By-election polls: Labour 17% ahead – or 1%

Two polls out tonight (so far – there may be a third) on the Oldham by-election:

ICM for Mail on Sunday: Labour 44%, Lib Dem 27%, Conservative 18%
Populus for Lord Ashcroft / Sunday Telegraph: Labour 46%, Lib Dem 29%, Conservative 15%

UPDATE: New pollster Survation (who are applying for membership of the trade body, the British Polling Council) makes it much closer with Labour 31%, Lib Dem 30% and Conservative 6% (don’t knows not excluded, hence the lower figures all round).

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This entry was posted in News, Parliamentary by-elections and Polls.


  • Matt Downey 8th Jan '11 - 9:15pm

    For people seeing the polls showing us coming second, remember the polls in the election. They weren’t right, why should these be.

  • Matt

    Are you worried you might come third?

  • These demonstrate that if all the Conservatives vote for us, we can win. You’d have to be mad to vote Conservative.

  • Oh dear how the might have fallen.

    Progressive politics but begging Tories to vote for you – do you honestly think that is going to happen? Do you think Tories want to see the LD win a seat with them losing their deposit. I imagine the right wing are dying to see the LD humiliated in this election so they can use it put more pressure on Cameron.

    Remember Cameron has not tried to win this election and it is already causing resentment – read the Telegraph or Conservativehome if you want to know what your Coalition partner’s voters really think of you

  • Liberal Neil 8th Jan '11 - 9:35pm
  • baz, are you suggesting that the majority of Conservative voters would like to see the Coalition brought to its knees? You may be thinking of Labour voters.

  • Rich

    Do you honestly believe all Tories support this coalition? Why would the LD losing this bring down the coalition.? The LD are weakened junior partners at the moment and from what I can see are virtually inexistent as a separate entity. If the LD do win this then this will encourage Cameron to stand against his right wing a little bit more (and before you say something that is in no way sufficient for me to think about voting for them again). Do you think the Tories want to see the humiliation of losing their deposit in order to deliver this seat to you?

  • I think any Conservative that would rather see Labour bring an MP into the commons than a Coalition MP, which would, statistically, weaken the government, must have some kind of masochistic side.

  • The only poll that counts is the one on election day by the voters. I have seen too many surprises over the years ever to predict anything from polls.

    However, should the LibDems fail to take this seat it will cause enormous internal party damage. OK there will be lots of spin for public consumption explaining the loss – oops sorry failure to win – away which no one will believe not even the spinners.

    Loss of the seat will create even greater edginess in the party – where a lot of LibDem activists seem to be holding on for the referendum and council results before making their decision to stay or quit the party or just to fade away into a political limbo.

  • Joe Donnelly 8th Jan '11 - 10:08pm

    As others have pointed out, by-election polls seem to be notoriously unreliable!

    Also, the feeling on the ground to me does not replicate this poll! I hope this doesn’t deter activists from what is quite a heartwarming and impressive effort from the party considering the abuse we have come under over the last few weeks.

    Come to Oldham East and Saddleworth and then try to say that we no longer have any young or student activists or that the old localist left of the party is no longer interested or that Charles Kennedy, Simon Hughes et al are about to defect.

  • Rich

    I think you should get to know your coalition partners a bit better – there are plenty of Tories (including MPs) worried about potential pacts and anything that suggests tactical voting on this scale would be abhorrent to them.

    If you do manage to win due to tactical voting of Tories then I think you should just give up as a party as I do not know what policies you would have left to present to the electorate at the next election.

    You may as well split.

  • @ EcoJon

    “However, should the LibDems fail to take this seat it will cause enormous internal party damage.”

    What a ridiculous assertion. Virtually no party in government, especially one that has to take tough decisions sort out the kind of steaming financial midden that it was bequeathed by the previous administration, would be expected to oust the opposition party at a by-election.

    A respectable second place with little loss of vote share would actually be a very good result and if by any amazing chance we do win, we will be jumping up and down on your leader Ed Miliband’s premature grave singing hallelujah.

  • Matt Downey 8th Jan '11 - 10:28pm

    Oldham East & Saddleworth Survation poll: LAB 31%, LD 30%, CON 6%, OTH 8%.

  • Robert C

    I agree that it is not a disaster for the party if they lose this election although they should have aspired to do so seeing the unpopularity of the Labour Government and the circumstances of the by-election itself

    What is the issue for them longer-term is that it pushes them closer to the Tories and being a centre-right party rather than centre-left which is why the polls look so bad.

    As I asked before what distinct policies are you going to have that will allow you to claim voters on the centre-right from the Tories that anyone actually believes you will deliver on?

  • Matt Downey

    I saw that too – 25% DK and what is the pedigree of Survation.? Don’t look to have any track record but as said before this polls are often inaccurate anyway.

  • Man on the Bus 8th Jan '11 - 10:35pm

    “Oldham East & Saddleworth Survation poll: LAB 31%, LD 30%, CON 6%, OTH 8%.”

    It’s a two-horse race!

  • You know, putting all party allegances (I can’t spell) aside for a moment, this is winding up to a beautifully tense count. I sincerely hope it remains close until the last minute, like our bid for the World Cup (but also expect an unsurprising disappointment, like our bid for the World Cup).

  • I hope Labour lose here, they deserve to.

    But if the seat is won with a massive Tory tactical vote, as wished for by Rich then it will be a sad day for plural politics.

    It will allow those claiming the coalition is a defacto merger to score points, particularly as this was a true three way marginal last May. The only way Labour lose is if one of the other two win without tactical voting. Imagine the field day Milliband can have if the Tories support drops so significantly.

    Hope for a win, but hope for it as Lib Dems exploiting the unforgivable behaviour of Labour in this seat, hope for it without needing the Tories.

  • If you do manage to win due to tactical voting of Tories then I think you should just give up as a party as I do not know what policies you would have left to present to the electorate at the next election.
    You may as well split.

    Eh? We’ve relied on large swathes of Labour tactical votes for years, why should swapping one lot of tactical support for another be so important?

    What we really need to be working on is building up some core support, which is something we have always been a bit short of. Our position as a protest party and in more recent years a repository for disillusioned Labour voters has created enough of an illusion of real support to let us ignore the need to build up a genuine base. That’s something we can’t put off any longer (which IMO is a good thing in the long term).

  • Before you all start getting too excited then this is quite an interesting dilemma for the LD.

    If we take Survation as correct then we will have seen a swing from the coalition to Labour of around 10% (ICM and Populus are both a bit higher but not much) which considering the Woolas situation and the fact the cuts have not yet come is not insubstantial. Also, it seems it is all about intracoalition transfer of votes and the people who voted for you last time have left in significant numbers to go to Labour (around 30-40% perhaps)

    A short term filip may arise if you win this but it really does ask questions about your future voter demographic and what policies you will put forward – if you depend on Tory tactical voting then you will have to drop opposition to control orders, fair taxation, PR, sensible immigration reform, support privatisation.

    Very odd

    By the way this is all conjecture but the Labour figure seems pretty consistent in all and the coalition split is the one that has changed

  • Catherine

    Yes you may be right but it seems from these numbers that significant numbers of the voters who actually voted for you in May have moved across to Labour – not as a tactic but as a conscious move.

    The tactical vote is now coming from the right – what policies are you going to come up with that will keep this type of voter voting tactically for you as the ones in your 2010 manifesto won’t wash!

    I cannot imagine too many Labour voters now giving you a vote to keep the Tories out as the perception of you out there does not seem to good

  • if you depend on Tory tactical voting then you will have to drop opposition to control orders, fair taxation, PR, sensible immigration reform, support privatisation.

    Maybe I’m being dense but I still don’t understand what Tory tactical voting has to do with any of our policies (especially the ones you list)? Tactical voters, by definition, don’t agree with all, or even most of a party’s policies but vote for them anyway as being a bit closer to their views / less objectionable than the party they like the least.

    We’ve relied heavily on Labour tactical votes for ages without bringing our policies into line with Blair’s or Brown’s.

    And control orders?! Who do you think brought them in and is even now cheerleading for them? If anything, there are probably a few more pro-civil liberties Tory MPs than Labour ones (not that that’s saying much, I admit!).

  • Trolls on here clearly have never seen a fight in a marginal seat before. All parties rely on tactical votes under this voting system to kick out unpopular incumbents. “id normally vote for you, but i really hate Gordon brown so in voting Tory” was heard up abduction down the country.

  • No party in government has gained a seat in a byelection since 1982 when the Tories gained Mitcham and Morden at the height of their Falklands boost That byelection came about because Bruce Douglas-Mann defected from Labour to SDP and chose to trigger a fresh contest. Expect Lib Dem spokesmen to repeat this fact many times on Friday whatever the result.

    I don’t see any prospect of the Tories losing their deposit. The Survation poll (whoever they may be) shows them coming close but it doesn’t seem to say anything about the don’t knows and those who won’t vote so their deposit is probably safe.

  • Survation sounds like a voodoo poll to me. Their website doesn’t instil me with confidence either.

  • Catherine

    You did not have to bring your policies in line with Blair or Brown as they were a different (and more liberal) version of the same thing. PR, civil liberties, anti-Iraq, opposition to tuition fees, banking reform, housing reform, fair taxation. It was easy for a Labour voter to vote for your policies.

    In the 2010 election manifesto, again you had policies that were on the liberal left and again you won over some Labour voters.

    Now you will no longer be able to use those same policies to woo centre-right/right voters and you will have to develop new policies to replace them. What will they be? Banking reform? Fair Taxation? Mansion Tax? I think not.

    As to the civil liberties argument – I think you are kidding yourself if there are more Tories who are actually civil liberty fans – libertarianists perhaps but not always pleasant to see what this means in practice. Remember the Tories were more gung-ho about Iraq than Labour were – Hague even said at the time he didn’t need WMD to support and attack. Remember also who sold Hussein big guns and then covered it up.

    I hope to god there is not another terrorist attack but if there is do you expect the Tories to maintain a liberal approach to civil liberties

    I always thought that one day you would be able to replace labour as a party of the liberal left – that will not happen for a good few years now, if at all.

    The Labour party are rubbish and let me down – the LD have done the same. Only the Tories can be happy

  • Oh bloody hell – here we have the trolls comments again. I am an ex LD voter and am interested to see which way the party is moving.

  • By elections require hard work, which is something the lib dems are good at. The result here will be interesting politically because a Lib Dem win suggests Tories will back their coalition partners, a Labour win suggests the usual mid term blues and is nowt for Labour to get excited about but would show there are enough Labour voters around to make this parliament interesting.

  • @bazsc “In the 2010 election manifesto, again you had policies that were on the liberal left and again you won over some Labour voters.

    Now you will no longer be able to use those same policies to woo centre-right/right voters and you will have to develop new policies to replace them. What will they be? Banking reform? Fair Taxation? Mansion Tax? I think not.!”

    Indeed, Lib Dems have blown any support from the left from disenfranchised Labour voters, they will not vote for a party in cahoots with the tories, this will last until well after the next general election.

  • Thanks Anthony – this is the point I have tried to make.

    Tactical voting is important but tends only to happen in certain seats and also at times such as by-elections. One of the key things is the core vote and from these crude figures there seems to have been a move away from the LD to Labour and this is replaced by Tories voting tactically. Normally tactical votes are an addition to the core vote, not a substitute

    In order to maintain this consistently then the party will need to have policies that appeal – much like they did in order to attract Labour voters.

    I will be interested to see how these policies develop because there seems to be little coherence.

  • Shakes head…

    Jeez, talk about grabbing at straws; I am not going to comment on the Survation poll for obvious reasons… I said awhile ago that using the “no government wins by-elections in the midterm” is not on; this is 7 months after the GE, barely starting into the term, and nothing has started to bite yet, the Vat increase has been cushioned by retailers for the moment, but that will not continue.

    The 80,000 odd who received termination of employment notices will not hit the uinemployed until April/May, just in time for LE, the real worry is some of the economy figures being adjusted downwards, and some retailers closing stores, I think May will be the indicator of how the people feel about Liberal Democrats.

    But after saying all that, I would have expected Liberal Democrats to win in the Oldham by-election; because of local issues surrounding the GE, if you do not; then I expect May to be worse case scenario for Liberal Democrats.

    May will see Liberal Democrats spread thinner on the ground than in Oldham which will hurt.

  • Man on the Bus 9th Jan '11 - 12:31am

    Before people get too excited about Survation, it’s worth remembering Stephen Tall’s wise words about ICM, “which most poll-watchers regard as the industry’s gold standard given their consistent accuracy in predicting vote shares over successive general elections.”

    Or was that only when they were coming up with the numbers that the party wanted to hear?

  • More detail is now available –

    They asked about the voting intentions of other people in the household but haven’t said what they did with the answers to that question

  • @Mike
    “Trolls on here clearly have never seen a fight in a marginal seat before. All parties rely on tactical votes under this voting system to kick out unpopular incumbents.”

    Absolutely right, however Rich was a wholesale Tory desertion to the extent of losing a deposit. That will give a parliamentary victory and a PR nightmare. 1 vote or even the same 103 will do, Labour deserve to lose (and I say that as someone who is deeply unhappy at some coalition policies and Lib Dem ministers actions in Government).

    Let’s just see it done without cries of lacklustre campaigns and “electoral pacts”. That will be more damaging in the long run then losing…

  • baz – fair point that much of our 2010 manifesto was more centre-left than centre-right, but I think you’re way overestimating the amount of  policy analysis most voters bother to do. Granted, the measures you name might have been attractive to disaffected left-wing voters, but I’d bet my house that most voters had no idea any of them were in our manifesto. And tactical voters in particular don’t vote FOR a party but rather vote against the party they like the least. I voted tactically for Labour in 2005 in spite of Iraq and the fact that there was hardly anything in their manifesto to attract me. I didn’t have to like the Labour party. The only thing my vote was based on was that the LD candidate was a remote 3rd so had no chance, and I considered Blair’s Labour marginally less bad than Michael Howard’s Conservatives. Well, that and the fact my local Tory MP is an utter tit 🙂 

    For many Conservative supporters the party they’re most opposed to is Labour. They’ve been reluctant to lend us their tactical votes in recent years because of our general (IMO incorrect) image as being more leftwing than Labour. But the simple existence of the coalition neutralises that image, regardless of any policies we put in our manifesto. Whether the numbers of gained Tory tactical voters will make up for the number of lost Labour tactical voters remains to be seen, but the apparently successful squeeze on Tory support in OE&S is a reasonably hopeful sign (though I take Survation with a large sack of salt).

    I also think the assumption that the voters we’ve lost to Labour were our core support is incorrect. We gained a lot of disaffected Labour voters during the Blair/Brown years, partly due to New Labour, partly due to the inevitable disillusionments of government, partly due to Iraq. Now that Labour is in opposition rather than government, with a new leader who is distancing himself from New Labour (and the receding memory of Iraq) – how on earth would we have hoped to hold on to the disillusioned Labour switchers in the long term? The coalition has undoubtedly speeded up the switch-back process, but they’d have drifted back anyway regardless.

    Our real problem is that we never had as much core support as we superficially appeared to have. We need to start building it. 

  • If you look at the raw data from the Survation survey without all the so-called ‘weighting’ it actually put the Lib Dems slightly ahead of Labour

  • Okay so now we have LD saying you are no longer centre-left and are now centre-right. I wish you luck with that approach as it seems to be misaligned with your policies. Trident, green economics, fair taxation, PR, tuition fees (it is still apparently your policy).

    Have you seen the polls recently?

    Chris Jenkinson – yes perhaps a bit ridiculous but no more so than trying to pretend that you have always agreed with the Tories

    Also, for those of you hugging the Survation data I suggest you go to UK polling report where there is a realistic appraisal about the accuracy of their prediction. It seems to have been a poor quality effort.

    We should always be skeptical of by-election polls but there are some that we should be more skeptical than others – and one that has a 50% ‘refuse to answer’ rate suggests something not quite right.

    Catherine – well your core support therefore sits at around 10% (Tories and Labour probably 3 times as much) so good luck with that as well.

  • @Catherine

    I know plenty of people who voted for the Lib Dems because of their stance on tax, cuts, banker bonuses, tuition fees, education funding and so on. They read your policies, they believed what you said before the election, they feel utterly betrayed. They will now never vote for you again. The problem for the Lib Dems is not that people didn’t analyse their policies, but that they did.

  • g

    Thanks for a bit of support. I wondered if I had wandered into a parallel universe where the LD were always a party of the centre-right with policies and statements to match. Clegg and the orange bookers may have been but they seem to have tried to hide it as much as possible. Even from their own party going by the policies voted for at conference

  • Interesting the mail on sunday has commissioned two poll, the Suravtion and ICM, which did they publish?

  • Norfolk Boy 9th Jan '11 - 9:53am

    Anyone dim enough to think the Lib Dems are only one point behind Labour ought to put their money where there mouth is and take a trip to see Mr William Hill. He’d be delighted. They could then return to this thread and let us know how much they’ve won. Or not.

    Let’s all come back later and see…

  • Lloyd

    Did the MoS commission Survation? According to UK Polling Report they did it on their own in order to publicise their launch into political surveying. The net sample was only about 160 voters

  • Man on the Bus 9th Jan '11 - 10:16am

    “Except man on the bus, individual constituency polls are notoriously innaccurate in predicting vote shares.”

    Ah – as I suspected – it is only when ICM is coming up with the numbers you want to hear that you regard them as the “gold standard”! When polls show Labour 17 points ahead they become “notoriously inaccurate” instead.

    We’ll see.

  • @bazsc thats what they say on their website

    the detail is very interesting. However I think the sample size excluding those who didn’t answer is tiny. Not checked to see if populus and icm have published the same level of detail.

    Refused to state intention 256 46.6%
    Elwyn Watkins 89 16.2%
    Debbie Abrahams 85 15.5%
    Undecided 68 12.4%
    Kashif Ali 27 4.9%
    Another Party 24 4.4%
    Total 549 100%

  • Man on the Bus 9th Jan '11 - 10:29am

    With a sample that small, the error will be huge. And on top of that, with a constituency made up of two very different halves, if either the sampling or the refusal rate is uneven between the two, the result could be way out.

  • baz, if you read what I actually wrote I never said we were now centre-right, I said we were not to the left of Labour (as we were sometimes portrayed) and that I didn’t think we’d need a tailor-made centre-right manifesto to attract Tory tactical voters. We’re a liberal party with a strong grounding in social justice.

    But I agree that our core support sits at around 10-12% – I suspect it always has done. Augmentation by protest votes, anti-politics votes and more recently disaffected Labour voters (who were never likely to be a permanent addition) has allowed us to coast along without ever building up a solid base of support. And partly the ‘wasted vote’ argument has made it difficult for us to try and win more core supporters. We now have an answer to the ‘wasted vote’ charge so the work of building on that 10-12% core support has to begin.

    @g – apologies, I didn’t mean to imply that no one at all read our policies, but your friends must be far more politically knowledgeable than the average voter because all the polling evidence shows that most people don’t have a clue what’s in any of the political parties’ manifestos. They’ve heard of maybe one or two flagship policies and that’s it. Of course there are some people who follow politics more closely, but they’re in a small minority. I wish they weren’t but political apathy is a whole different discussion. People vote based on image. Both Blair and Cameron understood that, which is why they were so electorally successful despite all the pundits complaining endlessly about ‘too much spin not enough substance’.

  • Oh dear ,had the Lib Dems not been in government with the Tories they would have walked this seat. As it happens I suspect they are in for a hefty defeat . This simply follows the pattern of recent Council by elections in areas such as Liverpool,Warrington and St Helens since the GE. ‘NOT’ being in government has always been the Lib Dems’ ace when it comes to by elections ,now they can no longer play back seat driver they are stuffed.

  • @Catherine

    I don’t know if you remember ‘Cleggmania’ but after he went on TV and promised ‘no more broken promises’ he popularity shot up. At a time when people where exceptionally cynical about politics here was a man and a party promising to bring principle, honour and decency back into it. Even if they didn’t have a good understanding of their policies I think most people understood that. It’s gone horribly, horribly wrong now.

  • Emsworthian 9th Jan '11 - 10:59am

    Hasn’t this seat already been discounted by the party heirarchy as the price
    one must pay for being in government? Even so faces might just be a bit redder
    if it were a third place. I don’t expect O&S voters are likely to be impressed by Simon
    Hughes’ latest apologia on universty fees

  • canvassing in Crompton ward yestterday and today – I can assure you all this is very close – Tories are coming over to us – no doubt about it – please get there if you can – this time it really can make a difference – joe public is fed up with the leaflets – but very warm reception on the doorstep. This could have massive effect on the party.

  • Catherine

    I never said you were centre-right. I do not believe the party is at all (the leadership is Tory though as is clear to see). What I said is that in order to replace the votes that are moving over to Labour the only chance you have is to develop policies that will pull in disaffected Tories with the same effectiveness that you did with disaffected lefties.

    I would suggest you look at the hatred for Simon Hughes being spilled out on the Guardian comments page for even daring to suggest that we try and remove the inherent bias of independent schooling – although you have lost credibility on that front with people like me due to the harsh cuts to university funding. The things you hold dear do not seem to resonate with the right in the same way they did with the soft left (fairness in taxation, civil liberties, scepticism of private sector involvement etc, equal opportunities for all)

    As to Emsworthian – this seat should not have been at all discounted by the leadership! Woolas was a disgrace and should have allowed you to exploit this. Also, the Coalition parties took 56% of the vote at the next election so it would take a good 10% swing to Labour from the other two parties to be confident of victory seeing that we are now seeing the call (in this thread) for Tories to back their Coalition partners.

  • Catherine, you seem to be writing off the party’s core long term support for “the mixed economy” and opposition to Thatcherite Conservative economic and social policy. I may have got you wrong, but I think that is what others here mean when they talk of building the party on the centre right rather than the centre left. IMO, the “standrad party line” of “Not right, not left, but forward” was always a bit tenuous, and aimed at trying to keep as many voters on board as humanly possible!

  • The Tory vote is already squeezed in this seat ,the LibDems could squeeze a few more but nowhere near enough to offset the drift of former Lib Dem voters to Labour.

  • George W. Potter 9th Jan '11 - 11:37am

    If we lose this election it well be disappointing but only a minor blow as governing parties rarely do well in by elections. But if Labour lose it will be a big blue for them and a bloody nose for Milliband 🙂

  • George W. Potter 9th Jan '11 - 11:37am

    *big blow

  • As per UK Polling report, Survation seem to have suffered from an exceptionally high refusal rate of 47% (perhaps it was their questionnaire, or introduction to it – ICM typically get about a fifth of that) meaning the final voting intention figures were based on just 225 people, giving a very high margin of error.

    So George not sure about the big blow

  • @ George W Potter no it won’t be a big blow for Millband if Labour lose this seat, in some ways it would be positive for Labour and allow them to firmly associate Lib Dems with Tory policy, but more importantly, Tory values. There are extenuating circumstances in this seat, even Labour supporters are appalled at Phil Woolas and his tactics.

    If Labour win the seat, that’s not a big coup for Labour either, it would be nothing to shout from the rooftops and the Lib Dems will, as you have already suggested, put it down to being in government.

    Reading too much into this result by any party would be a mistake, but it will setup some foundations for the next general election.

  • “If we lose this election it well be disappointing but only a minor blow as governing parties rarely do well in by elections”

    I think you will find governing parties barely six months into a term of office tend to do rather well in by elections.If the Lib Dems fail to win a by election from such a close second place it will be a massive blow. The Lib Dems exist to win by elections ,until the coaltion that has been their main purpose in politics.

  • Simon McGrath 9th Jan '11 - 2:59pm

    “Oh dear ,had the Lib Dems not been in government with the Tories they would have walked this seat. ”
    Very true, we would of course not have the pupil premium, no child asylum seekers being locked up, no 800,000 poor people taken out of tax, etc etc.
    The point of politcs is to get liberal policies enacted, not to win by elections

  • Simon McGrath

    We would also have no tripling of tuition fees, reallocation of budget for the pupil premium, regressive spending cuts, massive cutting of the HE budget, privatization of the NHS, loss of around 50% of your support, a to be lost AV referendum etc

    I have yet to see the absolute ending of child asylum seekers or changes to control orders.

    Labour could also have put up some positive things they did in their 13 years but would it make up for Iraq etc.

    This is in no way a liberal Government. If you think it is fine but unless you start realising that a whole lot of people who voted for you think otherwise you will not move on

  • This is hardly a good poll for the Lib Dems. Yes, your vote share has held up, and yes you’re still comfortably in second, but in all intents and puposes this would be a big defeat if reflected in the polls.

    Considering there are many cirmumstances that should work in favour of the Lib Dems: 1. Former Labour MP who lied about Lib Dem candidate, 2. Strong local campaign in comparison with the Labour and Conservative Parties, and 3. Tactial voting by Tories, the Lib Dems are still facing a 8% swing against them. If that is reflected in other Lab/Lib marginals come an election, the likes of Sarah Teather, Ian Swailes, Gordon Burtwistle and Jo Swinson among others will be looking for new jobs. Under AV, this seat would have fallen to the Lib Dems, but with these polls it is more than likely it will stay Labour, since some Greens would probably transfer to Labour before Lib Dems, and some Tories/UKIP/BNP would not transfer to the Lib Dems at all.

  • Oh, just so it’s clear I’m basing this on the ICM/Populus Polls, I don’t particularly know much about Survation. And I do know that polls may be inaccurate and people can change their minds/not turn out on the day, but I would be very surprised if the Lib Dems come within 5% of the Labour vote.

  • Just to be clear about this, irrespective of all the “kremlinology” involved in trying to second guess the result based on the unique aspects of this particular contest due to the Woolas affair, the fact remains that anything other than a win for the LD’s is pretty bad news for your party.

    The smart money must be on that happening; the main factor if that happens is how serious a defeat it will be, and what ramifications it will have both for later votes in May, and for the party as a whole.

    Obviously the supporters of the Coalition will do everything they can to spin the result (even if it is a defeat) as not as bad as it might have been etc., etc…. but if you don’t win (which should have been a shoo-in)…what then?

  • Face it folks, the LibDems are going to get an absolute stuffing in this by-election…

  • So, how accurate was that Survation poll then?

    Did anyone put their money where their mouth was?

    How much did you win?

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