Losing voters we never won

Any Liberal Democrat activist will have been nearly buried by comments from people saying that they will never vote for the party again.  Mostly these are genuine, and polling shows that the party has lost half its support.  But I have long had a feeling that many of these complainants never voted for the party in the first place.  Nice to get some evidence of this from this post in politicalbetting.com .  It seems that in at least one poll, more people said they voted Lib Dem at the last election than voted Labour!  So many people want to join the betrayal bandwagon that they have actually forgotten they did not vote for us.  No doubt they thought about it, and the sense of betrayal comes from even thinking of voting Lib Dem!

3 thoughts on “Losing voters we never won”

  1. Another even bigger group of ‘voters’ who fall into this category are the ones who only voted LD because they were trying to keep out the Labour or Conservative candidate in their constituency. Votes like that don’t represent a support of LD policy but practically a wish that the LD’s would disappear and save them the bother of voting tactically. They must have got a bit of a shock when the party they voted for actually started to participate in government. I think they may feel betrayed because the vote they cast didn’t have the effect they intended it to have, but that’s not the LD’s fault – They have always had a wish to have something to do with running the country, not just to make elections more complicated or to collect protest votes.

  2. A closely related point: A protest vote is one where the voter can register a complaint without pointing to a solution. A statement like ‘Both the main parties are useless’. It allows the voter to be completely uncompromised and uncompromising, because compromise is what comes with the territory of solutions, not of protests. There have been voters using the LD’s as a protest vote for years, coming away from elections with clean consciences, as whatever mess parliament made wasn’t ratified by their vote. These voters are feeling betrayed because they intended only to raise a protest, and now it turns out they voted in compromise. Next time they may turn to a new protest – UKIP say, but as in the article, these are lost votes the LD’s never really had in the first place. The LD’s may be able to make up losses in this department with gains from solution oriented people who never voted for them before because they didn’t want to ‘waste their vote on a protest’.

    1. Interestingly the Alternative Vote will change the dynamics for the protest voter. Their first preference goes to the protest party, but eventually they will (usually) express a preference between the main parties. They can have it both ways.

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