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Nighthawks is now open

July 23rd, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

On A Night Like This, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

To all you lurkers, if you’re thinking Better the Devil You Know, nighthawks is Especially for You, it gives you a chance to delurk. I Should Be So Lucky if a few of you delurked.

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

  1. YouGov tracking data since 2006 shows the changing reputations of the political parties: Labour’s leftward shift under Ed Miliband, the Conservatives’ rightward swing since 2010
  2. Tom Watson: shadow cabinet cowards should back Miliband or step down
  3. Ed Miliband must rouse himself from the chloroform of caution. 
  4. Ukip: Winning Here! Ukip is learning how to street fight, and that should worry the two main parties
  5. The political implications of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
  6. Alex Salmond: Glasgow will vote for independence and become ‘Freedom City’ First Minister sparks controversy after attempting to use the Commonwealth Games to drum up support for independence
  7. David Cameron considers basing himself in Scotland before referendum. Lib Dems oppose idea of prime minister spending up to two weeks in Scotland, claiming he could damage the no campaign
  8. Is a Tea Party movement about to kick off in Britain?
  9. George Monbiot Challenges Owen Paterson To A Duel
  10. Beware the New, Techno-Nationalist Right
  11. Emily Benn: What I can offer British politics. 
  12. Westminster wargames and what we don’t know
  13. Is breakfast TV the perfect training ground for politicians?
  14. Different perspectives on Gaza: Arab commentators and Labour MPs
  15. The Liberal Democrats’ Jewish problem
  16. David Cameron will play tennis and keep £160,000 donation from former Putin minister
  17. Justine Thornton is a person, not Ed Miliband’s ‘secret weapon’
  18. Batman turns 75: 11 Batman related facts you might not know
  19. Tomorrow is the 447th anniversary of the forced abdication of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the succession of her one year old son, James I of England.
  20. Undercover police spied on grieving families of De Menezes, Groce and Reel. Scotland Yard claims relatives were not the target of surveillance but that ‘inappropriate’ information about them was gathered



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For the first time UKIP move into the favourite slot in a Westminster seat

July 23rd, 2014

South Thanet heading to be a great 3-way tussle

I love Westminster seats battles where at least three parties are in with a shout. The betting on them can be very interesting and chances are that you’ll get longer than evens on the winner.

South Thanet in Kent, won from LAB by pro-EU Tory, Laura Sandys, in May looks set to be the most polled single constituency there is. So far I’m aware of three public polls being carried out which respectively have had LAB, CON and now UKIP in the lead.

Laura Sandys is standing down at the election so there will be no first time incumbency bonus for the Tories. Her replacement on the CON ticket is a former leader of UKIP. Meanwhile LAB will be hoping that the seat will be returned to the red camp after a short absence.

Who knows which way it will go? A Farage candidature could lead to anti-UKIP tactical voting. A lot for him depends on maintaining the momentum of the Euros – something which has faded away in the past.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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What I cannot understand given their age profile is the lack of concern by UKIP voters about pensions and health

July 23rd, 2014

The table above is the latest issues polling by YouGov broken down by concerns for the country and for responders own families.

Given that the age profile of kippers is tilted to the higher end of the range their views on the lack of importance of, say, education is understandable. But what about health and pensions?

The detail from the poll shows that the 60+ group have the highest concern levels about these areas yet the UKIP voters don’t seem to worry about them that much.

    Could it be that those oldies currently backing Farage’s party are in good health and are reasonably well off.

This aspect of UKIP concerns has been showing for a long time. Today’s poll is not a fluke and is in line with what we’ve seen over the past year or so.

This has political implications. Chancellor Osborne has made a big move on pensions and the signs are that the Tory offer on this will feature strongly at GE2015. But if kippers aren’t that interested will it make any difference?

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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PB Nighthawks is now open

July 22nd, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

On A Night Like This, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

If you’re a lurker, I Want You, to delurk.

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

  1. Britain has very little to fear from the ECHR. So why are so many Tories so afraid of it?
  2. Without older voters the Greens have little hope. Are the Greens set to become the latest party of significance? Their lack of support among older voters is pegging them at 5 per cent.
  3. Something amazing has happened to the Labour Party
  4. Lib Dem report calls for party to restore activist morale. The report said the Liberal Democrats made a mistake by placing themselves ‘as the direct opponents to Ukip’
  5. Your problem Prime Minister, is blowing in the wind.
  6. Could Ed Miliband’s Wife Turn Out To Be His ‘Secret Weapon’?
  7. Benefit sanctions hit most vulnerable people the hardest, report says. Claimants not told about hardship system and sanctions imposed when they were not at fault, DWP study finds
  8. Israel has discovered that it’s no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media. All you now need is a mobile phone and a Twitter account to hold power to account, and help change history
  9. EU free movement rules being exploited by drugs runners and human traffickers, says Government study
  10. Whitehall review into freedom of movement lands blow to Eurosceptics aiming to make radical changes to migration rules
  11. Bill Clinton accused of having a busty blonde mistress code-named ‘Energizer’ by his Secret Service detail who hide the woman from Hillary
  12. Selina Scott to decide whether to stand as an MP in next 48 hours
  13. 58% of British people who are very interested in cricket say that Alastair Cook should resign as England captain
  14. MH17: five of the most bizarre conspiracy theories. From Zionist plots to the Illuminati, some wildly imaginative alternatives are being promoted by the likes of Russian TV
  15. Thomas the Tank Engine had to shut the hell up to save children everywhere. Classism, sexism, anti-environmentalism bordering on racism: any parent who discovered these hidden lessons will be glad the show’s star just quit
  16. Today is the 716th anniversary of the Battle of Falkirk, when Edward Longshanks went all Malleus Scotorum forcing William Wallace to resign as Guardian of Scotland.


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Lord Ashcroft’s latest round of marginals polling finds that UKIP is hurting LAB more than CON

July 22nd, 2014

UKIP in lead in two of the seats polled

But there is good news for Ed Miliband

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Polling UKIP: The recent record shows that YouGov got closest with ICM in second place

July 22nd, 2014

With so much variation in the UKIP share in recent polls it is perhaps worth recalling that the firm that got it most right the last time they were tested, the May 22nd Euros, was YouGov.

The figures are in the chart above and it is interesting that YouGov and ICM, the ones that did best on May 22nd, are continuing to show UKIP with smaller shares for the general election compared with other pollsters.

Later this morning Lord Ashcroft is publishing his latest CON-LAB marginals poll. This covers 14 CON held constituencies and has a sample of 14k.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Tories drop 5 and UKIP up 3 in this week’s Ashcroft national poll

July 21st, 2014

Yet again the Ashcroft national phone poll has surprised us. This time with a 5% drop in CON support, 2% drop for LAB and a 3% increase for UKIP. Last week the Ashcroft figures were Con 32%, Lab 36%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 14%, Green 6%

This compares with the earlier Populus online phone poll that had the LAB lead moving from zero to 5%. Both are featured in the chart above.

The Ashcroft changes are bigger than the margin of error and this is his first national poll since the re-shuffle.

It is perhaps worth emphasising that neither the Ashcroft national poll nor the Populus online one have been tested at a general election.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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My anaylsis of 100+ polls shows that the 2010 LD voters who’ve switched to LAB are sticking and that’s bad news for the Tories

July 21st, 2014

Curtice is right: LD switchers aren’t going back “any time soon”

In a broad-ranging interview just published Britain’s leading political scientist, Professor John Curtice made these observations about Labour’s polling position and GE2015.

“..basically the reason why the Labour party is in the lead is because of the loss of Liberal Democrat support to Labour. It goes all the way back to 2010 and it’s not obvious that it’s going to go back anytime soon…

..I see no reason why the general election should result in a transfer of voters back from Labour to the Liberal Democrats unless there is a severe decline in Labour’s ability to offer anything. Because in a sense those Liberal Democrat voters that are going to Labour are primarily there because of push rather than pull..”

This has prompted me to look at the polling in more detail and to produce the trend chart above showing the monthly average in the twice-weekly Populus polls of 2010 LD voters now saying that they’ll vote Labour.

I chose Populus because there are at least 8 polls a month with an aggregate sample of more than 15k and it presents its data in a manner which makes this analysis easier. While YouGov polls show the proportion of LD>LAB switchers they exclude the don’t knows and refusers. I wanted to show the switchers as a proportion of all those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 including the large numbers of those who have still to make up their minds.

The Populus series started just over a year ago and there have been about 100 polls each of which has been analysed.

At GE2010 the Lib Dems secured just under 24% of the GB vote and a quarter of that represents a large slice of the electorate. Because of the importance of this to the general election outcome I plan to continue collecting data and producing regular reports right up to polling day.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble