The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out and has topline figures of CON 29%(+1), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 14%(nc). The poll was conducted between Tuesday and Thursday, and obviously shows no real change from a fortnight ago.

Still to come tonight we apparently have another poll of Eastleigh, I believe by Survation (at least, I know they were doing fieldwork for an Eastleigh poll earlier this week). Tim Montgomerie has tweeted that there is an Eastleigh poll out tonight showing the Lib Dems a couple of points ahead of the Conservatives, so we’ll have to wait and see if that’s correct.

UPDATE: The Survation Eastleigh poll is now up on their website here. Their published voting intention figures for Eastleigh are CON 33%, LAB 13%, LDEM 36%, UKIP 16%, Others 2%. As with Lord Ashcroft’s poll earlier in the week, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are fighting it out for the top spot, their scores within each other’s margin of error, though Survation have Labour behind UKIP in fourth place. The poll was conducted between Wednesday and Friday


150 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 29, LAB 39, LD 8, UKIP 14”

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  1. It seems to me that with the LDs campaign focussing on clear Centre-left territory it will all be down to whether the LDs can hold onto their Lab protest vote (and possibly Tory stay at homers).

    The truth is that this coalition has always been seen as a Tory govt with LD window-dressing so the unpopularity is more Tory (cuts, incompetence, division) than shared.

    The result will be very interesting – if the Cons fail to take it, it will suggest that the anti-Tory coalition is far from dead.

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  2. Socalliberal said, “I’m actually wondering on these polling results, if the UKIP’s totals might go down and enable the Tories to win this.?”

    I think that as things currently stand this is highly likely. The Survation poll will not have any effect that the EU budget agreement might have on polling numbers. Cameron basically got his way, so my feeling is that this should be positive for the Conservatives.

    Things can change and the result of this by-election may hinge on who makes the biggest gaffe between now and polling day.

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  3. Think Labour will be highly delighted to see lib dem’s vote holding up in a south/south west Tory/lib marginal. If the libdem collapse is uneven and disproportionately skewed towards lib/lab or three way marginals that would be game set and match for next election.

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  4. Alec

    Spot on, I htink. Losing Eastleigh will not exactly be meltdown for the Tory party, whereas a bad loss here could suggets meltdown for the LDs of the sort you say ChrisLane has predicted. But a non-meltdown of the LDs has big implications for future politics. They’ve been rmarkably resilient over the kast 20 yeasrs. I also agree that the narrative you idnetify may play very well with LD voters in areas that have elected LD MPs in the past. It won’t cut much ice elsewhere but it doesn’t have to.

    I think national polls for LD are tricky because there are alomost 2 separate groups of LD voters. First those in seats where LD are 3rd or poor 2nd, who include protest voters and voters who, faced with a safe-seat and wanting to vote against the incumbent, will vote for the 2nd place with no hope of winning. Second those where LD can realistically and have done in the past.

    The latter have elected LD MPs in past knowing full well they won’t get into govt; I question just how disillusioned those voters will be by coalition – ANY influence on govt is more than they are used to.

    Put another way; would staying out of coalition have prevented tuition fees? Nope, both Con and Lab would have brought them in. Students who voted LD to stop fees feel betrayed but that depended on the LDs winning the GE. Non-student LDs will be saddened but not necessarily surprised that a minority party didn’t get its policy through.

    What would I think kill the LDs is if their voters feel the leadership is fighting to get the Cons into govt at the next GE. As an occasional LD voter my preferences would be:-
    1. LD majority
    2. LD/Green coalition
    3. LD/Lab coalition
    4. Lab govt
    5. LD/Con coalition
    6. Con govt
    7. Con/UKIP coalition
    8. UKIP govt.

    3-6 are the only realistic ones but if Clegg suggest he transposes 3 and 5 or 4 and 6 I’d vote for 4

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  5. Ooops should have spell-checked the first 2 paras

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  6. TINGED

    @”So unless UKIP has become the pure home of ‘the protest vote’,”

    I think this aspect will be most informative for Con supporters:

    Can the Tory candidate’s views on EU, together with DC’s speech & promise of a referendum ; attract support from UKIP?

    …or are issues like same sex marriage & immigration-and extreme Europhobia -enough to prevent any switch from UKIP to Cons.?

    I have a feeling that the latter will prove to be the case.
    If so Cons chance of winning is reduced substantially.

    So still think LibDems will sneak it.

    Labour coming fourth after UKIP would be fun-worthy of a Miliband Spitting Image perhaps?

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  7. It seems to me that with the LDs campaign focussing on clear Centre-left territory it will all be down to whether the LDs can hold onto their Lab protest vote (and possibly Tory stay at homers).

    There will be no UNS at the next General Election. We can be sure of that.

    Very many LibDems have moved over to Labour – nationally.

    But what the polls in Eastleigh suggest is that, locally, many will stay with the LibDems where there is a chance of keeping a Conservative out.

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  8. @lefty – that’s what I’m thinking. I think Labour will hit Lib Dems hard in the northern areas, but I just can’t see Lab voters abandoning anti Tory tactical voting in seats where their own party has no chance and they won’t want to gift a seat to Con.

    @Charles – I can’t meet your Sunday morning desire for figures, but I would pick you (and others) up for lazy thinking and the mistake of making easy assumptions.

    We currently have two serving MPs which you could reasonably describe as green. One is an actual Green, and the other is Tory Zac Goldsmith. Labour hasn’t come remotely close to having a single MP or significant party figure with similar green credentials, and the Lib Dems, now in coalition with the Tories, have tended to be the most environmentally minded of the three parties, so lets just scotch this idea that somehow red Labour and green Greens are just different sides of the same apple. Labour’s environmental record isn’t great – on balance, probably not as good as Thatcher’s, if you strip out the unavoidable influence of EU regulations.

    It’s not inconsistent for either main party to be ‘green’, as the desire for environmental sustainability and social justice is something that both parties could adopt if they wanted to, and be entirely consistent with their core philosophies. The difference would then be, as now, in the favoured mechanisms for delivering those desired outcomes – through the state or through the operation of the free markets. Zac Goldsmith is clearly a committed environmentalist who believes the markets can deliver sustainable society, and is therefore a Tory.

    As someone commented up thread, it’s just sloppy thinking to assume there are only two broad church options available in the UK.

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  9. @ LeftyLampton

    At risk of repeating myself, I think its a bit of both. I think Charles’ left/right tribes is correct – I’m a member of the left tribe. In Eastleigh what you call Labour tactical voters may include members of the left tribe who are hacked off with Clegg for coalition policies but who still won’t want to let in the right tribe. And someone rightly ticked me off for ignoring the large numbers of Don’t Knows who were former LD voters – classic Left tribe members rather than either LD true believers or Lab tactical voters, I suggest. Ditto UKIP and Tory for the right tribe.

    I agree that in Lab/LD fights it could play out quite differently.

    But I also think in LD strongholds there are LD true believers – esp if there’s a LD council giving them a track-record of what they do in power – but there are so few LD strongholds most of us have never met them.

    Sheffield Hallam intrigues me – on paper its an LD stronghold but in a sea of Lab. Plus there’s Clegg’s personal pariah status. Has he built up/retained enough true believers to avoid a defection of the left tribe to Lab? If I was Con I’d fancy sneaking that one on a split Lab/LD vote

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  10. Alec

    The tuition fee issue has become badly blurred.

    The problem was NOT that the LDs promised to prevent tuition fee rises. Their problem was that they promised, very ostentatiously, to vote against such rises. And then they voted for them.

    This is a far bigger issue than tuition fees. It strikes right to the heart of the competence, credibility and trustworthiness of the LDs. Never again will they be able to get away with an eye-catching popularist policy like this. They simply will not be believed.

    So, they have to campaign on more hard-headed issues of what they would ACTUALLY do in coalition. And that is where their REALLY big existential problem emerges, as many of us have been saying since May 10, and as constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor seems to have now picked up on: When you vote LD, what sort of Govt and what sort of policies are you voting for? If your answer is that you just want a centrist party to rein in the execesses of the senior coalition party, then fine. But the poll VI response immediately after the Rose Garden suggests that at least half of 2010 LD supporters did not have that view of the party.

    So how do the LDs campaign in 15? And how do they answer the obvious jibe that an LD vote is an abdication of responsibility to decide what sort of Govt YOU want, leaving the decision to the whim of Clegg and Laws in the days after the Election?

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  11. Adam, you are bang on right when you speak of two forms of libdem voters. voters. It is hardly surprising, as this is a direct consequence of libdem campaigning tactics (ie facing which ever way suits in order to maximise votes in any given constituency). However, I suspect you underestimate the level of betrayal felt by those in the “other” camp of libdem voters. Nick Clegg can be as anti-conservative as he likes from now on, they ain’t coming back.

    Hence the comment about Eastleigh: lab will be happy to see lib dems staying put in Eastleigh providing those in, say, Rochdale leave in their droves. The dynamics of the lib/con coalition means the “we are not the Tories” message is fatally flawed where Labour are in with a shout. Conversely, as you say, lib dems are likely to keep polling well where their voters are reasonably calm about another lib/Tory coalition. All in all very bad news for Tories (as would, incidentally, UKIP coming third).

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  12. Alec

    Perhaps, post-Eastleigh, there might be some serious polling on LD supporters’ views to throw some light on their likely behaviour in 15. It is of more than passing interest.

    You’re right about Hallam (my constituency) being fascinating. Socio-economically, it is a mix of South Yorkshire’s rather well-off middle class (anyone with a few bob seems to gravitate here) and an enormous student population. There have been attempts by the student bodies to organise an Anti-Clegg vote in 15 as punishment for the tuition fee infidelity. I am sceptical about the effect of this, but may be pleasantly surprised. The middle class thing is interesting. A very large proportion of them are public sector workers (academics, NHS staff, teachers). A good few that I know are basically Labour folk who have voted for Clegg either tactically or to “punish” Lab over Iraq. How they will vote in 15 is anyone’s guess.

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  13. O’Farrell would be an intriguing choice for Labour candidate in Eastleigh, not least because of his quasi celebrity status (OK, strictly C list celebrity status, but you get my gist!) and his rather appealing persona. He very definitely is not your run of the mill careerist politician and, in this age of anti-politics, he might get a few of the apathetic off their sofas and down to the polling booths in the evening of Thursday, 28th February. The polls suggest that he’s got no chance, but he might well put in an above par performance for Labour in this Tory/Lib Dem marginal. It’ll also be a good political baptism for him for bigger and more winnable fights to come. Safe Labour seat in May 2015, perhaps?

    One of the many intriguing features of the early Eastleigh polls, and the national ones too, is the resilience of the UKIP vote. Cameron has been forced to play his two strongest Eurosceptic cards very early, mainly to off-set the UKIP threat and appease his backbenchers, but it hasn’t worked for him yet. Rather like Colin, I think the UKIP monster has grown another head and the party has now become a repository for ex Tory voters alienated by Cameron and his modernisers social liberalism. I suspect Eastleigh’s demographic contains a lot of these types and they’ll delight in punishing Cameron on the 28th February.

    I was a Tory gain predictor for this by-election only a few days ago, but the more I think about it, well………………… hmmmm!

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  14. Would everyone [snip] give up on this partisan slagging off of the Liberal Democrats masquerading as impartial analysis? It’s really not getting us anywhere, is it?

    No, Nick Clegg is not a “pariah”. No we do not have an existential problem, only the fact that we are picking up the tab for sorting out the biggest economic mess left by an outgoing government in the past century.

    Yes, we have a problem spelling out how many policies we can actually get implemented while in power, but compared with parties that actually have no policies (who shall remain nameless) and those that have policies that do not appeal to more than a third of the electorate, I really think that is a minor difficulty.

    I think what Eastleigh potentially demonstrates is that a large proportion of our voters have gone to Don’t Know but have not been convinced by Labour. As we can spell out more and more what our distinctive policies are (e.g. Fair Tax), the more they are going to come back into the fold. It also shows that whatever is happening nationally, the LDs have strongholds that can buck the national trend in a serious way.

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  15. @Alec – Am a bit alarmed to find myself accused of sloppy thinking by you whom I have always seen as peculiarly clear sighted. In self-defense I did not say that there were only two broad churches, just that the hypotheses put forward by others depended on the idea that this was how it was. So I thought that it would be worth having a look at whether or not this was so.

    And to do this one might want to look at how people said they had previously voted as opposed to how they vote now, and at the correlation between the various VIs over time. And now you have added some other qualitative considerations which is all well and good. And if we looked at things in this qualitative/quantitative way, we might, I suspect end up with a rather more nuanced picture of how things actually work.

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  16. Colin
    “Labour coming fourth after UKIP would be fun-worthy of a Miliband Spitting Image perhaps?”
    That’s the funny thing about this – Labour have to hope that UKIP do well to keep out the Tories but also hope that UKIP do poorly as not cause embarrassment for Labour.

    I disagree with your assessment that UKIP>Con transfer is unlikely – I think that given the Con candidate’s views, they’ll do better than current polling.

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  17. @RC

    Sorry but pariah status is the view that many people who voted lib dem in 2010 now have of the party and especially of Clegg.

    What else explains the poll meltdown and so many lost deposits in by-elections?

    Thats not being partizan, and you may not like it – but its the reality of how your party is perceived by many voters. You seem to be blaming the voters for not giving you credit for your sacrifice in the national interest etc etc .. well good luck with that argument in 2015.

    I agree with leftylamtpton that if the eastleigh polling is correct, that it seems that the anti-tory vote will still vote lib dem when they are best placed to defeat the tories.

    This spells disaster for the tories in 2015.

    for the lib dems it suggests that their poll rating in lid dem/tory battles is understated but that their poll rating in lab/tory and lab/lib dem battles is overstated.

    If that is true it confirms that the lib dems made a huge strategic error by going into coalition with the tories – much of their vote seems them primarily as an alternative anti-tory vote.
    However, seats like eastleigh may save some of their bacon in 2015 – although not Cleggs.

    BTW – what do people think of the chances of a GE before 2015 – with so many strains on the coalition?

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  18. @Ozwald

    No, I’m merely replying to the torrent of hostile, biased commentary which seems to wash over this site day after day.

    How is it that as soon as someone pulls them up on the use of exaggerated terms like “pariah” and “existential crisis”, they suddenly get all shirty and offended?

    Objective polling data show that a large chunk of Lib Dem votes have not gone to Labour, they have gone to Don’t Know or to smaller parties like the Greens whose votes are likely to be squeezed in any general election. This Don’t Know contingent is particularly large in Eastleigh (35%).

    Just taking those two groups together nationally gives around 6% points of the vote. Add that to the current 11% Yougov rating, and you’re in the high teens, even before any national campaigning.

    So the thesis that somehow Lib Dem obliteration is inevitable come 2015 doesn’t really hold.

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  19. The major criticism of the libdems by labour supporters seems to be that the dems used the flaws in fptp to their advantage. What else could the dems do in a grossly unfair electoral system, after all they have been fighting the combined forces of conservatism(ie both labour and Tory) and their wasted vote message. If the dem’s hadn’t adopted their “two faced” approach they would never have got past 20 seats

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  20. @RC – “No we do not have an existential problem…”

    But you do, though. @Lefty is bang on the money. It’s much easier to not be in power and never have been, as you don’t have a record to defend, which inevitably brings bad as well as good things to voters minds.

    In the case of the Lib Dems, there really is a very significant additional problem, in that they have constantly said they were not Labour or Tory, but have now governed with Tories.

    Of course the situation is difficult and there have been some very tough choices required, but that is what power is about. @Lefty is right though – I seriously doubt we will ever see a Lib Dem leader ostentatiously sign an election pledge again.

    I don’t think it’s too partisan to say that previously Lib Dems had it very easy. They made an art form out of facing both ways at once, with completely different doorstep campaign messages depending on whether they were facing Tories in the south or Labour in the north, but coalition meant much of this had to be flushed out. I really don’t think it’s worth trying to pretend they haven’t found this very difficult.

    I think they’ll end up doing OK in 2015 personally, but they won’t be able to grab the more idealistic ground they could once lay claim to. Their entire strategy is already clear – we’re not as bad at Labour/Tory* [*delete where applicable]. It will still be an effective message, but it’s a lot more grubby that the image they were previously able to project, when power was a remote possibility and they never really had to address the consequences of their manifesto.

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  21. The Survation poll is a lousy one for Labour, undoubtably. But perhaps not quite as lousy as it appears at first sight.

    From the (very limited and partial) information on their site, we do at least know that there were 234 in the sample, including some whose allegiances were inferred. Big margins of error then.

    The responses after reallocating don’t knows were:
    Con 28%, Lab 19%, LD 32%, UKIP 18%, Green 3%.

    Now that reallocaton of “DKs” straight back to where they were in 2010 is, as I’ve commented before, an especially dubious practice in the context of a by-election like this one. One third go straight back to where they came from in 2010, pro-rata. So a second questionable aspect.

    Trying to read between the lines of the snippets of partial data offered up by Survation, my best interpretation is that the LDs would be around 30% on the raw data and Lab and UKIP at least each 1% higher without the reallocation back to 2010 allegiances. What is clear from the data is that the LDs will have gained about 4 times as many extra voters from the reallocation than the Conservatives. It is also reasonable to assume that Lab and UKIP were reallocated next to nothing, so low was their 2010 base.

    A third questionable aspect is the scale of the reweighting to 2010 vote shares. Survation apparently found Lab and UKIP voters in 2010 grossly overrepresented and LD and Con underrepresented, hence a big upward reweighting for the latter at the expense of the former. But I wonder. All that reallocation is based on the premise that there’s no false recall of 2010 VI in the poll, which I don’t think can be taken as a given. Only 5% of these “2010 LD voters” have apparently switched back to Lab, which is so low that it’s worth questioning whether it’s plausible. Might some of those LDs who have switched back to Lab given a false 2010 Lab VI, in which case the reweighting to 2010 shares will also have been overcooked?

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  22. Reggieside

    Legally very difficult for their to be an election before 15 and neither coalition party will try and force an early election, it would be suicide

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  23. “The responses after reallocating don’t knows were:
    Con 28%, Lab 19%, LD 32%, UKIP 18%, Green 3%.”

    Just to be clear, that’s the data before reweighting to the 2010 vote shares.

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  24. Phil – There are proper Survation tables here:

    http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Eastleigh-Constituency-Poll-Mail-on-Sunday.pdf

    Without the reallocation of don’t knows the figures would actually have been Con 33%, Lab 14%, LD 34%, UKIP 18%

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  25. @charles – “Am a bit alarmed to find myself accused of sloppy thinking…..”

    Don’t be alarmed – you are quite correct and I am guilty of sloppy writing. I appreciate you were asking a question, rather than stating the ‘two tribes’ theory as your own view. I should have made that a bit clearer in my post.

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  26. CHRISLANE1945
    A marriage of inconvenience?
    -More a marriage in a convenience!

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  27. RC
    I undoubtedly AM guilty of partisanship sometimes. That said, I thought this morning’s contributions all round were among the better type here – thoughtful musings on what the poll figures might be telling us.
    You may well take my comments about the LDs’ existential crisis as being partisan. I suggest that if you DON’T think that a party which shed half its supporters within 4 months of taking office has an existential issue to resolve, you are being a tad self-indulgent.
    I’ve been banging on about this existential problem for nearly three years now and I have yet to hear a convincing reply from a LD supporter. In fact, I’ve rarely even heard acknowledgement if the fact that such a problem exists. Your response is typical (in the correct, rather than perjorative sense if the word). “We haven’t got a problem. We’re taking the flak for clearing up Labour’s mess. We just have to get our message across.”
    But wait a moment. If there is flak to be taken for clearing up the mess, why should it be exclusively the LDs that are holed? If it is a peculiarly unpleasant and thankless job, why us the Tory VI holding up? My simple (non-partisan) answer is that half of the people who voted LD in 10 vigorously disagree with the Coalition’s economic strategy. They are the ones who deserted immediately, even as Clegg was basking in the roseat glow of Summer 10.
    Which throws the existential problem back into sharp relief. How do you ever go about reclaiming the votes of left-leaning centrists, when their votes were used to put a very right-leaning economic strategy in motion in 2010?
    I’m genuinely not being deliberately partisan here. I genuinely do not see a way out of this for the LDs.

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  28. @ REGGIESIDE
    “Sorry but pariah status is the view that many people who voted lib dem in 2010 now have of the party and especially of Clegg.”

    Looking at the polling data, it is only Labour supporters who have scapegoated him that way (84% rating him as doing badly) and made him into some kind of absurd hate figure. You’re simply extrapolating from your own personal, subjective views.

    Among the remaining 60% of those who express a voting preference, the picture is more balanced. Even 32% of Tory voters think Nick Clegg is doing a good job. It is Labour supporters who are particularly polarised according to Yougov.

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  29. Look at this – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/9860266/Sleeping-baby-attacked-by-fox.html

    I’ve said for a long time that much of the bad press associated with badgers, is, in fact, down to those foxes.

    They’re very cunning you know – don’t fall for it.

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  30. RiN and RC… that the lib dems campaigned to maximise their vote in the fptp system (to some success) is not in doubt. The problem with that tactic is that it unravels pretty sharpish as soon as it hits the buffers of coalition. It’s not partisan to point that out. Just realism.

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  31. @AW

    Thanks, I’ll look into the proper tables and respond now that they’ve disclosed them. Might be worth you updating the link on the thread. Just to be clear, the figures you quote are after all other adjustments bar the reallocation of DKs, whereas mine were before those adjustments. The reallocation boosted the LDs by 2% and took 1% of Lab and 2% of UKIP, which isn’t far off the conclusion I reached by reading between the lines of partial data.

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  32. RC

    My long and considered response has vanished into the Slough of Auto-Mod. I guess I used the term “p-artisan” too often (as in “I am really, really, truly, honestly, NOT being deliberately p-artisan.”)

    No matter. Others have made my point for me. Suffice to say that you appear to be confusing robustly held views (but views that are argued from a basis in polling numbers) with p-artisanship.

    Your prerogative of course. But if you REALLY think that a party that shed more than half its support within 4 months of taking office does not have an existential issue to address, you have an admirably rosy approach to life’s problems.

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  33. Having a candidate who seems to represent the very opposite of Cameron’s vision for his party is al too typical of the mixed messages the Tories send out.

    I am not suggesting carbon-copy candidates but this is strategicaly daft. Saying:

    “Look I’m even more barmy than UKIP” …….

    ……is probaby not the most sensible idea for a party that has tried to change its image for well over twenty years.

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  34. It would also be ironic if the Tories fail to take Eastleigh because they have a right wing candidate and DC is then blamed.

    Ironic yet funny.

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  35. I have contended all along (with many others) that come the GE most Lab leaning ABTs in LD/Tory marginals in E&W where they have no chance of coming from 3rd place will hold their noses and vote LD. (Liz H I recall says no way she will again but imo she will be in a minority).

    As such the idea of Lab votes increasing allowing the cons with static support to take 10-20 seats off the LDs is imo unlikley although 2-5 so may go due to the increasing Lab vote.
    I reckon the LDs to get between 30 and 40 seats therefore as Scotland more difficult and they will lose some to Lab, eg Redcar & Burnley.

    I felt that at the By-Election, though, many more Lab leaners would wish to show their displeasure with the LDs and vote Labour in protest (a novel idea to vote for the party you actually prefer in protest but I suppose UKIP votes that go Tory a the GE are similar)

    If these polls are correct I will be wrong as Labour get squeezed enabling the LDs to come close and maybe even winning. Perhaps the polls are premature as Lab don’t even have a candidate yet or perhaps my lack knowledge of southern LD/Tory marginals dynamics and Labour voters there led me to incorrect point of view?

    My hypothesis could have led to complacency or at least over-optimism for by the Tories re LD/Con marginals. So in a counter-intuitive way an LD hold (or close to hold) will help the Conservatives as one of the planks on which some within their ranks were placing too much store will have been disabused giving them plenty of time to adjust their strategy/tactics.

    NB) I reckon LD votes to go break big style in 2015 for Lab in Lab/Con marginals, perhaps giving a net gain over the cons of as much as 1/3 of the 2010 LD vote in these seats but at least 20% imo.

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  36. Anthony

    Where did you get that link to the tables? I’ve spent ages trying to find them on the Survation site. (Goes off to rewrite long, boring comment).

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  37. @ Leftylampton

    “But if you REALLY think that a party that shed more than half its support within 4 months of taking office does not have an existential issue to address, you have an admirably rosy approach to life’s problems.”

    The point is, what are the circumstances of that shedding of votes and where they have gone to.

    The circumstances were and remain a uniquely hostile set of political and economic conditions and the destination of those voters is either to the limbo of Don’t Know or to a party whose alternative policies have yet to be formulated or examined publicly.

    The potential for this situation to unravel in the light of an economic upturn (dependent on global economic trends beyond the government’s control) and the lack of a convincing platform being put forward by the opposition is considerable. Of these two factors, the first is, in my view, by far the more important.

    In my view, a party has an existential crisis if it cannot answer the question: what are we here for and how do we want to achieve it? The Lib Dems have plenty of answers to the first question and some answers to the second (e.g. Mansion Tax, Green Bank, pupil premium).

    I’m not sure the same can be said of the other two major parties.

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  38. A poll with an effective sample size of 234 is surely worth very little indeed!

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  39. @Alec

    “@Statgeek – again, your sense of Tories winning 3 Scottish seats is based on numbers, rather than sentiment. You may well be correct, but whether or not this will happen will not depend so much on Lib Dem poll ratings on themselves, but more to the extent to which voters wish to keep the Tories out.”

    I can only report the facts (i.e. the polls), and they say what they said a year ago and more. That the Lib Dems in Scotland are going to lose 5-7 seats. Anything else (for or against the Lib Dems) is wishful thinking.

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  40. !NEW THREAD!

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  41. RC

    Points taken, but you are still avoiding the central thrust of my argument.

    Many parties in Govt have faced major problems. The LDs are unique in the last 70 years (probably longer but I don’t have polling data beyond 1945) in haemmoraghing supporters within weeks of taking office.

    You can’t just brush that under the carpet. Polling shows that 2-3million people who voted LD in May 10 had changed their mind by Oct 10. That fact screams out that these voters were IMMEDIATELY deeply unhappy with the Coalition. And they have remained so.

    And THAT is the existential issue. When voters are faced with the string possibility that voting LD can result in a Govt that they deeply disagree with being supported by the LDs, why take that risk?

    You allude to the things that the LDs have done (or wished to do, but not actually done) to mitigate the worst of Tories Unfettered. All fair points. But in the big picture, these are second-order issues. If you believe that the prioritisation of deficit reduction over economic growth is misguided and that the erosion of the public sector is wrong, then you do not want a right-leaning Govt. Full stop. Whether that right-leaning Govt is softened by the Pupil Premium is a very small secondary issue.

    And the converse applies of course for right-leaning centrists.

    So, other than in seat-specific situations, if you are a left or right leaning centrist, why not hold your nose and vote Lab or Con to help ensure that you get the sort of Govt that you broadly want, rather than give Clegg to power to decide on your behalf?

    And I fully accept that some LD supporters are LD supporters for ideological reasons. I merely contend that the poll figures since 10 suggest that there are rather few of them.

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  42. NEW THREAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  43. TINGED

    @”That’s the funny thing about this – Labour have to hope that UKIP do well to keep out the Tories but also hope that UKIP do poorly as not cause embarrassment for Labour.”

    Yes-which is why I said a day or so ago, I couldn’t work out the dynamics of tactical voting in this BE.

    …….On Andrew Neil this morning Ian Dale said Tories need Labour to do well-by taking votes off LibDems.

    It’s a dog’s breakfast-looking forward to the post result analysis !

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  44. Alex
    I think it’s rather sweet you think some of the comments on these pages are not partisan in comment even those hidden by spurious statistics skewed to fit contributors particular leanings.
    Some of course are strictly non-partisan in content and all the better for it. I tend to be a plain speaker please remember it’s only my opinion which is worth no more than yours or anybody else’s on these pages.
    The fact you don’t agree with me is perfectly okay that’s what opinion is all about. I say things that I think and your free to say what you want.
    Leftylampton
    Once again your perfectly entitled to your opinion as wrong as I think it is, you seem to be confusing national poll statistics with local by-elections the Liberals are very strong in Eastleigh and have been for several years the national polls don’t in anyway reflect what will happen in Eastleigh, personally I think that the Tories are in with a chance as long as they don’t lose to many votes to UKIP but to suggest it would be a disaster for the Tories is just plain wrong unless their beaten into third place by UKIP or lose badly against the Liberals.
    Incidentally for those who may think I’m partisan I have no intention for voting for any party in the next election having supported both Labour and Tories in the past, neither of the main parties have a radical enough agenda to tackle the fiscal management of this country or anything else come to that for my tastes, which because these are the only two parties that can have effective governments leaves me with nobody to vote for, but I live in hope that a more radical left or right government will come along .

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  45. @RC
    Having used the “Pariah” word I should say its not how i personally view Clegg, merely my perception of his negative personal poll ratings.

    Also I don’t say that the LDs are going to get wiped out – personally I hope not as they are the party I’ve most often voted for – but I do think it is fair to say there is at east the possibility of them getting wiped out, in a way that is simply not the case for either Lab or Con.

    I do agree that some Red or Blue commentators – not specific to this site – seem to struggle to understand that some voters genuinely prefer Yellow. Yet funnily enough come the next GE you can be sure that “its a wasted vote” will be used as an argument to persuade voters who prefer LD to vote either Tory or Labour

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  46. John Pilgrim,

    Surely social democrats and democratic socialists believe in a mixed economy, not a market based one.

    I agree market economies are liberal tenets and that was why social democracy arose in the first place in opposition to liberalism.

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  47. Turk

    You’ll have to explain this concept of “spurious statistics” to me. Is it statistical data that leads to a conclusion that you disagree with?

    If you read my posts, as I’m sure you do before giving your opinion of my opinions, you’ll have noticed an assessment of poll data stretching back to 1992, and showing a really rather strong correlation between Eastleigh votes compared to national votes for each of the three main parties. You’ll also have seen a subsequent discussion on what the apparent deviation from this position that the current Eastleigh polls are showing might mean for the local and national picture.

    You appear to consider such discussions to be partisan. I wonder what you think a balanced discussion should look like?

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  48. “It’s no Secret that the Green Party is just the environmentalist arm of the Labour Party.
    -In the same sense that UKIP is the deranged appendage of the Tory Party?”

    Pretty much yeah, but not so much deranged, I see UKIP more as the Tories of Yesteryear. The same party, just from a different time.

    As per Europe, I think Cameron hit the nail perfectly on the head, in Europe, but trying to reform it, and not letting the madness that does unfortunately exist, continue, next target for reform should be the European Parliament, Martin Schulz is disgraceful for trying to hold secret unaccountable votes, and I am proud of Labour MEP’s standing up to him and calling him out for this.

    Also, I’m wondering how Francois and the rest of the far left must be feeling, while the CAP has not been cut in real terms, in terms of percentage of the overall budget it has gone down. The budget is going to take a real terms cut, and he failed to get his hands on the British rebate.

    We were being told be the extreme Europhiles the ones who don’t even acknowledge the need for reform, that a real terms cut was impossible and Cameron would never get it, haven’t heard from them since. Same people who used to be pro Euro, haven’t heard from them either.

    One thing I don’t understand however, they say our net contribution will go up as the rebate is lowered slightly because of a deal Blair made, but I thought that deal was only a temporary one?

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  49. Turk

    On reflection, my post was unnecessarily aggressive in tone. I apologise.

    I do still take issue with your mis-reading of my conclusions about why a LD victory in Eastleigh would be very bad news for the Tories IF it comes about via Lab tactical voting. For reasons that I’ve set out at length earlier.

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  50. statgeek @ PC

    “I think we can rule out con gains in Scotland.”

    Perhaps. Perhaps not. The Lib Dems stand to lose half a dozen seats, with probably two to Con, …”

    The Liberals will hang on to their vote. The anti-cons and anti-labs now see the trendy anti-cons have gone over to the SNP. The know that the LibDems are a busted flush..

    In Argyll they may still hang on , but if not it will be SNP because the long term tide in the constituency (remember there are three votes to consider) is inexorably in that direction.

    Cons are short of credible candidates.Anti-labs are spoilt for choice and they have no need ever to vote con.

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