Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


New ICM Scottish independence referendum poll has the NO lead down to just 3 percent

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Excuding DKs/WNVs it is YES 48: NO 52

A dramatic new poll by ICM for Scotland on Sunday has the gap down to just 3% – the lowest ever from an established national pollster.

The numbers say it all. YES is stable on 39% but there has been a four point reduction in those saying NO.

This is getting very tight indeed and will worry Downing Street. All the momentum of the last month or so has been against those wanting to preserve the union.

The tightness of the outcome being presented by ICM will lead to a close examination of polling methodology and the firm’s boss, Martin Boon, has a long article in the paper setting out how the numbers are produced. He makes the point that this referendum is unique and there is no past experience to fall back on.

Critically ICM, like some other pollsters doing IndyRef surveys, the firm is weighting its samples back to the 2011 Holyrood elections when the SNP did remarkably well. The impact of that is that could be helping YES.

    ICM’s Boon also wonders whether the mood in Scotland is such that there is a “shy NO voters syndrome” with those opposed being reluctant to admit it.

Like all sharp polling changes we need to compare it against other surveys to see if the trend is being supported.

Whatever today’s numbers are dramatic and add to the pressure on the NO camp.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Fracking backers have a long way to go in battle for public opinion

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Wind continues to enjoy strong support even from CON & UKIP voters

It is important to note that this YouGov poll was a private one commissioned by Ecotricity.


In 1974 British politics moved from a 2-party system to a 3-party one: GE2015 might hearld the start of 4-party politics

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Just look at the chart above showing the aggregate CON+LAB vote in all general elections since 1950. GE2010 saw the big two share down to its lowest level. Now with the emergence of UKIP it could edge down even more.

What this means is that it is possible for a party to win a general election with little more than a third of the GB vote. At GE2005 Tony Blair’s Labour came home with a 60+ majority on just 36.2% of the GB vote. That is slightly higher than the UK vote with also includes Northern Ireland.

It is important to note that all opinion polls are based the GB shares only.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The Euro elections are being totally overshadowed by Scotland and that could have an impact on May 22nd

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Maybe it is because I’m on my way home from Edinburgh after being immersed totally in Scottish politics for two days but I am convinced that the immensity of what will be decided on September 18 is overshadowing everything.

    The very idea that the Union that has been in place since 1707 might come to an end is what everybody is focusing on to the exclusion of almost everything else in current politics.

This means, for starters, that the Euro elections and locals on May 22nd are going to get nothing like the attention that you’d expect from the final national Electoral test before GE2015.

Look at the political stories that we are seeing at the moment – the bickering between the three parties that make up NO, the speculation over Cameron’s future should it go the wrong way and the analysis of what rUK politics could look like.

What I can’t work out is who will benefit five weeks from today. Will the possible lack of attention make UKIP’s task hard or easier in reaching its stated goal of “winning”?

Would a third place for the Tories be less damaging because all the attention is elsewhere?

Who knows? But I’m pretty certain that this totally exceptional period will have an impact on the local and Euro results.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The LDs slump to just 6 pc in Euros survey from pollster that traditionally gives them the highest shares

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Tories drop 3 in latest ICM Westminster poll

Clegg’s Farage debate gamble looks like a failure

For me ICM IS the gold standard and I regard its monthly survey for the Guardian as the most important polling event of the month. ICM is also the firm that traditionally reports the best shares for the Lib Dems.

Tonight the firm has the yellows down 3% to meagre 6% for the May 22 EP elections which would mean on a uniform swing that they’d lose every single MEP.

This is really bad for Clegg and his party but it’s hard to see what can be done.

The Westminster figures are bad for the Tories showing, perhaps, the damage from the Miller expenses affair.


Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Introducing a new tracker: the 2010 LD switchers to LAB – the voters who form Labour’s “crutch”

Monday, April 14th, 2014

What’s the trend? Is this key group getting smaller or larger?

On Friday there was a lot of discussion on the thread about the detail from the latest Populus online poll which seemed to point to a big reduction in the proportion of 2010 LDs who are now saying they’ll vote LAB. Was this this just a sampling issue or were we seeing a trend that could change our whole view of the GE2015 outcome?

Well this was a subset in a single poll where because of its size there is a large margin of error. We do get with the Populus polling series the regular monthly aggregates and this is where we can best spot and draw conclusions about possible movements with that firm.

For the five times a week YouGov polls PB has for several months been producing weekly averages of the headline voting intention figures. Today I am extending that to the 2010 LD switchers.

    Given that at current levels these switchers represent a move to LAB greater than the entire increase in the Tory vote between 1997 and 2010 then any analysis of the GE2015 outcome is surely deficient unless it takes it into account.

For as long as this group remains with LAB it is hard to see how the red team will get fewer than 35-36% of the votes and that presents a massive challenge to the Tories. To secure a majority they need a margin of perhaps 9%+ and even the boldest blue optimists are not predicting shares on that scale.

The chart shows the switching percentage from the past four weeks and will be updated weekly. Currently, as can be seen, the switchers appear to be staying with LAB.

That might change and hopefully this tracker will give us early warning.

Note YouGov only provide the data excluding the don’t knows (DKs) and will not votes (WNVs) and that is what will appear. The term “Labour’s crutch” to describe LD switchers was first coined by Professor John Curtice.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


PB Quickie Survey: Which party leaders are going to survive the next 20 months

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Tick all that you think will still be there

Which of the following will still be leaders of their parties on January 1 2016?


Have you been on the weekend IndyRef betting roller coaster?

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Making money betting on the betting

It’s been an extraordinary, and for some profitable, weekend on the Betfair IndyRef markets which have seen huge fluctuations in the YES price.

What’s good from a punting point of view is that is is one of the few political betting markets which are now liquid with a fair bit of activity.

A month ago I put a few hundred pounds on YES – not because I believed necessarily that this was going to be the outcome in September’s referendum but that I thought that the then price of 5.4 (an 18% chance) was too long with lots of potential to move in.

This did edge up quite nicely but has taken off in the past 36 hours ago most likely in response to the Alex Salmon’s well trailed by speech in which he sought to broaden the appeal of YES well beyond his SNP supporter base.

At one stage early yesterday morning there was a trade on Betfair that represented a 41% chance. That didn’t last long because it encouraged those with existing YES positions to move back into the market to take some profits.

I pithched a couple of offers without takers around the 36% level. Then I moved this to 3.3 (a 33% chance) which found backers.

    Because of the way exchange betting works I’ve now been able to extract all the cash from my original stakes and am in the comfortable position of being a winner whatever happens in the actual vote.

My guess is that there’ll be more opportunities like this and I plan to put more on YES, or laying NO, when the prices ease.

This market is ultra sensitive to the polling.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble