Boris Johnson’s victory in London has produced the predictable flurry of media speculation about Boris as a future leader. Both the polls in the weekend papers – YouGov in the Sunday Times and Survation in the Mail on Sunday had a series of questions comparing Boris and David Cameron and both suggested Boris would do very marginally worse than Cameron.

Polls on alternative leaders are a tricky thing to do, and of dubious worth. Journalists love them as they produce nice easy headlines, but they are often done very badly indeed and even if done well, still have problems.

To start with the methodological problems, firstly you need to ask voting intention in exactly the same way – if you normally filter by likelihood to vote and reallocate don’t knows, you need to do that in your hypothetical question too, otherwise any difference could be down to that (including asking likelihood to vote afresh, you cannot assume it would stay the same). Neither can you say “Imagine Boris Johnson was leader” as it gives undue prominence to one party leader, you have to mention all three. However, you can’t then compare it to a normal voting intention question, as they don’t mention the party leaders – what if any change in the answer is actually down to mentioning Ed Miliband or Nick Clegg? Instead you need to do a control question.

In YouGov’s poll they asked two questions. The first asked how people would vote if the party leaders at the next election stayed the same, the second if the party leaders were Johnson, Miliband and Clegg. You might expect the first one to be the same as the current headline figures – it is not. Current voting intention is CON 31%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. If you ask people how they will vote at the general election if the leaders are still Cameron, Miliband and Clegg the answer is CON 32%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10% – mentioning Cameron, Miliband and Clegg in the question reduces the Labour lead by 4 points.

This is interesting in its own right – perhaps more interesting than the Boris comparison! Is it people consciously thinking to themselves that while they’ll say Labour now as a protest, but probably won’t actually vote that way come the election? Or a positive effect from mentioning Cameron, or a negative effect from mentioning Ed Miliband? It’s impossible to tell.

YouGov then asked the same question with Boris Johnson as Tory leader, this changed the figures to CON 32%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%. So under Boris the Conservatives would perform the same, but Labour and the Lib Dems would do slighter better (it looks as though the Conservatives would lose support to the Lib Dems and Labour, but presumably it is cancelled out by gaining support from Others and Don’t knows). Even this, however, shouldn’t be given too much weight, as people don’t tend to be very good at answering hypothetical questions about how they would vote if X happened. People don’t know what policies Boris Johnson would promote, how he’d handle the job, so the answers are based on pretty flimsy information (not, one should add, that people’s eventual voting intentions are necessarily based on a much greater understanding.)

YouGov also asked whether people were suited to be Prime Minister, and were in touch with the public. On being “Prime Ministerial” David Cameron did substantially better than Boris Johnson and, indeed, the other people asked about. 44% of people thought David Cameron was well suited to being Prime Minister, compared to 24% for Boris Johnson (Ed Miliband was on 25%, George Osborne just 10%). Of course, actually being Prime Minister is a big help in people seeing you as Prime Ministerial! On understanding the problems faced by ordinary people only 21% thought Cameron understood well, behind Boris Johnson on 27% (and Ed Miliband on 32%).

Survation in the Mail on Sunday also asked some Boris Johnson questions. They asked if people were more or less likely to vote Conservative with Boris in charge. More or less likely to vote X if Y questions come with another whole bucketload of problems which I won’t go into today, but they found a similar situation anyway – 22% said more likely, 24% less likely.

Survation also asked a series of questions on whether people rated Boris or David Cameron on various attributes. Boris was seen as more likeable, charming and more in touch. cameron was seen as having better leadership qualities, being more true to Conservative values, better at taking tough decisions, more trusted on the recession and likely to be a better Prime Minister. They scored equally on intelligence.

Personally, I suspect the practical requirement to be a member of the House of Commons at the time a leadership vacancy arises and the timing difficulties around that are a huge block to Boris Johnson ever being in the running for the party leadership. Nevertheless, what data we have does not suggest he is any sort of panacea for the Tories.


470 Responses to “Comparing Boris and Dave”

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  1. STATGEEK

    Are you sure that was a typo? Some Labour councillors I know are not exactly of the left!

    However, the Edinburgh deal seems eminently sensible. Other than the constitutional issue (which isn’t a matter for council governance) SNP and Labour should be the natural bedfellows.

    Naturally, I don’t imply any sexual impropriety by that remark (though it might produce a closer bonding!)

  2. @ Virgilio

    “A coalition of all anti-austerity parties (i.e. all 5 parties except ND and PASOK) would have 151 seats, so it would be arithmetically feasible, but it is politically totally impossible. The Communist Party (26 seats) does not want to collaborate with no one and the nazis of Golden Dawn (21 seats) do not want nobody and nobody wants them (even the most extreme European parties of the far right do not want to know them). So, SYRIZA, DEMAR and Indip. Greeks have not enough seats to form a coalition gvt. So there comes again the new election.”

    Yeah, that’s what I figured. Communists and Nazis don’t like each other. Teabaggers and Occupyers coming together is far more likely to occur than that kind of coalition in Greece. I do have to wonder about modern 21st century “moderate” and “third way” Nazis and Communists.

    I’m curious about the future of Francois Bayrou’s party and the National Front in France. Do you think it’s possible for the National Front to eclipse the UMP as the main party of the French right? If the party is weak right now and leaderless, could right wing voters flock to the National Front. For whatever his faults, Sarkozy wasn’t Dubya and while he was fine to pander, he is not the National Front. It seems like there are a lot of French voters who would never vote for a Socialist but would never vote for the National Front (if given a choice, they would vote Socialist just like Socialists voted for Chirac in 2002). Now, if Hollande and the Socialists falter and become unpopular but their main right wing opposition is the National Front, does that open the door to Bayrou to mount a legitimate centrist challenge?

  3. @ David

    “As one of my colleagues said to me in June 2010, the coalition was electoral suicide but the right thing to do.”

    I mostly agree. I don’t think you guys have a tradition of minority governments (like Canada does) and I think for the sake of the country, it was best to have a stable government. And in Clegg’s defense, he’s gotten through a lot of laws and public policy that he and his party have always wanted. They saw an opportunity to get through what they wanted and they took it. Now, this ultimately looks like crass politics. But think about it this way, why else is one in politics if not to change things for the better and make a positive impact on society? So, I can’t blame Clegg or the LDs. (And as has been discussed to death, there was no way to form a majority coalition with Labour and it was pretty clear that the public wanted them out).

  4. @ Old Nat

    “However, the Edinburgh deal seems eminently sensible. Other than the constitutional issue (which isn’t a matter for council governance) SNP and Labour should be the natural bedfellows.

    Naturally, I don’t imply any sexual impropriety by that remark (though it might produce a closer bonding!)”

    That’d be a little too French for a bunch of Scots (even though half of them only see themselves as Scots and the other half see themselves as Brits as well).

    Your two parties are fairly similar. It’s probably why you seem to appeal to many of the same voters. It might also explain why there’s a lot of aggression between the parties (have you ever read Jim Murphy’s Twitter feed and the tweets from various Nat supporters?).

  5. SOCALLIBERAL

    The Auld Alliance with France still has resonance! In Cardenden, Fife there is a street called Jamphlars Road – it derives from the French Champs de Fleurs (although anyone sipping wine there will not be the equivalent of a fashionable Parisian)

  6. My council – North Ayrshire – has an SNP led administration now. The group of 6 independents having decided to support it.

    Whether there will be any real difference remains to be seen. I’m not convinced that a change of political control in any council at any time actually changes how the officials operate.

  7. @ Jim Jam

    “Really, he may not be the brand of Conservative you prefer but an LD in disguise?

    Sure DC is liberal on social issues but Economically dry. Maudling, Whitelaw, Prior, Pym, Patten and many more were well to the left of DC.”

    He’s definitely unique. I mean I don’t think I can find a politician quite like him. He’s kinda like a combination of Barbara Boxer and Paul Ryan. Ideologically speaking anyway. That’s like the fashion equivalent of a Chanel suit with Daeglo underwear or the culinary equivalent of fried pork chops and whipped cream.

    @ Max King

    “Cameron is a Lib Dem in Tory clothing”

    Yes but he’s your Lib Dem. :)

  8. @OLDNAT

    “Naturally, I don’t imply any sexual impropriety by that remark (though it might produce a closer bonding!)”

    Not to mention confused children.

    “Whether there will be any real difference remains to be seen. I’m not convinced that a change of political control in any council at any time actually changes how the officials operate.”

    The changes tend to be more/less efficient, or the general focus of the funding moves from one thing to another. No idea what the priorities in Ayr are. Probably the same as everywhere else; jobs first; roads second.

  9. @SOCAL

    “the nazis of Golden Dawn”

    They were up all night thinking up that name. :)

  10. STATGEEK

    Don’t confuse us with Tory Ayr!

    Although the daft council reorganisations imposed on us by Westminster meant that we don’t have an Ayrshire Council that most here would prefer.

    ” jobs first; roads second.”

    I suspect that one of the factors that shifted perceptions here was the publication, prior to the election, that the previous administrations got monies from the Scottish Government as far back as 2003 for essential road improvements, but simply banked the cash instead of improving the roads.

    I doubt that the decision was “political”, in a party sense. More likely that the officials saw an opportunity to do some “clever” accounting and hope that the Scottish Government would incorporate them into wider schemes in the pipeline.

    Would the SNP have been more aware, and insisted that the monies were properly spent? Who knows?

    I’m happy to remain cynical about all politicians – including those in the party I’m currently in.

    That some on this site see their party being in power being the magic wand which ill dispel all problems simply reinforces my view that partisan posters are actually what John Dick described as “authoritarian followers” – and that description applies to many activists and loyal followers of all parties.

  11. @ Old Nat

    “The Auld Alliance with France still has resonance! In Cardenden, Fife there is a street called Jamphlars Road – it derives from the French Champs de Fleurs (although anyone sipping wine there will not be the equivalent of a fashionable Parisian)”

    Lol. I don’t know what the Auld Alliance was but it sounds interesting. At the risk of sounding like Mitt Romney (who recently went on at length about his favorite parts of the 1st, 6th, and 8th arrendisements and his desire to vacation), the Champs Elysee isn’t really all that fashionable. It’s kinda touristy. And it’s not really a place you can kick back and have a glass of wine (like you could on Boulevard Saint Germaine at Deux Maggot or Cafe De Flor).

    Washington DC was designed by a Frenchman (it was designed to have a confusing layout intentionally just to confuse potential British invaders). I don’t know how it compares in fashionability to Carenden, Fife.

  12. @SOCAL

    h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Alliance

  13. I think it’s good that the leader of ND in Greece basically passed things on quickly once the smaller parties even refused to meet with him to discuss a possible deal.

    Minimising the time to the next election should minimise the uncertainty.

    I can see SYRIZA taking the full three days before admitting they can’t work with the right wing independents and the communists in the same government, the 50 bonus seats to ND basically sealed off any hope of a government being formed once it was clear noone would deal with them.

    I guess the question is what will happen with the new set of elections? Will enough Greeks realise they need to return a government and move away from the minor parties who don’t seem to want to even discuss forming a government, allowing a ND based government to form? I can see this being a powerful argument used by ND in the runup to the next election.

    Or will enough realise if they have any hopes of returning a anti austerity government they need to unite behind SYRIZA allowing it to patch together a left wing coalition?

    I suspect the minor parties will struggle to find the campaign funds for another election and ND will get a larger share of the vote, opening up the possibilities of a coalition but there is still a huge amount of uncertainty and a potential result which could be crippling for Greece, going to a third election would pretty much be a farce.

    (Hopefully we won’t see a similar result to this election with everyone shunning the largest party, scuppering any hope of a government being formed. If any party reject government forming talks after a second set of elections)

    Until this deadlock is solved I can see all of the bailout money being withheld until Greece forms a government that will agree to the terms of a (possibly renegotiated) bailout agreement.

    If a second set of elections are inconclusive, I think Greece will face bankruptcy and expulsion from the Euro by default.

  14. @ Statgeek

    “They were up all night thinking up that name. :)”

    Perhaps. It seems like they might have had a few two many cadillac margeritas while doing it.

    Here’s what I don’t get about the Greek Nazis. Looking at the current Euro situation with the bailouts and austerity, I think there’s a real fear that the French and Germans have teamed up to do to Europe economically what both tried unsuccessfully militarily: conquer Europe. So if you oppose this (and I assume they do), why would you model yourself and name yourself after the very people who tried to conquer you? It’s just confusing. Like the Russian Neo Nazis who hate all non-ethnic Russians yet seem to admire Stalin who was Georgian (which is also confusing because the only good thing Stalin did for the world out of the myriad of evil things he did was to crush and kill Nazis).

    I wonder if the Greek Nazi Party is a little like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K08akOt2kuo

  15. SOCALLIBERAL

    Cardenden attracts few jet setters (unless their plane crashes there).

    The Auld Alliance refers to the traditional alliance between France and Scotland against overweening English ambitions. As the junior partner in the alliance, we seemed to serve French interests more often than our own. Rather like the poodle relationship of the UK to the USA nowadays.

  16. @ Statgeek

    Thanks! I learn new things every day. I wonder if Scots have more favorable views of the French than the English do. OR do the Scots not like the French but was the Auld Alliance simply an example of the typical forward thinking of the Scots? I was once told by a Brit (an LD Scot) that the British and French don’t like each other, they just get along really well. So maybe the Scots were just ahead of their time in figuring this out before the English did. That you could work with the French even if you didn’t like them. Kinda reminds me of my neighbor across the hall who runs our condo board…….

  17. SOCALLIBERAL

    I may have mentioned to you before of my amusement at one of your fellow citizens berating Europeans in general, and particularly the French, outside a Starbucks on Lafayette St, NY.

    He clearly was wholly ignorant of American history (which would have been very different if the French hadn’t won your independence for you).

  18. @ Old Nat

    “Cardenden attracts few jet setters (unless their plane crashes there).”

    Ah. Well then, we could only hope for some of the jet setters of the world to spend time in Cardenden. :)

    “The Auld Alliance refers to the traditional alliance between France and Scotland against overweening English ambitions. As the junior partner in the alliance, we seemed to serve French interests more often than our own. Rather like the poodle relationship of the UK to the USA nowadays.”

    The French will do that to you if you’re not careful. The UK is not our poodle. You’re the smart ally who’s there to think for us when we have utterly incompetent people in charge.

  19. @SoCalLiberal,

    There’s only one phrase you need remember to understand the Auld Alliance. “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”.

    On the topic of the thread – I am not surprised that hardly anyone has commented on the poll findings, as AW is quite correct that it is a meaningless, pointless issue in the first place. Johnson wouldn’t do particularly well as Tory leader. And he isn’t going to be Tory leader. That’s about it.

    As for Nadine Dorries and her ilk, well she’s perfectly entitled to feel the way she does. There is a strong streak in the Tory party that is far more interested in social conservatism than economic policy, and she is pretty much the standard bearer for them. Good luck to her, although she needs to recognise that the Tories (like all UK parties) are a broad coalition and that she can’t hope to dictate what “True Tory” beliefs amount to.

    I am, like Cameron, economically dry and socially liberal. I don’t much like the dodgier (in terms of its views on race, gender and sexuality) end of the Tory party but there isn’t really anywhere else for an economic conservative to go than the Conservative Party. Perhaps one day there will be PR and I can find a home in some sort of David Laws / Francis Maude Blue-Orange outfit, but until then old Nads and me are going to have to root for the same team.

    If she decides to defect to UKIP, all she will achieve in the long run is to save the Tories the hassle of deselecting her. There isn’t a chance in Hell that Mid-Bedfordshire is going to elect UKIP or any other non-Tory candidate.

    All this talk about Gay Marriage and Lords Reform “distracting” from economic issues is nonsense. The economy is not fixed by the use of Acts of Parliament. It is an executive issue. What they really mean is “We don’t agree with an elected second chamber or woofters getting married”. Well, no-sh** Sherlock.

  20. @ Old Nat

    “I may have mentioned to you before of my amusement at one of your fellow citizens berating Europeans in general, and particularly the French, outside a Starbucks on Lafayette St, NY.

    He clearly was wholly ignorant of American history (which would have been very different if the French hadn’t won your independence for you).”

    You did tell me that story! That guy was a major a**hole. I figure he’s probably one of those people who doesn’t understand what birth control does or how it works (things that I thought were common knowledge).

    There wouldn’t be a U.S. without the French. In fact, I wonder if we wouldn’t have been taken back by Britain in the ill-advised War of 1812 if not for the fact that the French under Napoleon were a distraction to the British. Plus, the French are responsible for designing our beloved capital city and giving us the Statue of Liberty.

  21. @ Neil A

    “There’s only one phrase you need remember to understand the Auld Alliance. “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”.”

    I think that has been the governing philosophy of American foreign policy for the past 223 years.

    “On the topic of the thread – I am not surprised that hardly anyone has commented on the poll findings, as AW is quite correct that it is a meaningless, pointless issue in the first place. Johnson wouldn’t do particularly well as Tory leader. And he isn’t going to be Tory leader. That’s about it.”

    Cameron is a statesman. Whether you agree with him or like his policies, you have to give him credit for having good leadership qualities. And he’s shown as Prime Minister that he does have good leadership qualities because even when he’s done some things that are totally stupid and ill-advised, his response to the blowback is usually calm and appears to have been thought out. Boris Johnson comes off like a local buffoon. He’s got that Donald Trump hairdo with the Mark Penn unkempt suit look. He won his reelection but narrowly and beating a guy who should probably have retired from politics long ago and who probably would have beaten him but for his inability to refrain from making anti-semetic comments.

    “I am, like Cameron, economically dry and socially liberal. I don’t much like the dodgier (in terms of its views on race, gender and sexuality) end of the Tory party but there isn’t really anywhere else for an economic conservative to go than the Conservative Party. Perhaps one day there will be PR and I can find a home in some sort of David Laws / Francis Maude Blue-Orange outfit, but until then old Nads and me are going to have to root for the same team.”

    Hey, I sympathize. I mean I have to be on the same team as Marion Berry. Be glad though that Nadine Dorries is the worst you have to deal with. Imagine if you had to deal with Palin, Bachmann, Jean Schmidt, Thelma Drake, Marilyn Musgrave, and Anne Northup. That collective group of women make Nadine Dorries look like a genius. And they make Maggie Thatcher look like a compromising moderate.

    “All this talk about Gay Marriage and Lords Reform “distracting” from economic issues is nonsense. The economy is not fixed by the use of Acts of Parliament. It is an executive issue. What they really mean is “We don’t agree with an elected second chamber or woofters getting married”. Well, no-sh** Sherlock.”

    Lol. So true. And you actually did make me chuckle by using that line given that you and Sherlock Holmes share a common bond.

  22. Edinburgh Labour + SNP coalition for the council should ensure we have a fairly quiet political life around these parts.
    8-)

  23. @ Ann in Wales

    “Iwas listening to a mildly amusing play on the radio
    the other day,when one character described her son as
    being the new 24 going on 8 ,explaining to her boyfriend
    that they are not like us! As a mother of young 20 year
    olds I have to agree.Perhaps responsibility,war,etc,made
    people grow up too soon, in the past .Or perhaps we have been too
    soft with them nowadays .I do wonder sometimes.”

    Heh. I guess it’s different for everyone. And I think that parents tend to judge their own kids more harshly than others do while kids tend to judge their own parents more harshly than others.

  24. Neil A

    Pretty much sums up my views of things. They complain about the “lib dem tail wagging the dog” whilst they attempt to do the same on social issues.

    Frankly if Nadine Dories defected to UKIP at the next election that would be fine by me as it’d open up a safe seat for another modern conservative. Making a principled stand based on opposing social moves like introducing gay marriage is going to look rather silly.

    Ultimately political parties are a compromise, no matter what party you support there will be people at either end of the spectrum within the party you disagree with (and often disagree with them more fiercely than certain people from other parties). If I had a vote between Nadine Dories and an Orange Book Liberal, all other things being, equal I’d support the Liberal.

  25. Alan,
    The tragedy in Greece is caused by those 50 bonus seats.
    Had they just had true PR (with 3% threshold), the breakdown would be –
    Austerity left (PASOK) – 41 seats, 16.4% (of seats)
    Anti-Austerity left – 97 seats, 38.8% (of seats)
    Total Left – 138 seats, 55.2%
    Austerity right – 58 seats, 23.2%
    Anti-Austerity right – 33 seats, 13.2%
    Neo-Nazi – 21 seats, 8.4%
    Total Right – 112, 44.8%
    Austerity – 39.6%
    Anti-Austerity – 60.4%

    So it’s all down to those bonus seats – but a clear left-wing majority and a clear anti-austerity majority.
    So if ND win the next election, due to those bonus seats, and form a centre-right austerity government (with whoever as the minor party), I can’t imagine what sort of political unrest there’d be.

    As austerity is forced on countries, the narrative is starting to shift from austerity vs stimulus (and more broadly free-market vs market intervention) to austerity/free-market vs democracy.
    And that isn’t something that the centre-right can politically afford, any more than the centre-left can economically afford the policies that they want.

    So the centre-right parties across Europe need to reaffirm democratic legitimacy, or risk not only their political standing but also the austerity which they argue is so necessary.

  26. It seemed obvious to me that Brussells don’t believe in democracy when they imposed an unelected banker on Greece without a vote.

    Now they’ve had a vote and it is the beginning (I suspect) for the end for austerity and possibly for the single currency.

  27. Crikey!

    – “Liberal Democrats ‘want to pull out of Coalition’ to avoid poll wipe-out
    Senior figures within the Liberal Democrats say the party may need to pull out of the coalition well before the next general election to have any hope of avoiding a wipe-out at the polls, it was reported. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9251302/Liberal-Democrats-want-to-pull-out-of-Coalition-to-avoid-poll-wipe-out.html

  28. Amber – “Edinburgh Labour + SNP coalition for the council”

    AFAIAA this is the first time our two parties have gone into coalition together in such a clear and prominent fashion.

    We have worked together as parts of large, rambling coalition with Independent councillors involved, but never just us two. Unless someone can point out a precedent?

  29. tingedfringe – even without the 50 seat bonus I think it would have been tricky, as the 60% anti-austerity includes the neo-nazies who no one will work with, and the communists who I don’t think will work with any right-wing party.

    Alan – “Frankly if Nadine Dories defected to UKIP at the next election that would be fine by me as it’d open up a safe seat for another modern conservative.” Only if the boundary changes fail to get through, her seat is to be abolished.

  30. @TingedFringe,

    I am interested to know exactly what the alternative to austerity measures is in Greece. For France and the UK, there is scope for a change of tack (although I think it would be unwise). But Greece is functionally bankrupt. Without austerity, there’s no bailout. Without the bailout, there’s no money.

    A government that has no money and can’t pay its workers is imposing austerity, whether it is formed from “anti-austerity” parties or not.

    I have to assume that, for Greece, the only alternative to austerity is full-on Cuba/North Korea economic isolation.

  31. @AW,

    “… her seat is to be abolished”.

    Well, now, there’s a thing….

  32. This is the first time I have seen a senior Labour politician saying that they could see themselves voting for independence.

    The first of many?

    ‘Scottish independence: I’ll back independence if there’s no second question, says Labour figure’
    – Former Scottish Labour chairman Bob Thomson has said he will vote for independence if there is no second question on devo-max or home rule in the referendum .

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/scottish-independence-i-ll-back-independence-if-there-s-no-second-question-says-labour-figure-1-2280472

  33. @SocialLiberal, TingedFringe
    A scenario that is discussed in Greek political circles today is the following: A left-wing minority government formed by SYRIZA and DEMAR and supported without participation by ND, PASOK, and possibly the IG. The two ex-strong parties want at any cost to avoid a new GE which could be even more catastrophic to them, and prefer conserving their actual 149 seats as a leverage on a left-wing government, which is what most Greeks want according to the polls. Today and tomorrow are very crucial days, it’s a make or break, if this solution does not work, a new GE is inevitable.
    Meanwhile in Italy, in the local elections of 6-7 May, the party of Berlusconi came very near to extinction. Here are some significant results:
    PALERMO, capital of SICILY and ex-stronghold of the Berlusconian right:
    Center left (2 lists) 64.9 (+19.8)
    Right 12.5 (-41.0)
    Center (2 lists)15.9 (+15.9, allied with the right in 2007)
    Others 6.7 (+5.5)
    GENOVA, capital of LIGURIA, already hold by center-left
    Center-left 48.3 (-2.9)
    Right (3 lists) 18.0 (-27.9)
    Others 33.7 (+31.8)
    PARMA, one of the few cities of EMILIA ROMAGNA hold by center-right
    Center-left 39.2 (+1,6)
    Communists 5.4 (+5.4, in 2007 allied to center-left)
    Center-right (3 lists) 8.9 (-41.0)
    Center 16.4 (+16.4, allied to center-right in 2007)
    Others 30.1 (+17.6)
    Of course a municipal poll has its own particularities linked to local factors, but the general picture, reinforced by results in other, minor cities, is one of collapse of the party of Berlusconi and its satellites and a growth of centrists, independents, anti-politics movements, and to a lesser extent (but very important in Pelermo) and increase of center-left, whose lead over the center-right is now astronomical.

  34. @SocialLiberal
    Re Bayrou and UMP
    I agree that Bayrou has a shot in the recomposition of French center-right landscape. The UMP is not a normal political party such as the Conservatives in the UK or the German CDU, that exist independently of who their leader is. The UMP is not even a party in the strict sense of the term, it has been created as a federation of preexisting right and center-right parties, only to serve the presidential ambitions first of Chirac and then of Sarkozy (the original name of UMP was Union pour une Majorité Présidentielle, Union for a Presidential Majority, and not Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, Union for a Popular Movement, as it is now), and now that the right does not hold the presidential power, it risks implosion. If its more-right wing fraction, the so-called “popular right” choses an alliance with FN, then the more moderate, humanist and christian-democrat tendency will turn to Bayrou, and this new formation could attract disappointed left voters that do not wish to go to the FN and its new allies.

  35. The then Nadine Bargery, was chosen as candidate for Hazel Grove at the 2001 GE. She was deselected by the local party, but reimposed by Central Office.

    Party chairman Michael Ancram obviously rated her, as did Oliver Letwin who gave her a job until the safe mid-Bedfordshire seat came available in 2005.

    Probably speaks (in her own indiosyncratic way) to the concerns of the 40 or so other MPs who make up the Cornerstone Group.

  36. Somebody somewhere mentioned a Mail On Sunday poll that suggested even Tory supporters wanted the 50% tax rate restores.

    Voodoo poll or proper one? Anybody seen?

  37. @ Max

    Nadine Dorries ( dorris ) is nothing but bad for the conservatives and liking her to Thatcher is plain wrong.

    I called her a nutter ( and no i actually dont think she is insane its just a word ) because of how she attacks the goverment in public with headline grabbing “Two arrogant posh boys” You actually think they help the goverment at this time ?

    She is making a name for herself and has no interest in seeing this country and goverment prosper, if she is so right leaning she should join ukip, but she will only do that when her seat is gone and she has nothing to lose.

    Do you really think we need someone like that when the country has the problems it has, it just makes us look like ‘The same old Tories’

    You seem to want us to lean to the right, why ?

    We will not win an election with strong right views and DC knows that, some policies are good and should be in but we cannot go back to how things were.

    You seem to dislike DC when he is low in the polls and rate him when he isnt.

    He is leader of the Conservatives and will remain so.

    [Bluebob – please don’t start (or I suppose, continue) a debate, it’s not the place for it – AW]

  38. SoCalLiberal

    I suppose if you’re a neo-Nazi, political coherence isn’t going to be your main attribute. I’m still surprised though how neo-Nazi they look. You only have to see what their symbol is. Given how dreadfully Greece suffered under the Nazis from 1943 on, you’d think they’d be more circumspect. Still politics is only second to religion as an excuse to behave evilly and feel good about it, so the activists they attract are probably more concerned with indulging themselves than other people’s feelings.

  39. Sorry AW will steer away from these sort of debates in future, as i agree they get us nowhere.

  40. @SOCAL

    “The UK is not our poodle. You’re the smart ally who’s there to think for us when we have utterly incompetent people in charge.”

    Methinks it’s sometimes a case of tweedledum or tweedledummer.

    @all

    Will the Lib Dems polling increase if it tries to distance itself from the coalition? Place your bets.

  41. The debate about austerity vs stimulus will go on elsewhere but the polls will tell us who is winning.

    In the end the stimulus will win. Surely Cam & co are realising this now. So what they will do it continue to shout austerity but look for ways to stimulate growth anyway.

    I don’t think the public are married to austerity and would only be too happy to persuaded about stimulus (limited or not). We’ll see.

  42. tingedfringe

    The 50 seat bonus is a wonderful example of how good intentions go astray. Designed to encourage stability in one set of circumstances, it actually makes things less stable in another. Without it a Left alliance with a basically anti-austerity agenda might be possible. SYRIZA + PASOK + KKE(Communists) + DIMAR would have 138 seats when 126 would be required for a majority. I suspect most of PASOK wouldn’t be too unhappy to change ‘sides’ on the economic issue – in reality we’re talking about different balances rather than two completely opposing policies.

    If the KKE wouldn’t play, they could be replaced by the Independent Greeks to give a more centrist balance and total of 145. All this would avoid Golden Dawn (who would probably be unworkable with even if they weren’t so despicable), but none of it reaches the 150 currently needed.

  43. AW

    Good spot about her seat being one of the ones being proposed to be abolished, I did miss that.

    Can’t believe her antics will endear her with Tory HQ to give her a relatively safe neighbouring seat to contest.

    She might find herself sent to Coventry (Northeast).

  44. Perhaps we should have an upper age limit on the board.
    50 posts or so back, a bloke called Jack reckons he can remember the Weimar Republic. The balance of his post displayed severe confusion and mental degeneration.

  45. ageism alert!

    Did it finish with Hitler…about early 30s? My mum & dad were born in 1930 and they’re in their early 80s, so we could have somebody aged about 100 who was 10 in 1922.

    Not impossible. But I think the only upper limit AW should impose is death.

    So no vampires or zombies.

    So that excludes (self imposed snip)

  46. @NICK P
    There will always be people like you who are politically wired to believe that irresponsible spending is fine. This pre – supposes it is not on defence, but on “fairness for the poor”. The Labour client will always agree with you, because they are brain washed into the welfare culture.
    Large numbers of others are not sucked into the soft option, Cameron and Osbourn are among them. They do NOT think they are wrong, they think the British Labour party is wrong. They think Hollande is wrong. One point I do agree with you about, is the answer lies in the future, as who is right and who is wrong in the real world. Half – arsed politico/ economic comment on this site will change nothing.

  47. By the way, I wonder if the BoE is using QE to provide the 12% core capital UK banks are now required to keep?

    We are printing it, the euro banks can’t…yet.

  48. roly

    No point arguing. The polls will show us.

    Can’t wait…

  49. @Blueblob

    I’ve never rated Cameron, even when we soaring ahead in the polls but I was able to tolerate it as I thought this was the price of success, but actually we didn’t even succeed. One of the reasons for a low turnout and people not caring is this idea that the 2 parties are the same, this has been caused by New Labour and Cameron’s shift. Cameron tries to emulate Tony Blair, he’s just not as good at it.

    The fact is, we have won elections while leaning to the right, this new centre led approach has never actually succeeded, it’s still very untested, and despite all the theory saying it should work, the one time it was tested, it failed.

    John McCain was seen as too lefty and he was trailing, that’s why he brought in Sarah to appeal to the right, and get some energy flowing. Despite her gaffes and onslaught from the media, she still was vital to the campaign, they still lost, but not as badly as they would have without her, because without her, some on the very right would have stayed home, they could have lost places like Montanna. The same is happening now with Romney, he’s very uninspiring, and my aunt uncle, and cousins in America are saying they think they will stay at home as he is just as “bad” as Obama. They want to sit this one out and hope they can find someone better in 2016.

    With 307 MP’s I’m sure there is someone in the Tory party that’s a true conservative and able to lead it, even if we do not know of them yet, after all, how many of you had heard the name David Cameron before Michael Howard stepped down?

  50. Max

    I guess it’s fair to say that, post-War, the Tories have won two elections with a strongly right wing agenda – 83 and 87. 1983 was a once-in-a-century situation. 87, less so, but Thatcher had pretty much everything going for her – weak and divided opposition, booming economy. The Tories won in 92 to a great extent because they moved strongly centre-wards post-Thatcher. And of course, they were trounced on right-leaning manifestos in 01 and 05 albeit in unpromising circumstances for them anyway ( in 01 at least – they had a very good chance of winning in 05 with a centrist platform given how deeply unpopular Blair was by then).

    Overall, there is absolutely no evidence that the country would go flocking back to the Tories if they tack Right. But I’d be delighted if the Tories tried it, just to find out…

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