Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


At last somebody is studying the voters who could decide GE2015

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The ComRes/Channel 4 focus group of 2010 LD>LAB switchers

The first post-holiday weekend Populus poll has very little change though the LAB lead moves from 1% to 3% – all within the margin of error. LAB 36 +1, CON 33 -1, LD 10 +1, UKIP 13 -1.

The poll also shows that 33% of 2010 LDs who voiced a voting intention said they had switched to LAB. Amongst all 2010 LDs, including don’t knows and wont’t votes, the proportion was 24%. This is all pretty much in line with what we’ve seen.

Meanwhile Channel 4 have just made available footage of the above ComRes focus group on LD switchers that went out last week.

The very fact that this took place at all is to be applauded. What has been remarkable has been the apparent lack of interest in the mainstream media in the biggest voting shift since GE2010 and one that ensure that could that LAB wins most seats.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Remember Tony Blair’s all postal vote Euro Elections in 2004

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

In the next couple of weeks postal vote packs for the May 22 Euro Election will be going out to those electors who have registered to cast their votes in this way. The chart shows how significant this form of voting has become.

Back at the 2004 Euro Elections an experiment took place in four regions of England of all postal voting. These were the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the East Midlands. This certainly encouraged overall turnout. In the four regions it averaged 42.4% which was 5% higher than the rest of the UK where voting took place in the normal way.

The manner in which the pilot schemes were carried out attracted a lot of criticism. Tens of thousands of ballot papers were reported to have going astray, printers were unable to cope, and there were many allegations of fraud. In some council areas in the regions concerned ballot boxes were reintroduced late at libraries as “collection points” for postal forms.

All postal voting in a national election has not been repeated but the newer rules making this a lot easier are in place and on May 22nd I’d expect to see about quarter of votes cast to be in this manner.

For me a big problem with postal voting is that the campaign has been effectively closed for many voters a couple of weeks before polling day.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


The sight of big UKIP billboad posters might prompt political punters to go out and bet

Monday, April 21st, 2014

And the parodies have already started

So far, at least betting interest has been minimal

Four and a half weeks to go now till the national election that could see the purples top the polls. Yet, as I have observed before, the May 22nd Euros have failed to attract all but nominal betting interest.

On Betfair, where things like this are recorded and updated all the time the two Euro elections markets there’s been a total of £23,000 in matched bets in the two markets it has on offer.

On the posters I agree with Iain Martin’s Tweet – this is not about what’s on the actual bill-boards but the attendant publicity that can be generated.

The ongoing ban on election TV advertising in the UK continues to put a massive dampener on campaigns.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


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