Archive for the 'Theresa May' 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


TMay’s much repeated assertion that Corbyn becomes PM if CON loses 6 seats doesn’t stand up to scrutiny

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Starting 99 seats ahead gives the PM a big cushion

One of the practices that is followed at general election times is for comparisons to be made with what happened at the election before not taking into account defections or by-elections. So for the purposes of comparison the above table is the starting point. UKIP has one MP while the LD total excludes their Richmond Park by-election gain.

As can be seen Team TMay starts in a very strong position – 99 seats ahead of LAB and 12 seats ahead of all other parties combined and would need to lose 50 to LAB for JC’s party to be top on seats. That seems an almost impossible ask give current polling.

The 326 seats required for a majority conceals the fact that Sinn Fein do not take up their seats making an effective majority of 16.

The idea that Corbyn could become PM with 6 CON losses assumes that MPs of every other party would be ready to back him and that he could retain the support of the entire Labour parliamentary party.

Given JC’s record on Northern Ireland is it implausible to think that the DUP and other unionists would back him for number 10.

On top of that Farron has made a very specific pledge not to go into coalition after June 8th.

TMay’s statement is a classic turnout motivator which is not underpinned by the reality.

Mike Smithson


The size of her majority will determine the sort of PM Theresa May can be and what sort of Brexit and other radicalism we might see, or not see from her

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Shortly there will be an election, in which the Tories will win a majority

Despite all the light and heat generated with recent polling, I still expect the Tories to win a majority, unless Nick Timothy decides to add another Nimitz class sized barnacle to the Tory boat between now and June 8th

The Tories still lead in the polls, the leadership and economic polling also favour the blue team, but the size of the majority will determine how her government can and will operate for the next five years, and will also determine when Mrs May will depart as Prime Minister and will it be at a time of her own choosing. So I’m going to look at what different sized majorities might mean for, inter alia, Mrs May, the Tory Party. the country, and of course Brexit.

A majority of 0-24 seats

This would be frankly embarrassing for Mrs May, given her opponent, the size of the leads she and the party enjoyed at the start of the general election campaign. It would be the nemesis that follows the hubris of trying to take the seats of Tom Watson, Richard Burgon, Dennis Skinner, Tim Farron, Angus Robertson, and Pete Wishart and to end up with a majority similar or smaller than David Cameron achieved in 2015.

As the climb down on national insurance increases and the unprecedented u-turn on her manifesto, Mrs May isn’t strong and stable, but weak and wobbly, this does not bodes well for her Brexit negotiations or for her to pursue any radical reform during the next parliament.

As we saw when with the proposed changes to family tax credits and national insurance, a majority of this size is no majority at all.

She will become a very diminished figure, trashing her reputation, a bad Brexit outcome and Labour consistently leading in the polls would mean she’s ditched as leader, because unlike the Labour party, the Tory party don’t fanny about when it comes to toppling their leaders. She maybe also forced out by the most passionate Leavers who want a hard Brexit whilst Mrs May tries to be pragmatic with a softer Brexit.

I would expect her to be forced out within 18 months if this result happens.

A majority of 26-50 seats

This would be a tepid result for Mrs May, as the old adage goes, success equals performance minus anticipation, the anticipation when she called the election was the Tories would absolutely shellack Labour back into 1983 result or a 1997 in reverse result.

Like winning a majority of 24 seats it will feel a bit of an anti-climax, but the closer to 50 the majority, the safer she will feel, but consistent Labour poll leads will probably see her forced out in around three or four years. I’d expect a lot of Tory rebellions over the social care changes and resistance from the free market Thatcherite wing if she tries to introduce her Ed Miliband lite policies on energy prices and racial pay audits.

A majority of 52-98 seats

An 80 seat majority is what Tory MPs reportedly consider as par, this is the sort of result that should make governing easy for Mrs May, it would take a substantial rebellion for her to lose any votes in the Commons and see off the awkward squad that every Prime Minister has to deal with. It allows her to get rid of poorly performing ministers without having to worry about them causing trouble on the back benches. It does give her some scope for being bold and radical.

A majority of 100-198 seats

Now we’re in landslide territory, not only will Mrs May become unassailable she’ll have a majority to be radical in all things from Brexit to social care and all things in between like involving the government in energy prices.

Mayism will be a word that will soon be added to the OED, as she is spoken in the same breath as Thatcher and Blair, majorities of this magnitude lead the PM to be bold. It also means Mrs May can say she’s a bona fide election winner when difficult times come up during the next Parliament, again she will be safe and secure as Tory Leader during the next Parliament.

A majority of 200 seats or more

Now a 200 seat majority is the ceiling/best case scenario for many in the Tory party, if she achieves it, she might well claim to be, with some justification, the Tory party’s most electorally successful leader since Stanley Baldwin and his 324 seat majority in 1931, even outdoing Margaret Thatcher in scorching socialism from the face of the Earth. I do not expect this outcome, and merely add it for the sake of completeness.


PS – If the Tories fail to win a majority, I will accept this is my Sion Simon moment


Mrs May’s extraordinary ratings honeymoon ended with the manifesto launch

Friday, May 26th, 2017

New YouGov polling just published had her dipping into negative territory

One of the striking features of TMay’s period at Number 10 is how she has maintained positive leadership ratings throughput. Whether pollsters were asking about approval, favourability, satisfaction, or whether she was doing a good or bad job all the numbers were positive from the moment she became PM last July.

That run ended in the aftermath of the launch of the controversial General Election manifesto a week last Thursday. As can be seen from the YouGov chart her net favourability ratings went negative only to recover a touch in a survey that took place following the Manchester atrocity.

The latest had her at a net plus 1 compared with minus 8% before Manchester.

The question now is which direction things will go in the final 12 days that remain before polling day?

There’s no doubt that the manifesto launch was a pivotal event.

In the meantime we are seeing the rise and rise of Mr Corbyn in the “who’d make the Best PM” ratings when compared with Mrs May.

As can be seen the number of voters ready to say he’d make the best PM has doubled since before the election was called.

One thing’s for sure – this election which appeared so certain and boring is now looking exciting. If the latest YouGov voting intentions are correct then the Tories could end up losing seats on June 8th.

Hopefully we’ll see many more polls from different firms over the weekend.

Mike Smithson


Suddenly this election becomes a lot more difficult to call – maybe not a CON landslide after all

Sunday, May 21st, 2017


Will TMay get her landslide or could the result be a lot tighter?

The launching of the Conservative manifesto on Thursday has changed the whole narrative of this election.

From a situation where the only real outcome that appeared possible was a very substantial Conservative majority, certainly more than 100, we now have the first post manifesto polls with the gap closing sharply.

It was very bold of the Prime Minister and her team to include items within the manifesto that were not going to appeal to large numbers and would be controversial. The thinking appeared to be that having this there with the specifics spelled out would make things easier to enact and implement after the election.

What were particularly bold were the measures that seemed to hurt that key Conservative voting group, the oldies – a segment who have been sheltered from many of the welfare cuts that younger generations are having to deal with. This was a very clear signal from Mrs May that she was going to be different.

The exemption of Scotland from the ending of winter fuel allowance for wealthy pensioners looked very tricky. Also closing down other areas of public spending such as free school meals for the for the 4-7 year olds hasn’t polled very well at all.

    Maybe this is all part of Lynton Crosby’s cunning plan? Those 20%+ poll leads could have impacted on turnout and he needs the perception to be that this is close.

    The message that’s going to key voters in the marginals is that if the Tories lost just six seats then Mr. Corbyn could end up as PM. But Project Fear GE2017-style needs the numbers to back it up.

It has been widely assumed for months that Mr. Crosby has some hard-hitting ads such as reminding voters of the Birmingham IRA bombings all ready for this moment. These will of course highlight the stances at the time of Mr. McDonnell and Mr. Corbyn.

At least the final two and half weeks are going to be much more interesting than appeared likely.

Mike Smithson


Philip Hammond looks as though he’s for the chop following the June 8th landslide

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

What was scheduled to be a Conservative event to attack the LAB manifesto has set off all sorts of speculation about the Chancellor, Philip Hammond.

Theresa May was asked twice to back her Hammond and both times she managed to avoid the question in a manner that suggested that she was not happy with him. As the clip above indicates they looked very uncomfortable together on the platform.

It is very dangerous, as Margaret Thatcher would have attested, for Chancellors and the Prime Minister to be publicly split.

No doubt we’ll see betting markets up so. I’d bet that he’ll be out in the post election re-shuffle but it is hard to see who would replace him.

Mike Smithson


Suggesting that the foxhunting ban could be lifted – TMay’s biggest campaign mistake so far

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Fox hunting is one of those issues which a small number of people on either side of the argument feel very strongly about. It is something could change votes for those with firm views.

The poll findings above from today’s ComRes survey for the Daily Mirror shows that across the political divide the ban on foxhunting is strongly supported even by CON voters.

    So TMay’s comments that she is in favour of hunting and will allow a free vote, assuming she wins, has unnecessarily opened up an issue where she is on the wrong side of public opinion.

Tony Blair knew of the political potency of fox hunting when he was PM by always returning to the issue when he was in some trouble. So the legislation that’s currently on the statute books was very much the result of Blair trying to change the narrative in the aftermath of the Iraq War.

This is an area where the LAB movement can largely come together because as well as the animal welfare issues fox hunting is very much perceived as something that “toffs” do.

By raising it at this time TMay is reminding people that the Tories are the party of “toffs” – a move that risks galvanising some traditional LAB support. In any case support for fox hunting is very much a rural issue and there are few marginals in rural areas.

The polling numbers are unequivocal – TMay should leave well alone and not dilute her strong Brexit message.

Mike Smithson


Branding the Tories totally around Theresa has made it easier for LAB>UKIP voters to move to the blues

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Dealing with historic CON “nasty party” perceptions

We are not hearing the name Lynton Crosby much at the moment but he is playing the central role in the massive resurgence of the Conservatives that we are currently seeing.

He is very much a research-based campaigner and takes a lot of notice about the polls and detailed voter profiling that he is so good at.

At GE2015 his masterstroke was to exploit the fears that an EdM LAB government would be in the pocket of the SNP.

So one must assume that the attempt to brand the current Conservative campaign totally around Theresa May has come out of detailed research. One thing about Lynton Crosby is that he knows what he’s doing.

We all know the big story from overnight about how the UKIP vote has collapsed and almost all of those voters seem to have switched to the Conservatives. Now if you look at the history of where they have come from large numbers of UKIP backers have not been former CON voters but LAB ones.

So many of the UKIP supporters that Crosby has been trying to attract have no history of voting for the Conservatives before. So building the campaign around a party leader who is hugely popular leader seems a brilliant way of counteracting any historic “nasty Tory” perceptions.

This will run right through to June 8th. It is very much a presidential type campaign.

Mike Smithson