Archive for November, 2014


Until we can get a clearer fix on LAB in Scotland GE15 is almost impossible to call

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

LAB Poster (1)

Why I’m not betting on LAB seat numbers

By my reckoning LAB, based on the Lord Ashcroft polling of the marginals, could be on target to make at least 50 gains or more from CON and the LDs at GE2015. More LAB possibles might come into the frame when Lord A has polled seats with CON majorities higher up target list.

The big shadow hanging over the red team is that it currently has 41 seats in Scotland many of which could now be in jeopardy following the post-IndyRef SNP surge. What is hard to get a handle on is how many are vulnerable.

    For LAB could find itself chalking up a reasonable number of gains south of the border only to find these being almost offset by losses in Scotland.

I’ve been very cautious about Scottish UNS swing projections for the simple reason that the IndyRef showed very different outcomes in different parts of the country. In areas where YES came out with smaller numbers you would assume that the SNP is making less progress than those where it did well. The political landscape there has changed and national data does not suffice.

We await Lord A’s next round which hopefully will include some Scottish constituencies.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The ongoing research into who the kippers actually are and whether they hurt LAB as much as CON

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The evidence, surely, points to CON being most vulnerable

On Tuesday night I was at one of my most favourite events – the annual awards dinner of the Political Studies Association where this year leading political scientists Matthew Goodwin and Rob Ford won a top prize for their study of the rise of UKIP “Revolt on the Right”. This timely work has set off a lot of debate particularly the suggestion the Farage’s party will hurt LAB as much as CON on May 7th next year.

That has led to some controversy not least because poll after poll has shown that many more 2010 Tories have switched than 2010 LAB voters. To look at this properly you’e got to analyse the overall kipper vote in a poll and work out where it comes from. In almost every case 2010 CON voters are a long way ahead of 2010 LAB ones. I’ve had a number of Twitter exchanges with Matt Goodwin on this.

So it was with particularly interest that I read a review of the Ford/Goodwin thesis by Eric Kaufmann, Professor of Politics at Birkbeck, University of London and, Gareth Harris, author of the recent Demos report, Changing Places. This was highlighted by anotherDave on a previous thread. The following are extracts:_

“…On the face of it, Ukip should dent Labour more than the Tories. Ukip voters are, though not the most working-class, no less working-class than Labour. Surely Labour contains a more promising reservoir of potential Ukippers than the Tories?

Unfortunately for David Cameron, concrete evidence for this claim is hard to come by. Instead, the evidence is that culturally-conservative working-class Tories provide the bulk of Ukip defectors. The 2015 British Election Study (BES) internet panel surveys find that of those planning to vote Ukip in 2015, 40 per cent reported they voted Tory in 2010 against just 11 per cent who said they voted Labour. This is not just because people are sick of whoever is in office, which in this case happens to be Cameron. Around 20 per cent of those intending to vote Ukip in 2015 voted for Blair in 2005. Yet in that contest over 33 per cent said they voted for Michael Howard, a much larger slice than plumped for Blair

In short, ex-Tories outnumber ex-Labour voters within the ranks of prospective Ukip voters by a large margin.”..

The review goes on

“…..The BES and UKHLS confirm that Ukip voters come disproportionately from the middle, rather than lower, rungs of the income spectrum. They are more likely to be homeowners, employed and politically conscious than the average white adult. True, older voters, and younger voters without qualifications, are overrepresented in the party. But this points to status rather than class, culture as opposed to economic position, as the motor of Ukip support.

In the BES, 18 per cent of White British people intend to vote Ukip in 2015. Among the 5500 whites polled who have university degrees but are poorer than average, support drops to just 11 per cent. For the 7300 whites in the sample lacking university degrees who are wealthier than average, it jumps to 21 per cent. The archetypal Ukiper is a successful plumber, comfortable retiree or construction foreman, not an unemployed, deskilled casualty of globalisation. They are ‘left out’ of the status elite, and therefore resentful, but are not left behind by the modern economy. This is why economic palliatives will not lure them back to the mainstream. Finally, what distinguishes Ukip supporters more than anything else are their views on immigration and Europe, irrespective of class…”

To me the Kaufman description resonates.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


There’s nothing Farage could do about this this but Nick Griffin backing UKIP isn’t good news for the purples

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Meanwhile Farage’s price in Thanet S continues to weaken


Key seats betting round-up and news of another constituency poll where UKIP doing well

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam

Farage’s Thanet South

Rochester: Can Mark Reckless repeat by-election success?

UKIP in Camborne might be worth a punt. See this from Corporeal

Acting for Exeter University’s Falmouth campus (and their documentary on the 2015 election in Cornwall []) Survation have polled the Camborne and Redruth Constituency

A couple of caveats, sample was 500 and the question wording is slightly different from Survation’s normal format, but with those safely out of the way the numbers made very interesting reading.

The topline results were actually rather spectacular, showing Farming Minister George Eustice losing his seat to UKIP’s surge: UKIP 33% Con 30% Lab 22% Gre 7% LD 6%. Naming candidates in the voting intention question shifted this to a still striking but slightly less dramatic: UKIP 28% Con 34% Lab 18% Gre 6% LD 13%

Finally from William Hill


Harnessing envy and resentment could be the key to GE15

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Never mind “we’re all in it together”: eat the rich (or foreigners)!

Blame is of almost limitless supply in politics but that’s not to say it doesn’t retain significant value if fashioned with skill. Two policy announcements this week gave ample good indication that both Labour and the Conservatives are more than willing to make much of that raw material over the next six months. On the one hand, Labour built on its pledge to put up income tax and introduce a mansion tax by targeting private schools; on the other, the Conservatives sought to address their abundant failure to control immigration by proposing deeper cuts to benefits for migrants. What they have in common is that both parties’ policies are likely to be superficially popular, both run counter to their record of delivery in government and both target unpopular minorities perceived to be doing too well in straightened economic times.

Whether they’ll be successful in doing so is another matter. For one thing, as mentioned, neither has clean hands on their topics of choice; for another, it’s difficult leading a people’s revolution when you’re seen as being a class apart from the people.

There should be little doubt that the disillusionment with the established Westminster parties is just a part of a wider and widespread resentment of an apparently self-insulated and out-of-touch elite not just in politics (see Emily Thornberry and Andrew Mitchell for recent examples) but across all sectors, public and private, reaping great rewards while suffering few penalties when things go wrong. Against decreasing social mobility, it’s therefore unsurprising that those who feel excluded should be resentful of the gilded few. In reality, success rarely comes easily even to those with money and contacts but it certainly comes more readily than to those without.

Electorally, there should be much to gain from pitching in with the plebs (if we can use such a word), at least in the short term. Playing the blame game adroitly has worked wonders so far for UKIP and the SNP, but then they were able to credibly assume the role of outsiders and preach to an audience ready to listen. The contrast with the Lib Dems, who were unfortunate to switch from outsiders to insiders at just the wrong time, is obvious and stark (in 2010, there was one UKIP voter for every 7.5 Lib Dems; today there are about fifteen). It’s far less likely that the Tories or Labour can play it as well as the insurgent parties; what’s telling is that they’re choosing (or having) to play it at all.

Which brings us to the question as to will it work – for if it can, the prize is surely the key to Downing Street. The answer to that can be summed up in one word: credibility. Do they mean what they say or are they simply mouthing focus group findings, and even if they do, can they be relied on to implement their plans? Both parties have a long way to go before they can gain a pair of ticks on those questions.

But there is a downside to the politics of resentment and envy, particularly for parties of government which also seek to attract moderate, centrist floating voters – people not necessarily motivated by those factors. There’s also the matter that in government it’s a lot easier to destroy than to replace and the risk is that you end up in the middle of the rubble.

Still, this week marked another step towards a campaign dominated by hostility against groups distrusted by target voters, and by assurances of protection against them or their effects. It won’t be nice. It probably won’t be effective. But in the absence of anything better, it won’t stop.

David Herdson


The week’s Local By-Election Results : Gains for SNP, UKIP and CON

Friday, November 28th, 2014

East Riding of Yorkshire
Bridlington Central and Old Town
Result: UKIP 401 (31%), Conservative 352 (27%), Dealtry (Independent) 217 (17%), Dixon (Independent) 214 (16%), Tate (Independent) 116 (9%)
UKIP GAIN from Social Democrat with a majority of 49 (4%)
Total Independent vote: 547 (42%)

Result: Conservative 1,020 (46%), UKIP 891 (40%), Labour 298 (13%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 129 (6%)

Willerby and Kirk Ella
Result: Conservative 1,522 (56%), UKIP 699 (26%), Labour 515 (19%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 823 (30%)

Troup on Aberdeenshire (Con Defence)
Result: SNP 1,159 (46% +6%), Conservative 574 (23% +2%), Independent 391 (16%), Liberal Democrats 141 (6% +4%), Labour 140 (6% unchanged), Green 68 (3%, no candidate in 2012), Independent 43 (2%)
SNP GAIN from Conservative (count of election not known) with a majority of 585 (23%) on a swing of 2% from Con to SNP
Total Independent vote: 434 (17% -11% on 2012)

Midlothian East on Midlothian (Ind Defence from Lab defection)
Result: Labour 1,294 (33% -3%), SNP 1,260 (32% -11%), Independent 780 (20% +9%), Conservative 331 (8% -1%), Green 197 (5%, no candidate in 2012), Liberal Democrat 68 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Labour HOLD (count of election not known) with a majority of 34 (1%) on a swing of 4% from SNP to Labour

Kirkwall West and Orphir on Orkney (Ind Defence)
Result: Manson (Independent) 647 (58%), Skuse (Independent) 281 (25%), McBrearty (Independent) 142 (13%), Leonard (Independent) 55 (5%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 366 (33%)

Blackbird Leys (Lab Defence) and Northfield Brook (Lab Defence) on Oxford
Blackbird Leys
Result: Labour 509 (76% -9%), UKIP 91 (14%, no candidate in 2012), Conservative 27 (4% -2%), Green 21 (3% -2%), TUSC 13 (2%, no candidate in 2012), Lib Dem 11 (2% -2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 418 (62%) on a swing of 11.5% from Labour to UKIP

Northfield Brook
Result: Labour 401 (71% -3%), Conservative 65 (11% +3%), Green 50 (9% -1%), TUSC 34 (6%, no candidate in 2012), Liberal Democrat 18 (3% -6%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 336 (60%) on a swing of 3% from Labour to Conservative

The Leys on Oxfordshire (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 879 (82%, unchanged on 2013), Conservative 77 (7% -1%), Green 57 (5% -2%), Liberal Democrat 30 (3% unchanged on 2013), TUSC 27 (3%, no candidate in 2013)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 802 (75%) on a swing of 0.5% from Conservative to Labour

Charville on Hillingdon (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 950 (39%), Conservative 929 (38%), UKIP 468 (19%), TUSC 40 (2%), Lib Dem 37 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 21 (1%)

St. Neots Primary Park on Huntingdonshire (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 448 (46% +1%), UKIP 337 (34%, no candidate in 2011), Labour 199 (20% -3%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 111 (12%) on a swing of 16.5% from Conservative to UKIP

Ashfordby on Melton (Lab Defence)
Result: Conservative 265 (54%), Labour 129 (26%), UKIP 94 (19%)
Conservative GAIN from Labour with a majority of 136 (28%)

Bowydd and Rhiw on Gwynedd (Plaid defence)
Candidates duly nominated: Annwen Daniels (Plaid) and is therefore duly elected
Plaid Cymru HOLD from 2012 (Plaid elected unopposed)

Harry Hayfield


There are signs that Farage could be having second thoughts about standing in Thanet S

Friday, November 28th, 2014

What current MP Tweeted yesterday

At the PB party a week ago I was somewhat surprised at being told by at least two kippers that it wasn’t entirely certain that Nigel Farage was going to stand in the Thanet South constituency on May 7th. I, and apparently most punters, thought that this was a certainty following his selection that was widely reported in August.

Adding to the mystery was the above Tweet from outgoing CON MP for the seat, Laura Sandys, about the UKIP leader not have being seen there for three months.

    Whoever you are at this stage before an election you make sure that you are regularly seen in the constituency that you will soon be fighting.

Indeed back in 2009 Farage himself stepped down as UKIP leader so he could devote himself to winning Buckingham where John Bercow is the sitting MP and where none of the main parties put up candidates.

Apart from two ex-MPs who have defected UKIP has never won a Westminster seat and this needs graft and commitment. The actual choice that people is not like the party list in the Euros but for an individual who will be the area’s representative at Westminster. The ground work has to be done.

If Farage is having second thoughts then yesterday’s Ashcroft poll of Thanet South will add to them. The last thing he can risk is putting himself up for election and then failing.

Meanwhile UKIP’s odds start to move out

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


If the LDs hold on to as many seats as the latest polling suggests then Clegg should thank NO2AV

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Remember when FPTP was seen as way of preventing coalitions?

Just looking through the latest constituency polling from Lord Ashcroft and one thing is apparent – the LDs look set to hang on to so many of their CON facing marginals because the AV referendum in 2011 produced a NO victory.

In almost all of the seats the yellows look set to retain their vote share will be in the thirties. They’ve lost a lot of votes since the heady days of May 2010 but the Tories have lost nearly as many in these seats because of the huge seepage to UKIP.

The fact that there has only been a 2% LD to CON swing in these seats is down mostly to the losses that the Tories have suffered to UKIP .

Looking at the details of the switching it is not hard to extrapolate what things might have been like with AV. Many more of the UKIP voters would have made CON their second choice rather than the LDs thus boosting the blue totals in these battlegrounds.

The converse of this is, of course, that in the current electoral environment the Tories would have benefitted strongly from a change in 2011.

I think the term they use is irony.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble