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For YouGov trend spotting these are the best figures to watch not the daily polls

July 30th, 2014

After the LAB lead dropped from 6% on Monday night to 1% last night there’s been a lot of discussion about the volatility of the firm’s out. In reality, of course, both of this week’s polls have been within the margin of error.

The numbers I most look out for are above – the monthly averages which are very telling. We see the rise of UKIP now fading a touch and due to drop further in July. We also see the decline of Labour from the dizzy heights of te low 40s at the start of last year.

The Tories have stayed remarkably stable while the LDs have slipped.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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There’s been no Glasgow games boost yet for IndyRef YES on Betfair – now rated by punters as a 14.2% chance

July 30th, 2014

But betting interest remains strong with nearly £1.1m traded

The pre-Commonwealth games expectations that the Glasgow events would provide a boost for independence campaigners has yet to be materialised if Betfair punters are anything to go by. Even though Scottish athletes are having their best games ever punters appear unmoved.

The last trade on Yes as I write was at 7 which equates to a 14.2% chance – not far off it’s bottom. In fact just £108 of the £1,070,000 matched on Betfair has been at prices longer than that,

What we haven’t seen is any polling that’s been carried out since the start of the games a week ago. If that provides some positive news for YES then we could see prices turn.

A feature of the YES campaign that resonates badly is that every development is presented by them as good news. Their messaging would have a lot more credibility if they acknowledged set backs when they happen.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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PB Nighthawks is now open

July 29th, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

Why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

If you’re a lurker, it’ll be a Tragedy if you don’t delurk, I’m sure your contributions won’t be Better Best Forgotten, I hope at least 5,6,7,8 lurkers delurk.

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

  1. Why Cameron’s crackdown on immigrant benefits won’t help the Tories. The PM is fuelling the perception that “benefit tourism” is a problem while still allowing himself to be outflanked by Ukip. 
  2. Jowell retakes lead in Labour London Mayor poll – but race is still wide open
  3. Boris Johnson refuses to say if he plans to stand as MP in 2015. London mayor dodges questions on BBC’s World at One about whether he plans to re-enter parliament and combine two jobs
  4. Why Ed Miliband’s public image matters
  5. The Tories attack Miliband because they’ve got no decent policies
  6. Labour needs to make common cause with left-wing Lib Dem supporters to win in 2015
  7. Old debts put Labour still deep in the red, Opposition party owes more than all its rivals
  8. Tories to announce “tens of thousands” increase in membership at party conference.
  9. McBride back to attack a Labour leader? Old habits die hard
  10. Why Labour loves Andy Burnham, Burnham’s NHS brief gives him high-priest status, but it is the man himself who commands loyalty from the Labour faithful
  11. Bankers should take a Hippocratic oath to restore virtue to the financial sector
  12. The rich want us to believe their wealth is good for us all. As the justifications for gross inequality collapse, only the Green party is brave enough to take on the billionaires’ boot boys
  13.  Why patriotic Scots will be voting No. The question of the referendum is not “could Scotland be independent?”, but “why should it be?”
  14. How to win an argument on Twitter
  15. Life after a nuclear war revealed: Computer models reveal Earth would suffer a 20-year-long winter and worldwide famine. Researchers from Colorado studied the effects of nuclear conflict on Earth
  16. British inventor builds giant ‘fart machine’ to fire at France (hat-tip RobD)
  17. Model of Richard III looks more like a storm trooper, say experts
  18. The British Empire is ‘something to be proud of’
  19. This gentleman won’t be making any more outrageous predictions and bets in the future.
  20. Today is the 1,000th anniversary of the Battle of Kleidion, Basil II who became henceforth known as The Bulgar Slayer.
  21. Twenty-six years ago today, Paddy Ashdown became Liberal Democrat Leader, here’s what the Guardian wrote at the time.


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Even though it is well over four years since it was in power LAB is still getting the blame for the cuts

July 29th, 2014

Ever since May 2010 I’ve said that the “blame for the cuts” tracker from YouGov might be a good indicator.

The figures from 2014 are in the chart above and although the party is not on its worst position, 48% back in October 2010, it is still blamed more than the coalition.

While that remains Osborne/Cameron/Clegg & co can still respond to criticism of their economic policies by blaming LAB. Polling like this suggests that their line still resonates. This is going to get louder in the coming months.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Vote UKIP get a LAB government might not have the potency that many Tories think it has

July 29th, 2014

CON & LAB governments running neck and neck as preferred outcome amongst UKIP voters

You hear it all the time from the Blue teams when talking about the Ukip threat – that when faced with the prospect of a LAB government a large proportion will “come back home” and vote Tory.

That was a view that I broadly shared until last night before my detailed study of the aggregate data from the latest 14k sample Ashcroft marginals polling focused on CON held battlegrounds with LAB.

The above findings in the chart came as something of a surprise to me and I’m sure that I won’t be alone.

There were 2352 UKIP voters in the sample and the chart above shows how they split when faced with the very telling question of what would be their preferred general election outcome.

As can be seen fewer than one third (32%) wanted a CON government with 31% saying a LAB one. It’s that last figure that stands out.

That finding suggests that there are nearly as many potential LAB voters in the UKIP contingent as CON ones. Thus in the high octane campaigning environment of a tight marginal that the Tories might not have the advantage that they are widely perceived to have.

Vote UKIP get a LAB government might not be the compelling general election message that CON campaigners think it is.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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The Tories drop to their lowest point ever in a ComRes phone poll in tonight’s survey for the Indy

July 28th, 2014

And LAB moves to 6% lead with YouGov

For whatever reason see section the regular phone polls are tending to produce more extreme figures than online firms and so it is with tonight’s ComRes phone poll for the Independent. The Tory share is down to 27% with Ukip dropping only a point to 17%.

ComRes, like almost all pollsters at the moment, had their usual crop of Miliband questions using the agree/disagree format. Asked whether Ed puts them off voting LAB 54% agreed and 41% disagreed. Asked whether they believed what Mr Miliband says more than they believed David Cameron, only 32% agreed and 57% disagreed.

The problem with this form of questioning, as I’ve argued many times before in all sorts of contexts, is that it can be leading.

Note that the ComRes phone polls are a completely different series from the ComRes online ones and shouldn’t be compared.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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Charting the Populus “Monday effect” – the day the LAB lead is generally up on the previous Friday

July 28th, 2014

General elections are on Thursday – so good for CON?

For a year now Populus has been issuing two online polls a week – on Monday where the fieldwork has taken place over the weekend and on a Friday when responses were from mid-week.

Last week YouGov’s Anthony Wells who runs UKPR crunched the data from the 100 or so Populus online polls that there have been and found an average LAB lead of 3.1% of Friday and a 3.8% one on Mondays.

As the chart shows in recent weeks the gap between the two days has got wider

I don’t have an explanation but if. indeed, those polled are more predisposed to CON mid-week than at the weekend then I’d suggest that it is good for the Tories that GE2015 is, as per usual, on a Thursday.

Today’s Populus poll.

UPDATE: Today’s Ashcroft national poll

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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There can be no getting round the fact that Tories are still being the most hurt by the UKIP surge

July 28th, 2014

And a lot of 2010 non-voters seem to back Farage’s party

The above chart is based on the aggregate data from Lord Ashcroft’s latest round of CON-LAB marginals polling which had a total sample of 14,004.

The first factor to stand out is that much more of UKIP’s current support in these key battlegrounds continues to come from ex-Tories than from ex-LAB voters. This means, of course, that the blues will benefit most should UKIP support fade.

Secondly, given UKIP only got 3.1% nationally in 2010, a very high proportion of current UKIP voters did not vote at the last election.

All this unerpins the claims by LAB in the Telegraph this morning that “Ukip voters will make Ed Miliband Prime Minister”. The report quotes a LAB figure:-

“The Tories lose a lot more than we do from a decent Ukip performance,” said a senior Labour campaign source. “The whole election could hang on how many of their current voters stick with them next May.”

I think that’s right and this will impact on Labour’s approach in the coming months. Ed Miliband’s team will be increasingly resistant to pressure from some in the party to make policy moves to attract UKIP votes.

That means, I’d suggest, no Labour promise on an EU in/out referendum.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble