The latest You Gov / Sun poll has thrown up some interesting strategic conundrums for Labour
In Scotland, on the national level, Labour (64) has surged ahead of both the Nationalists (19) and the Tories (11). Effectively, the Tories are finished North of the border and Labour##Q##s "No" stance to independence isn##Q##t affecting their popularity at all. Effectively, it looks as though the "SNP Spring" is finished too – if that 19% were repeated in an election, they would be all but wiped out.
In London too, it appears Labour (49) has taken a firm grip, with the Tories trailing badly now (27), but the Tories are still hanging on strongly to the rest of the South (Tory 43 / Lab 31).
Oddly, in the Midlands and Wales, it is still neck and neck with Labour (38) edging ahead of the Tories (37), but nowhere near as decisively as in the North, which remains Labour##Q##s (51) bastion in England, with the Tories (30) now at a historical low.
In terms of age demographics Labour is leading decisively in all age groups except the 60+, where the reverse is true and the Tories are hanging on to the blue rinse brigade very strongly, despite their plundering of pensions and attacks on special circumstances allowances like winter fuel payments. Although it is noteworthy that Labour is slowly eating away at the Tory lead here too.
- 18-24: L 48 / T 33
- 25-39: L 49 / T 30
- 40-59: L 46 / T 30
- 60+ : L 33 / T 41
In terms of "social grade", as you would expect Labour does better amongst the C2DE groups with a 46/29 lead over the Tories – indicative of the working class Tory group starting to crumble. But surprisingly, Labour now has a fairly firm, if not strong lead in the ABC1 groups: 41/36
Both women (44/36) and men (42/31) have expressed a voting preference for Labour.
The most interesting area is the floating vote. Only 5% of 010 Labour voters said they will vote Tory and only 5% of 010 Tory voters said they will vote Labour, but a whopping 42% of 010 Lib Dem voters have now said they will vote Labour. That##Q##s more than have said will vote Lib Dem – 30%. Only 9% of Lib Dem 010 voters have said they will vote Tory.
Meanwhile the Tory vote itself is beginning to crumble, with only 79% of 010 Tory voters saying they will vote for the party next time – so they##Q##ve lost 21% of their vote. This is a huge number and easily comparable with the lost Labour votes in 010. Labour, meanwhile, have lost just 7% of their 010 vote, a figure more than made up by the return to the fold of those who voted Liberal last time, but are now flocking back to the party.
So, the weak areas for Labour are:
- The Midlands / Wales and the South
- and Pensioners
Ed Miliband needs to start making pensioners more comfortable with Labour – especially those in the Midlands and the South, while carrying on eating away at the Tory vote by portraying them as incompetent. Building confidence in Labour is starting to work big time and positioning Labour as the caring party, the "same as you party" and the party to lead us out of recession is definitely paying dividends. Leaving the Tories to look like an isolated bunch of elitists, who care little for the fate of the ordinary person, without actually saying so is weakening their vote sufficiently to make them look less and less like the party of government and aspiration. Their true nature has been revealed and their poll ratings have fallen as a consequence. Cameron##Q##s success was to make the Tories look cuddly and electable. In government they are basket cases, who will do anything to protect the wealthy while throwing the poor to the wolves – that doesn##Q##t work with the fair minded British.
A strong pensions statement from the Labour front bench, together with some innovative policies that make pensioners’ lives easier, perhaps with an out an out attack on the loss of provision for the elderly in the NHS will help put Ed Miliband in number in 2 and half years. I’m waiting for this to start filtering out from Westminster. Ed is proving to be a master tactician, playing to his strengths and building a grand coalition of voters, but the grey vote is one area Labour has yet to win over. Not only is imperative that Labour do something for the pensioners for electoral purposes, but more importantly, because it is the right thing to do, something Labour is always strong on.