On a uniform swing Nicky Morgan’s Loughborough goes LAB even if CON win most votes nationally

July 16th, 2014

Ladbrokes make it LAB 10/11 and CON 10/11

The above table is based on the Electoral Calculus projection of what happens on national vote shares of CON 36, LAB 35.6, LD, 12, UKIP 9.

The seat highlighted is Nicky Morgan’s Loughborough which as can be seen would go LAB even though EdM’s party would be behind on national vote share. This would be the 316th LAB seat leaving the party ten short of an overall majority.

Morgan, who yesterday took over Michael Gove’s job as Secretary of State at Education, is the Tory cabinet minister who is most vulnerable at the election. Her seat is so on the margin that currently Ladbrokes have both CON and LAB as 10/11 joint favourites.

My purpose is to highlight the challenge facing the Tories because of the way the electoral system works. If by any chance the above national vote shares happened and the swing was the same in every seat LAB would come out with 28 more MPs than the Tories.

    In fact the Tories would still be losing seats to LAB even if they had a 6% national vote lead.

A part of this is down to the boundaries but not that much. The main reasons why the system appears to work so much in favour of the red team are much lower turnout levels in heartland seats and that the party finds it much harder to get its vote out in constituencies where the result is a foregone conclusion.

All of this can be upset by incumbents, particularly first time ones like Morgan, performing better than the national swing. Tory supporters shouldn’t rely too much on that. Some of the Ashcroft polling has shown that there is disproportionate LD-LAB switching in key battlegrounds.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Extraordinary. Gove was killed by Lynton Crosby’s private polling of teachers

July 15th, 2014

This matches YouGov polling pre-GE2010 and 2014


The re-shuffle continued:-

July 15th, 2014

John McTernan sums this up brilliantly


Post-reshuffle leadership betting: The new Foreign Secretary comes into the picture

July 15th, 2014

The Ladbrokes 14/1 looks good value

The big winner in the reshuffle is, undoubtedly, the new Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, who, with Theresa May, have been my long term bets at longish odds for Cameron’s successor. I got him originally at 41/1 and overnight I’ve put more on at 16.5 on Betfair and 14/1 with Ladbrokes

This looks a great price for someone who now occupies one of the three great offices of State and would be in an ideal position to compete if GE2015 goes against the Tories and we have an early leadership election.

    There’s a great rule in Tory contests – long term favourites never get it. Just ask John Major, William Hague, IDS, and David Cameron who all were elected in spite of not being favourite.

I got Cameron in September 2005 at 11/1.

One thing that Hammond has got going for himself is his back story which might fit the mood next May. He was state school educated followed by Oxford and a successful career in industry. After failing to win in 2015 with one old Etonian in charge would the party really choose another?

Hammond’s also older, 58, than the current crop of party leaders who all got their jobs while in their early/mid 40. This I’d suggest, will be seen as a strength if the Tories do lose power.

He would have been Treasury Secretary in May 2010 if the Tories had won a majority and is now into his third cabinet role since the general election.

You could see a leadership contest being fought out by Boris, Theresa, Osborne and Hammond. If he got through the first stage, the parliamentary party election, he’d do well in the final run off members’ ballot which is restricted to the top two from the MPs process.

His chances, of course, are very much dependent on a Tory defeat at GE2015.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


The Reshuffle

July 14th, 2014

Looks like the big political news of the day isn’t the Blues taking the lead with the gold standard of UK polling, but the reshuffle David Cameron is currently undertaking.

The big news is William Hague standing down as Foreign Secretary.

The interesting move will be who replaces him? Rumour has it will be Philip Hammond, in the past Hammond has said he would vote to leave the EU, which earned a rebuke from the PM. Perhaps this is a way of getting back votes from UKIP?

One of the other interesting moves has been the cull of the Law Officers, in particular Dominic Grieve, my hunch is that this is part of the Conservative plans to employ a harder line on Justice and the ECHR, in the past Grieve has warned leaving the EU or the ECHR would imperil “the economic, physical and ethical well-being of the UK”

This seems odd the day UKIP fell below 10% with ICM to become even more Euro-sceptic.

This appears to be a wider reshuffle than was anticipated, keep up to date with it here.

Dave should remember, the last Tory PM to move their Foreign Secretary to Leader of the House was toppled as PM a year later by that former Foreign Secretary, Dave must hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

Update I

There’s also a number of other MPs alongside Hague who have announced this evening their intention to stand down as MPs at the next election, this would make the Tories chances in 2015 harder, as the incumbency bonus goes in these seats.






CON take lead with ICM as Ukip drop 7 points

July 14th, 2014

The ICM/Guardian poll is out and the big move is Ukip falling by 7 points on the month. This has helped boost the Tories who are now 1% ahead of LAB.

The LDs, meanwhile, are up 2 at 12% – so the reverse of what we saw in this afternoon’s Ashcroft poll.


The Lib Dems drop 4 to just 7% in today’s Ashcroft phone poll. Earlier, though, Populus had them up 1

July 14th, 2014

Another poll to worry the LD leadership

The LD 7% the the lowest recorded since the Ashcroft weekly phone poll began in May. What’s is startling is the size of the fall from 11% to just 7% in just a week. This is greater than the margin of error.

Earlier the Populus Monday poll showed no decline in the LD share which it had up 1% at 9%.

ICM is dues out this evening. It will be interesting to compare.


Why Blairites like John Rentoul have got to stop looking at GE2015 through the prism of 1997

July 14th, 2014

It’s a totally different election with very different dynamics

There’s no doubt that Tony Blair’s GE1997 victory, coming as it did after four election defeats over the previous 18 years, was a stunning success. Blair did it by reinventing his party so it would appeal to large swaithes of voters who never before had done anything other than vote Tory.

But because that result was so good for the party doesn’t mean that the Blair approach is the only one that will work for the Red team or that it is even possible now. Take this from the Blair biographer and ongoing Blair enthusiast, John Rentoul in yesterday’s Indy on Sunday:-

“My view, and this cannot be based on opinion polls, is that when the voters come to choose they will shy away from the prospect of Miliband as prime minister, just as they shied away from Neil Kinnock in 1992.”

I’d suggest that it is very dangerous to ignore the numbers, as Rentoul is suggesting, and base analysis on gut feelings, anecdote, or previous positions.

In 1997 the Blair challenge was to attract 1992 CON voters. At the coming general election all the polling points to very little switching between 2010 CON and 2010 LAB. The main movement has been the big post-coalition shift of 2010 LD voters to LAB and the biggest priority for the red team is to retain them in the key marginals.

That’s still holding up and notice from the table above how this key segment views Mr. Miliband. This is a view of Ed that has been seen in mega-polls whenever the sub-sample of switchers has been shown.

Would Rentoul’s choice for LAB leader, David Miliband, have had anything like this level of appeal to the voters that matter?

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter