Tonight’s weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline voting intention figures of CON 38%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%. The three point Labour lead is the smallest recorded in a YouGov poll since January and confirms the narrowing of the Labour lead we saw in YouGov’s immediate post budget poll.

On top of the ICM/Guardian poll it certainly suggests the government are enjoying some minor boost in the polls from from the budget, but there’s no particular reason to think it will last.

I’m not aware of any other polls due to come out tonight (apart from the Sunday Times and the monthly ComRes poll for the Indy on Sunday, which we’ve already had this month, polls for Sunday newspapers have dried up a bit) but that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any! I’ll update tomorrow when the tables for the YouGov poll are published.


68 Responses to “YouGov show Labour lead of 3 points”

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  1. The last 3 polls have blues 37.33%. I think we can call that a poll boost. Nuff said.

  2. The Labour lead has clearly fallen over the last week.

    Wonder what influence (if any) Ed Miliband’s appearance at today’s march will have on the polls? Probably one that is neither significant nor long-lasting.

    It was good to see the TV pictures of him addressing the rally, though. He may not have the oratory skills of Neil Kinnock, but the image does at least help to give the party some of its soul back after the New Labour years: and he did have the political savvy to publicly distance himself from the rioters.

  3. Agree 100%, RH. Any attempt at a negative spin on Milliband’s appearance at the rally will quickly be forgotten.

    This ‘boost’ for the Tories won’t last. Something will come up soon enough that will the blue team off course.

  4. “put the blue team off course”.

  5. It’s only tempory and other news items will overshadow the budget. I expect that next week, we will see our normal variations of Labour leads up to seven or eight points.

  6. @Robin Hood,

    I wouldnt say pictures of him giving a speech at a trade union event on one letterbox on the news, whilst in the other you have protesters damaging property of charitable organisations is going to go down well with the general public. I was expecting Labour to have consitent 10 point leads by this point. They probably would have with David leading the way. Much more respected by people.

  7. Not sure all the narrowing is the budget, reckon Libya and Portugal likely bail out having an impact.

    reckon lead bigger end of next week perhaps 5/6 but not back to 7-9

  8. I was expecting Labour to have consitent 10 point leads by this point. They probably would have with David leading the way. Much more respected by people.
    ————————————————————————–
    Before the Labour Leadership contest, I didn’t hold such a high view of David Milliband. I thought he was the real Heir to Blair and I felt that he didn’t have much gravitas. However, after the leadership, I look upon him on a more favourable light. I am afraid to say thay I find Ed Milliband to be…Forgive me but..Scrappy. He dosent have the same gravitas as other Prime Ministers or other sucsessfull Leaders of the Opposition. Even Ted Heath had More Gravitas then Ed Milliband.

  9. I don’t think it’s the budget, I think it’s Libya.

    Anthony, you did a lovely piece of work for showing the budget effect on polling. If you can find the time, please would you give us an indication of what the polls did in the weeks/ months after the deployment of UK troops (I say months because there were fewer polls back then).

    My thoughts are: the Tories (Iranian Embassy, Falklands) & Labour (Kosovo, Afghanistan, even Iraq) enjoyed a polling boost/ honeymoon after Uk troops were sent into action. I’d appreciate it, if you had time to confirm this, Anthony.
    8-)

  10. Any economists care to comment on the budget measures for small companies?

    Gordon Brown reduced company taxation to 19% for SMEs in the 1990s, and allowed small companies to keep the first £10k of profits tax free. This helped the SME sector grow strongly, and over the next few years the majority of UK GDP moved from large companies to SMEs. He also introduced the R&D Tax Credit which stimulated investment in products and services. I am sure that this went a long way to pull us out of the 1990’s recession. It certainly helped me to build my own small engineering business which I started when I was made redundant in 1991.

    George Osborne’s budget seems to have done nothing for SMEs. Company taxation will fall to 20% for SMEs, but that is still more than we had under Labour – and the headline cut of 2% only applies to large companies.

    VAT at 20% is also a break on investment and production for the numerous self employed and small businesses who are below the registration threshold.

    Governments rise & fall on the economy – Labour pulled us out of recession by backing small business – The coalition seems to be putting their faith in large business – is that the right choice in the 21stC?

    We must have growth to reduce the deficit, Tax revenues fell by £39.5 Billion in 2009 (the price of recession), and that was and remains the key cause of the current account deficit. Is just backing big business the solution? Surely the private sector has moved on from those days? I really do think that support for small business, and supporting individual entrepreneurs, is the real divide between the main parties.

  11. what affect could this have on the upcoming elections though? The budget boost could burn out by next week, but then the election campaigns will be starting properly around then(the first Scottish debate is in just a few days I believe)

    Could the campaign and the elections, now less than six weeks away, lead to a more sustained boost?

  12. Amber ,I think that Governmnets are given poll boosts after sucsessful Milatary campaigns such as the Falklands. However if things go wrong. “snip” Government support would fall.
    Try and imagine the impact if Mrs Thatcher lost the Falklands. Cahos would reign in the polls because of the SDP. I don’t know who would be our Prime Minister then, but I still think Micheal Foot. :)

  13. @ Kyle

    No need to ask forgiveness; Ed M is scrappy. That’s one of the things we like about him. He’s not slick, he’s not the ‘heir to Blair’.

    Sometimes a Party needs to take a risk & to change the ‘game’.

    And – not @ Kyle, just in general, – all the what iffery about David Miliband is laughable on a polling site. If there had been polls that showed DM as being significantly more popular than Gordon Brown before the GE, we’d have had the leadership immediately after & he’d have won.

    It was because DM didn’t have a lock on public support that Labour went through a lengthy leadership process. We wanted something different – & that’s what we’ve got.
    8-)

  14. YouGov not showing significant softness in the Labour vote as yet (at or above 40% since December 9, with a high of 45%).

    Tories have not reached 40% (the low is 33%) since the end of January.

  15. This is interesting: there IS a bounce, although not a huge one, for the government.
    More interesting, though, is: will today’s march against cuts have real significant changes in the Voting Intention?
    at first, i thought, it will give some boost to the labour party.
    now after the pictures seen of the violence together with Miliband’s speech it might be different.

  16. @Robin Hood

    I think Miliband’s appearance at the post march rally in Hyde Park will play in two ways. One will be predictable and ultimately uninteresting in that it will be polarised along partisan and party political lines. Those antagonistic towards him, namely his political opponents and their supporters in the media, will say he’s made a big mistake and attached himself to an incoherent cause with violent adherents and fellow travellers on its fringes. His supporters, on the other hand, will be kinder to him and argue, rather like you have, that he was courageous and lent his political weight to a growing grass roots and non party-political campaign that has immense potential political implications and consequences. As I say, those will be the predictable reactions and no doubt Central Office and Labour HQ press releases are already spewing out these lines of attack and defence as we speak. Uninteresting stuff.

    What is interesting, though, is how it might play to the wider and less partisan audience, some of whom may well have been listening to him in Hyde Park this afternoon. It would appear that this extraordinarily diverse and multi-faceted collection of people, numbering over a quarter of a million by all accounts, was comprised of individuals and families from all walks of life, occupations, genders, races, social classes and political dispositions. Many probably voted for all parties or none at the last election but I wonder how many have become politicised and energised from their experiences this afternoon? And, if they have and they’ve become genuinely worried, maybe frightened even, at what they see is happening to our public services, then the presence of the Labour leader, making common cause with their fears and concerns can do neither him nor them any long term harm, I would have thought. Maybe some of his audience had never voted Labour before, or even vaguely contemplated it, but who now might think differently and more positively about Miliband and the party he leads.

    So, I posit this intriguing thought. Miliband is now the only major and serious political leader in this country who isn’t attached to the coalition and all its works. It may feel at times a lonely and vulnerable place to be as the combined forces of the Tories and Lib Dems, and their many supporters in the media, train their fire on him. Inevitably, he will stumble and take blows, but as he stands in front of vast audiences like those that faced him in Hyde Park this afternoon, isn’t it just possible that, through all that fog of guilt still swirling from the failings of the recently expired Labour Government, he might just discern, vaguely, the road he now needs to follow. There’s an alliance to build and a real alternative to formulate, articulate and lead.

    He was exactly where a Labour leader should have been this afternoon.

  17. @AmberStar – “DM didn’t have a lock on public support…”

    This poll from September put questions to people who had voted Labour at least once since 1992, as well as those who voted Labour in 2010:

    h
    ttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-miliband-twice-as-popular-as-ed-says-poll-2079484.html

    I for one have warmed to Ed in recent months though, and it looks possible that he has the temperament to cope with leadership pressures.

  18. @ Crossbat11

    “all… political dispositions”

    This is a polling site; if I recall correctly, the march (and its trades-union leaders) demanded an “end to cuts”, and “NO CUTS”, yet this is a view espoused by 8% of the country according to the YouGov (?) poll.

    So, in the biggest question of the day in politics, the protesters seem to be the minority. I don’t judge the majority of protesters by the minority who smashed up banks, but similarly, with the polling evidence, how can you say that this demonstration wasn’t a fringe, yet vocal, minority?

  19. @ Richard Manns

    The demonstrations was called the March for the Alternatives … it was deliberately not limited to a deficit denying agenda but was challenging the ‘There is no alternative’ mantra of the coalition government … which incidentally is also strongly denied by innumerable economists including three Nobel prizewinners.

    I feel sure that you would wish to be corrected.

  20. @ Crossbat11

    I thought your analysis was very clear and makes a lot of sense. I hope that it will have the impact, both on the LP and on the demonstrators, which you suggest.

  21. Interesting piece in the Telegraph regarding the possibility of a challenge to Clegg and concerns in Downing Street on the impact of a no vote in the AV referendum. It sounds like Clegg is desperate and Cameron finds himself in a cleft stick – win a No vote in the referendum and see Clegg thrown out and a renegotiation or collapse of the coalition, or see a yes result and suffer the consequences at the nest election.

    @Eric Goodyear – small companies CT rate was 21% when Labour left office, liable on all profits with no tax free £10K. Osborne dropped this to 20% from April in the last budget, but didn’t include small companies in the extra cut announced last week. There has been quite a significant uplift in the starting threshold for NI which will help all employers to the tune of around £250 per employee pa, although a fair chunk of this is the normal inflation related rise in the threshold.

    Against this, he is restricting general investment allowances to really quite low levels and focusing further support on big companies and multinationals.

    My view is that given the relatively limited revenue arising from corporation tax when compared to payroll taxes and VAT, less effort should be spent on encouraging multinationals to set up in the UK with instead the focus being placed on reducing the cost of employment. While your facts were inaccurate, in general terms I would agree that Osborne’s agenda seems more in tune with large international companies rather than the majority SMEs and his efforts don’t seem to have much focus on employment, which I thought would have been much more relevant in the current climate.

  22. @Richard Manns

    “the march (and its trades-union leaders) demanded an “end to cuts”, and “NO CUTS”, yet this is a view espoused by 8% of the country according to the YouGov (?) poll.”

    By your ‘logic’, ~10% of all people in the country with a “no cuts” view were present at the demo, which is plainly nonsense.

  23. Re Telegraph article – A new name, logo, and leader for the LDs before the next election (later this year)?

    Appropriating the symbol for justice (scales) would be apt, as a majority of members want to tip them left atm.

  24. @ Billy Bob

    I acknowledge that DM had more support than EM. DM was much better known than Ed. But he didn’t poll well against other knowns e.g. Gordon Brown, Alan Johnston & Alistair Darling were all as popular as DM.

    Ed M definitely seems to be growing on people.

    I thought he was rather impressive today. And when was the last time a politician in this country addressed an audience of about 300,000 people at a political rally? It was quite a sight to see, don’t you think?
    8-)

  25. I am so pleased that the aggressively capitalist organisation Fortnum & Mason with its overtly right wing hampers & jellies was trashed today. There will be no jam tomorrow at Fortnums.

  26. Alec

    … quite a significant uplift in the starting threshold for NI which will help all employers to the tune of around £250 per employee pa

    Not with all employees it won’t. The employers’ NI rate is going up from 12.8% to 13.8%. Because as you say the allowance has gone up considerably (from £110 pw to £136 pw – 23.6%) this still means there will be some savings on lower paid employees, but the vast majority of businesses will pay more.

    This seems astonishingly little known and I suspect a lot of SME employers are going to have a bit of a shock in the next couple of weeks.

    I agree with you and Eric Goodyer about the general tone of Osborne’s policies though. It’s always amazed me that Labour have never made more of this – I suppose traditionally they saw small business owners as irredeemably Poujadiste and New Labour saw them as not rich enough. But putting themselves forward as the champions of small businesses might not only win votes among their owners and employees, it would also help to paint Osborne and the Tories as only interested in their mega-rich friends in the City.

    As you point out, ii might also be the best thing for the economy, but no one seems very interested in that.

  27. David would have been a disaster as leader of the Labour party. Imagine the headlines about the secret positioning of American missiles on British soil for a start. The only reason he’s escaped a lot of flack about things that have emerged regarding his former role is because he is in the shadows.

    I agree with Amberstar that Libya, rather than the budget, is the main driver of Conservative rise in the polls and hence may last longer than expected.

  28. Roger Mexico

    “I suppose traditionally they saw small business owners as irredeemably Poujadiste and New Labour saw them as not rich enough. But putting themselves forward as the champions of small businesses might not only win votes among their owners and employees, it would also help to paint Osborne and the Tories as only interested in their mega-rich friends in the City.”

    An interesting comment – especially when seen through Scottish eyes.

    While the modern SNP is far removed from its Poujadiste origins, the importance of SMEs has been understood by the SNP through policies such as the small business rate relief subsidised by the large business supplement.

    The proposed so-called “Tesco tax” was another policy strongly supported by SMEs (though voted down by the Unionists).

    We’ll see in a few weeks if supporting “small businesses might … win votes among their owners and employees”!

  29. @Amber (12.30 am)

    “Ed M definitely seems to be growing on people.

    I thought he was rather impressive today.”

    I was a member of the Labour Party many years ago subsequently voting Lib Dem after the formation of the party and a few years ago joining the LDs.

    I would refer to myself as an SDP type member (ie. left of centre) and therefore have issues with some of the government’s (and therefore LD leadership) positions (eg. Tuition fees, NHS). While I will continue to support LDs locally, unless there are changes, the next General Election will be a dilema.

    I would therefore suggest that I am the type of person you are wanting to vote Labour. From what I have seen of EM including news reports of his speech today, there is no way he would attract me to vote Labour and the polls would suggest that I am in the majority – the party is significantly more popular than EM.

  30. I’m watching Libyans firing into the air.

    Don’t those bullets fall back to earth with the same velocity that they left the gun (or is my memory of school Physics totally faulty)?

  31. >I am so pleased that the aggressively capitalist organisation Fortnum & Mason with its overtly right wing hampers & jellies was trashed today. There will be no jam tomorrow at Fortnums.?

    The occupation by UK Uncut never was motivated by some conception that their line of business was evil, but followed from the fact that they are owned by the tax-dodging Wittington Investments.

    Please avoid constructing such straw men in the future. Innocuous concerns can always be run by malevolent owners, whether it’s WorldFoods or Wessex Water.

  32. My apologies, I meant True World Foods.

  33. @ Robin Hood

    “It was good to see the TV pictures of him addressing the rally, though. He may not have the oratory skills of Neil Kinnock, but the image does at least help to give the party some of its soul back after the New Labour years: and he did have the political savvy to publicly distance himself from the rioters.”

    Is that really what you’re looking for though? A throwback to Neil Kinnock? Per some of our earlier conversations, Micahel Dukakis got a bad rap but I’m not sure that I want a candidate to remind me of Dukakis or emulate him.

    @ Old Nat

    “I’m watching Libyans firing into the air.

    Don’t those bullets fall back to earth with the same velocity that they left the gun (or is my memory of school Physics totally faulty)?”

    Yeah, it’s a really bad idea. There was a time in LA when every New Year’s celebration was marred by people firing guns off into the air to celebrate (with the bullets accidentally killing others). So I slept through or completely zoned out in all of my science courses including physics but your memory of physics isn’t wrong. I can remember because the LAPD used to have to issue warnings “don’t fire guns in the air” every New Year. Also, in the case of Libyans, they’re wasting perfectly good ammunition.

  34. @ Amber

    ” Ed M is scrappy.”

    Yes, he is. But he’s also tall which I think makes him appear less scrappy than he actually is.

    Frankly, I fail to see the appeal of either brother. They’re both obviously brilliant, accomplished, and highly competent. But neither one seems to have that sense of relatability that political leaders typically need to successfully appeal to the electorate.

  35. @ Roger Mexico

    “But putting themselves forward as the champions of small businesses might not only win votes among their owners and employees.”

    U.S. Dems have always been a party that has embraced and supported small businesses. Maybe this is why European leftwingers think U.S. leftwingers are right wing and make arguments about there being no left in the U.S. (the longstanding promotion of individual private property ownership and longstanding promotion of small business interests). And it’s not just an empty party political line, it’s manifested in laws, programs, and economic policies specifically designed to promote and protect small businesses that are enacted by Dems in power.

    @ Old Nat

    “While the modern SNP is far removed from its Poujadiste origins, the importance of SMEs has been understood by the SNP through policies such as the small business rate relief subsidised by the large business supplement.

    The proposed so-called “Tesco tax” was another policy strongly supported by SMEs (though voted down by the Unionists).

    We’ll see in a few weeks if supporting “small businesses might … win votes among their owners and employees”!”

    I’ve heard that word “Poujadist” before but I can’t put my finger on what it means.

    People tend to vote their pocketbook and they tend to vote for those who speak to their interests. So if the SNP has created policies that favor small business growth and startups, I think that would benefit them. Is the SNP considered to be a center-left party ideologically?

  36. Splendid article in the Telegraph showing how bad the situation really is, and how much deeper cuts in Public Expenditure will be needed in future. See at

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/8408664/Britains-leaders-should-come-clean-on-the-true-depth-of-the-fiscal-crisis.html

    Yesterdays marchers and the Labour leadership are living in “cloud cuckooland”.

    The violence was totally predictable and let us hope that we will have no more such demonstrations which seem totally irresponsible to the law abiding majority!

  37. This is the most senior Lib Dem so far to quit the party over the Coalition. He is unlikely to be the last.

    ‘MSP quits Lib Dems in protest’

    “The Liberal Democrats were last night rocked by the resignation of a prominent Scottish politician, who has quit in protest against the party’s decision to go into government with the Conservatives.

    Hugh O’Donnell, who was a list MSP for Central Scotland, is understood to have been unhappy for some time about the direction the party is taking. After drawing a £57,000 taxpayer-funded salary for the past four years as a list MSP, O’Donnell decided it was time to resign as an election candidate at a time when the Liberals face a mauling at the Scottish election.

    … Senior figures in the party are understood to be furious that O’Donnell did not speak to Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott before deciding to quit.

    He is understood to have announced his resignation in a letter that was e-mailed to the Liberal Democrat headquarters.

    … O’Donnell has been active in Lib Dem politics for many years. He was an aide to the former MSP [and MP] Donald Gorrie.

    … He was a member of both the Scottish and federal policy committees…”

    http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/politics/MSP-quits-Lib-Dems-in.6741152.jp

  38. Twitter gossip says that Hugh O’Donnell MSP is not just retiring, but is actually going to stand as an Independent in Central Scotland! This just goes from bad to worse for Clifton Terrace.

    If this is true it looks like a certain Lib Dem loss of one list MSP in Central Scotland. Before the campaign is even under full steam.

    In one TNS-BMRB poll a few months ago they could not find a single respondent planning to vote Lib Dem in the Central Scotland electoral region.

  39. I think the falling Labour lead, though possibly a blip, is caused primarily by Labour’s failure, so far, to produce any idea at all about actually where they would cut.

    As a Labour sympathiser, it is possible for me to say that it is well known that cuts were to be made..

    It is impossible to continue spending (pre bank crisis) 6% above the rate of GDP growth

  40. With the falling Labour lead in the GB-wide Westminster VI polls, are we about to get the first poll showing an SNP lead in a Holyrood VI poll since that famous Ipsos MORI in February (which dramatically changed the ‘Most Seats’ betting market)? Could Miliband’s weak performance feed through to the Scottish electorate? It has taken longer than many thought.

    http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2721/Scottish-Public-Opinion-Monitor-February-2011.aspx

  41. I have noticed a change in the “mood music” from both the BBC and Sky News over the last month or so.

    When the “cuts” were first announced their reporting of them was often one sided with reports of the effects on individuals life and (pathetic) questions by the likes of Kate Burley about how people FELT abou them. There was very little balance.

    Recently I think I may have detected a change. Any report on the cuts is accompanied by a balancing question asking for alternatives and a reminder viewers that, regardless of who was in power, some cuts would be necessary.

    Could this partly explain the reduction in Labs lead?

    Could the change in reporting also be credited to the influence of Craig Oliver (BBC background) , Andy Coulsons replacement as Director of Communications at No 10?

  42. @SocalLiberal

    Pierre Poujade leant his name to a populist, right wing campaign of the fourth French republic. A somewhat more exteme version of the Tea Party.

  43. The poll gap has narrowed because nobody is convinced about Labours position on cuts needed to reduce the deficit.

    It would be in the interests of Tories/Lib Dems to turn the spotlight on Labour more than they have done so far. I think they have started this strategy in recent weeks, with questions being asked that if Labour are against the pace of cuts, what are they suggesting that is a working alternative. Ed Balls suggests that more growth can be achieved, by keeping more people in employment, but where does the money come from. If this is from additional borrowing, how much more interest on bonds are they willing to pay.

    If the coaltion are more effective in challenging opposition to cuts, they should find it easier to make the case for what they are trying to do, even if it is doomed to fail. I say doomed to fail, because I believe the coalition are in danger of engineering long term stagnation, while other countries are investing.

  44. @ R Huckle

    more growth can be achieved, by keeping more people in employment, but where does the money come from. If this is from additional borrowing, how much more interest on bonds are they willing to pay.
    ___________________________________

    Catch 22 I believe.

    The more you borrow to pay people in the public service the more you have to tax to pay the interest on the loan. Use income tax and people are no better off. Use purchase tax and you stifle growth, tax companies and they either fold or lay employees off if they are SME’s or go overseas if they are large international companies.

    This is a reality the Lab have yet to come to grips with IMO.

  45. @Haruko

    “The occupation by UK Uncut never was motivated by some conception that their line of business was evil, but followed from the fact that they are owned by the tax-dodging Wittington Investments.”

    Did this also motivate the smashing of windows, destruction of confectionery displays and daubing of such well known anti-tax avoidance slogans as “Tory Scum” on the wall?

    Notable also that you couldn’t even correctly identify the holding company.

  46. SoCalLiberal

    Poujadism

    “A French movement (UDCA) created by Pierre Poujade after 1953, mobilizing the lower middle classes, shopkeepers and artisans, and the peasantry in the south, in opposition to big business and the unions, the state and the administration, but mainly to taxes. Right-wing and populist, but also republican, the Poujadists exploited widespread discontent with the Fourth Republic, winning over two- and-a-half million votes in the 1956 election and returning fifty-three deputies. Within two years, lacking leadership and a programme, the movement collapsed.” (Oxford Dictionary of Politics)

  47. Two important elections today in the heart of Euroland. First in Germany, two State Elections, Rhenania-Palatinate and Baden-Wurttemberg. In the first case, Social Democrats are poised to lose their OM, but they will very probably form a government with the rising Greens (the sum of the two parties exceeds 50%, so OM in all cases). The focus is on Baden-Wurttemberg, where, according to all recent polls, the center-right will lose its majority for the first time ever, and Red+Green will have OM. If this happens, it will be a major political blow for Frau Merkel, much greater than the loss of NRW last year and Hamburg last month, because these two were never center-right strongholds. BW is the third more populated German State, and it sends 6 representatives in the Bundesrat (Upper Chamber). Actually the composition of the Bundesrat is 31 seats for the Government, 24 for the Opposition and 14 neutral (states governed by Grand Coalition). If BW goes Red-Green (or Green-Red, which will be in itself epoch-making), it will be 30 Opposition, 25 Government and 14 neutral. And since neutrals usually abstain from critical votes, Opposition will prevail. In short: Frau Merkel is in a very bad position.
    Equally catastrophic for the right are the cantonal elections in France. The first round last Sunday gave the following results: Parliamentary left 49% (Socialist 25, Left Front 9, Green 8, Left Liberals 2 and Various Left 5), Parliamentary right 32 (UMP[Sarkozy] 17, Minor pro-S parties 6, Various right 9), National Front 15, Center (MD) 1, Extra-parl. Far Left 1, Various 2.
    As a result, the FN participates in many 2nd round duels, either against the left or against the right. The left parties’ position was clear: 1) Wherever a leftist candidate is present, all voters of other leftist parties vote for him/her. 2) In duels between right and far right, we vote for the former to prevent election of the latter. UMP’s position instead showed the state of decomposition of the main center-left party: PM Fillon indicated a pro-left vote, President Sarkozy a ni-ni vote (neither-nor, i.e. none of them), whilst many local barons tacitly favor the FN to beat the Left. So, apart from being an electoral disaster, it is already a political and strategic one for UMP and Sarkozy, and the second round will probably confirm just this.
    So we wait until tonight.

  48. John F,

    You have hit the nail on the head.
    The equation is the extra interest on higher debt versus the cost of lower growth over a period of time. (Factor in possible higher IR from more spedning, effect on ROE etc hence inflation and loads of other variables)

    With the pre-requisitive of course that the debt is not so large as to affect the countries credit worthiness. (IMO an overblown claim but I don’t blame the deep cutters for using it)

    It is a clear division and both positions have intellectual credibility; and a choice that nearly all posters on here have a view on that it not going to be changed by any amount of argument and stats from the other standpoint.

  49. @Oldnat,

    “..Within two years, lacking leadership and a programme, the movement collapsed.”

    For a second there I had a double take, checking that this was part of the quote and not a comment about Labour!

  50. @JimJam,

    I have asked here before for someone to explain to me how government spending can “more than repay” itself in increased revenue (and if that is the case, why we don’t borrow signicantly more and use it to make the country rich). It was a genuine question, as my support of the deficit reduction strategy is based entirely on my scepticism that it can, and I am always open to persuasion. There were some partial (in both senses of the word) answers but nothing particularly convincing.

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