Archive for November, 2011


In the PB NightHawks cafe – the first polling reaction…

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The first polling reaction to yesterday’s Osborne statement is coming in. This was Tweeted an hour ago.

@Sun_Politics: Sun/YouGov poll: 1st verdict on Aut Statement – only 24% say Osborne doing good job, but they don’t blame him for growth collapse…

…asked to name 2 causes; 44% blame Eurozone crisis, 32% say Labour’s leftover debts, 31% blame banks, and 28% think Coalition’s cuts.

Have a good evening.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonPB


Was this the most venomous PMQs for years?

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

And does the speaker make it worse?

It was inevitable, I suppose, given the dreadful economic forecasts yesterday, and the strike today that PMQs would be noisy and angry. Things are getting very polarised.

As to who won it depends on what you consider important? In terms of the media coverage Cameron’s description of his opponent as “Irresponsible, left wing and weak” is going to make the headlines.

This was the PM using bluster to deal with a sustained series of questions from EdM for which he had some trouble answering.

Ed, though, falls down because he doesn’t have a style of addressing the house that is commanding and which communicates. He’s very poor at expressing himself verbally.

All this was over-shadowed by an even more miserable performance than usual by John Bercow who just intervened time any time again sounding even more pompus each time.

For me the big news from PMQs was Cameron’s apparent commitment to cut all the trade union officials in public sector work places who are paid for out of the public purse. It didn’t sound as though this was planned and came out in response to a question.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonPB


Just 12pc say they’ll be affected by the strike

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Is that the challenge for the unions

As well as the straight “do you support the strike” questions there’s a fair bit of other data that gives a pointer as to how successful today’s day of action will be.

TNS-BMRB had just 12% saying they will be affected a lot and only 4% of private sector workers claim to know a lot about why the strikes are happening.

So the unions would seem to have a big challenge getting their message across.

Another issue comes from ComRes: 56% agreed that public sector workers “have to take their share of the economic pain which means accepting reductions in their pension provision”.  Just 28% disagree and 16% say they don’t know.

On Ed Miliband’s position YouGov found 23% think saying he he should support the action with 33% saying he should oppose them. Amongst Labour supporters 41% think the strikes should be supported with 14% opposing.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonPB


It’s the eve of the big strike in the PB NightHawks cafe…

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Who’s going to come out of this on top?

With the big strike on public sector pensions due to start in only a few hours it’s quite hard from the polls to work out how the public actually feel.

Some surveys, like TNS-BMRB, this afternoon has support evenly split between the strikers and the government (40% vs. 37%). Other polls, notably YouGov and ComRes have those opposed to the strikes in the the lead.

Thus YouGov at the weekend had 50% opposing headteachers taking stike action against 38% who supported it: 49% opposing teachers going on (41% supported), while the split for civil servants 51-39.

ComRes had broadly similar figures – 47%, do not believe that public sector workers are right to strike, while 38% believe they are right to take that course of action. Interestingly ComRes had 51%, thinking that the strikes are unlikely to succeed and so should not go ahead. 

Whatever this is going to be a PR battle on both sides and it’s hard to see who will come out on top.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonPB


Marf’s take on the Osborne statement…

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

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It’s over to you George…

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011


Why does UKIP only score well in online polls?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Farage’s party at just 3% in ComRes phone poll

There’s a new phone poll out from ComRes for the Independent. The figures are, with changes on the firm’s last phone poll, CON 37%(+3): LAB 39%(+1): LD 10%(-4): OTH 14%.

This is the first telephone national voting intention poll since the Survation survey on Saturday which had UKIP on 11% – just one point behind the Lib Dems. Although the Lib Dems slipped back sharply in this latest survey they still had a lead of 7 points over UKIP who were down at 3%.

Interestingly the ComRes phone poll UKIP total is very similar to the 4% that Survation itself found in a phone survey a fortnight ago.

Looking across the phone pollsters UKIP struggles with Populus (3%), ICM (4%) and Ipsos-MORI (3%). The big numbers for the anti-EU party come from the internet pollsters – Survation (11%), Angus Reid (7%) and YouGov (upto 7%).

A lot of this is probably down to prompting. With an online poll the parties have to be listed on the screen while with phone polls only the main parties generally get mentioned at first. If the respondent says he/she will vote for another party then the full list is read out.

YouGov has found in the past that if all the minor parties are listed on the front VI page then they do better.

So which form of polling is better? After the experience of the 2010 general election I regard phone polls as being in the top tier to be taken more seriously.

This was the May 2010 polling accuracy table. As can be seen five out of the top six were phone surveys. Five of the bottom six were carried out on-line.

Rank Pollster CON LAB LD Error
1 RNB India: Phone 37 (0) 28 (-1.7) 26 (+2.4) 4.1
2= ICM phone 36 (-1) 28 (-1.7) 26 (+2.4) 5.1
2= Ipsos-MORI: phone 36 (-1) 29 (-0.7) 27 (+3.4) 5.1
2= Populus: phone 37 (0) 28 (-1.7) 27 (+3.4) 5.1
5= ComRes: phone 37 (0) 28 (-1.7) 28 (+4.4) 6.1
5= Harris: Online 35 (-2) 29 (-0.7) 27 (+3.4) 6.1
7 Opinium: online 35 (-2) 27 (-2.7) 26 (+2.4) 7.1
8 YouGov: online 35 (-2) 28 (-1.7) 28 (+4.4) 8.1
9= Angus Reid: online 36 (-1) 24 (-5.7) 29 (+5.4) 12,1
9= BPIX: online 34 (-3) 27 (-2.7) 30 (+6.4) 12.1
9= TNS-BMRB: face to face 33 (-4) 27 (-2.7) 29 (+5.4) 12.1
12 OnePoll: online 30 (-7) 21 (-8.7) 32 (+8.4) 24
Actual GB share 37% 29.7% 23.6%

In May this year the top pollsters for the AV referendum and the Holyrood elections in Scotland carried out their fieldwork by phone.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonPB

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Remember to be at Dirty Dicks this Thursday evening

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Welcome to the first party since Disqus!!

The regular PB get-togethers at the Dirty Dicks pub, just opposite Liverpool Street station in London, have been attracting more and more posters and lurkers. It’s a great chance to put faces to names and to chew over the issues of the day.

Our pre-Christmas party is this Thursday starting at about 6.30pm. Fat Steve (why he calls himself that I don’t know) has arranged yet again that an area at the on the first floor will be for our use. It’s worked well before and let’s hope it does so again.

Try to make it if you can.

  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints, please contact her at
  • Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonPB