Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


On Betfair the chances of a CON majority edges to lowest level since election was called

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Was a 95% chance – now 84%

During tonight’s Channel 4/Sky News Corbyn/May event I monitored the Betfair overall majority market to see if there was any movement. Half a million pounds is being traded on it every day and the liquidity is there.

The answer was that there was a bit of movement but it is hard to attribute this to the programme. The question now is whether the event and the coverage of it will have any impact on voting intentions.

I thought that both Corbyn and May did OK and I was surprised that the PM was not tempted to attack the Labour leader in anyway whatsoever.

Paxman was appalling with Corbyn and his absence from regular political coverage since leaving Newsnight certainly showed. His whole line of questioning seemed to provide the peg for the LAB leader to demonstrate that he wasn’t quite as left-wing as he’s portrayed. He was much better with May.

TMay overall gave an accomplished performance and was at her weakest when trying to explain why we are having an election at all blaming everything on the Lib Dems. I am sure this might become an issue in the closing phase.

Mike Smithson


Analysing Labour’s rise in the polls

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Popular policies might be the explanation for Labour’s increase in the polls since the start of the campaign

At the start of this general election campaign, I thought there was a chance that my 10/1 bets on Labour polling sub 20% might be in play but during this general election campaign if the polls are accurate, Labour’s share of the vote has risen, and Labour might end up polling close to 40%.

Now there’s much discussion about what is driving up Labour’s share of the vote, what it isn’t is the Tories collapsing, the Tory share of the vote has been strong and stable and relentlessly polling in the 40s.

If we look at the chart above from YouGov, we can see Labour’s manifesto seems to have improved the perceptions around Labour, whilst the chart below shows the Tory manifesto hasn’t been that much of a hit, with the main Tory policy people seem to recall was the Dementia Tax

YouGov observe

For both parties around 60% of people could remember at least something connected to a manifesto promise (though in many cases that was barely more than “tax the rich” or “Brexit”). And in this sense, the two parties’ proposals gained a similar resonance. However, there was a big contrast in the types of policy that people took away from the two manifestos.

For Labour the more “positive” policies received clear cut-through: 32% of people recalled the pledges to axe tuition fees, 21% remembered promises to increase NHS funding, 20% recalled commitments to nationalise the railways, Royal Mail and the National Grid. All of these are also policies which our polling has found the public support, and which are relatively clear and easy to understand.

For the Conservatives, though, only one policy was recalled by more than a fifth of voters: the changes to care funding (or, to use the more negative term used by many respondents, the “dementia tax”). The one cut-through promise from the Tory manifesto was both unpopular and complicated, a stark comparison to the more straight-forward and popular pledges made by Labour.

The other Tory proposals that were noted by the public did not achieve a great amount of recall. Policies around going ahead with Brexit was remembered by 12%, while means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance was acknowledged by one in ten (10%).

It is worth noting that even when people do recall policies, they are not necessarily what they base their vote on. Ballot box behaviour is much more about the broader perceptions of the parties, such as what it stands for, its leaders and their perceived competence. Here too, however, there seems to be clear evidence of damage that the Conservative manifesto caused the party.

Before the manifesto were published, 45% of people thought the Conservatives had plenty of policies, with 35% thinking they were well thought-through, while 38% believed they weren’t. But following the manifesto launch, only 19% thought the party’s policies were well thought-through, while over half (54%) did not.

For Labour, the traffic went the other way. Before its manifesto launch only 25% of people thought the party had well-thought through policies, but following publication, this figure rose to 31%.

Given a key plank of the Conservative party’s offering to the country is the claim that it is the strong and steady party of competence, the notable drop in the proportion of people thinking they have well thought-through policies for the country should be worrying. But there are still two weeks until poling day so there is time enough for this to change.

My advice to Labour is that Labour should try and ensure that the rest of the campaign is fought on policy and not personality nor the back stories of Labour’s front bench.



Jeremy Corbyn – Labour’s election gift to Mrs. May and the Tories

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Towards the end of last week I had a long conversation with a Conservative activist who has been canvassing in key target seats in the southeast.

He had been working in the Dagenham and Rainham parliamentary constituency mostly focussing former council estates which at past elections have been pretty solid for Labour. What was striking, he told me, was the massive negative reaction to Jeremy Corbyn that he was getting on the doorstep and how quite a few of those being canvassed wanted to use the conversation to vent the anger with the Labour leader.

The reaction was in some contrast to the middle class areas of the constituency where there was a move to the Conservatives but not nothing like on the scale as on the former council estates.

What is interesting is that this is also the reaction that many Labour canvassers are finding. The Tweet above from the former Labour MP and ex-BBC colleague of mine, Denis MacShane, is typical.

The Lib Dems I know who been out in target seats are also experiencing a lot of hostility towards to the man who has convincingly won two LAB leadership elections.

This is of course all reflected in the polls. Upto GE2015 LAB could largely take the working class vote for granted but now large swathes of it have disappeared.

From what I can gather everything that was predicted about Corbyn’s leadership in a general election is actually happening. He is proving a massive negative and his supporters are left trying to find even more excuses.

Mike Smithson


The 2017 LAB leadership contest starts on June 9th whether Corbyn quits then or not

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Yvette Cooper could be the only contender & win without an election

The first phase of Labour’s 2017 leadership contest ended on Thursday afternoon when nominations closed for the June 9th General Election. Those like John Rentoul who have analysed the list of candidates for seats that LAB could possibly hold onto say that there will not be enough Corbyn supporting MPs elected in the general election for them to make a nomination according to Labour’s rules.

The hard left’s plan to change the rules to reduce the threshold at the September conference in order to make it easier for them to get somebody on the ballot have been thwarted by Mrs May’s calling a general election in June.

If Corbyn on June 9th decides not to quit after his likely massive general election defeat then he is not going to be able to hang on until the Party Conference for the rule change. It is hard to see in these circumstances him not facing an immediate challenge and the chances are that this time, in the aftermath of an appalling defeat, he’d lose.

In an excellent analysis last month the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush wrote of the head of steam that has built up behind Yvette Cooper. There’s a growing consensus that this time Labour has to choose a woman and Cooper herself made a strong impression amongst the PLP with some excellent Commons performances.

According to Bush there might not even be a contested election:

At present, no other candidate is even getting close to Cooper’s levels of support in the PLP. If there is a heavy defeat on 8 June, I wouldn’t be shocked if the parliamentary Labour party gives the leadership to Yvette Cooper by acclamation, just as they did with Gordon Brown

The best price you can get in Cooper is 9/2.

Mike Smithson


As the election draws closer LAB leader Corbyn is seeing a boost in his “Best Prime Minister” ratings

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Now 28% behind TMay the closest this year

Of all the ratings that are made of leaders the one I have least doubts about his who would make the best Prime Minister. Quite simply the incumbent generally gets a huge boost simply because they are in the post and the opposition leader isn’t.

It might be recalled that ahead of Mrs Thatcher’s 1979 General Election victory she was trailing James Callaghan by more than 20% on this measure in the final MORI poll before election day.

But one of the effects of the current election campaign has been the people are thinking about politics more which of course is a reflection of what they are seeing on the TV screens.

So at the start of the Year Corbyn was getting a best PM rating of just 14%. Now it is 21% which is still a long way behind but it is an improvement.

But the voting figures in the same poll are still dreadful for Labour and continue to point to a CON landslide.

Mike Smithson


Ladbrokes make Yvette Cooper 3/1 favourite to succeed Corbyn following a flurry of bets on her

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

But is Jez going to go quietly after the Tory landslide?

There has been a trend on the Labour leadership betting markets in the last couple of days which has seen Yvette Cooper establish herself as the firm favourite to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. She’s had some fairly confident performances and was the one person who really shook TMay at PMQs before the Parliament was dissolved.

I’m not rushing into back however although U believe she will be by a long way the best leader of the Labour Party. Women have a history of performing poorly in these contests and also having to cope with appalling sexist attacks on social media.

Even though the inevitable CON landslide June 8th is going to change the political environment it is hard to see Labour’s selectorate changing its view and do anything that is not supportive of JC and whoever he nominates to follow him

Their thinking is that it is better to be ideologically pure but an election loser than choose anybody with a slightly better chance of becoming PM.

Next permanent leader of the Labour Party

Yvette Cooper 3/1
Keir Starmer 6/1
Clive Lewis 8/1
David Miliband 8/1
Dan Jarvis 12/1
Lisa Nandy 12/1
Rebecca Long-Bailey 12/1
Chuka Umunna 16/1
Angela Rayner 20/1
Emily Thornberry 20/1
25/1 bar

Mike Smithson


How is history going to judge Mr. Corbyn?

Friday, May 5th, 2017

With his party getting an absolute pasting in the local elections and all the pointers being to a CON landslide on June 8th I wonder quite how history is going to judge Labour’s leader, Mr. Corbyn.

An hour or so ago I posted a Tweet to that effect. This is it and here are some of the responses.

Mike Smithson


Voters want May to negotiate Brexit and not Corbyn and that’s all you need to know

Monday, May 1st, 2017

A new poll shows that UK adults overwhelmingly trust Theresa May rather than Jeremy Corbyn to negotiate Brexit by a margin of 51% to 13%. All else is secondary writes Keiran Pedley.

On this week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast (see below) I spoke to Chris Hanretty from the University of East Anglia about events in France and the prospect of a Tory landslide in June. As part of the show, I also unveiled some new polling from our Polling Matters / Opinium series that, in my view, tells you all you need to know about this General Election. It’s worth going over some of it again given the furore over YouGov ‘only’ showing a 13 point lead this weekend.

A Brexit election

Our poll surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,006 UK adults and asked how closely they were following the election, what they thought the key issues were in deciding  how to vote and who they trusted most to negotiate Brexit. It is this latter question that I think is the most telling. UK adults trust May over Corbyn by a margin on 51% to 13%. The rest either don’t know or trust neither.

Who would you trust more to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal from the EU? All UK adults

Remain voters

Leave voters

Theresa May 51% 40% 69%
Jeremy Corbyn 13% 20% 7%
Don’t know 14% 13% 11%
Neither 22% 27% 13%

These numbers are striking. Not only does Theresa May lead Jeremy Corbyn on this measure by 62 points among Leave voters but she also leads among Remain voters by a 2:1 margin as well.  At a time when the EU is setting out its negotiating stance ahead of Brexit talks it is impossible to understate the importance of these numbers. The context of this election is that Brexit negotiations are about to begin and Theresa May is overwhelmingly the most trusted figure to represent Britain at those negotiations. In my view, all other issues are of secondary importance in this election and in our understanding of the eventual outcome.

If you need further evidence, we also asked respondents to choose the top three issues of most importance to them in deciding how they will vote. To be clear, we asked this question before the one above to avoid any question order bias. Here is what they said:

 Most important factors when considering how to vote in the upcoming General Election? All UK adults Remain voters Leave voters
Who will negotiate the best Brexit deal as Britain leaves the EU 38% 28% 53%
Which party I think will form the most effective government overall 37% 40% 36%
Which party has the best policies on the NHS 31% 36% 29%
Which party has the most policies I like 25% 30% 22%
Which party has the best economic policies 23% 31% 17%
Which party has the best policies on immigration 20% 8% 33%
Which party will promise to stop Brexit 14% 26% 2%
Whether Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn will be the next Prime Minister 13% 11% 16%
Which party has the best education policies 9% 13% 6%
Don’t know 6% 4% 7%
I don’t plan to vote 4% 1% 3%
Something else (please specify) 4% 4% 4%
None of the above 3% 3% 3%

There are two clear winners here: ‘who will negotiate the best Brexit deal’ and ‘who will form the most competent government overall’.  We have established that May leads Corbyn on the former and although we didn’t specifically ask, I think we can safely assume she would win on the latter too (the two points are essentially related). In short, the issue of day, outside general perceptions of competence, is Brexit and May is the most trusted on this issue.

But hold on. Perhaps I am oversimplifying a little. There is some interesting nuance to mull over when we look at the results split by Remain and Leave voters. For Remain voters, stopping Brexit entirely is almost as important as negotiating the best Brexit deal, with the overarching question of competence and policies on the NHS the most important factors driving Remainers to the polls. However, for Leave voters, the Brexit deal is convincingly THE most important issue (by 17 points) alongside the competence question and policies on immigration (unsurprising given what we know about the Leave vote).

Why am I convinced the Brexit question matters most? Well, firstly because it comes out on top in the question above and secondly because we won’t be able to escape it in the coming weeks. As we approach polling day, I expect the Tories to increasingly focus on this idea of ‘who do you want to negotiate Brexit’? In my opinion, it is a far more effective message than this ‘coalition of chaos’ idea. It brings into sharp focus the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn being responsible for negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and I suspect that this will be enough to drive Conservatives to the polls. Meanwhile Remainers – unlike Leave voters – are not consolidating their support in one party.

Brits are of course concerned about other issues – not least the NHS – but given that Labour agrees that Brexit should happen, it is hard to see how the central question of this election is not therefore who leads that process. Voters clearly think that person should be May and not Corbyn, which suits the Tories just fine and is really all we need to know about what happens next aside from the scale of the Tory victory.

Keiran presents the PB/Polling Matters podcast and tweets about polling and public opinion at @keiranpedley

Listen to the latest Polling Matters podcast with Chris Hanretty here

About the poll: Opinium surveyed 2,006 UK adults online between 21st to 24th April, 2017. Tables will be on the website in the next 2 days.