Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Post Conference Lib Dem poll boost - what will be the electoral impact?

I don't really do polls, but it seems that all the polling companies have been reporting a significant boost for the Liberal Democrats following the very successful and widely reported Spring Conference last weekend.

These poll boosts have been around 3-4%. But the evidence from the YouGov daily poll tracker is that this has started to fall away as memory fades.

So what might be the impact during a general election?

Well the simple answer for me is that, because the Lib Dems get an roughly equal share of the TV coverage in a general election (unlike for the rest of the year), I suspect that this boost will not only be replicated on a more permanent basis, but will actually be built upon.

Day after day of Lib Dems on the TV explaining what they will do to create a fairer Britain will have a very positive impact in my opinion and will see Lib Dem poll ratings rise from around 18% to at least 22% and possibly as high as 25% - and from there you never know.

There is a 'but' of course.

That is the reliance on the party not screwing up. The spring conference was so successful because the Party articulated its message really well and consistently. Nick Clegg and Vince Cable were to the fore, ably backed up by David Laws, Sarah Teather, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and the rest of the team - especially Paddy. What will significantly dent the Lib Dems chances are, of course, if any of these key players fall off message. But also if there are significant problems from the lesser lights. I'm not talking about the odd silly statement by the LD candidate for 'no-hope south'. But MPs or target seat candidates who fall off message in a big way will really do the party harm.

I know calling for party discipline is an anathema to many Lib Dems, but our message is clear and is one that the whole party supports. So there should be no risk. Right?

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