There have been several new polls with voting intention figures since the weekend, though all so far have been conducted before the government’s defeat on their Brexit plan.

ComRes/Express (14th-15th) – CON 37%(nc), LAB 39%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 7%(+1)
YouGov/Times (13th-14th)- CON 39%(-2), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)
Kantar (10th-14th) – CON 35%(-3), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)

Looking across the polls as a whole Conservative support appears to be dropping a little, though polls are still ultimately showing Labour and Conservative very close together in terms of voting intention. As ever there are some differences between companies – YouGov are still showing a small but consistent Tory lead, the most recent polls from BMG, Opinium and MORI had a tie (though Opinium and MORI haven’t released any 2019 polls yet), Kantar, ComRes and Suration all showed a small Labour lead in their most last polls.

Several people have asked me about the reasons for the difference between polling companies figures. There isn’t an easy answer – there rarely is. The reality is that all polling companies want to be right and want to be accurate, so if there were easy explanations for the differences and it was easy to know what the right choices were, they would all rapidly come into line!

There are two real elements that are responsible for house effects between pollsters. The first is the things they do to the voting intention data after it is collected and weighted – primarily that is how do they account for turnout (to what extent do they weight down or filter out people who are unlikely to vote), and what to do they with people who say they don’t know how they’ll vote (do they ignore them, or use squeeze questions or inference to try and estimate how they might end up voting). The good thing about these sort of differences is that they are easily quantifiable – you can look up the polling tables, compare the figures with turnout weighting and without, and see exactly the impact they have.

At the time of the 2017 election these adjustments were responsible for a lot of the difference between polling companies. Some polls were using turnout models that really transformed their topline figures. However, those sort of models also largely turned out to be wrong in 2017, so polling companies are now using much lighter touch turnout models, and little in the way of reallocating don’t knows. There are a few unusual cases (for example, I think ComRes still reallocate don’t knows, which helps Labour at present, but most companies do not. BMG no longer do any weighting or filtering by likelihood to vote, an adjustment which for other companies tends to reduce Labour support by a point or two). These small differences are not, by themselves, enough to explain the differences between polls.

The other big differences between polls are their samples and the weights and quotas they use to make them representative. It is far, far more difficult to quantify the impact of these differences (indeed, without access to raw samples it’s pretty much impossible). Under BPC rules polling companies are supposed to be transparent about what they weight their samples by and to what targets, so we can tell what the differences are, but we can’t with any confidence tell what the impact is.

I believe all the polling companies weight by age, gender and region. Every company except for Ipsos MORI also votes by how people voted at the last election. After that polling companies differ – most vote by EU Ref vote, some companies weight by education (YouGov, Kantar, Survation), some by social class (YouGov, ComRes), income (BMG, Survation), working status (Kantar), level of interest in politics (YouGov), newspaper readership (Ipsos MORI) and so on.

Even if polling companies weight by the same variables, there can be differences. For example, while almost everyone weights by how people voted at the last election, there are differences in the proportion of non-voters they weight to. It makes a difference whether targets are interlocked or not. Companies may use different bands for things like age, education or income weighting. On top of all this, there are questions about when the weighting data is collected, for things like past general election vote and past referendum vote there is a well-known phenomenon of “false recall”, where people do not accurately report how they voted in an election a few years back. Hence weighting by past vote data collected at the time of the election when it was fresh in people’s minds can be very different to weighting by past vote data collected now, at the time of the survey when people may be less accurate.

Given there isn’t presently a huge impact from different approaches to turnout or don’t knows, the difference between polling companies is likely to be down some of these factors which are – fairly evidently – extremely difficult to quantify. All you can really conclude is that the difference is probably down to the different sampling and weighting of the different companies, and that, short of a general election, there is no easy way for either observers (nor pollsters themselves!) to be sure what the right answer is. All I would advise is to avoid the temptation of (a) assuming that the polls you want to be true are correct… that’s just wishful thinking, or (b) assuming that the majority are right. There are plenty of instances (ICM in 1997, or Survation and the YouGov MRP model in 2017), when the odd one out turned out to be the one that was right.


1,834 Responses to “Latest voting intention and the mystery of house effects”

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  1. Observations from across the pond:

    Trump – who was once cited by Brexiteers as a friend of a newly independent UK, is in deep trouble. His poll ratings are slumping, with a net -15.2% satisfaction rating. Polls are also showing an increasing proportion of voters are blaming him and the Republicans for the shutdown, which is now beginning to hurt the economy.

    On the economy, as predicted, here and elsewhere, the fabled right wing economic theory, that cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations automatically leads to better economic growth, has (once again, been exposed as ‘classic supply side rubbish’. The only real surprise is that the short term boost has proved to be much more short term than many predicted.

    Trump promised a $4,000 wage boost to workers and a surge in business investment as a result of his tax cuts. Instead, the deficit has ballooned, executive pay has soared, shares were boosted by corporate buy backs, which put lots of value into the 80% of shares owned by the wealthiest 10% of Americans, and workers wages largely stagnated. The Republicans didn’t even bother to increase the federal minimum wage.

    By shifting a lot of money from federal programs that act as automatic stabilizers and converting this value into wealth for the very wealthy, he has effectively reduced demand in the wider economy, and without secure and rising demand, corporations won’t invest. After a modest boost in the first half of the year as the tax cuts kicked in, by December, investment was slumping.

    Trump’s economic plans are enhancing the precise conditions that propelled him to power, and looking at his polling numbers and the economic outlook, he increasingly looks like a one term president, and an extremely unpopular one at that.

  2. Personally, I would be very surprised if the Tories call a GE in the foreseeable future. Turkeys do NOT vote for Christmas. I think they are well aware they are unlikely to gain a substantial majority or change the current arithmetic. Even worse, they would have no united policy to stand on over Brexit. If they put forward May’s ‘deal’ in their election manifesto, they would have an internal rebellion. If they call for Remain, ditto. If they call for no deal, ditto. That is why they all (ie. all wings of their party) stuck together on the no-confidence vote, and also why they are in effect puppets of the DUP who they dare not annoy enough to have them vote for a no-confidence motion.

    Rumours about a Feb/March GE are just that, rumours.

  3. I can’t see the Conservatives would call for a election, what on earth would they put in their manifesto as respects Brexit

  4. MRQUEUE
    “I cannot understand all the fuss about the Greive amendment, the Government would simply consider it not legally binding, just as May pointed out his last one was after winning the no confidence vote.”

    Exactly.

  5. Interesting analysis of the current state of Parliamentary chaos in ST.

    They report May is going to propose a bilateral with RoI to “sanitise” the backstop.

    But the basic story is that of the choice she was clearly going to be faced with:-
    Get ERG/DUP on side
    or
    Get Labour on side.

    This is a no brainer for May.

    Labour’s current position-a demand for a “permanent CU” is precisely the thing which ERG/DUP fear WA facilitates.

    There is no bridge between ERG/DUP & Labour. If May tacks towards Labour she splits her own Party.

    The rest of the ST reports are full of plots & schemes by a variety of backbench alliances to allow “Parliament” to dictate to the Government on this that or the other “solution” to this god awful mess.

    Anecdote- Twenty something Corbynite Granddaughter visited for two lovely days-she isn’t as happy with the Old Boy at present. He isn’t “relevant” to the Brexit problem.

  6. @colin

    When you say it is a “no brainer” for May you mean that she puts Tory party unity first and goes for a no deal?

  7. @HIRETON

    No vapours alas; there’s some Vicks In the bathroom cupboard but I think that’s been there since Blair was in office so best not.

    My response to the Grieve story actually had nothing to do with what he (or I) think of Brexit – I’m naturally suspicious of anyone who wants to change the rules based on how the votes currently fall right now on a particular subject. That sort of wheeze tends to have unintended consequences.

  8. OLDNAT
    “It would be unlikely that the Brexiteers could find supporters from MPs elected for that many parties – Con, DUP, Lab – but who else?”

    There’s the LibDem in Eastbourne. Are any of the 38 Co-operative MPs Brexit leaning (can’t think of one off the top of my head) and would they count?

  9. If Grieve and his Tory Chums had had the nerve last summer when the Withdrawal Act was voted through none of these shenanigans would be necessary now. Allegedly the PM gave him some assurances which she reneged on, which perhaps adds fuel to his determination now, but the Red Lines should have shown him where her priorities would lie, i.e with getting as many Tory MPs on board rather than a HOC consensus.

  10. @COLIN

    The Tory party is split down the middle on the EU.

    May is in an impossible position. She cannot just weigh up whats best for the Tory parties future either, as she is responsible for the whole country. If she decided to go for a WTO Brexit, with limited agreements with the EU, on Aviation and other important issues just to keep things running, then she would be taking a big risk.

    If the economy does decline and jobs are lost, the Tory party will be blamed and suffer the consequence at the next election. Jeremy Corbyn won’t be Labour leader for much longer, as the membership will turn against him. Labours membership is pro remain and wants a referendum hoping to stop Brexit.

    And the half of the Tory party at Westminster who are pro EU or for a soft Brexit, will probably not let May proceed with a WTO Brexit anyway. They will vote with opposition to stop such a move. Government are unlikely to be able to just run down the Parliamentary clock ignoring any challenges before March 29th. Speaker Bercow may to inclined to facilitate House of Commons to be able to put forward legislation and to vote on it, even if Government is opposed to this.

    The crux of the matter is that Government does not enjoy a majority that will be back any possible ways forward. It is not just about the Irish border issue and the back stop, which May believes is the issue stopping her deal being supported.

  11. ALEC
    “when you have a government carrying out a significant course of action which apparently no longer commands the majority support of the population, in doing so they are refusing to countenance collaboration across party lines and are demonstrably only interested in the unity of their own party, and they are hiding behind a somewhat distorted method of government, then something dramatic must change. ”

    Governments do this all the time. There will never be a majority across the population as a whole, and for the whole five years, for every policy that a Government implements.

    Governement policy does not need and never has needed at the time majority popular support. It needs at the time majority support in the HoC. That’s where there problem is.

  12. Pete W – that was my question would independent MPs count and all as one of the 5. So Stephen Lloyd resigned the LD Whip and Frank Field did the Lab one while Kelvin Hopkins has his suspended presently. Would Hopkins and Field count as 2, 1 or none?

    NB) ON said that, Lloyd whilst committed to delivering Brexit, is against May’s deal and against no-deal so would not be helpful in any case.

  13. Peter W

    I should have said “No Dealers”, not “Brexiteers”, when I asked that question. Lloyd, I don’t think would be a No Dealer.

    Interesting point about the Co-operative Party MPs, though.

    Presumably Grieve et al weren’t thinking of “Lab & Co-op” MPs as counting as being elected for 2 different parties, but poor drafting oft causes problems!

    I wonder if the term “parties” (as used in HoC Standing Orders) has a slightly different meaning from its wider use?

  14. @Mrqueue – ““I cannot understand all the fuss about the Grieve amendment, the Government would simply consider it not legally binding, just as May pointed out his last one was after winning the no confidence vote.”

    I’m not sure what amendment you and @TOH are referring to, but I suspect your understanding is mistaken.

    Firstly, the government has already accepted ‘the Grieve amendment’, which was the one directing the PM to return with a ‘Plan B’ within three sitting days of her defeat (eg tomorrow) and have a vote on this by Jan 29th. This wasn’t technically legally binding, but we are talking about the democratic will of parliament here, so you should be extremely careful of dismissing that concept. What on earth is ‘taking back control’ going to be about if the government decides to ignore the will of parliament due to some constitutional technicalities?

    The amendment that is now being discussed, as I understand it, is the plan developed by Nick Boles and others, which is to amend the government’s ‘Plan B’ motion in order to suspend standing orders, probably for one day, to enable MPs to then table substantive motions.

    According to the Institute of Government –

    “If MPs were to support this amendment and the subsequent legislation, this would place a legal requirement on the Government to act.”

    Therefore the position seems to be that; the Grieve amendment has already been accepted and is being acted upon by the PM; the amendment now under discussion would end up with legally binding requirements on the government, which _could not_ be ignored.

    I suspect you have got this wrong, and the fact that @TOH supports you adds to my sense that you are incorrect.

  15. @NEILJI can’t see the Conservatives would call for a election, what on earth would they put in their manifesto as respects Brexit

    Is quite simple. This will be a single issue election. Their inner-sanctum produces a binding policy for the manifesto The MPs are told ‘ this is what you are campaigning in favour of. If you don’t like it, your association will replace you with a fresh candidate’.

    Interesting that Kier Starmer said on Marr this morning that in a snap election, Labour’s policy on Brexit would be as the last election but with the conference motion added.

  16. OLDNAT
    I wonder if the term “parties” (as used in HoC Standing Orders) has a slightly different meaning from its wider use?

    I think the Grieve amendment appears to be attempting to define something other than the usual meaning anyway, by contriving the “elected as” language. Presumably to avoid the creation of “fix to fix a fix” separate pro tem parties on the government side.

  17. ADW

    “Their inner-sanctum produces a binding policy for the manifesto The MPs are told ‘ this is what you are campaigning in favour of. If you don’t like it, your association will replace you with a fresh candidate’.”

    I’m (as always) open to correction, but my understanding is that Conservative Central Office has no power to instruct a constituency association to adopt a candidate who holds a particular view on an issue.

  18. @Edge of Reason – ” I’m naturally suspicious of anyone who wants to change the rules based on how the votes currently fall right now on a particular subject.”

    I believe that this is an inaccurate representation of where we are. This is not about ‘how the votes currently fall’. This is about who gets to control what gets voted on. That is a fundamentally different issue.

    Our constitution contains within it a critical flaw, which is the fact that the executive has complete control of the business of parliament. Other systems introduce checks on this (eg election of Speaker in the US Congress, distribution of powers between executive, congress/senate etc). None of this happens in the UK.

    The point we have reached with Brexit is that the government is seeking to deny Parliament the ability to vote on options the PM doesn’t support, and they are able to use parliamentary procedures to do this, by simply not tabling a motion or allowing time for debate.

    The flurry of procedural proposals we are now seeing are designed to enable parliament to fully debate these options. If the rules need to be changed to prevent a democratic abuse of executive power, then so be it – good democrats everywhere would welcome this.

    Personally, I was pretty disgusted with May standing in front of the commons saying that it’s all very well for parliament to say what they are against, but the time has come to say what they are for, while simultaneously seeking to prevent them from voting on what they are for.

    If we take these words from May at face value, it would be perfectly correct to say that these amendments are simply designed to help the PM by allowing parliament to do as she asked.

  19. @ ADW

    Yes, Labour position remains entirely nebulous.

    I still feel Parliament will eventually end up accepting the deal, as there is no acceptable alternative.

    Possibility of a one outcome confirmatory referendum to get it over the line -i.e. do you accept the deal? Yes or No.

    If No, back to HMG and Parliament?

    If not above, it will end up in an election, with a strong possibility that it’s just rewind and play.

  20. @ PeteB

    “…has there been any polling on the views of those who were 16-17 in 2016? And also also, I seem to remember that there is a point somewhere in the 40s age group when Leave starts to outnumber Remain. How many have passed that threshold in the last couple of years?”

    Excellent point about upcoming (or just qualified) voters, I don’t remember seeing anything other than anecdotal evidence on that. Certainly the expectation would be that they are similar to those just a bit older, but would be good to have genuine focussed polling confirmation for that age group.

    On your other point about the cross-over point, I suspect the age is rather higher than 40, may even be over 50. There has almost certainly been better analysis of this in the past, but just looking at the latest YouGov

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/l74efpae3w/TheTimes_190114_VI_Trackers_bpc_w.pdf

    on page 4, the 25-49 group is heavily in the “Wrong to Leave” camp, and even 50-65 are only mildly on the “Right to Leave” side. The coarse binning makes it difficult for us to conclude, but I’d say 50 is nearer the mark.

    But whereever the cross-over point, I’d seriously question whether anti/pro-EU is an issue which you’ll change your mind on once you get past a certain age. I know we’ve had this discussion on move from left to right with age. I can see some logic in that, and there is evidence that there is truth in that common assumption. But I see no reason to believe the same is true for attitudes to EU. Is there any evidence for this?

  21. @ myself and Pete B

    “Is there any evidence for this?”

    Sorry, I meant to add: On the contrary, most evidence seems to suggest that most people are very entrenched and so haven’t changed their views.

  22. Peter W

    “Presumably to avoid the creation of “fix to fix a fix” separate pro tem parties on the government side.”

    Also a good point, but the government already has a side (they control the business of the House as things stand) and would have no need to use this amendment, if it is tabled and passed.

    I think you are probably right in your explanation of why “elected as” was used, but possibly more likely as a belt & braces approach, should the No Dealers manage to get to the magic 300 level.

  23. “…has there been any polling on the views of those who were 16-17 in 2016? ”

    According to this, today’s 18-19 year old divide by 87% to 13% for Remain. I’ve seen other figures showing it’s 80-something% for Remain, too.

    https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/remain-would-win-people-s-vote-on-brexit-1-5698494

  24. ADW

    “Interesting that Kier Starmer said on Marr this morning that in a snap election, Labour’s policy on Brexit would be as the last election but with the conference motion added.”

    That’s not what he said. He said that the manifesto is still to be decided and depends on what happens in the meantime and there would need to be a decision made in accordance with Labour Party rules for what goes in the manifesto.

  25. Starmer is a stickler for accuracy and is simply stating that since the last GE Labour’s policy has developed with the Conference Composite (all options on the table including popular vote now in play) augmenting the 2016 Manifesto.

    He is not ruling out, as he can not, further developments which the clause 5 committee (they prepare any GE manifeso) might produce.

    It is clear that the policy at the next GE (if soon) would be to work for a better deal and not rule out a second ref on this deal v remain. Whether this would be a commitment to hold one or a commitment to a free vote on a second ref I don’t know as I suspect it has not been determined yet and reasonably could be either depending on where we are up to at the time and perhaps what the EU have indicated they would extend A50 for. It maybe A50 has already been extended due to the GE being called.

    I do like the idea of committing to a free vote on whether there should be a second affirmation referendum. This allows leave seat MPs to say they don’t support and also puts the Tories (and others although the SNP and LDs sans Lloyd are united) in the position of having to match the commitment or appear over tribal.

    NB) Starmer does not expect a GE and genuinely (as far as I can tell) believed for some time that we would get the point we are but perhaps earlier with essentially 2 options left.
    Either the Government agree a softer Brexit (PD essentially whatever Danny and other think about this being cosmetic is irrelevant) or we end up with a Tory Back-bench proposal for ref 2 which Labour can support.

    What the ref might say (May Deal v Remain perhaps) has never been clear and what happens beyond if the ref 2 proposition fails is unclear, although a majority in the HOC against no deal makes that option very unlikely.

    Finally, Stamer said a year or more ago that it would not surprise him given how slowly the Government are going if A50 was extended.

  26. @ Norbold

    I feel that the posts I have seen from ADW tend to bear out the words from “the Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel: ” a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”

  27. Crossed post Norman

  28. @ADW

    “Their inner-sanctum produces a binding policy for the manifesto”

    Not sure of the make up of the “inner-sanctum” but as the cabinet can’t even agree a policy on Brexit, it takes a rare optimist to believe they can up with a policy 600 odd candidates can campaign on.

    Labour and the Conservatives are split but the Tory divisions are wider. Both parties have factions for Remain, BRINO or something like May’s deal. Only the Tories have the ERG “No Deal” adherents.

    Isn’t there an adage that about split parties never winning elections?

  29. @ADW
    “Their inner-sanctum produces a binding policy for the manifesto The MPs are told ‘ this is what you are campaigning in favour of. If you don’t like it, your association will replace you with a fresh candidate’.”

    Okay despite the problems already mentioned with that in the above post let’s look at realistic manifestos the Conservatives may come up with

    Probably top of the list would be to leave on Theresa May’s deal. Does that mean if those in the ERG did not campaign for it they would be replaced
    On the other side if it was leave with no deal, would they replace those who would not agree this

    Moving on from that, you now have 50 or more candidates deselected very close to the election. They would need to some how get them replaced in time with some one who toes the party line (which as others have said I do not think is possible) but let us say they did it. I think it highly likely these deselected candidates would either stand as an independent or for another party and so split the Conservative vote

    Doesn’t look good does it?

  30. Alec

    As usual I think you may have got it wrong. May accepted the “3 days” amendment, but legally she did not have to. Even Bercow admitted that a few days ago, something you obviously missed.

  31. OLDNAT I’m (as always) open to correction, but my understanding is that Conservative Central Office has no power to instruct a constituency association to adopt a candidate who holds a particular view on an issue.

    It doesn’t. But the associations are overwhelmingly brexit, and a candidate can hardly be taken seriously if they refuse to back their party manifesto. There are already Tory MPs having to address their associations because of their support for soft brexit or no brexit or in the case of a couple, speaking out in favour of Gleive’s amendment. One thing the tories easily surpass labour in is being ruthless when they have to be.

    And as I predicted several weeks ago, it looks like Farage is going to enter the affray with a new party – The Brexit Party, and the Tory grandees won’t want to see their voter-base split so opposition to party/government policy is going to be stamped on quite savagely in the coming weeks I think.

    I note also JRM saying that Mays’ deal is better than no Brexit. Is the ERG going to come behind her?

  32. @NORBOLD It is what he said. He was pressed by Mar repeatedly and said as it stands, for a snap election it would be as the last manifesto with the conference motion added.

  33. Alec

    Further to your comments on the Grieve amendment, Politic Home does not agree with your interpretation I quote:-

    “Theresa May is set to table a motion on her Brexit plan B tomorrow after the Commons overwhelmingly rejected the deal she clinched with Brussels this week.

    Tory MP Mr Grieve is preparing to table an amendment to her motion that, if passed, would allow a minority of MPs to take control of Commons business for at a least day.

    It would mean 300 MPs from five separate parties – including 10 Tory MPs – would be able to table a vote on delaying Article 50, among other things.

    Any such vote passed by a majority in the Commons would have no legislative power, but would pile pressure on the Government to bow to the demands of MPs.”

  34. @toh

    You are confused. The latest Grieve proposal relates to Parliamentary procedure as defined in standing orders which are not a matter of legislation. Any motion resulting from such a procedural change may or may not be related to an existing piece of legislation. If it was, the Government – in a minority, divided and barely functioning – would find it very difficult to ignore as the example you quote clearly demonstrates.

  35. Good afternoon all from a sunny cold crisp Winchester.

    NORBOLD

    “That’s not what he said. He said that the manifesto is still to be decided and depends on what happens in the meantime and there would need to be a decision made in accordance with Labour Party rules for what goes in the manifesto”
    _______________

    You can watch 3 different news programs with 3 different Labour MP’s being interviewed over Brexit and all 3 will have different opinions on the best way forward.

    The one major issue I have with Labour is their inconsistent approach to Brexit. They haven’t a clue what to do and are in a weird position where the majority of their voters voted to remain yet the majority of Labour held constituencies voted to leave.

    Unfortunately for Labour a large proportion of their remain vote is disproportionately stacked up in metro London and not spread over traditional provincial working class areas of England and Wales, Labour’s bread and butter.

    ol Corby is in a pickle. Keep the metro elite in his party happy and frustrate Brexit or help deliver Brexit (as I hope he does) and risk losing metro voter to the Lib/Dems.

    ol Corby…..Over to you.

  36. Alec

    “Trump’s economic plans are enhancing the precise conditions that propelled him to power, and looking at his polling numbers and the economic outlook, he increasingly looks like a one term president, and an extremely unpopular one at that.”

    Almost certainly incorrect, the demo’s have no viable candidate, Not to mention yours stats won’t hold in election time.

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove.

    That stat does not say 55% approve an alternative

  37. ADW

    ” Is the ERG going to come behind her? ”

    Well, yes, with an enquiry whether their off-shore bank accounts remain safe after Brexit and the collapse of the UK economy, and with a dagger to be used whatever is the answer (you see it is not not a fuzzy set unlike Leave).

  38. The proposal by May to seek a bilateral agreement with Ireland over the backstop is a re-run of earlier attempts to seek to isolate Ireland from the rest of the EU.

    This latest attempt is doomed to failure and it is an indication of the weakness of the position of Mrs May. A few more weeks of chaos…

  39. sam: The proposal by May to seek a bilateral agreement with Ireland over the backstop is a re-run of earlier attempts to seek to isolate Ireland from the rest of the EU.

    This latest attempt is doomed to failure ….

    I agree:
    [1] Anything Ireland would agree, the EU would agree too, so Ireland will just say ‘Go and agree that with the big fella’.
    [2] Anything which could be agreed with Ireland will not be acceptable to the DUP and the ERG

    I think it gets worse. Back in the day, a Customs Union could have been agreed and no one would have mentioned a backstop. But now the backstop has been caused such upset, I suspect the EU will insist on it remaining in the WA even if the UK accepts a Customs Union, because the WA is the last point of influence which the EU have.

  40. [email protected]: “….my understanding is that Conservative Central Office has no power to instruct a constituency association to adopt a candidate who holds a particular view on an issue.”

    It doesn’t. But the associations are overwhelmingly brexit, and a candidate can hardly be taken seriously if they refuse to back their party manifesto. …

    And as I predicted several weeks ago, it looks like Farage is going to enter the affray with a new party – The Brexit Party, and the Tory grandees won’t want to see their voter-base split so opposition to party/government policy is going to be stamped on quite savagely in the coming weeks I think.

    Which all makes the Conservative manifesto moot. What will happen is that Farage’s new brexit Party will have its own ‘No Deal’ manifesto and present tory constituencies with the ultimatum of signing up to the brexit Party manifesto or facing a bP candidate. In 2017, Hollobone in Kettering did a deal with UKIP to stop them putting up a candidate.

    If Treeza does not get her deal through, she might end up having to put no deal through. All it takes is for Corbyn to put up a VONC, the ERW to fall in and for Corbyn to sit on his hands …

  41. @TOH – I don’t normally bother to respond directly to you, as your posts are of increasingly low value, but this merits a correction –

    “As usual I think you may have got it wrong. May accepted the “3 days” amendment, but legally she did not have to. Even Bercow admitted that a few days ago, something you obviously missed.”

    In my 11.16am post I wrote –

    “Firstly, the government has already accepted ‘the Grieve amendment’, which was the one directing the PM to return with a ‘Plan B’ within three sitting days of her defeat (eg tomorrow) and have a vote on this by Jan 29th. This wasn’t technically legally binding…”

    which rather makes a mockery of your response.

    As to your 12.43pm post, you quote Politics Home, whereas I quote the Institute for Government. There is more detail here –

    https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/blog/parliament-can-take-control-brexit-wont-solve-impasse

    which makes plain that if the Boles/Grieve plan crosses all the relevant parliamentary hurdles, it is legally binding.

    Personally, I’d place rather more credence on a specialist institute dedicated to understanding and explaining the functioning of government, as opposed to a non expert political discussion website, but I can accept there is some confusion here. Time will tell.

  42. Hireton

    Not confused at all as I think you confirm from your own post.

    “If it was, the Government – in a minority, divided and barely functioning – would find it very difficult to ignore as the example you quote clearly demonstrates.”

    It might be difficult, but it would be perfectly possible. The Government is not be legally required to accept It and it would then be the opposition to bring the Government down which it signally failed to do last week..

  43. @Judah – “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-five percent (55%) disapprove.

    That stat does not say 55% approve an alternative”

    Good to have a chat on polls!

    Your numbers are correct, but it’s worth pointing out that Rasmussen is not the most up to date poll, and it is one of the polls significantly more favourable to the president than many others. The 538 all polls tracker has a -15.2% all polls average. Harris and Rasmussen both tend to have ‘approve’ at a significantly higher level than other pollsters (44% in both compared to 36 – 39 for most other pollsters) and both have a 538 accuracy rating of C+, which is relatively low. Both show a historic +1.5% bias to Republicans, so by focusing on this one poll you could potentially be accused of cherry picking.

    You are quite correct however, that these numbers may well not apply in 2020, and of course the democrats have not yet selected a candidate, so there is much water to flow under the bridge.

    There is some historical context though. Trump is the only post war president whose net approval has been negative constantly throughout his term up to this point. Trump is more unpopular than any other post war US president at this stage in his presidency, with the sole exception of Ronald Reagan. This is interesting, and a little surprising.

    The reason why Reagan outstrips Trump is that Reagan came in and announced what was at the time the USA’s biggest ever tax cutting program. Within a year, the deficit ballooned, and he then had to announce the USA’s biggest ever peace time tax rises. This coincided with a slumping economy in the early 1980s recession, leading to great discontent. Reagan turned this around, however, partly due to the challenger he faced in 1984.

    This time, Trump has hit a terrible patch in the polls, even while the US economy apparently booms. If we are on the cusp of some kind of slow down, then Trump supporters should be very worried indeed.

    I never say never about polls and politics, so you may well be correct, but given the fact that the biggest switching to Democrats in the mid terms came in the mid west blue collar states that won it for Trump in 2016, and that Trump’s electoral college margin is vulnerable to any systemic losses, I wouldn’t suggest you stake the house on a second term.

  44. @ Allan Christie

    Corbyn has two choices as I see it – thwart democracy or thwart his chances of winning a GE. The first choice would also thwart his chance of winning a GE. Sitting on the fence won’t cut it anymore after Jan 29th and will also thwart his GE chances.

    The poor old Marxist really is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Couldn’t have happened to a nice person.

    Why Kier Starmer is not leader now is completely beyond me. He would walk into No10 in this chaos.

  45. ADW

    “@NORBOLD It is what he said. He was pressed by Mar repeatedly and said as it stands, for a snap election it would be as the last manifesto with the conference motion added.”

    I have just watched the interview again on catch-up and I can assure you he absolutely did not say that. He said the Labour Party would have to go through the process of deciding where they will stand.

    Marr: As things stand you are going to go into the election as a pro-Brexit party.

    Starter: Andrew, you’re putting that to me and I’m not agreeing with you. I’m describing the process we will go through.

  46. Starmer not Starter!

  47. Norbold

    “Starmer not Starter!”

    Pity. A suitably vacuous campaign slogan could have been “Here’s your Starter for 10”.

  48. TECHNICLOLOUR OCT

    The DUP have always been Eurosceptic. The remark attributed to Nelson McCausland in the article to which I link below expresses that in terms that are unequivocal.

    The DUP voted for Brexit in the belief that it never would happen. Their red line is that Brexit should not result in NI being treated any differently than the rest of the UK. Theoretically, the DUP could favour a revocation as well as no deal at all.

    Here is a bit of Evershed’s piece.

    “The Tory-DUP deal has reinforced what Brexit already was in Northern Ireland: a restatement of British sovereignty in and over the province, and a repudiation of the Good Friday Agreement’s experiments in fuzzy borders and hybrid citizenship. In bringing the war beneath Northern Ireland’s peace from the periphery into the constitutional centre, Theresa May has subjected the peace agreement and its institutions – already largely disliked by Unionists and facing mounting challenges to their endurability – to a full-frontal assault which they may not survive, and galvanised – in a way which will be difficult if not impossible to undo – a politics which sees a hard Brexit as synonymous with defending the integrity of the Union and Northern Ireland’s place within it. Whether or not she eventually tries to close it again, the Prime Minister has opened a Pandora’s box, unleashing, like her predecessor in Number 10, demons of which she knew not.”

  49. @Allan Christie. As Rob Ford has argued very clearly the fact that many Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted Leave does not equate to them being dependent on Leave voting constituents. Many Labour MPs were elected on the back of large numbers of Remain supporting voters,(the research on the 2017 election is clear on that) and have to worry about alienating them too. Indeed each MP’s worries about who they alienate most may well depend on who their main opponent is.

    I think we also need to not overstate the distinction between “Remain voting London” and “Leave voting rest of Wales and England”; if we ignore social and educational factors and just look at geography the referendum is clearly Metropolitan and University Town Remain (plus Gwynedd specially for JiB) vs small town/rural leave so all parties face their challenges about who they annoy across the two countries.

    And if it does come to another referendum and we do see turnout reduced I think two large blocks of voters who can be relied upon to turnout are the affluent retired (Good for Leave) and the University educated 35plus (Good for Remain)

  50. Jim Jam,
    “It is clear that the policy at the next GE (if soon) would be to work for a better deal and not rule out a second ref on this deal v remain.”

    It isnt clear to me that would be enough to keep remainers on board. There has been so much can kicking one hardly dare say it, but just a few weeks difference in timing might make a huge difference in what is an acceptible policy for remainers.

    Starmer will stick to the current party position right up to the moment it is changed. By your logic, he rather has to, but that doesnt say much about what the position could be after an adventurous week in parliament.

    Peterw,
    “Governments do this all the time. There will never be a majority across the population as a whole, and for the whole five years, for every policy that a Government implements.”

    You are too pessimistic, although perfectly correct that the two main current parties are well hated. However, this is not business as usual where a government freely ignores the clearly opposed will of the people. The whole justification for brexit is that the people have been asked and want it to happen, overriding the wish of parliament to remain. But there is no overriding will by the people to leave. Instead parliment is pretending that there is, to get themselves off a hook they have created for themselves.

    Its government by fantasy all the way…

    technicolouroctober,
    ” But now the backstop has been caused such upset, I suspect the EU will insist on it remaining in the WA even if the UK accepts a Customs Union, because the WA is the last point of influence which the EU have.”

    The backstop is more than just a customs union, though it is expressed this way to downplay it.

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