Saturday, 7 December 2013

Why is it that support for the Conservative Party seems to be evaporating?

Even hardcore Tory party supporters would have to accept that this has been an awful week for the Conservatives. The much anticipated autumn statement turned out to be a massive disappointment for many people, and an opinion poll taken on the day after the statement showed Labour on 41%, the Conservatives on 29%, the Lib Dems on 8% and the UKIP on 15%. This is the highest Labour figure in any opinion poll since 1999 and the lowest Tory figure since 1996. The autumn statement seems to have had an overwhelmingly negative effect, as attacks on peoples pensions and welfare cuts made headlines and caused many people to remember the Old Tory party of Margaret Thatcher, the party that desecrated healthcare and mistreated the elderly and infirm. Personal ratings taken of the Chancellor and Shadow Chancellor after the statement also seem to support this hypothesis:

Ed Balls may have been red faced and struggling to counter what the Chancellor said in the commons during the autumn statement, but the Chancellor seems to have made an even bigger error of judgement. The negative reaction to the autumn statement has not been the only thing that has harmed the Tories this week and caused them to suffer in the opinion polls. The death of Nelson Mandela saw a photo that alleged that David Cameron took part in the "Hang Mandela" campaign run by the Conservative Party and went on an all expenses paid trip to South Africa go viral on Facebook and Twitter. The former Tory Party chairman Lord Tebbit said that the Tory Party were right to support the Apartheid South African government. Conservative MPs were also accused of making lurid hand gestures when young Labour MPs spoke in the House of Commons during debates, Iain Duncan Smith was forced to admit that his Universal benefit changes would miss his own 2017 deadline, and George Osborne's assertion that the economic recovery will take until 2019 prompted Ed Balls to declare him a liar, as the Chancellor had previously said that the economic recovery would take hold by the end of this parliament. A poll by Ipsos Mori showed that a majority of people thought that the Autumn Statement was only good for Rich people. All of this reminds people about what the Conservative Party used to be like- A Thatcherite militant right wing party that is divided and disunited and frequently lies and creates untruths for electoral gain.

If you think that this is bad, there was even more terrible news for the Tory party. A Survation constituency poll found that the Tories were badly trailing behind both Labour and UKIP in two key battleground seats:

Great Grimsby: LAB 40+7: CON 20-11: LD 12-9: UKIP 23+16
Dudley North: LAB 45+6: CON 25-12: LD 2% -9: UKIP 23 +14

This collapse in support may seem astounding, but was bound to happen, as UKIP take 3 times as many votes from the Conservative Party than they do from Labour or the Lib Dems, and most Lib Dem supporters have switched to the Labour Party. This, coupled with bad results in Thanet South, where Labour were on 40 and UKIP on 25, with the Conservatives trailing on 23, supports the hypothesis that the Tories are doing disproportionately worse in marginal seats. This would aid the Labour Party even further, as they would then take seats that they had taken in 1997 but lost afterwards after the Tony Blair honeymoon ended, such as Thanet South, because of the large split on the right. 70% of UKIP voters did not vote Tory at the last election, which also refutes the Conservative hope that UKIP supporters are simply "Tories on holiday." The vast majority of UKIP supporters are people who have not voted before, and these people are also unlikely to vote for any other party besides UKIP. This, coupled with other polls that suggest that only 9% of UKIP supporters would switch to the Conservatives in a Con-Lab marginal compared to 19% of Lib Dem supporters who would do the same to Labour, suggests that the likelihood of a Labour Landslide victory, and UKIP gainings its first seats in parliament, seems quite likely at this moment in time.

The (Hypothetical) Labour Majority could be even larger than this because of the UKIP vote splitting the right, which is not taken into account, as this poll assumes that UKIP take an equal number of votes from Labour and the Lib Dems, a questionable hypothesis. UKIP are also likely to be able to concentrate their support in various areas at a national support level of 15% and should gain some seats, another factor that needs to be taken into account.

No comments:

Post a Comment