When a party goes up or down in the polls there is inevitably speculation as to why. Sadly it’s not normally very good speculation… there is always a temptation for people to follow the logic of I think issue X is very important therefore issue X is the cause of the recent shift in the polls. Inferences from polls are not always much better than that – people who are supporting party Y are more likely to think X, therefore X has caused the increased support for that party. It sounds okay, but what about issues A, B and C which weren’t asked in the poll?

Daily polling does at least give us an idea of when movements in public opinion have happened, and therefore make inferences about what events may have caused them. The graph below shows a five day rolling average of UKIP’s support in YouGov’s daily poll since the end of 2011.

You can see there are two big increases – the first was the Budget in 2012, nothing to do with immigration or Europe or any of those issues we associate with UKIP, the thing that co-incided with an increase in UKIP support more than anything else was the budget. My guess, given the demographic make up of UKIP’s vote, that the granny tax and the messages it sent out were the most important factor there. UKIP’s support then faded away a bit, had a couple of lumps and bumps during the autumn and then shot up again during November when there was an almost perfect storm for them – the run up to the EU budget summit, a decent performance in the police elections, the Rotherham fostering row, the speculation over a Con-UKIP pact and finally the solid by-election performance at the end of the month, all combining to produce far more news coverage than the party could normally dream of. It is possible that the gay marriage issue since then has helped keep their support up.

All of this is still a far cry from proving what causes the ups and downs in UKIP support, after all, correlation does not prove causality. There could have been other events at the same time that got less attention, but it is normally a fairly good pointer.

Note also the biggest drop in UKIP support, back at the end of 2011 at the time of David Cameron’s veto in Europe. As I wrote the other day, Europe isn’t actually the main driver of UKIP support, so if the Conservatives suddenly became more anti-European UKIP would not vanish like magic… but it is an issue that plays to the sort of values that drive UKIP voters, so neither is it irrelevant.

223 Responses to “The ups and downs of UKIP”

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  1. Colin

    All of them

  2. COLIN

    Oh, there are lots of them. They are characterised by sending their troops to invade other countries, then describing every single one of their troops as “heroes” – even when it turns out (inevitably) that some of them just kick civilians to death.

    I’m sure that you can think of one or two.

  3. Guns themselves aren’t the problem. We have had massacres here where the perpetrator used a machete or something similar. And doesn’t every adult male in Switzerland have a gun because of National Service? Yet we don’t hear of massacres there.

    Automatic weapons should be banned, because there is no need to use them for hunting or whatever, but there are deeper problems such as why the US seems to have so many psychopaths and mass murdereers.

  4. Ambivalent – I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily anything ideologically incompatible with economic equality and being tough on crime.
    The political elite on the left (note – this is a bit of a generalisation) may be more liberal in regards to the treatment of prisoners, but being tough on prisoners fits perfectly with certain ‘socialist’ ideologies.

    If you view equality in terms of balance then treating prisoners proportionally to their crime (i.e death penalty for murder, etc) is just restoring that equality.
    You can see this sort of system in play in one-man-one-vote democracy (each person has one share of power – each person’s power is balanced against others), the labour theory of value and Marx’s theory of exploitation that is derived from that [1].
    You can also see it in ‘conservative’ attitudes of ‘Why should someone get benefits/a pension/etc when they haven’t paid in to the system?’.
    It also means that people with that ideology will be against tax avoidance – because the wealthy are gaining from society without putting in. That therefore ‘isn’t fair’.

    Alan Fiske calls this sort of social bond ‘Equality Matching’ – that each person puts in an equal amount and gets an equal amount out. Anybody who upsets the balance is therefore an immoral person and should be punished equal to their crime (to restore the balance).

    Personally my view (which is largely influenced by the work of Alan Fiske – I highly recommend his relational model theory) is that it’s the whole basis of socialism [2] and egalitarian philosophy more generally.
    Of course I imagine most people would class that as ‘working class conservatism’ – and I suspect the Labour party could do quite well if it adopted more stances using that ideological underpinning (I wouldn’t be particularly happy – but I’m only one voter).

    This is why the ‘centre ground’ gets really messy as a concept because it assumes being ‘tough on crime’ is right-wing and being ‘bleeding heart’ is left-wing, because it assumes a single ideological measure (left-right) where psychological research shows that it’s far more complex than that (even if you assume that ideology exists on scales, rather than being morphological).

    I much prefer the term (used by many conservatives now), the ‘common ground’ as it doesn’t assume an overly simplistic left-right scale.

    But to make my point clearer – if you are going to use a left-right scale (left being egalitarian or communal ideologies, right being hierarchical or capitalist ideologies) then being ‘tough on crime’ fits perfectly within a more authoritarian-left ideological stance (which would be favouring egalitarian over communal ideology).
    The fact that it overlaps with hierarchical ideology (which would enact harsh punishment until the prisoner obeys – although the punishment may be disproportional to the crime – so both sides may favour harsh punishment in regards to serious crimes) is what causes the confusion over left/right.
    Much like right-libertarian and left-libertarian ideologies often overlap but have fundamental motivational differences – the agreement of policy causes them both to be labelled libertarian, which causes confusion when you refer to ‘libertarian ideology’ because it actually covers two fundamentally different ideologies.

    [1] And the concepts of earned and unearned income are derived from that – because a shareholder/landlord/etc is living off someone else’s labour – value being derived from the input (labour) even if part of that input is capital (which is just effectively stored labour).
    [2] The word ‘socialism’ is such a broad term that people use it to mean communal ideologies whereas I would consider socialism to only cover egalitarian ones.


    Are you against the idea of national armed forces?

    Would you favour the disbanding of all state armies?

    What about armed forces under UN colours & command?

  6. @reggieside

    “So the political ‘centre’ is now less rightwing than it was.
    Ed M could – IMO – afford to be considerably more radical such as promiting polices like a massive investment in council housing, a staturory living wage and the renationalisation of the energy companies.”

    I am persuaded by this analysis. And indeed the really interesting thing in party politics at the moment is how Labour will position themselves in the run up to and (should they win) after the 2015 GE.

    Will they pursue the Blair New Labour vision? Or will they go for a more leftist vision of social democracy?

    As an outsider to the Labour party however I’m not persuaded they are clear in their own minds as to the answer to those questions. Current polling tells us they may not have to answer it any case to win in 2015.

  7. Richard in Norway-including the Norwegian Army?

  8. COLIN



    So -you have an army-and it is called to action.

    Do you accept that individual soldiers may do bad things-even when the rules of engagement preclude them?

  10. Colin

    Of course

  11. Billy Bob

    It’s not really the Balkans or the break of the Soviet Union that’s the problem. The most dangerous source of illegal weapons in the world is the USA. From there, the easy availability of legal guns and ammo means that the drug wars in Mexico and further south can be kept fueled.

    Just look at the List of countries by firearm-related death rate on Wikipedia. The US is number 10 but all except Swaziland and possibly Brazil in the nine above are deeply concerned with illegal drug supply to the US. All get into the list based on homicides alone – unlike as I’ve pointed out, the US.

    In addition if the US wasn’t such a lucrative market for drugs, then maybe there wouldn’t be most of those murders in those countries, even with the plentiful US-originated weaponry. But that’s a different discussion.

  12. RiN

    Your opinion is that the Norwegian Army “encourages & glorifies killing” ?

  13. “I thought the kids on that bus had guns man: how was ah tuh know they was hockey sticks when I gunned them down?”

    I hope when this defence is accepted parents will at least be comforted by the fact that their children were maccacred by a “good” guy, rather than someone who was mentally ill [and might have been receiving treatment in a more enlightened society.]

  14. Ambivalent – just to be even clearer –
    The reason we use ‘left’ to refer to multiple ideologies is because of the overlap between those ideologies.
    Much like we use ‘right’ to refer to multiple ideologies because of the overlap between them.

    But those overlappings only make sense in broad terms but not necessarily when you look more closely at them.

    So take gay marriage – the legalisation makes sense according to egalitarian [1], communal and classic liberal ideologies but for different motivational reasons. It’s only really hierarchical that generally opposes it (because marriage should only belong to straight people – i.e it should be privileged).
    So according to left-right politics, gay marriage is primarily a ‘left wing’ policy (because of the overlap between egalitarian and communal ideologies).

    Egalitarian and communal ideologies (the left) will both agree on taxing the wealthy more (although again, for different motivational reasons) – whereas liberal and hierarchical will oppose it (again, for different motivational reasons). So in regards to economic policy, liberal and hierarchical tend to overlap – hence why we consider them both ‘right wing’.

    Then when it comes to being ‘tough on crime’, egalitarian (working class conservatism) and hierarchical (upper class conservatism) ideologies overlap – but because ‘the left’ overlap more often on other social issues, being ‘tough on crime’ becomes a ‘right wing’ policy.

    So then when politicians adopt a more pure egalitarian stance (tough on crime, but for more economic equality), it gets labelled as ‘centrist’ because it adopts ‘left wing’ and ‘right wing’ policy – even though it’s a more pure form of ideology[2].

    This is the problem with the English language – words are just labels to convey meaning. But meaning gets confused when we use labels which can refer to multiple things or are only contextually valid.
    So we treat the labels as truths rather than seeking the concepts being the labels.

    So when people refer to ‘gay marriage’ as ‘being ontologically impossible’ they’re referring to ‘marriage’ the label only pertaining to one concept – whereas ‘gay marriage’ to everybody else refers to a different concept although uses the same word.
    Opponents of gay marriage are confusing the label with the thing and then getting angry when people are using the label for a different concept.

    So we would be more accurate in talking about Marriage-1, Marriage-2 and so on – or leftwing-1, leftwing-2, etc so there’s a lack of confusion.

    Blah blah blah essentialism blah blah blah Aristotle blah blah general semantics.

    I may have posted a little bit too much when I was trying to be clearer, yes?

    [1] Only if marriage is legal – if it’s illegal for all, egalitarian ideology doesn’t have too much of a problem.
    [2] As opposed to pragmatism – what I call the ‘common ground’ – which would adopt policies from all ideologies depending on what works (although this becomes a little bit circular, because goals themselves are ideological).

  15. COLIN

    “Do you accept that individual soldiers may do bad things-even when the rules of engagement preclude them?”

    Of course. If you train people to be violent, then sometimes they will be inappropriately violent.

    That is nothing at all with my post that criticised states which glorify the killing conducted by their troops, and call all of their troops “heroes”.

    A civilised state would avoid invading other countries, only do so for humanitarian reasons – and then only with wide international agreement.

    When its troops did require to kill people, in their own defence, or in the defence of others, such a state would regret the necessity that killing proved necessary.

    Would you have a problem with a state behaving in such a way?

  16. BB

    The LDs who are left (err… remaining) are clearly not left-leaning. Most of the 3 million that have deserted them since 2010 are.

  17. OLDNAT

    I think that is how any civilised state should direct & engage it’s state military personnel on active service.

    I have no criticism of the accolade ” hero” for any state employee who is put in harm’s way at the state’s behest.

    Such a person puts their life at the disposal of the state.

    I think that as good a definition of “hero” as any.

  18. @ Howard

    “Just – only after a while?

    I love to read you Socal, so do keep them coming, but I do not think you have any idea about what , despite the assimilation of USA idiom and vocabulary within our country (all Europe), how independent culturally from USA we are.

    What hit me (as example) was how at the scene of the shootings, people put up stars and stripes flags.

    Astonishing (to us).”

    I think I do. I’ve been to Europe and spent time there (though not enough to truly say I’ve lived abroad). We do have marked cultural differences. I like that btw. It’s nice that we’re not all culturally the same. It makes the world a more interesting and better place.

    Why is it so astonishing though to put up flags around the scene of the shootings? It’s sort of like putting up teddy bears, flowers, and ribbons. A tribute to those who have died.

    Here’s a question on culture and society. Do you (or for that matter anyone here) own a gun? Do you know people (friends, family) who own guns?

  19. Is it known if Adam Lanza’s late mother was a member of NRA ?

  20. Colin

    I’m surprised that you are critical of the UK and the USA, though probably not surprised at criticism of the Soviet Union.

    However, I’m delighted that you accept that states, which glorify the killings conducted by their troops, are uncivilised.

  21. Pete B

    Switzerland has the second highest rate of gun-related homicide in Europe, behind Serbia.

    Go figure…


    My Dad had a rifle (licensed) in the 1950s. We lived in the country and it was used for “hunting”. Actually, he kept it by his bedroom window, and used it to shoot the rabbits attacking his garden produce.

    Rabbit was one of our favourite meals.

    By the 1960s, the world had changed somewhat, and he surrendered the licence and the rifle.

  23. Correction

    5th. Behind Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Luxembourg.

    Doesn’t really change the gist of the argument though.

  24. And on that note –
    I am off for Christmas.
    So Happy Christmas everybody and enjoy what few polls there are left before then. :)

  25. Thanks for the link… perhaps today It shouldn’t be forgotten that the NRA also represents manufacturers.

    Btw this report quotes Amnesty and EUFOR linking “a chain of private brokers and transport contractors under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defence” to the movement of weapons stockpiles from one troublespot to the next:


  26. @Roger Mexico

    Thanks. Also Amnesty and EUFOR on how stockpiles of weapons make their way from one troublespot to the next:


  27. Pete B

    Guns themselves aren’t the problem. We have had massacres here where the perpetrator used a machete or something similar…

    Automatic weapons should be banned, because there is no need to use them for hunting or whatever, but there are deeper problems such as why the US seems to have so many psychopaths and mass murdereers.

    On the contrary guns are exactly what the problem is. They make it easy to kill a lot of people quickly. For example there was a similar attack on a similar number of young school children in China on the same day – guess what, other countries than the US have “psychopaths” too. But in China all 23 children were wounded but survived because their attacker used a knife. In America 20 are dead because there the would-be killer had easy access to guns.

    You’re effectively making the same point when you call for automatic weapons to banned. Those are even better at killing lots of people quickly, but “ordinary” guns are pretty good as well (they killed 17 at Dunblane). Unless you go back to front-loading muskets[1] all firearms are going to be much, much deadlier than any common alternative.

    As I said to SoCal earlier this doesn’t mean that other solutions to reduce the problem shouldn’t be looked at as well (eg better mental health treatment as you mention). But it is the way to make the biggest change and save the most lives.

    [1] This may be the way to comply with the Second Amendment in the US. Have it apply only to weapons that were available at the time. A strict originalist such as Roberts ought to be ecstatic.

  28. @Roger Mexico

    Thanks. Also a report on how stockpiles make their way from one trouble-spot to the next:


  29. Lefty
    I’m not contradicting your facts, but to get it in context, the list I’ve seen shows 0.52 firearm-related homicides per 100,000 in Switzerland, compared to 3.7 for the USA. So why is the USA so much more bloodthirsty, when probably a lower percentage of its citizens own firearms? That’s what someone needs to sort out.

  30. Continuing speculation about Balls’s future:


    “One proposal doing the rounds is for Alistair Darling, fresh from leading the unionist camp to victory in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, to return as shadow chancellor in time for the election. Balls will still almost certainly remain in his post (the right decision, in my view) but it’s no longer unthinkable that he could accept a different job.”

    “Almost certainly” is IMO overdoing it, “probably” would be a better description. Odds on offer of Darling at 33/1 to be next Chancellor seem pretty generous if the reported proposal “doing the rounds”has some basis in fact.

  31. @Roger Mexico

    A reply to you re the Balkans may or may not come out of moderation hereabouts.


    “This may be the way to comply with the Second Amendment in the US. Have it apply only to weapons that were available at the time.”

    Brilliant suggestion.

  33. How many schoold are there in America? Whta number of armed guards woud be enviseged by the NRA to “defend” them? Would the be paid professionals and properly trained and vetted?

    If not how would it work? If so how much would it cost? Have the NRA heard of “escalation” and are they aware of possible consequences?

    Hardly worth asking them I know and the fact that the rest-of-the-world is agape would just please them because they think the rest of the world is mad.

  34. ps

    i can spell – my laptop can’t

  35. ?

  36. @Roger Mexico

    Thanks. Also Amnesty and EUFOR on how stockpiles of weapons make their way from one troublespot to the next:


    (Apologies AW, I inadvertantly typed extraneous letters into my username.)

  37. Plodgate has taken another twist. It seems the the PM allowed Mitchell to resign even after No 10 officials noted that CCTV footage raised concerns over accounts of incident.

    It seems no 10 was reluctant to release footage to Mitchell, but was finally compelled to earlier this montth..

  38. Pete B

    Agreed. I’ve had this discussion elsewhere. It’s a big issue for America. Of course, the gun homicide rate amongst blacks is far higher than amongst other parts of the population[1]. I wonder how much the attitude that “whilst it’s primarily black-on-black homicide, we’ll not worry too much about it -at least not to the extent of allowing out right to arms to be taken away” prevails.

    [1]I’ll post the data later when I can put my hands on it.


    “How many schools are there in America?”

    If they want to protect all their children, then that number wouldn’t even begin to address the problem.

    A huge number of American children are “home-schooled” – which frequently involves groups of parents combining to “teach” quite large groups of children in private homes.

    Mind you, given the characteristics of many families who home school, these homes are possibly armed already to an extent that the National guard units would envy.

  40. No country ever says,

    we are invading this other place cos we want their resources,
    control of pipelines,
    they vote the wrong way in international affairs
    or that they won’t agree to trade rules that benefit us

    And of course no country ever says directly “we are sending troops to help our allies because they will help us with something we want”

    Govts always find more Nobel justifications, that doesn’t mean that thoughtful people have to accept the propaganda of their govts.

    but even thought you might have rejected the justifications for the irak war that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t argue that it was right to go to war for the financial benefits, at least such an argument would be honest

  41. Am I right to assume that Hilary Clinton has to eave the US Govt if she wishes to pursue the presidential nomination for 2016?

  42. @leftylampton

    The contention I was questioning was not so much the degree to which LD voters are left of centre, but rather the contention that their ‘left wingness’ means David Miliband would have given them the heebie-jeebies… fwiw polling evidence suggests not.

  43. Paulcroft

    That’s blasphemy, Elizabeth warren will be the democrat nominee in 2016

  44. RiN

    While I have long objected to the foreign wars of successive UK Governments, at least the Tories were usually more honest in describing naked national interest as the reason.

    Labour had exactly the same agenda, but pretended to other objectives.

  45. leftylampton

    Reference Switzerland murder rate it should be noted there were only 40 murders in a year where a gun was used (2011 figures).
    Considering Switzerland has the highest gun ownership per population in the world some 2 million guns amongst some 6 million population with over 420,000 assault rifles in private hands (Swiss Militia) and over 600,000 hand guns, the rest being made up of rifles and black powder guns perhaps they are not the best example to prove gun ownership leads to increased murder rates.
    America’s gun murder rate is so high, although not the highest in the world, because of American culture harping back to the wild west, the ridiculous right to bear arms, distrust of central government and the complete lack of an meaningful checks on the criminal or mental health of the shooter.
    I’m not against gun ownership for a specific purpose such as hunting or target shooting but when people are allowed to build up armouries just for the sake of ownership with no real purpose then the possibility’s of harm must grow.

  46. Turk

    ” the ridiculous right to bear arms”

    Not so ridiculous if you want to overthrow a tyrannical govt. And as the American gun nuts will tell you the first thing a tyrannical govt does is make sure the public don’t have arms. It’s what the brats did before the revolutionary war!!!

  47. Freudian slip???

    Brats should read brits

  48. @TingedFringe,

    Thanks for that long and detailed reply. It made for interesting reading (and debate). I agree that the punishment of criminals isn’t necessarily exclusively a right-wing policy, even if other policies which currently gain majority public support are commonly seen as such (i.e. restricting/cutting the welfare state, leaving the EU, reducing immigration etc.) But I accept that there are many different ideologies which make up the left-wing political spectrum so it’s impossible to generalise as to what the left-wing stance is on specific issues – even if certain commonalities do often exist.

    I am off UKPR for a while until after Christmas. Happy Christmas everyone, and I hope everyone has a good 2013.

  49. Paul,now you know That you have more than one friend on here.I hope that
    You are feeling better now.
    Grin ports,I think that EM is a very pragmatic politician.He will set out his stall at the right time and not before.

  50. Turk
    “…and the complete lack of an meaningful checks on the criminal or mental health of the shooter”

    I think that may be the key factor. Mind you, with so many guns in circulation over there, even a complete ban would take many years to have much effect, as the black market would be flooded with them.

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