Archive for July, 2019

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If the swing in tomorrow’s by-election is in line with today’s 10% CON lead YouGov poll then the Tories still lose the seat

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

There’s been a fair bit of speculation today following the latest YouGov/Times poll that all might not be lost for Tories in tomorrow’s by-election. Maybe but according to standard swing calculations BJohnson’s party needs more movement than this to fend off the yellow peril.

Swing is calculated by looking at the poll shares in relation to what happened at the general election. So the Tory GB share on June 8th 2017 was 43.5% which is 11.5% greater than today’s poll. The LDs, on the other hand see an increase in their GB share from 7.6% at the general election to 19% in the poll so a movement up of 11.4%. Taken together the poll represents a CON to LD swing since GE2017 of 11.45%.

Based on the Brecon 2017 result the LDs need a swing from the Tories of 9.75% to win.

This is all theoretical stuff, of course, but expect at some stage on Friday projections of many current CON held seats would be at risk if the swing at B & R was repeated.

Of course there is a long history of by-election swings not being replicated at general elections and of many LD gains going back to the Tories at the following general election. One big difference now is the weakness in electoral terms of JCorbyn-led Labour.

The general point is that whilst the BJohnson-led party might be eating into the Brexit party vote there may even be bigger dangers from a resurgent grouping of anti-Brexit parties who are showing in this seat how they can be a lot more effective working together.

It is that which could have the biggest long-term impact. First past the post might no longer be the Tories’ great saviour.

Mike Smithson


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A week on from Johnson being called to the Palace and so far so good

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

How much of the bounce will be seen in Brecon?

It is just a week ago that TMay went to the Palace to step down as PM and for the new Tory leader, BJohnson, to be invited to succeed her.

Going back over the years new prime ministers’ taking over between general elections almost always see a boost in their party’s position in the voting intention polls. This happened with with John Major in 1990, Gordon Brown in 2007 and of course Theresa May in 2016. So the trends in the table above are not unexpected. Perhaps the biggest aspect for Johnson is that the Tories are taking votes back from the Brexit party.

Boris appears to have approached his new job in the same manner as Gordon Brown. A huge number of announcements, an impression of a lot of activity and of course seeking to maintain the media’s attention with something new every day. The polling has been good both the voting intention and the best prime minister numbers and you get the sense, just like Brown in 2007, that he is looking towards an early general election.

The only cloud on horizon is the Brecon and Radnorshire by election tomorrow where the Tories are defending a majority of 19.5%.

The big challenge here, leaving aside the fact that they Tory candidate has a criminal record, is that there is only one clear anti-Brexit party but there are two very clear options for those who are for Brexit. If Farage’s party didn’t exist or had not been in the race than the prospects for the Tories to hold the seat would have been substantially greater. But they’re not and the pro Brexit vote tomorrow will be split.

The seat is one which at the referendum in June 2016 voting went very much in line with the national split of 52 to 48.

It just might be given the publicity that that always Johnson’s been getting that that the Tories could perform better than expected and run the Lib Dems very close.

One of the factors, though, is postal voting. There are about 10,000 in the constituency and the ballot packs went out 12 days ago and most of them will, if normal patterns are being followed, would have been returned pretty quickly. That means that quite a number of voters will have made their decisions before the Boris bounce.

My guess is that both CON and the LDs will take 40%+ of the votes.

On Betfair the Tories are rated as having a 13% chance of winning a figure that has gone up markedly in the past two days.

Mike Smithson


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Frontrunners Sanders and Warren get the edge in the latest Democratic WH2020 nominationdebate

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Little change in the betting apart from Sanders moving up 2%

The second round of Democratic nomination debates has once again been split into two because there are so many candidates still in the race who met the organisers qualification rules.

This means that not all the front runners were on stage together and last night we were without Joe Biden who leads in the polls and Kamala Harris who currently leads in the betting.

At the next debate in September the qualifying levels on polling and fundraising have been made harder and it looks as though there will only be then 10 participating.

I didn’t stay up and have not watched the debate in full but this verdict of Taegan Goddard of Politicalwire reflects what many commentators are saying.

“Overall, the clear winners were Warren and Sanders. Both fought for their ideas rather than attack each other. It’s unlikely either lost any ground, to others or to each other. Even more important, they offered an optimism for Democrats in a way the other candidates didn’t.

Warren summed up this optimistic message in a brilliant response to Delaney: “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”

The second part of the July debate tonight sees Kamala Harris up against Joe Biden. It will be the latter’s performance that the media will be focusing on. He cannot appear so lacklustre as he did in the first debate in June.

Mike Smithson


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Farage and Johnson slug it out to be the top party on Brexit in Brecon

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019

Both quote the Peterborough by-election to make their case



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Could the Tories just hang on in Brecon & Radnorshire?

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

PM Johnson has been in Wales today and spent an hour or so in ‘Brecon and Radnorshire where the Tories are defending a 19.5% majority in the by-election on Thursday. This is a critical one for him and his government  because losing the seat would cuts down the effective CON majority with the DUP to just one.

Being beaten in a by-election with a majority this size just eight days after entering Number 10 would undermine the generally positive narrative Boris has created.

The vacancy was caused by a successful recall petition on the Tory who won it at GE2015, Chris Davies. This followed his criminal conviction for expense fraud.

The Greens and Plaid have both stood aside for the LDs to ensure that there is only one pro-Remain contender. The seat voted roughly 52-48 for leave at the referendum. As per usual the LDs are working hard to squeeze the LAB vote which was 17.7% last time.

There’s little doubt that the Tories have been throwing everything into the defence and I am less confident than I was that the LDs will win back the seat.

Someone I know was canvassing for the Tories at the weekend and told me that Davies is remarkably popular. There’s also a very high level of interest and I’d expect good turnout by by-election standards.

I think TSE’s bet, rating this as about a 4% chance for the Tories, is value.

Mike Smithson


 



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Continuing uncertainty over a no-deal Brexit sees the pound drop even further

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

The markets could be what puts most pressure on Johnson

After a week of almost positive coverage there’s a big cloud hanging over the new government as a result of uncertainty on the currency markets. The pound has slipped sharply against both the US dollar and the Euro.

The effect of this is seen at some airports where the amount you get for a pound is in some cases lower than 1. Although the initial brunt of this will be borne by holiday makers abroad this will increase the cost of everything that has to be imported.

Currency crises can be bad news for governments. John Major never really recovered from the ERM crisis in September 1992 that saw big drops in the value of sterling.

In a way it is surprising that this wasn’t anticipated. Johnson doesn’t have a solution to the hard border in Ireland issue which the backstop was designed to deal with. By ruling that out in such emphatic terms the rookie PM has a problem particularly with his rhetoric on the UK leaving on October 31st.

Mike Smithson


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Now betting opens on a by-election that has not yet been called and indeed might never happen

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

One of the biggest shocks at the last general election was the former LD leader and deputy PM, Nick Clegg, losing his seat at Sheffield Hallam to LAB.

Since then the news about this constituency has focused on the man who replaced him, Jared O’Mara, and things don’t look good with one negative story after another and questions about his health. It now look as though he’s planning to quit parliament which, of course, could open up a by-election.

In many ways this would be an intriguing contest because since the late 1980s the area has returned Conservative, LD and LAB MPs. It is also where PB’s TSE lives and votes.

Whether O’Mara goes ahead with his resignation we’ll have to wait and see and also there is the possibility of an intervening general election.

So it is far from certain that there will be a contest and it is in this context that Ladbrokes have opened a by-election market featured in the Tweet above. Note that if there is no by-election this year punters will get their money back.

The big negative for LAB if there is a by-election is O’Mara himself and how such a person could have been selected to fight a key marginal. It does not say a lot about Labour’s due diligence.

Having said that the 1/3 on the LDs looks a value bet. If the party can overcome the Tory 19.5% majority in Brecon and Radnorshire on Thursday then these Hallam odds will look even better.

Mike Smithson


 



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In the WH2020 Democratic nomination race those paying the least attention to the campaign are backing Biden/Sanders

Monday, July 29th, 2019


Quinnipac national poll

Tomorrow night sees the second round of debates amongst those competing to be the Democratic nominee to take on Trump in the November 2020 White House race.

After the first round last month California Senator, Kamala Harris, was deemed to have done best with what was seen as a highly effective attack on the 76 year old front runner and two times White House failure, Jo Biden. As a result she moved sharply into the favourite slot in the betting a position she still holds though it is starting to get weaker.

Having tipped Harris on PB in January 2017 when she was a 66/ shot I am paying very close attention to her progress  as I know are other PBers.

What’s striking is that Biden and the 77 year old Sanders who did well at WH2016 continue to do well in the poling. But when you analyse this these oldie contenders are getting a disproportionate amount of support from those who are “paying little or no attention“. This question is a feature of all Quinnipac polls and one which takes the edge of their position in the polls.

Surely it is a reasonable assumption to make that those in the little or no attention segment are going to be less likely to participate in the primary?

In the coming primary battle a key element could be the that the biggest state of all, California, is having its primary in early March rather than June. This is from Vox on why this could be crucial. 

“Given its size and expansive media market, California is a notoriously expensive state to compete in. Unlike some other early states, outreach in the nation’s most populous state is extremely dependent on paid media, and according to some strategists, candidates will need at least $5 million to even be competitive.

This landscape is one that favors candidates that constituents already know, experts say, giving home state Sen. Kamala Harris a big leg up, along with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, both of whom have prominent national profiles.

“If she can do well in the February contests, [Harris’s] home state could be part of a potential knockout blow to the others,” Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia, told Vox. “

Mike Smithson