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Without Scotland Labour’s general election challenge would be greater, but not by that much

April 21st, 2014

BBC NEWS   Election 2010   Results   Scotland

Just 12 additional LAB gains in England & Wales would be sufficient

Following the weekend’s ICM Scottish poll people have begun to look more closely at what the impact in a general election might be if the 59 Scottish MPs were removed.

The table above sets out the key numbers. The House of Commons based on the 2010 boundaries would be reduced from 650 MPs to 591 while LAB would see its contingent cut by 41, the LDs by 11, SNP by 6, and the Tories by one.

The overall reduction of seats would reduce the threshold required for an overall majority from 326 to 296. So the GE2010 result without Scotland would have been 306 CON seats to 290 non-CON seats, a Tory majority of 16. No need, therefore, for the coalition.

    With Scottish MPs in place Labour needs to make 68 gains in May next year to secure a majority. Without Scotland that would be increased to 80.

That is still a big challenge but the total required is fewer than the 100 gains that the Tories made at GE2010.

A REMINDER. The next Dirty Dicks (opposite Liverpool Street station in London) gathering will be at 6.30pm on Friday May 2. An event for Yorkshire and the north is planned for Ilkley on Monday July 7th

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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The other story that’s getting people excited this Easter Sunday

April 20th, 2014

A mistake or great investigative journalism?



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New ICM Scottish independence referendum poll has the NO lead down to just 3 percent

April 20th, 2014

Excuding DKs/WNVs it is YES 48: NO 52

A dramatic new poll by ICM for Scotland on Sunday has the gap down to just 3% – the lowest ever from an established national pollster.

The numbers say it all. YES is stable on 39% but there has been a four point reduction in those saying NO.

This is getting very tight indeed and will worry Downing Street. All the momentum of the last month or so has been against those wanting to preserve the union.

The tightness of the outcome being presented by ICM will lead to a close examination of polling methodology and the firm’s boss, Martin Boon, has a long article in the paper setting out how the numbers are produced. He makes the point that this referendum is unique and there is no past experience to fall back on.

Critically ICM, like some other pollsters doing IndyRef surveys, the firm is weighting its samples back to the 2011 Holyrood elections when the SNP did remarkably well. The impact of that is that could be helping YES.

    ICM’s Boon also wonders whether the mood in Scotland is such that there is a “shy NO voters syndrome” with those opposed being reluctant to admit it.

Like all sharp polling changes we need to compare it against other surveys to see if the trend is being supported.

Whatever today’s numbers are dramatic and add to the pressure on the NO camp.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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For the first time ever in a Westminster seat a poll finds UKIP ahead

April 19th, 2014

If Survation for the MoS is right the LDs set to lose Eastleigh

You can get UKIP at 4/1 from Ladbrokes in Eastleigh which seems like a good bet.

I’ve long said the Eastleigh was UKIP’s best hope because of its performance in the February 2013 by-election.

This poll did not mention the names of candidates – just the parties. We do not know yet whether Diane James will be standing again for the purples. She is a great asset.

Survation also about asked Eastleigh Borough Council Voting Intention (May 22nd with the Euro Parl vote)

LD 39%
CON 23%
UKIP 27%
LAB 9%

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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UKIP in second place 3 percent behind LAB in ICM Euro Elections poll for the Sunday Telegraph

April 19th, 2014

The first of tonight’s very interesting crop of polls is out and, as can be seen, UKIP is only 3% behind LAB in the ICM online Euro elections poll.

This is a very different picture from the ICM phone poll reported earlier in the week which had UKIP in third place. For whatever reason the purples are doing better when the fieldwork is carried out online.

There are several more very newsworthy polls expected in the next few hours.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Fracking backers have a long way to go in battle for public opinion

April 19th, 2014

Wind continues to enjoy strong support even from CON & UKIP voters

It is important to note that this YouGov poll was a private one commissioned by Ecotricity.



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David Herdson says the electoral battlefield has never favoured LAB so strongly

April 19th, 2014

Is 35% Labour’s new bedrock support?

It’s better to be lucky than to be good, so the saying goes – and in politics, success or failure frequently turns on the timing of events over which those involved have little or no control: their luck, in effect.  What they make of that luck is a different matter.

To that end, the Lib Dems going into coalition with the Conservatives delivered Ed Miliband a very great slice of luck.  Not only did it enhance his own leadership prospects (a Con minority government would have been less stable and could easily have swung the Labour electorate behind his brother as a more proven option), but it led to the biggest voter realignment since the early 1980s; one that Labour benefitted greatly from.  Indeed, so great has been that shift that the question has to be asked whether it’s enough by itself to deliver him victory next year.

On some measures, Labour is performing very poorly.  Questions of leadership perception and economic competence consistently put Cameron or the Conservatives ahead.  Labour’s own voting intention rating has steadily drifted downwards from the mid-forties in 2012 to the mid- to high-thirties now.  Indeed, were it not for the Lib Dem to Lab switchers, Labour would be frequently polling in the twenties.  As the only major Westminster party opposing a government that’s been making cuts for four years, that’s shockingly poor.

Yet that current weakness demonstrates just how strong Labour’s underlying position is.  Gordon Brown polled disastrously in 2010: only once in the previous three-quarters of a century had his party received so few votes at a general election, and then only just – so those who did turn out for them must be a pretty firm base of pro-Labour support.  Add in the Lib Dem to Lab switchers – who seem well motivated against the parties of both Clegg and Cameron – and that base rises to around 35%: only just below where Labour is right now.

So the simple question is: can Labour actually fall any further?  Bar a point or two at most, the only way the figures could decline further is if other parties start eating into those who voted Labour in 2010, or into the Yellow-to-Reds – or if people from either of those groups sit it out altogether.  That’s not impossible: Labour in 1983 and the Conservatives in 2001 both went backwards after losing power, and from a weak starting point in the case of the Tories.  However, neither election was held in circumstances as favourable to the opposition as now.

    If Labour is at or near its new rock-bottom core support, then that puts it in an extremely strong position for 2015 given how that support is distributed (assuming a Scottish ‘No’ vote in September).  The Conservatives would need to poll well into the forties just to hold their current seats.

 That’s only really possible if UKIP’s support collapses and if it goes overwhelmingly Blue: two mighty big ‘if’s.  To look at it another way, is the improving economy really likely to switch many votes from Lab to Con when Labour’s hardly gained any swing voters from the Tories since 2010 anyway?

It could have been very different.  Had Cameron won enough extra seats to form a majority government – even one with a small majority – Clegg and the Lib Dems would never have become tainted to those on the left and it’s quite possible that Labour would be scrabbling with the Lib Dems for second place in the polls.  But that’s not what happened and the consequences of what did are that lucky Ed’s been handed a solid electoral coalition on a plate sufficient for him to cruise towards Downing Street.

David Herdson



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In 1974 British politics moved from a 2-party system to a 3-party one: GE2015 might hearld the start of 4-party politics

April 18th, 2014

Just look at the chart above showing the aggregate CON+LAB vote in all general elections since 1950. GE2010 saw the big two share down to its lowest level. Now with the emergence of UKIP it could edge down even more.

What this means is that it is possible for a party to win a general election with little more than a third of the GB vote. At GE2005 Tony Blair’s Labour came home with a 60+ majority on just 36.2% of the GB vote. That is slightly higher than the UK vote with also includes Northern Ireland.

It is important to note that all opinion polls are based the GB shares only.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble