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UKIP move up 3 to 19% in latest Lord Ashcroft phone poll

December 8th, 2014

LAB 31-1: CON 30=: LD 8+1: UKIP 19+3: GRN 5%-1

How the alternative vote would have impacted on voting

Tories now level-pegging in England




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LAB running just 3% behind SNP in Scotland according to the Populus November aggregate

December 8th, 2014

But Sturgeon’s party would be one short on seats

Following my post yesterday about the woeful lack of polling data from what could be the most critical area of all at GE15, Scotland, a PBer contacted me to point out that Populus has resumed its excellent practice of issuing a full monthly data analysis from the eight or nine online surveys carried out in the previous month.

What’s great about this is that you have a very large sample which gives us sub samples based on enough responses so that you can have some confidence in the output. This is not, however, a proper poll and all the reservations about sub samples remain. It is the best that’s available at the moment.

The aggregated GE15 responses for Scotland alone are shown in the chart and as can be seen the SNP is ahead. But the margin, 3%, is miniscule compared with what other forms were reporting a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately there is no comparative Populus data available for October to allow us to make comparisons.

You should note that Populus does tend to have the highest aggregate CON-LAB shares of all the pollsters and, consequentially, smaller shares for other parties which could impact on the SNP.

Whatever the red team will be delighted by this data and the Scottish seat calculations that put them on 28 MPs – 13 fewer than their current contingent from north of the border.

If this Populus data is on the right lines then the Labour chances of becoming top party nationally are a bit higher.

I’m told that we should see the December Scottish poll from Survation before Christmas which should allow us to track trends.

  • The updated SNP target list: Thanks to AndyJS for this excellent resource.
  • UPDATE: SNP lead in Scotland 4% in sub-sample in today’s Populus poll

    The latest GB figures with changes on last Friday are: Lab 36 (+1), Con 33 (=), LD 8 (-1), UKIP 15 (+1) GRN 4=. So very little movement.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    If you think that GE2015 is getting hard to understand check out Martin Baxter’s battle-ground map

    December 7th, 2014

    BGround (1)

    Martin Baxter, the ex-Cambridge University mathematiciion who has been running Electoral Calculus for two decades, has produced the above map that sets out the various outcomes and links them, based on party shares, to what could happen.

    I reproduce it above. In a technical note Martin writes:-

    ” Map only shows movement for the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. It assumes the votes for other parties, including UKIP and the SNP, are fixed at current support levels. UKIP are not currently to predicted to win many seats, so they are not yet a factor in coalition permutations. Since other parties have 28% support nationally, the map is missing the top-right corner where the Conservative plus Labour total would be more than 72%.”

    I don’t think that Martin has factored in any constituency polling of which there has been a lot, particularly from Lord Ashcroft. This has, for instance, UKIP holding Clacton as well as winning Thurrock. He also has not factored in the higher retention rate that the LDs are seeing in Lord A’s polling.

    Whatever this is an excellent addition to our GE15 resources.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    My special plea to those in the media responsible for commissioning opinion polls

    December 7th, 2014

    The constant flow of GB-wide surveys is giving a distorted picture of what is going on

    Just about every day at the moment I find myself having to Tweet or write on PB that general elections are not decided by national party vote shares but by first past the post elections in 650 separate constituencies.

    This has never been the case more so than in what has for decades been regarded as Labour’s most important bastion – Scotland where 59 of those constituencies are.

    The demographic data suggests that Scotland represents just 8.68% of the total number of voters in a GB-wide sample. So if LAB, and this is being generous, has, lost to the SNP a third of those who voted for the party in May 2010 that accounts for just 1.2% of the GB-wide vote share.

      Yet in terms of seats that fall of 1.2% in GB vote share could be catastrophic for the red team maybe reducing its current contingent of 41 Scottish seats to fewer than 10.

    The surge in SNP support could be even more disastrous for the LDs who account for 11 of Scotland’s 59 MPs.

    Yet in spite of these huge developments there have been just three Scotland only three Westminster voting polls since the week of the IndyRef in mid-September. What could be totally re-shaping the UK political map is based on the views of just three thousand Scottish voters.

    We urgently need more Scotland-wide polls and we also need single constituency surveys to test whether some of the SNP surge is being tempered by the impact of incumbency and maybe anti-SNP tactical voting.

    We are promised some single seat Scottish surveys from Lord Ashcroft but this urgently needs to be supplemented by frequent Scotland-wide polls.

    In the meantime we get at least 8 GB polls a week. Cannot just part of that effort be diverted to Scotland?

    That is my plea.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    The key target for the Tories – those LAB voters in the marginals who are satisfied with Dave and want him as PM

    December 6th, 2014

    The data in the chart above is from the aggregate 12k sample from the latest batch of Lord Ashcroft CON held LAB facing marginals to be published. I’ve highlighted four key groups who could influence the election in the most important seats of all – CON defences against LAB.

    The other reason I’ve chosen this polling is the overall sample size which which means that we can look at subsets with greater confidence.

    Those polled were asked to rate ED vs Dave with four options:-

    “I am satisfied with the job David Cameron is doing overall as Prime Minister”

    “I am dissatisfied with the job that David Cameron is doing overall as Prime Minister – BUT I’d still prefer to have him as Prime Minister than have Ed Miliband as Prime Minister”

    “I am dissatisfied with the job that David Cameron is doingoverall as PrimeMinister AND I’d prefer to have Ed Miliband as Prime Minister instead.”

    DK/refused

    Two things stand out: The fact that 22% of UKIP voters opted for Ed as PM and the quite high proportion of LAB voters who’d prefer Dave to remain at Number 10. The former look beyond the reach of CON campaigners but the latter could be promising provided this is handled right.

    The challenge is, of course, is that to the voting questions they said LAB and maybe party loyalty is more important than who is PM. If they were going to switch on leadership grounds wouldn’t they have done so already?

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    PB’s November Poll Average: Labour down again but it’s Others on the up

    December 6th, 2014

    The Con-Lab gap drops to just 1% – the closest it’s been since Jan 2012

    Convention says that as an election approaches, the public will put aside their flirtation with protest parties and return to the serious business of choosing a government for the country. Well, convention be damned. Five months today will be the last day of campaigning before the General Election yet far from returning to the traditional Westminster parties, voters continue to leave them in ever greater numbers. The way things are going, the winner – if such a term is appropriate – will not be the one that wins the most but the one that loses the least.

    Once again, the biggest loser in November was Labour, down another 1.6% last month, amounting to a loss of 3% over the last two months and almost 6% since the same time last year. By contrast, the Conservatives remain marooned within a point of 31.5, as they have been for almost a year and a half. Indeed, driving home the degree of flat-lining is the fact that not only did they score 30.9 this month but they did so last month and also in November 2013. Such precision is a coincidence but the overall story is not. The Lib Dems too remain in much the same range – approximately 8-9% – that they’ve occupied since June.

    Instead, the electorate continues to turn to what were once called the minor parties; a term which is in danger of becoming obsolete albeit that their current vote shares wouldn’t impact greatly on Westminster were they to be reproduced next May.


    The overall scale of that change is quite remarkable. Until about 2012, it was unusual to quote parties outside the Big Three separately. Were that convention still followed, Others would have polled 28.6% in November: within touching distance of the Tories and Labour. Put another way, there’s been a net swing of some 18.7% from Con, Lab and LD to Others since 2010.

    UKIP are, in some ways, the biggest beneficiary of this and although down slightly on their October score, they still had their third-best ever month in the opinion polls, to add to their second by-election success. Perhaps more interesting was that even with UKIP polling so strongly, the other (former?) minor parties also continued to rise in the polls, with their combined score rising to 12.4%: by some way their highest ever and not far off double those parties’ share in the 2010 election.

    In fact, ‘Others’ is almost entirely a combination of the Greens, SNP and Plaid following the collapse of the BNP. Unfortunately, the two nationalist parties get lumped together which given their contrasting fortunes isn’t helpful. Even so, assuming that Plaid are still in the doldrums, these figures remain excellent for the SNP. The Greens make their debut in the PB poll average series this month and are up from 4.6% to 5.7%: a level which may act as more than nuisance value on the left-of-centre, even if not to the same extent that UKIP is on the right (and which indicates a substantial number of saved deposits).

    What’s clear is that those who expect ‘normality’ to reassert itself are placing their faith entirely in models of the past; there is no evidence whatsoever that this is happening this time, nor that it will happen. That’s not to say it won’t – some factors such as election-time media coverage do favour the established parties and late swings can happen; simply that the electorate continues to move in the opposite direction, to the extent that it’s entirely possible that no fewer than six parties could top a million votes next year when previously no more than three have (excluding the unusual circumstances of 1918). We live in interesting times.

    David Herdson



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    With the loan of the Elgin Marbles to Russia becoming an international issue Marf gives here take

    December 5th, 2014

    elginmarbles (1)

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


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    On current polling the Tories will, surely, suffer net losses of more than 18 seats

    December 5th, 2014

    For the first time there’s overlap in the Commons seat spread betting

    The Tories have made more progress on the SportingIndex Commos seat spread markets and the buy level is 285 MPs.

    Given the polling showing number of CON held seats with majorities up to 7.8% seeing LAB leads, the threat from UKIP, and the stickiness of the yellows in CON-LD battles then securing 285 MPs seems a big ask. That’s a net loss of just 18 on where the blues stand at the moment.

    The next wave of Lord A polling should focus on seats with bigger blue majorities and maybe then we’ll see the point where the Tories are holding on successfully.

    We are getting very close to the point where I become a CON seller.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble