Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My prediction

The Apollo Project is running a prediction competition as no doubt are various other sites.

I am very bad at predicting election results, but at risk of embarrassment here is my forecast:

1. Total number of votes cast (%): 61

2. First preference votes cast for Ming Campbell (%): 34

3. First preference votes cast for Chris Huhne (%): 42

4. First preference votes cast for Simon Hughes (%): 24

Second round

5. Second round votes cast for Ming Campbell (%): 43

6. Second round votes cast for Chris Huhne (%): 57

7. Second round votes cast for Simon Hughes (%): 0

Since this seems seriously at variance with the consensus, which seems to be for a narrow Ming win, I should offer some words of explanation.

I voted for Ming. I am a pessimist. I hope to be proved wrong.

More seriously, whoever wins the election, Huhne has won the campaign. I have been bitterly disappointed at just how uninspiring the Ming campaign has been, given that he is a canny politician and he has most of the party's brightest and best at his back. The succession of emails from grandees such as Steel, Williams and Ashdown as the campaign drew to a close summed this up. Ming surely already had the deference vote. He needed to be targeting the thinking voter who would have started out backing Ming but was feeling tempted by Huhne. He would have done better to just be himself and talk about the things he clearly is passionate about - civil liberties, foreign policy etc. rather than dwelling on the detail of environment policy where he is clearly not at home.

By contrast Huhne has injected the campaign with ideas, energy and enthusiasm. I have not joined the ranks of his supporters because I think many of his messages appeal more to Lib Dem members than the wider electorate and because he comes across as too clever by half. Yet the campaign would have been dull without him. Would a Simon v Ming contast have merited a separate edition of Question Time? I think not.

The key question is what will the 'ordinary' members do. The people who matter here are not the total armchair members, but councillors and active or semi-active members who don't go to conference, subscribe to Lib Dem News, read blogs, take part in cix etc.

There was quite a posse of such people who went from Watford to the St Albans hustings a couple of weeks ago (and not just to see Dorothy chair the meeting). To a person those of them that I spoke to afterwards were voting for Huhne.


Peter Pigeon said...

An interesting comment on St Albans - a friend of mine who was there and who had already voted for Huhne said that he found Ming inspiring, clearly saying things in which he believed profoundly.

Dunno who is "right" in such circumstances. My prediction is a mirror image of yours. It is based on a number of straw polls - many secondhand. But either result is imaginable.

My impression is that the first half of Huhne's campaign was far more impressive than the latter half.

We'll find out soon enough.

Cllr David Morton said...

I hope you are right but I just can't see anyone winning by the margin that you predict.

but my record on predictions is lousy.