Archive for October, 2013


Local By-Election Preview: All Hallow’s Eve 2013

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Pillgwenlly on Newport (Lab Defence)
Result of last council election (2012): Lab 37, Con 10, Ind 2, Lib Dem 1 (Labour overall majority of 24)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 756, 703 (64%)
Conservative 306 (14%)
Plaid Cymru 277 (12%)
Liberal Democrats 150, 71 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Omar Ali (Lab), Paul Haliday (Lib Dem), Tony Ismail (Con), Khalilur Rahman (Plaid)

Newpoort came into existence as a unitary authority in 1995, following the abolition of the Welsh counties and the reorganisation of the districts into unitary authorities by John Redwood. In those first elections, Labour ruled the roost polling 72% of the vote and winnning 46 out of the 47 councillors on the council. The next elections, held at the same time as the National Assembly elections reflected the loss of Labour support all across Wales as Labour only managed to poll 51% of the vote but despite that still managed to notch up a very impressive 40 councillors. For the 2004 local elections, boundary changes came into play increasing the number of seats on the council to 50, but Labour it appeared was on a downward spiral. Polling just 41% they managed to win 31 seats and in 2008, the inveitable happened, Labour lost overall control of the council (winning just 22 seats) and came within 132 votes of not winning the popular vote across the council area. In the space of just 13 years, Labour had lost half it’s support and half of it’s councillors. Then along came the Westminster general election and the coalition agreement and everything suddenly came up roses for Labour. In Newport Labour polled a staggering 53% (up 17% on the 2008 local elections) and made 15 gains to retake control of the council on a swing of 12% from Con to Lab, but the real casulaties in that election were the Liberal Democrats. They fell from 24% in 2008 to just 11% and suffered eight losses, suggesting that Labour are more than likely to win this by-election and making the real question “Can any of the opposition parties mount an effective challenge?”


How actual migration numbers appear to follow concern level in Ipsos-MORI issues index

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Other news from this afternoon’s Ipsos-MORI Issues Index


CORRECTION: New YouGov Scottish IndyRef poll finds NO with 24pc lead

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

30% of 2011 SNP supporters say they’ll vote NO

There’s a new YouGov Scottish IndyRef poll which has NO 24% ahead. This is broadly in line with what we’ve seen from other pollsters.

The gender gap is something that all the pollsters are picking up and clearly YES has a big challenge making inroads with women.

There is a long way to go and don’t underestimate Alex Salmond.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE The poll itself appeared on the YouGov site this afternoon and I thought it was a new survey. It wasn’t. My apologies
  • Mike Smithson

    For the latest polling and political betting news


    Why the electoral bias against the Conservatives could be even greater next time

    Thursday, October 31st, 2013

    Disproportionate 2010 LD>LAB switching in the marginals could shift more seats

    We all know that the national vote threshold for LAB overall majority is considerably lower than for the Tories. The reason is partly the boundaries but mostly down to the way the Labour vote is distributed.

    Generally LAB supporters appear much less likely to turnout in seats where the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

      But could the overall bias against the Conservatives be even greater at GE2015 than at previous elections?

    For one pattern picked up by last month’s massive 12,800 sample phone poll of 40 CON held marginals by Lord Ashcroft was that 2010 LDs appeared to be more likely to switch to LAB in the battlegrounds than in a national comparison poll carried out at the same time.

    The chart above shows the difference.

    Overall Ashcroft found a 6% CON>LAB swing compared with an 8.5% one in the marginals a differential partly driven by the LD switchers. This was not a fluke finding from one poll. In an earlier Ashcroft marginals poll in August 2011 LAB was doing better in the marginals than elsewhere.

    Indeed one of the factors that adds credence to this polling is that the pattern of the latest polling was similar to the earlier the main difference now being the impact of UKIP.

    The main things you look for in polls of the marginals are whether there’s a different pattern of support – and both Lord Ashcroft’s polls have found that.

    But there’s little doubt from both sets of surveys that a big driver of the difference was the group of 2010 LDs.

    Given that it’s reckoned that on a normal swing LAB could achieve a majority with a lead of 2-3% then it is theoreticaly possible that EdM’s party could poll fewer votes overall than the Conservatives and still squeeze a majority.

    Mike Smithson


    PB Nighthawks is now open

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    Home of the web’s best political conversation

    If you’re suffering from a lack of Rapid Eye Movement sleep, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

    If you’re a lurker, why not leave the Great Beyond and delurk. Don’t worry, if you delurk,  you won’t be saying, It’s the End of the World as We Know It, You’ll become Shiny Happy People if you delurk.

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

    1. Unite, Grangemouth and a long ago ex-girlfriend of mine.
    2. PMQs Verdict: Miliband must avoid being a “one trick pony” – but on energy prices, Cameron is a “no trick pony”
    3. At PMQs, David Cameron needs to calm down and copy Tony Blair
    4. Families now spend MORE of their income on household bills than during the recession without feeling effects of recovery
    5. Gordon Brown (former PM but still MP) describes himself as ‘ex-politician’
    6. Sarah Brown (No, not that Sarah Brown): Sexist Labour needs All Women Shortlists, the Liberal Democrats can change without them
    7. Can Nick Clegg hold the line on not offering any red lines?
    8. Robert Webb tells Russell Brand: your New Statesman essay has made me rejoin the Labour party.
    9. John Denham warns against Labour division on HS2 rail line. In an article for Progress magazine, former cabinet minister urges party to act in national interest and support the project
    10. HS2 won’t solve the North’s economic problems – it might make them worse
    11. Blair does a Major and ruins Miliband’s week, saying Labour should have made cuts before the crash
    12. Poundland case: government defeated again over employment schemes. Iain Duncan Smith’s appeal to supreme court fails as justices rule work programmes were legally flawed
    13. The Poundland ruling sends out the wrong message about workfare. The supreme court judgement leaves the impression that no obligations are attached to the receipt of benefits
    14.  Discrimination during election campaigns should be reported
    15. Diary of an anonymous MP’s researcher reveals ‘bullying’ behaviour
    16. Who is the leader of the Respect party these days?
    17. Quitting the English Defence League: When Tommy Met Mo
    18. Police ethics ‘fall well short’, warns report
    19. Jam will be reduced to ‘coloured mud’ under plans to cut sugar levels which spell the ‘end of the British breakfast as we know it
    20. A teacher in Scotland who told students that “Hitler wasn’t all bad”, because he killed gay people, has been struck off.
    21. Yorkshire – it’s even better than we thought! - Yorkshire is the third best region in the world, better than Texas, Mallorca and Hunan in China, according to Lonely Planet’s 2014 Best in Travel list
    22. 30 of the ugliest football kits you will ever see
    23. Law firm selects mutant carrot as mascot 
    24. The Geek in me says, The Ohio State University Marching Band does the greatest thing ever done by humanity.





    The message from bookies offering GE2015 seat markets is that LAB is some way off an overall majority

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    In the good old days of political betting, which sadly are no more, the number of seats the parties would get at the next general election were traded like stocks and shares. For those who followed the polls and fancied their political prediction skills this offered a lot of opportunities.

      Thus on the morning of the May 2010 general election the buy level on LAB on the spread betting markets was 226 seats – 31 short of what the party eventually got. So a bet at the £10 level would have produced a profit of 31 times 10 = £310.

    Those who bought the Tories at the same time would have got on at 324 seats – 18 more than they ended up with. So a £10 bet would have produced a loss of £180.

    But the real wonder was that you didn’t have to wait until the election to make money. You could buy and sell positions at any time pocketing any profits.

    Spread-betting was wonderful and one of the reasons I set up this blog.

    Maybe we’ll see the spread firms running markets at GE2015 but don’t hold your breath.

    In the meantime we do have the “line betting” markets from PaddyPower and Ladbrokes. Here you bet either under or over the stated level which moves up and down according to where the money is going.

    The latest prices are above.

    Mike Smithson

    For the latest polling and political betting news


    EdM still tight odds on favourite to be next PM

    Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

    Above is the latest betting on PaddyPower on who will be next PM.

    As can be seen there’s not much of a return in prospect for those backing Miliband.

    Betting sentiment is still on an outcome that sees the LAB leader entering Number 10.

    The price assumes that both LAB are in a position to form a government after GE2015 and that Ed is still leader. While the latter is now in less doubt than it was there must always be an element on uncertainty.

    As to the GE2015 result the betting reflects the polls.

    Whatever there are better bets to be had.

    Mike Smithson

    For the latest polling and political betting news


    Peter the Punter on the US elections

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    The Big Picture, Midterms, Hillary

    It may seem a little early to focus on the US Elections – the Midterms are still a year away and the Presidentials are not due until November 2016 – but regular political punters will know the importance of reviewing the field early. US Politics have provided us with some of our richest pickings and it has often been the case that great value has been obtained by taking an early position. I should say now is about the right time to start building up your US portfolio, and with that in mind I contacted my favourite mole, a Democrat Party worker in California, and we went over the form together.

    It is probably a tribute to the wit and wisdom of PB’s regular US contributors that she had little to say that was novel and on the whole she reinforced what we hear from time to time from our many excellent US posters, such as TimB and Hyufd, but a quick review of the odds and my own thoughts might help some to judge where a little value can be found.

    1. The Shutdown

    The big current issue is of course the Government shutdown resulting from the debt crisis and – from a betting viewpoint – who won, who lost, and whose odds are now too big?

    While the consensus seems to be that the Republican Party [GOP] came off worse than the Democrats, neither came out of it well. Generally speaking, ‘Government’ did badly. Moreover, some leaders who may have been criticised nationally for their role in creating the impasse nevertheless benefited locally from their firm stance. In this sense, the old cliché that all politics is local rings true, so we can expect to see some candidates emerging stronger despite espousing policies that are not necessarily popular nationally. Ted Cruz, junior Senator from Texas, is an obvious example.

    There may be some value in identifying such candidates now and backing them ahead of the rush – and Cruz at 16/1 for the Republican nomination looks a sound trading bet to me – but the more cautious may wish to wait until January is out. We are due a rerun of the debt crisis early next year and it may be that the voting public will take a different or harsher view of their representatives next time around. Some senior GOP politicians, such as Rick Santorum, have tried to temper the Party’s more belligerent wing, fearing a public backlash. However, local candidates are often roared on by a vocal Party base which can make such appeals futile. It is hard to predict how this will all play out in electoral terms. My own view is that the GOP is at the greater risk, but the situation is volatile, and I would not commit much money on the likely outcome.

    2. The Midterms

    There is little of interest to punters here. The consensus seems to be that in terms of votes, the Democrats should do quite well, but the incumbent Party is vulnerable in very few House seats and the Republicans should hold on to their majority comfortably, as the odds of 1/6 suggest.

    It’s slightly different in the Senate, where voters are somewhat less likely to cling to Party allegiances. You can have 5/6 either Party. I would be more inclined towards the Dems at those odds, but they hardly set the pulse racing.

    Don’t be persuaded either way by the outcome of the imminent election for the Governor of Virginia. Local factors predominate and the contest was described to me as ‘…an asshole versus a train-wreck’. The asshole is likely to win but there is no betting market to speak of and few implications for the national picture.

    3. Hillary

    Although PB has a network of spies and informants that would make the CIA envious, it has so far been unable to unearth any reliable information on Hillary Clinton’s health and whether it would prevent her from running, or indeed whether she even wants to run. The equation is simple. If she stands for the Democratic Party nomination, she wins. I simply do not see any other candidate with a hope of beating her. Few are likely to try and the nomination process should therefore place little strain on her energies and resources. If you take her health on trust therefore – and I would be inclined to – the 6/4 on offer from William Hill is exceptional value, even allowing for the eighteen months or so you have to wait before you collect.

    It follows that the 11/4 (Stan James) for her to be next President would also be good value. All the polling indications are that she wins against even the very best GOP candidate (probably Christie, but possibly Bush, Ryan or Rubio), assuming they pick the best, which on past form is far from certain.

    It’s a completely different ball game, however, if she does not run. Don’t rule out Joe Biden. He may seem a little dull and uncharismatic, and he may suffer from foot-in-mouth disease, but rather like George W, he has a folksy charm which appeals to a broad electorate. At 16/1 he’s a good cover bet. Elizabeth Warren, 20/1, would delight the Democrat base, but energise the GOP. She is unlikely to feature unless it looks like the GOP will nominate a whackjob. Similar comments apply to Kirsten Gillibrand at 20/1. I backed her at bigger prices, but realistically she can only be a trading bet now. Cuomo, 16/1, ticks a lot of boxes but is a New Yorker, which seems to be a virtual disqualification these days.

    I don’t see any other Democrat likely to beat a half-sensible Republican choice.

    You can get evens with Bet365 about a Democrat winner of the Presidency in 2016. That seems pretty fair value to me, since you are probably on Hillary at good odds, with a saver on Biden if she drops out. Similarly, I think the odds of 5/2 (William Hill) on a female winner are good, since there are several plausible female winners in addition to Hillary. You could even be paid out early if the showdown is between, say, Clinton and Martinez. That’s by no means an impossible scenario, but I am digressing now into the Republican side of the equation. It is the more interesting side, in my opinion, with the better betting opportunities, but I’ll cover that in a separate piece.

    Peter Smith [Peter the Punter]