Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blog Exclusive: Conservatives on Track to Win Cambridge MP battle

A new poll from respected pollsters Ipsos-Mori today has measured support for the Conservatives at a remarkable 52%, with support for the Lib Dems collapsing to 12%. But the exciting news for City Conservatives (and indeed everyone in Cambridge desperate to see the end of the Labour government) is that this result suggests Conservative candidate Richard Normington is on course to win the Cambridge constituency, unseating local MP David Howarth.

Plugging the numbers into the Electoral Calculus website suggests that if the results from this poll are repeated at a general election, the Conservatives will win Cambridge City with a vote share more than 7% higher than the Lib Dems in second place.

This poll is very bad news for the Lib Dems, who most commentators expect to make significant losses at the next election. Its not surprising - I've had the misfortune of spending some time watching the Lib Dem conference and I really couldn't begin to guess what they stand for at the moment - are they high tax or low tax, big Government interference or trust the people small Government, pro-Euro or anti-Euro - you just have no idea listening to them this week.

They do however make ludicrous claims that they can make 9 out of 10 tax payers better off by taking more money from the other 10% (clue to any Lib Dems reading, this has been tried before in the 1960s/70s, it doesn't work, you end up with less tax revenue and some very nasty knock on effects on the rest of the economy - its all about Laffer Curves).

In view of the contradictory evidence, I'm guessing they are still the big nannying state party, who want to see ever more tax collectected, ever more powers transferred to an unelected European Union, and still support a range of barking criminal justice measures like legalising various hard drugs and not jailing serious criminals. This week has however proved they are prepared to say anything to try avoiding losing seats like Cambridge to the Conservatives next election.

Conservative support has been rising in the City for some time in local elections. Many Conservatives tactically voted Lib Dem in Cambridge last time to get rid of Labour - we don't blame them. But this new poll shows that nobody in Cambridge will need to vote tactically next time, and indeed the only way to make sure Gordon Brown doesn't cling on to power in a hung parliament is to make sure it is the Conservatives elected in places like Cambridge.

One poll of course doesn't mean victory is in the bag, or even make it highly likely that the Conservatives will win, but it nails once and for all the lie (and I use that word very hesitantly) put about by the Lib Dems in Cambridge that the Conservatives cannot win in the City next time. They have form for this - a tactic which effectively boils down to trying to con people into voting for them rather than the party they really want to support based on a gross misrepresentation of the electoral situation. (see this Cambridge example where the Lib Dems claimed they were 'the only local resident who could beat Labour', and actually came 4th!).

The Conservatives have an excellent local candidate and rising support. The Lib Dems have an MP elected on heavy tactical voting, who broke his promise to hold a referendum on the European Constitution, changes public meetings at the City Council for his own convenience, and refuses to give full support to A14 improvements. There is a real chance of a change next time.

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