Archive for the 'Corbyn' Category


New YouGov polling on party Brexit awareness highlights the challenges facing LAB

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

With the coming general election looking set to be a battle between parties that back Leave and and those that back Remain this YouGov polling on perceptions of the Brexit stance of each party looks be a good pointer.

As can be seen Johnson/Cummings have made progress with Leave voters that the Tories are pro-Brexit a finding that could be important given the Farage pitch of “we are more pure on Brexit than Johnson”

My guess, however,  is that on a seat by seat basis in the general election the Tories will take the lion’s share of the anti-Brexit vote in places where they’ve a good chance of winning.

Corbyn’s numbers for  LAB are seriously problematic with almost zero movement over the past six months – the product of having no clear view on what is the big issue of the moment.

The LDs with first their controversial “Bollocks to Brexit” rhetoric and then with their commitment to revoke Article 50 if they won a majority appears to have got through to their key constituency – remain voters.   Swinson’s team will also be pleased that they head the list of remain-backing parties.

Does it all matter? My guess is yes given that Brexit is likely to be a key trigger for election. During the full five weeks of the campaign other issues could emerge and that might help Team Corbyn or it might not.

One thing we don’t know about the next election is who will be the incumbent PM and who the leader of the opposition.

Mike Smithson


A confidence vote to get rid of PM Johnson could happen next week

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

The Betfair 69% on it taking place this year looks a decent bet

A leading SNP MP, Stewart Hosie, has told the BBC that there could be a confidence vote in Johnson as early as next week.

If this happens, given the current Commons numbers, Johnson would almost certainly lose and then, under the FTPA, there would a fortnight under which an alternative government could be formed and if not a general election would be triggered.

From what I can see the thinking is that getting the PM out now is seen critical to avoid a no deal Brexit on October 31st. A new government made up of all the opposition parties groupings including the Tories MPs axed by Johnson would then take over the reins of government to take the country past the October 31st Article 50 deadline.

The main problem is then who would become PM. While other parties might be happy with Corbyn Jo Swinson has been very clear that the LAB leader would not be acceptable and the LDs need to be on board. Alternatives such as Ken Clarke and Margaret Beckett have been suggested.

An interesting name that has been raised is the outgoing Speaker, John Bercow, who was originally elected as an MP for the Tory party.

My guess is that Corbyn might be prepared for another figure which is why my money is on Beckett.

A big issue overall is that although the referendum was for Leave the margin was so tight that a 1.9% Leave to Remain swing would have produced a different outcome. The Brexiteers got 51.9% of the vote but want 100% of the spoils. That could be their undoing.

You can get 69% on Betfair that there will be a second VONC in 2019 which looks like a good bet.

Meanwhile it is Tory conference time in Manchester.

Mike Smithson


Another conference boost for Jo Swinson – this time from LAB

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

Corbyn the opposition leader with the worst leader ratings ever gets his way

The big political news has been the Labour conference decision to reject a move that would have seen the party take out-and-out Remain position in the run-up to the likely early general election.

Delegates rejected a composite motion that would have seen the party pledge to campaign for remain.

Whether this was electorally wise only time will tell but my guess is that the biggest cheers for the vote would have come from the LDs who are currently taking about a quarter of the LAB GE2017 vote.

It does mean that in a general election LAB will not be on one side or the other giving Swinson party a clear run for the Remain vote and Johnson the unambiguous supporter of Brexit.

The nature of the vote was somewhat chaotic and given the importance of this to the party’s electoral future it was perhaps unwise not to have gone to a card vote.

Mike Smithson


Labour’s leadership machinations could be a pointer that an early change is being planned

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

So far I have not been tempted to take the Betfair 26% that Corbyn will step down as LAB leader during 2019.  But an early exit for Mr Corbyn is how some of the machinations ahead of the party conference both last night and this morning are being interpreted.

Why the party had to change its position on a move that seemed to be about abolishing the role of deputy leader as a means of clipping Watson’s wings we do not know.  It appears as though the position of Tom Watson was threatened in the first place because there was the possibility that he would, by being deputy, be the default temporary leader when Corbyn goes.

Something has been going on for the motion to have been published in the first place and then replaced by what appeared to be  much more apparently moderately sounding one. Maybe this is a common tactic. The first with the the deputy job being abolished was published in order to test the waters. Given that it has received such a negative response then maybe that has driven the decision to change it into something that appears more acceptable.

The fact is that this month Corbyn enters his fifth year as Labour leader which apart from Nicola Sturgeon makes him one of the most long-lasting leaders in the UK.  In the sametime period the Tories  have gone from Cameron to to Theresa May and now to Mr Johnson while the LDs have gone from Tim Farron to Vince Cable and now to Jo Swinson.

Whatever it is hard to see how  Corbyn could stand aside with all the talk of an imminent general election in which the LAB leader himself could play the key part in triggering by moving a confidence vote under the FPTP Act procedures.

If there is a general election then whether Corbyn will be lead could be an issue. After all the LAB leader is the next PM, elections permitting, in waiting and what has happened has raised doubts. Maybe this blunts the Corbyn negative factor.

Mike Smithson


The hurricane on Labour’s horizon

Saturday, September 21st, 2019

Labour can’t rely on election campaign miracles every time

As Labour gathers for its annual attempt to spread a veneer of forced goodwill over ruthless power-plays, rather like a Game of Thrones family Christmas, they ought to be asking a rather different introspective question than ‘how does Momentum increase its control?’. They should be asking ‘how do we get out of this disastrous polling position?’. They almost certainly won’t.

Because the truth is that Labour’s polling position – buttressed by real votes in real elections – is appalling. It’s easy for familiarity to breed complacency. With the polls having Labour’s share hovering around 25% on average since the European elections four months ago, these are numbers we’re now used to so rather than being shocked, we just accept them as the new normal.

The reality though is that the latest poll of each of the ten companies to have released results based on fieldwork carried out this month put Labour between 21% and 28% (inclusive). Even the best of these is slightly below what Labour polled in 1983, when their GB share was 28.3%; everything else would certainly be their worst result since 1918. As the two polling companies whose polling got closest to the actual result at the EP election (also the two companies least likely to be affected by false voter recall) give Labour 21% and 24% respectively, chances are the true share is at the bottom end of that range.

Put another way, these polls imply that Labour has lost almost half its vote – over six million voters – since the 2017 election.

It’s true that the Tories are also well down on their own 2017 share: the same ten polls put them in the 28-38 range with an average of 32 and shares from Mori/YouGov of 32-33. That’d be a decline of around 10%, equating to a quarter of their 2017 vote or around 3.5 million votes. That’s bad but in the context of a worse Labour decline, it’s still a net swing to the Blues.

These voting intention figures are backed up by other data. This month’s Mori leader satisfaction ratings saw Corbyn poll the worst-ever net rating for a Leader of the Opposition since the series began in 1977: -60. That’s around 30 points worse than Hague going into the 2001 election or Kinnock going into the 1987 one; it’s 15 points worse than Foot’s rating two months before the 1983 poll.

As this tweet notes, there’s a clear (but not always consistent) relationship between the gap in leader ratings and the eventual election result. Although we don’t yet have this month’s rating for Johnson, the most recent figure that we do have implies a very healthy Con majority.

If you prefer real votes we could equally take the local by-election results this week. Labour’s vote declined in all six. Or looking a little further back, Labour’s vote share suffered double-digit declines in the two summer Westminster by-elections (note that while Labour started in third in Brecon this year, when Blair was leading Labour back towards government, Labour put on vote share in similar by-elections such as Littleborough & Saddleworth or Perth & Kinross – being squeezed isn’t inevitable in such circumstances). Alternatively, we could look at the EP elections, where Labour finished third, with fewer votes than the Lib Dems – the first time that’d happened in a national poll since 1910; Labour failed to win a single constituency.

Of course, this might not matter. The election won’t be tomorrow; it might not be for months. Much could change between now and then. There will be an election campaign and Corbyn might perform another miracle to match the one from 2017 but it’s unlikely.

2017 has entered Labour mythology but the truth is that the cards fell perfectly for Corbyn. Having called the election on the issue of Brexit – where the Tories were reasonably strong at the time – Nick Timothy then sabotaged the Conservative campaign by producing a manifesto which was massively unpopular and which also had the effect of dragging the election debate onto domestic policy where Corbyn was far more comfortable. On top of which, Theresa May practically hid in a box for the duration, while Tim Farron wasted the Lib Dems’ media exposure by becoming embroiled in a bizarre controversy about Christianity and gay sex. They gave Corbyn a far clearer run than anyone expected, and made the most of it.

It would be optimistic in the extreme for Labour to expect such a favourable ride again (and of course, both Labour and Corbyn are more unpopular now than they were before the 2017 vote). Labour’s Brexit policy is confused and if the row over the Deputy Leadership is going to set the tone for Labour’s conference, chances are the divisions on Brexit policy won’t be healed. If so, the question of whether Labour is an ‘in’ or ‘out’ party will dog them throughout the campaign.

Labour could quite simply be sleepwalking into a catastrophe the like of which they cannot imagine. It’s easy for commentators to slip into the comfort zone, predicting small changes. Most elections do produce relatively small changes. However, the electorate is becoming ever more transactional and identifying less with parties, as this very good Prospect article explains and inertia only takes you so far. As happened in Scotland this decade or across the UK in the 1920s, change, when it comes, can come quickly and ruthlessly. No party has a right to the top table (Boris Johnson and co might want to take note there too, in passing).

This isn’t to say that Labour will suffer the kind of wipe-out that Scottish Labour did in 2015 (which actually just repeated what happened in 2011); not straight away anyway. But there is a whole dashboard of warning lights flashing. They should not be ignored.

David Herdson


Corbyn’s Ipsos-MORI satisfaction ratings drop to the lowest for an opposition leader since it started in 1977

Friday, September 20th, 2019

Hardly the platform for an election campaign

Ipsos-MORI, has been polling UK politics since 1977, and throughout that time has been asking in exactly the same manner if those sampled are satisfied/dissatisfied with a range of political leaders. We had the latest numbers for Jo Swinson yesterday. Today the Corbyn figures are released and have the LAB leader with a dissatisfied rating of 76% with just 16% saying satisfied.

Amongst those who voted LAB at 6E2107 33% said they were satisfied with 60% saying satisfied. Compare that with the 42% satisfied to 35% dissatisfied that the same segment recorded for Jo Swinson.

As Keiran’s Tweet points out these are the worst figures any opposition leader recorded by the firm and his Tweet looks at the record lows for all who’ve held that post for more than half a century.

The LAB leader needs to stage a recovery far far in excess of what happened at GE2017 for his party to have any chance. Then Corbyn started the campaign with a net rating of -25%. That compares with today’s net rating of minus 60%.

Mike Smithson


On the eve of the Lib Dem conference defection speculation goes in to overdrive

Friday, September 13th, 2019

The tweet by Michael Foster, a former Labour MP, has seen speculation increase about who might be defecting, I’ve long suspected the Lib Dems have a defection or two ready for their conference, we shall see if it turns out Michael Foster’s tweet turns out to be accurate. My reading of his tweet was the defection was not related to Brexit but anti-Semitism.

I understand why people may have thought it was Rosie Duffield, her constituency party tried to censure her last year after she criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the anti-Semitism issues swirling around Labour.

Hopefully some bookmakers will open markets on who may defect.




What will next set of polls show? I have no idea

Friday, September 6th, 2019

This afternoon a friend asked me what I thought the next set polls, which I’m expecting this weekend, would show. My honest answer is I don’t have a clue. As Ed Miliband’s pollster points out above calling David Cameron a chicken in 2014 and 2015 didn’t have any negative impact for David Cameron.

As we can see the Tories are going for the Corbyn is a coward meme, which they think could work I suspect it could given Corbyn’s many requests for a general election but at the back of my mind the fact Boris Johnson has flopped at getting an election it might make him look impotent.

Coupled with the other sub optimal stories that have happened to Boris Johnson this week where he’s looked like Gordon Brown without the people skills, the resignation of his brother is one of those things that do seep into the mind of the voters because it’s a bit of drama that they can enjoy.

But I can see some switchers from the Brexit Party moving to the Tories because the expulsion of pro EU MPs like Ken Clarke will show to them that Boris Johnson really will deliver Brexit on Halloween.

I can also see the Brexit Party surging if they think the Benn bill is going to see the referendum overturned.

Finally I can also see Labour gaining from pro EU voters who have liked Corbyn effectively halting a No Deal Brexit.

These competing forces makes calling the next set of polls difficult, so my official prediction is that I do not know what the next polls will show, all I can say is people will spin them and over interpret them.

So I’ve made my prediction for the next set of polls, time for PBers to make their predictions in the comments below.


Update – We have the first poll of the weekend