Posts Tagged ‘Labour’s poll challenge’

The clouds in last night’s silver lining

06/05/2011, 10:01:59 AM

by Atul Hatwal

As Ed Miliband surveys the results after his first major test as leader he will have mixed emotions.  Great in England, good in Wales, bad in Scotland and rapidly forgotten on AV.

A curate’s egg, whatever one of those might be.

While the dynamics of devolved government mean the results in Scotland and Wales are driven by regional factors, and AV is done for a generation at least, it’s the English local elections where the tea leaves for the next general election can be best read.

England is where Labour needs to win the key seats, and its England where Labour has proportionately lost most voters since 1997. Ostensibly, the results give a sound basis for hope.

Not quite street party territory, but at least a couple of glasses of sherry.

On this happy path, the numbers of new Labour councillors elected take Labour back to respectable mid-2000s levels of representation in local government. Gains in a single election on this scale have not been seen since the mid-1990s.

This is not to be lightly dismissed. Revival in local government is an essential pre-requisite for national success.

Then there’s the overall vote share. While not spectacular, it was much improved over the election last year and progress at this rate would lead to a solid Labour majority at the next general election.

But still, there’s doubt.

Can a national result be extrapolated from local elections? Is this really a foundation for victory built by winning back Labour sceptics? Or a house of cards made from passing protest votes?

A few months ago in this column, I highlighted Labour’s poll challenge by looking at three specific questions asked intermittently by YouGov in their daily and weekly polls, and tracked their responses over the previous three months. These questions examined voters’ attitudes to the defining issues for the next general election.

The updated results to Labour’s poll challenge hold the key to interpreting last nights mixed election results.

The three YouGov questions look below topline voting intentions to reveal how voters feel the government is hitting them in the wallet, their view of how the government is cutting the deficit and who they prefer as a leader – David Cameron or Ed Miliband.

The public’s answers over this year have involved responses from tens of thousands of people and give a clear view of the scale of the problem.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon