All four other parties – Conservative, Labour, Ukip and Greens – have benefitted from the Lib Dems' demise. Photo: Getty.
Show Hide image

The Lib Dems have lost 7 in 10 of their voters. Where have they gone?

The party are keeping hold of around 30 per cent of its voters, with 30 per cent switching to Labour and 40 per cent split between the other three parties.

For more insights into the polls, and profiles on constituencies across the UK, explore May2015.com.

The headline polls tell the cost of coalition. After winning nearly 24 per cent of the vote in 2010 the Lib Dems are now languishing on less than 8. But where have all those voters gone and who might they hand the election to?

The vote has split five ways, but put more simply it has split into three: around 30 per cent is staying Lib Dem, 30 per cent is going to Labour, and 40 per cent has drifted to the other three parties.

More specifically, the Lib Dems are holding onto 28 to 34 per cent of their voters, Labour have been gifted 29 to 31 per cent, 13 to 15 per cent has gone to Ukip, 11 to 15 per cent to the Tories, and 7 to 14 per cent to the Greens.

These findings show how varied Lib Dem voters were in 2010. They were a mixture of the party’s left-leaning, former SDP bloc (the 40 per cent or so now voting Labour or Green), a more centre-right group (most of those staying Lib Dem, and those now Tory) and a protest vote (the part now voting Ukip).

Those are the numbers we can find in polls by YouGov, Ashcroft and Populus – the three most prolific British pollsters. They were compiled by averaging the “sub-breaks” of Lib Dem voters across a series of the most recent polls by each pollster. [1]

Three of the other regular pollsters – ComRes, ICM and Ipsos MORI – broadly agreed with these numbers. Only Survation’s are very different. Their most recent poll, which made headlines for putting Ukip on 25 per cent, suggested 47 per cent of Lib Dem 2010 voters would vote Ukip, which is three times more than any other pollster and seems unlikely.

It makes sense that 10-15 per cent of the Lib Dem 2010 vote was a protest, but it’s hard to think half of it was, or that half of those voters would flock to Ukip when all the other pollsters think two-thirds of them will vote Labour or Lib Dem.

When ComRes experimented with prompting for Ukip, as Survation do, they came up with a similar headline number (24 per cent Ukip) but a more modest figure for 2010 Lib Dems: 24 per cent (against 18 per cent in their non-prompting poll). Our initial estimate of a 30-30-40 Lib-Lab-others split seems fair.

Understanding how the Lib Dem vote has changed nationally helps us examine individual seats. These numbers are the baseline we can use to explain how incumbent Lib Dem MPs are faring so much better than their party, as Ashcroft’s polls show they are.

These MPs are usually holding onto far more of the 2010 Lib Dem vote than the national numbers imply. The swing away from the party is weaker in the seats they hold (which means it will be stronger in the ones they don’t).

As for the consequences of all this, the 30 per cent being gifted to Labour is the reason the party may still be able to form a government next year, despite trailing on the economy and leadership, and winning over few 2010 Tory voters. Miliband's party could take more than ten seats from the party that many of its members dislike more than the Tories.

[1] That’s five YouGov polls, three Ashcroft polls and four by Populus. Dates are detailed in the graphic above.

Click through to May2015.com.

May2015 is the New Statesman's new elections site. Explore it for data, interviews and ideas on the general election.

Steve Garry
Show Hide image

The footie is back. Three weeks in and what have we learned so far?

Barcleys, boots and big names... the Prem is back.

Another season, another reason for making whoopee cushions and giving them to Spurs fans to cheer them up during the long winter afternoons ahead. What have we learned so far?

Big names are vital. Just ask the manager of the Man United shop. The arrival of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger has done wonders for the sale of repro tops and they’ve run out of letters. Benedict Cumberbatch, please join Carlisle United. They’re desperate for some extra income.

Beards are still in. The whole Prem is bristling with them, the skinniest, weediest player convinced he’s Andrea Pirlo. Even my young friend and neighbour Ed Miliband has grown a beard, according to his holiday snaps. Sign him.

Boots Not always had my best specs on, but here and abroad I detect a new form of bootee creeping in – slightly higher on the ankle, not heavy-plated as in the old days but very light, probably made from the bums of newborn babies.

Barclays Still driving me mad. Now it’s screaming from the perimeter boards that it’s “Championing the true Spirit of the Game”. What the hell does that mean? Thank God this is its last season as proud sponsor of the Prem.

Pitches Some groundsmen have clearly been on the weeds. How else can you explain the Stoke pitch suddenly having concentric circles, while Southampton and Portsmouth have acquired tartan stripes? Go easy on the mowers, chaps. Footballers find it hard enough to pass in straight lines.

Strips Have you seen the Everton third kit top? Like a cheap market-stall T-shirt, but the colour, my dears, the colour is gorgeous – it’s Thames green. Yes, the very same we painted our front door back in the Seventies. The whole street copied, then le toot middle classes everywhere.

Scott Spedding Which international team do you think he plays for? I switched on the telly to find it was rugby, heard his name and thought, goodo, must be Scotland, come on, Scotland. Turned out to be the England-France game. Hmm, must be a member of that famous Cumbrian family, the Speddings from Mirehouse, where Tennyson imagined King Arthur’s Excalibur coming out the lake. Blow me, Scott Spedding turns out to be a Frenchman. Though he only acquired French citizenship last year, having been born and bred in South Africa. What’s in a name, eh?

Footballers are just so last season. Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane can’t score. The really good ones won’t come here – all we get is the crocks, the elderly, the bench-warmers, yet still we look to them to be our saviour. Oh my God, let’s hope we sign Falcao, he’s a genius, will make all the difference, so prayed all the Man United fans. Hold on: Chelsea fans. I’ve forgotten now where he went. They seek him here, they seek him there, is he alive or on the stairs, who feckin’ cares?

John Stones of Everton – brilliant season so far, now he is a genius, the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems, the heir to John Terry, captain of England for decades. Once he gets out of short trousers and learns to tie his own laces . . .

Managers are the real interest. So refreshing to have three young British managers in the Prem – Alex Neil at Norwich (34), Eddie Howe at Bournemouth (37) and that old hand at Swansea, Garry Monk, (36). Young Master Howe looks like a ball boy. Or a tea boy.

Mourinho is, of course, the main attraction. He has given us the best start to any of his seasons on this planet. Can you ever take your eyes off him? That handsome hooded look, that sarcastic sneer, the imperious hand in the air – and in his hair – all those languages, he’s so clearly brilliant, and yet, like many clever people, often lacking in common sense. How could he come down so heavily on Eva Carneiro, his Chelsea doctor? Just because you’re losing? Yes, José has been the best fun so far – plus Chelsea’s poor start. God, please don’t let him fall out with Abramovich. José, we need you.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Isis and the new barbarism