New YouGov Welsh poll

There is a new YouGov poll of Welsh assembly voting intentions for ITV. The topline figures, with changes from the last monthly poll, are as follows:

Constituency: CON 19%(-3), LAB 44%(nc), LDEM 9%(-2), PC 21%(+2)
Regional: CON 18%(-2), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 9%(-3), PC 23%(+4)

At both regional and constituency level Plaid take second place from the Conservatives. On a uniform swing (and assuming Labour retake Blaenau Gwent now Trish Law is standing down) this would result in the Conservatives losing 4 of their 5 constituency seats to Labour (Monmouth would be the only hold). Add on the regional seats, where the Conservatives would get back some of the seats they lost at a constituency level, and the final result would be Conservatives 10 seats (down 2), Labour 31 seats (up 5), Lib Dems 5 (down 1), Plaid 14 (down 1) – giving Labour an overall majority for the first time.

519 Responses to “New YouGov Welsh poll”

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  1. Hooded,

    don’t pay any heed to OldNat on that point. The level of anti-Englishness among the Scottish urban youth, would put an Irishman to shame.

  2. Ps ‘altruism’ was paired with a smiley. Perhaps a wink would have been better…. ;-)

  3. Eoin

    You have this terrible tendency to generalise! Exactly how many of Scottish urban youth have you had contact with?

  4. Eoin,

    I’ve seen it and lived it. I was brought up that the English were all *******
    My school was established in 1239, and was attended by William Wallace (one of the houses is named after him). It’s a different world. And not one you can ever get away from. The missus and I argue constantly about the way we bring up the kids. I want them to know all about the Scots history, understand the depth of feeling and passion, but it’s difficult when they don’t get anything like that at school here.
    They always support the blues though !!
    (sometimes I have to turn off if it’s Chelsea playing though ;-) )

  5. @Old Nat

    Thank you for those numbers. The main coalition defence has been to highlight the difference between benefit claimants and non-claimants. However those figures suggest that for the coalition there is a rich political seam to be found exploiting the general dislike of an entire impoverished country towards its privileged capital. I noticed on QT tonight that the Glasgow audience wasn’t that bothered about the HB cuts in London.

  6. Aleksandar,

    I watched too. Said to the wife at the beginning that there was no way a Glaswegian audience would even begin to understand £20k HB paid out to families in London, and as you say the reaction spoke volumes…..

  7. Aleksandar

    Indeed there is also “a rich political seam to be found exploiting the general dislike of” all the impoverished countries towards their privileged capital!

    Hooded Man

    But I think you are also probably aware that the term “English” (as a term of abuse) in Scotland is terribly misused. Challenge people as to what they mean by it, and they immediately start excluding those in the North of England from it. It’s a shorthand for “the toffs in London and the South East” – and a very inappropriate shorthand at that.

  8. Old Nat,,

    Not sure that is the case. Not the way it was when I was growing up. There was no differentiation. Maybe that’s just Dundee for you ;-)

  9. Hooded Man

    But (other in football terms – especially TV coverage of 1966!) did you actually ever think then about how you(?) were using the term – or challenge people who use “English” as a term of abuse? I regularly challenge such language, and have found few (though there are some) who are bigoted against all English people. Of course, many are bigoted against “the toffs in London and the South East” – but that is entirely reasonable! :-)

  10. Old Nat,

    I like to think the problem is more about football and rugby than anything else. But the first history I was ever taught was Bruce, Wallace, etc. And the way it was taught was inspiring, and also instilled emotions that all Scots have. And when you are eight or nine you have no knowledge of a wider context, it’s easy to see it as more than stories told from years gone by. Those feelings mellow with age and wisdom, but I think Eoin is right in some ways, many of the youths grow up/are brought up with a vitriolic anti-English fervour that ultimately moderates through time….

  11. Off to bed, goodnight….

  12. Hooded Man

    Agreed. The Scottish/English thing is primarily about team sports – not much different from the Celtic/Rangers thing (or the everybody else against Celtic/Rangers thing!). Or the Chelsea/some other team thing (forgive my lack of knowledge of your local rivalries).

    Hence, it has little relevance to political issues. If it had, we would have been independent before you were born!

    Cameron’s dismissal of Scotland, of course, is entirely political. Unless you watched PMQs you wouldn’t know of the following exchange

    “Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): In a few weeks’ time, the Prime Minister will decide whether he will close RAF Lossiemouth, in addition to closing RAF Kinloss, which would lead to the biggest loss of jobs in Scotland since the Tories closed manufacturing industry in the 1980s. As a consequence, that would mean that Scotland would have fewer service personnel, fewer military bases, aircraft, vessels and Army battalions and less defence spending than all our independent Scandinavian neighbours of comparable size. Will the Prime Minister explain why he is concentrating defence spending in the south and cutting defence spending disproportionately in Scotland?
    The Prime Minister: We are going ahead with the aircraft carriers, which are being built in Scotland. I have to say to the hon. Gentleman that if we had an independent Scotland, he would not be flying planes but flying by the seat of his pants.”

    Now, either Cameron is dismissing the possibility of any smaller country having an air defence capability – in which case he is too ignorant to be PM (since Norway has 122 military planes) – or he thinks that Scotland is uniquely incapable of having such a facility – in which case he is too bigoted to be PM.

  13. On the child benefit story –

    @Eoin – “But here is the crucial point- How mcuh of the public give two hoots about the intricacies.”

    That’s correct, but the treasury leaks are now saying the policy is unworkable and will be dropped. This would be a major story of incompetance inspired by the political needs of Osborne’s conference speech – it wouldn’t be good.

    @Neil A “Surely it’s not hard to require people to reapply for their Child Benefit. ”

    On the face of it it wouldn’t be, but firstly the cost – just to send out letters to all CB claimants would costs £2.5m in postage before you even think about designing the form, printing costs and critically paying for the labour to assess 8m claims.

    The legal issue is also significant – it would need a change in the law to require people to say what their partners were earning and HMRC have no current database that can match claimants addresses to their partners tax records.
    Then you have the practicalities of maintaining an assessment from year to year as incomes change etc.

    On Cameron/Scotland/PMQs

    @Oldnat – I’ve heard and seen a little of DC at PMQs since the election and haven’t been impressed. I would be interested in other people’s opinions, but I thought while in opposition he controlled himself well, and while he clearly enjoyed the knockabout stuff he did seem to be reinging in the sarcasm in favour of a more statesmanlike approach – I though he got the blend right and was all the more effective for it.

    As PM, I have been really turned off by his parliamentary performances. He seems to have automatically switched to a sneering and arrogant parliamentary style, not just with Ed M but with backbenchers and all comers. I find it intensely grating and I would imagine if he continues like this it will begin to seriously irritate people, but I could be wrong.

    As I said to Eoin – this story isn’t coming from Osborne’s political opponents – it came straight from senior treasury sources who are saying the policy is a disaster and are annoyed they weren’t consulted as they could have avoided the embarrasment.

    On Housing benefit – someone above (Ken?) mentioned the £26,000 benefits cap playing well and Labour needing an answer. I suspect waiting for the impacts will be answer enough.

    Osborne (and the Lib Dems sadly) are hiding behind the £400 pw figure on HB, and it sounds OK – but this is the minor part of the changes. In effect they have tried to frame the debate by saying they can save billions by targeting a few slouchers earning tens of thousands on benefits.

    These people do exist, but only in theory or in very, very small numbers (it emerged on QT last night that the HB cap only affects 7 families in Scotland, for example). As the real effects are felt the picture will become much clearer and the Lib Dems will come under the most intense pressure imaginable.

    I think it’s no surprise that some Tory back benchers are very nervous about the proposals. This should tell commentators of all political persuasions all they need to know. I have absolutely no doubt that at some stage we will see someone being made homeless because of these changes – they might well be feckless individuals and ‘deserve’ this, but it won’t look at all good when it happens.

    ‘Ill thought out’ seems to be the comment of many independent experts on the housing changes. It’s beginning to look like Osborne’s epitaph.

  14. Noticed this morning that the HB story is getting lots of media coverage.

    We should expect this to be reflected in VI I think, soon. Er, the LDs will be down to 5% – it’s inevitable. :-)

    Claims that BJ’s comments were all part of some cunning plan, are just ridiculous. And I doubt that the comments and apparent retraction will help him in the next mayoral election. This will be particularly the case IMO if/when the ‘cleansing’ of London begins. Oh, and another thought…this won’t look good internationally when other countries cover the issue and show how London is preparing for the Olympics.

    This is very bad all round for the Cons. The blues on here can ‘spin’ it but this issue will gnaw away at the gov and eat into people support slowly.

  15. I wonder, would the liberal left prefer Boris to Ken?

  16. @mike n

    You may be right with the ebbing away of support for the government.

    but everytime i think of these cuts to welfare….Housing benefit,child benefit etc etc i keep asking myself why dont people live in a home they can afford!

    And why are low paid workers like me from the north of england paying tax for people to live in expensive home’s in the south and get subsidised for it.

    otherwise what would be stopping me in thinking of buying a house in london knowing the fact that i could get alot of welfare to pay my bills….doesnt seem fair to me

  17. 21,000 people are losing on average £74 a week from HB changes. The cap of £400 means that only 5% of London’s privately rented accomodation is obtainable by these people. Add to that, there is a vacancy rate of 2.8% in London homes. (1 million unoccupied homes throughout the country at large). 19% of the UKs homes are maisonettes/flats but 18 of the 20 most numerous districts with these types of homes, are in London. 70% of areas such as Tower Hamlets, and Hackney have rental properties. The city of London has the lowest crowded housing at 1.58 people per home. (areas like Slough are nearly double this). 16/19 of the districts where people live in High rise flats (5th floor or above) are in London. Does this provide enough scope for 21,000 people to be rehoused? Is it inevitable that they have to move outside London? Are there some districts in London more affected than others? Would these people be prepared to move from say Camden/Bloomsbury to Finsbury? Should they be expected to move? Would these people if they had a job which paid the living wage (c.£15k per annum) remain living in these homes?

  18. @Bullman

    None of us know the circumstances of any of the claimants of HB. (BTW I don’t live in London and don’t think I’m entitled to HB, but I do pay a fair chunk in taxes and have done so for the last 40+ years.)

    On the face of it £26k is a lot. But why set this as the maximum? Why not £25K?, £24K, £10k, £5K? Nothing?

    Once we accept basing entitlement to social benefits on the arbitrary setting of limits rather than analysis of claimant circumstances we open the way to impose lower arbitrary sums not only to HB but as a principle across the welfare state including the NHS.


  19. Mike N,

    It is not as arbitrary as it looks. It is bang on the average family income in the UK.

  20. Bullman:
    Point of information:

    Housing Benefit isn’t paid to homeowners…’s paid for rent as far as I understand…..

    Many recipients are waged and do low wage jobs like cleaning central government offices etc …..Sure move them out of London…then they’ve no work….and are even more reliant on the state…and what of their children? Why not put them into care? After all they’ll have their pupil premium to put where there family life should be….

    In the interim why should taxes paid in London be spent in the regions to no obvious benefit to London taxpayers. London contributes more economic growth and tax to the UK economy than it takes out…. In St Margaret’s immortal words… give us back our money…..

  21. Eoin

    IMO it is still an arbitrary figure. Why not 25% or 75% of the average family income?

  22. @eion/mike

    im not firing a shot at all HB claimants…people who lose jobs are what these things should be all about.

    Im aiming at the people who work and claim housing benefit….why hav’nt alarm bells started ringing in these people’s heads that they simply cant afford where they live.because lets face it if they did then lose there jobs and where already claiming as much as they could get….what chance have they of keeping the house they live in?

  23. Mike N,

    If you went a penny beneath the average then you open yourself up to accusations of unfairness. If you wnet above the average you open yourself up to accusations of hard work not paying itself. Pinning it in and around the average, amke both arguments easier to refute.

    Just my opinion of course, no way of knowing, I suppose.

    Target the 10% reduction, in my view, that is much more unfair. In today’s climate were unemployment is the single biggest fear for most ordinary family, you do not need a 10% HB penalty on top of your misfortune.

  24. @john murphy

    Dont associate me with your comment “and what of their children? Why not put them into care?”

    that has nothing to do with what iam saying and you know it.

  25. Bullman,

    If the living wage was in place id agree with you. But as long as a fulltime worker earns c£11k er annum, Housing Benefit should always be there to help them out.

  26. In Belfast, when students graduate at start earning, say as accountants, lawyers, teachers for example. They cannot afford to rent their own home. We share accomodation to split the cost. It is pretty straightforward. Each pays a portion of the monthly rent. hopefully from the money you save you slowly build up enough for a mortgage. Meet a nice gal, she maybe has some money set aside for this eventuality to. You then put down a mortgage, move into your own home. Your place in the old shared accomdoation is then taken up by a close friend or younger bother. And so in a cycle, that is how we move form Mammy’s to shared to our own.

    I understnad there are those who need social hosuing due to emplyment prospects, or wage related issues, or even unexpected arrival of bambinos. But abasic means test I would run on HB claimants, is whether or not they are single and childless. If they were, I’d tell them to move into shared accomodation. With the combined rent of a group of three or four, they could then remain in a nice area.

    as for those is genuine need, they should be provided a home from a stock of social housing at no cost, for as long as their situation requires it.

    Until this week, I thought all of this was common orthodoxy. I must say I have had my eyes opened.

  27. @Eoin(sorry about the poor spelling before)

    I would also agree with you that if what they are earning is 11k per annum they should receive help…that is the decent thing to do.

    Also im sure that there are people who earn more than that in london and its surrounding area’s.for a start the average wage is higher than that of other areas in the uk.and its these particalur set of people i refer too

  28. Why are you all arguing about the policies and not their effect on others’ opinions?

    I think Boris Johnson will do well out of this little spat. It didn’t do Ken any harm to stand up to his own PM. It was only when he stood up to a PM from the opponent that he came a cropper.

  29. @Alec – “I would be interested in other people’s opinions”

    I know AW does not relish discussion of PMQs here, but since you asked “…automatically switched to a sneering and arrogant parliamentary style” sums it up very well, and suggests to me that he often finds it difficult to frame a defence of his goverment’s policy with any degree of sincerity.

    His contemptuous dismissal of a completely genuine enquiry from Joan Ruddock the other week really shocked me. From her body language you could say that she interpreted it as a “slap in the face”.

  30. Billy Bob
    I think more relevant is the fact that, unlike you, most do not watch PMQs. But they do see the sound bights that are broadcast on the news and those are always favourable to Cameron. I doubt whether a measurable percentage know about the Ruddock incident.

    Thanks for telling me though, she’s class that woman. Sigh.

  31. @ Bullman:

    Apology if caused you offence….my point was to try and say these things are more complicated than a single issue…that’s all…

    And I apologise again for any offence.

  32. @john murphy

    No worries i was probably being to general and vague in what i was trying to get accross….not enough coffee in the system at that point.

  33. An ICM poll in June asked: “Do you support or oppose imposing a maximum weekly limit of £400 on Housing Benefit.” Support was 68% with 23% opposed. Even among Labour voters there was strong support – by 57% to 35%.

    A YouGov poll in August asked: “Here are some policies the coalition government have announced in their first hundred days. For each one please say if you oppose or support it?” Among them was: “Putting a limit on housing benefit.” 72% expressed support. 17% said they were opposed. Again even among Labour voters there was strong support – by 53% to 35%.

  34. Colin,

    I’ll do you one better than that.

    A poll last week (post CSR) asked, do you support limiting benefits to £500 p.w. 84% supported it, including 76% Labour voters.

    I don’t recognise some of the arguments being put forward by reds.

  35. Howard,

    Yes I agree. Reds are gifting Boris 2012 if they stand shoulder to shoulder with him on this.

  36. @Howard – I agree with your comment, I would only add that there is a life *within* Westminster.
    Though it may go unnoticed by those not involved on a daily interpersonal basis, nevertheless these things are of crucial importance to the trajectory of a political career.

  37. Eoin,

    We’re in luck today. The numbers have fallen kindly so the sample size for YG can be narrowed to 1591-1596 after DKs and WNVs.

    So blue were 40.50 to 40.67%
    red 38.53 to 38.65%
    yellow 11.47% to 11.50%.

  38. Hooded,

    Very nicely done ta for that… A very slight narrowing in the blue red gap, that ‘might’ suggest. The yellow sample is always going to be prone to the most fluctuation one would think, given that compartively speaking they are a tiny portion of the sample. YG’s fieldwork for Sunday’s poll is today… I wonder what impact Boris’s outburst might have? Voters punish disunity badly. It may turn out to be a faux pas…. I’m feeling a blue dip coming on (temporary of course, but a dip nonetheless).

  39. Forgive me, I am only just synthesising the full ramifications of Boris’s outburst on future VI.

    Boris’s outburst was a watershed for one main reason.

    It is the first time since May 2010 that the Top Dog DC has been dragged down into the fray. Quite why Downing Street & Cameron responded to Boris is a big mistake. It has

    a) Pulled GO OUT of the firing line- a big mistake, since he can draw flak like an old Faukker Wolff

    b) Pulled Clegg out of the debate, gifting Simon Hughes and Clegg some breathing space to see how this plays for blue.

    Boris by doing red and yellow (back bench) fighting for them, has opened up a battle on two fronts for blue, that frankly DC should have remained aloof from.

    This will now play out like a mud fight, it does not matter who wins, hands will get dirty.

    Tactically speaking, Coulson blew this one.

  40. Eoin,
    I’m not so sure. Boris is a maverick, it’s one of his main virtues for those who like him. Even Labour blanched at the invocation of Kosovo but he passionately defends London on all fronts and rightly so. To do that he will be on a collision course with whomever is in govt on occasion, be it on immigration, transport, housing, bankers, etc. The govt’s responsibility is to the whole nation, not a small number of families in Central London. I don’t see it as being a blue split, and as the polling figures above from you and Colin show, the people are generally very supportive of the HB changes. I think the rest of the country outside London are deeply shocked that families could claim that much, and just don’t see it as an issue. Just my view though, time will tell.

  41. Hooded,

    All true, except that is not my focus.

    In terms of VI it has been a blue strength that GO takes the flak… that yellow suffer fo runpopular decisions and that DC remains aloof (presidential in my view).

    Yesterday that changed. Forget the rights and wrongs or the merit for a moment. DC is now the no.1 story on tell yougov That is the first time I have seen DC the no1 story since Ed M got elected. His great success thus far, was not being in the news. Golly he’s even beating NC for feedback on tellyougov (qualitiative I know, but i am trained to interpret qualititative data so trust me this is significant).

    One Caveat: UKIPPERS are watching Europe attentively, should he come home triumphant, he big just squeak trhough this one.

    But he’ll have to be careful in future. Leave his minions to repsond ot Boris.

  42. The mention of Coulson reminded me of something else which has made the ‘news’ but it is OT, so I aoplogise.

    You read about this 1928 Charlie Chaplin film clip featuring a woman talking into what is claimed to be a mobile phone and thereby revealing she is a time traveler?

    It occurred to me that she was probably saying “Can’t talk now, some NoTW journo is bugging the phone.”

    That’s it, back to business

  43. Eoin – “A very slight narrowing in the blue red gap, that ‘might’ suggest”

    It really, really, really doesn’t. Remember, there is a margin of error of 3% on polls. A change of 1% is normally meaningless. It is fair to say that a change of less than 1% in a normal poll is *always* meaningless.

    There is a reason pollsters don’t quote decimal places – it gives a false impression of precision to something that really isn’t even precise to 1 point, let alone part of one point (a poll quoting decimal places is often a good sign of whoever did it not knowing their arse from their elbow)

    And on stuff like Boris – the most important thing to remember about public opinion and politics is just how little people notice or care about politics, politicians or political news, and how little of it has any significant effect. In terms of affecting public opinion, “nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.”

  44. Anthony
    “…just how little people notice or care about politics, politicians or political news, and how little of it has any significant effect.”

    My wife is really not interested in politics, and thinks that all politicians are lying wotsits. She is perceptive.

    But this morning watching BBC coverage of the CB cock-up she commented about it being….er, a cock-up.

    So, perhaps these events do affect the public mindset? Whether it makes any appreciable difference in VI?

  45. Anthony,

    Boris made every front page of the major dailies. He is No.1 Trending on TellYouGov. His comments are the no.1 most read story on BBC news. his intervention will permeate the MsM due ot his entertainment value. Your approach is good at contextualising the significance of most stories, but even you must recognise that some slip through the net.

    Now, whether people are laughing at Boris or with him I could not possibly say.

    I don’t think it is “fair” the best post in months should come from the site proprietor. Non the less your 11.20 am is exactly that. I feel it needs repeating very frequently. The trouble is, if it comes from a known partisan, the other side think one is trying to deflect criticism , when the reality is ” nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.” Marvelous !

  47. @Eoin – “21,000 people are losing on average £74 a week from HB changes”


    @Colin – “An ICM poll in June asked: “Do you support or oppose imposing a maximum weekly limit of £400 on Housing Benefit.” Support was 68% with 23% opposed”.

    Firstly, the 21,000 affected figure is plain wrong. It only applies to the £400 cap, but this is the smallest and least significant part of HB reforms. You probably know this Eoin, and apologies if it was just the way you wrote the post, but the cap really is a red herring.

    Hundreds of thousands of people (including around 500,000 working families) will lose some HB, young people under 35 living in flats will be particularly badly hit. Like the £26K cap on total benefits, it affects a very few extreme cases only and the big impacts are really being targeted elsewhere.

    I would really urge posters of all political persuasions to wise up a little on this. The coalition in only talking on news broadcasts about these two caps precisely because they are popular and of extremely minor consequence.

    If we are to have a sensible debate on what these might mean, in economic, social or polling terms, we really need to be more intelligent and a little less credulous and ensure that we see beyond the rather smart media operation the coalition is mounting in defence of these reforms. One point to ponder is that the projected savings on housing benefit are worth more than the bank levy. Is this fair?

  48. Alec,

    I agree, See my 9.27am post.

  49. I am a Conservative voter in Scotland who happens to believe that Scotland should be independent . There are no other parties in Scotland who represent my centre-right viewpoint. I don’t, however, feel that I am ‘intellectually challenged’ because I vote Conservative and I am not a Unionist. I think that if Scotland were to gain independence, then there is certainly room for a centre-right party and it would probably gain a lot more support than the Conservatives currently do. The Conservatives are seen as ‘English’ and the SNP will be seen to have served their purpose once independence is won. Having made a reasonable job of governing the SNP will IMHO be picking up a lot of nose-holding Tory votes in May as a way to keep Labour out – I don’t recognise the overwhelmingly socialist Scotland that many posters on here seem to envision, but I am in the highlands, rather than the central belt.
    On the cuts: My partner came home yesterday, having had a meeting at work (NHS) about budget cuts, which are about to be implemented. These cuts are due to losses from the Icelandic banking debacle and nothing to do with overall government cuts. They have been told that the NHS trust do not really care how these cuts are made and that jobs will go and salaries will be cut (sack and re-employ staff on a new contract). They actually think that it will be a good thing if the service provision deteriorates, as people are less likely to use a service if it is bad, thereby reducing costs further! He pointed out that his scientific job pays just over the average wage, my manufacturing management job pays just under and we have had no benefits such as child support, tax credits etc. yet will be expected to take a hit of a couple of hundred pounds a month (along with my lack of pay rise for the last two years). These cutbacks are parallel to other government cuts and are probably being implemented now in order to ‘lose’ them in the general cacophony of the cuts narrative.
    We are just the sort of people who are in agreement with cuts to benefits and find it shocking that the cut off point is £26k – I would argue that if the HB cap only affects seven families in Scotland, then it is set too high; it’s more than I earn, in what is considered a good management job (well paid for up here). Éoin’s point about single people sharing accommodation is one that makes perfect sense as a way of reducing housing pressure and costs.
    We are also about to lose the two RAF bases in the area (1in 5 jobs in Morayshire) and there are great efforts to try and save at least one of them, but I do not understand the SNP point of view on these – presumably there would be no military presence in Scotland if independence were gained.

  50. @Anthony Wells

    “And on stuff like Boris – the most important thing to remember about public opinion and politics is just how little people notice or care about politics, politicians or political news, and how little of it has any significant effect. In terms of affecting public opinion, “nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.”

    I think you’re dead right; the Boris v Dave spat is pure Westminster Village nonsense, beloved of the Nick Robinson’s and Tom Bradby’s of this world, but having diddly squat effect on public opinion at large. In my view, that old truism has characterised politics for most of the 5 months since the last election, with most of the polls, once Labour’s recovery and the Lib Dem collapse occurred circa July, basically oscillating on a daily and weekly basis within the margins of error. Total stasis and inertia in public opinion, with nothing of any consequence occurring to change that situation. Why on earth anybody thought the CSR announcements (quite skilfully managed by Osborne in terms of expectation management, by the way), as opposed to the concrete effects likely to be felt as a result of them in 18-24 months time, would have any significant impact on public opinion, I have absolutely no idea.

    For what it’s worth, unless something totally unpredictable occurs (e.g. high level Lib Dem defection to Labour maybe), I can’t see much changing this side of the May 2011 elections and, even then, probably very little thereafter. Cameron and Osborne have made the political weather and the Tories reasonably buoyant ratings reflect that, Labour has recovered from a poor election showing remarkably quickly and the Lib Dems have suffered a major loss of support. All of this may change one day (blimey, it changed utterly within the three weeks of a General Election campaign, for pity’s sake, in April 2010), but I see nothing altering the prevailing political climate very much for quite some time.

    And finally, all those saying that “reds need to be on 50% by such and such a time” or “reds need to be at least 5% ahead for two solid years” or “yellows need blah de blah” are talking the purest nonsense and haven’t been paying any attention to the really new politics of the last 10 years. All three major parties in the UK now enjoy much higher proportions of soft support than they once did and, in essence, that means it’s all bets off in terms of predicting general election outcomes even three weeks out, let alone 54 months!!

    You never know, if Ed Miliband wears a killer suit and sports a winning smile in the TV debates in May 2015, it could well swing it for him!!

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