Some years ago I heard a story from North Schleswig about a man going to the traditional Ringridning. On his way he noticed a head sticking up at the roadside and recognised his old friend Hans Peter:
“Oh dear, Hans Peter, you look to be in it pretty deep”, the man said.
“I’m in it deeper than you think”, Hans Peter answered, “I’m on horseback too”
The story probably doesn’t offer much solace for Conservative politicians who may feel that they are in pretty deep trouble. As a rule, I am very cautious in commenting opinion polls (snapshots of the public mood, not test elections; the question of statistical significance), but the trend seems to be that the Conservatives are stuck well below the result of the 2007 election (and here we should remember that the Conservative performance in the 2000s has been far from satisfactory in a historical perspective) and that support for the Liberal – Conservative coalition is hovering around 30 percent of the vote.
Now, as an unscientific rule of thumb I use the assumption that you need support from at least 35 percent of the vote (and 35 percent of the seats in parliament) to form a stable government. Go below 35 percent and things are likely to get very messy.
So, it looks like we are either set for a change of government at the next election if the trend holds with S and SF at around 43 percent combined and a majority with the Red-Greens and Social Liberals – or, if the “Blue Side” manages to win another majority, some kind of three-party coalition.