Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%. It’s the first time a poll has shown Labour back in the lead since the Conservatives moved ahead in the polls after the veto. Usual caveats apply – it could be that the brief Conservative boost in the polls has now started to recede… or it could be an outlier. Certainly today’s ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph (see post below) showing a six point Tory lead doesn’t suggest that the veto bounce is subsiding. We’ll have a better idea next week when we see both the YouGov daily polls for the Sun, plus the monthly Populus poll for the Times (and possibly the ICM/Guardian poll, assuming they aren’t going to do it over Christmas weekend!).

While I am here, I expect less frequent visitors will be asking why there is such a difference between ICM and YouGov’s figures, or more specifically, why there is such a difference between their Labour figures, as their figures for Conservatives support are almost identical. While some of this is probably normal random variation, and either an outlier against Labour from ICM or an outlier in favour of Labour from YouGov (or both!), part of this is also due to methodological differences. The most important of these are that ICM weights people by their likelihood to vote while YouGov does not, and YouGov ignores people who say they don’t know how they will vote while ICM reallocates a proportion of them based on how their voted at the 2010 election. There may also be less quantifiable differences in their weighting and sampling, but the upshot is that ICM tend to show some of the worst scores for Labour of all the polling companies, while YouGov tend to show some of their better scores (and the opposite with the Lib Dems – ICM invariably give the Lib Dems their best scores, YouGov tend to give them their worst).

I’ll do a full report on rest of the questions in the YouGov/Sunday Times poll tomorrow.


127 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 39, LAB 42, LD 9”

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  1. @ Oldnat

    Oh dear – what like most of the other posts on UKPR?
    As for my post – half it did actually deal with evidential polling positions – the other half was obviously parstian, but that doesn’t render it wrong, unless you can make any points against it.

    So far, it seems you haven’t really dealt with any of my points. Furthermore, on other points made I don’t think YouGov doing a daily-tracker makes their ability to pick up shifts in polling, better – as we’ve seen more flucations with YouGov polling than other pollster, from what I’ve noticed. Daily trackers may pick up the odd move, but the more monthly pollsters like Populus and ICM are better IMO, because they can pick up shifts in movements which are long term as the dust settles on short term effects throughout the month.

    And there is reason to think the Tories could pick up a 6 lead – Labour’s response to recent events lacked clarity, and was incomprehensible. The Tories, at least for the moment have tapped in to Britain’s eurospectism amongst the public, which has reasonance with some Labour supporters as it does Conservatives.

    Wherther the veto last’s is questionable, but many underestimated it’s long term effects, as the Eurozone continues to dominate the debate on the economy.

    also, to
    @ Amberstar

    1997 being a long time ago, doesn’t mean much itself in terms of accuracy in polling methlodgy – unless, you can expand on that point on why longevity itself would affect accuracy.

    The only way I can see that point being of relevance is due to shifts in the political landscape, which ICM have been more accurate at reflecting than Yougov. My point about 1997, is that clearly was an election which reflected a big change in the landscape – and ICM were the most accurate at that, illustrating their method can be reflective of marginal and large changes in the landscape.

    As for YouGov being good; I personally don’t rate YouGov much – they wound up fourth last year in accuracy, for 2010 GE. They got LDs support the most wrong of all the other pollsters, and I am unconvinced that the minor changes to methology they made last year will be enough to accurately access LD support, especially as it is most tied in with the ratio of Labour support.

  2. @Amberstar and Neil A if either of you bothered to actually check ICMs and Yougovs track record on both last years general election and the AV referendum you’d noticed that Boo Hoo is 100% correct.

    ICM got all three main parties score bang on in the general election whereas Yougov overstated the lib dem score by 6% and ICM also got the no and yes score in the AV referendum bang on whilst Yougov were way out by 8%.

    But mine and Anthony point remains that we should wait and see what the rest of the week brings before we draw any conclusions. I can’t prove you’re wrong but you can’t prove your right either until we see what happens over the course of the week.

  3. Neil A

    equally, I don’t understand how the ratings agencies that classified parcels of sub-prime mortgages as AAA, can decide that a particular country is now a dodgy risk and create a financial crisis.

    Perhaps I am the only person in the universe to think that the transfer of personnel between regulators, financial institutions and rating agencies is somehow more like a paedophile ring put in charge of children’s homes, than a well managed service for consumers.

  4. Boo Boo

    I wouldn’t have been quite as dismissive, if I’d realised you were a new poster here, so welcome (and good that you respond robustly)!

    Alas, I’ve re-read your post and can’t see an evidential base for it, rather your criticism of such as exists. Statements such as a particular pollster which was most accurate 14 years ago, and therefore, should be now, don’t impress, I’m afraid.

  5. Boo Boo

    Incidentally, I don’t rate YouGov’s Scottish polling much either! – and that’s nothing to do with how they rate LAB/SNP at any one time.

    Ipsos-MORI were by far the most accurate for the Scottish GE in 2011. That may have been chance? In which case any pollster’s success at calling any election could be chance – unless they do it election after election.

  6. Oldnat

    ” Perhaps I am the only person in the universe to think that the transfer of personnel between regulators, financial institutions and rating agencies is somehow more like a paedophile ring put in charge of children’s homes, than a well managed service for consumers.”

    LoL, I going to nick this, its very funny

  7. @Kyle Downing

    You said..“…Hi everyone, I promised Chrislane1945 that I would do a counterfactual on Tony Blair staying on as PM untill 2010. Here is a little taster to whet your appetite and may I thank John B Dick for his helpfull imput about the SNP. I am not sure what the polls would be like for a Prime Minister about to end his third term so I kind of “Borrowed” a poll from the Major era. One last thing. Enjoy…1st January 2010….Prime Minister Tony Blair sat in his office at Chequers wearing a very pensive expresion. The new year was to be an election year and Labour was in for a kicking. Tony Blair was in the unprecedented position of being the first Prime Minister in living memory to run for a consecutive fourth term. But victory would be a mountain climb away…If the polls were to be believed, on 18% of voters would be voting Labour, four points behind the Liberal Democrats and a whopping 33 points behind the Tories…Things were looking desperate…Despite being the longest serving Prime Minister in living memory, Blairs girp on power seemed to be slacking due to the fallout of the MPs Expenses scandal, The Invasion of Iran and the Second wave of London Bombings ,Labour’s spectacular defeat in the Glenrothes By-Election which saw the SNP romp home with an 11,000 seat Majority and the sacking of Gordon Brown during the Northern Rock crisis during in the Autum of 2007…But like the EU President, Peter Mandelson, he was a fighter and not a quitter…”

    One thing I do have to point out straight off: Mandleson is in the wrong party to be European Council President. A plurality of the European Council heads of government were in political parties affiliated to the European People’s Party, which is why they picked Von Rompuy. The UK Labour Party is affiliated to the Party of European Socialists and they got second prize, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (“EU Foreign Minister” in Daily Mailspeak), which is why Ashton got it. So you could plausibly put “…But like the EU Foreign Minister, Peter Mandleson…”

    Mandleson is known to have coveted the HR post but wasn’t put forward. Incidentally, David Miliband was offered it but turned it down, because he wanted the Labour leadership.

    Brown wouldn’t have been *sacked* during Northern Rock: by far the wrong time. However, there were plans to move him to Foreign Secretary if the 2005 election had had a bigger Labour majority, and he would have presumably resigned from that to head up the IMF when the post became vacant in 2007.

    If you genuinely want to do an alternate history, you may want to pop across to http://www.alternatehistory.com where they have boards set up to help you do that/nitpick you to death (delete as appropriate).

    Regards, Martyn

  8. We have a 9 point range between ICM and YouGov so it’s reasonable to infer that the true position is somewhere in the middle ie. a 1 or 2 point Tory lead – exactly what polls have been telling us since 12 December and indeed the current UKPR average.

    It has been an interesting diversion from polldrums, if nothing else. If it was to stay like this until the May elections then the Lab knives would surely be out for Miliband – but there is a long hard recessionary winter to get through first.

  9. @Boo Boo

    I bow to nobody in my admiration for ICM/Populus, as my oft-quoted quip “snog YouGov, marry ICM/Populus, avoid ComRes” confirms.

    Neverthless, Leetay is right: you can’t tell if a poll is an outlier until you have more to compare it with. Waiting until the end of next week should do.

    Regards, Martyn

  10. @Oldnat

    I think you misunderstood my point (and for the record, ICM was most accurate for 2010 as well). My point for 1997, was that ICM can reflect both marginal and big changes in the political landscape – as their methlodgy is criticised by some on here largely for apparently not being able to reflect big changes – 1997 is an example that it can.

    As for YouGov – well, at least we can somewhat agree on something.

  11. @AMBERSTAR

    “That’s why I like YG… & also because today they show Labour in the lead*, which makes me happy!”

    * some of the time. :)

  12. Boo Boo

    Anthony made the point earlier that ICM’s methodology of allocating DK’s partially to their previous voting position worked pretty well in 1997.

    The question is – “Does that work equally well, when their is a reconfiguration in party loyalties – as opposed to straight transfer between parties in a stable political climate”?

    Again, I would recommend people to have a look at “valence politics” as opposed to assumptions about tribalism.

    I think the jury has to be out on that one.

  13. @OLDNAT

    Boo Boo wasn’t suggesting that because ICM were accureate 14 years ago they must be accurate now.

    He clearly stated ,rightly, that they were also the moast accurate in last years general election and the AV referendum earlier this years.

    Here’s the figures to show this point….

    GE 2010

    ICM-Con 36%(0%) Lab 28%(-1%) Lib 24% (+1)
    YG-Con 35%(-1%) Lab 28% (-1%) Lib 28% (+5%)
    Actual -Con 36% Lab 29% Lib 23%

    AV Referendum

    ICM- NO 68%(0%) YES 32% (0%)
    YG- NO 60%(-8%) YES 40% (+8%)
    Actual-NO 68% YES 32%

    Figures in brackets are how wrong they were.

  14. Statgeek

    Be kind to Amber! She has just got Johann Lamont as her new political leader – in charge of the whole Scottish Party (apparently). She needs to be allowed to seek what cheer she can. :-)

  15. Leetay

    Thanks for that data. AV polling isn’t really relevant to consistent election after election good predictions.

    Other than the LD vote (Cleggasm) the ICM and YG numbers are much the same – so you would need to show the poll dates as well.

    In the Scottish GE, Ipsos-MORI were most accurate because they polled at the end of a significant swing in opinion, rather than earlier in that process.

    The point has been made previously on here that YG may not actually have GB opinion” right”, but their daily polling is the best indicator of the direction of change, and allows outliers (why are they often described as outliners?) to be more easily detected than in monthly/quarterly polls.

  16. @Oldnat

    Your question somewhat misses the point IMHO; because a reconfriguation of loyalities/ transfer of parties is roughly the same thing: support transferring from one party to another. Since both have to big on quite large scales to be of a transformatory change in the political landscape as they were between 1992 – 1997as they are now, I believe this puts into doubt and in your ”stable political climate” assertion – as big changes themselves are an indicative to unstable times in the political landscape. History tells us that ICM has been able to perform in those climates, too.

    And for the record, to UKPRers, I’m a she, not a he!

  17. The Tory lead in the polls may or may not last – for the moment.
    I think it’s something of an achievement to be doing this well – we weren’t in December 1980 (after the May 1979 election).

    But this episode shows that, even when things are difficult, once the Tories set out clearly their case, and explain to people why the current measures are important, they can pull ahead.

  18. @Oldnat

    I’d disagree daily polling makes Yougov a better indicator of change. Monthly’s are better, in that they reflect long term changes to polling after the dust from short term change settles – as we have seen quite notable flucations in YouGov’s polling results, especially in recent months. I’d also state Telephone polls tend to be more accurate in the long term than online ones, which is the preferred method of Yougov.

    Anyway, off to bed, Night night.

  19. Leetay – you’re mixing up
    figures in polls which are GB only
    with those in General Election results – which
    can be quoted as GB or UK.

    The comparable GB figures for the GE
    are 37.0 – 29.7 23.6

  20. @ Boo Boo

    Unless I’m mistaken, ICM were most accurate at the 2010 GE because they polled closest to the actual election date & time (excepting MORI, who did the exit polls).

    You can rebutt, if you don’t share my recollection of that being how they happened to be closest.

    And, at that time, YG didn’t have prior GE actual votes for all its panel; it was relying on recall. Therefore, YG was more prone to false recall before the 2010 GE than it is now, given it has the actual vote declared by its panel members at the time of the 2010 GE.

    Also, Labour being ahead – today (which I emphasised) – makes me happy. I wonder why somebody being happy rattles your Boo-Boo Bear cage so much? ;-)

  21. I think the LDs have definitely got a deep rooted problem.
    Of course, nobody knows how low their vote will fall.

    But I think people see them as a bit of a joke and
    don’t have so much of that default sympathy for them
    which used to play in their favour.

    One notices it on the doorstep.

    Those who are supporting the Government are generally voting Conservative
    and those who are opposed are lining up with Labour.

  22. Boo Boo

    Goodnight (I hope you’ll be back).

    GB politics have been pretty stable for a long time, in that elections are decided by a relatively small movement between Tory and Labour (often through the medium of DKs and “Others”). If you can demonstrate that the significant shift to LDs because of the Iraq war was picked up by pollsters reallocating DK’s to previous voting, then I’ll concede you have a point.

    I live in a political system that is radically altering party voting patterns, so i suspect that your ideas of “stable2 and mine might be somewhat divergent.

    As so often, differences turn out to be semantic!

  23. @Amberstar, he like me proberly feels that you’re getting way ahead of yourself to the point it’s like you’re gloating off the back of one poll.

    By all means be happy but sometimes it’s best to keep it to yourself so it doesn’t look like you’re gloating and jumping to what might turn out to be the wrong conclusions.

    The time for gloating comes when you get an overall confirmed trend which will only come as the week progresses.

  24. MARTYN.
    Excellent on counter factual!

    BOO BOO.
    Welcome. I am also fairly new here in comparison to Old Nat/Scot Nat.

    A warning: Labour voters here tend to think Mr Blair was not a good leader, despite his 100% victory record and they also seem to think that ED M is doing well.

  25. @ LeeTay

    I’m not gloating; it’s intended to be light-hearted & facetious. I’m aware it’s an outlier/ MOE/ beginning of a trend – or not – until such time as an actual trend establishes itself.

    Anthony, who runs this really great site, doesn’t put up with people being seriously partisan. If he thought my ‘dead cat bounce’ was anything other than good humoured banter he’d either moderate it or tell me to take it down a notch.

    And if he thought that I really didn’t know about outliers, moe etc. he’d make a wee post @Amber with links to his articles on these subjects.

    So, thanks for trying to explain stuff for me; & that’s why I am explaining stuff back to you. :-)

  26. @ Old Nat

    You post @Boo Hoo was very funny…

    ..good thing it wasn’t @ Boo Boo, because it’s nice to have more women posting & we don’t want to scare them off (I know, you retracted; I should probably do the same because Scottish humour can be a little off the wall to folks who aren’t used to it.)

    And thanks for your kindness re Ken not winning. :-)

  27. @ Amber Star

    “And thanks for your kindness re Ken not winning. :)”

    You didn’t want Ken Mackintosh?

    @ Old Nat

    “Be kind to Amber! She has just got Johann Lamont as her new political leader – in charge of the whole Scottish Party (apparently). She needs to be allowed to seek what cheer she can. :)”

    It could be a LOT worse. She could be led by Terry McAuliffe (who I like personally btw) or Michael Steele.

  28. Amber

    The Hoo was actually a typo – but I decided to leave it in place.

    Re “Scottish” humour

    I once had a fascinating discussion with an American psychologist who had made a study of Jewish jokes, and was interested in the humour of other minorities within a wider culture (I ended up translating some of the “Scotland the What” sketches for him).

    His thesis was that much of the humour was simultaneously designed to be positively self-defining, and to be self-deprecating to outsiders so that the minority would be acceptable to the wider culture as non-threatening to them (and thus enable the minority to penetrate the system).

    No idea if it is accurate or not! but it was an interesting idea.

  29. Well all I can say between this and the ICM poll is that one of them is probably right.

    I’m not sure if this is strategically possible but maybe Labour (if it wants to get rid of Ed) should wait until Cameron calls the next general election and then dump Miliband and replace him with a new leader. It would allow Labour to get a new leader before the media has a chance to hate him or her. And it would scuttle the Tory campaign plans to target Ed Miliband.

  30. @ Old Nat

    “I once had a fascinating discussion with an American psychologist who had made a study of Jewish jokes, and was interested in the humour of other minorities within a wider culture (I ended up translating some of the “Scotland the What” sketches for him).

    His thesis was that much of the humour was simultaneously designed to be positively self-defining, and to be self-deprecating to outsiders so that the minority would be acceptable to the wider culture as non-threatening to them (and thus enable the minority to penetrate the system).

    No idea if it is accurate or not! but it was an interesting idea.”

    You know I’ve never heard that before (and I am often surrounded by that kind of humor) but it like makes total perfect sense now that I hear it.

    And I’m not surprised that you once had a fascinating conversation with someone random. :)

  31. @ Old Nat

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/18874/saturday-night-live-bond-lamont-bond

    I’m not sure if this will play for you but if it does, is this the proper way to pronounce Lamont?

    Or try this instead:

    h ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v_NJplsSX8

    Or is this the wrong way?

  32. @ SoCaL

    You didn’t want Ken Mackintosh?
    —————————
    I did. And he didn’t win. Old Nat knows I’m a bit :-( about that, so he’s being very nice to me today.

    Tomorrow, it could be all back to usual – gently bickering, like we do – but today he’s got my back.
    8-)

  33. @ Joe James B

    “But I think people see them as a bit of a joke and
    don’t have so much of that default sympathy for them
    which used to play in their favour.”

    In early 2010, wasn’t David Cameron once asked what his idea of a good joke was? And didn’t he respond by saying “Nick Clegg.”?

  34. @ Amber Star

    “I did. And he didn’t win. Old Nat knows I’m a bit about that, so he’s being very nice to me today.

    Tomorrow, it could be all back to usual – gently bickering, like we do – but today he’s got my back.”

    Awwww, I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t realize. Well I can definitely sympathize with you. Remembering the primary votes I cast for Howard Dean, Steve Westly, Hillary Clinton, I know what it’s like to be on the losing side in an intraparty competition. It sucks. Sucks bigtime.

    You know, one year in 2006, I voted in a primary where I think nearly every single candidate I voted for lost! Well not every candidate (a few were running unopposed or virtually unopposed). But you will recover.

    I’m surprised JM didn’t have more sway over Scottish Labour activists.

  35. @ Old Nat

    It is an interesting idea. To me, the humour is like a ‘code’ or tribal language; you know, like the Mayan (I think was) tribe who bandaged their children’s heads so they would always know who had been birth members of the tribe & who had joined later.

    Anyway, Scottish humour does seem to require no explanation to fellow Scots but leaves everybody else puzzled or a bit irritated. Actually some Scots dislike it in writing (like on this site) but they’re fine with it when they can see facial expressions &/or hear the tone.

    Another thing which I do, that you may have noticed when I’m writing @ you, is I sometimes slip into using Scottish words I’d use, if I was speaking to you. I only realise I’ve done it when you copy a bit into your response & I read it over! :-)

  36. SoCalLiberal

    Saturday Night Live is only available in the USA.

    However, the YouTube link worked. Ned La-Mont uses the Milliband pronunciation. I’m sure that it has no implication at all in the USA, but verbal cues can sometimes be very meaningful between the different varieties of English.

    Although you probably wouldn’t be able hear the difference, in Scots English there is usually a very slight stress on the first syllable in many words.

    If you think back to the origin of the name, “lawMAN” would sound wrong : “lawman” with equal stressing on both syllables would probably sound better. If you put just a little stress on the “law”, it might be better still.

    I’m not even going to try to deal with the different vowel sounds involved! I may have mentioned before, that Scots use 22 different vowels (most of which are not identified [ie heard] by many others, because that’s not how language works!) – just as Scots don’t “hear” some of the sounds in other languages or varieties of English.

    Most Americans use a much more limited range of vowels than we do (though they use other speech variables that we don’t). Actors are trained to use a wider range of voice than most people, and I conducted an interesting experiment with a group of my son’s American friends – some actors, some not.

    I read a Scots nursery rhyme to them, which has 11 vowel sounds in it. The non actors heard 3. The actors heard 6 or 7.

    Language and its variants is fascinating!

  37. @ Amber Star

    You know what else was interesting about that election? It was the first and only (until this year) time I voted at the polling precinct rather than simply cast a postal vote.

    It was also funny to me because we had a Liutenant Gubernatorial race where there was this great candidate running. She was a great Liberal, an effective elected official, and had this remarkable personal story (she was a former Jonestown survivor) and she was running against a favored candidate. Well, I managed to get everyone in my family to vote for her even though they were all fgoing to vote for her opponent. Early on election night, it looked like she could win the upset as she was winning every county in the Bay Area. Then she lost my county by a 2-1 margin (notwithstanding all the votes from my family) and with it, a narrow race. :(

    But she’s in Congress now and doing a great job there so it all worked out. Her former opponent is in Congress now too.

  38. Amber

    While I’m still not wholly convinced by his thesis, one thing that has maybe converted me to your concept is listening to BBC comedy programmes.

    Of course, many of them contain “universal” humour. Others have a “British” humour. On Radio 4, however, there seems to be an increasing amount of “English” humour, that I really don’t get. That’s not a complaint, incidentally. I get much more than 8.4% of benefit from Radio 4!

    It’s simply a comment that shouldn’t surprise any of us. That if there is increasing divergence of communities, then that will show through in comedy as in everything else. Obviously, a lot of comedy will always have international appeal but, just as “Saturday Night Live” never had the cutting edge that those from the UK anticipated, other BBC shows have become more “English”, just as Scots have become less “British”.

    There’s a PhD thesis in there somewhere! :-)

  39. @ Amber Star

    “Anyway, Scottish humour does seem to require no explanation to fellow Scots but leaves everybody else puzzled or a bit irritated. Actually some Scots dislike it in writing (like on this site) but they’re fine with it when they can see facial expressions &/or hear the tone.”

    My sense of humor usually fails both in voice and in writing.

    @ Old Nat

    “Saturday Night Live is only available in the USA.

    However, the YouTube link worked. Ned La-Mont uses the Milliband pronunciation. I’m sure that it has no implication at all in the USA, but verbal cues can sometimes be very meaningful between the different varieties of English.”

    I’m sure it doesn’t either. It’s not only the typical pronounciation but if it wasn’t or there was some implication, you can be sure that the GOP would have brought it up and used it against him. There’s nothing too small or completely inconsequential they won’t go after!

    You know what I don’t get, how can one be both a Muslim and an atheist and be seeking to enforce both on American society? Despite the varying meanings, I’m not sure how one can be both a Liberal and a Socialist at the same time but that’s an intellectual discussion that probably doesn’t register with most people. But Muslim and atheist together? How does that work?

  40. SoCalLiberal

    I was brought up as a Presbyterian. My best mate was brought up as a Catholic. Neither of us has any religious belief or adherence now, but we both recognise the cultural differences in our backgrounds (which have no real significance) which make me a “Presbyterian” atheist, and him a “Catholic” atheist.

    Although, for political reasons they would never admit it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that Scotland’s two pre-eminent Muslim politicians (Lab & SNP) were actually “Muslim” atheists in a similar way.

    Since American politics appears to be dominated by an obsession with sex and religion, you can’t expect us irreligious Europeans to have a clue as to your politics!

  41. @ Old Nat

    “Although you probably wouldn’t be able hear the difference, in Scots English there is usually a very slight stress on the first syllable in many words.

    If you think back to the origin of the name, “lawMAN” would sound wrong : “lawman” with equal stressing on both syllables would probably sound better. If you put just a little stress on the “law”, it might be better still.

    I’m not even going to try to deal with the different vowel sounds involved! I may have mentioned before, that Scots use 22 different vowels (most of which are not identified [ie heard] by many others, because that’s not how language works!) – just as Scots don’t “hear” some of the sounds in other languages or varieties of English.

    Most Americans use a much more limited range of vowels than we do (though they use other speech variables that we don’t). Actors are trained to use a wider range of voice than most people, and I conducted an interesting experiment with a group of my son’s American friends – some actors, some not.

    I read a Scots nursery rhyme to them, which has 11 vowel sounds in it. The non actors heard 3. The actors heard 6 or 7.

    Language and its variants is fascinating!”

    I probably didn’t hear the difference though Scottish accents seem to vary a lot. There are some Scots who seem to have something just shy of an English accent (Edinburgh Scots). Then there are Scots who speak in an accent that is nearly unintelligible to Americans (Glasgow Scots). Then there are Scots who speak in really strong distinct Scottish accents but are 100% understandable to Americans (like the way Jim Murphy and Alex Salmond talk).

    Language differences are fascinating. Sometimes I can hear a difference but I can’t explain in words what that difference is. I think we probably do use fewer vowels. We tend to talk far more slowly too. The experiment you conducted sounds fairly interesting. Actors are probably going to hear and sense more linguistic differences than non-actors.

  42. SoCalLiberal

    Yes, there is a variety of Scottish accents. In the same way that there is a variety of English accents or American accents. Most of that relates to which vowel sounds are used, or which consonants aren’t.

    Underlying that, there are different sets of grammatical rules and vocabulary – but its far too late to get into that!

    The great benefit of English as an international language is that those who have learned the “educated”(for lack of a better term) version of their English can speak to and (at least partially) understand each other. Of course, the concepts underlying any word in English may have significant variation. Who knows what Blair thought when Bush said he wanted change in Iraq. :-)

  43. @ Old Nat

    “I was brought up as a Presbyterian. My best mate was brought up as a Catholic. Neither of us has any religious belief or adherence now, but we both recognise the cultural differences in our backgrounds (which have no real significance) which make me a “Presbyterian” atheist, and him a “Catholic” atheist.

    Although, for political reasons they would never admit it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that Scotland’s two pre-eminent Muslim politicians (Lab & SNP) were actually “Muslim” atheists in a similar way.

    Since American politics appears to be dominated by an obsession with sex and religion, you can’t expect us irreligious Europeans to have a clue as to your politics!”

    Well the whole thing is Orwellian anyway. I mean, how is it that not being able to enforce your religious views on others somehow a restriction on your own religious liberty? Of course, it’s not. But the fact that some will even suggest this kinda floors me.

    I don’t think the attack line of “Muslim” is meant culturally. That’s because conservatives tend to deny the existence of Muslim culture in the same way that you might think of a “Catholic” culture or a “Presbyterian” culture or a Jewish “culture.” It’s why conservative religious zealots don’t like the tv show “All American Muslim” on the TLC channel and managed to get Lowe’s to pull their advertising. Their criticism is that the show doesn’t depict Muslims according to their own negative stereotypes.

    I don’t think our politics are really dominated by an obsession with sex and religion. Conservative Republican politics might be dominated by this obsession. But most people honestly don’t care.

  44. @ Old Nat

    “The great benefit of English as an international language is that those who have learned the “educated”(for lack of a better term) version of their English can speak to and (at least partially) understand each other. Of course, the concepts underlying any word in English may have significant variation. Who knows what Blair thought when Bush said he wanted change in Iraq. :)”

    If I was Blair, I think i would go with that excuse! What’s really sad to think about is that now that the war is over, the pain and suffering doesn’t end for families who lost loved ones. Nor does it end for those who are permanently wounded.

    I’ll tell you something else since you’ve brought up the war. I want us to do away with the use of drones and I don’t want them sold to other countries (we’ve shared with you guys and that’s fine but that should be the extent of sharing). We should keep them around in case we have to fight World War III with the Chinese or Iranians or if one day aliens invade and attempt to colonize the planet but we should stop using them otherwise. No good can come of this.

    “Yes, there is a variety of Scottish accents. In the same way that there is a variety of English accents or American accents. Most of that relates to which vowel sounds are used, or which consonants aren’t.”

    The California accent seems to be the national accent and it is actually the Illinois accent. But I’ve noticed that Californians have a slightly different way of speaking from people in the other 49 states and District of Columbia. There’s like this different intonation/way of speaking that I can’t even explain.

  45. Crossbat
    ‘My guess is that the Tories have definitely received a boost from Cameron’s veto, probably short-lived though, but the notion that they’ve opened up a 6% lead is fanciful. However, I wouldn’t argue with neck and neck at the moment.’

    No arguement with your analysis or conclusion. I do think however that these boosts for whichever party is important; So far all things being equal Labour has got its nose in front, possibly 3-4% if we accept that YG is slightly more favourable than actual to Labour. Then we get a situation where the Tories surge, often with a positive shift to DC’s performance. IMO it is essential for a Labour win in 2015 that these surges are kept to a minimum.

    The other point, which I think has been made before, but I have no cross reference, is that if YG does show Labour a little higher than is reality then as a daily poll it is helping EM; good for EM but perhaps if EM is not up to the mark then it is damaging to Labout to

  46. Why do opinion polls quote figures for the SNP and PC?
    Surely these are meaningless for Britain as a whole?
    What does it mean to say that PC has say a 1 or 2% share of the national vote, and the SNP 2 or 3%?
    Why not do separate polls in Wales and Scotland whenever, and give figures for PC and SNP there?
    In England, surely just do not include either?
    UKIP and BNP presumably have much less support in Wales and Scotland, so their vote support should also be separated.
    As it is, polls give misleading data.

  47. Ignoring NI, let’s look at the actual elections for MPs since the last General Election.

    Oldham East and S Lab (4% swing from LD) (tactical voting obscured Con-Lab swing)

    Barnsley C Lab (3% UKIP to Lab)

    Leicester S Lab (8% LD to Lab)

    Inverclyde Lab (8% Lab to SNP)

    Feltham Lab (8% Con to Lab)

    Lab has reason to worry about Scotland but otherwise they can be pleased with these results. Was Oldham and Saddleworth a marginal? If so, it ain’t now. That should give pause to the Lord Ashcrofts of the world.

    There is still some speculation about a spring 2012 election. I think you’d have to see a rise for Con or a dive for Lab before that happened. It could be a spectacular mistake!

  48. Good Morning All. Sunny and cold at the beach it is today- first day of long holiday, at the end of my hundreth term in state school teaching, including post grad year- (and I would have been ‘eased out’ by OLD NAT for not accepting economic determinism for student achievement)
    MARTYN
    Snogging You Gov reminds me that snogging a nice colleague at a Christmas Party is dangerous-professionally and in other ways as well, a quick thrill, but regrets in the morning- a bit like some Liberal democrats who after ‘heavy petting’ the tories (in their own words) end up in union with them- for five long years.

    Good Article about ED and Yvette in the Observer.

    I think Labour do not want to win in 2015, or they would ‘ease’ ED out of his job, and NOT replace him with his brother though.

  49. Nick P

    By elections are almost always disproportionally bad for the government. Look at Norwich South and Crewe, both were about 14% swing if I remember correctly -> miles better than GE results.

    Aditonally, No seat since Mitcham and Morden 30 years ago has been gained by a government (and that was only technically a government gain as the sitting SDP MP and lab split the left wing vote -> the tory vote actually declined)

    In short, opinion polls tell us more than by elections do

  50. *The last real gain for a government was now over fifty years ago -> Brighouse and Spen 1960

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