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

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





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If teachers are as hostile to the Tories as they were 16 months ago that could have a huge impact on May 7th

March 30th, 2015

At almost exactly this point before GE2010 YouGov had CON ahead with teachers

In December 2013 that had become a 41% LAB lead

It was said in July that this was why Lynton was behind the Gove sacking

During one of the breaks at the big LSE GE forecasting conference on Friday I was asked for suggestions of ideas for interesting polling that could tell us more than what we see in standard surveys or constituency polling. After pondering this over the weekend I think that a repetition of the surveys above might give us a useful insight.

It was said at the time of the last reshuffle in the summer that Michael Gove was sacked as Education Secretary because Lynton Crosby had picked up the same voting switch amongst teachers of whom there are about 900 in each has constituency. Add on their close families and you’ve got a significant voting block.

The big question now is whether taking Gove out of the picture has had the desired effect or whether there is an ongoing hostility to the Tories which is still causing a disproportionate amount of switching.

New polling could be very enlightening.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Big boost for the Tories in tonight’s ComRes phone poll

March 29th, 2015



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Leanne Wood could be the 2015 Nick Clegg and at 50-1 might be a good punt to win Thursday’s debate

March 29th, 2015

She has the benefit of not being much known outside Wales

Just had a punt with Ladbrokes at 50/1 that Plaid leader, Leanne Wood, will top the quickie polls after Thursday night’s seven-sided debate.

She’ll be fresh to a full national audience, has a pleasant manner, and handles herself well on TV. She’ll also attract less of the hostility that some of the others on the platform are likely to attract.

The rules ensure that she should get equal time with the other six and might just make a good impression. I love 50/1 shots and this might just come up.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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The voting intentions of those who watched Thursday’s programme and those that didn’t

March 29th, 2015

Nearly 20% of the YouGov respondents watched Thursday’s programme, whereas around only 5% of the public actually watched the programme so this might be what may be somewhat over amplifying Ed’s performance and the Labour lead.

What does indicate that is a good poll for Labour and Ed is the relative improvement in Ed’s ratings, he’s gone from a net minus 46% at the end of February, to net minus 29% today. In the same time frame David Cameron’s ratings have improved by 4% and Nick Clegg’s have improved by 12%. Since last week, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg’s ratings have improved by 3%, 10% and 7% respectively.

Peter Kellner, writing in the  Sunday Times says of this poll

[It] indicates a swing of more than six percentage points from Conservative to Labour across England and Wales. If this were repeated in every constituency, Labour would gain enough seats to come close to an outright majority, even if it lost badly in Scotland. Labour would end up with 314 MPs and the Tories 251, followed by the Scottish National party (48) and Liberal Democrats (16).

If this poll is a harbinger of the election result, then the 16.5 on a Labour majority on Betfair needs to snapped up PDQ. The next few phone polls with their random selection should give us a better idea. But with three more debates/events, of which Ed is the only attendee, Labour must be feeling confident if he can replicate this kind of win with those who watch the programmes.

The full YouGov data tables are available here

TSE



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Tonight’s YouGov has LAB taking 4% lead and Ed getting ratings boost

March 28th, 2015

All fieldwork carried out after Thursday TV interviews



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Get ready folks for an election to remember….!

March 28th, 2015

We should get the first full post debate polls tonight

My guess is that the campaigning won’t start in earnest until after Easter and it will only be after then that most people will start to take notice. The final fortnight is, as you’d expect the most intensive.

One thing we know is that this will be the most polled election ever in the UK. There’ll be a pile of new numbers coming out every day.

On top of the national polls Lord Ashcroft has indicated that a lot of seat specific surveys are in the pipeline. My guess is that he’ll try to focus on those seats that look the most marginal from his polling – not from what happened in 2010.

Scotland clearly is is going to be looked at closely but we shouldn’t overstate its importance in terms of which party overall will have most seats. Even if LAB was to lose every single Scottish MP this would increase its target of gains from CON in England & Wales to just 21 seats.

The big battles are in England in many of the seats that the Tories took off Labour in 2010.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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By accident or design, the election’s got a debate series that could work

March 27th, 2015

itvdebate

Multiple structures will probe the parties & leaders

In a little over nine months’ time, the US presidential hopefuls will be campaigning hard in the then snow-bound small rural state of Iowa, the first in a long process of state-wide elections that will ultimately determine the two parties’ nominations. That process has evolved over the years, partly organically, partly by design but the main reason there’s been little wholesale reform in the schedule, despite offerings to that end being put forward from time to time, is simple: it works.

The reason why it works is in the asymmetry of the challenge. Small states are intermingled with large ones, caucuses with primaries, one-off elections with multi-state dates; the campaign jolts around the country in no particular order. There is no particularly natural progression and no obvious logic to the order of the series. What that means is that for any one candidate to be nominated, he or she has to demonstrate a wide range of campaigning talents, from the up close and personal in Iowa to mass fundraising for the TV onslaught of Super Tuesday. One-trick ponies need not apply.

And after the months of to-ing and fro-ing over the debates in Britain, we’ve landed on something similar over here. The innovation of the debates in 2010 was to be welcomed; the excessive influence they had in the election was not. Apart from crowding out local campaigns (yes, in theory we vote for individual MPs locally but most people in most seats vote on national issues or preferences), they also made it harder for the leaders to be held to account in other ways.

This time, with the sequential interviews this week, the big 7-way debate next week, the 5-way opposition leaders’ debate mid-month and the 3-way Question Time event at the end, the leaders cannot just rehash the same arguments against each other as each event has its own dynamic and its own line-up. On top of which, the two two-week breaks in April mean that they ought to spend more time on the road and less time prepping.

Of the four events, the 7-way ought to be the most significant. It’s the only one where all the leaders are present and the first in the campaign proper. Much will depend on the moderation, as with so many people on stage the twin risks of the discussion being either stilted or a shouting match will be ever-present, but if it’s done well then the arguments made and public perceptions gained will frame the rest of the election. I wouldn’t be surprised if the viewing figures are three times the size of those for the Paxman interviews. Thereafter though, we should be back to something like normal campaigning for much of the rest of the month. It strikes a good balance.

The big question is who will benefit from that apart from, hopefully, the public? The answer to that lies in their credibility. Put simply, the major parties have to look like competent parties of government; the minor parties have to look like the voice of that part of the electorate they’re fishing in. As throughout the parliament, the direct Con-Lab battle is likely to be secondary to those between both Con and Lab on the one hand, and UKIP, the SNP and the Greens on the other, with the Lib Dems as something of a wild card.

In particular, this is Nigel Farage’s moment as kingmaker. Although UKIP has taken votes from both Con and Lab, he doesn’t have time to attack both Cameron and Miliband equally and expect to score two hits so his choice in where to direct his fire in that debate is probably one of the biggest specific variables of the election (particularly when combined with whether he’s effective in doing so). Having both gained hugely since 2010 and slipped since 2014, he has votes to defend and to win back. There is a strong argument to go for Miliband, whose electoral support will already be under attack from the Greens and SNP and so he has less chance to respond; there’s also a strong argument for him to go for Cameron given that more UKIP support has come from the Tories than anywhere else. If he does try both, he may fall flat and invite a shellacking in return. With the polls so close nationally, upon that call may turn the course of the election.

David Herdson