Two new Sunday polls

We’ve been a fortnight without a poll, but after a bit of a drought we have two tomorrow, ICM in the Sunday Mirror and YouGov in the Sunday Times.

Topline figures for ICM are CON 43%(+2), LAB 26%(-1) LDEM 19%(-1) – changes are from the last ICM poll, conducted all the way back in early/mid July. I think this is the second largest lead ICM have ever recorded for the Conservatives, the highest being 20 points in June 2008.

Topline figures for YouGov, with changes from a week ago, are CON 42%(+1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 18%(nc). Presumably, with all the main parties up one point, the drop comes purely from the “other” parties continuing to return to normal as the European election effect declines.

Two polls, neither showing much overall change. I haven’t seen the actual dates of the fieldwork confirmed yet, but they were likely both done on or around Thursday and Friday, so in the middle of the “WeLovetheNHS” fuss, suggesting no vast effect.

I would be slightly dubious about any big shift in Summer polls anyway. In theory there is a risk of samples being slightly strange because of people on holiday, although in practice summertime doesn’t normally produce too many wierd and wacky polls. I’ve always believed the summer break has the potential to help out a government in trouble, since the August diet of human interest stories about skateboarding dogs is a break from political bad news, though obviously there isn’t any sign of a summer recovery for Labour yet.

More to come later on, ICM apparently includes questions on Peter Mandleson as Labour leader.

UPDATE: Whoops, the YouGov figure for the Lib Dems should be 18%(nc), not 19%.


128 Responses to “Two new Sunday polls”

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  1. Very good we now have something in which to get our teeth.

    On the face of it these top line figures show what many have been expecting (or is it hoping?) would show the Tories well into the 40’s. It would on a Unifoirm basis give the Conservatives a majority of well over 100.

    BUT I suspect these figues result from work done before the latest Dan Hannan / NHS saga so may be we should be a little careful before assuming too much.

  2. I am not surprised ,the left wing have spun themselves into a mess.

    Brown after the French & Germans reject his & Obama’s G20 stimulus’WE ARE WELL PLACED COMPARED TO OUR G7 COMPETITORS’

    With France & Germany out of recession & UK & USA in recession & massive debt ,Brown has been proved wrong.

    Now the left are spinning like mad,the message now is ,isn’t it great that France & Germany are out of recession ,we can be happy that we will be out of it soon.

    So why did we go into debt that according to the ONS will take 20 years to pay down?

    The German finance miniser called the UK borrowing ‘breathtaking’ & ‘crass’ was he right?

  3. I’ve just put this into your Swingometer. Am I right in thinking that the poll translates into Cons 388, Labour 197, LibDem 36, Others 11. Conservative Majority 126?

    The Others figure in the last pargraph is as always too low, because polls don’t pick up individual seats with special situations. But in addition, recent discussion suggests that Labour are in line to do worse than the polls suggest. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, qualitiative reports on this site suggest that electors are going o be anti-Labour rather than pro-Tory, and will be pretty good, or bad depending on how you look at it, at identifying and voting for whichever party is second to Labour, or likely to win (Greens in Brioghton Pavillion?).
    Secondly, reports on this site again suggest that Labour are doing disproportionately badly in their “safe” seats. Essentially, working class voters are feeling that the Government has given money to the bankers etc. rather than use it to protect ordinary people’s employment and services. hese reports can will to some extent be provable or otherwise by looking at social class and regional sub-analyses of polls such as this.

    In short, Labour may do comparatively well in their “marginals” (roughly Tory targets 1 – 100), but badly in “safer” seats they need to keep. So, if the overall levels of support remain as in this opinion poll, Labour may get more like 150 than 200 seats, whilst the LibDems may get about 50 rather than 35.

    Whilst it is an interesting tit-bit that this is ICM’s second highest lead for the Conservaitves, the figures are not significantly different from those in ICM’s last poll.

    Either nothing is happening to change people’s views during the Summer or they have mostly already made their minds up.Or, as I suspect, both.

  4. I posted before Tony had added the YouGov data, but actually the YouGove and ICM polls are remarkably (excellently?!) similar this time in terms of their overall figures.

  5. Do we know when this poll was conducted? if it was before the events of last few days then this poll needs to treated with a big pinch of salt.

  6. Working on the basis that YouGov polls are always the most accurate, this shows the “others” vote declining further, and a 14 point lead for the Conservatives. Very healthy.

  7. I have seen reports of people doing YouGov on Thursday & Friday, so during the fuss over Hannan… YouGov and ICM are two of my favourite pollsters as their methodologies seem to be more accurate and they get more accurate results. What we are seeing is an unwinding of others on a slow but sure basis. Considering the public are bored with politics at this stage of the year, we are still in the steady as you go phase. It will take the conference season I suspect to force any movement in the polls.

  8. Sunday Times now confirms YouGov with the fieldwork during 13th/14th…

  9. Yet again, the question of the “others” arises on the basis of a GB poll. I don’t know enough about the pattern in England and Wales to suggest whether this needs to be “regionalised” demographically to provide accurate polling, but Scottish politics (2 larger – SNP/Lab : and 2 minor – Con/LD) suggests that trying to predict results on a GB wide poll is pointless.

    A relatively small switch from LD to SNP since the June YouGov Scottish poll, for example, would suggest a very significant switch of seats in Scotland.

    That doesn’t matter for the UK Parliament, if English polling is accurate since English votes will always determine the UK result unless England is hung.

  10. I doubt the Danial Hannan row will have much effect on the polls. The public are suspicious about the Tories attitude to the NHS anyway. All Hannan has done if confirm what the public always think – Namely the Tories don’t care much for the NHS.

    However, I think the public DO trust David Cameron with the NHS, which is an important distinction, because Cameron is vastly more popular than his party in the same way Tony Blair was in the 90’s. As long as the public believe Cameron is in control of his party and will protect the NHS, the Tories should get away with it relatively unscathed.

  11. If it is really true that the fieldwork began after the Duncan/Hannan idiocies, then this could be pretty scary for Labour. I think they had their tails up for the past 48 hrs and if it doesn’t dent the Tory lead that will suggest that the government is in John Major (“everything you say and do is bad because of who you are”) territory. Personally I think that there will be some negative impact on the Tory vote eventually but perhaps not as bad as many had thought.

    I have also wondered whether Cameron has an opportunity for something of a Clause Four moment. He has been positioning himself and very, very pro-NHS over the past year without getting very much press for it. If the media focus turns to the question of “What would the Tories do with Health Policy?” then wily PR-guru Cameron may have a chance to set out his stall more effectively.

  12. I think a part of Cameron’s problem is that a fairly large section of the public actually agree with Dan Hannan about the NHS. Cameron is right to publicly condemn Hannan from an electoral point of view – but he needs to be careful not to get stuck in Labour’s policy of pouring money into a wasteful and poorly administered NHS.

    The Alan Duncan matter was handled poorly however. After squashing so many backbenchers for pretty inocuous things – he should have taken out Duncan as well. Not to mention the fact that a sizeable chunk of Tories cannot stand Alan Duncan and some no doubt will avoid voting Tory for the simple reason that Alan Duncan is a frontbencher – Cameron had the perfect excuse to chop him and he bottled it.

  13. It is certainly a rare oddity to have Yougov rather than ICM showing Labour scoring higher.

    The lack of Brown on TV may be a factor in these relatively high scores for them.

    These polls do confirm that the support for the ‘others’ has shrunk somewhat. I’m still pretty confident that come September it will be the norm for Labour to poll 24/25, Cons 42/43, Lib Dems 19-22.

  14. A good result for the Tories (especially on ICM) and good for Libs, mixed bag for Labour but definite evidence of the others vote coming down to earth.

    Yougov Labour result is notable, highest vote they’ve achieved since 17/05 and before then 19/04. Looks like their vote is floating back up to the surface after their truly abysmal results of the last few months.

  15. Stephen W

    No result is “notable” if it is within the margin of error like this one.

  16. I think the news filtering through about upcoming petrol tax increases will dampen any “welovetheNHS” effect. I think even without that, David Cameron has done enough to distance himself from the wacky end of the conservative party.

  17. If Labour recovers a few points to about 31% and the Tories hold about 41%, and the Other vote is quite high at 11%,
    then that points to a pretty bad Lib Dem result does it not ?

  18. @Neil, a fairly large chunk of the population agreeing that the NHS is wasteful (and probably having unrealistic expectations of efficiency), and pretty much the whole of the right wing presumably would spend less…and yes, there is doubtless fair support for various sorts of reforms….but Hannan appeared to be pretty firmly supporing the current us system over the NHS…..and I reckon that view is pretty extreme….

    I think Gin has it right, the public don’t trust the tories with the NHS at all (people talk about it being wasteful these days, under the tories they talked about it being crap)…but Dave is Tony Blair II: sits firmly in the centre and convinces the public (probably with fair accuracy) that his govt won’t follow the wing of its party…

    So long as he keeps Hannan firmly at legs length he’ll manage, and it seems like he was keeping him there already…it could even play well….no-one wants a Hannan in charge of the NHS, but his sorta right wingness is what the public seem to want in an MEP.

    @Joe James, yes…Lib Dems are achieving nothing in circumstances where they should thrive, I’ve pretty much moved to being completely independant now….

  19. Wouldn’t expect to see much shift caused by the Dan Hannan affair – it’s like suggesting a statement by Dennis Skinner would cause the Tory vote to go up. They are the known fringe and discounted by most voters overall.
    The Duncan affair might be worth a couple of %, but more likely it will soften the voting intention really.
    Oldnat, the LibDem vote in Scotland has been a remarkably resilient thing, often sustained by personality at the local level. We might see a shift in the North East this GE, but I wouldn’t expect much – politics in these areas can be 4-party at times and FPTP is atrocious at representing trends in such circumstances.

  20. “No result is “notable” if it is within the margin of error like this one.”

    True that it is within margin of error on their last result from Yougov, but if you look at every other YouGov poll since the start of May it is a 3% or more rise. Lab haven’t got this high with yougov since 4th April.

  21. Having said that of course we’ll need to wait for results from other polls to be sure.

    It’s possible that this result is just a rogue. But it fits with the trend of the gentle return of others support to the big three, and also the pretty even return of this support with no one party benefitting overall.

  22. @Wood-

    “but Hannan appeared to be pretty firmly supporting the current us system over the NHS…”

    Absolute rubbish-read what he actually said which includes the following:-

    “I repeatedly emphasised that I thought their set-up could be improved, that costs were too high, that litigation drove up premiums and that powers could be shifted from big insurance companies to individuals. There is a difference between saying that the US shouldn’t adopt the British model and saying that Britain should adopt the American model. Think about it for a few seconds”

    and-

    ” the model I’ve been pushing for is one of personal healthcare accounts, a system most closely approximated in Singapore, whose people enjoy a higher level of healthcare than Britons do while paying considerably less for it. Nor can it be repeated often enough that Singapore – like every developed country – pays for the healthcare of those citizens who can’t afford it. No one I know wants a system where the poor go untended. Nor will you find such a system outside the Third World”

    Singapore is rated 6th by WHO in world healthcare systems-UK is 16th & US is 37th.

    The debate in USA-which Hannan joined-is about the state provision of health insurance-not the state provision of health treatment. Incidentally the USA has the latter too-in Medicare & Medicaid.

    There is a crying need for a debate in civilised countries about how health care is funded. In USA just now this debate is taking place in town halls all over the country & it’s great to see the issues & concerns ( & misconceptions) being aired so strongly.

    ….and in UK?….the Labour party brands anyone who dares to question the current NHS model as “unpatriotic”. This PC scaremongering is a disgrace & reminiscent of their approach on immigration & “race”. It is counter democratic & designed to smear oponents whilst supressing debate on a subject of vital importance to the country.

    …and Cameron is as complicit in this as Brown.

  23. This is Wikipedia’s description of Hannan’s preferred model :-

    “Singapore has a universal health care system where government ensures affordability, largely through compulsory savings and price controls, while the private sector provides most care. Overall spending on health care amounts to only 3% of annual GDP. Of that, 66% comes from private sources. Singapore currently has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world (equaled only by Iceland) and among the highest life expectancies from birth, according to the World Health Organization. Singapore has “one of the most successful healthcare systems in the world, in terms of both efficiency in financing and the results achieved in community health outcomes,” according to an analysis by global consulting firm Watson Wyatt. Singapore’s system uses a combination of compulsory savings from payroll deductions (funded by both employers and workers) a nationalized catastrophic health insurance plan, and government subsidies, as well as “actively regulating the supply and prices of healthcare services in the country” to keep costs in check; the specific features have been described as potentially a “very difficult system to replicate in many other countries.” Many Singaporeans also have supplemental private health insurance (often provided by employers) for services not covered by the government’s programs.”

    If that is anywhere near the truth we should be debating it & asking why we could not replicate it.

    Political debate in this country has been totally debased & supressed by parties who are more concerned about the “image” they present to citizens , rather than what is what is best for citizens.

  24. …and here’s a Poll on the subject-quoted by Fraser Nelson in Coffee House:-

    From OECD Health Data 2009:-

    Public attitudes on what the National Healthcare system needs ( in seven countries)

    Minor changes /Fundamental changes/Completely rebuild the system :-

    USA 16/48/34
    UK 26/57/15

    So Brown & Cameron are both in a minority position in UK.

  25. @ Colin, what he ”appeared” to be doing and what he actually said…..especially what he actually said in worried ‘clarification’ after the event….are not necessarily the same thing…although in this case, I feel they are close….the debate in america is whether or not to adopt Obamas changes, he was batting for the ‘nots’ with claims that the NHS is awful…that seems fairly solidly backing the current us system over the NHS to me.

    I’d also worry if you find yourself quoting claims that the poor only go untended in the third world….much of the heat of the american debate stems from the fact that some people do slip through the cracks in the us setup…

    Singapore…nah, can’t see it happening over here….we don’t exactly have similar circumstances. Maybe we could learn from France some if we want to improve….although the lesson in that case may well be to spend a lot more money on it…

    I agree with you broadly about open debate on the NHS…and indeed any topic, and that people, Labour in particular…go nuts if anyone dares suggest anything too different. I think the patriotic label only came out in these circumstances, it’s not a usual one used over here……I also think that it would be a very bad idea to hold such a debate at the same time as the american one….I really, really…wouldn’t want any of their ideas rubbing off over here….

    “Political debate in this country has been totally debased & supressed by parties who are more concerned about the “image” they present to citizens , rather than what is what is best for citizens.”

    Couldn’t agree more with that.

    Your last poll just reminds me of the biggest problem with democracy….that most people have little to no idea what they’re talking about.
    I’m not saying someone would have to have no idea in order to want reform of the NHS, merely that the whole idea of asking the (legendary) average man on the street how to run the NHS is very very shaky in my mind….

    Personally my view is that the NHS is far from perfect, but better than a great many countries (18th isn’t bad, considering we’re competing with nations like singapore…), and considering the amount we spend on it we get fairly good value for money, and there are only relatively minor changes I’d make unless the public wanted to spend a lot more on it…which it seems they don’t.

    We’ve gone waaay off the polls now, but frankly….these polls are boring :)

  26. On the 18th September last year the Lib Dems scored in two polls 20 and 21 in response to their conference. Previously they were averaging 17 and thus it represented a rise of 3 to 4 points.

    That rise was very short lived. But I think this year there is a good chance that they will gain a 3 to 4 point boost. But this time given the economic and political climate I think it may be permenant. Therefore we would see the Lib Dems rise from an average 19 to an average 22.

    The result on Labour’s support should be that they will be anchored below 27 between now and the election. The Conservatives I expect to polling between 42 to 44.

    If like at the last election campaign the Lib Dems rise by 3 points they would probably surpass Labour in votes.

  27. @philip JW

    That’s an awful lot of “ifs”. We don’t really know what will happen to the LD vote between now and the next election. It is so dependent of the performance of the other parties that it is impossible to quantify. I’d never rule out LDs outpolling Labour but given that Labour are already down to their hardcore bedrock support and are still a little above the LDs I think it would be an extraordinary achievement.

    On the other hand, the LibDems could deprive Labour of any real claim to being a national party if they replace them as the opposition to the Tories in more and more regions.

  28. Philip, I don’t see why the LibDems should pick 3% between now and the election. I agree that the LibDems usually pick up a little as people begin to think about the election. But Government parties also pick up as people begin to think about the next parliament rather than making a protest.

    Nobody has picked up since my last post: that as there is now a greater variety of parties, some of them concentrating on specific seats, it more than ever matters not only how many votes the parties get but where they are getting them. It looks to me from comments being posted for individual seats that Labour is likely to be the loser from this next time.

    I have just gone to Tony’s swingometer. I assumed that the LibDems would get 19%, as in the latest polls, and Others would get 12%. I then varied the Tory and Labour percentages to get the following:-

    C 37% Lab 30% C 314 Lab 269 LD 47
    C 38% Lab 29% C 336 Lab 240 LD 45
    C 39% Lab 28% C 354 Lab 224 LD 42
    C 40% Lab 27% C 371 Lab 209 LD 41
    C 41% Lab 26% C 388 Lab 197 LD 36
    C 42% Lab 25% C 405 Lab 181 LD 35
    C 43% Lab 24% C 419 Lab 168 LD 34
    C 44% Lab 23% C 442 Lab 148 LD 31
    C 45% Lab 22% C 447 Lab 143 LD 31
    C 46% Lab 21% C 453 Lab 136 LD 31
    C 47% Lab 20% C 466 Lab 126 LD 19
    Numbers other than percentages are numbers of seats.
    (I haven’t double checked these figures, but the general points they represent will hold).

    The most importan point I would like to make is that on the current poll prediction Labour is actually just holding onto a lot of seats. If Labour were to get back to 29% they would notionally save 43 seats on my figures above, but if they lose another 3% they lose 49 seats. Once Labour fall below 23% they lose fewer seats per percentage point of the national vote lost: in effect they are down towards their bedrock of very safe seats.

    These figures reinforce my impression from looking at threads for a lot of individual seats. The state of public opinion is such that a whole class of seats is notionally in the balance. And when you look at them they are largely working class town and smaller city seats in the South and Midlands of England. Places like the Southampton seats, Reading West, Gloucester. Cardiff West and Cardiff South etc. And there is an obvious reason they are in jeopardy. They are seats where a lot of people with “ordinary” jobs (or out of work) are very angry about the Government’s bailout of the banks etc. instead of regenerating the country’s industrial base. They are also hurt by other things like the decline of town centre shopping and underinvestment in transport (a number of these seats are former railway centres – the Crewe and Nantwich by-election should have warned Labour).

    Now let me forward my narrative by looking at the LibDem seats. You will see that even though I have assumed the LibDems will get 19%, if Labour gets 30% the LibDems notionally get 49 seats, whereas Labour gets 20% the LibDems get 31 seats. This is because the Conservatives are second to the LibDems in many more seats than Labour. But these figures are of course misleading in that the Labour vote is already very low in many of these seats, indeed they may hardly have 10% of the vote to start with. A big national swing against Labour is not going to extend to seats in which Labour has lost its vote already. And the same applies to as many or more seats the Tories are narrowly holding from the LibDems.

    If the swing against Labour is not taking place in safe Tory/Lib Dem seats the actual swing is greater elsewhere, I think in the safer Labour seats. In addition, reports on this site indicate that the Tories and LibDems are effectively targetting some surprisingly safe Labour seats – the most spectacular example is possibly Hemsworth in Yorkshire. My impression is that Labour’s expectation should actually be down to its 150 “bedrock” seats, and even one or two of those are being specifically threatened.

    I agree with Neil A that even more than in the 1980s Labour is going to be deprived of the claim to be a national party unless Labour can recover from its current position in the opinion polls. But it is not the LibDems who are creating this threat. It is likely high swings to the Tories in the seats that Labour would hope to hold onto as “islands” in the South of England. The LibDems are indeed targetting Labour seats, for instance Ashfield in Nottinghamshire and Burnley in Lanchashire. But they will largely be cherr-picking places within Labour’s remaining areas, where the Tories have not yet reached.

    There is, sadly, an additional problem for Labour in that they may come to be seen as the minority community party for city seats they hold onto in the South and Midlands, which will really only be London and Birmingham. Labour could already be stereotyped as the party that sells out to foreign interests in relation to finance (Mandelson on his yachting holdiays?!) This may make it hard for them ever to come back in suburbia, which is largely where they recovered in 1997.

    Rather than ask where Labour will lose, one might ask where they are confident of holding on. Perhaps 50 seats in Scotland and Wales. A couple more groups in the North East and in the Liverpool and Manchester connurbation. Some in Yorkshire, for instance Alan Johnson in Hull, although Labour look to have particular difficulties within the broad area of Yorkshire, not least because of William Hague’s image there. And then some seats in the West Midlands and London. And probably, but not certainly, Bristol South as an outpost in the South many miles away from the next Labour seat. Yes, that probably does come to about the 130 seats Labour would notionally hold on 20-21% of the vote.

    P.S. A 3% increase or decrease in the LibDem vote does not have a major effect on the number of Labour MPs becuase the LibDems are second in comparatively few Labour seats. In addition, the LibDem challenge to Labour is focussed on campaigning in a limited number of targeted seats. If the LibDems succeed in doing better in their targetted seats, their opinion poll standing will not be a good guide as to the number of seats they stand to gain.

  29. You may like to qualify my previous post by Richard’s analysis, posted on the South Ribble thread, for the highest swings based on County Council election results. This suggests that some marginals are the seats swinging hardest, and South Robble highest of all. But Richard’s figures do suggest that the lowest wsings from Labour to Conservative are in very safe Tory seats, which is in line with my impressions. And his figures are not incompatible with high swings in the seats I have suggested to be in the balance at present.

  30. Unless some massive game changer happens we are looking at C41 L27

  31. In the close 1992 election campaign, after 13 years of an incumbent government, and during a period of recession when the arguments were very much on that subject,
    the LDs lost support for about 16 days at the end of the campaign.
    In fact, if I remember correctly, one poll at the very start had them ridiculously low, so taking that out it’s questionable whether they rose during the campaign atall.
    (I posted a full analysis of this some time ago on one of these poll threads, having been shouted down).

    In fact, don’t rely on what I say. I had a peak in Paddy Ashdown’s diaries and he said almost quote – never felt slipping slipping away at the end of a campaign like this before.

  32. Sorry – what I meant to say is the result they got in 1992 was lower than their average poll rating for the last 16 days of the campaign.

  33. ‘RICH
    I am not surprised ,the left wing have spun themselves into a mess.’

    Not convinced that Brown and New Labour qualify as ‘left-wing’; they are left of the Tories certainly but ‘Old Labour’ would certainly not view ‘New Labour’. as ‘left wing’ and I think I agree that ‘New Labour is rumbling around somewhere in the centre-that’s how they got in. That’s why even the Liberals seem ‘left’ as New Labour is centrist on an historic level.

  34. ‘GIN
    I doubt the Danial Hannan row will have much effect on the polls. The public are suspicious about the Tories attitude to the NHS anyway. All Hannan has done if confirm what the public always think – Namely the Tories don’t care much for the NHS.’

    I agree I think the public would view all ‘real’ tories as having health insurance…

  35. “I agree I think the public would view all ‘real’ tories as having health insurance…”

    Therein lies the prejudice in the way some people try to present Tories. There are three times as many people who support the Tories as there are people with Health Insurance. And although on average a Tory politician is more likely to have health insurance than any other party (I would guess), I would say that most of them probably don’t. Apart from anything else, an MP’s salary isn’t necessarily in the “private health care” bracket.

    I am a lifelong Tory supporter, as were my father and mother, fiancee, and both of her parents. All of used the NHS and none of us has ever had Health Insurance.

  36. Hey there oldnat- dean here

    I think that what everyone needs to remember is that these headline figures bare little reality to particular ‘marginals’ which everyone expects to go tory.

    After all- tory target 30 is north perthshire- if the SNP loose that seat then I shall give everyone a pound (no not really). And then once you extrapolate this logic to the first 200 marginals, you find the tories will not make the kind of gains polls generally suggest.
    Wales- the last I heard was the tories on 30%+-
    Scotland 17% +-

    Simply not enough regional polling data to go on from YouGov/ICM for us to understand any overall picture as we cannot translate these figures regionally.

    TNS is the best we’ve got
    (and I know oldnat loves this particular polling agent, which tends to be more accurate in recording Scottish voting intention).

  37. @Rich I think its much better to try to keep to facts, and then analyse them according to your views. Germany and France DID NOT reject the fiscal stimulus package. Initially, the Germans in particlar derided the idea, and Brown’s whole approach. Their economy then completely tanked, Merkel panicked, and then put in place a stimulus package that was, if I remember correctly, a bigger one in terms of % GDP than the UK one. Now their economy has has started to recover, although it’s still likely the UK recession will be technically shorter than Germany’s. What Germany did not do was allow spending to run out of control from 2002 onwards, hence they could afford the fiscal stimulus with a smaller resulting PBR. You don’t like Brown – that’s clear – but politics is never a one way street. No one party or individual has the monopoly on wisdom or foolhardiness. On these pages the tide runs pretty constantly against Brown, as most people follow fashion in politics. There’s plenty to attack Brown about legitimately, but there’s no need to distort facts.

    On these polls, and the NHS debate – the Observer names 4 frontbenchers (including Gove) who co authored a 2005 book with Hannan that doesn’t fit with Cameron’s health policies at all. The Independent leads with a story about Cameron accepting large numbers of free flights from very wealthy individuals, contrasting with his stated environmental policies and highlighting the traditional Tory link with wealth, and the main BBC TV news tonight discussed the Tory education plans in the context of elitism. It’s probably too late to save Labour, but if the economy does improve, there are many dangers ahead for the Tories. Personally, I don’t like the endless re election of the same party – it’s bad for democracy, if nothing else – but the next GE is not a done deal. And please don’t accuse me of being a socialist for saying that.

  38. @Fred, as the country gets more and more multi-party every year, national swings become fairly useless predictors, and the fall of ‘national parties’ makes the idea of one party government ever more difficult for voters to swallow. It seems like politics in this country is getting too sophisticated for FPTP in a party system.

  39. dean thomson

    Hi dean

    You are missed on BT! We are up to post #1994 on BT’s Keeping Time thread. Want to help us get it past 2000? I’ve posted there on the Scottish “marginals” according to Electoral Calculus extrapolation of the June YouGov poll.

  40. Rich Germany and France did not follow the Reagan, Thatcher ideology yet 30 years later it ;looks like the USA is in decline and the UK is in trouble too. Surely this shows the right wing Thatcher Reaganomics model has failed and that parties will movie to the left.

  41. “Rich Germany and France did not follow the Reagan, Thatcher ideology yet 30 years later it ;looks like the USA is in decline and the UK is in trouble too. Surely this shows the right wing Thatcher Reaganomics model has failed and that parties will movie to the left.”

    Germany and France have also enjoyed lower rates of growth and consistently high unemployment, with all that entails, over the last 30 years. I think, even today unemployment is higher (as a percentage) in germany and france than in UK. The USA is in decline only to the extent which it is being challenged by countries like India and China that are not only much larger but also (despite nominal political ideology) even more ferocious in their free-marketeering and lack of socialist protection for workers so beloved of British and European lefties. Also, one of the features of “Reagon, Thatcher” ish policies is that countries are much more responsive to changing climates. They go down harder in the slumps and come up faster in the recovery.

    That is not to mention the fact that, as Alec says, with their truly eye watering deficits USA and UK have broken with a substantial element of that Reagon/Thatcher heritage and have stormed in Keynesian territory even before the slump began.

    My prediction is that parties won’t move towards the left. Look at Europe and see the right increasing its lead over the left in the european elections and see popular rightist governments in Italy, France, germany, and most likely from next year UK. Though addmittidly these rightist governments are more centralist than reagon or thatcher, that’s because that was a different age. As problematic as these times are they are not as structurally worrying as the decline of the 70’s was, and the parties are generally united on what the shape of the economy should be compared to the 70’s , and the truth is they are policies that would have been seen as quite out on the right wings indeed in the 1970’s, even from Labour and Libs.

  42. Who says “nothing has changed” about these polls ?
    This is the best Labour figure 28% for months. The moment Labour hits 31%, Tory majority almost disappears.

  43. @Dirty Euro,

    You’d have thought that parties would move to the left in the current atmosphere, but so far the general trend across Europe at least has been in the opposite direction.

    I think its wrong to look at 1980s-style laissez faire economics as a Pass-Fail question. There may be elements of the deregulatory and liberalising approach that went too far (and the USA had a specific issue with massive increases of spending together with tax cuts). The general thrust of 1980s policy, that being to limit the power of the unions whilst reducing or removing state involvement in loss-making industry, was broadly right I think. Some european countries were slow to follow; but ultimately global reality will force them down the same road.

  44. Neil A

    Really ?France and Germany still run their own economic and foreign affairs which bear no relationship to the UK. It’s very easy to assume we have our way and the rest follow. They don’t . We are not that important although we like to think we are viz a viz going into pointless wars in the Middle East and Iraq to pretend we are important like the USA (was).

  45. I agree that things are not looking great for the Lib Dems at present. But for those who are looking for a left of centre party to support they seem to me to be the or at least a logical option.

    From the GE the Lib Dems are down 5 points and Labour down at least 9 points, that’s a lot of left of centre votes! By not supporting the Lib Dems these people I think are making the mistake of over looking the obvious. Its like watching someone looking for their car key when it is right in front of them.

    There is a good chance that as the election approaches people’s minds will become more focus and there will be a surge in their support.

  46. oldnat: past 2000? Its been a good thread over there, moving from independence – to Gaelic langauge issues/history to all kinds of Jim Murphy slagging.

    I shall take a jog over to look at those postings from June breakdowns.

    Philip JW- I think conference season will unsettle the polling tedium; things ought to shake up significantly. Lets wait, but my prediction is an increasing tory lead (back upto 20% in Scotland), and a liberal Democrat party moving firmly into the 20-23% region.

    What will happen to Labour? Not sure, they might move up (resiliance in the core vote, and confererence speech appeal to anti-tory floaters. Or they might flatline around 24-27%- this would be disasterous. And it would place their expected GE showing outright.

  47. Wood 7.00pm.There is no polling evidence that the country is becoming “more and more multi-party every year”.The figures suggest that the expenses scandals, coupled with the opportunity given by the Euro-elections to register contempt for politicians, led to a temporary rise in support for ” Others.” It was widely predicted that support for Others” would quickly dissipate and this is now happening. Prior to the expenses furore, “Others” were in the range 9-12%; this rose to over 20% for two or three months and is now back to 12%, leading to an increase in support for all three major parties. I suspect during an election campaign, with much increased air time for the three parties, “Others” will fall back to the usual range.

  48. In a sense the country has been becoming more and more multi-party for years, if you define multi party as outside the big two. The famous high point of their influence was 1951 when they got 95% of the vote between them. This was down to 68% at the last general election. Even not including the Libs the last 10 years has seen the rise of SNP, UKIP and to a lesser extend Plaid, Greens, BNP, and even a host of other even more minor parties.

    Regardless I think any talk of the decline of the big 2 is greatly exaggerated. They will still net over 80% of seats in the commons together. But still I would be very surprised if support for minor parties was not higher at the coming election than previous ones.

  49. @Stephen W –
    “That is not to mention the fact that, as Alec says, with their truly eye watering deficits USA and UK have broken with a substantial element of that Reagon/Thatcher heritage and have stormed in Keynesian territory even before the slump began.”

    Again, slightly straying from history here. The idea that Reagan/Thatcher were fiscally responsible is a myth. When Clinton succeeded Bush Sen. after 12 years of ‘Reaganomics’ he faced a savage battle to balance the US federal books, such was the legacy of debt. In a similar vein, Brown had to repay debt and pin down spending after years of profligate waste under Thatcher/Major, although Ken Clarke showed a much moe responsible fiscal approach in the latter years of the Major government. Much of the UK spending was on unemployment and invaidity benefits. In fact, it was Democrat/Labour policies in the late 90’s that sorted out the debt legacy left from the right wing. Allied to this, both countries were left with major investment deficits – we’ve forgotton largely how bad the UK’s physical infrastructure was in 97, as despite the debt problems now, even on this forum people have to admit we have many great new schools, hospitals etc. In the US they are just finding out how far behind state and federal infrastructure has fallen, with issues like collapsing road bridges making them realise that the supposed ‘low tax, low spend’ model has it’s problems. The truth was in the UK, we didn’t actually have particularly low tax in the Thatcher years – some did, and the imbalance in the tax system, with the poorest paying proportionately most and the wealthiest and asset rich paying next to nothing, is one of the key causes of our structural debt. For much of the last decade Brown has taken less tax as a % of GDP than Thatcher did – this, along with rising spending, was his irresponsibility and betrayed a dishonest or misguided belief that this could be sustained indefinately.
    Contrary to belief, we are not a particularly high spending country (current period excepted). I would argue that successive governments have been afraid to fundamentally restructure taxation and raise sufficient income for necessary life (and economy) improving spending in a fair and equitable manner. An example would be to replace the grossly regressive council tax with a land tax. In that way, people like Madonna would pay tax on her assets of three country estates, rather than use land purchases as an investment vehicle to avoid income tax. It might even persuade her to go sell up and go somewhere else, reducing the price of land to a more sensible level so our rural economy can start expanding again.

  50. Weighted Moving Average 41:26:19 so it seems that voters are coming back to C and Lab in roughly equal numbers. Having Gordon Brown on holiday seems to have helped Labour, understandably enough (see Private Eye’s latest cover).

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