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. This could just be me, but whenever I see a picture of Rennard I can’t help thinking of the ubiquitous fat German colonel in so many second rate WW2 B movies.

  2. Charles

    Have you voted for any of the monetary policy committee?? Is there prehaps a democratic deficit there, maybe not, its only the most important economic decisions that are taken there

  3. Colin

    But what would you do if lord rennard touched your legs

  4. @RiN No I haven’t! But I have voted for people who might (if they had won) have had the power to alter this arrangement, and influence who was on this committee.

  5. Nearly 12 00 and nobody has disputed my ‘LD lose 2000 votes’ prediction for Eastleigh, just a few sour comments here and there on my strategic thinking processes.

    I think my UKPR expectation management effort seems to have worked quite well and it’s only Monday.

    It is to be hoped that any local Eastleigh poll did not do its fieldwork a day or so ago, as we will not know if I am on the money from it.

  6. ALEC

    I thought the Labour Shadow spokes person ( lady) was very measured this morning.

    Amongst other things she said this needed clearing up for his sake too, since he is denying the allegations.

    I don’t quite see how a Party investigation can do this-adjudicate on the alleged abuse I mean.

    John Mann has suggested that the Police investigate . I think he is right ( as so often in issues like this ) . And now we learn on this board from a LD Party member’s wife that formal complaints were made up the management structure-I am more convinced that Mann is absolutely right.

  7. COLIN
    Tut tut.
    “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.

    There was almost a Bah! in there, and oh yes you do. The voters of Eastleigh pay an already high price for heating and for petrol, which will be seen to go up as the lower value of the pound is factored in, giving rise, as you say, to inflation.

  8. Richard.

    I would immediately adopt the response mode instilled during my WI Anti-Groper Training Course-and with lightning speed , kick him in the balls……….assuming he has some of course.

    ………I think you should not characterise these incidents ( alleged) as “leg touching”. We don’t know what they involved, or how they affected the victims.

  9. IMO if the allegations are true they can not be dismissed and would be a clear attempt to use the political equivelant of the casting couch by Rennard.

    If substantiated I find it hard to see how both Swinson and Clegg can survive. Either she only reported (remarked casually) to NC about rumours or she reported more seriously. So a deriliction of duty be at least one of them.

  10. JOHN PILGRIM

    I said “salient” issues.

    It’s something I learned about from AW.

    If you believe inflation is salient in Eastleigh, I’m not going to argue.

    It sure is with me!

  11. The female tactical voters in Eastleigh may be put off voting Lib Dem. How much will that cost the LDs? Depends how much of the LD vote is female and tactical.

    I suspect there may be very few Labour voters in Eastleigh (i.e. if they were in PR system or another constituency they would vote Labour) and so very little of the LD vote is tactical.

    Do we know how much of the LD vote is made up of tactical voters? Can we infer it from any of the polls?

  12. From the telegraph

    ” There are suspicions that some of those who want to remove him as leader are behind the timing of the latest revelations.”

    I would now like to withdraw my earlier comments, obviously its time for nick to go. Lol

  13. @Colin

    “Well, not Maria – obviously”

    Wise man!

    @Liz H

    That is an interesting reprt from the Design Council you provided the link to and while I obviously haven’t read all the contents, this bit in the Conclusions section caught my eye, as did the impressive list of References they used in compiling the Report. This is a very credible and academically referenced piece of work: –

    “Physical elements in the school environment can be shown to have discernible effects on teachers
    and learners. In particular, inadequate temperature control, lighting, air quality and acoustics have
    detrimental effects on concentration, mood, well-being, attendance and, ultimately, attainment.
    According to the Ofsted 1999-2000 Annual Report, a quarter of secondary schools fail to
    conform to standards and regulations in these areas. ”

    Isn’t that just an incredible statistic, that last bit? In 1999/2000, a quarter of our secondary schools were failing to meet these basic environmental standards and regulations. A Quarter!! Mind blowing and you begin to appreciate how many schoolchildren in the years that preceded that report who were grievously let down and betrayed by the appalling facilities in which they were taught. A national disgrace.

  14. COLIN
    How much it costs to fill the tank, heat the house in March, bus fares and energy related food costs, I had in mind. Salient is a good word for how this will hit the housewife’s purse, and in terms of inflation and likely moves to contain it, that of the joint bank direct debit for the monthly mortgage.

    Let me add that I know less of Eastleigh than you if anything, and my main interest here is in the cause and effect on VI of the knock-on of events such as the Moody UK credit status downgrading. Yeah, salient I think it well could be, and indicative of movements which may occur up to the GE.

  15. BBC is reporting that Cardinal O’Brien, the most senior catholic clergyman in the UK (and I believe the only British vote on the next Pope) is resigning with immediate effect, in response to allegations of inappropriate conduct with priests back in the 1980s.

    It’s humbling to see the human side of a man who has devoted his life to telling the rest of us how to live.

  16. @Alec

    They are allegations; not proven fact.

  17. @Crossbat11 and @LizH – re new schools, I can add one further observation to the impact of new schools. In those that I have had a professional involvement with, energy costs rocket in new schools, compared to the same pupil size old versions.

    While heating costs tend to fall, or rise modestly, depending on the new building layout, electricity consumption balloons. Partly this is the addition of services, but mostly it is the adherence to over specified standards, poor design of things like IT systems, and over complex control and management systems.

  18. @ Howard

    But how would we know if Lib dems lose 2k votes even when the result is declared?

    The betting is still strongly with them to the point it would be a waste of time putting money on them. I’m a bit surprised the betting is so odds on for Lib Dems as it must be a bit in the mix right now. Personally my vote wouldn’t be changing for whatever party I planned to vote for with these allegations against that mythical party but then I’m not a floating voter persuaded by such things.

    The issue, as always, will be less about the incidents but, as with stuff like plebgate, how people perceive the incident was dealt with and how quickly everyone comes up with the full truth.

    The main issue seems to be about Clegg’s reputation and what he knew. As usual- poor interview techniques from those who have chased Clegg. No-one seems to have asked what exactly did you know and what was the catalyst for you asking Danny Alexander to investigate or have words. Seem to have let him get away with vague stuff about hearing rumours. So the question should have been what rumours and from whom did they come.

  19. @Jonathon – “They are allegations; not proven fact.”

    Indeed. That’s why I described them as allegations in my post.

  20. Looking at that Survation poll again (which I was inclined to scoff at at first):

    “…topline voting intentions for Eastleigh are CON 33%(nc), LAB 13%(nc), LDEM 29%(-7), UKIP 21%(+5)”

    Assuming the poll movements are correct, further LD falls seem to me likely to go to UKIP or abstention…if they go to Con in any numbers we could see a Con gain.

    I can’t see Con falling much from that 33% which might win them the seat. Only UKIP can beat them now, I think. If LD collapse I think UKIP is going to make a sensational gain here.

  21. @LizH,

    Thanks for actually attempting to answer my question about school buildings, rather than just attacking me for asking it.

    The report you link seems to conclude that there is a measurable difference in performance between schools with very bad buildings and schools with adequate buildings, but not very much evidence that really superb buildings improve performance (one quote mentions that going from “Ford to Ferrari” doesn’t seem to make a major impact). I think the authors have been pretty rigorous, although I sense they feel there is not enough evidence to work with (they are reviewing research rather than conducting their own). Their starting point seems to be “pro-new buildings” (it was commissioned by CABE) so I don’t think they would have any motive to downplay the effect of building new schools on performance.

    I am not opposing investment in public services, or even questioning the value (to those who work, learn or are treated in them) of improved environments. My question arose in a debate about “investment” and the effect on the country’s economy. The locked-in assumption that if you spend widely that you will reap equivalent rewards in economic performance and tax returns seems to me very questionable.

    I still don’t really know the answer. Does £1m of investment in schools produce £1m in increased revenue from the better academic and social performance of the pupils within it? Does spending that money make us (economically) richer or poorer?

  22. Of course we haven’t seen any post downgrade polling for Con yet. Any loss to absetention or UKIP would further boost UKIP at Eastleigh.

    It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Con will collapse to UKIP and LD collapse to Lab giving us all 4 parties between 20% and 25%, perhaps even pushing the two government parties into 3rd and 4th…but I might be wishing there.

  23. NEILA
    “Does £1m of investment in schools produce £1m in increased revenue from the better academic and social performance of the pupils within it? Does spending that money make us (economically) richer or poorer?”
    This question needs to answered in the context both of the costs and benefits of educational outcomes in the UK and their impact on the economy, and of strategies within economic management, e.g. of matching skills with industrial development, of access to employment, etc, and of international trade. If you ask it in the context of Cameron’s “trade war” with China and India, then as long as China has better educated and skilled workers and scientists, they have a comparative advantage over the UK. China has this advantage because of huge investment in schools and universities and related research systems, ergo…

  24. NEIL A
    @LizH,
    Thanks for actually attempting to answer my question about school buildings, rather than just attacking me for asking it.

    ———–

    No one attacked you. It’s a bit of a needless ad hominem to suggest they did really. Like in the cooking debate when suggesting that to point out reasons some may struggle to cook was “insulting” to those who could. Well no it wasn’t an insult, rather it gives more credit to those who manage it despite the odds and if one were to pursue the barren “insult” line you equally leave yourself open to the difficulty that you might on your own terms be insulting those who struggle but fail.

    In any event I had already pointed out there were studies on employee performance one might use as a guide re: ambient temperature.

    As for economic benefit it may be hard to measure since it may be some time before we see how pupils fare in the workplace. But there is a total economic benefit to consider. .. wages spent in the economy, work for suppliers etc.

    What also complicates things is that benefits may be different for different subjects. But it’s particularly worth bearing in mind that it’s not all about replacing one classroom with another, but about a classroom with some extra music practice rooms above… getting more out if the space.

    One of the criticisms of Gove’s new school designs is that they may provide more secluded spaces for bullying to occur. There may not be a study on that but clearly it’s something you might want to avoid.

  25. Hmm. It’s amazing how the most unlikely people become devotees of political correctness when a political opponent is accused, isn’t it? It’s also noticeable that it’s now becoming one of those who-told-who-when sagas, which tend to bore and confuse the public, no matter how fascinating the are to those in the Bubble.

    What is clear is not only were rumours about Rennard widespread, but the media knew about them. The Telegraph has published correspondence from April 2010 which show they knew of all the allegations and they’ve also printed a statement from 2009 that ITN had from one of the women. This may add to the suspicions that some had about timing but, if you think about it, it also enables Clegg to throw the accusation “Why didn’t you act?” back in the media’s faces with “Well why didn’t you publish?”. The answer is presumably the same – that the women we’re prepared to go on the record.

  26. @NeilA

    It doesn’t seem that any Party in power (in the UK) has been interested to find out the answer to your question but not having the answer doesn’t excuse us for letting children study in dilapidated buildings.

    I am not qualified to judge what would be ‘superb’ buildings for education but in my opinion when new buildings are built good design fit for purpose should always be the main criteria and not just the cost. And maintenance of buildings is just as important. As a policeman you must have heard of the ‘broken windows theory’ which states that if buildings, neighbourhoods are not maintained, they rapidly go into decline because there is a feeling that nobody cares and people assume they can do what they like.

  27. Urgent Question granted to Balls on Moody’s etc.

    This afternoon at 3.30 pm

  28. To compare Reynard to Savile is just very odd.

    However he does fall foul of the patented Crofty-Shifty-Eye test so is undoubtedy guilty – of something.

    Maybe, like Alec implies, he’s a fat SS Colonel playing a long undercover game or a leftover from ” ‘Allo ‘Allo” – a programme I never watched as I am an intellectual snob.

    [From my own point of view by the way I’ve never complained if women stroked my legs ‘cos I am the perfect gentleman.]

  29. When priests are forced to resign do they think:

    “Oh bugger.”

  30. In addition. ..

    If one were to do a study on the actual cost-benefit of the Building Schools for the Future programme with its procurement nightmares, PFI issues etc. that’s one thing.

    But an alternative more efficient approach might be another.

    Furthermore, even if there is no absolute study of overall impact, there may well be studies of aspects that get incorporated, eg ambient temperature, advantages of using IT etc. which.taken cumulatively would be expected to have an impact.

    And of course you should wind up with an asset of value. That’s one big way public schools build up provision over centuries. Always adding new buildings and repurposing the old. If you have the land of course. And they don’t tend to put up substandard buildings in the first place so easier to repurpose. ..

  31. Um obviously that should be “weren’t prepared to go on the record”. Actually the trigger for publication this time might be that more than one woman was prepared to go public – establishing a pattern. You can see something similar in the allegations against (ex-?) Cardinal O’Brien where accusation from four separate people meant he had to go quickly.

  32. I don’t think we should take sexual harassment so lightly. It happened to me and it is very frightening especially if the person is powerful. I though I would be blamed and was worried about the effect on my career. I never reported it but managed to get moved from that particular project. It can lead to a lot of anxiety and depression if the person is not able to escape the situation.

  33. There are some very cunning references to ‘Reynard’ on here. Is this due to myopia or a sly attempt to worsen Chris Rennard’s brush with bad behaviour? (Runs for covert).

  34. Alec

    […] I can add one further observation to the impact of new schools. In those that I have had a professional involvement with, energy costs rocket in new schools, compared to the same pupil size old versions.

    While heating costs tend to fall, or rise modestly, depending on the new building layout, electricity consumption balloons. Partly this is the addition of services, but mostly it is the adherence to over specified standards, poor design of things like IT systems, and over complex control and management systems.

    That’s fascinating. If you’d asked me I’d have assumed that one great advantage of new buildings would have been better energy conservation. Some of this may be bad design from PFI contractors prioritising low building costs and the Telegraph piece[1] that Colin had some extraordinary examples of cases where the heating and lighting in schools was controlled remotely from the US.

    However I also get the impression that having the latest technical gizmos is also seen as the selling point of the new schools for many and as you point out these may be expensive to run as well as buy, maintain and replace. The other question is of course whether they are any better at educating than more traditional methods.

    [1] It’s strange how keen some people are to point out the deficiencies of capitalism when they are imposed by the ‘wrong’ Party.

  35. My wot?

  36. Neil A

    I had not commented but as it is apolitical….

    I suspect new school buildings may give pupils a ‘feel good factor’ boost as do new hospitals. New police stations are quite simply ghastly places (who do they get to design them?) and only you can tell us whether you are motivated by them.

  37. Euro now 88p. I made some transfers € to £ a while back when it rose to 87p (don’t look a gift horse in the mouth I thought). I suppose when it hits parity with the £ in June I’ll be kicking myself.

    We small people are at the mercy of the Soros types. I presume the mainland workers here sending money home to EZ states are similarly affected. I wonder how the zloty is doing?

    Politicians don’t think of us do they?

  38. @ROGER MEXICO

    One of the advantages of new schools is that you can deploy a lot more technology, since you have the networking and other wiring built in, lots of sockets and places designed in to put things like panels and smartboards.

    As well as listening centres and all kinds of handy kit for different actuvities which lets pupils work independently while the teacher can monitor.

    Which of course costs more energy. But the design of the building also determines how easy it is to access the tech. and deploy it. If easier to access then it gets used more hence more energy.

    Also, schools have certain pressures to take IT contracts with companies (since these companies offer important safeguarding protections etc. which schools need) who will tend to stipulate what tech gets used and they may not have energy as their highest priority.

    Also. The technology is used quite heavily for assessment, for recording pupils’ work to prove they can do what is claimed to SATs monitors and Ofsted, as well as for tracking.

  39. @Neil A

    As Carfew pointed out, nobody attacked you for your question about the effect of new school buildings on academic results, although, in terms of the wording of your question, the use of the expression “shiny new buildings” was a bit provocative and tendentious, I thought.

    Put simply your question was “Is there any empirical evidence that moving children from a dilapidated temporary classroom to a shiny new building increases their academic performance?” and the short answer is, “Yes, lots”. Hopefully, you’ve now received a good deal of it from myself and many others and, on reflection, you will conclude that none of it contained any attacks upon yourself for originally posing the question.

    [Snip] Thankfully, we more or less avoided that elephant trap, I thought and the debate, in the main, turned out to be a civilised and enlightening one.

  40. ROGER MEXICO

    @”It’s strange how keen some people are to point out the deficiencies of capitalism when they are imposed by the ‘wrong’ Party.”

    I would count the failure to conclude a contract which provided you with satisfactory outcomes & value -if it was done in free & unfettered negotiation-as your fault.

    In the case of PFI contracts , I note that amongst the changes GO has implemented is the exclusion of those crazy facilities management arrangements.

  41. My but the Renard/Eastleigh/Clegg issue is looking like a real Black Ops job.

    My first thought was that it was all very well to spring this story at this particular time and hobble the LDs in Eastleigh, but you can’t build an electoral strategy on always having a suitably nasty story to run whenever you want it.

    Then I saw this morning’s vitriolic headlines about Clegg and got to thinking that this was the Press Pack taking their revenge on Clegg’s approach to Hackgate.

    And now of course, it’s looking like a very effective way of permanently winging Clegg in order to bring him down and replace him some time later this year. That would satisfy both the left-wing of the LDs (giving them chance to run a “we’re different now” line before GE15) and the Tories (who can’t possibly win a majority, or even be largest party in 15 on 30-odd% of the vote unless the LDs creep back up towards 20%).

    Wheels within wheels wrapped up in enigmas. I sense a Thick of It special in the offing on this one…

  42. CROSSBAT11
    Since Neil’s original post was to do with economic benefit, I thought it was useful also to have the debate around the economic benefit of schools as a model for other public sector institutional investment. This question is made easier in World Bank and other development bank financing of schools in developing countries by being done as “social cost benefit analysis”, in which specific targets and outcomes are set, and which are (supposedly, but only to a limited extent) monitored in impact or benefit monitoring and evaluation; really a way of taking indicators or surrogates of benefit, such as numbers of educated entries to the work force, and most often done as a programme or package, in which lending is provided for all of, say, the secondary sector, to tackle a specific area of education: science and technology, for example, including the necessary teacher training.. The initial planning and analysis is usually done for a 20 year period. The relevance of the World Bank model is that the system does not pretend to forecast economic returns to the investment of the kind which was mooted in this thread; it rather makes the assumption that the schooling system is the basis of the human resource development of a country, and that this is contributory to economic development; but also, behind the scenes, or over in the right hand column of important assumptions and risks, it is recognized that extraneous factors may intervene which cannot be forecast.

  43. This was Peston’s analysis of the PFI reforms :-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20588870

  44. @Colin
    “In the case of PFI contracts , I note that amongst the changes GO has implemented is the exclusion of those crazy facilities management arrangements.”

    Err, you may wish to rethink that one.

    In April 2011, Andrew Sparrow posted this article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/apr/18/george-osborne-backs-pfi-projects?INTCMP=SRCH

    “Chancellor discredited funding mechanism in opposition but has pushed forward PFIs worth £6.9bn since election”

  45. Education is important for the individual, society, & the economy-obviously.

    A decent school building , with appropriate facilities is better for students & teachers than a building in poor state of repair-obviously.

    What constitutes an appropriate spec, & cost is a matter of judgement. According to the House of Commons Education Select Committee, the average cost of a new build under Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme was between £25m and £30m. Gove,

    I think the revised average cost is £7 million less than that.

    What is “right” number ?
    How do you know unless you are an educationalist or an architect?

    Provided we don’t have disasters like this anymore.:-

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2011/01/14/huyton-s-christ-the-king-flagship-school-for-future-generations-faces-axe-after-two-years-100252-27984170/

    …….and remember that good teachers are required for a good education.

  46. CHORDATA

    THanks.

    THat obviously predates the PFI reforms announced last year.

  47. @Colin

    “What constitutes an appropriate spec, & cost is a matter of judgement. According to the House of Commons Education Select Committee, the average cost of a new build under Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme was between £25m and £30m. Gove,

    I think the revised average cost is £7 million less than that.”

    If I recall correctly, there was an uproar at the reduction in the budget for new builds, as the specs changed to bring this about included requirements on corridor width, ceiling height and other things that have been shown to be directly related to pupil attainment.

  48. @Lefty
    “And now of course, it’s looking like a very effective way of permanently winging Clegg in order to bring him down and replace him some time later this year. That would satisfy both the left-wing of the LDs (giving them chance to run a “we’re different now” line before GE15) and the Tories (who can’t possibly win a majority, or even be largest party in 15 on 30-odd% of the vote unless the LDs creep back up towards 20%).”
    _______________________________

    Yes, and conversely in the case of the left it’s a case of “be careful what you wish for”. Just as if we hadn’t wished for Thatcher to go in 1990, 1992 would probably have turned out differently.

    That said, for Clegg to be eased out on the back of a scandal wouldn’t be the most effective means for the LIb Dems to signal a change of course. What helped the Conservatives after 1990 was that Thatcher had been forced out kicking and screaming on the back of disagreements over some key policies. The infighting actually helped them, as did the clear change of direction on some key policies (i.e. poll tax) afterwards. In the case of the LDs a new leader would be seen as more of the same unless the LDs withdrew from the coalition and acted to bring the government down well before 2015.

  49. Well the tories seem to be getting the best out of the moody’s debate, they seem remarkably well prepared! But I couldn’t watch anymore cos it was annoying that they were all arguing over the wrong thing

  50. Oh dear the market don’t like italy’s election results

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