Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


The Lib Dems fall into 5th place in this week’s Ashcroft National phone poll

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Earlier the Populus had Lab 36 (+1), Con 34 (+1), LD 9 (-1), UKIP 13 (-1) GRN 5 (+1)

This 3% jump in a single week is a remarkable move by the Greens who now seem to be taking support from across the board but most particularly LAB and the LDs which could conceivably help the Tories in the battlegrounds.

    Like all moves that are out of the ordinary we would have a lot more confidence if it was supported by other surveys and today’s Populus had them on 5% four full points behind the LDs.

For some reason the Ashcroft poll generally reports the highest figures of all for the Greens.

My reading is that none of the so-called “major parties” and their leaders are doing well at the moment and inevitably other forces are coming in to fill the vacuum.

We are in uncharted territory and no one can really predict where this is going. The Lord A data shows that the Greens are now taking more 2010 LD support than UKIP.

What will worry LAB is that the proportion of 2010 LDs voting LAB appears to have fallen as the GRN share has risen.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If Stephen Fisher’s latest GE15 forecast is right LAB could win most seats with just 31.3% of the vote

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

CON with 2.7% more votes in the forecast get 7 fewer seats

We’ve been here before and we’ll be here many times in the next six months – the way that on national vote shares at least the “system” seems to favour LAB so much.

The latest from Oxford’s Stephen Fisher is in the panel above which illustrates a scenario that could happen.

This is all because the aggregate national vote shares are irrelevant when determining the outcome. What matters, as I keep on saying, is what happens in the 650 constituency battles each held under first past the post.

The rise of UKIP as a fourth force means that the aggregate LAB+CON vote share could be lower than ever before and many seats could be won with fewer than 30% of the votes. The key driver in most of the key battlegrounds is the relative position of LAB and CON.

Much of the apparent bias in the system is down to much reduced vote shares in Labour’s heartlands where the red team finds it difficult getting its supporters out as we saw in the Heywood by-election. Another driver of the bias is that LAB seats have on average smaller electorates than CON or LD ones.

On top of that there’s the effect of tactical voting which could be higher and more complex than ever before. At previous elections LAB voters have been ready in LD-CON battles to use their vote to stop the Tories thus depressing the national LAB vote share. I don’t rule out at GE15 some LAB switching to CON to stop UKIP in certain seats.

    A LAB “victory” on just 31.3% will surely raise questions about the legitimacy of whatever government emerges.

Ladbrokes are currently offering 3/1 on LAB securing most seats and CON most votes.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Local By-Election Results : October 16th 2014

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Harper Green on Bolton (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,176 (51% -1%), UKIP 777 (33% +15%), Conservative 282 (12% -11%), Greens 38 (2% -2%), Liberal Democrats 28 (1% -3%), Independent 19 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 399 (18%) on a swing of 8% from Labour to UKIP

Towyn on Conwy (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 143 (25%), Independent (Smith) 116 (20%), Independent (Johnson) 104 (18%), Labour 98 (17%), Independent (Griffiths) 69 (12%), Independent (Corry) 43 (8%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 27 (5%)
Total Independent vote: 332 (58%)

Medworth on Fenland (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 257 (45% -14%), UKIP 201 (35%), Labour 79 (14% -17%), Liberal Democrats 24 (4% -5%), Independent 15 (3%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 56 (10%) on a swing of 25% from Conservative to UKIP

Tudor on Kingston upon Thames (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 1,062 (41%), Liberal Democrats 725 (28%), Labour 314 (12%), UKIP 269 (10%), Greens 219 (8%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 337 (13%)

Helmshore on Rossendale (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 771 (48% -10%), Labour 444 (28% -14%), UKIP 364 (24%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 327 (20%) on a swing of 2% from Labour to Conservative

Oakham South West (Con Defence) and Whissendine (Ind Defence) on Rutland
Oakham South West
Result: Conservatives 240 (52%), Independent 177 (38%), Liberal Democrats 43 (9%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 63 (14%)

Result: Liberal Democrats 192 (52%), Conservatives 179 (48% +6%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Independent with a majority of 13 (4%)

Sheppey Central on Swale (Con Defence)
Result: UKIP 831 (58%), Conservatives 324 (23%), Labour 240 (17%), Loonies 27 (2%)
UKIP GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 507 (35%)

West Thurrock and South Stifford on Thurrock (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 903 (50% +3%), UKIP 621 (35% +1%), Conservatives 270 (15% unchanged)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 282 (15%) on a swing of 1% from UKIP to Labour

Westfield on City of York (Lib Dem defence from Labour defection)
Result: Liberal Democrats 1,804 (60%), Labour 588 (20%), UKIP 398 (13%), Conservatives 113 (4%), Greens 87 (3%), English Democrats 5 (0%)
Liberal Democrat HOLD with a majority of 1,546 (40%)


Tonight’s Local By-Election Preview by Harry Hayfield

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Harper Green on Bolton (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 15, Liberal Democrats 3, United Kingdom Independence Party 2 (Labour majority of 20)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 744 (52%), Conservative 325 (23%), UKIP 252 (18%), Greens 60 (4%), Liberal Democrats 53 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Jeff Armstrong (UKIP), Rebekah Fairhurst (Lib Dem), Susan Haworth (Lab), Joseph Holt (Ind), James Tomkinson (Green), Robert Tyler (Con)

If a week is a long time in politics, then twenty five years must seem like a millennium and yet, however, in those 25 years places like Bolton haven’t changed that much. Back in 1990, Bolton was a Labour controlled council with 43 of the 60 members elected belonging to Labour and they had an overall majority of 26. However, that lack of change masks a great deal. The first big change came in 2003 when Labour lost overall control, and in 2006 all three main parties were pretty much neck and neck (Lab 22, Con 21, Lib Dem 17), but following that election the tide began to swing towards Labour as they gained control again in 2011, and in 2014 the furst UKIP councillors were elected. So no change on the surface over the last quarter of a century or so, but a lot of changes on the ground.

Towyn on Conwy (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Independents 19, Conservatives 13, Plaid Cymru 12, Labour 10, Liberal Democrats 5
Result of ward at last election (2008): Conservatives 411 (59%), Independent 120 (17%), Green 101 (15%), British National Party 60 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Geoff Corry (Ind), Barry Griffiths (Ind), David Johnson (Ind), Laura Knightly (Con), Beverley Pickard-Jones (Lab), Michael Smith (Ind)

There are a number of councils across the UK where it is simply impossible to create an overall majority, most of these places are areas with large number of Independents and Conwy is one of these councils. It’s been around since 1995 (created when Colwyn and Aberconwy were merged) and ever since no one has been able to get a majority on the council. In 1995, Labour and the Liberal Democrats were tied on 18 councillors each (with the Lib Dems having a 3% popular vote lead), in 1999 Labour had the most councillors (18 again), in 2004 the Independents took the lead with 19 seats, then the Conservatives stormed into the lead with 22 seats in 2008, before the Independents reclaimed the lead with 19 again but everytime way, way less than the 31 needed for an overall majority. So no matter what happens in Towyn, nothing is going to happen to change the fact that Conwy will always be a hung council for the rest of it’s days even if it does merge, or is forced to merge, with Denbighshire (Con 30%, Ind 28%, Lab 23%, Plaid 11%, Lib Dem 7%, Green 0%, Others 1%)

Medworth on Fenland (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 34, Independents 4, Liberal Democrast 2 (Conservative majority of 28)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Conservative 364 (59%), Labour 194 (31%), Liberal Democrats 58 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: Kathy Dougall (Lab), Andrew Hunt (UKIP), Erbie Murat (Ind), Josephine Radcliffe (Lib Dem), Steve Tierney (Con)

Ah, Fenland, that rural part of eastern Cambridgeshire that just screams rural idyll and Conservative councillors elected with majorities over Independents that would make even grown men cry at the state of local democracy. So what a good thing we have UKIP to keep people on their toes (and with entire justification as well). In the Euros in Fenland, UKIP not only won the local count area (with 47% of the vote) but thanks to a 23% increase in the UKIP vote managed to clock up a 14% swing from Con to UKIP so now that everyone expects UKIP to win all Conservative seats where there is a whopping Conservative majority on the council, for UKIP NOT to win this (or indeed any other seat where the same rules apply) will be seen as a case for reasoning that maybe the UKIP surge is not all it is cracked up to be.

Tudor on Kingston upon Thames (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Conservatives 28, Liberal Democrats 18, Labour 2 (Conservative majority of 8)
Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 1,617, 1,437, 1,378
Liberal Democrats 701, 698, 554
Green 629
Labour 561, 511, 455
United Kingdom Independence Party 445
Candidates duly nominated: Ryan Coley (Green), Marilyn Mason (Lib Dem), Maria Netley (Con), Chris Priest (Lab), Ben Roberts (UKIP)

For a council with such an imposing name (the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames) it is perhaps only fitting that the battle for the council has been a battle royal. In 1990, when my records begin, the council was hung (Con 25, Lib Dem 18, Lab 7), but in 1994 the Lib Dems gained control only for the Conservatives to bring it back to being hung in 1998, the Lib Dems gained it for the second time in three elections in 2002 but again in 2006, the Conservatives made a charge but this time it wasn’t enough and the Lib Dems held on with a majority of 2. Up went the Lib Dem majority in 2010 to 6 but (as sure as night follows day) along came the Conservatives in 2014 and managed to gain overall control for the first time in over 25 years. So who’s going to win this by-election? Well, don’t look at me I haven’t got a clue!

Helmshore on Rossendale (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 24, Conservatives 10, Independents 2 (Labour majority of 12)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Conservatives 1,167 (58%), Labour 846 (42%)
Candidates duly nominated: Granville Barker (UKIP), Emma Harding (Lab), Tony Haworth (Con)

Rossendale (the core of the Rossendale and Darwen constituency, so often mentioned on election night as a key Conservative / Labour battleground constituency) is just as marginal as the constituency it creates. Hung in 2003, it was one of the many Conservative GAINS in 2004 and stayed that way until 2011 when Labour gained it and the result in 2011 proves that, so here’s a good question for the experts pondering the effect of UKIP on Conservative / Labour marginals. Can UKIP help Labour get an 8% swing to gain the seat, or are UKIP just as capable of gaining as many Labour votes as they gain Conservative votes?

Oakham South West (Con Defence) and Whissendine (Ind Defence) on Rutland
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 16, Independents 8, Liberal Democrats 2 (Conservative majority of 6)
Result of wards at last election (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected

Oakham South West
Conservatives 285, 277
Independents 279, 266
Liberal Democrats 178, 131
Non Party Independent 139

Whissendine: Independent 335 (58%), Conservative 247 (42%)

Candidates duly nominated:
Oakham South West: Ben Callaghan (Ind), Richard Clifton (Con), Richard Swift (Lib Dem)
Whissendine: Sam Asplin (Lib Dem), Jonny Baker (Con)

Rutland is the oldest, yet newest, council on the block. Given unitary authority status back in the 1990′s, it re-created England’s smallest county and since 2003 has been Conservative controlled (which explains why Alan Duncan has such a healthy majority in Rutland and Melton) and also explains why the Independents do so well on the council but as with most Indpendents it’s a very personal vote so will the Independent nominated in Oakham South West manage to hold on to the seat and with no Independent defending in Whissendine, where will their votes go? Conservative or Liberal Democrat?

Sheppey Central on Swale (Con Defence)
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 32, Labour 13, Liberal Democrats 1, Independents 1 (Conservative majority of 17)
Result of ward at last election (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 911, 871, 838
Labour 664, 618, 557
United Kingdom Independence Party 326
Offical Monster Raving Loony Party 171
Candidates duly nominated: Tina Booth (Con), Alan Henley (Lab), David Jones (UKIP), Mad Mike Young (Loony)

West Thurrock and South Stifford on Thurrock (Lab Defence)
Result of last election to council (2014): Labour 24, Conservatives 22, Independents 3 (No Overall Control, Labour short by 1)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Labour 1,054 (47%), UKIP 760 (34%), Conservatives 340 (15%), Liberal Democrats 73 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Terry Brookes (Lab), Russell Cherry (UKIP), John Rowles (Con)

If local by-elections were treated like movie trailers, these two would have the following: “From Local Election Productions comes “THE BATTLE OF THE EAST”, where the upstarts of UKIP aim to knock both the Conservatives in Swale and Labour in Thurrock into a cocked hat” and with entirely good reason. Swale is next door to Medway (where a certain Mark Reckless will be defending his Conservative majority for UKIP at the end of November) and Thurrock is a seat that Labour are scared witless that UKIP could gain or enable the Conservatives to gain. Of all the by-elections tonight, these are the ones that will be poured over for the rest of the month

Westfield on City of York (Lib Dem defence from Labour defection)
Result of last election to council (2011): Labour 26, Conservatives 10, Liberal Democrats 8, Greens 2, Independent 1 (Labour majority of 5)
Result of last at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,767, 1,642, 1,540
Liberal Democrats 1,401, 1,397, 1,152
Conservative 561
Greens 343, 260, 253
Candidates duly nominated: Jason Brown (Con), Louise Corson (Lab), Sam Kelly (Eng Dems), Judith Morris (UKIP), Andrew Waller (Lib Dem), Alison Webb (Green)

But, Kent and Essex aren’t the only places where defections happen. The City of York seems on the face of it a normal northern city. Lib Dem controlled in 2003, Lib Dem loss to No Overall Control in 2007, Labour gain in 2011, but over the years since that Labour gain there have been just one or two grumblings from Labour and Cllr. James Alexander (Lab, Holgate) and leader of the council has seen his majority shrink so this by-election, ahead of the general election next year, will be very important indeed. Can Labour protect their majority or will the Lib Dems be able to fight back in an area that looked so promising just a few years ago?


The latest round of Lord Ashcroft’s marginals’ polling finds a 5% CON to LAB swing – slightly more than the 3-4% we’ve been seeing in recent national polls

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

I love this Tweet from Lord A


For the second consecutive day YouGov’s UKIP share moves to a record high

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Is this going to fade or are we seeing a permanent change?

The record polling shares continue for UKIP with the latest YouGov daily poll moving up from yesterday’s 18% to 19% this morning. The latest figures have CON on 31% and LAB on 33% a joint main two party aggregate of just 64% which is a record low for this parliament.

Of course the purples are enjoying the aftermath of their by election successes a week ago and as is being widely pointed the SDP was doing this in the early 80s only to fade at GE1983.

What’s clearly driving this is the continuing weakness of the three main parties and the low esteem in which their leaders are regarded. Nature, as they say, abhors a vacuum and that is how many are seeing politics at the moment.

The upcoming Rochester by election will help keep the UKIP narrative going and as each day goes by we get closer to the general election now only six and a bit months away.

    GE15 will, of course, not be decided on national aggregate vote shares but on the outcomes in 650 separate elections in each of the constituencies fought under first past the post – a fact that makes things very challenging for UKIP.

In these elections you don’t vote for a party or a leader but for an individual to represent your area at Westminster.

The big polling development at this coming general election is the huge number of single seat surveys that are being carried out and another batch from Lord Ashcroft are due to be released later in the day.

Viewing the battle from a single seat perspective rather than national aggregate votes the position of UKIP might look very different. But last week the purples made that critical breakthrough in Clacton and who knows how many MPs they’ll end up with?

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


Today’s PMQs in full – the first after conference season

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014


Rochester & Strood looks set to be bigger even than Eastleigh

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Kelly Tolurst 4/6 favourite to win 1st all postal by-election primary

Kelly’s opponent Anna Firth at 11/10