By Lord Ashcroft
Five years ago I conducted some research to find out why people in the Labour movement thought they had lost the 2010 election and what they thought they should do about it. They believed people had failed to appreciate what Labour had achieved, that credulous swing voters had been influenced by the right-wing media, and that although Labour’s policies had been right, they had not been communicated well. Accordingly, they expected the coalition government to prove so dreadful that people would soon see the error of their ways: Labour would not need to make any big changes in order to win the following election.
Well, we know how that story ends. Labour is reduced to 232 seats in the House of Commons, a net loss of 24 since its 2010 defeat, and won only 30 per cent of the national vote. The question for the new leader, whose identity we will know on Saturday, is not just how the party can start winning again, but whether Labour as we know it will survive.
My latest research has looked into this question by examining the views of two sorts of people: how do the views of Labour Loyalists, who voted for the party in 2010 and again last May, compare with the Defectors who have moved away from the party since it was an election-winning force? What caused the switchers to switch, and do they see themselves returning? (more…)