Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


Daily Express reporting new poll with UKIP in second place

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

No other details known at the moment


2nd Update 0430

The poll appears to be based on a subset of Sun readers from a YouGov poll which so far had not been published.

Sun Readers are not representative of the electorate as a whole

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


David Herdson on Saturday: We might have passed peak UKIP?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Is the message from Rochester that 2015 will be ‘close but no cigar’ for Team Farage?

Politics can be a contradictory old business. In many ways, UKIP has been the Party of the Year for the second year running. The SNP might dispute that but the reality is that the SNP lost their big vote in September while UKIP won theirs in May, becoming only the third party since WWI to win a national election. To add to that, they gained over 160 councillors at the local elections, have polled in a comfortable third place all year (apart from with ICM – a notable exception), and have, of course, made the Westminster breakthrough. Indeed, in winning Rochester and Strood, they become only the fourth party since WWII to gain two Commons seats in the same parliament, never mind the same year.

And yet those achievements can be misleading. In reality, 2014 was a year of consolidation, not one of advance. Last year marked their promotion to politics’ second division; this one has seen them maintain that status and the victories in Clacton and then again this week doesn’t change that. The gains in the Euros, locals and – to an extent – by-elections are a feature of those cycles operating over four or five years. Their polling, in the low- to mid-teens, is only marginally up on twelve months ago and is of a level that would not return a significant number of seats at a general election given their vote distribution.

It is a measure of how high expectations are about UKIP’s performance that the result of a win in a seat they didn’t even contest last time is being described as disappointing, particularly given the effort put in by the Conservatives. On the other hand, the narrative in politics is often about momentum, and UKIP winning by a smaller margin than any of the polls found has checked theirs a little.

In so doing, it also gives a bit of a pointer towards next year. We know that the Ashcroft poll found that voters in the constituency were likely to swing back to the Conservatives come the general election (all else being equal), and that UKIP undershot the lead Ashcroft reported for the by-election. Those two facts combined make it less likely that there’ll be any more defectors (or at least, any more who plan on standing again), and less likely that UKIP will make as many gains as they would have come May had they met expectations. Indeed, the two are not unrelated.

Part of this is because UKIP is riding two horses in opposite directions. On the one hand, those politicians most likely to defect are still Conservatives. On the other, UKIP is increasingly chasing the Labour voter, perceiving – probably rightly – that there are now more soft votes in the red column than the blue one. However, the net result of that contradiction is the sort of awkward and unconvincing speech Mark Reckless gave after his win where he tried to proclaim himself the voice of White Van Man. To nail that strategy, what UKIP really needs is a Labour MP to defect. I’m not holding my breath.

David Herdson

p.s. The Lib Dems dodged a bullet on Thursday. It might have been their worst-ever share of the vote, but it could have been worse still. One factor in the demise of the Owenite continuity SDP was when it finished behind the Monster Raving Loony Party in the May 1990 Bootle by-election; something which did much to destroy claims to be taken credibly as a serious party. At that election, the Loonies won 418 votes; in Rochester, the Lib Dems won 349.


Mark Reckless wins Rochester for UKIP with a majority of 7.2%

Friday, November 21st, 2014

But can he be confident of holding on next May and will it encourage more defectors?

In the end the Rochester result was a lot closer than any of the final polls had suggested but the first stage Mark Reckless’s massive gamble has paid off – he’s back again as MP for Rochester.

The winning margin was 7.2% which compared with the gaps of 12% and more that we had from the three final polls. It was much tighter than most people and the betting markets had predicted.

    It did suggest that you have to be cautious with polls where a significant part of a candidate’s support is coming from non-voters who are traditionally the ones least likely to turnout

He was helped by the decision of LAB not to take the battle seriously and put the resources in and by the dramatic collapse in Lib Dem support to less than one percent.

Looking forward there are two questions: is Reckless going to be able to retain the seat next May and will the less than emphatic winning margin act as a deterrent to other potential defectors?

In last week’s Lord Ashcroft Rochester poll the Tories had a margin of 1% when the the sample was asked for their general election voting intentions. But that poll has the UKIP by-election lead at 12%. This looks very tight for next May.

What we do know is that leading UKIP donors have been funding private polls so other potential defectors can test the water before they decide to jump. The Rochester result will put those findings into context.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Now the focus is on post-Rochester. Will there be more defectors and if so how many?

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Westminster twlight


After yesterday’s dramatic Scottish polls LAB braces itself for the South Yorks PCC result

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Is this another victory for the purples?

The big news this morning should come from South Yorkshire where counting takes place in the Police and Crime Commissioner by-election – only the second to be held since these new elected positions were created two years ago.

This has been set against the background of the Rotherham scandal which UKIP (see above) has been featuring strongly in its campaign. The area is largely dominated by Labour strongholds which in normal times should have been enough to guarantee the red team victory.

But these are not normal times as we saw in the Heywood and Middleton by-election at the start of October. UKIP is making serious inroads into place like this and yesterday’s election presented a huge opportunity. We’ll know later this morning whether they’ve managed to pull it off.

    If UKIP have ended up as victors it will add to the party’s momentum in the final three weeks of campaigning in Rochester where the polling and the betting suggests that it is heading for a comfortable victory.

A UKIP defeat could just take the edge off the party’s progress. South Yorkshire is much more challenging than Rochester where the sitting MP, Mark Reckless, stepped down to fight the seat after defecting to Farage’s party.

What could make today’s count and result interesting is that the election is not held under first past the post. If on the first count a candidate has not secured 50% of the votes then second preferences will be taken into account.

  • Note I’m away for most of the day and will be posting on the result and its likely impact later.
  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    The Westminster Big Three: zen-like serenity or zombies in action?

    Saturday, October 25th, 2014

    How come poor CON/LAB/LD polls are being accepted so readily?

    Time was when you could be reasonably sure that a party struggling in the polls would lead inevitably to speculation about its leader’s position.  The media would talk about it, backbench MPs would talk about it and cabinet or shadow cabinet members would let their friends talk about it.  What is remarkable about the last few years is that despite unprecedented combined unpopularity of both leaders and parties, there has been so little such talk never mind action.

    Of course, the fact that all three main Westminster parties are so unpopular simultaneously may have something to do with that: it’s easy to console yourself that you stand a decent chance of recovery when your opponents are doing badly too.

    Even so, this is very far from a zero-sum game.  All three parties face an existential threat.  UKIP has the potential to replace either the Tories or Labour (but not both) after the next election as the main party in their part of the spectrum if the cards fall well for it.  Neither has a right to exist, never mind to success, and both parties’ former core vote is disillusioned.  At the moment, Farage’s party’s mid- to upper-teens score would probably see them pick up only a handful of seats but were that to be upped to the mid-twenties that would do real damage.

    The prospect of such a step-change in UKIP’s polling is far from inconceivable: they have polled up there on occasion, by-election victories between now and April would reinforce their current momentum and the debates – if they happen – provide a further opportunity to advance.

    Strangely, a half-reasonable performance may be worse in the long run than a bad one as it’s far harder to fight off the threat while in government.  Clacton has already demonstrated the risks to the Conservatives and Rochester may reinforce that message.  Should Labour regain government, the danger may be even worse, polling as it is in the low thirties with the support of a great many 2010 Lib Dem defectors.  A majority Ed Miliband-led government could easily leak that support straight back on one wing while being assailed by UKIP on the other.  Gordon Brown’s Labour government bottomed out at 18% in the polls; an Ed Miliband one could go further still – and that might drop it to fourth place by vote share.

    For the Lib Dems the threat is greater still and more immediate: their party has lost more than two-thirds of their 2010 vote, a level meaning it’s dicing with oblivion.  True, local strongholds appear firm for now but results from the constituency polls sit uneasily with the national ones: my guess is that it’s the national ones and we’ll see Lib Dem support edge up as May approaches and people think more about their local situation.  But it may not and didn’t in Scotland in 2011, where the Yellows lost all but two of their constituency seats (and Orkney & Shetland is just one seat for Westminster).

      With threats to their existence such as the parties have not faced in many decades, if ever, what’s remarkable is how calm the leaderships and parliamentary parties are. 

    There is grumbling about Miliband but no serious threat this side of the election.  Cameron has suffered two defections – one reinforced by a by-election defeat – but despite their reputation for deposing leaders, Tory backbenchers have remained unusually quiet on the subject.  Even quieter have been Lib Dems, who are polling worst of all and perhaps have most opportunity for change (their leader has the worst ratings, plausible alternatives are available and one of the causes of their woes – being in government – could be resolved by a well-timed withdrawal).

    Will one or more of the parties brake out of their zen-like calm – or zombie-like sleepwalking if you prefer – before the election?  I doubt it.  It’s almost too late now to change strategy or leader and will be by the New Year.  These things need pressure to build and that rarely happens quickly.  It also needs anger, focus and division, and such factors simply aren’t present in sufficient quantity, particularly when there’s the belief that the other side(s) might hand you victory by default.  It is somewhat ironic that the biggest upheaval in the political system since at least the early 1980s has produced so little reaction.  But then maybe that’s the point: the changes are so far outside their experience, they can’t reach for a stock response and like rabbits in Farage’s headlights, produce none.

    David herdson


    When ComRes tested impact of prompting for UKIP the views of women barely changed. Male support however jumped by 8%

    Sunday, October 19th, 2014

    Two pollsters, three polls, and UKIP shares between 16% and 24%

    With all eyes on UKIP polling shares following their by election successes the online survey by ComRes for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror carried out a test to see whether, as many purple enthusiasts argue, their shares are understated by firms that don’t specifically prompt for the party.

    So the ComRes sample was split in two with the first using the conventional approach and the second including UKIP in its main party prompts.

    The problem with this is that the sample sizes became so small, down to 782 in one case, that the margin of error increases substantially especially when trying to analyse the UKIP voting subset.

    In fact the difference between the two approaches can almost all be explained as standard margin of error.

      With that caveat a big move was apparent between the two ComRes polls. The views of women barely changed when UKIP was prompted – men, however increased their support by 8%

    Read into that what you will! Maybe prompting says more about how men and women respond to online polling than it does about UKIP support.

    Another difference was that non-2010 voters amongst UKIP support amounted to 7% in normal poll, but 13% in the prompted one.

    Meanwhile the latest YouGov, with a later fieldwork period than ComRes, has UKIP down 3% from dizzy heights of last week to a more normal looking 16%.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Marf on the morning after at Number 10

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    morningafter (1)

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