Two Easter quiz questions from Olly Grender and Ed Stradling

First up, from Olly (former communications chief for the Lib Dems and Shelter, now a Lib Dem peer)…

And then from Ed (TV producer/director, the mastermind behind the excellent video The Lost Liberal Democrat Votes)…

Click here for the answers

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  • Tony Greaves 18th Apr '14 - 2:00pm


    Wilson 1966?

  • Tony Greaves 18th Apr '14 - 2:00pm

    Or Major 1987?

  • 1950

    Major 1990-92 or Thatcher 1982-83

  • Harry Hayfield 18th Apr '14 - 3:26pm

    Let’s go through this methodically (All data sourced from our excellent polling colleague Mark Pack)
    Conservatives 1979: May 1978 Con lead of 1.9% Election lead 7.1% = 2.6% to Con
    Conservatives 1983: May 1982 Con lead of 14.7% Election lead 15.2% = 0.3% to Con
    Conservatives 1987: May 1986 Lab lead of 7.1% Election lead 11.6% = 9.4% to Con
    Conservatives 1992: March 1991 Con lead of 1.5% Election lead 7.6% = 3.1% to Con
    Labour 1997: April 1996 Lab lead of 25.5% Election lead 12.9% = 6.3% to Con
    Labour 2001: May 2000 Lab lead of 13.4% Election lead 9.3% = 2.1% to Con
    Labour 2005: April 2004 Con and Lab tied Election lead 2.9% = 1.5% to Lab
    Coalition 2010: April 2009 Con lead of 14.9% Election lead 7.2% = 3.9% to Lab

    Answer: The Conservative government elected in 1987 had a 9.4% swing in it’s favour compared with 13 months out from a general election.

  • When did the Manchester Guardian become just the Guardian? Before the 1964 election ? So my guess is 1950.

  • Nonconformistradical 18th Apr '14 - 5:02pm

    “When did the Manchester Guardian become just the Guardian? ”

    According to Wikipedia 1959 .

    Must have been the 1950 election as tories didn’t win but the passage implies the result was close.

  • roger roberts 18th Apr '14 - 6:00pm


  • Bill le Breton 18th Apr '14 - 10:24pm

    But what be the biggest shift for a Governing Party over a period of 13 months? Try December 81 to Jan 83.

    If potential turn round during an economic recovery is what you are trying to predict, that is the bench mark .

  • Peter Chegwyn 19th Apr '14 - 1:29am

    I think the Falklands War in 82 had something to do with that turn round Bill.

  • Bill le Breton 19th Apr '14 - 5:56am

    Hi Peter.
    My starting date is December 81 which is 5 months before the invasion. During those 5 months the Con vote rose 50% … just on economic sentiment. As you will remember the Conservative decision to send the fleet etc was not universally popular and it’s success/safe outcome did not occur until June 82 or 7 months into my period. It did then rocket up to the late 40s but it then subsided back to the low 40s by the end of those 13 months as the Falkland’s effect subsided, leaving the product of economic victory.

    The point is that if the ‘Conservative’ management of the economy appears to have worked ‘against all the genuine doubt’ it creates a swell in favourable opinion in a relatively short space of time. Even without the Falkland’s the Tory vote would probably still got to 42.5% and of course the election would have been in May and not June 83.

    We should be wary of this happening again. I believe the strategists today think of 92 as the ‘nightmare’ outcome. We should not forget the consequences of economic recovery in 81/82 that followed a similar piece of economic incompetence.

  • Paul In Twickenham 19th Apr '14 - 8:38am

    Yesterday’s Independent had a poll of full-time students at UK universities: top line figures: Lab 43%, Con 24%, LD 6%. Compare that with a poll by YouGov in May 2010: Lab 24%, Con 21%, LD 45%.

    A huge – almost unimaginable – drop in support for the Liberal Democrats. And yet support for the Conservativees – who are the majority party in the coalition that has increased student fees – has increased.

    Bill Le Breton mentions the turnaround in Tory fortunes from 1981 to 1983. First of all I don’t accept Bill’s reduction of The Falklands Factor to some sort of flash in the pan. It created a sense of pride and optimism in at least the Tory-inclined portion of the electorate and perhaps was seen as making amends for the ignominy of the Suez debacle. I don’t believe that this mood had evaporated by the time of the 1983 election.

    In the summer of 1980, inflation was over 20%. Throughout 1981 it was about 12%. But by the time of the 1983 general election it had fallen to less than 4%. During the same period, unemployment rose from 6% in the summer of 1980 to 13% by June 83,

    So it seems to me that the Conservative turnaround was won through a mix of jingoism and low inflation achieved through the misery of unemployment in the decimated industrial North, and the squandering of North Sea Oil revenues.

    The connection between the utter collapse of Lib Dem support among students and the scale of the Tory victory in 1983 is rather obvious and can be summed in briefly – don’t p- off your core vote.

  • Peter Watson 19th Apr '14 - 9:23am

    @Paul in Twickenham
    A post in a discussion on the students’ poll by Phil Haines at ukpollingreport makes me think that Lib Dems have little interest in winning back the student vote:
    There will be hardly any students on the electoral register next year.
    It’s called individual electoral registration. It requires students to register individually, preventing university accommodation officers from doing that en-mass for their halls of residence. And the first register using it comes into effect in April 2015.

  • Paul in Twickenham
    The fall from 45% to 6% support amongst students.
    I am sure I am not the only person to feel an almost physical reaction to this fact. It is an emotional punch in the stomach to know how little regard students now have for the party that for forty years was the natural home for a large chunk of the student vote.
    The support or potential support from this generation of intelligent young people will be difficult or impossible to win back over the rest of their lives. This will be the lasting legacy of the failures of Clegg and co. Because of his very personal link with the disaster it will be impossible to overcomethis whilst Clegg remains as leader.

  • Paul In Twickenham 19th Apr '14 - 10:12am

    @JohnTilley – The support or potential support from this generation of intelligent young people will be difficult or impossible to win back over the rest of their lives.

    Absolutely. As students in the 1980’many of us boycotted companies with South African interests. Even today I hesitate for a moment when walking into a branch of Barclays. The party has been left with a terrible legacy of bitterness from the next generation of thought-leaders.

  • Peter Watson 19th Apr '14 - 10:19am

    As I noted in a post about this poll elsewhere, “At the same time, 83% of those students would vote to stay in the EU. So despite being “the party of IN”, it looks like the Lib Dem brand is still pretty toxic with students.”
    I was a student member of the Liberal Party 25+ years ago, and it is depressing to see such a low level of student support for the party now. Perhaps changes to voter registration will reduce the impact in 2015 (though if true, it is depressing if that is the sort of electoral reform that Lib Dems have achieved), but those student supporters now are the voters, members, MPs, and leaders of the future.

  • 83% of students in favour of the EU, but only 6% would vote Lib Dem. The really sad thing is Nick Clegg still doesn’t understand why.

  • Surely Easter is a time when some of you might get out a bit more ! The weather was lovely in the countryside today.

  • Bill le Breton 20th Apr '14 - 7:26pm

    Paul in T – I don’t wish to labour the point nor am I saying that the Falkland’s effect was a flash in the pan, but two things stand out: 1) the polling VI for the Conservatives began to turn in December 1981 and by the time of the invasion (April ’82) had already recovered considerably, and, secondly, the 42.5% that the Tories got in June 1983 was not its highpoint – some of the euphoria wore off.

    The reason why I find this interesting is that a) the ’79 ’81 recession was deep, appeared self inflicted by a policy that was much challenged, and b) that the Global Financial Crisis and the Coalition 2010 emergency budget had a similar impact. They were different from recessions experienced between them.

    Therefore appreciating how quickly Tory fortunes can turn e.g. between December ’81 and April ’82 should warn us that using tendencies for voter behaviour based on all elections (as some academics are doing) rather than those occurring after very deep recessions (which are rare) may well mislead us.

    Economic expectations among voters are in a classic position. They have turned on the issue of whether the economy is improving, but not yet on whether their personal economic fortunes are getting better. When those numbers turn, the Tory recovery could be as rapid as it was in Thatcher’s first term in office.

    But don’t take my word for it, Anthony Wells has written something similar in the last few days at UK Polling Report when examining those things that will decide the next election. Look at point 1 here:

  • Paul In Twickenham 20th Apr '14 - 11:49pm

    Bill – I completely agree that the Tories are capable of winning an outright majority next year. As you say , this will depend upon the mood of core Tory voters and whatever zeitgeisty term is being used for the floating B/C1 vote these days. If the headlines start to feel personal then there is every prospect of a point of inflexion in the polls. Osborne has played a blinder so far and Labour’s emphasis on “the squeezed middle” will implode if those critical groups no longer accept that label.

    To my mind the biggest risks of derailment to the Tory plan now come from external factors: Ukraine and the consequences of sanctions; the collapse of the shadow banking sector in China (debt issuance simply cannot continue at the current eye-watering levels); the failure of Abenomics; or entrenched deflation in Euroland.

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