Poll: Two thirds of Labour Remain supporters are voting Lib Dem this time

A poll in the New European has shown a massive swing from Labour to the Liberal Democrats of Remain supporters.

From the paper:

The poll, of more than 1,300 respondents, compares how people voted in the 2015 General Election with how they intend to vote next month. It suggests the Liberal Democrats will double their share of the vote in this significant section of the population, while Labour’s will halve.

Two thirds (66.6%) said they would be voting Lib Dem on June 8, with Labour on just 22.3%. This represents a huge swing since 2015, when 43.9% voted Labour, and 29.4% Lib Dem. Meanwhile, support for the Conservatives has almost evaporated, from 9.3% in 2015, to just 0.4% of readers saying they will vote Tory next month.

Readers were also asked whether they would vote for any party which promised another EU referendum, with 62.8% saying they would. The Liberal Democrats are currently the only major party to make such a pledge. However, it seems most people have conceded the chances of a second referendum are low. Just 9.3% think there will be another poll.

The paper’s editor Matt Kelly said:

I think this demonstrates that for a proportion of the electorate, Brexit is an issue that transcends traditional political affiliation and Tim Farron’s clarity is evidently trumping Jeremy Corbyn’s foggy position.

While this movement is positive, the party needs to do all it can to make sure that this message gets across in all the right places. While national vote share is important, maximising the number of Liberal Democrat MPs on 9 June is essential if we are to avoid the Coronation of Chaos.

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  • Jayne Mansfield 13th May '17 - 9:27am

    Is this a poll of New European readers?

  • “Two thirds of Labour Remain supporters WHO READ THE NEW EUROPEAN are voting Lib Dem this time”

  • Roland Harmer 13th May '17 - 9:33am

    The Conservative party is the Coalition of Chaos.

  • Strange, how with all that support, we still lost seats in the local elections…

  • Say what you like about the validity of this poll. Say what you like about the credibility of the Labour manifesto. The only USP we have is the referendum on the deal and Europe. Cannabis will will not cut it. We have been outflank on NHS spending, Education Spending and Tuition fees. The only motivating issue we stand a chance on is Europe. We have to go for it, big and bold. Some people will hate us for it. Well the nation is divided. There is no pleasing all the people.

  • David Evans 13th May '17 - 9:53am

    Sorry, but this is as near to false news as it is possible to get. To quote the article “Readers were also asked …”

    I thought we had had enough of false polls after the 2015 disaster, but here we go again.

    The story should be removed from the site and removed now.

  • I think you would be better served by looking at Ashcroft’s new opinion modelling platform at http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2017/05/election-2017-ashcroft-model/.

    Ashcroft claims that this is a demographically accurate model of British opinion based on a sample of 40,000. The methodology – which is based on both demographic *and* geographic data – allows him to make projections about likely voting intention on a per-constituency basis.

    Ashcroft’s model concludes that 64% of Labour voters, 66% of SNP voters and 82% of Lib Dem voters were “remain” in the referendum. Given that 30% of 2015 Lib Dem voters voted “leave” this means a substantial loss of leave voters and replacement of those people by remain voters but – given the party’s continuing dire poll numbers – this appears to be a one-in, one-out swap rather that growth.

    You know what? Comfort polling, push-polling, call it what you will – should be strictly off-limits for Lib Dems. It led to cataclysmic self-delusion in 2015 and must not be allowed to do the same again.

  • Well that’s great then isn’t it – thanks for the reassurance.
    Good to know we have nothing to worry about and the local elections were simply a case of Labour voters forgetting about their pledge to vote Lib Dem.
    I’m sure they will “remember” on June 8th.

  • This poll is worthless as it represents only readers of the New European. A more interesting statistic perhaps is that one third of Labour voting NE readers don’t appear to want a second referendum. I admire Tim Fallon’s honesty and transparency over another EU referendum and 50,000 Syrians etc but it is clearly not finding any traction with the voters – thus far. I know many many people take real issue with Tim’s line that no one voted to leave the “Single Market” – when the UK Government leaflet which went to all households clearly said voting leave means leaving the single market. Can’t duck that one.

  • Poll is only of that papers readers and has no value whatsoever. This piece is an embarrassment and should be removed

  • ….you cannot get 2/3 of LibDem voters to support you!

  • Lets have a bit of realistic reporting.


    We have to find a strategy to appeal to leave voters too.

    Too late now for June 8th, but afterwards, we must start to cement the centre ground, hopefully winning the support of moderate Labour and maybe moderate tory voters too.

    At the moment we are in real danger of losing many of our own “leave” supporters to the torys, whilst gaining little in the way of remain supporters from them in return.

    Targeting is obviously the right strategy for this election and in 3 weeks there is no realistic alternative to continuing to hammer home our USP, but unless Brexit comes of the rails soon, we will run out of road before we can gain any real traction using this USP alone.

  • That’s the end of Lib Dem Voice as a serious news reporting place then!

  • And meanwhile Rome is burning…..We need to get a coherent vision otherwise 9 could look a good number.

  • Pleased to see the penny is dropping, no has dropped for many now. Two weeks ago I was saying we need a miracle otherwise less than 9. (I would say less than 6 now).
    We should have been hammering the Conservatives, day in and day out but instead ….. well you get what you wish for.

  • Bill le Breton 13th May '17 - 12:13pm

    In the run up to the 2015 election the Party financed push polls in 50 or 60 seats which gave the local parties AND the central command false optimism which will have completely distorted our targeting strategy.

    The first voter intention question in those polls actually gave an accurate picture of the situation in these seats, but there then followed comments that named our candidate and listed positive initiatives they were associated with. Then listed unpopular policies of our opponents. This warm up exercise was then followed by a second voter intention question and it was the answers to these that were used, clearly, not just for briefing the press but also by our then leader and our Chair of the Gen Election Team who ended up having to eat his hat publicly.

    This kind of nonsense does no one any good. It just hides the true picture.

  • That New European voodoo poll is just that, but this demonstrates something of value: Labour’s Remain vote is very soft. Folks should try and capitalise.

  • People see it as a done deal now Article 50 has been triggered. We should always have the pro-Single Market angle in our policy – based on real concerns like licensing of new medicines being slowed by us being out of a single regulatory system, but we need to to drive home our policy messages on NHS, education, training, the environment, fairness for young people etc. Forget the cannabis thing. It’s never appealed to mainstream voters.

  • Today’s ORB poll in The Telegraph has Con 46%, Lab 32%, LD 8%, UKIP 7%. This is now the fourth national poll in the last five I have seen that has put LD at below 10% and the Britain Elects polling average (a lagging indicator) shows LD support declining from 10.7% two weeks ago to 9.5% now.

    Whatever the party is doing, it isn’t working. Crossed fingers is not a strategy.

  • Alex Macfie 13th May '17 - 1:00pm

    Mike S: Meanwhile, based on actual votes (the local elections), the Lib Dem projected vote share was 18%. And doing better in target areas.

  • Alex Macfie 13th May '17 - 1:05pm

    The “Probability of possible outcomes” in that Electoral Calculus page does not include what I think is the most likely outcome in the (unlikely) event of a hung Parliament, namely a Conservative-Corbynista coalition, with the non-Corbynista wing of Labour splitting off. Yes, you read that correctly. The party most likely to prop up the Tories is Labour, given that the Lib Dems have said they will not support a coalition with anyone. The Labour leadership agree with the Tories on Brexit, and have a similar attraction to authoritarian one-party-state rule, so they would easily buy into the idea that the “national interest” obliged them to support the Tories’ Brexit plan. Corbyn would become a latter-day Ramsay McDonald.

  • Alex: Absolutely. How many MPs will we have, one redeeming factor of having single figures or none at all, is that we would be irrelevant anyway. So your thoughts are simply confirmed by our numbers or lack of them.
    Like 2010 we seem to be drifting some sort of dreamland, reality says even a miracle may not be enough. Some folk could well be very depressed AGAIN on June 9th

  • @ Alex Macfie Sorry Alex, but dream on. It’s going to be a Tory landslide and the Tories won’t need any propping up. For better or worse it will probably trigger off a second Scottish Referendum when people in Scotland wake up to what a hard Brexit really means in 2019/20.

    As to 18%……. 18% of what sort of turnout ? It gives me no joy to say you can halve that on double the turnout in a General Election to choose a Government in Westminster.

  • Alex
    Personally I suspect the Guardian “model” linked to from the electoral calculus page makes a lot of sense and explains most succinctly the real results we saw in the locals a couple of weeks ago. This is worth a read

    Don’t get me wrong, I would dearly love to be proved wrong.

    However, like David I fear all the evidence is pointing to our strategy being at best a short term grab for media coverage/recognition, which to be fair has worked in getting Tim some much needed coverage and the Lib Dem’s are definitely seen as been relevant again.

    Also to be fair to the strategists, there was no way of knowing that the risk taken (we badly needed a USP), would not work.
    Nobody had a crystal ball, and they played their hand the best they could.

    However, after this election, it surely is time now to devise a more rounded strategy for capturing this huge unmet need of a voice for both Remain AND leave voters who believe in Liberal democracy.

    The centre ground is as open and big as I can ever remember and if Corbyn stays, will remain so.

    I really hope I am wrong, but see no point in Lib Dem voice publishing this kind of news article.

    We have to be realistic and in being so, the disappointment on June 9th will be less (no eating of hats) and a the analysis can be more realistic and therefore potentially more successful going forward.

  • Firstly, we don’t have the cash or human resources to enable us to fight anything but a very limited target – seat operation. Secondly, being reduced to 8 MPs and 8% of the vote in 2015 means we don’t have the same balance in the media coverage which having 50+ MPs and 20%+ of the vote compared to previous elections.

    Finally, and most importantly, it seems that we’re in a definite cleft-stick at the moment:

    Tory remainers fear Corbyn even more than a hard-brexit – hence the ‘Coalition of chaos’ line. Hey, the Tories don’t have to be truthful for the line to work on the doorstep! Meanwhile, Labour remainers still remember the coalition years; the only ones we’ll get are those living in constituencies with Leave Labour MPs. If any of those brilliant insightful arm-chair strategists have ideas for overcoming this, I’m sure Tim and HQ would welcome them with open arms!!!

  • If that were so then the Lib Dems would be on at least 15% in the polls. Probably up to 20

  • Peter Watson 13th May '17 - 3:22pm

    @Clootie “you cannot get 2/3 of LibDem voters to support you!”
    This is probably closer to the truth than the title of this article.
    Looking at the most recent YouGov poll (https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/fko52um47n/TimesResults_170510_VI_Trackers_W.pdf), 64% of those who voted Lib Dem in 2015 and 9% of those who voted Labour in 2015 have expressed an intention to vote Lib Dem in 2017.
    Obviously there are caveats associated with looking at subgroups within a single poll, but even that seems less unreliable than a poll of a readership (30% of which voted Lib Dem in 2015) which even the editor of The New European describes as “massively skewed”.
    As others have warned, relying on voodoo polling is unwise, but perhaps more reliable reassurance is offered by this analysis which suggests voters feel they have more in common with those who voted the same way in the EU referendum despite supporting different political parties: https://yougov.co.uk/news/2017/05/13/brits-have-more-common-their-brexit-brethren-their/.

  • Peter Watson 13th May '17 - 3:26pm

    Specifically on the subject of the title of this article, I think it is incorrect and biased:
    Incorrect: the polling in the New European seems to indicate 2/3 of its readers will vote Lib Dem and support for Labour has almost halved.
    Biased: why not go for the far more impressive (although equally misleading) “95% of Tory remain supporters are voting Lib Dem this time”.

  • paul barker 13th May '17 - 3:35pm

    We need a bit of context here, LD Polling fell after The Election was called as did that of the other small Parties. Our support has been staedy around 9.5% since then. That represents one source of information, The Local Elections on My 4th where we got 18% are another. Its reasonable to think that our performance in June will be somewhere inbetween those. Thats why The Party is sticking to a tight Targeting strategy, I dont see any signs of that being relaxed or any outbreaks of irrational enthusiasm.
    I am known for being a crazy optimist & I am “predicting” 14% & 15 MPs.
    For things to shift now would need something really big like a Stock Market crash or a major Defection.

  • Andrew McCaig 13th May '17 - 4:32pm

    There is no evidence that our support has fallen since the election was called and no evidence that it has risen either. The only company that has polled regularly both before and after the election was called is YouGov and they have us consistently on 10-11%. Ipso Mori who normally have us higher are not doing any extra polls so far and ICM and Opinium who always had us below 10% have been doing far more polls and have been joined by some newbies than are fluctuating quite a bit.
    So we know our vote is steady but unfortunately we don’t know what it actually is in the 7-14% range since the companies have different methodologies and which is right is anyone’s guess..

  • Eddie Sammon 13th May '17 - 4:39pm

    Labour’s vote seems to be rising slightly and that’s why the Lib Dems are struggling. I would go on the attack against Labour and the Conservatives. As has been said many times: talk of alliances in the media between Labour and Lib Dems have been damaging. The only attack I remember being in the media of Labour from the Lib Dems in the past week is there position on brexit. I’ve hardly heard the Lib Dem’s view on Labour’s manifesto launch. In the media we mostly just hear Labour and the Tories, but don’t blame the media: come up with something more interesting.

    The attacks on the Tories about Nigel Farage’s Britain are good.

  • Neil Stockley 13th May '17 - 4:43pm

    How were the participants in this “poll” selected? How was it conducted, and who by? Like others who have commented, I’m hoping that our intelligence isn’t being insulted.

  • Alex Macfie 13th May '17 - 5:50pm

    David Raw: I’m not “dreaming”. I know as well as anyone else that the most likely outcome is a Tory landslide. My point was simply that the Tories currently have a lot more in common with the Brexity Labour leadership than with the Lib Dems, and the “coalition of chaos” wouldn’t happen even if there were a hung parliament.

    Mike S: Your suggestion would simply lead to a 1983 scenario where we got a lot of 2nd places but few extra seats. Targeting is key to this election, and part of this is appealing to a specific group of voters who are concentrated in particular parts of the country. We don’t even need to get all Remain voters, just get enough in the seats we target.

    I agree with Huw Dawson about the poll. It’s easy enough to sneer at it, but it does indeed show how soft the Remain Labour vote is, and again winning seats is just a matter of targeting those voters in seats where it matters.

  • paul barker 13th May '17 - 5:53pm

    Andrew McCaig makes an important point : all the Polling companies have changed ther methodologies since 2015 so the fact that they mostly got our vote share right then is irrelevant now. We are not a priority for The Pollsters, they are much more concerned to get Labour & Tories right, we are an afterthought.
    We can trust movements in The Polling averages but we have no idea whether they have us roughly at the right level or not. National levels of support arent that relevant to our performance in Target seats in any case, we know, for example that our support has risen more in London than in The UK as a whole & there are probably other Regional differences as well but we dont know about those.

  • Alex Macfie 13th May '17 - 6:13pm


    Like 2010 we seem to be drifting some sort of dreamland

    2010 was the election when Cleggmania caused us to drop the ball in our targeting strategy and think we could win a lot more seats than was realistic simply on an increased national vote. Of course, this meant we got slightly fewer seats on a slightly increased vote share. And with no lost deposits, 2010 saw us sliding back towards the 1980s problem, when we had a large share of the vote but far too evenly spread to translate into many seats in FPTP. We missed several close targets, partly because of this loss of targeting focus, and partly because the increased attention on us caused the two big parties and their supporters in the press to turn their big guns onto us.

    We are not going to make that mistake again this time (even in the unlikely event of a Tim-mania). Our tight targeting strategy for this election is quite the opposite of what we did in 2010. So any comparison with that elecoitn makes no sense at all.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 13th May '17 - 6:54pm

    This shows how open to us the Labour vote of a staunch EU oriented pro European newspaper is !

    We need to be promoting us as the mainstream alternative to Corbyn and Labour. To say as others do that Corbyn has something in common with Tories and is likely to keep them in office is far fetched nonsense, from a party who were in coalition with her ! This Brexit prism of seeing everything is making some go potty !

  • Ok Alex
    Thanks for the explanation.
    I wish you the best of luck 🙂

    One way or another it will be clear soon enough if the strategy has worked and if it has further legs.

    Lets hope for double figures at least and especially success in many of the target seats you mention

  • I’m reassured. After all, the New European is the biggest-selling paper here in Crewe.

  • Bill le Breton 13th May '17 - 8:27pm

    Alex we didn’t ‘drop the ball in our targeting strategy’.

    We came under the pressure of a ferocious negative campaign from the day after the Manchester debate. Our inexperienced team froze. Instead of rebuttal, we tried to hide. We hoped our lead would hold the week of so to the finish line. The campaign wilted under the pressure.

    Equally ferocious rebuttal and confident assertion of the policies that were under attack and the targets would have been landed.

    But commercial marketing campaigns rarely come under negative attacks from competitors and our team, steeped in commercial marketing, had no experience of withstanding a negative campaign of that ferocity.

  • This is not a voodoo poll. It is what it says it is. It is a survey of readers of a pro-EU periodical. What it shows is that 65% of 1,300 people who are against Brexit and have a strong interest in the EU intend to vote Liberal Democrat on 8th June.

    Does anyone remember the 2nd EU Referendum Petition? A total of 4,150,262 people felt strongly enough about Britain’s continued membership to sign it before it was closed. There is a very helpful constituency by constituency breakdown here:


    This shows, for instance, that 24,141 people signed it in Hornsey & Wood Green, 23,841 in Bristol West, 20,671 in Richmond Park, 17,785 in Bermondsey & Old Southwark, 17,731 in Cambridge, 17,684 in Twickenham, 15,069 in OXWAB, compared to, say, 1,413 in Orkney & Shetland and 1,819 in Redcar.

    Those figures show why identifying strong remainers and getting them out to vote is vital to the survival of our party. In a few constituencies, the pro-EU message will be a devastatingly effective vote-winner, in others it will have far less traction. George Street is doubtless aware of all this.

    One of the doom-sayers has cited Thursday’s result in Kings Lynn as evidence that the party is heading for disaster. But wait. Fairstead is an old overspill estate. It is in a part of the country with little history of Liberal Democrat activity and is strongly Leave. The Liberal Democrat candidate, despite these adverse circumstances, and despite the three-way squeeze, polled 11.4%, which is higher than the national opinion poll rating.

  • @Sesenco – but it is being reported very inaccurately here.

    There is some evidence that the Lib Dems are doing better in heavily remain areas – see the higher poll ratings reported in London.

    But on poll ratings generally – they are at about the same level as when the GE started. But they have gone up a bit and are now coming down – https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2017/may/08/general-election-2017-poll-tracker-who-is-in-the-lead

    Every pollster has the Lib Dems down in their most recent poll so their is (at the moment) a clear trend. Usually (except 2015) the Lib Dems gain support in an election (something like 2-5 points in the final month) though the high point in polling usually comes around a week or so before polling day (no pollster in any of the last 5 elections had the final poll for the Lib Dems as the highest of the campaign),

    With local elections – this has always run ahead of General Election performance by between 1 (2010 compared to 2009) to 7 (2001 compared to 2000).

  • “Every pollster has the Lib Dems down in their most recent poll” – just read there are maybe two more expected tonight so this may not be a statement that survives for long!

  • Peter Watson 13th May '17 - 11:43pm

    @Hywel ““Every pollster has the Lib Dems down in their most recent poll” – just read there are maybe two more expected tonight so this may not be a statement that survives for long!”
    From UKPollingReport (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9879), Lib Dem voting intention:
    ORB 8% (-1%), Opinium 8% (-1%), ComRes 10% (-2%)

    From https://twitter.com/britainelects/status/863492244300550145
    YouGov 9% (-2%)

    Statement holding true with only 1 left (maybe ICM).

  • Thanks – part of me was kind of hoping I would be a causal factor!

  • Hywel:

    “With local elections – this has always run ahead of General Election performance by between 1 (2010 compared to 2009) to 7 (2001 compared to 2000).”

    It is unusual to have local elections immediately before a General Election. It happened in 1987, and that boosted the Tory share of the vote. In 1992, local elections took place immediately after a General Election, and that boosted the Tory vote even further. For example, the Tories carried Stoke-on-Trent, and the Liberal Democrats held only 3 out of 10 seats in Cheltenham (having just won the constituency).

    No, I do not expect strong Lib Dem performances in Dorking and Bourton-on-the-Water on 8th June, but I consider a halving of the 4th May percentage unlikely.

    In 1983, the SDP/Liberal Alliance vote surged in the final week of the campaign, against a backdrop of a looming Tory landslide and an unelectable Labour Party (sound familiar?). Jim Callaghan repudiating his party’s defense policy was the turning-point. Conversely, in 1987 a strong start was followed by a steady fall, so awful was the campaign (the Two Davids and Rosie Barnes feeding a rabbit).

    Take a look at the remarkable West of England Mayor contest, where Steve Williams came away with 20% of the vote. Remarkable, certainly, compared to the miserable scores chalked up in Liverpool, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. The strongest Lib Dem constituency historically in West of England has been Thornbury & Yate, but Steve Williams did not perform particularly well in Thornbury & Yate, he did best in the remain strongholds, Bristol West and Bath. Bristol West comes off the write-off list, I suggest.

  • David Evans 14th May '17 - 8:07am

    I see LDV have not removed this thread, nor changed its headline. I’m afraid it simply confirms how comfortable the managers of this site are being part of the establishment. “Never in doubt. Never apologise,” has always been the mantra of failed politicians and it seems LDV are have just the same attitude.

    Well, we all know where having that attitude got us between 2010 and 2015. It destroyed us and totally disillusioned so many good Lib Dems.

    Now we have 60,000 new members who are being fed such rubbish. and they are going to feel mightily disillusioned if they find LDV has been feeding them tripe. Sorry LDV, but with your never ending stream of good news stories you remain a major part of our problem and very little of the solution.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '17 - 8:31am

    @David Evans: Your perpetual pessimism and doom-mongering is tiresome, and is what is most likely to disillusion new members. As is your seeming belief that Nick Clegg is still in charge. There is nothing wrong with the thread, or even the headline. It is clearly stated as a “poll”, and when reading the text, it is clear what can be read into this poll: not that that proportion of Labour Remain supporters have already gone to the Lib Dems, but the *potential* for peeling off Labour Remainers in seats where it matters.

  • Alex: really!!!!!!! come on.

  • Alex….Ah, *potential*….

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '17 - 8:52am

    theakes: Well you are another of them. As is anyone who quotes national opinion polls as though these are the only thing that matter for the party’s election prospects, when we all know that Lib Dem hopes for this election (even more than for others) hang on local targeting. I don’t claim we’re going to win masses of seats, but constantly talking down our prospects (on a public site) is not the way to win support or mobilise our troops. The architects of the mindless optimism strategy of 2015 have left the building, as have the architects of the Coalition. We need to move on from that era, not wallow in it (whether that’s to praise or attack it).

  • I think the Lib Dems’ poll standing (low, seemingly on a downward slope) is proof, if any were needed (it isn’t) that going on about how wonderful the European Union is is *never* a vote winner, outside a very few metropolitan enclaves. Many people view membership of the EU as an (often regrettable) necessity, if only for the sake of the economy. But to go beyond that and place it at the centre of a campaign was always destined for failure.

    However, this time round, it’s far too late. The Lib Dems have nailed their colors to the mast of fanatical pro-Europeanism, discovering in the process how painfully few share that viewpoint, and must take the consequences.

  • Alex Macfie 14th May '17 - 8:58am

    Robert C:

    outside a very few metropolitan enclaves

    Actually, if you are correct, then this is a positive side to the strategy, as FPTP rewards parties with concentrations of strength. Historically the problem for the Lib Dems and predecessor parties has always been vote being spread too thinly, with the 1983 election being the extreme example. Our slightly disappointing 2010 result was partly due to a slide back towards that. Tight targeting is our best hope in this election; as others have suggested, we know where those pro-Remain voters tend to be, and can adjust our local campaigns accordingly.

  • Alex Lets assume your strategy is successful and the Lib Dems get, say 12-15 seats. If they are mostly in right of centre ‘remain’ demographics, how does that sit with Tim’s aspiration (as with all other Lib Dem leaders pre Clegg) to position the party as a viable left of centre for (ideally as a viable opposition) and attract those voters most likely to form a solid core vote going forward? Whilst I appreciate there is no alternative for this election, aren’t you in danger of alienating your core vote

  • Reading the comments by some people, it seems their message to our new (and potential) members is: “You’re wasting your time; don’t know why any of us bother; we are all doomed.”
    If our current strategy isn’t attracting votes, this attitude certainly won’t.

  • David Evans 14th May '17 - 9:46am


    So you are tired of having to face up to the fact that our party was nearly annihilated in 2015 and that, LDV simply pedaled good news story after good news story – with a very occasional piece looking at where we actually were – for balance. Now it is doing the same and you have the nerve to call it pessimism!

    I am a Lib Dem and have been for more than forty years, because I believe it is our party’s mission to build a fair free and open society …” and that means pointing out when things are going so wrong as to jeapordise it. And LDV is doing that now, and you by your endless carping about fellow Lib Dems are doing the same.

    I suggest you read John Pugh’s piece on being practical and get out and help someone win a seat. But I suggest you don’t tell voters you are in favour of false news.

  • David Evans 14th May '17 - 9:47am

    Cassie B – who has been saying we are all doomed – except you?

  • @David Evans: NO, I have faced up to that. I just disagree with your approach of constant harking back to it and carping without proposing any constructive solution, and behaving as if nothing has changed from 2015 when quite obviously circumstances have changed.
    I DO go out and help candidates win seats; as someone who lives in a Lib Dem target seat I am aware that our election chances hang on doing just that, and not on navel gazing or worrying about national opinion polls. There is no “false news” in the article or the poll; it is accurate as far as it goes and the main thing to read into it is which voters to target. You are the one who is endlessly carping, with the Dad’s Army “We’re DOOOMED” line. Being practical means not doing this, and working locally in target seats to get MPs elected. And worrying about the local situation in those seats, as a priority over national opinion polls.

  • @Alex MacFie

    The operative term here is “very few” – and those only where Lib Dems are a major challenger.

  • Alex, I’m afraid I don’t think you have faced up to it. What got us into the mess was never ending over optimism about what a good job we were doing, promoted by LDV among others which led us to

    a) doing nothing to try to change the national situation, and

    b) believing that local campaigns could overcome what the national opinion polls were telling us.

    You are still doing that now.

    Please, for the sake of our party, its values and the people out there who desperately need it, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”

  • @Sesenco – I can’t predict the future :-). In 83 the polls at this point were in the 15-21% range (almost meaninglessly wide – Mori had 2 polls 2 days apart with a 6 point difference!). There had been a massive drop though since about March time so the campaign surge was possibly largely picking up support from previous supporters.

  • Peter Watson 14th May '17 - 10:35am

    @Alex Macfie “There is nothing wrong with the thread, or even the headline.”
    As I pointed out earlier, and as Sesenco writes, “What it shows is that 65% of 1,300 people who are against Brexit and have a strong interest in the EU intend to vote Liberal Democrat on 8th June.”. The survey appeared to show that amongst its readers, almost half of those who voted Labour in 2015 are planning to vote Lib Dem in 2017, not the two thirds stated in the headline.
    This is quite separate from the point that it is ridiculously misleading to claim that half of Labour Remainers or 95% of Tory Remainers plan to vote Lib Dem, since we know nothing about how representative the respondents to the survey are other than it is “massively skewed”.

    But there is a positive message there for the party. The survey shows that those most committed to remaining in the EU might be responding to the Lib Dems’ campaign despite previous support for other parties. The line taken by the article throws that away.

  • David Evans: “I’m afraid”. That pretty much sums up your constant negativity and habit of doing your party down *the whole time*. There were lots of things that contributed to the debacle of 2015, of which over-optimistic polling was only one of them. We ran a bad national campaign which did not give anyone reason to vote for us, and we had the shadow of the Coalition. So people weren’t just ignoring us, they were actively deciding not to vote for us. No amount of local campaigning could ever overcome that, as anyone could have foreseen. Apart from the national polling, we were doing badly in local elections, and in local and Westminster by-elections. We mostly lost deposits in the latter, and only held onto Chris Huhne’s seat because of the Tory-UKIP split.
    Now, our problem in national polls seems to be the traditional one that people have forgotten we exist. So it’s not like in 2015, when people knew we existed and knew they didn’t want to vote for us. We have been doing well in local by-elections, and while we fell slightly in terms of seats in the recent local elections, this is largely because of Kippers returning home, and it also hides encouraging results in our Westminster targets.

    You are stuck in a 2015 mindset, failing to recognise the differences between the political situations then and now. I’m not being mindlessly optimistic; you on the other hand are mindlessly pessimistic, and it is not helpful in changing either local or national situations.

  • Quite Peter
    I think if I may say so, that the reason this post has caused so much anguish amongst people who lets face it are all on the same side really, is that people are still very sensitive about what they see as the trashing of a very good party position over the last 10 years.

    This means any attempt to be economical with the truth now is likely to be met with a reflex defensive response. The senior members of the party whether editors, marketeers, communicators, or activists must surely know this and be sensitive to it.

    There has been a well deserved significant rise in party membership and support and there is obviously a desire to mobilise and defend this.

    However, a clear direction and honest reporting is I believe key to motivation on all sides.

    Positioning of the party for the short term must always have one eye to its long term growth.

    If Tim and senior Lib Dems want to cement the centre ground (especially on the left leaning side going forward to be taken seriously and protect the Lib Dem core vote, they must surely be careful not to be seen to be moving too far to the right for short term gain?

  • I forgot to mention that we also won the Richmond Park by-election (and I distinctly remember you, David Evans, were negative about our chances there as well).

  • Perhaps its time for this thread to quietly stop as its become a series of bad-tempered interchanges between a very small number of people.
    A lot of the arguments seem to be misunderstandings in any case. The article is perhaps badly worded but describes a real shift among a small section of voters which may later spread to more voters, as often happens with such shifts. It was worth reporting & commenting on but perhaps we have all said everything we needed to ?

  • Peter Watson 14th May '17 - 11:33am

    @Alex Macfie “a 2015 mindset, failing to recognise the differences between the political situations then and now”
    The change in leadership was a missed opportunity to signal a change in direction for the party which has neither embraced its time in Coalition nor distanced itself from it. Nick Clegg’s resignation as leader but continued prominent presence in campaigning adds to the confusion over the party’s current position with regards to the Coalition.

    Overall though, I think “a 2015 mindset, failing to recognise the differences between the political situations then and now” sums up half of the the Lib Dem election campaign strategy. The other half is “a 2016 mindset, failing to recognise the differences between the political situations then and now”.

    But the 2015 general election strategy failed and the 2016 EU referendum strategy failed.

    Perhaps the publication of the party’s manifesto is an opportunity to change things.

    “Neither left nor right nor anywhere really” failed in 2015 but maybe there is still time to set out a positive and consistent Lib Dem vision for the UK.

    “Brexit bad, Brexiters bad” failed in 2016 but maybe there is still time to set out a positive and purposeful Lib Dem vision of the UK in the EU or the EEA.

  • Peter
    I could not agree more.
    Agreed also.
    Yes every seat is important no matter where it comes from at the moment and then a clear direction/vision needs to be set for the future

    Good luck everybody in your target seats.
    The Lib Dems have worked extremely hard and deserve a good seat count next month!

  • Alex,

    “doing your party down *the whole time*” What a travesty.

    Pointing out problems we are facing and mistakes we are repeating while suggesting we need to change tack to get the result we need, is dismissed by you,

    initially as “your perpetual pessimism”,

    moves on to “carping without proposing any constructive solution”

    and ends up with “doing your party down *the whole time*”

    I am sad to say it, but it seems you just don’t want anyone in the party to face up to problems, and instead go immediately into personal attacks. We all need to consider how comfortable we are with “No-one shall be enslaved by conformity.”

    P.S. You are right in one thing though. I thought we weren’t doing quite enough to win in Richmond Park. However, at York, Campaigns team told us exactly why they did what they did and they were right. So I take my hat off to them and admit I was wrong. To me it’s all down to evidence based decision making in the interest of getting the best result for Liberal Democracy, not personalities.

  • John Littler 14th May '17 - 1:11pm

    Cannabis legalisation is a good thing and will bring some young votes and the penny on income tax levels is a positive, although LibDems are far too light on hard policy so far.

    May is in a honeymoon for now and she is not risking popping that fragile bubble by talking to voters or debating with other leaders. It won’t last the coming brexit cliff plummet, but she will be in with a big majority by then.

    If the useless Corbyn will not go after a big loss, then a re-ordering of the centre left should happen and the LibDems on probably 12-20 parliamentary seats, while still losing council seats and support in Wales, should think seriously about joining our historic partners from several past eras ( the Radicals, the Labour Representation Committee in the Liberal Party and the SDP )

  • I agree with David Evans that the title of this is misleading and it should include “of The European readers”.

    It appears that following the local elections nearly everyone posting here has accepted the need for tight targeting and there are not people still calling for us to target remain seats where there has not been a history of good Liberal Democrat performances. Even Paul Barker is making a realistic prediction of only 14% and 15 MPs.

    There is a saying I think in sales – “under promise and over perform” maybe LDV should use it in an amended form – under predict and we can over perform. I remember being pleasantly surprised in 1997 when we ended up with 46 MPs. I don’t remember anyone predicting we would more than double our MPs.

    @ Mike S
    Assuming we gain vote share and MPs in this general election, we will have a better starting position for the next general election and five years to improve our policies so we would make a big difference to economic inequalities if elected to government. Both of these would make us more appealing to Labour voters and hopefully swing voters and even UKIP ones (so long as we don’t bang on much about re-joining the EU).

  • Tried to find this before but couldn’t track it down when I needed to.. But this tells a different story. Whether LDV are going to feature this in a story is yet to be seen.

  • Peter Watson 14th May '17 - 6:41pm

    I was struck earlier by a change in tone from the Lib Dems listening to Radio 4 earlier today. (‘The World This Weekend’, I think. I was driving so can’t recall direct quotes).
    The interviewer was in Yeovil with Paddy Ashdown and the local party. A local activist said Brexit was less of an issue than other things, e.g. local representation, hospitals, schools, etc.. Paddy Ashdown said after 1000 doorsteps, Brexit had only come up a couple of times and then added that everyone understands Brexit is going to happen.
    This is not the message I have been hearing in recent weeks.

  • @Hywel
    Had to google the title as your link was subscriber protected, but the full article then came up.
    That’s a very interesting read. Coupled with Paddy and Vince’s comments today too, I sense a corner may just have been turned.

  • Bill le Breton 15th May '17 - 7:27am

    The voters flow chart contained in that FT article linked to by Hywel illustrates why our post referendum positioning, amplified in this campaign, is utterly foolhardy, as I have been pointing out for nearly a year now.

    On the Twitter sidebar, the Press Office has tweeted, “Davis’ comments show gov don’t know what deal will be w/Europe …”

    Yet we have never pinned our own colours to any of the possible masts and have instead tried to get away with just calling for a 2nd referendum.

    Actually Davies was quite clear in that interview. No membership of the single market nor of the customs union but an FTA that provides access to the SM and arrangements that preclude customs (ie soft borders). We might not like it, we might not agree with it, but what is our alternative in a world where, as Paddy now apparently says, “Brexit is going to happen”?

    Once again I link to a proposal for a Continental Partnership http://bruegel.org/2016/08/europe-after-brexit-a-proposal-for-a-continental-partnership/

  • “Once more unto the breach, dear friends…. Though the opinion polls aren’t looking good and we should all be prepared for heavy casualties.” 🙂

  • Alex Macfie 15th May '17 - 9:59am

    The “re-leavers” story is worrying not just for Lib Dems, but for democracy itself. If people are buying into the idea that they have some sort of duty to stand behind the government because of the outcome of a vote last year and they are not allowed to use a fresh election to change the government’s position, then basically they are “useful idiots” for Dictator May.

  • Look at it this way: would anyone ever argue that whoever comes into power after the election has a “duty” to implement the plans of the previous government? How is this so different?

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 15th May '17 - 10:45am

    Alex Macfie, We seem to have discussed this lots of times, but the point is that a referendum is different from a general election, and I think most people really understand this. A general election is about choosing an MP to represent you for the next five years or so. It’s always understood that there will be another election in five years at the most. But a referendum is intended to let the public decide on one specific issue, and it’s understood that the referendum will decide the issue for a considerable time – probably for a generation or more, although of course there is always the possibility of it later being reversed by another referendum.
    Also, your comparison does not work because it is always taken for granted that a general election result will be implemented. That is, the MPs who are elected will take up their seats, and the party with the most MPs will form a government, until the next general election. Similarly, it should be taken for granted that a referendum result will be implemented, although it may later be reversed by another referendum.

  • @Catherine Jane Crosland: Congratulations, you have shown how referendums are incompatible with representative democracy. Representatives cannot be compelled to vote in a particular way, and nor can voters. However, the rider of the EU referendum, as described by you, introduces an implicit compulsion on (i) representatives to vote for whatever the government declares is necessary to implement the referendum result, and (ii) voters to elect representatives who pledge to do so. But who decides what is meant by the “referendum result will be implemented”? The government, that is who. No issue can be considered in isolation, which is one reason why referendums on “specific issues” are a bad idea. They all have knock-on effects on other things. So the government can basically push through anything it wants to, from spending cuts to the killing of the first-born, and say that MPs have to vote for it because it is “necessary to implement Brexit, as instructed by the people.” This is how referendums kill democratic debate, and why we need to challenge it.

  • Peter Watson 15th May '17 - 12:50pm

    @Alex Macfie “you have shown how referendums are incompatible with representative democracy … This is how referendums kill democratic debate, and why we need to challenge it.”
    But the Lib Dems have long been a party associated with referendums.
    In 2010 I voted for a party (and perhaps you were campaigning for the same party) that proposed an in/out referendum on EU membership, a referendum on joining the euro, and a referendum on a written constitution. In coalition government that party went on to deliver referendums on the Alternative Vote, Welsh devolution, Scottish independence, and a few on English mayors.

  • Laurence Cox 15th May '17 - 1:23pm

    Unlike the “New European” voodoo poll, this one by YouGov illustrates why our pro-Remain message isn’t having much effect on the opinion polls:


    I think that this is the same story that Hywel and Mike S are referring to.

  • Andrew Tampion 15th May '17 - 2:18pm

    But Alex Macfie every Conservative MP elected in 2015 was elected on a Manifesto commitment to hold an in out referendum on EU membership and honour the result. This is why the Conservatives have united behind their leader. If the polls are right and Theresa May wins a clear majority based on a minaifesto that will presumably be based on the 12 point plan that she has already announced then the electorate will have endorsed that plan. In that contingency I fail to see how there could be a clearer endorsement of representative democracy.
    Like every other party member I will be doing what I can to secure the election of a Liberal Democrat MP in my constituency. Even thought I fundamentally disagree with the party policy on the EU.
    If as expected the Conservatives get a clear majority then I will accept the result and do everything that I can to support the elected government to get the best deal consistent with the mandate they have received.

  • @ Laurence Cox
    Thank you for the link. I think it strange no one has stated what it shows!

    It shows that of the 48% of people who voted Remain only 22% of the population still oppose Brexit. It suggests this is why our vote has not increased as much as was expected. This of course means that in Remain seats only 45.8% of the Remain vote is open to voting for us because of our Brexit position. It therefore follows we are unlikely to win Vauxhall 45.8% of 77.58 = only 35.53% while half of 74.9 = 37.45% (2010 figures).

    We live in a liberal representative democracy where those who do not win a general election do not support the government but oppose it, to get it to change its policy and try to persuade the population to oppose government policy. This opposition can be expressed by protest marches and rallies. This lawful opposition is part of respecting our democracy. Calling for another referendum to overturn the result of the 2016 referendum is part of this lawful opposition. It respects the result by accepting that the result of one referendum can only be overturned by another one.

  • Peter Watson 16th May '17 - 4:19pm

    I just wanted to “retweet” what Paul Murray has posted in a parallel thread as it is very relevant to this discussion as well (https://www.libdemvoice.org/lib-dems-send-out-strategy-briefing-to-members-54345.html#comment-440390):

    This from Daniel Hannan might give an indication of an anti-LD strategy that will be deployed by the Conservatives and their media surrogates: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/even-remainers-dont-like-it-when-unpatriotic-lib-dems-back-brussels-against-brexit-1621897

  • John Littler 16th May '17 - 6:17pm

    Yougov asked a simpler, fairer, unloaded question between Remain and Leave every month and there has been a small drift to a majority for Remain, but that may not be so significant in the General Election now.

    It now looks as if people are going to have to see a lot of real economic pain before they are motivated to want to row back on this travesty. We have around 2-3 years before that happens, or longer if there is a strong transitional deal.

    The International Just In Time manufacturing methods used within the EU such as by car plants, cannot work with the UK outside of the Customs Union. Also, Eurobonds cannot be traded from London if we are outside of the Single Market, which will cost the UK £440bn, making EU fees enabling this, a complete bargain.

  • Richard Underhill 16th May '17 - 7:47pm

    Bridge players are trained to “play the card you are known to hold”. We should accept that calling a general election when she had said she would not gives the incoming government more time. A statement of “the bleeding obvious” needs saying sometimes and provides a foundation of trust for what we say next. There are plenty of admissions about a roller coaster ride in the short term admitted by leavers, some in the outgoing tory parliamentary party. Providing more time might make transitional arrangements better and more likely, more time might also be necessary if the negotiations go badly, if a bloody difficult woman wants to show how difficult she can be without actually achieving anything for any of the many interested parties who must be lobbying David Davis and co. Although the PM’s on message sloganizing is brainwashing voters, she is doing two things at once, “Strong” is popular although not necessarily effective. Stable is a forecast about the future and therefore uncertain. Constituency interests will press on Tory MPs as on all others making rebellions on aspects of any deal increasingly likely. In the general election there are already calls for Westminster to replace money which would have come from Brussels if Westminster does get some portion of the money that used to be paid in membership dues.

  • Alex Macfie 17th May '17 - 7:24am

    Andrew Tampion: No. If, as expected, the Conservatives win a large majority, then I shall respect the result, but only in the way I would respect any election result. This means I would not “support” the new government on the Brexit negotiations any more than I would on any other issue. The country is not a football team, we are not required to support the leader’s position on the international arena come what may. Normal politics prevails, and that means opposing the government if you don’t agree with it, and not self-censoring because of the outcome of a previous vote. So I disagree with Michael BG: any mandate overturns a previous one.

  • Alex MacFie, you refer to people being “useful idiots for dictator May.” That is a term of contempt and has no place in a Liberal Democrat’s lexicon to describe people you have no direct knowledge of. It seems that to you the problem is simply

    ………………………………….. all the other people.

  • Peter Watson 18th May '17 - 1:32pm

    @Hywel “Every pollster has the Lib Dems down in their most recent poll”
    Latest national poll from Ipsos MORI in The Evening Standard (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/uk-general-election-poll-jeremy-corbyns-labour-makes-major-eight-point-gain-on-tories-after-a3542256.html):
    CON 49 (=)
    LAB 34 (+8)
    LD 7 (-7)
    UKIP 2 (-2)
    Maybe a blip, but …

  • Peter it just gets worse and worse. Is there no end to the bad news. There is a good blog by Stephen Tall identifying the reasons maybe. As things stand can we avoid a wipe out?

  • Peter Watson 18th May '17 - 2:21pm

    I agree with much of what Stephen Tall has written.
    I think he places too much blame on Tim Farron’s Christian views (which was an unfortunate Lib Dem own goal in its leadership contest). And I am not sure that Vince Cable’s comments scared votes back to the Tories as much as the Lib Dem reaction to those comments might have scared votes back to Labour.
    I think the strategy has been wrong: even the run up to the local elections was all about Brexit. But like Tall I am not sure what the best alternative would be (perhaps to embrace a multi-party anti-Tory alliance as the least worse option, but I’ve read enough on this site to know that would be controversial to say the least).
    Mentioning Farron and Cable in Tall’s paragraphs is not, I hope, a prelude to the return of Nick Clegg to the leadership (if he survives the election), something that was rumoured a few months ago.

  • Paul Murray 18th May '17 - 2:36pm

    Last four polls have LD on 7%, 7%, 8%, 7% – an average that is less than we polled in 2015. The Britain Elects polling average has now fallen to 8.7% and the graph shows a clear, steady decline in LD support that started after April 27th when LD support peaked at 10.7%. Sir David Butler has tweeted that Con+Lab is now close to 80%. The last time it broke through this was in 1979.

    At the start of this campaign I was hopeful that the party could get up to 14% or 15% and – with good targeting – return a solid tranche of 30+ MPs. That now looks so pie-in-the-sky that it is embarrassing to admit it.

    On a possibly related note, I was recently in receipt of a glossy A3 from the local Lib Dems that asked me to “Vote Lib Dem to prevent a hard Brexit”. That sounds incredibly wonkish. I know that “hard” is good in biscuits and bad in cakes, and “soft” is good in cakes and bad in biscuits. But is Brexit a cake or a biscuit?

  • paul barker 18th May '17 - 2:38pm

    I dont understand why people are still on this thread but as you are all here….
    We are currently averaging 9% in the Polls, we have no idea if this is right or not & its hard to reconcile with the 18% we got on May 4th. An average of 9% means we can get 6% or 12% without any need to get excited.
    Our Polling average has fallen about 2% since The Election was called, a classic 2 Party squeeze. We dont know if that will continue.
    There are a wide range of possible outcomes for us on June 8th, I dont see how panic helps.

  • Paul, there is no panic, just a broad realistic consensus, things are as they are, not what we may want them to be, after all it can get even worse.

  • Peter Watson 18th May '17 - 3:01pm

    @paul barker “a classic 2 Party squeeze”
    But we have been told that Labour under Corbyn has lurched to the left and May has pulled the Tories to the right, leaving the political centre ground wide open for the Lib Dems rather than squeezed.

  • Matt (Bristol) 18th May '17 - 4:14pm

    May has simultanousely moved the Tories to the (authoritarian) left on the role of the state (in certain, handpicked instances) and to the (authoritarian) right on the status of the nation.

    Meanwhile, Corbyn has pulled Labour to the left – but not actually quite as far as is often claimed – whilst his individual MPs are issuing ‘defend your local community’ rallying calls to local voters on the basis of their incumbency record.

    So this is more than a straight left-right squeeze. This is two parties simultaneously working to outflank us at the same time.

    The centre-ground is not therefore, completely open and uncluttered, although it is much fought over. It may also have shifted, and now may not be where we would like it to be.

    The other issue is, as both the top two parties fight on a nostalgic basis, recalling a past for older voters of both left and right where a third party was regarded as an irelevance, we are not being allowed to stake a claim on any ground – left, right or centre. We are being either ignored or laughed at and misrepresented, and the media is helping.

    I hope tonight’s ITV debate helps in this regard.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 18th May '17 - 4:32pm


    A very good analysis.

    I think the leadership and party have not necessarily helped , in not emphasising the concerns of people that are recent and of today, as well as not having the appeal of nostalgia.

    Talk about freedom of movement and EU rights , refugees , shorter sentences,and such , in a manifesto , are not what are the policies people want to hear about, but we as a party cannot grasp that the public as a whole share one big concern, security, whether monetary or from criminality.

    Some of our policies on these are fine, some not, all give the impression our hearts are not in the right place, or left one , but are … ?

  • Peter Watson 18th May '17 - 5:42pm

    @Matt (Bristol)
    And to think the left-right divide was supposed to simplify the way we look at this!! 😉

  • @ Lorenzo
    …………”but we as a party cannot grasp that the public as a whole share one big concern, security, whether monetary or from criminality.”

    I think that’s a very perceptive and accurate point Lorenzo!

  • I thought I would bring the number of comments here to the round 100. Throughout the coalition, LDV chose to publish Good News story after Good News story to shore up morale. However, all it succeeded in doing was stifling debate on the problems we faced and so we never faced up to them.

    In 2017 this story shows we get exactly the same, Silly (at best) headlines and no considered debate. Truly some organisations never learn.

  • Ashcroft has just updated his model for the election and produced some graphs of predicted Con majority. These are interesting because they show the effect of different turnout. All the graphs take the form of a left-modal Poisson distribution (mode < median < mean) meaning that the Conservatives are more likely to have a *larger* majority than the peak (modal value) rather than a smaller majority.

    For turnout at about 2015 or EU referendum levels the modal value for Con majority is about 160. But for "self reported" likelihood to vote it is closer to 200.

    Ashcroft's model now projects 5 Lib Dem seats.

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