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The latest Lord Ashcroft marginals poll is out

December 18th, 2014

The latest round of Lord Ashcroft marginal polling is out. He says Two types of constituencies feature in my last round of marginals polling for 2014. First, the next tranche of seats the Conservatives are defending from Labour; second, a selection of seats where Labour may be under threat from UKIP. I have also returned to the solitary Green constituency, Brighton Pavilion.

I have just been on the phone to Mike, and his initial cursory thought that this is bad news for Labour, as the general trend is the Con to Lab swing in the marginals is getting smaller, as the below graph shows. Is this the famed swingback taking place?

Lord Ashcroft concurs with Mike’s assessment, he says “Moderate Tory cheer and a fright for Labour in my final marginals poll of 2014″ He adds though Unfortunately for the Tories my constituency polls have so far found Labour ahead in 39. However, some of the margins look very slim, not just over the Tories but over UKIP. Moreover, we have not yet looked in detail at Scottish constituencies, which could potentially change the equation dramatically. My fieldwork north of the border will begin in the New Year.

As ever, Lord Ashcroft reminds us, a poll is a snapshot and not a prediction.

Looking at the Lab held seats vulnerable reading, the initial voting intention question makes good reading for UKIP, as they are ahead in 3 and tied in 1, however on the second question, Labour hold all four but not as comfortably as you’d expect main opposition to do so. The 13.5% Lab to UKIP swing shows, as evidenced most memorably in Heywood and Middleton, UKIP can be a threat to Labour as well the Tories.

For the Greens, they are holding Brighton Pavillion, on the second question, quite comfortably, but losing on the first question. Overall the second quesiton should be a better predictor than the first question, as it refers to how you would vote in your own specific constituency.

TSE

The Ipsos-Mori phone poll is out, I plan to do a separate thread on that this afternoon.




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What makes Jim Murphy so dangerous to the SNP is that for the first time in years LAB has a credible alternative First Minister

December 18th, 2014

Why I’ve now become an SNP seller

It is worth recapping why we are where we are in Scotland. Back in early 2011 it looked as though Scottish LAB was in a position to make a return to power in Holyrood ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections that May. At the start of the year all the polling had the party well ahead so that by the March, with only eight weeks to go, you could have got a bet on the SNP at odds longer than 3/1 that they’d win most MSPs.

Then at the start of April there was the first TV debate of the campaign and it was totally apparent that the then SLAB leader was simply not a credible alternative to Alex Salmond who was then running a minority government.

Suddenly the election became one of leadership not of parties – a recent precedent that should cause Ed Miliband and his team some concern.

As we got closer to polling day LAB and the other parties faded while the SNP rose and in the election the party was returned with an overall majority. It was that election victory that paved the way for the referendum.

It is into that context that Murphy comes into the picture. He did himself a power of good during the IndyRef campaign being seen as someone ready to take on the Nats. His controversial tour that attracted do much attention and protest from YES campaigners helped build up his profile.

Since the referendum on September 18th the SNP threat to the unionist community has never appeared so great and for the first couple of months LAB appeared impotent. Now that has changed.

A key part of Murphy’s approach in the coming weeks will be to galvanise pro-union tactical voting which could just help LAB save some seats.

GE2015 in Scotland is starting to look totally different and I’ve had a punt that the SNP will fall short of 21. They currently have 6 Westminster seats.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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There’s an inexorable feeling that the next election will be just like 1992

December 17th, 2014

Will the next US Presidential election could well be Bush v Clinton, again?

The big news in last day was this tweet

Back in February I advised backing him as Republican Party Nominee at 10/1, he is now trading as low as 9/4 right now.

A poll for NBC/WSJ found that

Just 31% of all voters say they could see themselves supporting [Jeb Bush] for president, while 57% say they can’t. He’s more popular among Republicans (55% support, 34% can’t support), which is the second-best GOP score in the poll behind Mitt Romney. But he fares worse among Democrats (9%-79%) and, more importantly, independents (34%-52%). These numbers follow our Nov. 2014 NBC/WSJ poll, which found Bush’s fav/unfav rating at a net-negative 26%-33%.

The same poll however found

A whopping 71% of American voters want the next president to take a different approach than Obama’s; Clinton served as his first-term secretary of state. And by 40% to 38%, voters prefer a Republican to win the White House in 2016 instead of a Democrat. “This is an electorate –by a large margin — looking for change,”

The betting markets would seem to indicate that the 2016 Presidential Election will be Jeb Bush versus Hillary Clinton. I think if it is those two, the sheer emotive ability of their surnames will galvanise their opponents and that probably favours Hillary Clinton, if those Dems who voted for Obama are thinking of not voting.

I’m expecting the Democratic Party Candidate to still win, because of the demographic changes that don’t favour the Republican Party, but the Republican Party’s chances of winning the White House in 2016 are enhanced, because if they have any hope of winning the White House, they need to take Florida and her twenty nine electoral college votes, and having the former two time Governor of Florida as your candidate should help.

The odds on the US Presidential election are available here

TSE



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Guardian ICM phone poll sees the Tories down 3 and the Lib Dems up 3

December 17th, 2014

The Tories are down to their lowest share of the vote since May 2013 with ICM But the Lib Dems will be delighted as ICM is the third pollster this week to have them in double digits, two of them being phone pollsters.

But did George Osborne’s Autumn Statement contribute to the Tory slump?


The fieldwork for the ICM poll was the 12th to the 16th of December.

Meanwhile Ipsos-Mori finds that economic optimism is the lowest since July 2013


 

TSE



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On the face of it this ComRes “issues that will most impact on voting” polling doesn’t look good for the Tories

December 17th, 2014

But how strong is LAB on NHS and the cost of living?

What is interesting about this ComRes survey for ITV is that it seeks to link the best party on each issue to what issues are likely to be decisive in influencing voter choice.

Rather than just have “the economy” where the Tories are strong this is broken down into three headings where one, the cost of living is good for Labour. The latter is personal while the deficit and promoting growth are more general putting it into a national context and less personal.

The Labour hope is that focusing on the individual will see them home. Maybe. Maybe not.

I’m not convinced that either of the main party economic spokesmen, Osborne and Ball, have what it takes in terms of communication skills. They both seem more concerned with taking chunks out of each other than getting messages over that resonate.

Immigration might be the top voter choice but the party in the lead here is not going to be a serious contender in more than a handful of seats and you can see both the main players trying to push the overall campaign onto territory where they feel they are strong.

UKIP is vulnerable on the NHS because of mixed messaging and things that the party has said in the past. Attempts to make this a key plank in Rochester never really got off the ground.

The impact of UKIP has been to take away from the Tories what used to be one of their greatest strengths. It is far harder to play immigration as an issue when you gave been in power for five years and the numbers aren’t as good as was promised during the last campaign.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Marf’s PB “UKIP Map of the World” cartoon erupts again – this time with a big story in the Mail

December 16th, 2014

mapofworld (1)

Check out the Mail story here



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New study of the Scottish IndyRef finds that the turnout level amongst 16 and 17 years olds was 75%

December 16th, 2014

Surprisingly the least likely were 18-24 year olds

A report from the Electoral Commission on September’s Scottish IndyRef finds that three-quarters of the 16/17 year old did exercise their vote.

This comes in a study carried out for the Commission by ICM in which a particular effort was made to identify and interview non-voters.

An explanation by Professor John Curtice of why the very youngest segment was more likely to vote is that maybe they were encouraged to do so by mum and dad who probably have less influence over older groups.

The overall sample size, 1,252, is small given that we are looking at sub-sets. John Curtice says it was “just about enough to give us a broad indication of whether 16 and 17 year olds were more or less likely to vote than those in other age groups.”

No doubt this will be picked up by those campaigning for an extension of the franchise for all elections.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Maybe we should all stop looking at the polls and wait till after the holiday season

December 16th, 2014

Since Nov 10 all polls bar YouGov’s have had LAB leads

Interesting looking through the Wiki list of Westminster voting intention polls and one thing stands out – LAB has maintained a lead of some sort with all the firms apart from YouGov which, of course, reports five times a week for the Sun and the Sunday Times.

Above are all the surveys since the autumn statement and the pattern is seen there. The hoped for boost that the blue team was hoping for has not really changed the picture.

But it is hard drawing conclusions and things might look very different in the New Year.

Lord Ashcroft used to say that the best polls to look at were the first ones in the New Year – simply because people are more clear headed and the polls are less influenced by the day by day media coverage. I’ve often thought that there was something in that.

May 7th will feel a lot lot closer after the holidays and this will focus voter’s minds. Do voters really want to switch and will perceptions of the different leaders start to play a bigger part?

The fear of the unknown is the blue team’s strongest card and, no doubt, they will play it effectively.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble