Does this explain the Tory optimism about May

March 6th, 2015

“Labour voters are also generally lukewarm about their leader in a way that Conservatives are not about theirs.” – Opinium

The above chart shows how well Dave and badly Ed do among their own supporters, as other pollsters generally find as well. I’m of the view, that Ed’s poor ratings are priced into the voting intention, and that the voting intention is largely correct.

We’re going to find out in nine weeks time if it is priced in or not. These types of findings might well explain why particularly on betfair, the prices are much more bullish on the Tories doing better than the current polling suggests.

Opinium have also been tracking this “For a while now we’ve been asking voters to predict the 2015 election with the options being majorities for either big party or a hung parliament with either Labour or the Conservatives as the largest party. We defined a “win” as a party winning a majority or being the largest party in a hung parliament.”

This probably also probably explains the Tory optimism and expectation about May and feeds through to betfair.

Back in 2013, when Labour was routinely recording 10-point leads, 54% of voters expected Labour to ‘win’ vs. just 24% for the Conservatives. Now that both parties are at parity, Labour’s figure has dropped to 33% while the Conservatives’ has risen to 49%.

Among Labour voters themselves, the proportion predicting a win was 82% in 2013 but just 67% do so now. Conservative voters have gone from 60% expecting a win to 82% now.

To an extent this is just voters reading the polls and coverage of them which show that, even if momentum may not exactly be with the Tories, Labour have bled support across the country to the SNP, UKIP and more recently the Greens.

This also feeds into who they expect to be prime minister after the election. Overall Cameron leads Miliband by 46% to 23% but while 75% of Conservatives expect their leader to stay at No. 10, just 47% of Labour voters expect Ed Miliband to replace him.

The full data is available here



Local By-Election Preview : March 5th 2015

March 5th, 2015

Kenton on Brent (Con defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 56, Conservatives 6, Liberal Democrats 1 (Labour majority of 49)

Result of ward at last election (2014) : Emboldened denotes elected

Conservatives 1,798, 1,796, 1,669 (53%)
Labour 1,139, 1,040, 946 (32%)
Liberal Democrats 221, 153, 125 (5%)
Green 348 (11%)

Candidates duly nominated: Michaela Lichten (Green), Vincent Lo (Lab), Michael Maurice (Con), Bob Wharton (Lib Dem)

Brent (for the most part) has been a Conservative / Labour battleground. In fact the only time that the Liberal Democrats came to prominence in the area was in the 2006 local elections when they managed to win 27 seats (forcing the council into a state of No Overall Control) and becoming the largest party on the council and even that was on an unfair vote share. Labour won 34% of the vote (and won 21 out of 63 seats), the Conservatives won 28% of the vote (and won 15 out of 63 seats) and the Liberal Democrats Labour busting score came on a 27% vote share.

That’s right, the Liberal Democrats became the largest party on the lowest vote share of the parties contesting the election. Needless to say that was put back to rights in 2010 when Labour regained control and won the election with the most votes again. That’s not to say that Labour couldn’t win here (in the heart of Brent North constituency) but when a by-election was held here at almost the same time in the electoral cycle, Labour’s vote only went up by 3%.

St. Pancras and Somers Town on Camden (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 12, Liberal Democrats 1, Green 1 (Labour majority of 26)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,511, 2,488, 2,423 (70%)
Green 562, 526, 440 (14%)
Conservatives 368, 351, 295 (10%)
Liberal Democrats 245, 192, 178 (6%)
Candidates duly nominated: Shahin Ahmed (Con), Zach Polanski (Lib Dem), Tina Swasey (Green), Paul Tomlinson (Lab)

Camden and Brent have a lot in common, politically speaking. The Lib Dems surged here in 2006 (creating another wrong party winner, this time they did manage to come in second in terms of share of the vote) but have since faded away to just a single seat in Fortune Green ward (despite winning 0.8% more votes than Labour) which has allowed the Greens to stand up to the plate as the main non Conservative / non Labour force in the council.

However as the Lib Dems discovered during the 80’s and 90’s you can poll very well indeed and still end up with a ridiculously low number of seats (as demonstrated in 2002 when they polled 23% of the vote and on managed to win 8 seats out of 54) so whilst Labour are confident of a win, they will be concerned if the Greens take more of their support having established themselves as the alternative to Labour (especially in a rock solid constituency like Holborn and St. Pancras)

Selhurst on Croydon (Lab defence)

Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 40, Conservatives 30 (Labour majority of 10)

Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected

Labour 2,086, 2,079, 1,996 (54%)
Conservatives 546, 515, 471 (13%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 504, 396 (12%)
Green 341, 269, 267 (8%)
Liberal Democrats 240 (6%)
Independent 128 (3%)
Trade Unionist and Socialist 88 (2%)
Communist 77 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Tirena Gunter (Con), Tracey Hague (Green), Geoff Morley (Lib Dem), Annette Reid (UKIP), David Wood (Lab)

Whilst the Liberal Democrats were surging and then collapsing in various other parts of London between 2006 and 2014, Croydon stuck up it’s nose and said “Sorry, old boy, we don’t play that way”. The best Liberal Democrat performance in Croydon was not in 2006 or indeed 2010 but way back in 1986, when the Alliance polled 24% of the vote and yet didn’t get a single councillor elected.

So as a result Croydon has always been a Conservative / Labour battleground that no other party has managed to make an impact on since the 1960’s when six Ratepayers, six Conservative Ratepayers and three Independents managed to hold the balance between twenty one Conservatives and twenty one Labour and although UKIP managed to poll 15% across the borough, that was still not enough to get a councillor elected.

Bocking on Essex (UKIP defence)

Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 42, Labour 9, Liberal Democrats 9, United Kingdom Independence Party 9, Greens 2, Canvey Island Independent 1, Independent 1, Ratespayers 1, Tendring First 1 (Conservative majority of 9)

Result of ward at last election (2013): UKIP 1,340 (33%), Conservative 1,320 (32%), Labour 1,226 (30%), Green 126 (3%), Liberal Democrat 91 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Stephen Canning (Con), Michael Ford (UKIP), John Malam (Green), Peter Sale (Ind), Lynn Watson (Lab)

UKIP need to come to terms with a very big problem and they need to come to terms with it fast. This problem is holding onto seats. In the local by-elections of 2014, UKIP made a net gain of five seats (which on the face of it sounds very good indeed), however drill a little bit down and things aren’t quite so rosy for UKIP.

They made three gains from the Conservatives, two from the Independents, three from Labour, one from the Lib Dems and one from the Social Democrats for a total of 10 which means that UKIP managed to lose five seats (two to the Conservatives and three to Labour) and both the Conservative gains were in seats that UKIP managed to win in 2013 (on Cornwall and Essex).

So it does all rather suggest that UKIP do have a problem with staying power once elected, a problem that has affected parties who have had breakthroughs in the past and unless UKIP do something about it, they could be in for trouble come the general election in Clacton and Rochester.

Harry Hayfield


Marf on the debates

March 5th, 2015

Marf Debates



Is this going to backfire for Dave as the one and only debate could be in three weeks time?

March 5th, 2015

Dave welcoming the debates 5 years ago

It is being reported

Downing Street has issued a “final offer” to broadcasters over the election television debates, declaring in a pointed email that David Cameron will take part in just one debate featuring seven party leaders before the formal campaign begins next month…..

…..The intervention by the prime minister’s director of communications, Craig Oliver, prompted an angry backlash. Nick Clegg accused Cameron of trying to hold the debates to ransom by dictating terms. Douglas Alexander, the chair of Labour’s general election campaign, accused Downing Street of an “outrageous” attempt to bully the broadcasters into dropping their proposal for a head-to-head debate between Cameron and Miliband.

The risks for David Cameron are that he ends up looking like a bully and gets the blame if there are no debates. There is polling that showed 67% of the public would view Cameron as a coward if he didn’t take part in the debates. Whilst a recent poll showed that 70% of the public wanted the debates to take place during the election campaign.

Dave is on the wrong side of public opinion, and like immigration yesterday, his past comments, in the above video shows, on the debates, have the potential to come back and damage him, two months from an election, that’s not a good place for any politician, especially the sitting Prime Minister to be in.

Some might cite Tony Blair’s agreeing then rejecting debates, but I would argue that was different, as we’ve now had debates in 2010, and that effects the whole situation in 2015 as they are considered part of the political landscape now.



The latest batch of Ashcroft marginals polling finds some good news for Labour in the Con/Lab Marginals

March 4th, 2015

But the SNP surge continues as even Gordon Brown and Charles Kennedy’s seats goes to the SNP but Jim Murphy holds on.

Labour will be delighted that the swing to then in the English marginals is more than the national polling implies

I’ll update this thread as we get more information, there’s an 8,000 strong national poll out as well.



Some interesting poll findings

March 4th, 2015

As we await the next batch of Lord Ashcroft marginals polling at 5pm, here’s some appetising hors d’oeuvre from other pollsters appear that go against what most people perceive to be true.

An Ipsos-Mori polling analysis in the Guardian finds

Election 2015: support for Ukip among Gen Y voters doubles in a year. Think younger voters don’t like Nigel Farage? Think again – Ukip is polling nearly as well as the Green party and is almost level with the Lib Dems

Gen Y

Meanwhile YouGov polls on whether people become more conservative as they age.

During PMQs the Leaders’ debates were raised, and here’s what the great and the good think.



What will be Ed Miliband’s First Question in this week’s PMQs?

March 4th, 2015


Betfair have a market up on What will be Ed Miliband’s First Question in this week’s PMQs. These were the odds at 11pm last night.

Including today’s PMQs, there are four PMQs left before the general election, the one in a fortnight’s time will be drowned out by the budget that follows on from that, and the final one will be during  the defacto election campaign.

The reality is Ed Miliband only has two PMQs left to land a blow on the Prime Minister and reverse the apparent Tory lead in the polls that we are currently seeing, and one of those opportunities is today.

I think Ed will go for immigration. In April 2011, David Cameron vowed to get it [immigration] down to “tens of thousands … “no ifs, no buts”.

Last week the official figures were released and they showed, not tens of thousands, but 298,000 net migrants, so it appears to be an open goal for Ed, and there’s no plausible way for Dave to defend himself from attacks on this topic.



Whatever could this mean? – Updated with the figures

March 3rd, 2015

The next twenty-four hours is going to be fascinating, as well as this YouGov poll, at 5pm on Wednesday, Lord Ashcroft publishes his latest batch of constituency polling from both England and Scotland as we approach the General Election campaign proper starts shortly and we’re 15 days away from possibly the most political budget of all time.