Wednesday, 27 January 2010

100 days to go

I got an E mail message this morning from Chris White, the prospective Conservative candidate for Warwick and Leamington, reminding me that it is 100 days to the expected date of the general election on May 6th. Chris also points out that there has been only one change of government in Britain in the last thirty years, something he is hoping to change by bringing the constituency into the Conservative column once again.

Although Warwick and Leamington was not selected as one of the homes of 'motorway man' in a recent article in the Financial Times Chris may find some of them as he goes door to door given the proximity of the M40. 'Motorway Man' replaces 'Worcester Woman' as the new median voter. A typical motorway man is a middle aged middle manager in industry from a Labour voting background who is materialistic in his outlook. He lives with his family in a modern house, perhaps on reclaimed land, so close to a motorway that it may be in earshot. Read more here:


Chris may take heart from the latest British Social Attitudes survey which suggests that the number of Conservative identifiers now exceeds the number of Labour identifiers for the first time for many years. Moreover, voters' attitudes seem to have shifted to the right on economic issues, but not on social issues which is consistent with Dave's stance (leaving aside his rather retro views on marriage): Attitudes

As a voter who has not yet made his mind up how to vote, I am surprised that so many Labour supporters seem to think that Gordon will win or that there will be a hung Parliament. Dave does need a big swing, even if the Conservatives are doing better in key marginals than elsewhere. But will voters really opt for another five years of Gordon Brown just to keep Dave out? They may not be enthusiastic about Dave, but they are even less so about Gordon.

The election may provide an opportunity for the Liberal Democrats and other small parties, but whether they can seize it remains to be seen. An interesting article has appeared in the latest Political Studies on the BNP vote which confirms that Labour is very vulnerable to them and also that UKIP voters, although sometimes overlapping, are generally different in their characteristics and outlook from BNP supporters.


Leonard Boe said...

It will certainly be interesting to see the extent to which minor parties gain from the election, and whether disenchanted, traditional Lab/Con voters take the opportunity to show their views through voting for the smaller parties, or by not voting at all.

Sam S said...

I do wonder whether Smith Square, Mandelson et al. have perpetuated so much attempted self-fulfilling spin regarding the election that the party have become self-deluded.

So many Labour supporters seem to hold the view that voters will take the view that Cameron is a scheming lightweight, enlightened by the as yet hidden genius of our beloved PM.

However, I don't see what else they would do. They'll need to pursue a loss minimisation strategy and that will require some sort of prospect of victory to encourage the base.