Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wonder where the yellow went

The Liberal Democrats' poll gains seem to be fading away, on the day before the British general election. According to the BBC, that party has fallen back into third place, after having inched ahead of Labour in some earlier polls.

The BBC's "poll of polls" puts the Liberal Democrats three points behind second-place Labour. The numbers are: Conservatives 35%, Labour 29%, and the Liberal Democrats 26%. The Liberal Democrats' high hopes of a second-place (or even first-place) finish seem to be disappearing. If that trend continues, they might not poll much (if any) ahead of the 22.6% they got at the most recent general election, in 2005.

Despite a six-percentage-point Conservative lead, the BBC projects that those poll numbers would equate to only 270 Conservative seats, with Labour winning 272 seats, and 79 for the Liberal Democrats.

But, even if the Liberal Democrats merely replicate their 2005 total of 62 seats, they would still hold the balance of power in a "hung Parliament".

The BBC page with its seat projections includes an interactive calculator to vary those projections based on any hypothetical split of the vote. According to that application, the Conservatives would need to gain an additional 3.2 percentage points at the expense of Labour (i.e., up to 38.2%), in order to establish a razor-thin overall majority.

The headline on this post applies an old toothpaste slogan to the official color of the Liberal Democrats. They are yellow, in contrast to the Conservatives' blue, and Labour's red.

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