Thursday 11 October 2012

Unpopular Politicians Liable to Fall

Following up on yesterday's post, I think there is potential for a few more fluctuations in the coming debates. Tonight's VP debate is probably not going to make that much impact initially (with Ryan likely to win), however, Ryan could easily give Obama some ammunition for further debates. As I said yesterday, Romney is highly unpopular. If Obama gets some "big hits", he could easily get a big swing back his way. The problem is, nobody trusts either candidate, and either, with a few fluffed lines, could throw it all away because of this. You can afford to look like an idiot, get stuck on a zipline and so on if people think you are honest and on their side. If however, they truly see you as a liar, a fraud who has wrecked the economy, gone back on promises, or simply don't have a policy platform at all, then your support base is going to be weak. Polls are prone to move.

What we see right now, is growing disdain, both in Britain and America (and other "western" nations - including Japan) for the political class. We have Ed & Ed, who were at the heart of Brown's financial failures on the one hand, and Cameron, who has time and again gone back on election pledges. Both are still in the 30-45% region in the polls (out of those intending to vote) - but a large segment of that amount, in each case, is soft support. A vote only when it comes down to it. This group is ripe for conversion to a new party, be it the Libertarians in the US or UKIP (and formerly the Lib Dems) in the UK - remember Cleggmania? 23% is what the Liberal Democrats got in the last election. They currently poll at around 8%, even though they are usually prompted. That leaves 15% moving elsewhere. Add to that the fact that turnout was only 65.1% and you see that, actually, there is huge room for a major shift in political alignment. Looking closer, many Labour strongholds only had 50% or lower turnout. Given that UKIP tend to do well in these areas (winning the 2009 European elections in Hull for example) - winning seats in 2015 in these areas is definitely possible, it is a matter of getting people to vote, showing that there is a party that will respond to their concerns. If Labour can lose 'safe' seats through higher turnout, then perhaps 2015 is not as easy to predict as people think. Just like the US Presidential election is still uncertain.

If the population - largely disenfranchised with the typical political options - is passively looking for an alternative, then the establishment should be a lot more scared than they currently are. If a real alternative can present itself, then it might suddenly be something other than an alternative. Those wishing to be the alternatives better get ready for when they are given the spotlight - one by election victory, one big performance somewhere, might just be enough. When the voters look to you, you need to be ready with a plan to take charge.

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