The numbers game

Friday, January 27th, 2006

For me, the most interesting thing about today's dismal poll figures in the Telegraph is the way they bear out the analysis offered at the Meeting the Challenge conference by a psephologist whose name, alas, escapes me.

Although the Telegraph attempts to spin the numbers as a Tory success at our expense, by comparing them with the general election, Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting.com does the more obvious thing and compares them with the previous month's figures, concluding:

YouGov's monthly poll for the Telegraph has the Lib Dems share dropping by 5 points with almost all of that going to Labour. The result is that while the Tories continue to make progress the major beneficiary of the problems in the Lib Dems has been Tony Blair's party.

At Meeting the Challenge we were shown research that suggested the amount the Tories could gain off us was pretty limited – enough to be bad news if you were in Romsey, certainly, but not a lot more.

Widespread Cameron-worship would be a difficult thing to counter, but this poll is one of a few that suggests the current trend is for us to lose support to Labour – and votes lost to Labour will be very recoverable as the government, whoever leads it, becomes more and more unpopular.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.