Archive for the ' General Election' Category


Trying to understand why the Lib Dems aren’t doing better in the polls

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017


The Lib Dems are still paying the price for being hollowed out in local government during the coalition years.

One of the mysteries of current politics for me is how badly the Lib Dems are doing in the  polls. Since the general election every opinion poll bar one has the Lib Dems polling in the single digits when the current political terrain should be fertile for them.

With Brexit being so polarising I’d have thought the only staunchly GB wide anti-Brexit party coupled with the Tories and Labour being led by two flawed leaders would see the Lib Dems polling a lot better than they currently are, so why aren’t they, the chart above might explain it.

Like their MPs, since the Lib Dems during the coalition they were shellacked every May, that hollowing of the party sees the influence of the party weakened and perceived to be an irrelevance. My own feeling and experience is that a strong councillor base helps you win and hold Parliamentary seats, and that’s why the Lib Dems have lost so many MPs in recent years.

Earlier on this year the Lib Dems hit their highest ever membership numbers, so it isn’t all doom and gloom for them. Assuming the next general election is in 2022, that gives the Lib Dems four rounds of local elections to rebuild their local government presence.

If they can rebuild their footprint there, and undo the near two thousands council seats the Lib Dems have lost since they entered the coalition it might help them see an increase in the polls and the number of MPs they have.



Why the Tory plotters wanting to oust May need have no worries about letting Corbyn in

Monday, November 13th, 2017

A new CON leader WILL NOT mean an early general election

With the Sunday newspaper reports that the CON MPs plotting an early retirement for Mrs May being just 8 MPs short of the 48 required for a confidence vote we could be very close to a formal move against Mrs May.

One of the big arguments that May backers and the Tory whips are apparently making to MPs is that if she goes early then it heightens the risk of an early general election in which Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister.

The same theme is taken up by the New Statesman George Eaton in an article in which he sets out how the fear of letting Corbyn in is being used.

… , having lost their majority earlier this year, the Conservatives are loath to do anything that could prompt a second general election. Labour would begin as favourites and Tory MPs sincerely fear the consequences of a Corbyn victory.

Faced with a choice between bad and worse, most Tory MPs believe that May’s survival represents the former. “

This, of course, is completely bogus and overlooks the legal mechanics of how general elections are now called. No longer does a Prime Minister have it in her or his gift to trot along to the Palace to call a general election.

For while the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, enacted as part of the coalition deal, is still on the statute book it is very hard to envisage the circumstances in which Mr. Corbyn enters Number 10 in the foreseeable future.

The FTPA lays down just two ways that an election can be called early: by two thirds of all MPs voting for one as happened last April or by a vote of no confidence in the government which is not rescinded within two weeks. Given what happened to Tories in June it is hard to see any TMay successor being foolhardy enough to risk either route.

In any case the next Tory leader is likely to have been elected in a members’ ballot which would give him or her more legitimacy. It was the avoidance of such a vote last year which was one of the factors that drove Mrs May to use the FTPA process in April.

There is no other legal mechanism for an early election to be called which is something which many close observers and active politicians don’t seem to have fathomed.

Mike Smithson


The first poll of November finds a tad of comfort for Mrs. May and raises questions of LAB

Friday, November 10th, 2017

YouGov/Times carried out Tues/Wed
CON 40%=
LAB 43%+1
LD 6%-2

YouGov Times poll “best PM” ratings
TMay 34%+1
Corbyn 31%-2
DK 35%

YouGov Times poll – should TMay stand down?
Should 32% -6
Should not 42%+3
Changes on month ago

44% tell YouGov Times poll that TMay should sack Boris against 26% saying she should keep him. Rest of sample don’t know

With Mrs. May having to say goodbye to two of her 22 cabinet ministers in less than a week you’d have thought that Labour and Corbyn would have seen an increase in their position in the polls.

Well this morning sees the first published poll of the month with fieldwork carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday and the numbers are nothing like as bad as the Tories must have feared and nothing like as good as LAB must have hoped.

Sure on voting intention LAB sees a minuscule within margin of error one point uplift but on “best PM” TMay extends her lead.

Labour’s failure to capitalise on the Tory turmoil should be a cause for concern and certainly raises question about the red team’s leadership.

    We are a long way from Corbyn’s Glastonbury hubris in late June when he was telling people he’d be PM by Christmas.

Mike Smithson


The big question is how much Corbyn’s LAB can capitalise on the Tory turmoil

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Will the red team start to replicate its 2012 polling performance

With the Tory difficulties that appear to mount by the day the time has come surely for Corbyn’s LAB to make significant advances in the polls.

What’s been quite striking since June when LAB exceeded expectations is how the gap between the two main parties has remained relatively constant and on the low side. There’s been the odd poll showing a 6 point gap but mostly it has been down at 1 or 2 points.

    Compare this with the first half of 2012, the year that saw the “Omnishambles” budget with the granny and pasty taxes, when for a time most polls had LAB with double digit leads some as high as 15 points.

Remember those 2012 polls mattered for nothing three years later when Cameron won his surprise majority.

I’d argue that in terms of perceptions of government competence what has been happening at the moment is far worse than what happened five years ago.

Will the upcoming November polls reflect this? We shall see.

Mike Smithson


If these rumours turn out to be accurate I can see a 2018 general election happening

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Robert Peston’s Facebook post is very interesting, the bit that stood out for me was, this bit

That said, any escalation of the scandal that prompted resignations of MPs and by-elections would be a catastrophe for a prime minister and Tory party whose grip on office is the most tenuous of any government since the 1970s.

May somehow needs to hose down this fire pronto.

Unlike the expenses scandal, where there was a general election within a year which allowed some miscreants to announce their intention to stand down, today we’re potentially over four years away from a general election, so that option isn’t feasible. Unlike then, we now have a recall law to recall MPs if they meet a certain threshold.

If the badly behaving MPs are indeed cabinet ministers that also impacts on the equilibrium, or lack thereof, in the cabinet when it comes to our post Brexit deal.

If we do see by elections I suspect Brexit will feature heavily in them, with candidates at  the end of the political spectrum winning, such as those who are opposed to Brexit and those who get tumescent at the prospect of a Hard/WTO Brexit, which could impact the type of Brexit we get.

I suspect if Mark Garnier’s is forced to resign as a minister, he won’t be the only one, there’s some bad vibes around this whole sorry saga.

Given the downright surrealness of the last few years in the world of politics, the government and the type of Brexit we could get might be determined by the appalling behaviour of some MPs towards their staff and other political workers.



LAB’s GE17 candidate selection process makes it look amateurish, sloppy and is damaging

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Another day and more O’Mara revelations come out

All parties, including the Tories, were taken by surprise when Mrs May returned from her walking holiday in Snowdonia in April and announced that in spite of previous assurances that she wouldn’t go to the country before 2020 she was calling a general election.

But the date was set for more than seven weeks later which is a lot longer than normal election campaigns.

Getting candidates in place in all of the 650 seats was a huge task but other parties managed it without having to resort to what Labour did in Sheffield Hallam where national officials apparently selected him without meeting him or examining his background. Mr O’Mara was never troubled with having to go through a proper selection process.

Now the seat has an MP who apparently can’t be arsed to do what most MPs regard as the norm – holding regular constituency surgeries and taking part fully in the processes at Westminster. He’s the only one of the 650 MPs elected on June 8th who took their seats who has yet to speak in the House.

Although he’s had the whip withdrawn, apparently against the wishes of leader Corbyn, this has the potential to be flung back at the red team whenever Labour tries to present itself as as a credible party of government.

If they can’t even have a proper process for choosing candidates then how can they aspire to run the country.

Mike Smithson


Consolation for Theresa – in spite of the Tory turmoil LAB isn’t pulling away

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

We get so few voting polls these days that any new one is something of an event and today we had ICM for the Guardian which once again has the two main parties level pegging.

Looking at the Wikipedia polling table above the big message is that the Tories have less to fear than might, at first, you would expect. Sure Labour is ahead in many of the polls but the picture is far from clear cut and it is not obvious that if there was a general election tomorrow that the Tories would be defeated.

For whatever reason Labour has found it enormously difficult to widen the gap following what was a very considerable boost in the general election when they massively beat expectations.

What is odd is that the voting numbers are not following the leader ratings where Jeremy Corbyn has been enjoying a pretty good run of polls. He is ahead of Theresa May whatever the question whether it be leader satisfaction, favourability, or good job bad job.

Last month Labour had the best September conference which had the feel almost of a victory rally even though the seat total achieved on June 8th was just four more than that which Gordon Brown got in 2010.

Labour’s policies, particularly on nationalisation, appear to be well supported according to the surveys yet this doesn’t seem to be reflected in the voting numbers.

Maybe we simply have to accept that Brexit means that these are times for which there is no precedent and we have to adjust our expectations accordingly.

Mike Smithson


Just one in 20 CON voters on June 8th did so because of Theresa May

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

So much for the campaign basing it all on her

A unique feature of the Conservative campaign for the June election was that the branding was completely about Theresa May and you would have been hard pressed on things like the Tory battle bus to see the word Conservative.

Clearly this was based on the belief believe that the Prime Minister herself was the strongest feature of the Conservatives offer in the election that she had called to endorse her approach to Brexit. Early poling seemed to back this up.

Yet in the end it didn’t work out that way. As we got closer and closer to election day the more that voters saw of the Conservative leader the less she was a positive and her ratings slumped into negative territory in some polls.

Yesterday I posted about YouGov polling that took place in the days after the election which rather got over-shadowed in the political turmoil of the time. This asked why those who had vote LAB and CON had made their choice. Yesterday was about Labour this latest post in about the Tories.

Certainly Brexit, being anti Corbyn/LAB were strong motivators but just look where TMay stands – just 5% of CON voters said she was the main reason for their vote.

    Interestingly more CON voters said they voted against Corbyn than Labour voters said he was the main reason for their vote

My main concern about this polling is that it was being wise after the event and whether the election outcome itself influenced the responses.

Mike Smithson