Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


Tonight’s World Cup Final – how party supporters are split on which team they want to win

Sunday, July 13th, 2014


David Herdson on what what might happen to upset the consensus on the GE2015 outcome

Friday, July 11th, 2014


We should thinking more about the range of possibilities

I was struck at the politicalbetting meet in Ilkley on Monday how much consensus there was about the likely result of the next election.  The great majority expected Labour as the largest party in another hung parliament.  That’s the view of the betting markets too: Labour is best priced at 9/10 with bwin to win most seats (more generally 5/6 or 4/5), while the Tories are odds against only with Ladbrokes (11/10), and more generally evens.  To form an overall majority however, you can get 2/1 for Labour and 11/4 with the Conservatives.

Those predictions were essentially central-case scenarios; they’re where we’d set the line if we were making an under/over market.  What we didn’t say was how much margin of error we felt there was, which is to say how confident we were in hitting that relatively small seats band.  For those who are, Labour is 7/2 for both 276-300 and 301-325 seats, which is still odds-against even combined (and at the lower end of 276-300, the Conservatives would probably be the larger party too).

As has been pointed out many times before on pbc, the markets for the overall totals don’t necessarily match those for the individual seats and generally, if you’re inclined towards a favourable Tory result, you’d be better with the constituencies; good for Labour equals the nationals.  That said, individual seats are much more susceptible to local factors so do the research.

Of course, neither the markets nor expectations from the get-together match up with current polling either.  If the June pbc polling average translated into the final result, Labour would have 338 MPs and a viable working majority (according to UKPR).  The 326-350 band is 9/2.  It wouldn’t take much to move up into the 351-375 band, returning 8/1.

So why such generous returns for what appears quite a strong likelihood?  Two words answer that.  The first, discussed frequently here, is leadership.  The second is simply ‘events’.  There are many known unknowns between now and next May, any of which could trip Labour up to a greater or lesser extent.  To name but a few:

  • Will Scotland vote to secede?  If so, how will that affect politics both across the UK and in Scotland in particular?  If not, will that burst the SNP bubble and if so, to whose benefit?
  • Will there be debates in the General Election campaign?  If so, which parties will be in them?
  • Will the coalition remain intact through until May?  If not, when will the divorce be and will it be amicable or acrimonious?
  • Will UKIP be able to hold on to the support base they’ve built?  If not, which part(s) of their coalition will leak most and to whose benefit?
  • What will the reshuffle, assumed to be happening next week, mean for policies and personnel in the government parties?
  • Will the economy keep growing at its current pace?  If so, will it feed into any feel-good factor?  Even if it does, might the very fact of recovery reduce the salience of the economy as a dividing issue?
  • How well will the NHS manage through this coming winter?
  • At what point will Labour start producing a more comprehensive policy platform, and will it stand up better than when the Tories revealed theirs, bit by bit, in 2010?

Beyond which, there are a whole host of unknown unknowns.  It’s possible to construct nightmare and dream scenarios for both leading parties based on the outcomes of those variables (the variables themselves frequently being contingent on each other).  Put another way, there’s still plenty of margin of error.

As a rule of thumb, when a lot of people expect the same thing, markets overstate the probability of it happening resulting in the value lying elsewhere, namely bets implying either Con largest party or a Lab overall majority.

David Herdson


Local By-Election Results with news of a Lib Dem gain from CON in a seat where they were 4th

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Penistone West on Barnsley (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 772 (31% -17%), Conservatives 719 (29% -17%), UKIP 622 (25%), Independent 348 (14%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 53 (2%) on no swing from Lab to Con since 2012

Boughton (Lab Defence) and Winnington and Castle (Lab Defence) on Cheshire West and Chester
Result: Labour 614 (45% -7%), Conservatives 469 (34% -6%), UKIP 131 (10%), Green 86 (6%), Liberal Democrats 70 (5% -3%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 145 (11%) on a swing of 0.5% from Lab to Con

Winnington and Castle : Emboldened denotes elected
Result: Labour 525 (39%), Conservatives 418 (31%), UKIP 307 (23%), Liberal Democrats 80 (6%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 107 (8%)

Illogan on Cornwall (Con defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 277 (24% +10%), Mebynon Kernow 217 (19% -6%), Conservatives 215 (18% -11%), UKIP 156 (13% -10%), Labour 129 (11% +1%), Liberals 121 (10%), Greens 50 (4%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 60 (5%) on a swing of 8% from Mebynon Kernow to Liberal Democrat

Kenwith on Torridge (Ind (former Con) defence
Result: Conservatives 136 (30% -26%), UKIP 99 (22%), Independent (Gale) 98 (21%), Independent (Bone) 69 (15%), Green 28 (6%), Labour 26 (6% -16%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 37 (8%) on a swing of 24% from Conservative to UKIP
(Conservatives become largest grouping on Torridge council)

Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo on North Hertfordshire (Con HOLD in 2010)
Result: Conservatives 734 (62% unchanged), UKIP 203 (17%), Labour 116 (10% -2%), Greens 74 (6% unchanged), Liberal Democrats 57 (5% -15%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 531 (45%) on a swing from Con to UKIP of 8.5%


Harry Hayfield’s Local By-Elections Preview : July 10th 2014

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Penistone West on Barnsley (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 53, Independents 5, Conservatives 4 (Labour overall majority of 44)
Result of ward in last electoral cycle
2011: Conservative 1,836 (47%), Labour 1,298 (33%), Independent 558 (14%), British National Party 195 (5%) (Con HOLD)
2012: Labour 1,389 (48%), Conservative 1,337 (46%), Liberal Democrats 190 (7%) (Lab GAIN)
2014: Labour 1,015 (29%), Conservative 973 (28%), UKIP 891 (25%), Independent 635 (18%) (Lab GAIN)
Candidates duly nominated: David Griffin (Lab), Andrew Millner (Con), Steve Webber (Ind), David Wood (UKIP)

Barnsley has always been a bit of a one horse town, even when Labour were deeply unpopular in the country, they still managed to rack up a minimum of thirty councillors and the only effective opposition was the Independents (who reached a peak of 24 in 2008 but have crashed and burned since then), so what about that self proclaimed saviour of one party states, UKIP? In the 2004 European Elections, they polled 14% of the vote but in the local elections, no councillors. In 2009, that vote share went up to 19% with the BNP very close behind on 17%, and the Conservatives on 16% but with no elections, UKIP could win any seats and yet despite coming within 429 votes of topping the poll in Barnsley, still UKIP failed to win any councillors rather suggesting that UKIP are good at coming second (as they have done in numerous by-elections) but in a first past the post electoral system, second is close but no cigar!

Boughton (Lab Defence) and Winnington and Castle (Lab Defence) on Cheshire West and Chester
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 42, Labour 32, Liberal Democrats 1 (Conservative overall majority of 9)
Result of ward at last election (2011):
Boughton: Labour 960 (52%), Conservative 744 (40%), Liberal Democrats 139 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Martyn Delaney (Lab), Charles Dodman (UKIP), Mark Gant (Lib Dem), John McNamara (Green), Kate Vaughan (Con)

Winnington and Castle : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,041, 995
Conservatives 744, 704
Liberal Democrats 205
British National Party 151
Candidates duly nominated: Alice Chapman (Lib Dem), Sam Naylor (Lab), Jim Sinar (Con), Amos Wright (UKIP)

Cheshire West and Chester was created by the combination of Crewe and Nantwich (NOC, Con short by 1 in 2007), Congleton (Con maj of 7 in 2007) and Macclesfield (Con maj of 16 in 2007) so the fact that Labour managaed to reduce the Conservative overall majority of just nine in 2011 was a sign of progress but with two Labour defences and the results of the Euros ringing in Labour’s ears (UKIP 23,649, Con 22,239, Lab 19,628) Labour will be putting everything into holding these two seats.

Illogan on Cornwall (Con defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Independents 37, Liberal Democrats 36, Conservatives 31, Labour 8, United Kingdom Independence Party 6, Mebyon Kernow 4, Greens 1 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 25)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Conservative 331 (29%), Mebyon Kernow 290 (25%), United Kingdom Independence Party 259 (23%), Liberal Democrats 157 (14%), Labour 113 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Trevor Chalker (Lab), Adam Desmonde (Con), David Ekinsmyth (Lib Dem), Paul Holmes (Lib), Jacqueline Merrick (Green), Clive Polkingthorne (UKIP), Stephen Richardson (Mebynon Kernow)

Cornwall used to a very simple proposition for most people interested in elections. It was Conservative through the 1980′s, with the Liberal Democrats gaining control in 1993, losing control in 1997 but still the dominant force in Cornwall in 2001 and regaining control in 2005. Then it was announced that for the next elections in 2009, Cornwall would become a unitary authority with a staggering 123 members (to put that into context Manchester has 96 councillors and Birmingham has 121 councillors) and when that happened the normal rules went completely out of the window. The Conservatives won 50 councillors (short by 12 of an overall majority) on 34% of the vote, the Liberal Democrats (previously so dominant in Cornwall) could only muster 38 councillors on 28% of the vote with the Independents winning 32 councillors on a 24% vote share but perhaps the most interesting element was the emergence (after a long time in the electoral wilderness) of Britain’s third (and usually unreported) regional nationalist party, Mebynon Kernow who won three councillors and in the 33 seats where they stood polled a very impressive 16% of the vote and in 2013, although they contested fewer seats (26) in those seats they polled 24% of the vote and actually won the election in those seats enabling them to make a gain, so can Mebynon Kernow do it again in Illogan? It’s more than likely, although sadly they did not contest this year’s European elections so we simply cannot tell if UKIP (who polled 37% of the vote in the Cornwall local count area) have peaked or still have more support to garner.

Kenwith on Torridge (Ind (former Con) defence
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 18, Independents 10, Liberal Democrats 6, Labour 1, Green 1 (No Overall Control, Conservatives and Opppsition tied)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Conservative 406 (56%), Liberal Democrats 162 (22%), Labour 153 (22%)
Candidates duly nominated: Hugh Bone (Ind), Alison Boyle (Con), David Gale (Ind), Geoff Hastings (Lab), Simon Mathers (Green), Derek Sargent (UKIP)

Torridge, on the north western coast of Devon, may seem a million miles away from the party politics of Westminster and yet since 2003 has actually been very politically cosmopolitian. In 2003, the Independents ruled the roost with an overall majority of 18 (Ind 27, Lib Dem 7, Con 1, Green 1) however the Conservatives, fed up of Independents ruling areas that were naturally Conservative, started to focus their fire on them and in Torridge it worked like a charm with the Independents losing fourteen councillors, the Conservatives gaining twelve with the Liberal Democrats and Greens picking up a seat each) leaving the Independents short by six seats and following the formation of the coalition that trend continued as the Independents lost a further three seats and the Conservatives gained another five. However the Liberal Democrats lost two seats, the Greens lost one and for the first time ever Labour won a councillor, leaving the council in a completely hung situation which makes this by-election critical for all concerned. If the Conservaties win it back, they will be able to minority control the council but if one of the other parties gain it they will be able to brush aside the Conservatives and present a multi party coalition to the electorate for next year’s local elections.

Hitchwood, Offa and Hoo on North Hertfordshire (Con HOLD in 2010)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 34, Labour 12, Liberal Democrats 3 (Conservative overall majority of 19)
Result of ward at last election (2010): Conservative 2,591 (62%), Liberal Democrats 821 (20%), Labour 522 (12%), Greens 251 (6%)
Candidates duly nominated: Faye Barnard (Con), Peter Johnson (Lib Dem), Orla Nicholls (Green), Colin Rafferty (UKIP), Simon Watson (Lab)

North Hertforshire has always been rock solid Conservative, it’s been a question of “Who can provide the opposition?” and between 2003 and 2008 the answer was Labour, however their position was slowly being eroded by the Liberal Democrats. In 2003, Labour had a lead of 13 over the Lib Dems, which fell to 7 in 2004, two in 2006 and just one in 2007 before the Lib Dems overtook Labour in 2008 and for three years until 2011 held the opposition’s posts. Then came the coalition and the Liberal Democrat collapse and now for the Lib Dems to even claim that they are a group on the council is probably met with derison, therefore the question is “Will UKIP be able to convince Labour and Liberal Democrat voters that they are the new opposition to a one party state?”

Harry Hayfield


To have any chance next May the Tories need to neutralise the NHS as an issue

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Look at the differences between the two tables

I very much like the YouGov two stage approach to issues polling teasing out large differences between what’s important to the country and what is important to those questioned and their families.

In my view the one that is electorally most important is the latter. People, I’d argue, think most first of themselves and their families and then about the country,

Whatever the issue of health is right up there in both lists with both showing an increase.

The Lynton Crosby strategy is to accept that this is an area where it is difficult to compete and, as far as possible, to avoid a battle on an area where the Tories always trail.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If the Conservatives do lose power next May they’d be foolish to get rid of Cameron

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

He’s the party’s biggest asset

If things go the way of current polling then it is highly likely that within less then a year we could have three separate leadership contests.

Farage has said he’ll stand down if his party fails to get an MP and it is hard to see Clegg being able to carry on if the election results in the disaster being predicted by the polls.

But what about the Tories? From past experience we know that they are the most ruthless of parties with leaders who are deemed to have failed and there’s a widespread expectation that Cameron will be expected to fall on his sword if LAB returns to power.

    But would Cameron going be the best move for the Tories because all the indicators are that unlike the other three leaders he’s the only one who is not a drag on his party?

Just look at the data above from this week’s Ashcroft poll which had LAB 7% ahead. To the positive/negative rating question he fares by far the best while Ed/Nick/Nigel perform worse than LAB/LD/Ukip.

These latest numbers are very much in line with what we see whenever parties and leaders are measured against each other. I follow the polls very closely and I cannot recall a time when the Tories have been ahead of Cameron.

A post-defeat replacement, I’d suggest, might make it harder for the blues in 2020 not easier.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


Predicting GE2015 – my session with YouGov’s Joe Twyman

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014


Reminder: The PB Yorkshire gathering – Flying Duck Ilkley Monday 6.30pm

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

flying duck

And an event is planned for Manchester on September 23rd

Thanks to all those who’ve contacted me about the Ilkley event on Monday. This’ll be held in the Flying Duck pub from about 6.30pm. We’ll probably be upstairs.

The address is 16 Church Street and the postcode is LS29 9DS. It was on the route for today’s opening stage of the Tour de France.

I’m told that Monday evening is generally the quietest and most of the TDF crowds will have moved on by then.

Also coming up is an event in Manchester provisionally fixed for September 23rd.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble