2010 General Election

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As time runs out for Gordon Brown to call a General Election, it is looking increasingly likely that this will be held at some point in the next few months. The Conservative’s lead in the polls has been about 10-15% [1] higher than Labour for the majority of Brown’s two years in office with levels of public satisfaction with government also continuously low. [2] A Conservative victory therefore currently seems the most likely outcome. According to BBC projections, if the results from the Local Elections in June 2009 (the most recent large scale elections) were be replicated at the next General Election, the Conservatives would have 38% of the national vote, Labour 23%, a historic low, the Liberal Democrats 28%, and other parties 11%. However, people vote differently in Local Elections with minority parties picking up a larger share of the vote than in a General Election. The Conservatives also enjoy lower levels of support that those enjoyed by Labour before the 1997 General Election, so a slim majority is more likely than a landslide. After 12 years, VCOs are used to operating under a Labour government and a change of government would involve a significant change in the operating environment for organisations.

What are the implications?

  • Difficulties in planning ahead at a time where the strategic direction of the sector could change considerably.
  • A Conservative government is likely to have different priorities and views for the role and function of the VCS.
  • An uncertain environment for political lobbying, influencing and campaigning as both the outcome and date of the election are likely to remain unclear.
  • A hung parliament or slim Conservative majority may make lobbying and the legislative process more time-consuming as decisions are harder to reach.
  • Organisations will need to build relationships with ministers and understand new priorities.
  • Changes to levels and sources of income as a change of government has different funding priorities.
  • An increase in policies that focus on rights and responsibilities as the Conservatives place a greater emphasis on individual social responsibility in response to social problems.
  • A greater focus on small frontline, grassroots, community and volunteer-led groups, as well as faith-based organisations in tackling problems related to social breakdown. (See Conservative focus on social justice).
  • The focus on small, grass-roots organisations may start to reverse the increasingly polarised sector in which larger organisations have grown.
  • This may mean it becomes difficult for organisations that are not the priority to achieve funding or get their voice heard.
  • Further reform of public services which would include greater personal choice for public services (see personalisation of services).
  • Greater localism as the Conservatives value local freedom and flexibility.

Moving forward

 After 11 years, organisations are used to operating under a Labour government.

  • Should your organisation analyse the political situation and consider the implications of the many potential scenarios?
  • What might be the risks or opportunities for your organisation of a Conservative majority, a coalition government or a minority administration?

Numerous Conservative local authorities and the London Mayor may indicate how a Conservative administration would be run.

  • Are there common themes and policies which might have an impact on your organisation if rolled out nationally?
  • How would your organisation respond to these?

Your organisation may need to spend time building new relationships with new MPs from a variety of parties.

  • Can you define your strategic priorities in terms of who you need to influence?
  • Can you share information and workload with other organisations?

Want to know more?

Future Scenarios for a Change of Government

Published by: NCVO 

Date: 2009

Format: Web and PDF

What is it? Four scenarios that explore the possibilities of a change in government and the scale of the recession in 2014 - developed in a NCVO Policy Forum Seminar. 

How useful is this? A change of government and the recession were selected by participants from a range of VCOs as the two highest impact, most unpredictable drivers likely to impact upon the public policy agenda and policy making in the future.  The scenarios envisaged are particularly useful to anyone interested in how a change in government may impact upon their organisation.

Other comments: The imagined scenarios are examined in more detail in the comments on the original webpage as well as more questions for organisations to consider.

The Rise and fall of “Others” 

Published by: Populus 

Date: 2009

Format: Web

What is it? A brief article summarising the change in voting habits towards “other” parties outside the main three. 

How useful is this? This small article within the Populus Perspective web bulletin examines the changing patterns of voting towards “other” parties at both European Elections and General Elections. It may be of interest to anyone interested in the changing voting habits leading up to the 2010 General Election.

Other comments: A blog piece on the UK Polling Report website summarises how support for “other” parties has fared in the 4 months following the European Elections.

Political Monitor

Published By: Ipsos MORI

Date: Monthly

Format: Web and PDF

What is it? Summarised results compiled each month presenting a general overview of public opinion on various political issues.

How useful is this? The data collected is up to date and informative; Ipsos MORI obtain their research through a sample of approximately 1000 adults each month and present the information through a quick accessible summary while also linking to more in depth coverage of the findings.  Information provided includes public satisfaction with individual party leaders, satisfaction with the government as a whole, voting intentions, and related issues such as economic recovery.  The pre-compiled charts are especially useful in obtaining a quick overview of public opinion on the political issues examined.

UK Polling Report Average

Published By: UK Polling Report

Date: Constant

Format: Web

What is it? A general independent overview of voting polls taken in the last 20 days weighted depending on reliability.

How useful is this? The UK Polling Report is an independent survey and polling news website that looks at general trends in political polls and the possible reasons these may occur. Its Polling Report Average is a simple overview of figures taken from polls conducted over the past 20 days presented in a simple table displaying only the most important information.  Each poll result is also weighted on a variety of different factors before being given a reliability rating that is updated daily.  While this average doesn’t look in depth at the various factors affecting poll results it does give a good overall indication of what the results may look like if a general election was held tomorrow.

Other comments: The various factors taken into account when issuing reliability weightings are detailed at the bottom of the page.


  1. UK Polling report average [back]
  2. Ipsos MORI Political monitor (monthly) [back]
Last updated at 15:45 Wed 23/Feb/11.


How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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