Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


On an explosive day the latest CON leader betting and charts

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Prices updated every few minutes


Huge YouGov boost for Theresa May on the night before nominations close

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The first poll of members has big CON member backing for the Home Secretary

Let us lust remind ourselves how the CON leadership election works. There will be a series of secret ballot of MPs until they get down to a final two – then the choice will be made by party members in a postal ballot.

So of all the polls the ones we should pay most attention are those tonight from YouGov which has very good news for May and disappointing news for the long term front-runner, Mr. Johnson.

Of course it might be that these will not be the final two and in the past the Tory election process has thrown up surprises. In 2001 the big favourite, Michael Portillo, did not make the final cut and the Tories ended up with IDS who was ousted two years later.

I think that Johnson suffers from not having been a cabinet minister and in this election the party is choosing the next PM.

Mike Smithson


Remain retain their lead with ComRes. Just.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

If this poll is accurate, the UK is Never Gonna Give EU Up

As with other recent referendum polls there’s been a big swing to Leave, it is a reflection of the poor position Remain find themselves in that they’ll be delighted with a 1% per cent lead.

The primary reasons I’m so interested in ComRes’ phone polls is that they were the only phone pollster to have the Tories consistently ahead at the last general election, and their turnout model, which they’ve worked so hard to develop, as turnout is the thing I’m struggling most to call in this referendum, as I have huge doubts about other polls with self-certifying turnout.

I do feel sorry for both campaigns, when the supplementaries give contradictory findings

We also asked voters how much economic pain they were prepared to suffer to break free of Brussels control.

In a contradictory finding, three in five Brits – 61% – say that they would be willing to accept a short term economic slowdown in order to see EU immigration controls tightened, which Brexit would allow.

But a significant majority of more than two thirds – 68% – at the same time insist they are not willing to lose any cash at all personally to reduce the number of migrants coming in from Europe.

What it is interesting of the recent polls, the Leave leads appear to be quite large, but Remain’s leads appear to be tepid, Opinium and ComRes have Remain’s lead at 2 and 1 per cent respectively. All eyes now the phone polls from Ipsos Mori & Survation which come out on Thursday.



The voters’ misconceptions could win this for Leave

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

This could help Leave win

This one of my favourite bits of regular polling. Ipsos Mori have compared the perceptions of the voters to the reality.  As we can see the voters’ think there’s more EU citizens here than there actually are. This might explain why Leave are focussing so heavily on immigration in the final few weeks.

On Child Benefit to EU citizens

However only 23% think Leave will win, only 46% of those planning to vote Leave think Leave will win

The full Ipsos Mori tables and charts are available here, the above are the selected highlights, the polling also covers the following ‘On the other hand, we’re generally pretty good at spotting more ridiculous “Euro-myths”, but still 1 in 7 of us (15%) believe at least one Euro-myth – including bans on barmaids showing too much cleavage and forcibly renaming the snack “Bombay Mix” to “Mumbai Mix” (neither of which are real EU laws)’



Election verdict. Corbyn is staying but he must raise his game

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016


Don Brind has some unlikely advice on where he should look for lessons

It’s a fine sunny day in April 2005 and Tony Blair is about to make a major speech on immigration — responding to a Tory General Election campaign inspired by Lynton Crosby on his first foray into British politics. The venue is Dover and the Labour events team have spent weeks on planning and staging the event. Blair arrives by helicopter and the media pen is positioned so that Blair steps down against the back drop of the white cliffs. Before a word is spoken the message of the image is that Labour, led by Blair is the patriotic party.

Symbols matter 
Fast forward to May 1st this year and Jeremy Corbyn is speaking from the top of red open deck bus, in front of a plastic wrapped construction site. In what is said to be the first appearance by Labour leader at a May Day rally in 50 years he is surrounded by a miscellany of banners and flags – one of the biggest is that of the minuscule Communist Party of Great Britain adorned with a hammer and sickle. We can be sure Tory HQ have got that image squirreled away for later use.

This is not an exercise in Blair nostalgia. Nobody has taken over a party in better condition than Blair did in 1994. The party had been transformed under three predecessors Neil Kinnock, John Smith and Margaret Beckett. The Tories under John Major were flatlining in the polls after crashing out of the European Exchange Mechanism a few months after their 1992 victory.

It’s also true that the Labour vote fell by four million between 1997 and 2010. The Blair-Brown legacy to Miliband and Corbyn was a meagre one. So I suspect we will wait a long time to see Corbyn arriving anywhere by helicopter.

Buses, bikes and trains are his thing. His supporters will see Blair’s white cliffs trip as rather tacky. For them Blair has become a four letter word; “Blairite” the casual,  slur against critics of the leader.

I think they are missing something important. Labour values are British values. In the face of Tory and Ukip populism it is vital that we continually assert that Labour is the patriotic party.

Part of what makes us British and patriotic is that Labour is the anti-Fascist party. I was out on polling day last week with Jane, the daughter of the late Dick Briginshaw, the print union leader, who was in the British Army unit which liberated the Belsen concentration camp in 1945. During the 1970s I remember him vividly describing to TUC delegates the horror of finding those piles of corpses and the emaciated bodies of survivors.

Briginshaw’s anti Fascism was transformed in the 1970s into a broader campaign against all forms of discrimination. The Greater London Council played a key role in that. Under the collective leadership of Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell and Tony Banks campaigns against racism and homophobia fostered many of the progressive, liberal attitudes we take for granted today.

This liberal outlook is such a key part of our self identification that many in the party – including Jeremy Corbyn – have found it hard to come to terms with the charge that we are anti-Semitic. The response was slow and grudging. He has been badly served by his friend Ken Livingstone’s obssession with “proving” that Hitler was a Zionist.

There are, however, there are high hopes that the inquiry led by former Liberty Shami Chakrabarti will provide a fresh start.

Sadiq Khan did get it. The new Mayor, who served with Chakrabarti as chair of Liberty. understood that the perception of anti-Semitism was a fact that had to be confronted through engagement and dialogue. His first official engagement was to attend Holocaust Memorial Ceremony. He was pictured in a hug with the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Symbols really do matter.

Don Brind


Are we witnessing the death of Scottish Labour?

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

It’s not the falling that kills you; it’s the landing

Bafflement and incomprehension are unlikely to be in short supply for Scottish Labour. Each time they hit a new low, the belief is that things can now only get better. With rare exceptions, the belief has continually been wrong.

So again this week. For the fourth election in a row, Scottish Labour lost seats. The progression of their seat totals since the first election to Holyrood, in 1999, now reads: 56 – 50 – 46 – 37 – 24. It’s true that a similar progression could be written for the Westminster parliament (Labour has lost seats at each of the last four elections there too), but there are particular challenges in Scotland that mean that Labour is facing an existential crisis north of the border.

We have of course heard much the same before of other parties. The Scottish Conservatives were supposed to be dead or dying after 1997 (in fact, from a little before). No seats at that election and no more than one at any subsequent Westminster election appears fringe-party status, though it was more representative of a poor efficiency and negative tactical voting; the vote shares weren’t too bad. This week, the Conservatives overtook Labour in vote share, overall seats and constituency seats.

Why might Labour be different? It comes down to purpose. Scottish Labour used to be about taking the fight to the Tories, promoting a centre-left agenda while supporting the union. The SNP is now far better placed to do the first two – hence the result last year – while Labour’s wavering on the independence question has handed the issue even more strongly to the Conservatives. The final, unspoken but very powerful reason for Scottish Labour was machine politics. If you wanted to get on in Scottish politics then in all but a few places, you had to join Labour.

Consequently, the revolution of the last decade has shorn Scottish Labour of all its purposes. It still offers a unique combination of policy stances but that’s a much more niche proposition.

By contrast, the SNP have (nearly) all their dreams come true. Despite missing out on another absolute majority, their strategic position is now even stronger than it was before the election. I wrote back in March 2015 that the SNP’s big gameplan was to have the Conservatives form the official opposition to them in Holyrood (though I thought a Labour government in London necessary to engineer that outcome). Such a position significantly reinforces the SNP’s strength as whereas a resurgent Labour could win enough support to gain back power, the Conservatives’ vote-ceiling is much lower. On top of that, the likely English reaction to continued SNP dominance in Scotland may well increase the chances of a successful second independence referendum.

But where does that leave Labour? The Conservatives were able to recover because no-one else was willing to fight for the right-of-centre votes. The Lib Dems might survive by retreating into their historic heartlands and continuing to play the community-level politics they’ve traditionally excelled at. But Labour? The Greens, SNP and Lib Dems are all playing for some part of their electoral coalition. With their machine politics purpose no longer valid, they might find themselves forced to reengage and start campaigning in a way they hadn’t done in once-safe seats. Alternatively, the shock and the lack of local campaigning experience might just as easily result in incoherent paralysis.

Labour is of course still heavily supported by the unions, in Scotland as much as elsewhere. While that continues to be the case, the party will have a life-support system. But if another party can deliver what the unions want, wouldn’t there be a case for reassessing that relationship? It won’t happen quite yet – the dynamic of UK politics plays too much across that question – but the possibility has to be there in the background, particularly with the Conservatives now the main opposition to the SNP.

When parties die, the signs were usually there long before people recognised them. For Scottish Labour, those signs are there now. Their spiral downwards isn’t yet terminal but unless they can find a reason for living that chimes with the public, it soon will be.

David Herdson


It’s the economy, stupid

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

If Leave wants to win they need to show that Brexit is the better option for the economy and the financial wellbeing of voters.

We’ve been here before. We see the headline voting intention figures showing it neck and neck, yet the supplementaries on the economy show one side extending their clear lead further. Looking at the above supplementary questions from this week’s YouGov poll that showed Leave ahead by 1%, this referendum campaign, with the supplementaries showing more and more voters saying Brexit would be bad for the economy, jobs, and their personal financial situation, with Remain being the best option, is all very reminiscent of the polling we saw at the 2015 general election, the Tories and Labour tied but the Tories significantly ahead on the economy.

The YouGov supplementaries aren’t atypical.

David Cameron and George Osborne have their detractors, but it appears that with their recent Treasury analysis, and President Obama’s intervention, more and more voters see Brexit as damaging to the UK economy, jobs, and to voters personally. Focusing on the risks of Brexit is a clever strategy as the polls show the economy will be the most important issue in how voters decide which way they will vote in this referendum.

A few weeks ago ComRes found the most important issue in how voters would vote in the the referendum was the economy at 47% followed by immigration at 24%. Ipsos Mori had a similar finding. As with the Scottish Independence referendum, I expect a majority of voters won’t choose to make themselves worse off, saying to voters that they can be only £25 per year better/worse off is enough to change the minds of some of the voters in this referendum.

Unless Brexiters manage to improve the economic polling figures, I fully expect Remain to win. The voters won’t vote for anything that will make the country and themselves worse off. With prominent Leaver Arron Banks very publicly claiming earlier on this week each household losing £4,300 a year would be a price worth paying for Brexit and the Economists for Brexit saying Brexit would mostly eliminate manufacturing, Cameron & Osborne must privately be echoing the mantra of Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith, ‘I love it when a plan comes together.’

Once the local council, London Mayoral, and devolved elections are out of the way, the referendum campaign proper starts a week on Monday, that might be enough time for Leave to turn the economic perceptions of Brexit in their favour by June 23rd.



Why Cameron and his team are targeting parents with children

Monday, April 25th, 2016

The polling that shows that looking after kids more likely to be for IN

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The more we learn about the Tory campaign at GE2015 the more we realise that micro-targeting specific demographic group on Facebook played a big part and looks set to be ever more significant in future election. You tailor a special message to those who fit the criteria and don’t waste money on those who don’t.

The polling above TNS highlights clearly the differing views of parents with kids at home and those who don’t. What IN needs is for them to actually turnout.

No doubt OUT is doing the same about other sub-groups.

Mike Smithson