Archive for April, 2019


So Team Corbyn decide to take a massive gamble and IGNORE LAB voters

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

And this two days before the local elections

Mike Smithson


Why it’s going to be harder than many think to view the Euros as a 2nd Brexit referendum

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

There’s widespread confusion on where each party stands

The above chart is from some new polling issued by YouGov this morning which tries to find out how voters view each party’s stance on brexit. Apart from Farage’s Brexit party some of the answers are quite extraordinary and suggest that the parties are not getting over their positions as strongly as they might be.

Taking the Tories first just 37% of those polled thought it was Pro brexit with 24% being anti brexit. You’d expect that gap to be much much wider.Labour is seen as being slightly clearer with 13% thinking it is Pro brexit and 42% anti brexit.

Nigel Farage Brexit party gets the clearest picture with 79% saying it is Pro brexit and 3% saying anti Brexit.

But it is CUK, the party of Conservative and LAB MP defectors who are all anti brexit, which appears to have the most difficult perception problem. Just 38% of those polled thought it was against brexit which given that it is part of the new parties whole rationale suggests that they got a problem on their hands.

As can be seen the chart shows the Lib Dems and the SNP have been much clearer in the positioning and there is far less confusion.

Given that it has been widely suggested that the May 23rd result will be analysed to try to workout a remain leave split then this polling suggests that might be difficult to achieve. I’ve no doubt that it will be referred to in the post May 23rd aftermath.

Mike Smithson


Tomorrow at 1800 the Peterborough recall petition closes and the count takes place that evening

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

The parties are on standby for a by-election

After what seems to be inordinately long period of time the Peterborough recall petition is drawing to a close and tomorrow night Fiona Onasanya will learn whether she can continue as an MP or not. Even if 6,967 (10% of the electorate) have signed that would not be the end of the matter for Onasanya. She would be able to stand in the ensuing by-election though not for Labour.

While this has been going on she has been active at Westminster and indeed voted for the controversial brexit Commons move earlier in the month that was carried by a majority of one.

If more than 10% of Peterborough’s voters have in fact signed the petition then the by-election will be triggered. The Speaker will be notified and the seat declared vacant. Thereafter the by-election will be called in the usual manner when the writ is moved in the House of Commons. By tradition this is done by the outgoing party.

While the petition has been open there have been restrictions on what can be reported and things like opinion polls are banned. There has been no specific betting on the petition outcome. No doubt the bookies will be ready tomorrow night to open by-election markets should one be taking place.

Until the 2017 General Election Peterborough had been held by the Tories and it was one of those that flipped to LAB on that extraordinary night.

The by-election would take place some weeks after the Euro elections on May 23rd and, assuming the Brexit party has done very well then, you could see it being a Challenger to LAB. The recent decline in Tory vote in the polls suggests that it would be hard for the blue team to take this one back.

Everything is dependent on the threshold being reached. Because there is no GB experience of such moves Peterborough will set the parameters for us to make forecasts for other such petitions

At the end of March, Chris Davies, the CON MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to charges brought under the Parliamentary Standards Act. He was sentenced last week and a recall petition has been initiated there. This will be open for signing from Thursday 9 May until Thursday 20 June 2019.

This is a seat that the Lib Dems would hope to regain if there was a by-election.

Mike Smithson


The betting moves against Mayor Pete following accusations of sexual assault

Monday, April 29th, 2019

Whatever the veracity his betting odds are going to move out

Given the extraordinary media coverage that Mayor Pete has been getting I had been sort of expecting something like the above Tweet to emerge. Whatever the truth of these allegations I don’t know but it it is part and parcel of political campaigns that things like this do happen.

My guess is that this won’t be fatal but he could become better value in the betting. He’s now down to an 11.9% chance on Betfair for the nomination compared with his peak of 16.4%

At the moment I’m waiting for this to shift outwards.

There’s a great Politico article just out on his media operation and no doubt that will be working on this full time to limit the damage.

Mike Smithson


The threat of Corbyn becoming PM is irrelevant unless LAB backs a second referendum

Monday, April 29th, 2019

There has to be a general election first and that means retaining remain support

Lots of discussion ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of Labours National Executive Committee which will decide on the party’s policy on Brexit for the May 23rd euro elections. The big question is whether a referendum will be offered and under what terms.

So far the leadership has managed skillfully to bypass this by mentioning a second referendum almost as a footnote in policy statements. That would need to be hardened up if it is to satisfy the many within the party who want a solid commitment.

This is central because the parliamentary arithmetic makes it virtually impossible for Corbyn to become Prime Minister without a general election first. The current gap in MP totals is too wide and indeed his party has lost more of those elected at GE2017 than any other party. To win that general election LAB is going to have to give a clear commitment that satisfies its large Remain support basis.

Again it’s worth reminding ourselves that Corbyn’s personal rating continue to be abysmal. Yesterday the Opinium approval numbers (the key measure) had him once again trailing TMay. The latest “Best PM” numbers are above in the chart. I’d argue that a commitment to a referendum would see a sharp improvement.

Those are not the figures that a party leader needs if he/she is to fight an imminent general election.

My guess is that the NEC will once again not make a firm enough commitment and than that will impede the party considerably at the May 23rd Euro elections.

Mike Smithson


Leading pollster, Martin Boon, ex-ICM now of DeltaPoll, raises questions about current Brexit Euros polling

Monday, April 29th, 2019

How much can we rely on polling for the Euros?

The above was the start of a Twitter thread over the weekend from Martin Boon who has been a major figure in he British polling industry for several decades. He was with ICM and is now part of DeltaPoll.

His Tweets raised questions on the mechanics of polling which given how the surveys were five years ago is relevant today.

The first thing online pollsters seek to do is to establish the broad demographic profile of those responding to an invite email to assess whether they match their requirements for an overall balanced sample. Some segments will fill up faster than others. His observation about “bed-blocking” suggests that certain groups that responded to the invitation email almost instantly could distort the overall pattern. Thus once the, say, males aged 45-60 cohort is full then no more respondees in that group would take part.

A problem arises for a pollster can arise if the instant responders are not representative of the cohort as a whole. Clearly firms send out far more survey invites than the total required for the poll and some pollsters now have mechanism to try to deal with this effect.

The Tweets above were followed by these from Boon:-

UKIP were overstated in many polls, which may or may not have been down to a phenom like this.

The Brexit Party are now going ballistic in latest polling. Coincidence? I’ve noticed that in recent polls past vote recall of UKIP is materially higher than their actual vote share.

UKIP 2017 quota cells are, you guessed it, filling up in quick-step time, alongside Brexit Party ceiling breaking.

No doubt we are going through a period of unprecedented political change and the conditions are bang on for the Brexit Party.BUT, just remember that overstating of a anti-European right of centre party in poll after poll is not unheard of, nor misunderstood as to why it might be the case.

In 2014 Farage’s UKIP touched 38% in the Euros polling more more twenty points ahead of the Tories. In fact it ended up with UKIP on 27% just above LAB and 3.6% above the Tories.

There’s little doubt that The Brexit Party is going to do very well but maybe not as well as some of its best polls.

Mike Smithson



If there was a betting market on the first Tory MP defecting to the Brexit Party my money would be on Steve Baker

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

In today’s Sun on Sunday reports

Tory MPs such as Lucy Allan, the MP for Telford, have openly tweeted encouragement for the Brexit Party, and dozens of others say privately they will vote for Farage.

Some have discussed defecting.

One prominent Brexiteer said: “Maybe we should all just defect to the Brexit Party. Can you imagine the chaos.”

It was sent to members of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group. A source close to Farage confirmed: “Nigel is very smug at the moment and is 100 per cent sure that there is at least one high-profile defection in the pipeline with others likely to follow.”

Farage is also promising the 28 Tory MPs who remain opposed to May’s Brexit deal — a group known as the “Spartans” — that the Brexit Party will not contest their seats at the next election.

In 2014, Farage successfully persuaded two Conservative MPs, Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, to defect to Ukip.

If Shadsy does put a market on the first Tory MP defecting to the Brexit party I’d be looking to back Steve Baker.

At the start of the month Steve Baker publicly spoke about voting against the government in a vote of no confidence.

As the Spectator noted

In response, [Baker] stressed that ‘At this point I can foresee no circumstances, while as a Conservative MP, I vote against the government in a confidence motion.’

But then went on to add:

‘But we are approaching the point where the stakes are now so very high and so transcend party politics and what this country is about, and the fundamental British value that political power rests on consent, that I think these things are coming on to the table.’

To me if you’re willing to say that publicly then you’ve contemplated leaving the Tory party and for the Spartan wing of the ERG there’s only one party to defect to, that’s Farage’s new party. Gerard Batten’s turning UKIP into the political wing of the EDL has ensured there shouldn’t be any Tory MPs defecting to UKIP.

Now there’s the Carswell/Reckless precedent that when you betray the Tory party you trigger a by election but there is an easy get out for any future defectors. Given the the Parliamentary arithmetic and Mrs May’s attempts to pass her deal every vote is crucial it would be reckless for the Spartans to be out of Parliament for around two months fighting by elections.

There’s quite a few Leavers who would be delighted to see the Spartans leave the Tory party, the defections to the Brexit party would increase the average IQ of both parties.



Will John Bercow leave his job as Speaker in 2019?

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

This looks like the best way to get a 25% return in eight months.

Earlier on this month I wrote a piece about the plans of Tory Leavers to try and oust John Bercow this week just gone, accurately I predicted they wouldn’t have the numbers to oust Speaker Bercow. 

In that piece I bemoaned there were no Bercow exit markets but thankfully Paddy Power now have a market on whether Speaker Bercow will leave his job in 2019. For me it is a no brainer to back the 1/4 that he will not leave his job in 2019. It is clear Tory leavers do not have the numbers to oust Bercow which makes backing the 1/4 so attractive. As Mike Smithson has regularly observed the ERG appear to be just piss and wind.

The only way I can see this bet doesn’t win is if Bercow stands down if we get a 2019 general election, but if the Parliamentary re-enactment of the Battle of Verdun via Brexit has not concluded then Bercow may well decide to stay on. What has the greater potential to see Bercow depart in 2019 is if the bullying allegations against him escalate further, but I really cannot see either scenario happening.