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UPDATED: Just 5,688 of Rochester’s 70k+ electors took part in the Tory primary and the winner got it y less than 1%

October 23rd, 2014

The earlier Spectator report proved to an underestimate

I said beforehand that a 15% participation rate would be good given the time pressure. So to fall short of that by such a margin does not bode well for the Blue Team.

It really shows the lack of interest that voters there have in the party and doesn’t bode well for CON prospects in the election proper on November 20th.

I just wonder whether this will be the spur for LAB to take Rochester seriously.




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After the ComRes Rochester poll UKIP becomes an even firmer betting favourite

October 23rd, 2014

Next we’ll see polls with the candidates named

Amazing to recall that two and a half weeks ago the Tories had a brief spell as favourite on the Rochester betting markets. Then came the first poll from Survation which had a 9% UKIP lead and now we have the ComRes 13% one.

It’s a brave punter who in these circumstances bets against the polling and inevitably the UKIP price has tightened.

The only things that will budge this are developments that’ll point to the battle being tighter than is currently seen.

This evening we’ll get news of the Tory all postal primary. If the turnout is reasonable then it might give the blues a boost. What they will have from this evening is a candidate that they will claim has a mandate because of the way she’s been selected.

The next thing I’m hoping to see is a poll with all the candidates being named.

Too often we look at these thing in terms of party battles alone when in by elections in particular candidates can matter enormously. The government of the country is not at stake and people are voting for an individual.

So far the great single constituency pollster, Lord Ashcroft, has yet to dip his toe into the Rochester water. Surely an early survey from him is not far off?

Mike Smithsonthe



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Generally the oldies are the key group for UKIP yet in the ComRes Rochester poll they give Reckless a lead of just 1%

October 23rd, 2014

Looking more closely at the numbers

Let there be no doubt – the UKIP donor funded ComRes Rochester poll was terrible news for the Tories coming as it has just before the party announces the result of its all-postal primary on who should be the candidate.

Looking closely at the ComRes data two demographic segments stand out. Firstly there are the oldies, those of 65 and above, who normally are the biggest supporters of all for Farage’s party. In this poll however, as the extract from the dataset above shows, it is nothing like as clear cut with Mark Reckless just 1% ahead.

As I’ve said many times on PB in a vast range of elections the oldies are crucial. They are most likely to be on the electoral register, most likely to actually vote and least likely to change their mind.

The second positive figure for the Tories from the demographic splits is how well the blues are doing with the AB groups showing a clear cut lead.

The big feature from the poll is how reliant in the ComRes poll UKIP are on non-voters from 2010. This is what the leading political scientist and UKIP expert, Rob Ford, Tweeted last night:-

I’m told that we should be getting the results from the CON Rochester postal primary this evening. The number to look out for is the turnout.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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On the eve of the CON primary result a UKIP donor funded ComRes Rochester poll has the purples 13% ahead

October 22nd, 2014

UKIP 43: CON 30: LAB 21: LD 3: GRN 2

Th big by-election news tonight which has already been anticipated by the betting markets is a new UKIP donor funded poll of Rochester & Strood in the Daily Express.

The news is not good for the Tories and very good for the purples. The poll has Farage’s party in a better position than it was in the Mail/Survation poll two weeks ago when UKIP had a 9% lead.

Amongst 2010 CON voters ComRes found 57% supporting the blues and 40% Reckless – almost exactly the same proportion as in the earlier Survation poll. Reckless is relying for his support on ex-LAB & LD voters. But the biggest source of new support for UKIP are those who didn’t vote at the last general election with 28% of the UKIP share coming from them.

Some other pollsters would mark the views of this group down sharply because non-voting support from the previous general election is the most flakey of all.

This is how the non-2010 voters split.

Clearly this puts the purples in a strong position just four weeks from polling day and there’ll be a huge amount of pressure on whoever wins the primary to claw some of this back.

With four weeks to go I’m expecting a lot of polling. Eagerly awaited is a survey from Lord Ashcroft.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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The afternoon Marf on the dementia bonus for GPs

October 22nd, 2014

gpdementia (1)

  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.


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    As UKIP surges Ipsos-MORI finds that support for wanting to stay in the EU is at a 23 year high

    October 22nd, 2014

    Could the Kippers be giving the BOOers a bad name?

    As I often say one of the great things about Ipsos-MORI is that it has been carrying out political polls in the UK for 40 years and is has a vast amount of historical data on which we can make comparisons.

    Today the pollsters has issued its latest findings on whether we should leave/remain in the EU. The figures and trends in the chart above come as something as a shock given the current UKIP narrative.

    Maybe there’s something of a reaction to the Scottish referendum outcome here. Fewer of us are attracted by the prospect of change. But I wonder whether the way UKIP is dominating the headlines is having an impact and is polarising opinion?

  • Date for your diary. There’ll be a post Rochester PB gathering at Dirty Dicks, near Liverpool Street in London, from 1830 on Friday November 21 – the day after the by-election.
  • Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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    Rochester and Strood is being presented as solely a CON-UKIP battle – but what about Labour?

    October 22nd, 2014

    Could the Kickboxer kick CON and UKIP ass?

    After Labour’s pitiful performances at the Heywood and Newark by-elections it is easy to dismiss their chances entirely in the Rochester and Strood by-election on November 20th. The national party has not given the impression that this is a priority and recent form does not bode well.

    But in the only polling that’s been done, the Survation survey, Labour was holding up pretty well and if you strip out of the Reckless vote in that poll the non-GE2010 voters then the red team was within a couple of points. The polling is distorted because a large slab of UKIP voters say they voted that way at GE10 when, of course, there wasn’t a UKIP candidate in the constituency.

    What has impressed me is the quality of the LAB candidate there, Naushabah Khan, who comes over more effectively than either Mark Reckless or the two contenders in the Tory primary. She describes herself as a commuter and a “Kickboxer”. In terms of presentation skills she reminds me of UKIP’s Diane James in Eastleigh who, it will be recalled, pushed CON into 3rd place. She also seems to have built up an energetically youthful activist base which is a key part of being a PPC.

    Also in its previous form as Medway the seat was a very tight marginal which Bob Marshall-Andrews clung onto by 213 votes at GE05. There’s a history of strong organisation which suggests very good data particularly of its support base in the past. This is a massive asset.

    The challenge, of course, is that Labour is up against the very well resourced UKIP and CON machines who are flinging everything at it.

    I don’t think that Labour will win but they just might and for betting purposes I’m not ruling it out. If you use the Betfair exchange then lay UKIP or CON. The odds are not that much different from the back price and you’ll be covered if by any chance Naushabah does pull it off.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    The best guide to GE15 will come from single constituency polls NOT the national surveys and the seat calculators

    October 21st, 2014

    At what level majority will Lord A find the Tories holding on in the marginals?

    In the past year we’ve seen a revolution in British political polling which is totally transforming the way wrong look at General Elections.

    Rather than the focus being on national polls from which we can project seat numbers we are seeing an avalanche of constituency polls coming mostly from Lord Ashcroft and initiatives funded by wealthy UKIP donors.

    These are serious polls of single constituencies with proper sized samples and should not be compared with the marginals polling of yesteryear. In the Ashcroft ones the standard sample is 1,000 and we get both the specific seat data and the overall aggregate whenever a new round is published

    So far we’ve had polls in just under 90 Westminster seats from Lord A, Survation and ICM. and there are said to be new ranges of constituency in the pipeline. Lord A gave us a taster in a recent post:-

    “…Labour would become the largest party if results in the seats I have already polled turned into results on election day – and there could well be more to come: while my polling has moved into seats with bigger Tory majorities I have not yet come to the “bite point” at which the potential losses end and Conservative seats consistently start to stay blue.

    Research I currently have in the field is looking at some of these safer seats in search of the point at which the damage stops. If and when we find it, that should define the boundary of the real Conservative-Labour battleground.

    But other unknowns remain. For example, are there vulnerable but hitherto unpolled Lib Dem seats in England and Wales? Could UKIP be making a significant impact in places we have not yet looked at> And what is happening in Scotland, where the big SNP gains some expect could change the equation significantly, especially if they are at the expense of Labour?..”

    I wonder how that bite point will compare with national polling when fed into a seat calculator. Based on what we’ve seen so far there’s a bigger CON-LAB swing in the battleground. In LD held seats it is hard to draw any conclusions. In some areas seat polling is going with national polling – in other areas it isn’t

    As I keep on saying general elections are not determined by national aggregate vote shares but by 650 separate votes in individual seats and I for one am hugely grateful to Lord A for helping us see what is happening where it matters.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble