Tuesday 9 March 2010

Brown's in no hurry

As of today there are only nine possible dates left for the Westminster election – the nine Thursdays from 8 April to 3 June inclusive.

Most political commentators have pencilled in May 6 as the most likely date for the election (and thus they expect Brown to announce the dissolution of the current parliament on Monday 12 April).

However, the trend in the polls is all in Brown's favour, and his rebound appears to be gravity-defying:

The graph above is based on polls carried out by YouGov, ICM, Populus, Ipsos Mori and Comres, so suffers less from the built-in bias that some pollsters might suffer from.

Look at the right-hand side of the graph – Labour's red is rising inexorably, and the Tories blue is starting to dip a little. As the two lines come closer, a hung parliament gets more likely – or even, if things continue in this way, a Labour victory. This may not be a Labour majority, but if they got more seats that the Tories they would certainly be better placed to form the next British government. However, Labour can actually get more seats than the Tories with fewer actual votes than them, due to the concentration of Tory voters in a number of constituencies.

Gordon Brown, looking at the poll results, must be feeling that he could afford to put off the Westminster election until the last possible moment, in the hope that things keep moving in his favour. Of course he may turn out to be wrong, but on the evidence of the opinion polls there is, at present, no reason for him to rush the election.


Paddy Canuck said...

Don't you love the Westminster parliamentary system? The Yanks can tell you what day they'll be voting for their congressman in 2572, and what day the presidential election will be in the year 3000. We can't even tell you when the NEXT election will be, except as some electron cloud of quantum probabilities. :)

Unless it comes earlier. :)

Anonymous said...

They should have fixed election dates. The incumbent party has an unfair advantage. This is NOT democracy. I still can't believe anyone would vote for the Labour party.....