Labour’s support ‘collapses’ in the north…
Interesting piece in the Financial Times which shows Labour’s support collapsing and the Conservatives establishing a 4% lead in northern England on a swing of 11.5%. Andrew Cooper, the founder of Populus, comments;
“The only reason Labour weren’t wiped out in England at the last election was their huge majority in the north.”
Interestingly then a Cameron sweep to victory could see a direct reversal of the situation in 1997 where the Conservatives were reduced to a rump in every home nation except England. Gordon Brown’s Labour face the reverse prospect of being reduced to a rump in England, something that may or may not have implications for constitutional politics. Of course, the north is where Nick Clegg professes to want to make gains against Labour however if this data is bourne out then the prospect of an electoral squeeze looks all the more likely with the Conservatives performing well enough in the South to win back their own seats and limiting our gains in the North.
However, it is not all good news for Cameron; while the Conservatives are unsurprisingly making gains in the top social groups the Financial Times concludes;
“FT analysis of aggregated polling data suggests the Conservative leader risks alienating a key electoral group – the C1 lower middle classes. While opinion polls point to a landslide win for the Tories, the data suggest wavering loyalties in the middle socio-economic groups.
The C1s appear to be bucking the broader political trend, with surveys showing a shift – albeit of just 1 percentage point – back to Labour in the past three months.
The C2s – the skilled working class, or “white van man”, whose voting shifts are seen as a bellwether for electoral success – also appear less than wholly convinced by the Tories. The 7.5 point swing from Labour to the Conservatives since the last election among this grouping is smaller than for other socio-economic groups.”
The FT concludes that this is due to the lack of appetite amoung these social groupings for Cameron’s ‘age of austerity’. Something that should perhaps be noted by those that feel ‘savage’ cuts and ‘progressive austerity’ are vote winners; these are the social groups that will no doubt feel most vulnerable to where the cuts will fall and therefore likely to be most skeptical. Given that this week has been dominated by the discussion within our party over cuts ‘savagery’ and that our strategic orientation is towards the north it would perhaps be worth Nick Clegg’s while to take heed of these figures.