Archive for the ' General Election' Category


How the “deal” has impacted on the main UK political betting markets

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

The biggest gamble’s been on TMay surviving the year

The money’s piled on an election next year


Raab soared in the TMay successor betting

All charts based on Betfair exchange prices by

Mike Smithson


2019 becomes favourite for year of next general election as punters ponder the EU deal

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

After all the waiting this is a massive day for Theresa May and for the country’s relationship with Europe.

What I find amazing is the number of MPs and other commentators, declaring that this is a bad deal and they haven’t even seen the document yet. Sobeit.

At the end of the day the big question will be how many MPs will be ready to put their heads above the parapet and vote for no deal with all that that might mean. This is TMay’s big gamble making the uncertainty of leaving without a deal the reason to vote eventually for what is agreed.

The big choice for remainers is rejecting the deal and hoping that this might lead to a third referendum or accepting BINO.

The money’s going on a general election next year and on Betfair gamblers make it an 18% chance that TMay will be out this year.

Have a good day.

Mike Smithson


Apart from the Chequers wobble Leave voters broadly staying with the Tories and Mrs May

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

YouGov’s “Best PM” ratings stable amongst Leave voters

But Corbyn struggling amongst GE2017 LAB voters

As we approach what could be a very critical time in British politics with a possible Brexit deal only weeks away James Bowley has shared with me the above charts based on looking at the detailed data of all the published YouGov voting intention polls since the last general election.

The good news for the Tories and Mrs May is that after recovering from the Chequers wobble things seem to be fairly static amongst CON GE2017 voters both in the voting intention polling and YouGov’s who would make the best prime minister question.

    This suggests that she is more solidly based in the polls than the more hostile hard Brexiters in her party might like to think. The numbers indicate, that there’s a fairly large, if quiet, segment of CON voters who will swallow a Chequersish deal, without it leading to a mass-collapse in party support.

For the Labour leader, Mr Corbyn, things are somewhat different with a sharp fall off in support as best prime minister since the last general election from those who voted for his party. That he is barely holding onto a half of them is not a good pointer to the outcome of the next general election.

Corbynistas might like to take some comfort from the fact that at his worst Ed Miliband dropped to below 50% support as Best Prime Minister from Labour voters during the 2010 to 2015 Parliament. EdM lost GE2015.

Mike Smithson


After 30 years the curtains close on regular Guardian/ICM polls

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

The longest lasting poll series in British politics comes to an end.

This is something of a sad moment in British politics. The longest lasting polling series, ICM for the Guardian, has come to an end after a total of 30 years. Polls have been running from the firm in the paper at least monthly since January 1989 when ICM replaced Marplan as the paper’s voting intention provider.

The first one, as seen in the chart above, was in January 1989 when Mrs Thatcher was still heading the Conservative Party and showing a 4% lead.

Andrew Sparrow of the Guardian political team tells me:“We couldn’t justify the cost given that scepticism about the reliability of polling makes them less newsworthy than they used to be in the past.But we haven’t cut our links with ICM and will still be commissioning polling from them on a more ad hoc basis”

During the three decades of running polls for the paper ICM established a formidable reputation. It was the first to take action after the GE1992 polling disaster when none of the firms got it right. Under its then boss, Nick Sparrow, it pioneered past vote weighting to deal with what was then a systemic bias towards LAB in voting polling caused partly by what was described of the spiral of silence amongst CON voters.

For a long period Guardian/ICM polls were regarded as the “gold standard” a reputation that did not survive GE2017 when its final had the Tories with a double digit lead.

A notable correct prediction in more recent times was the ICM/Guardian poll for AV referendum which was correct to 1 within decimal point.

ICM also did remarkably well with the Brexit referendum with it last polls published online and phone surveys more than a week ahead showing Leave 4-5% ahead.

The pollster that’s still around  doing voting intention surveys the longest is MORI, now Ipsos-MORI, which began in the run-up to Mrs. Tharcher’s victory at GE1979.

Mike Smithson


It is now a 33% chance on the betting markets that there’ll be a general election next year

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018


ATTENTION “Brenda from Bristol”!

I can’t remember a time when there has been so much uncertainty about the short and medium-term of British politics. With the Article 50 date for Brexit less than 6 months away and still no deal with the EU it is extremely difficult to project what’s going to happen in the coming months.

Labour is pressing for a general election and will use its MP numbers and what other power it has in the Commons to force TMay to go to the country again. That is understandable and all oppositions all the time should be wanting a general election as soon as possible even when, like Labour at the moment, they are behind in the polls.

But is it going to happen? Will it be necessary for Mrs May or her successor to go to the ountry at least 3 years ahead of the due date under the Fixed Term Parliament Act?

The prime minister’s position remains precarious and it was less than a week ago that we were being told that she would face a show trial when she attended the meeting of Conservative backbench MPs. It didn’t happen but the restlessness is still there. Many are not convinced of her EU approach.

The question of who would replace Mrs May should she go soon is also far from clear. The Home Secretary,Sajid Javid, is currently favourite on the Betfair Exchange but he is less than a 14% chance which is far from convincing.

The huge issue for Number 10 is going to be getting whatever Brexit deal is agreed through the Commons and there’s little doubt we’re going to see split votes amongst the main opposition parties as well as the government.

The pressure for a third EU referendum remains strong as we saw on the streets of London just 10 days ago. Even if there was another vote it is far from clear that the question would be to leave or remain. It might be that Mrs May would simply seek backing for whatever deal she negotiates the alternative being no deal and all the issues that that creates.

Time has almost run out for a 2018 general election and as can be seen in the chart the money increasingly has been going on one in 2019.

I am far from convinced. Even if Tories had a new leader there is no reason at all why that person should need a mandate and the experience of last year is a great reminder of what a fantastic risk going to the country would be.

I’m not betting on an early election.

Mike Smithson


In October 2017 LAB had an average poll lead of 2.4% – this October Corbyn’s party is 3% behind

Monday, October 29th, 2018

The polls turned in March which coincided with Corbyn’s response to Salisbury and antisemitism becoming a big issue

October 2018 voting intention polls

October 2017  voting intention polls

Survation’s chart shows the timing of the switch


The Survation chart shows the LAB-CON splits in its Westminster voting intention polling since GE2017 when, of course, the firm was the most accurate pollster. Since then it has generally been recording the best figures for Labour and at times, like at the general election, has been out of line with other pollsters.

As can be seen things were going positively for Labour until late March when its share moved down from the 43%-45% range and has been broadly lower ever since.

There’s a great danger in looking at what was taking place at the time of the downturn and reading too much into it. Correlation is not causation.

However there were two big developments during the latter part of March – his initial response to the Salisbury chemical attack and the row about his positive comments on Facebook about a mural which was said to be antisemitic.

It was the latter that triggered the demonstration outside parliament by members of the Jewish community and their supporters as well, over the month, a series of stories about what the leader had done in the past.

We do know that in the London elections on May 4th the Labour aggregate vote was 43.9% which was way down on the 54.6% of GE2017 and all the polling for May 2018 elections.

My view is that the Salisbury response and the ongoing antisemitism row caused damage to Corbyn and his party from which it has yet to recover.

Mike Smithson


LAB would struggle to win a snap election with 50% of GE2017 LAB voters not rating Corbyn as “best PM”

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

His 50% LAB voter rating compares with 80% of GE2017 Tories for May

While all the focus this week has been on TMay’s chances of survival the PM and her party can take comfort in the latest “Best PM” ratings from YouGov in which those polled are given just two options – her and Corbyn.

In recent weeks TMay has been regaining her position and is now up from a low of 31% overall naming her to 38%. Corbyn is 14% behind on 24%.

What is striking when you look at the past vote splits is the breakdown that appears in the chart above. As can be seen GE17 CON voters are in broad terms still rating the PM highly on this measure. Corbyn’s position is that just half of LAB’s 2017 vote is now ready to rate him as best PM.

Clearly those who have voted for a party in the past must be regarded as almost bankers for the next election. This polling, which is very similar to other pollsters asking the “Best PM” question should be of concern to the red team.

There are two segments of the general election LAB vote which Corbyn appears to be having problems with – those who want to remain within the EU and those alienated by perceptions of antisemitism.

His view on Brexit is very much alien to the 70% or so of LAB voters who believe the vote to leave was wrong. On antisemitism we saw in the May locals how the party performed very badly in areas with large Jewish populations.

All this compares with the proportion of general election Tory voters backing Mrs May which is very much out of line with the noise coming from the hardline Brexiteers.

This does not bode well for Labour in a general election.

Mike Smithson



To win the next election LAB need to find converts and it’s hard to see where these are coming from

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Current polling finds LAB shedding support – not gaining it

With all the current speculation about a new election and the possibility of Corbyn becoming PM the latest polling is being sidelined and the question of where LAB’s required new support is going to come from is hardly mentioned.

The shock result at the last election has impacted greatly on both main parties in very different ways. The Tories fear the Labour threat and can’t take comfort in their polling position however strong it might appear. LAB, on the other hand, appears convinced that it doesn’t need to worry about the present because last time showed what could happen during the campaign when, as they will point out, the broadcasters have to be impartial.

    I’d argue that LAB was helped at GE2017 because nobody gave the party an earthly and they shouldn’t rely on the precedent of last time for the next election.

LAB and its leader, as will be recalled, received far less scrutiny during the campaign than a party that appeared on the brink of power would have come under. This made it so much easier or Corbyn because at no time did he come under serious pressure. We’ve seen over his initial responses to Salisbury and the antisemitism row that he doesn’t handle criticism and pressure well.

The current political environment is so unlike the build-up to the party last returning to power in 1997. The leader at the time, the one they don’t like talking about, realised that if the party was not to be defeated for a fifth successive time it needed to extend its base way beyond what it had at GE1992. Tony Blair made it “safe” for whole segments of the electorate to vote LAB for the first time.

To have any chance Corbyn’s LAB needs to retain the support of last year and to add some. So where are Corbyn’s converts going to come from and how is he is going to go about bringing them on board? That is as

Mike Smithson