There is plenty of new polling in today’s papers, including two polls proporting to show that large numbers of people would vote for new political parties. One by BMG for the Huffington Post, claiming 58% of people would consider backing a new party at the next election, and a ComRes poll for BrexitExpress, claiming 53% of people in a selection of Tory constituencies would consider voting for a single issue party campaigning to “conclude Brexit as quickly and as fully as possible”. There have been various other polls in recent weeks asking similar questions about how popular new parties would be.

These sound like large figures, but you should take them all with a huge pinch of salt – the reality is that quantifying the prospects of a new political party before it exists is an almost impossible task. Certainly it is not something that can be done with a single question.

First let’s look at the question itself. Polls tend to take two approaches to this question, both of which have flaws. The first is to say “Imagine there was a new party that stood for x, y and z – how likely would you be to consider voting for it?”. The problem with that as a question is that “consider” is a pretty low bar. Does thinking about something for a fleeting second before dismissing it count as “considering”?

An alternative approach is to say “Imagine there was a new party that stood for x, y and z. How would you vote if they stood at the next election?” and then prompt them alongside the usual political parties. This does at least force a choice, and sets the new hypothetical party alongside the alternative established parties, prompting to people to consider whether they would actually vote for their usual party after all.

There are, however, rather deeper problems with the whole concept. The first is the lack of information about the party – it asks people whether they would vote for a rather generic new party (a new anti-Brexit party, a new pro-Brexit party, a new pro-NHS party, or whatnot). That misses out an awful lot of the things that determine people’s vote. Who is the leader of the party? Are they any good? Do the party appear competent and capable? Do they share my values on other important issues? Can I see other people around me supporting them? Are they backed by voices I trust?

Perhaps most of all, it misses out the whole element of whether the party is seen as a serious, proper contender, or a wasted vote. It ignores the fact that for most new parties, a major hurdle is whether voters are even aware of you, have ever heard of you, or think you are a viable challenger. That is the almost insoluble problem with questions like this: by asking a question that highlights the existance of the new party and implies to respondents that it is a party that is worthy of serious consideration a pollster has ignored the biggest and most serious problem most new parties face.

That’s the theory of why they should be treated with some caution. What about their actual record? What about when people polled about hypothetical parties that later became real parties that stood in real elections? Well, there aren’t that many cases of large nationwide parties launching, though there are more instances of constituency level polls asking similar questions. Here are the examples I can find:

  • At the 1999 European elections two former Conservative MEPs set up a “Pro-Euro Conservative party”. Before that a hypothetical MORI poll asked how people would vote in the European elections “if breakaway Conservatives formed their own political party supporting entry to the single European currency”. 14% of those certain or very likely to vote said they would vote for the new breakaway pro-Euro Conservatives. In reality, the pro-Euro Conservative party won 1.3%.
  • Back in 2012 when the National Health Action party was launched Lord Ashcroft did a GB poll asking how people would vote if “Some doctors opposed to the coalition government’s policies on the NHS […] put up candidates at the next election on a non-party, independent ticket of defending the NHS”. It found 18% of people saying they’d vote for them. In reality they only stood 12 candidates at the 2015 election, getting 0.1% of the national vote and an average of 3% in the seats they contested.
  • Just before the 2017 election Survation did a poll in Kensington for the Stop Brexit Alliance – asked how they might vote if there was a new “Stop Brexit Alliance” candidate in the seat, 28% of those giving a vote said they’d back them. In the event there were two independent stop Brexit candidates in Kensington – Peter Marshall and James Torrance. They got 1.3% between them (my understanding, by the way, is that the potential pro-Europe candidates who did the poll are not the same ones who actually stood).
  • Survation did a similar poll in Battersea, asking how people would vote if a hypothetical “Independent Stop Brexit” candidate stood. That suggested he would get 17%. In reality that independent stop Brexit candidate, Chris Coghlan, got only 2%.
  • Advance Together were a new political party that stood in the local elections in Kensington and Chelsea earlier this year. In an ICM poll of Kensington and Chelsea conducted in late 2017 64% of people said they would consider voting for such a new party. In reality Advance Together got 5% of the boroughwide vote in Kensington and Chelsea, an average of 7% in the wards where they stood.

In all of these examples the new party has ended up getting far, far, far less support than hypothetical polls suggested they might. It doesn’t follow that this would always be the case, and that a new party can’t succeed. I suspect a new party that was backed by a substantial number of existing MPs and had a well-enough known leader to be taken seriously as a political force could do rather well. My point is more that hypothetical polls really aren’t a particularly good way of judging it.


662 Responses to “The perils of polls about “new parties””

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  1. Jones in Bangor

    It’ll be interesting to see how Plaid does under Adam Price’s leadership.

    What does he bring to the job that might attract more support to Plaid?

  2. OldNat

    “Only a total ignoramus would imagine that because the word for an object in a current language was a borrow from one language and not another meant that the object itself had not existed prior to that borrow.”

    I doubt if it is correct (not for the concrete example).

    For adjectives: No European language had a word for orange colour before orange appeared (even Shakespeare described the relevant colour as red-yellow), even though the colour was experienced.

    Nouns. Russian had a word for taxi, but they (some) still use the word Voxhall (as there were many of them serving as taxis). They also had a word for meeting, yet instead of the Slavic word they use mitying (and it expresses a different aspect of a similar event).

    In Germanic languages the word for a female was in neutral gender, so definitely not female (just as woman derives from the wife of the man in English), and boys were called girls in English. One could argue that the word existed but then it didn’t describe the phenomenon, and hence needed the borrowing or serious change in the meaning of the word – cf. guard of the loaf and maker of the loaf, that is lord and lady, or the story of the word Frau (hurrah, it’s feminine) originally meaning the wife of the ruler, and eventually spreading to the popolous).

    The borrowing happens not simply because the object didn’t exist, or the old name became boring, but also because of the multiple sides of the object. Cf. work and labour, worth and value (the Saxon vs the French origin).

    This is why the cognitive universalism cannot be reconciled with the linguistic universalism (and both are likely to be wrong).

  3. BLACKRABBIT
    ALLAN CHRISTIE

    You just made me spit out my G&T…….bon voyage
    ……….

    Ha! Cheers

  4. LASZLO

    @” No European language had a word for orange colour before orange appeared (even Shakespeare described the relevant colour as red-yellow), even though the colour was experienced.”

    Wikipedia says this though:-

    “The colour orange is named after the appearance of the ripe orange fruit.[3] The word comes from the Old French orange, from the old term for the fruit, pomme d’orange. The French word, in turn, comes from the Italian arancia,[4][5] based on Arabic n?ranj, derived from the Sanskrit naranga.[6] The first recorded use of orange as a colour name in English was in 1512,[7][8] in a will now filed with the Public Record Office.”

  5. OLDNAT
    Jones in Bangor

    It’ll be interesting to see how Plaid does under Adam Price’s leadership.

    What does he bring to the job that might attract more support to Plaid?
    ……………..

    If he can help non Welsh speakers using their satnavs when traveling to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysili with the correct spelling then who knows, he could tap into the Valley vote and be given the freedom of Tredegar.

  6. @ OLDNAT
    “It’ll be interesting to see how Plaid does under Adam Price’s leadership.

    What does he bring to the job that might attract more support to Plaid”

    I suspect his first objective is to shore up the Plaid strongholds in the West. There is a feeling of support ebbing away in some of those seats e. G. Arfon was only won by a wafer in 2017.

    But I expect he’s going to put the boot into Welsh Labour in a very big way, highlighting them as the party of a comfortably incompetent establishment.

  7. On the basis that past election campaigns, and certainly the 2017 one, have suggested that the more the electorate sees of the Tories, the less they like them, I wonder if the upcoming Tory Conference may have a similar negative effect on their poll ratings? The old political adage was that increased exposure and visibility was good for a party, but I’m not so sure these days.

    Next week in Birmingham, as usual, will be heavily choreographed and people will be on their best behaviour, but when so many individuals and sub-sects hate each other to the degree that they do in the modern Tory Party, I wonder how long the artifice will survive in the full glare of the media, albeit one that tends to fawn and cheer-lead on their behalf.

    I have a feeling that the next few days will be days that the Tories could do without and I don’t think an orgy of Corbyn-bashing will do much good either. The 2017 campaign showed that a lot of the personal attacks and Daily Mail hate pull-out specials tended to backfire, even though it will delight the faithful “packed” into Birmingham’s Conference Hall. The wider public, or those few watching, may not be so impressed.

    Their best approach would be to lay out radical new ideas and to debate them openly and honestly but, as Colin has pointed out, and he’s a Tory loyalist to his bootstraps, the cupboard is pretty bare in that department.

    We’re then left with this question to ponder. What on earth will be the purpose of this rather strange gathering in Birmingham over the next few days?

  8. Laszlo

    In the concrete (actually wattle & daub and thatch) example of Brittonic windows (or the lack of them), experimental archaeology has shown that the typical communal round house, common throughout Britain south of the Forth (and frequently further north too), no other openings in the structure were required, other than the door.

    It is entirely possible that the common Brittonic tongue that preceded Welsh, Cornish and Cumbric, but was spoken throughout much of present day “these islands”, did not have a word for “window”, because round houses required no such spaces.

    If we had records of Brittonic as spoken in all parts, it might well be true that they adopted the Latin term for the new architectural design feature, which would then have been transmitted onwards into Welsh (any specialists in Cornish or Cumbric may be able to shed light on that). As you point out, such linguistic borrowings continue in all languages today.

    Subsequent linguistic triumphs will obliterate such borrowings, as new borrowings occur. Hence my point that only a total ignoramus would assume that an object didn’t exist until a particular borrow was adopted. It may have done, but the linguistic evidence would be insufficient to demonstrate (or insinuate) that the ancestors of a particular people were technologically or culturally “less advanced” than the ancestors of those making such a claim.

    Indeed such claims are, not infrequently, racist in nature.

    There is a similarity between the building styles of those who came to these shores from the lands of the Angles, Saxons, and Norse. All used wind eyes as a normal feature, so whether any Brittonic term was obliterated by the Anglo-Saxons first, then the Danes later, makes little difference.

  9. Allan Christie

    Those using satnavs can just enter the postcode.

  10. Jones in Bangor

    “But I expect he’s going to put the boot into Welsh Labour in a very big way, highlighting them as the party of a comfortably incompetent establishment.”

    Sounds possible. Given the Scottish experience of long term one-party domination, it might even have the advantage of being true – always useful in any campaigning. :-)

  11. Here is a parody. Can you guess the author of the piece on which it is based?

    “You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear neighbour, that your refusal of my Chequers plan is merely words of course. My reasons for believing it are briefly these: — It does not appear to me that my deal is unworthy of your acceptance, or that the trade relationship I can offer would be any other than highly desirable. My situation in the world, my connections with the family of De Commonwealth, and my relationship to your own, are circumstances highly in its favour; and you should take it into further consideration that in spite of your manifold attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of a trade deal may ever be made you. Your German car makers are unhappily so dependent on British customers that failing to agree to my proposal will in all likelihood undo the effects of their engineering prowess and manufacturing strength. As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of my deal, I shall chuse to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of European countries.”

    The blog also takes Labour’s Brexit plans to bits.

    http://www.coppolacomment.com/2018/09/cake-and-cherries.html

  12. Colin

    Why I don’t normally consider Wiki (or any encyclopedia) as a fully reliable source, here it is, what they write:

    “Before the late 15th century, the colour orange existed in Europe, but without the name; it was simply called yellow-red.”

    So, I suppose it’s two sources.

  13. @Oldnat

    “Sounds possible. Given the Scottish experience of long term one-party domination, it might even have the advantage of being true – always useful in any campaigning. :-)”

    If you think the friends and family shenanigans were bad in Scotland….. It’s a lot worse in Wales.

  14. Crossbath

    During the last 100yrs there have been 14 Tory led Governments as apposed to 9 Labour led Governments.
    During the last 7yrs there has been a Tory led Government ,so it would appear your comment regarding how the public regard the Tory party ,it seems for all there faults the public has a even lower opinion of the Labour Party.
    As to the Tory Conference well we will have to wait and see what policies are put forward as to being choreographed ,no more surly than Labours conference where no voices of descent were allowed ,quite frankly it was a conference of the messiah and his devotee’s nobody was allowed to voice an contradictory opinion.
    At least at the Tory conference we can expect some lively debate with any number of different views.
    It seems to me party conferences are for the party faithful to air there views in spirited debate and for MP’s with different views to be allowed to speak ,otherwise rather like a Kim Jong-un rally we just end up with a audience desperate to please the leader.

  15. Laszlo

    Thanks.

    Its a fascinating subject. Both you & Oldnat might be interested in “Language. The Cultural Tool” by Daniel Everett.

    It is his response to Chomsky’s “language instinct” & promotes the formula Everett champions- Language is the sum of cognition plus culture plus communication.

    On the point Oldnat is making , Everett’s work with the Amazonian
    Pirahã, is central to the book’s ideas.

    They have no words for left or right, they use the same term for blue and green, and their definitions of red, black and white are similes, rather than dedicated words.

    They have no system of numbers; their sentences cannot accommodate subordinate clauses or other forms of recursion (embedding phrases), and they were not impressed by the Everett’s introduction of the Gospel of St Mark in Pirahã, because it is a story composed by someone they do not know, about someone they have never heard of, in a time and place that has no meaning for them.

    The Pirahã people confine their discourse to things they know about, and their verb forms can be suffixed to distinguish between hearsay, inference and observation.

    But they can also sing, hum, yell and whistle information to one another. So they have four additional speech forms as well as a very precise vocabulary for their environment and everything in it that matters to them.

  16. Jones in Bangor

    “If you think the friends and family shenanigans were bad in Scotland….. It’s a lot worse in Wales.”

    You might be correct – or not. It might also be unwise to assume that matters are any better in England, or any other polity for that matter.

    What objective standards could we introduce to measure positions on such a scale?

  17. Colin

    “it is a story composed by someone they do not know, about someone they have never heard of, in a time and place that has no meaning for them.”

    In Friday night mode – “You mean Westminster?”

    Actually, thanks for the reference. That was fascinating.

    In political terms, I’m interested in the use of language to constrain/expand options or to demonise/sanctify politicians.

  18. OLDNAT

    Exactly -it would rate as hearsay for them I think.

    re your last sentence Everett’s formula ( which I feel certain is the correct one , as opposed to Chomsky) -ie cognition plus culture plus communication.-requires that you consider culture as much as communication when studying a language.

    This might lead to a number of conclusions with regard to politicians. I leave aside the need to consider cognition as well.!!!

  19. Interesting use of polling by campaign groups:

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7366013/renters-abandon-tories-housing/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    Results intresting too.

  20. CB11

    I agree with Turk that a party Conference is not the place to win votes from. It is for the faithful.

    But I agree with you that the Tory cupboard is bare of all but Brexit.

    There is a response to McDonnell’s Industrial & Economic model-and for me Kirkup in the UNherd piece I linked to, puts his finger right on it.

    The sad thing for me is that this is exactly where May was in those brave hours on the No 10 doorstep. This is exactly where Nick Timothy was pushing her before she & he screwed up a GE Campaign and her Government’s main area of activity became invisible -under water-paddling like crazy to stay afloat.

  21. OldNat

    Thanks.

    There was a Brittanic word for window (and was used well into the late medieval times). I’m afraid I can’t give a reference, but your comment encouraged me to contact one of a leading researcher of linguistic history (she is also an amateur archeologiat). Anyway, the word existed – the door which you can through (the usual combination of verb and object). I hope I noted it down correctly “eagþyrl,” .

    I, of course, agree with your points about the consequences of deducing things from it. Having said that, I think my points were still relevant.

  22. Laszlo

    We don’t disagree much on philosophical topics, but on your latest post, I have to agree with Pete B rather than your linguistic history researcher if she equates Britonnic with Anglo-Saxon.

    Can you ask her again if she really thinks they are the same – in which case the entire history of Britain is going to have to be rewritten!

  23. Colin

    Your last sentence made me smile very broadly – even chuckle!

  24. Turk – did you enjoy the LP conference, it seems you found there was no dissent expressed.

    Which policy sessions and fringe meeting did you enjoy most?

  25. Colin

    I think it is a deja vu. I’m sure we had this discussion before (but 9 years is a long time – that’s me on UKPR). And I bought that book whether for your recommendation or before – I can’t remember.

    Indeed it is a fascinating subject. And social scientists really should account for it, and know about it (most don’t) when they make their narratives from other narratives.

    I really disagree with Chomsky’s linguistic theory (cognitive processes determine language) – there is surprisingly little evidence for it. I also disagree with the current US mainstream linguistic philosophy coming from Marr really (social environment determines language).

    There is a fundamental disagreement in linguistics about the meaning of a word, and I quite like the stream that became more influential (after 30 years of development) that considers categories as verb, noun, adjective etc as flawed as they consider the sentence as the basis of human language (not the word), and hence maintain the infinity of the ability of humans to express themselves (the sentences), and the definitive nature of the morphems (and hence the words). So, the dual (or two-tier) structure of the human language.

    For social science it would be very important to abandon the ideologically defended linguistic theories (all of them can serve any ideology, so it is just a legacy), and focus on the function and type of language of human interaction. Huh… Sorry, I’m not clear. Language as such is an aggregation. Linguists and others try to disaggregate it, but as we don’t know, or don’t have a proof, what is aggregated, we are in a fallacy with firm claims.

    There are very practical consequences of all the above – teaching children of both their mother tongue and foreign languages.

    One of the most fascinating research was when researchers compared white US children and Navajo children. In the latter the verb vary depending on the shape of the object used. And indeed Navajo children chose by shape and white US kids by colour. So, it was settled. Then someone conducted a project between upper class white US kids and working class ones. The former chose by shape, the latter by colour.

    There you are.

  26. While engaged in “windowgate” I may have missed it if the latest ComRes poll was posted

    Lab 40% (-1)
    Con 39% (-2)
    LD 9% (+2)
    UKIP 5% (+2)
    SNP 3% (-)
    Green 2% (-1)

    via ComRes, though the link they make on their tweet is to the March poll

  27. OldNat

    I can’t do it today, but I will do it over the weekend – I have a (bad) feeling that I used the word “Saxon” when I asked her.

    Ignorance – which is not an excuse, of course. Apologies.

  28. Laszlo

    “There are very practical consequences of all the above – teaching children of both their mother tongue and foreign languages.”

    While that’s generally true, it also introduces a false dichotomy between “mother tongue” and “foreign language.

    In childhood, I was bilingual in Scots and Standard Scots English. While my grandson is monoglot in Standard Scots English, many of his classmates and friends are genuinely bilingual in Standard Scots English (often with a diffusion of Glasgow usage) and Polish, or Bulgarian or Urdu or Chinese.

    Naturally (and to my great pleasure) he absorbs a number of terms and cultural attitudes from them.

  29. Tonight’s ComRes poll is very much in the line with the latest ICM. 1% Tory lead plays 1% Labour lead. Further evidence suggesting that the recent YouGov poll showing a 6% Tory lead was very much an outlier. Mind you, this didn’t stop it being the “go to” reference poll on Newsnight tonight, I noticed. We were told that the “Tories were 6% ahead in the polls.”. I almost thought Andrew Neil had been let into the building! This is the problem with the lazy use of individual and quite often rogue polls. They set false media narratives.

    The ComRes poll is interesting because it’s the first that has conducted its fieldwork after Corbyn’s Conference speech. Two ways of looking at it. The first is to conclude that, on the evidence of this one poll, Labour has enjoyed no post Conference bounce. The other perspective, and this one is for Colin’s benefit, is that the horses don’t seem to have been frightened too much. Red Flags, orchestrated standing ovations, clenched fist salutes and all that seem to have left voters unmoved either way. Of course, there is another, third, perspective; nobody sensible watches the bloody things! :-)

    As for, Newsnight tonight, Emily Maithis ( I hope she becomes new QT host – best political journalist on the BBC TV bar none)) chaired a discussion on how the Tories might develop a vision and new ideas in response to the recent Labour Conference policy announcements. There was a a slightly dotty academic who made little sense, the MP Richard Halfon, who I thought did make very good sense and a very scary young Tory activist from Sheffield who, quite frankly, would worry the life out of me if I was a centrist, one nation Tory like Halfon. To say her views were Thatcherite would be an understatement and her continual reference to getting the “nanny state” out of the way, disposing of all building regulations to solve the housing crisis and across the board tax-cutting as the cure for all the nation’s ills was astonishing. All delivered with a rather chilling and steely nonchalance.

    Halfon looked utterly appalled!

  30. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    The polls haven’t shifted since the lead up to the EU referendum when the polls were showing remain (again) in the lead, however the only poll that counts is the actual poll and we all know how that turned out and lived happily ever after.

    Well if you actually read what the bold Sir John said:

    https://whatukthinks.org/eu/has-there-been-any-kind-of-swing-between-remain-and-leave/

    he’s arguing that there hasn’t been any change in the last nine months, not the last 27. There clearly was movement in the previous year and a half before that. It’s also worth remembering that all these polls are weighted so that they include the appropriate proportion of Leave and Remain voters, which obviously the ones before the actual referendum couldn’t.

    And of course the polls in 2016 were close – just as Curtice points out these ones are. Just because the commentariat misunderstood that (and as usual are unable to admit they were wrong) it doesn’t mean that we should be as ignorant on UKPR. It’s actually arguable that misreading of the polls was the thing that caused Leave to win. 70% of those voting (and even 54% of Leavers) expected Remain to win and[1] it may be the percentage was even higher among those who didn’t bother to vote – possibly because they saw the result as a sure thing.

    In 2016 72% turnout was a bit higher than elections normally are, but it was a lot lower than the 85% in the 2014 Scottish Referendum[2]. This implies a potential for many more usual non-voters to turn up and indeed the higher turnout in 2017 seemed to consist of many who did not bother in 2016, countered by a return to non-attendance of some who only voted on the EU.

    Given that polling shows these 2016 non-voters are about 2-1 Remain (though this includes those too young to vote then), the assumption that Remain would win may have been what helped cause the actual result. Depending on what weighting pollsters assign to this group, it may be that there is some underestimate of the Remain vote, especially if this is reinforced by age-related turnout models.

    But in the end, as Curtice says, no one really knows what the result of a re-run referendum would be. The campaign in 2016 didn’t change much – Cameron had believed his authority would swing Tory voters behind Remain, but instead it was his authority that was shattered. But 2017 taught us that things can indeed change during the campaign and minds can be changed. After all Allan Christie’s switched from Leave to Remain and then back since 2016, so even what looks like static polling can conceal a good deal of movement.

    [1] Figures from Ashcroft:
    https://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/How-the-UK-voted-Full-tables-1.pdf#page=17
    most people were polled after they had voted but before the result was known.

    [2] Indeed the lower (67%) turnout in Scotland in 2016 and the higher registered electorate in 2014, meant that the number of people voting in Scotland in the EU referendum was only 74% of those who did two years earlier. An 85% turnout – even if broken down the same way would have provided about 20% of the extra votes Remain needed – more if, as seems likely, the non-voters were more pro-Remain.

  31. To change tack slightly, Rees-Mogg is being touted by some as a potential Tory leader and therefore a potential PM, despite his protestations. Wouldn’t there be a problem because he is a Roman Catholic? The Prime Minister has to recommend to the Queen (Head of the C of E don’t forget) who should be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. I believe that this is why Blair didn’t ‘come out’ as a Catholic until he’d left office.

    This might seem like medieval mumbo-jumbo to some of us, but it might cause some alarm amongst constitutional experts.

  32. You wait ages for a ComRes poll to make fun of, then two come along in the same week:

    http://www.comresglobal.com/polls/comres-daily-express-daily-mirror-voting-intention/

    The headline figures are:

    Con 39% (-2)
    Lab 40% (-1)
    LD 9% (+2)
    UKIP 5% (+2)
    SNP 3% (-)
    Green 2% (-1)
    Other 1% (-)

    and it was an online poll for the Daily Express (f/w 26-27 Sep) sample size 2036. Changes are since the last ComRes in May, so predating UKIP’s rise and partial deflation. Tables are here:

    http://www.comresglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Daily-Express-Voting-Intention-and-Brexit-Poll-28092018.pdf

    It’s not that different from other polling we’re seeing – enormous age differences etc. The only oddity that they claim men more likely to support Labour (+4) than women (=), which is opposed to the gender gap we see in most polls (for example in the latest YouGov, women are Lab +2, men Con +13). Other ComRes polls don’t show much of a gender gap either way, so it may be a house effect.

    Apart from VI, being ComRes there are the usual tendentious agree/disagree questions. As usual they don’t always get the responses they were hoping for and lots of DKs. For example My view of Theresa May has improved over the past week following her response to the Salzburg summit when the EU rejected the so-called ‘Chequers’ Brexit proposals only got 32% agree (and 43% disagree), mostly coming from Tories (66-17) although Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster as Prime Minister got 50% to 28%.

    Rather nicely they asked both: The Conservative Party seems more divided than Labour over Brexit which got agreement 43% to 27% and The Labour Party seems more divided than the Conservatives over Brexit
    which got 30% to 36%. Obviously these should be mirror images, but presumably some people can’t remember what they entered a second before. But it’s interesting that despite the media ‘bad as each other’ narrative Labour is clearly seen as in a better position.

    The one that struck me was something I’d not seen asked before, but which the Express was clearly trying to make A Thing: Jeremy Corbyn’s adviser Andrew Murray was right to say that British foreign policy has contributed to the environment in which atrocities like the Manchester bombing continue to take place. Clearly the country was meant to unite in revulsion against Labour, but the response was more mixed: Agree 25%, Disagree 33%, Don’t know 42%.

    Of course this is yet another example of the insanity of the politico-media bubble – doing the same things over and over, expecting a different result. They tried to exploit the Manchester Bombing during the election campaign and public just went “You know, Corbyn’s got a point”. So they’re trying it again – and guess what?

  33. PETE B

    To change tack slightly, Rees-Mogg is being touted by some as a potential Tory leader and therefore a potential PM, despite his protestations. Wouldn’t there be a problem because he is a Roman Catholic? The Prime Minister has to recommend to the Queen (Head of the C of E don’t forget) who should be the next Archbishop of Canterbury. I believe that this is why Blair didn’t ‘come out’ as a Catholic until he’d left office.

    There’s nothing to prevent a Catholic being appointed PM and there are protocols in place regarding the appointment of bishops if the PM is a non-Anglican. Though political influence in the appointments has been cut back in recent years anyway (not that it stopped Cameron appointing another Old Etonian).

    Rees-Mogg wouldn’t even be the first Catholic Conservative Leader – that was Duncan Smith, who is fairly devout I think, and his successor, Howard, was an occasionally-practising Jew.

    It’s possible that the DUP would object, but if they could manage to work with Sinn Fein in the past, English Tories should be a problem. In any case posh English Catholics like Rees-Mogg, tend to look down on Irish Catholics even more than NI Prods do.

  34. TREVOR WARNE, sept 25th5.44pm.

    We knew what we voted for!
    —————–

    Very disingenuous of you there. Pretty sure it’s well known that most people aren’t political anoraks and certainly don’t get involved in the nitty gritty of politics…that’s why sound bites work.

    Besides the leave campaign seemed to have confused this old dear with their rhetoric:
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3209547/brexit-theresa-may-andrew-neil-interview-article-50-uk-trade/

  35. Tony Connelly of RTE has a well-informed article posted. It suggests very difficult negotiations to be done.

    https://www.rte.ie/news/analysis-and-comment/2018/0929/998765-brexit/

    “But the signs are that fundamental differences remain between the EU and the UK on the backstop. These are differences of law, politics and timing.

    It is understood the UK will harden its position that it will not sign up to a backstop unless the British government is satisfied with what is contained in the political declaration on the future relationship.

    Furthermore, it remains a red line for the UK that Northern Ireland must not be left in a different “customs territory” from the rest of the UK.

    While numerous elements are already conspiring against a successful outcome – the disaster of Salzburg, the lack of time, the chaos within the Conservative Party – these red lines keep the UK and Ireland and the EU on a collision course.”

  36. @ OLDNAT

    “You might be correct – or not. It might also be unwise to assume that matters are any better in England, or any other polity for that matter.

    What objective standards could we introduce to measure positions on such a scale?”

    I’m sure things are no better elsewhere. It’s a very easy thing to promise binary changes, the reality is always more obscure!

  37. The economist, Frances Coppola, has an interesting post on the position of Labour towards Brexit. She believes it follows a paper on the subject by IPPR, “progressive Brexit”. If that is true, it looks as if the direction of travel of both Labour and Conservatives is bespoke deals that cross EU red lines. No BINO.

    “It’s not at all clear from the manifesto. But I have been reliably informed that Labour’s Brexit strategy is based upon the IPPR’s “Progressive Brexit” papers, released last year. So, belatedly, I have now read the one on trade. This is the IPPR’s proposal for UK-EU trade (emphasis mine):……

    …..In effect the IPPR is proposing a bespoke Single Market in goods, services and capital, without the inconvenient Freedom of Movement rules in the existing single market, and with the possibility of regulatory divergence over time, which is not permitted in the existing single market. It is, in short, a cake and cherries proposal that is second to none. The “bold and ambitious” Free Trade Agreement laid out in Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech is merely a plain Madeira cake by comparison. If this really is the basis for Labour’s “Negotiating Brexit” manifesto, it is not going to get off the starting blocks. ”

    http://www.coppolacomment.com/2018/09/cake-and-cherries.html

  38. I find it absolutely remarkable that the opposition cannot command a decisive lead in the immediate aftermath of their conference and leader’s speech.

    I was honestly expecting Labour to open up a 4-5 point lead after Corbyn’s speech which many commentators observed to be his best yet.

    I wonder where Labour would be with Starmer, or even Thornberry as leader.

  39. @ANDREW MYERS
    I find it absolutely remarkable that the opposition cannot command a decisive lead in the immediate aftermath of their conference and leader’s speech.
    I was honestly expecting Labour to open up a 4-5 point lead after Corbyn’s speech which many commentators observed to be his best yet.’

    Honestly, did you really think that?
    The parties have been pretty much in the same position for the last 18 months or more. A party political Conference or any particular speech I think would be very unlikely to open up a 4-5 point lead in the circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment

  40. Good Afternoon from sunny Bournemouth where Labour are hoping to win next time, but Tobias Ellwood and Conor Burns are also hoping to do well.in the West and East of our growing town.

    Tony Blair’s Labour Party had a little lead, I seem to recall in 1995. Just saying, and just IMO.

  41. @OLDNAT

    “Those using satnavs can just enter the postcode.”

    Hence the delivery drivers who frequently phone me from the other side of the river saying they can’t find my building

  42. Andrew Myers

    “I find it absolutely remarkable that the opposition cannot command a decisive lead in the immediate aftermath of their conference and leader’s speech.

    I was honestly expecting Labour to open up a 4-5 point lead after Corbyn’s speech which many commentators observed to be his best yet. ”

    Is that because you think the overwhelming majority of the British public are riveted by Conferences and Leaders’ speeches?

  43. Guymonde

    Time to put an appropriate song on your phone for those drivers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uABRF3TXulE

  44. “Rather nicely they asked both: The Conservative Party seems more divided than Labour over Brexit which got agreement 43% to 27% and The Labour Party seems more divided than the Conservatives over Brexit which got 30% to 36%. Obviously these should be mirror images, but presumably some people can’t remember what they entered a second before. But it’s interesting that despite the media ‘bad as each other’ narrative Labour is clearly seen as in a better position.”
    @Roger Mexico September 29th, 2018 at 2:39 am

    I wonder if this is related to this example from Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (from page 82):

    [You are] presented [with] descriptions of two people and asked for comments on their personality. What do you think of Alan and Ben?

    Alan: intelligent — industrious — impulsive — critical — stubborn — envious
    Ben: envious — stubborn — critical — impulsive — industrious — intelligent

    If you are like most of us, you viewed Alan much more favorably than Ben.

    With this example, too, you should logically see no difference, but apparently you do.

  45. @ PETE – Leavers see very few benefits of being in the EU so “exactly the same benefits” is pretty much zero for me. Certainly being part of CU and SM are not a benefit IMHO – I’m aware Remainers think differently and voted accordingly. Your link is also from Mar’17. The ref was in Jun’16.
    DC was PM at the time of the ref which is why my link was to the actual PM in lead up to the ref – not the next PM after 17,410,741 voters voted LEAVE.

    The ref was a pretty simple question but perhaps you’d like to suggest the wording for a new ref?

    Be sure to cover exactly what you mean by “Remain” if you put that in your wording – we wouldn’t want any confusion about what “Remain” means now. Would it be:

    1/ Try to revoke A50 first and then have the ref or tell folks we’ll 100% certain be able to revoke A50 and Remain?
    2/ Remain on DC terms, pre DC terms or TBA terms (that might include lose of rebate, vetoes, etc)
    3/ Would we still be electing MEPs, etc

    Make sure to mention how long this process is supposed to take (revoke, agreeing the ref wording, legislating, campaigning, etc – not necessarily in that order, some of it you might have to do twice)

    You should also make it clear that if your version of “Remain” isn’t the exact “Remain” we end up with then we’ll need a rerun based on honesty, having put the citizens and businesses through an extended period of uncertainty.

    P.S. You might missed Queen Gina telling Remainers that once we’ve left Remainers should accept the result and draw a line under (Brex)it
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-miller/brexit-challenger-gina-miller-uks-battle-over-eu-membership-must-end-idUKKCN1M817I

  46. ConHome had a few CON members polls out recently ahead of conf.

    In the wake of Salzburg the, the PM should (in % order):

    Seeks a Canada+++ solution: 43
    End negotiations and prepare for No Deal: 37
    Seek to join Efta and the EEA, perm or temp: 9
    Persist with her Chequers plan 7 – OUCH!
    Seek to postpone A50 and Brexit: 5
    DK: 1

    https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2018/09/our-special-survey-only-one-in-ten-party-members-says-that-may-should-stick-with-chequers.html

    Should May resign, thus triggering a CON leadership election?

    Yes, now 35
    Yes, before next GE 45
    No 19 – OUCH!
    DK 1

    https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2018/09/our-survey-eight-of-ten-party-members-say-that-may-should-go-either-now-or-before-the-next-election.html

  47. I see Momentum have “democratised” Arch-Remainer MP Chris Leslie!
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/sep/29/labour-mp-chris-leslie-loses-confidence-vote-nottingham-east

    Can LAB folks confirm exactly what that means.

    – Is it largely symbolic for now (ie he still has LAB whip, no need for by election, etc)?
    – Does it mean he’d almost certainly be de-selected into next GE? (ie why stay)

    Seat info – would he keep it as an independent, new party or LDEM?
    Nott.East voted 57% Remain
    Leslie holds it with a massive majority (50%, 19,590 votes)
    It was a safe LAB seat before him though
    Lots of young folks (uni seat)
    LDEM were 24.3% in 2010 (but 2.6% in 2017)
    Green were 9.9% in 2015 (but 1.8% in 2017)
    Fairly safe to assume a lot of LDEM and Green moved to LAB in this seat (either directly or via student turnover)

  48. Trevor,

    Means nothing in itself but clearly an indicator of a possible move trigger a full open selection process by Nottingham East CLP.

    The new procedure is that 33% of either branches or affiliates need vote to start an open selection process. If that happens the sitting MP (if they wish) is automatically on the short list.

    Personally this one bothers me.

    Whilst I would have to be in that constituency to have a firm view, I can understand from afar why even mainstream members might wish to deselect, Woodcock, Field, Hoey and Ryan (don’t know about Shuker and how come John Mann is not under pressure?)
    Seems to me, though, that Lesley might be victim of a lack of willingness to tolerate disagreement, not about being an arch remainer but for his general critique of the leadership.

  49. ITV news had an article on Venezuela – no food no water no c anything. Right after the Labour conference.

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