A ha! The People Are On To You, David Cameron!

>> Tuesday, October 06, 2009

You're damned fortunate that they're dead tired of the Labour Government.

I have had the misfortune of experiencing the first couple weeks of teaching term, which means I've been working more than the standard five hours per week that we expect as academics. On top of these torturous demands on my valuable time, I have received considerable reward and pleasure in my role as accidental head of department, as we adjust to the wholesale restructuring that my institution of higher learning has implemented over the summer. Blogging has been an optional extra the past week or so.

It's party conference season here in the UK. While I normally only pay passing attention to these, this year does matter, as it's the last year before the next general election, due no later than early June. Two weeks ago were the Lib Dems, last week the rotting corpse of Labour, and this week, the New Conservatives.

Or not? As I suspected, the attraction to the Conservatives appears to have a lot more to do with dissatisfaction with Brown and the Labour Government than it does with what the Tories have to offer. Indeed, only 28% believe that the Tories have really changed and / or modernized under David Cameron. This explains why Cameron's brand identity is stronger than his party.

They key point is in this (muddled and error-prone) paragraph:

Only 19 per cent are satisfied with the Labour Government, down from 25 per cent last December. By contrast, 42 per cent are now dissatisfied with Labour and would rather have a Conservative government, up from 35 per cent. In the middle are 31 per cent (up from 25 per cent) who are dissatisfied with Labour and would rather have a Tory government but do not want a Tory government. So, while 73 per cent are dissatisfied with Labour, 50 per cent would still prefer a Labour Government and 42 per cent a Tory one. This suggests that many Liberal Democrats and supporters of other parties would still prefer Labour to the Tories.
When interpreted correctly with my corrections, this would appear to afford an opening for Labour to, while not win, at least not be wiped off the electoral map. They should play the "wasted vote" card with Lib Dem supporters in marginal seats, and attempt to assuage the concerns of the nationalists (Plaid Cymru, the SNP), though I would not hold out much hope for this. Even so, while 42% is roughly the natural ceiling for Conservative support over the past couple of generations, 42% will readily translate into a stable parliamentary majority.

Positive for Labour is that they are favored to the Tories on a number of issues, such as spreading the inevitable budget cuts fairly and protecting "front line" government services from these cuts. However, Brown trails Cameron on the same measures.

If only Labour had ditched Brown for Alan Johnson, it would have definitely, rather than possibly, fought off doom.


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