Round up

I had a busy time last week and was on holiday at the weekend, so here’s a round up of some of the polls I didn’t have chance to write about. YouGov voting intentions in their Sunday poll were CON 40%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15% – that equals the lowest Conservative lead since the general election, but I’d urge the same sort of caution as I did on the 9 point lead earlier in the week. Until we see a consistent trend, it’s best to assume it’s just normal random variation around a Conservative lead of 6 or 7 points.

YouGov also re-asked who people thought would make the best Labour leader. David Miliband remains ahead on 17%, followed by Diane Abbott on 10%. Amongst Labour voters, who may or may not better reflect the feelings of Labour party members, David Miliband leads with 27%, followed by Ed Balls (13%) and Ed Miliband (12%). Regarding the Labour leadership contest, we are still awaiting any proper polling of party members.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly issues trackers has also been published. There are no massive changes – the majority of respondents continue to see the economy as one of the most important issues facing the country, a long way ahead of immigration in second. It is followed by unemployment and law and order.

On other bits and pieces, YouGov did a poll for Channel 5 asking if the Burkha should be banned – 67% of respondents thought it should, with 27% saying it shouldn’t. That’s broadly in line with a international comparative study that Pew carried out in May and published this month, which found 62% of British respondents approved of a ban on viels that cover the whole face. This compared to 82% in France, 71% in Germany, 59% in Spain and 28% in the USA.

There was also a YouGov poll of Londoners last week asking about the protest encampments upon Parliament square. 20% believed there should be no restrictions upon the right of protest in Parliament Square, 72% thought there should be limits upon long term encampments.


178 Responses to “Round up”

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  1. @Aleksandar

    “In a three-way fight you could get the following situation. VI shows Con40%, Lab30%, LD 30%. VI shows that all Lab 2nd pref would go to LD but LD 2nd prefs split evenly.
    If Lab is eliminated first then final outcome is Con40, LD60 but if LD is eliminated first the outcome is Con55, Lab45. The Tories have a vested interest in eliminating LD first so a handful of Tories should vote Lab to push them slightly above LD.
    I accept that this is manufactured but it is possible.”

    This example is not only manufactured, its completely unrealistic. In order for it to work as you say, the Tory voters would need absolute clairvoyant powers of not just first preferences, but also second preferences. No opinion poll is that reliable!

  2. @Sue Marsh
    Chuclking a little at the idea that you are a leftie! Shows how far we have travelled in my life time – I reckon you are to the right of Harold Macmillan, and probably Ted Heath.

  3. AV works perfectly well in many countries such as Australia. It’s a simple and useful system which ensures that most people support the candidate who gets in. FPTP is a system which allows candidates to win who may be despised by the majority of the electorate.

    AV also allows people to ‘protest vote’ (UKIP / BNP/ Green / local hospital) but still be able to vote in reality (as in, it’s the order you place LIB / Con / Lab / Nats) which really matters so encouraging people to fell they are part of a democratic process as for the price of an election parties also get to see how people are feeling about certain issues as well.

    FPTP is ludicrous.

  4. Another day another poll. And what do you know Mr Wells comments were about right, Tory 7 point lead.

    Rather than picking on Big Government simply because its a Tory thing and of which nobody on earth has a clue regarding its utility as yet. There is only tribal blather, may we therefore have a genuine go at Dave. He says Britain is staunch and strong ally of the US. So strong it has had to withdraw from Sangin and hand over to the US Marine corps, which is bigger than our 3 armed forces put together. Dave’s LD accomplice in defence says we should rely on our allies for defence, hell, thats staunch and strong.

    ‘@ JAY BLANC
    Your correspondence with Ken lives up to its usual standard of fair play where the Conservative party are concerned. If you have any doubt about who won the GE check out the voting figures in the Queens Speech.
    Also, you view that throwing money we have not got at everything under sun in order to garner votes is not the Tory way.

  5. Do you have to make an AV, can you not just leave it blank or does that spoil your vote.

  6. @ Roland

    Rather than picking on Big Government simply because its a Tory thing…….
    —————————————
    You mean Big Society, yes? We lefties luv Big Government. ;-)

  7. @ AlekSandar

    RE: AV – Thank you so much for a very detailed response. We appear to share a similar view & you articulate it more clearly than I.

    After more thought, I do not really believe that AV is a stepping stone to PR. I believe the opposite; the objective is to permanently instal the Dems as kingmakers, not make voting fairer. If AV gains the Dems the balance of power, they will cease to care about voting reform & we will never hear about PR again. 8-)

  8. ‘@amber
    Thank you for pointing out my mistake Amber. But how do you know I have not been on the road to Damascus during the night?

  9. @Amber Star
    ” the objective is to permanently instal the Dems as kingmakers”
    ——————-
    Thanks for that neat phrase. It gets right to the point which bothers me about AV or PR. Vote Clegg get Thatcherism. The vast majority of my Lab colleagues feel the same. For all its faults I am sticking with FPTP.

  10. @Amber Star

    A “NO” vote will be taken as a vote in favour of FPTP.

    A “NO” vote will be taken as a vote in favour of keeping FPTP exactly as it is, and not fixing any of the problems with it.

    A “NO” vote will be taken as a vote against electoral reform of any kind.

    No one on this thread has demonstrated in *any way* how FPTP is democratically better than AV. They’ve pointed out the flaws in AV, but they’ve ignored that those flaws not only exist in FPTP, but FPTP magnifies them and has additional and worse flaws. Yes, people keep saying on this thread that AV is “little better” than FPTP, but I’ve yet to see someone explain why? And “It won’t allow the major parties to deform the results to insure they never have to cope with coalitions” is hardly an acceptable answer in a democracy.

    And the fact is, if you want to keep single-constituent to area links, and be able to vote for a candidate for your area, there is no voting method that satisfies all the rational voter criteria. (Check Voting_system_criterion#Criteria_in_evaluating_single_winner_voting_systems on Wikipedia)

    You may want to hold out for PR, but a NO vote on this referendum will ensure that voting reform is dead for the foreseeable future. You’ll never be offered PR, because “We gave the people a referendum on voter reform before, and they didn’t want it.”

    Indeed, you may want a different referendum question, but it is no use denying that you are being asked the one set. “Do you want to keep FPTP, or change to AV?”, that’s the only options you have. It’s no use whistling for chocolate cake, when you’re being offered a biscuit or a slap in the mouth. And it seems absurd to vote for the slap in the mouth if you can’t have cake.

  11. @AMBER

    “I believe the opposite; the objective is to permanently instal the Dems as kingmakers, not make voting fairer. If AV gains the Dems the balance of power, they will cease to care about voting reform & we will never hear about PR again. 8-)”

    Even if being permanent kingmakers was the LDs aim and I don’t think it is – I think Clegg would genuinely want to be king himself one day, they would still in all likelihood gain more from STV than AV, so sticking with AV would be a nonsensical move even from a self-interest point of view. Besides which, I don’t think AV would guarantee a permanent coalition. Big swings would still produce an overall majority. The reason that it would produce coalitions at the moment is that the core vote for both Labour and Tory is much lower than it was 20-30 years ago, but thats also why the current system which has so far perpetuated the two party monopoly is becoming so iniquitous. If you don’t like the idea of the Libs a permanent coalition members, explore some of the alternatives who are currently blocked by the system.

    @Sue

    I think my take on Clegg is rather different. During the debates and campaign I thought he was rather vacuous and substance-less. But after the results (which must have been sorely disappointing to him) he did stick to exactly what he said – giving the party who came first in the election the chance to form a government, sitting down and talking with those who were willing to try and address issues. I think there was a cosy asumption by those in Labour that the Libs were anybody but conservative at heart and would only do a deal with them, but this was never espoused by anybody in their party. Coalition involves compromise, but objectively I think the Libs have got some of their agenda out of the agreement and whilst I may not agree with many of the government’s policies, I am glad they are correcting the previous administrations woeful record on civil liberties.

    I don’t think you can even really argue that Clegg has gone back on what he said about cuts as there was a cosy conspiracy of silence between all the three main parties over this isue during the campaign.

  12. @ Jay Blanc

    I hear everything you say but voting reform has been made a party political issue by the Dems &, as I said:

    If AV gains the Dems the balance of power, they will cease to care about voting reform & we will never hear about PR again.

    I think Clegg & the Dems need to learn that everything comes at a price. If AV is really what they want, they can tell their coalition partners to remove the reduction in MPs & changes to boundaries from the referendum legislation.

    That would be a fair exchange for Labour supporters’ Yes votes. At the moment, the Dems seem to think they can take everything & give nothing back. 8-)

  13. @Tonyotim

    I said that it was manufactured but possible. It was to show an example, however unlikely, where the Tories best chance of winning would be served by a few people voting Labour not Tory. I cannot think of a situation in FPTP where that would happen.

    The example does not hinge on the accuracy of the opinion polls. It just highlights the very different outcomes from a small shift in the relative position of the second and third parties. It hinges on those two parties being close on first prefs but having a very different profile for their second prefs. The largest party overall has a decent lead but has maxed out its first pref vote and requires a particular order for 2/3 to win the seat. Ealing Central and Acton is a possible candidate.

  14. @ALEKSANDAR

    To take the example of Ealing Central & Acton – going into the last election, it would have been seen as such a close three-way marginal, that for Tories to vote Labour for some bizarre tactical reason would have been to risk their candidate coming third and not having any chance of winning. Now the Tories have a 10 point lead in the seat, but in order to vote tactically as you suggest, those voters would need to know quite accurately how swings would effect not only the first vote, but second preferences which would be impossible without either clairvoyance or hindsight. Tactical voting under AV makes no sense.

  15. @ALEC
    I well remember Lamont cutting ACT by 2.5%. It did save £1billion. Brown abolished ACT altogether the following year and it has subsequently cost pension funds belonging to working people anything from my conservative estimate of £75 billion to Ros Altman’s figure of £150 billion (as shown in Colins excellent contribution). Ros knows a lot more about it than me, so I would go with her.
    I am way to up front with my partisan views to be healthy on this site, however trying to defend this kind of thing, as in “it wasn’t all Gordon’s fault” is going to the edge of reason. Brown abolished ACT, and remained in charge of these matters for a number of years until he became PM. It is the Blair/Brown Labour government which is responsible for this, not Norman Lamont, or Margaret Thatcher, or Sir Robert Walpole.

    Finally I should add that I am not a victim of these moves. My funds were to established to be hurt much, however I feel very sorry for the millions of ordinary people it has affected.

  16. When will LDs see that through his actions and comments pre GE vote NC has endangered electoral reform?

    When will LDs see that NC will IMO lead a merger with Cons and split the LD party?

  17. @SoCalLiberal

    You make a long and reasoned post which deserves a longer reply. But unfortunately my attention is focussed on Amber (who I may get to change her mind) and Sue (who I have absolutely no chance of changing her mind, but I need to rehearse the arguments) . So I can’t devote the time necessary to respond point-by-point to your post. Suffice to say, we’ll have to agree to disagree on the merits of direct democracy.

    Apologies and I hope I will have more time in future.
    Regards,
    Martyn

  18. @MIKE N
    Not often I agree with you Mike, but the merger/split situation is a real likelihood.

  19. @Tonyotim

    The point that I was trying to highlight with the ridiculous idea of Tories voting tactically for Labour was the importance of which party got knocked out first. The final outcome in Ealing would be affected under AV by whether Lab pipped LD for second place as they did or vice versa. A swing of just over 1% between the second and third parties, irrespective of the Tory vote, changes this order and therefore changes what 2nd prefs are counted and quite likely the result.
    In this example a small swing between the 2nd and 3rd parties can have a material effect on the result.

  20. @ROLAND
    There are obviously very few occasions on which we could ever agree, but I’m content this is one.

  21. @ALEXSANDAR

    OK – I get it now. Sorry was just being a bit slow this morning. Thats a fair point, and it could also be influenced not just by swing but by second preferences of smaller parties – there would be enough other votes in Ealing Central to take the Libs pst Labour into second in the unlikely event they picked up most of the second preferences.

  22. @Roland – couple of factual points. At no point did I say ‘it wasn’t Brown’s fault’. I only pointed out that Lamont reduced ACT in the 1992 budget, five years before Brown abolished it, and by my reckoning Lamont’s move accounted for about a third of the total impact on pension funds – more if the effects of compounding over time are taken into consideration.

    Brown also reduced Corporation Tax by 2% at the same time, expressly stating that this was intended to provide a balance to companies who would face larger pension bills – if they decided not to up their contributions to cover the ACT loss then they should be held accountable.

    The Tories were critical of ACT when in office as it gave companies and incentive to pay dividends rather than invest. This is why they didn’t make too much fuss when it happened as they would probably have taken the same steps. ACT didn’t exist prior to 1973 anyway, so in the fabled golden era of company pensions ACT was clearly not an important issue.

    I’m not defending the move or Brown’s role in it – I freely admit to not having a massive working knowledge of pension technicalities. What I do know is that Brown’s ACT move was clearly presaged by earlier Tory cuts and all parties were clearly travelling in the same direction on this policy, but Brown also made allowances elsewhere in the tax system for his changes. The overal impact of the ACT changes were however, completely overshadowed by the adverse impacts on pension returns of increasing life expectancy and reducing annuities because of a record period of low interest rates, among other things.

  23. @Tonyotim

    Totally agree. I was lining up the smaller party preferences and was surprised at their impact.

  24. @Amber, hi again!

    You said “…voting reform has been made a party political issue by the Dems…”

    Voting reform is not a party political issue (almost by definition), regardless of the LIBs actions. LIB, LAB or CON can claim it, disavow it, or sneeze on it six times before breakfast and it *still* isn’t a party political point.

    You said “…If AV gains the Dems the balance of power, they will cease to care about voting reform & we will never hear about PR again…”

    Then it will be down to those people in the other parties who care about democracy to further advocate voting reform. I hope there still are such people. I hope there are grassroots people in the LAB/CON/Green/UKIP/SNP/Plaid/whatever who still think democracy is good and more democracy is better.

    You said “…I do not really believe that AV is a stepping stone to PR…”

    Amber, the big grey house-sized trunked big-eared Dumbo lookalike in your living room is an elephant. Voting to keep FPTP will not hasten the coming of voting reform, it will kill it stone dead.

    You said “…the objective is to permanently instal the Dems as kingmakers…”

    Hmmm….you could have a Green/Labour coalition. Or a Con/Unionist coalition. Or a Labour/SNP/Plaid/Alliance rainbow alliance. Or the left wing of Con and the right wing of Lab could split and merge. Or you could have a Lab majority. Or you could have a Con majority. All would be possible, and pols will have to fight for their seats, not just accept them as their tribal due under the current f***witted 19th century travesty we now have.

    Amber, I neither know nor care what the LIBs objectives are. If their objectives are to make themselves kingmakers, then they’re fools: a more responsive electoral system will punish those who do not do what the electorate want and if kingmaking is deprecated by the people, then kingmakers will be unseated.

    You said “…I think Clegg & the Dems need to learn that everything comes at a price. If AV is really what they want, they can tell their coalition partners to remove the reduction in MPs & changes to boundaries from the referendum legislation. That would be a fair exchange for Labour supporters’ Yes votes. At the moment, the Dems seem to think they can take everything & give nothing back…”

    Amber, if that was a legitimate offer of a deal and I had the power to arrange it, then I would accept it gladly (“Done!”). But I don’t have that power. The situation is simple. There will be a referendum. There are only two choices. Vote “Yes”, Amber.

    Regards,
    Martyn

  25. @Cozmo

    You said “…Thanks for that neat phrase. It gets right to the point which bothers me about AV or PR. Vote Clegg get Thatcherism. The vast majority of my Lab colleagues feel the same. For all its faults I am sticking with FPTP…”

    So in order to prevent Thatcherism, you’re going to vote in favour of…the system that gave you 11 straight years (79-90) of Thatcherism.

    Cozmo… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  26. @Martyn
    “So in order to prevent Thatcherism, you’re going to vote in favour of…the system that gave you 11 straight years (79-90) of Thatcherism.”
    ———————
    Yes indeedy! People were very clear what they voted for when they gave Maggie good working majorities.
    She won fair and square. This time everybody lost. There was no majority in favour of a return to 80s policies. Let blue and red take turns in office. At least we get what it says on the tin.
    Regards
    Cozmo
    :)

  27. “Voting reform is not a party political issue (almost by definition),” Splutter in my tea and nearly choke.

    Johnty – Not quite sure which of my beliefs make you think I’m not a leftie, or indeed how you would know what they are. I think you’d be very surprised by my Facebook page. I am obviously just an expert on non-partisan comment (Anthony splutters in HIS tea and nearly chokes.

    Tonyotim – Glad you are reassured by Clegg’s selflessness, integrity and consistency. (splutters in tea laughing)

  28. @Martyn

    Apology accepted. I appreciate your response. And I agree that your efforts are better spent with others who can actually vote on the proposed referendums. Lol.

    I think there are well reasoned arguments behind electoral changes and of course well reasoned arguments against. I’ve always been a fan of FPTP but my FPTP is far different from yours because there are multiple different FPTP votes of significance in my system as opposed to your system where you basically just have one. So I do understand your reasoning here.

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