The Guardian’s monthly ICM poll is out (I’m not sure why it’s turned up at lunchtime – or perhaps I just missed it last night!). Topline figures are CON 37%(nc), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 17%(+1), Others 10%. The Conservatives retain a one point lead. ICM do tend to show some of the most positive figures for the Conservatives (for reasons I’ll address below), but last month their 1 point Conservative lead did look like something of an outlier. It seems, however, that the difference is more systemic.

Now, looking at people’s reaction to this I’ve already seem plenty of comments remarking upon the big contrast between different companies figures – it probably deserves some explanation. Let’s start by comparing the sort of figures the different companies have produced over the last three months.

In their daily polls YouGov have been showing Labour leads of around 8 points, with the Conservatives firmly on around 36%, Labour on 42-44%, the Lib Dems on 9-10%.

Populus, who in most senses have methodology very close to that of ICM, have been showing the Conservatives between 34-39% (they dropped 5 points in their last poll, so it’s a big range), Labour firmly around 39-40%, the Lib Dems around 9-11%.

Ipsos MORI again have shown some variation in Conservative support, ranging from 32%-37% in their recent polls, have Labour more steady between 39%-42% and have the Lib Dems on 9-11%.

ComRes run parallel polls – telephone ones for the Indy and online ones for the Independent on Sunday. In their phone polls the Conservatives have been between 34-37%, Labour between 37-40%, the Lib Dems 11-13%. In their online polls the Conservatives have been between 36-38%, Labour have been between 37-40%, the Lib Dems at 10-11%.

The difference between an 8 point Labour lead and a 1 point Tory lead is large, but as Bob Worcester is want to say, look at the shares, not the lead which exaggerates variation. As you can see, with some variation and a couple of outliers like that 32% from MORI, the pollsters are largely showing the same pattern with the Conservatives, everyone has them at either around or slightly below the 37% they got at the election.

The big difference is the Lib Dems, where most companies have them around 10% or 11%, YouGov marginally lower, normally on 9% and ICM quite drastically higher, on 17%. For Labour, most companies have them between 37%-40%, the exceptions being YouGov who have them in the low 40s, and ICM who have them at 36%.

Now, one major reason behind the difference is topline adjustment – what happens to people who say “don’t know” when asked how they’ll vote. Pollsters treat these people in different ways. At one end of the scale, YouGov just ignore them; YouGov figures are based solely upon people who say how they would vote in a general election. Then we get pollsters who ask a squeeze question to people who don’t answer (are you leaning towards any of them, who would you vote for if it was a legal requirement). At the other end of the scale ICM (and, to a lesser extent, Populus) essentially make educated guesses about how these people would vote, and include them in the figures. Evidence from past elections shows that when push comes to shove “don’t knows” are likely to end up voting for the party they voted for at the previous election, hence ICM reallocate 50% of people who say don’t know to the party they voted for in 2010.

Almost by definition, this tends to be helpful to parties that have lost support since the last election, and harmful to those who have gained it. In this month’s poll it had a particularly sharp effect – before adjustment ICM’s topline figures were CON 37%, LAB 39%, LDEM 15%. The effect of reallocating don’t knows was to increase Lib Dem support from 15% to 17%, and decrease Labour support from 39% to 36%, producing a Tory lead.

Of course, that doesn’t explain all the difference. ICM would still be showing the Lib Dems on 15%, significantly higher than anyone else, and there would still be variation between the companies on other factors. There are various other explanatory factors at play – for example, I’ve seen it hypothesized that ICM’s question wording, which says “an election in your area” increases Lib Dem support. I am very sceptical of this explanation, but it is potentially a factor and is worthy of investigation. Another factor is likelihood to vote – most companies weight or filter by how likely people say they are to vote, YouGov only do this during election campaigns, when it reduces their level of Labour support.

Beyond that, there are probably factors connected with weighting – both the targets that people weight towards (primarily what assumptions they make about past vote and false recall) and also when the data is collected (YouGov and ComRes’s online polls can use stored data on panellists, polls conducted by telephone collect the data at the time the survey is conducted).

I draw no conclusions about what is right or wrong. When I first started this blog I always sought to explain the reasons behind the differences and let people make their own decisions, rather than say which polls I thought were right or wrong. In many cases, it is a philosophical difference, a case of polls measuring slightly different things – a YouGov poll is showing how people say they would vote tomorrow, an ICM poll is showing how ICM think those people would vote tomorrow. In other cases, some weighting targets probably are better than others! My sad conclusion after writing about polling for 6 years, however, is that most people tend to believe the poll they like the results from is the one to trust, and subconsciously interpret arguments about methodology to back up that preconception (not, I should add, very different from how we come to our opinions about anything else in life!)


122 Responses to “Guardian/ICM – CON 37, LAB 36, LDEM 17”

1 2 3
  1. First…. or not?

  2. Without boundary changes, a 1% lead for the Conservatives could still = a Labour government* especially given e.g. the Derby poll showing a swing to Labour in the mid-lands, where the election will, IMO, be won or lost.

    *I have lit the blue touch-paper & will now retire to a safe distance. ;-)

  3. This isn’t impossible if we include some sort of nebulous “real election effect” instead of pretending that current polling really takes account of the difference between mid-term and election campaign on how voters think.

    However, it still represents a swing big enough to reverse half of the gain made by the Conservatives in last year’s election. They would lose 30-40 seats to labour and would gain only a few from the LD’s. That’s too big a hit from their current position to stay in power.

    Then again, Labour could still be 8 points ahead next time and this dead wrong.

  4. Your analysis as ever is immaculate AW – I loved your observation on the way that our opinions decide how we choose to interpret polls.

    I think polldrums is right – very little change in last few months. What the exact picture is, is, of course, as you explain, open to interpretation about the methodology used.

    I still believe it’s early days in this parliament – Tory vi has been solid – I think the investment of voting in a new government by changing ones vote is one that is not made lightly and takes time and significant events to effect change.

    The only truly politically significant action which will be long term and telling to date since the GE has been the formation of the coalition itself. I think interpreting how few or how many of the lost Lib-dems there are, and their certainty or otherwise to vote is what is causing the inconsistencies between polling organisations – I note that organisation’s polls follow similar patterns to others taken by that organisation, , it’s just that their headline figures vary widely. I suspect that it is this new dynamic of disillusioned Lib-dems that is making the calculation of headline VI very difficult. It causes issues with weighting and likelihood to vote figures which cause these difficulties.

    I would like to say Yougov’s 9 point lead is the truth and this eeksy-peeksy ICM poll is an outlier but I have neither evidence nor the expertise to do so – merely the desire!

  5. More precisely, the shares of the ICM poll at various stages are:

    Unweighted data (of interest if only for comparison to the weighted share below):
    C 33.6%, L42.9%, LD 12.8%, Other 10.7%

    After weighting by 2010 recalled vote and demographics only:
    C 35.8%, L 39.7%, LD 14.3%, Other 10.2%

    plus also after adjustments for declared likelihood to vote and also ICM’s assumption that 50% of 2010 non-voters won’t vote
    C 36.9%, L 39.0%, LD 14.5%, Other 9.6%

    plus also after reallocation of 50% of DKs and refusals back to their 2010 party plus final rounding
    C 37%, L 36%, LD 17%, Other 10%

    Two points of note:
    1. The net impact of all the various ICM adjustments to the weighted share is
    C +1.2%, L-3.7%. LD +2.7%, Other-0.2%
    2. The effect of ICM’s weighting is to reduce the raw Labour share (etc) whereas the effect of the YouGov weighting methodology is to marginally increase it.

  6. @Amberstar

    The swingometer comes up with Labour the largest party but 12 seats short on these figures, so still in need of Lib Dem support

  7. ROBERT C and Amber Star

    Yes, and it gives me no pleasure at all to point out that Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is doing far worse than
    Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party in 1985 and 1990.

    Blair’s lead over the Conservatives halved from 1995 polls to the real Poll in 1997

    Ed Miliban has no real agenda or critique or theme as Chris Mullin wrote about recently. (Though people forget that he was a Benn organiser)

    @Anthony, from a previous thread. Thank you for the warnings about partisanship. Somehow the feeling that the Blues can get away with things just rankles, but we (i) must control visceral feelings

  8. AmberStar

    “Without boundary changes, a 1% lead for the Conservatives could still = a Labour government* especially given e.g. the Derby poll showing a swing to Labour in the mid-lands, where the election will, IMO, be won or lost.”

    I know, it’s quite frightening. A kind of “Vote how you like, get Miliband” scenario!

  9. Let’s just say that IF there were a significant Labour resurgence at the next election then it is very difficult to see it happening without (a) a significant reengagement with voting of Labour “identifiers” who through disillusionment with Blair/Brown failed to vote in 2010 and (b) more than 21% of those voters who are currently undecided or refuse to state an intention deciding to vote Labour.

    And IF SO, then by definition the ICM methodology will understate the extent of that revival.

  10. It’s probably an outliner, but nonetheless shows that so far Labour are failing to build up the substantial mid-term poll lead necessary to see them through to a general election victory in 2015 (and let’s not kid ourselves that question wording can really determine how people will view their voting preference when it comes to the real crunch on the big day).

    Regarding the comment made by “chrislane1945”:

    Ed Miliband’s Labour Party is not doing “far worse” than Neil Kinnock’s Labour Party in 1985. Labour did not actually surface to an opinion poll lead until the spring of that year (after the end of the miner’s strike) and even then it was only narrow. Our lead remained slim (and was briefly lost to the SDP/Liberal Alliance in the late summer and to the Tories in the autumn).

    True, in 1990 Labour registered double digit leads throughout most of the year – even touching 20%+ in a number of polls in the spring – but crucially these were not translated into real votes in that year’s May local elections. This was possibly the first indication of the “spiral of silence” that contributed to the polls over-estimating Labour’s performance in the subsequent (1992) general election.

  11. @Anthony Wells

    I applaud you for censoring the partisan claptrap about News International and other matters that has blighted this website.

    I hope that this will encourage former users to return to contributing to the site and restore it to its former self.

  12. @Robin Hood
    “True, in 1990 Labour registered double digit leads throughout most of the year – even touching 20%+ in a number of polls in the spring….”

    That’s only relevant if you consider that the Conservative leader at the next election will be different and far more popular than the one they have now. Instead I suspect that the leader will be the same and that his (marginally) negative popularity will have become significantly more negative.

    IMO by far the biggest factor in the post 1990 Conservative revival was the absence of the by then widely unpopular Thatcher, and the credit Major gained from floating voters for his participation in the regicide.

  13. @ Phil

    “That’s only relevant if you consider that the Conservative leader at the next election will be different and far more popular than the one they have now.”

    Which is by no means inconceivable.

    Agree in general with your comment about Major. If the grandees think DC is leading them to a defeat he will be replaced – the Tories have much better form on this than Labour (which cost Labour the 2010 GE).

  14. Phil – I think you’ve missed RobinHood’s point, that those 20 point leads were to some degree illusionary, and do with the ropey polling methodology at the time.

    Given that come the 1992 election the polls severely overestimated Labour support, it seems reasonable to suppose that they were doing the same in 1990 and that Labour were never really 20 points ahead in the first place.

  15. One thing those old polls might show though is that idea that polls feed on polls, i.e. a party being ahead in the polls influences other people to follow the polling herd, seems unlikely.

    If polling influenced votes like that, wouldn’t Labour have one in 1992?

  16. one being won, naturally

  17. @AW

    “Phil – I think you’ve missed RobinHood’s point, that those 20 point leads were to some degree illusionary, and do with the ropey polling methodology at the time.

    Given that come the 1992 election the polls severely overestimated Labour support, it seems reasonable to suppose that they were doing the same in 1990 and that Labour were never really 20 points ahead in the first place.”

    Yes, I was addressing more the implication of Chrislane1945’s original point from a different slant than RH.

  18. @Sergio
    “If the grandees think DC is leading them to a defeat he will be replaced – the Tories have much better form on this than Labour (which cost Labour the 2010 GE).”

    I can’t argue that Labour are anything but pussycats compared to the Cons when it comes to coups against the leader. But what really worries me (speaking from the opposite side of the political spectrum to yourself) is that neither the Cons nor Lab can hold a candle to the Lib Dems in such terms. If anything is going to start eroding Labour support it’s the removal of Clegg.

  19. Nick

    The problem with that thesis is that very few people care about polls enough to inform themselves about them let alone be influenced by them, so you’re right it’s unlikely.

  20. Phil

    That may be so re. Clegg but a far bigger chunk would be taken out of Labour’s numbers if the LIb Dems left the coalition – which would ironically be the Tories’ best chance of victory.

  21. AW

    A very helpful analysis – I feel much more comfortable with the YouGov methodology but that doesn’t mean very much!

  22. Please help an elderly stupid home counties Tory. If the next GE is 3.5 years away, does it matter if currently, Labour would theoretically get a 98 seat majority, a 25 seat majority or a no overall majority according to opinion polls? I think that it is all rather meaningless. Things are certainly going to get worse before they get better. Some will wish to believe the pedlar’s of “there is an easy comfortable way”, some will not. But is a long time until the polling stations open for a decision.

  23. AW

    Further, this analysis should be distributed to all political correspondents and all editors across the media so that they are encouraged to comment sensibly on poll outcomes in the future. Maybe you have anyway!

  24. @all

    Apologies to all those who have heard this before, but my mantra is “snog YouGov, marry ICM/Populus, avoid ComRes/Angus Reid”

    – i.e. use YouGov to measure the trend (is support for party X rising or falling), use ICM/Populus to measure the level (what is the support for party X), and use ComRes/Angus Reid if I run out of toilet paper… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  25. @SERGIO
    I imply no criticism of your views, since you are one of the “few”. However, I think the Tories best chance of victory is to hold firm, be seen in 2015 as a government which returned the nation to financial safety. There will be nothing flashy or exciting about our position, just better placed than most. If good conclusions in Libya, our own broken society and nurturing those who try over and above those who don’t give a siht, then it will happen.

  26. AW’s point about what question polls answer is a very good one. It would be interesting to see polls designed to tease out which party the respondents truly prefer, as opposed to which they would vote for/say they’d vote for (cf, say, people who would vote CPGB-ML given a completely free hand, but instead intend to vote Labour). This might be more instructive than actual VI, which will pick up tactical noise, including ‘compromising’ towards ths big two-and-a-half parties.

  27. @Sergio:

    “Agree in general with your comment about Major. If the grandees think DC is leading them to a defeat he will be replaced – the Tories have much better form on this than Labour (which cost Labour the 2010 GE).”

    Don’t agree with that. When the Conservatives were facing a landslide defeat pre-1997, John Major stayed in power. Tony Blair was clearly a liability by 2006 and he exited power two years earlier than he liked.

    This, of course, assumes replacing a leader whose party is doing badly in the polls automatically improves your chances. A more likely explanation for why Major and Brown survived as long as they did is that most MPs in their parties decided (correctly, IMHO) that replacing the leader would make matters even worse.

  28. In my opinion, the lack of significant degredation of the Tory VI is down to the current political/economic situation (as strange as that sounds to some).

    The Tories promised cuts and they are slowing beginning to deliver them. The people voting Tory in 2010 accepted that cuts are necessary, so they are seeing what they voted for.

    IMO the 2015 will be decided on the Tories handling of the economy from now until 2013. After that, the knives will be out on all sides of the HoC for their perspective leaders if their popularity is not enough.

    If Cameron & Osborne can deliver cuts without excessively hurting the people, and then reduce the cuts little by little after 2013, they will win. If there’s major economic disaster, they will lose.

    I think the Lib Dems will lose regardless of the result. they will either be part of the problem, or will be unable to proce themselves part of the solution.

  29. Oh wow. Hope is a beautiful thing indeed.

    …but yeah, putting partisanship aside, it’s interesting that we now seem to be getting true divergence in the polls again. We could be heading for an interesting conference season!

  30. Oh, and on this opinion poll, I’d want to wait and see what the next ICM poll says before committing to anything. However, should this trend stick, we could be facing a situation where most pollsters are overestimating the Lib Dem to Labour swing. Should the fall in Lib Dem votes be significantly less than people think, this alters the balance of power significantly.

    In particular, we may see the case where the Lib Dems have the choice of a stable coalition with either Conservative or Labour. And in this situation, the Tories may come to regret the way they treated their coalition partner.

  31. I would say that ICM gives the Lib Dems false hope!

    What people voted for last time is really less relevant in the case of the Lib Dems as joining the Tories in coalition (and then voting for university fees when they had pledged not to) changed everything.

    Everybody’s perception of what the Lib Dems stand for has been altered.

  32. Hhhmmm

    I also thought last months ICM was a outlier.

    But this is evidence that- for ICM and for its methodology- the Tories are currently ahead.

    One month is a sustained lead by any definition.

    @chrislane1945

    “Blair’s lead over the Conservatives halved from 1995 polls to the real Poll in 1997”

    Apples and pears- a long standing argument of some posters here (and- thankfully- departed) nevertheless.

    IMHO Blair and Kinnock were both in a three party scenario/ battle. Much easier to build up and lose large leads when you have a significant proportion of the electorate flitting between the two main parties and the third party.

    ICM notwithstanding ;-) we are/ have been/ will be in a two party system (at the least a 2.5 party system) at the the next election. Leads (difference between Labour and Tory- either way) will be much smaller and more steadier over the medium term.

    Though its common knowledge to regular posters here that I don’t think Labour will win with EdM as leader. So I can see the lead evaporating for that reason alone- but IMO it will be swift and only over the final 2-3 months not remorselessly over the final 2 years.

    Unfortunately too late to ditch EdM- unless the party take effective note of those personal ratings in early 2014 (if the parliament lasts that long): or- my dream scenario- EdM doe what no politician ever seems to do and resigns himself for ‘the good of the labour party and the people of Britain’.

    @Simon M

    “we now seem to be getting true divergence in the polls again. We could be heading for an interesting conference season!”

    Yep: Nick and the orange bookers- at this rate- will be referring to “the only reputable polling organisation ICM” and “those bunch of incompetents YouGov”. I can almost hear him already in his conference interview with Paxman :D

  33. After all the discussion about how consistent the polls have been your analysis appears rather self-serving. Why do you pay such attention to YouGov? Is its methodology that much more reliable or is it simply that it publishes on a daily basis?

    Historically, following previous plunges in Liberal support such as following the Thorpe case in the 70s and the merger with the SDP in 1988 the party recovered and even exceeded expectations at the next election (as in 1992).

    The Scottish elections showed that disillusioned Liberal Democrat voters did not transfer to Labour which was the main reason they lost. The reduction by 50 seats will affect Labour proportionately more than the other parties and increase the mountain Labour will have to climb to get back into power

  34. Allan D

    “Historically…”

    After their last coalition dalliance with the Tories the Liberal vote collapsed and they were not a fixture of national politics for another 50 years- only making it back into government 90 years later.

    How’s that for a little bit of history:D

  35. How can anyone assess the robustness of the different pollsters methodologies?

    And in particular whether previous voting intention can be used to convert a ‘don’t know’ to a ‘recordable’ voting intention

    Maybe we could look at actual national voting share in comparison polling VI.

    So can I ask does anyone know how ICM at one end of the spectrum in terms of methodology, and how YouGuv at the other end of the spectrum, compare with %voting share across Great Britain (I’m not sure if YouGuv & ICM take into account N.I., but if they do then replace G.B. with U.K.) at the local elections in May?

    From my limited recall I thought the ‘big story’ was the collapse in Lb Dem vote share.

    If my recall is correct does that make YouGuv’s methodology more valid in current circumstances than ICMs?

    It’s a question, not a position!

  36. nb: YouGuv = my working class roots :)

  37. Good evening from wet Bournemouth.
    ROB SHEFFIELD.

    The Liberals allied with the Unionists 1918-1922 and were then destroyed by the Bonar Law break with LG.

    1931 National Government to 1939 under Macdonald, then Baldwin, then Chamberlain until the 1940 Great coalition.

    The 1945 election saw the Liberals almost disappear.

    The 1951 Liberal vote collapsed to the Churchill-led Conservatives (aged 77), and the rejection of the Attlee Government

    ROBIN HOOD.
    Thanks for your response. Nevertheless, Ed Miliband shoud be further ahead at this stage across all polls and in actual local by elections, if he hopes to avoid the normal swing back to the Government in election year, which
    CHOU predicts

  38. chrislane1945

    “…the normal swing back to the Government in election year…”

    I tend to assume this is the way of things. However this did not happen in the last GE.

    Labour were doing better in many of the weeks/months before the GE than they actually achieved in the GE.

  39. @Rob Sheffield:

    Heh, that wasn’t exactly what I meant though I don’t doubt that will happen. What I was thinking of was the conference season is often a turbulent time in the polls anyway, so with some widly diverging figures already emerging beforehand, we’ll probably see some pretty wacky figures when the conferences kick off.

    @Chrislane1945:

    Sorry to be pedantic, but it’s not strictly true to say that the Liberals allied with the Unionists in 1918 – that was only really true for half the party – indeed, Asquith’s liberals were the official opposition in that period (rather bizarrely, because iirc labour actuall had more seats). Similarly under the National Government, the Liberals, as opposed to the ‘National Liberals’, had ceased supporting the government by 1933, and only temporarily returned as part of the wartime coalition. In both cases, it was as much the divisions in the party and soft-fusion with the Tories that wrecked the party’s poll ratings, as opposed to voter disgust at the idea of coalition.

  40. Ronnie – several people have asked the same thing about the locals. Alas, you can’t really compare – people vote differently in local elections from in general elections, even when they are held on the say day! Most notably more people vote Lib Dem and fewer Labour in elections to local councils.

    For our purposes, polls also give different answers if you ask how people would vote in a local election.

    The only poll this year that actually asked local election voting intention was YouGov, which had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15%.

    The BBC’s Projected National Share for the locals was CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 15%, while Rallings and Thrasher’s National Equivalent Vote (different name, broadly similar concept) was CON 38%, LAB 37%, LDEM 16% – so by either measure the YouGov poll was pretty close.

  41. @Ronnie

    A loss of a third 24% > 16% – the lowest in over 30 years, no less. I think even 17% is a substantial fall.

    Anyway the comparison wouldn’t work anyway, because Westminster voting intentions are different from local elections (just compare Yougov’s local election poll at the time with that weeks’ VIs).

  42. Should’ve refreshed!

  43. Thanks AW.

    As always a well considered answer and a very helpful answer.

    I did anticipate Local Elections would show a different mix between the non-Tory vote compared with GE VI, but was hoping some pattern would become evident.

    However, the local election polls you have mentioned have been enlightening.

    I’m going to infer from these (and I suspect you – and many others – will be horrified by me taking such a ‘leap’) that YouGov have the most pertinent methodology for the current political climate.

    Therefore I suspect I will probably be taking more notice of YG and other pollsters with similar methodology (at least until there is some seismic change in the political environment; e.g. seperation in coalition, new Labour leader, etc…..).

  44. John B Dick,

    “The better the SNP do, the harder it is for Labour to form a majority. A Labour majority with SNP support would be possible in theory but SLAB would be in an impossible position and the price in concessions to the SNP would be unacceptable.
    A confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservatives would be possible, but ironically, the better the SNP do, the lower the Lab:Con surplus, and the less the SNP are needed to allow the Conservatives to govern England in a way totally at odds with what the SNP will be doing in Scotland.
    Again the price would be painful to the English nationalsts in the Conservative party, those who complained about a Scottish PM in particular.
    So if you think this coalition government is a tricky thing to handle, just wait til the next time.”

    I cannot see Labour ever agreeing to a coalition with the SNP, and I cannot see confidence / supply to the Tories. If the next UK parliament is hung (and personally I seriously doubt that it will be) then chaos will ensue.

  45. Most notably more people vote Lib Dem and fewer Labour in elections to local councils.
    —————————————–
    Not so much in Scotland anymore.. ;-)

  46. Responding to John B Dick on the previous thread I suppose the FPTP tipping point for the SNP could be around 36/37% if there are higher swings in the central belt from lab.
    Could happen but I’m not convinced it will on a higher turnout.

    As for Labour UK wide they will probably need 60 gains from the tories on the new boundaries to get a majority from the tories which is still a tall order even if 30-40 gains is realitively easy as they will have to completely sweep the Midlands.

  47. Allan D

    “The Scottish elections showed that disillusioned Liberal Democrat voters did not transfer to Labour which was the main reason they lost.”

    No they didn’t not transfer to Labour.

    Labour gained about a quarter of the LibDem votes mostly in the North where the LibDems had most to lose, with no benefit in seats gained for Labour partly because the SNP gained more lost LibDem votes than Labour did, but mostly because mostly Labour started as a poor third or even fourth.

    Labour foolishly comfort themselves with the fact that their vote did not much change overall and posters here have said that “all that happened” was that the LibDem vote went to the SNP.

    Not so.

    Labour also lost a broadly equivalent numer of votes where they had most seats and the huge majorities. Because of the scale of the Labour majorities, the SNP made few inroads in seats but at least 14 of the only 15 SP Labour held constituencies are now marginal.

    Scotland is now less regional for all three parties.

    I have suggested before that the Labour vote is like a iceberg in the last stage of melting, now weakened internally, but still seeming large and solid. The next stage is catastrophic collapse.

    English strategists for the parties of government should consider the potential for a change in the Con:Lab balance from Scotland. The Cons have only one to lose. Labour may lose many. SNP MP’s do not vote on English matters, though if there are Barnet conssequetials they could consider that was enough.

    Radical change is within the range of what is possible. The next government will be a coalition which may have to take account of the votes of a substantial number of SNP MP’s acting in concert with PC.

    The implications of that need thinking about now.

    I showed on the previous thread

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/3903/comment-page-3#comment-730550

    what happened when I put some “What If …?” figures in Scotland votes.

    Labour cannot rely on Scotlnd to build a majority.

  48. Stuart Dickson

    “I cannot see Labour ever agreeing to a coalition with the SNP, and I cannot see confidence / supply to the Tories. If the next UK parliament is hung (and personally I seriously doubt that it will be) then chaos will ensue.”

    It could only be done under great duress and total disregard for how SLAB would cope.

    Oh well! When I started to type that sentence I agreed with you. I don’t now.

    If you postulate Labour as the largest party, then the better the SNP do, the more hung it is.

    The Lab:Con excess from Scotland is a number that matters.

    Either of the options is chaos too in the internal strategy discussion of the both the lead government parties.

    “If the next UK parliament is hung ….then chaos will ensue.”

    Some people do equate independence to chaos. I didn’t think you were one of them. Independence will ensue. Scottish Unionists should all vote Labour.

    When will the SNP decide that any vote on English matters which has Barnett consequentials affects Scotland and that they have a position on increasing public expenditure in England as much as possible, especially if they can lower corporation tax or give a NI rebate?

    A Labour government governing England with the help of SNP/PC votes?

    SLAB in therapy?

  49. John B Dick

    Since before both the latest UK and Scottish GEs, I have maintained a constant stance that voting in these two types of elections largely depends on whether voters are looking at politics through a UK or Scottish prism.

    That still remains my position. If SLAB (and the UK media) can concentrate attention on the traditional concept of the UK Parliament as being the one that sets the direction for Scotland, then presumably most Scots (in the Central Belt, at least) will continue to vote SLAB, as the party most likely to prevent a Tory Government at Westminster.

    However, given that the UK currently has a Coalition Government, it is possible that Scots, both north and south of the Highland Line, might see greater advantage to Scotland from having a cohort of Scots MPs who can influence the application of reserved powers to Scotland’s advantage, rather than concerning themselves with English governance.

    That becomes a distinct possibility, given that we are due to have a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional position before(?) the next UK GE.

  50. YouGov 23/8/11

    C:37%
    L:44%
    LD:9%
    Oth:10%
    Approval: -27% (0%

1 2 3