Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


CON hopes that UKIP returners will eventually swing their way are undermined by this Lord Ashcroft finding

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

CON government just 2% ahead of LAB one amongst UKIP voters

After the July round of Ashcroft marginals polling I highlighted the “preferred GE2015 outcome” polling which surprisingly had a CON government only 1% ahead of a LAB one.

Well another month and data from different group of CON held marginals to look at and we find almost the same pattern – only the CON government preferred outcome lead is 2% and not 1%.

    What strikes me is that as UKIP has gone out to reach for the white working class vote the nature of its support is changing and is far less prone to the appeals of the Tories as maybe in previous times.

The biggest problem for for blues, I contend, is that too many people don’t see it as the party “for people like us” – which is the negative perception which it always gets the worse numbers.

Baroness Warsi’s commnents about the party the other week ring true.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


LAB doing better against the Tories in key marginals than in national polling

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

CON being killed in the marginals by UKIP & LD-LAB switching

The full details from Lord Ashcroft can be found here.


Constituency polling from these key LAB-CON marginals could give us the best indicators so far

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

What’s happening the 2-4% range of marginals?

Thanks to Lord Ashcroft and to a lesser extent Survation we are now seeing more full constituency polling in key marginals than has ever been available before.

    This is not the old-style marginals polling where maybe 100-200 are sampled in each seat and an overall swing figure is produced. What’s being made available are full single seat polls with proper sample sizes

Lord Ashcroft has announced that a new round will be published tomorrow and the table above represents my guess of the seats that have been polled. I know of one seat for certain, Bedford, because my wife was sampled and I listened on the speaker phone as the interview took place.

So far he has had two rounds of polling in the Tory constituencies most at risk from Labour. We are told that the next round will be broader and it seems likely that he’s gone for Conservative seats with majorities in the 2% to 4% range. These are listed in the chart above.

If this latest set of snapshots has LAB set to make serious inroads them they’ll be looking good to at least winning most seats.

I’ll be looking at the levels of voter retention and, of course, the extent of CON seepage to UKIP and LD switching to LAB.

My anecdotal reading of Bedford, is that there are sufficient LD switchers to take LAB comfortably across the line. Tomorrow’s data will tell me whether this is correct.

A lot of course can happen between now and next May, most notably the Scottish referendum on September 18th followed by the party conferences. This could play havoc with the national polls which should settle down by the end of October.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


“An independence referendum is like a normal election on steroids”

Monday, August 18th, 2014

YouGov/Times poll: After excluding DKs it’s YES 43%+3: NO 57%(-3)

I’ve just got back from three days in Edinburgh where I was totally immersed in the momentous decision that the Scottish people are due to make in the referendum on September 18th. I was a panellist at the Festival of Politics which was held in the superb Scottish Parliament Building just across the road from Holyrood Palace – the Queen’s official residence.

Almost everybody I spoke to there and elsewhere during my visit wanted to discuss the referendum and it’s clear that turnout is going to be high.

    This vote goes to the very heart of how people north of the border see themselves and their sense of identity. It is much much more than the normal run of the mill party politics.

The session I spoke at was on polling and the audience was asked by show of hands to indicate how they would be voting. It was about two to one to NO. My sense was that those attending were looking for some reassurance that they could have trust in the polls which are all showing that the move is going to be rejected.

There was a great contribution from the floor from a man from Montreal who had a close experience of the two Quebec referenda on splitting from Canada. He had a wonderful observation which resonated “An independence referendum is like a normal election on steroids”.

Having had a period on steroids a couple of years ago the analogy is a good one. Yes you feel supercharged and energised but you are also prone to losing your temper a lot more. You get very angry about things you would normally take in your stride.

The outcome of this election is just so important to people and there are very strong views on either side even from those who normally do not take much notice of politics.

Although September 18th is four and a half weeks off the election actually starts much earlier because of postal voting. Packs are due to go out at the end of next week and all the experience is that a large proportion of postal voters return their ballots almost immediately.

So effectively the race is closed down for a large number of voters more than two weeks before the actual vote which adds to the complications.

In spite of the past three polls that have all shown a tightening my sense is that it will still be NO though I’m not shifting my Betfair betting which produces the same profit whatever happens.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Why positive poll ratings on economic competence might not be enough for the Tories

Friday, August 15th, 2014

The Janan Ganesh comment that goes right to the heart of GE2015

In the run up to the May elections the George Osborne biographer and FT columnist wrote the following which goes right to the heart of the Tory challenge on economic policy.

…Anyone who thinks the effectiveness of Labour’s cost of living motif is somehow pegged to economic data does not understand why it worked in the first place. The message never really dwelt on living standards so much as the Tories’ attitude to them. The insinuation was that a rich man’s party did not care how wages related to prices for most people. Voters nodded along to this notion. As long as they believe the Tories are indifferent to their fortunes, it does not matter much whether those fortunes go up a bit over the next year.

This cuts to the truth about the Conservatives’ generation-long struggle for electability. Aside from the years immediately after Black Wednesday in 1992, when Britain fell ignominiously out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, the Tories’ image problem has had little to do with suspicions of incompetence. It is the party’s heart, its motives and sympathies, that are doubted. This perception may be an extravagant slander but, as long as it exists, Mr Miliband would be foolish not to exploit it….

That’s as relevant now as it was three months ago and all comes down to perceptions of the Tory brand which remain problematical.

If the blues fail to hold on to power in May then expect a lot of soul searching and those “not for people like us” poll ratings will strike hard.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t think that Cameron’s successor will be another old-Etonian who was a member of the Bullingdon club.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


How whether Scotland remains part of the UK is totally dominating the political betting markets at the moment

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

What’s surprising is the lack of interest in the party leaders

The chart is a snapshot, based on total amounts matched on the Betfair exchange, of what it happening on the political betting markets at the moment.

Much of our talk might be of the general election and the future of the party leaders but that is not what is grabbing the attention of punters.

Very few political markets ever top the £1m mark on Betfair and my guess, based on other elections, more than £5m will be at stake on the referendum on Betfair alone.

Following on from that we have the US mid terms in November and it is only after them that GE2015 will become centre stage.

Surprisingly the Boris Johnson speculation hasn’t triggered off a lot of interest in Tory leadership betting and activity on the other markets remains low. Problem, of course, is that punters are only ready to pile in when they know definitely that there is a contest.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


Local By-Election Results: August 7th 2014

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazing on Epping Forest (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 155 (50% -34%), UKIP 122 (40%), Green 23 (7% -3%), Liberal Democrats 7 (2% -4%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 33 (10%) on a swing of 37% from Conservative to UKIP

Warboys and Bury on Huntingdonshire (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 616 (47% +1%), UKIP 560 (42% +16%), Liberal Democrats 78 (6% -7%), Labour 72 (5% -10%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 56 (5%) on a swing of 7.5% from Conservative to UKIP

Wells on Malvern Hills (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 317 (37%), Liberal Democrats 227 (27%), UKIP 158 (19%), Independent 76 (9%), Labour 71 (8%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 90 (10%)

Valley on Stroud (Green Defence)
Result: Green 291 (43% -4%), Labour 230 (34% +3%), UKIP 76 (11%), Conservative 67 (10% -11%), TUSC 16 (2%)
Green HOLD with a majority of 61 (9%) on a swing of 3.5% from Green to Labour

Castle on Worthing (Liberal Democrat defence)
Result: UKIP 568 (37% +21%), Conservative 485 (32% +3%), Liberal Democrat 242 (16% -24%), Labour 197 (13% -2%), Green 49 (3%)
UKIP GAIN from Liberal Democrat with a majority of 83 (5%) on a swing of 9% from Conservative to UKIP


It looks as though Farage is going for South Thanet where the bookies give him a 44% chance

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Could Labour be the best bet?

After the big news about Boris and GE2015 we now have further details about Nigel Farage’s intentions. It looks as though he is going for South Thanet – a seat that had been strongly tipped and where he has stood before. A selection meeting has been fixed for August 26th though it does look like a formality for the party leader.

The seat was won by the Tories in May 2010 by Laura Sandys who has since announced her intention of not standing again. This means that the blues won’t have a first time incumbency bonus.

The chart above shows the latest betting from PaddyPower and the findings of the latest Ashcroft poll on the seat.

Even now this is the most polled seat in the country and has seen four different polls over the past nine months.

The latest, from Lord Ashcroft, is featured in the chart and has UKIP ahead. It will be interesting to see how that changes with the Farage news.

The danger for Farage is that he could see anti-UKIP tactical voting though quite whether Tories would vote Labour or vice versa remains to be seen. Whatever both the Tories and Labour would dearly like to see him beaten.

This is a tight three way marginal which could be determined by how the 2010 LD vote splits. In 2010 the yellows got 15% and Ashcroft found that 27% would be voting LAB although more than a fifth have yet to make up their minds.

Maybe Labour is the best bet.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter