April 21st, 2005


Liberal Democrats win in the court of public opinion.

It's interesting that while the major polls in the run-up to the British election are highly weighted towards the Labour and Tory parties (surveying houses with phonelines rather than younger people with mobile phones, giving small and large households equal representation in polls, weighting the polls in favor of expected turnout, slanting the results to whatever party the voter previously voted for, etc.) none of them seem all that interested in making their raw poll data and methodology fully transparent. Not so with The Guardian's "poll-u-like", which not only makes no claims whatsoever about accuracy, but even suggests that if users delete a cookie on their system, they can vote again! Sure, it's not balanced and weighted as professional pollsters, but ironically, in its own way, it might be just as accurate.

The results?!

Vote Now
If the general election were held tomorrow, how would you cast your vote?


Liberal Democrat
Not voting
Scottish National Party
Plaid Cymru

A huge Liberal Democrat win!!! This, incidentally, corresponds to the polling at whoshouldyouvotefor.com, a site which analyzes your preferences on policies in order to determine which political party you should vote for. 43% of the site's users have found that their thoughts on policies line up best with the Liberal Democrats.

Now, the readership of the Guardian is left-leaning, but it's also the leading paper in Britain. Something tells me that there's going to be a larger backlash against Blair than the major polls seem to indicate. Even the professionally weighted polls are showing a rather interesting trend -- while many voters who formerly identified as conservative are flocking to Blair's "New Labour" party, a nearly equal amount of former Labour voters are joining the LibDems. Conservatives in Labour are literally squeezing the progressives out of the party. I expect this trend will continue, especially in the wake of conservative media baron Rupert Murdoch's public support for Blair... which, incidentally, was soon followed by an endorsement by The Sun -- Murdoch's hirelings really know who butters their bread, don't they?! And, apparently, people like Murdoch like hiring foriegn laborers on the cheap.

So far, the polls have shifted about 2-3% in favor of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but if this trend continues, it just might mean that the Tories really are a dying party in Britain, and that Liberal Democrats are on their way to establishing themselves as the primary party of opposition. Sure, it might take 10 years for this slow death to play itself out in British politics, but it *does* significantly decrease the risk that supporting the LibDems will lead to a conservative victory -- the Tories appear to be losing power almost as fast as LibDems are gaining it.

Maybe all this these polls mean is that people who use and read the internet are a lot more liberal/rational/informed than those who do not, but I'd like to think it, like the internet, is a growing trend.