Saturday, April 30, 2005

UK - Vote for anti-war Lib Dems will not let in pro-war Conservatives

A detailed study carried out for The Independent has found that a swing of 11.5 per cent from Labour voters to the Liberal Democrats could deprive Blair of his overall Commons majority 'but it would be virtually impossible for such defections - at even twice that rate - to let in the Conservatives to form a government'.

John Curtice, the respected psephologist and professor of politics at Strathclyde University carried out the analysis.

If there is a 9 per cent swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats, Labour would still have an overall majority of 48.

With a 15 per cent swing, Labour would still be the largest party in a hung parliament with 50 more seats than the Tories.

"Those figures are based on the Tories doing no better than the 33 per cent share of the vote they won in 2001, which is also in line with their current opinion poll rating."

Even if the Tories improve their showing and win 36 per cent of the votes next Thursday - a three-percentage point rise at Labour's expense - and there were a 9 per cent swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats over and above that, Labour would be the largest party in a hung parliament with 43 seats more than the Tories.

The "Lab- to-Lib Dem" swing would have to be a huge 15 per cent before the Tories became the largest party - but they would be outnumbered by the combined forces of the other two parties.

The study found that the Tories come nowhere near to passing the winning post of 324 seats they would need to form a government.

Mr Blair claimed: "It only takes one in 10 of our voters to drift off to the Liberal Democrats and you end up with a Tory government." But Professor Curtice said: "Labour would need to lose around one in four of its voters before its majority would be threatened, not just one in 10."

He also rejected another claim by Labour - that if only one in 50 Labour voters in 80 marginal seats back the Liberal Democrats or abstain, there would be a Conservative government.

Professor Curtice replied: "If Labour lose 80 seats, then Tony Blair does indeed lose his majority with just 323 seats. But 80 extra Conservative seats leaves Michael Howard with just 245 seats, still 79 short of a majority.

A poll by ICM showed that, if people thought Mr Kennedy's party could win in their constituency, 39 per cent would vote for it, with 31 per cent backing Labour and 26 per cent backing the Tories.

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