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. Gideon?

  2. Shouldn’t there be a new thread for the naming of little George

  3. So George, no surprise really as it was the favourite. My friend told me he had put £1 on the name of Kermit at a million to one, but I think he might have been joking.

  4. Oh god, there will be no shutting up the chancellor now that the royal sprog has been named after him

    -Tell me they didn’t call the poor little sprog Gideon!

  5. So very touching of them to name him after the Chancellor. I’m sure Osborne will be chuffed to bits. Mind you, good thing they didn’t remember his real name’s Gideon. But, their real name isn’t Mountbatten-Windsor, either.

    Gideon Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. Kind of catchy, huh?


    “…Oh god, there will be no shutting up the chancellor now that the royal sprog has been named after him…”

    Prince Gideon?


    OK, the name is in: “George Alexander Louis”. My guess (“George Philip Michael James”) was mostly wrong, tho’ I did get the regnal name right. I get why “Louis” (Mountbatten), but why “Alexander”? BBC says after Queen’s dad, but George VI wasn’t called Alexander. Is Kate a fan of “Pointless” or “Buffy”?


  7. Kitsune

    No I understand about the differences between the two votes and it’s clear that there is some tactical ‘voting’ from Labour to PC or Conservative to UKIP. But the five named Parties here are only making up 85% but 96% of the constituency. And this is only a poll, so people would be quite entitled to say “Greeen” or whatever for constituency too. It’s a big difference.

    It could be that disatisfied Labourites are spread out between Socialist Labour (who got 2.4% in 2011) and similar Parties as well as the Greens, so none of them would register enough to get seats, but it’s still a big gap. Others did get 14% in 2011, but that included UKIP (4.6%) as well as BNP (2.4%) some of whose vote will now be going to UKIP.

  8. And I was so sure it was going to be Keir Clement Nye Ed as well. Still George after George Lansbury’s not so bad.


    Thanks for that and yes very interesting questions regarding UKIP in Wales.


    That certainly has cleared up the Union membership opt-out/in question. Thanks.


    @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.”

    I think you might be right because as we all know the FPTP system at Westminster is so hard to break into. I know the Greens did it but they really only poured recourses into one seat where UKIP would be more thinly spread.

    To be honest I can’t see UKIP making an appearance in Hollyrood anytime soon though.

  11. Colin

    You keep banging on about democracy regarding the unions – I fail to understand why.

    Unions are organisations set up by their members and they have a rule book which is open for all members to see. There is no compunction to join a union and so I assume that all who join do so of free will

    I fail to understand why the unions have to be the at the peak of the democratic process when we have a Parliament chosen on FPTP, an unelected revising chamber, no vote threshold on any elections etc, powers derived from the Crown with no oversight, the Privy Council etc etc.

    Also, large companies are owned by shareholders (akin to the members of a union) but the rights of those shareholders can hardly be said to be ‘democratic’.

    We have many people on here who would be against the influence of legislation on how companies ran themselves, but seem quite happy to want to stick their noses into the internal organisation of the unions.

  12. So they called the baby George then?

    I thought one of the Queens poodles was called George.

    Load of over hyped gibberish.


    ………Erm-my remark upthread ( presume you were referring to that) was in response to Steve & Spearmint suggesting that I could join Unite multiple times & thus vote for a Labour Leader multiple times.

    Perhaps you missed the bout of silliness which led to these humorous suggestions. ?

  14. Q2 GDP tomorrow morning.

    +0.6% seems to be the consensus forecast.

  15. @Colin,

    Yes a few rumours the figures are going to be rather good. Looking forward to it.


  16. Me too Rich.

  17. Goodness me, I got two names right from my guess. My guess was George Edward Louis (I thought about putting Murray at the end but decided that William was not such a tennis fanatic to do that).

  18. Spearmint

    I am still waiting for ideas in connection to the stakes on our bet.

  19. Everybody seems to be forgetting the benefit the royal family are to the economy and this “over hyped gibberish” (otherwise known as British pageantry) brings millions of tourists every year.

  20. RICH and COLIN.

    So am I, as it is good news for our young people. Secondly, voters tend to be more lefty in good times than in bad times.

  21. Sun Politics [email protected]_Politics 23m

    Labour lead Tories by 4pts; UKIP open 3pt gap over Lib Dems – Lab 39, Con 35, UKIP 11, LD 8

  22. KATIE/
    Thank you.
    Labour holding to high 30 figure.

    The Lib Dem figure looks high, Cons probably low.

  23. @spearmint

    Thanks for your response.
    I would have have to say that by “over time” I was thinking about a longer period than six months. There have been weeks and months over the last two-and-a-half years when Labour VI was edging towards the mid-forties with LD stuck in single figures… at which times the x-breaks (excluding Dks) might have shown 40+% of the 2010 LDs opting for Labour, and a less than 30% LD retention.

  24. @Poll Watchers

    Well well – yet another 35% for Cons – twice in one week
    I know Labour are on a good 39% but it seems some people are slowly coming back to the Cons.
    Poor LDs on 8% !!
    So, all in all another interesting poll showing only a 4% lead for Labour.


    “Everybody seems to be forgetting the benefit the royal family are to the economy and this “over hyped gibberish” (otherwise known as British pageantry) brings millions of tourists every year”

    Sorry Reg I don’t buy that. I don’t see people flocking to Merseyside, Newcastle, Manchester, Hull, Dundee, Glasgow, Greenock, Paisley, Hamilton, Largs, Blackpool, Preston, Ayr or even Ben Nevis to see this “British pageantry” as you put it.

    Unless you have interests in and around parts of London Deeside and to a little extent in Edinburgh then I doubt very much most parts of the UK will benefit form the millions the Royals bring in to the economy.

    The whole Royal thing is bloated out of proportions and I’m no ones subject. I prefer elected representatives such as the First Minister of Scotland and the UK Prime Minister both of whom are answerable to the people.

  26. “Well well – yet another 35% for Cons – twice in one week
    I know Labour are on a good 39% but it seems some people are slowly coming back to the Cons.”

    That doesn’t factor in issues that are brewing in the next few months, including the trials of Coulson and Wade, and the resumption of ‘BAU’ come September. Chuck in the Euros next year, where UKIP will undoubtedly flare back into life, and I suspect that your predictions of a gradual accretion of votes back to the Tories might well come back to haunt you…

  27. @ Reg,

    Sorry, it got stuck at the end of the last thread. Here it is again:

    Winner gets to pick any policy from their party’s 2010 manifesto. Loser has to make a case for why, in the national interest, their own party should adopt it.

    (I know that’s skirting around the edges of the comment policy, Anthony, but it would only be one post rather than a long debate, and it would certainly be in the spirit of non-partisanship!)

  28. Tories on 35% again.

    Thank goodness for TNS BMRB and their dubious methodology, or I’d be getting worried about this bet..

  29. @Reg of the BNP – oddly enough, apparently the two biggest tourist attractions in Europe are Disneyland and the Palace of Versailles. In one, the king is a giant mouse, and in the other was beheaded two centuries ago.
    Maybe we could boost tourism in other ways?

    On polls; Tonight’s poll ups the interest level. Are Tories really almost as popular as at their peak in 2010? Three polls now suggest they are, while numerous other polls suggest not.

    The UKIP issue really seems to be creating a major divergence here, the like of which I don’t think we’ve seen for a very long time. Handling a four party vote split across the majority of the UK seems to be creating real difficulties for pollsters. Someone is right, and someone is wrong. The lead can’t be 3-4% and 10-11% at the same time.

  30. @Paul Croft – re distinguishing royal babies;

    They tend always to be late arrivals – something to do with arrested development in the gene line. Royal tradition dictates that the midwife has to get stuck in and take a firm hold of both ears and pull firmly.

    This leads to the most straightforward means of recognising the UK royals.

  31. alec

    “This leads to the most straightforward means of recognising the UK royals.”


    I still feel a stamp – ike royal doulto but with “baby” instead – is safer.

    My Dad had sticky out ears and he would have made a rotten king

  32. steve

    Why are you so obsessed with Len McKlusky? 73% of His members don’t even know what He looks like.”


    This is unfair. I think he simply sees his main role here as bringing you all early updates of ANY news – ranging from the President of France, the world of finance, what some councillors said, or even ole Len – that has the slightest chance of impinging negatively on the VI of the main opposition party.

    I suppose it is a bit odd – but not too obsessive.

  33. So is the 35% a ‘bouncing baby bounce’ then, or just MoE?

    Will the 0.6% growth feed into the Sunday Time poll?

    Will Len McCluskey’s recent comments filter through?

    Or will the A&E plans be foremost in peoples’ minds?

    Regardless of one’s political whatnot, it’s more interesting when the parties are polling closer together.

  34. Statgeek,

    This is a second 35% for the Tories with Yougov recently, so I’m not sure it has anything to do with the birth.

    If this picking up of GDP growth continues, then Labour would be wise to look for some alternative key points, because their tactics thus far have (correctly) focused considerably on the very weak growth in the economy.

  35. Anyone who thinks that Unions are the greatest anti-democratic force in the UK, should look up “The Corporation of London”.

  36. COLIN
    “I don’t really like to talk about it-I feel so ashamed sometimes.But I just can’t help it.”

    It’s for the same reason that you and Crossbat11 are so obsessed with dyinng your attraction to royalty – the closet masochistic pull of institutions which threaten to envelop us with love – just look at that little face – what a sweetheart..

  37. Whilstcfar to early to say it does appear the poll lead is narrowing as it has been for sometime a lead of 5 points seems to be the average now. You gov puts the lead at 4

  38. rich

    “Q2 GDP”

    “a few rumours the figures are going to be rather good. Looking forward to it.”


    Me too – haven’t slept all night with the excitement.

    That could have been the pain in my knee though, now I come to think about it.

  39. As I see it, the conservatives have suffered because they have been seen as soft on foreigners, certainly out of touch and arguably nasty, and economically incompetent.

    Labour have suffered because they have been seen as economically incompetent, soft on foreigners, and the friend of losers and scroungers. No doubt they are also seen as the friend of the unions, but I am not too sure how much people worry about that.

    The liberals have suffered because they have been seen as Tory stooges who have broken their promises and betrayed their followers.

    All politicians have suffered because they have all been seen as self-interested, self-serving and generally as useless and bad as each other.

    No doubt this is all very unfair but there you go.

    At present the conservatives seem to me to have the most logical strategy for dealing with all this. They have got themselves on the popular side of the foreigner issue and can afford to wait till the economy picks up (no thanks to them) and for UKIP supporters to realise that a vote for UKIP in a general election will not get them what they want. So they are dealing with the foreigner issue and the economic competence issue is being managed for them. Ideally they would replace GO with Eric Pickles or some other person whose accent suggests a heart of gold and the school or hard knocks. But then you can’t have everything.

    Labour by contrast have a problem. IMHO they have supinely allowed the conservatives and the press to plant a number of outrageous half truths in the minds of the British Public. Even more disastrously they have failed to establish a picture of what they are all about. Ideally they should replace Ed B, however nice and brilliant he may be, with Alistair Darling as soon as the latter is freed from his referendum duties. In the meantime they should also get busy planting the no doubt equally outrageous half truth that only they will yield a society where there is decent housing for all and jobs that are skilled, secure and properly paid. Plant these ideas and you take the sting out of the foreigner issue and tap into genuine concerns about housing, the nature of work, fairness and housing. And in the background they should work like crazy on the detailed policies needed to bring these things about.

    And the lib dems? Personally I can quite see why Nick Clegg looked so happy in the Rose Garden. No doubt I would have looked the same in the fantasy world where I led a party back to power from the wilderness. And I don’t think that politically he could have done other than go into coalition with the conservatives. But I can’t forgive him for looking like a Tory or for welshing on his tuition fees promise. And I am not sure if any of his defecting supporters will do so either.

  40. The average drop in UKIP support from all the pollsters is 3.5%

    Not too bad considering.

    Charles the ‘foreigner’ issue is about the fact we do not want our population to reach 70m, and we are losing our identity.

  41. The Times is running a worrying story of, sudden rise of national death rates, the figures from a leaked government report; health chiefs are baffled by the extra deaths, 600 more deaths per week than expected all in the over 65s… worth a read as it could be the next shock to the health system.

  42. Charles,excellent post.

  43. The steady rise in Tory VI seems to have continued, but without an apparent fall in the Labour VI. It can’t continue like that – presumably either Tories will level off or Labour decline. Which will it be?

  44. ERNIE.
    Good Morning to you, but I think this trend will continue to a straight two horse race, just as it was back in the day, before we moved in the 1974 GE to a break up of the two party near dominance of the popular vote.
    The centre right party near the centre, as is the centre left party. UKIP voters return to the centre right party, for fear of the centre left party winning.

    The Lib Dems look likely to be squeezed outside of liberalism’s old heartlands.

  45. Ernie
    Well conceivably it could continue like that and we could return to effectively Two Party Politics in England.

    Parity between the Tow main Parties in England means the votes in Wales and Scotland become more important.
    Currently even if both parties stood at around the mid 30’s in England Labour would win an election as it is far more popular than the Tories in Scotland and Wales .In fact the lead in Wales alone would be sufficient to deny the Conservatives largest party status even if they moved ahead of Labour by a percent or two

  46. Growth is good new, isn’t it?

    But if it is fueled by a consumer boom backed by a confidence boost based upon house price increases (partly) as a result of Government guarantees and lack of house building, the question has to be asked…what was the point of waiting for two years and burbling on about makers, exports and rebalancing?

    Personally I think if growth is established it gives all those things a chance to improve. But the problem with house price increases like this with interest rates at zero is the real risk of collapse, repossessions, bust and then the Government giving money to lenders again to cover losses.

    Private boom then the taxpayer pays, again.

    Polling? Improved economy/GDP must surel help the Tory vote and we could see that 36% entrenched at least for a while. Maybe higher?

    But then it’s a race to get the election done before the bust…and they can hand over an overheating economy to Lab with a small majority and prepare to blame them when the inevitable happens.

    Good election strategy but a pretty poor national one. There were better ways to get growth back surely? After all, is guaranteeing the losses of lenders in a boom any better than borrowing more for stimulus? Aren’t you just promising to pay later, an uncetain amount?

    I can’t see any way such house price infaltion will lead to anything else but a correction later.

  47. Personally, I am not surprised at the partial recovery of Tory VI but I am that it has occurred now, I thought the second half of 2014 more likely. As some have suggested this is largely a UKIP unwind but maybe a few more 2010 LDs are in there as well.

    I have always maintained that the Cons would end up with 37-39% at the GE unless there was a further economic downturn as an economic recovery of sorts (even if it is consumer and housing driven) was always probable.

    The key number, therefore, for me was always Labour VI which again I expected to fall as the GE approached and policy announcements would no doubt upset some, the Governing parties would throw a few goodies and they recovered some of their low hanging 2010 deserters (Cons many LDs less so hence valuing the ICM Tory VI).

    I felt that 35% was pretty nailed on as a minimum for Labour representing a fall of 15-20% from their best sustained VI (on YG averages) of around 43%.

    I am not yet anxious as a summer boost (when the opposition aren’t covered much) is not untypical and I hope that the polls tightening can be useful if used by our leadership to challenge some members complacency.
    The Conference now becomes extra important as a bad one could have serious consequences and it is essential that the headlines are not ‘EM rows with Unions’ etc.

    Speculating on why VI has moved is discouraged by Anthony without proper evidence but we do know disunity is frowned upon by the electorate and the cons appearing more united must have helped them to an extent even if not quantifiable.

  48. OK, the name is in: “George Alexander Louis

    I look forward to the birth of his brothers. Zippy and Bungle.

  49. By the way, I still think Lab will get a sizeable majority. As far as I can tell from the unreliable crossbreaks, it’s the non-urban South East who are returning to Con and this will help them in LD-Con marginals…except that in those areas the anti-Con vote will hold its nose and vote LD.

    What would really help Lab is some sort of popular vote catcher before the election. Something the tories don’t like but the good folk will.

    Rental cap? Energy cost initiative? Massive house building programme?

    The problem with that last is they can then be blamed for causing the inevitable house price collapse after the boom bubble being currently pumped deflates.

  50. Jim Jam

    If the Tories end up at 37%+ at the GE they will have bucked the trend of any incumbent Government for decades by increasing their vote share.

    Even Thatcher’s Tories didn’t manage this having won a “popular” war.

    The problem with Growth in the UK as it currently appears to be happening is that it is based on a property bubble and the growth of domestic credit debt which of course is entirely inconsistent with the concept of a rebalanced export driven economy and leaves the UK open to the same banker greed driven recession factors as caused the 2007/8 crisis.

    The other factor is the type of recovery. Growth in GDP and relatively high inflation are normally accompanied by real term income growth, this has the benefit for the incumbent government of reducing any national debt by the twin factors of reducing it as a percentage of GDP and increased taxation revenue.
    This isn’t happening in the UK

    What we are seeing is by design a fall in the living standards of all public sector workers on a long term basis accompanied, because of the fact that growth in the private sector has only resulted in growth in incomes at the very top of companies while others have seen their real incomes fall, reductions in family based benefits and benefits to the poorest have also contributed to the longest sustained falls in real incomes for 95% of the population seen in the UK since records were kept with it’s obvious impact on taxation revenue.

    The average disposable income in the UK will have fallen 10% between 2010 and 2015 and to see an incumbent government spin this as success will imo be beyond even the machinations of Lynton Crosby.

    Expect therefore an entirely negative and personalised election campaign by the Tories ignoring the underlying economic and fairness issues.

    I suspect such a campaign will not prove attractive to LD voters or Labour and without getting some of them victory is impossible.

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