Archive for the 'Tories' Category


UKIP is taking SIX times as many votes from the Tories as it is from Labour

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

In no way are the purples as big a threat to LAB as CON

There’s consistent talk at the moment of UKIP being a bigger threat to LAB than CON. This is a point that Mr Farage wants to hammer home on virtually every occasion.

Yet quite simply this is not supported by the data. Just look at the chart above based on data from the month’s biggest poll, the Populus/FT March aggregate with a sample of 16,424

Because of the sheer size of the aggregate sample we can draw firmer conclusions from the subset findings than in individual polls with samples between one and two thousand.

The chart shows the breakdown of the current UKIP vote based on the responses of 1,368 current UKIP voters to question of what they said they did last time. As can be seen the lion’s share belongs to those who voted CON at the 2010 general election. They comprise just under 44% of the total while 2010 LAB switchers represent just over 7%.

It is true that UKIP gets a lot of support from the C1,C2 and D demographic groups but not, if you analyse the data, from that many who voted Labour in 2010.

Things could change but for the moment it is the blue team which has been most hit by the rise of Farage’s party.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The Shapps Tweet ad could be as damaging as Liam Byrne’s “there’s no money left” handover note

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Both resonate because they reinforce perceptions

We all remember the famous Liam Byrne hand-over note in May 2010 telling his successor at the Treasury that there’s no money left. That struck home because it touched a widespread view of the LAB approach to public spending.

The Grant Shapps Tweet poster is damaging because it touches directly on the Tories’ big problem – that they don’t relate to large sections of the population. The use of the word “they” in the poster simply tells the world that the Tories see themselves as something apart.

A mistake.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Will the Tories stop talking about Europe after May?

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

eu flag

When being in touch becomes being out of touch

Ed Miliband’s non-promise of a referendum this week may have been designed to do several things.  It could have been a reassurance that a future Labour government wouldn’t repeal this administration’s European Union Act 2011, though it would modify it and that modification could be significant.  It could be a half-hearted effort to join the In-Out debate.  It could have been an effort to confirm his pro-EU credentials.  But all these seem a bit weak.  From Labour’s point of view, the biggest benefit could have been setting the Tories off again.

As Mike has pointed out on many occasions, Europe ranks relatively lowly in most voters’ concerns.  Seeming obsessed by the subject has done the Conservatives any amount of damage from the late Thatcher era onwards.  On the other hand, the Conservative position is of itself a relatively popular one: a looser relationship and an In-Out referendum both have substantial support.

How that balance plays out comes down to that earlier point.  With the European elections in only a couple of months, it’s entirely relevant to be campaigning on the EU.  After all, it’s not just the Conservatives but Labour and the Lib Dems too who’ve been promoting their position, never mind UKIP.  It’s whether the Conservatives make an obsession out of a virtue that’s likely to determine how the public view it.

All successful election campaigns will be based on a small number of key messages.  Too many and the focus becomes lost and the public confused; too few and you look like a one-trick pony, a party of protest not of government.  If the Conservatives are sensible, they’ll make plenty of play about their European policy now, when it’s relevant, and then keep it quiet after the vote.  Those who strongly support the policy will have heard it, as will those are vehemently opposed; those who aren’t much bothered will decide on different topics.  In each case, Europe will no longer determine their vote.

However, that’s also true in reverse.  The Conservatives’ strongest card is the economy, assuming that Osborne delivers two gimmick-free budgets, designed reinforce an air of confidence and competence, and assuming that the recovery avoids any domestic bumps for another year.  Even so, campaigning relentlessly on that topic will only deliver so much, particularly as the fruits of the policy are only just showing and even then, not to everyone by any means.  Again though, no party can afford to be simply technocratic.  Other messages, including softer ones, need to be in the mix too.  Europe has a part to play in that policy set, particularly now while it’s relevant.

The question is whether the Conservatives will be able to flick the ‘off’ switch after May.  I’ve long been expecting the Blues to finish third and polling behind UKIP would cause much soul-searching, with all sorts of unsolicited, meant-to-be-helpful suggestions.  Resisting those suggestions, and indeed that whole debate, will not be easy but may well make the difference between success and failure in 2015.

David Herdson

p.s. I do wonder whether Ed Miliband is secretly a member of Better Off Out.  His offer of an In-Out vote on future treaty changes would be by far the most likely mechanism to secure a British exit.  If countries like France, the Netherlands and Ireland can reject treaties, then surely Britain can.  Trying to bully the electorate into something they don’t want by threatening to take away something else may well backfire spectacularly.  It’s precisely why the Yes campaign in Scotland are so keen for No to lay out an alternative, to change the vote into one between two options, rather than for or against one (and why No will refuse).


On this day exactly two years ago YouGov had CON in the lead on 40pc

Friday, February 28th, 2014

How it looked for the blues before the rise of UKIP & Osborne’s March 2012 budget

At the end of February 2012 the Tories were still getting the benefit from the after-glow of what became known as the “Veto-gasm” – the polling boost that followed from David Cameron’s famous Brussels veto.

The positive mood was seen in the betting. In mid-January 2012 the Betfair price on a CON overall majority tightened to a 41% chance while Labour was rated at 28%. Things looked good.

Then we had March budget which seemed to produce one problem after another and within weeks the Tory poll position slumped.

This was the prelude to the the UKIP surge which continues to have a major impact on the political environment.

Labour edged up into the 40s but have edged back a touch and now with YouGov remain pretty solidly on 39% or thereabouts. The LDs continue to poll in the 8% – 10% range.

The most interesting feature in the chart above can be seen in the change tab. That tells the story of the past two years.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Newly published Ipsos-MORI polling finds fewer voters hostile to LAB than the other main parties

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

And there’s a whiff of good news for the LDs at the Euros

What I’ve found to be a fascinating piece of polling for the British Future think tank has just been published by Ipsos-MORI.

Rather than the conventional voting intention questions interviewees were asked for views of the four main national parties and whether they’d consider voting for them in both general elections and the Euros, general elections only, the Euros only, or whether they’d never consider voting for them.

    The big message is that there fewer anti-LAB voters out there than those opposed to the other three parties.

I’ve tried to extract the headline figures in the interactive chart above. Note that the don’t knows are excluded from the chart. So in the case of the Tories 26% said they’d vote for them in both elections, 7% said GE only, 3% said Euros only with 26% saying don’t know.

What’s not surprising is that UKIP do well for the Euros with 14% saying they’d consider supporting them in both sets of elections and a further 12% saying the Euros only.

Interestingly, given the way that the Lib Dems are planning to fight the May Euros 8% said they consider going yellow for those elections only. Clegg’s gamble on there being a specific niche market for being “the party of In” appears to be supported by these figures.

There’s lots of other data in the polling which I’ll probably return to. This post is about the headline figures.

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed 2,244 British online adults aged 16-75 between 6-11 December 2013. Interviews were conducted on Ipsos’ online panel. Data are weighted to the profile of the population.
  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    The Tories are planning to bet everything on getting a majority – if they don’t they won’t do a coalition deal

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Cameron’s GE2015 gamble – a CON majority or bust

    The big GE2015 development overnight is the Telegraph story that the Tories are planning to go into the election with a manifesto commitment not to enter a coalition deal.

    If the party won most seats but fell short of the threshold of 326 MPs it would seek to govern on its own as a minority. Clearly everything depends on the numbers but it’s hard to see a minority CON government winning the post Queen’s Speech vote which would lead to it falling.

    Such a course would almost certainly rule out the possiblity of the Lib Dems providing support on a confidence and supply basis.

      The Tory gamble is that by making the commitment beforehand the choice would be very clear – a CON majority or Ed Miliband with a LAB majority or in cooperation with the LDs.

    This move really reflects the current situation within the party. Even if the numbers post GE2015 made another CON-LD coalition possible then it is hard to see the blue team being able to negotiate something that would be acceptable to the party’s MPs.

    The big question is whether the “us or nothing” approach would make the CON proposition more or less attractive to voters. A lot depends on how the other parties are able to portray it.

    The move could be presented as being petulant or silly – the Tories being the party that regards no loaf as being better than half a loaf.

      Where I seriously question the CON strategy is that the blues would be creating the conditions that could boost ANTI-CON tactical voting, something that could be decisive in both the LAB-CON and LD-CON marginals.

    A lot of blue hopes in the party’s LD targets have been based on LAB voters who previously supported the yellows going back to their allegiance. This development, I’d suggest, would make the LD task in these seats a bit easier.

    Whatever this will make the coming battle even more interesting.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    The Conservative party then and now – the need to connect with a wider public

    Saturday, February 15th, 2014

    Why Dave’s successor is not going to be another old-Etonian

    Last night there was an interesting post-Wythenshawe discussion kicked off by the Tweet at the top by the Spectator’s Isabel Hardman.

    Over the past half century just three Tory leaders have led their party to victory with overall majorities at general elections. They were Heath in 1970, Thatcher in 1979, 1983 and 1987 and the last, John Major, 22 years ago in 1992. What they have in common is that they came from modest backgrounds and were all state school educated.

    The Tory John Major poster above is hugely powerful and sends out a big message to voters.

    It was always hard for opponents to portray the Tories as privileged and I’d suggest that Major would always have scored well on the YouGov “In touch with ordinary people” leadership characteric tracker. Last week Cameron’s rating on this measure was 7%.

    This has huge political implications as we see when the issue of reducing the top rate of tax comes up. The polling shows that the Tories are vulnerable to the charge that they are favouring the rich even though there’s an economic case to say that it will increase the overall tax take.

    My long-term bets Cameron’s successor are on Theresa May and Phillip Hammond.

    The last Eton-educated Conservative to lead his party to an overall majority was Harold Macmillan at the 1959 general election. The Conservatives had a 12.1% majority in Wythenshawe.

    Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 35 most influential over 50s on Twitter


    YouGov finds Conservative voters very much divided on Michael Gove

    Sunday, February 9th, 2014

    By comparison the same YouGov sample found current CON voters splitting 93% to 6% when the same question was asked about Mr. Cameron.

    Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 35 most influential over 50s on Twitter