If the Windrush affair has an impact in the polls expect it to be seen most in the leader ratings not voting intention

April 19th, 2018

Could it reverse TMay’s steady recovery since GE2017?

Above is a chart based on Opinium’s net approval ratings for the PM since GE2017. I choose this pollster because it is one of just two that just about always every month publish the latest leader ratings which gives us enough data points for analysis. I wish other firms would follow this lead.

As can be seen TMay made something of a recovery in the immediate post-election period until October when the Opinium fieldwork took place shortly after her disastrous and highly publicised conference speech.

During 2018 there has been a recovery and in the past two months she has had better net ratings than Corbyn.

This week’s news has been very much about TMay because it was on her watch as Home Secretary between 2010 and 2016 that the changes took place which are now causing so much concern.

Mike Smithson


Why betting on the 2020 Republican nomination is better value than the Trump survival market

April 19th, 2018


Time for a bet on him not getting the GOP 2020 nomination?

While the focus on in the UK has been on the Syrian crisis, Mrs May and the Windrush generation and the ongoing divide within LAB over anti-semitism the news from the United States has been less promising for the survival of the President.

The ramifications of the former FBI director, James Comey, going on TV last night together with speculation over what will come out of last week’s raid on the Trump family lawyer have started to raise a little bit more doubt about whether he’s actually going to make it through to January 2021.

This has been reflected in the Betfair exchange betting market as can be seen in the chart above. But even with all the latest developments the balance is that punters still think he will make it through his first term.

The position of the controversial property magma turned reality TV star turned president is very much dominating the news agenda in the US with every twist and turn been given it lots of coverage.

As I have said before I find it very difficult to come to a view on this because the general presumption with politicians in trouble is that they generally survive but not always.

Although Mr trump has only actually been in office for 15 months the US election cycle will move very quickly after the November midterms to who will win the presidential election in 2020.

    To my mind the best “will be survive” bet is not on the above market but whether he’ll get the 2020 Republican nomination. That currently rates his chances at a 58% chance so you a lay would give you better odds than evens. That’s in line with the above market with more options

Trump could still get to the end of his first term and not be the nominee.

Mike Smithson


Latest PB/Polling Matters podcast: Are you racist? Syrian airstrikes & the Lords report on polling

April 18th, 2018

On this week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast Keiran Pedley is joined by Matt Singh (Number Cruncher) and Adam Drummond (Opinium) to discuss:

1) Why voting intention polls and perceptions of party leaders seem to be moving in different directions

2) Reactions to the Windrush scandal and how pollsters deal with sensitive questions around immigration

3) An exclusive survey from Opinium for PB that shows 1 in 10 Brits believe the Russian military accusation that Britain staged the Douma chemical attack in Syria

4) What the Lords has to say about the future of polling and how pollsters should react

You can find data tables for the Opinium poll on Syria here

Follow this week’s guests:





Jeremy Hunt – 4th favourite to succeed TMay – being investigated by Parliamentary Standards Commissioner

April 18th, 2018

All we have at the moment is the Laura Kuenssberg tweet above but this does sound possibly serious for the Health Secretary.

The main betting markets that could be affected are the next CON leader one, shown above, and of course the next cabinet minister out. I find it hard to assess the seriousness.

Hunt has been one of the very steadiest forces within the Conservatives party in government over a period of 8 years and is one of a very select group who have held cabinet minister positions right from the start of David Cameron’s Premiership in 2010. He’s certainly steadied things at Health which is always a tricky portfolio in a Conservative government.

I’ve long thought he could make it to the top. He was a Remainer at the referendum but has since developed his views.

Mike Smithson


If TMay and Corbyn are still there at the next election then Windrush & antisemitism could still be dogging them

April 18th, 2018

These are leadership more than party issues

What a dramatic few days for both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. Two huge issues continue to dominate the news which are big negatives for each of them respectively.

The Windrush affair, which is being juxtaposed with the meeting of Commonwealth leaders, is a reminder of how Theresa May handled things when she was in the Home Office from 2010 to 2016. It was under her watch that the law was changed making life a lot harder for those who been in the UK for decades who have to prove their right to be in the country.

We have heard tear jerking stories from one elderly immigrant after another and no doubt there are others in the pipeline. All is made much harder for them because the onus is now on them individually to prove their status which in many cases is simply not there.

The anti-semitism issue within Labour stepped up a notch last night with the debate on the issue, which had been tabled opportunistically by the Tories in the Commons. Again we heard tear jerking stories from several Jewish Labour MPs which were more powerful because on the face of it Mr Corbyn appears to have done very little to change the environment in the party.

Whatever Corbyn needs to find some way to assuage some of the fears of the Jewish community and from what we’ve seen since he became leader he appears to lack the ability or inclination to do that.

Both of these issues are about race and both highlight, I suggest, blind spots in Mrs. May and Mr. Corbyn.

Let’s see how PMQs goes today.

Mike Smithson


Corbyn accused of being a coward for leaving the chamber at the start of the antisemitism debate

April 17th, 2018


If there’s a high turnout of Jewish voters in this key ward then LAB’s main London hope could be thwarted

April 17th, 2018

Sean Fear rates a Barnet CON hold a 50-50 chance

I’ve just had a bet at 23/10 with Ladbrokes that the Conservatives will hold on to Barnet in the local elections on May 3rd. My reason is an assessment by long standing PB contributor, Sean Fear, that this is a 50-50 chance and in such cases the betting option that’s longer than evens is the value bet.

Sean has long experience of London elections and I for one take notice of it.

This is Sean’s reasoning:

The crucial Barnet wards are:-

Brunswick Park. This went Labour 42.6%, Conservative 41.2% Green 11.2%, Lib Dem 4.9% in 2014. Labour won 2 seats to 1 Conservative. It’s on the edge of East Barnet and Southgate. It’s only 5% Jewish, Labour are doing increasingly well in Chipping Barnet, and I think they’ll win the third seat.

Hale. Conservative 43.1%, Labour 40%, Green 10.9%, Lib Dem 6%. 2 Conservative to 1 Labour. This is basically, the parts of Edgware and Mill Hill that don’t fall into Edgware and Mill Hill wards. Although it’s mixed, it’s mostly prosperous. It’s 19% Jewish, and comes into Hendon constituency where the Conservatives have done very well since 2014. I think the Conservatives will win the third seat.

Assuming these two wards are as I predict, this puts the Conservatives and Labour on 30 seats each.

Childs Hill. Conservative 32.1%, Labour 29.8%, Lib Dem 27.5%, Green 10.5%. 2 Conservative to 1 Lib Dem (Cllr. Jack Cohen polled far better than the other two Lib Dems). This lies between Golders Green and Hampstead. It was safe Lib Dem for years, but the Conservatives unexpectedly gained 2 seats in 2014. It’s 17% Jewish, and could produce any result. I think the result of the borough election hinges on Childs Hill. If the Conservatives retain 2 seats, they’ll have 32 out of 63. But, each of the parties could win all three, or it could be split in any direction.

Unfortunately Ladbrokes have now tightened the price to 2/1.

Mike Smithson


The commentators blaming TMay for the Windrush affair are right – she not ARudd but should be carrying the can

April 17th, 2018

This could be very dangerous for the woman who lost the Tories their majority last June

As those who watch politics closely will know who it is very common for ministers to blame the previous administration when things go wrong on their patch.

There’s a problem though, as the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, found yesterday when under pressure in the Commons, if the person she wanted to blame was her boss the Prime Minister.

We had this ridiculous situation where the Home Secretary was telling MPs that the problem was caused by the Home Office. That, surely, was Mrs Rudd’s way of getting over the fact that this wasn’t her fault but her predecessor.

A huge problem for the Government and particularly the PM is that the public is very much on the side of the immigrants. YouGov yesterday found 78% saying they should be allowed to stay against 9% that they shouldn’t.

All this comes at a time when the Tories have Mr Corbyn over a barrel following his response to Salisbury and Syria. He is very much on the wrong side of public opinion.

    My sense is that Mrs. May is pushing her luck at the moment: agreeing to the Syria attacks without recalling parliament, her handling of immigration while Home Secretary and of course the divides within her party over Brexit. Her Salisbury boost in the polls has fizzled out.

Remember it only requires 48 CON MPs to send letter to Graham Brady for her to face a confidence vote. On Betfair it 3/1 that she won’t surive 2018.

Mike Smithson