More evidence the problem wasn’t the Lib Dem election strategy, it was the execution

Different day, different polling method, different question wordings but same conclusion as before: there is a large enough chunk of voters who support the Liberal Democrat policy of a referendum on the Brexit deal to have fuelled a much higher vote share for the party in the general election.

This time the data is from Survation again, the most accurate pollster at the general election, but from its phone rather than internet polling:

Survation polling on Brexit

The problem wasn’t that the Liberal Democrats were fishing in too small a pond. It’s that we weren’t fishing well.

10 responses to “More evidence the problem wasn’t the Lib Dem election strategy, it was the execution”

  1. Or that voters had moved on and saw other issues as being more important? Also the idea that Cons and Lab Remain voters would abandon their normal Party over a single issue such as Brexit was always far fetched.

  2. I think that the pool is smaller than you think lord Ashcroft has “brexit resistant” voters at 28% and those naming Brexit as the top issue at 28% presumably both pro and anti. We got 14% among remainders, 4% among leavers. The NHS was a top issue among 19%. As a brexiteer or brexit accepter or even a resister that also wants better public services in about 500 seats, it is unclear why I should vote lib dem. Clearly also labour had a surge that was a double bind for us as tactical voting became more difficult to persuade people of. How do you think we could have fished better?

  3. Of course our referendum policy was probably (educated guess) much less popular in SW, Wales, North. Big question is how do we run with this policy without just making our campaign about Europe? How do we have a broader, uniquely liberal narrative?

  4. Sorry Mark, this doesn’t prove anything about the strategy or execution. Even at a basic level you also need to know “What issues are most important to you?” “What is important in your life?” Or “Which issues would inform the way you would vote?” My experience canvassing this election was that even amongst those in the target segment described above Brexit was low on the list of priorities; especially later in the campaign once Labour found their feet nationally.

    But even then there’s heaps more we would ideally understand including:
    – historic vote Vs intention (as with lots of behaviour voters tend to remain consistent – knowing which party people intend to switch from is important)
    – Are you definitely, probably or unlikely to vote? (As far as I could tell we hadn’t strategised adequately for the youth uplift this election (which was the factor which made Survation most accurate)
    – who are your friends and family voting for?(social norms are very important)
    – does it matter to you more who your local representative is or who the next Prime Minister is?
    – perceptions of trust and competence of our key spokespeople and messengers
    – values (e.g. the Schwartz method) which should guide comm’s framing

    I don’t know what polling the party did this election but heard they did message testing (and thought that was innovative). If they did message testing but not the sort of polling implied by the above then they put the cart before the horse.

  5. The LibDems were swept aside by much greater forces than we could muster. The groundswell of discontent, mainly stemming from economic failure, finally burst through its banks and changed the political landscape. The Tories suffered even more than we did, with less excuse. There should be no shame over the LibDems’ performance in 2017 but details of strategy and execution were irrelevant on this occasion.

  6. What happened to our vote share?
    Our party had already shown, pre-GE, how much stronger we had become over the last two years of Tim’s timely leadership – with a growing number of members and winning in by-elections. We felt strong enough to help remove a government. The party line was to continue to vote Lib Dem, and those of us in the party’s Online Champions had this reinforced as the vote approached. But the people themselves rose up to defeat this secretive government of lazy, blinkered, self-serving politicians. LibDems were a catalyst in the removal because it’s clear to us, having tried to work with Tories in coalition, what they are like – taking bows from our positive ideas and blaming us for their own failures.
    Meanwhile, Labour caught the mood of the country – Brexit is a response to austerity, lower living standards for the poorer in society, we were duped by government members on the right, lies about post-Brexit NHS finances, education being starved while new grammar schools will receive the money taken from existing comprehensives. Dogmatic Theresa May’s vision on what people voted for in the referendum was and is bunkum.

    Most people in Tory safe seats had no alternative but to vote Labour because it was clear in polls that the Tories were responding strongly, financially too, in defence of their candidates – via their press campaigns and ministerial lies – and only the strongest opposition could beat them. Jeremy Corbyn had unlocked a huge following which was shown on the media, encouraging wider consideration of what might be possible. LibDems are nimble-minded and not dogmatic and know when to change emphasis.

    So, despite central LibDem party wishes, our voters had to decide if they should vote tactically by “holding their nose”. All groups, including Open Britain, Infacts, Greens, More United, Avaaz, were showing voters the way to defeat Tory candidates. Everyone knew Theresa May had to be stopped from obtaining the large majority she craved – because no-one trusted how she would use a new majority in parliament. Her lack of clarity was her undoing. Try to be clever with the well-informed electorate of today and they will punish you.

    On the day, in my constituency, Theresa Villiers’ majority dropped from 7000+ to just 300+ and she knows the voters are watching her every vote and deciding when to remove her from this former safe seat, previously always Tory. Tactical voters know now that the Tories are almost finished as a government and we will see them increasingly under pressure.
    The centre-left of British politics is at a crossroads and LibDems and Labour must decide how to work together. Our new leader must be capable of using all talents of the party, including Tim’s rousing campaigns, to build the party into a clearer strategic position because tactical voting can make us stronger where we work hard to be worthy of voter trust. We must go after those 100 seats which some groups were supporting for us in the GE.

    It’s time to show what we were really doing in the coalition years, stating what Tories are like, honestly not spitefully, and why we were never an austerity party but a party working for our nation’s needs at the time. Now we have a chance to understand the majority of Brexiters, who are not like their extremist fringe. Those who returned from UKIP to Labour are an interesting and large group of swing-voters, like ourselves if we have the mind, and their future vote share is as important as our own. It might seem strange if former-kippers joined forces permanently with us on the centre-left – but once a swinger always a swinger – I’m told.

  7. I absolutely agree. Most people vote for more than one topic, and most are highly influenced by those around them – family and neighbourhood. Btrexit alone is not enough and our offer wasn’t strong enough in the other key topics. But more than that – for a huge swathe of the south east, we virtually ignored one of their top issues – HOUSING! Who on earth thought that our core vote was not concerned about the biggest housing crisis in decades? if not for themselves, then for a family member, or for the society around them.

  8. This says a lot about the the success of Labour’s strategy of intentional obfuscation, voters genuinely believed that they opposed Brexit.

  9. Sadly we didn’t get a fair proportion of media coverage, certainly not in the Northeast. And very little air time for Tim
    The Labour Party retook there lost ground attacking the Tories on the NHS, Brent slipped down the agenda, our whacky policy on canibus, lost us some creditability.

  10. I think the sound bite messages were too crude. 2nd referendum call sounded like sore losers, instead of opportunity to look at facts and consequences, then people vote. I.e. Respect first advisory referendum, but that it was not the whole question.I know it was said, but nuances got lost and meant opposition could suggest thwarting the will of the people!

    In South West, caught on the hop with major county elections, energy, funds etc low, candidates not in place and working communications.

    I think public services issues overtook Brexit, without people realising they are connected, and not as clearly connected by us as could have been.

    There did seem to be a marked change when Labour suddenly switched itself on, on all media platforms. Previous Labour supporters of Remain, moved to party line and focus on public services, particularly NHS.

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