The Green Party have just released an ICM poll of Brighton Pavilion that shows them leading the Conservatives by 8 points in the seat with Labour in third place.

Clearly the Greens have commissioned it for their own purposes, and one should always look carefully at polls commissioned by political parties – they aren’t releasing those figures out of the goodness of their hearts – but in this case it appears kosher.

The full figures, with changes from the notional figures at the last electon, are CON 27%(+4), LAB 25%(-13), LDEM 11%(-5), GRN 35%(+14).

I need to add two caveats – firstly the sample size was only 533. Rather counterintuitively, just because you are polling a much smaller population than a poll of the whole country, it makes virtually no difference to the sample size you need for a given margin of error, so the margin of error on the poll once you exclude don’t knows and won’t votes is going to be somewhere in the region of 5 percent.

Secondly, there is the question asked: “Labour, the Conservatives, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats and other parties will fight a new election in 2010 in your area. If there were a general election tomorrow which party do you think you would vote for?” Normally pollsters do not prompt by minor parties in voting intention questions, while this doesn’t seem very fair, it’s what years of experience suggest gives the most accurate answer. However, here we have a rather unusual situation where a minor party are obviously at least in the running to win the seat given the last general election and their strength on the local council, what’s more local voters are reasonably likely to be aware of it. While including the Greens in the prompt will probably have boosted their support, it would have been perverse not to given the situation in Brighton Pavilon.

102 Responses to “ICM poll shows Greens leading in Brighton Pavilion”

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  1. What the Green Party have forgotten to mention is that at the same time they asked ICM to conduct this poll the Green Party had posted a full colour letter to every voter in Brighton Pavilion telling them why they should vote Green!

    The Yougov poll for Politics Home last October showed the Greens in third place on 22%.

    All these polls show is that Brighton Pavilion is a three way marginal with a lot of undecided voters.

  2. Those of us who know Brighton politics well will not be surprised by this result. The constituency is indeed very cosmopolitan. However, a number of other factors do come in to play too. Firstly, the Greens are largely refugees from the left of the Labour party and are cynical hardbitten operators; they pull tricks like the leafleting before a poll, like skewing the question to get the best results for themselves. They benefit from being seen as a “nice party” and there is little close scrutiny of their policies which are fairly ludicrous and would comprehensively drive us to ruin. If they become the front runners in an election, there is more of a chance that people will look at them more closely and run for the hills. On the other hand Brighton residents might see little to lose in having one green MP and might indeed relish the image as a very alternative city. Another intersting factor is the nature of Brighton’s Greens, they are riven with dissent and are totally undisciplined when it comes to operating as an opposition to the Tory administration on the Council, this fractiousness could still hamper their chances of success.

    The poll does underline the collapse in Labour party support in a town once known for its rock solid support for new Labour. This might well be the most significant element of the poll.

  3. The Labour -13 figure is the interesting one here, particularly as the Labour Vote (according to Electoral Calculus data) was 36% in the 2005 GE, which is identical to their national share of the vote in the same election.

    If this figure is repeated for Labour across England Brown is history.

  4. I don’t know this constituency, but all the informed commentary indicates a special case.

    Given this is a Left sympathising area,( combined Lab/LD/Green around 70% ) the numbers from the Poll indicate a small comfort for Cameron ( +4) & a massive negative for both Labour & LD as their support defects in large numbers.

    Nationally, the Greens, as has been said, have an uphill struggle to gain support for a set of quite bizarre economic policies. I would have thought that the fallout from the UEA email scandal, and indeed Copenhagen would merely add to the scepticism about hectoring ecofundamentalism.

    But if the committed Green Left disillusioned with Brown/NuLab is contemplating this sort of protest , major leakage of Labour support nationally might be in prospect.

    On balance Cameron might think this a pretty good omen, though it does seem to be a very special case.
    Caroline Lucas is a very good communicator .Labour must be quaking down there.

  5. The last day of parliament has to be the 10th May at the latest as this will be the 5 year point. Will Brown use the full term and call it for 3rd June 2009?

  6. @ Hardpressedtqy
    Please stop with the partisan nonsense. Go to Guido of you want to rant about how Green policies will “drive us to ruin”

    @ Andrew Myers
    I’m not sure the figure is particularity interesting except in this constituency. i.e. You can’t just call the Labour vote significance whilst ignoring the other figures.

    We all know that this constituency is far from the average. It is utterly pointless trying to project national share or seats from this. This poll is interesting when looking at the chances of the Greens getting their first MP but that’s about it!

  7. very good result for the Greens in this poll.

    Seems slightly dodgy though, especially if the statements that the Greens sent out a leaflet just before this poll was conducted is true.

    Also with only 533 people and a MoE of 5% this is not yet overwhelming evidence. Greens are evidently trying to stoke expectations.

    From this poll, assuming its not more widely skewed itself, shares of vote are somewhere within the range of:

    CON 22-32
    LDEM 6-16
    LAB 20-30
    GRN 30-40

    All looks are bit more up in there air then.
    That’s the problem with taking such tiny polls.

  8. In my opinion the Green Party leaflet , prior to the poll has skewed the vote. The electorate in this seat has an overwhelming left wing bias so it would be difficult for it to become a Tory gain. It could still revert to Labour as the election approaches although Caroline Lucas has a high profile and may win it.

  9. I meant 2010 doh!!!

  10. @Colin – Thanks – I had a good Christmas, apart from H1N1 (but mild symptoms fortunately). Hope you did too, and best wishes for 2010.

    Re Cameron and the LDs, I was looking more at the impression given by his statement rather than the detailed text. It’s been reported as expressing anxiety over the Tories ability to get a majority, as well as emboldening the LDs to start flagging up policy differences with Cameron. It’s a dangerous game to tell the electorate your party is so like another that their supporters ought to vote for you. You could eually end up encouraging your supporters to vote for them as a harmless option. This is in effect what Cameron is trying to communicate, and it can serve to boost the party you are looking to take votes from. As for the PB article, I haven’t read it, but I would suggest it is wrong. The election will be fought regionally as much as nationally, and while Labour has recoverd in Scotland (and possibly in the north of England if James is correct) these are the kind of areas where the LD vote is a threat to labour. In the SW it’s the Tories who are worried. A strong LD performance will damage Cameron’s chances of a majority, probably more than it would harm Brown who is pursuing a core vote strategy to avoid the LDs making major inroads into traditional Labour territory.

  11. Alec

    “Labour has recovered in Scotland (and possibly in the north of England if James is correct)”

    2 points.

    In terms of Westminster voting, I’m not sure that it’s true that Labour have “recovered” by that much. They were always going to have a strong showing at a Westminster as opposed to a Scottish election. There are, however, Scottish polls which track the volatility of a significant number of Scots voters.

    As for England North, I haven’t seen anything rexcept sub-samples to suggest the supposed recovery there.

  12. @Surbiton

    It might be best to address questions to me via my own site or email, than by a comment here. (Click on the link in my name)

    In answer… Applying an even national swing does put up to three seats ‘in reach’ for the Conservatives in Scotland. But this is probably an illusion generated by applying a national swing that will be un-evenly distributed across the country in reality. Especially considering that hard time the Scottish Conservatives have had, to the point they’ve proposed splitting off and re-branding as a separate party that accepts the Conservative whip.

  13. @Paul B

    I think that the election date may well be earlier. An interesting pointer reported in The Independent today.

    Labour received the report for the proposed HS2 rail route but are keeping it secret until the end of March. When you consider the number of voters whose house might be blighted by being close to the route (Lots of houses close to the route, far fewer close to a station on the route!) the chance of a Mar 25 election must have gone up!

  14. Hi Anthony if you are reading this. I tried to post a comment on the Eltham thread but it doens’t seem to ahve appeared there, and when i try to repost it says that i seem to have duplicated a post. Any ideas what’s going on?

    Thanks (and sorry for this off-topic post!)

  15. @Colin

    “But if the committed Green Left disillusioned with Brown/NuLab is contemplating this sort of protest , major leakage of Labour support nationally might be in prospect.”

    True in certain places with certain characteristics- as I have been saying.

    And of course the other side of that ‘minor party impact coin’ is the “major leakage”- compared to 2005 GE- of committed anti europe and anti migration Tory voters to UKIP……..

  16. @Cynosarges

    Pretty unlikely… the proposed midland HS2 route goes through the Thames valley, pretty much the Conservative heart-land apart from Oxford and Slough. And Oxford voters love trains, and Slough ones won’t notice another blot on the landscape.

  17. @Jay Blanc

    I wasn’t thinking of the Thames valley part of the route, but the Midlands, Lancashire & Yorkshire. To get in and out of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, the route would go through marginals on both sides of each of the cities.


    Two points:-

    Defecting Green Labourites will be leaving a sinking ship-they have nothing to lose.
    Defecting Eurobonkers Tories have everything to lose.

    I don’t know what the number or national distribution of “your” potential UKIP defectors is. It will matter.
    I don’t know how hard they will think where their defection would jeopardise a Con hold/gain.It will matter.

    Interesting stuff-all unquantifyable-unless you have a divine insight of some sort?

  19. @Colin


    No more a “divine insight” then your rigidly held view that UKIP voters will actually support a Conservative party who betrayed their Euro scepticism instead voting on principle !

    Look in the mirror mate before adopting the pejorative as you are being embarrassingly contradictory !


    “No more a “divine insight” then your rigidly held view that UKIP voters will actually support a Conservative party who betrayed their Euro scepticism instead voting on principle !”

    1) I didn’t think we were discussing “UKIP voters” ??
    They are already reflected in the Tory Poll lead of c10 %.Perhaps these people will stick with UKIP-perhaps they will try to get a Tory government elected-I have no idea.

    2) I thought we were discussing your idea that some existing Tory supporters will defect to UKIP ?
    Make your mind up.
    My view on these (potential) people was expressed thus :-

    “I don’t know what the number or national distribution of “your” potential UKIP defectors is. It will matter.
    I don’t know how hard they will think where their defection would jeopardise a Con hold/gain.It will matter.”

    The rigidly held views are yours my friend.

    So one more time-I think existing Tory support as registered in the Polls will not be depleted by “no Referendum” disappointment- because the greater prize will be seen as a Tory victory

    But I do not know that it won’t It is just an opinion-like yours.

  21. @ Colin I totally agree with your view on UKIP members but unfortunately the detractors on this blog are rather rabid, and it is beneath dignity to argue with them. The GE will prove us correct.

  22. @Cynosarges
    Actually, all the considered plans for the line by-pass the centre of Birmingham, instead upgrading existing lines for a spur into Birmingham Airport, and then Birmingham. It doesn’t make sense for a high-speed line to have to slow down to pass through the middle of a city it doesn’t have to pass through. And the vast majority of track is following pre-existing track and motorway development.

    High speed 2 will be much less disruptive in that sense than High speed 1 was. I don’t think it’ll draw a large ‘NIMBY’ protest, and certainly not large enough to set the date of an election to avoid.

    And I’d like to point out that the planning proposals for HS2 have all been public. It’s only the final consideration for which plan would be chosen that’s been private. You can even find out what the likely route will be from Wikipedia!

  23. ‘STEPHEN W
    very good result for the Greens in this poll.
    Seems slightly dodgy though, especially if the statements that the Greens sent out a leaflet just before this poll was conducted is true.
    Also with only 533 people and a MoE of 5% this is not yet overwhelming evidence. Greens are evidently trying to stoke expectations.’

    Don’t all parties try to manipulate news? The key issue here is the potential for a non main stream parties to even get close to a win. An event I welcome; we need a greater variety of voices in parliament, especially given the state of the environment…

  24. As some one who actually lives in Brighton Pavilion – yes I got a letter in December from the Green Party, but I also got newsletters from them in November, October, September and August!

    It is their number one target seat after all, so to suggest a poll is inaccuarate beacuse ‘they had just delivered a letter to everyone’ is not really fair, when would they have run the poll exactly?

  25. A good New Year to all of you, when it comes.

    Let’s hope for lots of interesting polls in 2010 – and we’ll finally find out if Angus Reid got it right!

  26. @ OLDNAT

    “Let’s hope for lots of interesting polls in 2010 – and we’ll finally find out if Angus Reid got it right!”

    Totally unpartisan response but, ‘Let’s hope they have”

    Happy New Year to all participants

  27. I think that the chances of Greens or any other “Others” getting any more than a couple of seats between them are fairly remote with such small opinion ratings, obviously if a party manages to concentrate what little it can garner in one place (eg Respect) they can do it.

    I think the only way the Greens are going to get any more than 1-2 seats is if the Labour vote collapses very badly say at least under 22%. It is not clear that this will happen, despite everything that has happened.

    Aside from this, I wish all here a happy New Year and look forward one of the most interesting political and polling years to come: a General Election year. Aren’t we lucky? Instead of chewing over polls, we’ll get the real thing to talk about!

  28. Happy New Year Folks.

  29. Happy New Year all

  30. New Year Greetings to Anthony and everyone who posts on UKPR.

  31. @GlenOTTO

    “@ Colin I totally agree with your view on UKIP members but unfortunately the detractors on this blog are rather rabid, and it is beneath dignity to argue with them. The GE will prove us correct.”

    aaahhh- the chums are backslapping again !

    It’s like tag wrestling !


    I most certainly have never argued that Tory voters are likely to vote UKIP. My argument has been that *UKIP voters* are much much less likely to hold their noses and vote Tory at the 2010 GE then is the view amongst panicking Conservative activists like your good self (and chum Otto).

    More specifically- I have always referred (and will continue up to election day) to ‘UKIP voters’ in the sense of identifying them from the last REAL national election that the UK held. I do this in *precisely* the same way for Green and BNP voters in that their potential vote can also be identified by looking at the last REAL national UK election: and that they pose a threat in certain clear and obvious constituencies to Labour as do UKIP voters in certain constituencies for the Tories. If my memory serves me correctly BNP voters amounted to 950,000; Green voters 1.25 million and UKIP voters 2.5 million.

    My view on these numbers: nowhere near as many as these votes (for any of these three parties) were one-off “it’s only the blinking Euro elections” protests than has been the case previously. There will be attrition: but UKIP got 600,000 voters and 2% of the vote in 2005 GE meaning their current OP rating of 4% indicates they will have lost 1.3 million votes in 10 months maximum (if the election is held in May)……..I don’t think so. You can do similar contrast analyses with the Greens and BNP.

    But- from the actual voters who voted in June 2009- it is clear who has the most (by a ‘long mile’) to lose from the 2010 GE ‘here cometh the minor parties’. Indeed- to purposely misquote you Colin from earlier in this thread: “I bet the Tories must be quaking in their boots”

    This is going to be- yes, in my *opinion* – a very different sort of GE and yes my dear ‘genosse’ OTTO- we shall see what we shall see when the night arrives.

  32. Rob Sheffield

    Been there – got the T-shirt!

    It’s an interesting process trying to get a “minor” party from irrelevance to Government (I’ve been involved in that for the last 50 years!) Took that long though.

    UKIP is fighting on a concept of “British” sovereignty (it’s actually an English idea of it, but I’ve fought that idea out here before :-) )

    If that concept was as strong as you believe, wouldn’t we have expected to find more than a handful of people appearing at Brown’s meetings across England to celebrate “Britishness”.

    You may have backed the wrong horse with that message.

  33. @oldnat

    I think previously cast votes speak louder than our opinions or – perish the thought whether we turn out to watch Gordon Brown droning on! Or rather: *not*!

    The two key themes of UKIP are Euroscepticism and Anti-Immigration (in the nicest possible way of course). *Not* ‘Britishness’- Farage made that clear in the sidebar debates with BNP when they wanted to have a non aggression pact and Farage wisely said ‘nein’.

    I think you are taking a rather parochial Scottish view if I may be so bold in thinking that everything is about being English, Scottish or British!

    My main point- and I feel the need to say here that I am not a fan of theirs- is that 2009 marked a turning point in English party politics in the same way that politics was transformed with the first campaigns for a SP and a WA in those parts of the UK.

    Expenses scandal upon scandal; Cameron not sealing the deal with swing voters; Brown as voter-repellent pessimist; Clegg drowning to be heard (especially when standing next to Cable); the recession and unemployment; a general sense of uneasiness with changing communities and neighbourhoods and a general perception that the country has ‘gone to the dogs’ and ‘none of that lot’ have any idea what to do. By ‘that lot’ the comments in surveys and on programmes mean the ‘main parties’.

    This is the elevator music to the 2010 election- you only have to look into the detail of polling and listen/ watch all the political programmes with an audience to pick up on it (again- without necessarily agreeing with it yourself).

    So: to reiterate my point concerning UKIP. A 4% rating in the 2010 GE would give UKIP roughly 1.2 million votes on a 2005 turnout. I don’t think they are going to lose 1.3 million votes between the 2009 Euro election and the 2010 UK election especially once the campaign starts and their two key themes become key issues numero 2 and numero 3 after the economy/ public spending (staggered cuts versus immediate austerity).

    To be honest I think you should be worrying about the horse you are backing!

    Which of course is a major party (not a minor one) in your neck of the woods…..

  34. Rob Sheffield

    I may have understood you. From your posts, I thought you were a probable UKIP supporter.

    On the constitutional issue, I had a memory of their wanting to remove the Scottish Parliament in one form or another – hence my post. When I read your post I rechecked on the UKIP site and on the UKIP Scotland site I found this (apparently reasonable statement) –

    “And to be fair to England :

    • Recognise the nonsense that laws which only affect England are being decided by votes from Scottish and Welsh MPs
    • Keep the full Westminster parliament for making British law but, one week in four, use English MPs alone to determine law that only applies in England. This ‘English Parliament’ will have no extra MPs, buildings or bureaucrats.”

    However, the main UKIP site is far more specific

    “In this manner, the 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) would be replaced by the 55
    Westminster MPs representing Scotland. The 60 Assembly members (AMs) in Wales would be replaced by
    the 32 Welsh Westminster MPs. Northern Ireland will be treated in exactly the same manner, with its 108
    MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) replaced with 18 Parliamentary representatives, over time
    and when the unique circumstances there ease, in order to harmonise the UK. The 545 English MPs would
    form the English Parliament.”

    As a constitutional settlement, this is simply anglo-centric nonsense. Hence my ridiculing of what I thought was your position.

    btw what was the party that you previously posted that you were very much against? My guess would be Labour.

  35. Sorry for the bad layout of my previous post. Copying directly from UKIP determines that there will be errors :-)

  36. @ ROB SHEFFIELD :-

    Dec 31 12.06am
    ” the other side of that ‘minor party impact coin’ is the “major leakage”- compared to 2005 GE- of committed anti europe and anti migration Tory voters to UKIP”

    Jan 1 2.31am
    “I most certainly have never argued that Tory voters are likely to vote UKIP”

    “My argument has been that *UKIP voters* are much much less likely to hold their noses and vote Tory at the 2010 GE ”

    Has it ROB-so another load of guff then.
    Have a look at the big YouGov Poll for C4 in JUne last year. 32,000 were polled, including 4252 UKIP voters, 2122 Greens & 1122 BNP.
    They were asked “If you had to choose, which would you prefer to see after the next election, a Con government led by DC or a Labour government led by GB”
    70% of UKIPers said the former. ( 30% Lab/DK)

    UKIP got 16.5% in the Euros which you place so much faith in. 70% of those voters have said they will” hold their noses”-leaving 4.95% who might not-a figure which aproximates their current GE 2010 support.
    So where is your major leakage going to come from.

    For BNP the figures are 8.6% Euro vote/59% would chhose Cons if forced/ie 2.5% might stick with BNP in 2010-again a figure approximating their current GE support.

    The figures for Greens however are quite different-you work it out-I’m still thinking about it.

  37. @colin

    Oh dear- perhaps I need to be more specific for you! I was referring- in the first instance- to the leakage from the Tories to UKIP between 2005 GE and 2009 EURO’s which- for all the reasons I have in detail spelt out- I am very sceptical of returning en masse. It has become a settled UKIP vote- they have gone native and -largely- will be staying so. Principally, the reasoning for this assertion is that identification as ‘UKIP voter’ is settling in and- alongside all the other elements laid out in detail above (‘elevator music’)- would have been reinforced by the Referendum Cameron betrayal.

    All my previously stated elements (‘elevator music’) are making the retaining of the ‘minor party vote’ much more likely than in any previous UK election (specifically in this debate here I am referring to the ‘Engish’ element of said election). This applies to Greens and BNP as well and Labour has a big problem with them in more than just the ‘one or two’ seats someone else argued for.

    You think UKIP voters will hold their nose and vote Tory to get Labour out but how sure of you they are not in fact turning their noses up at all three ‘main parties’. You can’t be because- as said before- this is all informed guesswork. Judging by your postings and the clearly rightist partisan slant you constantly take, you may well indeed know several- even tens- of UKIP voters who are telling you they are going to do precisely that. But that still leaves nearly two and a half million more!

    You talk about ‘guff’ but all you ever do is quote opinion polls. I don’t know but perhaps you are also one of these ‘types’ that take AR seriously. I simply prefer actual votes (including local government BE’s) as the infinitely superior guide to what is happening/ what is a good predictor converse to opinion polls- which can be as dodgy and partisan as an Angus Reid or as whacky and out-of-kilter over time as an Ipsos MORI. And I remember 1992.

    The last National poll was only 6 months ago and 2.5 million people voted UKIP (along with the other figures for G/BNP I reminded you of). Since then Cameron and Osborne have drifted along with little inspiration (apparently a razzy mattazy new year ‘big push’ is in store I hear) hoping that Labour will drop the ball. They have not done anything to enthuse either the UKIP voter to defect/ return or the swing voter to make a positive choice.. Oh and I just remembered: they went and stabbed UKIP voters in the back over the referendum.

    The difference between us on this matter is simple and clear (and becoming boringly repetitive): you are confident that the 2.5 million UKIP voters will switch en masse for Cameron and Osborne.

    I am not.

  38. @oldnat

    I agree that the stuff you quoted from UKIP is utter drivel. Revealing myself a little more I was always partial- and I think the cat is already out of the bag and it is almost inevitable- to a Federal UK with certain issues like defence and foreign affairs resting with a massively slimmed down UK parliament and the majority of competences devolved to the parliaments of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I know that won’t get much change from yourself (wanting full independence) but the forces / winds are driving in that direction not least because it would lead to better and more democratic and representative governance. Caveat for myself is that all parliaments would have to be elected by PR- including England. Hopefully- after the result this year and what it says to them about our electoral system- more Tories will sign up to PR. To answer your question in two parts: I am largely in favour of the broad centre left (hence no specific party preference as that part of the spectrum is quite crowded these days)- but with maverick tendencies such that I don’t like platforms and prefer to size up an issue on its merits; the party I find repulsive is the Conservatives.

  39. It must be said Rob, I like your style and serious analysis, but I must disagree with you.

    While there are inherent problems with polling that will never be removed (shy tory/labour/UKIP syndrome for example) they still provide useful information in my view, and given how rare we get elections they seem valuable. But leaving all that aside surely we have precedent we can apply to this situation?

    In the 1987 GE the Green picked up just under 90,000 votes from a turnout of 75% and about 170,000 votes from turnout of 77% in 1992. Yet in the 1989 Euro elections they collected a stonking 2.3 Million votes, almost 15% from a turnout of 36%. That’s 15% compared to 0.3% or 0.5% in the GEs. UKIP themselves went from 16% in the 2004 Euros to 2.2% in the 2005 GE. Is there not a visible pattern of minor parties massively outperforming in Euro elections and yet having almost no impact in GEs? Of course this isn’t exactly the same, but the 2 cases I’ve highlighted have strong parallels. I’m not convinced the UKIP vote will collapse entirely at the GE either, but there is definitely a strong case to say it is largely a protest vote.

    ” you may well indeed know several- even tens- of UKIP voters who are telling you they are going to do precisely that. ”

    I don’t know any actually-not a Blazer wearer myself.

    “all you ever do is quote opinion polls. ”

    Not entirely true ROB-I rather enjoy the exchange of political philosophy when Anthony permits it-but quoting opinion polls does happen on this website quite a lot.

    “perhaps you are also one of these ‘types’ that take AR seriously. ”

    I know you have major reservations about AR ROB, and I understand why. I remain cautious about them-hence I am using 40/30/18 ish in predictors at present.

    ” I simply prefer actual votes (including local government BE’s) as the infinitely superior guide”

    Do you.
    I have taken note of opinion on here which seems informed to me, and which cautions that LE results are not a good guide to GEs. I can follow why they are not.
    With regard to your confidence in the Euro results.
    I have already tried to demonstrate that 70% of UKIP voters have said they would prefer a Con government when faced with the choice.This was a big poll from a very reputable polling company. I don’t dismiss it as readily as you.Indeed Quincel’s very interesting analysis seems to confirm that UKIP voters do behave in accord with the YouGov Poll finding.

    “the party I find repulsive is the Conservatives”

    I was interested in this remark ROB.
    I remember that you expressed “hatred” for an unspecified party in another post.It wouldn’t seem too presumptious to assume that this referred to Cons as well.

    So this helps me understand you a bit more.

    Personally, I think hatred is not a helpful emotion when it comes to politics. It can cloud the judgement-as in life.
    Gordon Brown, I think , has a similar approach to his politics .

  41. @Quincel

    You make some sound points: however the underlying basis of my main argument is that the context of 2010 (all those elements I cited in a previous post) *does* make it ‘different this time’. But it’s an argument/ a hypothesis. Looking at things another way your retort makes sense as well. That’s politics: it’s going to be a fascinating election.

  42. @Rob,

    As given as I am to partisan politics and the breaking of Anthony’s rules, I think there is definite Wish-Fulfilment affecting your views about the UKIP vote. You betray yourself a little with phrases like the “Cameron Referendum Betrayal” (in fact, Cameron did pretty much exactly what he said he was going to do – the only “betrayal” is that he is a Conservative and not a UKIP politician and therefore doesn’t give Eurosceptic ultras what they want).

    It almost goes without saying that small parties do well a) in PR elections where they are not a “wasted” vote and b) in “Unimportant” elections where their success won’t ruin anything. In the minds of the electorate the Euro elections very much fit both categories.

    I have no doubt that there will be a number of previous Tory voters who have switched to UKIP in the past few years. Anyone who is in any way eurosceptic has a “Line in the Sand” beyond which their qualified support for UK membership of the EU becomes a desire to leave. I myself am one of those Tory supporters who finds the EU moving in a direction where in 5-10 years time I might not be able to support membership.

    However, there is always movement between support for all parties. The Tory to UKIP switchers are just a small part of a much larger exodus in all directions. Plenty of LibDem voters from the old left and from the Muslim community may look for a new home now that Iraq is not an issue. Plenty of middle-class Labour voters may decide they like the look of Cameron as the “heir to Blair”. Plenty of ecologically aware voters from all parties may be attracted to the idea of a vote for the Greens in the hope that a good showing from them will kick the government into more determined action on climate change.

    I suspect you single out Tory – UKIP defections because, as someone who is “repulsed” by the Conservative party you are keen to seize on any factor that might give you hope that their likely victory will be averted.

    Personally I think we will see a total UKIP vote about 1% higher than last time, largely as a result of more candidates and better funding. It will probably cost the Tories half a dozen seats at most, and possibly not even that because I suspect that UKIP votes in tight Tory-Labour or Tory-LibDem marginals may be cast tactically. After all if you find the Tories repulsive, how repulsive do you think UKIP voters find the European policies of the Labour and Libdem parties?

  43. @NeilA

    Do read back through this and other threads before making an embarrassing assertion: I have consistently made the point that the ‘rise of the minor parties’ in election 2010 is a Green and BNP phenomena *as well*.

    The primary focus on UKIP holding firmer than at previous GE’s in my replies is because that has been the point that has drawn the most flak from the Conservative/ anti-centre left posters on here- yourself (of course) included.

    Indeed the said posters- yourself included- I would say have been indulging in wish fulfilment. Namely that UKIP voters will vote Conservative in order to get rid of Labour!! Particularly under the odd logic that Cameron and Osborne will be ‘better than Labour ‘ (I believe the word to be ‘sound’) on the matter of Europe and all those Horse eaters! More ‘sound’ than the notoriously Euro phobic Brown? Pah- anyone on the right who believes that Cameron is going to be anything other than simply full of rhetoric and hot air on the ‘European threat’ (but in practice packing no Europsceptic punch whatsoever) is going to be in the same position that ‘old’ Labour voters were in after 1997- realising that what they thought they had voted for they had not got. I think the UKIP voters of Euro 2009 and UK 2010 know this- remember Hague in 2001 and Howard in 2005?? You could not get a more contrasting Tory postion on Europe than the one Cameron is going into this election with.

  44. Rob. You seem to be writing a lot of emotive nonsense about many more Tories voting for UKIP at the GE and the impact of this. What you need to understand is that there is polling evidence demonstrating that the vast majority of persons expecting to vote UKIP at the GE did not vote Tory previously. For example Mike Smithson (Political Betting) did an interesting article on 15 November 2009 which suggested less than one in five UKIP voters are ex-Tory voters. This was based on several ComRes surveys. I am not suggesting these figures are an accurate indicator of what will happen at the GE but make the point that you are far too subjective in your comments.

  45. Rob,

    Your “notoriously europhobic” Mr Brown snuck across to Europe to sign the Lisbon Treaty, thereby doing a far more convincing job of “betraying a promise” than Cameron did by refusing to promise a referendum on repealing it.

    Brown was only ‘eurosceptic’ in relation to Euro entry, and only by contrast with his generally europhile party. He was and is committed to european integration, including adopting the Euro, when the “conditions are right” (ie when he thinks he can win a referendum, or is politically strong enough to ram it through without one).

    I think the overall small party vote in 2010 will be higher than 2005, but I think you are wrong to believe that it will be a particularly telling factor in the calculations of who wins a majority of Westminster seats.

    And as for your characterisation of the European policy of Cameron’s Tory Party, I am not sure what planet you are on. The Conservative Party has pretty much exactly the same policy on Europe as it did in 2001 and 2005. It opposes Euro entry, opposes further integration and wants to see some powers returned to national control. What Cameron has being doing is trying not to make too big an issue out of Europe, because it is a terrible, divisive question for party unity.

    One thing Cameron is certain not to do is suddenly reveal himself as a passionate europhile once elected to office, and start giving in to every new proposal for integration that comes out of Brussels. The best course for the Tories is to be quietly, firmly and constructively Eurosceptic whilst staving off calls from the “UKIP wing” of the party for us to leave.

  46. Could the Greens favorable poll ratings be due to people giving what they think are high minded and worthy answers to pollsters? Remember how before 1992 they said they would not mind paying higher taxes and Labour believed them. This could explain the gap between the Greens poll results and actual results.

  47. @NeilA

    “It opposes Euro entry, opposes further integration and wants to see some powers returned to national control.”


    The first two of your ‘Eurosceptic badges of honour’ are existing Labour government policy!! Never mind what Labour back benchers might say. So not a very great incentive to for UKIP voters to switch/ return to fold if this is what they feel the most strongly about (i.e. vote Cameron; get same European policy as Labour)…

    Before you squeal that ‘the Tories have ruled out EURO entry’ well anyone with half an economic mind knows that the ‘entry tests’ set out by a (notoriously Europhobic) Brown do *precisely that* but in practice rather than the from the ease of rhetorical opposition. Before you squeal about ‘further integration’ well (notoriously Europhobic) Brown- as part of the debate surrounding the Lisbon Treaty debacle- stated quite clearly (and to our European colleagues faces not a friendly TV interviewer or local audience of Tory matrons) that this must be an end to foreseeable EU reform and integration: furthermore stated during chairing of the key G20 (that led to coordinated fiscal stimuli that was opposed by Tories) that this body was more important going forward than the EU.

    Oh and on the Lisbon signing ceremony: had it come after both the second Irish referendum and the UK election and *if* the Tories had a majority, Cameron would have adopted exactly the same approach to the signing ceremony that he would have been obliged to attend as the UK PM!

    Your third ‘Eurosceptic badge of honour’ – well the conservatives won’t be able to repatriate powers (pace now signed Lisbon treaty) without getting other nations to agree to that first- hardly the stuff of Eurosceptic wet dreams having to go cap in hand to the likes of rumpy pumpy et al and the Flemish Christian democrats or the Swedish Greens!!

    The only other alternative is to withdraw from the EU in full and to do that they’d have to win a withdrawal referendum across the *whole* of UK- not just suburban and rural southern/ eastern England. Very hard to see them do that once it was actually a reality rather than an idlers dream with a ‘stay’ campaign backed by big business and arts/ culture/ media figures. Plus of course: *where* anywhere is a single Tory politician saying they are going to withdraw? They are not because they won’t! Again more grist to the mill for a UKIP voter.

    Repatriation of powers independently was – under certain circumstances- possible in elections 2001 and 2005 (that took place pre-Lisbon Treaty. It’s not now that Cameron has stabbed UKIP voters in the back with the removal of a plebiscite on the UK’s accession to the 2009 Lisbon Treaty..

    The mood music of the Tories in 2010 my man Neil is completely different to the Hague and Howard approach- it has to be for swing voters to back Cameron: it’s the entire basis of his strategy !!

    More grist to the mill for the UKIP voter…..

  48. Rob Sheffield

    Your description of the reasons for the increase in “Others” is spot on but maybe you overstate the strength of committment of UKIP voters and their unwillingness to take tactical factors into account.

    Some people just vote for the party they prefer as a matter of principle, even for a poor candidate but others will vote tactically. In Scotland the invitation to split the vote for the SP is perhaps weakening voter loyalty as is the percieved irrelevance of the best supported SP party in elections for the UK parliament. England may be different.

    Another consideration is the desire to follow a strong leader. I have in mind the voters who voted for a strong party leader (MT & TB) but wouldn’t vote for the “wimp” John Major regardless of the position competence or integrity of the actual candidate. That might work in favour of UKIP.

    On the other hand, as recent converts, UKIP voters are not yet habitual voters as many well off rural Conservatives and working class Glaswegians are, following an habitual family tradition of several generations. That means that UKIP voters may still be genuine floating voters (as distinct from tactical voters) who as likely as not may vote for their previous party or not vote at all.

    The argument that UKIP minded voters will vote Conservative assumes that they will choose rationally and therefore tactically what best furthers their main objective.

    Without risking Anthony’s disapproval, I can only say that there are many here who see a weakness in that premise.

    I get the impression that those who take for granted a return to Conservatives are complacent Conservative supporters comfortable in the class war assumptions of the 1950’s that there are two parties who win or lose depending on how successful they are in motivating their natural supporters to turn out and vote. Alternate governing elites which we have in this, the best of all possible parliaments, are necessary to hold government to account and protect against the dangers of permanent one-party government so it has to be accepted that the other team takes its turn to go in to bat.

    Probably most UKIP supporters will stay loyal, but some will not. Conservatives should take comfort in the fact that it won’t make a critical difference in many seats rather than depending on KIP minded voters. We won’t have to wait long to find out.

  49. Rob Sheffield

    Your dissatisfaction with the consequences of FPTP and the poor performance of governments of both parties togeher with your position on the central Left aligns you with the largest body of political opinion in Scotland. Currently they vote for the SNP and show no interest in independence.

    I suggest that you move to Scotland before indepenence so that you get citizenship and you will get the choice of at least half a dozen electable parties, split voting and other benefits.

    Independence is not a prerequisite for good government and unicameral English and federal parliaments elected by PR with standards and procedures fit for purpose would deliver good government to all of the UK.

    That’s not on offer, but Scotland can get most of the benefits with independence. Donald Dewar’s vision was that his Home Rule parliament would be a model for the reform of Westminster and that may yet happen – two generations after independence.

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