Archive for August, 2013


Betting on when will a Conservative lead with YouGov occur

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Paddy Power have opened a market on when we’ll see a Conservative lead with YouGov.

Overnight the latest yougov poll was published, it shows the Labour lead at 3%

The below graph shows the monthly average of the YouGov Polls since February

Whilst these charts show the changes for each party and the Labour lead since last month, since May, and since February.

The trend is clear, Labour’s share of the vote has been falling slightly month by month since February, and their lead has fallen month by month (bar May, when the Conservative share of the vote fell even further, due to the afterglow of the UKIP performance in the local elections)

Looking from February to August, Labour’s lead has fallen from an average 10.95% to 5.68% so far this month, their share of the vote has declined by 4.02% from 42.60% to 38.58%.

But where did that 4.02% go? In the same period, the Conservative share of the vote went up 1.24% from 31.65% to 32.89%. UKIP would appear to be the recipients of Labour’s votes, as their share of the vote went up by 2.79% in that period, whilst the Lib Dems went down 1.11% between August and February.

If we look at the period between now and May, Labour’s lead has fallen by 3.79% in that period, so again we’re seeing Labour’s lead falling at around 1% per month. Since May, Labour’s share of the vote fell 0.66% from 39.24% to 38.58%. The Conservatives went up 3.13% in the same time frame, as UKIP’s share of the vote fell 2.49% from 14.33% to 11.84%.

If present trends continue, with Labour’s lead decreasing by around 1% per month, the Conservatives could take the lead in early 2014.

That said, given the lead has been as low as 3%, such as today, and with the Party conferences coming up, when parties have higher visibility has in the past led to a (short term) poll boost, fortunately at the end of last year, I backed the conservatives to have a lead with YouGov at sometime in 2013 at 2/1 with Ladbrokes, so I’m going to back Paddy Power’s first half of 2014 option.

But I can see why some PBers may wish to go for 2013, and there’s by my estimate, just over 100 more YouGov polls due to be published between now and the end of the year, it only takes one poll for it to be a winner.




Nighthawks is now open

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Home of the web’s best political conversation

If you’re experiencing Insomnia, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

If you’re a lurker, why not delurk tonight, it certainly is an interesting time in UK politics, with Syria’s use of weapons of, Mass Destruction,

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

  1. Labour Kills Commons Vote On Military Action In Syria As Cameron Forced To Seek UN Resolution
  2. Alastair Campbell Warns It Is ‘Incredibly Dangerous’ Not To Intervene In Syria
  3. Hans Blix - Even if Assad used chemical weapons, the west has no mandate to act as a global policeman
  4. Strike on Syria Would Lead to Retaliation on Israel, Iran Warns
  5. Syrian crisis threatens pump prices
  6. Nearly six in ten of Americans say the U.S. should stay out of the conflict in Syria and 54% say the U.S. has no responsibility to intervene around the globe
  7. Peter Kellner: The shadow of Vietnam constrained United States foreign policy for decades after the last American soldier left Saigon in 1975. Iraq is now casting a similar shadow over British foreign policy.
  8. Syria – how can those of us who give a damn now make a difference
  9. Assad is like the contingently inept Carthaginians and that’s why he will lose. 
  10. Syrian Electronic Army wreaks havoc on Twitter and New York Times
  11. Could comedy help reverse youth disengagement in politics?
  12. Chilcot report into Iraq conflict will not be released until 2014
  13. Million foreign voters could sway result of next general election, warns report. A million Commonwealth citizens living in England and Wales should be stripped of the right to vote because they could significantly influence the outcome of the next general election, according to a new report.
  14. Wind farms are a breach of human rights says UN. No, really
  15. Paul Maynard MP: Turn your back on HS2 and you turn your back on the North of England
  16. Fox News plays ‘Dude looks like a lady’ over Chelsea Manning segment
  17. Archbishop of Canterbury: ‘My stance against equal marriage can be seen as wicked’
  18. A UN watchdog will touch down in Britain tomorrow to investigate the “bedroom tax” and eviction threats driving tenants to suicide.
  19. Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee offers hope for the long term unemployed
  20. Chinese News site ‘passes off Battlestar Galactica as aircraft carrier’
  21. Tory MPs angered by BFI funding for posh Bullingdon Club film. Conservative party members link funding of drama about the drunken exploits of young Tories to the decision to cut film industry subsidies
  22. Miley Cyrus ‘Twerk’ Dance Move Makes Dictionary



As long as the 2010 Lib Dem voters are splitting like this then Cameron’s chances of remaining PM are slight

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

What will a Syrian intervention do?

Mike Smithson

For the latest polling and political betting news



Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

The above is the findings from the YouGov poll for the Sunday Times.

YouGov noted on Sunday that

The most recent survey supports findings in a YouGov survey from April, which suggested the use of chemical weapons in Syria would make little if any difference at all to the British public’s disinclination towards greater involvement. 

Overnight there was further YouGov polling released on the reported plans for Syria and it makes for grim reading for David Cameron.








As Jack Straw put it, “There is no doubt that the experience of Iraq has raised the bar of scepticism by the British House of Commons on behalf of the British people about whether military action is justified.”

If Dave is looking for any comfort, his Libya action proved unpopular at the time.

The risks for him is that once the military actions begins, it could escalate and he ceases to be in control of events, and that’s he effectively allying himself with the Syrian opposition, who have, inter alia, have been reported to have done the following

1) Eating the heart of a Syrian soldier.
2) Has openly sworn its loyalty to Al Qaeda
3) Have threatened to use chemical weapons themselves.
4) ‘Beheaded a Christian and fed him to the dogs’

For Labour there are also risks in whatever they do, as they try and deal with their Iraq Legacy and contrition therein also Dianne Abbot may resign rather than support military action in Syria, and she added this bon mot.

She said Tony Blair’s decision to join the “clamour” for an attack on Syria was “another reason why it’s probably a bad idea”.

For the Lib Dems, part of their support came from their opposition to the Iraq war, given the unpopularity of intervention in Syria, if any of those remaining Lib Dems are only there because of Lib Dem opposition to Iraq, then Lib Dem share of the vote could go lower.

If all the three major party Leaders support intervention in Syria, then there could be an opportunity for UKIP, Nigel Farage has warned Britain cannot go to war with Syria “on a whim,” stating “horrible though it is, there is nothing the British military can do to make things better.”

Could UKIP become the home of voters opposed to intervention in Syria and see their share of the vote increase?

For the Western leaders looking to intervene are hoping that they aren’t following in the footsteps of Marcus Licinius Crassus whose political ambitions ended as he sought military glory whilst he was Governor of Syria.

Could this be the black swan of this parliament? Who would have twenty years ago that a former London ophthalmologist could have such an impact on this country?

The recall of parliament on Thursday promises to make for fascinating viewing.



Ipsos-MORI party like-dislike ratings for UKIP raise doubts about the party’s future progress

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

How come that Farage’s party is now so disliked?

One of the big problems with polling is that what tends to get reported is what fits the media narrative and other numbers can get ignored.

Thus the big news from latest Ipsos-MORI “like/dislike” party and leader ratings was the big fall in Ed Miliband’s personal position which, of course, has been the big political story this summer. This has overshadowed other numbers from the firm about UKIP that might be more interesting from a GE2015 forecasting perspective.

The survey found that 52% of the sample did not like Farage’s party with 25% saying they did – a net of minus 27%. The Tories, by comparison, had 57% not liking with 38% liking – a net of minus 19%. The LD figures were 43% like to 47% dislike while Labour was 49% “like” to 43% “dislike”.

    For a party that been surging so fast to be so disliked comes as something of a shock. It suggests that UKIP support won’t be expanding at the same rate as has been experienced in the past year and, indeed, that we might have seen what the ceiling is for now.

Ipsos-MORI party “like/dislike” ratings proved to be one of the indicators that the CON-LAB gap was closing in the final stage of the GE2010 campaign. See here.

The big test for UKIP in the coming nine months will be next May’s elections for the EU parliament. They are still favourites to win most votes but are no longer odds on. As I’ve reported before I am on the Tories at 10/1.

Mike Smithson


Meet Ed Kinnock

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

According to the press, today we’re going to see the start of a new phase of the Tory campaign targeting Ed Miliband as weak by comparing him unfavourably with Neil Kinnock.

Today, Michael Gove will say

“The contrast with Neil Kinnock – who originally faced down the Militant Tendency over entryism is striking – and not at all flattering to Ed Miliband. While Kinnock moved bravely and remorselessly to eradicate Militant’s influence, and Militant-sponsored MPs, from Labour, Miliband has done nothing to stop the takeover of his own party.

The Conservative approach does present a few risks to them

1) Focussing upon Labour’s membership, is extremely risky considering the Conservatives aren’t releasing their own membership figures because it is reported that their membership has fallen under one hundred thousand under Cameron’s leadership. The narrative could focus back onto that.

2) Ed Miliband is still largely in control of events regarding the Unions via his special conference, he can come up with a solution to his recent unions travails, that the voters may like, which risks making the Conservative approach backfire, his conference speech (or his upcoming speech to the TUC) could be as powerful as Neil Kinnock’s conference speech was in 1985

Clearly the Tories have decided Ed is Labour’s weak point, this strategy appears to be working in some respects, as evidenced by his falling personal ratings in recent months and a recent narrowing in the polls, but the great irreconcilable for the Conservatives is that Labour’s share of the vote remains in a largely consistent 36-40% range with actual voting intention polls, despite all of those attacks on Ed and his falling ratings. If Labour’s share of the vote doesn’t move from this range, will the Conservatives continue with this approach?



PB Poll on when we’ll see Tory leads in the polls

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Following the publication of the ICM Wisdom poll, ICM’s Martin Boon said about Ed’s poor personal polling, “He is becoming Labour’s IDS and if it carries on like this it’s hard not to think that we’ll be seeing Conservative polling leads very soon.”

Take part in PB’s poll and tell us what you think.

When will we start seeing Tory polling leads



Cameron and Clegg The New Blair and Brown?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Yesterday John Rentoul wrote a fascinating piece on the Dave and Nick relationship.


I am told that [David Cameron] has recently had a lot of “quite angry” meetings with Nick Clegg. Where once civil servants liked to compare the polite and mutually respectful dealings of the coalition leaders with the storms of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s dysfunctional “coalition”, insiders now say that there are similarities after all.

I understand that one of Cameron and Clegg’s disputes was over the change announced in the June spending review to make claimants wait seven days before being eligible for out-of-work benefits. Clegg felt he had been bamboozled; Cameron said, in effect, that he should have read the small print of the Chancellor’s proposals.

These squalls came before the Home Office’s “Go Home” vans carrying adverts nominally aimed at illegal immigrants, about which Liberal Democrat ministers have been most exercised over the summer. Clegg and Jeremy Browne, the Lib Dem Minister of State in the Home Office, were furious, but it was too late. They were both on holiday when Theresa May, the Home Secretary, approved the billboards, which might as well have read “Vote Conservative”.

As  John Rentoul and others have noted, in the past the relationship between Cameron and Clegg has been strong, and not as problematic as many feared when two parties form a coalition.

I’ve always been of the opinion that the coalition will go the distance to the 2015 General Election (and still am), however if the relationship between Cameron and Clegg begins to deteriorate further, it may be worth reviewing the following markets.

With William Hill, Liberal Democrats to leave the Current Government before 1st January 2015 is 3/1

If the coalition does end, either with the Lib Dems or the Tories leaving/ending the coalition, then I suspect we’d have an election shortly thereafter, as a minority Conservative government would struggle to pass legislation and budgets, and the Lib Dems wouldn’t prop up a minority conservative government, as they’d get the blame for any unpopular things the minority conservative government did without any of the influence they currently have, and the success of any minority conservative government, the success would be wholly apportioned to David Cameron and the conservatives.

Several bookies have a market on the year of the next election, the best odds on a 2013 election is 25/1 and for a 2014 election it is 11/2.

Thanks to Antifrank for alerting us to this story on an earlier thread.