ComRes have a new poll in the Independent tomorrow. The topline figures, with changes from the last ComRes poll, are CON 40%(-1), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 18%(+1).

Labour are lower than in other recent polls, but we’re seeing roughly the same gap between the Conservative and Labour as we have in all other recent polls. Interestingly support for “others” is at a relatively high 14%, though ComRes do often weight people who voted “other” in 2005 to a higher level than the other phone pollsters, and often show higher support for them in their topline figures. For the record the breakdown for the others here is Green 3%, SNP 3%, BNP 2%, Plaid 1% and UKIP 1%.

While I’m here, this morning’s Telegraph had some more details held over from last week’s YouGov poll, dealing with the issue of MP’s expenses. Not surprisingly public opinion towards them was extremely hostile. 68% of respondents thought that MPs salary and allowances scheme was too generous, with 23% thinking it was about right and a paltry 4% thinking they should be given more. Over three-quarters of people thought the second home allowance should be reduced or abolished (comprising 32% who wanted to see it reduced and 46% who wanted it abolished altogether).

Asked how much abuse went on, respondents thought “gross abuse” of the expenses system was common amongst MPs – though most thought there were some straight MPs! 13% thought more than 600 of the 646 MPs were grossly abusing the system, 55% thought more than 200 were. Only 10% thought less than 50 were.

Asked about possible solutions, 33% said they it would be better if there were less allowances and MPs were instead given a higher salary. 56% said it would be better if there was no salary increase, and expenses were checked more thoroughly. 12% said don’t know, and I expect had the option been given to just stop giving MPs lots of their expenses it would be been a preferred option!


66 Responses to “ComRes voting intention and YouGov on expenses”

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  1. I’m just surprised that the numbers wanting a crack-down on MPs’ expenses are so low.

  2. Interesting that the projected Tory majority based on the latest polls has fallen to 28 seats. It will be disappointing for them if that majority disappears altogether in the coming weeks, especially when the Government is having such a difficult time over expenses, etc.

  3. Since October last year Yougov have almost always polled either 14 or 15% for the Lib Dems. But the last two polls from Yougov have shown the Lib Dems on 17%.

    This along with other better polls for the Lib Dems in the last couple on months confirms a good 2% improvement for them over this period.

    Finally, a poll showing Labour on 28%. We should see a few more of those next month!

  4. seams like the tory lead has gone up but there vote down, the true polling level may become slightly clearer when the local election add’s get going as this always puts voters in some respects back into there true colours and yes i know that the tory vote is higher at local elections by 1-2% its still not hard to work out about where the vote of each party is. its still likely that if an election was called for tomorrow the conservative would come out with a 50-60 majority due to a lower lib dem vote.

    i’ve not been on in the past few days as i lost my ballance in the bathroom and smashed one of my front teath.

  5. Pete B, it’s a surprise with me too. Perhaps the economy is worrying people more than this.

  6. Seems strange how so many people seem to trust business executives more than MPs, they get more money and are by definition out for themselves.

  7. “i’ve not been on in the past few days as i lost my ballance in the bathroom and smashed one of my front teath.”

    When will the government legislate against the dangers of bathrooms :-)

    conservatives still above or on 40% this year and Labour hanging out in the 30% points i wouldn’t be too worried as conservative but i would now be getting jittery if i was on the backbenches

    alex was this poll done before smiths porngate or after?

  8. sorry above should read if I was a Labour party backbencher i would be getting a bit jittery

  9. @ Andy – the projected seats widget is interesting but of limited predictive value I think because it doesn’t take into account vote distribution. If I’m wrong about this, my apologies to Anthony.

    I don’t think we’re going to see the Tory majority disappear over the next few weeks, and I’m not sure why you think it might. It seems to have stabilised at a solid 10-12%.

  10. Clearly others-which excludes Ulster-are not going to get 14% of the vote at the next election. I predict now that the only party in this category to get more than 2% of the vote will be the SNP. The Greens will be lucky to cling onto the 1.08% they got last time, the UKIP vote will fall from 2.35% to about the same level unless it holds onto to its Euroseats in June (unlikely) and as for the BNP it may (sadly) poll more than the 200,000 votes it got last time depending on the number of candidates it puts up but it won’t come remotely close to winning a seat . Respect will disappear out of sight.

    In 2005 ‘the others’ got 8.2% of the vote in total and with their varying fortunes I predict that they will be lucky to match that. My guess is 7.5% .

  11. Erich,

    Could be that a fairly large number of people understand about business expenses. You don’t have to be at Board level to incur them, many people right the way down to junior staff are eligible.

    As anyone who travels on business knows, there are lots of things which are not eligible for reimbursement. Specifically, movie rentals when offered by hotels are not reclaimable, while if one were to present a claim for hire of a porn movie, not only would you not be reimbursed, chances are you would be collecting your P45. That is what makes Jackie Smith’s latest travails so damaging.

  12. Nick,

    I think the candidates issue is the key.

    If 2% across the country would vote BNP but the BNP only put up candidates in half the seats, then they would logically only get 1% in an election.

    So polls may accurately show the potential level of support but small parties might not be able to fully exploit it.

    At local elections in the Highlands independents do very well and have always been the largest party in the Council, but if you divide the votes cast for all candidates with the number of candidates you find that they don’t really get any higher vote than party candidates.

    In a lot of wards you used to get three or even four independents but only one from a party and sometimes not even all four parties.

    With multi member wards you were getting a LibDem, Labour and SNP candidate in every ward so the balance of the new council is much closer to the votes cast.

    As with UK elections it’s putting a candidate up in every ward or seat that lets parties come close to their potential vote.

    Peter.

  13. The solution to MPs pay and allowances is very simple. No allowances, just receipted expenses. Basic salary for backbenchers (this might be set by taking an average of recent intake of MPs previous salaries – Labour MPs would probably drag this down to about £30K!). Then give bonuses for sitting on select committees and higher salaries for frontbenchers, with the highest for the most “involved roles”. This would bring a taste of the “real world” into parliament, and salaries would be pegged to civil service grades. To suggest, as some of them do, that some of these muppets that are elected deserve to be effectively paid £200k a year is absolutely ludicrous

  14. Surely the issue of allowances should be tied to the electorate and not be equal for all?

    All get an allowance for an office in their electorate, anyone anywhere near London gets mileage, anyone say 100 miles away from London in their actual home gets mileage / some rail / some local flights and NI MPs and the MPs who represent the Scottish Islands actually get a 2nd home allowance or massive hotel allowances.. (Because they can not always get home in reasonable time from London)

  15. to Nick Keene

    “Clearly others-which excludes Ulster-are not going to get 14% of the vote at the next election.”

    “Clearly”?!

    …and what do you base that on?!

    I mean, doesn’t it seem a little odd that the Tories and LDP aren’t gaining significantly?

    I might suggest that the “40-30-20-10” spread of voting is a purely a phenomenon that emerged from the aftermath of WW2; and that generation is passing.

    It’s surely unhelpful allowing your prejudices of what the spread of voting should be like to affect perception of what polls are actually reporting.

    Green issues are up; Nationalist issues are up; fatigue with the establishment is up.

    I would predict that voters are less likely to be especially loyal to the status quo – there is more information; more education; less enculturation of the “my fatha’s allus voted X, and so shall I” type (and I am a Tyke, btw!).

    I think there’s less certainty over the next 50 years than in the previous 50 years; and plenty of potential for an “Others” of 20% or so to emerge – assuming the current triumvirate of parties fail to grasp the various nettles in front of them.

    Change, as we’ve seen, is a powerful message; and not one so easily deployed by the Tories (especially after the Mr Pickles got in a right pickle on QT); nor, evidently, the LDP.

    I dislike the LDP intensely, but at the same time, I’m mystified as to why they can’t seem to break out of their perpetual rut… it speaks to me of a growing sentiment of “they’re all as bad as each other” …it’s all I seem to hear whereever I go.

  16. I’m slightly surprised by the figure against the level of MP’s salary and expenses as well. Only 68% believe it is too high? I thought it would have been well into the 80’s.

    I think the polls are so static because the single dominant issue is the economy and opinion seems to be entrenched on either side.

  17. “opinion seems to be entrenched on either side.”

    You mean the Gov saying “not our fault”; and everyone else in the establishment saying “it is your fault”?

    …and the public saying “It is all the establishment’s fault” …it seems irrational for same number of people to support the Gov; or turn to the Tories caught with jam on their fingers too…
    The LDP seem to be making all right noises, but it’s baffling why it doesn’t result in any boost (not that I want it to!).

    What’s missing from this poll is – “none of the above”.
    It creates the misleading impression that support for political parties in general is still at the same level as before.

    The expenses issue is still only in its nascency… there’s plenty of time for resentment to build up as the delayed effects of the crash kick in; and more ugly stories come out.; followed by uncomfortable media performances.

  18. @promsan

    I have to say I agree with a lot of what you say and if our first past the post system was changed I think the others would gain significantly.

    Also, your comments on LDP are spot on. Though I am not surprised they have not grown form their rut as a message of one thing in the North, a contradictory policy in the South West and yet another contradictory policy in London and the South East means many see through this as a lack of any real policy.

    If the LDP got off the fence and went back to the Liberal Party’s free market policy combined with policy on protecting the individual, I would vote for them.

  19. Once you allow for statistical error, the figures for voting intentions are “no change” compared to last month.

    In relation to MPs expenses, I suspect most voters think that parties are the same whatever their party (perhaps unfairly to the LIbDems, but that’s life).

    Incidentally, I submitted a letter to “The Independent” earlier today suggesting a way of reducing MPs expenses. I’ll have to hope I am lucky enough for it to be published so that you can read more!

  20. It should be remembered that Comres will always have a higher Others figure than the other pollsters . This is because they have not changed their methodology and include others who were not able to name a party ( Populus I believe count these as don’t knows ) .
    This and the most recent ICM poll both have LibDems at 18% . The detailed data is on the respective websites and once again the influence of the past vote weighting differences between the 2 pollsters is seen . The Comres data is rather better for the LibDems than the ICM and ICM would have given a LibDem figure of 20% with their weighting and it would have been 21& with a readjustment down of Others to 10-11%

  21. @Promsan

    ‘What’s missing from this poll is – “none of the above”.’

    How true. As I’ve pointed out before, by far the largest party at the last election (and several before that) was ‘Abstain’. If the smaller parties can somehow reach these people we could see some surprising results. I’m assuming that the main parties don’t reach them because the turnout is dropping despite the number of postal votes (some of which may be real).

  22. CharlieJ

    “If the LDP got off the fence and went back to the Liberal Party’s free market policy combined with policy on protecting the individual, I would vote for them.”

    That is what the “Orange Book” Liberals tried to do a couple of years ago. The snag is, that is not very different from the position of the Conservative Party, while being miles away from the views of most of their activisits.

    The problem for Lib Dems is that organisationally they are prisoners of their own history.

    – First: decades ago – in the cosy post-war corporatist consensus – the Liberals abandoned any distinctive ecomomic policies to become purely social liberals, and so firmly aligned themselves on the “left” – a position epitomised by David Steel.

    – Secondly; and party as a consequence of the above – they acquired an image of being a rag-bag of well-meaning but muddle headed cranks. It also lured them onto the dangerous ground of chameleon politics – being in favour of whatever would win most votes on whatever street they happened to be canvassing at that particular point. A suitable vehicle for a protest vote (whether from left or right) but not a serious party of power. This enabled them to win lots of by-elections but never mount a serious threat at a general election.

    – Thirdly, it is not evident that the “Liberals” actually came out on top in the merger with the SDP. While the Liberal Party may have contributed far more to the pot in terms of organisational assets, its leadership, and many of its key activists, seemed more inclined to follow the Woy Jenkins model of social democracy.

    – Fourthly: primarily because of the Conservative dominance from 1950-1997, the vast majority of Liberal / LD by-election victories were from Conservatives. This means that while the party’s philosophy may tend to the left, most of its MPs represented seats that were naturally conservative.

    As a result, the concept of “equidistance” was always a sham, and the public never had any illusion over whom the LDs would prefer as a coalition partner if offered a choice.

    That leaves the LDs in a dilemma –

    (a) advocate true Liberal policies which may appeal to conservative voters, and they can win seats from Tories when Tories are unpopular – but this does not help win seats from Labour

    (b) advocate social democrat policies which appeal to Labour / urban voters, but in insufficient numbers to win many seats – while putting the rural / Tory seats at risk.

    (c) try to have it both ways (as they have done in recent years). This can work while the other parties are weak, but gives an inconsistent message. Worse, they risk annihilation when the Tory party is resurgent, as has been evident in recent local elections.

    It should not go unnoticed that the LDs saw the biggest improvement in their vote not between 1992 and 1997 or 1997 and 2001, when they added large numbers of seats, but between 2001 and 2005, when the net gain was modest. It would not surprise me if at the next election the LDs were to lose two or more seats to the Conservatives for every one they take from Labour, nor that they did so on an increased share of the total vote. [Note – that does not mean that I predict a net increase in total LD vote – just that I predict a net decrease in their seats won].

  23. PromSam

    On what do I base my view that in an election held now or next year the ‘others’ will not get 14% or anything like?
    Basically it is the number of candidates and lost deposits the little parties can afford which will keep their vote down. i just don’t think you have thought this through. On top of that I believe that the likes of UKIP are clearly in decline . You may disagree-but WHY- and think that they will keep their Euro seats next June but I can assure you very few others think the same.

  24. I must admit I think UKIP will decline from their previous result in the next EU elections, unless they pick up another person like Kilroy-Silk who maximised their result last time; he gave them much more media mileage than they otherwise will get.

  25. It strikes me that we have an electorate which is more subtle than the tabloids who “serve” them :

    a) the majority of those polled thought the majority of MPs are straight in their finances

    b) the majority feel the best way forward on allowances/ expenses is to have rigorous scrutiny

  26. @Prosman – Interesting ideas, but would it be possible to know which party you voted for in the past and which one you would intend to vote for this time around? Considering that in most areas a vote for other is a lost vote, most people will vote with the big 3 party that is likely to be most closely aligned with their veiws. I for one will vote conservative even though I do not 100% agree with 100% of all they stand for – I am however very much in favour of the current leader in terms of aligning to my ideals (ingnoring the required political manouvering etc). I am also a Catholic who does not go to Church every Sunday and support Liverpool FC without ever going to a match. So you may say it’s in my nature but then again….

    I agree with CharlieJ “if our first past the post system was changed I think the others would gain significantly.” – many people would be inclined to reconsider their vote as would my wife (she’s a bit too lefty for my liking, but you can’t have everything :-) )

  27. The number of candidates is a key issue.

    The likes of the BNP can poll in the region of 2%, but if it only puts up candidates in a third of all seats then in an election it’s unlikely to get more than 1%.

    That’s not a decline in support that’s supporters not being able to vote for their prefered party.

    In no hope seats the support for a party will fall as people either don’t vote for vote tactically but they still have a potential that shouldn’t be over looked.

    For years the SNP under performed in electoral terms particularly at Westminster but we grew our support to a level that meant we made a breakthrough.

    Polls give an indication of potential support, but there are good reasons for that not being mirrored in an election that aren’t necessarily a fall in support.

    Peter.

  28. Weighted Moving Average 42:30:18 I agree it is odd that Labour is not suffering more from the combination of sleaze and bad economic news. Maybe their supporters are almost all public sector workers and thus insulated.

  29. If there was a sleaze effect, I wouldn’t necessarily expect to see it until the next lot of polls. The whole Jacqui Smith bandwagon didn’t really start rolling until the fieldwork this poll was mostly done.

  30. I’d be surprised if there is much of a sleaze effect in terms of voting preference – seems to me there’s a “plague on all politicians” feeling abroad at the moment. The only effect that I’d expect to see is an even lower turnout on June 4th than is already expected.

  31. @ promsan – it would be interesting to see research into people who don’t vote. My guess is that there are a lot of different reasons, one of which is “can’t be bothered” (which would probably be expressed to pollsters as “they’re all the same”). My feeling is that many abstainers are rather insular types who have little interest in anything outside their own little lives. I’m not sure how one motivates such people – PR might kickstart a proportion of them but I think most will continue not being “bothered”.

  32. Paul H-J

    All good points on why the LibDims are where they are. My ideal party would be the Liberals from the LibDems with the left wing of the Conservatives so both sides dumping the idealist whose policy would cause the most damage

    [Lib Dems or Liberal Democrats or LDs, etc, please Charlie. Cheap jibes at other parties names isn’t conducive to sensible non-partisan debate – AW]

  33. James Ludlow.
    Do we really need to worry about those who dont vote. Surely their lack of interest would reveal they have no real knowledge of the subject and would only skew the result?

  34. Here’s a post I made way back in 2006 dealing with a poll of non-voters http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/281

  35. AW apologies, it was not an intended typo just fat fingers

  36. to CharlieJ

    “If the LDP got off the fence and went back to the Liberal Party’s free market policy combined with policy on protecting the individual, I would vote for them.”

    …that sounds dangerously like Libertarianism to me!
    Let’s face it, they are simple a young-person’s Labour Party.

    to PeteB

    …well yeah, how many times do we hear comment on “growing public disconnexion”… yet the papers that commission the polls seem uninterested in this as a story… they are perhaps guilty of a symbiotic relationship with the “triumvirate”, with predictable hysterics and mockery of various minor parties.

    Paul H-J
    much to agree with there… in one sense the LibDems symbolise the victory of apathy over ideology.
    when I think about the LibDems, all I see is a less control-freakish version of the Labour Party; and more naive (as in un-machiavellian) version of the Tory Party; but in terms of actual policies, they seem to offer a pick n mix of about 50% Labour, 20% Tory, and 30% Green Party.
    In fact, if the LibDems were really shrewd they might propose a merger with the Green Party and solve the perception of an ideological vaccuum, and create an impression of the anachronism of the other two as belonging to the two previous centuries respectively.
    (hang on, I can’t stand the LDP and the Greens, and I’m attempting to give them good advice!)

    to Nick Keene,
    Well, we may be miscommunicating… I mean 14% isn’t particularly unusual for the “others” to get as a group.
    I think you’ve bypassed my main point, which is that you are relying on the past to inform the future.
    my core point is that I don’t think this applies.
    we’ve got used to things being a certain way since the 60s, and grown up with this (then) new paradgm of the symbiosis of media and politics; but just as that was a radical break from the previous era of pre-WW2 politics; right now I argue that we are undergoing a new tectonic shift precipitated by the infotech revolution.
    I base my assertion on the collapse in turnout after John Major’s government, that delivered us unto New Labour; on the massive expansion of broadband and blogging through the “noughties”; and on the effects of the Obama campaign; and what we may come to call the 2nd great depression.
    The demographics of voting and voters are well established; and there is no sign that the post-baby-boomer generations will vote in anything like the numbers or directions of the previous (and still living) generations.
    I don’t think I made any comment about UKIP specifically, but I agree they seem to be fading away; but I would be less surprised by the BNP and Greens confounding expectations to some extent (mopping up UKIP and Labour votes).

    to Keir,
    I can’t imagine ever voting for what I call the “triumvirate”.
    Of course it would be odd to find a party in whom you would feel 100% represented.
    Notwithstanding, I think voting for what you realy *don’t* believe in is a “lost vote”; maybe I seem naive for that, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
    When it comes to the EU, I am hostile to it, I have, and would, vote for any party that would annoy EU-philes and disrupt it’s adventures.

    to James Ludlow (and Larry Henson),
    You seem to contradict yourself: first, abstention is for complex reasons; then abstainers are implicit untermensch.
    I think disparaging and specious thoughts like these belong in A-Level Politics essays.

    Clearly, choosing not to vote is note a sign of benighted solipsism; nor is it evidence of not having a reasonable or valuable view.
    It is perhaps this attitude – the attitude of the “politico”, and the “career politician” that is precisley why people are turned off – they views are disparaged before even uttered… the implicit conceit being that: “we the politicos have already organised what the correct choices of political opinion are, so if you don’t pick one, you’re a thicky, and not worth listening to anyway.”

    What might actually breathe life into the stagnant pool of offerings is for that 40% (and rising) proportion of the population to actually be engaged with and listened to, instead of lectured to by “benign overseers”.
    Some forms of PR or STV might help in some circumstances, but that doesn’t actually address the problem (you just replace little hitlers with central committees).

    The problem is that, when a particular thing is supported or opposed, the elite ignore it; hence, the voter realises that they are irrelevant (and have to work for a living so can’t make time for direct action), and the abstainer is born.
    The responsibility is either upon the establishment to engage; or the abstainer to riot …and face the pleasures of HM Constabulary’s array of equipment and legal powers… ergo, the responsibility is morally with the regime to engage.

    so I agree more with Leslie, that whether it’s Jackie does Dallas or Porky Pickles, there are some real fundamental and serious issues emerging this year, and they need to be taken seriously.

  37. Apologies for typoes (like potatoes!)… I can spell, I just didn’t bother!

  38. Promsan

    Well I can’t remember who it was that said that if if you can’t learn from the past then you are doomed to repeat it… but it is a truism. By the way when did the ‘others’ excluding Ulster last get 14% as a group’?

    As Peter Cairns has also said it is the numbers of candidates the small parties manage to put up that counts -not in other words what the NATIONAL polls say -and the increase in the size of the deposit has made ALL minor parties think twice about putting up candidates just for the heck of it and instead concentrate their slender resources on seats where they think they have an outside chance of doing well eg Brighton ( the Greens).If the Greens for example only muster 2% of the vote across 650 seats how can they get even half that if they only stand in 50 seats? As for this latest poll only three people actually said they would vote for UKIP yet this was enough for ComRes to give them a rating!!! Probably one of these people won’t have a UKIP candidate to vote for in the first place. Surely you can do the mathematics my friend…
    If however you are trying to say that the old party loyalties are breaking down and that in time folk may opt for a different type of politics then we are not in dispute because I think that is quite possible over time but that is NOT where I started from in my thread. What I am talking about here are the facts and figures of the last election, the current opinion polls and the likely result of the next election. You instead are seeing the picture in the LONGER term which is nothing to do with my original point.

  39. Coming back to the data in the ComRes poll, while the voting intention figures still seem to be in stasis, the responses to the questions on Brown’s focus and solutions look damning for Labour.

    I suspect that once the current jamboree is over and forgotten, we can look forward to more red ink in the budget in three weeks time, after which we may see some movement in the polls.

  40. @ Promsan – and you seem to ignore terms like “many”, which (as you seem not to realise) doesn’t mean “all”.

    Like it or not, there is a substantial demographic group who mostly do not bother to vote and has no interest in politics or indeed anything much beyond their own immediate lives. They don’t constitute ALL abstainers but they certainly exist. You can interpret their disinterest as some sort of statement about our political system if you wish, but you’d be kidding yourself.

  41. Paul H-J. A couple of years I had occasion to do work in archives on a topic in the 1920s. As a result, I found that some Liberals, including Lloyd George were actively developing links with the United States Republicans (remember that until Franklin Roosevelt the Republicans, with their liberal philosophies, were more radical than the Democrats). It was a similar Liberal grouping that produced the 1928 “Yellow Book”. Of course, the Republicans were in power. They presided over a stock market led boom and subsequent crash which was nearer than anything else in the last century to the recent financial disaster that has caused so much pain.

    Given the history I have sketched in the previous paragraph, it could be argued that the recent “Orange Book” (although I confess I have not read it, despite having a copy of the “Yellow Book”) is looking back to the very liberal capitalist policies that caused the Great Crash of 1929..

    Electors tend not to know even gross events in political history (the bungled Liberal Government Cabinet meetings of August 1914 that led to the disaster of the First World War provide another example) , so they don’t affect today’s voting behaviour. I suspect the LibDems have reason to be grateful for such psephological amnesia.

  42. ‘Like it or not, there is a substantial demographic group who mostly do not bother to vote and has no interest in politics or indeed anything much beyond their own immediate lives. They don’t constitute ALL abstainers but they certainly exist. You can interpret their disinterest as some sort of statement about our political system if you wish, but you’d be kidding yourself.’

    Out of interest does anyone have any figures for how many people are not enrolled who could be in the UK?

  43. Hi Nick,

    Alright, fair enough, but Truisms and Truth aren’t quite the same thing are they.
    Having said that, “Learning from the past” includes the whole past; most of which occurred before WW2.

    “By the way when did the ‘others’ excluding Ulster last get 14% as a group’?”
    I don’t think it matters…
    I find this chart interesting: it shows there are periods where one set of norms prevails; and then suddenly changes:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b7/Popular_vote.jpg
    …It didn’t matter for Labour in their early days; or the Liberals at various stages; or even the SNP not so long ago; It’s the trends and the conditions that matter at points like these.

    Political party membership has steadily declined since the 60s, and critically so in Labour since ’97:
    http://courses.essex.ac.uk/gv/gv519/GV519 Lecture11 Party Members.ppt
    I think that is a terminal decline… the internet is replacing it quicker than may have been expected; and that it could have effects over the next two years, as everyone scrambles to try and emulate Obama in some clumsy way.
    (btw have you seen the miserable photo of Grumpy Gordon on the Labour website next to grinning Obama?!)

    I would argue that the increase in the deposit is consolidating the minor parties in a sort of Darwinian way, and it seems likely that the emerging winners of that process will be the Greens and the BNP, and they will focus their resources and techniques where they can win, and whilst they may have fewer candidates overall, they seem to be becoming more agile and savvy than the old order.

    So I’m not predicting a Green-BNP coalition government, but I am suggesting that *all the “others”* will amount to about 14% of actual votes next election (obviously including NI).
    It’s a matter of how effective the “others” are at getting abstainers to vote again; and capturing floaters, rather than expecting the bedrock of the main three to decline any further.

    alright James,
    I take the lazy “many” as the logical fallacy it is; I make the reasonable assumption that “many = more than half” (as it usually is meant to when deployed that way), and knowing that turnout is about 60%, that’s still an awful lot of people to be casting aspersions on.
    I’m saying that 10-15% of voters have suddenly abandoned the process; and those people have either died leaving noone to replace their tendency; or been turned off… and it’s those perhaps 10% (roughly) that have been turned off that could come back and vote “Others” if targeted by the Others in new ways.

    I don’t interpret it in absolutist terms… for a start I’m well aware that there are plenty of people who don’t even appear on electoral rolls.

    I think it would be reasonable to suggest that turnout of anything over 70% would be a sign of health in the system; it’s the suddenness and steepness of the trend that I think is worth drawing conclusions from, not the absolute figures.

    People suddenly having no interest in politics is noteworthy, and many feel a symptom of other problems.
    If you think it doesn’t matter, I’d suggest it wasn’t me who was kidding myself.

    I think the coming year will be more of the gradual effects of the crash seeping through various industries and housing markets (like a 25% fall in value over the year, and increase in repossessions accumulating towards the autumn), with a few more uncomfortable sleazy revelations for all three parties… it could be an “interesting” summer.

  44. …before I get accused of contradicting myself, I mean that:
    1. the total “others” were about 9% in 2005 (3% being NI); and I think they’ll be about 50% higher (i.e. 14%) as a total, due to increase “other” votes in England: so about 9-10% excluding NI.)
    2. I think there’s the potential for this “others” group to grow to 15% (excluding NI), if things really deteriorate economically and in terms of confidence in the established parties over the next 12 months.
    3. None of this really guarantees any more than the odd one or two seats I think.

  45. Jack,

    Out of interest does anyone have any figures for how many people are not enrolled who could be in the UK?

    That should, in principle, include all non-British nationals who are not eligible to vote – though I bet a fair number of them are on the roll and do vote – albeit some of them may not even know it !.

    The Government have proposed moving from household registration to individual registration. The idea appears to be to reduce the influence of the “head of household”, and also to improve turnout.

    My prediction: Individual registration will significantly improve turnout among registered voters, but only by massively reducing the number of registered voters. It will not increase the number of UK nationals who actually vote.

  46. Promsan

    I still don’t think you get the point we were making despite the best efforts of Peter Cairns and myself to try to explain it to you.
    I will simply end this thread by making my first forecast for the next election which is that neither the Greens, BNP or UKIP will win a single seat and if they do I will eat my hat.. No make that several hats.

  47. Nick, I assume you must mean the next GENERAL election. I would bet my bottom dollar that all these parties will win some seats at the next local elections, and that at least two of them will win seats in the European elections. I believe that these two elections will be held on the same day and will be before the next General Election.

  48. @Prosman – you didn’t actually answer my question. Who did you vote for and who will you vote for?

  49. @Nick – I have a few if you run short.

  50. Pete B/ Keir

    Yes following on from my previous thread I did of course mean the next general election. The forthcoming Euro and local elections are another matter entirely. I would guess that the anticipated low turnout on June 4th will help the smaller parties to some extent although I am not sure if the seats being fought in the local elections are in what might be termed fertile fields for the likes of the BNP or perhaps even the Greens.

    I won’t be needing your hats Keir but thanks for the offer. As a matter of interest other than a Green victory in Brighton Kemptown where do you guys think the minor parties in England have a chance of making any gains at the next GE?

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