Archive for the ' General Election' Category

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Latest YouGov sees LAB in third place, 3% behind UKIP, amongst the C2DEs

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Labour’s polling misery continues

One very striking feature of the latest YouGov poll out this morning is LAB position amongst the lower socio-economic groups. The numbers are in the chart. As can be seen in this segment LAB is on just 20% which is 3% behind UKIP.

Will have to see a week on Thursday whether these movements are refelected in the latest batch of Westminster by elections. Stoke Central clearly, has a large proportion of C2DEs and if this YouGov polling is correct then it should theoretically reinforce UKIP’s position.

The problem with both the coming by-elections is that the turnout is expected to be very low indeed and this could make a mockery of efforts to applying national polling to a local situation. Stoke central, as has been widely reported, had absolutely the lowest turnout level of all 650 constituencies at the 2015 general election. If it gets much beyond 30% in the by-election that will be something of a surprise and the fewer the numbers of people actually voting the greater potential for upsets.

It is quite remarkable that LAB, the party that for generations has been seen as the mouthpiece of the working classes, now finds itself in third place amongst that group.

Mike Smithson




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GE 2015 single constituency polling: Remember when 5 consecutive surveys had Clegg being unseated

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The numbers caused LAB to focus on the DPM when they could have been saving Balls

There’s been a fair bit of discussion about how difficult single seat polling is and I was reminded on Twitter this morning of the polling at GE2015 of Sheffield Hallam. The numbers are above. Five consecutive polls had LAB ahead.

As can be seen there was a pretty consistent picture that the then DPM,, who still arouses excitement amongst red tribalists, was in trouble and no end of activists poured into the seat when they could have served their party far better elsewhere.

I often wonder if other marginals in Yorkshire might have had different outcomes if EdM’s party hadn’t been distracted appeared to be a compulsive need “punish Clegg.” More fool them.

The reason single seat polling is so challenging is that it an be hard finding a sample that is large enough. This can’t really be done online and almost all such polls are by phone.

I don’t expect to see many single seat polls in this parliament.

Mike Smithson




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A look at the betting options if Theresa May falls

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Theresa May’s position currently looks unassailable. Her speech last week was very well received by the public and her opinion poll leads are overwhelming. For now, her honeymoon with voters shows few signs of abating and she stands dominant over the British political scene.

But will it last?

The times in which there is the greatest consensus about the political future is often the best time to look for betting value. And the course that has to be navigated between now and the next General Election which – in the absence of any parliamentary vote to the contrary – will be held in May 2020 is probably the most treacherous for any UK Prime Minister in living memory.

A number of factors could cause this: a second Scottish independence referendum (sanctioned or not) that results in a Yes vote, a disastrous negotiation with the EU, a public falling out with Donald Trump (or, more likely, he with her) leading to No Trade Deal, and/or a recession that, regardless of circumstances, will be blamed on Brexit. Not to mention a major domestic political black swan event that could topple her whilst her back is turned.


We know Theresa May doesn’t have a huge following amongst her colleagues, and her managerial style has not endeared many of them to her. But the Conservative Party can forgive anything, except failure.

I’ve been considering options.

“Prime Minister After the Next General Election” is a very interesting market from Skybet.

Note the rules: “Market to be settled on the Prime Minister appointed after the next UK general election, regardless of when this takes place. Any change in Prime Minister before the next election will not be relevant to the settlement of this market.

So, if you think May will be replaced by another Conservative prior to a General Election being held, which could be held at any time prior to May 2020, and that he/she will win as incumbent PM , then this bet would pay out.

Who would benefit?

My money would be on an experienced Conservative with cabinet level experience who’d be perceived as a ‘safe pair of hands’. That would be someone who respected the Brexit vote, but would do whatever’s necessary to salvage the situation politically.

I’m on Hammond at 100/1, Rudd at 200/1 and Osborne at 200/1. I think all three represent excellent value.

Even if this scenario is only a 10/1 shot, it isn’t much longer than that, and the inexplicable prices for Farage at 50/1, David Miliband at 40/1, and Tim Farron at 18/1, really do put these into perspective.

Casino Royale



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After an extraordinary and dramatic political year so little has changed in the battle between CON & LAB

Monday, January 16th, 2017

The main moves – UKIP down LD up

After this morning’s YouGov poll came out I was asked on Twitter for the comparative numbers for a year ago and other points during 2016. The data is in the chart above and shows quite extraordinary that Labour and the Conservatives have almost the same numbers this month that they had a year ago.

This is a period which has seen the election of a Muslim mayor in London, Brexit, and, of course, a new UK PM, the victory by Donald Trump in the White House Race.

ILooking at the polling numbers between now and the year ago the only real change has been that the LDs have progressed quite nicely and UKIP has Fallen. At one stage Farage’s party, as it then was, touched 20% but things started to decline after the referendum. It remain to be seen whether under its new leader UKIP will reach the heights again.

The big factor in domestic politics has been the time has marches on. We are now one year closer to the May 2020 General Election date that is laid down in the fixed term Parliament Act. The time margins for a LAB recovery are now much narrower.

In the coming months so much depends on how to Theresa May’s government is seem to have handled the extraction process from the European Union. On that we will get the prime minister’s speech tomorrow. Then hopefully within next week we should see the Supreme Court ruling on Article 50.

Mike Smithson




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A measure of the anti-elite backlash will be when when a non-dark blue educated leader becomes a GE winner

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

It is not hard to spot the trend here

General Election Winning party leader Alma mater
1945 Clement Attlee University of Oxford
1950 Clement Attlee University of Oxford
1951 Winston Churchill Non graduate
1955 Anthony Eden University of Oxford
1959 Harold Macmillan University of Oxford
1964 Harold Wilson University of Oxford
1966 Harold Wilson University of Oxford
1970 Edward Heath University of Oxford
1974 Feb Harold Wilson University of Oxford
1974 Oct Harold Wilson University of Oxford
1979 Margaret Thatcher University of Oxford
1983 Margaret Thatcher University of Oxford
1987 Margaret Thatcher University of Oxford
1992 John Major Non graduate
1997 Tony Blair University of Oxford
2001 Tony Blair University of Oxford
2005 Tony Blair University of Oxford
2010 David Cameron University of Oxford
2015 David Cameron University of Oxford

Can the Oxford stranglehold continue?

It is 81 years since a party led by a grad of a university other than Oxford led his/her party to a general election victory. This table shows what happened in the intervening period

You have to go back to the 1935 to find an election winner, Stanley Baldwin, who was a graduate of a university other than Oxford. The only non-dark blues GE winners, Churchill (1951) and Major (1992)did not go to university.

Jim Callaghan and Gordon Brown are not in the list because they didn’t lead their parties to general election victories.

Mike Smithson




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CON slips 3 and LAB drop to 24% in new YouGov Times poll

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

datawrapper-z8bvi-visualize

The squeeze on LAB from Yellow and Purple continues

Unlike the last last parliament when there was at least one poll every single day for more than four years surveyd are now few and far between at the moment. The only regular (monthly or more) Westminster voting polls are coming from just four firms – YouGov, ICM, Opinium and Ipsos MORI. At least individual polls are not having a greater impact.

The big picture is the continuation of the sorry state of Labour which is being squeezed by both UKIP and the LDs. Both have very clear visions of Europe which Team Corbyn has been unable to articulate.

We saw at GE2015 in Scotland how a party can totally collapse. At GE2010 LAB has 41 MPs north of the border. Now it has just one and LAB is now in third place in Holyrood surveys.

Mike Smithson




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The winners under First Past The Post should rigidly adhere to election spending laws

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

ge15-voters-per-seat

The chart above is self-explanatory and illustrates clearly how well the electoral system treated the Tories at the last election and how hard it was on the smaller parties particularly UKIP.

General elections are won in the marginal constituencies where clearly the parties focus their resources both financial and people.

But the law lays down very strict spending limits on how much can be spent by each party within each seat. Parties shouldn’t be able to buy victory simply because they’ve got most money.

After the election each candidate and his/her agent have to sign a declaration of expenses. A false declaration is a criminal offence.

So free resources that don’t cost money such as enthusiastic volunteers for clearical tasks, delivering and canvassing are at a premium. If you start paying for items like this during the official campaign period then it can eat into the maximum that’s allowed.

Earlier in the year Channel 4’s Michael Crick ran a series of reports suggesting that the Tories in some of their key targets and defences might have gone over the limit. This is now being investigated by the Electoral Commission and we await its report.

In these days hidden campaigning such as use of social media and the phone plays a huge part and tracking expenditure can be harder but it is right that limits should be adhered to.

Mike Smithson




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Signs are that 2017 could be a big Westminster by-election year topping even 2016

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

We know of two already and 2017 hasn’t even started

One of the big trends in recent times, as the chart shows, has been for a big increase in by-elections caused by other than the death or health of the sitting MP. This year there’ve been seven contests with five of them in the “other” category. Ogmore and Toting were caused by the sitting MP either switching to the Welsh Assembly or becoming Mayor of London. Two of the other three were linked to BREXIT while the final one related to the government’s decision on Heathrow.

Looking to 2017 there are signs that we could have another big year. The creation of the big combined authority elected mayors provides opportunities for other sitting MPs as well as twice-failed LAB leader contender, Andy Burnham.

Also we have the trials and tribulations within Labour following the Corbyn re-election with reports that other MPs are ready to step down and create by-elections like the upcoming one in Copeland.

We still don’t know what the Electoral Commission is going to do following the Michael Crick Channel 4 Tory GE2015 expenses investigation. Whether that leads to by-elections is hard to say but certainly there’s an expectation within UKIP that Nigel Farage might be able to have another stab at Thanet South. LAB and the LDs have similar hopes.

A betting market on the total number in 2017 might be a good idea. I’d go for 7+.

Mike Smithson