Friday round up

This morning’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun had topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%. Full tabs are here. YouGov also repeated their own question on who would make the best Chancellor, and found Osborne only narrowly ahead of Ed Balls, 28% for Osborne, 26% for Balls. This, I hasten to add, isn’t really any different from the picture MORI showed earlier in the week. Considering both polls have a margin of error of around about 3 points, the truth is a small lead either way doesn’t matter: both companies show Osborne and Balls pretty evenly matched in terms of public preferences.

YouGov also asked about the proposed cap on benefit spending, and found 57% thought a cap on benefits should NOT include pensions. As one might expect, the group most opposed was over 60s, though technically they are a group that probably be unaffected, given Labour have said they would honour the triple lock on pensions, and any savings there might instead come from changing the retirement age – however, as is so often the case, its not so much the facts of policies that determine people’s opinions as broad impressions, not least because most will be unaware of the facts.

Earlier today Populus also released the results of their weekly open-ended question on what news stories people have spotted. Questions like this are most interesting not when they show people picking up a story, but for the way they underline how few people pay attention to other stories. It’s been a relatively quiet news week, so even what I suppose count as the biggest political stories were hardly noticed at all. The most spotted story was actually the riots in Turkey, which 10% of people mentioned. The story about the NSA accessing data on emails and phone calls was recalled by just 6% of people.

Labour’s cap on the cost of benefits was not in the top ten stories people had noticed, implying less than 2% of people mentioned it. The fieldwork was done at the end of the week, so the weekend announcement was already a few days ago, but it still underlines just why what parties say and do often matters so little in terms of voting intention. Things don’t make much of a difference, because no one is listening. That exaggerates its unimportance a little of course, as the policy foundations that parties sent down now will determine the battlegrounds closer to the election when people are paying at least a little more attention, but never forget that most of what goes on in politics completely bypasses the general public. So yes, people don’t want a benefit cap to include pensions, but do most people know that the parties are proposing a total cap on benefits? Probably not. Did most people realise that Labour were proposing to include pensions in a cap? Probably not.

119 Responses to “Friday round up”

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  1. What is UKIP doing to voting patterns?
    Yes, they always do well in the Euros and are bound to emerge as the largest UK party next year.
    Based on the local election result this time compared with the local result last time with the Counties a year ahead of the Euros my prediction for Euro seats is something like Tories -6,UKIP +9 Lib Dems-6 Lab +3 Others nc
    The ICM Guardian poll has the three other parties gaining from a UKIP fall but Labour gaining twice as much as the coalition partners.
    If this indicates a return of waverers to their original party, Labour has much to concern them.
    Sure, the original UKIP rise came from the Tories but the smell of potential success has dragged across Labour supporters of a certain ilk.
    This week’s by-election for Southampton City in the safe Labour Ward of Woolston has Labour winning the seat but with a huge drop in vote (22%) Yes, UKIP came in 2nd.
    Kings Lynn had a UKIP gain from LibDem (who had no candidate!) with Labour running in 3rd.
    That doesn’t sound like a party on the way back to me.
    Now we’re used to coalition Govt. we may have a 3-way coalition in 2015

  2. @Chris Lane
    “John Smith’s Shadow Budget shock, against Kinnock’s preference also played a role.”

    The only thing shocking about Smith’s shadow budget was Labour’s subsequent failure to respond to its relentlessly inaccurate portrayal by the Conservatives and their friends in the press. Over the remaining month of the 1992 campaign, Labour devoted just one of their daily press conferences to promoting/defending Smith’s proposals, even though they would have left the great majority of the electorate better off.

    James Carville and Bill Clinton learnt the lesson from that failure, and won, by focussing on economic issues and rebutting their opponents’ claims repeatedly.

  3. PHil – agree and agree re shadow budget costing votes (more than the rally imo) and about it not costing as many votes had it been defended properly.

  4. Shaun

    I think you have made one or two wrong assumptions first harden Tories won’t be voting Ukip in the GE, you normally find point scoring by the tory faithful is confined to By-elections.

    There’s little vI at the moment to suggest there will be a rise in UKip support at the next GE, if anything their going in the other direction having been deprived of the oxygen of publicity over europe, although I concede they should do well in 2014 in the euro elections, personally I’ve never voted in those elections and to be honest I don’t know many tory voters who do compared to a GE, and judging from the 2009 results their’s even less interest in Europe form Labour supporters.

    As for jumping from one extreme to another not sure what you mean by that, certainly the coalition have made plenty of U turns but we’ve begun to see a couple of those from Labour recently, it’s just part of the political land scape when your in power, or working through new idea’s, allthough I must admit being in a coalition hasn’t help with joined up thinking sometimes.

    As for EM planting himself in the middle ground well I think you will see all three parties trying to doing that.
    Not so easy when you have to make unpopular decisions or produce policies for the electorate to judge, some of which will be framed against the background of cuts that will go on for a few years yet.

  5. I would be very surprised if Labour manage to get a majority of 70-80 in 2015.

    me too.

    There are some here who do-ie they think the Polls will not change between now & GE day.
    This is a polling site – & all polling evidence shows Labour on track for a majority of around 70-80 seats. Marginal polling has supported that sort of outcome.

    A couple of heavily adjusted polls from Mori & ComRes are the only sight we’ve had of sub 7% Labour leads in a very long time. And +7% Lab would result in a 70-80 seat majority.

    I am no stranger to crystal ball forecasts; they are very entertaining. However, on past evidence we have seen that a 20+% mid-term lead rarely results in more than +7% on polling day. But we have little past evidence to show that a +7% mid-term lead melts in a similar way.

  6. Steve
    Labour actually made big gains in London in 1992. Its weakest performance was actually Scotland where it lost a seat gained in 1987!


    @”And there are others doing rain-dances in the hope that they will change. IIRC the feel-good factor matters a great deal and it is hard to see where an improved FGF will come from.”

    I find it eminently easy to see where an improved FGF will come from. Pessimism as indicated in OPs has been on the wane for a while.

    What cannot be so easily seen is what degree & kind of FGF is required to move VI.

    Equally I can see tensions on the Left as EM becomes more specific about policy detail & I do not expect a putative Miliband administration to be any less subject to internal tensions than has been the Coalition.

  8. @ Colin

    Equally I can see tensions on the Left as EM becomes more specific about policy detail…
    Really? The welfare spending cap was the ‘big ticket’ item & – as far as I’m aware – the Eds had backing for their policy announcement from Len (Unite) on the left & Progress on the right.

  9. @TURK

    “working through new idea’s”

    No comment from the grammar police yet? Are they on holiday?

  10. What Ed quite slyly did with that announcement was placate Progress with a spending cap and placate the left with the job guarantee and minimum wage enforcement.

    Meanwhile, Cameron went shouting his mouth off about how great the EU is at a time when he really ought not to be doing that.

  11. “What cannot be so easily seen is what degree & kind of FGF is required to move VI.”
    Some of the rain-dancers seem to believe that OPs automatically move in favour of the incumbent as an election approaches – as if they are somehow on elastic. No FGF needed.

    IIRC the usual plan of previous governments of whatever hue was to get the painful stuff out of the way in the first few years then deliver the sweeteners in the runup to GE. Only then would ‘ unelasticated’ OPs swing in their favour.

    The question which may be worrying raindancers and King Canute fans is whether DC & GO left it too late to magic up FGF and is the larder so bare that they will have no goodies to offer ? “

  12. AMBER

    I just re-read LM’s reaction. He praised the speech for the “jobs guarantee & the “living wage”. Francis O’Grady of the TUC has since called for “wage led growth”.

    I see no reaction whatsoever from these people to the prospect of a Labour Cap on Welfare costs, or an Increase in the State Retirement age.

    I think they are cherry picking -but showing there priorities in doing so.

    However-I don’t expect trouble from that quarter until EM has been ushered through the door of number 10.

    Other areas of tension I was thinking of were :-

    EU referendum. EM has signalled he wants his troops to abstain on the Referendum Bill reading. There seems to be the possibility of a rebellion there.

    I noticed from a the debate on GCSE reforms that there were warm words from Dianne Abbott & David Blunkett, whilst Twigg was entirely negative about more rigorous exams.

  13. Mr Nameless

    @”What Ed quite slyly did with that announcement was placate Progress with a spending cap and placate the left with the job guarantee and minimum wage enforcement.”


  14. Observer drip feeding their poll tonight. No VI yet but Snowden Poll with not a particularly accurate headline giving percentages for how many think he is a hero (40%) but arguably just as many thinking he is a naughty boy in some shape of form.

  15. Not sure if this was mentioned elsewhere:

    Woolston councillor by-election:

    Lab 864
    UKIP 731
    Con 704
    TU & SAC 136
    Lib Dem 120
    Green 107

    26.48% turnout

    Labour’s previous vote count was 1,607

  16. amber star

    I have to agree with colins comments about tensions within the Labour party.

    The truth is tensions within any party are far more pronounced and reported on if the party is in power, but EM decision so far, not to support a vote on europe has created tensions within the party led by KV.

    Also capping of pensions ,although you say have the support of Unite other union bosses and those on the left wing of the party are certainly not happy.

    Also EB adoption of coalition spending plans and tentative support of welfare reform has also ruffled feathers within the party so though Labour may have some way to go to rival the Tories spat over europe tensions within any party are only a news headline away.

    At the moment EM has his party under control, however it will be interesting to see if that remains the position when further policies are revealed, the problem with any party leader is balancing the right and left of there parties so they can meet in the middle, to at least on the surface appear united.. Very few leaders have managed that trick.

  17. Turk/Colin – I think the question is not will there be tensions inside the Labour Party as the platform develops that is inevitable.
    The question is how visible will these tensions be and will the ‘divided party’ negative that the cons are suffering from at present apply to Labour.

    I think calling for an early EU referendum has a lot of merit as do many but very few will rock to boat over it imo .( BTW – I should probably know but who is KV do you mean Kate Hoey?)

    My hope (and feeling) is that dissent will stay largely hidden as Colin suggests until after the GE as the Labour Party learned from 17 years in opposition rather better imo than the Cons appear to have learned from their last 7 years of power up to ’97.

    Colin – re ‘Twigg was entirely negative about more rigorous exams’
    Did Twiggy really say that, I never heard the debate? Or is that your spin on his opposition to the measures Gove is proposing that he claims introduce more rigour. There is a genuine difference over final exam v modular etc and which actually test understanding better rather than learning facts for tests. IMO all politicians right, left and centre will want more rigour but disagree about what this means in practice.

    Finally, my turn to be pedantic Turk (apologies) but taking GOs spending plans as a starting point is different from adopting them, even in terms of the size of the envelope. Growth rates in 14/15 and Growth forecasts for 15/17 will determine Labour’s GE commitment on whether to use additional borrowing (in the short term) to boost demand. If Growth looks set to be 2.5% for example in 15/16 and 16/17 Labour will have different fiscal policies than if the forecast is for 1.5% in both years in which case the argument for loosening from a Keynesian perspective will be stronger.

    It was worded that way by EB for a reason.

  18. New thread!

    And KV = Keith Vaz, I believe.

  19. thanks

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