YouGov’s daily poll last night showed the Labour lead holding steady at ten points, as it has all this week. Full topline figures are CON 34%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%.

Last night we also had the Bradford West by-election, which produced a startling result. George Galloway won relatively easily with a huge swing from the other parties (Labour’s vote collapsed, but so did the Conservative and Lib Dem vote). I’m always wary of writing too much about by-elections here – afterwards people already try to work out what they say about the national picture when the answer is nearly always “not much”. By-elections are strange beasts, volatile elections fought with absurdly high levels of party activity yet which elect only a single MP with no immediate impact on who runs the country.

This one is so obviously a unusual case we can at least be spared people trying to extrapolate something about the national picture from it. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it won’t have any impact. There may be Labour ructions about losing a solid Labour seat (albeit, in very unusual circumstances). The government will hope that it takes pasties and petrol off the front pages for a bit.

Another thought is that while Bradford West in an highly unusual seat in many ways, and the result here is not likely to be reproduced in many other seats, one seat that does have a similarly high level of Muslim voters is Birmingham Hodge Hill, the seat of Liam Byrne who may be resigning to stand as Birmingham mayor if he wins the Labour nomination. Obviously George Galloway himself couldn’t stand there, but a by-election in Hodge Hill may still be looking somewhat less attractive to Labour.

UPDATE: Just because various people have asked me: no, I’m not aware of any polling of Bradford West before the by-election.


371 Responses to “Bradford West by-election”

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  1. Blair converted to Catholicism did he not after he became PM. He was certainly attending Mass even before that point

  2. I think it’s sad that people are saying somebody’s colour or religion rules them out of being PM. Wasn’t so long ago that people said a woman would never be PM or a black man US president.

  3. Chrislane1945 @ DAO DAO

    “….the need for a protestant married man to win again, as Attlee, Wilson and Blair were.”

    and English.

  4. Quite right NickP

  5. Sunday Times front page

    Tory Cover up Cash for Cameron

    http://twitpic.com/93v91u

  6. The ComRes poll findings are interesting and explain why leading Tory politicians, and their supporters, must have thought that the Bradford West by-election result was political manna from heaven. Granted, it’s only provided very short term cover for them, but what a timely distraction and what an opportunity to counter-attack. It denied Labour momentum and changed the political narrative, all in one fell swoop. What lucky boys and girls they were and how they must have toasted their one time bete noire, George Galloway.

    That said, and this brings us back to the startling ComRes findings, I sense that the Coalition has taken some very serious hits these last two weeks, and they’re of the variety that spell long term problems for any government. A reputation for competence is hard won yet easily lost and very seldom regained. There’s an old saying in politics that it’s OK to be disliked, sometimes even intensely so if respect remains part of the antipathy, but the worst sound in politics is laughter. Ridicule precedes lost credibility and from what I’ve heard in bar-rooms, offices and on political TV and Radio shows over the last 10 days is unbridled ridicule of the government they lead. It was probably reflected in the Tory and Lib Dem vote in Bradford West last Thursday but lost completely in the Galloway circus and furore.

    Tonight’s poll will be interesting, but I think real and lasting damage, largely self-inflicted it has to be said, has been visited upon what looks to be an increasingly hapless administration. I hear the sound of laughter abroad, and that’s not a welcome sound for any politician interested in electoral success.

  7. @Academic

    “Blair converted to Catholicism did he not after he became PM. He was certainly attending Mass even before that point”

    I think his wife Cherie, a practising and devout Catholic, might have had something to do with Tony’s “conversion”!

  8. @ CHRISLANE1945

    “Dao Dao…….very perceptive post on the Labour leadership..”

    Really?

    You really think the difference-makers in marginal constituencies make political judgements on……”….“Polish”/Jewish/Marxist background…”.

    I suspect the people choosing to make their judgements on such matters have made their political choices before hearing any arguments about policies. I suspect they are not the ‘floating voter’.

  9. Re:Birmingham mayor.

    Politically, I’d favour Sion Simon, although Gisela Stewart could be fun as it would mean a by-election on my doorstep and if Liam Byrne were the candidate, it would at least get him out of Parliament.

  10. “Tonight’s poll will be interesting”

    Are we waiting for another poll tonight?

  11. @Hannah

    “although Gisela Stewart could be fun as it would mean a by-election on my doorstep”

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines. If the by-election were in Hodge Hill, I’d have to travel to get there. If it were in Edgbaston, it would come to me!

  12. To be non-partisan for a moment (and it really is an effort), that ComRes poll scares the living merde out of me.

    We have 60% of the electorate who have little faith in either of the two main parties’ front line teams to run the economy well. I’ve frequently drawn parallels between the politico-economic situation now and in the mid/late 70s, but back then people still BELIEVED in their own side. Those ComRes figures indicate just how diseased our politics (or, alternatively and equally worrying, our public’s assiciation with politics) currently is.

  13. C 33
    L 42
    LD 8

    Approval -40

  14. @ Anthony Wells

    Thank you – I think Comres should’ve done a free VI for PR purposes. They might have shown an attention grabbing Labour lead which would’ve been reported on ‘the telly’ & bagged them loads of free advertising on the BBC, Sky, ITV etc. :-)

  15. ACADEMIC and CROSSBAT11.

    Tony Blair became a Roman Catholic AFTER resigning as PM.

    George Carey (AB of Canterbury) used to write to him complaining that he went to Mass.

    Cf what the Thirty Nine Articles still say at the front of the BCP about Mass etc.

    JOHN B DICK.
    Yes, English as well he/she must be.

  16. CROSSBAT11

    “I think his wife Cherie, a practising and devout Catholic, might have had something to do with Tony’s “conversion”

    You are correct: and Tony Blair was a serious practising Christian and would have taken seriously his promise when he married to allow his children to be brought up as Catholic….

    Speaking or rather writing as a former constituent of Mr Galloway doesn’t allow me special insight but what we all saw on Big Brother adequately summarised his contribution to Bethnal Green and Bow.

    That Labour’s problem in parts of its ‘heartland’ are long and well attested. It’s perfectly true the party has not resolved them. It’s perfectly true it has both a political and moral obligation to do so if it wishes to represent these areas.

    This soft underbelly of disengagement from the wider polity by sections of the electorate – and this is by no means reserved to the ‘underclass’ – remains once of the most perplexing and troubling aspects of the ‘Western’ democracies since the 1970s.

    It is almost certainly in that sense much more significant than we as party tribalists are wont to admit. that said it is equally true that is probably tells us little more about the prospects for all the main parties than we knew before this last extraordinary ten days.

    My own guess is that we’ve crossed a line…from now on the government will no longer be able to rely on the alibis of the past to excuse the present that does not mean the future belongs to Labour. but it is a significant moment nonetheless….

  17. Tonight’s YouGov: Lab 42 Con 33 LD 8 Approval -40

    So who’s best pleased with this one, then? The Tories to see the Labour lead down by 1% or Labour finding little if any impact on the size of their lead from the Bradford West debacle? A bit of consolation for both Tory and Labour, perhaps. None for the Lib Dems, I suspect.

    The two figures to keep an eye on, however, are the Tory VI and the Government (dis)approval rating. Their VI is in Michael Howard territory, and pretty consistently so now, and the approval rating has deteriorated by about 22 points in two weeks. If these figures persist, or even

  18. Oops, I’m suffering from premature submission again!

    I was going on to say: –

    ….or even worsen, then we may be tempted to conclude that the Government has indeed been seriously damaged by the recent events. Not terminally so, perhaps, but certainly residing in the sort of deep hole where it is very easy to keep digging.

  19. That’s well within the margin of error then. So little to no impact on Labour’s score based on the Bradford West loss. Let’s just hope this momentum keeps going. Either that or all three parties go down in hellfire to allow the greens to gain a majority government. For some reason I’m finding the latter just a tad unlikely.

  20. What no one seems to have noticed is that there were two winners in this by election. UKIP may have lost their deposit but they were the only other party to have contested the seat in 2010 to increase their by election vote percentage.This equated to a Conservative to UKIP swing of 22%, and a Swing from Labour to UKIP of 20%.

  21. I believe that Liam “there is no money left” Byrne’s seat of Hodge Hill could be a possible target by Salma Yaqoob of Respect now.

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