Archive for the ' General Election' Category


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

Sunday, 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


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

Sunday, 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



Get ready folks for an election to remember….!

Saturday, 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


Predicting the election: What the leading academic teams are saying

Friday, March 27th, 2015


Five years ago PBers described the 2010 event as wank fest

We got a name check from YouGov polling head Jo Twyman, at the opening of today’s conference at the LSE when different academic groups made their predictions.

He recalled that on the thread in 2010 this gathering was described as a wankfest which got a good response.

What’s happening is that separate forecasting groups are presenting their findings and explaining how their approaches.

The table above shows the main predictions which are very different.

Am I any the wiser? I don’t think do.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


LAB edge a notch up in the “most seats” betting but CON still very strong favourite

Friday, March 27th, 2015

The “debates” haven’t done either Ed or Dave any harm

There’s been a small recovery for LAB in the most seats betting over the past week and since last night’s C4/Sky “debate” that trend has continued.

But Labour has a very long way to go on the markets till it reaches parity with the Tories once again. The blues are expected to make progress during the campaign itself and that is reflected in the betting.

The spread markets were suspended overnight and I’ll update this when the post-debate prices are up.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


A UKIP gain in Dudley N, where the Tories have had candidate troubles, might at 10-3 be a value bet

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Lord Ashcroft polls

This is one of UKIP’s best chances to take a LAB seat

We’ve talked a lot about the CON-UKIP battleground but not about the LAB-UKIP one. Certainly the focus of the purples has been on the former but that doesn’t mean there are not opportunities with the latter.

One place I’m hearing positive words about is the party’s campaign in Dudley North. I don’t know whether this is based on polling but I think that it might be.

Team Farage is very keen to make gains from LAB as well as CON and this, I am told, is one of their biggest hopes. Surprisingly my source was more dismissive about UKIP’s chances in Heywood and Middleton where the purples came very close to Labour in last October’s by-election.

The revelations at the weekend and subsequent removal of the Tory candidate are not the main reason why I think it might be a good bet. The campaign is said to be going well.

Looking at the chart above UKIP did very well in 2010 and that’s usually a good indicator.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


If the Tories can keep their losses to LAB down to fewer than 38 then they should come out with most seats

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

New cabinet (1)

How the fight is on a knife edge

Given the political and betting importance of which party wins most seats I’ve been looking at the maths to try to get a broad figure of what would be a CON victory on seats or a CON defeat. I’ve made several assumptions that clearly will impact on the equation.

In broad terms the gap between the main parties as we start the formal campaign is 46 seats. So if there was no Scottish problem Labour would need to make 23 gains from the Tories to get level. This is because each CON loss to LAB adds one to the red team’s total and reduces the the blue total by one.

Assumption 1: Both LAB & CON do equally well in picking up LD seats. This is supported by the Ashcroft constituency polling. In the actual election things could change but this is the best rule of thumb at the moment.

Assumption 2: LAB to lose three-quarters if its contingent of Scottish MPs to the SNP. There are currently 41. Assuming that the LAB-SNP swing is in the lower range of current polling this would mean 30/31 seats going.

Assumption 3: LAB to lose two fewer seats to other parties than CON. This is mainly the UKIP factor which is likely to hurt both major parties but more purple targets are currently CON held than LAB.

Assumption 4 The speaker to be re-elected in Buckingham and by the new parliament. If Bercow is back as an MP but not re-elected Speaker he is unlikely to support his former party.

Taking all this into account my best guess is that if CON can keep its net losses to LAB down to fewer than 38 seats it would be the biggest party in the new House of Commons. In vote share terms on a uniform swing this amounts to a CON-LAB swing of about 3%.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The Tories close the gap in Survation-Mirror poll to just 1%

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

All polls, it seems, moving to level-pegging or thereabouts

Two things stand out with the Survation-Mirror poll that’s just been released. Firstly the Tories have almost closed the gap although, it should be noted, the firm was giving CON a lead in January.

Secondly, and perhaps not unrelated, UKIP is down further to 17%. That’s high but towards the end of last year Survation recorded a 24% UKIP share – the biggest ever.

What is very clear is that almost all the firms now have Farage’s party on the decline even though there is quite a variation on the shares. With polling it is the direction of travel that matters.

The Tories will be delighted that the gap is now so narrow.

These latest numbers mean that all the firms reporting this week have been tied or with a couple of points.

UPDATE Survation seat specific findings

LAB 32.3
CON 31.8
LD 9.2
UKIP 17.3
GN 3.9

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble