We still haven’t seen a post-election Populus voting intention poll (though to answer Mike Smithson’s question here, I understand they are still doing them, they are just having a quiet period following the election), but Lord Ashcroft has commissioned them to do some polling in marginal seats, with some interesting findings.

Firstly, in Conservative -vs- Labour marginals the Conservative vote is largely unchanged from the general election, but the Liberal Democrat vote has dropped to the benefit of Labour, this means on a uniform swing Labour would gain about 28 seats from the Conservatives (though these would be seats that the Conservatives gained at the last election, so in practice the Tories would be helped by the incumbency bonus of the new MPs).

In Conservative -vs- Lib Dem marginals the Liberal Democrat vote has collapsed towards the Labour party, presumably partially as Labour voters who previously voted tactically for the Liberal Democrats cease to do so (thought it would be interested to know how the questions were worded, since unless prompted people don’t necessarily consider the tactical situation in their own constitency when answering voting intention polls). On a uniform swing, this would give the Conservatives about 30 seats from the Lib Dems. The poll did not cover Lab -vs- Lib Dem marginals.

Populus then asked how people would vote under AV. Exactly how they asked this is unclear from Lord Ashcroft’s report, but the ultimate effect is that the Conservatives hold onto an extra 12 seats in Con -v- Lab marginals (implying that Lib Dems and others’ second preferences broke in the Conservatives favour), and the Lib Dems hold onto an extra 11 seats in Con -v- LD marginals. Once again, we have no indication of what would happen in LD -v- Lab seats.

UPDATE: The full tables are now available on Lord Ashcroft’s website (see the links at the bottom of this document). A few things worth pointing out. First, the AV questions were done in much the same way as the YouGov polls on it – people had AV explained briefly to them, then asked how they would cast their first and second preferences under that system (as opposed to making the often false assumption that people would cast their first prefences under AV in the same way as their vote in FPTP).

Secondly, this is the first AV polling I’ve seen that asked about third preferences. So far only 32% of respondents actually give a third preference (and a third of those were to minor parties who it is unlikely to benefit). At present of course it really isn’t comething respondents will have given any thought to, so it won’t necessarily bear any relation to how people would actually cast their other preferences, but it’s something that would need to be taken into account if AV did come to pass.

Thirdly, the voting intention questions for FPTP were just the standard Populus VI question. That should be okay in the Labour -v- Con seats, but as I’ve said before, I’m not sure how good marginal seat polls in Lib Dem marginals they. Even when the Lib Dems are riding high in the polls they tend to show the Lib Dems doing badly and Labour gaining, probably because some people give their voting intention as their real first preference, rather than their local tactical one. My suspicion is that the FPTP position in those Con -v- LD seats may be unduly negative.


278 Responses to “Populus poll of marginals”

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  1. Ashcroft- for it is he- on the LD squeeze identified in this populous poll and already explained by Peter Kellner in the other thread:

    “Writing exclusively for ConservativeHome Lord Ashcroft describes the results of a new Populus opinion poll that he commissioned in marginal constituencies. The survey confirms the trend we have seen in numerous other polls: The Liberal Democrats are being badly squeezed in these early days of the Coalition government.

    Six findings are worth emphasising:

    1. Labour would gain 16 to 28 Tory-held seats where they are in second place, if the election was held today.

    2. The Liberal Democrats would lose 19 to 30 seats that they currently hold where the Conservatives are second.

    3. The net gains under First Past The Post would be +28 for Labour and +2 for Conservatives.

    4. Under AV the net gains would be +16 for Labour and +3 for the Conservatives.

    5. 21% of the 6,000 voters in the Populus/ Ashcroft poll said that the Liberal Democrats were having a “significant” impact on the Coalition’s policies. 51% said “some” influence. 23% said “virtually no” influence.

    6. In terms of attacking the Coalition Budget there is tactical advice for Labour. By 59% to 39% Labour is losing the argument on timing of cuts with majorities in all categories of marginal seats saying that it is right to start cutting now. Labour would be on much stronger ground if they focused on the impact of cuts on “ordinary hardworking people”. Only 32% of voters think George Osborne’s adjustments are fairly distributed. 64% think “ordinary” families are bearing the brunt of tax rises and cuts. “

  2. Thanks very much Rob and AW. Good posts. This is the most informative poll yet IMO.

  3. In other words, FPTP seems to be more beneficial to Labour than AV. If Lab voters become familiar with this notion, then they might vote accordingly in the referendum. So AV fails, the LDs are in disarray and the squeezing effect in favor of Lab is now stronger – a vicious circle from which the LDs cannot escape – unless Con voters begin also to think in a machiavellian way and vote for AV against their instinctual inclination.

  4. While you’ve all been chortling at DC’s inevitable exposure on the previous thread, you really should deal with the polling that dear Ashcroft is paying for. AW points out that we do not see the exact text of the Q’s but the message is clear. Junior partners in coalitions suffer unless they score with at least one big idea. I think that will be AV but most of the rest of you don’t. To answer one Q to me, I chose 18 months because then the fall out over the AV referendum is then a fact and parties have had the summer to simmer before the party conferences.

    That is if we get that far. The longed-for double dip by our leftie colleagues (oh do be honest for once – this is an educated forum) may hasten matters.

  5. Perhaps the most interesting thing abvout this poll is the fact that Lord Ashcroft commissioned it! Like everyone else he is looking for certainties where none exist. Polling marginal seats is fraught with difficulties – because most people don’t realise they are in marginals, and in elections they are subject to more intensive campaigning than other voters. Also we really do not have any idea what the state of the parties will be at the next election. One thing we know for sure is that at present we have a very volatile electorate.

    @Howard
    Can you explain your point on previous thread which seemed to suggest an end to the coalition in 18 months?

  6. @Howard
    Thanks. Had not considered that. Of course then we would presumably be subject to 66% rule – so no early election – but would the equalization of constituency boundaries still take place? Also will House of Lords reform be in place?

  7. @virgilio

    You wrote “…In other words, FPTP seems to be more beneficial to Labour than AV. If Lab voters become familiar with this notion, then they might vote accordingly in the referendum. So AV fails, the LDs are in disarray and the squeezing effect in favor of Lab…”

    You’re not thinking this through, Virgilio (hi, btw), Even with the squeeze, LAB aren’t catching CON up. And in a classic two-party race, the one with the most votes gets a majority. As the squeeze goes on, the combined LAB+LIB seatage gets smaller, not bigger, and CON stays in front. The more the squeeze goes on, the more likely LIBs will want to drag the Coalition out to 2015 and the more likely a CON majority government in 2015 becomes (imagine a scenario where the LIB vote dwindles to zero and you’ll see what I mean). LAB’s strategy of abusing LIBs wherever they find them will keep them in opposition until 2020 and maybe beyond. All CON has to do is keep quiet, watch LIB and LAB tear each other apart, and make soothing noises to the LIBs. We’re in the world of psychology and cognitive dissonance here, not strategy: c’est magnifique, mais ne c’est pas la politique… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  8. That is if we get that far. The longed-for double dip by our leftie colleagues (oh do be honest for once – this is an educated forum) may hasten matters.

    ———-

    I recall reading endless Righties hoping for a double-dip recession – amongst other mishaps – merely so that they could gain a few more seats.

    The moral?

    Parties on both sides really don’t care about the country.

    Just so long as they can be in power.

  9. A few points from previous threads:

    @Wayne… this has been covered a number of times (unfair that Tories need a 10% lead): Cons pile up votes where they have already won – whereas Labour achieve an overwhelming majority in their safe seats with a lower turnout.

    @TonyOTim… I think your memory does fail you. LDs reversed their position on timing of cuts once they were in the coalition, saying things were worse than they thought (even though the indicators showed an improvement on the pre-election forecast).

    @Colin… DC looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed in Washington (remember our exchange a few weeks ago about Nick Robinson’s comment, that his priority is beauty sleep rather than pouring over breifing documents – compared to GB on transatlantic flights ;) ). BO finds him wearysome I think.
    Under the impression that UK families are in no way convinced that the Libyan had anything whatsoever to do with the unfortunate events.

  10. As I mentioned last night, no governement in the last 40 years has managed to increase their share of the vote at a subsequant election. I think 2015 may change this as the libdem collapse if it really does happens could not possibly go entirely to labour. I am not sure the tories will be able to keep their current numbers of between 40-42, so those numbers will need to go somewhere. Labour are polling between 34-37 and there may be a small bounce come the election of a new leader, but I am not sure the electorate will be so keen to go back to labour. I don’t think the coalition will collapse unless Nick Clegg is replaced as leader. I look forward to the conference season as the libdems will be worth watching.

  11. BILLY BOB

    ” BO finds him wearysome I think.”

    Really?-I watched the whole Press Conference, and thought the personal chemistry good.

    “Under the impression that UK families are in no way convinced that the Libyan had anything whatsoever to do with the unfortunate events.”

    Who is?-you?

    “Unfortunate” is a really odd word to use about the mass murder of 270 people.
    In any event, since 190 of the dead were US citizens, their views on responsibility might seem at least as relevant as ours.

    There is a political slant from today’s events.
    What will the papers that the Cabinet Secretary has now been instructed to assemble reveal that we don’t already know?
    Was this purely a compassionate release by the Scottish administration-or is there a link to the then UK government-and BP interests?

  12. @Colin… also relevant, a condition of his release – that he drop appeal proceedings

  13. @ Colin… please substitute the synonym ‘deplorable’… I did mean to cause any offence :( (other than by suggesting that DC is wearysome :) ).

  14. *not* mean to cause any offence :(

  15. @Epochery
    You never give up – ignoring the earlier examples which go against your theory! Methinks you are too influenced by the Blair/Brown years – a huge landslide followed by a steady erosion of support. Not the pattern of previous Governments.

    I also think the Tories have a very good chance of increasing their vote in 2015. One way in which 2010 was totally unique – on the other occasions when a Labour Government has been thrown out the Lib Dems have suffered badly; this time they slightly increased their vote – totally unprecedented, and against most of the evidence of opinion polls since 2006. So from that base it should not be difficult for the Conservatives to remedy ttheir under performance both in terms of seats and votes – but events too often make fools of us all.

  16. @Howard, @Rob Sheffield, @Jack Jackson, @ROLAND HAINES

    Hi!

    You had a discussion in a previous thread which slipped by me, and I think you made an important but erroneous point.

    You (and, it seems, many other people) are proceeding on the assumption that a “No” vote in the AV referendum will precipitate the fall of the Coalition. Er, have you thought that thru… :-)

    If I’m reading this right, in that event the LIBs will have lost an important referendum and will have been in the teens in the polls for some time. Under those conditions, precipitating an election would be suicidal. Additionally, if I understand the 66% threshold correctly, they couldn’t do so even if they want to.

    So no election.

    Could another Coalition be formed? Doubtful. LAB has quite comprehensively p***ed on their chips with regards to LIB, so a yellow-red coalition is out. And I can’t see anything else that’ll work.

    So no new Coalition either.

    Given that, an AV “No” will not cause the Coalition to fall: instead, it’ll prop it up to the bitter 2015 end,

    Is there anything wrong with my reasoning?

    Regards, Martyn

  17. @JOHNTY

    The stats doent lie,11 elections is a reasonable sample to make a judgement on. What I have actually said is that I expect the tories to increase their share because of the libdems current collapse. Every election from 1970 onwards has seen the ruling party lose their share of the vote, not mps necessarily, only on 2 occasions feb 1974 and 1983 has the opposition lost their share. However if you take the tories current peak in the polls at 43, I would be very suprised if that was maintained. My crystal ball tells me 2015 will be 38 a piece with labour on today seat distribution being the largest party. But events will of course have a bearing, labour may become disunited, the economy may perform miracles, and there will be plenty of scandal to come for the electorate to consider.

  18. @Martyn

    Lib-Lab shrinkage/ tear each other to shreds/ all we have to do is keep quiet (as a government….???) etc etc etc

    As a reminder: it’s taken 2 months for the government to lose as much support as Blairite Labour (not the best most healthiest comparator let’s be frank) did in 3 years. Twice as many people think the cuts are unfairly distributed- that the mythical totem ‘ordinary people’/ ‘ordinary families’ (roughly translated: ‘people like me/ us’) are being shafted in favour of the non-ordinary (read ‘ilk of privilege’ as someone once defined it); the lib dems have lost a THIRD of their support- twice as much going to labour as to Conservative.

    We have weekly announcements of spending and jobless making ennui- yet the actual start of the sh*t-kicking is a good 9 months away. We have mutterings of welfare recipients having to move to work or lose their social housing tenure as penance. We have the focus on slashing the support the state gives to those with disabilities. We have division over graduate tax versus uncapping fees and rumours of universities being closed down in this ‘knowledge based and innovation led’ economy. We have C&W today posting a record profits slump and blaming it squarely on the early dash to cut public consumption spending. Tonight we had reports about the reduction in police on the streets; we have also tonight the renaissance of the death tax if you can stomach the pun let alone the gall given the election sloganeering and scaremongering on this matter . That is ignoring the starting gun event: a CST- responsible for wielding the knife- and his expenses difficulties. Notwithstanding this ‘great repealing’ administration setting up a brand spanking new Quango just today !!

    Ok Ok we have the binning of cctv and speed cameras; we have the closure/ running down of prisons and convicted criminals not being sent to jail (great if you’ve been bullied, harassed or assaulted by one of the ASB culprits); we have an increase in human rights for islamist terrorists. All great foil for the 19th century liberal gallery.

    But the governments support- at such an early point in time and months before the ideological cuts actually really start to bite- and its positives are slowly seeping away. And before the post new labour leadership is even in place. Oh let the ‘phoney war’ end !

    It’s going to be a fascinating political conflict over the next 12 months and public opinion on various key issues- and polling numbers- in 12 months could well surprise quite a few regular posters on this forum.

  19. Latest Yougov
    CON 43%, LAB 35%, LDEM 14%

    Lowest LD numbers since 2008? Total Cons/LD vote has not slipped much since election.

  20. @Martyn
    Thanks for your reply, of course you are right, if Lab turns the slogan into its main strategy, this is not going to work. The squeezing of LD will benefit Lab only if there is also a swing directly from Con to Lab (and the diminished presence of LD might facilitate that).
    Anyway, my hypothetical scenario was mainly a testing of electoral behavior contrary to one’s true beliefs, just to achieve a perceived goal, and your reply shows precisely the limits of this kind of thinking.
    Encore merci et bonne continuation.

  21. @Colin

    “Really?-I watched the whole Press Conference, and thought the personal chemistry good.”

    These press conferences are stage managed contrivances where “personal chemistry”, whatever that cliche actually means, will be artificially engendered to suit the needs of both participants. What has to be remembered is that all successful politicians are masters of imagery, photo opportunities and public relations and there are not many finer exponents of these political arts than Cameron and Obama. Clinton and Blair were past masters too and I wouldn’t read too much into gushing politicians smiling in the right places as they exchange vacuuous platitudes. They’re just doing what comes naturally to two consummate political performers.

    Ironically, two much stiffer and wooden public performers, Gorbachev and Thatcher, probably enjoyed a better personal relationship than most political leaders in post war history, yet their press conferences and public appearances together rarely told the picture of the much warmer private relationship that existed beyond the public eye. In contrast, Obama and Cameron looked to be going through the motions on behalf of the cameras and press today. Bland and totally unenlightening.

    Is there a more empty and meaningless expression in the English language than “personal chemistry” by the way?

  22. @Epochery
    Think I disagree profoundly with you about the significance of past elections as a guide to the future. Nobody could have predicted 2010 from what had happened in the past or 1992 or Feb 1974 or many others.
    We are in very unchartered waters – a peace time coalition in a serious global economic crisis for which nobody has any answers. On that cheerful note I will call it a day.

  23. It seems definite now that the Libs have lost the support of those Labour voters who voted Lib in an attempt to keep the Tories out. But surely a ‘true’ Lib would rather have the current situation where they have several cabinet ministers, and some influence on government policy for the first time in several generations, than to be still out of power altogether albeit with slightly higher polling intentions?

  24. As many tories liek to count the lib dem vote as support of the coalition it was ConDem 60% Labour 29% at the election it is on todays numbers ConDEm 57% Labour 35%. That represents a 4.5% swing after two months, so much for the honeymoon. It is pointless thinking there is any significance to this but it does show the volatility out there.

  25. @Johnty

    “Nobody could have predicted 2010 from what had happened in the past or 1992 or Feb 1974 or many others.”

    Absolutely crucial point.

    Events- current and yet to occur- are what will decide the next election.

    Most probably that election will in 2013 but possibly in 2012: unless Nick and his 16-20 fellow Orangemen have done an SDP and see the thing through propping up Dave and George till the bitter end. You only have to read the LD activist sites to pick up on the burgeoning fear/ worry/ anger.

    Sorry @Martyn but I think in your desperation to believe that the real ‘progressive alliance’ in UK politics (that of the non orange LD’s leftwards) is somehow dead forever has addled your intellectual and analytical capacity here. Or perhaps you have not witnessed many elections or many changing political tides (or perhaps forgotten them).

    Nothing is forever in politics . Indeed as a very wise man once said: “a week is a long time in British Politics”…

  26. @Pete B – I can’t speak for ‘true’ Lib Dems, but I suspect what will cause them real anguish is if (when?) we see some acute reversals in their local government representation.

    They have been very good at slowly progressing from growing local level support and by election success to capturing and holding parliamentary seats at general elections. Over the last 15 years it has felt much like a long march to power. While at some stage they would face the fact that opposition is easy if they ever got into government, their current plight risks destroying their key local strengths. If this plays badly for them it may set them back literally decades.

  27. @Rob

    And the point about events is that they effect governments far more than oppositions. For instance in 2005 Labour took a bath over Iraq but yet they had support from the tories to go to war who had a small increase in their vote share. Remeber of course it was not based on dodgy intelligence that support went to the libdems but on the principle of going to war.

  28. @Alec

    “I can’t speak for ‘true’ Lib Dems, but I suspect what will cause them real anguish is if (when?) we see some acute reversals in their local government representation.”

    They are already worried and contemplating when should be the right time to say “OK we tried, we did our best but it was not to be”: here is the best post I have seen that is reflected everyday on main LD activist sites (though it will be DM not EM most probably !

    “Back in May, the coalition put on an impressive performance. A seemingly comprehensive and fair agreement was negotiated in a friendly, co-operative and businesslike manner. Cameron and Clegg showed off their easy public-school charm. The idea that political opponents could sink their differences and work together brought an upsurge of optimism and support from the public at large. There is, of course, nowhere to go from there except down. That would be true, to some extent, even if the partnership had carried on with the “liberal conservative” one-nation style of government, harking back to Macmillan, that it had seemed to promise. It is all the more true now that it has ripped off the veil and declared itself as a radical reforming right-wing government that will go where even Thatcher feared to tread, take the axe to welfare, and privatise health and education. Ed Miliband, who I expect will be Labour’s next leader, is no political genius. But he won’t have to be. He should be capable of kicking the ball into the kind of open goal that the coalition in general, and the Lib Dems in particular, are giving him. In two years’ time, he will be winning byelections with massive swings, and telling the voters that nobody with a social conscience should support the coalition. The Tories will grimly hang on to their core vote, but we won’t. It’s going to be painfully obvious, in two years’ time, that we ought to leave the coalition. It’s going to be painfully obvious that we shouldn’t have stayed in it that long. In the words of Fairport Convention – if you’ve got to go, go now.”

    Personally- for the moment- I think a real possible scenario is a LD split with Clegg’s Orange true believers supporting the Conservatives right through till 2015 (there are enough- 16 to 20- to combine with the Unionists to form a working majority). At some point BEFORE 2015 he will be given an ultimatum by his party at large. At the moment I cannot see him siding with the party: he is enjoying playing with the tots too much.

  29. Talk of the “bitter end” makes me think of the Boer War where after terrible suffering at the hands of the british the Boers had an anguished division over the way forward, splitting in to two factions, the “hensoopers” who wanted to surrender and the “bitter-enders” who wanted to fight on. The analogy doesn’t apply but it is fun!
    Alec is right. The real hit will be local government.
    Given this poll, surely no one thinks av will win?

  30. Colin
    An introduction to Scottish politics-
    The only reason for the snp to do anything is to foment trouble and disagreement between Scotland and the rest of the uk. Thats why they entered politics.
    I have no idea what discussions went on between HMG and Libya or BP but I know the but I know it would only have negative impact on the snp.
    Try finding Prof Tom Gallagher’s past comments.

  31. If the Conservative vote has not moved at all in the marginals but has risen by 5% nationwide, then where has their vote risen?

    Safe Conservative seats?

    Safe Labour seats?

    Assuming this poll spreads across the, say, 200 most marginal UK seats then the Conservative vote must have shot up in all other seats by 7% or so.

    I can’t believe that this is happening in safe labour seats. But if the increase is not in safe labour seats either then their vote must have gone up by about 10% in safe Conservative seats since the election.

    This seems unlikely.

  32. @ROB SHEFFIELD

    Rob, hi!

    You said “…Sorry @Martyn but I think in your desperation to believe that the real ‘progressive alliance’ in UK politics (that of the non orange LD’s leftwards) is somehow dead forever has addled your intellectual and analytical capacity here. Or perhaps you have not witnessed many elections or many changing political tides (or perhaps forgotten them)….”

    Straw men, Rob: I do not believe that there isn’t a LAB+leftLD constituency. Although given the torrent of abuse LAB is unleashing on LIB, and LAB’s increasingly convoluted efforts to justify an anti-AV vote (I think I’m contractually obliged to use the term “cognitive dissonance” here), I should imagine the expected flood of LIB activists to LAB’s side may slow somewhat: standing drunk outside the house in a wifebeater vest screaming “COME BACK TO ME YOU B**** OTHERWISE I’LL F*** YOU UP” does not get you lucky, it gets you arrested.

    I have also (unfortunately) seen many elections. Many, many elections… :-(

    But you’re missing the point: all other things being equal, if the LIB vote declines to zero, does LAB overtake CON? No it doesn’t, even on a straight-line basis. When you consider that LIB votes get progressively more CON as the LIB vote declines, it becomes progressively harder for LAB to extract LAB votes from LIB, the picture’s even worse for LAB (“Achilles and the tortoise”)

    Of course, all other things won’t be equal. As Johnty points out, there will be events. As you point out, the upcoming years will see bad things happen to many people. Events will happen and the public will judge the parties on how well they react to them. LAB may gain/lose votes, CON may gain/lose votes, LIB may gain/lose votes. You can’t tell going in what’ll happen: if we could, we’d be rich.

    So if I’ve got this right, LAB’s strategy is:

    A) P**s on the LIBs until they all come back to LAB
    B) Wait for Coalition votes to move to LAB under austerity backlash
    C) Make an election happen somehow in 2011/12
    D) Walk into Number 10. Oooh, chair’s still warm…

    (Sarcasm aside, I *think* that’s actually an accurate assessment of LAB strategy as of today, albeit comedically phrased). OK, but please note:

    * A isn’t big enough for LAB to win and it is an increasingly dry well
    * B is unreliable
    * C isn’t going to happen (see above as for why)

    You said “…It’s going to be a fascinating political conflict over the next 12 months and public opinion on various key issues- and polling numbers- in 12 months could well surprise quite a few regular posters on this forum…”

    I agree completely, but that’s not the point. I think everybody’s proceeding on the assumption that the Coalition will collapse in 2011/12 because…y’know, it’s just got to: hasn’t it? I’ve tried to explain above that a LIB squeeze *prolongs* the Coalition life, not shortens it.

    Regards, Martyn

  33. @Virgilio

    Thank you.

    Regards, Martyn

  34. @Martyn- too many specific assumptions that are highly questionable and not supported by trends or history ! Plus not enough openness to events nor for the capacity of both the British people and UK political parties to surprise !

    Most of all though- you have absolutely no way of asserting that- in the unlikely event that the LD (or the two parties if there is a split) vote falls to zero that the Conservatives representation in parliament outstrips that of Labour. Indeed- to give this rather pointless ‘sociometric’ line of thinking more attention than it is due- the only bit of current hard data we have is that (in terms of red and blue) defecting lib dems are defecting by a ratio of 2-1 in the red direction (with 1 going elsewhere).

    So- on your ‘assumption’ of an eventual yellow zero- that means the latest poll rating (15%) breaks 3.75 blue; 7.5 red and 3.75 elsewhere. Making a Con-Lab split of 45.75% playing 43.5%. Which given the concentration of labour support in their key and winnable seats (NOT gerrymandering- another psephological myth) makes Labour easily the largest party and able to do a deal with Nats and others.

    Just on the basis of your fanciful assumption of course because LD votes are going nowhere near zero for the foreseeable future. ;-)

    Labours strategy is to (remorselessly) force a wedge between the Cons and LD’s on each and every issue where there is an underlying unease at best/ outright disagreement at worst. Obviously this won’t be every issue/ policy but it will be the majority. It is also- within the LD’s- to drive a wedge between the social/ Beveridge Liberals on the one hand and the Orangemen on the other who- like Laws and Clegg are anti-Labour and who culturally, psychologically and socio-economically resemble the Cameroons. It is the correct stratagem in the circumstances and one already beginning slowly to have an impact- despite their being an ongoing leadership campaign but helped by the many own goals and rush released ill though out policy announcements of the last two months.

    The strategy is not- as you rather erroneously assert IMHO- to gratuitously offend or fling dung at good people of the left (such as the majority of LD’s are).

  35. The theory that a government become less popular as the years go by does hold water, certainly in the last thirty years, and therefore there was nothing surprising about either 1992 or 2010.

    1983 was exceptional, the Tories winning by a landslide because of the Falklands War, prior to which they were third in the polls. The Tories survived in 1987 and 1992, but their parliamentary representation went down. It went down so much in 1997 that Labour swept to power. Then Labour’s popularity declined in 2001, 2005 and 2010, but the Tories had such a mountain to climb that they couldn’t achieve a majority on their own.

    If the trend continues – and the policies enacted so far do nothing to suggest it won’t – then this government will lose support. The unique and intriguing factor next time is whether it will be the combined Con/LD support which declines, or whether both parties suffer. I’m inclined to think (and hope!) that it’s the latter and that Labour will win the next election whenever it’s held.

  36. Why do I feel that Ashcroft is poll-shopping, by taking a marginals poll now while the honeymoon effect is still relatively strong. Then in the future when general poll trends downwards, he can say “Ah, but recent marginal polling showed a very different story”.

  37. Jay Blanc. Easy – because you like to put the worst possible interpretation on anything Ashcroft does and you believe the Left have a monopoly on political integrity against all the evidence. There’s none so blind ……

  38. Epochery – “I look forward to the conference season as the libdems will be worth watching.”

    Has anyone ever said that in he history of UK politics? lol

  39. NICK HADLEY

    “Is there a more empty and meaningless expression in the English language than “personal chemistry” by the way?”

    Yes-lots & lots.

    I think it very meaningful expression.

    Whether people get on or not is always about personal chemistry-is there a spark-or not-what else?
    Ask any newly married couple.

    What a bleak view of human relationships you have.

    No wonder you perceived a Press Conference with the palpable tension of Megrahi & BP running through it & Press questions,as “bland”.

    I hope sincerely that Cameron’s raising of Garry McKinnon’s plight, and the careful choice of words by Obama on the topic , indicate that I am not too far off the mark in my view of the chemistry developing at this meeting.

  40. Hard to guess what Lord Ashcroft is up to – but he has not commissioned this poll in the interests of scientific research. Of that we can all be sure. We do know he is not too pleased with Cameron – he thinks he threw what should have been a dead cert election victory and according to reports he is writing a book on the subject.

  41. @ MARTYN

    ““COME BACK TO ME YOU B**** OTHERWISE I’LL F*** YOU UP” ”

    Very funny.

    I think it’s slightly more nuanced though-something like:-

    ” LEAVE THAT B****** CLEGG. HE’SE F***** YOU UP .
    I ALWAYS LOVED YOU REALLY-NO-I DID-LOOK-I REALLY NEED YOU NOW-PLEASE “

  42. “However if you take the tories current peak in the polls at 43, I would be very suprised if that was maintained. My crystal ball tells me 2015 will be 38 a piece”

    Even on this forum of political obsessives, I find it totally perplexing that most seem unable to envisage the impact of 25 -40% cuts.

    If indeed they go ahead, there will be riots in the streets that make the poll tax look like a picnic. Civil unrest, winters and summers of discontent, enormous hardships and misery.

    This is not just me being a leftie, just think things through for a minute. I would certainly consider ANY scenario in which, say, 30% cuts take place and everything’s rosy, but every single one of us on here must know that that simply isn’t possible.

    Predictions of winning the 2015 election and 38% poll leads for the Tories might as well come from a different planet.

  43. I’ve read all the posts above but don’t recall anyone asking why Lord A commissioned this poll.

    Why had he? If the Cons are content to stick with the coalition until 2015, in what way can the poll results support this?

    I suggest that Lord A is piling pressure deliberately on the LDs in the hope that they will implode leading either to a split in the LDs or LD withdrawal from the coalition. It is feasible that one half of the LDs lead by NC could merge with the Cons achieving a C overall majority. Alternatively, the LDs withdraw and either the Cons form a minority gov or we have another GE.

    So, what would happen in the event that the LDs withdraw from the coalition? As PM DC could continue with a minority gov, or he could resign and seek dissolution and a GE. It has been suggested that the Q could invite another MP (eg leader of Lab) to form a government but is it really plausible that Lab and the LDs could reach an agreement to form a coalition?

    Given that we are very close to the conference season, and that the LDs seem increasingly anxious, me thinks Lord A’s poll is timely.

  44. @Sue
    You are still a leftie! Still makes me chuckle. I grew up with Trots, who wouldn’t even vote Labour in the 1970″s.
    Why do you assume that riots in the streets would not benefit the Tory party? They even managed to win another General Election after the poll tax. The current Government is in any case I suspect likely to be a little more flexible than Mrs T.

  45. “However if you take the tories current peak in the polls at 43, I would be very suprised if that was maintained. My crystal ball tells me 2015 will be 38 a piece”

    Even on this forum of political obsessives, I find it totally perplexing that most seem unable to envisage the impact of 25 -40% cuts.

    If indeed they go ahead, there will be riots in the streets that make the poll tax look like a picnic. Civil unrest, winters and summers of discontent, enormous hardships and misery.

    This is not just me being a leftie, just think things through for a minute. I would certainly consider ANY scenario in which, say, 30% cuts take place and everything’s rosy, but every single one of us on here must know that that simply isn’t possible.

    Predictions of winning the 2015 election and 38% poll leads for the Tories might as well come from a different planet.

    Oh and Colin – Are you going to tell your little joke EVERY day about Labour and the Libs? Come on, I’m sure you can think of another! ;)

  46. Johnty – “Why do you assume…..

    Because of those rose tinted glasses of course!

  47. Martyn – Has it occurred to you even for one second that Lab doesn’t HAVE a strategy yet? That Lab doesn’t even have a leader?

    Could you try to post without swearing?

    As you love your “Cognitive dissonance” so much do you think you might actually be suffering from Transferance? Perhaps you’re angrier at Clegg than any of us?

  48. Colin – You are funny! If I’d posted that last night about Blair and Bush (instead of Cameron and Obama) would you not have actually physically vomited?

    Still, bless you for enjoying the love-in so much!

  49. @ Mike N “The Lib Dems seem increasingly anxious” – according to who?

  50. Sue Marsh. It is perfectly obvious that the cuts will be very unpopular, but you are talking about an election nearly 5 years away. The coalition will be seen to either win or fail in the next 4 years (are you hoping for failure? Tell us). This will decide the GE, not some difficult events in the interim.If succesful (are you hoping for failure? Tell us), then the coalition will continue, and the Labour party will lose the election – badly.

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