An unexpected source, but is this more evidence for a historic surge towards Labour in Cornwall? The West Briton group of local papers is complementing the YouGov prediction of a clean sweep for the Tories with the results of its own survey. Recently, the newspaper group has been considerably less supportive of the Tories than usual. This is partly because Theresa’s May’s handlers wouldn’t allow their reporters to film her or ask certain questions when she visited Helston earlier in the month.
The paper launched a Cornwall Survey 2017 on their website a month ago. In addition to a rather eclectic set of questions, including one asking people which illegal drugs they’d taken recently, they asked them for their voting intentions (presumably when not under the influence of those drugs). The findings, for what they’re worth, back up the YouGov prediction of a sharp rise in the numbers of those intending to vote Labour next week.
Having got over 3,000 responses, Cornwall Live is reporting that Labour is in the lead not only in Camborne & Redruth but also at St Austell & Newquay, which, like Truro & Falmouth, sees a close three-way split between Tory, Labour and Lib Dem. Sheryll Murray remains way ahead in South East Cornwall, which looks increasingly rock-solid for the Tories.
There’s even some good news in this survey for Cornwall’s Lib Dems. In North Cornwall Cornwall Live reports that the Tories’ Scott Mann and the Lib Dems’ Dan Rogerson are neck and neck. Meanwhile, at the other end of Cornwall in St Ives, contradicting the YouGov prediction, Andrew George and Derek Thomas are also too close to call, although an earlier report from Cornwall Live showed Andrew well ahead.
But what are these findings worth? Cornwall Live’s ‘Survey’ may be worth precisely nothing and merely reflect the social media presence of party supporters. Unlike the bona-fide polling outfits, they don’t give us the detailed tables of raw results to check for ourselves. It’s totally unscientific, with a self-selected sample, which is neither random nor properly stratified. As it’s online it’s likely to be skewed towards younger and/or computer-savvy voters, a group that is less likely to be Tory than the inert lump of pensioners who will (famous last words) keep them in power.
Yet, taken together with the YouGov model, one clear message comes through. This is that tactical voting only makes sense in North Cornwall and St Ives (for the Lib Dems) and possibly Camborne-Redruth (for Labour). In the other three seats forget it. There, you can safely vote for what you believe in.