Campaigners flock to Gordon to help Christine Jardine

Christine Jardine canvassing selfieI wasn’t surprised to see Alex Salmond ahead in the Ashcroft poll on Gordon. After all, he’s been everywhere at the moment. He has even, entirely coincidentally, of course, started a regular column in one of the local papers.

The thing is, Christine Jardine and her campaign team have always known that they faced a challenge. She doesn’t have the benefit of incumbency, apart from anything else. That’s why they have been working so hard in the year since she was selected to fight the seat. What the Ashcroft poll put beyond doubt was that she has firmly established herself as the clear challenger to Salmond and the SNP. If you are an undecided voter in Gordon who doesn’t want Salmond or the SNP to win, the poll makes it clear that you need to vote for Christine.

If you delve a bit deeper into the actual tables, you see that on the raw data, Salmond actually only has just over a third of the vote. He’s bumped up to 43% by a manual adjustment to account for a redistribution of the don’t knows and external factors such as national poll ratings. I wouldn’t have thought that that many people saying they don’t know would be SNP voters. They are pretty proud these days and happy to admit their allegiance.

The other interesting thing about the Ashcroft poll is how much the Conservative vote has declined in the seat. Way back in 1992, they were on 37% of the vote and came within a couple of hundred votes of unseating Malcolm Bruce. This Ashcroft poll puts them on just 11%.

Anyway, all the polls three months out from the Scottish election in 2011 put Labour on course to win and form a government and we know how that turned out.  Nobody saw the SNP surge coming in 2011, but it’s out there now. The Nationalists will certainly gain from Labour, but not as much as the polls suggest, I reckon. They are desperate to downplay expectations, saying they expect to win somewhere around 25 seats, for fear that they will be seen as failing if they don’t deliver the total domination predicted.

Christine Jardine’s campaign team is more determined than ever to win. They’ve had a massive action weekend where they’ve smashed their expectations of what they could do. Their office was incredibly busy as people came to deliver leaflets and talk to voters. I wish I had been able to be there because Christine’s canvassing selfie above shows the positive, sunny, spirited atmosphere of her campaign. It would be foolish to underestimate her.

If you want to help Christine win, you can donate to her campaign here.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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23 Comments

  • Bill le Breton 8th Feb '15 - 12:16pm

    If anyone can do it, Mrs Ritchie can.

  • Hmmm, no mention of strategy to cope with the fatally low levels of Lib Dem polling in Scotland? Alex Salmond, for all his popularity, is a very divisive man, and appealing to the ‘anybody but Salmond’ vote is probably the best choice. Although with all three unionist parties on a more or less equal footing they risk splitting that vote as there’s no clear favourite…

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Feb '15 - 1:11pm

    Mrs Ritchie, combined with a candidate who is full of fun and energy and has an army of people who love her to bits and will work very hard for her, Bill.

    G, the Ashcroft poll in Gordon puts Christine way ahead of the others and is clearly the challenger.

  • Sorry Caron, you are completely right, for some reason I saw the 2010 result and got the SNP and LD shades of yellow confused.

  • Bill le Breton 8th Feb '15 - 4:49pm

    Caron “and will work very hard for her,” as if anyone ever dared to do otherwise 😉
    When Mrs Ritchie told me what she was doing back in April, I put a huge qty of money on us to win Gordon! And doubled it when Mr S confirmed he was standing.

  • Just taken another look at the poll, I hadn’t realised how stark the gender gap was. Around 10% more women than men likely to vote for Jardine, and the reverse for Salmond.

  • Salmond hasn’t got the benefit of incumbency either. Mind you, unlike Christine, he has the benefit of being a ‘big name’ political figure.

    I do take issue Caron saying that if you don’t want Salmond to win then you have to vote for Christine though, I think that tactical voting being encouraged like this is one of the things most wrong with British politics although it is caused partly by FPTP which the Lib Dems are against. I do hope that the Lib Dems will not complain if nationally this election is painted as a straight choice between Labour or the Conservatives. I think people should be encouraged to vote for whoever they actually want to win, or they shouldn’t vote for anyone at all. For me that is nobody at all.

    I’m surprised that the poll has Christine 2nd though and though she would be at least 3rd by now, and I’d be even more surprised of the Lib Dems could manage a 2nd place in West Aberdeenshire.

    The Lib Dem party that went into coalition with Labour in Holyrood and did a lot of good things is a very different party to the one that went into government with the Tories and made the poorest and most vulnerable pay for the banker’s crisis and shafted their core voters (the young) with a life time of debt whilst forcing them to pay for the ‘triple locked’ pensions of a generation who not only got free university education but were actually paid to go to university with grants as well. It is because of this that I would be amazed if the Lib Dems can come within 15 points of the SNP in Gordon, but then again I was wrong about them being in 2nd place assuming the poll was correct which it probably is…

  • Tony Greaves 8th Feb '15 - 6:17pm

    I really hope Christine can hold this seat, however it has to be done.

    But what a shambles our strategy has been in Scotland. Why oh why did we block the “devo-max” option on the ballot paper when it (and it alone) would have allowed our party to campaign for our distinctive policy (which is not “unionist”) – and win? Instead of which we were just a set of minor hangers-on to the so-called Better Together campaign fronted by a load of illiberal machine backs. This must go down as being as big a blunder in the parliament as tuition fees.

    Tony

  • If you don’t adjust for the don’t knows and those who refused to say then the poll result shows the SNP miles ahead and the other 3 main parties running close for 2nd, 3rd and 4th. It’s only after the adjustment that the LibDems start to put a bit of daylight between themselves and Labour and the Tories.

  • @Tony Greaves: “I really hope Christine can hold this seat, however it has to be done.” – There is virtually no chance of that, not even close. And going around telling people that if they don’t like the SNP then they have to vote Lib Dem is unprincipled nonsense. It would be no different to Ed Miliband telling the country that if they didn’t like the Tories then they simply had to vote Labour and only those two parties could ever run the country and people had no other alternative. The voters of Gordon don’t *have* to have Salmond or Christine, they can choose anyone they like. Just because it looks like they almost certainly will vote for the SNP doesn’t mean they should be told that they only have two choices, they don’t… In fact, if you’re going to go down that road of telling voters that “only the SNP or the Lib Dems can win here” then why not take it a step further and tell the voters that the SNP will win here, if you don’t support them too bad, might as well not turn up to vote because you almost certainly won’t be able to change it? That would be more accurate, but it’s not a politicos place to say that because the ultimate decision is still in the hands of the voters.

    “But what a shambles our strategy has been in Scotland.” – Being unprincipled has been their down fall in Scotland. In 2007 the SNP won a minority government in Scotland. They asked the Lib Dems for a coalition and their price was a referendum on independence, for politics rather than real liberal principle the Lib Dems refused. The SNP went on to run the most popular government in Scotland (the Lib could have been a part of that) that I can remember and won an outright majority under PR and got their referendum anyway. Without the cuts and a Tory government in London I doubt the Yes campaign could have got anything like the support it did and I doubt the SNP would be in the position it is now.

    This is what happens when you play politics with issues instead of simply doing the right thing, it’s like playing with fire. The consequences for the party was seen in the last Holyrood Election and pretty much the same thing in Scotland will be repeated at the General Election in May. It’s kinda sad actually, but it would be difficult to say they didn’t bring it on themselves with the political games including the pledge.

  • “If you delve a bit deeper into the actual tables, you see that on the raw data, Salmond actually only has just over a third of the vote. He’s bumped up to 43% by a manual adjustment to account for a redistribution of the don’t knows and external factors such as national poll ratings. I wouldn’t have thought that that many people saying they don’t know would be SNP voters. They are pretty proud these days and happy to admit their allegiance.”

    I’m not sure this is a very good bit of analysis

    If you take the raw data then you have 35% SNP, 19% Lib Dem (Table 5). That is then turnout weighted and past vote weighting (on the polling answers given) to give 44/26 (Table 6). It’s only then that the data is adjusted for don’t knows etc to address the “spiral of silence”. After that you get 43/26 so it slightly brings the SNP figure down (but really doesn’t make much difference across the board).

    The big change is turnout and past vote weighting.

  • And there was I thinking that Alex Salmond was the challenger in a Lib Dem held seat. Where else will the Lib Dem be challenging themselves?

  • @Tony Greaves

    Caron will wax lyrical if you ask her on why the Lib Dems democratically denied us Scottish voters the ability to vote on the option which the great majority wanted.

  • @Hireton and @Tony Greaves

    How does a three option referendum work?

    You cold easily have had the following result:

    45% Indy
    35% DevoMax
    20% Neither

    The majority would have voted to keep the Union in some form but would have lost. There must have first been a ballot on a simple choice of remaing in the United Kingdom first (anything else would have been a masive consitutional change without the public having no actual say). Then there should have been a second ballot on DevoMax (of some form of the other). We should have argued the latter case, but a three option referendum makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Toby Fenwick 9th Feb '15 - 9:02am

    Tony: I’ve always read Campbell I & II as federalist – and therefore unionist – rather than separatist. What federalism is obviously not is centralist.

  • David,

    “But what a shambles our strategy has been in Scotland.” – Being unprincipled has been their down fall in Scotland. In 2007 the SNP won a minority government in Scotland. They asked the Lib Dems for a coalition and their price was a referendum on independence, for politics rather than real liberal principle the Lib Dems refused. The SNP went on to run the most popular government in Scotland (the Lib could have been a part of that) that I can remember and won an outright majority under PR and got their referendum anyway. Without the cuts and a Tory government in London I doubt the Yes campaign could have got anything like the support it did and I doubt the SNP would be in the position it is now.

    I always thought it was rather principled of the Scottish Lib Dems to accept the result of the 2007 vote and recognise that the coalition had been voted against, and that they shouldn’t consider themselves to have the divine right to be in government with whomever.

    It’s what was expected of a centre-left unionist party that shared common ground with Labour, if from a different ideological perspective.

    Which made the coalition with the tories from the national Lib Dems all the more surprising, and why the Scottish Lib Dems have suffered even greater collapse than the national party. Nobody thinks they are a party of the centre left any more, even if they may still be, at least in Scotland, and excluding Danny Alexander.

  • Jane Ann Liston 9th Feb '15 - 9:34am

    @ATF

    Assuming, of course, that everybody knew what ‘devomax’ actually meant! Had it been an option we’d have spent the whole campaign defining it. I notice now that there is still no agreement.

    By the way, North East Fife is attracting lots of much-appreciated help too.

  • @Jane Ann Liston

    Good point!

    @ Caracatus

    Which version of DevoMax? We often talk as if there was one, agreed version and there wasn’t one then and isn’t one now.

    STV would still lack the clarity that such an decision requires.

  • ATF

    There,was no practical difficulty in having a further devolution option on the ballot paper as already explained.

    As the Unionist parties could agree in the Smith Commission perhaps they could have agreed a common line before rather than resorting to Project Fear and then panicking.

  • Toby Fenwick 9th Feb ’15 – 9:02am
    “Tony: I’ve always read Campbell I & II as federalist – and therefore unionist – rather than separatist. What federalism is obviously not is centralist.”

    And thus Toby, you went and joined the DUP as the only logical conclusion to your line of thought?

    In the UK the term “Unionist” has a very specific meaning. It has appeared in the titles of various political parties during the last 100 plus years. To pretend that Federalism or ‘Home Rule’ is unionist is either playing with words in a deliberately dishonest way or is displaying astonishing ignorance.

  • Toby Fenwick 11th Feb '15 - 1:33am

    John,

    It was neither. It merely suggests that federalists are in favour of a federal UK, rather than overly centralised state we currently have. I suggest you take your insults somewhere else.

  • I think that what John Tilley was trying to say is that separatism, federalism, and unionism are three philosophies that are distinct from each other, and that to the extent unionism has been defined as a distinctive ideology, it is not merely against separation, but also anti-federalist and anti-devolution. Unionists of the 19th century were not merely opposed to the separation of Ireland from the United Kingdom — something which hardly seemed possible for most of the century — but also Home Rule, a form of devolution within the UK. In the 20th century, Unionists were not merely against Scottish independence, but also against devolution of powers to Scotland within the UK.

    A little over three years ago, Michael Moore wrote an article for LDV on why he preferred not to be called a unionist, despite his opposition to Scottish Independence. I think it is still worth reading:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/michael-moore-mp-writes-i-26293.html

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