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Local By-Election Preview : January 28th 2016

January 28th, 2016

Parkfield and Oxbridge (Lab defence) on Stockton-on Tees
Result of council at last election (2015): Labour 32, Conservatives 13, Independents 10, Liberal Democrat 1 (Labour majority of 8)
Result of ward at last election : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,608, 1,501 (46%)
Conservative 950, 887 (27%)
Independent 419 (12%)
Green Party 285 (8%)
Liberal Democrats 192, 179 (6%)
Libertarian 58 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Peter Braney (UKIP), Drew Durning (Lib Dem), Allan Mitchell (Lab), Stephen Richardson (Con)

Stockton on Tees really has had a quite turbulent electoral history. It’s always had two constituencies (Stockton North and Stockton South) but those two constituencies have had quite different histories with North being consistently Labour and South following the trend of being Alliance, then Conservative, Labour and now back with the Conservatives, but what’s interesting to note is how the whole borough has voted at Westminster. In 1983 the Conservatives had a lead of less than 1,800 votes (1.69%) and despite the Conservatives gaining Stockton South from the Alliance Labour overtook the Conservatives by nearly 7,000 votes in 1987 and only fractionally increased that lead in 1992. Then came the Labour landslide in 1997 and Labour stormed to victory in Stockton South (on a 16% swing) and notched up a 34% lead over the Conservatives in the borough, but as the shine started to come off Labour, it was places that Stockton that the shine came off the fastest. In 2001, the majority was down to 30%, in 2005 it was down again to 23% and in 2010 (when Stockton South voted Conservative for the first time since 1992) the Labour majority slumped to just 7% and when you hear that in 2015, although Labour had a lead of 4% in the borough, the fact there had been another 1.5% swing to the Conservatives gives you an idea of just how bad things are for Labour at the parliamentary level (a 15% swing from Lab to Con over 18 years) and with an average swing of 1.2% from Lab to Con at all the by-elections since the general election (and a 2.5% swing from Lab to Con since Corbyn’s election compared to last time) you do begin to wonder whether any seat that Labour has to defend can be truly called “safe”




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This week’s PB/Polling Matters Podcast looks ahead to Iowa and the importance of turnout

January 28th, 2016

WH2016

Just 3 days to go before voting starts

On this week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast Keiran speaks to Will Jordan from YouGov in the U.S. They discuss the state of the 2016 race as it stands, the importance of turnout at next week’s Iowa caucuses (and what that might mean for Trump and Sanders) plus how important Iowa will be for the wider race in such an apparently unconventional election cycle.

You can follow Keiran at@keiranpedley and Will at @williamjordann



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Concern about the economy at highest level since 2013

January 28th, 2016

This could hinder the BREXIT campaign?

The January Ipsos-MORI economic optimism index is out and shows the lowest figure since 2013. This has been a regular tracker from the firm for decades and is calculated by taking the percentage of those saying they are optimistic about the economy and deducting those who are negative.

In the current context in the run up to the EU Referendum everything will be judged on its likely impact on that crucial vote which looks set to take place this year.

    There is an argument that people will be less reluctant to rock the boat by voting for change at a time of uncertainty.

If that is correct, and I’m only partially convinced, then BREXIT needs perceptions about the economy to be positive at the time of the vote.

From all the indications we know that security in latest its forms is going to be a big theme from Cameron/Osborne in the referendum campaign in order to ensure that the UK stays in the EU.

Some BREXIT commentators have suggested that Osborne will endeavour to play on economic worries in order to create the atmosphere in which people will be reluctant to vote LEAVE.

It’s a fair point. Osborne/Cameron are in power today because of their ability to raise fears about what would happen if the “other lot” got in. Maybe it’s the same strategy for the referendum except the other lot is not LAB but those wanting out of the EU.

Mike Smithson





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Iowa and New Hampshire polling round-up

January 27th, 2016

And the poll that I’ll be basing my Iowa bets on…



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If all goes to Dave’s plan British voters will be filling in one of these in just 144 days

January 27th, 2016

The online-phone EURef poll gap remains

A picture of the actual referendum ballot paper was featured on the BBC Daily Politics this morning. The pic above is a screen shot.

There’s something about seeing a ballot paper that makes an election very real and all the signs are that Cameron & Co are using their best endeavours to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

The longer the wait the more that Harold Macmillan’s famous “events” can intervene and the government’s strategy seems sensible.

Cameron only agreed to the referendum in the first place as a means of impeding the UKIP surge during the last parliament and it was only because he won a majority that this is now happening.

It is not something I’ve yet bet upon. The divide between the online polls and the phone ones is enormous and cannot easily be explained away. Last month ComRes commissioned two referendum polls at about the same time and as can be seen from the table got two very different outcomes. Online the split was 41% to 41%. The phone poll had it at 56% remain to 35% leave.

My view remains. Whatever Dave recommends will win as has been seen in poll after poll.

Mike Smithson





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Trump’s big pre-Iowa gamble: pulling out of Thursday’s TV debate in ongoing row with Fox News

January 27th, 2016

How are caucus voters going to view this?

The big overnight WH2016 news is that Donald Trump has pulled out of the final TV debate before voting actually starts in the elongated process to choose the party nominees

The Fox News clip above is how the most watched news channel by GOP voters is reporting the decision. This inevitably recalls memories of his spat in August last year with Fox News presenter Megyn Kelly when she sought to take him to task about his attitude to women.

Whether Trump’s move is right for him politically we’ll only know after we see how Iowa caucus voters react on Monday. He’s certainly dominating the headlines.

Whatever happens in Iowa on Monday and in New Hampshire this looks set to be seen as a defining moment. In the betting Trump is a 62% chance on Betfair to win Iowa.

Mike Smithson





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The turnout problem facing Bernie Sanders as seen by the NYT’s Nate Cohn

January 26th, 2016

The full article is here



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Trump could be unstoppable if he wins Iowa next Monday

January 26th, 2016

Cruz makes last minute plea to pastors in the state

There’s an increasing consensus which I buy into that if Trump wins in Iowa next Monday then he’ll be almost unstoppable.

The organisational challenges at the state’s caucuses are formidable. Probably only about 12% of those eligible take part in the complex process of attending a two hour meeting in one of the 1,600 precincts where caucus meetings are held.

Generally the best guide as to whether someone will participate is whether they’ve done so before and polls that weight by this have historically got the outcomes closest. The polls where Trump has been doing best are those where this isn’t a factor.

Another key element in Iowa is how the contenders are viewed by the churches. Santorum squeezed a narrow surprise victory there four years ago after getting the backing of key religious leaders.

So it isn’t any surprise that Ted Cruz has been doing a lot of work in the time remaining with pastors and others able to influence congregations.

The Brady Report is reporting this about how Cruz is pitching himself to this key group.

In video obtained exclusively by The Brody File, Ted Cruz says it’s up to Iowa pastors to stop Donald Trump from winning the Iowa Caucus or the billionaire from New York will be, unstoppable. “If Donald wins Iowa, he right now has a substantial lead in New Hampshire, if he went on to win New Hampshire as well, there is a very good chance he could be unstoppable and be our nominee,” Cruz told pastors at a private meeting in Cedar Rapids this afternoon. Cruz also pleaded with them to support him for one very notable reason. “Even if you’re thinking about another candidate, the simple reality is there’s only one campaign that can beat Trump in this state, and if conservatives simply stand up and unite, that’s everything.”

Will that work? Hard to say.

We’ll get a better idea late Saturday night when the final Des Moines Register poll is due out. If that’s pointing to Trump it will be a wider indicator than just Iowa.

Mike Smithson