Friday, 5 May 2017

Thoughts from #LE2017 Part 3 - Lib Dem Protestors Return?

It appears that the Liberal Democrats are having some success in both the East and West of England in taking council seats from UKIP (who's torrid time continues - just the one seat won at the time of writing).

Thus far, they have taken seats from the anti-EU party in each of Cornwall, Norfolk, Buckinghamshire, Somerset, and Worcestershire local authorities.

Voters flipping from the UK's most anti-EU, Brexit supporting party to one of its most pro-EU, Remain supporting groupings and swinging seats will no doubt come as a surprise to many.

What we can suggest in response to this puzzle is that perhaps the Liberal Democrats, in taking seats from UKIP, are demonstrating a recapturing of their old 'protest vote' - an element of their support which was very much lost when they joined forced with the Conservatives in government in 2010.

Perhaps, with UKIP - undoubtedly the primary party of protest voting over the past four to five years - fading and voters looking for alternatives, the Liberal Democrats may be beginning to be rediscovered as a 'none of the above' option?

The evidence will be in future polling and survey data, but there does seem to be something to suggest that, in some circumstances at least, the Liberal Democrats are reattracting some of their old base. Protest, 'none of the above' voters were always an important part of that.

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