Archive for the 'Theresa May' Category


Polling analysis: Corbyn is a liability to Labour while TMay has returned to being an asset to the Tories

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

The YouGov favourability trackers are just about the only polling where we can compare leaders with their parties on the same basis. The same question is asked in exactly the same form to the same sample whether people have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of CON/LAB/TMay/Corbyn.

It is also a tracker which is asked in the same form at regular intervals which means there are enough data points to examine trends.

The movement in the leader and party ratings since the general election was called just over a year ago is shown in the chart above. As can be seen Theresa May was doing better than her party but went behind after the election. Only in the past few weeks is she doing better again

    The Corbyn and Labour party figures have been consistent over the time period. Labour Party has always been viewed more favourably than its leader a situation that remains.

In the chart the unfavourable figure is subtracted from the favourable figure to give a net number in each case for each data point.

All this rather undermines the notion that is often heard by his supporters that it was Mr Corbyn rather than the party that gave the red team a better than expected result last June.

Mike Smithson


Punters still make next year the favourite for TMay to stand down

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

In spite of all the talk about “leadership challenges” there’s been little change in the Betfair betting on when TMay will cease to be leader.

Next year remains the solid 37% favourite with 2018 a 25% shot.

A few weeks go I got 8/1 with a bookie that she’d be out this year which I regarded then as value. The latest prices don’t tempt me.

But there is little doubt that she has done remarkably well to survive for so long and the longer she stays, I’d suggest, the greater the chance of her making it though to the next election.

But we do live in interesting times and anything could happen. Harold Macmillan used to call it “Events dear boy”.

Mike Smithson


Why the threat of a confidence vote on TMay has far less potency than it appears

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

Talk of letters to Graham Brady is probably just talk

It has been reported over the weekend that Mrs May could possibly face a challenge over the issue of whether Britain remains in a Customs Union after Brexit.

Hardline Brexiteers are absolutely resolute that this should not happen and have been making vibes that should Mrs May concede what seems to be the position of Brussels then she could face a confidence vote.

There are warnings about that in order to make the PM more resolved in her stance then letters are ready to go to Mr Graham Brady, pictured above, the chairman of the 1922 Committee demanding an immediate vote of no confidence in her leadership.

Brady is required under the party’s rules to hold an immediate secret ballot of CON MPs should he receive 48 such letters.

But the letters are not the end of the matter. If there was such a ballot Mrs May would have to be defeated and that would open the way for a new Conservative leadership election which could take weeks or even months to complete.

    But would Mrs May be defeated? Isn’t it likely that loyalists who fear an alternative leader or the turmoil of a prolonged contest might garner round the incumbent to ensure that she stays in power?

In that situation a victory by Mrs May would enhance her position and make it stronger. The party rules make it clear that she would then have a year’s immunity from a further challenge and that would take her through to Brexit and beyond.

It should be noted that the rules of the party have changed since 1990 when Mrs Thatcher faced a direct leadership challenge. Now to get rid of a leader a confidence vote, like that which happened with IDS in 2003, has to be taken first. The loser of a confidence vote is barred from competing in the following leadership contest.

A failed coup against the PM would create stability and underpin Mrs May’s position. This is, of course, why the hardliners cannot risk it.

Mike Smithson


Exactly a year ago this weekend ComRes had TMay’s Tories 25% ahead

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

How things have changed since

It is just a year since Theresa May made her fateful and what will be her career defining announcement about calling a general election to secure a bigger majority.

On the weekend after the news we had the initial round of voting intention polls of the campaign and those are shown in the chart above.

As can be seen the one that stands out is ComRes, which had been the most accurate pollster two years earlier at GE2015. This had the biggest Conservative lead – a whopping margin of 25 points over LAB.

    Although the final lead on election day was just 2.5% it is too easy to conclude that those late April polls were wrong.

Only a couple of weeks after the general election announcement there were the local elections where the Tories made big gains doing substantially better than had been predicted.

It was those real elections that seemed to validate the polling and reinforce the view that Mrs May’s gamble was going to pay off. The big question was not whether there would be a Tory overall majority but would it be a landslide.

My guess is that it might well have done so but for the length of the general election campaign and for the over-confidence it engendered in the Tory camp that led to the manifesto debacle and Mrs May believing that she didn’t have to face Corbyn in a leaders’ TV debate.

In total there were seven weeks between the initial call and parliamentary vote to authorise it and the June 8 election.

So we cannot conclude that the polls weren’t wrong in late April last year. What they do show is that there was a dramatic change in views of the incumbent Conservative government and particularly the Prime Minister as a result of the campaign itself.

It is very hard to envisage the circumstances in which there will be the next Conservative 25% lead.

Mike Smithson


If the Windrush affair has an impact in the polls expect it to be seen most in the leader ratings not voting intention

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Could it reverse TMay’s steady recovery since GE2017?

Above is a chart based on Opinium’s net approval ratings for the PM since GE2017. I choose this pollster because it is one of just two that just about always every month publish the latest leader ratings which gives us enough data points for analysis. I wish other firms would follow this lead.

As can be seen TMay made something of a recovery in the immediate post-election period until October when the Opinium fieldwork took place shortly after her disastrous and highly publicised conference speech.

During 2018 there has been a recovery and in the past two months she has had better net ratings than Corbyn.

This week’s news has been very much about TMay because it was on her watch as Home Secretary between 2010 and 2016 that the changes took place which are now causing so much concern.

Mike Smithson


If TMay and Corbyn are still there at the next election then Windrush & antisemitism could still be dogging them

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

These are leadership more than party issues

What a dramatic few days for both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. Two huge issues continue to dominate the news which are big negatives for each of them respectively.

The Windrush affair, which is being juxtaposed with the meeting of Commonwealth leaders, is a reminder of how Theresa May handled things when she was in the Home Office from 2010 to 2016. It was under her watch that the law was changed making life a lot harder for those who been in the UK for decades who have to prove their right to be in the country.

We have heard tear jerking stories from one elderly immigrant after another and no doubt there are others in the pipeline. All is made much harder for them because the onus is now on them individually to prove their status which in many cases is simply not there.

The anti-semitism issue within Labour stepped up a notch last night with the debate on the issue, which had been tabled opportunistically by the Tories in the Commons. Again we heard tear jerking stories from several Jewish Labour MPs which were more powerful because on the face of it Mr Corbyn appears to have done very little to change the environment in the party.

Whatever Corbyn needs to find some way to assuage some of the fears of the Jewish community and from what we’ve seen since he became leader he appears to lack the ability or inclination to do that.

Both of these issues are about race and both highlight, I suggest, blind spots in Mrs. May and Mr. Corbyn.

Let’s see how PMQs goes today.

Mike Smithson


The commentators blaming TMay for the Windrush affair are right – she not ARudd but should be carrying the can

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

This could be very dangerous for the woman who lost the Tories their majority last June

As those who watch politics closely will know who it is very common for ministers to blame the previous administration when things go wrong on their patch.

There’s a problem though, as the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, found yesterday when under pressure in the Commons, if the person she wanted to blame was her boss the Prime Minister.

We had this ridiculous situation where the Home Secretary was telling MPs that the problem was caused by the Home Office. That, surely, was Mrs Rudd’s way of getting over the fact that this wasn’t her fault but her predecessor.

A huge problem for the Government and particularly the PM is that the public is very much on the side of the immigrants. YouGov yesterday found 78% saying they should be allowed to stay against 9% that they shouldn’t.

All this comes at a time when the Tories have Mr Corbyn over a barrel following his response to Salisbury and Syria. He is very much on the wrong side of public opinion.

    My sense is that Mrs. May is pushing her luck at the moment: agreeing to the Syria attacks without recalling parliament, her handling of immigration while Home Secretary and of course the divides within her party over Brexit. Her Salisbury boost in the polls has fizzled out.

Remember it only requires 48 CON MPs to send letter to Graham Brady for her to face a confidence vote. On Betfair it 3/1 that she won’t surive 2018.

Mike Smithson


TMay’s decision to back the Syria raid without Commons approval was in the face of public opinion

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Will there be a price to be paid?

Survation in the Mail on Sunday is the only polling that we’ve seen which took place after the British raid on chemical facilities in Syria and the key findings are above.

This happened, of course, without any parliamentary vote the decision being made by the prime minister using the powers in the Royal Prerogative.

On the face of it it was a very brave decision by Mrs May to join the action with the United States and France without recalling Parliament and securing the backing of MPs.

It will be recalled that four and a half years ago there was a vote in the Commons on a similar issue which went against any action. Unlike May over the weekend Cameron was not ready to act without a parliamentary vote.

Ever since the Iraq war in 2003 the British Public appears to be very nervous about foreign interventions and given that we know how that turned out this is probably understandable.

    What is intriguing about the current situation is that it highlights the leading characteristics of both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.

The former is ready to do what she perceives to be right and is ready to face any consequences.

Mr Corbyn, on the other hand, is a long standing opponent of all foreign interventions and this puts the spotlight on his reaction. Is it tenable for the main alternative to the current prime minister to hold such views and doesn’t it expose him to attack?

Parliament returns today after the Easter break and we all get a greater sense of the political impact.

Mike Smithson