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. HOW CAN THERE BE A NEW THREAD WHEN MY POST OF GALACTIC CLEVERNESS WAS POSTED ON THE PREVIOUS THREAD AND I HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED THE ADULATION DUE? AAAARGH!

    (foams at the mouth, falls over, twiches briefly)

    rgdsm

  2. On the Ashcroft poll, he seems to be drip feeding results again?

    Mike Smithson [email protected]
    To find 712 Unite members @LordAshcroft poll questioned 15,970 people. What other goodies can we expect from this mega-poll?

    Is there some sort of requirement to release the complete poll in a certain time, or are results allowed to be drip released to influence headlines?

    Also seems a bit of a waste as many of the results are way out of date by the time they are released?

  3. I wouldn’t necessarily expect anything else. Whoever Ashcroft used (presumably Populus) could have send off all those non-Unite members to do a poll about toothpaste or pensions or whatnot (or depending on how they run their panel, given them a “sorry, you’re not needed” message and sent them home.

  4. First?

  5. The above indicates I should go to bed. Good night.

  6. ” Shown a picture of Len McCluskey only 24% said they could recognise him (and only 16% actually got it right!)”
    ______

    Well for any doubters out there here he is.

    http://img.thesun.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01593/SNN0108BB-_1593589a.jpg

  7. TNS suggesting no great shift in public opinion and we must now await tomorrow’s YouGov to see if today’s poll signified a trend or was a bit of an outlier on the extremities of MOE. The fact that the Sun isn’t salivating on Twitter suggests we may have reverted to the mean again!

    Good luck to Kate and William on their new arrival and I’m pleased for them because they appear to be a couple of eminently decent human beings. The sprog looks a bonny and healthy lad but in terms of the birth meaning anything else to me, I’m afraid that I cannot muster an iota of interest. I’m immune to all royal flushes and when I see this outpouring of sycophancy and grovelling in our national media, I sometimes worry that we’re fast becoming a nation of helpless morons. It’s time to put my old video of Denis Potter’s final interview with Melvyn Bragg on again, just so I can feel good about life and the world once more!

  8. “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”
    __________

    I don’t know how the opt-out thing works but could it be when they opt-out they have to renew the op-out every year and if not then they are automatically opt back in?

    If in doubt don’t join!!

  9. CB – the media misrepresents the nation imo on these occasions.

  10. 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%”
    —–

    If the above was replicated at a Welsh election then how many seats would UKIP win?

    And remember the Welsh Assembly elects on a PR system so UKIP looks as if they are on course to break into main stream politics rather than sitting on the fringes of some obscure midlands council.

  11. @ Allan

    If you follow the link Anthony provided it translates that into seats.

    So the question would be why do people vote differently for the region vs the constituency?

    From Wikipedia:
    “In general elections for the National Assembly for Wales, each voter has two votes in a mixed member system. The first vote may be used to vote for a candidate to become the Assembly Member for the voter’s constituency, elected by the first past the post system. The second vote may be used to vote for a regional closed party list of candidates. Additional member seats are allocated from the lists by the d’Hondt method, with constituency results being taken into account in the allocation. The overall result is approximately proportional.”

    So does UKIP vote increase when people think they stand a chance of winning?

    Can any of this explain why some polling companies are showing UKIP at such varying levels, do people understand which election they are saying they are voting for in each case?

    And can the reason for this

  12. JimJam

    “CB – the media misrepresents the nation imo on these occasions.”

    Agree with you 100% and I don’t think it applies solely to royal occasions. The real crisis in our media is the narrowness of ownership and editorial control and all the recent froth about phone-hacking has masked this scandalous state of affairs. Leveson became pre-occupied by the symptoms and missed the real disease.

  13. WA constituency 96% for main 5 parties.
    WA regional just 85% for main 5 parties.

    Correct?? And if so why the huge difference?

  14. In four of the five Welsh regions, Labour can expect to gain so many of the constituency seats that it is inconceivable for it to gain any extra regional seats as a top up. A regional Labour vote in those regions is wasted, the only exception being Mid and West Wales region.

    Hence there should be no surprise if many on the left who support Labour use their constituency vote accordingly but then cast their regional vote for the party they most favour out of those remaining, the most likely choice being Plaid as the other party on the left.

    So the savvy political nous of the Welsh left wing electorate might explain a fair chunk of the discrepancy. A theory that will no doubt be rejected by those righties who regard lefties as intrinsically thick (@Neil A, FPT).

  15. Thanks for that explanation Phil

    Interesting comparing the results of that Wales specific poll which according to that elections in Wales site will result in the following changes to MP’s in Westminster

    Labour: 34 (+8)
    Conservative: 4 (-4)
    Lib-Dems: 1 (-2)
    Plaid Cymru: 1 (-2)

    vs looking at Wales as part of the UK which shows:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/region12.html

    Lab +7
    Con -5
    Lib Dem -1
    PC-1

    I am guessing the Wales specific poll + predictions is more accurate?

  16. @Allan Christie

    It would be quite ironic if UKIP can only get elected in the EU and in regional PR / AV / STV houses, such as Holyrood or the Welsh Assembly.

    Not saying that will be the case, but it might be.

  17. @Phil Haines

    “In four of the five Welsh regions, Labour can expect to gain so many of the constituency seats that it is inconceivable for it to gain any extra regional seats as a top up.”

    Is the WA similar to Holyrood in that respect?

    The SNP did well enough regionally in 2011, so they got a majority.

  18. Those two welsh assembly results presumably tell us interesting things about tactical voting – I can’t see any other obvious reason for the differences.

    It’s interesting who the “winners” and “losers” are, assuming the pr vote represents peoples actual desires.

    It suggests to me that:

    Labours support is very half hearted, if 20% of their constituency vote would actually rather have someone else.

    Lib dems are consistently low – I’m guessing no-one sees the point of tactically voting for them. If that’s replicated in England, I would think that means near wipeout, particularly in the SW.

    Plaid struggles at constituency level outside it’s welsh speaking strongholds (mainly in the n.w.)
    I’m guessing that their significant gains on the pr list are from like minded nationalists in areas where plaid constituency candidates haven’t got a hope.

    Ukip’s score is also much higher on the pr list. I’d expect that 16% includes those who see a vote for ukip as a wasted vote in constituency elections. I imagine they consistantly do well in the euro elections partly for the same reason.

    The tory numbers are the ones I don’t understand. They aren’t in serious constituency contention in most of wales, but their vote share drops under pr. All I can think is that voters don’t understand that they are pretty much a lost cause in the constituency battle…

  19. It’s possible that UKIP have developed menopausal problems already – like the SDP/Liberal “Alliance” in 1982 but if they split the dustbin vote down the middle whilst the Tories steadily regain their votes then it is in the Tories interests for them to not collapse.
    It also forces the whole debate onto a Tory agenda, and makes the Lib Dems in particular fall through a hole.

  20. @ Phil Haines:

    “[Labour] can expect to gain so many of the constituency seats that it is inconceivable for it to gain any extra regional seats as a top up”

    Until recently I believed that to be true of the Scottish Parliament too (do they use a different form of d’Hondt? I don’t think so), but in 2011 the SNP got top-up seats in regions where they dominated the constituency seats, including one (North East) where they won them all!

  21. Further to me previous post – I wrote it before Phil Haine’s response appeared – I was under the impression that the regional list was a totally separate thing. I’m still not sure I fully understand the system – it’s results may be good, but it seems far too complex…

  22. Further to me previous post – I wrote it before Phil Haine’s response appeared – I was under the impression that the regional list was a totally separate thing. I’m still not sure I fully understand the system – it’s results may be good, but it seems far too complex…

  23. Sorry Statgeek – I didn’t mean to nearly duplicate your post; I took too long to check my facts.

  24. Well, no yougov tweet tonight and google trends is now clearly showing David Cameron has captured the interest of the public with his automatic opt out.

    He has hit his highest level of interest this year, even exceeding Nick Clegg’s I’m sorry moment.

    http://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=david%20cameron%2C%20nick%20clegg&date=today%2012-m&cmpt=q

    So back to mid 20’s for the Tories?

  25. Even going back to Jan 2011 and limiting to UK he hit his highest level of interest! I wonder if he realised that this is what the public would end up remembering him for!

    http://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=david%20cameron%2C%20nick%20clegg&geo=GB&date=1%2F2011%2032m&cmpt=q

  26. @Richard

    You seem to be mistaking Internet interest with unpopularity (we’ll in the coming days).

    This opt out is not popular with the majority of people who are knowledgeable in the working of the Internet. In contrast, the motives and general idea of its purpose is popular.

    If we assume that the majority of people who access the legal material that is being discussed are male, and the majority of those pleased with the opt out are female, the polls should show the split.

    Most web users are not savvy to the Internet’s inner workings, and will not be as worried about the opt out. I only hope they change their minds, and move to an opt in for those who wish to opt in.

    ISPs could do that on contract sign up / renewal.

  27. Typo:

    You seem to be mistaking Internet interest with unpopularity (we’ll [ SEE ] in the coming days).

  28. @Statgeek

    Sorry, didn’t explain my thought process.

    1. Internet interest
    2. Why? Search stories, look at twitter
    3. Comments are 98% negative, 2% positive

    So interest in this case = unpopularity.

    Although looking at that google trends timeline, the other peaks do correspond with major events, London riots, Barack Obama victory, so I may have misread interest = policy when what that timeline is picking up is interest = Cameron issued a statement on the birth. (if you add Kate Middleton into the trends list David Cameron fades to a rounding error)

    Lets see….

  29. Here is the trends with Kate in the mix…

    http://www.google.co.uk/trends/explore#q=david%20cameron%2C%20nick%20clegg%2C%20kate%20middleton&geo=GB&date=1%2F2011%2032m&cmpt=q

    To show how insignificant this politics stuff really is in the mind of the rest of the population :)

  30. @Allan Christie

    Unite members vote every 10y as to whether or not the union should have a political fund. Just such a vote was passed within the last couple of years.

    Individual members can opt-out of contributing to the political fund.. either not paying it or paying it to a charity. Ed Miliband’s proposals are that ‘opted-in’ members be asked whether they want their £3 to go to the LP or be kept in the Union’s political fund. As far as I know, they can opt-out of the political fund every year when they pay their subs.

    Hope that helps.

  31. “TNS BMRB have a voting intention poll out with topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 38%(+2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 16%(-3)”

    That’s what I call a feel-good factor. :-)

  32. @MSmithsonPB: Today’s YouGov sees CON drop 3 and LAB lead up to 7%
    CON 32-3
    LAB 39 nc
    LD 11 nc
    Ukip 12+2

  33. Good Morning All.

    I actually remembered when our own son was born. It was the greatest day of my life

  34. And on polling: maybe Labour are still in the top 30’s which if maintained would probably make them the leading party in 2015.
    A deal with the Lib Dems, with a new voting system could follow.

  35. Today’s YouGov is showing fewer than 30% of 2010 LDs opting for Labour.

    Disregarding Don’t knows etc, they are retaining 41% of their 2010 vote… the rest are turning to:
    Lab (26%), Con (15%), UKIP (11%), Green (4%)

    Cameron’s “big speech” about having a row with the internet companies doesn’t seem to have had an effect on the Tories’ gender imbalance as yet.

  36. Given the small sample size, that LD-to-Lab/LD-loyal VI could look totally different tomorrow. And it’s still fewer than 50% of 2010 LDs opting for LDs…

  37. @Wes

    True, but over time we have seen the number of LDs opting for Labour fall away. At the same time we’ve seen LD retention on the rise, as well as a swing to UKIP.

    Lab really needs support from around a third of 2010 LDs if they are to take big chunk of the Con/Lab marginals. Without them Labour will have to pray that the traditional Con/UKIP understanding does not come to pass.

  38. Latest YouGov / The Sun results 23rd July – Con 32%, Lab 39%, LD 11%, UKIP 12%; APP -28

    Normal service resumes

  39. Frankly all Labour needs to deny the Conservatives the largest party is approximate parity in England and an improvement in the already massive leads in 2010 in Wales and Scotland.

    Which doesn’t look such a challenge judging by the latest Welsh Poll does it?

  40. BB – agree but 1/3rd was always going to be unlikely imo 1/4 being more achievable hence the 35% Labour base line concept.

    Incremental recapture gets harder with every % of course.

    The 15% for cons in also significant as it is worth almost 3.5% of the vote.

    Governing parties not being able to increase their vote share is sometimes mentioned on here but this is one example of how coalition makes historical extrapolation less accurate.

  41. Billy Bob – not sure Labour will be too concerned at the figures re the LDs. They would certainly take this level of defections to them if it happened in the general election.

  42. @Wes
    True, but over time we have seen the number of LDs opting for Labour fall away. At the same time we’ve seen LD retention on the rise, as well as a swing to UKIP.

    -Only because around 40% of LD 2010 voters who were really voting for a centre left party have switched their votes and allegiance to Labour frankly can’t see that changing this side of the next election.

    If the LD’s then ditch Clegg and replace Him with possibly Vince Cable they will probably get some back if they find themselves in a Coalition with Labour

  43. Labour on the charge – Crosbygate is really starting to hurt the Tories – down 3% in a day

  44. Can we try not a have these “X on the charge” comments in response to margin of error changes. I’m sure they are meant as irony, but it’s (a) not in the spirit of non-partisanship and (b) like carrying a neon sign round your neck saying “I’m an idiot”.

    Actual, proper idiots are going to come along, not spot the irony, and think it’s the sort of comment we welcome here.

  45. @Jim Jam

    Agreed. Very tricky to predict. A lot will depend on strategies to squeeze the LD vote in specific Con/Lab marginal constituencies.

  46. @Chris

    Your comment is nonesense statistically.

  47. @Antony – right on queue :-)

  48. Anthony judging by the latest set of polls everyone is charging off in different directions at the same time!

  49. More World shattering news
    Man Put’s baby seat in car crowd ( well film crews and journalists) applauds!

    I wonder why this didn’t happen when I did it for my sprogs.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have left the child behind.

    But if it’s good enough for David Cameron it’s good enough for me.

  50. BB – agree absolutely.

    ”A lot will depend on strategies to squeeze the LD vote in specific Con/Lab marginal constituencies”.
    And of course on how many Lab sympathisers vote LD in LD/Con marginals.

    We could see overall less than 25% 2010 LDs switching to Lab due ‘tactical considerations but with Lab squeezing 30% of 2010 LDs in lab/con marginals where these voters (as you say) will be targeted.

    As an aside less 2010 LDs could well vote Lab in Scotland in 2015 as voters there have a credible alternative and who the best placed ABT or LD is will gain with savvy Scottish voters.

    This will affect the overall 2010 LD-Lab %age but matter little as the Lab over Con net gain of 2010 LDs in Lab/Con marginal is what matters most.

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