Two new polls tonight, and both show a one point Labour lead. ComRes’s monthly telephone poll for the Independent has topline figures of CON 37%(-1), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 14%(+2). Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%.

The gap between Labour and Conservative is obviously the same (and seems to be very typical of recent polls showing the two main parties pretty much neck-and-neck.) There is more contrast with the Lib Dems: YouGov normally give the party their lowest scores, the 14% from ComRes is one of their better scores of late from a non-ICM pollster.


291 Responses to “ComRes and YouGov both show 1 point Labour leads”

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  1. Of course, spending cuts also have labour fingerprints as well… after all didn’t you once claim to have “ended boom and bust!” at a time that you were making the biggest boom and bust in history?

    If hospitals close and universities go bust, isn’t that ‘partly’ because of unsustainable Labour spending and poor oversight of various financial institutions? I know these things are all in the past, and you probably like to forget… and yes british people are mostly stupid or fickle, but the impressions remain that this is Labour’s recession, this is Gordon Browns handy work.

    At the end of the day people will vote for whatever their economic situation is at the time… If the economic recovery is still in dire shape (possible) they will go to Labour in their droves… if the economy shows signs of life then Libs will be in a strong position to claw back centrists who don’t really buy the Tories’ continuous stark message but don’t want to undermine the economy either.

    It’s easy to say that the Libs are dead, but the election is in over 3 years time… a lot can happen, and it can’t get any worse for the Libs… of their votership I suspect it’s 50% tribal and 50% liberal/tory sympathisers. Labour can’t take many more votes away. I suspect the Libs will get around 15% of the vote come election time… that’s still bad, still a slaughtering, but hopefully enough to trigger a another hung parliament

  2. @Allan Christie

    The UK was given an opportunity to change that system, the Conservatives campaigned harshly against it. As ‘biased against the conservatives’ constituency based FPTP is because of turnout differential and over-concentration in safe seats, it’s the only way a right wing party can be elected into government when a clear majority of votes go to left wing parties.

  3. @KeithP

    If it is a transformation from “don’t vote” to “will vote Tory” in polling, let’s assume that this isn’t reflected in the poll it’s self due to false recall, where non voters were suddenly Tory voters all their life,– Then that’s probably bad news for the conservatives even if it’s sustained.

    The true rate of conversion from “don’t vote” to “did vote” in elections is always less that 100%, usually less than 50% except in times where turnout increases dramatically.

  4. JYABLANC

    I’m not lambasting the FPTP system but was highlighting the fact that David Cameron’s “poor election result” as someone called it was in fact better than Tony Blair’s result (%) in 2005.

    Of course the Tories had the chance to change the system and it is ironic that the current system which favours Labour, Labour did want to change it…half heartedly!!

  5. Funny that when David Cameron appears to praise Tony Blair during PMQ’s by quoting something from his biography, that both sides of the house go quiet. I am not sure that they are showing reverence to Tony Blair, but are probably squirming that Cameron is even mentioning Blairs name.

    I am not sure how this plays with either Tory or Labour supporters. Most Tories are probably aghast that Cameron appears to want to take the advice of Blair or copy some of his methods. Labour supporters on the other hand are probably confused as to how the feel. Blair did win 3 GE’s but many do not like some of the policies he followed.

  6. PLANKY

    “It’s easy to say that the Libs are dead, but the election is in over 3 years time… a lot can happen, and it can’t get any worse for the Libs… of their votership I suspect it’s 50% tribal and 50% liberal/tory sympathisers. Labour can’t take many more votes away. I suspect the Libs will get around 15% of the vote come election time… that’s still bad, still a slaughtering, but hopefully enough to trigger a another hung parliament”
    ____

    That’s a good analysis and if the polls do suggest a hung parliament leading up to 2014 and the economy is back on track then I wonder if the Tory and Libs will campaign on a unofficial coalition ticket!!

  7. @ Billy bob

    I’m a Lib dem, not a tory. And my comment was intended as a joke (with a grain of truth)

    The party that did the biggest flip in the coalition formulation was my own Lib Dems, sadly (tuition fees/size of the cuts being especially huge flips).

    I remember watching Osbourne say that he wasn’t going to raise VAT, but I thought at the time that it was a lie. And nobody takes efficiency savings seriously… efficiency savings means “we have a big hole in our budget, let’s call it efficency savings”

    Don’t get me wrong… I don’t mean to round on Labour or any party too much, it’s just merely a comment that labour will have gotten many votes because people don’t like the cuts and don’t know where they stand. just a little jibe!

  8. @ Allan Christie

    I hope to god they don’t!!!! I think that would kill the Lib Dems, tear it apart and leaving a gaping hole where a third party should be.

    The Libs aren’t Tories and the Tories aren’t Libs… it’s simple as that. While I’m happy with the coalition government, I think the message it sends out is one of unity with the Tories, and such a unity isn’t something I personally feel (No offence to tory supporters), while in the next election it might do us well, I think in the longer term it would do hefty damage to us.

    The left leaning members of the lib dems would surely break away from the party if it was percieved to be merging with the enemy. And as we know, when a party is split it causes soooo much pain.

    A coalition ticket is a bad idea… a very bad idea… a very very very bad idea

  9. @ Allan Christie

    Re: Ed is too ugly to be prime minister – you do not have polling on your side. The majority of voters, around 70% if I remember correctly, disagreed with that sentiment.

    Anthony Wells did say that the voters may not have liked the question but, nevertheless, they disagreed with the statement so you are wrong.
    8-)

  10. PLANKY

    Yes I agree it would be bad fro the Libs if that were to happen but was just asking. As you say it would be very bad for the Libs!!

  11. AMBERSTAR

    Surely 70% of correspondents never agreed that he was good looking? ;)

    Seriously though I think Ed’s problem is his appeal. I’m no Cameron fan but he does cut it when in front of the Cameras etc where as Ed always comes across as dull and gromit, sorry grumpy!!

  12. Today we have the delightful spectacle of partisans from all three main Parties claiming that they’re really doing better than it looks. Which implies that they’re all feeling they’re not doing as well as they should.

    Conservatives such as Chou argue that because of the cuts the Tories should be doing worse than they are. But the cuts are barely touching those groups that give the Tories their greatest support such as the the more affluent and/or over-60s. Those hit hardest tend to be already Labour voters or those that don’t or can’t vote at all.

    Also what you might call the ‘deficit narrative’ is still going unchallenged (I think Boo Boo had an eloquent comment on the power of this about a week ago). People are willing to put up with some short-term pain (especially if it isn’t hitting them much personally) if they think the country and the economy will benefit in the long-run. So in the end they will continue to back the coalition in this. Whether the policy is right or wrong is not relevant here, the fact no political alternative is being proposed is what matters.

    When consider the fact that Conservatives actually got a comparatively low vote (for them) at the last election and haven’t improved on it[1],then if either of these supporting factors fails (and time alone may lead to that), they could end up an awful lot worse off than now.

    Labour supporters are claiming that they are doing well polling around 40%. But that increase is a free gift from disillusioned Lib Dems last time. If you look at the last YouGov:

    http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/jzsgalgwei/YG-Archives-Pol-Sun-results-310112.pdf

    you can see that while Labour’s weighted vote has increased by 76 since May 2010, that includes 110 people who voted Lib Dem last time[2]. But what the Lib Dems giveth the Lib Dems can taketh away (or they can become non-voters). Labour is not taking many votes from the Conservatives – and what they are is almost balanced by movement in the other direction – and they are also still failing to convince many of those who voted for them last time.

    They are failing to convince voters either with policy or personnel, though admittedly for both these the only way is up, which might help. Presumably they could produce an economic plan at some point and the public might realise that despite what they’ve been told, Miliband has only one head.

    (This is getting a bit long even for me so I’ll deal with the Lib Dems separately).

    [1] Their percentage is up a bit, but there are still fewer YouGov panelists saying they will vote for them than in 2010. When you consider that some of their recent increase seems to have come from a ‘firming-up’ of their vote over the veto, there may not be many more ‘latent’ Tories to bring back into the fold. The quick rebound of the UKIP VI may also indicate that their vote is a bit firmer and harder to get back than it once was.

    [2] I know it’s more complicated than that and just one poll – though the ST poll gives similar figures.

  13. BT SAYS…

    Possibly because [Cameron] actually believes that the NHS is too precious to allow to die on its feet and genuinely believes it needs transforming to be safeguarded (as well as improved in certain areas)?

    Hmm. Well Cameron may well be sincere in those beliefs (and I think he is in his general support of the NHS) but you’d think in that case he might have mentioned the idea in the last Conservative manifesto. Rather than saying the exact opposite.

    And let’s face it. If ‘reforms’ and ‘transformations’ were the way to improve the NHS, after the number in last couple of decades, by now they’d be able to raise people from the dead.

  14. The welfare bill’s progress through parliament looks to become very interesting. Tonight sees the ‘Consideration of the Lords Amendments’.

    The Bill at the moment includes all the amendments added to it by the Lords, which includes a great deal of Government defeats. To over turn these amendments, the Government are proposing their own amendments to remove those amendments.

    That would then create an altered bill that would have to be sent back to the Lords. Who will of course simply send it back with the amendments to amend the amendments amended.

    However, a Cunning Plan has been hatched, with the Conservatives decreeing that this is not a Welfare entitlement bill, but a Finance bill. And by tradition, the House of Lords has not opposed Finance bills.

    This is a risky move, since it does actually require the Lords to step aside, acknowledge the bill as a Finance bill, and uphold the tradition. The Lords are pretty riled up at the moment, and will probably refuse.

    At that point, the House of Commons has to vote on Lords amendments to what it is calling a Finance bill. Which could turn it into a Confidence motion…

  15. @Planky
    Yes a lot can happen in 3 years. I accept that Lab would also have made cuts. But I vehemently dispute that Lab would have caused the NHS mess and to a lesser extent the univ funding issue.

    Regarding where VI will go in the next 3 years, the IFS today argued that most of the cuts have yet to come, specifically 88% of the benefit cuts and 94% of the reductions in departmental spending. Many voters would accept short-term pain, but these figures suggest something else. In other words, this will play out over a long time, and the constant drone of cuts, added to avoidable ideological snafus, does not bode well for the coalition. Con voters are happy – but as @LeftyLampton above commented, the LDs are facing an existential problem now that their selling point as a home of disillusioned Lab-inclined voters has disappeared. LD defectors may well move elsewhere – but I would argue they won’t be coming back to the coalition and I don’t see where, Lab aside, they can go.

    I thought the point of a national party was that it could attract voters from outside its natural base. I would have thought the large-scale defection from LD to Lab shows that Lab is, for now, doing rather well at this.

    It’s a pity. I thought the LDs were a nice reminder of Lab’s soul (although why we needed another party to be our alter ego … anyway), and I have a lot of time for a lot of LDs.

  16. @ROGER MEXICO

    “by now they’d be able to raise people from the dead.”

    They do. Once a year, all the NHS directors of finance awake to discuss their performance bonuses.

  17. @JAYBLANC

    I presume that the coalition, in using the excuse that manifestos are no more as a colation, cannot use the parliament act during this parliament?

    I also presume the majority of Lords are Labour Lords?

    Tough times for the government if my presumptions are correct.

  18. @ Allan Christie

    “That’s a good analysis and if the polls do suggest a hung parliament leading up to 2014 and the economy is back on track then I wonder if the Tory and Libs will campaign on a unofficial coalition ticket!!”

    No way is that ever going to happen in a million years. The position will be EXACTLY what it was last time round: we will seek to form a government with whoever gets the most support in the election.

    Can’t you see that saying anything else would be total electoral suicide.

    Taking the question of whether Lib Dems can ever win back defectors to Labour, happily (for me but not for others like Tark) the answer appears to be a tentative yes, if the most recent polling data can be trusted.

    Taking the percentages from the most recent ICM poll but excluding their criticised methods for allocating don’t knows would have given us an overall score of 13% compared with 10% last June, which is about par for the course for the most recent crop of polls.

    Of the 2010 Lib Dem voters, the split in June 2011 for current voting intention was:
    Conservative 10%
    Labour 35%
    Lib Dem 45%

    In the most recent January 2012 poll that had become:

    Conservative 18%
    Labour 25%
    Lib Dem 53%

    So we have lost some voters to the Tories, but fewer to Labour and have probably recouped some from the don’t knows.

    On that basis, it seems the more potent threat to our vote at the moment, and obstacle to our recovery, is actually the Tories. This may well be because of Cameron’s image as a leader and the European question.

  19. Statgeek – you are thinking of the Salisbury convention (that the Lords does not oppose manifesto commitments at second reading), the Parliament Act can be used on any old Bill (except to extend a Parliament), manifesto commitment or not.

    There is no party majority in the Lords, the crossbenchers hold the balance of power.

    The arrangements for financial privileges of the Commons are fairly complicated. We are not talking about Money Bills here (the rules governing Bills dealing purely with finance), rather we are talking about Commons financial privilege – that is, amendments to a non-financial bill that impose a cost on the exchequer.

    The House of Lords has the full right to consider areas like this on bills and pass amendments to them. However, when the Bill returns to the Commons the Speaker considers these amendments and decides whether they impinge upon the Commons’ financial privileges.

    Depending on the particular circumstances such amendements will either be rejected summarily by the Speaker as impinging upon the Commons’ “unwaivable financial privilege”, or will be considered by the Commons (when they have impinged upon the Commons’ “waivable financial privileges”)

    If the Commons rejects these amendments, then by convention they do not give a policy reason, but reject it on purely financial grounds, along the lines of

    “because it would alter the financial arrangements made by the Commons and the Commons do not offer any further reason, trusting that this will be deemed sufficient”

    Unlike other rejected amendments, which can bounce back and forth, the Lords cannot insist upon the same amendment again if they have had a privilege rejection. They can send an amendment in lieu, but it would be contrary to convention to send another amendment that would impinge on the Commons’s financial privileges.

    In short, if the ESA amendments are indeed deemed to come under financial privilege and the Commons rejects them, they are pretty much dead in the water. Note, however, that the reports so far have only suggested that the ESA amendments are being considered as coming under financial privilege. The ones on the benefit cap are apparently not, so there is the potential for ping-pong on those.

  20. Tark
    ‘I accept that Lab would also have made cuts. But I vehemently dispute that Lab would have caused the NHS mess and to a lesser extent the univ funding issue.’

    I expect that over a fairly proplonged period I have benefitted from the NHS and used its services more than you. I think the increased investment in recent years was necessary and has paid dividends. However, as far as I am concerned the accusation of NHS being in a mess is totally unfounded and unfairly denigrates not only the Government, but also doctors, nurses and everyone involved in the NHS.

  21. @AW

    Thanks very much!

  22. statgeek

    I also presume the majority of Lords are Labour Lords?

    To put some figures on Anthony’s excellent answer:

    Lords by party. Membership: 10 January 2012

    Conservative 218

    Labour 239

    Liberal Democrat 91

    Crossbench 186

    Bishops 25

    Other 28[1]

    Total 787

    Note: This table excludes 22 Members who are on leave of absence, three who are suspended, 13 disqualified as senior members of the judiciary and one disqualified as an MEP.

    [1] Minor parties; non-affiliated as Lords or other functionaries; dodgy geezers.

    Incidentally if you can’t tell the difference between being dead and asleep, I’m sooo glad you’re not my doctor. Or undertaker. :P

  23. Today we have the delightful spectacle of partisans from all three main Parties claiming that they’re really doing better than it looks. Which implies that they’re all feeling they’re not doing as well as they should.

    —-

    Which is certainly the truth!

    CON ought to be honestly wondering where their majority can ever come from. And, in truth, can only hope that enough LD voters will go back to LD – and in just the right quantity – to allow CON to ‘nick’ a majority…

    LAB ought to be honestly wondering why they are not marching ahead. And hoping against hope that insufficient LD voters go back to LD as they seem unable to gain a lead as things stand…

    And LD ought to be honestly wondering where do they go from here? If the coalition do well, they’ll be booted out and CON will win. If the coalition does badly, they’ll be booted out and LAB will win….

    But, no doubt, each will pretend the other is in a worse position. And each will promise the earth when the time comes. And then forget those promises after an election.

    Ho hum.

  24. @ Chris Todd

    “If the coalition do well, they’ll be booted out and CON will win”

    A bigger non sequitur I never did hear.

    If the Coalition do well, the Lib Dems are likely to be able to claim a share of the spoils and have proved they are a serious and responsible party of government, which is a huge step ahead.

    They are also setting out ground which is clearly theirs and theirs alone. The Mansion Tax and £10,000 personal allowance (possibly upped to a promise of £12,500) have LD stamped all over them, while the Tories will be arguing for tax cuts for the rich. That is going to look pretty bad when it comes to the next election. I think the emphasis on these issues is what has helped the LDs perk up in many polls recently.

  25. @ROGER MEXICO
    It is gratifying to know that Tories do not become seriously ill and or disabled as per your comment. Only Labour intended votes are lost to that great party due to such misfortune descending on their party faithful. I have always been aware that they whine about the rich and powerful treading on the poor and infirm, but to be the only party that has supporters in the sick and crippled category, is doubly unfortunate.
    Of course, you can always assist people by driving them to the polling station on election day. I now understand that the “Tories” I have organised lifts for over the years, have lied. Being sick and infirm, they must have been Labour all along.

  26. @Chris Todd
    Rather than wonder why Lab are not miles ahead, I prefer to be relieved that we are where we are. In May 2010, just before the GE, one paper predicted the imminent demise of the Labour Party in the face of Cleggmania. Yes, many of us here are partisans, but honestly, afer the pasting in 2010 we in the red corner are OK with running the Cons neck and neck, and usually a little ahead. I don’t think it’s better than it looks, I dispute that it is worse than it ‘ought’ to be. :)

    @Henry
    I use the NHS absolutely loads, btw. Since the personal is political, I am happy t admit to a progressive, incurable condition that causes disability (but I hate the word ‘disabled’). Because of it I have had to revise my career downwards, but despite it I continue to work. If I were placed at the mercy of a marketised NHS I would despair.

  27. Smukesh

    “`The Independent` states that with a 1 point Labour lead in the COMRES poll,Labour are set to get a 6 seat majority”

    If you use the 600 seat predictor tool at EC for the CR poll you get

    CON 272
    LAB 289
    LIB 15

    LAB short by 12

    For a slim workable majority of 22 plus Labour (and Tories for that matter) need to be 5 points clear. That holds (in that EC model) for any LIB number from 5-15%

  28. It’s tempting to say ‘the only way is up’ is true for the Lib Dems as well, but that’s not strictly right. Though the remaining 10% or so VI has been surprisingly solid and consistent, as Planky pointed out there is always the possibility of a split.

    I’ve always reckoned that the remaining Lib Dems VI of 10% could be divided into 3 groups. About 5 points are still centre-left. Some are just hanging on, determined not to lose their Party. The rest are unhappy about many government policies and wishing Lib Dem ministers were more proactive and resolute, but seeing the coalition as the least worst possibility for the country. About 3 points of the VI are tribal Lib Dems, maybe for personal or local reasons, possibly sharing the reservations of the centre-left, but still Lib Dem core voters. And 2 points are the ‘Orange Book’ types, people like Henry who are generally happy with the economic policies of the government, but who could never be Tories for other policy reasons.

    Now in a sense the Lib Dems may not simply ‘split’ – loyalty is very important there because most of the Party still knows what it’s like to go through bad times. But internal democracy is important too. If the wishes of the wider Party are constantly ignored or even attacked by the leadership, it could well lead to a challenge to Clegg. Were he to lose that and then attempt to lead a breakaway, he would fail embarrassingly, just as David Owen did.

    But if he were to win, especially if the circumstances were felt to be unfair (threats of an election say), then the Lib Dems could lose their remaining left-voters and their vote fall to 5% or even less if the Party were to split.

    However in the current circumstances the only way for the Lib Dems may be up. Not because they did better in the local elections – they always do that for various reason, usually about 7 points better, so last year’s results are consistent with a 10% VI.

    However there is potential there. In the latest poll (see Lab and Con post), 26% of their 2010 vote is still they don’t know how they will vote (plus another 6% saying they won’t). And as I pointed out under Labour, many there may be reclaimable.

    There may be one big plus point in that they could get rid of Clegg. He might[1] act as a scapegoat for all the things that have dismayed past voters and if he was driven out into the wilderness[2] shunned like a de-knighted banker, the punters might flock back. Or not.

    In any case the Lib Dems would need time to promote the new leader, reestablish separate policies and rebuilt their alienated power bases (and like other Parties possibly cope with different boundaries). It’s not going to be easy and to a large extent it relies Labour and the SNP being incompetent.

    So there’s my State of the Parties address. You can wake up now. :)

    [1] I’ve not seen any direct polling on this and in any case as Anthony would be swift to remind us, hypotheticals are unreliable.

    [2] Or the European Commission.

  29. Tark

    ‘I use the NHS absolutely loads, btw. Since the personal is political, I am happy t admit to a progressive, incurable condition that causes disability (but I hate the word ‘disabled’). Because of it I have had to revise my career downwards, but despite it I continue to work. If I were placed at the mercy of a marketised NHS I would despair.’

    Fair enough we both make considerable use of NHS. But we disagree about whether the NHS is in a mess.

  30. @Robert C
    “If you look at our local govt byelection figures, average vote was 16% around May. Since July it has been 18% and so far this year, it has been 24%.”

    When I look at local govt byelection figures, I do so in the knowledge that your party (the LDs) has always performed better in local than general elections, and on the whole better in local by-elections than in May local elections.

    Scratch beneath the surface of your 24% figure to look at the by-elections for January 2012 and what do we find? 4 seats, excluding an uncontested Conservative hold where no-one voted. So your 24% share is made up of by-elections in 2 wards with outgoing LD councillors (Redcar, St Albans), with the other retirees being Labour (Forest of Dean) and Independent (Rutland). The outcome: Labour held their 1 and gained the 2 LD seats, and the Cons gained the Independent seat. All of those 4 seats were last contested in May 2011, and the LDs share of the vote in them was down by 6% on average since then.

    Even if by-elections were the LDs worst card rather than their best, I would find those results deeply unimpressive. I’m surprised that you are so keen to bring them to our attention.

  31. HENRY
    `Fair enough we both make considerable use of NHS. But we disagree about whether the NHS is in a mess.`

    Noone is saying it is a mess…But the contention of the medical professionals and patients association is that it will be a mess if the reforms go ahead…Ofcourse you can dismiss some of it as trade unionism,but if they prove right,then it will be damaging for the government.

    Milliband is pushing Cameron into a corner here…If Cameron `u` turns,then Milliband will claim credit…If the reforms prove damaging,then Milliband will say he warned Cameron…If they are successful,ofcourse Cameron can claim credit

  32. @Roger Mexico – “But what the Lib Dems giveth the Lib Dems can taketh away (or they can become non-voters).”

    I’m intrigued by Mark Pack’s contention that LD normally loses one half of their support between general elections. The lost voters do not so much “drift back” – it is more the case that LD needs to attract a large new cohort of supporters in the run up to each election (LDs have been a “new” partry for decades now, unblemished by the old politics).

    If there is any evidence to support Pack’s theory (and if it still stands) then we should be on the look out for the missing 15% of their 2010 vote share (3.5% of voters) to take them back to 50% (12.5%)… assuming LDs are currently at 35% of their 2010 share, ie 8%.

    The 15% (3.5%) would be drifting back from Lab/Con/Green/Ukip etc, don’t knows and will not votes – but that still leaves the question of where a new cohort could be found.

    There is evidence of some direct (self cancelling) traffic between the 2010 Con/Lab vote – but little if any is going near LD atm.

  33. *ie 9%*

  34. BILLY BOB

    Any comparison with previous patterns of LD voting in GB seem rather pointless.

    Since they were formed, they had never been in UK governance until 2010.

    That single fact makes all previous patterns meaningless in today’s context.

  35. @Odl Nat

    Yes. (Btw that should have been *drifting back from Lab/Con/Green/SNP/Ukip etc* ;) )

  36. @Henry,
    Sorry, I didn’t mean that the NHS *is* a mess. What meant (and apologies for lack fo clarity) was that the mess is the current bill and the narrative of 18 months (and counting …) of pauses, amendments, rows with the professional bodies, organisational changes, etc.. NHS professionals have no idea where they are heading, and in any organisation (I work in one that has c.2000 employees) that kind of uncertainty over such a prolonged period of time is extremely bad for effectiveness and efficiency, not to mention morale. When it comes to the NHS dips in effectiveness, efficiency and morale actually *are* matter of life-and-death.

    As it happens, I think the NHS is an absolute beacon of citizenship and social democracy, and it is by far the best of British. I know exactly what would happen to me in a US-style system, with the added insult that (in Lansley’s bill) it would be coming out of my taxes.

    To get back to polling, even if no part of the NHS implodes, the damage this bill is doing to Lansley’s and DC’s credibility and bona fides is tremendous. If they had withfrawn it when the ordure originally hit the fan in 2010, it would have been a recoverable situation. By dragging it on so long, and in an area that is toxic for the Cons, you have to start wondering if the private health tail is wagging the Con dog.

  37. BILLY BOB

    Worry not! Us Hyperboreans don’t take offence when shunted off to a backwater, so no need to mention us on a mainstream thread! :-)

  38. Billy Bob

    Frankly I think Mark Pack’s theory is just more Magical Psephology of the “the Tories never win an election if the year is divisible by 11” sort. I don’t think the Lib Dem polls were at half their 2005 score (23%?) for any long period in the last Parliament – certainly for most of the time they were in the upper teens.

    It might have been true decades ago before the Lib Dems/Liberals built up their core vote (though even then I doubt it varied that much) but it’s not been true recently and there’s no reason why the pattern should suddenly reemerge in the current very different political circumstances.

  39. @ Phil

    Our local government byelection results have been on a strongly improving trend since the middle of last year for the Lib Dems. I’m not sure which results you are looking at but:

    On 19 January LD gained a ward from Labour on Horwich TC, on 26 January LD held a seat on Morpeth TC, gained a seat from an independent on Berwick TC, saw only a 2.1% decline in vote in Rutland, and gained a seat from a Conservative on Leighton Linslade TC.

    You also mysteriously failed to mention a seat gained from the Conservatives in Wootton Bassett on 10 January.

  40. @ Robert C
    “I’m not sure which results you are looking at…”
    Results for by elections in principal local authorities, using the website of the ALDC (Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors), consistent with the % figures you quoted. That is: district, county, unitary councils and London boroughs and metropolitan districts in England, and the unitaries in Scotland and Wales.

    You may well be in a small minority here if you consider parish (i.e. “town”) councils worthy of analysis. The ALDC ignore them in their tables and calculations, and hence you did too in your earlier post. I always ignore parishes. There’s nothing mysterious about it.

    Regarding Rutland, any decline on their May 2011 vote should be of concern to the LDs, coming on top of the steep losses from the year before. 2011 was the first year this millenium when the LDs ended up with a net seat loss in by-elections. The -6% figure is the simple mean of the change in share in each of the 4 contested wards in January.

  41. I gather that the Lord’s amendment of the £26,000 benefits cap has fallen, because it would impose extra costs on the public purse.

  42. Should have been Lords’.

  43. @RobertC and, to a lesser extent, @Tark

    Thanks for proving what Roger Mexico (and then I) said.

  44. @ Robert C

    You also mysteriously failed to mention a seat gained from the Conservatives in Wootton Bassett on 10 January.

    —-

    No offence, but that’s the funniest thing I’ve read on here for a while.

  45. …. for those that missed it, here is that shocker from Wooton Bassett in full…..

    Election of a Town Councillor

    10th January 2012.

    Wooton Bassett (Wooton Bassett North Ward)

    Conservative 331
    Liberal Democrat 389

    No others stood.

    Liberal Democrat elected.

    Turnout 20.92%

    I cant think why Phil neglected to mention it.

  46. @Roger Mexico

    You may well be right – however the theory is about lost voters + new cohort = maintainence of support.

    On current polling evidence Con/Lab have both lost a (small) section of their 2010 vote, nevertheless VI is up.

  47. CHRIS TODD

    As someone who doesn’t really understand English local government, there seems to be something about Wooton Basset and/or Town Council elections that cause you great hilarity.

    Care to share it?

  48. Smukesh
    ‘Noone is saying it is a mess’

    I’m afraid you are wrong there.

    ‘I vehemently dispute that Lab would have caused the NHS mess’

    However since then various postings have clarified the matter.

  49. Henry

    On NHS England

    While Petronius Arbiter never said

    “We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganization; and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.”

    He should have!

  50. Let us see how Hichingbrooke Hospital performs under its new management, before being so certain that reform in the NHS is bound to create chaos.

    I think the Blair quotation referred to by DC at PMQ today was a suitable ripost to that posted by OldNat-and was certainly not rooted in satire.

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