Archive for the ' General Election' Category

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GE2015 becomes even more like Premiership football where the top teams rely on highly-paid foreigners

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Welcome to Axelrod versus Crosby

How much can Ed’s new hire bring that’s relevant to the UK?

There’s no doubt that the overnight news on Labour’s Axelrod appointment will cheer the party faithful but I just wonder what Axelrod will be able to bring.

Axelrod’s great strength is that he’s good at messaging but he’ll be without the central communication tool – paid for TV ads – that he’s used to. Also big data, so beloved by everyone, is simply not available here on the same scale as in the US.

But there’s no doubt he’s a hugely impressive operator who was crucial to Obama becoming president and retaining it four years later. He certainly should have it within him to adapt quickly and make a key contribution.

    My guess is that his big contribution will be to steady Labour’s nerves and come up with the right strategy when it gets really personal against Ed. Axelrod has plenty of experience of doing that and turning it.

Whatever GE2015 just got a bit more interesting.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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CON might have big leads with all voters on best PM and the economy but it’s a different picture with the key swing group

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The 2010 LDs now saying LAB are Ed’s most enthusiastic backers

The two big reasons, it is argued, why Labour should not put place too much confidence in current poll ratings are Ed’s personal poll numbers in relation to Dave and the ongoing Tory lead on the economy. No party, it is said, has ever won power when it is behind on both.

That might be the case though there are very few data points and modern polling is very different with so much more information being made available.

    But surely the voters to look at are not the overall figures but those specifically who have changed their allegiance since 2010. Swing voters in key seats could have a disproprtionate impact on the outcome.

Over the past few days I’ve been trying to find if there is any publishd polling that allows us to examine more closely the 2010 Lib Dems who now say they are voting Labour. band.

The poll data isn’t something that is normally available and you need a very big sample to get meaningful figures. Fortunately there was one poll where this specific information has been extracted and which had a big enough sample – the Lord Ashcroft examination of Lib Dems last year.

The data in the charts is old but it is all that is publicly available. More current private polling has been carried out which I understand is showing a similar picture.

Looking at this poll it is hard to see many of the switchers returning.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Swingback is happening – how far will it go?

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Crossover may be in sight but crossover isn’t enough for Dave

The Omnishambles Budget of 2012 was perhaps Ed Miliband’s high point of the parliament. In that response, he set the political narrative for at least a Summer and put the government, and George Osborne in particular, right on the back foot. He introduced a readily reusable slogan and one which penetrated well into public consciousness. Unsurprisingly, translated into healthy opinion poll leads, reversing the brief bounce the Tories enjoyed after Cameron vetoed the EU treaty at the turn of 2011/12. It’s been mostly downhill since, but only slowly.

    The figures above show how the polls have moved over the last two years. They’re based on all the opinion polls from the five firms to have conducted at least one per month since May 2012 (which is when UKIP figures generally became available without a great deal of digging). From that raw data, I’ve taken a weighted average of each firm’s own average figure for the month, the weighting being a combination of accuracy at the 2010 election and a factor for how many polls per month they typically conduct.

While averaging polls can be dangerous and does not necessarily produce a more accurate or reliable figure than the best individual firm, it is very useful in identifying a trend direction (i.e. even if there’s a bias in the methodology, it is at least likely to be a consistent bias). And what the average shows is that between May 2012 and March 2013, Labour was typically ten points or so ahead; in the year since, the gap’s been at least halved, with progress coming fairly steadily, month by month.

That turning point – March 2013 – almost exactly coincides with the start of the recovery. It may be simplistic to say that it’s solely down to the economy but the coincidence is striking if not. With the gap having dropped from a peak of 10.9% in February 2013 to just 3.9% last month, continued swingback at much the same rate wouldproduce a crossover in the autumn. Clearly, projection and prediction are two different things but if the narrowing is down largely to the economy, we might expect the trend to continue a little while yet as the recovery continues to gather pace.

What about ‘events’? Surely underlying factors can be greatly overridden by scandals, intra-government disagreements and the like? Yes, but events don’t have a lasting impact unless they seriously damage (or strengthen) the settled perception of one party or another. The flow ofthe trend is driven by what are usually stronger factors, even they move more slowly – like the difference between the tide and waves.

Is the tide flowing quickly enough for Dave or will Ed hold on even if the decline makes things a bit nervy for him? At the moment, projecting the trend would produce a small Con lead by May 2015: Mike’s bet of Labour most seats, Con most votes is looking good.

That said, British politics is now far more than a two-way game. The gap may have halved since2012 but the Conservatives are polling almost exactly the same now as then: it’s the decline in the Labour vote that’s entirely responsible for the difference. Given that the UKIP share has risen 5%in the same time, the dynamics of that change would themselves be interesting to analyse andperhaps gives something of a clue as to who the new UKIP voters are. While it’s true that far moreof them voted Con in 2010 than anything else, it’s never been clear as to what the mix is between ex-‘core’ Con voters (i.e. who voted Blue in 2001 and 2005 as well), and the 2m extra ‘swing’ voters that Cameron attracted in 2010. The churn between Con, Lab and UKIP perhaps suggests that a large number are more freely floating swing voters than core Tories on holiday. If so, the way for Cameron (or Miliband or Clegg), to win them back is the same as it always has been for swing voters: competence in office and pragmatism over ideology.

David Herdson



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Labour needs to take 69 of these seats to secure a majority

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Your guide to the LAB targets

Thanks to the compiler of the @election_data Twitter feed for this latest map showing where they key LAB targets are located.

For details of the seats themselves check out the UKPollingReport LAB target list with the names of the seats, their ranking, which party is defending and the size of the majority.

The seat that is on the margin is Peterborough which doesn’t appear to have a betting market. The seat closest to it in terms of the size of the majority is Calder valley where PaddyPower make the Tories the odds on favourite to hold on.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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Labour’s “crutch” remains: The 2010 LD-LAB switchers are still on board and their numbers aren’t diminishing

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

There hasn’t been much movement between CON & LAB

The Populus aggregate data for March featured in the chart above sets out clearly that the big voter shift since 2010 hasn’t changed. Ed Miliband’s LAB is very reliant on those LD voters from last time who switched in the first year of the coalition staying on board.

They make up such a big part of its current supporters base and represent a shift to LAB that is equal or greater than the increase in the CON vote between 1997 and 2010.

    The leading psephologist, Professor John Curtice, describes them simply as Labour’s “crutch” which, of course they are. Without the LD switchers the red team would be in a sorry state with only a year to go.

The data comes from the aggregate of all Populus samples last month but it is still relevant. My own calculations based on the firm’s April polling suggest that they are still there.

This simple fact combined with the general election voting patterns that make the “system” so favourable to Labour leave the Tories with a massive challenge.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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If LAB does come top in the Euros then EdM should send a thank you note to Tony Blair

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Polling+station+cyclist (1)

58% of the electorate will have local elections as well on May 22

In all the time that Tony Blair led the LAB party there was only one set of national elections where victory eluded him – the 1999 and 2004 contests for the European Parliament.

He didn’t like that in the least and ahead of the 2004 contest he went to extraordinary lengths to win.

    First he changed what had been the standard practice and decided to put back the local elections for a month so that turnout would be boosted.

    Then he introduced, against much opposition, an all postal vote election in large parts of England.

    On top of that he did a deal with the then independent Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to be the official party candidate even though another person was in place.

All this was to no avail and on June 10th 2004 the Tories came out top on votes.

The mass postal voting was not allowed to be repeated but Blair’s timetabling change, which was highly controversial at the time, has remained ever since.

And if, and it looks touch and go based on current polling, LAB does come out on top then EdM can thank Tony.

For 58% of voters nationally on May 22nd will have local elections on the same day. These are concentrated in areas of Labour strength and this should help the red team get its vote out for the Euro election,

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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The Tories slip back sharply in the latest PB YouGov Weekly Average as UKIP jumps 2pc

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

The budget bounce appears to be over

The LDs move into double figures for the first time



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Worrying GE2015 and Euro numbers for the Tories in latest Survation/Mail on Sunday poll

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Last week the Survation GE2015 gap was just 1% – now it’s 7%

Survation finds 6% CON drop for EP2014 as both UKIP & LD get boosts

On the Euro polling the big difference between Survation and ComRes was on the timing of the fieldwork. All of the Survation work took place after the Clegg/Farage BBC TV debate.

As can be seen the firm reports big changes compared with a week ago with the Tories as the main loser.

I’m hoping that there’ll an EP2014 question in the YouGov Sunday Times poll due out overnight.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble