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CON hopes that UKIP returners will eventually swing their way are undermined by this Lord Ashcroft finding

August 20th, 2014

CON government just 2% ahead of LAB one amongst UKIP voters

After the July round of Ashcroft marginals polling I highlighted the “preferred GE2015 outcome” polling which surprisingly had a CON government only 1% ahead of a LAB one.

Well another month and data from different group of CON held marginals to look at and we find almost the same pattern – only the CON government preferred outcome lead is 2% and not 1%.

    What strikes me is that as UKIP has gone out to reach for the white working class vote the nature of its support is changing and is far less prone to the appeals of the Tories as maybe in previous times.

The biggest problem for for blues, I contend, is that too many people don’t see it as the party “for people like us” – which is the negative perception which it always gets the worse numbers.

Baroness Warsi’s commnents about the party the other week ring true.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter





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LAB doing better against the Tories in key marginals than in national polling

August 20th, 2014

CON being killed in the marginals by UKIP & LD-LAB switching

The full details from Lord Ashcroft can be found here.



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Salmond says he’s ready to put his job on the line and even disband the SNP to help secure a YES vote

August 20th, 2014

Just ten days before the first postal ballots arrive

In the wake of polling suggesting that Alex Salmond himself might be hurting the YES case it has been made known that the First Minister is saying publicly that if the price of winning independence is his job then he’s ready to step aside.

This comes after YouGov found that 45% of Scottish voters polled thought he was the wrong man for the job and just 57% of YES voters backed him.

This is how the Scotsman is reporting Salmond’s comments this morning.

“Referring to Greek mythology and the 17th-century Scots prophet the Brahan Seer, he said: “If I had the Delphic oracle, or a soothsayer, the Brahan Seer, was sitting in this audience and the Brahan Seer said to me, ‘Listen, you retire from politics tomorrow and I guarantee you Scotland will be an independent country in the spring of 2016’, I would shake hands on that right away – absolutely….If the Brahan Seer said to me, ‘And the other cost of getting independence is the SNP has to be abolished’, then I would agree to that as well, because this is about the people of Scotland for the first time in democratic history having the ability to determine the government of their choice.

“It’s the choice of the people of Scotland that’s the important thing.”

To me this is a smart move because inevitably the campaign is being portrayed in personal terms between Salmond for YES and the Alistair Darling for NO. To many observers Salmond’s big mistake in the first TV debate was to make personal attacks on Darling and I think the SNP leader realises that. This will help defuse it.

Yesterday’s YouGov/Times Scotland poll found that as Darling’s stock is rising Salmond is falling. Just 35% of those sampled said they trusted the First Minister with 58% saying they didn’t – a net negative of minus 23.

Darling’s figures were 38% “trust” to 52% “not trust” a net negative of minus 14.

There is a lot left in this election and time is running out.

  • IndyRef betting. Prices have barely moved since my post yesterday afternoon. Twice as much has been matched on Betfair on the IndyRef in the past 24 hours as the total since the market was established on UKIP GE2015 seats.
  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    Nighthawks is now open

    August 19th, 2014

    Home of the web’s best political conversation

    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.

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

    1. How Harry Potter has influenced the political values of the Millennial generation. Reading the books correlated with higher political tolerance, less predisposition to authoritarianism, greater support for equality, and greater opposition to the use of violence and torture.
    2. Boris Johnson wants Westminster return so he can become Tory leader, say voters
    3. Swivel-eyed loons unite. Boris fails the character test for social conservatives
    4. Britain abandons foreign policy. And abandons debates about foreign policy too
    5. Are migrants good for the UK economy?
    6. Not so relaxed about the filthy rich
    7. Inflation down, Osborne up
    8. Kippers’ squeals show we are a more liberal country
    9. Unite leverage squads turn attention to private sector providers in the NHS
    10. John Swinney admits no Bank of England talks over currency union. The Scottish Finance Minister performs an about-turn after the Bank issues a press release denying his claims talks on sharing the pound have taken place. 
    11. John Birt: Scottish independence would have a devastating impact on the BBC
    12. Prison lights-out policy could worsen mental health crisis, campaigners say. Plans by Chris Grayling to turn out lights and televisions in cells at 10.30pm are claimed to be dangerous to young offenders
    13. Labour and transport campaigners step up rail fares fight as prices rise again. Average increase expected to be 3-4%, meaning average ticket price has gone up 25% under coalition government
    14. The Caliphate Delusion: the political construct that bears no relevance in the modern world
    15. Egypt Urges U.S. Restraint Over Missouri Unrest
    16. We can terraform Mars for the same cost as mitigating climate change. Which would you rather? 
    17. Do not tweet when naked, drunk or eating, police warned
    18. For the love of God, someone buy David Cameron a new shirt
    19. Elton John distances himself from UKIP after Nigel Farage claims he ‘got on well’ with singer
    20. Tomorrow is the 1,097th anniversary of The Battle of Acheloos


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    Even though the last 3 polls have edged a touch to an IndyRef YES the betting is still strongly on NO

    August 19th, 2014

    Apart from a little pre-debate burst the markets remain stable

    Given the spate of polls over the weekend all showing that YES was edging up I was half-expecting a rally in the YES price on Betfair. It did move a touch but it is now back in the 6.8-7 range which in percentage terms converts to a 14-15% implied probability.

    The next event that could move things is the BBC TV debate next Monday. Salmond, surely will have learned from his first experience and have developed a better strategy. No doubt Darling and his team will be giving serious thought to their approach.

    Betting remains buoyant. As I write a total of £1.716m has been matched on Betfair which is very high for any political market four and a half weeks out.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    Constituency polling from these key LAB-CON marginals could give us the best indicators so far

    August 19th, 2014

    What’s happening the 2-4% range of marginals?

    Thanks to Lord Ashcroft and to a lesser extent Survation we are now seeing more full constituency polling in key marginals than has ever been available before.

      This is not the old-style marginals polling where maybe 100-200 are sampled in each seat and an overall swing figure is produced. What’s being made available are full single seat polls with proper sample sizes

    Lord Ashcroft has announced that a new round will be published tomorrow and the table above represents my guess of the seats that have been polled. I know of one seat for certain, Bedford, because my wife was sampled and I listened on the speaker phone as the interview took place.

    So far he has had two rounds of polling in the Tory constituencies most at risk from Labour. We are told that the next round will be broader and it seems likely that he’s gone for Conservative seats with majorities in the 2% to 4% range. These are listed in the chart above.

    If this latest set of snapshots has LAB set to make serious inroads them they’ll be looking good to at least winning most seats.

    I’ll be looking at the levels of voter retention and, of course, the extent of CON seepage to UKIP and LD switching to LAB.

    My anecdotal reading of Bedford, is that there are sufficient LD switchers to take LAB comfortably across the line. Tomorrow’s data will tell me whether this is correct.

    A lot of course can happen between now and next May, most notably the Scottish referendum on September 18th followed by the party conferences. This could play havoc with the national polls which should settle down by the end of October.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    Nighthawks is now open

    August 18th, 2014

    Home of the web’s best political conversation

    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.

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

    1. Does Cameron have an Iraq policy? Or is he just making it up?
    2. Iraq crisis: You can’t win military campaigns without boots on the ground 
    3. The problem with Harriet Harman’s proposed gambling tax
    4. Failing people and the planet – how Greens do politics
    5. If Johnson and Darling return to Labour’s frontbench, two other men are out
    6. Cameron goes back to the future with old-style moral focus on the family. All policies will be assessed for their family-friendly impact as number of ‘troubled families’ rises to 500,000
    7. If we remove prison as an option for drugs possession, savings must go to boost probation service
    8. It’s no longer only Christians who shape UK foreign policy
    9. Alex Salmond: Keeping pound may only be a stopgap. The First Minister says sterlingisation – using the pound without a currency union – is a viable ‘transition option’ for an independent Scotland.
    10. Alex Salmond focuses on NHS in run up to Scotland poll
    11. Humble tastes of the man tipped to be Britain’s first black prime minister
    12. To save the NHS, why not charge those who abuse it? Unless we rethink our approach to the NHS, we are in danger of losing it altogether
    13. Louise Mensch’s Latest Twitter Gaffe Is Her Best Yet (Featuring SeanT)
    14. Why Rick Perry Will Be Convicted
    15. James Alexander Gordon, voice of BBC radio’s football results, dies at 78
    16. Women’s sport is front page news worth cheering about. For once, women know how it feels to have their gender dominating the sports coverage
    17. Disturbed by Ian Botham tweeting a picture of a penis? Let these pictures soothe you
    18. Who’d live in a house like this? Worst estate agent pictures show off homes with Swastikas on the wall, smashed windows and animal trophy heads
    19. Tomorrow is the 269th anniversary of the Second Jacobite Rising.


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    George needs to find a way of making UKIP voters less economically pessimistic

    August 18th, 2014

    An opportunity for the Tories in the 2015 budget?

    One of the great things about taking part in Edinburgh Festival of Politics was being able to meet up again with Professor John Curtice, who must be the county’s leading political scientist.

    Talking about UKIP voters he made a point that I’ve not really looked at before – their economic pessimism particularly when related to their own situations. Look at the chart above based on data from yesterday’s YouGov/ST poll.

    The Curtice view is that negative views on economic and financial matters are even greater defining features of UKIP voters than what they think about the EU or immigration.

    Measures such pumping government money into schemes like “help to buy” properties really don’t impact on many UKIPers.

    Increasing the minimum wage, however, might resonte.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble