Archive for September, 2014


UKIP down 2 in this month’s ComRes phone poll for the Independent

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The fieldwork was Friday to Sunday inclusive, so some of it was conducted during Mark Reckless’ defection and Brooks Newmark’s resignation. There’ll probably be relief at Tory HQ, given that and the the polling was conducted in the aftermath of the Labour conference that they are up 1% and not down a significant amount. As with most other pollsters, there’s been no bounce for Labour post their conference. As ever, conference polling can be erratic, and we should wait until the after the conference season before reading too much into the polls.

On dealing with ISIS

Some 45 per cent of the public trust the Prime Minister to make the right decisions on tackling the jihadist group, but only 28 per cent trust the Labour leader to do so.  Although 49 per cent do not trust Mr Cameron to make the right judgements on  the issue, some 63 per cent do not trust Mr Miliband. Four in 10 (41 per cent) of Labour voters trust Mr Cameron to make the right decisions on Isis, but only 18 per cent of Conservative supporters trust Mr Miliband.

Some 48 per cent believe that taking part in such action will make Britain safer in the long term, while 42 per cent disagree. Men (53 per cent) are more likely to agree that such action will make the UK safer than women (41 per cent).

Only 38 per cent agree with the statement that the situation in Iraq and Syria is “none of our business and we should stay out of it,” while 56 per cent disagree.



Marf on Theresa May’s new anti-terrorist measures

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.


Memo to the Tories: Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Since the defection of Mark Reckless to UKIP, I’ve not been surprised at the opprobrium heaped at Mark Reckless from the Tories, mostly because of his timing and his assurances that he wouldn’t defect.

The above tweet, shows the depth of the anger, the thing that should concern the Tories, is the anger and hate is flowing from the very top of the party.

Last night it was reported that David Cameron had used some very salty language when talking about the defector Reckless 

The Prime Minister toured the regional receptions getting steadily more pumped up in his anger about Reckless’ duplicity. Rumour is rife the words ‘effing Reckless’, ‘fat arse’ and ‘dick head’ were blurted out in various versions of a tub-thumping turn by Cameron. The Tories are going to fight Rochester hard’ that was very clear by the time the PM arrived at Conservative Home’s late night reception for the 1922 Committee. By then Dave was in full blown Mr Angry mode, telling activists and media types that Reckless would be punished.

Boris Johnson, last night chipped in with a speech, that was largely reported as him saying ‘Tories who defect to Ukip are kind of people who have sex with vacuum cleaners’

There’s a danger these could be seen as attacks on UKIP voters, the voters the Tories need to win to ensure they win the Rochester & Strood by election and the 2015 General Election.

Ken Clarke’s comments yesterday will not have helped either, he said Farage had “absorbed the BNP vote” and “taken on board BNP followers. He said there was “a nasty undertone” in Farage’s movement. “He does attract elderly male people who have had disappointing lives,”

That said, were another Tory MP defect either today or tomorrow, thus overshadowing David Cameron’s speech, then I expect the opprobrium heaped upon them, will be on another scale than that which has been aimed at Mark Reckless so far.

So my advice, Keep Calm Dave, and focus on winning.



Lord Ashcroft tells the Tories that first time incumbency bonus is not a right – its something that has to be earned

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Why things might be very different on May 7th next year

One of the great hopes that the Tories have clung onto as their polling deficits continue is what’s known as “first time incumbency bonus” – the extra benefit that those MPs defending their seats for the first time have experienced in the past. The chart above shows the average increases in CON votes shares last time based on different categories of seat.

As can be seen new candidates seeking to retain CON seats saw the smallest increases while first time incumbents saw the largest. But will the same happen next May?

In his now large number of single constituency marginal polls Lord Ashcroft has sought to test the impact of incumbency by asking a two stage voting intention question. The first being the standard one and the second asks respondents to think specifically above their own seat and what they might do.

In his report on the latest batch of CON-LD battles the first question results in the LDs being on 20% and the Tories on 36%. The second question responses take this to 32% each which represents a swing of just 2% from LD to CON since 2010.

That’s a colossal turnaround and one which keeps yellow hopes alive. But for Tory incumbents there’s been a very different experience with in some seats no increase being found at all. This is from Lord Ashcroft’s analysis.

“… Historically, MPs standing for re-election after their first term have enjoyed a bigger (or suffered a smaller) swing than their party more widely. My constituency polling, with its two voting intention questions, has allowed us to see to what extent the supposed incumbency advantage is taking effect. Reviewing the results of my seat-by-seat surveys published since May we find that while the Lib Dem vote climbs when voters in Lib Dem seats are asked to think about their local area, this is not always the case for the Conservative vote in Conservative seats. Indeed in the last group of Conservative-held marginals I surveyed in July, the Tory vote fell on the “own constituency” question more often than it rose.

So what is going on? Much of the discussion about this subject effect seems to assume that the incumbency effect is something that just happens to a politician. But it is not – it is something he or she creates (or doesn’t). Incumbency is not so much an advantage in itself as an opportunity to build a profile, make a reputation, and achieve the things that will ultimately be rewarded on election day. I suspect new MPs, knowing they will have a battle to hold on to their often marginal seats, have in the past worked harder than most, thereby creating what has become known as the “first-time” effect. I further suspect that some have registered the existence of the phenomenon without having understood the reasons for it, and now think it will be bestowed upon them gratis by a benevolent electorate. The MPs who enjoy the biggest boost from incumbency will be the ones who earn it.

I’d add another big reason. The Tories are currently the main party of government and there’s data to suggest that incumbency is less of a benefit.

Whatever wise words from Lord A.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Marf on The Curse of the Paisley Pyjamas

Monday, September 29th, 2014

If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.


Iain Dale says a defection is imminent

Monday, September 29th, 2014



Corporeal looks at electoral precedent

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The next election result is likely to be a strange one, as the following Ipsos-Mori tweet alludes to

(On a follow up tweet they noted that it should read no majority government, Wilson’s calling of a swift 2nd election in 1974 produced a small uptick for him).

Indeed if all those rules are fulfilled it might be the weirdest result of all (the Conservatives losing votes but dramatically improving their efficiency of transferring them into seats, the greater number of Lib-Con seats might help with that, but unlikely to be enough).

So much of our image of natural politics is seen through the last 70 years, 1945 might as well be year zero for the dividing line it is used as for meaningful historical comparisons. Historical facts like these are sometimes trotted out, ranging from the useful to the interesting to the extremely tenuous.

Perhaps over time we’ll come to see the post-war years as if not an anomaly, just one more period of British politics rather than the natural definitive state.

‘England does not love coalitions’ is the famous and (since 2010) commonly quoted declaration by Disraeli, which is a quote that doesn’t bear up to much scrutiny.

(In place of scrutiny I’ve put together a cheap bar chart, see end of article for proper scrutiny)

In 1918 Margot Asquith faced with a divided Liberal party, one half in Coalition with the Conservatives and a nascent Labour party, wrote that things would be better as soon as we get back to “normal politics”. Obviously the situation had shifted and normal politics never came back.

A few years back Iain Mclean wrote an excellent piece delving more deeply into the coalitions in the UK that I’d encourage people to read or re-read by clicking here. (That’s the good scrutiny I mentioned earlier)



New marginals polling from ComRes find 5.5% CON to LAB swing

Monday, September 29th, 2014

There’s been a sharp move to LAB since last poll in June

A new ComRes / ITV News poll of the 40 most marginal Labour-Conservative constituencies, shows Labour holding an 11 point lead over the Conservatives. At the 2010 General Election the two parties were tied on 37% across these 40 seats so the swing is 5.5%

The latest figures together with comparisons on GE2010 and the last such poll by ComRes in June are shown in the chart above.

    It should be emphasised that the sample size is 1,000 people in total so on a completely different scale to the Ashcroft marginals polling that we are used to where there are samples of 1,000 in each seat.

The Ed Miliband polling paradox continues here. Despite having an 11% lead in the voting intention, 59% said Ed Miliband puts me off voting for Labour, whilst 18% said Ed Miliband encourages me to vote for Labour. 46% say I’d rather have David Cameron than Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. Whilst 33% say I’d rather have Ed Miliband than David Cameron as Prime Minister.

For those looking for further evidence for tactical voting against UKIP, 51% say I’d never consider voting UKIP, 33% say I would consider voting UKIP at the General Election next year.

When asked specifically about their constituency 51% say I’d never vote for UKIP, even if they could win in my constituency, whilst 30% I’d vote for UKIP if I thought they could win in my constituency.

There’s some good news for the Lib Dems

“In the event of a Coalition after the next election, the Liberal Democrats are preferred to UKIP as the junior partner by 42%, compared to 35% who would rather see UKIP in a Coalition. Conservatives appear split on the choice of a Coalition partner, with 47% preferring the Liberal Democrats and 40% in favour of UKIP.”

Methodology Note:

ComRes for ITV News interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 GB adults living in the 40 most marginal constituencies where the Conservatives and Labour shared first and second place between them at the last General Election in 2010. Interviews were carried out online between the 18th and 26th September 2014. Of these 40 constituencies, 25 currently have a Conservative MP and 15 currently have a Labour MP. Each constituency is represented in the sample equally, with results weighted to be representative of all adults in all 40 constituencies as a whole. Data were also weighted by past vote recall