Two new polls tonight. YouGov have topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8%. It’s a smaller Labour lead than usual, but I’d be surprised if this didn’t turn out to be an outlier from the normal Labour lead of 5% or so – time will tell.

Secondly we have a ComRes phone poll showing figures of CON 34%(nc), LAB 43%(+1), LDEM 10%(-2). Changes are from the last ComRes poll conducted on the telephone at the beginning of January, and show no significant change beyond the margin of error – though, for the record, this the biggest Labour lead ComRes have recorded since the general election.

Interestingly we have something of a contrast between pollsters now – ICM and YouGov have Labour leads of around 4/5 points (assuming today’s YouGov turns out to be something of an outlier), Angus Reid and MORI have Labour leads of 10 points or more, ComRes has a Labour lead almost as large.


80 Responses to “New YouGov and ComRes polls”

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  1. From end of last thread

    I tend to look at the range of polling and assume that

    None of them have it “right”
    The “average” may (or may not) be “righter” or “wronger” than individual polls
    The biggest variation looks like being among those (in particular demographics?) who wander between LD and Con.

    I take Gary’s subsequent point, but (as if it mattered at this point in the UK cycle) the only clarity is that Labour are doing better than they did in May.

  2. What’s interesting is that Yougov are the only pollster showing the blues over 35%. Whereas ICM are the only ones showing the reds below 40%. Both ICM and YouGov show the biggest combined Con/Lib scores.

  3. @OLDNAT
    I agree with you, all pollsters are showing Labour in the lead and the LibDems down since May. The main difference is in the size of the lead and the Tories movement since May, YouGov I think is the only pollster showing them higher than in May. I think polls do matter because they do influence the politicians. And we love all this poll shenanigans here on this site.

  4. OldNat:

    Here’s a poll for you
    h ttp://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2011/01/31102556

    I’ve been saying here that your Health Secretary was your second best electoral asset. 4% of the population in work are in the NHS. The way things are going in England, the Scottish NHS might not need to advertise
    for staff or train them any more.

  5. Gary

    Obviously I would never link to anything on purely partisan grounds. That this is a severe embarrassment to Labour is wholly coincidental.

    h ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8294048/David-Cameron-should-publish-WikiLeaks-Lockerbie-papers.html

    We now know, courtesy of information passed to this newspaper by the WikiLeaks website, that when Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2008, the British government saw this as an opportunity for securing his release on compassionate grounds and advised the Tripoli authorities accordingly. Effectively, the Foreign Office coached the Libyans on how they could get him out of Scotland using a clause in an obscure piece of legislation that they cannot have been expected to know about. More than that, a senior official also made the point that while compassionate release would normally happen within three months of an expected death, this was not codified in the law.

    Faced with such coaching from the Brits (and because not that many people in Scotland believe Megrahi was the actual bomber – whatever role he may have played; and few Scots fancied being subject to terrorist attacks due to Brit/US lies ) the Scots Government was fairly predictable in releasing Megrahi (quite right in my opinion).

    I look forward to Labourites rushing forward to defend UK lies. I look forward to UK Tories demanding the official release of the papers and Cameron admitting that what he said in his US visit was a load of anti-Scottish c**p.

    Yeah, dream on oldnat. The day that any UK politician does anything other than denigrate Scotland will be an interesting day.

    Just so that my non-partisan status is absolutely clear. UK Labour and Tory are equally complicit in concealing the truth.

  6. John B Dick

    Thanks for that. Just to make things clearer to our southern brethren

    The survey shows:

    * The majority – 88 per cent – of employees are happy to go the ‘extra mile’ at work when required
    * Over 70 per cent of employees feel a sense of achievement from their work
    * The number of employees who would recommend their health board as ‘a good place to work’ increased to 58 per cent – compared to 55 per cent in 2008 and 43 per cent in 2006
    * Almost 80 per cent of employees intend to be working at their health board in 12 months time – compared to 77 per cent in 2008 and 70 per cent in 2006

    I’m sure that those who are knowledgeable about the English NHS will be able to match those figures. One shouldn’t be keen to quote ones own figures as better than others – unless you are the Nuffield Trust (England) and don’t understand the numbers you are dealing with.

  7. @ Old Nat

    If anything, it paints Labour as the bad guys here because they wanted Al-Megrahi out of prison though they publicly claimed they didn’t. They repeatedly denied any involvement (which might be technically true but they were assisting). After they got what they wanted, they were able to claim complete neutrality and say “it was a decision for the Scottish government,” essentially innoculating them from international critics who would wonder why he’d be released. They would innoculate themselves from Al-Megrahi supporters who supported the decision of the SNP to release him and wonder why Labour in Westminster wasn’t supportive.

    I don’t think it’s a total embarassment for David Cameron. He wasn’t in government in 2008. He had nothing to do with this. I don’t think that Cameron said anything that was a lie in the U.S. He wasn’t happy with the decision and he had nothing to do with it.

    I will say though that the decision to release Al-Megrahi was in the hands of the Scottish government even if the British government was secretly helping prepare strategies for Al-Megrahi to be released. Whatever Labour advised Al-Megrahi’s supporters to do, it was still up to the Scottish government to make the decision.

    What’s the difference between some Labourites in government helping Al-Megrahi with strategy and Al-Megrahi hiring a really good lawyer who would figure the stuff out on his own? “Legislation that the Libyans couldn’t possibly have been expected to know about” seems like a really silly statement. If Libya decided to hire Leslie Abrahmson or Mark Geragos, one of them doing some proper research (due diligence) would have found that obscure provision and said “hey guys, look what I found, let’s use this.” Law isn’t like In and Out, there’s no secret menu.

    Of course, that assumes that this Telegraph report is true.

    Also, on the Al-Megrahi release, whether you opposed it or supported it, what’s the point of debating it now? Or finger pointing? He’s released and he’s not going back to prison.

  8. I think the Yanks will be hopping mad. But I don’t care much.

    Whether other voters do remains to be seen.

  9. I assume Old Nats’ last sentence regarding Al-Megrahi was meant to read:

    “Just so that my non-partisan status is absolutely clear. UK Labour and Scottish National Party are equally complicit in concealing the truth.”

    That’s what happens when you drink whisky till 1.45 a.m. – you see things all distorted!

  10. Apologies for taking time to absorb the data (this properly belongs to the previous thread), but the gradual left/right spectrum shift must be of long-term significance.

    The implication as I read AWs commentary, is that the re-branding of the Conservative Party was partially sucessful as a temporary electability strategy… it peaked a bit early and would have benefited from an earlier GE:

    Cameron/Tory Party, +35/+53 (2006), +28/+37 (2009), +48/+47 (2009-10). Figures denote rightwardness.

    In terms of the discrepant findings from various polling companies about how the Tory VI is holding up, nevertheless it is holding up more than some commentators suggest that it should. Perhaps there is a lag, a benefit of the doubt, or a bit of denial about what is happening (the HoC debate on Landsleys reforms was very poorly attended towards the end).

    My guess is that it was always unlikely that the Tory Party could move leftwards, or that the public would for long be persuaded that it had.
    One thing that could be helping is that some may be comforted by the fact that normal service is being resumed. In other words, however much reasonably affluent people might be inconvenienced by a downturn, it is the poor who are having their ‘free stuff’ taken away.
    Whether reviving certain elements of the ‘nasty party’ image will pay a long-term electoral dividend remains to be seen.

  11. Some of the dilemmas of 1990s polling has returned. It may well be the case that, the spiral of silence, and false recall of past vote are now at a 10 year high…

    After the poll tax it was more likely that some voters ‘forgot’ they voted Tory in 1987. Why? Well Black Wednesday & the Poll Tax do funny things to your memory.

    Bewteen 1997-2005… false recall I guess was at an all time low in terms of upsetting polls… even if you didn’t much rate Blair ‘now’ you were less likely to deny having voted for him.. Take Colin as an example [he admits to voting Blair]

    Since 2005 some problems have returned with Bashful Browneites, but this problem was mitigated by it being ok to admit to being a blue… Hell when cameron was hugging Huskies, hoodies and Homosexuals there was almost something wrong with you if you ruled out ever considering to vote blue…

    Thus in 2009-10 the spiral of silence, shy Tory vote, had perhpas declined somewhat..

    False recall I suspect was less of a porblem than in the past, since many reds instead of voting for an alternative party in 2005 had simply stayed away from the polls… [with the important caveat of recognising Kennedy’s achievement].

    So in 2011 is it cool to like Osborne/Cameron? no.
    in 2011 is it cool to like Clegg/Laws/Alexander? no.

    Will this impact in terms of a spiral off silence among voters? or impact in terms of voters forgetting how they voted in May 2010?

    Well I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

    One reminder… YouGov recorded their panellists voter preferences in May 2010. they are now able to use them to weight their samples to past vote. This might help alleviate the second problem i listed above. But again that is for you to decide.

    I guess one grand collective anecdote-fest might yield some clues….

    Do we know anyone who crooned for clegg in May and has now gone mysteriously quiet? Well, do we? Again I’ll leave that for you to decide…

  12. Anthony,

    A small query…

    During “campaign polls” YG weight by likelihood to vote.

    It in the past sometimes had the effect of a) increasing blues by c.!% and b) decreasing yellows by c.1%.

    Now that such a large chunk of yellows have abandoned ship, in many cases to red, could the future outcome of weighting by likelihood to vote spread the negative impact to include reds…

    In short, now that reds have increased their proportion of ‘floaters’ many of whom are former yellows, do we expect the % of reds likely to vote to decline slightly… in YG, perhaps to the tune of 0.5%?

  13. On the theme of consistency between polling companies, note that ICM are showing 35/39/15 only as a result of adjusting the actual intentions polled of 32/43/13 for (a) relative turnout and (b) reallocation of don’t knows.

    I have serious reservations about the scale of the ICM adjustments, in so far as they reallocate votes not on the basis of what people now say they will do, but on the assumptions ICM make based on behaviour at the 2010 GE.

    Dealing with these in turn:

    1. Turnout adjustments.

    The problem isn’t with the adjustment made based on how certain people say they are to vote, but the further adjustment that ICM make that even someone who says that they are 100% certain to vote now should have the weight on their vote reduced by 50% if they didn’t vote at the 2010 GE. All the evidence in 2010 was that Labour inclined supporters stayed at home in droves, with turnout amongst the C2DE core unusually low. Labour can’t win an election unless a substantive chunk of its former support reengages. By definition, if former Labour supporters do become motivated to vote again, ICM will discard half of those votes. In fact, there seems to be a serious bias in the 50% weighting against parties that are recovering in the polls on the basis of improved turnout – because it will not similarly apply to a party who managed to motivate its supporters in a previous election.

    2. The “don’t know” adjustment, allocating 50% of don’t knows back to the party supported at the previous election. A lot of the discussion of this has focused on the effect on the LibDems, but we need to think of what it is doing to Labour (-2%) and the Cons (+1%). Few Labour 2010 GE supporters see any reason to change their choice at the moment, so don’t knows are at a minimum and very few are allocated as extra votes. Similarly, none of the LibDem dont knows are reallocated to Labour, even though the 2010 LibDem “do knows” are now more likely to support Lab than the LibDems. What all of this means is that less than 20% of all current don’t knows/refusals are being reallocated back to Labour by ICM (ignoring the effect of further turnout adjustments) which seems implausibly low.

    Alternatively, let’s look at the “don’t knows” in terms of the “spiral of silence” factor, around which ICM designed their methodology. The adjustment might possibly be relevant to the Lib Dems in isolation at the moment, but it has the by product of cutting Labour’s lead over the Cons by 3%. Is it really credible to say that the Cons have regained their mantle as the “nasty party” already, such that substantive numbers of Cons are now unwilling to admit their allegiance? Not to the extent of a net 3%, surely?

    Note that this is picking holes in some aspects only of ICM’s adjustments. I suggest that their latest poll should be pointing to something in the order of a 8% Labour lead, with an adjustment for turnout that avoids bias against recovering parties and which is more consistent with other companies and also a more realistic reallocation of the don’t knows.

  14. Phil,

    Good approach to thinking.. and more of it would be good but I have some quibbles…

    Likliehood to vote among reds in May was pretty high [almost the same as blue] and this held up on the day…

    The WWC who stayed at home were consistently accounted for in the DKs. Remember many of them did not vote in 2005, so weighting to past vote would have counted them as DKs since that date… They are not re-wieghted to 50% like you might imagine..

    On your second point.,. I share a fustration at ICM’s reallocation of DKS but you need to be clearer about the impact.. yes it over-eggs yellows, often by 2% but it is not a given that this corresponds to a 2% reduction for reds… I don’t follow that logic…

    ICM’s spiral of silence & false re-call are more of a problem in 2011, than at any time in the last decade… so you are certainly along the right lines in therms of the tree you are barking at..

    Try not to see those who dont bother voting as an untapped oil reserve for reds…

    Once again, good post..

  15. It looks like 43 is about the ceiling currently for Lab’s vote.

    Whatever happens doesn’t seem to boost it much.

    Does that mean Ed will need some policies soon? Or maybe wait and then get some more votes (or lose them)?

    I suppose we have seen a couple of 44s. Is this what the article on YG was on about when it suggested Labour should be doing better?

  16. NickP,

    Reds have inched their way upwards for at least the last 9months. They seem to gain on average 250,000 voters a month… This gradual ascent could well continue at this pace. Daily polling is showing it in slow motion if you like.

  17. Personally I always had more faith in ICM and You Guv and believe that AR and Comsres exagerrate the impact of short term events. You could argue they refelct current opinion better but I believe the adjustments by ICM and You Guv give a better indication of the underlying support lervels.
    ICMs reallocation of DKs added to the Lab score many times in the previous parliament and imo a former LD who does not say Lab or Con now has a good chance of voting LD in the end – whether 50% or not is fair I don’t know but some adjustment is.
    Again with the turnout thing IFRC ICM’s high point for LDs during Cleggmania was lower as they stripped out some who had not voted in 2005. Arguably (see post mortem stuff) a bigger adjustment should have been made.

  18. Con Lab and LD each seem to have a relatively flat trend so far this year, yet the difference between the highest and lowest pollsters is 7 points for LD and 8 for Con; more than MOE. We’ve already had discussion of ICM’s 2 point over-rating of the LD. YouGov seem to be a steady 3 points below the average. It’s a similar story for Con – YouGov poll them a few points higher than everyone else. How, then, do we judge what the true state of public opinion is?

  19. Eoin – YouGov don’t even ask the likelihood to vote question in our normal polls, so I couldn’t say what affect it might have. Could work anyway depending on peoples behaviour.

    Phil – you are right to say that ICM’s methodology depends upon people’s past behaviour being a broadly reliably predictor of their future behaviour. Generally speaking this is not a bad assumption to make, but there is obviously the possibility of behavioural patterns changing.

    I would be cautious about analysing their reallocation of don’t knows based on assumptions about the motivation of people saying don’t know. It’s called the “spiral of silence” and has lots of explanation about it being down to shyness… but actually it stands on it’s own without that explanation. We know from re-contact surveys that people who say don’t know do tend to end up voting for the party they previously voted for, what their reasons are for initially saying don’t know are really a bit beside the point.

    Howard – margin of error is never a good explanation for *consistent* differences between pollsters – even if that difference is within 3 points. The difference between the pollsters on the Lib Dems is too consistent to be down to margin of error and must be down to methodological factors (the difference in Conservative and Labour scores is likely a knock-on effect from the variation in Lib Dems and the different levels of support they show for “others”. Until this week we were seeing a pretty consistent picture in terms of the Conservative/Labour lead).

  20. @PHIL

    “Is it really credible to say that the Cons have regained their mantle as the “nasty party” already, such that substantive numbers of Cons are now unwilling to admit their allegiance? Not to the extent of a net 3%, surely?”

    If I am about to make a point that others have already made my apologies in advance. The “bashful” Tories effect we saw distorting the polls during the Thatcher/Major period which provides the basis for the corrections/weightings that some pollsters use was at a time when the party routinely posted 43% or so on election day. At the last election the Tory vote was about 1/6 less at 37%. This would suggest that their support contained a relatively higher proportion of their heartland “I’m out and I am proud, I am a Tory”-types than the 43% or so during the Thatcher/Major years. If it is the case that that percentage who voted Tory at the last GE contain a smaller proportion of those who are “embarrassed” about who they voted for then the weighting used may be too great, with the possible consequence that some pollsters are inadvertently flattering the Tories real current level of support.

  21. Some very good news this morning on the January manufacturing data, with upward revisions in December and record new business and exports growth in January.

    This could chime with the belief in some quarters that the Q4 GDP estimate was too low and the news is being broadcast by Tory HQ. Having said that, January mortgages and house prices have both fallen and manufacturing is less than 25% of the economy overall.

    The other bad news is that factory input prices are rising at record rates across all sectors and output prices are also sharply upwards. Suppliers are reporting backlogs as firms are stockpiling materials to avoid higher prices, so we’re going to see inflation pump up for quite a while yet by the look of things.

    It’s an extraordinarily two paced economy, with the overall balance very hard to call at this stage.

  22. Personally I’ll trust ICM over Comres, MORI and AR. They’ve proven their accuracy at election after election.

  23. @ Alec

    “with upward revisions in December”

    Indeed this is very good news and as I mentioned several times, I attribute significantly more importance to manufacturing (and investment) than to other indicators. However, I found this upward revision very strange – CIPS using survey methodology. How can it be revised? Was there glitch in the methodology or did they exclude some respondents or what? So, I don’t get it.

    There are some more discrepancies – there is some suggestion that some of the increase in the index is about increasing stocks – how is it financed (or do banks actually lend now for working capital increases?). How much of it is export (there is no way to find it out from this data)?

    But yes, positive piece of news.

  24. Thanks for the feedback.

    @AW, @Jim Jam
    Just a point of clarification on the dont knows issue. I’m not taking issue with the idea that, of the current former LDs who eventually vote, a majority might eventually vote LD. It’s just that I would have thought that, given what’s happened to the allegiances of former LD voter in the last year, as evidenced by the YouGov tables, a fairly sizeable minority would vote Lab as well. ICM assume that the split is 100%/0%.

    @Eoin/TGB
    It reduces reds simply because if less than 20% of the DKs are reallocated to Lab, this is well below the 40%+ Lab are polling at before the DKs are added in.

  25. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is an indicator for economic activity. Roughly speaking it reflects the percentage of purchasing managers in a certain economic sector that reported better business conditions than in the previous month.

    The Institute for Supply Management releases the PMI on the first business day of each month. The current reading be found under “ISM Reports On Business” on the ISM home page, or directly on this page.

    A PMI over 50 indicates that the economy is expanding while anything below 50 suggests that the economy is contracting.

    Strengths:

    Extremely timely, the PMI is released one working day after the month to which it refers.

    The PMI is often used to help predict the Producer Price Index which is released later in the month.

    By many it is considered to be the best snapshot of the factory sector.

    Weaknesses:

    The survey gives three possible responses – fast, no change, slower. Therefore results are unspecific.

    The index leaves out employment costs, which are a large portion of manufacturing costs.

    So we are a manufacturing powerhouse again? Or some Purchasing Managers have reported better business?

  26. oldnat

    Re the Megrahi/Wikileaks story.

    Unsurprisingly, the “impartial” BBC are making no references to this except on their “What the Scottish papers say” at h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-10695082 which states:

    The Herald says that according to the latest leaked US diplomatic cable Britain secretly advised the Libyan government on how to secure the early release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

    “Megrahi Got Help”, writes the Scottish Sun, which reports that answers have been demanded from Labour over claims that UK ministers secretly helped Libya secure the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

  27. PS: Should have added….

    There’s a shock!

  28. Waterstones have asked book suppliers to cut their deliveries by 20% starting from April. HMV in difficulties as you know,

  29. oldnat
    One shouldn’t be keen to quote ones own figures as better than others – unless you are the Nuffield Trust (England) and don’t understand the numbers you are dealing with.

    Careful now!

  30. According to the Indy Labour would have majority of 110 on latest COMRES poll. Whatever your politics no fair minded observer can say it’s fair. the electoral basis towards Labour is terrible.

    There must be electoral reform

  31. Simon

    Using First Past The Post it is impossible to say that the system is biased. It is entirely possible that in areas where Labour are certain towin, far fewer bother to vote than in Tory areas where many turn out to vote Conservative knowing the majority has always been in tens of thousands.

  32. @Lazslo & NickP – one thing I don’t know about regarding the CIPS survey data is how the respondents are selected (this actually brings discussion of this closer to the purpose of this site!).

    If it is self selecting survey returns then it is possible that the results can be distorted. I was very interested in the disparity between CIPs data about a year ago, which looked broadly promising, and the GDP figures, which were much less so.

    Do companies report more when they are positive about prospects or are there controls to filter returns to get an accurate result? I don’t know.

  33. Simon E
    Love the idea that the electoral system is only biased and unfair towards Labour now it’s at Tory disadvantage; never mind Labour suffered from it all 80’s. FPTP is inherently unfair and this electoral reform will reform it to another system that is inherently unfair.

    Speaking of which, new Angus Reid AV poll:
    Yes 35% (-2), No 21% (+1), D/K 37% (=), Won’t vote 7% (+1)

  34. NickP – It is entirely possible to say the system is biased, and one can relatively easily break down and quantify the various components of the bias. Part of it is indeed differential turnout as you suggest, but part of it is also vote distribution and part of it is the different sized seats. I’ll dig up a paper on it for you.

    Craig – FPTP is inherently biased against third parties and smaller parties with relatively evenly distributed vote – that is “a feature, not a bug”. It has not in the past been biased against one of the two main parties, which it used to treat relatively evenly. I recall if you go back to the 1950s there was a bias against Labour, but I’ll try and dig the figures out.

  35. NickP – here’s a paper by Ron Johnston, Galina Borisyuk, Rallings and Thrasher from last year’s EPOP which gives the breakdown of the different components of electoral bias in the system.

    http://www.essex.ac.uk/government/epop/Papers/Panel16/P16_Borisyuk_EPOP2010.pdf

    Craig – I know I’ve seen a paper along similar lines that had a nice line graph of the bias in the system for elections between 1950 and 2010, but haven’t laid my hands on it yet.

  36. Craig – found it – figure 3 in this paper:

    http://www.sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/publications/1999/rossiter_et_al_changing_biases.pdf

    Essentially the pro-Conservative bias in the 1980s was negligible, especially compared to the extent of the pro-Labour bias since 1992. You have to go back to the 1950s and 1960s to find strong bias towards the Conservatives. Table 1 also shows have the different components of electoral bias have changed since the 1950s.

  37. Well it’s fascinating and I’ll look closer when I’m not working!

    But it is impossible to know for certain how many voters didn’t bother to vote or voted tactically under FPTP and what different behaviours you would see under one person one vote PR or even under AV.

    You can examine the evidence and you can ask people their intentions and reasons, but you will really only find out if you run an election under those rules.

    What I think we’d lose under PR is the ability to elect an independent to represent your constituency. Part politics are all very well, but we want our members to be concerned about local issues too.

  38. On Coulsongate

    Coulson was supposed to stay on for a week or two more until a successor was found, but he left Cameron’s office yesterday.

    More proverbial about to be fanned?

  39. By the way, BBC has this:

    “In September 2010, a New York Times article suggested hacking was widespread at the NoW. Former reporter Sean Hoare, one of the sources for the allegations, told the BBC phone tapping was “endemic” in the industry and alleged Mr Coulson personally requested him to do it. ”

    So there IS evidence against Coulson. So his emails may well come under scrutiny too.

  40. Re: Nick @ 10.07, TheGreenBenches @ 1026. If you plot Lab numbers since their low of around 20% in summer 2009 to the present, you get a pretty much straight upwards trend, except for a big blip around the election (voters piling onto LD, evidently because of the expenses scandal – Cons had a similar but slightly smaller blip). They’re still growing at the same sort of rate, even though LDs have hit bottom and bounced – Cons rate of loss has accelerated since the New Year, and appears to have compensated for the end of the LD-Lab switch period in 2nd half of 2010. So I see no ceiling for Lab yet – maybe Ed should keep schtum on those policies for now!

  41. ‘What I think we’d lose under PR is the ability to elect an independent to represent your constituency. Party politics are all very well, but we want our members to be concerned about local issues too.’ wrote NickP

    I haven’t noticed an immense number being elected under FPTP Nick. What’s the point of having a system designed to aid the election of such independent minds if nobody stands or is electable?

    The KHC chap was so independent that the Lib Dems did not bother to run against him. He sat next to them in the House to boot!

    When I sat with Independents as a councillor, I used to tease them that the marked sheets shewed that they had voted in GEs where no Ind was standing.

    They didn’t even have the nouse to claim they had spoiled their ballots. Of the 10 of them, 9 were Conservative voters (one was a Con branch treasurer!) and one was LD. The latter said to me – if I ‘come out’ I’ll never get elected’.

  42. There are independents elected in Australia, which uses AV.

  43. Does anybody know how AV works?

    Does everybody have to put more than one preference, or two or do they have to order all the candidates?

    If you just vote for your first preference, is that a spoilt paper?

  44. Howard,

    I actually while being a Labour Voter, I have considered standing as an Independent Councillor.

    I have stood for the District Council and County Council for Labour, but the forms you sign tie you to the Whips (no pun intended).

    I always thought that locally, being able to support who ever you wish, issue by issue, is better for your Constituents.

    If I was an Independent,, I would probably support Labour most of the time, but not always.

  45. The Telegraph Megrahi story is one of those things you’re not surprised at, you’re just surprised it got written down (FoI requests tend to bring things up eventually even without Wikileaks). Of course the release on compassionate grounds was a great relief for everyone – especially as to qualify for it all appeals had to be withdrawn. For Megrahi to die in Scottish custody would have been bad enough. For him to die and then be declared not to be guilty, would have been worse.

    As an aside for our US readers, I discovered, when looking this topic up, that Karol Sikora, one of the doctors who declared Megrahi about to die, “appeared in a Republican Party attack ad in the United States criticising the NHS” (ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karol_Sikora) during the healthcare debate there. Think what Fox News would have made of that if it had been the other way round.

  46. Exelent articsle AW, thanks. The graphs in the last one show Labour getting about 52% of seats with about 50% of the vote but more like 35% of seats with 30% of the vote. The Conservatives get more like 60% of seats from 50% of votes and 35% of seats from 30% of the vote. The Lib Dems get around 4% of the seats from 25% of the vote.

  47. “The Lib Dems get around 4% of the seats from 25% of the vote.”

    I note you are a LD, and imagine you would welcome PR.

    How will AV alter the number of seats LDs win do you think?

  48. Depends; for AV to work in your favour you must come ahead of another major party. At the moment AV would help Labour get more as LD drop out first.

  49. NickP – it depends exactly how AV is implemented. There is no right answer. In Australia one has to give preferences to every candidate standing, or your vote is invalid, or to use the Australian emphemism “informal”.

    In the way the UK legislation is written that wouldn’t be the case – you could give preferences to as many or as few candidates as you wished. If I recall correctly, people who just put an “X” will be treated as having given just a first preference to that candidate, and no further preferences.

  50. Thanks Anthony

    At least I won’t have to worry about whether to put UKIP or Con last. Always assuming BNP aren’t there to win that award every time.

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