Tomorrow we have two actual elections to look at, both of which have been rather forgotten about.

First there is the Barnsley Central by-election. Barnsley Central is a safe Labour seat, and hence has attracted little attention – it will be held easily by Labour. In 2010 Labour received 47% of the vote, with the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives almost equal in second on 17% a piece (the Lib Dems got 6 more votes than the Tories). The BNP saved their deposit with 9%.

There has been only one poll of Barnsley Central, carried out by Survation. They put Labour on 63%, the Conservatives on 13%, UKIP on 9%, the Lib Dems on 6% and BNP on 4%. It has to be said, however, that Survation’s previous attempt at a by-election poll in Oldham East and Saddleworth wasn’t a fantastic success, showing the Lib Dems and Labour neck and neck.

Second there is the Welsh referendum on extending law making powers to the Welsh Assembly. Once again, the polls suggest that the result here will be almost a foregone conclusion. Today we have polls on the Welsh referendum from both YouGov and rmg:Clarity – a recent recruit to the British Polling Council. I know little about their methods, beyond the fact that it was a phone poll stratified by constituency, but either way, the two companies show almost identical results.

Rmg:Clarity found 49% intending to vote YES, 22% intending to vote NO. Repercentaged to exclude don’t knows that works out at 69% YES to 31% NO.

The YouGov poll for ITV Wales, weighted for likelihood to vote, showed YES on 61%, No on 28% and 12% don’t know. Repercentaged to exclude don’t knows the figures were identical to the rmg-clarity poll – 69% YES, 31% NO. Given that the turnout is likely to be very low indeed, we also tested out filtering by likelihood to vote and including people who said they were 10/10 certain to vote – the figures were still 69% yes to 31% no.

Note that there will not be a YouGov voting intention poll tonight – see this note from Peter – there was a power outage at the YouGov’s German data centre that interrupted the data collection last night and we couldn’t be confident what could be salvaged would be reliable. Thus is the problem with daily polling – if you do it all in one day and something goes wrong, there is no time for a second attempt! All should be back to normal tomorrow.

157 Responses to “Barnsley Central and the OTHER referendum”

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  1. The Welsh referendum is not on giving law making powers. The 2006 Government of Wales at did that.

    It is on the way the powers are transferred to Wales.

  2. MichaelT – crikey, it doesn’t even do that?

    As someone who never really followed how the referendum came about, I’m bemused about how there came to be a referendum on something that seems relatively minor, rather than it just being done outright.

    (Having said that, I’ve googled and answered my own question: the referendum route was set up in the 2006 legislation)

  3. MichaelT

    “Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?”

    See that Westminster? Can’t be trusted not to lie through their teeth even when they phrase a question with Electoral Commission approval.

  4. The Survation poll seems very inaccurate with regards to UKIP 9% & BNP 4%

    If the bookies are anything to go by then it looks like the BNP will comfortably beat UKIP.

  5. Anthony

    The Scotland Bill currently going through Westminster makes significant changes, but Westminster is just doing that on the nod. No referendum (because they could hardly give us one when they said that the one that around 60% of Scots wanted couldn’t happen).

    Strange people these folk in Westminster.

  6. In the Rmg:Clarity poll the Welsh were also asked a couple of questions on powers that they aren’t being given back.

    Should the Assembly have power over Police & Justice?

    Yes 57% : No 26% : Don’t Know 17%

    Should the Assembly have power to raise/lower taxes?

    Yes 54% : No 34% : Don’t Know 12%

  7. The Welsh Referendum is under 50% but I think that this poll indicates that it’s likely to pass (if the election were held today).

  8. @ Old Nat

    I think you once told this to me before so I apologize if I’m asking a repetitive question. But do the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament get general spending power? And if so, if they can’t tax, do they receive a large check from Westminster that determines what their budget will be? Or does Westminster spend the money for them? Or is it some combination? I know you told me once that Scotland gets back less than what it pays in taxes to Westminster.

  9. Wednesday night sometimes sees other Mid week polls. We haven’t heard from a couple recently. Fingers crossed.

  10. Eoin – other midweek polls are normally pretty predictable. Apart from MORI which is a moveable feast, it’s normally the Sunday polls that spring up unexpectedly.

    Other than the YouGov polls, the next midweek poll I’d expect would be Populus – probably due out next Monday night for Tuesday’s paper.

  11. SoCalLiberal

    All three devolved Parliament/Assemblies within the UK have different powers and arrangements.

    Most taxes are raised by Westminster then the nations get a Block Grant based on a formula based on a proportion of spending of the relevant spend in England on those things that the UK Government decide are “identifiable” regional expenditure. For example, all the spending on the London Olympics is classified as “unidentifiable”, and all of the UK pays for it.

    How the nations allocate that money is up to them.

    The deal is complicated by the fact that the Labour Government in the 70s created a new bit of the UK called “ex-Regio” which includes all the North Sea Oil and Gas revenues, and the taxes from that are deemed to be income for the whole UK and not the bit that the revenues stem from. Companies registered in London, however, are deemed to have created all that revenue there, regardless of where the taxable revenue comes from.

    The UK Government doesn’t do anything as boring as keeping proper accounts.

  12. Anthony,

    No auld angus then? awww shucks!

  13. Anthony,

    I should say, you’ve clobbered my YG prediction league for the night! :P

  14. The best I can do, is an opinium poll on office romances. Enjoy folks

  15. Oldnat –

    The move to a 5-year Scottish Parliament makes it 20% less democratic – but so far as I can tell not even the MSPs were asked, never mind us.

  16. Land o’ Cakes

    Indeed. Although Clegg said a two-thirds backing by MSPs for the change would be required before the UK Government would table the relevant amendment.

    Constitutional change in the UK is consistently ill thought out and a reaction to events rather than showing any coherent vision.

  17. On the Barnsley election if that poll is right that would be a 11% swing to Labour from the Tories. How does that compare with the movement in the national polls since last year. Much better I wouls suggest. Is this evidence that Milliband is reclaming the old Labour vote (poss at the expense of the BNP).

    If it is in a strange way it might not be as good news as it seems at first sight. If the swing is higher in safe seats then it is less in merginals they may not make as many gains as the raw data would suggest.

    Mind you it is a bye election I suppose we will only know come May.

  18. Anthony, with the council elections comming up will there be any individual pages set up for discussion on a council by coumcil basis, in the same way as you have on a seat by seat basis?

    [No, plans to. Would take a vast amount of work to create (and keep updated in the future!) – try – AW]

  19. Unless Gaddafi comes to the rescue it looks increasingly like Cameron’s Libya bluster will come to look inept. many of his own backbenchers are now reported as saying his approach was wrong, both in terms of the need for allies but also due to the potential use Gaddafi himself could make of it.

    I increasingly believe my initial feeling about Cameron formed during the Tory party leadership contest is correct. He isn’t ‘transformational’ as some people think (thought?). He just says what he thinks people want to hear and then works out the details later. This doesn’t work in government. The big polling question is whether other voters see it in the same way.

    Thatcher was unpopular among many but grudgingly admired as being principled and honest, even if they violently disagreed with her. Cameron increasingly looks a bit slimy.

  20. Alec, I love you to bits, but you are a broken record sometimes.

    I refuse to be provoked….

  21. Alec, I for one think you are talking a lot of sense. At least on this topic.

    DC is a PR man to the tips of his toes so will alway try to give the people what he thinks they want as this must be popular. This works in opposition but in Government is a very poor way to act as most of what people say they want would neber work.

    What is more concerning is the use of PR smoke screens to hide unpopular policies. Such as the yew turn last week comming on the same days as it was announced that the thresho;d for capital assests required before you have to pay for care costs was to be lowered.

    It was a good day ti hide bad news as they say.

  22. I heard something on the radio a few days ago about the referendum, it’s about allowing the Assembly to avoid having to check with Westminster before passing legislation relating to powers already devolved.

    About the by election, I have not heard a whisper about this before, unfortunately it will not tell us anything we don’t already know. Perhaps the next by-election will be in a nice marginal seat.

  23. @ Old Nat

    Thanks for the explanation. The debate makes more sense to me now as does the debate over the North Sea oil revenue. I think if a legislature is going to have proper spending powers, it needs to have the power to raise revenues.

    Otherwise, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly are basically put in the position of a professional designer paid to remodel a home that he doesn’t own. He’s given a budget of how much he can spend and is given a directive to remodel the home and make it look beautiful but he’s constrained in what he can spend and how he can actually renovate the home. If the designer is a house flipper though and buys the home for himself and owns it, he can create his own budget and maket adjustments accordingly to the needs identified. He has far more power in that position than he does as a designer.

    “The UK Government doesn’t do anything as boring as keeping proper accounts.”


  24. Hello UK polling report.

    If you have any questions about our by election poll in Barnsley Central I’ll be here for the next half an hour.

    Damian Lyons Lowe

  25. No poll from YouGov due to a German misfortune, yet the recent polls from Germany itself are not good for Frau Merkel. After a slight recovery in last month’s polls, her coalition is again in very bad shape. The first March poll (after the Hamburg disaster of late February) is by Forsa, the Institute least favorable to the Social Democrats, and the figures are: CDU 34 (-2 from previous poll), FDP 5 (n.c.), so total for ruling coalition 39, once again below the 40% mark and the weakest center-right in Europe together with the Greek one. SPD is at 27 (+4), Greens at 16 (-2), so Center-left alliance 43 (+2) and The Left 10 (n.c.) Yet the most astonishing is the recent poll, once more by Forsa, for the forthcoming State Election in Baden-Wuerttemberg, one of the most right-wing German states where the center-left has never ruled, and it goes like so: CDU 39 + FDP 6= 45, SPD 26 + Greens 19 = 45, and Linke 4, so there will be a fierce battle to the last vote. It is remarkable that all previous polls by all Institutes had the SPD behind the Greens, but it seems that their triumph in Hamburg boosts their performance. So if 38-year old Nils Schmidt is elected president of BW, it will be the political end of Frau Merkel, and Siegmar “Ziggy” Gabriel will be German’s next chancellor;

  26. Virgilio

    Thanks for these European updates. It’s an area that gets such little media coverage here.

  27. @Virgilio

    Also polls often overestimate the CDU vote so the CDU might drop to 35-37% in BW.

    6% is very weak for the FDP in BW considering they got 18.8% in 2009.

    A SPD-green alliance looks likely in RLP.

  28. @A. Brown
    In fact for RLP the last poll (Emnid) figures are SPD 38 + Greens 12 = 50 and CDU 36 + FDP 5 = 41, so OM for Center-Left without the Linke (5%). There Kurt Beck used to obtain OM for the SDP but now he will probably have to share power with the Greens, which is a good thing for the consolidation of the alliance in view of 2013 (or earlier?) GE.
    As for the smaller countries facing GE in 2011, the lead for center-left alliance in Denmark is now pretty solid (around 10%), so Helle Thorning-Schmidt (whose father-in-law is N. Kinnock) will probably be the next Danish PM and the first woman ever to hold this post. Even more comfortable is the center-left lead in Croatia (14-20%), whilst in Estonia the outgoing center-right coalition will probably get reelected. Last poll: Reform Party (ELDR) 28%, IRL (EPP) 21, so an OM for the ruling parties. In the opposition, Center Party is stable at 25% and Soc. Democrats progress to 16% (last election 10,6) to the detriment of minor parties (Green, Agrarian). Total suspense in Finland, where all 3 major parties lose ground to the benefit of far right PS, rising to 16-18%. Probable reelection of moderate liberal right PO in Poland, but with fewer seats, and possible alliance with Soc. Dm. SLD, on the rise, whilst the conservative opposition (PiS) is facing the consequences of its recent split, but does not collapse.

  29. @ Alec

    “He just says what he thinks people want to hear ”

    Like ummmm:-

    We have to reduce the deficit ti near zero in the Parliament.

    We have to cut Government spending.

    We need to hand the NHS budget to consortia of GPs

    Tuition Fees will have to go up.

    We must wrest control of schools from Local Authorities & the teaching unions.

    We have to junk Ark Royal,and scrap all the Harriers.

    -do you mean things like that Alec ? :-)

  30. Anthony,

    Point of information, the client for the YouGov poll was actually the Welsh-language tv channel S4C, and not ITV Wales (who have been commissioning a monthly series of YouGov Welsh VI polls).

    [Different polls – AW]

  31. Scottish general election polling:

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned at UKPR before, but I just found this fascinating article from 17 February:

    ‘Salmond buries SNP polling information – even though it’s bad for his opponents’

    “What do you do if, through your own polling, you find something which might prove uncomfortable for your opponent? If you are Alex Salmond and your opponent is Iain Gray, you sit on it.

    Why? Because the SNP leader has decided that any publicity, however much it might embarrass the Scottish Labour leader in the short term, would raise his profile and that‘s not what he wants to do.

    … The SNP polled across Scotland on the relative public profiles of Mr Salmond and his Labour opponent, Mr Gray.

    The results were startling. They surprised even the more experienced members of the SNP campaign team. They showed that almost everyone knew who Mr Salmond was but, for Mr Gray, public recognition was embarrassingly low.

    … Mr Salmond was not the incumbent when he won in 2007 but he had been in front-line politics for 20 years or more so was well known to the voters.

    Mr Gray doesn’t have that advantage but, more than that, he is fighting someone in Mr Salmond who boasts 90 per cent or more public recognition (according to a straw poll in The Scottish Daily Mail today).

    … A Daily Mail reporter asked voters outside Mr Gray’s constituency office in East Lothian whether they knew who he was and only eight out of twenty recognised his picture – while 19 out of 20 recognised Mr Salmond. If he can’t score better than that in the heart of his own constituency, then he really is in trouble.

    … Labour strategists believe that their man will benefit from the leaders’ debates, and they may be right. These events tend to favour the challenger, not the incumbent, because it puts both on an equal footing – at least for the duration of the debate.”–-even-though-its-bad-for-his-opponents/

  32. Social Liberal,

    You may want to Google these terms:

    Block Grant
    Scottish Consolidated Fund
    Barnett Formula
    Calman Commission
    Scotland Bill 2010-2011

    Summarised, at the moment, Westminster gives Scotland a big chunk of money every year, and the Scottish Government presents an annual Budget Bill, telling the Scottish Parliament how that money will be spent, subject to MSPs approval (of course).

    Then various Scottish govt departments and public bodies dish out the goodies.

  33. I think the only possible headline that could be generated by the Barnsley By-election is if the LDs lost their deposit or do indeed slip into fourth (or even fifth) place.

    Remember Henley (rock solid safe Tory seat) when Labour fell to fifth place. It was as damaging as losing their Glasgow safest seat.

    If the anti-Labour vote settles around the Tories (as seems to be the case in these seats) then it could happen!

  34. Adrian B
    “If the anti-Labour vote settles around the Tories (as seems to be the case in these seats) then it could happen!”

    Just to be clear…you mean the LDs could lose their deposit or fall to fifth and NOT that the Cons would win the seat?

  35. Stuart Dickson
    “SNP buries polling information…” so how come it is in the public domain? Oh it was leaked. Ah.
    What has not leaked or been otherwise relaeased is VI on polls the SNP will on past form have commissioned. Last time they released anything they omitted the list VI which no doubt was an oversight. However in the article you mention, Cal Merc says the really good news for the SNP that particular week is the huge donation from arch-reactionary Brian Souter. Few seem to want to boast about that.

  36. So if survation were way out on their Libdem prediction last time, is 6% looking optimistic?

    UKIP’s percentage is the one to watch, with so much anti-EU feeling being stoked up, it could do very well.

  37. Stuart! why were you banned from PB, and I do miss Coldstone?

  38. Barney

    Glad that you are disowning the arch-reactionary Daily Record.

  39. David,

    “why were you banned from PB”

    A very, very good question. In fact, I have asked Mike Smithson (and David Herdson, Paul Maggs and Morus) precisely that question on several occasions via e-mail. I have never even had the courtesy of a reply (except a very kind note from DH saying that he did not know why).

    I have my own theories, but I will desist from discussing them on a public forum, as no reasonable explanation casts Mr Smithson in a positive light. Suffice to say that my PB ban says a lot more about the plight of the Liberal Democrats than it does about me and my behaviour.

    I rarely read PB now, but I too miss Coldstone tremendously. A real character, and profoundly knowledgable, inventive and informative. The PB threads now are boring in extremis, and as for Plato being “Poster of the Year”, well, words utterly fail me! Antifrank was robbed. (Although I’m a Yellow Submarine voter myself.)

    I received a friendly note from Easterross (Ross-shire Tory) the other day, saying “I am not on PB much at the moment because the discussions on AV etc plus the strongly anti-Scottish attitude of many posters really pisses me off. Looks like the Grey man is doing his best to lose the election. Let’s hope so.” Nuff said.

    (By the way Anthony, I would like to know OldNat’s email, if that is OK with him?)

  40. OldNat,

    “Glad that you are disowning the arch-reactionary Daily Record.”


    Glass houses. Indeed.

  41. Talking of politics and betting, I hope that Anthony will indulge me if I inform readers of the latest Best Prices on the betting markets.

    Scottish GE, May – Most Seats

    Lab 2/9 (Betfair, Ladbrokes, Smarkets)
    SNP 5/1 (William Hill)
    Con 125/1 (Bet365)
    LD 150/1 (Bet365)

    Next First Minister (Paddy Power):

    Gray 2/11
    Salmond 10/3
    Goldie 50/1
    Scott 66/1

    I note that Betfair and Smarkets also have a Welsh Assembly market, but it is dead as a dodo. The Welsh Labour Party are such stand-out favourites, that currently no-one will lay them at Betfair. The odds of PC, Con or LD having Most Seats ought to be at least 200/1. Perhaps 500/1 ?

  42. Sorry, typo, William Hill’s SNP price is actually 4/1 (not 5/1).

  43. Stuart – very happy to pass on people’s emails if they are both happy with it.

  44. Just to translate for those furth of Scotland
    The Daily Record is the Scottish stablemate of the Mirror and has similar politics. It is much reviled by SNP supporters. It usually doesn’t say they are winning.
    Mr Souter on the other hand is the highest profile oponent of gay rights etc in the UK. He has spent millions in this battle. He has also funded lots of polling on these issues.

  45. Anthony,

    In that case , I’d really appreciate Ronaldo’s [Roland] email if it is handy! :) I nominated him for a comedy award, but it could not be accepted without his approval.. and I could not contact him to get it!

    Two snippets of news doing the rounds this morning…
    1.. Lansley has ruled out allowing hospitals to compete for operations on price grounds in the new health bill. Three cheers me thinks.

    2. Gus O’Donnell has officially reprimanded the PM over leaks by his Spy-ads… Three boos me thinks.

  46. Eoin – haven’t seen Roland round these parts for a long time, so unlikely he’ll be by to give consent.

  47. Anthony

    Please give my email address to Stuart Dickson.

  48. ComRes poll shows that people are more likely to protest over fuel than spending cuts..

  49. TGB

    Can you explain your ‘cheers’ and ‘boos’ for the snippets of news, please?

  50. Mike,

    Pantomime light heartedness mostly… I like U-turns :) I don’t much care for briefing against civil servants :(

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