Archive for the ' General Election' Category


ORB/Indy poll finds that 76% think that LAB less electable now than it was on May 7th

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

But does this poll really tell us anything?

An ORB poll for the Independent carried out over the weekend finds that 76% of those who had a view believe that LAB is less electable now than it was at the general election.

We’ve not yet seen the dataset or the precise question wording but the overall picture looks gloomy for the red team and sets out very clearly the challenge facing the new leader when he/she takes over the party on September 12th.

    Aren’t we just seeing what happens to most political parties less than three months after a devastating election defeat?

I can’t recall a similar post general election poll on a party that has lost power and is going through the process of finding a new leader.

How, for instance would the Tories have performed in a similar survey eleven weeks after their 1997 election defeat by Tony Blair’s new Labour or in the aftermath of GE2001 when IDS, Ken Clarke and Michael Portillo were slugging it out. In the latter the blue team ended up with the leader who was the most unelectable – something that was blindingly obvious to many inside and outside the party

Inevitably leadership contests highlight divisions because that’s their very nature and we know that voters are more reluctant to give their support to split parties.

The big question is how LAB will be seen when the new leader is in place.

Mike Smithson


Why getting a credible leader is so important to LAB: YouGov polling on why the party lost

Monday, July 27th, 2015


The data that underlines the importance of the current election

Whichever of the four ins he/she will have to be perceived a lot better than Ed was if the red team is to have any chance whatsoever.

This polling should be at the heart of the leadership campaign. A non-credible leader means a likely third consecutive general election defeat.

Mike Smithson


The prospect of fighting a disintegrating LAB could cause Dave to change his mind about stepping down

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Is he having second thoughts about his exit date?

Following Cameron’s comments in the BBC interview at the end of March there’s a widespread assumption that at some stage this parliament that he’ll step aside and a new CON leader will be elected presumably becoming PM before the May 2020 general election.

But is he? The conversation in Cameron’s kitchen came at a time when the election outcome looked very tight. Very few were making assumptions that an overall CON majority was going to be possible. The political context was very different from today.

There were many in the party ready to cast the blame on Dave for failing in 2010 to secure a majority against Gordon Brown. In May, against all expectations, Cameron became an unequivocal election winner.

Now the Tories are in power without the encumbrance of the LDs and look set to be there for all the five years. In the meantime we’ve seen the extraordinary developments within LAB which looks even further now from a GE20 victory than it did on May 8th. Could Cameron’s view of his own future have changed? This was John Rentoul in yesterday’s Indy on Sunday.

“Soon Cameron will have to manage speculation about exactly when before the next election he will stand down, as promised from his Oxfordshire kitchen to the BBC’s James Landale, who tried to hide his excitement at the scoop by fiddling with some vegetable or other.

Indeed, the Prime Minister might have to manage the speculation (from me) that he might change his mind about stepping down before the next election. On current trends, it doesn’t look as if the Labour Party is going to put up much of a fight, so you can imagine Cameron having second thoughts. As he entertained Westminster journalists in the garden of No 10 last week, he looked as fresh-faced as ever, invigorated by the youth-giving elixir of election victory.”

I agree with Rentoul’s observation. It is far from clear that Cameron will go according to the assumed time-table. Walloping LAB again in a general election might prove to be too tempting.

Mike Smithson


This afternoon what’s only the eighth GE2020 voting intention poll since May 7th

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Ipsos also asked whether the LAB4 were seen as potential PMs


The British Election Study suggests that differential turnout the most likely cause of the GE2015 polling failure

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

IMG_20150513_104124 (1)

LAB supporters more likely to have overstated certainty to vote

There’s an important paper just out from the British Election Study on what went wrong with the polls on May 7th. Why did it happen?

The report by Jon Mellon and Chris Prosser does not give much credence to the “late swing”, “don’t knows” and “shy Tory” theories and argues that differential turnout was most to blame. Those over-stating their likelihood to vote were more likely to be those saying LAB.

A key part of the examination has been to check whether polling respondents who said they would voted actually did so. They do this by looking at the publicly available marked register. They also looked out for other inconsistencies. Some interesting numbers emerged.

  • 20% of respondents in areas without local elections claim to have voted in them in 2015
  • 3-6% of respondents in the campaign wave of BES polling claim to have voted by post before the postal ballots were actually issued
  • 46% of respondents who could not be verified as registered to vote in June 2014 claim to have voted in the 2014 European Election

  • In all of these cases, the fibbers leant significantly more Labour than other respondents.

    The report goes on:

    “The evidence in the BES suggests that the reason for the increased impact of differential turnout is not due to a change in the relative enthusiasm between Labour and Conservative supporters since 2010. 84% of Labour supporters in 2015 said that it was “very likely” that they would vote, compared to 86% of Conservative supporters, while in 2010 the figures were 87% and 90% respectively. Rather the data suggest that the increase in the turnout gap between Labour and the Conservatives can be explained by shifts in party support amongst those who are actually less likely to turnout to vote, even if they say they will. This evidence strongly suggests that differential turnout was a major factor in the polling miss.”

    Overall they say “this is relatively good news for pollsters. It should be possible for pollsters to fix many of their by using turnout weighting that accounts for the wider set of factors we have identified.”

    Mike Smithson


    It wasn’t just at the May 2015 general election that the polling did not cover itself with glory

    Monday, July 13th, 2015

    September 2010: Final LAB members leadership poll

    YouGov LAB members poll Sept ’10 YouGov 1st round Actual 1st round YouGov Miliband preference Actual final votes
    ABBOTT, Diane 11 7.3 0 0
    BALLS, Ed 9 10.1 0 0
    BURNHAM, Andy 10 8.6 0 0
    MILIBAND, David 38 44.1 48 54.4
    MILIBAND, Ed 31 29.9 52 45.6

    What should be noted about this poll was that it took place six days after the postal ballot packs had gone out and for many of those sampled was actually an exit poll.

    The striking figure here is the final Miliband preference after the AV preferences had been worked out. Ed Milinand 4% ahead while the actual result for this section had David 8.8% ahead.

    Ed won the leadership, of course, because of his commanding lead in the trade union section.

    October 2014: The Heywood & Middleton by-election polls:

    At this by-election we had a real foretaste of what happened on May 7th. The two phone polls had many more of those sampled saying they would vote Labour than actually did so and in the end UKIP came very close.

    London Mayoral election final polls May 2012

    The London mayoral polling in 2012 shows that polling over-statement is not just restricted to Labour. Boris/CON was over-stated in all the surveys.

    Maybe this was down to the Boris factor.

    General Election May 7th 2015

    This is not just a British problem. This year we have also seen the Israeli election polling and, of course, last weekend in Greece

    Mike Smithson


    New study suggests that UKIP’s “2020 strategy” is going to be challenging

    Saturday, July 11th, 2015

    House of Commons Library blog – Steven Ayres

    In 5/6ths its 120 GE15 2nd places it faces majorities of 10%+

    In the aftermath of May 7th UKIP was taking some comfort from the 120 second places it had chalked up suggesting that this provided a good platform for next time. Maybe.

    Steven Ayres on the House of Commons Library blog has produced an interesting analysis of Farage’s party’s performance and the potential to build on its record GE15.

    His chart says it all. The party might have chalked up 120 second places but in the vast majority of these seats it was a long way behind.

    The regional split in the post is interesting. UKIP took 40% of the second places in the South East in the majority displacing the LDs.

    Mike Smithson


    It could be that the days of saturation general election polling ended at 10pm on May 7th

    Thursday, July 9th, 2015

    The chart says it all. There have been just 6 general election polls published in the UK since May 7th – a sharp contrast with the numbers we saw even by this stage five years ago.

    Confidence in the numbers that are produced has collapsed – a situation not helped by the polling ahead of last weekend’s referendum in Greece. If polling cannot give us even a broad picture of a likely general election outcome then what is the point?

    It might be that the British Polling Council study into what went wrong will produce recommendations for change but it is going to take an awful lot before confidence returns.

    Hard-pressed media owners are unlikely to invest much in testing public opinion when they know how little this will be rated by their audiences.

    Mike Smithson