Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


A reminder of how well each pollster did at last month’s Euros

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Well at least they couldn’t be accused of clustering

With the Tory leadership race taking place and the unique situation where party members will be electing a new PM there’s increasing focus on the polls and the possibility that the new leader could seek to call a general election.

One thing I’ve been meaning to do since the May 23rd Euros is to record here how the pollsters did in their final surveys compared with the actual result. This is something that we usually do on PB after elections but other issues since the Euro results came out have rather dominated the UK political narrative.

Remember when looking at this list that almost all polling that we see in on a GB only basis. Northern Ireland has its own very different political structure and there there is little point including the province in national polls. The Wikipedia table above shows that distinction.

What’s clear is that most firms struggled in this complex multi-party election with a lowish turnout. Labour which had a GB share of 14.1% was given final poll ratings from 15% (Ipsos-MORI) to 24% (Kantar) and 25% (Panelbase).

The LDs who came out with a GB share of 20.3% were given final poll ratings ranging from 20% (Ipsos-MORI) to 12% (Survation). No firm overstated the party and all but Ipsos understated them.

The Tories had a polling range of 7-15% and came out with 9/1%

Farage’s Brexit party, founded in November 2018 and not a few weeks before hand they kept on claiming, was both understated and overstated  and we see a range of 27% (Kantar) to 38% (Opinium).

For all the firms this was a very challenging election because of turnout. Overall this was 37% compared with the near 70% that we expect at general elections.

 NOTE: I’m off to London for a hustings meeting in that other leadership contest – the successor to Vince Cable with the Liberal Democrats and probably won’t be posting here until the evening. The two contenders, Jo Swinson and Ed Davey, were both ministers during the coalition.

Mike Smithson





The Tory booted out of his Brecon & Radnorshire seat by the recall petition plans to stand again for his party in the by-election

Friday, June 21st, 2019

Brecon & Radnorshire 1979-2017 from David Cowling

Leadership finalists BoJo and Hunt said to back the plan

The Tweets above from the of Political Editor, ITV Cymru Wales, are really quite remarkable and suggest the the Tory hierarchy is taking a huge gamble in their defence of the seat where today the incumbent has been recalled.

The recall petition happened because Davies was found guilty of fraud in relation to MP expenses at Southwark Crown Court in April. He was fined £1,500 and ordered to carry out 50 hours of community service.

If indeed both final contenders are backing him in his desire to stand again that, surely, will open the the party to many hostages to fortune. How can they talk about being tough on crime when they give their blessing to someone who has been convicted being the Conservative candidate. It is as though they are saying the courts were wrong.

Hunt is reported to have said “Whatever the rights and wrongs of his expenses claim, I have only ever known Chris Davies as a decent and honest man and a very diligent local MP.”

Corals, Ladbrokes and William Hill have all opened by-election market this afternoon and all make the LDs the 1/5 odds-on favourite.

Mike Smithson



This is a good moment to recall the MP stage of the 2001 Tory leadership election when Portillo missed the cut by just one vote

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

How IDS got into the members’ ballot with fewer than a third of the MP votes

The very first time the CON leadership election procedure that we are seeing at the moment was used was in 2001 in the aftermath of Tony Blair’s second successive landslide general election victory.

The longstanding favourite and the person expected to take the crown was Michael Portillo who had lost his Enfield seat at GE1997. He returned to the Commons in a by-election and seemed on course for to become leader in 2011. I’ve long felt that if he had he would have given Blair a run for his money in 2004.

The Wikipedia panel above shows the dynamic of that election process. As can be seen Portillo came top in the first two rounds of MP voting but then lost it at the final MP hurdle by a single vote.

In the membership ballot IDS easily out did the pro-EU Ken Clarke.

That Duncan Smith became leader after getting fewer than a third of the MP votes always meant he would struggle with the parliamentary party. Two years later he lost a confidence vote and was kicked out of the job.

Michael Portillo left politics and developed a successful career in TV.

Mike Smithson



Raab out – Stewart the big gainer

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019


The Tories move to 21% in a YouGov poll and this is being described as a “surge”

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Politics has been turned upside down

Mike Smithson


As Johnson launches CON membership polling finds his backers more likely to want a no deal Brexit and less emphasis on climate change

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019


Would a PM Johnson try to please those who got him there?

The above findings are from recent YouGov polling of CON members – the group that in in a week or so will decide on who should be the next party leader and, of course next PM. Tomorrow CON MPs hold the first round of voting in the process of whittling down to two names which will go to the membership in a postal ballot.

The data from an ongoing study of party memberships led Prof Tim Bale of QMUL and Paul Webb of Sussex University a report of which has just been published.

The approach to Brexit is not that surprising but  it is climate change which sees a bigger gap between Johnson backers and those supporting Gove or Hunt. They note that:

“…grassroots Conservatives can hardly be said to be representative of the country as a whole, either demographically or ideologically. There are far more men among them than there are women; most of them live in the southern half of the country; they are generally pretty well-off; they are relatively old (although not quite as ancient as often suggested); they are very, very white; and they are also significantly more right wing than the average voter – whether we’re talking about their economic or social attitudes.”

Given that this will be the first time that a party membership ballot chooses someone who become PM expect a lot more examination of CON members in the next few weeks.

Mike Smithson


For the first time ever neither LAB nor CON occupy the top two slots in a national Westminster voting intention poll

Friday, May 31st, 2019

LD 24%
BXP 22%
LAB 19%
CON 19%

As had been leaked earlier yesterday evening the latest Times YouGov poll has historic changes in the party order with the Lib Dems on 24% two points ahead of BXP with Labour and the Tories both on 19%.

This has simply not happened before in the history of polling. It is totally unprecedented for neither of the two major parties currently forming the government and the opposition to perform so poorly. Clearly the uncertainty of the Brexit is taking a major toll on the way voters are looking at politics.

It should be noted that the the pollster, YouGov, was one of just two that got the order right ahead of last week’s euro elections.

Whether these positions will be sustained or indeed seen by other firms we shall have to wait and see but there is little doubt that we are going through some very turbulent times.

The two parties at the top in this poll, of course, are the ones which have the clearest view on the big issue of the day Brexit. For the Lib Dems this is its best polling position since the peak of Cleggmania ahead of the 2010 general election.

This all makes next week’s parliamentary by-election in Peterborough even more interesting. This has been a seat that has flipped between Labour and the Conservatives and could it be that the same thing that is happening in the polls be seen there with good results for the Brexit party and the Lib Dems? Could neither LAB nor CON make the top 2?

Mike Smithson



In the TMay successor betting Gove replaces Raab as second favourite – Johnson still clear favourite

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

There have now been two working days since TMay announced her exit programme and there has been quite a lot of movement on the Betfair exchange where £0.75m has been gambled in the past week.

The big change as can be seen in the chart is the growing support for Michael Gove who has replaced Raab as second favourite.

All sort of new betting mark with 12 CON MPs now having declared themselves as runners.

Unless there is any whittling down between now and the MP ballot stage there could be several days of MP voting as one contender then another fails to make the split.

Mike Smithson