THE Evening Standard splashes this evening with another one of its London election polls and this time it predicts Lib Dem Ed Fordham, thanks to some Cleggmania, will win the shootout with Conservative Chris Philp to unseat Glenda Jackson.
There will have been celebrations among the canvassers in Hampstead and Kilburn who have been repeatedly told by Labour and the Tories that their man ‘can’t win here’.
Yet Fordham would be misguided to think he’s got this sewn up now. As much as Nick Clegg has made sure the Lib Dems get heard, there will still be Labour voters who boomerang* in the final days, voting Glenda in panic that the Conservatives will form the government and that they will in somehow have helped them.
The Tories too will close strongly. Other newspaper polls have placed the Conservatives ahead during this marathon showdown and Chris has a powerhouse of a campaign that draws one shadow minister here after another. In one scenario, the entire future cabinet has taken a stroll up to Hampstead to offer support.
And what of the methodology in the Standard’s poll itself. Did hired pollsters YouGov take a specific sample from Hampstead and Kilburn, or did they use a wider London survey and apply a general swing across all the constituencies? If they did the latter, it would have not taken in the unique nature of the fascinating battlegrounds of the Kilburn High Road, Hampstead village and the new constituency wards in Brent. It’s a great headline for Ed, but Chris and Glenda will know they aren’t beat yet.
* Way back when in A-Level politics, we were taught the simplistic, textbook ideas of ‘bandwagons’ and ‘boomerangs’. Bandwagons are self-explanatory, it’s when we all rush to say what everybody else is saying to ensure we don’t look dweeby. Like telling people at parties we like Hot Chip, even if we haven’t heard the new album yet, or that rocket is great in a salad even if we hate it. Or in this case, the coffee circle vogue for saying: Wasn’t Nick Clegg marvellous the other night on that debate… even if the newly-informed macchiato drinkers didn’t actually tune in.
In contrast, ‘Boomerangs’, our impressionable teenage brains were told, was when voters who had traditionally always supported the same party began to waver. So it goes that they withdraw their support only to see the party beaten up bad in the polls. Taking pity on old friends, they rush back to tend their sick mates with the ointment of their vote. Like when the Conservatives boomeranged in the polls to win 1992.