Sunday round up

First up, there is a new Scottish poll today by Progressive Scottish Opinion. Topline figures are…

Holyrood constituency: CON 11%, LAB 43%, LDEM 5%, SNP 37%
Holyrood regional: CON 11%, LAB 44%, LDEM 4%, SNP 37%

Secondly there’s a clarification about the ComRes AV poll from last night – it was turnout weighted… but apprently by how likely people are to vote in a general election, not how likely they are to vote in the referendum. For the record, without turnout weighting the figures would have been YES 33%, NO 34%, Don’t know 34%, so would still have shown NO ahead, albeit by the tinest of whiskers.

Finally the tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are up here. There are a couple of interesting findings there – first there were a series on questions on David Cameron and how well he is doing at the job of Prime Minister. A majority (65%) of people thought that Cameron has good presentational skills and that he had a vision for the country’s future (61%) and on balance people thought he was capable of getting his policies into action (by 44% to 34%).

Cameron scored less well on the more “managerial” measures. Only 33% thought he was a good manager, with 45% disagreeing, 35% thought he had a good grip on government, but 43% disagreed. On the bottom line question on whether people thought he was up to the job or not opinion was split down the middle – 42% think he is, 43% think he is not.

As well as the usual well/badly questions for the party leaders (Cameron scored minus 13, Miliband minus 15 and Clegg minus 46), YouGov also asked them for a selection of cabinet ministers. The most positive (or least negative!) score was for Theresa May on minus 7 followed by William Hague on minus 10. George Osborne was on minus 14, Andrew Lansley and Vince Cable were both on minus 19, Michael Gove minus 21).

Amongst other things the poll also asked about the census. 25% of think think the next census should be scrapped, compared to 58% who think it should be continued. 22% find the questions in the census intrusive, 43% do not (35% aren’t sure).

124 Responses to “Sunday round up”

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  1. MIKEN

    “But I do agree that NC is remarkable. It takes someone of extraordinary intellect to maintain a particular path despite evidence that another path would be less destructive to the party he leads. Truly extraordinary.”

    I agree Mike

    But isn’t it a sign of leadership ( as opposed to followership) ?

    Why did they appoint him leader?

  2. They thought he’d best represent the party’s policies out of a narrow selection?

    No idea why those Lib Dems who’ve since seen him in action, and are having to deal with his betrayals, are then expected to support him or decide which party they’re in. Especially since his Orange Book clique are a minority of the Lib Dems.

  3. Colin

    “Why did they appoint him leader?”

    Very good question ! I have no idea. I’m sure there are many LD activists/members who know are suffering collective amnesia.

    “But isn’t it a sign of leadership ( as opposed to followership) ?”

    Yes and no. There has been a mass exodus from the LDs, so perhaps NC thinks he’s leading the tribe to a promised land. Perhaps like Moses he will never reach it.

    Going dark now.

  4. Craig,

    They may be a minority in the party yes, but they are not a minority in the green chamber. The Beveridge Group memebrship has been shrinking in recent years, and the lefties in the Libs are aging…. There is a genuine gap int he yellow market for a Lloyd Goerge type equivocator.

  5. ‘Know’ ?? should be ‘now’. Doh

  6. Reminds me of Labour – most of their members are social democrats to socialists but their MPs are all New Labour types.

  7. I can believe the predicion that the SNP could have 49 seats, an increase of two. I would equally readily believe that they could lose two seats.

    The Lib Dems are said to lose 11 from the present 16 and the Cons 5 of their 17. The Libdems should lose some seats, and Cons are in long term decline of their loyal support but these losses, although in the right proportion are more than double what I would expect.

    Tuition fees for students in England isn’t going to carry much weight in a Scottish Parliament election except that voters for whom this issue is important may lean towards the SNP who are taking a different and very robust view on fees. The Conservatives have been down to the loyalist core for decades and can only lose votes very slowly now.

    Nor can I believe that the Greens will be so low as 2% on the list though they may not get over the threshold in every region, they should pick up some ex-Socialist votes and might be up rather than down, if not by much.

    On these percentages, given that many LibDem list votes are Highland “wasted votes” they may struggle to get a list seat anywhere else.

    That’s not credible.

    It follows that if MSP losses from the three smallest parties and the Margo are at lower levels, then maybe as many as a dozen or so of the 17 gains for Labour just arn’t there to be had.

  8. John B Tory vote can shrink rapidly.

    Core vote is a dangerous assumption. It may not collapse at this election, but remember thay have had over a decade of opposition to fester with. Now in government the collapse in services may cause a rapid withering from this point.

    Lib dems have no core. Their constituency holds are formed on a coalition of anti-Tory rural sentiment – I know because I have voted for them myself for the best part of twenty years to keep Tory out, then as a community habit – but not last year – and not now.

    Greens again have minimal core – left protest general unhappiness at New Lab – Iraq, Blair and the rest, but these reasons too have gone.

    This Scottish election is a straight two way batle – everyone else will get squeezed – and badly.

    Figures are extremely credible – I could see no Lib dems on mainland at all – list or constituency – as they reap the backlash of supping with the devil, and a vigorous populist SNP campaign driving themselves as the only option to an anaemic and soul-less Labour party could pick up huge swathes of the disaffected.

    In fact I think both Labour and SNP will gain over 50 seats here, possibly both over 55 as election becomes a polarised two party battle. The New Politics of the Scottish parliament of Coalitions, and Rainbow democracy is no more.

  9. @Iceman – “Greens again have minimal core – left protest general unhappiness at New Lab – Iraq, Blair and the rest, but these reasons too have gone. ”

    Disagree. Green have a very small but dedicated core, and I would suggest the green core is more commited than the core of most other parties. Yes, we got some additional protest votes at various times, as everyone does, but I would argue that as a proportion of our normal support the core is a much higher percentage than in other parties.

    What I’m trying to say is that we’re a small bunch of nutters that no one else will ever vote for.

  10. Craig,


  11. @Colin
    I take it from your various comments that you are a LD supporter who considers Clegg to be doing very well as leader of the LDs. If so, then according to Sunday’s YouGov, you’re in a minority of less than 1% of the sample.

  12. On the issue of polarisation and voting effects for the big two, the figures are like this:

    1999: big two 61% in the list vote, next two 28%, rest 11%
    2003: big two 50% in the list vote; next two 27%, rest 23%
    2007: big two 60% in the list vote; next two 25%, rest 15%

    Now I wasn’t there in 1999, but in my view in 2003 wasn’t polarised at all (because Labour had just stabilised under McConnel and the SNP wasn’t going anywhere) while 2007 was very much polarised (Alec Salmond for First Minister!).

    I take Staurt Dickson’s point that under an SNP government there will always be quite a bit polarisation, therefore I wouldn’t expect the big two’s voting share to go down much if at all. But increase to 81% – that is simply not plausible.

    Oh, and it is actually quite easy to estimate the core vote of the Scottish Green Party – around 80,000 votes. That’s what they got in 1999, 2007, Euro 2004 and Euro 2009. The two exceptions were 2003 (>130000 votes, both big centre-left parties weak) and Euro 1999 (57000 votes, Green didn’t bother much, they had put all their eggs into one basket in 1999)

  13. An interesting survey in The Times for ICAEW

    % private sector businesses reporting negative impact of public sector cuts on last 12m sales.

    Direct supply 42%
    Indirect supply 24%
    Don’t supply 3%

    % private sector businesses expecting negative impact of public sector cuts on next 12m sales

    Direct supply 68%
    Indirect supply 59%
    Don’t supply 17%

    Companies are responding to decreased turnover by :-

    Seeking new customers outside public sector -78%
    Reducing permanent staff-47%
    Renegotiating supply contracts-45%
    Reducing temporary staff-36%
    Diversify public sector offer-33%
    Reduce prices-31%

    Level of confidence in private sector lead UK recovery in 2011

    Large companies:-
    Fairly/Very Confident-54%
    Not/Not very Confident-23%

    Fairly/.Very Confident-50%
    Not/Not Very Confident -29%

    ( 1000 companies across England & Wales )

  14. Anthony,

    In your new year round up, you speculated as to whether a sizeable lead in the polls by red might be used as cover for them to reposition themselves a bit closer to blues dficit redcution strategy… a hedgign of bets I think you viewed it as…

    Without wanting to spark a debate… I think your analysis is proving very very astute [much to my own personal dismay but heck that’s irrelevant].

  15. @Alec

    Actually, I think Greens will become a repository for the ‘disenchanted left’ in future, once Labour alienate their votes again and if the Lib Dems struggle to reclaim the mantle – not that the party leadership want it these days.

  16. Phil

    No-I am a Conservative supporter.

    I was also a supporter of the Coalition-hence my defence of NC, who still appears to believe in it.

    LibDem 2010 supporters have clearly changed their minds big time. Lib Dem supporters here seem to mirror that.

    As for LibDem MPs-at the moment they seem to be supportive of their leadership. Even SH tries hard to be even handed & supportive.

    But the evident distaste of large parts of their membership, and the catastrophic loss of wider support must be one hell of a pressure for them.

    As I said-I give NC a lot of credit for sticking to his guns.

  17. Craig

    “Actually, I think Greens will become a repository for the ‘disenchanted left’ in future, once Labour alienate their votes again”

    Sounds as though you think EM/EB are going to disappoint the Labour left Craig.

    The general picture painted by the Press is of a leftward shift under these two.
    Do you think that is an incorrect characterisation?

  18. Christian

    Perfectly plausible that big two get over 80% on list – I am almost certain they will.

    For the whole of the Parliament we have had a labour government and broadly centrist – left parties – hence parliament was fairly docile – friendly – amenable to voices of the left.

    It is much darker now – we have one party “betraying” the anti-Tory consensus in Scotland – An SNP administration that has had the temerity to take Labour on in its heartland, a collapse in the far left, a relegation of Green issues from the agenda and the prospect of cuts that we have never experienced before. There is now real polarisation as opposed to a pseudo – polarisation of 2007 dimensions – where the assumption was that snp would do well but Lab Lib coalition would survive

  19. Colin,

    The general picture painted by the Press is of a leftward shift under these two.
    Do you think that is an incorrect characterisation?

    I’d put money on Ed M staying centre-left. He’s New Labour through and through, even though he tell you otherwise.

  20. Catching up with comments after a weekend at the LD conference in Sheffield.

    Whatever the polls say, the party activists seems united in support of the leadership. The activists accept that the decision to go into coalition with the Tories was the right one and that, after 65 years in the wilderness, its good to have Lib Dems in government implementing Lib Dem policies.

    Obviously the polls tell us thats lots of people who voted for us last year don’t see things that way, but, within the party, the leading figures on the left of the party (Shirley Williams, Simon Hughes, Paddy Ashdown etc) all support the Nick Clegg and the coalition.

  21. @ Colin

    The general picture painted by the Press is of a leftward shift under these two.
    Do you think that is an incorrect characterisation?

    The general picture painted by the Press is Labour are led by ‘Red Ed’ :lol:. Even as a staunch Tory I’d hope you’d realise E-Mil is no socialist of a kind that Labour used to be, let alone a Red of a revolutionary kind. I agree with Garry, beyond distancing himself from New Labour, talk of a more value-led foreign policy and being denounced by the Labour Right, there’s very little there to reassure the left. A token gesture for the socialists, like renationalising a public utility is still strictly off the table, and Ed Balls’ no cuts electioneering has been well and truly moderated. I don’t think you’ll have much to worry about with them as your opposition, Colin. You’ll hear all the leftist protest that characterised Blair’s opposition and then an acceptance of them once in government.

  22. Craig & Garry


    Blairite Ed it is then :-)

  23. Colin,

    I suspect in very loose terms, the two lads are correct.

  24. Iceman

    Of course it is possible for the Tory vote to shrink raidly, but not at every election. My point was that the big shrink has already happened. It’s in the past, and it’s over. It can’t happen again. The only thing “big” could be is up.

    I agree that the core LibDem vote is a quite small proportion of the whole, and that the Greens a the opposite, probably the most abe to articulate their party’s policy which they would do even if the Green Parties did not exist.

    The SNP core vote is also a small part of their vote as the number of SNP voters who are not in favour of independence shows.

    They only need to persuade recent LibDem voting anti-Cons that they can do the job better than Labour and the North is all theirs.


    Labour ALWAYS disappoints it’s left supporters, either by moving to the right, or by not winning elections. It’s part of the fun of being a leftish Labour supporter.

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