Archive for May, 2013


Two years before an election, how much of a lead does the Opposition have.

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

The one thing I’ve most read on British politics in recent months, is that Labour should be doing better,

What the below graph shows is how much of a lead in voting intentions the opposition has two years before an election with Ipsos-Mori (note the figure for Margaret Thatcher is from March 1977, a little under 26 months before an election)

As we can see, generally speaking most oppositions have a lead two years before an election, the exceptions being William Hague and IDS who were facing Tony Blair, who could be accurately described as the most successful politician of recent times.

Ed Miliband does has a lead, but in comparison to leads held by other oppositions, it is smaller, than most,  even Michael Foot had a larger lead, and he has been considered the benchmark for bad Leaders of the Opposition.

But a larger lead is no guarantee of electoral success two years later, Neil Kinnock held a 23% lead in April 1990, but lost the subsequent election (although that may have been because of the Tory Party replacing Margaret Thatcher before the election)

I’ve done a similar exercise with the ICM/Guardian series, since this series started in 1984, we don’t have equivalent figures for Margaret Thatcher and Michael Foot, but for subsequent leaders, the trend is similar, and Labour’s current position matches roughly what the Ipsos Mori series shows.



I’ve added another graph, this shows the lead the Leader of the Opposition has over the Prime Minister in net satisfaction ratings two years before an election with Mori.


Note: Mike Smithson is currently on holiday. 


Polling averages and changes with the Phone Pollsters since January

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Without rehearsing the discussions on PB on why some of us prefer phone pollsters, in recent days, a few posters have asked me to revive the PB polling average.

I’ve slightly modified from what happened in the past.

What I’ve done is average the monthly phone polls from January this year, month by month, since ending of Populus’ contract with the Times, we only have three regular monthly phone polls, The ICM for The Guardian, Ipsos-Mori’s regular political monitor, and ComRes’ phone poll for the Independent.

First up, how the each party averages, month by month, by party, on the UKIP tab, we can see since January they’ve nearly doubled from 8.33% to 16%, Labour have fallen from 40% to 34%, the Tories down 2% from 31.67% to 29.67%, whilst the Lib Dems down are down a mere 0.67% in the same period.

Then, Monthly averages comparison


Finally how the parties’ averages have changed since January.

It is clear the big winner has been UKIP, up on average 7.67% since January.

Interestingly the big loser is Labour, whose average has fallen by 6% since January (8% since February), the Tories are on average down 2% in the same period, consequently, Labour’s lead over the Tories has fallen from an average 8.33% in Janaury, to 4.33% in May.

Overall, both the major parties will be alarmed, The Tories are consistently polling near their core vote level, Labour will be alarmed to be shedding quite so many votes, and the fact they aren’t the repository of the mid term protest vote in the way UKIP are. The Lib Dems will be relieved that they’ve not lost any more support, whilst UKIP will be delighted.

I will do a similar thread for the online pollsters, on Sunday, when all the onlinee polls conducted in May have been published.



Note: Mike Smithson is currently on holiday


PB Nighthawks is now open

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Home of the web’s best political conversation

A great philosopher once wrote, Drop in, relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB Night Hawks.

If you’ve always been a lurker, you should Move any mountain to start posting.

The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant story)


UPDATE – New ComRes phone poll out for the Independent.

As we can see both two major parties take a hit, whilst UKIP go up, it is Labour’s lowest lead with ComRes since September 2012.

The lead of 4% makes Ipsos-Mori’s poll showing Labour a lead of 3% less of an outlier.

The fieldwork was Friday to Sunday, so over the bank holiday weekend.




 Note: Mike Smithson is currently on holiday


ComRes online Westminster VI poll

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Following on from the release of the ComRes’ European Election VI for Open Europe yesterday, today Open Europe have released the Westminster voting intention poll that was carried out at the same time.

The changes are from the last ComRes online poll for The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror,

The Conservatives will be worried that their polling has slipped into the mid 20s, only six points ahead of UKIP, those survation polls with the Conservatives only 2% ahead of UKIP are looking less like outliers.

Labour will be delighted with their lead nearly doubling from 6% to 11%.

This is UKIP’s joint highest poll rating, and their highest rating with a pollster that past vote weights.

This is UKIP’s highest  ever polling with ComRes.

Baxtering this poll, would lead to a Labour Majority of 110, with Labour on 380 seats, a net gain of 122, The Tories losing a net 94, and ending up with 213 seats.

The Lib Dems would fall from 57 seats to 31.

UKIP would end up with zero MPs.

I have to admit, I’m struggling how to reconcile how this VI matches up with the European Election VI published yesterday.

The differences between Westminster and European intentions are:

Lab -14

Con -5


LD +8

Others +4

Nick Palmer on the previous thread  wrote

“That’s really the strangest poll I’ve ever seen. With the same sample”

We will have a better idea once ComRes put the full data tables on their website.

Methodology Note:

ComRes interviewed 2,003 GB adults online between 22nd and 24th May 2013.

Data were weighted to be representative British adults aged 18+. Data were also politically weighted to past vote recall.



Note: Mike Smithson is currently on holiday


Is Philip Hammond on maneuvers, and should you be backing him as next out of the cabinet?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

In recent months, Philip Hammond has been offering his views on a range of topics, from Philip Hammond: cut welfare not troops  to Gay marriage laws have created ‘real sense of anger says Philip Hammond and finally, on that perennial fault line for the Conservative party, when he said, he would vote to leave the European Union which led to a rebuke from the Prime Minister.

Following those interventions, the Sunday Telegraph reported over the weekend that

Members of the Prime Minister’s inner circle have become increasingly concerned about Mr Hammond’s readiness to speak out on a number of “touchstone” issues for the Tory right – including Europe, same-sex marriage and defence cuts.

Some senior figures around Mr Cameron are even concerned that he will use rows about cuts to the Ministry of Defence’s Budget in the year following the next general election to quit the cabinet and set himself up as the “leader of the Right.”

You can back Philip Hammond as next out of the cabinet at 33/1 with Ladbrokes

You can back Philip Hammond as next Tory leader at a best price of 10/1 with Ladbrokes, if you think he’ll make his move before the election, you can back him to be the next Prime Minister at 25/1 with William Hill.

His interventions will go down with sections of the Tory Party, who are opposed to Defence cuts, gay marriage and would love to see the UK’s exit from the European Union, the one advantage he does hold over Theresa May, the other cabinet minister, who is reportedly on maneuvers,  is that he never described the party as the Nasty Party, and it is conservative party members who will have the final say on who replaces David Cameron.



PB Night hawks is now open

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Home of the web’s best political conversation

If you’ve had a Blue Monday, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events.

If you’ve always been a lurker, Get Ready, this thread is for you, you’ll have a New Order in your life, if you start posting, I’m sure you’ll have a Fine Time.

The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant story)





Comres: European Election poll

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Comres has conducted a poll for Open Europe on the European elections next year, the changes are from the European elections in 2009,

The fieldwork was from the 22nd until the 24th of May, and 2003 adults were surveyed

UKIP will be delighted with this poll, the Tories will be alarmed to be polling at 21% but delighted they’re only 2% behind Labour. The Lib Dems are polling higher than they did in 2009.

The other salient parts (from the Times report)

In a rare boost for the Prime Minister, the survey reveals widespread support for his strategy of reforming Britain’s relationship with Brussels.

Asked to select the best option for the future of Britain’s relationship with Europe, the most popular response reflected Mr Cameron’s stated strategy: 38 per cent approved of repatriating powers from Brussels but remaining in the EU. One in four wanted to withdraw completely.

No more than 61 per cent of UKIP voters said that they wanted Britain to pull out altogether, suggesting that Mr Farage’s party is profiting from discontent on a wide range of issues, rather than on Europe alone. Liberal Democrat and Labour voters also backed Mr Cameron, suggesting that Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg could find themselves out of touch with their supporters if they maintain their opposition to an EU referendum.

Apologies for the brief post, I’m taking the information from a Times article, and there’s very little in this article and there’s not much else on the internet.

I’ll update this thread when more information/the data tables are out.



There was a comres poll in January.

Then the VI for the Euros was

ComRes/People – CON 22%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 23%, GRN 5%, Others 8%

Which means changes since then are


Lab -12

Tories -1

LD + 10

Others -2



Is Ed Miliband Cameron’s secret antidote to the UKIP surge?

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

A little over a week ago, there was a report in The Times (££) talking about UKIP’s future fundraising plans.

In a significant re-casting of its pitch to would-be supporters, the party is asking voters to “lend” their support for next year’s European elections but to give no further commitment.

To achieve this, they will set up a special bank account, the “2014 Campaign Account”.

The main reason for UKIP doing this is

“[voters] fear that an insurgent Nigel Farage will let Labour into power”

With reports

Where groups used to describe Ed Miliband as “weird”, they now tend to call him “weak”.

Ed Miliband is judged to be too weak to stand up for the country, too weak to take the tough decisions most believe are unavoidable, and too weak to stand up to Ed Balls, the unions or world leaders.

I wonder if we’ll hear the “Vote UKIP get Miliband” meme a lot more in the upcoming months, especially with UKIP effectively admitting the “Vote UKIP, get Miliband” line has the potential to damage them.

As has been noted before, UKIP are disproportionately taking votes from people who voted Tory in the past, they could be more receptive to the perceived dangers of voting UKIP and letting Ed Miliband become Prime Minister.

Time will tell if it will be effective.