Archive for the ' General Election' Category


Given Dave’s more popular than CON his announcement should theoretically help LAB

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015


This from last week’s Ipsos-MORI poll

What’ll Dave going at some point do to Lynton’s campaign plan?

The latest Ipsos-MORI like leader like party ratings illustrate what is very common when it comes to public views of Cameron and his party: Invariably unlike the other party leaders he is a net asset securing better numbers than the Conservative party.

In fact it is often quipped that what voters want is a LAB government led by David Cameron.

So yesterday’s comments in the BBC interview look set to be the first big surprise of the campaign. The question is whether this will play against the Conservatives or not? Will those ready to vote for the blue team because of their view of Dave be more reluctant to do so? Or could it have the opposite effect because him going brings the prospect of a Boris-led party that much closer. The London Mayor, of course, has better ratings than any of them.

The Tories have long seen the negative views of Ed Miliband compared with Cameron as a big plus and something they believe will give them the winning proposition when people cast their votes.

It is no secret that this is a central plank of the Lynton Crosby campaign. The fact that Dave’s now said he’s going might just take the edge off.

    You only have to look at the mass of Dave-centred glossy literature being pushed through letter boxes in the key marginals at the moment to realise how important Cameron is to the campaign.

This is all hard to determine but no doubt it will play a key part in the first of the big leaders’ set pieces – the grilling by Paxman on Thursday night.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


LAB draws level with CON in this week’s Ashcroft phone poll – so another pollster fails to record a budget bounce

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

And this evening’s Marf cartoon…

Richard 3


When computing most seats remember that every LAB gain from CON is worth double every LAB loss to the SNP

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Westminster twlight

It’s all a question of simple mathematics

So if LAB lost all 41 of its Scottish seats it would need a further 21 gains from CON to offset them in the race to see which party has most MPs. Quite simply a LAB gain from CON increase the red total by and decreases the blue one. A loss to the SNP simply reduces the LAB overall number.


Yesterday’s interviews could prove to have been Alex Salmond’s Sheffield rally moment

Monday, March 23rd, 2015


Presumption , as Neil Kinnock will tell you, doesn’t go down well

Those of us who are old enough remember the great Labour Sheffield rally before the 1992 General Election which came over in the media as a celebration of the victory that the party presumed was going to happen the following Thursday. It got widespread coverage and on the day John Major’s Tories totally defied all polling and were returned with a 7%+ more of the national votes and an overall majority.

The performance by the then Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, revealed a side of his character that resonated in the wrong way with voters who a few days later turned out in record numbers. A huge mistake.

I got a sense of the same thing with yesterday’s big interviews with Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader who is hoping to return to the Commons in Gordon. Presuming the outcome in the manner that Salmond did before people actually vote can send a very negative message to voters. At the very least it could put fire in the belly of those opposed to him.

The SNP’s great strength in Scotland is its opponents are split between three other parties. Anti-SNP tactical voting might just make their task a bit harder.

Foolish. You should never appear to be taking people’s votes for granted.

UPDATE ICM Scotland poll

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The voters’ verdict on the impact of the budget

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Given the polling before the budget, the Tories might feel disappointed that the budget didn’t get more of a thumbs up from the electorate, there’s probably only one or two game changers left for the Tories, one of them is the debates, but according to reports, Ed has been preparing for a while, Dave has not.

The full YouGov data tables are available here.



The Saturday night rolling polling thread

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

It’s no change with Survation for Mail on Sunday

CON 30%+1
LAB 34%+1
LD 10%=
UKIP 17%-2
SNP 4%=
GRE 3%+1

A leaders’ question that’s unique: Agincourt with impending 600th anniversay

Budget boost for Tories from Opinium/Observer poll


The great national – constituency betting divide

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Is this heart over head and if so which is which?

This has been observed on PB before – the great divide between the individual constituency betting markets and the overall GE15 most seats.

As can be seen above there’s now a 30-30 CON-LAB split on the national most seats betting but with the single seats LAB has small lead.

My guess is that many constituency bets are placed on the basis of local knowledge and observations while national bets are much more influenced by the overwhelming media narrative that’s emerged over the past month.

Clearly to win most seats requires victories in individual constituency battles and the Westminster village tends to view this more globally than those on the ground.

I believe that which party wins most seats remains the value bet at current levels. As each week goes by without a decisive turn in the polls to one party the election is a toss-up and on the toss of a coin the option that’s longer than evens is the value bet.

Given the known electoral bias to LAB then even with Scotland the Tories need consistent poll leads of 3%+ across a range of pollsters. That’s not happened yet which is not to say that it won’t.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Sturgeon’s game-plan? Replace LAB with CON by replacing CON with LAB

Saturday, March 21st, 2015


Can the SNP push Labour into third in 2016?

It’s been said that the creation of New Labour was indirectly Margaret Thatcher’s greatest achievement; that her government remodelled the whole political landscape so much that many of her policies were continued and developed not just by her own Conservative successor as PM but by the Labour one following him too. As with all these things, there’s an overly-deterministic element to such reasoning (had John Smith lived, his leadership would have been a far less radical departure from Labour’s history), but the fundamental point is right: really successful parties change not just themselves and the country they govern but their opponents too.

And by far the most successful party in Britain at the moment is the SNP, so it’s an appropriate moment to look at what their big gameplan is. Obviously, the number one long term goal remains independence but with the loss of the referendum and the halving of the oil price since then, that’s likely to be off the agenda for the time being so let’s set that aside and look at the strategy below that.

For the SNP, the big election is not the one in a little under seven weeks or so but the one in a little over a year. Having already done what was considered impossible and gained an overall majority at Holyrood in 2011, given the state of the current polls, Nicola Sturgeon can have her sights realistically set on not only repeating that but potentially doing even better than Alex Salmond did.

But there’s another prize to be won, potentially even bigger than forming the government – and that’s where remodelling the opposition comes in. Scotland has been something of a game of musical chairs for a while. Most top-level political systems if left unassaulted by external shocks will settle down into two main opposing camps. The SNP’s great achievement has been in redefining both aspects of that statement.

Scottish politics has become widely divergent from that of England and Wales. Obviously, there were always local aspects to it but prior to 1999 (and indeed, for a short time afterwards), politics there was still defined by the Westminster battle, between Conservatives and Labour, and hence – given the nature of the electorate – a consistent and sizable Labour dominance. By redefining which parliament was seen as the more important, and by overtaking the Conservatives, the SNP has changed the principle debate from Lab-Con to Lab-SNP. That achievement was arguably bigger than subsequently forming a government in that the one followed logically from the other. As soon as they’d won a seat at the top table and were not seen as unacceptable by too many people (which they weren’t but the Tories were), it was inevitable that the swing of the pendulum would at some point deliver them government.

However, the last five years have been so good for them (referendum apart), that they can now envisage going one stage further. Whereas they were once labelled by Labour as the Tartan Tories, they now lump Labour in with the Conservatives due to the referendum campaign. Neither claim had much merit and was based on the logical fallacy that my opponent’s opponent is necessarily my ally but that’s a little beside the point if people believe it. The ideal result for them in 2016 would be to win over so many former Labour voters on that ‘betrayal’ mantra that the Conservatives finish second, which would not only prompt a crisis in Labour but would validate the SNP’s claim to left-wing voters as being the best place to ‘stop the Tories’. Put simply, the long term shift would not be to replace the Tories as the opposition to Labour but to replace Labour as the opposition to the Tories.

Is such an outcome credible? It’s a stretch but not impossible. For a start, it’d need a Labour government in Westminster, both as an SNP bogeyman and as a drag on Labour’s own vote; it’d also need a leftwards shift in the SNP’s own stance, prompting the centre-right voters Salmond attracted to switch to the Blues, offset an additional swing from Red to Yellow; finally, it’d need a bit of luck in ‘events’. The first part of that game-plan is putting Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

David Herdson