Conservative 33% (down 3%)
Labour 28% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 28% (up 1%)
As others have pointed out, all polls conducted over this Bank Holiday weekend should be treated with some caution. There is some past evidence that Bank Holiday polls understate Conservative support
All election campaigns produce occasional suspect claims and counter-claims but here in Reading Labour and the Lib Dems are plumbing new depths in the last few days of the campaign. The worst example by far is a very poor quality leaflet (above) distributed by Labour in the town centre Abbey ward. It makes the entirely false claim that Conservatives would scrap the free residents’ parking permit. This comes in a long line of false claims from Labour. Conservatives have said that we would keep the free first permit and it is in fact Labour that are proposing to remove that free permit from anyone who has any off street parking. To the best of my knowledge neither have the Lib Dems said that they would scrap the free permit. However, a desperate Labour party is clearly prepared to resort to any lie and any scare in order to try to keep some of their crumbling vote.
The Lib Dems are not immune from misrepresentation either. One of their most infamous tricks is to use very dodgy bar charts based on odd combinations of previous election results or other statistically dubious methods. The most dodgy technique is usually reserved for Parliamentary by-elections and that is the use of so-called “latest canvass figures”. These can be anything the Lib Dems want them to be and they never say whether the canvass figures in question are from the whole of the constituency and the whole of the campaign, or just a selection that suits their needs. It would be more honest of the Lib Dems to show real recent election results or Council seats in Reading East. Of course they won’t as these would show them in third (or even fourth) place. It is a sign of desperation that the Lib Dems have resorted to dodgy bar charts in their latest Reading East newspaper in order to try to show them “closing on the Conservatives”.
If Labour collapse, it is just about conceivable that the Lib Dems could overtake Labour in both Reading East and West but there is no sign of that in the Conservative canvass returns to date. Once again I suspect that the Lib Dems are trying to use their dodgy bar charts to boost their electoral chances as their opinion poll ratings wane.
It seems that the local Lib Dems are suffering serious confusion over which constituency they wish to represent. On two occasions now I have been sent examples of Gareth Epps publishing material which purports to show him wanting to represent Reading West, when in fact he is standing for the Reading East constituency.
Now it is Daisy Benson who seems confused as her website promises that she will be “a strong voice for Wokingham”!
Click on the image below for a larger version:
Perhaps the Lib Dems should sack their web and literature designer?!
UPDATE: The website has now been updated with the correct constituency details. However, you can see the previous information in the screen capture above.