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If the LDs hold on to as many seats as the latest polling suggests then Clegg should thank NO2AV

November 28th, 2014

Just looking through the latest constituency polling from Lord Ashcroft and one thing is apparent – the LDs look set to hang on to so many of their CON facing marginals because the AV referendum in 2011 produced a NO victory.

In almost all of the seats the yellows look set to retain their vote share will be in the thirties. They’ve lost a lot of votes since the heady days of May 2010 but the Tories have lost nearly as many in these seats because of the huge seepage to UKIP.

The fact that there has only been a 2% LD to CON swing in these seats is down mostly to the losses that the Tories have suffered to UKIP .

Looking at the details of the switching it is not hard to extrapolate what things might have been like with AV. Many more of the UKIP voters would have made CON their second choice rather than the LDs thus boosting the blue totals in these battlegrounds.

The converse of this is, of course, that in the current electoral environment the Tories would have benefitted strongly from a change in 2011.

I think the term they use is irony.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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Local By-Election Preview : November 27th 2014

November 27th, 2014

(puffing) My word, (panting) and Hercules thought he had a tough time with his twelve labours. He ought to try local by-elections on for size. Finding the wards that had by-elections this week was a doddle, but my goodness, finding the results last time and the candidates standing for election, wooh!. It can really take it out on a person let me tell you. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you that is thirteen local by-elections look like with several on the same council at the same time and it’s taken me until around two o’clock this afternoon just to complete the list of nominations. I’ll let you make up your own minds about the areas of the country being contested, myself, I need a lie down and a hot mug of orange squash!

Bridlington Central and Old Town (Social Democrat defence), Howdenshire (Con defence) and Willerby and Kirk Ella (Con defence) on East Riding of Yorkshire
Result of last election to council (2011): Conservatives 53, Labour 6, Liberal Democrats 3, Social Democrats 3, Independents 2 (Conservative majority of 39)
Result of last election in wards (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected

Bridlington Central and Old Town
Social Democrats 1,167, 497
Conservatives 903, 685
Labour 864, 644
Liberal Democrats 173
Candidates duly nominated: John Copsey (Con), Liam Dealtry (Ind), Terry Dixon (Ind), Malcolm Milns (UKIP), Neil Tate (Ind)

Howdenshire
Conservatives 2,640, 2,347, 2,212
Independents 1,013, 326
East Yorkshire Independents 925
Labour 815, 811, 754
Liberal Democrats 421, 386, 353
Candidates duly nominated: Danny Marten (Lab), Clive Waddington (UKIP), Nigel Wilkinson (Con)

Willerby and Kirk Ella
Conservatives 2,300, 2,163, 2,039
Liberal Democrats 1,476, 1,443, 1,324
Labour 801, 705, 682
English Democrats 403, 387, 318
Candidates duly nominated: Mick Burchill (Con), Daniel Palmer (Lab), Robert Skinner (UKIP)

Troup on Aberdeenshire (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Scottish National Party 28, Conservatives 14, Liberal Democrats 12, Independents 11, Labour 2, Green 1 (No Overall Control, SNP short by 7)
Result of ward at last election (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 405, 723 (40%)
Independent 441, 344 (28%)
Conservatives 593 (21%)
Labour 185 (6%)
Non Party Independent 95 (3%)
Candidates duly elected: Ann Bell (Lib Dem), Ross Cassie (SNP), Alan Duffill (Lab), Darren Duncan (Green), Phillip Mitchell (Ind), Alan Still (Ind), Iain Taylor (Con)

Midlothian East on Midlothian (Ind Defence from Lab defection)
Result of council at last election (2012): Scottish National Party 8, Labour 8, Green 1, Independent 1 (No Overall Control, SNP and Lab short by 2)
Result of ward at last election (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Scottish National Party 1,372, 405 (43%)
Labour 475, 1,003 (36%)
Independent 461 (11%)
Conservatives 379 (9%)
Trade Unionist and Socialist 52 (1%)
Candidates duly nominated: Colin Cassidy (SNP), Euan Davidson (Lib Dem), Andrew Hardie (Con), Robert Hogg (Ind), Bill Kerr-Smith (Green), Kenny Young (Lab)

Kirkwall West and Orphir on Orkney (Ind Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Independents 11, Non Party Independents 10 (Independent majority of 21)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Independents 213, 16, 162, 215, 283, 30 (60%)
Non Party Independents 476, 42, 34, 9 (37%)
Scottish National Party 50 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Laurence Leonard (NPI), Lorraine McBrearty (Ind), Leslie Manson (Ind), Gillian Skuse (Ind)

Blackbird Leys (Lab Defence) and Northfield Brook (Lab Defence) on Oxford
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 33, Liberal Democrats 8, Greens 6, Independent 1 (Labour majority of 18)
Result of Blackbird Leys (2012)
Labour 737 (85%), Conservative 54 (6%), Green 40 (5%), Liberal Democrat 32 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Berk Bektas (Con), Stella Gollier (TUSC), Lesley Mallinder (Lib Dem), Elizabeth McHale (Green), Dave Slater (UKIP), Linda Smith (Lab)

Result of Northfield Brook (2012):
Labour 564 (74%), Green 73 (10%), Liberal Democrat 68 (9%), Conservative 61 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Gary Dixon (Con), Ann Duncan (Green), James Morbin (TUSC), Michael Jatt (Lib Dem), Sian Taylor (Lab)

The Leys on Oxfordshire (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Conservatives 28, Labour 13, Liberal Democrats 11, Greens 2, Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 1)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Labour 1,249 (82%), Conservative 116 (8%), Green 114 (7%), Liberal Democrat 53 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Samuel Burgess (Con), Steve Curran (Lab), Ann Duncan (Green), Lesley Mallinder (Lib Dem), James Morbin (TUSC), Dave Salter (UKIP)

Charville on Hillingdon (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 42, Labour 23 (Conservative majority of 19)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,572, 1,368, 1,276
Conservative 1,409, 1,354, 1,276
UKIP 1,004
Green 381
TUSC 132
Candidates duly nominated: Cliff Dixon (UKIP), Wally Kennedy (TUSC), Paul McKeown (Lib Dem), Mary O’Connor (Con), John Oswell (Lab)

St. Neots Primary Park on Huntingdonshire (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Conservatives 35, UKIP 7, Liberal Democrats 5, Independents 4, Labour 1 (Conservative majority of 18)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Conservatives 1,081 (45%), Liberal Democrats 767 (32%), Labour 545 (23%)
Candidates duly nominated: Carol Gamby (UKIP), Ian Gardener (Con), Angela Horan (Lab)

Ashfordby on Melton (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 20, Labour 7, Independent 1 (Conservative majority of 12)
Result of ward at last election (2011): Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 470
Labour 420, 394
Independent 342
Candidates duly nominated: Sasha Lee Barnes (UKIP), Michael Blase (Lab), Ronnie de Burle (Con)

Bowydd and Rhiw on Gwynedd (Plaid defence)
Result of last election to council (2012): Plaid Cymru 37, Independents 19, Llais Gwynedd 13, Labour 4, Liberal Democrats 2 (No Overall Control, Plaid short by 1)
Result of last election in ward (2008): Llais Gwynedd 341 (48%), Plaid Cymru 247 (35%), Green 117 (17%)
Candidates duly nominated: Annwen Daniels (Plaid) and is therefore duly elected
Plaid Cymru HOLD from 2012 (Plaid unopposed 2012)



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Farage in trouble in Thanet S while Clegg could be struggling in Sheffield Hallam

November 27th, 2014

But elsewhere latest Ashcroft polls good for LDs



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The ComRes marginals’ poll would be a lot more valuable if there had been a 2 stage voting question

November 27th, 2014

It’s important to tease out incumbency & tactical elements

I was tied up last night when the ComRes/ITV online marginals poll was published as well as the latest YouGov which has the Tories back with a 1% lead.

The ComRes poll with a sample of a thousand questioned online is in 40 seats where at GE10 the two main parties were overall level pegging. So it takes in both CON and LAB held marginals.

The changes are broadly in line with what we have been seeing in national polls so did not greatly add to our understanding.

What the pollster could have done to make this a lot more valuable was to have used the two-stage voting intention question that was first deployed in Politicshome polling ahead of GE10. After the standard party choice question you ask those sampled to think specifically of their own constituency.

This, as we are seeing in the Lord A single seat polling can produce very different outcomes. For key factors which really matter are incumbency and tactical voting.

Later today we are promised the next batch of Ashcroft polling of marginal seats each with 1k samples. My guess is that this will focus on CON held seats that were held with majorties of 7%+.

There’s also the possibility of some Scottish seats as well the Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North where UKIP is strong.

Last night’s YouGov saw the Tories with a 1% lead and the Greens ahead of the LDs.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Ed Miliband could be in trouble in Doncaster

November 26th, 2014



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From YouGov: How would Jesus view immigration, gay marriage, renationalising the railways and the death penalty

November 26th, 2014

The polling’s certainly unique though I’m unsure about what it tells us



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Kippers least likely to have felt the recovery – Tories the most likely

November 26th, 2014

No surprise there then but a big challenge for the coalition

The chart is based on aggregate data for Populus polls last month and is broadly in line with what we seen from other pollsters. Those currently saying they’ll vote UKIP have the most negative views about the recovery.

Given that both coalition partners will be trying to claim credit for what’s happened this message is going to be hard to get across to the biggest group of swing voters.

The Tories used the Rochester campaign to test some of the messaging that we are likely to see next May though clearly that was a by-election when the government of the country was not at stake at GE15 it it will be very different.

The art is not to over-claim but try to get over that they know what they are doing and any change could be dangerous. They have a “plan” as ministers keep on saying.

The Tories must be encouraged by the way that Osborne’s ratings have progressed so much in the past year but whether he is able to find the formula that resonates with Kipper switchers is far from clear.

The Labour rhetoric is likely to acknowledge that there has been a recovery but for the few not the many.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Nighthawks is now open

November 25th, 2014

Home of the web’s best political conversation

If you’re Footloose, and fancy free tonight, why not relax, and converse into the night on the day’s events in PB NightHawks.

If you’re a lurker, why not delurk tonight, don’t worry, delurking isn’t the Highway to The Danger Zone.

The round up of recent events (click on the links below, and it will bring up the relevant link)

  1. The spiral of silence in polling
  2. Has Theresa May just declared war on Downing Street? The Home Secretary no longer seems to fear the PM’s wrath
  3. The Conservatives won’t win by banging on. And on. And on. And on. And on and on and on about Europe.
  4. Liverpool must back Rodgers and Labour must back Miliband
  5. Labour neglects English marginal seats at its peril – it can’t just appeal to its “heartlands. Labour does best in places worst hit by the recession, but it has to branch out to enlarge its electoral base.
  6. Our political landscape is not changing anywhere near as much as we assume it is. With the Ukip rise, the Green surge, and the soaring of the SNP, it’s easy to get carried away and think we’re heading towards some sort of revolution
  7. Iain Duncan-Smith’s Universal Credit failure explained in one simple chart
  8. Two charts that explain why old people keep getting free stuff. Pensioner benefits will cost taxpayers yet more billions. Here’s why
  9. Ukip and the hard-Left are both blinded by Tory hatred. The Left’s rhetoric has become as toxic as that of the hard-Right
  10. Will Northern Ireland’s culture wars kill power-sharing? Westminster’s general indifference to what goes on in Northern Ireland is blinding it to the fact that the political process there is rapidly losing momentum.
  11. Head of Tristram Hunt’s old school criticises Labour’s ‘bigoted’ attack on private education, says Labour must spend more time raising standards in state education rather than relying on the fee-paying sector
  12. How can we tackle the “social apartheid” in Britain’s education system?
  13. When conspiracy theories enter the mainstream, it’s time to worry. Secret oil fields in the North Sea, ‘powerful forces’ conspiring against Ed Miliband, the EU to blame for Russia pouring arms into Ukraine. Enough already
  14. Save the Children staff furious over ‘global legacy’ award for Tony Blair
  15. Pope Francis calls Europe an ‘elderly and haggard’ grandmother
  16. Frenchman develops pills to make flatulence smell of roses. 65-year-old inventor says he came up with his range of indigestion tablets after he was “nearly suffocated” by the smell of farts
  17. YouGov polling on orgasms finds Most women have faked it – and so have 1 in 5 men
  18. 12 German Proverbs, Translated Literally. Remember: “Only the hard come in the garden”
  19. 2,057 years ago, the Second Triumvirate was formed

TSE