Archive for November, 2012

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Dave’s secret supply of possible supporters? CON 2010 voters now saying “don’t know”

Friday, November 30th, 2012

One of the segments of voters that hardly ever gets mentioned is made up of those who voted last time but now say that they don’t know.

They haven’t switched to another party but, for the moment at least, they are not ready to say they’ll do what they did last time.

There’s a lot of them – see the chart which is taken from data in last week’s ICM poll of current intentions by 2010 CON voters.

Sure there’s been slippage to LAB and UKIP but the biggest group not saying they’s vote CON are voters from the last election now saying that they don’t know. They, surely must the the main priority.

Mike Smithson

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Marf on the overnight election news

Friday, November 30th, 2012

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    Labour makes it six out of six in the November by-elections

    Friday, November 30th, 2012

    An okay night for UKIP but still miles from winning a seat

    The three by-elections went exactly the way the betting markets had predicted. The fact that punters were reluctant to risk their cash on UKIP in Rotherham and RESPECT in Croydon North was borne out by the actual results.

    UKIP secured second place in Rotherham with a creditable 21.8% of the vote but they were miles behind Labour’s 46.25%.

      Farage’s party has yet to show that it is capable of winning Westminster seats even when it is doing well in the national polls and has politically explosive stories like the Rotherham fostering row to exploit.

      It is extraordinarily challenging taking on the effective Labour ground machine.

    The Tories were fifth in Rotherham while the LDs were reduced to seventh place and a lost deposit.

    The RESPECT challenge in Croydon North turned out to be the damp squib of the night. The party’s Lee Jasper finished in sixth place with 707 votes which meant a lost deposit.Labour won easily with 64.7% of the vote ahead of the Tories on 16.8%

    In Middlesbrough the LAB vote went up 14.6% to 60.5% with UKIP a long way behind in second place on 11.8%. The LDs came third not far behind but had a miserable night overall.

    The glut of by-elections this month has been amazing and Labour can feel pretty pleased that it has chalked up easy victories in all of them.

    Mike Smithson

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    Longstanding PBer, John Loony, reports from the front-line in Croydon North

    Thursday, November 29th, 2012

    Can Bradford West be repeated in Croydon North?

    Ever since Lee Jasper was selected as the Respect Party candidate in the Croydon North by-election, there has been a lot of speculation on the internet about the prospects of Respect repeating its triumph of Bradford West, where George Galloway was elected MP in a previously safe Labour seat. So: Can Respect win the by-election in Croydon North? Will Ken Livingstone’s former adviser join George Galloway on the green benches?

    Superficially, there are similarities: Croydon North (unlike Central and South) is demographically more like inner London than the outer suburbs. There is a lot of social deprivation, and London Road (in the west of the constituency) was hit hard by the riots of August 2011. There are substantial ethnic minority populations: according to the 2001 census (albeit now slightly out of date), the population of Croydon North was 51% white (comprising 44% British and 7% white other), 24% black, and 19% Asian. George Galloway explicitly stated at the start of the campaign that Respect would target Muslim and black voters. The odds on a Respect victory have gone from 25/1 to just 5/1 within just a few days (in Bradford West it started at 33/1).

    But there are differences: the politics of Croydon, particularly in local elections, are fixed in a 1950s-style time-warp, with only Labour and Conservative represented on the local council (the Lib Dems have never had more than one elected councillor at any one time), and Labour has a firm grip on all eight wards in the north. More significantly, the ethnic diversity of Croydon’s population is well-mixed. London in general, and Croydon in particular, do not suffer from the ethnic and religious tensions which are more common in some northern towns such as Bradford, Burnley, Blackburn or Oldham. In Croydon one does not see the phenomenon of exclusively Asian neighbourhoods or schools in one place, and overwhelmingly white neighbourhoods a short distance away (with all the corresponding tensions, suspicions and resentments which may develop from such contrasts).

    In other words, there is simply not enough political space for a party like Respect to get a foothold. On the ground, Labour and Conservative posters are proliferating in shop windows and in private homes, but it is noticeable that the Respect posters are the same few in the same places that have been there for several days. Lee Jasper, accompanied by a small group of activists, has been vociferous on his open-top campaign bus, but his campaign team seems to comprise people from other parts of London.

    What, then, is the likely result in Croydon North?

    The Labour candidate, Steve Reed, is a forthright and abrasive campaigner. His selection as Labour candidate in preference to a well-liked local Croydon resident, and his controversial record as leader of Lambeth Council, have attracted adverse comment among some political activists, but such factors are unlikely to be of great concern to most ordinary Labour voters. He should expect to see the Labour share of the vote to go up in the way one would normally expect in a mid-term by-election. I expect Labour’s share of the vote to be 60% to 70%; a bad result would be anything below 60%.

    Andy Stranack is an atypical Conservative candidate who is disabled, lives on a low income on a deprived estate, and is mild and softly-spoken in coming across to people. He is undoubtedly the second main candidate in the constituency, and should be able to hold the Conservative vote up more solidly than might otherwise happen in this type of constituency – 15% to 20% is likely.

    Lee Jasper for Respect is a vocal, articulate and enthusiastic campaigner who has long experience of dealing with young people in community projects in inner London. He would, if anything, be a more worthy MP for any constituency than George Galloway. But Respect has not gained any substantial traction in this campaign. The widespread publicity for his candidacy may enable him to get 3rd place, but he will not get more than 15% of the votes and is more likely to be closer to 5%.

    If anyone deserves to benefit from a radical, non-Labour, Bradford-style protest vote, it is not Respect, but Shasha Khan of theGreen Party. He is a tireless, intelligent local campaigner who has been very active pursuing several issues. He got a big personal vote in the local elections in 2010, and deserves to be miles ahead of Respect and other parties. But it is normal for the Green Party to be squeezed in parliamentary by-elections, and Shasha may be struggling to hold his deposit.

    The other big character in the by-election is the eccentric and ubiquitous Winston McKenzie of UKIP. He is likely to get a bigger result than an ordinary dull white UKIP candidate would in this sort of constituency, but his campaign has suffered some damage from confused and controversial comments on gay marriage and gay adoption.

    The Liberal Democrat candidate is Marisha Ray, who can only be described as completely uninspiring and totally devoid of charisma. She came across in hustings as wooden and monotonous. She deserves to come no higher than a poor sixth in the by-election; it is only the residual core Lib Dem vote which gives her any chance of coming higher than sixth place or of saving her deposit.

    These four – Respect, Green, UKIP and Lib Dem – may all be close together and may all be scrambling to hold their deposits. Respect may have a good chance of being ahead of the others in claiming the bronze medal position, but there is no realistic prospect of Respect coming second let alone winning.

    There are six other minor candidates in the by-election, including the veteran hardline National Front candidate Richard Edmonds. John Cartwright (known on PB as JohnLoony) is standing for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party; he should be insulated from the danger of coming last by the appearance of a candidate from the “nine eleven was an inside job” party.

    John Loony (AKA John Cartwright)

  • John wrote this five days ago.


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    Leveson set to be the first issue of the 2015 general election campaign

    Thursday, November 29th, 2012

    Have Dave, Ed and Nick got their positions right?

    On a general note I think that the main players over Leveson – Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and the law lord himself – have all acquitted themselves pretty well today.

    Leveson’s presentation of his proposals makes it much harder for the “no to any statutory measures” lobby even though, ultimately, this is what will be required.

    Cameron was on pretty fine form and, admirably, was right on top of his brief during the grilling from MPs. It’s unusual to see him so familiar with the detail. EdM’s response was good and so was the unusual statement from Nick Clegg.

      What we have is an issue that could run right through to May 2015 and, following Cameron’s opposition to legislation, will play a part in the general election campaign. This is a dividing line.

    Clegg’s position to accept the overall proposals puts him alongside Labour even though there will be some within his party who are not so comfortable with what appears to be an illiberal move.

    All three leaders will feel comfortable – the question now is how is this going to play out with the electorate?

    Looking at the range of recent polling I think Cameron has probably got a bigger task on his hand though he can expect a fair bit of support from that part of the right-wing media that has not always been in the Cameron camp.< Clegg and the Lib Dems will like being on the other side of the argument from the Tories and the generally positioning is what's going to be required in the LD-CON marginals that they will be trying to defend.

    Mike Smithson

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    The Leveson report is published. Now the debate begins

    Thursday, November 29th, 2012

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    How the same ComRes sample wanted both statutory media regulation AND a press not restricted by legally binding rules

    Thursday, November 29th, 2012

    Whatever side you are on there’s something for you in this poll

    A ComRes online poll for ITV News overnight neatly sums up the dilemma over press regulation. Look at the chart above.

      When asked “In light of the Leveson Inquiry the Government should introduce statutory regulation of the media” those in the ComRes sample agreed by 51% to 20%. So emphatic support for control? Perhaps not.

      When asked a couple of questions later whether they agreed with the statement “It is very important for British democracy that a free press is not restricted by legally binding rules and regulations” the pollster found that 42% said they did to 29% who said they didn’t.

    The wording of the questions in both cases, I would suggest, is leading but in different directions. The first is prefaced by reminding respondents of the Leveson inquiry while the second has the phrasing about the need for a free press in a democracy.

      What this demonstrates are the limitations of polling and why you need to look at all aspects very closely.

    No doubt the debate will start at lunch-time when the 2000 page report is published.

    Mike Smithson

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    On the eve of Leveson here’s Marf’s take

    Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

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