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September’s pbc poll average: UKIP recovers ground, Lab and LD down, Cons steady

October 2nd, 2014

For the yellows a record low – but no panic

September might have been one of the most dramatic months in British politics since the last general election, with the near-dissolution of the three-centuries old Anglo-Scottish Union but you wouldn’t know it from the polls.  That the Yes and No camps crossed party lines and brought opponents together might have had something to do with it; more likely, it’s that the majority of the UK electorate, in England, have moved on.

Overall, the picture remains much as it has over most of the summer with the monthly averages for September being:

Lab 34.9 (-0.6), Con 31.7 (n/c), UKIP 15.0 (+1.1), LD 7.6 (-1.0), Others 10.7 (+0.5)

Perhaps unsurprisingly after their two defections, UKIP are the month’s biggest winners and have largely recovered the ground lost in the last two months.  Interestingly, that gain hasn’t come directly from the Conservatives, who once again poll in a very narrow range centred on 31.5%, despite the defections of Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless.  Instead it’s Labour and the Lib Dems who drop support.

The Labour figure may simply be down to normal fluctuation: the August ICM poll now looks to have been a bit generous going by others in that series and Labour’s monthly average with Populus has barely shifted since June, though their share with YouGov did register a bit of a dip last month.

By contrast, the situation for the Lib Dems looks like a genuine loss of support.  September not only saw the first month where LD support in the PB average was less than one-third that which they received in 2010 but was the fourth in a row to have been sub-nine percent – and those are the only four months since the start of the series.  YouGov, Mori, Opinium and ICM all recorded their joint-lowest Yellow scores of the parliament; Populus scored an outright low.

What’s perhaps remarkable is the apparently complete lack of panic within Lib Dem ranks at what are, on the face of it, disastrous figures.  Had Labour lost two-thirds of their voters since the previous general election, the talk of replacing the leader would be deafening.  Had the Tories lost that sort of share, the coup would have happened years ago.  How to explain the calm?

The first thing to note is that the polls are a bit contradictory.  While the national figures suggest a catastrophic meltdown, the Ashcroft constituency polling suggests not only that the Lib Dems are retaining strength where it matters but when voters are asked to think about their local situation – as they will be next April and May – the Lib Dem share improves further.

That’s vitally important for them because put simply, the national polls have to be wrong if they’re to keep a coachload of MPs rather than a minibus-full; there simply aren’t enough votes to go round otherwise.  For example, if the Lib Dems did receive the 7.6% they scored in last month’s average, then on the same size turnout and electorate as in 2010 (to keep things simple), this would be about 2.26m votes.  By contrast, their combined vote in the 57 seats they won last time was 1.23m.  It’s inconceivable that they could keep the great majority of those while losing five votes in six elsewhere.  Of course, if polls worded along national lines are understating them in their own seats (and perhaps elsewhere), then the overall figure will also be low.  Still, that doesn’t explain the drop since April at a time when local campaigning should be having the opposite effect.

There are other possible explanations.  The first is that there’s a fatalistic acceptance that there’s no realistic alternative to the current strategy and so panicking will not help.  The second is the opposite: that there is an alternative but the time is not yet ripe and MPs and/or the leadership are keeping their powder dry (though I have my doubts as to whether the secrecy of such a plan could be maintained).  The third is that there’s a belief that things will be all right come the day itself; they did in 1992 – the last similar situation – and the constituency polling supports that contention.  That said, I remember Tories thinking much the same in the run-up to 1997.

Whatever the reason, this parliament’s polling figures continue to break new ground for the Lib Dems and UKIP in particular.  With three UKIP-friendly by-elections in the offing, those boundaries may yet be pushed further.

David Herdson




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The early front pages look good for Dave

October 1st, 2014

But YouGov gives a Lab 2% boost.


I’d remember the two usual caveats, polling during conference season can be erratic, and most of the fieldwork would have been carried out before Dave’s speech.

TSE



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After all the hype from UKIP about the 5pm defection – it’s all about the defector who defected in the morning

October 1st, 2014

Memo to Nigel: I don’t think the journalists who have been dragged to Gloucestershire will be impressed. You should always under promise and over deliver.

 

TSE



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Cameron’s speech: the reaction

October 1st, 2014

It would appear tax cuts, the NHS, don’t let Labour ruin it and vote Nigel and get Ed is the Tory strategy for 2015.

 


 

The vote Nigel get Ed meme is interesting, in the recent Lord Ashcroft national poll, UKIP voters preferred a Tory government to a Labour government by 27% to 23%, it may not be the panacea the Tories hope it will be, but if it is a close election, every vote helps.

All of this could well be overshadowed by any further defection(s) tonight, but in the medium to long term, it should shift some votes to the Tories, if it doesn’t then I’m not sure what else there is left for the Tories to do to retain power in May 2015.

TSE



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As Dave’s big speech begins – Rumour has it the third defection is expected at 5pm

October 1st, 2014

TSE



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Will UKIP overshadow Cameron’s big day?

October 1st, 2014

As the focus is on a defector, Dave is set to make the NHS the centre piece of the election.

Coupled with the seven day a week GP promise announced yesterday, it is clear what the Tories will be focussing upon. I suspect the NHS will form a key part of the election battle. It will be risky business for both the Blues and Reds. David Cameron will constantly have the breaking of his “no more top down reorganisation” promise being referenced by his opponents, whilst the Blues will undoubtedly mention the events in Stafford and the Labour run NHS in Wales.

This may also be an attempt to blunt any UKIP defection. Nigel Lawson famously said ”The NHS is the closest thing the English have to a religion.” Cameron may well argue, that whilst UKIP talk about all things Europe, he is talking about the things matter to key voters.

One of David Cameron’s most impressive achievements was to make the Tories the most trusted with the NHS. He may well be attempting a repeat performance.

On the defection front, The Times are reporting (££)

Nigel Farage stoked rumours of further defections to Ukip last night by announcing a mysterious event timed to coincide with David Cameron’s conference speech.

The Ukip leader would meet “somebody of interest” today in Bristol, sources said. The party promised to reveal the news this morning before holding a press conference just before evening news bulletins.

As Corporeal noted on twitter yesterday.

Unfortunately Ladbrokes have pulled their next MP to defect market, but William Hill have on how many MPs will defect.

Note, the terms of this bet How many sitting MP’s will defect to UKIP between the dates of the Clacton By Election and the UK General Election due in May 2015.

So any MP who defects today won’t count for the purposes of this bet.

TSE



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UKIP down 2 in this month’s ComRes phone poll for the Independent

September 30th, 2014

The fieldwork was Friday to Sunday inclusive, so some of it was conducted during Mark Reckless’ defection and Brooks Newmark’s resignation. There’ll probably be relief at Tory HQ, given that and the the polling was conducted in the aftermath of the Labour conference that they are up 1% and not down a significant amount. As with most other pollsters, there’s been no bounce for Labour post their conference. As ever, conference polling can be erratic, and we should wait until the after the conference season before reading too much into the polls.

On dealing with ISIS

Some 45 per cent of the public trust the Prime Minister to make the right decisions on tackling the jihadist group, but only 28 per cent trust the Labour leader to do so.  Although 49 per cent do not trust Mr Cameron to make the right judgements on  the issue, some 63 per cent do not trust Mr Miliband. Four in 10 (41 per cent) of Labour voters trust Mr Cameron to make the right decisions on Isis, but only 18 per cent of Conservative supporters trust Mr Miliband.

Some 48 per cent believe that taking part in such action will make Britain safer in the long term, while 42 per cent disagree. Men (53 per cent) are more likely to agree that such action will make the UK safer than women (41 per cent).

Only 38 per cent agree with the statement that the situation in Iraq and Syria is “none of our business and we should stay out of it,” while 56 per cent disagree.

TSE



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Marf on Theresa May’s new anti-terrorist measures

September 30th, 2014

If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.