TNS poll has the Tories ahead whilst there appears to be progress on the debates

March 17th, 2015


Meanwhile on the debates, there has been progress or has there?



Latest Lord Ashcroft marginals polling brings bad news for the Tories

March 17th, 2015

Lord A marginals

The latest batch of Lord Ashcroft marginals polling is out, and will bring bring great cheer to Labour and much disappointment to the Tories, who would have hoped the national polling trends would feed into the marginals.

Lord Ashcroft says

My findings this time suggest the better national news for the Conservatives is not spread evenly across the battleground. In only one of the seats, Worcester, has a Labour lead turned into a Tory one. In Croydon Central, the Labour lead has fallen from six points to four (in a seat that shows the biggest shift between the standard voting intention question and the result when people are asked to think about their own constituency and the candidates likely to stand there).

But Southampton Itchen has gone from a tie to an eight-point advantage for Labour, and in the four remaining seats Labour’s lead has increased, most notably from one point to eleven points in Chester. South Swindon remains tied.

The fieldwork was quite recent, between the 26th of February and the 12th of March, in December, his polling saw a Con to Lab swing of 3.5%, now with this batch, and the batch at the start of March, 5% Con to Lab Swing looks like the norm.

As it has been for a while it would appear that Labour are doing better in the marginals, and that the prices on Labour having most seats/Ed Miliband being the Prime Minister after the election is where the value is. Amazing to think that a Labour majority was around 32 a few weeks ago on Betfair.

But as Lord Ashcroft notes and promises

Even voters in marginal seats who do not flock to LordAshcroftPolls.com for the latest data will hear about it in the local media, and those inclined to vote tactically will be better informed than ever before. For that reason, even constituency polls published close to election day may not match the final result. My research will continue throughout the campaign to monitor the situation as it evolves.

The full data tables are available here.



It’s all very tight but the Tories seem to be doing better with the phone pollsters LAB with the online ones

March 17th, 2015

Or do the Tories do best when the fieldwork is mostly at the weekend?

At the moment this close to an election with the numbers so tight it’s interesting to divide the pollsters by methodology to see if there’s a pattern

In the chart above showing the Tory lead over LAB there is a clear division between the phone pollsters and the online ones. The former are giving the edge every do slightly to the blues while the latter it is mostly to LAB.

But there’s another division that might be relevant – the days when when the fieldwork is carried out. With all the pollsters showing CON leads the fieldwork was predominantly at the weekends while those with LAB leads it it was during the week.

Thus Ipsos-MORI, the only phone survey to have LAB ahead, polls from Sunday to Wednesday.

Maybe we are over analysing for all the pollsters are within such a very narrow range.

One message I’m getting from the three main parties is that those close to what is happening on the ground say that there is a much higher level of uncertainty than before. This is all anecdotal but far fewer people on the doorstep are ready to give firm views.

Maybe this election will surprise and go down like 1992, as a polling disaster. That year all the polls pointed to a hung parliament but John Major’s Tories won a clear cut victory.

The betting markets remain unequivocal. The money is solidly on the Tories winning most seats.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The big GE15 gamble is trying to work out what all the polling means in terms of seats

March 16th, 2015

And on that there is no clear cut picture

There is a huge divide both between academic groups and others like Martin Baxter’s long-standing Electoral Calculus.

Frankly I find it hard to work this one out and I guess that whatever happens it will be a big surprise on the night.

My long term GE15 bet has been CON ahead on votes – LAB ahead on seats.

Reminder the PB pre May 7th gathering tomorrow. The Shooting Star from 7pm

shooting star


The Monday afternoon rolling polls thread

March 16th, 2015

CON lead down from 4 to 2 with latest Ashcroft phone poll

CON lead down from 4 to 1 in the March ICM Guardian poll

Ipsos finds once again that the Tories are a drag on Cameron while Miliband is a drag on LAB

More follows


Take the 4-1 on the former Lord Mayor of London gaining Basildon South for UKIP

March 16th, 2015


Don’t be put off by the Ashcroft 6% CON lead

One of the best UKIP constituency bets at the moment is the 4/1 that’s available from several bookies on UKIP winning South Basildon and East Thurrock.

The candidate is Ian Luder, CBE, former Lord Mayor of London, ex-president of the Institute of Taxation, and advisor to government at the highest level. He’s also had a long record in local government with LAB and is a highly accomplished on the ground campaigner. One thing’s for sure his campaign won’t constrained by a lack of resources.

If elected on May 7th he would be a force to be reckoned with in UKIP’s parliamentary party and you could even see him as a future leader.

    On the face of it the Ashcroft polling of the seat published last month points to a CON victory but the detail of the poll is much more beneficial to the purples.

On the first voting intention questioning UKIP had a small lead. This became a CON one because of turnout weighting and the reallocation of don’t knows from 2010 CON voters.

The poll took place just after Luder had become candidate so there was almost no time for his presence to have an impact on the second constituency specific question.

As I’ve repeatedly observed in tight marginals the “all those expressing a voting intention” finding is probably a better guide than the post turnout weighted one. The aim of campaigns us to ensure that the most marginal voters vote. Knowing Luder his campaign will maximise turnout.

There’s a final element which makes this a good bet. He is a highly credible candidate with the potential to appeal to voters across the political spectrum. I’d suggest that he’s got more appeal than just about any other UKIP candidate apart from Douglas Carswell.

I’m on you ought to be. At current prices it’s a value bet.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Fewer voters have made up their mind on how to vote than in the past

March 15th, 2015

Ipsos Mori Decided

Whilst most voters think the debates will influence the way the vote

Ipsos Mori Influence

Ipsos Mori have done some polling which asks how many voters have made up their mind on how to vote, and what will influence the way they will vote. The fieldwork for the polling was early to mid February, so well before the recent contretemps over the debates. So David Cameron’s non appearance in the debates could fundamentally damage the Tories as we can see from the above chart, the debates appear key to influencing how voters will vote.

If the  debates don’t happen, then the Newspapers become more influential, something which theoretically should be damaging for Labour as I expect most of the national newspapers to back the Tories, and those that might back Labour generally have the fewest numbers of readers.

With the current polling neck and neck, and 50% of voters indicating the might change their mind, there’s scope for one party over the next 53 days to pull away and get a decent lead.

The full data tables are available here.



Nigel Farage’s offer to support a minority Conservative Government is a 2015 referendum

March 15th, 2015

As part of Nigel Farage’s book being serialised in the Telegraph,

The UK Independence Party leader says that he is willing to make a deal with the Tories on the condition that they hold an EU referendum before Christmas.

The detailed plans for a hung parliament set out that Ukip and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party would work together to support the Conservatives on a vote by vote basis.

Ukip – forecast to gain up to six seats in the election – would vote for the Conservative’s first Budget, which would be the first major test of this new right of centre alliance.

Until now Mr Cameron has only said that he will have a referendum – in which he would campaign to stay in a reformed EU – by the end of 2017

The risk for Farage and UKIP is that this sort of comment will put off Lab to UKIP voters in Labour held seats who were thinking of voting UKIP, Labour will be able to frame UKIP as being a vote for the Tories but it could reassure Con to UKIP switchers that voting UKIP won’t mean you got to bed with Nigel and wake up with Ed.

It also has the the potential for Farage to appear to be more influential than he will be, as UKIP are on current estimates/forecasts on course for around four to six MPs, which is less than one per cent of the MPs in the next Parliament.

At the time of writing, midnight, it was 25/1 that there would a referendum in 2015 on our membership of the European Union. It is not a bet I’ll be taking up, as I just can’t see the numbers adding up for a Con and UKIP & DUP majority in May.