|The Lib Dem "Collapse" may not nearly be as bad as some Lib Dems fear.|
We have long heard the stories from people in the media about how the Lib Dems are going to be wiped off the map and will have no seats left in 2015 as part of a massive public backlash against them. However, new polls by YouGov suggest that this simply is not the case. The polls were also interesting in that they dealt a blow to the Conservative argument that UKIP supporters are just "Tories on holiday." Take a look:
Now, these polls are interesting for two reasons: First, the assumption that Labour voters in Con/Lib marginals would not vote or would vote for a different party because the Lib Dems are in government does not seem to be the case. In fact, the number of Labour supporters who would tactically vote for the Lib Dems in a marginal seat (19%) is actually significantly higher than the proportion that did vote tactically for the Lib Dems in Con/Lab marginals at the 2010 General Election. (15%) What this suggests is that as long as the Lib Dems can keep hold of the core Lib Dem vote in the South where there are a lot of Con-Lib marginals, at a time when Tory support will also be likely to have fallen, they should be completely fine, and they may even gain some seats from the Conservatives in the South. In the North, however, it is likely to be a different story. Many of those who voted Lib Dem who lived in the North will have voted Lib Dem as an alternative to Labour, and will have been dismayed at how their votes will have been used to prop up a Conservative led government. The greatest danger for the Lib Dems lies in seats where Labour has a significant presence. I expect them to struggle and be wiped out in large swathes in the North, as the former Labour voters who voted Lib Dem but then returned to Labour punish them for their association with the Tories. Therefore, Labour should gain almost all of the Lib-Lab marginals in the North such as Manchester Withington, and there is even some speculation that Nick Clegg may struggle to win his own Sheffield Hallam seat. That being said, however, they will in all likelihood sustain losses, but nowhere near on the scale that some have predicted. I expect them to lose around 10-20 seats, but not more than 25 seats. Of course this spells bad news for the Conservatives, who need to take several Lib Dem seats as well as Labour ones if they are to win an overall majority, or even achieve a hung parliament.
The second intriguing aspect of this poll is the surprisingly small number of UKIP supporters who would choose to vote Conservative in a Con-Lab or Con-Lib marginal. Only 9% have said they would consider voting Conservative in these crucial seats which are expected to decide the next General Election. This has dealt a fatal blow to David Cameron and Lynton Crosby and their assertions that UKIP voters will come home to the Conservatives in the event of a general election. Nevertheless, it is far too early for Labour to try and bring out the streamers and party hats. A lot could happen in the next 18 Months, including a rumoured backbench rebellion against the Cameron ministry by Eurosceptics if the Conservatives get a disastrous result in the May Local and European elections.18 Months is a very long time, and Mr Miliband should be very wary. Remember it was 18 Months before the 2010 General Election that the Conservatives were running at around 40% in the opinion polls and David Cameron was strolling with his head held high on the back of dismal local election results for Labour where they were 19 points behind the Tories.Elections are rarely won and lost this early in the cycle.