I broke down the preferential profile information for the ward I stood in, which is Con leaning and hasn't seen a Liberal in decades. Whilst our 1st pref count was low, 11.5% of Labour voters gave me a 2nd preference. Since there was an independent standing as well, I took the Indy out of the equation whilst the SNP/Con only gained maximum a percentage point from taking out the indy, we gained another 5% that took us to 16% of Labour voters willing to give us a 2nd pref ahead of the other parties. That being said the SNP still had the lead of 21% and Cons were stuck on 11% or so. Don't know how this changes across Scotland & obviously there is no such information for England.
An ability to massively squeeze third-placed Labour voters has been hugely beneficial to the Liberal Democrats in the past in Lib Dem versus Conservative contests. Are things different now there is a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government?
Evidence from council elections and council by-elections suggests it very much is still possible and in a few weeks Eastleigh will give us the first good Parliamentary by-election evidence.
In the meantime, we have some striking polling results from YouGov which are good news for both the Liberal Democrats and also those on the centre-left who would rather see Lib Dems than Tories elected. It is also therefore rather bad news for the Conservatives.
YouGov polled a national sample of people and found their current voting intentions to be Conservative 33%, Labour 41%, Liberal Democrat 11%.
Then they asked, “Imagine that political commentators and opinion polls were saying that only the CONSERVATIVE and LIBERAL DEMOCRAT parties had realistic chances of winning the by-election in your seat – how would you then vote?”.
The result: Conservative 34% (+1), Labour 23% (-18), Liberal Democrat 23% (+12).
In other words, when faced with a Lib Dem – Conservative race, a large chunk of the Labour vote switches, mostly to the Liberal Democrats and a little to a smattering of other parties. Labour voters who switch prefer the Lib Dems to the Tories by a large margin.