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Who will decide the next election?

Labour and the Tories' new election strategies

By George Eaton

The Times reports that Labour and the Tories are recalibrating their election strategies in light of recent polls showing a hung parliament is more likely. The Tories are said to be withdrawing resources from some “landslide” seats in order to focus on winning a working majority.

The piece highlights two obstacles to a three figure Tory majority (until recently seen by many as the most likely outcome of the next election):

1. That once the Lib Dems have gained a seat they’ll move heaven and earth to keep it. The Tories will have a tough job defeating the party’s doughty local campaigners.

2. Labour is beginning to win back some of the working-class support it lost. A Tory strategist commented: “The sort of lifelong Labour Coronation Street terrace voters who came to us because they were so angry about the 10p tax issue have largely returned to Labour again”.

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Meanwhile, Labour is said to be targeting Lib Dem voters in order to close the gap on the Tories. Party officials are also said to believe that those currently supporting “others” in the polls may return to Labour, cutting the Tories’ lead by three points.

Is that right? How many Ukip and BNP supporters are likely to vote Labour at the next election? If anything, these voters, a significant number of whom defected from the Conservatives in the wake of the party’s U-turn on Lisbon, are likely to return to the Tories.

As PoliticalBetting’s Mike Smithson notes: “[I]t’s been the recent rise of this segment, rather than Labour advances, that’s been behind the Tory fall-off in support.”

The truth is that if Labour wants to win the next election it will have to work out how to win voters back from the Tories.


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