Lib Dems come bottom of the poll in intriguing result from the website Vote for Policies which is trying to encourage voters to cast their vote on the basis of policy rather than personality or party loyalty.
Site users enter their post code and indicate the key policy areas of concern to them (education, crime, immigration etc). Users then take part in a ‘blindfold test’. They are shown policy summaries taken from the main parties’ manifestoes on the policy areas they have selected and are asked to vote for their policy without knowing which party has authored it.
Eastleigh Constituents have (at the time of writing) so far completed 340 responses and the results for Eastleigh are as follows:
Lib Dem: 14.02%
The results mirror national opinion polls which have Labour in a substantial lead over the Conservatives and a 1% margin between Ukip and the Lib Dems.
Although these startling results point to the probable outcome of a general election should one be called soon, it is unlikely to affect the outcome of Thursday’s local vote in Eastleigh.
Despite Labour’s popular resurgence in the national polls its local fortunes went into a tailspin following the defection of their original parliamentary candidate Dan Clarke who is now a Lib Dem Councillor.
There are no Labour borough councillors currently in Eastleigh and the party will be hoping that their core vote, many of whom also tactically switched allegiance to the Lib Dems in the 2010 General Election, will be returning to the party fold now coalition cuts have started to bite and in view of the negative publicity surrounding the town’s Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne who is facing trial on charges of perverting the course of justice.
The blindfold test shows Labour have the policies local voters want but will this translate into seats on the council?
A ruthlessly efficient and well capitalised party machine should see the crushing Lib Dem majority maintained and their claim that council tax increases have been below inflation for nine years under their stewardship is one that will strike a chord with many cash–strapped voters.
Nevertheless local Lib Dem grassroots activists should feel worried that their national policies are so obviously out of touch with local voter concerns.
Meanwhile the Green Party, which is standing three candidates locally, will be encouraged to see their policies so well received in the survey placing them third, just behind the Conservatives.
The Conservatives themselves have been putting resources into their local campaign in preparation for a potential by-election tussle in the event that Chris Huhne is forced to resign and have lent their support to resident action groups battling council development plans.
They are hampered by the albatross round their necks which is Ukip. The local branch target Conservative voters by attacking Conservative national and European policies in their local election leaflets – rather than the policies of the Lib Dem controlled council -and could serve to split the Conservative if there is a tight result.
There are two English Democrat candidates standing in Chandlers Ford – their policies are not covered by the ‘vote for policies’ website – and there is also an Independent candidate standing in Eastleigh South.