Inevitably there is talk about tactical voting. There always is, but those like Lord Adonis, urging LibDems in constituencies where they are unlikely to win, is supporting labour strategy. That is to win an overall majority.
The Toy strategy is likewise to win an overall majority. There is a third strategy, shared by the LibDems, the Scottish and Welsh nationalists and some others, the achieve a hung Parliament. Whether this results in coalition or minority government matters less.
They all want constitutional changes which are unlikely to be delivered by either a majority Conservative of Labour ministry. Yes, Gordon Brown is promising constitutional changes but don’t hold you breath: turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.
The three strategies — Labour or Conservative win and hung parliament — are much more equal than first appears. Pollster YouGov was yesterday putting the Conservative share of the vote (among those who had a view) at 37%, Labour 31% and LibDems+others at 32%.
In other words getting on for a third of people who say they will vote and have made up their minds are supporting parties who want a hung parliament.
The Telegraph devoted a long piece on Nick Clegg’s “balancing act as a hung parliament looms” on Saturday — a sure sign that he has made himself a major player in this election.
While tactical voting to support Labour or Conservative parties is relatively easy for individual voters to work out, supporting the hung parliament strategy is more difficult.
In England the simple approach — vote for anyone other than Conservative or Labour who stands a chance of winning. Some constituencies, like Norwich South, have more chances for the tactical voter who wants a hung parliament.
There Labour’s Charles Clarke faces competition from Conservative, Green, liberal Democrat, UKIP and BNP candidates. An ipsos Mori poll for the students’ union at the University of East Anglia fount that of those who said the would definitely vote Clarke was ahead on 39%. The Conservatives on 20% and the LibDems and Greens with 19% each were virtually tied.
That suggests that nothing other than large scale tactical voting will support the hung parliament strategy. But who to vote for, the LibDems of the Greens?
In Weston-super-Mare the Green prospective candidate has withdrawn and asked his supporters to vote LibDem. That is not a prospect in Norwich South where the Green party has already built a strong local government base. So short of a huge gesture by one of the candidates, it looks as if Clarke will retain the seat with a minority of the votes.
In Scotland and Wales there are substantial opportunities for tactical voting to keep out Labour and Conseratvive candidates by voting for the LibDem or Nationalist most likely to capture the seat.
Tactical voting is good but you need to know which strategy it is supporting.