Alex Massie

The Enthusiasm Gap

Text settings

As James says, we're going to need to wait a few days before we can be sure if the Lib Dem surge has legs but, yes, right now something is happening. The headline figures for the three polls we've seen since Clegg's coming-out party are:


Con: 31 (-4)

Lab: 27 (-2)

Lib: 29 (+8)


Con: 34 (-3)

Lab: 29 (-2)

Lib: 27 (+7)


Con: 33 (-4)

Lab: 28 (-3)

Lib: 30 (+8)

That's all striking enough but so too is this finding from the Independent on Sunday's ComRes poll:

Only 53% of self-proclaimed Labour voters say their preferred election outcome is a Labour majority.

By contrast 67% of Conservative voters say they want Cameron to win a majority. Now perhaps this simply reflects a growing sense that none of the parties really deserve outright victory but it seems to me that, if accurate and if sustained until polling day then this poses a particular problem for Labour. If the party's own supporters remain this unenthusiastic then, surely, it stands to follow that Labour will have greater difficulty getting its vote out and, what's more, those Labour waverers that do make it to the polling station may be more likely to change their minds and desert Brown at the last minute.

That may not happen of course but I'd be troubled, if I were running Labour's campaign by this apparent waning of enthusiasm.

Lord knows there's plenty of bad news for the Conservatives in these polls but that doesn't mean they make cheery reading for Labour either.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.