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AV might not hurt Tories if LibDem meltdown continues

By Tim Montgomerie

ASHCROFT Michael Writing exclusively for ConservativeHome Lord Ashcroft describes the results of a new Populus opinion poll that he commissioned in marginal constituencies. The survey confirms the trend we have seen in numerous other polls: The Liberal Democrats are being badly squeezed in these early days of the Coalition government.

Six findings are worth emphasising:

  1. Labour would gain 16 to 28 Tory-held seats where they are in second place, if the election was held today.
  2. The Liberal Democrats would lose 19 to 30 seats that they currently hold where the Conservatives are second.
  3. The net gains under First Past The Post would be +28 for Labour and +2 for Conservatives.
  4. Under AV the net gains would be +16 for Labour and +3 for the Conservatives.
  5. 21% of the 6,000 voters in the Populus/ Ashcroft poll said that the Liberal Democrats were having a "significant" impact on the Coalition's policies. 51% said "some" influence. 23% said "virtually no" influence.
  6. In terms of attacking the Coalition Budget there is tactical advice for Labour. By 59% to 39% Labour is losing the argument on timing of cuts with majorities in all categories of marginal seats saying that it is right to start cutting now. Labour would be on much stronger ground if they focused on the impact of cuts on "ordinary hardworking people". Only 32% of voters think George Osborne's adjustments are fairly distributed. 64% think "ordinary" families are bearing the brunt of tax rises and cuts.

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