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Al Murray’s South Thanet bid looks like an effort to stop Nigel Farage

January 14th, 2015

What’ll this do the the UKIP leader’s bid to become an MP?

Al Murray, the public school educated Oxford graduate, who has risen to fame as the Pub Landlord, launched his bid to take on Nigel Farage in Thanet South this afternoon.

Given his popularity and the fact that he’s chosen Thanet South it does look as though he’s trying to stop Farage. Given that that is currently a pretty tight three way marginal the presence of Murray on the ballot could have a huge impact if only to take away a few hundred votes.

Already this is the most polled constituency in the country with two Survation surveys as well as the Ashcroft ones.

Over the past year there’ve been polls showing LAB, CON and UKIP in the lead which gives an idea of the battle.

William Hill make it 8/13 UKIP; 13/8 CON, ; 6/1 LAB; 80/1 FUKP; 150/1 GRN; 150/1 LD.

Murray 9/4 to retain his deposit 1/3 to lose it.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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Cameron’s big mistake was not killing off the debates a year ago

January 14th, 2015

As it is he either agrees or continues to be labelled “chicken”

As an incumbent PM facing an opposition leader with as poor personal ratings as Ed Miliband’s it has been apparent for a long time that the best outcome for DC would be for no debates to take place. Why give Ed a platform that puts him equal with Dave?

This is the more so now that Ofcom has deemed UKIP to be a major party and the threat from Nigel Farage to the Tories has become greater.

Cameron and his team should have made clear at an early stage that he would not be taking part giving as a reason the the way that the TV debates can totally disrupt the campaign. He would have taken a hit then but it would have been mostly forgotten by the time election year opened.

As it is the broadcasters have put formal proposals and it appears that he is trying to find any excuse to avoid them. Far better now to agree to go forward rather than be tagged a “chicken” for the next four months.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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New Ashcroft 20k sample mega-poll highlights the massive challenge facing the Tories on the NHS

January 14th, 2015

LAB and EdM seen to be more concerned

Burnham’s comments resonating much more than Hunt’s

Where NHS stands on voter priority lists

Perceptions on how NHS spending has been moving



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Tonight from PB’s Marf

January 13th, 2015



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Dave’s approach to leaders’ debates gets the thumbs down from the ComRes sample

January 13th, 2015

But what we don’t know is how salient an issue this is

I am always a bit wary about polling like that featured above. Yes Mr. Cameron’s approach draws some negatives but does it actually matter?

Isn’t the leaders’ debate issue just a concern that gets those within the “bubble” excited but few others? Will it really swing many votes?

It is said that Cameron and his team don’t want them because they they put him and Mr. Miliband on an equal plane which is far from the image they want to project. Maybe and that seems a politically sound approach.

But the danger for the Tories is if Labour and the other parties are, within two weeks of voting, able to get some mileage out of Cameron’s reluctance. Attacks then could be damaging.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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After the confusing messages from the polls punters seem to be backing Ashcroft rather than Populus

January 13th, 2015

As a general rule CON backers most influenced by good news

After yesterday’s Lord Ashcroft CON 6% lead poll and the Populus 5% LAB one it looks as though the markets are being more influenced by the former rather than the latter.

This is in keeping with what we’ve seen historically – CON backers tend to be the most optimistic.

    In fact at only one recent UK general election, 2005, have the spread markets pointed to a better outcome for the blues than actually happened.

A big challenge for punters is working out what poll shares mean in seat terms and there’s no sure and safe guide to this – even more so since the SNP surge in Scotland. In England Ashcroft had the Tories with an 8% lead which is 3.4% down on what the party secured at GE2010. On a theoretical uniform swing in England the Tories would lose about 20 seats to LAB

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Exactly a year to go before the WH2016 primaries start and Senator Elizabeth Warren is moving into the frame

January 13th, 2015

Could she beat Hillary for Democratic party nomination

Last night I had an 8/1 bet on Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, to be the Democratic party nominee in next year’s White House race. She’s now second favourite in the betting and looks like she’d be a serious challenger if she decided to go for it.

Until now the widespread assumption has been that this is going to be a shoo in for Hillary Clinton who is the odds on favourite, just as she was eight years ago before the tough fight with Obama.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has ruled out being a contender but that has not stopped a growing movement to persuade her to put her hat into the ring. It’s reported that 200,000 have now joined an effort called “Run Warren Run” which has started raising money.

Like Hillary Senator Warren is in her 60s and has come to the fore in recent months over the bank bailouts and the need for much tougher regulation of the big financial institutions. She’s lucid and a convincing speaker. She comes over well on TV and looks as though she would do well in the TV debates.

The big question mark is whether she’s interested and how she’ll respond to the growing clamour.

At 8/1 she seems a good bet.

Mike Smithson

Ranked as one of the most influential over 50s on Twitter




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The other polling news tonight – ComRes has the NHS moving to the top of the issues table

January 12th, 2015

Where will it be on May 7th – that’s what matters