Also published today are new voting intention figures from TNS-BMRB. Topline figures with changes from their previous poll at the end of November are CON 35%(-1), LAB 38%(-1), LDEM 11%(+2), Others 16%.

No obvious sign of any veto boost for the Conservatives here. The poll was conducted over the weekend, so it looks as though the veto boost may have subsided by the time the fieldwork began.


203 Responses to “TNS-BMRB – CON 35%, LAB 38%, LD 11%”

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  1. @TingedFringe

    “Of course, you could argue that it was ridiculous for Labour to get a majority of seats in England despite getting less votes than the Conservatives – and I’d agree.”

    I’m no advocate of FPTP but if I was, or even an apologist for the system, I would counter your view that the outcome in 2005 was “ridiculous” by saying that a British Parliamentary election is neither a Presidential Race nor a plebiscite where the nation votes as a whole for a singular outcome. National issues are to the fore in General Elections, obviously, but the election is made up of 646 mini-elections where, constituency by constituency, we elect our Member of Parliament. The person who polls the most votes in each of those 646 mini-elections becomes an MP. Those MPs, depending on the parliamentary arithmetic and party affiliation, then form a government. In 2005, 355 of those constituencies decided they wanted a Labour MP to represent them under the voting system and electoral rules that applied at the time. If they had preferred a Tory MP, they could have elected one, but, in the majority of cases, they didn’t. This gave Labour an adequate parliamentary majority to form a government and the fact that differential voter turn out, varying voter registration levels and differing constituency sizes meant that their parliamentary majority wasn’t proportionate to the popular vote is, to put it rather crudely, beside the point where a FPTP constituency voting system is in place. The recent AV Referendum suggests that we want to retain it too. Our bed has been made and we therein lie.

    Now if you want a real democratic travesty, look no further than the Bush v Gore presidential race in 2000 where Gore polled half a million more votes than Bush and, because of the distortions inherent in the electoral college system, “lost” the election. A bit like a two horse race where the winning horse leads by a head at the line and is declared the loser. None of that applied in the 2005 UK General Election, as disproportionate as the outcome undoubtedly was in many respects, not least the constituency vs popular votes equation in England.

  2. ALEC

    @”although unfortunately this wasn’t the case he made at the time”

    You obviously missed it when he said Brussels rules might inhibit the changes UK wanted in implementing Vickers.

    KEN

    @”YouGov…..

    L 40
    C39
    LD 10

    App -20″

    What an interesting post Ken-to which the response was , shall we say-muted ? :-) :-) :-) :-)

  3. I don’t think whoever wins the 2015 will make that much difference to a Scots vote for independence. It might have made quite a difference 25 years ago, but probably not now. Too easy to paint those southerners as “all the same” these days, and not just necessarily from the point of view of Scotland.

  4. @ Crossbatt11

    An interesting yet disingenuous attempt to excuse an utterly broken FPTP system. In fact, the recent situation with regards to the EU was a classic demonstration of how broken it is: parliament was hi-jacked by a preponderance of right wing Tory MPs who under any more proportional system would have been considerably fewer in number.

    Of course your support is nothing at all to do with the fact that it enabled your party to have full control of the country with little more than a third of the vote.

    The AV vote was not about the objective desirability or otherwise of changing our system. It was all about the other two parties’ supporters ganging together to give a smaller party’s leader a kicking. After all, Labour has supported electoral reform in theory for years, yet even with a parliamentary majority had failed to even take the smallest step towards achieving it. We therefore have to conclude that any words it may come up with with regard to electoral reform in future are just that: words.

  5. I see Moody’s has warned that deteriorating public finances has reduced the UK’s prospects of maintaining its triple A rating…

    As I said a few weeks ago, it’s only a matter of time until the markets get round to the UK.

  6. @chrislane1945

    I noticed that when looking at the N.I. election data from ’45 to ’74. Con seats suddenly became ‘other’.

    For what it’s worth there’s one other result; the 1950 election. Won by Labour, but the England only seats would have been a Con win. England + Scotland – Con win. England/Scotland/NI – Con win.

    Wales tipped it to be a Labour win with 27 out of 36 seats voting Labour. At least I think that’s how it went. The data on the election back then is somewhat confusing as there were various parties with allegiance to Con or Lab, so am not sure how the results are totalled.

  7. @MIKE N

    Sorry, but reading:

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16278595

    I see nothing but praise (or as much praise as any of the ‘threatened’ nations can get) in that article.

    I do see some articles online stating something to the effect of your statement, but if you check the ratings, the UK is coming in at AAA (stable) as opposed to AAA (negative).

  8. COLIN………….One does one’s best to reflect the spirit of the occasion……… :-)

  9. Statgeek

    Hah, the BBC is biased in its reporting! ;-)

    Try this:

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2076933/Moodys-warns-UK-stripped-AAA-credit-rating-eurozone-threat-hits-growth.html?ITO=1490

    “The report said the ‘significant’ deterioration of the nation’s finances since 2008 ‘has eroded its ability to absorb further shocks’. “

  10. STAT GEEK.
    Until 1974 the Conservative and Unionist Party contained the 11 Protestant ‘Ulster’ MP’s.

    This goes back to the Home Rule Bills of 1886, 1893 and 1912, and the promise of ‘A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant State’- Basil Brooke- often mis quoted as ‘A Protestant State for a Protestant People, leading the brave Mr Trimble in 1998 to admit that ‘Ulster’ was ‘a cold house’ for catholics.

    Heath, as well as bravely taking the UK into the European Community broke with these men, and also tried to set up the Power Sharing executive

  11. KEN.

    One…..You do indeed:-)

    I was just reflecting on one of those immutable Laws of Politics promulgated on UKPR-probably Sheffieldian-that the political balance of posters here varies in sync with the political balance in the Polls .

    It hasn’t seemed quite so immutable in the last few days .

    I was also in flippant mood having read a hilarious piece on TGB this morning , which set me up for the long shopping list my wife is currently writing for me :-)

  12. @Robert C

    “Of course your support is nothing at all to do with the fact that it enabled your party to have full control of the country with little more than a third of the vote.”

    You misunderstand me. I’m not a supporter of FPTP at all and regard it as an entirely outmoded and discredited electoral system, but I was responding to TingedFringe’s comment that the outcome of the 2005 election, particularly in England, was “ridiculous”. In the literal meaning of that word, it wasn’t at all. In fact, in the sense that I described our existing electoral system and parliamentary democracy, it was both highly logical and defensible. I was playing more devil’s advocate than being disingenuous, I would claim.

    “The AV vote was not about the objective desirability or otherwise of changing our system. It was all about the other two parties’ supporters ganging together to give a smaller party’s leader a kicking.”

    Hhmmm. I think you might be in danger of indulging in the party political bias that you are accusing me of here. I’m not sure I recognise your highly partial description of what was going on in the AV Referendum campaign. There was almost total unanimity in Tory ranks in terms of defending the status quo, and some division amongst Labour MPs about whether FPTP should go and what should replace it, but the onus really was on Clegg and his party to make the running on what was a core policy platform of theirs. Collectively, they made an absolute pig’s ear of both the initial negotiations with the Tories in May 2010 and the subsequent campaign in May 2011. Consequently, they allowed the best chance we’ve had in a generation to radically change our electoral system to slip through our hands. I have very little sympathy for what I believe was gross political incompetence and a failure of leadership from Mr Clegg. Looking at his current personal ratings in all the opinion polls, it would appear that I am not alone in holding this rather dim view of the man.

  13. COLIN………….All quiet on the Leftie front, sagebrush rolling dustily down an empty Main St., haunting whistle of a Blue recovery, it wasn’t meant to be like this. Flags and banners, strikes and sit-ins, nothing seems to work, ah well, back to the Xfactor and Corrie, life ain’t all bad really. :-)

  14. FrankG

    “I too look forward to the removal of the border and the restoration of the British Isles as a single political entity!”

    So you are planning to invade the Isle of Man! It is, of course, not part of the UK.

    Arguably the Channel Islands (also not part of the UK) are French rather than part of the British Isles.

  15. MIKE N…………..Moody’s assessment of the UK current outlook was heavily qualified in our favour, as I suggested in a previous post, the UK is the benchmark National economy of the rating agencies, they can play with all the others to their heart’s content, but if we go down, so do they. To put it another way, we are the Higgs Boson of the global rating structure, not easy to see, but there needs to be one, without it everything collapses, taking our friends, the ratings agencies, along. :-)

  16. Ken

    What you mean is that we have a massive financial thermonuclear device surrounded by highly toxic debt sludge rigged up to a hair trigger. If we go the whole world goes ka boom, followed by a economic nuclear winter.

    Mutually assured destruction gone mad!!

  17. Talking about the world gone mad, I see the January sales have started already!!

  18. Ken

    “…so do they.”

    Is ‘they’ the agencies or the ‘others’?

    I can’t see why the agencies would go down if the UK is downgraded.

    So far as I’m aware the actual existence of the HB has yet to be confirmed/detected. But I admit to being impressed, nay amused, that you think the UK’s credit rating is on a par with the meaning of life, the universe and everything. ;-)

  19. @Ken

    You’ve been away awhile but now the Labour lead narrows to 1% and you’re back with a vengeance! What’s the disappearance threshold, by the way? It looks like if the Labour lead widens to 4-5% we don’t see you for dust, but I’m curious!! lol

  20. Crossbat11
    lol

  21. Rating agencies didn’t see the financial tsunami hitting in 07/08 and didn’t see the loans corruption in the US, with the knock on affect on CDO’s.

    What gives them the right to hold the world to ransom with their gloomy reports, leading to increased interest rates, more austerity/higher taxes etc. You cannot win. Not enough austerity = downrated or no/limited growth = downrated. They will basically downrate most of the major economies, with just a small number of small nations with relatively high income levels being still AAA rated.

    It is about time the G20 discussed restructuring of countries debt levels, growth measures, tackling trade imbalances and all other important issues, so that the financial crisis does not end in a total crash in 2012.

  22. @OldNat

    “So you are planning to invade the Isle of Man! It is, of course, not part of the UK.”

    Payback time for all those Norsemen invaders they helped in the good old days.

    “Arguably the Channel Islands (also not part of the UK) are French rather than part of the British Isles.
    course, not part of the UK.”

    Not once we have taken back Brittany, Normandy and a few more bits on the mainland, they won’t be! Pound them hard I say, pound them hard! With Merkel in the East and Cameron in the West, we have them froggies in a pincer move again!

  23. @R Huckle

    “What gives them the right to hold the world to ransom with their gloomy reports, leading to increased interest rates, more austerity/higher taxes etc.”

    Of course you’re right. In many ways, the lunatics have taken over the financial asylum and the credit rating agencies are some of the worst quack economic forecasters of them all. The tragedy is that they’re quacks with real and powerful teeth who, by dint of their ratings, handed down from on high like sacred tablets of stone, can determine the economic fate of whole countries.

    If only Congress had followed through what they threatened to do and indicted the lot of them, including Standard and Poor, during the 07/08 financial meltdown in the US. The charge was serial incompetence but, bizarrely and I would say disastrously, these very same agencies, with the same people running them, are still alive and well and now have the gonads of the world’s leading economies in their highly fallible hands.

    You couldn’t make it up, could you?

  24. Crossbat

    The problem with the rating agency’s is not incompetence, they are very clever if narrow minded. The problem is questionable motivation, we already know that they were paid to give AAA ratings to dog turd, how can we be sure that they are not being paid or lent on to downgrade European countries?

  25. KEN

    :-) :-)

    @”it wasn’t meant to be like this. ”

    I know-it’s the hope which is so unsettling.

  26. RiN

    How and from where do the agencies get their revenues?

    Do they have any links with governments?

  27. @ RIN

    I always thought that there was no real alternative to capitalism, but I am beggining to wonder, as I am not sure the current financial system is working. This is not just a question of globalisation and a rebalancing of world finances, with money moving to those with resources (labour/raw materials). The basic problem is that with world population at 7 billion with depleted resources, is that there is not enough distribution of wealth to make the system work, If 95% of the worlds wealth is in the hands of 5% of people, it will get to the stage where countries/people cannot sustain a reasonable level of living standards. They have been using debt as a means to maintain living and they will no longer be able to do this. This will mean a reduced level of spending, people losing jobs, businesses closing, government spending more on benefits, less tax revenues/more austerity measures. i.e a downward spiral of failure.

    Not sure what the answer is, but basically unless the ratings agencies, IMF, world leaders, global company CEO’s etc, all get together to discuss the way forward, they will end up with a financial crash that is in no ones interest. Not sure the world can write off atleast 10 years, with economies going backwards. The billionaires will continue to make money, but it would not be much fun, if the world around them, is not a pleasant place to reside in. This is why people like Bill Gates and some others are inspiring, as they realise the problems that concentration of wealth create. It is a shame that more of the mega rich do not appear to share the same view.

  28. For stat geeks (which might include Statgeek) and those who wish to see how/good things have been in the past, the Guardian site has this:

    “Deficit, national debt and government borrowing – how has it changed since 1946?

    How bad is the deficit really? As new figures show it’s worsening, we bring you all the data going back to the 1940s”

    And once you’ve read, please let me know what it all means. :-)

  29. November Public Finances:-

    This Year ( Last Year)-£ Bn.

    November Deficit -18.1 (20.4)
    April to November Deficit -88.3 ( 98.7)
    Total Debt end Nov.-977.1 ( 853.9 )

    So -Deficit reduction first 8 mths of FY 2011/12-10.4
    OBR forecast Deficit reduction FY 2011/12-10.0 (1)

    (1) 2011 Autumn Statement.

  30. @MIKE N

    Deficit: Generall the difference between the amount you own and the amount you owe. In this case it’s the difference between the amount we generate and the amount we spend as a nation.

    National debt: The debt incurred by continuing to operate with a deficit, rather than a surplus.

    Government borrowing: That which incurs debt, due to operating at a defict. We borrow to make up the gap between revenue and spending. Then we incur debt, and the interest payments on said debt add to the deficit, which adds to the debt…..

    That’s my amateur take on things at least.

  31. Statgeek

    Ta. You’re a gentleman (or gentlewoman?).
    ………………………………………………………………………..
    So, if I understand some of the figures correctly, despite the deficit reduction targeted for this fiscal year the overall debt is increasing. This must be becasue of the interest charges?

    And…the surge in the deficit in 2008/09/10 is attributable to what? Is much of this also attributable to the ‘interest’ charged on the money borrowed by the UK gov ? And was that money borrowed to support the collapse of the banks?

  32. “And was that money borrowed to support the collapse of the banks?”

    shoudl read better

    And was that money borrowed to support the banks?

  33. Mike

    Where did we borrow the money to bailout the banks?

  34. Gentleman!

    Correct on the increasing debt. Once the deficit is turned to a surplus, the debt will start falling (assuming the interest payments don’t outstrip the surplus).

    Surge?

    About a trillion or so, give or take a few billion.

  35. RiN
    “Where did we borrow the money to bailout the banks?”

    I dunno. Is this a trick question?

  36. MIKEN

    @”So, if I understand some of the figures correctly, despite the deficit reduction targeted for this fiscal year the overall debt is increasing. This must be becasue of the interest charges?”

    THe Total Government Debt will increase each year by the sum of that years Deficit-or decrease by that years Surplus,

    The Deficit includes Interest on the Total Det. This is current around £40bn pa.

    @”And…the surge in the deficit in 2008/09/10 is attributable to what? ”

    The collapse of Tax Revenues following the recession, whilst public spending continued rising. The latter because a) The automatic stabilisers kick in, & b) the Spending Reduction programme had not yet commenced.

    Bear in mind also-as shown by the Guardian numbers you cited-GB was running Deficits in the six years prior to the recession. ( about £190 bn in total-whilst the economy was growing) THis meant that when tax revenues collapsed in 2008, the prior year deficit of £34 bn was already a built in booster to the annual deficit which appeared from 2008 on.

    @And was that money borrowed to support the collapse of the banks?”

    GEnerally ONS quote Public Finances Including & Excluding “Interventions” . THe latter is their term for the Banking related spend & income. THe numbers in the Guardian tableau are excluding Interventions.

    The biggy on Interventions was the investment in Bank shares. THese are investments which will produce a profit or a loss when they are sold. INterventions also include the costs of setting up Bank Guarantee Schemes & the fees charged to Banks for using them.

    You express surprise ( I think) that the Debt is increasing, whilst the Deficit is reducing.

    THis is so because reducing the inherited Deficit of £157 bn in the year 2009/10- will take time. Even though the annual deficit should fall each year-because there is still a deficit ( more spend than income) -the Debt will increase.

    In fact the 2011 Autumn Statement forecast that the 2010/11 FYE Debt of £ 905bn will rise to £1500 Bn ( in 2016/17) before the annual Deficits are eliminated, and Debt can be reduced by annual Surpluses.

    UK has a chronic imbalance between Government Income & Expenditure. It was exacerbated in the six years leading up to the Recesssion & is now a major problem in time of economic downturn.

    A country like Italy has a modest Deficit but a huge Debt ( 120% of GDP).built up over decades.

    We have a huge Deficit which is -inevitably-pushing our Debt to levels which are of concern-forecast at just under 80% GDP by 2016/17

  37. Colin

    Thanks for taking the time to explain this.

    “You express surprise ( I think) that the Debt is increasing, whilst the Deficit is reducing.”

    No surprise.

  38. MIKE N

    Pleasure.

  39. @MikeN

    The Debt is the total outstanding amount that the govt owes. The Deficit or Surplus is the yearly imbalance between the govt’s expenditure and income. ie the deficit/surplus is the yearly change in the total debt. In recent history we have had a few brief years of surplus at the end of the 80’s and then the end of the 90’s so the Debt would have fallen in these few years. The rest of the time we run deficits and the Debt continues to grow.

    Politicians have either lazily or deliberately interchanged the two to make their policies sound better. Gordon Brown was a past master at ‘halving the debt in one term’ where he meant halving the deficit as the Debt would continue to rise. The Coalition talks about ‘paying down the country’s credit card’ when they mean reducing the yearly deficit.There is no chance of us reducing the Debt for the next five/ten years. Reducing the deficits just means that we are increasing the Debt at a slower rate.

    To be fair journos are as bad at mixing debt and defict up. Probably those predictive texts are to blame once you type d.e. and disengage brain.

  40. Alexsandar

    Thanks. Your first post for quite a while I think?

  41. @”Where did we borrow the money to bailout the banks?”
    I dunno. Is this a trick question?”

    The NAO list “Taxpayer Support for UK Banks” under the following heads :-

    •Recapitalisation of Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) through a series of transactions eventually acquiring 83 per cent of RBS (but 68 per cent of the voting rights) and 41 per cent of Lloyds (of both ordinary shares and voting rights).
    •Lending money to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme so it could guarantee customer deposits of up to £50,000.
    •Lending directly to insolvent banks so they could repay customer deposits of over £50,000, including to London Scottish Bank, Dunfermline Building Society and the Icelandic Banks – Heritable, Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander, and Landsbanki.
    • Nationalising Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley to protect their depositors and facilitate the orderly unwinding of their obligations and the Treasury’s guarantees.
    •The Special Liquidity Scheme, introduced in April 2008, to increase the liquidity of UK banks. It is a Bank of England scheme, supported by a Treasury guarantee, and allows banks to swap assets for more liquid Treasury Bills in return for a fee.
    •The Credit Guarantee Scheme, introduced in October 2008, to help restore investor confidence in bank wholesale funding by guaranteeing certain unsecured debts in return for a fee.
    •The Asset Protection Scheme, announced in January 2009, to protect assets on banks’ balance sheets. RBS and Lloyds initially agreed in principle to join, but in the end only RBS joined.
    •The Asset Backed Securities Guarantee Scheme to guarantee high-rated mortgage-backed securities.

    Their answer to the question “What is the current level of support” was ( in March 2011) as follows :-

    “The total current level of support provided to banks has fallen significantly from its peak level. This is because some support schemes have closed to new entrants without being used; some of the guaranteed debts and assets in the schemes have matured and been repaid; some guarantees to bank depositors and wholesale funders have been removed; and banks have started to repay some of the Treasury loans.

    Our most recent estimate of the outstanding support is set out in the C&AG’s report on HM Treasury’s 2010-11 Resource Accounts.

    Total outstanding support as at 31 March 2011 (£bn)
    Guarantee commitments 332.40
    Cash outlay 123.93
    Total support 456.33 ”

    The “cash outlay” consists of Loans & Investments.

  42. @Mike N

    I decided to take a break as the polls weren’t moving and it’s so difficult to get back into it; I’d literally lost the thread. The polls also had by then narrowed and I didn’t want to be accused of being a fairweather poster so waited for the lead to disappear.Didn’t take long.

  43. What really matters is the total government debt relative to the size of the economy (GDP). So if debt goes up but the economy grows at the same speed, there’s no problem at all.

    Here’s the UK history

    h ttp://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/british-debt-history/

    As you can see it is still pretty low. There’s no good reason why it is anything to worry about in the short term.

    And also you can see from this graph that before the 2008 crash there were no really large changes since about 1970.

  44. Colin

    Once again thanks.

    You’re a star.

  45. Hal

    When I looked at the table on the Guardian I was struck by the thought that the deficits (up to 2008) were all manageable, all well within the scope of the growth of the economy to cope with, and nothing out of the ordinary.

  46. Mike N

    The Guardian’s table is pretty useless because it is in millions of pounds and does not take into account inflation and the size of the economy. So a billion pound deficit in 1979 is much more to worry about than a billion pounds in 2011.

    You should divide by GDP to get figures worth comparing.

  47. CROSSBAT11
    I’m not saying that ‘Under the rules of FPTP, Labour shouldn’t have got a majority of seats’ – I was saying, ‘FPTP is a fundamentally broken system and no party with less than a majority of votes should get a majority of seats. Voting systems should be proportional as anything else is broadly undemocratic’.

    So Labour getting a majority of seats in England despite getting less votes is ridiculous according to the criteria of proportional democracy.
    Perhaps I should have made it more clear what my criteria was – I thought it was implied in my post.

    Now, if I was talking under the criteria of FPTP, then it wasn’t ridiculous, I’ll agree.

    Hopefully that clears that up.

  48. @ Crossbat11

    “Now if you want a real democratic travesty, look no further than the Bush v Gore presidential race in 2000 where Gore polled half a million more votes than Bush and, because of the distortions inherent in the electoral college system, “lost” the election. A bit like a two horse race where the winning horse leads by a head at the line and is declared the loser. None of that applied in the 2005 UK General Election, as disproportionate as the outcome undoubtedly was in many respects, not least the constituency vs popular votes equation in England.”

    I really think this is a distortion. The electoral college really doesn’t have inherent distortions. Electoral votes are allocated proportionally by population and they’re awarded based upon pure popular vote in the states. But I think the real evidence of the system’s fairness (in presidential elections) is to look at history. Since 1788, we’ve had 55 presidential elections. There are four times where the “winner” of the electoral college failed to win the most popular votes: 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000.

    But let’s examine just a little further:

    1824: In this election, no candidate won a majority of electoral votes and Congress disliked the popular vote winner and selected the candidate they liked best.

    1876: In this narrow election, there were 4 disputed state outcomes. All 4 states were needed to be won by the popular vote loser in order to win the electoral college. His opponent, the popular vote winner, had clearly won three of the four. However, a special commission awarded all four states to the popular vote loser.

    2000: Al Gore would have carried Florida had the intent of the voters who voted been validated. We know this because of the few thousand butterfly ballot voters who intended to vote for Gore and accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan. We also know this because statewide hand recounts, using a uniform set of standards (either a very liberal standard or a conservative standard) showed Al Gore had in fact won the most votes in the state of Florida. FYI, 500,000 votes does seem like a fairly large number but in fact, it’s a very small percentage of the total number of votes cast nationwide. It was a narrow election. Florida was narrow.

    In all three of these instances, it’s not the electoral college that resulted in rewarding someone who failed to win the popular vote but outside factors and political manipulation that installed the election loser. Had the votes of the people been honored as intended, the popular vote winner would have been the president. I don’t think the electoral college can be faulted for that.

    So that leaves just one election (1888) where the electoral college truly gave an outcome that didn’t reflect popular will. 1 out of 55 is pretty darn good record if you ask me.

  49. Hal

    Debt as a % of GDP is low at the moment. But what will it be after 2 decades of low or negative growth?

  50. That borrowing came in lower than expected is indeed good news for Osborne…This allows him to reassure the electorate to stick the course…If the plan is seen as failing,I can see Labour support firming up

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