LORD ASHCROFT has released polling data that suggest that if an election was to be held tomorrow the Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, David Ward, would lose his seat to Labour after an 11.5 per cent swing away from his party.
Further polling data shows that the LibDem vote in several key constituencies has halved, with Brighton Pavilion, home of the only Green MP Caroline Lucas, being much closer – with a 1.5 per cent swing to Labour.
Bradford East data also suggests UKIP roughly in line with the national average, suggesting much broader support nationally than many would like to admit.
Typically you would expect to see a swing back towards the party of government as we approach a general election. Circumstances this time, however, are very different. Firstly, will is happen again this election? Crucially for the LibDem’s, will it happen to them? After all, they have been saddled with the unpopular decisions of the coalition government and not been able to take credit for popular measures – something all European parties know very well, where coalitions are much more likely.
But this is a snapshot. The Liberal Democrats have proven in the past that they are excellent at both organizing campaigns and getting the vote out. With them no longer being the protest vote of choice – UKIP now fills that void – I expect that the share will increase but a Labour gain.
BRADFORD WEST – THE GALLOWAY AFFAIR
ANOTHER question which will not be answered until next year is if Bradford West MP, George Galloway, will choose to stand again. There has been speculation, which has been fuelled by Galloway him self on many occasions, that he will run for mayor of London.
It would not be impossible for an independent to win, especially one such as Galloway. With the first election the former prime minister, Tony Blair, and Ken Livingston had a public dispute which led to Livingstone been forced out of Labour and having to campaign by himself. And, as you will know, Livingstone won the election and was soon brought back inside after the humiliation was over.
There has been no polling of the constituency, but it is unlikely that Galloway could pull it off again. The Respect Party has had its fair share of trouble and it would be almost impossible to bring local support to the levels that were present in the byelection because it is no longer there. Furthermore, Labour would not be willing to take the risk again of losing (or failing to win, now) a constituency that should be a Labour strong hold.
Furthermore, a huge amount of tactical voting will take place. Few like Galloway outside of the Respect bubble, which would suggest that the odds are stacked against him even more than last time; a battle that he will be unwilling to fight for such little reward.
The polling was performed between 11th and 21st of June with a sample size of 1000. The full data is available on Lord Ashcroft’s website.