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Marf on a great PB gathering at Dirty Dicks and the Saturday night rolling polling blog

November 22nd, 2014

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Thanks Marf for capturing the spirit of last night’s PB gathering at Dirty Dicks in the City of London. This was the best attended PB event that we’ve ever had and it was great to compare notes and betting strategies with fellow PBers.

The pub was absolutely packed with Friday night drinkers that our little corner felt very over-crowded at first but it worked well and I, for one, had a great time.

We had people with five different party allegiances there and the conversation and company was very civilised. It really is good to meet fellow PBers face to face.

The first poll out tonight looks set to be Opinium for the Observer followed by YouGov. I’m expecting a UKIP boost.

LAB lead with YouGov Sun/S poll

Tories slip back 4 & LAB retake lead with Opinium

CON & LAB level pegging with YouGov/S Times

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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Latest betting prices – GE2015 and possible UKIP defections

November 22nd, 2014



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David Herdson on Saturday: We might have passed peak UKIP?

November 22nd, 2014

Is the message from Rochester that 2015 will be ‘close but no cigar’ for Team Farage?

Politics can be a contradictory old business. In many ways, UKIP has been the Party of the Year for the second year running. The SNP might dispute that but the reality is that the SNP lost their big vote in September while UKIP won theirs in May, becoming only the third party since WWI to win a national election. To add to that, they gained over 160 councillors at the local elections, have polled in a comfortable third place all year (apart from with ICM – a notable exception), and have, of course, made the Westminster breakthrough. Indeed, in winning Rochester and Strood, they become only the fourth party since WWII to gain two Commons seats in the same parliament, never mind the same year.

And yet those achievements can be misleading. In reality, 2014 was a year of consolidation, not one of advance. Last year marked their promotion to politics’ second division; this one has seen them maintain that status and the victories in Clacton and then again this week doesn’t change that. The gains in the Euros, locals and – to an extent – by-elections are a feature of those cycles operating over four or five years. Their polling, in the low- to mid-teens, is only marginally up on twelve months ago and is of a level that would not return a significant number of seats at a general election given their vote distribution.

It is a measure of how high expectations are about UKIP’s performance that the result of a win in a seat they didn’t even contest last time is being described as disappointing, particularly given the effort put in by the Conservatives. On the other hand, the narrative in politics is often about momentum, and UKIP winning by a smaller margin than any of the polls found has checked theirs a little.

In so doing, it also gives a bit of a pointer towards next year. We know that the Ashcroft poll found that voters in the constituency were likely to swing back to the Conservatives come the general election (all else being equal), and that UKIP undershot the lead Ashcroft reported for the by-election. Those two facts combined make it less likely that there’ll be any more defectors (or at least, any more who plan on standing again), and less likely that UKIP will make as many gains as they would have come May had they met expectations. Indeed, the two are not unrelated.

Part of this is because UKIP is riding two horses in opposite directions. On the one hand, those politicians most likely to defect are still Conservatives. On the other, UKIP is increasingly chasing the Labour voter, perceiving – probably rightly – that there are now more soft votes in the red column than the blue one. However, the net result of that contradiction is the sort of awkward and unconvincing speech Mark Reckless gave after his win where he tried to proclaim himself the voice of White Van Man. To nail that strategy, what UKIP really needs is a Labour MP to defect. I’m not holding my breath.

David Herdson

p.s. The Lib Dems dodged a bullet on Thursday. It might have been their worst-ever share of the vote, but it could have been worse still. One factor in the demise of the Owenite continuity SDP was when it finished behind the Monster Raving Loony Party in the May 1990 Bootle by-election; something which did much to destroy claims to be taken credibly as a serious party. At that election, the Loonies won 418 votes; in Rochester, the Lib Dems won 349.



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Terrible expectations management but you can’t accuse Farage of lacking ambition

November 21st, 2014



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CON GE15 prices moves up because Rochester wasn’t as bad as many in the blue team feared

November 21st, 2014

Tories helped by UKIP/Farage’s poor expectation management

This morning’s movement means that the CON price has advanced by 7 seats since SPIN opened its market 11 days ago.

The money’s now going on CON to retake the seat next May

Harry Hayfield’s round-up of all yesterday’s results

Bramhall South and Woodford on Stockport (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 2,080 (53% +8%), Liberal Democrats 1,502 (38% +5%), Green 197 (5%, no candidate last time), Labour 132 (3% -6%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 468 (13%) on a swing of 1.5% from Lib Dem to Con

Uplands on Swansea (Lab Defence)
Result: Independent 671 (33%, no candidate in 2012), Labour 533 (26% -18%), Liberal Democrat 215 (11% -23%), Green 179 (9% -1%), Swansea Independents 158 (8%, no candidate in 2012), Conservative 154 (8% -4%), Plaid 104 (5%, no candidate in 2012), TUSC 31 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Independent GAIN from Labour with a majority of 138 (7%)

Peninsula on Medway (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result: UKIP 2,850 (48%), Conservative 1,965 (33%), Labour 716 (12%), Green 314 (5%), Lib Dem 60 (1%)
UKIP HOLD (from defection) with a majority of 885 (15%)

Rochester and Strood (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result: UKIP 16,867 (42%, no candidate in 2010), Conservative 13,947 (35% -14%), Labour 6,713 (17% -11%), Green 1,692 (4% +2%), Liberal Democrats 349 (1% -15%), Independents 188 (0%), Loony 151 (0%), People Before Profit 69 (0%), Britain First 56 (0%), Patriotic Socialists 33 (0%)
UKIP HOLD (from defection) with a majority of 2,920 (7%)



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Marf’s response to the other big political story this morning

November 21st, 2014

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Mark Reckless wins Rochester for UKIP with a majority of 7.2%

November 21st, 2014

But can he be confident of holding on next May and will it encourage more defectors?

In the end the Rochester result was a lot closer than any of the final polls had suggested but the first stage Mark Reckless’s massive gamble has paid off – he’s back again as MP for Rochester.

The winning margin was 7.2% which compared with the gaps of 12% and more that we had from the three final polls. It was much tighter than most people and the betting markets had predicted.

    It did suggest that you have to be cautious with polls where a significant part of a candidate’s support is coming from non-voters who are traditionally the ones least likely to turnout

He was helped by the decision of LAB not to take the battle seriously and put the resources in and by the dramatic collapse in Lib Dem support to less than one percent.

Looking forward there are two questions: is Reckless going to be able to retain the seat next May and will the less than emphatic winning margin act as a deterrent to other potential defectors?

In last week’s Lord Ashcroft Rochester poll the Tories had a margin of 1% when the the sample was asked for their general election voting intentions. But that poll has the UKIP by-election lead at 12%. This looks very tight for next May.

What we do know is that leading UKIP donors have been funding private polls so other potential defectors can test the water before they decide to jump. The Rochester result will put those findings into context.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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It’s looking like a UKIP victory but by a tighter margin than any of the polls

November 21st, 2014