We won’t get any polling reaction to the budget for a couple of days – even if anyone does carry out an instant poll this afternoon for publication tomorrow, I’m not a huge fan of them as the fieldwork ends up being done after the budget speech has been given, but before respondents have actually taken it in or read the media’s analysis of it. Our first real measure will be YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph on Friday – and that’s assuming it’s not going to be held back a day or three to get a better taste of the budget reaction.

In the meantime I’ve now got confirmation that the Marketing Sciences poll carried out for the Sunday Telegraph was indeed done using the same methodology as ICM, so the two polls should be directly comparable. Looking again at them…

MS (Apr 15th-16th) – CON 43%, LAB 26%, LDEM 21%
ICM(Apr 17th-19th) – CON 40%, LAB 30%, LDEM 19%

In theory it’s possible that there was a 3.5% swing to Labour within just two days, even though the media was still unremittingly horrid for them, but more likely the difference is just down to normal sample error. There’s no reason why the real position couldn’t be somewhere between the two polls.

It is a good reminder that polls are subject to sample error, that two polls done using exactly the same method, at pretty much the same time, can still show different results, and we should never get too excited over movements of 1 or 2 points in a single poll, unless it supports a trend that has been observed over a number of different polls.


64 Responses to “More on that Marketing Sciences Poll”

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  1. Just tried and it goes into the moderation queue

  2. Returning to the debate, Keir (the feeling’s mutual!) do you expect the language of polarisation to come back across the despatcjh box and media?

    There’s been a fdew remarks alonf the lines of “we’re back where we were last summer”, but I suspect more intense exchanges of ideology between Brown and Cameron could have an increasing impact on th polls.

  3. Absolutely, the argument is completely different now. In fact in terms of getting back to where we were last summer is more fantastical than certain predictions :-)

    The whole has changed, no longer are we discussing how a thing would be done differently, we are stating where the culture of the country and the day to day impact of the recession will effect the lives of every single person.

    It’s why I believe that if not by this election but the one after for definite the Lib Dems will be the second party with them moving to a governement within the next 4 GE’s

    It will be really interesting to see if labour can hold it together long enough for a good campaign on the local and euro elections as this must be seen as the last chance for GB. If as others have said they come through that and either change leader or have a better than expected turnout then they may be able to stave off a route. However as I believe will be the case, the Local and Euro elections will be a disaster.

    Also as you mention, ideology will also come into play and the line that it is now Labour who are the “Nasty Party” (not my quote) while DC is looking to save frontline services and protect the NHS funding you could see many more public sector workers heading his way as well as better support from unions.

  4. @Anthony – :-)

  5. “if not by this election but the one after for definite the Lib Dems will be the second party ”

    They might, as you so clearly say, be a “one term” govt which destroys the centre-right and leaves it open for the Libdems. Maybe a new “alliance” with David Davis as Shirley? :)

  6. Wouldn’t be too far outiside of belief

  7. @Keir – I agree I can see the dividing lines being drawn very noticably over the coming months other issues I won’t go into.

    Don’t share your view on the Liberal Democrats there no figures, well none that i’m aware of, that shows a hidden potential core of voters big enough to challenge Labour or Cons. Every poll I’ve seen has shown no marked increase in approval of any Liberal politican or policy.

    Wasn’t there a poll out a few weeks back that showed a majority of workers in the NHS back the Cons at the moment?

  8. “VAT and income tax, petrol duty, IHT , NI (all types) have different effects. You prefer higher VAT to higher income tax. However (and there’s legitimate debate about this), a VAT cut cannot leave the money “saved”, it must be spent.”

    I suspect this debate comes from the same people that believe the way to financial health and prosperity is to spend more. Well, Gordon has shown us how that works. We are broke.

    So whats the argument? That a VAT cut causes people to go out and destroy more wealth by buying more consumer rubbish? Or that it can be “spent” some other way?

    “Ken Clarke agreed in the Autumn that a VAT cut was the better route, and he’s not exactly a left-winger is he?”

    You may think he is not a left winger. He is not right of centre I know that. I fear he is overrated and more of a personality than anything. His return is political. (I have always wished he was left on the back benches. DC wimped out at the sight of Mandy.) Although he has now had had the sense to denounce Keynesianism. But then even Callaghan eventually had the sense to denounce Keynesianism.

    “Where both sides agree is that it needs to be paid back asap, and that, I think is the difference between the Labour Party of to-day and that of the seventies.”

    And just what time frame do you mean by “ASAP?” Five years? Ten years? Three decades?
    I dont think Labour of today believe it needs to be paid back “ASAP” at all. Either this, or they are living in cuckoo land with regards to our future ability to pay, the finances/forecasting, and the crippling pain that will be experienced in the mean time. (The interest alone is going to be bigger than the entire defense budget!) Im not sure which situation is scarier.

    I suspect the real and more sinister truth though is that whether they know it needs to be paid back or not is irrelevant. Because they dont care. Because everything they are doing is with June 2010 in mind, not people’s futures.

    “I owed a lot on my credit card a couple of years ago.”

    Yes, I am not shocked by this. Congratulations on seeing sense and managing to pay it off though. Maybe you should run for Labour. You may well be an improvement on the lot they have now.

    Whilst I understand what you are trying to say re: your personal circumstances, you are reaching when trying to compare it to the UK finances. Clearly your debt was not crippling. It was small enough you were able to pay it off in two years. You apparently didnt borrow a whole lot more in the meantime either. As DC would say, you fixed the roof when, for you, the sun was shining.

    My trouble with your thinking here is that, given your politics, you no doubt think government “investment” is analogous to your car and is going to increase our wealth and prosperity and allow us to pay off our debts. Wrong. Just like the governments of the Soviet Union and Communist China could not invest and achieve prosperity as effectively as the private sector with all its supposed flaws.

  9. @Chris – The core Liberal vote has increase in figures over the last few election (with some glitches). Remeber also that we are talking about political shift over the last 150 years. When it changed before it nhappened quickly due to a few mistakes made by the liberal’s joining the “Alliance” with Labour at the time.

    Vince Cable is also being shown as one of the most trusted figures in politics at the moment. They also appeal to the student and protest votes.

    I believe you are correct re the NHS workers, but this does not imediately change the statements of the Unions leadership.

  10. Ugh, I must have been writing posts on and off for about 3 hours. I have been about as productive as a public sector worker today. Must go. Will let Chris Newey have the last word.

  11. you no doubt think government “investment” is analogous to your car

    I don’t. What I do believe is that targetting tax cuts at spending taxes allows viable private businesses to survive better than they would if they had to downsize to unsustainable levels.

    I think you are wrongin the belief that Darling and Brown don’t care about the future, but I think we can agree to differ on that one.

    As far as the central argument … “the way to financial health and prosperity is to spend more” Well, it is NOW, in my view. If we don’t keep spending now, we get deflation very soon. (Can we at least agree that that would not be a good thing?)

    When we start to experience growth, we should then rein in tightly, so that we don’t experience a huge surge in demand (leading to inflation), high interest rates and further pain.

    Still, I’m glad to have ended up with a relatively sensible exchange, rather than what there was earlier.

  12. @John TT

    If we don’t keep spending now, we get deflation very soon. (Can we at least agree that that would not be a good thing?)

    Inflation would be bad
    Deflation would be bad
    Would anything be good?!

    It’s surely becoming evident, that not only is subsidising indolence bad for everyone; but it’s not even financially viable.

    I’d go for setting up special economic zones in the regions to incubate entrepreneurs (not unlike your Jaebol/Zaibatsu thing in the far east).
    Recessions are supposed to be good times to start businesses …it’s invention that is really needed now …and the recognition that there’s no benefit in giving everyone a degree in everything; and that part of the raison d’etre of a country is that it is a partial-closed market, and you need to allow the working classes to benefit from demand in non-academic goods and services markets, rather than inciting class war through aggressive pro-immigration/globalisation policies.
    Tax people on what they spend, rather than what they earn and let the flab fall off the state – but give it somewhere to go… to SEZs to transform all that latency into potency.

    @ Keir
    If the LDP put Cable in charge, I’m sure they’d put the willies up the Labour Party.
    There’s like a sort of “competence membrane” that the LDP has yet to penetrate; they need someone whos face and name people can remember, unlike whatisface.

    The only way the LDP could become the third party is if the Labour Party splits in twain (again) – which is not unlikely at this rate!

  13. Chris Newey,

    Sorry to contradict you, but the poll of public sector workers to which you referred showed that it was the LDs who were backed by the largest number (but most certainly not a majority).

    What needs to be differentiated when analysing the likelihood of LDs replacing Labour as the opposition to the Conservatives is that whereas they may come close to Lab in share of the vote, they would actually have to be miles ahead before they even came close in terms of MPs.

    We often see reference to the electoral bias which allows Labour to possibly win a majority while being some 5% behind Cons in share of vote, this affect applied in spades to teh Lab/LD “bias” – which merely reflects that hitherto LDs have been second in far more Conservative seats than in Labour seats.

    But one should also ask why that is so. the reason is simple. In many parts of England LDs have already replaced Labour as the opposition to Conservatives. Since they are seen as being closer to Lab than Con, theer has been no real need for them to “replace” Labour in areas where Labour is still strong.
    The process of restructuring / realignment could take three parliaments, but it is increasingly likely to happen.

    Step 1 (2010) – Lab loses 100+ seats to Cons, while LDs replace Lab as 2nd to Con in those already held.
    Step 2 (2014/5) – Lab falls further back in the seats it lost in 2010, and LDs overtake them in many of these seats
    Step 3 (2018-2010) – As Con government starts to lose seats (but probably retains power with reduced majority) LDs finally overtake Lab by taking from Con some of those seats which Lab lost in 2010.

    This is a far moer realistic scenario than the idea that somehow the LDs are going to win large numbers of seats from incumbent Lab MPs (though there may well be some 10-20 of those in 2010).

    If Labour believe that they do not need to fear LDs and cosy up to them in the hope that somehow there might be a hung Parliament and Nick Clegg will keep Brown in power, then they really do need a reality check. Nick Clegg may not be the most effective leader LDs have had, but he is not stupid.

  14. @Paul HJ – “If Labour believe that they do not need to fear LDs and cosy up to them in the hope that somehow there might be a hung Parliament and Nick Clegg will keep Brown in power, then they really do need a reality check. Nick Clegg may not be the most effective leader LDs have had, but he is not stupid.” my point exactly, a reversal of the “alliance” that destroyed the liberals in the first place – it would be ironic. For the next election as much as I as a tory supporter would like to see a lib dem oppostion, I do agree that is unlikely, however they may end up being the moral opposition in terms of voter share and second party places. Especcially when the alternative would be a disgraced labour party.

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