Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


The devastating detail from the Survation Clacton by-election poll

Sunday, August 31st, 2014

The constituency, though, is a one-off

In all the time I have been following and analysing polls there has never been anything as sensational as the Survation Clacton poll for the Mail on Sunday published overnight. The figures are extraordinary and point to an overwhelming victory for Douglas Carswell in his new colours.

The thing we must remember is – as Rob Ford and Matt Goodwin the leading academics who have studied the UKIP surge, will tell you – that the demographics of Clacton make it in theory at least the best of all of the 650 commons seats, for Farage’s party.

In the May 22nd Euro election the Tendring Council area saw a vote split of UKIP 48%: CON 25: LAB 13: LD 2: OTH 12. The Clacton seat covers 21 of the 35 wards in the council area.

Clearly there’s speculation over where this could happen next. The main consolation for the Tories is that in any other seat conditions would not be as favourable though that doesn’t meant it won’t happen.

The dramatic UKIP victory that Survation is pointing to will make waves throughout UK politics and other CON MPs, surely, will be considering their positions. I reckon that Kettering MP, Mr Philip Hollobone, might be a possible and I’ve had a small bet at 12/1 that the seat will go UKIP next May.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


David Herdson on what Carswell’s defection could mean for 2015

Saturday, August 30th, 2014


A by-election victory could secure a TV debate place for Farage

The defection of one MP or another towards the end of a parliament is nothing particularly unusual.  The decision of one to resign and re-contest his or her seat is.  Were it not for the vote of even greater significance taking place in Scotland next month, the Clacton by-election could have been the seminal political moment of the parliament.  Depending on the two results, it still might be.

A Scottish Yes would have such profound implications it deserves a thread of its own (before the vote), to game the likely effects on the parties, their leaders and the reaction in the country at large, to work out where any betting value may lie.  The effect of a No would be less significant though the last time the SNP failed in a referendum, they parliamentary party took a hammering at the next election.  It’s also perhaps worth noting that Alistair Darling is 11/1 with Paddy Power to be the next Chancellor and 20/1 to be next Labour leader.

If we assume a No for these purposes, then the attention of the media and of Westminster will rapidly move on to the Essex coastal constituency of Clacton.  It’s a measure of how rapidly UK politics is changing that the best odds available on UKIP at the time of writing were 1/4.  Only twice since WWII has a party other than the Tories, Labour or Lib Dems (or their predecessors) won an English by-election: George Galloway was one, earlier this parliament; Dick Taverne the other, who held his seat at the 1973 Lincoln by-election after his parting of the ways with Labour.

Those odds don’t look tempting to me.  UKIP has not made the most sure-footed of starts to their campaign with their previously selected candidate refusing to stand down.  While it’s right that they’re odds-on favourites at the moment, it wouldn’t take much to turn a spat into a shambles if they can’t sort their local aspect quickly.  Indeed, much will turn on local matters: how seriously Labour tries (both for their own sake and the indirect effect their campaign, or non-campaign, has on the Blue and Purple camps), how many of Carswell’s activists follow him across, how many UKIP activists are willing to campaign for their erstwhile opponent – and so on.

    Even so, Clacton has been described by the most favourable seat for UKIP in the country, an assertion that the European election results reinforce. 

That’s a huge advantage in this election but it’s also a huge risk: if they don’t win, it undermines any claim they have to be taken seriously next year, it would halt their current momentum and would put a hefty spring in the stride of their conquerors.  On the other hand, if they do make history and gain their first elected MP, then that removes another obstacle to Farage appearing in the leaders’ debates next year – an aspiration that should be UKIP’s number one campaign objective given UKIP’s still-developing activist base, the impact the debates had in 2010 and Farage’s distinctiveness.  For that reason alone, the odds of debates happening at all should lengthen if UKIP wins.

There is another angle to consider, that of electoral fairness.  A UKIP win, consolidating their position as the fourth major national party, would go still further to undermining the legitimacy of FPTP; a system that only really works well with two dominant parties.  I wrote in March that the Tories’ 2015 manifesto should include a commitment to introducing PR (open lists in constituencies of about five MPs would be best).  The events this week have made that all the more necessary.

David Herdson


UKIP looks to the seaside for that elusive first past the post Westminster breakthough

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

CON-held seats are the primary focus

Whenever kippers talk about their progress in 2014 they point first to their success in the May 22nd Euros. Coming top of the poll was a major breakthrough, helped by the unique closed regional list voting system.

In the first past the post elections held on the same day it was a different story – dropping 6 points on national equivalent vote share on their 2013 performance and securing 3.8% of the seats.

In this year’s Westminster by-elections they’ve chalked up respectable second places but to get an MP you need to top the poll in one of the 650 constituencies and they’ve been a long way from that.

    On the face of it a party that’s polling in the high teens should be expecting some MPs on May 7th next year but first past the post can be brutal to parties whose support is relatively even spread across the nation.

So the news that they’ve drawn up a short-list of 12 seats to be their GE2015 is important. Eastleigh, where they secured their best ever Westminster vote share in February last year is there and, so, too, are eight other seaside type seats.

Just one is currently held by Labour – an interesting decision given Farage’s rhetoric a couple of months ago about Labour being the main target.

The list above, based on one from the Ladbrokes political specialist, Shadsy, highlights first the Ladbrokes odds. In olnly one, Thanet South is UKIP the favourite.

Ladbrokes make zero seats at 11/8 the odds on how many of the 12 will go purple.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


George needs to find a way of making UKIP voters less economically pessimistic

Monday, August 18th, 2014

An opportunity for the Tories in the 2015 budget?

One of the great things about taking part in Edinburgh Festival of Politics was being able to meet up again with Professor John Curtice, who must be the county’s leading political scientist.

Talking about UKIP voters he made a point that I’ve not really looked at before – their economic pessimism particularly when related to their own situations. Look at the chart above based on data from yesterday’s YouGov/ST poll.

The Curtice view is that negative views on economic and financial matters are even greater defining features of UKIP voters than what they think about the EU or immigration.

Measures such pumping government money into schemes like “help to buy” properties really don’t impact on many UKIPers.

Increasing the minimum wage, however, might resonte.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


UKIP drops to its lowest point since February 2013 with Opinium

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

For the past two years or so the fortnightly Opinium survey for the Observer has been one that has had some of the highest shares for UKIP – even, at times, into the 20s. This has happened even though Opinium doesn’t prompt for the purples and has them categorised as “some other party”.

The firm’s high UKIP shares have been seen in both Westminster voting intention polls and in the Euros.

Thus the final Opinium poll ahead of the May 22nd EP elections the firm had the party on 32% – which was five points more than actually happened.

So the fact that, as seen in the PB polling average for July reported on by David Herdson in the last thread, the firm is showing UKIP on the decline is noteworthy. You have to go back as far as February 2013 to find an Opinium Westminster poll with UKIP at a lower level than tonight’s 15%.

A challenge for the party is that it is finding it a lot harder to get media attention as during the build-up to May 22nd. Then, of course, UKIP had been classified as a “major party” by OFCOM which meant that it got substantially greater coverage on radio and TV.

The Tories, in particular, will be hoping that Farage’s party gets squeezed much further as the focus will all be on the LAB-CON ahead for GE2015.

By 63% to 19% those polled by Opinium said they want NO to win the Scottish IndyRef.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


There can be no getting round the fact that Tories are still being the most hurt by the UKIP surge

Monday, July 28th, 2014

And a lot of 2010 non-voters seem to back Farage’s party

The above chart is based on the aggregate data from Lord Ashcroft’s latest round of CON-LAB marginals polling which had a total sample of 14,004.

The first factor to stand out is that much more of UKIP’s current support in these key battlegrounds continues to come from ex-Tories than from ex-LAB voters. This means, of course, that the blues will benefit most should UKIP support fade.

Secondly, given UKIP only got 3.1% nationally in 2010, a very high proportion of current UKIP voters did not vote at the last election.

All this unerpins the claims by LAB in the Telegraph this morning that “Ukip voters will make Ed Miliband Prime Minister”. The report quotes a LAB figure:-

“The Tories lose a lot more than we do from a decent Ukip performance,” said a senior Labour campaign source. “The whole election could hang on how many of their current voters stick with them next May.”

I think that’s right and this will impact on Labour’s approach in the coming months. Ed Miliband’s team will be increasingly resistant to pressure from some in the party to make policy moves to attract UKIP votes.

That means, I’d suggest, no Labour promise on an EU in/out referendum.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Local By-Election Results: July 24th 2014

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Clifton on Blackpool (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 501 (41%), UKIP 362 (30%), Conservatives 283 (23%), Liberal Democrats 33 (3%), Greens 25 (2%), TUSC 10 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 139 (11%)
Turnout: 23%

(Grateful thanks to Blackpool Council for their publication of the result and vote shares)

Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and Barnby Dun on Doncaster (Lab Defence)
Result: UKIP 1,203 (41%), Labour 1,109 (38% unchanged), Conservatives 479 (16% +2%), Greens 160 (5%)
UKIP GAIN from Labour with a majority of 94 (3%) on a swing of 20.5% from Labour to UKIP since 2012
Turnout: 28%

Staplehurst on Maidstone (Con Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 609 (36% +24%), Conservatives 603 (36% -21%), UKIP 311 (19%), Labour 117 (7% -8%), Greens 41 (2% -6%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 6 (0%) on a swing of 22.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Longhougton on Northumberland (Ind Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 742 (50%), Conservatives 352 (24% +9%), Independents 206 (14%), UKIP 146 (10% +2%), Labour 48 (3%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Independent with a majority of 390 (26%) on a swing of 20.5% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Southcote on Reading (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,019 (59% +3), Conservative 340 (20% -11%), UKIP 226 (13%), Greens 69 (4% -2%), Liberal Democrats 49 (3% -4%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 679 (39%) on a swing of 7% from Conservative to Labour since 2011
Turnout: 26%

Aberaman North on Rhondda, Cynon, Taff (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 356 (39% -42%), Independent 276 (31%), Plaid Cymru 228 (25% +6%), TUSC 23 (3%), Conservatives 20 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 80 (8%) on a swing of 36.5% from Labour to Independent

Birchills, Leamore on Walsall (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 1,075 (48% -7%), Conservative 710 (32% -2%), UKIP 445 (20%), Eng Dem 20 (1%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 365 (16%) on a swing of 2.5% from Labour to Conservative

Clewer North on Windsor and Maidenhead Royal (Ind Defence)
Result: Independent 878 (58%), Conservatives 486 (32%), Labour 158 (10%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 392 (26%)
Turnout: 26%


Polling UKIP: The recent record shows that YouGov got closest with ICM in second place

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

With so much variation in the UKIP share in recent polls it is perhaps worth recalling that the firm that got it most right the last time they were tested, the May 22nd Euros, was YouGov.

The figures are in the chart above and it is interesting that YouGov and ICM, the ones that did best on May 22nd, are continuing to show UKIP with smaller shares for the general election compared with other pollsters.

Later this morning Lord Ashcroft is publishing his latest CON-LAB marginals poll. This covers 14 CON held constituencies and has a sample of 14k.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble