Ethics election poll watch: Lib Dem surge may be due to 'rage against the machine'

Ethics election poll watch: Lib Dem surge may be due to 'rage against the machine'

Two early polls for the Sunday papers show the Lib Dem surge holding up following the Sun/YouGov poll last night with significantly growing support for a hung parliament.

Two other things of note:

(i) The surge may have been underway before the TV debates on Thursday (ICM)

(ii) Much of the new support seems to be coming from under 45s, who were previously unlikely to vote (ComRes).

This might point to a 'rage against the machine' vote - named after the successful drive to get the band to the Christmas Number One, but also against the big party machines. It can be seen as a channelling of discontent over MPs' expenses and the dominance of the two party system, from younger people who might not previously have voted. A Facebook group, trying to do a similar thing for the Lib Dems as for the band, was recently launched. It now has close to 70,000 members, and perhaps typifies the 'anti-politics' sentiment from which Nick Clegg appears to be benefiting. If so, the crucial question will become, whether such people will actually come out and vote on the day.

The first poll from ICM for the Sunday Telegraph:

Con 34 (-3)
Lab 29 (-2)
LD 27 (+7)

What is interesting about this poll, is that the paper reports that the majority of people were polled for this survey before the TV debates on Thursday.

This would translate into Labour being the largest party in a hung parliament, according to an analysis by John Curtice, professor of politics at the Universtity of Strathclyde.

Labour: 282 seats
Conservatives: 257 seats.
Lib Dems: 74 seats

The second for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror, conducted by ComRes shows Labour in third place:

Con 31 (-4)
LD 29 (+8)
Lab 27 (-2)
Oth 13 (-2)

What is interesting about this poll is that the figures suggest that much of the support for the Lib Dems would come from under 45 year olds who had previously been unlikely to vote. One might call this the 'rage against the machine' vote.

Andrew Hawkins at ComRes told me earlier: "I do agree that this is [an] anti [the] two main party vote rather than, 'wow, we're all Lib Dems now'".

Again this would translate into Labour having most seats in the House of Commons, due to the injustice of the electoral system.

Lab 273 seats
Con 239 seats
LD 106 seats

There is also growing support for a hung parliament according to this poll, when compared to last week, of 10 per cent.

Q9. Which one of these possible outcomes would you personally prefer to see from the forthcoming general election?
a) The Conservatives forming a government with an overall majority: 25 per cent (-4 since last week)

b) The Conservatives forming a government with the support of the Liberal Democrats in a hung parliament: 28 per cent (+8)

c) The Labour Party forming a government with the support of the Liberal Democrats in a hung parliament: 28 per cent (+2)

d) The Labour Party forming a government with an overall majority: 19 per cent (-6)

All fieldwork for this was carried out after the debate, on Friday, and this morning

Ekklesia is reporting on the polls from a perspective in line with our 'ethics election' initiative. This will include specifically highlighting what's happening to the smaller parties and 'others' who often get ignored in the polls, but could be important in a balanced/ hung Parliament

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