Friday, 9 September 2011

What influence the "Others" on Parliament?

Following on from the comments earlier in the week about the prospect of hung parliaments in the future, here's an interesting observation on the subject. Since the 1950 general election, there have been six parliaments elected with the winner having a very slender overall majority and twice where there has been no majority at all.

1950: Lab majority of 5 (10% of all votes cast non Con / Lab)
1951: Con majority of 1 (3% of all votes cast non Con / Lab)
1964: Lab majority of 8 (12% of all votes non Con / Lab)
1970: Con majority of 12 (10% of all votes non Con / Lab)
Feb 1974: Hung Parliament (23% of all votes non Con / Lab)
Oct 1974: Lab majority of 3 (23% of all votes non Con / Lab)
1992: Con majority of 21 (22% of all votes non Con / Lab)
2010: Hung Parliament (33% of all votes non Con / Lab)

The most recent polling averages (for August 2011) suggest that there are 26% of all votes for non Con / Lab, however the difference is where those votes are. In 2010, 24% of the 33% non Con / Lab votes came from the Lib Dems, the most recent polls suggest that whilst the Lib Dems are still the biggest contributor of non Con / Lab votes (10%), the SNP and UKIP (both on 5%) are enabling the Conservatives to be the biggest gainers from the Lib Dems (as there are more Lib Dem / Con marginals than Lib Dem / Lab marginals). However of course, on Monday, we have a whole new kettle of fish to deal with as the Boundary Commission publish their inital suggestions for the new English boundaries (followed by Scotland later in the month). As we know from past elections, new boundaries create new potentials (for instance Eastbourne in 2005 was expected to stay Con, but some Lib Dem friendly areas from Lewes were added which tipped things towards the Lib Dems) so what will happen to the Others? Who can tell?


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