Archive for March, 2010


ComRes and YouGov confirm the trend away from Labour

Monday, March 29th, 2010
ComRes Independent Mar 28 Feb 28
LABOUR 30% 32%
LIB DEMS 19% 18%
LAB to CON swing from 2005 5% 4%
YG daily poll – Sun Mar 29 Mar 26
LABOUR 32% 32%
LIB DEMS 18% 19%
LAB to CON swing from 2005 5% 4%

Two more polls with the same broad trend

The second of tonight’s polls is just out – by ComRes for the Independent – and follows the pattern of other surveys since the budget and has an increasing Labour deficit. Here the Tories remain on 37% but Labour slip back to two.

I’m expecting the YouGov daily poll in the next few minutes which will be posted here as soon as we get it. This has tended to show higher Labour shares than the other firms.

UPDATE: YouGov is now out and the shares are above.

Mike Smithson


Opinium records a 6.5% swing from Labour to the Tories

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Opinium (Daily Express) Mar 29 Mar 22
LABOUR 28% 30%
LIB DEMS 16% 15%
LAB to CON swing from 2005 6.5% 5%

Another poll has Brown’s party falling further behind

The first of what I expect to be three polls tonight, new pollster Opinium for the Daily Express, conitnues the trend of all the weekend surveys and has Labour’s deficit getting bigger.

The gap is now ten points and the shares on the simplified UNS rule of thumb calculation would give Cameron an overall majority.

This comes as what Channel 4 are dubbing the “three Chancellors” are preparing for their high profile live debate. That starts at 8pm.

Other polls tonight are expected from ComRes and YouGov.

Mike Smithson


What’ll Lib Dems do in the LAB-CON marginals?

Monday, March 29th, 2010


In how many seats could tactical voting be decisive?

The above data from last week’s marginals poll from the MORI poll of the marginals shows that an incredible 77% of LD supporters might switch by polling day in seats where Labour and the Tories are battling it out.

Clearly the more this is framed as a battle between Brown and Cameron the more that this segment will become important. The critical questions are how many will switch and which party will have the balance of the advantage?

Alas MORI didn’t ask a tactical voting question to the Lib Dem segment but to questions on managing the economy the Tories did have a lead – though the size of this sub-sample was very small.

Tactical voting has played a big part in the past four general elections generally to the advantage of Labour. Will the same apply this time?

Mike Smithson


How big a gamble is Osborne’s NI plan?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Did Darling’s budget provide him with the peg?

Making tax announcements so close to the date is a big risk and no doubt Labour will be working hard at finding the holes so they they can start to undermine it straight away.

But the line that Labour has identified billions of efficiency saving as revealed in Darling’s budget gives the Tories some cover – at least for the next few hours.

The addition of Ken Clarke alongside Osborne and Hammond at the press conference was telling.

This NI cuts – efficiency saving argument looks set to be the key to this election.

Mike Smithson


Could getting tantalising close cause him to pause on the date?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Might June 3rd just be back on the agenda?

One thing’s for certain as we move towards the long Easter weekend – a final decision has to be taken in the next few days by Gordon, and by Gordon alone, if he is to set the wheels in motion for a May 6th general election.

However much a foregone conclusion this might appear he has still got to decide and on this might rest any chance that Labour has of pulling off a sensation.

So just imagine how he is viewing each opinion poll and what was going through his head when the YouGov survey last Wednesday had the gap down to just two points?

For a few weeks earlier Thursday March 25 had been suggested by many around him as the day. Could that go down as another opportunity lost like October 2007 when all seemed set for an election the following month?

The problem is that there’s always a strong case for delay. How can you start a campaign, you see him pondering at the moment, on the same day as a national rail strike – due a week tomorrow?

I’ve always regarded the argument that May 6 sees local elections in some parts of the country as a red herring. That was the same in 1970, 1983, and 1987 – all years when there were June general elections.

Maybe my bets on a late date won’t be losers after all? As far as I can see the only general election month market still operating is Betfair’s.

Mike Smithson


Marf’s take on Labour’s pledge-card

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

I’m delighted that Marf, PB’s cartoonist from far back, is making a return – after all we could not do without her sharp observation and biting satire during the campaign.

She’ll be one of many PBers who are attending Wednesday’s London event at Dirty Dicks opposite Liverpool Street station. It starts at at 6.30pm and I’ve suggested that she brings along some prints and originals of her PB work in case anybody wants to acquire one.

  • Radio 4’s Westminster Hour. I’ve got my regular slot in the programme tonight which starts at 10pm.
  • Mike Smithson


    The Sweet FA prediction model

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010

    Is it all down to the colours of the current FA cup holders?


    Thanks to Roger Mortimore of Ipsos-MORI for coming up with this fun approach. He wrote:-

    “….All you have to do to predict which of the major parties will have an overall majority in the Commons following the election is to note the shirt colours usually worn by the current holders (on election day) of the FA Cup.

    If their shirts are predominantly in the Conservative colours of blue or white, a Conservative victory will ensue; on the other hand if the predominant colour is red or yellow, Labour will be successful. (Black stripes are ignored.)

    …. the sensitivity of the prediction method is demonstrated by the election of February 1974, which produced the only post-election hung Parliament since the War – that election was fought when the cup holders were Sunderland, whose striped shirts are red and white in equal measure….

    …And what about the 2010 election? If it is held on the date that most pundits expect, 6 May, then the 2010 Cup Final will still be in the future and the cup holders will still be the 2009 winners – Chelsea, once more. So that would indicate a Conservative overall majority. But if Gordon Brown were to ignore the convenience of holding the general and local elections on the same day and hang on until after this year’s Cup Final on 15 May, perhaps he still has a chance. True, the odds are still stacked against him, as three of the four semi-finalists play in white or blue; but Aston Villa, whose shirts are predominantly a shade of red (claret, to be precise), still offer him some hope…

    One thing’s for sure, though, all this talk of a hung Parliament is misplaced. The last chance of that disappeared when Stoke City (red and white stripes) were knocked out in the quarter finals!

    Mike Smithson


    Are the Tories playing the Gordon card too early?

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010

    Would they be doing this now but for the polls?

    The ads above are the first from Tory party’s new releationship with M&C Saatchi who, now doubt, have done a lot of research on what images of the PM most suit their purpose.

    It was inevitable that at some stage during the camapign that the Tories would play what they believe is their strongest card – Gordon Brown’s unpopularity.

    For even during the recent Labour recovery in the polls the approval rating gap between Brown and Cameron has remained large and the latest polling suggests that it is getting a touch wider. The only PM ever to go into an election with this level of unpopularity and win was Tony Blair in 2005 – but he was facing Michael Howard who had even worse numbers

    The questions are whether this treatment is right and, more importantly, whether going negative on Gordon should have been something that was held back until the final days.

    For it’s only in the closing stages of a campaign that the majority of electors start taking a close interest and that is the time surely to play your strongest card.

    Assuming that Brown doesn’t decide to stretch it out to the last possible day, June 3rd, we are still just under six weeks from polling day and it’ll be hard trying to sustsain an anti-Brown campaign for all that period.

    As to the posters themselves the couple I’ve reproduced seem fine. Of the others I am less convinced. We have “I let 80,000 criminals out early“; I doubled the tax rate for the poor; I lost £6 billion selling off Britain’s gold; I caused record youth unemployment; and I increased the gap between rich and poor.

    The Tories are trying to make the election a refrendum on Brown – Labour will try to make it a referendum on Cameron.

    Sit back folks and enjoy the ride.

  • Nearly at 1.5 million comments Currently the number of comments posted on the site since it was created stands at 350 short of the 1,500,000. We’ve put on the last half million in less than a year. Who is going to make the land-mark contribution? We should see that happening on this thread.
  • Mike Smithson