31 May 2009

Four Consequences of Third Place Labour

The Sunday Telegraph/ICM poll today show the Lib Dems 3 points ahead of Labour in both the national and European voting intention surveys. So what will the consequences be for Labour? Yes this is only one poll, but if accurate, Labour could have even more problems:
  1. The party of government has never fallen to third place before. This will add extra pressure for a general election.
  2. The itch in the feet of some of the more liberal-minded Labour MPs may become unbearable. There were rumours earlier this month of potential defectors meeting with Lord Ashdown. I suspect they will wait until after the Euro elections, but the week after next could see Labour's Commons majority reduce if this poll's implications transfer into results.
  3. No-one in Labour has been talking up First Past The Post elections recently; indeed cabinet ministers have been openly raising speculation about moving towards a more proportional voting system. Electoral reform has never looked more likely. But turkeys don't vote for Christmas. If Labour look likely to be beaten into third, they may think again.
  4. Conversely, looking further ahead, if these poll figures transferred into votes at the next general election, UK Polling Report's handy uniform swing calculator shows Labour winning 178 seats, and the Lib Dems winning 74. If the Lib Dems won more votes but Labour won more seats, the pressure to change to a more proportional voting system would be raised a few more pascals.
Update: Changed post title to Four rather than three. Arse.

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