Following the Populus/Times Eastleigh poll that showed the Liberal Democrats five points ahead, there is a new Survation poll of Eastleigh in the Mail on Sunday tomorrow that shows the opposite picture, with the Conservative party four points ahead. Their topline voting intentions for Eastleigh are CON 33%(nc), LAB 13%(nc), LDEM 29%(-7), UKIP 21%(+5) – changes are from the previous Survation poll of Eastleigh a fortnight ago.

Both polls were conducted on the telephone and while I haven’t seen the Survation tables both companies tend to use a similar methodology in terms of weighting and reallocating don’t knows to the parties they supported at the last election. I understand they were carried out at about the same time, so it shouldn’t be a “Rennard effect”. The two polls show UKIP with the same level of support, and no significant difference in Labour support – the only difference is the figures for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

I’ll have a proper look when the Survation tables appear, but at first glance the most likely explanation for the difference between the two polls is just the normal variation within the margin of error… suggesting that the race really could be neck-and-neck.

I don’t know if there are any polls of Eastleigh to come – I’ve heard rumours of a poll in the field over this weekend, but we shall see.

UPDATE: The tables for the Survation poll are up here. There are some minor differences in approach (Survation reallocated don’t knows at a lower rate, and didn’t weight up people who didn’t vote in 2010 to as a high a proportion of the sample as Populus did), but none that would explain the difference. Not that the difference really needs a fancy explanation – once you take into account the high level of don’t knows the difference between the two polls can easily be explained by normal margin of error.


389 Responses to “Survation/Mail on Sunday show Tories 4 points ahead in Eastleigh”

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  1. I wonder if the attack on Cleg’s integrity will lose them votes in Eastleigh? My guess would be “not many” as most voters presume they are all a pack of dodgy dealers.

    But let’s assume a big chunk do flee LD….where will they go?

    Some might abstain. That would help Con. Some might vote Con…obvious who that helps. A switch to Lab will help Con too, unless it is a HUGE switch which seems unlikely. A Huge switch to UKIP..?

    Hard to see this doing anything but help the Tories…unless it works really well, in which case we might see that first UKIP MP.

  2. If Clegg (and by implication Alexander) did have to resign over this scandal, who would replace them?

    Cable would be a thorn in the side of Osborne at the Treasury. Laws would be unlikely to succeed either of them given that he had to resign in scandal (however fair or unfair that seems).
    Perhaps Hughes for DPM?

  3. NickP

    One thing is certain Nick, the Rennard thing may alter the polls in Eastleigh (hopefully there will be one at least to come) but it will in that event give a heaven sent opportunity for Expectation Management practitioners.

    I am still monitoring this phenomenon. Your post was an excellent start.

  4. But Tinged has gone one better.

  5. A clue to LD voter reaction may be indicated by my own poll here at home (well only one sample admittedly).

    Mrs Howard has just exclaimed ‘I thought these political women were feisty. These women did not know how to deal with ‘knee brushing’. Is she allowed out at night?’.

    Hmmm.

  6. Stephen Tall the LibDemVoice editor fielded questions on the Today programme this morning. Nervous laughter when asked if these “difficulties” threaten Nick Cleggs position as leader – “I don’t think it needs to go that far.” Farron is on now.

    Clegg has just spoken to Radio Solent.

    Nick Davey who has been spoken of as Clegg’s annointed successor has said: “I’m shocked to hear about the allegations so I didn’t hear about them before, otherwise I wouldn’t have been shocked.”

    Jeremy Browne looks to be more camera friendly, but does he have any ambition? It would be an ideal opportunity to consider a female leader, but there are only seven MPs to choose from.

  7. “Knee brushing”?

    Is that a distant cousin to pillow chewing?

  8. *Ed* Davey

  9. @RiN Could you tell me when you posted this video link we’ should all read it? Somehow I can’t find it.

  10. It is hard to gauge what the impact of this will be on Thursday. Clearly, having your leader be seen to flounder isn’t great, but against this, Rennard is utterly invisible to all but the most ardent anoraks. Will normal voters really care abut this, especially as the allegations appear to fall into that unpleasant but less serious category of (in most people’s minds) lightweight harassment rather than outright s*xual assault.

    What has struck me is the way in the way in which so many Tories have written off their chances here – despite the polls – and this really isn’t just expectation management, I really do think they will be very surprised if they win.

    We’ve had various commentators suggesting that the Eastleigh party is hollowed out, and drawing parallels with other parts of the country where they are struggling, and this morning we have ken Clarke saying they will probably lose. he isn’t one for the pre election mind games any more, so I think we can safely assume that many in Tory high command see a loss as being on the cards.

    Will Rennard save their skins?

  11. @AW – I’ve got a post in auto mod for a reason I can’t fathom.

  12. I got moderated into cyberspace on this yesterday, probably because I was foolish enough to rise to Colin’s daily bait on the BBC, but I wonder why people are rushing to invalidate Clegg’s defence in the Rennard case? I’m no Clegg admirer by any means, but my misgivings about him are all political and I have no reason or evidence to doubt the man’s integrity or decency. I would think most organisations, particularly political parties, are viper’s nests of rumour, with much of it turning out to be malign gossip and unsubstantiated drivel. Why would Clegg have reacted any differently to the way he did if the gossip that he’d heard hadn’t then converted into serious and substantive allegations about Rennard? If they were serious allegations with some credibility then, clearly, he was wrong not to have them investigated further, but, as I understand it, it is only now that the women involved have come forward with their formal complaints. When Clegg first heard about the rumours in 2008 they were exactly that; rumours. Accordingly, I think he reacted understandably and appropriately.

    There’s far too much of this politically motivated rush to judgement and if the Strauss Kahn case taught us anything it should be that we mustn’t presume guilt just because it’s the outcome we yearn for. For all any of us know, Rennard might be a completely innocent man and the unfortunate victim of malicious complaining. On the other hand he may be all he’s accused or rumoured to be, but that should be left to a formal investigation and then, if need be, a criminal charge to discover and prove.

    As for the implications of this trumped-up case for Eastleigh on Thursday, I’d be inclined to put a little flutter on UKIP now.

  13. HOWARD

    @”A clue to LD voter reaction may be indicated by my own poll here at home (well only one sample admittedly).
    Mrs Howard has just exclaimed ‘I thought these political women were feisty. These women did not know how to deal with ‘knee brushing’. Is she allowed out at night?’.”

    Mmmm…..with this as LibDem policy & ethos on “equality” matters, one can only wonder at the role of Jo Swinson in tracking down those “non -specific” rumours .

    Such an an enlightened & modern attitude to these things will no doubt have been at the heart of discussions between “party officials” & his Lordship.
    One of whom , it appears, was related to his Lordship by marriage, and conveniently, a female.

    Carpets & sweeping come to mind.

    But Farron is on the case.

  14. There are a couple of really interesting Scottish stories today. Firstly there is news of research indicating something of a North Sea boom underway, with recent tax changes leading to a big upsurge in new investment. Osborne initially hammered this sector, but since then has listened and revised his tax regime, and the advent of a stable tax regime seems to have encouraged large scale investment.

    If the reports and projections are accurate, then there should be a boost in development before the next election, which has some impact on wider economic figures, and medium to long term a healthy benefit in terms of tax revenues.

    Intriguing as ever, most of the jobs growth will be in Scotland, and this will heighten SNP claims that they have a viable economy.

    Against this, the argument about post independence currency rumbles on. Apparently the FT is reporting that the government is set to announce that Scotland can keep the pound, in exchange for a Westminster fixed deficit cap. This has apparently annoyed the nationalists, but quite why escapes me. It’s obvious that if you want to use any shared currency, deficits need to be controlled, so a deficit cap set outside your jurisdiction is obvious.

    What is perhaps more up for debate is the fact that, to be perfectly fair, if Scotland has to have a deficit cap imposed, then so should rUK. This would be a logical and sensible argument, but here we come down to politics. rUK is 9 times bigger than Scotland, and the Scots will have little chance to impose such equal terms on the people who consider that they own sterling in a post independence setting.

    Regardless of the rights or wrongs of the issue, I don’t really see any realpolitik solutions for the SNP other than accept that Westminster will decide what their sterling deficit can be or find another currency.

  15. If a lying incumbent MP doesn’t dent LD’s ability to hold Eastleigh, I don’t see why a conveniently “retired” groping Peer should.

    ….mind you , now UKIP have promised Eastleigh voters tax cuts for “everyone” -who knows what’s going to happen in this circus event.

  16. @RiN I have now found the link. Thanks!

  17. Alec

    OIl & Gas UK say that the projects approved in 2011 & 2012 alone will generate £100 billion of GDP & £25 bn of tax.

    It’s all becoming an question of whether these economic gains will arrive in time for GO……..or see EM off to a nice start.

  18. @colin – that was really the nub of my post. For some reason, scandals involving peers never seem to add up to much, and for all the huffing and puffing, it doesn’t feel that this scandal is really amounting to very much. I think the level of the alleged abuse is also relevant – it doesn’t seem to be as serious as say, the Saville allegations, and they may be an element of voters shrugging shoulders at this.

  19. @colin – those income and tax figures seem to be over the lifetime of the investment, which makes sense. I would have thought there would be limited tax revenues in the development phase )although good employment prospects) and there could even be reduced short term revenues as presumably investment costs are set against income?

    This could be one of those headlines which isn’t perhaps as good as it looks, as if the tax returns are spread over 10 – 15 years, while useful, they aren’t quite as attractive as the £25b headline.

  20. ALEC

    @” I think the level of the alleged abuse is also relevant – it doesn’t seem to be as serious as say, the Saville allegations, and they may be an element of voters shrugging shoulders at this.”

    This viewpoint was inherant in Howard’s post.

    I find it very uncomfortable, since the Saville ( & related cases ) business came to light.We have been reminded what the cultural attitude to uninvited sexual interference was back then-both in BBC & nationally.

    I am very wary of arbitrary definitions of degrees of seriousness.

    I think it preferable for the victim & a judge to decide.

    RE NS revenues-yes I assume lifetime numbers. Still any numbers with a plus sign would be good !

  21. Came back to say that Mrs H’s attitude on how to deal with pathetic men is probably one shared on this occasion by adherents both of the WI and the Housewives’ Register (to which latter of course she belonged – would not be dragged by wild horses to the tea and cakes mob, even though we always chose to live rurally).

    My Dutch colleagues call this ‘living in silos’.

  22. Howard.

    For a strong willed , perhaps older woman-yes.-an adequate & presumable effective response.

    For a young woman, an employee, a trainee, a political volunteer-an impressionable , or emotionally vulnerable person-no. Someone needs to help them. Where were all the strong willed women in this case?

  23. Hey, if it’s good enough for Clinton….

  24. Colin

    Mra H tells me these women reported the unwanted approaches to line managers, at the time (from 6 to 8 years ago remember!!) and they *were* young and they were employees.

    The question is still, why now? I think we know why, do we not? See though who they are going for – not Rennard. That would have been a damp squib wouldn’t it?

    I reckon two thousand off the LD vote (how’s that for E.M.?).

  25. Is tactical voting ever morally right, for example for Liberal voters to vote for say UKIP to keep Conservatives out of a marginal seat or come to that any supporter of a political party voting for a party which they disagree with just to keep a rival out.
    Or have we all become so cynical that dispite criticising a party and believing they would be wrong for the country we feel free to vote for them because of some perceived political advantage.
    If that’s so what does that say of us and is it any wonder the general public see politic’s as as a rather seedy business.

  26. The problem for Clegg is it sounds like ‘the Saville defence’. i.e. yes I knew but I didn’t take it seriously – subtext sexual harrassment is not serious.

    It also reminds the casual viewer of Saville and they may assume it is the same type of scale and turning a blind eye (which for all I know it might be)

  27. I think there is a fundamental difference between “turning a blind eye” and “reacting to gossip”.

    Everything hinges on which of these it was. I strongly suspect it was the latter.

    Do we really want to live in a country where “Rumour has it….” forms the basis for disciplinary action?

  28. @NEIL A

    What is ‘gossip’ ? It is easy to dismiss any sexual abuse allegations as gossip.

    If this was in a company there would be an HR investigation (where the woman could speak confidentially) and if the allegations were true it would be likely that the person responsible would be dismissed.

  29. Im not sure Cleggs squirming over the reynard allegations will make a huge difference to Lib dem ratings.

    His personal ratings are so low i cant see those that still have faith in him being put off by this if they hadn’t been put off by his previous actions.

    Might affect tactical LD voters in eastleigh though.

  30. @NEIL A

    What I mean by empirical evidence is statistics comparing the trajectory of improvement/deterioration of school performance plotted against investment in new estate. Of course new buildings are a good thing to have. I just wonder at the automatic assumption that £1m worth of spending on a school delivers at least £1m worth of economic benefit in the form of better education.

    ————————

    Now, see, there’s the thing.

    I mean, the more data the better, obviously. But would you really need convincing not to step out in front of a bus without first deploying an army if statisticians to work out the possibility of coming off worse?

    I mean, if we were discussing getting rid of squad cars and returning policepeople to bicycles en masse, you wouldn’t really have to perform a load of double-blind trials and stuff to convince that this might have some significant issues when it came to traffic policing.

    I mean, when you provide evidence in court how often do you have to provide statistical trials in support? Surely the logic of it is enough in many cases? If the evidence is that someone died because shot in the head, I doubt that the judge orders that a random sample of thirty is picked to be similarly shot to determine the outcome with 97% reliability or whatever.

    Having been given a range of reasons why a new classroom commonly has advantages, isn’t that enough? Do you really need stats to prove that having to wheel out a computer trolley in the rain to some rickety shack with not enough sockets, and no convenient place for a smartboard, is going to undermine educational provision somewhat?

    I mean, it doesn’t stop with examples given. Portacabins aren’t necessarily the most secure venues. Oh, and then there’s the problem they are usually rather space inefficient. This may not have been something you’ve experienced but inner city schools are often very short on space, and sticking a shack in the playground is not as efficient as other approaches, including building another storey instead.

    Then there are other issues. Old fashioned buildings may not be very conducive to meeting health and safety regs in various ways. You can’t just hang coats in the corridor any more without the firepeople fretting. It’s a bit different from the days of Ecce Romani….

    In the end it’s possible you may not find a proper study on the advantages of moving out of something constrained and dilapidated and into something purpose-built and modern, for the same reason there may not be a study on the downsides of stepping out in front of a bus. There isn’t necessarily that much need to prove the obvious to a level of five-sigma, as if it were the hunt for the Higgs boson or something.

    To be fair, you’re the one suggesting there’s no difference but have provided scant evidence of any kind for that view. Still, whatever floats your boat…

  31. Surely if an employee makes a complaint that ain’t “gossip”? If a complaint is treated as “gossip” that is a fundamental management failure.

    And if Clegg was told that there had been complaints but dismissed it as gossip, that would be dodgy.

    In what forn would such “gossip” reach his ears?

    That Lord Fiddler’s a bit of a knee brusher, don’t you know? Teehee, Lords will be Lords, won’t they?

  32. @Carfrew

    don’t think there’s any correlation between new schools and academic achievement. Otherwise every public school would have demolished their old Victorian piles years ago. Bit like thinking new hospitals improve health.

  33. @Turk

    “Is tactical voting ever morally right, for example for Liberal voters to vote for say UKIP to keep Conservatives out of a marginal seat or come to that any supporter of a political party voting for a party which they disagree with just to keep a rival out.”

    In a FPTP electoral system, what other choices do voters have? Abstention, possibly, but if there’s no point voting for your preferred choice then you might as well make your vote count by eliminating your least preferred option. Remember also that FPTP greatly benefits the Tories as well as Labour. Two burglars sharing ill gotten gains and all that. You never know but you may get yourself a new Tory MP on Friday with about 30% of the votes cast and the support of about 15% of the electorate.

    @Neil A

    “Do we really want to live in a country where “Rumour has it….” forms the basis for disciplinary action?”

    I make exactly the same point in my post of 8.57am. Couldn’t agree with you more.

  34. @wolf

    As I pointed out earlier, a lot depends on the subject. There were old buildings at my public school but they were big and well-built and more easily repurposed and in quads, not disconnected etc.

    But for science? Yep, brand spanking new facilities costing squillions. Multi-million pound appeals for an Arts Centre and stuff. We didn’t just have a science block but a separate purpose-built biology block.

    Admittedly some buildings remained old, but if you have a concert hall seating a thousand, you don’t necessarily need to replace it. But it was hardly a portacabin.

  35. Bloody hell, a pervy lord touches a woman’s legs and clegg has to resign!! Are you kidding me!! And are we expected to believe that these women were shrinking violets too lady like to apply a vigorous knee to his lordships ardor

    Anyhow it matters not because the lead story is the pounds slide down to 1.50, if it goes below that then george will be getting a lot of unwelcome attention

  36. @Neil A

    “Hey, if it’s good enough for Clinton….”

    Come on, Bill wasn’t in old Silvio’s class, was he? At least he didn’t have to pay for it as far as I can recall! lol.

    Talking of good old Silvio, we’ll find out how he fared in the Italian elections quite soon, won’t we?

  37. Howard
    ‘Victim blaming’. That is all.

  38. @Colin – “I am very wary of arbitrary definitions of degrees of seriousness.”

    Me too. I was only making the point re what voters might think about it.

    Overall, I think @RiN has it about right – the collapse of the pound is going to be a bigger issue, even if the media don’t realise it.

  39. HOWARD

    @”Mra H tells me these women reported the unwanted approaches to line managers, at the time (from 6 to 8 years ago remember!!) and they *were* young and they were employees.”

    THen why did the LibDem Party do nothing about it?

    Where were the WI trained Amazonian guardians?

    @”The question is still, why now? I think we know why, do we not? See though who they are going for – not Rennard. That would have been a damp squib wouldn’t it?”

    Evidently that is the more important question for you .

  40. ALEC

    Sure thing.

    Sterling reasonably stable on Asian markets-Wall Street to come.

    I think much was priced in -partic after the revelation that MK wanted more QE last time , but was outvoted.

    The sooner Carney gets his feet under the table & we have some stability & continuity the better.

  41. As you all know I am no fan of Clegg but seems to me that all this has come out now to give Osborne some respite from the loss of the triple A.

    On the school buildings’ issue, this is an interesting literature review on the impact of School Environments: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/cflat/about/documents/designcouncilreport.pdf

  42. Is scotland allowed to run a deficit at the moment?? All this talk of being constrained by a currency union leads to me ask whether the scots will be more constrained post independence than they are now??

  43. @Alec

    Disregarding for the moment, and only for the moment, “the seriousness of the allegations” we are still presented with a situation where an internal investigation of sexual harassment seems to have resulted in a decision to “Move him somewhere he’s lower profile and keep quiet about it”, and the leader of the party denying he knew when someone else says they told him.

    Now coming back to the “Seriousness of the Allegations”. Oh, you may say “just touching the knee? hardly serious.” which makes it seem like it could even be a mistake. Just someone perhaps grazing their hand across the knee while they were moving past in the lift.

    Now let’s use different language. “Gripping the knee, while making remarks about taking her back to his room.” Oh my, now that’s quite a different kettle of fish isn’t it. It’s also a much better description of the allegation reported.

    I do have to question how the allegation of the latter has somehow transformed into a dismissal of the former.

  44. COLIN
    “Sterling reasonably stable on Asian markets-Wall Street to come.”
    Vince Cable’s assurance that a downgrade in credit rating by Moody’s is “largely symbolic” seems to me to have been a seriously misleading statement. A fall of 7% in the value of the pound against both the dollar and the Euro both lowers the cost of UK exports (I gain 7% on my earnings) and increases the cost of all imports, including energy and fuel costs, hitting everybody.
    I suggest that, both as an indicator of economic downward movement and in financial terms for ordinary households, the impact of the loss of triple A status has yet to hit home, and may effect Eastleigh.

  45. @Jayblanc – see my previous reply to @Colin.

    I entirely agree with you. What I was trying to comment on was how average voters would react to this. On that, I think I’m correct in saying that at present, the Saville allegations were seen as completely appalling, while the Rennard story is not being viewed in the same light.

    This is my current judgement on what voters think. It should not be taken to represent my own views on the relative merits of the complaints, nor a judgement on what I think is acceptable behaviour.

  46. Richard

    :”Net Fiscal Balance: In 2010-11, Scotland’s estimated net fiscal balance was a deficit of £17.9 billion (14.7 per cent of GDP) when including a per capita share of North Sea revenue or a deficit of £10.7 billion (7.4 per cent of GDP) when a geographical share of North Sea revenue is included.

    In 2010-11, the equivalent UK position including 100 per cent of North Sea revenue, referred to in the UK Public Sector Accounts as ‘net borrowing’, was a deficit of £136.1 billion (or 9.2 per cent of GDP).”

    Source:-scotland.gov.uk-Public Finances.

  47. As someone of Scottish origin living in England, I would be very sad if Scotland left the UK, although I obviously respect its right to do so. What does, however, puzzle me is why there seems to have been so little discussion of the currency point raised by Alec and RiN.

    I thought that the lesson of the Eurozone was that it was extremely difficult to have a currency union among fully independent states and that efforts to do so led to a democratic deficit whereby crucial economic decisions were taken by bodies for which the citizens had not voted. Admittedly I feel rather like this at present anyway as no doubt do the great majority of Scots, but hope springs eternal that things will not always be like this.

    So why is it that we are all obsessing about after absolute independence (the UK free of Europe, Scotland free of the UK and who knows Shetlands floating off with its oil wealth to become a flourishing state on its own)? Surely the way forward is to find a method of ensuring that the rights things are decided at the right level and are subject to some kind of legal and democratic control.

  48. JOHN PILGRIM

    @”ince Cable’s assurance that a downgrade in credit rating by Moody’s is “largely symbolic” seems to me to have been a seriously misleading statement.”

    I agree-I was surprised at his use of the word “symbolic”.

    @” A fall of 7% in the value of the pound against both the dollar and the Euro both lowers the cost of UK exports (I gain 7% on my earnings) and increases the cost of all imports, including energy and fuel costs, hitting everybody.”

    Yes -it does

    @”I suggest that, both as an indicator of economic downward movement and in financial terms for ordinary households, the impact of the loss of triple A status has yet to hit home, and may effect Eastleigh.”

    It won’t help our inflation -that’s for sure, since much of it is imported.

    Eastleigh?-I have no idea. I don’t know anyone from Eastleigh, or what the salient issues in Eastleigh are.

    If I lived in Eastleigh & was invaded by the hoards portrayed in the press, I would punch the next canvasser to knock on my door, & shove their literature where the sun don’t shine.

  49. @Colin

    “If I lived in Eastleigh & was invaded by the hoards portrayed in the press, I would punch the next canvasser to knock on my door, & shove their literature where the sun don’t shine.”

    What? Even if it was Dave, Boris and Maria? Surely not! lol

  50. CB11

    Well not Maria-obviously.

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