Today’s 2nd terrible poll for Corbyn: YouGov ratings from its latest Scotland survey

July 26th, 2016

Just 19% of Scots LAB GE2015 voters say Corbyn doing well, 66% badly

Remember in those by-gone days in September 2015 when Mr. Corbyn pulled off his sensational leadership victory? Remember what he said would be his biggest initial priority? That was going to be Scotland where five months earlier Labour had slumped from 40 seats in the general election to just one – the same as the LD and CON.

This was absolutely awful for the party and raised serious doubts over whether at Westminster they could ever be a party of government again. Corbyn, quite rightly I’d suggest, said Scotland would be a major early priority.

Well LAB got hammered in the May 2016 Holyrood elections and now we have a YouGov Scotland poll which focuses almost entirety on leader ratings.

There are some reasonable numbers for Sturgeon, May and Ruth Davidson but the finding over the UK LAB leader, Mr. Corbyn are appalling, particularly amongst those who voted for the party at GE2015.

I don’t recall ever seeing as bad ratings figures for a party leader from party supporters.

All this will add to the pressure as he strives to hold onto his job.

Mike Smithson


ICM blow for Corbyn as he tries to hang on: LAB now 16% behind at lowest level since 2009

July 26th, 2016


CON 43% (+4)
LAB 27% (-2)
LD 8% -1
UKIP 13% -1
GRN 4%

If other pollsters follow ICM’s 16% CON lead it could create greater clamour for May to call a general election

In many ways the latest ICM poll is hardly surprising. The Tories have a new leader who is enjoying a honeymoon period while Labour is in all sorts of trouble with 80% of its MPs saying they have no confidence in their leader.

The splits are also being magnified by the current leadership contest which are dominating the domestic political agenda.

One thing that polling like this could trigger is a clamour for Theresa May to call a general election. After all the current majority of 12 is hardly comfortable and already the Eurosceptic right is starting to make noises about the deal Britain might end up with during the BREXIT process.

This poll will also add to the pressure on Corbyn. It matters little that many members and £25 sign-ups back him if the party under his leadership is failing so badly in the polls.

As in all things we need to see other surveys from other firms.

Mike Smithson


If Hillary Clinton does win in November then Michelle Obama’s convention speech will be seen as being crucial

July 26th, 2016

The First Lady rescues the Convention

By all accounts the opening hours of the first day at the Democratic Convention had not been good for the Clinton campaign. The leaked emails and the irreconcilable Bernie supporters have made what should have been a showcase into something of a nightmare. There were persistent chants of “lock her up” whenever Clinton’s name was mentioned.

Then Michelle Obama took the stage and made a powerful heartfelt case for the the person who was her husband’s main opponent in 2008 and who to whom he is now giving his full backing.

For one of the unique features of this election is the role being played by the White House. It is very rare for an incumbent to take as high profile a role as Obama is doing and this comes at a time when his leader ratings are high.

The Bernie Sanders speech an hour later was another key development. His aim is to try to harness some of the enthusiasm and energy that his supporters have generated in the primaries and focus on securing not just success in November but backing for a wide range of policies that he has been espousing. There’s no doubt that he’s having a big influence on the party platform.

The betting moved a notch to Clinton during the evening.

Mike Smithson


What would really make Corbyn invincible is doing better than the 59.5% of 2015

July 25th, 2016

Labour Party  UK  leadership election  2015   Wikipedia  the free encyclopedia
WikipediaLAB leadership contest 2015

If last week’s YouGov LAB members’ polling is indeed in the right territory and the split in the 183k £25 sign-up is as reported then Corbyn is heading for a big victory when the results are announced on September 24th.

Sure a lot can happen in the next eight weeks and Owen Smith is still a relative unknown but nobody doubts that he has a mountain to climb. Perhaps the best he can hope for is reducing Corbyn’s winning share from the 59.5% of 2015.

What Smith and those opposed to the incumbent want is for Corbyn to secure a smaller percentage share this time. That would provide some vindication of the PLP’s “no confidence” move and also, possibly set things up for another contest next year.

I’ve been asking my LAB contacts what vote share Corbyn needs to get in order to stabilise things within his party and the consensus is that anything below 55%-56% would be bad news.

There is also the ongoing forward risk of some sort of split though having watched at first hand the formation of the SDP in the early 80s and I fully aware that this is a massive challenge.

UPDATE Ladbrokes do have a Corbyn vote share market up but there are no obvious bargain.

Hopefully there’ll be betting markets on the leadership race vote shares.

Mike Smithson


Trump gets marked bounce in first round of post-convention polling and now has clear national lead

July 25th, 2016

This is going to be a tough one for Clinton/Kaine

Any idea that Hillary Clinton’s election in November is a forgone conclusion have been shaken in the first batch of post-Republican Convention polls. As the table show he’s got a clear leads.

This comes as the Democratic national convention gets underway later today in Philadelphia with defeated nomination contender, Bernie Sanders having a prime slot.

Maybe the Trump polling will act as a jolt to the party and encourage greater unity round the Clinton campaign. A key Clinton objective is to try to ensure that those, particularly young voters, who had been giving the 74 year old socialist from Vermont their enthusiastic backing switch to her. There are hopes that her choice of Tim Kaine as VP nominee will help.

Looking at the numbers above it is hard to conclude that this is other than a very tight campaign and it is far from certain that Trump will be defeated.

One issue that is growing in importance are suggestions that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is backing Trump.There’s a good analysis here which, no doubt, the Clinton campaign will seek to exploit to the full.

The election will, of course, not be decided by national vote shares but by first past the post contests in the various states. As soon as we get some new surveys from the key swing conttests I’ll start produce tables like the national one above.

I’m now betting on Trump because I think he’s currently under-priced.

Mike Smithson


Clinton v Trump & Corbyn v Smith: The main betting as we enter another big political week

July 25th, 2016

Next President

2016 LAB Leadership Contest


Betting on when Boris Johnson’s tenure as Foreign Secretary will end

July 24th, 2016

BJ Special

Boris still wants to be PM, so he’ll try and make a success of his current role.

Ladbrokes have a market up on when Boris Johnson’s tenure as Foreign Secretary will end.

Like many I suspect Boris thought his ambition to be Prime Minister was over after Michael Gove’s transformation into Frank Underwood, but Gove is now looking more like Frank Spencer than Frank Underwood whilst Boris is now Foreign Secretary.

Whilst I know there has been some incredulity from other countries about the appointment, and the previous indiscretions of Boris, but the sexploits of the former Mayor of London in this era won’t be much of an issue, and Robert Boothby, an Old Etonian Tory politician from another era, would find the shenanigans of Boris all very tame.

No party, nor any side in a referendum has ever received more votes than the 17 million Leave received last month, and a lot of credit should go to Boris Johnson for that and he survived the white heat of the scrutiny of that campaign, he should be able to survive the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that come with occupying one of the great of offices of state. He knuckled down whilst he was Mayor of London, so he does have for form for trying to be a serious politician as a stepping stone to becoming Prime Minister.

I would like to back the 2020 or later option but I can think of other 6/4 bets that will pay out well before 2020, so this is a no bet for me but others may well disagree with my assessment.



How Theresa May could turn out to be the Labour party’s very unlikely saviour

July 24th, 2016

Video: A clip from John McDonnell’s appearance on The Andrew Marr Show this morning

Joff Wild on how Theresa May could simultaneously increase the Tory majority and save the Labour Party from Corbyn

John McDonnell’s appearance on the Andrew Marr Show this morning was among the most extraordinary television interventions that a senior politician has made in recent years. During the course of the interview, McDonnell explained how the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, did not understand the party’s policy proposals on pharmaceutical research and taxation incentives; and issued an unprecedented to-the-camera appeal for Labour unity, just a couple of weeks after telling leadership candidate Owen Smith and others that he did not care if the party split, and calling Labour MPs “fucking useless” at a Corbyn rally in Kentish Town.

McDonnell also gave what could turn out to be several hostages to fortune in his account of what happened when Karie Murphy – a senior Corbyn aide and the woman until now best known for her part in the Falkirk selection controversy – accessed Seema Malhotra’s Parliamentary office without permission; something that Malhotra has written a formal complaint to the Speaker’s office about. McDonnell made a series of specific claims about what occurred that will undoubtedly be disputed by Malhotra and her team. If these claims turn out to be incorrect, then the trip that close Len McCluskey ally and friend Murphy made down the corridor from the leader’s office may turn into Labour’s very own mini-Watergate.

But perhaps the most important section of the interview came right at the end. Thus was when Marr asked McDonnell whether he and Corbyn would resign if they led Labour to defeat at the next general election. Yes, McDonnell said, they would. As far as I know this is the first time that either he or Corbyn has said such a thing in public. That makes it extremely significant.

Should Corbyn beat Owen Smith’s challenge to him in September, as is widely expected, the next step in the hard left’s takeover of Labour is likely to be to seek the mandatory reselection of MPs. That, it is thought, will give Corbyn supporters among Labour’s membership the chance to get rid of those who have not shown sufficient loyalty to the leader and to replace them with candidates who can be expected to toe the line.

However, Labour’s constitution has many moving parts, making it difficult to change existing rules. First, proposals have to be submitted to the NEC, which then decides whether they should be put in front of conference. If the NEC agrees, then only a year later will conference get a vote. Thus, if the NEC agrees this year that reselection should be put to conference, at the earliest MPs are looking at possible deselection in 2018. However, as recent events have shown, it is highly unlikely that Corbyn has the votes on the current NEC to get this through. That may changes after the NEC elections have taken place, but would mean a conference vote only in two years’ time and reselections in 2019.

All this, though, is probably academic. By 2018, the new Parliamentary boundaries are likely to be in place, meaning a different set of MP selection rules will apply. These will be decided by Labour’s chief whip Rosie Winterton, who does not sit on the hard left wing of the party.

Thus, should Theresa May call a general election sometime between now and 2018, it is highly likely that the Labour MPs  currently in place will be the ones fighting it for the party. If, as the polls suggest, the Tories win handsomely some of those MPs may lose their seats. However, assuming that McDonnell is not being economical with the truth (and, of course, that cannot be ruled out) both he and Corbyn will step down from their roles. That will leave the PLP to decide who should slug it out for the leadership. Given that it is certain that no-one is going to lend a hard left candidate his or her vote ever again, that means it will be very difficult for such a candidate to be put in front of the membership, which – in any case –  will also be contemplating in the starkest way possible the electoral reality of putting its faith in Jeremy Corbyn.

So, consider this: Theresa May has a wafer thin Tory majority and the first signs of possible dissent on the party’s right are now beginning to emerge. May knows that if she goes to the country sooner rather than later, she will beat a Corbyn-led Labour party comfortably and substantially increase her majority. This would make her awkward squad much less of a problem and give her a whole lot more room for manoeuvre. Normally, this scenario would terrify Labour MPs, but if May does pull the trigger early it may actually prove to be their party’s salvation: Corbyn and McDonnell would be gone and the PLP would get to decide the candidates to replace them. A return to sanity and the long process of rebuilding Labour as a potential party of government could begin.

Theresa May has it in her hands not only to win a major general election victory for the Conservative party, but also to restore Labour to being a party whose primary aim is to achieve power through Parliament. That would be quite a legacy.

Joff Wild