll still shows the Tories gaining seats from the LDs – and make no mistake, the Lib Dem position is still woeful at a national level – but it may not be the complete annihilation that some are predicting. My (hypothetical) money is still on a hung parliament – the only thing I can’t decide on is who will be the largest party.