The position in the polls remains much the same as the last time I updated – the Conservatives still have a substantial lead, though one that varies from pollster to pollster due to methodological differences. The figures also remain somewhat artificial given we know that a major event with the potential to transform the political weather (either Brexit going ahead, or Brexit being delayed) is looming upon the horizon. Perhaps the more interesting question is, therefore, what impact is that likely to have on the polls? Or perhaps more to the point, can polls tell us *anything* useful about what impact it would have on the polls?

Most of the polling that has set foot in this rather difficult territory has attempted to shed some light on what will happen if Boris Johnson ends up seeking a delay to Brexit.

Several polls have asked who people would blame if Brexit ended up being delayed, and as a rule they’ve tended to show that people wouldn’t blame Boris Johnson or, at least, that he would not be widely blamed by Conservative supporters or Brexiteers – the voters he needs to keep hold of. YouGov found 39% of people think a delay would be Boris Johnson’s fault to a large or moderate extent, 46% think it would bear little or none of the fault. Among Leave voters only 18% thought Johnson would bear significant blame. A ComRes poll found 34% think Johnson would bear much responsibility for a delay, 33% some responsibility and 22% no responsibility at all. Among leave voters only 19% thought he would bear much responsibility, 35% some, 37% none.

However, polls that have asked how people would vote if there was an election after a further delay to Brexit have invariably shown the Conservative party losing support and the Brexit party gaining it (for example, this ComRes poll from last month). A naive reading of that might be these two approaches are contradictory (the ones asking about blame suggest most people wouldn’t blame Boris, the ones asking hypothetical voting intention imply he would pay a heavy cost) – in reality they don’t. Even if most of his supporters wouldn’t blame Boris Johnson for an extension, if 1 in 5 Tories voters blamed him enough to defect to the Brexit party it severely damage the Conservatives’ electoral hopes.

I would urge some degree of caution on both these approaches though. We are asking people to imagine a rather vague hypothetical situation. A delay in Brexit could cover all sorts of different scenarios. Maybe Boris Johnson will apply for an extension, maybe he’ll resign and someone else will. Maybe he’d have done it willingly, maybe he’d have been forced into it by the Courts. More recently it’s been floated that he could even end up seeking an technical extension in order to deliver a deal. People’s reactions may be extremely different depending on the different circumstances. For now these uncertainties should put a question mark over any polls asking hypothetical questions about how the public think they would react to a delay – if political circumstances become clearer in the next week then perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll be in a better position to do useful polling on the issue.

In the meantime we are left to speculate. The questions I ask myself when trying to predict what the impact on public opinion are these. Can I imagine Boris Johnson seeking an extension and it NOT damaging him? Well, in certain circumstances I suppose I can, yes. On the other hand, can I imagine Boris Johnson having to seek an extension and it NOT giving Nigel Farage a boost?

1,843 Responses to “How much damage would a delay do to Boris Johnson?”

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  1. @ COLIN – I’m hopeful that once Dom has delivered Vote.Leave1b then Dom “jogs on” (and I expect he will).

    I expect you’re aware of the Dom (Vote.Leave) v Lister (London Town Hall) “split” in #10

    So if/when Dom (and Vote.Leave team) move on (or at least have reduced influence over Boris) then I hope we see Boris adopt the “Chairman” role.

    I expect folks will disagree on the merits of each cabinet member but Javid is 10/10 for me and most of the others are 5+ (which is a vast improvement on May’s cabinet!!)

    So it’s a bit of “pinch your nose” and “hold your breathe” for now as we IMO we have let Dom get on with Delivering Brexit and Defeating Corbyn (although still TBA which one comes first!)

    Once DD is then maybe we can get the U and E for Team DUDE (Javid in charge of E)

  2. WB61

    Thanks for that link to the Thomas Commission report.

    The dismissive response from the MoJ was predictable – Whitehall is never keen to transfer power away from itself (a common feature of central governments everywhere).

    As a gradualist by nature, the changes seem sensible to me. Having been organisationally part of England for centuries, and with its medieval legal order destroyed, time was required for Welsh law to become sufficiently variant from English law before institutional change was required.

    Have the parties in Wales taken positions on the proposals yet?

    Chris in Cardiff makes the good point that Plaid are, as yet, not a significant threat to Labour’s Westminster seats in that polity, though a strong force in the Senedd. That’s not dissimilar to Scotland in the early years – and I’m sure that politicians in Wales are mindful of that.

    Positioning themselves to become more autonomist, rather than taking the absolutist anti-autonomy stance of SLab looks likely to be an excellent strategy for Llafur/WLab (delete for preference).

  3. @ JJ – I agree a “No WTO” amendment has a chance of passing

    The wording will be vital as we can’t dictate EU law and a whole bunch of other “ties hands of next govt”, etc UK law as well (that is a bit easier to change or “work around” if reqd)

    If Benn+co can craft the wording[1] to make it “water tight” then IMO Boris’s deal is sunk (ie enough Spartans will say “non”, Baron/Francois+co. gave that away)

    That is quite possibly the “real” issue behind the timing of the GE from CON perspective.

    However, Boris could risk getting to that amendment and then pulling the WAB and going for a GE (as that would help ensure BXP VI vote CON)?

    Decisions, decisions… (and updating the tree!)

    [1] As when folks the amendments could they post the info. Thanks in advance.

    PS For sure a lot of CON MPs will fear a GE. xCONs haven’t yet been fully re-adopted (but that’s easy in 11+/21 cases). Beyond that quite a few in “at risk” seats (notably Boris himself of course, although I’m guessing Carrie has been viewing houses in Beaconsfield!)

  4. @ JJ – OK, below is my “best guess” (aka probable path).

    Key EVENTS, given E numbers with “best guess” info. Subsequent events are clearly dependant on this “path” but other paths get to more or less the same outcome (with the critical difference of GE Before or After Brexit is resolved – as you’ll see near the end)

    1/ Nothing moves on UK side until EC-EU27 dictate the terms of extension.

    E1: EC-EU27 dictate a 1-3mth flextension, some v.weak strings attached

    Boris: Makes it clear we need to “Get Brexit Done” and he has no choice but to accept the terms (and Benn Act forces him to)

    Corbyn: Agrees a new timetable for WAB which would allow it to pass mid-Nov

    E2: Amendments (tricky ones being Worker’s Rights and “NO WTO” at end of transition)

    Boris: Concedes enough on Worker’s Rights to avoid that issue (and in the process bursts the “race to the bottom” myth for the GE campaign)

    NO WTO exit amendment – two possibilities

    Note Boris will almost certainly signal his intent before we have the vote (ie it’s a WIN-WIN trap he has been allowed to set IF the “Anti-WTO alliance” push for it)

    i/ Passes (optimal outcome) – Boris pulls the WAB and with SNP (maybe LDEM) pushes through a mid-Jan’20 GE (note 3mth part of flextension ends 31Jan) or states he’ll “squat” and force ‘No WA’ on 31Jan. BXP VI will see Boris means business and he wins a decent majority on helped by LDEM-LAB “blaming” each other and low ABC tactical voting.

    ii/ Fails (still good) – WAB passes, Brexit resolved by end of 1mth part of flextension (leave on either 15 or 30Nov and enter transition). FTPA issues for a GE but likely Jan-Feb’20. BXP melt away but Leaver apathy would IMO offset a lot of that, also less division risk on the ABC tactical vote.


    Above is the “Blue” line, ie how I see it from CON perspective. Bias aside it doesn’t look good for LAB (“Red” line not shown) as despite having a majority of -43 it appears the “puppet” PM can call all the shots from here (unless EC-EU27 send him a “curveball” in E1 – v.unlikely IMO)

    i/ and ii/ outcomes are obviously very subjective but Corbyn will IMO have no choice but to back a “No WTO” so the crunch vote will be maybe late next week or the week after?

  5. Trev – can’t have Jan GE as no campaign over xmas practical.

    So if not Dec 5th has to be mid Feb earliest surely?

    Agree WAB pass mid November subject that no no deal possible curve ball amendment scuppering.

  6. @ OLDNAT – Reverse spin: Pragmatic solution to rising defence costs and showing EC-EU27 that UK is happy to have a much closer geo-political and trade relationship with US post Brexit (ie tell EC-EU27 to not be tw4ts in the upcoming Association Agreement negotiations – agree a “fair deal” or completely lose UK from EU’s sphere of influence)

    PS the “2%” defence spending issue will be coming up in “future relationships” with one ex-German Defence minister soon to be running the EC. I’m happy to make a 100% certainty prediction on that, although that kind of horse-trading might be “in the tunnel” as they say ;)

  7. @ JJ – “can’t have Jan GE as no campaign over xmas practical”

    Good point! I’ll change the dates in path i/ and note that Corbyn might want to try and push the timetable out more than Boris wants to so Boris hits another extension “do or die” in v.early Jan – that is certainly the “optimal outcome” for the RED line (ie what I expect Corbyn will try to do)

    Boris has to counter soon as Corbyn did offer to discuss a “reasonable timetable” and I would expect Boris could win a majority for “Programme Motion v2”

    EC-EU27 might not be so bovvered about the Xmas issue as that is a UK problem but Boris is dependant on them coming up with an answer soon (and might formally request the 1-3mth flextension on Monday (ie sign the letter!!) as by that point it’s absolutely impossible to meet the Halloween deadline)

    I’ll add in some kind of buffer timing issue around Xmas. I had those kind of “lead time” issues in place for Prorogation etc but haven’t updated them for Xmas and whilst it’s “theoretically” not an issue then no one wants MPs on the TV over Xmas (so woe betide anyone that tries get their boat race on Nervo and Knox over Xmas)

    I’ll assume previous “standard holiday” dates but of course HoC (and HoL) can vote to sit every day of the year (and maybe Boris uses that threat?)

    The YELLOW line (SNP) and ORANGE line (LDEM) might mess up Corbyn’s plan but very tricky to explain that in words

    PS Appreciate all your input. Most of my side seem so fixated on what EC-EU27 will do (and Real World stuff) that they’re not much help at the mo (and they are prone to group-think bias when they can help!). Certainly a few more “bumps in the road” for Boris than my “biased-eyes” saw so big thanks.

  8. AndrewIII @ 4.33 pm yesterday:

    I got round to checking your support yesterday for the Trevors on Tory success in Scotland in an early GE. The collective had posted a calculation on a polling site that 11 Scotland seats would be Tory wins. Only complete Tory optimists could dream this!!.

    You wrote:

    The Scottish Tory vote has been holding up surprisingly well in local by-elections, unlike the Labour vote over the whole of the UK.”

    So I looked up Scotland local by-elections since May 2019, and found just two meaningful ones. These were in North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire, and the Tory share of the vote was 9.6% and 14.4% respectively – hardly boding well for seats in the Central Belt.

    Maybe you were taken in by the recent Bridge of Don by-election. But as I explained at the time, it was a very unusual contest – a 2-member ward with 8 parties standing, but not the Labour party. And in order for Labour to keep control of Aberdeen city, that has a ruling Labour-Tory coalition with a 1-councillor majority, Labour supporters in Bridge of Don felt obliged to vote Tory.

    Next month`s Aberdeen by-election will give a better indication of Tory support in the NE.

  9. RAF,
    “I started university in last year in which the full maintenance grant was still in effect (1994).

    Funny how history gets rewritten. What I understood was that the grant to attend university was originally pitched to be the same as a working man’s salary, so that he could live just as if he was working and support a family, but instead attended university. When I attended in 1980, it was already in decline and being cut back.

    “You’d be absolutely crazy not to take out student finance, or to pay extra after graduation to try and clear your debt. It gets wiped after 30 years and 83% of students are expected to not pay it off in this time.”

    What you describe sounds like a nonsensical scheme to make banks rich at the expense of the taxpayer. However, it is still a far cry from being paid to attend and having no debt whatsoever.

    The Trevors,
    “Very timely poll from YG as covers desire for a GE and the very important issue of a GE BEFORE or AFTER Brexit is “resolved””

    Important issue? I really dont think so. I’d guess most voters really do not have strong views when an election should come. There is a strong likelihood the result would be another hung parliament, so it would just waste 6 weeks. Bring us nicely back to the next deadline with still no resolution.

  10. Tonight’s local byelections could be interesting,

    Britain Elects
    Eight (8!) council by-elections tonight, with the Conservatives defending four, Labour defending three, and one free-for-all.

    Featuring Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Flintshire, Powys, Wiltshire and Devon

  11. Davwel

    I doubt you will find any surprises in this article on the North East in Holyrood Magazine –,distance-travelled-the-north-east-since-devolution_14575.htm

    However, those furth of Scotland may find it useful in understanding the different dynamics there.

    It’s a long time since I lived in Fraserburgh, and hadn’t realised that it’s “one of Europe’s largest shellfish landing ports.”

    That might change some attitudes, given the advantages that will accrue to boats landing their catch in NI. I’m presuming that they still get most of their catch from west coast waters. Even in my day, it wasn’t unusual to see them leaving harbour with a car strapped to the deck, so that they could drive home for a break, without having to sail back.

  12. TW,

    “ Pragmatic solution to rising defence costs and showing EC-EU27 that UK is happy to have a much closer geo-political and trade relationship with US post Brexit ”

    Nonsense; A decade ago we decided on a Carrier design that tied us into buying and operating the F-35 as no other combat aircraft can operate without a catapult!

    This is nothing more than unforced compatibility!

    France can fly F-18’s and has tested them so could use US carriers and French aircraft have been tested on US carriers, but we can’t use the French Carriers or them ours.

    So if anyone has a pragmatic solution to rising costs it’s France, who also unlike us build their own Naval Fighters!


  13. TW,

    “ Pragmatic solution to rising defence costs and showing EC-EU27 that UK is happy to have a much closer geo-political and trade relationship with US post Brexit ”

    Nonsense; A decade ago we decided on a Carrier design that tied us into buying and operating the F-35 as no other combat aircraft can operate without a catapult!

    This is nothing more than unforced compatibility!

    France can fly F-18’s and has tested them so could use US carriers and French aircraft have been tested on US carriers, but we can’t use the French Carriers or them ours.

    So if anyone has a pragmatic solution to rising costs it’s France, who also unlike us build their own Naval Fighters!


  14. Further evidence that some folk from Glasgow are just as ignorant (in both senses of the word) about Scotland and other parts of the UK as anyone else.

    Karie Murphy is reported by a ST reporter as saying “Anyone who knows Jeremy knows he loves to go on the train to obscure places like the South West or Orkney”.

  15. Oldnat,

    Ah the train to Orkney, relaxing looking out the window…at the fish!


  16. @ PETER (SNP) – Perhaps a “Deep State” conspiracy for UK to become US 51st state started as far back as Blair and Iraq War and has been developing ever since?

    I did always think Blair appeared a little too in love with the EU, assisting in EU expansion etc – all helping Leave win the EURef and hence hand UK over to Trump (who obviously going to end up as US President and will be forever more)

    Perhaps this was all part of the cunning LAB plan to switch from 28th State of EU to 51st State of US ;)

    As you will know there was the also the issue of Trident location if Scotland had become independent (or will be in the future).

    At the time one option was to relocate to King’s Bay, Georgia, US

    If I had to chose I’d go 51st state over EU but it’s amazing that countries like Canada haven’t had to sell out to US (cue someone telling us they have!)

    NB Sarcasm added :-) :-)

  17. Boris losing 2 voters next week, John Mann going to the Lordson Monday & our veritable speaker hangs up his veritable whatsits next Thursday and had to be replaced by another Tory. It’s one of the reasons he wanted to try and push the WAB through this week.

  18. In fairness I’ve travelled most of the way to Orkney by train. Wick and then bus to Gill’s Bay is my preferred route but I know some prefer to go via Scrabster.

  19. Jo

    And do you think either Orkney or SW England are “obscure” places?

  20. Jo

    Sorry. That sounded like a dig at you, which wasn’t intended.

    More important than Murphy’s stupidity about Orkney, is her careless dismissal of these places as “obscure”. There may be few Labour votes there – and even fewer now.

  21. Statgeek and others
    I wasn’t advocating breaking up the Union, I was replying to someone upthread who was wondering whether a future Scottish independence referendum would succeed, and I simply observed that giving the English a vote in their referendum might be one way of doing it. I actually think it would be a bit of a shame if the UK broke up.

    “As you can see, things have changed massively since the 1970s.”

    Interesting figures. It looks as though the difference coincides with the rise of nationalism in the non-English bits. There are a lot of English people dissatisfied with the traditional ‘big two’ as well, hence Brexit party and MP defections.
    “… and the final push raising fees has moved it from the territory of ‘a fair contribution by the student’, to something voters now consider unfair.”

    I tend to agree with that bit, just not your implication in an earlier post that the fees were introduced by the coalition.
    “I think we all need to pay more tax.”

    I’m sure HMRC will be happy to accept voluntary contributions.

  22. @ DAVWEL – “The collective had posted a calculation on a polling site that 11 Scotland seats would be Tory wins”

    COULD not WOULD. It was NOT a prediction.

    No idea where you got the 11 from though. I made it clear it was 0 – 19+ and Scotland would be very difficult to predict (again)

    OLDNAT’s Holyrood article concerning NE Scotland (even unadjusted for bias) was hardly a surprise and obviously if SCON want to make a real effort to keep most of NE.Scotland (and the seats nearer the English border) then it wouldn’t be difficult to work out their GE campaign. IIRC “the collective” had called it:

    “Surf and Turf”

    I will give kudos to Nicola who skillfully managed to avoid being forced into a more aggressive Indy policy at SNP conf.

    With no one else in the Indy camp then she owns every vote from “Maybe – but not yet” to “YES-NOW”. Had she been “bounced” into “YES-SOON/NOW” then that might have cost her some “wait and see” folks (as it probably did in GE’17)

    “all to play for”

  23. ON @ 2.45 pm

    Thanks for that link to the article on NE Scotland and its political views.

    The great bulk of it seems fair comment to me, but one or two things did surprise:

    “”Research conducted by McAngus found that fishermen in Scotland reported far less trust in the Scottish Government than in the UK Government; a reversal of how the broader public feels when polled.””.

    Also the comment that there is little heavy industry in this region of 800,000 Dundee up to North Coast, is true now, but wasn`t in the past.

    Aberdeen had cotton mills, Dundee, Arbroath, Brechin flax mills, and scattered along rivers inland from Aberdeen were paper mills, all now shut but one.

    It was a fascinating set-up with the many of the mill workers in Culter for example having small farms, crofts some would call them, that they worked between shifts. The closure of this heavy industry didn`t help Labour`s cause.

    But the flourishing of oil and gas brought a lot of talent, centrist thinking, and a broad world outlook in the 30-35 radius of Aberdeen city, different to the fishing communities in the top corner.

    It certainly helped our local state schools. I recall a R4 1pm news programme that incredibly had father and son giving successive interviews. But quite unconnected – the dad was dealing with prospects for oil, the son was defending the Cambridge University Union after some misdeeds, having gone from our local academy and become Union president.

  24. TW

    I got the 11 Tory seats in Scotland from your post at 12.09 pm yesterday.

    I`ll paste it to jog your memory:

    “”Scottish seats
    SNP 41 (+6) less gains than most people expect
    SCON 12 (-1) lose Stirling to SNP
    SLD 5 (+1) take Fife N.East from SNP
    SLAB 1 (-6) lose everything but Edinburgh South to SNP””

    So sorry for erring on the downside – 11 should have been 12. My excuse is working from broad memory while I am doing other computing work especially sending in plant records for our UK maps, with the recording period definitely ending 31 December.

  25. Betfair market been jumping around on all the “will he, won’t he” talk about GE’19

    The collective are “playing the range” (20-90% and now 30-70%) but certainly positioning net against at 70% implied likelihood.

    IMO it’s on final effort from Boris to “bounce” Macron (and hence EU) into a “short extension” (but Macron won’t oblige)

    Also still the issue of HOW he gets a GE – although IMO that one can be solved with help from my friends the SNP ;)

  26. BBC reporting ‘Breaking News’ that
    “Boris Johnson says he will give MPs more time to debate Brexit deal but only if they agree to 12 December general election.

    He urged Labour to back an election in a vote he plans to hold next week.

    The EU is expected to give its verdict on extending Brexit on Friday.

    If Brexit is delayed to the end of November, the PM will try to get his deal through Parliament again, the BBC understands.

    If the delay is to the end of January, Mr Johnson will hold a Commons vote next week on a 12 December election.

    If Labour agrees to the election, then the government says it will try to get its deal through before Parliament is dissolved for the campaign on 6 November.

    [A few sentences omitted, but the link is here.]

  27. From the Times…. (NB for all the social liberalism, the study doesn’t ask about economic liberalism, or attitudes to democracy etc.)

    Liberal attitudes on the rise . . . unless you’re having an affair or in politics
    Greg Hurst, Social Affairs Editor
    October 24 2019, 12:01am,
    The Times

    “Social attitudes towards issues such as gay relationships, abortion and drugs have swung dramatically in 30 years as baby boomers hold fast to the values of the Swinging Sixties, a study has found.

    Britons have become more permissive than they were in 1989, researchers at King’s College London’s policy institute said. They compared new polling on morality with the same data from three decades ago.

    Extramarital affairs are one of the few issues on which views have hardened, however. The study also tracked shifts in attitudes towards divorce, cannabis and heroin.

    In 1989, for example, 40 per cent of adults considered gay relationships between consenting adults to be morally wrong. The proportion among men rose to 45 per cent. When asked if homosexuals should be treated like other people, 52 per cent of respondents agreed while 24 per cent said that they did not accept this. Asked the same questions this year, 13 per cent said that gay relationships were wrong, with men only slightly more likely than women to think so. Gay people should be treated equally, according to 82 per cent. Five per cent disagreed.

    The 1989 survey found that 60 per cent of respondents said smoking cannabis was immoral. This year only 29 per cent felt that way. The proportion who said that using heroin was wrong fell from 89 to 67 per cent.

    Abortion is seen as wrong by 18 per cent of people today, down from 35 per cent three decades ago. Previously 11 per cent considered divorce to be wrong. The figure now is 6 per cent.

    Despite a general liberalisation in attitudes, tolerance for one group was found to have waned. In 1989, 36 per cent thought that politicians were good people while 23 per cent disagreed. This year 15 per cent thought politicians were good but 47 per cent did not.”

  28. Two sobering polls for Boris:

    Westminster voting intention…

    if “the UK has left the EU with a deal similar to the one negotiated by Theresa May”:

    CON: 32%
    LAB: 27%
    BREX: 15%
    LDEM: 17%
    GRN: 4%

    via @ComRes
    , 16 – 17 Oct

    Westminster voting intention…

    if “the deadline for the UK to leave the EU has been extended beyond the 31st of October 2019”:

    LAB: 27%
    CON: 26%
    BREX: 20%
    LDEM: 18%
    GRN: 4%

    via @ComRes
    , 16 – 17 Oct

  29. I was going to add these polls are a week old and a lot of water has passed under t’bridge since then!

  30. Bantams

    Thanks for those polls – just after Anthony posted this thread!

    As he said then “On the other hand, can I imagine Boris Johnson having to seek an extension and it NOT giving Nigel Farage a boost? ”

    But – has Johnson managed to seem sufficiently belligerent for the cause to keep those Con/BxP waverers onside?

  31. @ DAVWEL – I guess you missed the bit about those “numbers” simply be Electoral Calculus output from chucking in the Scottish x-break in their latest poll.

    As for 12 v 11 then no worries, easy to make a small typo or minor error every now and then – happens to the best of us ;)

    So we all good. IE You are aware those numbers are NOT my prediction (I can’t be bovvered to repost the 0-19+ post but I expect you’ve now “found” it and jogged your memory).

  32. Queen’s Speech 310 v 294 – that’s a lot of abstain!

    Migraines?? ;)

    Pretty pointless as we’ll almost certainly have a GE before ANY of that gets debated or turned into laws but “opposition” do seem to have learned not to defeat Boris on every single vote given he’s running a

    “People v Parliament ” campaign

    PS In case anyone missed the letter he sent Macron and Tusk (via addressing it to Corbyn) then link below:

    cheeky blighter getting a 4th letter in via the back door ;)

  33. My son id 18 on December 20th, he will not be happy with Dec 12th!!

    Lets see what the EU say tomorrow and Labour should wait for that before responding.

  34. new thread

  35. @OLDNAT

    As to the “needless linguistic fight” over the name of the Senedd, I presumed (perhaps wrongly) that such was a strategic move to balance their “curiosity” about Independence, in order to keep their linguistically English orientated supporters on board.

    That’s the thing, had it been a move to official bilingual names from an official English one, then it would have achieved that kind of balance and seemed progressive. But because the colloquial Welsh name was already being so widely used in English it feels more like they’ve tried to put a brake on it and defend the position of the English name – more what you’d expect from the Tories and the Brexit Party than Labour, and an easy opportunity for Plaid to differentiate themselves from Labour on the LoC.

    Sensible parties do try to be all things to all people (until a choice is forced upon them!)

    They do. Do let us know if you espy one outwith your borders won’t you? :-)

    (and ta for clarifying on the other thing last night, I was confused rather than aggrieved!)

  36. @DANNY

    Ta for the detailed response,

    Edge of reason,
    “The table on this very site appears to show the LibDems as spending five years prior to the 2017 GE hovering between about 7-11% average. So where are you identifying the “soaring moments” and “much of the remain vote residing” with them as happening?”

    By election results, which then vanished in the election.

    Well the only parliamentary gain I can see for LD in the period was the curious case of Richmond Park, so are you talking about council by-elections?

    Either way, by-election results for a party polling at a half to a third of Labour’s support seem a very different argument compared to GE polling numbers for a party consistently within the MoE of Labour with some pollsters.

    “But surely the same scepticism applies to those posters who seem convinced that a similar trend will repeat this time around? Isn’t assuming that the current GE would be similar to the prior GE the basic reason that many pollsters got 2017 badly wrong?”

    Most polling relies upon an initial assumption the result will be similar to previous ones, and the last is the best indicator. It is changes from this which are being measured. Aside from this assumption, the circumstances in 2017 were very specific that it was a one issue election. Do you see any reason why another now would not be dominated by Brexit? I dont.

    If that is the case, wouldn’t polls be expected to be reasonably accurate using 2017 as a baseline, and thus the prediction of wild swings or systematic error would need to be based on something else? What would that be?

    It is quite likely a general election would waste a month but solve nothing.

    I’m inclined to agree with you there, as it would be in line with every other aspect of this process so far…


    I’m not sure they have that much to worry about with Plaid – yet. the significant increase in support for independence isn’t matched by any sort of increase in support for Plaid.

    Indeed, I think I argued much the same when some people were getting very excitable about the recent independence polling. Tho that said, Plaid’s support seems to be holding very steady whilst Labour’s has pretty much halved – do you think that and the combination of the Brexit Party could bring Plaid into play in some valleys seats? Ones that would have been pretty safe Labour normally even with Plaid at 20ish nationally, but could maybe tip into three-way marginals if BXP’s numbers stay strong and Labour’s stay so weak?

    Adam Price’s personal ratings are poor and sinking.

    That surprises me, from the (fairly little, admittedly) that I’ve seen of him so far he seems pretty coherent and focused, and he talks like a human being. Maybe I just saw him on a good day!

  38. The 12th December could have affects on turnout due to the following:
    1) Weather. Dark nights etc. Too cold / Dark and people not motivate to vote. Could get adverse weather Snow/ Ice.
    2) Just comes up to the festive season. Many businesses could have year end festive celebrations around this date. Also many people not in mood to think about politics near Christmas
    3) Near the end of University terms. Many students will be packing up and going home around this date.

    An interesting comparison would be the crime crime commissioner elections. Those held 15th Nov 2012 had 15.1% and 05th May 2016 26.6%. The difference was about 5/6% where local elections not held.

  39. For all those Tories on here extremely worried by the Labour process for re-selecting existing MPs, another piece of news that should set their minds at rest with Margaret Hodge re-selected on an all member vote after being triggered to face a ballot. Still waiting for the first Labour MP to be de-selected by members.

    Contrast to the Tory MPs deselected by one person (not sure who that person was- Johnson or Cummings?).

  40. @ TED

    “glad you reached the same conclusion about the i article as I did.”

    Thanks, it was nice to have your confirmation too. I got there through a process of actually looking at the data, a task which is clearly beyond most journalists. You got there through knowledge and long and bitter experience – much more laudable.

  41. @JOHN(D)

    “Secondly austerity if Labour can blame Johnson for the cuts to Schools , NHS and police .They will have to discipline and have one message ” 5 weeks to save the NHS and schools ” that sort of thing may bring some votes home.”

    If they’re so bothered about NHS and schools they should advocate leaving the EU instead of allowing Freedom of Movement to continue flooding those services!


    I noticed some posters were talking about this possibility the other day, so I ran some figures through Electoral Calculus. It turns out that even if the Libs were polling at 10% above Labour (e.g. 35% to 25%) they would still be 53 seats behind Labour. This is because LAB and CON support is ‘lumpy’ whereas LIB support is ‘smooth’.

    Sorry if anyone is disappointed!

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