Tuesday round up

There have been several interesting polls out today. First up Lord Ashcroft has released some polling of members of the Unite trade union. Many of the answers are what we’d expect, although not entirely comfortable for the Unite leadership – as you’d probably expect, Unite members don’t universally support the Labour party (amongst those who would vote, voting intention was Conservative 23%, Labour 49%, Lib Dem 7%, UKIP 12%). Shown a picture of Len McCluskey only 24% said they could recognise him (and only 16% actually got it right!). Again, rather awkward, but not wholly surprising – turnout in McCluskey’s election was only 15% and I suspect many members join up for protection of their rights in their local workplace, and have little concern for national trade union politics.

The core of the poll though is naturally about political funds, party affiliation and opting in. Asked if they contributed to the political fund, 37% of the Unite members polled said they did, 30% said they had opted-out, 33% didn’t know. This is interesting. The reality is that only about 5% of Unite’s membership have opted out of the political fund… so it could be that the sample is strangely skewed (though I can’t think of any obvious reason why it would be skewed towards opt-outers!), or that Unite’s rank and file members really do have little idea whether they are contributing to the political fund or not. Asked if they think the political fund should be opt-in or opt-out, 57% of members said they thought it should be opt-out, and asked what they would do if it was opt-in, only 30% said they would opt-in (comparing that to the 95% who currently contribute to the political fund I can’t imagine Unite going down that route!)

Ed Miliband’s proposals don’t affect Trade Union’s own political funds of course, rather he has suggested that Trade Union members should only be affiliated to the Labour party if they opt-in. Asked what people would do under these circumstances, 12% of Unite members said they’d opt-in to affiliating to the Labour party. Whether this is good or bad news for Labour is a matter of perception – yes, it’s only a small minority of Unite members, but it would be well over a hundred thousand new party members for Ed Miliband so I doubt it would upset him too much (in terms of finances for the Labour party, who knows, whose to say the affiliation fee wouldn’t be higher under the new regime to make up for lower numbers and, as others have pointed out, if the political funds themselves were still opt-out the money would still be there for Unions to donate if they wanted to).

Secondly, there is a new YouGov poll of Wales, carried out for Roger Scully’s new website Election in Wales. Voting intentions there are below (note the very sharp differences between how people say they’d cast their constituency and regional votes – the difference in Labour support in particular looks startling).

Westminster: CON 23%, LAB 48%, LDEM 8%, PLAID 9%, UKIP 8%
Welsh Assembly (constituency): CON 19%, LAB 46%, LDEM 8%, PLAID 17%, UKIP 6%
Welsh Assembly (regional): CON 12%, LAB 25%, LDEM 9%, PLAID 23%, UKIP 16%

Finally TNS BMRB have a voting intention poll out with topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 38%(+2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 16%(-3). There is clearly no obvious narrowing of the Labour lead here, though the drop in UKIP support is interesting. We’ve seen a decline in UKIP support amongst the telephone companies and YouGov who tend to show lower UKIP support anyway, but this is the first time the companies that tend to show higher UKIP support have shown them coming off the boil a tad.

284 Responses to “Tuesday round up”

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  1. Gee thanks Amber.

    He looks a bit tired-hope he isn’t doing too much.

  2. The tables for the Welsh poll are here:


    Note the absence of weighting of any kind.

  3. I think that we should all remember (I am sure EM does) that 35 39 8 11 gives an overall (overall remember) majority of 46. With no UKIP and a few NI types, Con can look forward to a restful 5 years on the benches of opposition.

    This is IMO, a comfortable figure for a Labour leader. there are about 30 ‘usual suspects’ (but they are getting on a bit most of them, are they standing again) so this gives him a comfortable working majority.

    The big question, for we golden ones, is whether EM will grasp the nettle of voting reform. He has the intelligence but does he have the will? We won’t know until he gains power because he won’t want to stir things up before that. Of course, if he needed the LDs, the move would be guaranteed I assume (again IMO!).

  4. @Turk

    “This set of economic figures do show the first real signs of turning the corner since the crash 5yrs ago…..”

    Alternatively, the first real signs of turning the corner came well over three years ago, with the recovery of Q4 2009, Q1 2010, Q2 2010 and Q3 2010, before measures dating from June 2010 onwards eventually threw that recovery into reverse.

  5. I don’t go along with the idea that if the LDs had not entered the Coalition that Cameron could have called another election a few months later. Had he tried that Clegg and Milliband could reasonably combined to make it clear to the Palace that they were willing to provide – or support – an alternative government in the interests of national stability.
    Another option available to the LDs in 2010 was to enter coalition – but for 18 months rather than a full 5 years. Had they done that , they would be much less tainted with the Tory agenda in the eyes of centre-left voters.

  6. Can we leave the history and arguments of coalition and voting reform on LDV please…

  7. Apart from the encouraging parochial growth figures, there are encouraging economic signs in Germany (PMI) France (2nd quarter growth) and Italy (confidence index) as reported in the FAZ.

    The main concerns are still the high level of EU unemployment generally. i don’t follow these things assiduously but if the FGF does bounce, then I expect the ‘government approval’ will too.

  8. Jim TOO
    What’s LDV?

  9. @ Sine

    Responding to AW’s rules and what Jim said it’s not really for me to say what my opinion is.

    I was just really trying to say what effect the Lib Dems going into coalition, rightly or wrongly, has been for them in the polls and how difficult it is for them to improve their poll ratings as a result.

    Also that a lot of the Lab leaning voters who voted for Lib Dems in 2010 haven’t got as far as analysing reasons or what options the Lib Dems had, all they knew was that they didn’t vote Lib Dem to get a Tory government (just as had it been the other way round the Tory leaning Lib Dem voters did not vote Lib Dem to end up with a Lab government)

  10. the increased tax dividend will be spread around the country, so nothing is in isolation.

    -My point Turk is that because of the nature of the “Recovery” Anaemic GDP Growth and inflation accompanied by falling real incomes for 95% of the population and wide scale avoidance of corporation tax there is no tax dividend to spread about or use to offset debt.

  11. “Alternatively, the first real signs of turning the corner came well over three years ago, with the recovery of Q4 2009, Q1 2010, Q2 2010 and Q3 2010, before measures dating from June 2010 onwards eventually threw that recovery into reverse.”

    Labour claim it was the government’s austerity measures, the Tories say it was the Eurozone crisis. The same could be said of the 2007 crash…the Tories claim it was Labour’s mismanagement of the economy, Labour say it was the global economic crisis.

    Personally, I tire of such partisan debates, but I suspect both the Tories and Labour are partly right (and wrong) in both cases…but it’s the affect of economic data and performance on polling that solely interests me.

  12. Howard

    But at the same time private sector lending to business is collapsing in the euro area

  13. Chris Riley,

    Yep: for many people of my generation, our formative political experience was the Iraq War, not Thatcherism or “Tory Sleaze”. I decided in 2005 that I’d never vote Labour until I thought they’d really suffered for Iraq, and I don’t think they’ve suffered enough yet (18 years out of power would be enough time in purgatory).

    Also, I have a theory that supporters both conservativism and social democracy (Britain’s dominant ideologies of the last 60 years) have rather undermined themselves for different reasons. Thatcher was both a free-market liberal and a social conservative, but how can you tell people that they are free to make their own choices and take responsibility at work or with public services, yet not in the bedroom or to move from country-to-country? Modern Labour is economically social democratic and socially liberal, but how can you celebrate diversity and freedom in everything except in things which involve money?

    Conformity, solidarity, and hirearchy are common values to both conservatives and social democrats, but they’ve values that carry remarkably little weight among my generation. That can lend itself to either parties like the Swedish Moderate Party on the right or the Clintonian left, which is why I don’t think that one can say straightforwardly “the youth of today are increasingly left-wing/right wing”.

  14. Jim TOO
    Oh, yeah, right (and I’m a member of that even!).

    I don’t see the discussion of how half the LDs switched to Lab (etc) is in any way unsuitable for this site, on the contrary, it is of the essence of it. It’s the chief thing that has happened since 2010.

    I bow to all other correspondents on economics, so thanks. i just thought it might cheer Colin and Alec up a bit..

  15. @Turk – “The underlining message in the media is things are improving, not just in the economy but in other matters such as crime ,immigration and welfare budgets.”

    And – “The jury is still out on the NHS but even there Labour have marginally lost some credibility.”

    There is some truth in what you say, but you need to be a bit careful. I find it interesting that Tories and their supporters have jumped on good crime figures as evidence that their policies are working, after having spent a lifetime in opposition decrying the falling crime figures as unreflective of reality. Hey ho – that’s politics though.

    The continued fall in crime is very welcome though all round, but on law and order I suspect we might see some reaction before the election to the issues currently lurking below the headlines. Crime detection rates are falling, which is odd, considering the police have fewer crimes to tackle, and the number of cautions is increasing sharply, including for violent and sexual crimes. This is not what we expect from the ‘law and order’ party, and crime and punishment might yet end up as a more favourable element for Lab.

    Welfare budgets are not decreasing – they are increasing, although I suspect your comment on this is about the perception of welfare budgets, which is different. How this develops will be interesting to watch, but to date, IDS’s reforms really haven’t gone anywhere like as far or fast as we were told, and universal credit is being touted by many independent observers as a disaster slowly unfolding. Not my area, so I really don’t know how true this is.

    Immigration to date has been a much less equivocal story of success, albeit rather limited in scale. There are warnings on the next influx from Europe though, so there remain risks here for the government.

    On the NHS, I really don’t think we can say the jury is out. Polls suggest the public has largely accepted that things have got worse. Tories (not Lib Dems) are engaged in a retrospective ‘blame Labour’ campaign, which is dangerous. There are now plenty of decisions made post 2010 that have adversely affected the NHS, and these issues are likely to get worse as we approach 2015. Indeed, the more likely NHS scenario is for a return to the impression of crisis, something we haven’t seen since – well, the last time Tories were in power I guess. This may be unfair, but as you say, it’s perception that matters, not reality.

    While confidence works in strange ways, I still feel that Cameron would have been better placed keeping open options for when to call the GE, and on balance I think that he will regret having to wait a full 5 years.

    As was discussed on Newsnight last night, one issue I think all parties have to get to grips with is the fact that interest rates are 0.5% – never happened before, ever, in the history of the UK. We are becoming over accustomed to ultra low interest rates and this is beginning to damage expectations and increase the shock loading when we finally have to return to normal levels (which will look like punitive levels to us now).

    With debts rising now, this point is the key moment when we either hit escape velocity or the economy crumbles back into a recession. I’m by no means an interest rate hawk, but I’m increasingly concerned that the BoE should have initiated a tiny rise by now, merely to break the expectation that money will always be this cheap.

    The bottom line is that the economy remains very weak indeed, and much of the current growth is not sustainable in the long term. This isn’t a partisan point – Labour’s return to growth pre 2010 was similarly unsustainable, and both parties need to address the transition from life support to post resusc.

  16. The Blue Oval closed the Southampton factory that has built the Transit for the last 40 years this week with a loss of 500 jobs, and many more across the supply chain.

  17. @Ambi
    I hadn’t intended to start a partisan argument, rather I was responding to a claim that a UK recovery prior to now never happened with what is surely very real evidence that it did.

    Given your interest in economic data, you might be interested that the Eurozone as a whole did not experience even a single quarter of negative economic growth for more than two years prior to Q1 2012.

  18. Chris Riley

    It strikes me that a perfectly good reason why The Kids might be so Tory is because they grew up under a Labour Government that delivered unto them an economic crash. The Kids are, naturally, therefore reacting against The Man.

    For those of us of more advanced years, it might seem odd that The Man is Labour and not the Tories, but it could be logical for them and they could well see the Tories as liberty-lovers trying to free them from the burden of Labour taxing and spending

    This is a wonderful example of human ingenuity in being able to produce a ‘reason’ for any sort of phenomenum even one which is almost certainly entirely random (call it ‘pictures in the fire’).

    If you look at the last five cross-breaks for under-25s in YouGov polls they are (Con-Lab-LD-UKIP):






    It’s quite clear that today’s figures for the age group is an anomaly with the Conservatives way too high, Lib Dems way too low and maybe Labour a little low as well. Incidentally this alone probably adds a VI point or two to the Tory headline figure and takes one off the Lib Dems.

    You will notice that even normally the VI figures for this group move about a lot. There are various technical reason for this: it’s the smallest group; it has the lowest response rate (and so has to be weighted-up most); it has the highest proportion of ‘non-voters. The result is that the number of people the figures are based on can be quite small and so even individual in this part of the sample can have a disproportionate effect. Men under 25 represent about 6% of headline VI, but I’ve seen cases in the past where the number in this group giving a VI might have been in single figures. Though to be fair to YouGov they’ve been getting much larger samples for quite a while.

    Alternatively it may be that the birth of a royal sprog has turned the yoof blue overnight. But I doubt it. :)

  19. @Phil Haines,

    “I hadn’t intended to start a partisan argument, rather I was responding to a claim that a UK recovery prior to now never happened with what is surely very real evidence that it did.”

    No worries, it was primarily aimed at politicians and political party supporters generally. I haven’t seen anything particularly partisan on here by you or anyone else…but have on other sites etc.

  20. @SHEVII

    And if we get any sort of PR at Westminster Elections you can rest assured we will have a permanent coalition government of some sorts because no one will have a cat in hells chance of getting a Majority in the house.

    So – will the whingers of Coalition Government by content and happy about that fact – and in particular the LDs as its their party that has always been pushing for it. ?

  21. Re: youngsters being Tory,

    AW covered this topic quite recently. The short answer is that younsters aren’t Tory…they are still, generally speaking, left-leaning. Yougov cross-breaks, especially in isolation, should be taken with a pinch of salt. In the next Yougov, Labour could well have a lead of 20-30% with the under 25s, it’s that volatile.

  22. @Ambivalentsupporter – you mean you would rather not believe the latest findings rather than simply think they simply MUST be wrong!

  23. @ ABS – ‘simply’ twice – sorry for typing too fast and not checking!

  24. NICKB
    “You’d have thought a public house building programme would be within the scope of a Government.”

    Preferably one which does not factor in inflated land prices and investment in inflationary house prices; that is, one which is built on the ideas and management of housing associations for fair and stable housing costs, investment in sheltered housing, and environmentally and socially relevant intensive urban housing aimed at an accessible house market for ordinary urban workers.

  25. @Sine,

    Nope, my point is that unless the Tory lead (or narrowing of the Labour one) amongst the under 25s becomes a trend with Yougov and other pollsters, I think it’s safe to assume it’s just an outlier or blip.

    @Phil Haines,

    “rather I was responding to a claim that a UK recovery prior to now never happened with what is surely very real evidence that it did.”

    Forgot to add that you may well have a valid point.

  26. @Alec,

    I agree that the NHS will continue (rightly or wrongly) to be the Tory’s biggest weakness.

    I think that immigration (again, rightly or wrongly) will continue to be Labour’s biggest weakness.

    With the issue of law and order, many people don’t trust crime statistics anyway, so I suspect neither party will have a clear lead on this issue. Recent scandals involving the police fiddling of crime stats will not help the public’s perception either.

    As for the big issue of the economy, I think the jury is still out. At the moment, the Tories have a small lead amongst most pollsters, but this could well change. Above all others, I suspect this issue will do the most to determine the results of the next GE. But who knows?

  27. Johnpilgrim

    “one which is built on the ideas and management of housing associations for fair and stable housing costs, investment in sheltered housing, and environmentally and socially relevant intensive urban housing aimed at an accessible house market for ordinary urban workers.”

    Oh long lost dream. Whatever happened to such collective, unselfish endeavour?

    Slaughtered upon the altar of mammon.

  28. Alec
    You mention DC not being able to choose the moment of a GE. I thought that this measure had all-party support so I don’t quite understand your comment that DC will be ‘regretting’ this measure.

    I certainly think it is the interests of all of us that we have fixed terms. Even if we had a one party government, it would be great if they each had a 5 year programme that would have to be adhered to, so that we all knew what we were to expect and that each programme was vetted by the OBR. Similarly, any post election multi party Agreement would be so vetted.

    In fact i thought that is what we *can* expect in 2015? Am I deluded?

  29. New thread

  30. Roger Mexico
    Many thanks – you Yoof YG analysis confirms my first impressions.

  31. @RiN

    ‘Is there any polling on what the public think about businessmen joining the govt, I’m pretty sure that if union leaders were being invited into govt there would be a public outcry led by our dear Colin but CEO’s leaving business for a govt post doesn’t raise eyebrows. How very strange’

    I’m similarly wondering what the public would think about the carousel of politicians, civil servants, think tanks and employees of the corporations between government and the private sector. The hoo-ha over Lynton Crosby rather pales into insignificance when it becomes clear that advice on designing legislation is deliberately ‘bought in’ from the corporations.

    Two obvious examples are Unum, the US employment insurers who were bought in to reduce the numbers of benefit claimants (first by the Major government and then Blair’s)… and the implicit involvement of the corporations in the secret negotiations of the TPP and US-EU FTA, whereas Congress, MEPs and MPs are totally excluded. This is clearly the new normal… corporations design the legislation without the inconvenience of incompetent political input.

  32. @Jim (The other one)

    Have you seen:


    72% of Lib Dem members predict another hung parliament in 2015

    What do you believe is the likeliest outcome of the next general election?

    5% – An overall majority for the Conservatives

    6% – A Conservative minority government

    3% – A Conservative-led coalition with parties other than Labour or the Lib Dems

    11% – A Conservative-Lib Dem coalition

    29% – A Labour-Lib Dem coalition

    3% – A Labour-led coalition with parties other than the Conservatives or the Lib Dems

    20% – A minority Labour government

    9% – An overall majority for Labour

    0% – A “grand coalition” between Labour and Conservatives

    13% – Don’t know

    600 members polled. I can’t see a pdf with any detailed info. Anyone?

  33. @statgeek

    Yes I have, it is not surprising in the least, nor are some of the comments…

    I think it is more of a wish list from current LDs members rather than any reality, although a close result could happen at the next GE I really don’t think it will be another coalition… and the last thing Labour will want is to give any indication they would even think about a coalition…

    The LDs dream of PR because it would give a high chance coalition governments.

    I think late 2013 to mid 2014 is going to be quite volatile regarding Europe, If the in/out vote is squashed before the European elections I think we will see UKIP cause great concern, possibly in all parties but if the Conservatives lose badly it could be a blood bath within the party, the target for any of the parties is not to lose MEPs.

    The current feel good factor is good but I don’t think it will last, seasonal adjusted figures later in the year as the summer ends is going to sting a little more than it should; for obvious reasons, and that’s if no serious external forces don’t force another downturn.

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