Archive for the 'Leaders’ TV debates' Category


Even though it is fighting fewer seats and had no MPs the BBC is favouring UKIP over the Greens in its GE2017 specials

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

This morning the BBC announced it’s lineup of General Election specials. They are listed in the table above. Surprisingly UKIP, which has 377 seats is being given an Andrew Neil interview but the Greens, with 468 candidates, are not

But unlike May, Corbyn, Farron and Sturgeon there will be no place for either the Greens or Nuttall in the Question Time Leader Specials.

Last time it will be recalled that the BBC’s Question Time Leader special was probably the most significant broadcast event of the campaign. A very knowledgeable and hostile audience had been lined up for each of them. No doubt the same will happen this time.

Overall the lineup looks fairly similar to what happened two years ago but with the Lib Dems being given a greater presence.

ANOTHER DATE FOR YOUR DIARY. We are hoping to arrange a PB Gathering in London on Friday May 26th. I'l publish the details when this is finalised.

Mike Smithson


Marine Le Pen goes into the final 2 days behind in every French region except the one most favoured by Brit migrants

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

The polls gave Macron the final TV debate by a huge margin

Although it is polling day in parts of the UK the election that’s attracting the most bets (£25m matched so far on Betfair) is the final round for the French Presidency.

Last night we had a marathon but engrossing TV debate between the woman the French courts ruled could be described as a fascist and the 39 year old ex-investment banker who is not linked to any of the main parties.

The polls had Macron winning by 63% to 34% with 12% of Le Pen supporters saying Macron was best compared with just 3% of his backers going for her.

The map above, from BFMTV shows how support for the two contenders differs by region.

There will be no more published polls after tomorrow until the polling stations close at 1900 BST on Sunday.

I know many PBers got on Macron at longer odds than I did but I’m looking forward confidently to picking up some nice winnings after the weekend.

Mike Smithson


Vote LEAVE is naive if it thinks it can black-ball Farage for the entire campaign

Friday, May 13th, 2016

BBC News list of events planned so far

And Cameron isn’t going face to face with a fellow Tory

So far we haven’t seen any betting markets linked to the referendum TV debates but that’s likely to happen as this becomes a bigger issue following the Vote Leave reaction to the ITV event planned for June 9th. This is when Farage and Cameron are due to appear in the same programme although they won’t debate directly with each other.

Clearly the broadcasters want Cameron involved somewhere but it’s been made very clear he is not going face to face with a fellow Tory. The referendum is doing enough damage to the party already and a Cameron versus Boris event would make that even worse.

The whole strategy of the designated OUT campaign, Vote LEAVE, has been to isolate Farage because it believes that the UKIP leader would be a negative for them. It’s now being reported that it is planning to go to the courts to block the ITV programme. Maybe they are right but it was always going to be tricky trying to isolate the leader of the party that won the 2014 Euro elections and whose rise in 2012/13 was the reason why Cameron agreed to the referendum in the first place.

Farage, let us remember, is a very good debater. His two face to face TV events with Nick Clegg in 2014 showed just how effective he can be.

Boris Johnson is good making rousing speeches but is weak when he has to face questions and ideas put to the test. Michael Gove can be effective but he is not the ideal front man.

Mike Smithson


Farage the 13/8 betting favourite to “win” tonight’s Challengers’ Debate

Thursday, April 16th, 2015


But don’t expect much polling

Farage 13/8 PaddyPower
Sturgeon 9/4 William Hill
Miliband 3/1 Ladbrokes
Wood 25/1 Bet 365
Bennett 28/1 Bet 365

It is perhaps an indication of how tonight’s event is being regarded is that there is going to be very little polling. Survation are doing a survey for the Mirror and as far as I know at the moment that is it.

So the betting markets on who wins will be based on the Survation findings.

I find this hard to read. Ed could sail through or it could be a disaster.

Not too long to wait.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


David Herdson says Ed won the debate because Clegg and Bennett didn’t

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Why for Dave the strong Sturgeon performance was a sideshow

Earlier this campaign, the Conservatives unveiled the above poster showing Ed Miliband in Alex Salmond’s pocket; the inference being that in a hung parliament it would be the SNP pulling Labour’s strings.

    Nicola Sturgeon’s very capable handling of Thursday’s debate did nothing to reduce the likelihood of a large SNP delegation holding the balance of power after May 7. What it may have done is change people’s opinions of how they’d view that event.

The first question is what underlines the assertion in the poster? Presumably the point is that the SNP would demand ever-greater powers and monies to be sent from England north of Hadrian’s Wall, as Farage put it (one assumes he was using shorthand and doesn’t actually believe they’d demand Northumberland too). The second is who is it aimed at and the third is will they still believe it?

The swing votes this parliament have never been between Con and Lab. The votes the Conservatives have lost since 2010 are predominantly to UKIP (two-thirds of them in the last Populus poll, for example, excluding don’t knows). But do UKIP voters see the SNP as a sufficient threat to their interests to switch to the Tories to block them?

The polling immediately after the debate gave Sturgeon reasonable scores among UKIP supporters. For example, according to ICM, 60% said she performed quite well or very well and with YouGov, UKIP voters scored her at 5.4 out of 10 – the same as David Cameron and behind only their own man. However, that cuts two ways. A capable opponent who stands for the opposite of what you is more of a threat than a poor one, especially if the perception is that the tail has a biddable dog to wag.

So is the thinking behind the poster still viable? I’m not convinced. Although the message is probably strengthened by Thursday’s debate – though Miliband did reasonably well himself – the main problem is the logic: it’s simply too tenuous a set of tactical connections for the great majority of swing voters to act as needed. Put another way, even if you agree with the poster, what are you supposed to do?

And yet the truth of it is real enough: a minority Labour government would be very likely to be reliant on the SNP, vote by vote and budget by budget, and would inevitably look for concessions – which, to be fair, is what they’re there for.

There is one other relevant dynamic. The YouGov poll this week putting the Tories on 37% was probably top-side simply on sampling fluctuation but nonetheless proves the Blues to be within striking distance of their 2010 total. To repeat their seats total, however, requires Labour to be back down where they were too. (As an aside, to have recorded 37% despite having lost so much support to UKIP is quite a remarkable achievement). In essence, assuming they can’t get a direct swing, the Tory campaign has to shave 6% off a combination of Labour’s pre-existing core vote and the Lib Dems they gained in 2010 – and it has to come in England and Wales as Labour’s Scots losses are already maxed out.

Which is why although Sturgeon’s performance matters (a poor one would have brought a lot of expected SNP gains back into play), it’s not as critical as those of Clegg, Bennett or – if he can make disproportionate inroads against Labour, Farage. And the first two did poorly and the latter scored more off Blue than Red. Miliband will be happy enough with that.

David Herdson


Debate day – some facts and figures

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015


Tomorrow night is Nigel Farage’s big opportunity

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Farage’s ratings for a third party leader are pretty poor

With the seven way debate upon us shortly, I was trying to see the circumstances that led to the Cleggasm in April 2010.

Using the Ipsos-Mori leader satisfaction ratings as a proxy,  we can see how Nigel Farage’s net ratings compare to Clegg in March 2010.

Then in April 2010 the public for a short time, ended up liking someone they already liked a bit more.

Given that that Farage and UKIP are the recipients of the None of the Above voters that the Lib Dems used to attract, and are effectively the third party of Great British wide politics, in the polls at least, compared to his predecessors of the third party/second opposition party, Farage’s ratings aren’t that good.

This may be a by product of the voters’ perception of UKIP, which sees them as the most extreme and least fit to govern party,  as the most sleazy and disreputable party, and a racist party likely to have candidates with racist/extreme views.

So does this mean no Faragasm tomorrow night? I suspect the format of the debate is what is more likely to stop a Fargasm tomorrow night rather than Nigel’s poor ratings as a third party leader, but it does present Farage an opportunity to regain the UKIP voters he seems to have misplaced recently, as Lord Ashcroft’s marginals polling today was the latest to confirm this trend.



The official campaign Day 1: The line-up for Thursday night and an interesting betting market for the 7 sided event

Monday, March 30th, 2015

The line up on the stage was decided by lots being drawn this morning. It is hard to work out who has come out best. Farage has Clegg on his left and Miliband on his right though he’s some way along from Cameron.

My guess is that Farage would have preferred to be closer, if not next to, Cameron. Sturgeon has done well – directly next to Dave.

Ed is centre stage – that might be good and it might be bad. Cameron will be please to be some places away from Farage. My betting tip, Leanne, is in a good poistion given her main opponent in Wales is Labour.

The SportingIndex betting market is intriguing.

Polling: Populus had LAB & CON level pegging and this afternoon at 4pm we’ll get the weekly Ashcroft poll. There’ll be a round up later.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble