I have been wondering why I’m so frustrated with this election. Partly it’s the lack of substantive policy discussions, but mostly because I’ve been sorely tempted by what the polls have been showing.
Lib Dems in the high 20s. Such a result would be unprecedented in modern British politics.
And yet I’m still disappointed.
So this morning I’ve been trying to figure out why that would be. After all, if before this campaign someone had offered me the Lib Dems in a Royal Rumble for second place with Labour, I’d have bitten their hand off.
Because – let’s face it – the early polls, in the days leading up and after the election being called, looked a bit like this…
Or, in words, the Tories were floating around the 38% mark, with Labour just creeping over 30%, and the Lib Dems in a distant third with about 20%.
And now, with the polls as they are, I’m disappointed?!
I think, perhaps, my disappointment stems from two sources:
Firstly, that it’s not even better. After all, the best poll put the Lib Dems on 34%. That would be truly monumental. Not just a political earthquake, but an entire rearrangement of the tectonic plates. That got my hopes up just a little too highly. I knew it wouldn’t last, but it didn’t stop me dreaming.
But secondly, it is the fact that the polls have been cruel. Showing the Lib Dems safely above 30%, even showing them in first place, and then snatching it away again.
So I decided it was time for this reality check.
The Lib Dems are doing fantastically well. I always knew they would recover some support during the campaign – that is always what happens – but a year ago, when the polling was as bad as 15 to 18%, I thought all that would happen would be that they would just rise enough to ensure we aren’t destroyed. Here is my gloomy analysis from last year.
Instead, the Lib Dems have more than shown that they’re capable of winning voters from Labour and the Tories. That might just mean those LD-Con battleground seats, all of which I thought they’d lose, might just stick around for the fun. Oh please, let it be so. The loss of the legendary David Heath in Somerton and Frome would be a cruel blow!
The upshot of all this, the LDs are on course for a stunning level of support on Thursday. Of course, support does not equal seats, but it will help make the great case for electoral reform that might mean that, some day soon, I might actually cast a vote that counts for something.
That’s cheered me up a bit.
Now just don’t wreck it, Nick!