The latest polling from ComRes includes the finding that 41% of voters agree that there is “a need for a new centre-ground political party”. Only just over a quarter (26%) disagree and the rest are don’t knows.
That agree figure is fairly similar across ages and social classes but rises to 58% among current Lib Dem voters. Which illustrates both the danger and opportunity for the Liberal Democrats.
The danger? That so many voters, including many currently in the Lib Dem camp, think a new party is needed rather than that the Liberal Democrats are the answer.
The opportunity? That so many voters currently in the camps of other parties think a new party is needed.
The challenge is to persuade both groups that the Liberal Democrats are the realisation of that hypothetical party they like the sound of.
Manchester Gorton is the next big opportunity to build a convincing case which will win over such people. Showing that the Liberal Democrats can beat Labour in urban, northern England and that post-Article 50 Brexit is still very much a live political issue would very much help make the case that voting for, donating to and joining the Liberal Democrats is the way to get a new look British party system. That’s why Manchester Gorton is so important to the Liberal Democrats.
There’s a huge softness to the Labour vote in Gorton, as I discovered when campaigning there today. So much so that I’m now booking a train ticket to go back again. Details of how you too can help are here (and accommodation with local members is available for anyone able to go for more than a day).
Look what impact the campaign has already had:
Postal votes start landing on doormats in less than a week. So if you haven’t got local elections in your own patch (hello, fellow Londoners), what are you waiting for?