Archive for September, 2014


Lord Ashcroft poll is out – Labour is on course for a majority

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

There’s a 6 point swing from Con to Lab in this polling – This would put Ed Miliband into Downing Street with a majority of 62, assuming UNS.


It also makes for unpleasant reading for the Lib Dems, as Lord Ashcroft notes, A lesson from the blue-yellow marginals. Incumbency is not enough, it appears that the Yellows are on course to lose seats to both the Tories and Labour.

All the Lord Ashcroft polling is available here.

What makes the Ashcroft polling so good is the large sample sizes in each of the constituencies (usually around 1,000, which is the same as some of some GB wide VI polls), so we can draw definitive conclusions.

Note: Re Watford, the Ashcroft polling has it as a Labour gain, but the fieldwork was conducted before the Lib Dems selected their Mayor as their candidate, even before that, the Lab only had a lead of 4% of the Lib Dems, and only 2% ahead of the Tories.

But should Ed Miliband start measuring up the curtains for Downing Street? In October 2009, the politics home marginals poll had the Tories on course for a majority of 70. As Lord Ashcroft notes today “Most of those who have switched from the Tories say they will still consider voting for the party next May……But to most people the election might as well be eight years away, never mind eight months. Most of the uncommitted voters who took part in my research had given it little or no thought and did not intend to until much closer to the day. There is still time for the Tories to their fortunes around before next May.”



Rochester and Strood: The betting begins with UKIP the odds-on favourite

Sunday, September 28th, 2014


My initial thinking is to back the Tories and Labour, based on the following tweets last night, and well Labour could come through the middle.

Hopefully other bookies will open markets on this by election.




As we await the Lord Ashcroft polling this afternoon

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Here’s a preview of what to expect

(Note these are my selected highlights)

  1. Just over a quarter of those who voted Conservative in 2010 said they would vote for a different party in an election tomorrow.
  2. Nearly three-quarters of these now support Ukip, with most of the remainder going to Labour.
  3. Most of those who have switched from the Tories say they will still consider voting for the party next May.
  4. About 1 in 8 of those who did not vote for the party in 2010 say they may do so next time. These people are united by a positive view of the prime minister and the belief that the Tories are on the right track and need more time to finish the job.
  5. But for most people the election might as well be eight years away, never mind eight months. Most of the uncommitted voters who took part in my research had given it little or no thought and did not intend to until much closer to the day. There is still time for the Tories to turn their fortunes around before next May.
  6. Nearly 9 in 10 Tory loyalists and those who have switched to the party since 2010 said either that they were already feeling some of the benefits of the recovery or, more likely, that they were not feeling any better off yet but expected to do so at some point.
  7. Meanwhile, more than 4 in 10 defectors said they had not seen an improvement in their circumstances and did not expect any. Ukip voters were the most likely of all to think any recovery would pass them by.
  8.  More than three-quarters of loyalists and 7 in 10 Tory converts said cuts needed to continue for the next five years; nearly half of defectors said either austerity was no longer necessary or had never been needed in the first place.

Lord Ashcroft’s article for the Sunday Times is available here, it is not paywalled

I’m expecting the full polling out at 2pm, I’ll do a thread on that, what makes the Lord Ashcroft polling so interesting, is the large sample sizes, in this instance 8,000 people were polled.

But based on these excerpts so far, given the events of yesterday, there’s enough grounds for optimism for the Blues, particularly points 3 and 5. However 1, 7 & 8 will cause some alarm for team Blue.



It’s like back to the 90s for the Tories on what is turning out to be Cameron’s Black Saturday

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Today reminds me of the 1990s and the end of John Major’s administration.

First up was Mark Reckless’ defection to UKIP and in the last hour or so, Brooks Newmark, the Conservative minister for civil society, resigns after being caught sending explicit photographs of himself to women over the internet. 

For those who were optimistic that the Tories would remain in power post May 2015, today probably extinguished those hopes.

I still think there’s one defection to come, timed for maximum impact for Cameron’s conference speech on Wednesday.

It should be remembered that Cameron’s best conference speech was in 2007, when it looked inevitable that Gordon Brown was going to call a snap election and win, Cameron’s speech and the wider conference stopped Gordon Brown’s momentum.

Tonight’s polling see’s Labour’s lead up four to six points with ComRes for the Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror.


The usual caveats of conference polling apply, in the past, polling conducted during the conferences can be volatile, and sees a boost for the party holding the conference during the week of the fieldwork.

For those hoping that coming up with a solution to the West Lothian Question might be a vote winner, ComRes asked “The government has more important questions to deal with than whether or not Scottish MPs vote on English laws” 57% agreed with that statement, 24% disagreed, and 18% said Don’t Know.

ComRes have also published their unfavourable/favourable ratings, where there is an * next to the name/organisation/party, that means this is the first time they have polled on this topic.

I’m expecting an Opinium poll for the Observer and the usual YouGov for the Sunday Times, I’ll update this thread, when they are published.

Update – Opinium poll is out

Update II – YouGov Sunday Times polling




Tory MP Mark Reckless defects to UKIP

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Not the start Cameron wanted before the Tory conference



UPDATE III – constituency phone polling by Survation in Rotherham, Boston & Skegness and North Thanet



David Herdson on whether Miliband can breeze to victory on the strength of not being Tory

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Is Labour keeping its powder dry or was that all there is?

Like many a football team 2-1 up in a cup tie with ten minutes to go, a cautious defensiveness seems to have settled over the Labour Party, judging by their conference just gone.  The contrast with last year’s headline-grabbing energy price freeze policy was stark.  The big announcements were to increase the minimum wage by about 4p a year more than the average RPI rate for the current parliament, and to adopt a Lib Dem policy from 2010.

It’s not earth-shattering stuff but then may not need to be.  There’s no need to risk scaring the horses with a big surprise when the present strategy is working well enough.  Labour no doubt have no desire to risk the mistake the Tories made in 2009-10 when the Conservatives rolled out a series of policies, only for them to be ruthlessly attacking by Labour so that instead of the Blues looking like they’d captured the agenda, it looked like policy disarray.  ‘Steady as she goes’ has its merits.

And yet is all seems desperately unambitious.  It’s true that many of the announcements enjoyed public approval but that doesn’t mean they had deep support.  The public agreed with William Hague over keeping the Pound in 2001. For the moment, that doesn’t matter. 

    Labour appears to believe that simply not being the Conservatives will be enough to secure victory: this week was not about preparing for the election, it was about preparing for government, hence Ed Balls’ claimed commitment to clearing the deficit. 

Whether that policy is credible is another matter – the Tories could and should make much of Labour’s spending black holes (but haven’t), but the interesting thing is that Labour chose not to go populist in their last conference before the election.

They may be justified in that confidence.  As has been frequently pointed out, the combination of LD to Lab switchers and the efficient distribution of Labour’s vote puts them in a very strong starting position.  Their biggest concern should be holding on to their former core vote – the by-elections in Heywood & Middleton and for the S Yorks PCC post should give some idea of how real that threat is.  Even so, with Labour less unpopular as a party than the Conservatives, negative campaigning and appealing for tactical votes should also help Miliband.

However, as the Lib Dems have found out, there are limits to how far tactical campaigning can get you.  It only works if you retain your position as least-worst relevant option and it tends to produce weak support that will rapidly drift off if given a reason for disillusionment.  A Miliband-led Labour government elected primarily because it wasn’t the Tories could find itself in an extremely weak polling position very quickly – but it would still be a Labour government and that trumps short-term polling any day.

The big question is whether Labour does indeed intend to try and play electoral keep-ball through to May and just take opportunities to hit on the break as they arise.  As in football, the risk in doing so is that supporters become nervous and that feeling is transmitted to the playing field, while the opposition is handed the initiative and, if they score, the momentum.

David Herdson


Local By-Election Results : September 25th 2014 – UPDATE and a Marf cartoon

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Epping, Hemnal on Epping Forest (Conservative Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 607 (43% +7%), Conservatives 386 (28% -14%), UKIP 339 (24% +16%), Green 69 (5% +1%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 221 (15%) on a swing of 10.5% from Con to Lib Dem

Lovelace on Guildford (Conservative Defence)
Result: Liberal Democrats 555 (61% +47%), Conservatives 255 (28% -43%), UKIP 63 (7%), Labour 32 (4% -11%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 300 (33%) on a swing of 45% from Conservative to Liberal Democrat

Frome North on Somerset (Lib Dem Defence)
Result: Conservatives 1,163 (47% +11%), Liberal Democrats 836 (35% -2%), Labour 163 (7% -4%), Independent 139 (6%), Green 139 (6%)
Conservative GAIN from Liberal Democrat with a majority of 327 (12%) on a swing of 6.5% from Liberal Democrat to Conservative

Update – A cartoon from Marf


Ipsos Mori issues index for September is out

Friday, September 26th, 2014

The two topics Ed forgot in his speech, remain the public’s top two issues, unsurprisingly, Defence/Foreign Affairs/Terrorism is the biggest riser.

The first Ipsos-Mori issues index was published forty years ago, here’s what the issues were back in September 1974

Here’s what the top five issues have been over those forty years

I’ve noted in the past, sometimes perceptions matter more than the facts, here’s a perfect example of this