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You can't knock a good poll result - but it is only that, a mid term poll. Until the elctorate can see the substance behind the mood music and assess the competence of those who will put the substance into practice, the polls are no more than a comfort and a reassurance that the party is now going in the right direction.

Baxter is showing:
CON 317
LAB 279
LIB 18
with CON 8 shot of majority

The one really interesting thing in the next general election will be seeing if the Lib Dems will drop a substantial number of seats if their vote share collapses, or whether their MPs really are dug in firmly enough to survive.

Lib Dem MPs are infamously difficult to unseat and are usually very entrenched in their particular constituencies. I'd be very surprised if based on their current national trend they make any progress in terms of increasing their representation in Westminster. Equally I don't expect them to lose too many seats. With such a seemingly tight election result it will (literally) make all the difference.

Use the John Redwood method to battle Lib Dems at elections. It works as a defensive tactic. It might work as a way to win LD seats back again.

Essentially you publish LD policies to LD voters. Most have no idea what their party stands for. Call John Redwood's constituency for more details.

The Lib Dems would certainly hold more than 18 seats.

We know Labour will lose. Our result depends on the Lib Dems losing as well.

Having lived in Romsey at the time of the last election, we almost won the seat back from the LDs. It was done by choosing a good, local candidate. In the end, we lost by a very small difference, after recounts. A similar candidate, combined with the Cameron leadership should make the seat winnable.

The situation that would be most worrying would be if Labour managed to remain in power despite coming second by a clear majority.

No doubt a 1% national change in support focused in seats that at the election had been very close would have made a very big difference at any General Election in history, but things never happen in such a clear cut way, any moves in support will include changes in safe seats that come nowhere near having any effect on numbers of seats as well as in seats that end up being close.

Sean, 18 is certainly an unlikly number of seats for them to hold. I wouldn't be suprised however if they were to lose maybe 20 seats, which would severely disable them in any power brokering excercise in a hung parliament.

TimC, its an entirely likely siuation, and one which can never be prevented except through the implementation of proportional representation. Opposing PR so that we have a stable government is all good and well, but is it right that because we haven't embraced PR people aren't getting what they voted for?

We know Labour will lose. Our result depends on the Lib Dems losing as well.
I have no doubt that the Conservative Party will make major gains in votes and seats in the next 10 years that will build to their return to power ultimately, but they are a long way off actually winning a majority and it has to be said that a Hung Parliament now looks more improbable than at any time since 2001, demographic factors are working against the Conservative Party as well - Labour seats mostly are held with far lower turnouts which is partly why Labour can get fewer votes than the Conservatives and end up with an overall majority and far more seats than the Conservative Party.

I don't put much store in opinion polls, but if true it would only indicate roughly what you would expect to happen at this point in the parliament - 32% isn't that much lower than Labour got in the 2005 General Election and all it would suggest is that the Liberal Democrats are having a reversal - tactical voting could see them holding onto many of their current seats, indeed it is even possible that if they got 17% of the vote that if it focused in an area that they could actually end up with more seats, where the switches in support are occuring is crucial - if they are focused then if the Conservative Party were to get 39% then it might still result in them getting fewer seats than Labour or in extremis winning a 150 seat majority or so?

TimC, Caroline Nokes (Romsey candidate in 2005) was fast-track reselected for the (slightly altered) seat of Romsey and Southampton North. I agree that, having fallen only 125 votes short, Caroline must be favoured to win next time round. The boundary changes haven't made a vast difference to the seat directly, although there may be more Labour voters in the newly added part of the seat. The question is whether they will vote LD tactically.

There is a strange dicothomy in this poll.

It shows intention to vote giving the Tories a 7point lead yet a 9 point lead if it were a Cameron / Blair contest and a 6 point lead if a Cameron / Brown choice. Combined, they don't make much sense!!!

39% "will vote Tory" yet 45% or 44% prefer Cameron to the alternatives. HOW do they think they can choose a Tory PM without voting Tory ???

Combined with other polls' finding that a Scots PM is not favourably regarded I find this inconsistent


Choice was between ONLY Cameron and Blair/Brown (so no chance to select Ming) which meant that LDs had to select which they would support. Anthony Wells can confirm but I imagine this shows that LDs (and maybe some Labour) faced by choice of Blair versus Cameron split differently than when asked to choose DC or Brown.

The Scots issue isn't in my view a hard issue like NHS, Education and Iraq. So people have preference but it doesn't influence their overall opinion. It has potential to become a hard issue if 2007 Scots elections make it one or perhaps Gordon's selection to PM would make it one.

To give u a sense of perspective look at this www.icmresearch.co.uk/reviews/vote-intentions-reports/guardian-report.asp. Study the resilts for 1994 onwards: very interesting.

An interesting call. I think a hung parliament is now highly likely. The Government seems to have reached that point where it has lost public confidence and is beyond any hope of recovering it. Possibly, Blair's departure removes the poison as he has become a lightning conductor for all that appears wrong with New Labour. That is a tough one to call. They have poured money into the cities and created a powerful public sector payroll vote who may not easily be shifted.

The LibDems seem to have hamstrung themselves with a hopeless geriatric who was apparently a good idea at the time. Unless they ditch him and go for Laws / Clegg, they will certainly lose seats although many of their MPs are now powerfully entrenched locally with some huge majorities in the SW.

The Conservatives are a conundrum. The current polling is miles off where they need to be to form a Government and there are now swathes of the UK where they no longer exist as a credible force. Undoubtably, Cameron is picking up votes in London and some urban areas, where voters seem to be more 'liberally' inclined. His strategy seems to be that so-called Tory diehards such as myself who are pro-tax cuts, grammar schools, anti political correctness etc. will vote for him anyway. He might be right, but he definitely should not bank on it being the case. We can always stay at home. What did Ralph Nader say in 2001: the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Baxter doesnt take the boundary changes into consideration yet ?

Mark Hudson @ 15.37: "His strategy seems to be that so-called Tory diehards such as myself who are pro-tax cuts, grammar schools, anti political correctness etc. will vote for him anyway. He might be right, but he definitely should not bank on it being the case. We can always stay at home".
Well said; I would very much like to hear why DC is not in favour of grammar schools and also to debate the taxation issue.

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