Different companies and different questions are showing a wide variety of different results on the AV referendum, but they all show the tide moving in the NO campaign’s direction.

At one end YouGov’s latest poll, prompted with explanations of what the AV and FPTP systems are, has a 17 point lead for the NO campaign. At the other extreme Angus Reid have a 6 point lead for the YES campaign, and ComRes’s last poll – now almost a month ago, had a 10 point lead for YES.

Most of this difference is down to question wording – in the last month YouGov and Populus have both done parallel surveys, one explaining the systems to respondents and one not. In two parallel surveys for the No2AV campaign YouGov found the YES campaign ahead by 3 points when people were asked just the raw question, but when they were given the explanations of the systems NO led by 11 points.

In a similar exercise, Populus found a 12 point lead for YES when they asked just the raw referendum question, but found a 14 point lead for NO when they told people what the two systems were.

It may be that these differences gradually vanish as we head towards the referendum itself and the public become more aware of what AV and FPTP actually are… or it may be that the referendum campaign produces more smoke than light, and the public don’t actually end up better informed at all!

While polls are showing different overall figures though, they are showing the same broad trend.

Angus Reid have been polling roughtly monthly since January. In January they had YES ahead of NO by 37% to 20%, with 37% don’t knows. Their most figures are YES 32% (down 5 since January), NO 26% (up 6), and 35% don’t know.

ICM asked AV voting intention for the Guardian in both December and February. In December they found YES on 44%, NO on 38%, Don’t know on 18%. By February their figures had moved to YES 37% (down 7), NO 37% (down 1), don’t knows 27%.

YouGov ask AV most frequently, with data every fortnight, so we have more granularity there on the ups and downs of the campaigns. Since last summer YouGov had been picking up a gradual trend towards NO, at the start of 2011 YouGov had a NO lead of around 9 points. However, at the start of February YouGov picked up a shift towards YES, with the AV campaign briefly narrowing the gap to just one point (it looked like a rogue result so we ran it two days in a row to check – it wasn’t!).

It was to be purely temporary though, since then the campaign proper has started and YouGov have been recording a strong trend towards NO. A fortnight ago they recorded a 7 point lead for NO, then a week ago an 11 point lead for NO, today a 17 point lead for NO. The last one may turn out to be an outlier, but the trend is undeniable.

Finally ComRes have been asking about AV monthly for the Independent on Sunday. In January they had YES six points ahead (36% YES, 30% NO, 34% d/k), in February they had YES increasing their lead to ten points, at the same time as YouGov were picking up that sharp but temporary move towards the YES campaign. The next ComRes poll is due this weekend in the Indy on Sunday, so if they follow the same trend as Angus Reid, ICM and YouGov we’d expect it to show a drop in the YES campaign’s lead.


301 Responses to “The latest AV referendum polling”

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  1. Barbanzero
    I do apologise. Of course, had you a beard, you would have been a Lib Dem not a Lib (and would also have worn sandals).

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  2. Barbazenzero

    Can you change your name as I’ve scrolled back and discovered that very few times is your name accurately given by posters (including me). :-)

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  3. Mike N

    “You have a well developed sense of humour”

    The difference between UK Lab & Con is like the difference between the English Scottish class systems. We see things in broad categories. You identify subtle differences that categorise people in ways that we don’t understand. :-)

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  4. MIKE N
    “Barbazenzero
    Can you change your name”

    Barbazenzero. Translate it into Gaelic, then only Eoin and I will be able to spell it! :-)

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  5. MIKE N
    It has also occurred to me that a further reason why AV cannot really be compared to a run-off elections is that with the latter ALL voters can particate in those later rounds. Under AV many voters’ papers will be exhausted so they ‘lose’ the opportunity to participate in the run off.

    But it is entirely at the choice of the elector whether his or her ballot becomes exhausted. And do you seriously suggest that if AV/IRV comes to pass candidates will not make sure that electors are somehow provided with how-to-vote cards? I suspect these will be along Australian lines but may possibly be less formal.

    Even Cons and Labs would make the other no worse than penultimate choice in places where a BNP candidate was standing, wouldn’t they?

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  6. I’ve enjoyed today.

    But I’m going dark now.

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  7. @ Roger Mexico

    I’ll also add that the LA Weekly is a rag, it’s not a well respected, widely read paper.

    Imo, the challengers were out of touch with reality. Local municipal government can’t stop gentrification and even if you could, stopping gentrification isn’t desireable. And reading the Daily Mail article, I think they’ve missed out on an important point. Younger gays and lesbians aren’t being driven out of West Hollywood. Instead many opt not to live there because there are other neighborhoods within LA that they like better. And because of changes in law, society, and politics, there is far more sexual orientation equality in California and Los Angeles than there ever has been. Moving to West Hollywood is no longer required for gays and lesbians (there was never a great lesbian population in West Hollywood actually). It’s no longer needed as a safe haven for people. Instead, the city is now better known as cultural center and tourist destination.

    The complaints about heavy traffic are silly, there’s nothing the city can do about it. When you’re 1.9 square miles and 50,000 people and you’re surrounded on all sides by a city of over 4 million people and 500 square miles, traffic will be affected by that city does. This reminds me of a funny anecdote. Back in the 1990’s, the Four Seasons Hotel chain wanted to open up one of their hotels in Beverly Hills. City residents pitched a huge fit and the City Council denied the permit to build the hotel. What did the Four Seasons Hotel do? They literally found a site across the street from Beverly Hills and built their flagship “The Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills” (the city of LA happilly granted them the permit to build). All the revenues from that hotel went to the City of LA, Beverly Hills got none, but Beverly Hills received all the traffic anyway because to get to the hotel (at least for travellers coming from LAX), you have to drive through Beverly Hills.

    I still think it’s interesting though that this small city’s election was a newsworthy item in the UK. Probably helps city tourism. I tell anyone who visits the LA area that West Hollywood should be at the top of their list of places to visit.

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  8. @ Old Nat

    “Now that’s unfair. We do think you have morals – just not very good ones.”

    Ack! I meant to say “manners” not “morals!” Chalk it up to fatigue.

    @ Neil A

    “Just goes to show, we don’t all fit each others’ stereotypes…”

    I agree. You’re definitely the most liberal cop I’ve ever come across (my dad is probably more liberal but he was only a reserve cop, so there’s a cultural difference). Just about every cop I’ve ever met has been a right winger.

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  9. SoCalLiberal.

    The collective noun “Europeans” is pretty meaningless I suggest.

    50 sovereign states, 700 Million people , countless cultures & religions; multiple political parties.

    Trying to attribute single characteristics to this diverse & ancient group of peoples is the stuff of Brussels Ivory Towers-not of real life.

    Is it any less daft to look for “American” characteristics ?

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  10. Barbazenzero

    I apologise again. I copied it from someone else last time..

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  11. @ Mike N (when you return to the light).

    Can you change your name as I’ve scrolled back and discovered that very few times is your name accurately given by posters (including me)?
    —————————————————————-

    This is a tip for all posters who struggle to spell ‘difficult’ names:

    You can copy them from the poster’s comment.

    barbazenzero (see what I did there, I copied it)

    SoCalLiberal (& again; a little trickier because SoCaL’s is also a link)

    duncardew (here’s another, I copied).

    RodCrosby (Rod used capitals when he set up his name, if this is anything to go by).

    Anyway, I’m done now. My copy & paste, name check craze has passed for now. :-)

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  12. HOWARD

    Barbanzero
    Having just a little myself, I’ll forgive you the missing zen.

    I do apologise. Of course, had you a beard, you would have been a Lib Dem not a Lib (and would also have worn sandals).
    My beard dates from the early ’70s. The sandals I gave up wearing in the UK in the ’60s for fear of frost bite, trench foot or worse. Oldnat’s memory seems more reliable and longer than mine, but Liberals were branded bearded sandal wearers long before the gang of four began their ultimately successful take-over bid.

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  13. I’ve just learnt today that (in London at least) the AV referendum count will take place on Friday from 9am.

    Local Authorities cannot afford to extra night pay.

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  14. oldnat
    Barbazenzero. Translate it into Gaelic, then only Eoin and I will be able to spell it!

    My PC aunt tells me that in Cymraeg it becomes Sinsirbarfog, to which I am tempted to switch. I’m afraid that I have neither a reliable source nor a Google widget for Gàidhlig translation. The Google widget cannot translate ginger into Gaeilge.

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  15. It is some measure of how much the EM/EB Deficit Denying, No To All Cuts mantra has become the official opposition economic stance; that this comment from DM reads now like something from another planet:-

    “We’ve got to speak credibly about how we ended up in the current position… we’ve got to have a credible analysis of what went wrong as well as credible plans for what to do instead.”

    I had to remind myself that he & his brother are still in the same political party .-

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  16. HOWARD
    I apologise again. I copied it from someone else last time..

    No worries, as our AV/IRV-loving cousins would say.

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  17. Barbazenzero

    I think the “beard and sandals” caricature actually stems from George Orwell talking about Socialist intellectuals in the 30s. Orwell was obsessed by the superiority of the “ordinary man” over his own class.

    He derided pacifists and feminists, Quakers and sexual liberation and naturists. Most of all he derided bearded, sandal wearers who drank fruit juice.

    I presume that as Labour lost all pretension to thinking, the caricature was transferred to a party (the old Liberals) which actually did.

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  18. AMBERSTAR

    Thanks for that re copy and paste.

    The oddball thing is that what you write applies to both IE and Firefox. Chrome, on the other hand, despite being fast pastes as displayed, hence AMBERSTAR vs AmberStar.

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  19. BARBAZENZERO

    Thanks for that. I’ve just switched to Chrome, and wondered about the difference.

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  20. oldnat

    Thanks for that re Orwell, as well as proving me right re your superior memory. I was put off reading him in school thanks to Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier having been compulsory texts. At university, I read and enjoyed the rest of his output as light relief from some of my course-work.

    I presume that as Labour lost all pretension to thinking, the caricature was transferred to a party (the old Liberals) which actually did.
    Naughty oldnat, naughty.

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  21. “I’m attempting to put myself in the position of a left-leaning former (i.e. up to May 2010) LD supporter, and trying to identify any circumstances under which the current manifestation of the LDs has anything to offer. I see nothing.”
    (Apologies if this reply is seen as too partisan, trying to stay within the rules).
    Speaking as someone who did vote LD in May but now feels completely abandoned by them, let me give some insight in to the position.

    I am leaning much more toward Labour than other parties (simply because I don’t think other parties have a chance of winning, I’m put off by certain Green policies and Labour *should* be my spiritual home).
    But every time a Labour partisan or politician assumes that my home is automatically with them, I lean more toward Green (despite my problems with certain policies).
    This sort of arrogance that Labour is ‘the only place’ for the left and a spurning of left-wing coalition politics is a real put off.

    And now on to what the LDs have to offer – despite feeling absolutely betrayed by Nick Clegg (I feel he should have held out for STV or accepted a minority Tory government), I still think that there is a large enough centre-left social-democratic faction within the LibDems that if a future coalition decision were to happen, they would choose Labour over the Tories.

    So under AV, I would (although perhaps reluctantly) give LDs my second or third preference vote.
    Who gets my first preference (Labour or Green) is something that Labour is going to have to work toward.

    (Again, apologise if this post is seen as too partisan – but I felt I had to respond to this point, rather than just bland partisan assumptions)

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  22. @Colin

    Maybe he can join the Tory party? I wish he would, as well as all the other Blairite chums.

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  23. TINGEDFRINGE

    I would describe your post as totally NON-partisan!

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  24. Oh,GOD, for a poll,Any poll other than this!

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  25. I can actually see where Mike N is coming from but it is worth rembereing some LD politicians have personal votes

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  26. TINGEDFRINGE

    Agreeing entirely with oldnat, I would go just a little farther and say that I suspect that most supporters of the four English parties now represented in Westminster would feel much the same over the a priori rankings of the four, albeit choosing different orders.

    The real problem will come in seats that parties like the BNP are standing. In such cases, it may be a difficult choice to put the one of the four that you like least ahead of the one you detest, but the French presidential run-off of 2002 between Chirac and Le Pen showed that decency usually prevails, with Chirac getting over 82% of the vote there vs his 19.88% in the first round.

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  27. I have just heard on the news that the Coalition Agreement on moving from a passenger tax to a plane tax breaches EU Law!
    What a disaster – it was going to fund a goodly proportion of the personal tax allowance increase up to £10,000.
    Somewhat ironic that their beloved EU should be the organisation to derail a much heralded LD policy priority. So much is going wrong for Clegg, that by the law of averages something has got to go right for him soon – hasn’t it?

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  28. Craig :)

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  29. “… every time a Labour partisan or politician assumes that my home is automatically with them… ”

    The polling evidence suggests 43(?)% of people who voted LD in 2010 now express an intention to vote Labour.

    To my knowledge (and given a passing aquaintance with 20C history) neither did any Labour politician assume that LDs could only enter into an agreement with them.

    That the LDs could have gone so far in their coalition with the Tories has come as a surprise to some.

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  30. @ Old Nat

    I think the “beard and sandals” caricature actually stems from George Orwell talking about Socialist intellectuals in the 30s. Orwell was obsessed by the superiority of the “ordinary man” over his own class.

    He derided pacifists and feminists, Quakers and sexual liberation and naturists. Most of all he derided bearded, sandal wearers who drank fruit juice.

    I presume that as Labour lost all pretension to thinking, the caricature was transferred to a party (the old Liberals) which actually did.”

    Wow, sounds like someone really needed to lubricate the stick up his a**. :)

    I’ve heard this reference to UK Liberals being “sandal wearers” before and I don’t quite get it. I don’t really listen to them but you never hear Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity scream about liberals wearing sandals and drinking fruit juice. I mean that’s something that they would complain about but I don’t think they have.

    Though maybe it’s a linguistic difference. Because I think Californian Decline to State voters (independents) are ideologically similar to Liberal Democrats. So ironically, these voters would really relate to and really like Nick Clegg and David Laws and Chris Huhne but would not dare dream of calling themselves “liberal.” And yet there are some voters, usually registered Dems, who are proudly liberal and would really relate to and really like a number of Labour politicians (Tony Blair prior to Iraq) who claim that they’re not liberals.

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  31. @ Old Nat

    Oh and my reference was to George Orwell (on his obsession with trashing pacifists and feminists and sexual liberationists), not to you.

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  32. “Maybe he can join the Tory party?”

    Along with the 49.35% who voted for him in the 4th round, or perhaps just the 37.78% who voted for him in the first round?

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  33. TONY DEAN
    I have just heard on the news that the Coalition Agreement on moving from a passenger tax to a plane tax breaches EU Law!

    Which broadcaster? Would you have a URL?

    Channel 4 News report on their FactCheck Blog: Flight of fancy: is air tax pledge just so much greenwash? that “It appears the government may be unable to do this under EU law“.

    It will be interesting to see what emerges.

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  34. SOCALLIBERAL

    Fear not. I didn’t think for a moment you meant me. (Others might though! :-) )

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  35. As the Libdems have for a number of years been themselves a coalition between left & right seemingly on around a 50/50 basis, I continue to be mystified why the left seem to think that only Labour should be considered as someone for them to enter coalition with.

    Further, as the 50% who were on the left would appear to have deserted them & gone to labour, hence their polling fall from 20% to 10%, the remainder by definition must be mainly on the right, making a coalition with labour even less likely in the short term.

    Surely coalition is about policy overlap, not, they should be this, or they should be that. At one election it may be the Tories, at another it may be Labour. Some people here need to be a bit more pragmatic & a bit less tribal. Perhaps then we would get more relevant politics?

    Whilst mainly a Tory voter, I have voted for the LibDem candidate, when they have been the best candidate, most recently, Norman Baker in Lewes, who I regard as an independent thinking MP, who doesn’t always follow the tribal herd.

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  36. @ Old Nat

    Oh good. You can never be too careful about those things when blogging or texting.

    I shouldn’t be so hard on Orwell. He was a great writer.

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  37. @Robert newark

    “Further, as the 50% who were on the left would appear to have deserted them & gone to labour, hence their polling fall from 20% to 10%, the remainder by definition must be mainly on the right, making a coalition with labour even less likely in the short term”

    Yes- I could not agree with you more: these figures/ trends do indeed make a Lib-Lab coaliton less likely.

    As there is *only one* party off the centre left now-

    and a split centre right (Cleggs Dems/Cams Cons) and a split hard right (Liams Tories / Nigels blazer brigade)-

    these trends make a Lab *majority* far more likely.

    8-)

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  38. @Robert Newark
    “I continue to be mystified why the left seem to think that only Labour should be considered as someone for them to enter coalition with. ”

    I quite agree. I think that a lot of the support that the Libs have lost is from Labour tactical voters who only supported Libs to keep the Tories out and now feel betrayed.

    The support level for Libs of 15-20% in polls was mainly because of tactical positioning IMP.

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  39. @Rob Sheffield
    “these trends make a Lab *majority* far more likely.”

    Whilst I don’t necessarily disagree with you, it rather depends where the, ‘ex LD now Labour voters’ are situated. If they merely pile up votes in already safe Labour seats, or turn a current LD seat into a Tory one, then the effect might not be what you expect.

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  40. Robert,
    Not sure where you get the 50/50 figure from.

    If we take yougov polling of LibDem members at the LibDem conference, you get this figure –
    Very Left-Wing – 5%
    Fairly Left – 13%
    Centre-Left – 36%
    Total Left-Wing – 54%
    Centrist – 24%
    Centre-right – 8%
    Fairly Right – 2%
    Very Right – 1%
    Total Right-Wing – 11%

    Clearly a left-wing majority in the LibDem membership.
    Data here: http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-YouGov-LibDems-14092010.pdf

    So how about voters? (Jan 2011 – so we can test your ‘the party is only left with the right-wingers theory)
    So LibDem 2010 Voters –
    Very Left – 3%
    Fairly Left – 10%
    Centre Left – 17%
    Total Left-Wing – 30%
    Centrist – 27%
    Centre Right – 9%
    Fairly Right – 2%
    Very Right – 1%
    Total Right-Wing – 12%

    So of 2010 LibDem voters, there’s hardly anywhere near a 50/50 split. Unless you count the centre under the right. Right-Wingers are the clear minority.

    But, like you said, many LibDem defectors were of the left, so how do the numbers add up now?

    Very Left – 1%
    Fairly Left – 8%
    Centre Left – 18%
    Total Left – 27%
    Centrist – 36%
    Centre Right – 13%
    Fairly Right – 2%
    Very Right – 1%
    Total Right – 16%

    So there has been a shift in LibDem voters, away from the left and toward the right, the LibDems are now dominated by centrist voters rather than Left-Wing voters.

    Data: http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/YG-Archives-Pol-Prospect-Left-Right-310111.pdf

    I realise that this doesn’t invalidate your point, that the Libs may go in to coalition either way – you’re wrong about which way the LibDems lean.

    Just to keep the argument factually based.

    (I realise also that the sample sizes aren’t very good, but other indicators point to the LibDems formally being more left-wing and now being toward the centre (IIRC), like from Lord Ashcroft’s research in to LibDem voters)

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  41. @Robert Newark

    I agree on caution over a lab majority given leftist exodus from Lib Dem voter base.

    But in turn you may well be ignoring the splits now on both centre right and hard right that could easily induce an effect that you are not expecting/ hoping for….

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  42. OldNat

    The ‘beard and sandals’ caricature long predates Orwell and goes back to the early 20th century followers of William Morris and people like Eric Gill. Most of these were utopian socialists of various kinds and I think were endlessly mocked in Punch cartoons and so on. Bicycles were also much involved and of course the (ambivalent) leader of it all was George Bernard Shaw.

    Orwell did however point out that these people and their polar opposites, the bluff, bigoted Colonel Blimps, usually came from the same families. He was probably thinking of the Stracheys, but you could also argue that he was describing the two sides of his own personality – the colonial policeman and the not very competent Jura crofter. (Shaw’s reaction against stereotype consisted of sucking up to dictators, so crofting was an improvement).

    The influence of Orwell’s “hard-headedness” combined with the strange mixture of deification and contempt towards the working class that many socialists from his class held, produced some unfortunate consequences. Some were just comic (look, we know you don’t like football, stop pretending Shadow Cabinet), but others were more malign, particularly with regard to issues such as social reform and crime and justice.

    Scared of being seen as ‘do-gooders’ or, even worse, ‘wimps’, much reactionary posturing was done by the Labour Party on such issues over the years, on the grounds that the working class had to be pandered to. Actually the working class usually held equally complex and if anything slightly more progressive views than other people [insert your comments about the relationship between Scottish labour and the Catholic Church here]. But the politicians really preferred to take their views as mediated by the Sun and its owner.

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  43. Roger

    Thanks for that.

    I’m sure it’s not that your memory is better than mine (you’re not that old :-) ) but you have impressive encyclopedic knowledge!.

    Respect (not the party you understand).

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  44. I always liked Orwell’s description of himself (in an essay about class) as ‘lower upper-middle-class’, and saying that every Englishman would know exactly what he meant. The hyphens are significant because upper-middle-class was a well-known concept, but he also qualified it with the adjective ‘lower’.

    Perhaps class consciousness isn’t quite what it was, but I still know what he meant. Basically he went to Public School but his parents were relatively poor.

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  45. I think I am probably lower lower-middle-class. My parents were working people with delusions of colonial grandeur. The sort of people who live in rented accommodation but show you photographs of the servants they had in Africa.

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  46. i’m upper middle class by nature

    but feral underclass scum by origin

    aspiring to be a real toff someday

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  47. It’s a fascinating subject. What defines class nowadays? It’s not just money, though that must be part of the equation.
    I’m sure I’ve seen somewhere that having books in the house makes you middle class.

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  48. By and large I think it’s about education. Your own and your parents’. Of course to a degree that’s also a measure of wealth and geography, because good educations generally come to those with money or the right postcode.

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  49. AV is good as it would allow a balance of coalition and one party governmnets.
    If you have a balance of coalitions followed by one party governments hat can help cut corruption,

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