The Church of England have released a poll they claim shows the vast majority of people believe in the power of prayer, when it does no such thing. There is nothing at all wrong with ICM’s actual polling, which asks people “Irrespective of whether you currently pray or not, if you were to pray for something at the moment, What would it be for?” (emphasis is mine). A perfectly reasonable question, asking people what they would pray for, if they were the sort of person who did pray.

However, the Church of England have gone rather rogue in interpreting the results, deciding that everyone who gave an answer to ICM’s hypothetical question of what people would pray for if they prayed must therefore believe in prayer – putting out a press release claiming that “Four out of five British adults believe in the power of prayer”. The Telegraph has gone on a similar flight of fancy, declaring “Six out of seven people still believe that prayers can be answered despite a dramatic drop in formal religious observance, a study has found.”

In a population where only around half of people believe in a god at all, any claim that 80% of people believe prayer works should ring alarm bells anyway. For the record the last poll I can find that actually asked whether people believed that prayer worked was by YouGov for the Sun in 2012. That found 31% of people believed that prayer worked in some way (that is they thought prayers were heard by God, or were physically answered in some other way), compared to 45% who did not and 25% who weren’t sure.

Hat tip to Alex Hern at the New Statesman for spotting it – his own mockery is here.

Meanwhile this morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 41%, LDEM 13%, UKIP 11%. The thirteen points for the Liberal Democrats is the highest that YouGov have shown them since November 2010. While all the usual caveats about individual polls apply, it is indicitative of a broader underlying trend – since the end of last year there has been a definite uptick in levels of Lib Dem support in YouGov’s daily polling. Last autumn YouGov were typically showing them at 8-10%, in recent weeks they have typically been showing them at around 11-12%.

317 Responses to “No, 80% of people do NOT “believe in prayer””

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  1. Ewen

    Oo-er Missis…………..

    ps You’re not Sydney Saunders in real life are you?

  2. RichO

    I’ll resist the temptation to speculate on what Foot’s majority would have been in 83 without being hobbled by The Gang of Four and Galtieri. You will recall, I’m sure that his party was 16% ahead of Thatcher’s in the polls before the Limehouse Declaration.

    But I’m resisting that temptation. I’ll merely note that comparing EM’s Labour party of 2013 to Foot’s of 83 stretches credulity somewhat.

    To put it another way, the choice is not a binary one between Blairism and Stalinism. There is a rather large and fertile spectrum in between those extremes.

  3. Richo

    No it wasn’t foot, it was Neil Hamilton, Jonathan atkin, Edwina currie, john major’s bastards and last but not least Norman Lamont

  4. ^ sadly I agree. The economy we handed over was really on the up, record tax receipts etc etc, kicked out on sleaze, 100% right. Ask yourself whether labour handed back the economy in better or worse shape? Actually I might be drifting in to getting in to trouble with Anthony, so I won’t drift in to arguments. I still think its a shame DM is going, but yes I agree it’s likely to be a view from those on the right, or the right of the left, if that makes sense. My girlfriend also insists he is much better looking than EM, and of course that is very important. lol!!!!

  5. RiN

    “Edwina Currie, John Major’s bastards”

    Blimey! Now that was news to me….

  6. I have a feeling that much as he might have appealed to a broad spectrum of the electorate ( including me if push came to shove) , DM would have been found wanting as PM.

    I think he might have been indecisive, judging from his failure to draw the dagger on Brown.

    Perhaps he is the less tough of the two brothers?

  7. Paul

    Well there were rumours, but that wasn’t what I was intending to draw attention to

  8. I’m somewhere between RIN and LeftyLampton in that I do think that moving Labour to the centre left will limit their appeal (especially in the southern half of the UK) BUT it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t achieve a decent majority with a centre-left leader…it just makes it harder IMO.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the southern v northern divide widens in 2015. I can’t really see the south taking to Ed in a big way, but then, equally, I can’t see the north taking to David Cameron either! For Labour to win a majority they don’t necessarily need to make sweeping gains in southern England but a failure to make decent inroads would really put pressure on them to make a whole load of gains in the Midlands. That’s why, for me, Ed has at least tried to portray an image of being for the middle classes as much as the working classes – he knows that if you risk appealing to one section of society over another then you limit your potential vote. That’s what being centre-left or centre-right does.

  9. Because when it comes down to it the vast majority of voters are not really left or right wing – they have a mishmash of views. Either that, or they are just totally indifferent to politics altogether.

  10. ^ much as I hate to admit it, I think the country has nudged to the left for two reasons. Solid Tory votes are going with generations moving on, like my grandma and grandad. Secondly, the new voting generation are much more likely to be labour, as the country is getting poorer, and that does attract people to the left.

  11. Back to the wine now. Gulp gulp. :P

  12. I am having wine too! After spending about 20k I finally had enough for a voucher for a case of Virgin Wine. Excellent stuff it is too.

  13. ^ as in a long awaited credit card benefit….

  14. @Richo,

    “I am having wine too! After spending about 20k I finally had enough for a voucher for a case of Virgin Wine. Excellent stuff it is too.”

    I’ve seen them advertised. Sounds nice. If you have any spare feel free to send some my way. They would be most welcome!

    Night everyone.

  15. I agree with Lefty.

    I notice that none of the political ‘obituarists’ refer to DM as Banana Man so that bears out his point.

    Mine’s a Merlot from Chile (3.99 from Lidl and £2 off with Easter offer if half a dozen are bought).

  16. Well if everyone else is drinking I suppose I should remove the cobwebs from my bottle of Jack and stop being an accidental teetotaller

  17. David Miliband was a decent foreign secretary, but this does not mean he would have been a decent leader of his party.

    Ed Miliband has so far done an ok job as Labour leader, but probably (polls indicate this) has not convinced enough floating voters that he is a PM in waiting. Much of this is about how he comes across to them, rather than his abilities.

    I think Labour have a lot of work to do, if they are to win the GE, even as the largest party in terms of seats. The current polls are not really showing a big enough lead for Labour to win with a majority. We all know that once an election is called that the polling will narrow considerably. However, much depends on the UKIP effect on the Tories, as if UKIP really are at 10% +, then this may affect Tories more than Labour. The Lib Dems will lose some seats, but less than currently expected.

    Will many Tory MP’s do a deal with UKIP to not stand in their seat if they supported an out vote on the EU referendum ? Yes I expect that this will be the case and Camerons leadership at election time will be under massive pressure. Will this cause the Tories a major problem and help Labour ? Yes probably, but it depends on what happens with the EU. By 2015, if the EU is still in a mess, voters may be more EU sceptic. The Tories led by Cameron may change to being more EU-sceptic and could sneek a small majority on the back of this.

  18. @Ambivalent – try Vinceramos – they do mail order organic wines and beers. Some excellent quality stuff, and Mrs A insists it helps reduce hangovers.

    @Paulcroft – as it happens, I have a very good relationship with Hilary. Mrs A is very understanding (a couple of cases of organic wine usually do the trick). Bill is more of a problem, but there are other ways to keep him occupied.

  19. R Huckle: “Ed Miliband has so far done an ok job as Labour leader, but probably (polls indicate this) has not convinced enough floating voters that he is a PM in waiting.”

    As a proud floater, I can certainly vouch for that. A Miliband/Balls partnership in Downing Street currently fills me with abject horror. I would genuinely fear for the national economy if those two were let anywhere near it again.

  20. “Ask yourself whether labour handed back the economy in better or worse shape?”

    Governments have generally handed the economy to the next government in worse shape, from around 1945 when they started taking responsibility for the ups-and-downs of the economy.

    Britain in 1945 was on the verge of severe crisis. Britain in 1951 was on the verge of severe crisis. Britain in 1964 was in good general shape, though it didn’t seem that way at the time. By 1970, inflation was up and unemployment was creeping up with it- the painful death of the Keynesian Phillips Curve. 1974 was probably the post-war nadir: extreme monetary inflation was turning into extreme price inflation. By 1979, Labour had straightened things out a bit, though no minority government could set things in order and the economy was starting to overheat again. And while things in 1997 were much improved, unemployment was still high and the housing market was still hungover from the 1980s binge.

    So, from 1945, we have three instances where we can clearly say that the economy was in better shape than at the beginning of a government: 1964, 1979 and 1997. Therefore, the mere fact that the economy was in the toilet in 2010 shouldn’t surprise us too much; indeed, the litany of economy mismanagement over the past 100 years is very long, mainly because politicians can’t manage the economy.

  21. Strange post about EM / EB Steve2. Better start getting used to the idea (a decent Merlot will help).

    I have trouble reading the Italian press and need the translator. This has thrown up the following: The present PM is Mr Mountains (Monti) the chairman of the ECB is Mr Dragons (Draghi) the Maverick opposition leader is Mr Cricket (Grillo) and last but not least, and this is not a literal translation, Berlusconi is called The Knight. The latter is actually (I think) a satire on some gong he awarded himself, the title of which is Cavaliere.

    Of course way back we had Chancellor Kohl of Germany (Mr Cabbage).

  22. R HUCKLE

    If the Tories could not sneak a small majority in 2010 after 13 years of a Lab Government, an unpopular prime minister and a world recession. They have no chance of sneaking it in 2015.
    Ambivalent is right, the Tories have to win seats in the North, paticularly the the Northwest.
    They ain’t gonna do it, believe me.

  23. Bill P

    Do you mean ‘can’t’ as in ‘not possible to’? If so, I agree.

    I’d love to know how a mere national politician can do that now (and leave for debate whether it was possible ages ago).

  24. @Richo – “The economy we handed over was really on the up….”

    It’s an interesting observation. It’s true, but only up to a point, but it isn’t true to say that sleaze is what did it for you/Major in 97.

    I have my own illustration of why Labour romped home in 97 and Tories were frozen out for 13 years (and are still out now, in terms of majority power). In the mid 1990’s I had an unsightly wart on one of my index fingers. It was irritating, kept getting damaged, and as I worked in catering at the time it was a problem. I saw the Doc, and was given an out patients appointment for it’s removal. When the appointment date came through the post (3 months later) it was for a day 7 years and 4 months away.

    When people speak of the economy, they talk in somewhat abstract terms, as if there is this thing called ‘the economy’ and we exist around or separate from it. The fact is, we are the economy. This is what Tories forgot. There is no point citing good economic numbers if our society is slumping into a pit, and this was the position in 1997.

    My wart story is vaguely amusing (don’t worry – I’ve got other jokes about warts that are actually much funnier) but other tales were much darker. Reports of dying children being driven 200 miles to find an intensive care beds were not uncommon back then.

    If I can accept that the financial picture was improving in 1997, you should accept that the social metrics were dire. This, above all else, was what consigned Tories to long opposition. The ‘nasty party’ wasn’t about sleaze – it was about a huge social deficit that Labour had to repair, and was as much of a crisis as the financial deficit that the coalition is seeking to repair today.

  25. @ Steve 2

    As you may fathom from my post, I ended up saying that EU issues, UKIP and how the Tories approached a 2015 GE may decide the outcome. I have a fear that the EU will get very messy in the next few years and the UK electorate may move back towards the Tories, if they were very EU-sceptic.

    In response, I would expect both Labour and Lib Dems to match the Tories on a EU in/out referendum, but they may still appear more pro-EU than the Tories. As I said, many Tory MP’s may do a deal with UKIP, even if this was not sanctioned by their party. With UKIP then not running in many existing Tory seats, they could then concentrate more on other seats, which may then have more effect on Labour.

    People should therefore not presume that because Cameron did not win with a majority in 2010, that he cannot win in 2015 with a majority. Much could depend on what happens within the EU and how this affects the UK. After what has happened in Cyprus and the latest UK banking news, I am suspecting another banking crisis within the EU.

  26. Alec

    Personally I absolutely hate it when journalists claim to be able to analyse the motives and inner feelings of someone they don’t know. Especially when they clearly don’t like them anyway.

    My guess is that DM is quite right that he would prove a distraction and that the media would love it. He woud be in a lose/lose situation: perform well in whatever post and it would be “he should be leader” type rubbish, perform badly and it would be “thank goodness he’s NOT leader.”

    I think he’s probably done the best thing and if I can stil be upset that bloody Schmeichel saved Denis Bergkamp’s penalty in the 1999 semi-final then I think DM is entitled to still feel some regret for coming such a close second and knowing he could have played it differently.

  27. You know, I believe in prayer (sorta). Of course, it doesn’t always work. I’ll give you an example. I’m struggling with something right now and so I prayed to god on Sunday night for some sort of sign to guide me. Monday morning, I received such a sign. But then….I found that this sign from god was indecipherable and it didn’t really guide me to what I was looking for. A friend suggested that this was god giggling at me. Perhaps.

    I suppose then that I pray but I don’t necessarily believe in the power of prayer.

    Perhaps god was playing a cruel joke on me today where I got into the Supreme Court for oral arguments (after waiting four and a half hours in line in the freezing cold)…just the three minute viewing…..only to lose my ticket while going through the security line and be denied admittance to see the actually proceedings. Or maybe I’m just a forgetful and/or clumsy idiot (I’m pretty sure I dropped it as I was taking off stuff for the body scanner).

    In that regard, I’m extremely grateful for the actions of Britain and France this year in legalizing same-sex marriage. Because although it shouldn’t influence the thought process of Anthony Kennedy, he’s a lousy Justice and it does. So yes, my former Tory colors would be for once appropriate here because I continue to cheer David Cameron. I might have toasted him at a birthday dinner party. (Insert sheepish grin).

  28. @ Ewen Lightfoot

    “p.s. Where has SoCal Liberal got to of late?”

    Hey there! I feel glad to be to missed (I feel badly though if any of you left me previous comments in the past month that I missed). I’ve been busy of late.Broken computer for five weeks, contemplating a possible temporary relocation, the City of Los Angeles is having its Mayoral Election (I’m trying to host a big fundraiser breakfast for one of the candidates and I’m just not good at this sort of thing but I’m working on it as hard as I can), plus the Supreme Court cases on DOMA and Proposition 8 have been getting my attention of late. Really, should spend more time here because while I definitely waste time here, it’s kind of a stress reliever.

    @ Billy Bob

    I find the following worse than anything done by Ed Milliband to David Milliband.

    h ttp://

    I normally love her and her attitude. But here she’s just p*****g me off.

    Oh and btw, I found this to be the most inspiring site in recognition of the historic oral arguments today and yesterday.

    The rainbow flag, the symbol of LGBT equality is no longer cabined to gay bars, gay clubs, and restaurants lining Pride Parade routes. It is now hung in the Halls of Congress. It’s a first I’m pretty sure. Makes me smile.

    @ Amber Star

    As a feminist, you will no doubt appreciate this. Or lament it. At yesterday’s oral arguments, the Attorney General of California was referred to repeatedly by the pronoun “he” by Justice Scalia (and perhaps a few other right wing male Justices). Of course, as you may know (or remember), the Attorney General of California, the lovely and talented Kamala Harris, is a woman.

    You know, we found out yesterday why it’s important to have women, especially tough New York women, on the Supreme Court…to dish out some New York common sense. Apparently some men (old right wingers) seem to think straight married couples where both partners are over the age of 55 are perfectly capable of procreating.

  29. @ R Huckle

    Almost certainly a banking crisis is brewing – not only their balance sheets look awful (and don’t want to recapitalise, they rather want to borrow…), but firms are leveraging too, so there is an increased credit risks (although most of it comes from securities and not loans).

    I also agree with you that 2010 does not pre-determine 2015, but the Tories are not more liked now (just the opposite) than in 2010 – so either Labour has to make some really awful blunder or such crisis in the EU is needed that makes any mildly pro-European party look traitors – as you said, but the scale has to be really big. It would probably have such major implications to the UK economy though that would destroy the coalition’s reputation completely (after all, such a crisis wouldn’t be surprising), so anti-EU may not be enough.

  30. Con 30, Lab 40, Lib 12, UKIP 13
    Approval -33

    Looks like Lab may be down to 40, from 41 and Con 30 from 31.
    But we’ll have to give it a few more days.

    Lab and Con both in decline, with UKIP and Lib gaining would make very interesting polling – especially leading up to the local elections.

  31. @ AmbivalentSupporter / Stockport Red

    The need of making inroads in the North (and to a lesser extent in the Midlands) by the Tories depends on the LibDem – Conservative competition elsewhere and also on London.

    I think in the North the Conservatives need to hang on their seats rather than gaining new ones.

  32. And I’ll only comment on DM being a ‘better/worse leader’ by noting what AW has said when polling asking for VI under a different, hypothetical leadership turns up – people may be projecting their ideal (or the opposite) candidate on to the person in question.

  33. What with the rise of UKIP and to a lesser extent the Liberals – up by a quarter from their 2011 lows, it seems unless there’s an intense narrowing at 2015, or electoral pacts, we’ll be continuing our long-chartered decline in two party shares – something that looked set to be reversed only a year ago. Suits my desire for PR in any case.

    As for David Miliband’s appeal: he appealed to the Right, not the centre (same with Blair – IIRC left-right polling backs me up here, in that most considered him right-of-centre). I feel that most mourning his influence are invariably right-wingers, although the wets now apparently consider themselves to be centrists (I find the idea that Steve2 is some rootless floating voter is laughable, and that talk above it of self-reliance is standard right-wing fare).

    Although I don’t think his disappearance proves Labour are choosing centre-left, rather they’re, under Ed Miliband, choosing centrism over explicitly centre-right platform (although it’d have been interesting to see what – if anything – David Miliband would’ve fought this government in opposition, and might’ve exposed how poor our democracy is). Speaking of which, I’ll have to again repudiate the line espoused by Richo claiming Foot’s defeat shows that the people will only stomach centrism, conveniently ignoring the emergence of Alliance. I’d arge much of the 1983 platform would win much wider appeal now that neoliberalism’s been shown for the bankruptcy it is. But I suppose if D. Miliband had been leader we may have got to see another leader having to cope with a newly split-left, as I really doubt he’d been put up anywhere near the opposition that matched people’s anger (that’s not to say Ed is, btw).

  34. “So, from 1945, we have three instances where we can clearly say that the economy was in better shape than at the beginning of a government: 1964, 1979 and 1997. Therefore, the mere fact that the economy was in the toilet in 2010 shouldn’t surprise us too much; indeed, the litany of economy mismanagement over the past 100 years is very long, mainly because politicians can’t manage the economy.”

    Ah…but should we really expect them to?

    Maybe thats our biggest problem as a society is that we do expect them do just that for us on our behalf and give them too much power as a result.

  35. Oh yes, that’s really what’s at fault here: the electorate expecting the government to manage a faltering economy they’ve imposed.

    If the government can’t even promise that, they’re not a government and should be afforded no legitimacy. In fact, they can remove all their capitalist restrictions and we’ll do it ourselves.

  36. I think Alex is right, you know…Crosby’s playing of the race card is handing the initiative to UKIP. Once upon a time, the theory goes, immigration was a win/win for the Tories. Stoke up some generalised fear of being “swamped” and people would flock to the anti-Immigration Tory party as the Lab and LD were wet lib huggers of foreigners.

    But now, whip up the hate and there’s the UKIP option. It appears that some Lab vote is being eroded, but it’s not helping Con much.

  37. There is a sort of symmetry to David Miliband’s career… in 1992 he was appointed Secretary of the IPPR’s Commission on Social Justice by the Labour leader, John Smith. One of his main tasks was to work up proposals to introduce the minimum wage.

    November 2012 saw a joint drive with his brother Ed to campaign for the wider take-up of the living wage.

    I would agree with tingedfringe… in a way David Miliband’s exit from UK politics is an admission that he would not be able to overcome the projections thrust upon him.

    There is a stong argument that he was never a “Blairite”, he was on the left of the Labour spectrum, his allegainces were seen best in the context of the “Primrose Hill Gang” which included his brother Ed… and anyway the Blair/Brown thing was always more about normal political rivalries elevated by obsessional media hype and group-think than any real ideological faultline in the modern Labour party.

  38. The discussion on whether Govts hand over “better” economies sounds rather simplistic to these ears for two reasons.

    1) Despite this apparent extended period of destruction due to politicians who cannot manage the economy, we have seen a near-constant trend rate if economic growth since the War. In the most basic sense, the economic situation in ANY post-War year (whilst the politicians have had their incompetent hands on the levers) has been hugely better than it was in, say, 1931. Or 1921. And, measured in absolute terms, the economy in 2010 was larger than it was in 1997. It feels almost patronising to point these things out, but this type of discussion often leaves me with the impression that many people believe that our absolute position has experienced a secular worsening.

    2) If we are talking about the transient TRAJECTORY of the economy at the falls of Govts, then the earlier discussions make more sense. Although there is a cause and effect issue then. As in, more often than not, Govts fall BECAUSE the elections they lose coincide with economic downturns.

  39. I very much agree with Lefty’s posts on Ed v David. The posters on here who are saying that Lab would do better under David are making a rather strange assumption that Labour could be doing any better than they are at the moment. These are also not the voters who are going to vote Labour anyway.

    Of course Labour have been lucky that the Lib Dems are in government. Had the Tories had an overall majority then Lib Dems would still be on 23% and Labour in the low 30’s.

    However easy it was, Ed has still got back those Lib Dem votes and it seems unlikely that any other leader could have achieved more. Quite possibly David with his history on Iraq etc and closer links with the last government would have struggled to achieve the same.

    I think 3 years is enough for the electorate to make some judgment on the Tory government, but 3 years is probably not enough time for swing voters to ‘forgive’ the last Labour government. So whatever Ed does he is probably limited to Lib Dem defectors and that’s what he has got and seems pretty secure with that.

  40. To change the subject a bit the BBC reports that: A judicial review into the consequences of the cut in housing benefit is set to go ahead after the government lost an attempt to have the action thrown out. Just in time for the May Local Elections.

    Together with today’s report that 2 million + poor families may be facing substantial increases in their council tax bills.

    Will we begin to see an impact on VI based on the apparent unfairness of the polices?

    Also as another contributor has already mentioned the latest import export data appears to indicate that the governments laudable intent to rebalance the economy appears to have failed.

    Would not be surprised to see Labour’s lead in VI rise and Osborne v Balls comparisons to move in favour of Balls.

    I would have preferred DM over Ed but Ed seems to be making a decent enough leader.

  41. Hillsborough news. IPCC says Bettison has a case to answer over his actions following the Hillsborough Report.

  42. @ Paul Croft
    “I hate it when journalists claim to be able to analyse the motives and inner feelings of someone they don’t know.”
    So do I. But we all ascribe motives, intentions, emotions to other people & human communication is impossible without such ascription?
    Eg. You would accept the statement “Schmeichel overjoyed he saved the penalty: Bergkamp devastated he missed it.” Do you know either of them?
    We also ascribe mixed emotions. I “know” “City” fans were pleased “United” were knocked out of the Euro cup, but displeased that United would thus focus on domestic competitions in which City were contenders.
    Every discussion of polls on this site ascribes views to millions of people unknown to the polsters.
    It’s a question of degree.

  43. “posters” not “polsters”

  44. Bang on ShevII
    I think 3 years is enough for the electorate to make some judgment on the Tory government, but 3 years is probably not enough time for swing voters to ‘forgive’ the last Labour government. So whatever Ed does he is probably limited to Lib Dem defectors and that’s what he has got and seems pretty secure with that.

    Also, though, some former Lab voters who stayed away may come back and winning a higher proportion of first time voters than the other parties which is pretty certain but depends by how much.

    3 years not being enough to forgive is why an OM is improbable imo and (forgive me the arguably partisan point) the only reason there is a slight chance is because not because of the Governments main Economic policy, as there is enough support for this to prevent a Lab OM, but because the are not appearing to be competent.

  45. Economic policy and government in the UK… Apart from very short periods (WW2 and the 1970s – one success, one failure) the UK governments haven’t really wanted an economic policy or haven’t really had the means to implement it. The neoliberal stuff from the 1980s only made it explicit.

    Because of the history and institutions of the UK, the governments are not in the position to systematically reward or punish enterprise behaviour, thus their efforts (when they had) were thwarted on the lack of infrastructure in which they could have implemented it.

    So the regulatory, arms’ length approach with occasional ad-hoc interventions is really the default stance for the governments.

    There have been odd politicians since the 1980s who had the intention to develop some sort of economic policy (Heseltine, Mandelson), but they didn’t get too far.

    Considering this, they have had the really unrewarding situation of being held responsible for the economic performance of the country.

  46. Hillsborough news. IPCC says Bettison has a case to answer over his actions following the Hillsborough Report.

    – As it would be regarding Misconduct in Public Office and He isn’t in public office any more there is nothing that can be done about it

  47. @ LeftyLampton

    “2) If we are talking about the transient TRAJECTORY of the economy at the falls of Govts, then the earlier discussions make more sense. Although there is a cause and effect issue then. As in, more often than not, Govts fall BECAUSE the elections they lose coincide with economic downturns.”

    I agree with both points. As to the quoted one, there is a good chance for elections and recessions coinciding (even though PMs could call elections at will within 5 years) as there has been a recession in every 6-8 years and the 1970s were recession after recession.

    The evaluation of the trajectory is even more difficult as for example the economy temporarily improved during the last year of the Labour government. Or in 1992 the economy hasn’t really come out of the recession, etc.

    I think the electorate on the one hand more subtle in its evaluation, but on the other it is more instinctual, prejudiced than often assumed. This leaves quite a bit of uncertainty.

  48. @laszlo

    I think it says something about the UK that this board is full of discussions about the past but anything to do with the future is taboo.

  49. @ SHEVII

    I think your post of 9.05am is a fair summary of the situation, but it is probably more complicated than that. I would add that the Tories appearing to move further to the right, would have an impact on swing voters.

    There are probably about 30% of the electorate who do not have a definite affinity with any party. They may like some policies which are associcated with Tories, some policies associated with Labour etc. This is why you hear parties coming out with soundbites e.g Tories “those that want to work hard and get on” is constantly repeated.

    If the UK economy in 2015 is still in a mess, I am not sure the Tories would be wise to campaign on the basis of being the aspiration party and that Labour are irresponsible with the countries finances. People are not that easily fooled and will look at the state of the economy, probably coming to the conclusion that a new direction is needed.

    For this reason, I think that Labour have possibly got the right leader, as Ed M does come across as someone who has his own ideas, which are different to the Blair era. I am expecting Labour to approach the 2015 GE, with a range of new policies, which appeal to people, who think these may be positive for the economy, so offer more opportunies for their families. Labour will need to be clear on how much extra government borrowing would be required, as otherwise voters may see them as too risky.

    The Lib Dems will I expect purely campaign on their achievements in government, claiming all the policies which people see as positive. It will be a case of them saying ” vote for us, as the party that if necessary will work in coalition with either Labour or Tories to ensure fairness for the people of Britain.” The danger for the LD’s is that they will not get as much credit for any positive policies, as they should do. Would the Tories with a majority have increased the tax free allowance to £10k ? It is a fair question and I think voters may associate this more with the LD’s. The LD’s may do better than currently predicted, even if they do lose some voters to Labour.

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