More Boris polling…

This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 44%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8%. A thirteen point Labour lead is the highest YouGov have shown since the end of June. All the normal caveats apply about reading too much into a poll – sure, it could be a sign of a growing Labour lead as we move away from the holidays and big events of the Summer… or it could just be an outlier. Keep an eye on it.

This morning the Sun also published a fresh set of “how would you vote with Boris as leader?” questions, actually asked as part of yesterday’s YouGov poll. They showed the same pattern we have become familar with in Boris questions since the Olympics began. YouGov first asked a control question asking how people would vote if the present leaders remain in place (this is to isolate the Boris effect from any Miliband or Clegg effect) – this reduced the 11 point Labour lead in YouGov’s poll yesterday to an 8 point lead when Miliband, Cameron and Clegg are mentioned. When people were asked how they would vote with Boris this fell further, down from an 8 point lead to a 1 point Labour lead – CON 37%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%.

I will make all my normal caveats about hypothetical questions – people are answering them on very low levels of information. They mostly know who Boris is, and they’ll have an idea of what sort of personality Boris has and what he is like… and it clearly demonstrates that for many people this is something that may well change their vote. They don’t really know what policies Boris would put forward as a leader, how he would operate as a Prime Minister, how the media would react to and report upon Boris as PM (right now they see him through the media prism of “Ah Boris, stuck on a zip wire, what a laugh!”. Imagine how easily the media indulgence he gets as a political joker could turn sour “Hopelessly blundering PM in yet another diplomatic gaffe”, “out of his depth”, “national embarrassment” etc).

As an aside, the biggest problems with a Boris for PM story are little to do with public opinion, they are the practical obstacles of not being in Parliament, and not being able to get there without it being interpreted and reported as a direct leadership challenge. I am sure Boris could return to Parliament without too vast a difficultly. I suspect if he already was an MP he would win a leadership election if he reached the final vote of party members (MPs slightly trickier). However while he is outside Parliament the mere act of standing for a seat would immediately be interpreted by the media and by any potential leadership rivals as the start of a long, drawn-out leadership challenge with all the division and damage that would cause.

276 Responses to “More Boris polling…”

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  1. Typo:

    “Try reading this for more:”


    From that interview, it seems most likely that Ming doesn’t plan to stand again.

  3. Statgeek,

    Much as I love your own work on stats I tend to cring at anything from the TPA.

    The stats are fine but the spin is dreadful.

    Dreadful in two ways, it’s ideological distortions and the fact that anyone who can count without using their fingers cabs see through it.

    Take Glasgow, they quote the deficient and give a figure per head in Glasgow, but a quick look at the pension fund report shows that it has £11billion in assets and is over 97% funded.

    By any standards that is top performance for a final salary scheme, particularly in the current financial climate.


  4. @PeterCairns

    “The stats are fine but the spin is dreadful.”

    I didn’t read the spin. The stats are enough for me. Try pages 11 and 12 of :

    Also pages 48-50 on details of pension liabilities.

  5. @ Paul Croft

    “As you tend to advise all and sundry – try to read more carefully BEFORE you are rude to people. Like Obama said about Romeny. you tend to shoot first and aim afterwards.

    Very sad.”

    That’s a very nasty thing to say to Old Nat. I don’t know Old Nat personally (well I should say I don’t know him offline) but I know him well enough here to know that he’s nothing like Mittens.

  6. @ Old Nat

    “It’s been suggested that even senior Republicans have failed to support/criticise Romney for his comments.”

    Well that was going on yesterday but today a few seemed to be closing ranks. It’s absolutely disgusting and utterly contemptible. Reagan once said that the 11th Commandment was that Republicans should never attack fellow Republicans. I don’t think that meant endorsing outrageous comments.

    I saw a clip of Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) on CBS this morning where he continued Romney’s attacks from yesterday. When a reporter stopped him and pointed out that what he was saying was flat out wrong, he continued the attack and mumbled something stupid before going off the air.

    “How much damage do you think his comments have done to him among independents/moderate Republicans?”

    That I don’t know. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence but that’s of course anecdotal evidence. None of the polls released today (almost uniformly good for the President) would reflect the reaction to the comments. But I’ll be interested to see polling next week that will reflect public reaction, which I can’t imagine will be very good. Of course, that assumes that the news media will do its job and inform citizens.

    Here is an interesting poll of California conducted before all this:

    What I find astounding looking at the crosstabs is that 15% of California Republicans are voting for Obama as are 23% (nearly a quarter) of self-identified Conservatives. If Obama came anywhere close to acheiving these numbers nationwide, he’d put away the election. It’s possible that Romney’s outrageous attacks might help move those numbers in that direction.

    Btw, two of the murdered Americans in Benghazi were Southern Californians, both from San Diego County (one was from Imperial Beach and one from Enciitas). :(

  7. Here’s an interesting newsworthy item:

    As a friend and former classmate of mine from Florida said: “This is not the first time Charlie Crist has approached a large, muscular man and said, “You know what I’m here for.” It is, however, the first time it’s happened with the lights on.””

    I’m glad he’s on our side this election (and I didn’t boo or heckle him during his speech a week ago) but the man is a clown, pure and simple.

    Anyway, here’s an interesting polling tidbit that MSNBC’s Chuck Todd picked up on today in analyzing some new polling numbers (and he gets the credit, not me, as I hadn’t actually noticed). I notice that right track/wrong track or right direction/wrong direction questions rarely gets polled in UK election polls (or maybe it does but I don’t study your polls in depth enough) but it does here. And for a long while, overwhelming numbers of the voting population had said the country was headed in the wrong direction. Suddenly, after the convention, a good chunk of the country now says we’re headed in the right direction. Chuck Todd attributes this to Bill Clinton’s speech and refers to it as the Clinton bounce. It does help the President a great deal.

    Btw, there continues to remain a gap between polls of likely voters and registered voters (and the only way to compare intelligently is to look at polls of both from the same pollster…if the numbers are availble). A Yahoo poll conducted today shows Obama leading Romney by 4% among Likely Voters but 11% among Registered Voters. Although pollsters are now switching to Likely Voter models for reporting, Registered Voter polls in 2010 were more accurate over 2/3rds of the time.

    So amongst registered voters, NBC/Marist/Wall Street Journal polls released today show President Obama leading Virginia (49%-42%), Florida (50%-42%), and Ohio (50%-41%) by greater margins than are being reported in the media. Also, this poll (and numerous others) are not properly polling Virginia because they are not including racist nutjob ex-Congressman Virgil Goode (R-VA) who will be on the ballot and take votes from Romney. The President is likely further ahead in VA than thought.

  8. Latest YouGov/The Sun results 13th Sept – CON 34%, LAB 43%, LD 8%, UKIP 7%; APP -36

  9. Top of the Morning All.

    The poll figure seems to be 9% as a solid lead/deficit, I see that Nick Clegg is reported to be prepared to enter into talks with Labour.

  10. On Hillsborough, I am sorry to say I don’t have much faith in the IPCC.

    Its track record seems to be as the whitewash before a proper investigation finds the truth. IPCC is mostly ex-police officers and there doesn’t seem to be any legal duty for police officers to cooperate anyway.

    If IPCC clears Bettison for instance, there will be immediate calls for a properly independent investigation.

  11. Still a ‘Boris’ thread, so if I may beg indulgence and give a personal opinion that I would rather face a Boris led Tory party than a DC led one.

    The Tories are are appearing rather fractious at present but the divisions imo would become open wounds after an ousting of DC and a leadership campiagn.

    Personally, I would be amazed if baring incpacitation DC did not take the Tories in to the next GE.

    Polldrums on YG.

  12. @ Statgeek

    “Ming the Merciless is back. Having a pop at Nick Clegg and Vince Cable”

    It’s interesting that he seems to dislike the coalition yet seems to criticize those who he feels are undercutting it. I actually appreciate that mindset (it’s independent for sure and it definitely goes against the grain). Also, I’m glad that he can outrun O.J. I would imagine that could come in handy. :)

  13. Stats of note in this latest poll:

    North VI Average:

    Con: 27.9%
    Lab: 54.0%
    Lib: 7.8%

    North Today:

    Con: 34%
    Lab: 45%
    Lib: 8%

    North Approval Averages:

    App: 22%
    Dis: 65%
    Net: -43%

    Today’s Approval:

    App: 26%
    Dis: 60%
    Net: -34%

    Outlier, or some odd Hillsborough apology bounce?

  14. @Statgeek

    Hillsborough apology bounce is possible. I have long thought that many people outside of the south of England, have though of Cameron as ‘foreign’. What I mean by this is that most people have very little in common with Cameron, who comes from a very priviledged background and is someone they cannot connect with. If there is no connection with him as a ‘man’, then they probably would not vote Tory.

    In the near future expect Cameron to be photographed, watching Aston Villa somewhere and having a pint in an ordinary pub (not wine bar). This is why you have politicians like Tory Blair saying that they went to see Newcastle, as he was not seen as representing working class men. William Hague about how he drank 14 pints of beer, wearing baseball caps at a theme park.

    They all do it and it is pretty cynical, if they have never really done the things, that the picture stories claim. It is just to get the pictures out there, so some voters will start to think that perhaps they may identify with a politician and can think about voting for the party they lead.

  15. @Statgeek – i tend to dismiss anything from the TPA. In the past they have proved to be deeply untrustworthy in the figures they use.

    What I did find interesting was their admission that in a single year, the pension deficit fell from £91B to £54B. This is what happens if you take a snapshot of pension liabilities against assets. In recessions, when investments underperform, any assets will fail to grow, and the ‘deficit’ increases. However, this is a notional deficit only, and as asset values grow more rapidly after recessions, it’s likely that you will see major increases in the funding ratio.

    Perhaps if the founders of the TPA paid their fair share of taxes instead of living in tax exile and using tax shelters, we might have a bit more money to pay decent pensions to local authority staff?

  16. @Socal

    I’m not much of a Ming fan, but he seems to have spells of lucidity.

  17. @Alec

    “Perhaps if the founders of the TPA paid their fair share of taxes instead of living in tax exile and using tax shelters, we might have a bit more money to pay decent pensions to local authority staff?”

    Perhaps if the UK was less inclined to see all its problems as the fault of the rich, and the solution being to tax the rich, the rich might be more inclined to stick around.

    I’ve never been rich, but have no problem with people who are rich. All a little partisan though.

  18. DC’s response to Hillsborough and his handling of the Commons debate may well be remembered as the best thing in his premiership. He now needs to instruct the Home Secretary to rescind the original inquest and institute another, to establish an independent public enquiry into both police liability on the day and into the subsequent cover-up, and to indicate the Government’s support for the civil action of fans and their families against criminal slander by the police and the Sun.
    From a wider political standpoint it is important that we know to what extent abuse by senior police and the cover-up have been and continue to be systemic. A key question would be, having accused Liverpool fans of criminal behaviour, did the police suggest or attempt to prosecute anyone?

  19. I’ve been reading up about Free Schools and as far as I can tell they get away from the control of the Local Authority and thus can teach stuff outside the norm.

    But studies in Sweden and the US suggest that Free Schools perform know better than state schools, and no educational transformation has been accomplished.

    What’s the point? Just so some schools can teach Creationism?

  20. @RAF

    “There’s a “grass is greener” aspect to this Boris stuff. Boris can do London, where he gets a free ride fron the local Press (owned and edited vy his chums) on policy. It means he can simply be Boris the personality and get away with it. He couldn’t do that at national level.”

    Oh I don’t know. See the polling. As PM you don’t actually have to do anything. When anything goes wrong you just shuffle the ones you want to blame.

  21. New Marist polls show Obama 5-7% ahead in Virginia, Florida and Ohio… the ‘iron triangle’ of swing states (13, 29 and 18 electoral college votes):


  22. @RHuckle/John Pilgrim/Statgeek

    I’m a little less fulsome in my praise of Cameron on his Commons statement about the Hillsborough report, I have to say, not because he mishandled it in any way, but because it was the easy bit really, especially for someone as well versed in the art of presentation as he is. Rather like Clinton who famously “did good funeral”, Cameron does good apology. What’s much more important than warm words and heartfelt apologies is the follow-up to the reports findings and this must surely now lead to public prosecutions.

    Whilst on the subject of apologies, I see Kelvin McKenzie, sensing that the game was up, finally apologised profusely for the Sun’s infamous headline, article and false accusations. The victims families accepted it with the profound contempt it deserved and although the matter has now run its course, can we please have no more of this malevolent oaf popping up routinely on our TV screens with his rent-a-quote, rabble rousing rants. If people want to listen to him or read him, that’s fine by me, but let them pay for the dubious privilege. No more public platforms please for this utterly discredited buffoon.


    Thanks for the poll. What I found interesting was that only around half of the Romney vote was positive for him as opposed to anti-Obama.

    With Obama voters, around 80% were positive for him compared with around 20% primarily anti-Romney.

    It’s a form of question that might be interestingly used over here.


  24. I am surprised no comments have flowed about the US QE3.

    The £ and the € have been pulled up. I am not certain if the BOE wanted that, although oil should become cheaper, but I am certain that the ECB is anything but put out.

    Bernanke seems determined to ensure re-election for Obama.

  25. Reference posting just posted. The USA has devalued again (of course). A better way of putting it.

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