Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Sunday 31 May 2009

ICM Poll filtered through our rotten electoral system

There is a lot of excitement in the Lib Dem blogosphere today about the ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph which polled General Election boting intentions and which shows the Conservatives on 40%, Lib Dems on 25% and Labour on 22%.

I urged caution about this last night and stick by that but it does give me the oppotunity to demonstrate something that is particularly relevant given the current talk of electoral reform that is now high on the political agenda.

I fed the percentages into the UK Polling Report Swing Calculator and discovered the following:

Yes, that's right, you aint misreading it. Despite the fact that Labour is 3 percentage point below the Lib Dems, on these figures they can expect to get more than twice as many seats as the them. TWICE AS MANY. So if this really happened, a quarter of those voting would vote Lib Dem and yet they would only get 11% of the seats. Whereas Labour would only get 22% of the vote but would get 28% of the seats.

Remember this the next time you see a senior Labour politician try to obfuscate the issues around electoral reform. the truth is that they don't want it because there is massive partisan advantage built into the current system.

We need a citizens convention to decide on proper constitutional reform. It needs to be taken out of the hands of politicians so that the partisan advantage is removed from the decision and it can be done purely on the basis of what is fair and right for the country.


Duncan Stott said...


One thing I would add is that lately senior Labour politicians have been openly calling for a debate on more proportional electoral systems, not obfuscating.

Then again, does Labour in third place make them less likely to allow PR to happen? Turkeys voting for Christmas and all that.

Shameless self-promotion... I just blogged about this and other potential consequences for third-place Labour:

Darrell said...


Quite right and quite relevant.'s not fair to say all of Labour is dead-set against electoral reform. Pound for pound, despite what Carswell said there is still more steadfast opposition within the Conservatives.

At last count there were quite senior Cabinet politicians in favour of electoral reform (Alan Johnson, Hilary Benn etc) and the voices within the Labour Party calling for it are much stronger than those within the Conservatives (where as far as I can see Carswell is a lone voice in the wind). I would imagine this will have something to do with Labour having nothing to lose and the Conservatives, on course as they are for a working majority under FPTP, have substantially more to lose....

Tristan said...

Those talking of Labour members who like electoral reform - they still tend not to like PR - they tend to like systems which give the big two an even greater advantage.