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If Boris is serious about helping his party he’d seek to be the CON candidate in Clacton

August 29th, 2014

The mayor’s the only one who could stop UKIP in its tracks

One of the big political decisions that the Tories will have to make in the next few weeks is who should be the candidate to fight UKIP defector, Douglas Carswell, in Clacton. The consequences for Cameron’s party of a UKIP victory in the seat are enormous and they have to do everything they can to stop him.

Boris Johnson has decided he wants to return to the commons and is currently trying to secure the Uxbridge nomination. But he would be helping his party far more if he took what would be a massive gamble and made himself available to fight Clacton.

We have seen in two London mayoral races that Boris has the unique appeal to reach out far beyond the Tory party’s traditional supporter base. He’s also the one CON figure who is very popular with UKIP voters.

    A Johnson candidature in Clacton, I’d suggest, would lead to a CON hold and would put him in a far better position to fight for the leadership when the time arose.

I don’t think he will – but who knows with Boris?

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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New IndyRef poll for Scottish Daily Mail from Survation has NO lead back to what it was before the first debate

August 29th, 2014

Survation Indy Ref

The gap is just 6%

The above figures are from the first full post-debates Indy Ref poll which was carried out by Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail.

As can be seen the NO lead is back down to where it was before the first debate in early August – a 6% margin for NO.

The YES campaign will be delighted to be making up the ground lost – the big question is whether they can go forward from here.

It should be noted that Survation,along with Panelbase and ICM, have tended to show the best figures for YES. Ipsos-MORI, TNS and YouGov have the worst ones.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Harry Hayfield’s Local By-Election Preview: August 28th 2014

August 28th, 2014

Yes, we all know that the media is focusing on Clacton this evening but let us not forget that Clacton is not the only show in town!

North Jesmond on Newcastle upon Tyne (Lib Dem Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 52, Liberal Democrats 24, Independents 2 (Labour majority of 26)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Liberal Democrats 870 (37%), Labour 770 (33%), Conservatives 419 (18%), Greens 273 (12%0
Candidates duly nominated: Duncan Crute (Con), Gerard Keating (Lib Dem), Shehla Naqvi (Green), Peter Smith (Lab), Daniel Thompson (UKIP)

Newcastle upon Tyne has been a very interesting reflection of Labour over the years. When Tony Blair became leader of Labour in 1994, Labour had a majority of 40 on the council winning 59 out of the 70 seats, this figure peaked at 65 the year after the general election that saw Labour come within a whisker of wiping out the Conservatives from the North East of England (missing out on Hexham by just 222 votes). Labour, now in government, suffered a bit of a wobble in it’s first first term but it was the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that really put the skids under the party especially in Labour heartlands like Newcastle as in the 2004 local elections, the Liberal Democrats gained a staggering 24 seats (in other words only three seats being elected in that year’s election didn’t change hands) and in doing so gained overall control of the council for the first time ever and unlike other Lib Dem gains in the past, they held it, not just for one set of elections but four sets of elections. However at the local elections of 2010, the writing started to appear on the wall as the Lib Dems made seven losses and in 2011, Labour regained control racking up the current majority of 26 in just three sets of elections and so therefore the question will be, has Labour been able to gain on those elections or is that it for the Lib Dem to Lab swing? If Labour can gain this ward, then the misery facing the Lib Dems could well get worse (and Ed Milliband’s dream of Number 10 becomes a certainty), but if the Lib Dems hold on (especially with Labour only needing a 2% swing to gain this ward) then that means all the Lib Dem to Lab switching that has remained at 25% of all Lib Dem voters in 2010 is the maximum that Labour can expect and the next election is most certainly not a foregone conclusion.



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The real worry for the Tories is if Carswell is able to take much of his organisation with him

August 28th, 2014

And will his defection encourage others?

Back in 2005 Douglas Carswell was one of a select group of Tories who won seats from LAB. He took Harwich. Then, five years later in the new seat of Clacton, he held on thanks to a swing from LAB of 9.7%, The national swing was 5% which is a good indication of how well he did.

He had a strong reputation within the Tory party for his organisational skills.

What we don’t know yet is whether Carswell will be able to bring much of his organisation with him. If so I’d suggest that he’s unstoppable.

He’s a big figure at Westminster which is why today news is such a shock.

A Carswell victory in the by-election and could provide encouragement for other Tory MPs who might be considering a shift. Worst of all the Carswell defection keeps the attention on UKIP at a time when Tory strategists were hoping that its support would fade.

This makes a Cameron second term less likely and Miliband the main beneficiary.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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CON MP, Douglas Carswell, defects to UKIP AND is resigning to fight by-election

August 28th, 2014



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The wait for another full IndyRef poll goes on – there’s not been one for nearly a fortnight

August 28th, 2014

Why are there so few Scottish polls?

Over the past few days I’ve been repeatedly asked when the next full IndyRef poll will be published and unfortunately I have no idea. The last full poll was by YouGov when fieldwork finished on August 15th – that’s 13 days ago.

In the same period we have had 14 Westminster voting polls for an election that doesn’t take place until May next year.

Given the momentous nature of what is being voted upon on September 18th the lack of surveys is amazing. Postal vote packs were sent out this week and for many the election has already started.

Quite why there’s so little being made available is hard to say. Clearly someone has to pay for it but the costs of polling have come down sharply with the widespread use of online fieldwork which can be carried out very quickly.

YES campaigners have been vociferous in telling us of the good reaction they are getting on the doorstep – but that is not a substitute for proper polling.

We did have the ICM small sample post debate poll but that was confined just to those who who had watched and was focussed on the relative performances of Salmond and Darling.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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PB Nighthawks is open

August 27th, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

Why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

If you’re a lurker, why not delurk tonight.

The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant link)

  1. YouGov have updated their methodology. 
  2. YouGov have also launched a new polling innovation.
  3. And this is the first result of their new polling innovation.
  4. US poised to ask Britain to join air-strikes in Iraq.
  5. Nigel Farage needs to pick his fights more carefully
  6. Ukip still claim Labour will promise an EU referendum – but what if they’re wrong?
  7. Scottish polls: Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing?
  8. no campaign’s new ad convinces some to vote yes
  9. Trust in information about the Independence Referendum
  10. A close inspection of the British Social Attitudes Survey shows that racial prejudice is in long-term decline
  11. David Cameron’s Scotland visit presents problem for the no campaign. PM is independence movement’s bogeyman and there’s a risk he’ll drive more waverers to say yes in referendum
  12. 22 Things That Could Only Ever Happen In Cardiff
  13. Today is the 118th anniversary of the Anglo-Zanzibar war. The war lasted 40 minutes, making it the shortest war ever (Hat-tip Sunil)
  14. Saturday will be the 76th anniversary of the Battle of Alam el Halfa 

 



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UKIP looks to the seaside for that elusive first past the post Westminster breakthough

August 27th, 2014

CON-held seats are the primary focus

Whenever kippers talk about their progress in 2014 they point first to their success in the May 22nd Euros. Coming top of the poll was a major breakthrough, helped by the unique closed regional list voting system.

In the first past the post elections held on the same day it was a different story – dropping 6 points on national equivalent vote share on their 2013 performance and securing 3.8% of the seats.

In this year’s Westminster by-elections they’ve chalked up respectable second places but to get an MP you need to top the poll in one of the 650 constituencies and they’ve been a long way from that.

    On the face of it a party that’s polling in the high teens should be expecting some MPs on May 7th next year but first past the post can be brutal to parties whose support is relatively even spread across the nation.

So the news that they’ve drawn up a short-list of 12 seats to be their GE2015 is important. Eastleigh, where they secured their best ever Westminster vote share in February last year is there and, so, too, are eight other seaside type seats.

Just one is currently held by Labour – an interesting decision given Farage’s rhetoric a couple of months ago about Labour being the main target.

The list above, based on one from the Ladbrokes political specialist, Shadsy, highlights first the Ladbrokes odds. In olnly one, Thanet South is UKIP the favourite.

Ladbrokes make zero seats at 11/8 the odds on how many of the 12 will go purple.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter