Friday round up

D minus 27
Tonights polls:
YouGov/Sun (8th-9th Apr) CON 40%(nc), LAB 30%(-1), LDEM 20%(+2)
Harris/Daily Mail (7th-8th Apr) CON 37%(nc), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 22%(+2)
Harris/Metro (31st Mar-6th Apr) CON 37%(nc), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 20%(+1)

There are three new polls tonight. Strangely enough two are from the same company – this morning there was a rather old Harris poll from before the election was announced in the Metro, then this evening there was an up-to-date Harris poll in the Mail. All three of the polls showed pretty much the same trend: Labour and the Conservatives pretty steady and the Liberal Democrats creeping upwards a bit.

A fourth poll today was a constituency poll in Norwich South, showing a rather surprising swing towards Labour in Charles Clarke’s constituency, and the Liberal Democrats hemorrhaging support to the Greens.

In the bigger picture of the polls Conservative support is ranging between 37%-40%, thought it is only YouGov who have hit the 40% figure for the Tories. There is more deviation in terms of Labour’s support. The established pollsters – ICM, MORI, Populus, YouGov and ComRes (as well as TNS who use very traditional methods) all have Labour in the low thirties, ranging between 30%-33%. The newer online companies – Opinium, Harris and Angus Reid – all have Labour in the high twenties, ranging between 26%-29%.

The Liberal Democrats now seem to be getting at least 20% with most polls, getting up to 22% occassionally and even 23% with ICM, the pollster who tends to give them the most positive ratings. The exception is Opinium, who tend to give them very low figures, and YouGov who, while giving them 20% in their most recent poll have been tending to show them in the high teens. Finally there remains some sharp contrasts in the levels of support for minor parties – the “others”. Once again the difference here tends to be between the established pollsters and the new online companies, with Opinium, Harris and Angus Reid showing them up in the mid teens, while the longer established companies show them down near 10% or 11%. Even so, the levels of support for others do seem to be falling as we approach the election – notably the most recent Populus and ICM polls had them back in single figures.

Tonight’s biggest political story seems to be the Conservatives finally confirming they will offer a tax break for married couples. The Harris poll in the Mail tonight contains one question on the subject – 65% said the next government should support marriage by raising tax allowances for married couples, with 35% disagreeing (thought it’s one of those questions that depend a lot on how it is asked).

We are heading into the first weekend of the campaign, so I would expect a large number of polls for the Sunday papers tomorrow night, including a new marginals poll.

229 Responses to “Friday round up”

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  1. @KEN
    Kenneth you said it buddy.

  2. On ideological grounds David Davis and Liberals share something in common.

    Their anti-orwellian stance brought the Libs and Cons the closest I have ever seen them.

    But he is out of favour…..

    The Libs and Labs are close on economics…. economics matter…..

    But rahter than frature the party Clegg will not want to formally commit to any alliance…

  3. “I do think if it becomes obvious that there is a Lib/Lab pact, that the public will not like this as it will clearly feel a little undemocratic, and keeping Brown via the backdoor.
    Could play in to the Conservatives hands…”

    Or it could bounce for the Lib/Lab pact as, if I remember correctly, Vince Cable is still the public’s favourite choice as chancellor, and any Lib/Lab pact will almost certainly include Cable getting a large influence over the treasury – if he does not become Chancellor.

  4. So the most experienced rider (Tony McCoy)has won the big prize. Is this an omen?

  5. @ ALEC

    ” vastly overpaid businessmen”

    Well we could debate that forever Alec.

    As Roland intimates-if you want people to produce 3.5% pa GDP growth & employ 80% of our workforce you have to pay them well.

    ….and of course what is “overpaid”…by comparison with what…or whom….the guy who “manages” the BBC?.

    It’s a minefield ALEC-not for here.

  6. The whole process of winning elections is based on appealing to as many people as possible, you’ll win some, you’ll lose some, you only need a relatively small proportion and you’re home and dry. The polls tell us that the Tories have the initiative at the moment, desperate shouts from the bunker won’t work.
    Lab/Lib need some sweeteners or they’re in trouble.

  7. Well as an LD of course I chose ‘Don’t push it – yeah!
    My wife chose Big Fella Thanks as she is a fan of GB (he does have them). Spooky omens equivalent to the Polly lady who dreams winners.

    Thanks for teh statistics lessons. I actually would have come down on MOE being less with 5000 voters but one wonders whether the fieldwork days are spread as it’s a tall order to complete 5000 successful calls.

  8. Regarding the legitimacy of a lib-lab pact

    16million votes is better than 10 million

    This does not say anything about the merits of a pact but undemocratic it is not

  9. @ Ken

    Not with our electoral system. With the first past the post system you can lose by over a million votes and still win.
    Or win by over a million votes and still lose.

  10. I quite liked David Davis actually, it felt like he had some real morals.
    Wasn’t such a fan when he got a bit too close to that woman who runs Liberty though.

  11. @RAF

    OR…….my E/W bet (hello bud) was in with a shout until the last fence- was third……..but tired and and eventually finished Fifth :-( !

  12. @Amber

    Or VC may be disagreeing with a policy which he genuinely believes will be detrimental to the wider economy.

    That too, but I think at election time strategy overrides principle (across all the parties)

  13. @Billy………Sorry, I meant, ‘as many people as you need’.

  14. Final point on the Lib/Lab cozying up and Cable.

    Vince Cable spent a long time holding senior posts with big firms in the private sector, not least Shell, where he was paid a fortune. A lot of hypocrisy about if you ask me.

    I am convinced that Vince Cable is currently rated higher than his actually ability, and will be found out in due course. I would much rather have Darling as chancellor to be honest.

  15. @RICHARD O
    I am not even going to try to spell her name. But I will spell her reaction to those Labour ill founded rumours. APESHIT. The rumour monger in question had to back away very quickly. I know David, he is my daughters MP, ex SAS of course. But that 5′ 3″ Indian lady was far more frightening.

  16. @roland – you’re getting a bit shrill these days? I’ve made it quite clear in several posts that the NI cut has been very good politics – for now. It will, like so many pronouncements from Cameron, turn into a real problem for him when he can’t deliver it without harming the wider economy.

    @Colin – while you accept gershon’s word, why don’t you accept the word of the head of Standard Life – he’s the one who is currently advising the government and he makes clear Gershon’s numbers just don’t stack up.

    In terms of the polls, I am convinced this election will hinge on credibility, and here the Tories really must be careful. Ditching the austerity message was an obvious necessity in electoral terms, but they have not just ditched the message – they have done a triple somersault with double pike and have been chucking out spending committments and tax cuts like confetti. While individually they have scored hits with these, there is a real risk that eventually their credibility reserves run out with the consequent run on support. The philosophically isolated ‘soundbite’ approach to policy is a symptom of Dave’s leadership I have long flagged up, and I do feel they need to draw back from too many sweetners at a time when everyone knows there isn’t any money to pay for them otherwise they will undermine the wider credibility of their message.

  17. Richard O
    Richard O
    “I expect very little swing in polls over the next few days I expect very little swing in polls over the next few days”

    You may be right & the Tory lead may be c8-10% in new polls but I am expecting ICM (last lead 4%) & possibly Ipsos- Mori & TNS (both previously 6% lead) to show an enhanced lead for the Tories compared with last time.

  18. @RichardO…………….VC was chief economist at Shell for a couple of years, during which, Shell were in some serious local difficulty in Nigeria, no place for a Liberal. :-)

  19. @ ALEC
    “while you accept gershon’s word, why don’t you accept the word of the head of Standard Life ”

    Because the latter is a part time adviser-they’re two a penny-come & go.

    Gershon is the real deal-he is serious-he means it-and he wants to do the job he has put so much thought into. That’s why he is backing DC now & not GB.

  20. @ALEC
    I am not sure what “shrill” means, however they used to say it of The Baroness, so I take it as a compliment.

  21. @Alec: Finland is pretty much the most successful economy in the world and has a population of only 5.6M. And the study was probably conducted during the boom years.

    As far as I can see the economic literature (see eg here) suggests that the elasticity of demand for Labour is around -0.6:-0.7, so a 1.5% increase in employment costs would reduce employment by about 1%.

    About 60% of UK jobs would be affected by this measure, and there are just under 30M people employed in the UK. Hence scrapping this NI increase would save about 100,000-200,000 jobs. JSA is about £3k pa so this would save £300-600M, as well as a great deal of human suffering.

  22. @Alec…………..Good points, but the money is there, this is no time to panic, we are in deep doo doo, but with a growing World economy, and a resurgence of the financial sector here, we can drag ourselves out of it. Tales of impending doom and despair are political, the politicians are in danger of being hoist on their own petards, IMHO the whole deal has been oversold. But then again of course, I might be wrong. :-)

  23. @NBeale

    so a 1.5% increase in employment costs would reduce employment by about 1%.

    Where does the 1.5% increase come from please?

  24. I wonder if the latest sleaze story will have any more traction than the last one. Seemingly a Labour donor and “associate” of The Lord Mandelson of Foy, British West Hartlepool & Camelot, has been qustioned by the SFO regarding alegations of bribery. The United States Justice Dept also want to talk to him. His name is Victor Dahdaleh.

  25. I’ve just had an email “from” George Osborne. I would expect something that stands up to at least initial scrutiny. What do you think? Here are some excepts, usefully written in bold in the original email

    “Labour’s jobs tax that will kill the recovery” Oh really? Like the minimum wage lost 100,000 jobs as predicted. £100 pa for an employee on median wage is not going to kill anything.

    “Labour and the Lib Dems have nothing positive to say on the economy”. Neither do you. Vince Cable said “I’d love to scrutinise what the Conservitives will do on the economy but so far they haven’t said much” or words to that effect.

    “it’s time to build the Big Society” … that Margaret Thatcher took apart in the 80s. “There’s no such thing as society” Margaret Thacher 31/10/1987

    On marriage in the tax system “Labour and the Lib Dems are the roadblock to change”. Big deal.

    So this is it? The tories big issues are a few quid in tax and a vague notion of society. Why are they not talking of the big issues? If you want me to believe in you, tell me how you’re going to solve the following:

    £100,000,000,000 of national debt
    the 2015 closure of power stations (there will be power cuts unless something is done in the next 5 years)
    Energy security – will Russia turn off the gas?
    The environment – we seem to be doing very little.
    Transport. The roads, trains and buses are all inadequate.
    The NHS. We can’t all have the most expensive treatments unless we pay more. We need to decide which way we’re going to go on this.
    Care for the elderly. Refusing to attend all party discussions because of one of the options on the table is just petulant. I’d tell my son off if he tried that.
    plus a whole load of others that some people care about more than me.

  26. I think it is difficult to judge the net impact of Labour’s requests to LD’s to vote Labour and it will have a different impact in different constituencies. The following factors may be relevant:-

    1. LD’s may benefit where they can exploit an anti-Tory feeling but this is limited in some of the LD seats which are Tory targets because the Labour vote is already relatively low.
    2. It may make it easier for the Tories to exploit the message “vote LD get Brown” & bear in mind when there are “forced choice” questions in the polls choose between Brown or Cameron a substantial minority of LD’s support Cameron.
    3. In Labour seats targeted by the LDs I cannot seeing the LDs benefiting much if at all.
    4. In Labour seats targeted by the Tories there could be limited net movement from LD to Labour restricted by 2 above & in some seats an already low LD vote.
    5. There is some evidence that in the polls the biggest movement is between Labour & LDs & they are fishing in the same pond for votes. This movement is unlikely to substantially damage the Tories unless there is a huge movement from the LDs to Labour.

    Given these factors my “provisional” view is that the Tories are more likely to benefit in net terms (but this is not clear cut), Labour may get some benefit from it but the LDs are more likely to lose overall.

  27. @COLIN GREEN……………We were managed into the position you cite by Labour, you can’t possibly be voting for them, so, you must be a Liberal, in which case you should vote Tory to keep Labour out ! :-)

  28. @Colin Green

    I’m going to vote Conservative, but I agree with you. However, we can take apart the announcements of just about every politician in every society in the same way.

    Everyone strains for the soundbite. The result is a mixture of hyperbole and evasion, but never an intelligent argument.

    So, George Osborne has go the better of the National Insurance argument, so goes double or quits by overstating his case into obvious absurdity.

    But, Labour can hardly complain as the party of spin. And the LibDems get hysterical shouting “gaffe” with the best of them if anyone has the temerity to say anything interesting.

    A little sad.

    If the country was not in danger of falling off a cliff, no one would care which of the rogues wins.

  29. @greengrass: Well the total increase is 2% but it only applies to part of the income I went for 1.5%. You could argue that only the emploERs NI should count in which case the range of job losses would be roughly 50,000-100,000.

    But of course the economy is not a machine. If employers believe that the Govt wants to reduce taxes when it can they will be more confident about taking people on than if they have a Govt that wants to increase taxes when they can. So the overall effect on confidence and employment would be a lot higher.

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