The BBC Election calculator shows why thoughts of electoral victory for the Liberal Democrats is cloud cuckoo land, unless there is an utter volcanic eruption.
Nick Clegg said this morning that a party that came third could not provide the Prime Minister. It is easily possible for Labour to come third and win most seats. Trouble is, this is first past the post, and it delivers a casino gamble of seats. Alan Johnson provided a refreshing political interview, and as a supporter of PR is the obvious (Mandelson considered?) replacement Prime Minister who could provide cover to Clegg's complain, given his PR supporting progressive position. Clegg's point is, in part, to stop Cameron saying, 'Vote Clegg Get Brown.' Cameron says this mantra in his bid to hold on because electoral arithmetic is more pro-Labour as these examples below show:
On a 30% tie for votes each, and 10% for others, the result is 315 Labour, 206 Conservative and 100 Liberal Democrat and 29 others. The reason is that Labour votes are more concentrated in urban areas and Liberal Democrat votes are the smoothest in distribution. See below.
A more realistic view is that the Conservatives will get about 35%, that Labour will hold to 29% and the Liberal Democrats 26%. The reasoning is that a surge for surge's sake based on softer and younger voting never quite comes about. Now there is need for care, here, because people do look at their constituencies, and there is suggestion, given this surge, of tactical voting especially Labour to Lib Dem to prevent Conservatives winning in some seats. But the upshot here would be Conservative 270, Labour 272 and the Liberal Democrats 79 with 29 others. See below.
If the surge does happen and the Liberal Democrats come joint top, so that the Liberal Democrats get 32%, the Conservatives flop at 32% (the sense that Cameron's campaign is exhausting itself) and Labour dip to 26% (because of incumbency), then the outcome is 250 Conservative, 247 Labour and 124 Liberal Democrats.
If the surge becomes a bandwagon of intent, and the Liberal Democrats win with 35%, Conservatives 30% (because it is not the party of change) and Labour 25%, then the outcome is 231 Labour, 217 Conservative, and 173 Liberal Democrats. This is clearly a perverse result, as Labour is the largest party on clearly the fewest votes. See below.
In the realm of madness, where the Liberal Democrats get 40% and the other two 25% each, even then the Liberal Democrats fail to get a majority. The Conservatives on 40% get a 56 majority and Labour on 40% get a majority of 128. See below.
However, this is the turning point, and in the realm of the bonkers, where the 25% each for Labour and Conservative drop to 24% each, still 10% for others, the Liberal Democrat majority becomes 118. See below.
I noticed on Friday a Conservative poster had been defaced. A call for 'Change' (echoing Obama) had someone put Lib Dem on it, and on the back you would lose your benefits. I thought, humm, real political graffiti. This poster has since disappeared. The landowner puts these large posters up in Barton every election. Didn't make any difference in 1997 and may not now.
The BBC Election calculator is good fun, so play with it.
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