The BBC have commissioned a very rare creature – a local government voting intention poll for a single council, in this case a ComRes poll of Brighton and Hove. The reason, naturally enough, is because of Brighton’s status as being the only Green party council in the country. The poll does not bode well for it remaining that way – it shows the Green party down by about 10 points since the local elections in 2011, Labour up by about 7 points. The figures I have for the 2011 vote in Brighton & Hove are slightly different from those used by the BBC, probably due to dealing with multi-member seats differently, but either way it doesn’t show the Greens doing well. Of course, just as Westminster polls are snapshots of the current position, not predictions of what will happen when the election does roll round, the same applies to local elections.

The poll did NOT ask how people in Brighton and Hove would vote at a general election, so we can’t conclude from it whether or not Caroline Lucas is in trouble of losing her own seat.

Meanwhile the twice-weekly Populus poll is out today and has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 14%, UKIP 8%. The three point lead is at the lower end of Populus’s typical range, but perfectly explicable by the normal margin of error. Full tabs are here


175 Responses to “ComRes Brighton poll and latest Populus polling”

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  1. Anyone got the data for the decline in Eurozone growth, compared to our own decline, so we can see if it really was the EZ that choked off our growth, or if in fact our growth declined in advance of the EZ, following austerity. I recall Will Hutton saying something to the effect that our exports to EZ didn’t tail off that quickly…

  2. @Ozwald

    Nor mine, I was very disappointed with that interview with Rachel Reeves last week, but I am bit happier with the one today

    “people are desperate for paid work” was a quote from her today.

    There was more emphasis on helping people, less of the sanctions

  3. Carfrew:

    It’s a reasonable idea, but individual quarterly figures for GDP growth are all over the place and it’s difficult to pinpoint an unambiguous quarter where growth started declining. There also the added complication that growth varies hugely between EZ countries, with poor old Spain and Greece still in the first recession.

    In addition, it’s unlikely to be a case of one cause or the other. It is most likely as mixture of both. We know from the PIIGS that too much austerity damages the economy, and it’s inconceivable that the UK could have been totally unaffected by a crisis of this scale next door. So really the question is not was it cause A or cause B, but how much was caused by one or the other.

    In short, you could argue anything. And 90% of the British public are too lazy to check the facts for themselves. They will just go with whoever puts the more convincing argument forward, whether or not it has any resemblance to reality.

  4. @EL

    Businesses close all the time and the government does nothing. Assuming there’s someone to step into the vacuum, what’s the difference?

  5. @Chris N-S

    But one can look at our major trading partners to see how they did. And look at exports. If exports to EZ didn’t decline as fast as our growth, it’s hard to pin it on the EZ. We can pin it instead on homegrown things like construction.

    That’s the point really, to eliminate possible candidates…

  6. Having spoken of a public too lazy to check their facts, Chris NS, I presume that by ”most convincing argument”, you mean ‘best sold’, ‘with catchiest sound bite’ etc. etc.

    I only ask because there has been quite a lot of talk on this site about the austerity, Plan A, argument having been ‘won’ by the government, on the slender grounds that – after three long years – they eventually saw some growth in the economy. Basically, shouting loudest, having catchy sound-bites, and scaring the wits out of the BBC, seems to count as ‘winning’ an argument on that reckoning.

  7. @Chris N-S

    “And 90% of the British public are too lazy to check the facts for themselves”

    Indeed, and never underestimate their stupidity too. It’s a jolly good job that there are people like you and I, the 10% if you like, who are clever, energetic and public-spirited enough to care.

    Where on earth would this country be without us, hey?

  8. @Chris NS

    Perhaps the public, just don’t trust the institutions and politicians that present the facts or maybe they believe that facts can be twisted to suit a purpose.

    I am sure that the public I quite well aware of their own job security, their wages, the increases in the prices of goods and the changes in the quality of public services. After that is the reality for us, that is what we experience every day.

  9. “In the Midlands & Wales both parties are pretty even with the Tories nudging ahead on a couple of occasions, on most of the major issues the Tories poll above Labour and of course DC continues to poll above EM in most polls.
    Methinks there’s a lot still to play for…” (Turk)

    Agree this time, and worth looking at Statgeek’s regional charts
    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/polling/polling-trends/regional-trends/

    Also a few blue dots above the red scattergram trend line (and vice versa) for the midlands and Wales – many marginals there.

    In the rest of south, may be a little disappointing for the LDs (as it must include those western England Cons-LD battlegrounds) to see the LDs are way out in fourth place in the region.

    The other area worth looking at next time the figures are updated is London where it looks as though the Cons are painfully inching nearer to Labour – but someone will tell me that just becausea a trend exists this is no reason to assume it will continue.

    My opinion is that the GE is still Labour’s to lose, but it could be a lot closer than previously thought, and there are lots of unknowns – LD 2010 voters, UKIP and the euroelections, Scottish referendum, Middle East, health of key individuals and unknown unknowns…

  10. Well Ed’s got a new backer on energy in the form of John Major (yes that one) who’s calling for an emergency excess profits tax on energy companies to pay for winter fuel allowance.

  11. “Perhaps the public, just don’t trust the institutions and politicians that present the facts or maybe they believe that facts can be twisted to suit a purpose.”

    Perhaps, but it’s not that hard to go looking for the raw stats yourself and make up your own mind, independent on selective quotations by politicians. It does require a small bit of background knowledge, such as understanding the difference between Unemployment and Claimant Count, and what is taken into account when calculating GDP growth, but even that isn’t terribly difficult. But most people don’t do this, and sadly most politicians would rather leap on misleading figures

    I just lost my faith in humanity when people claim the unemployment figures are a stitch-up because the government fiddled the figures by moving people off benefits. I’ve tried to explain why that doesn’t work but I gave up.

  12. @BCROMBIE

    In Q2 2013 GDP increased by 0.65 (rounded to 0.7). Here are some concrete things

    0.2 was household final consumption caused mainly by the increase in the personal allowance and various tax cuts and benefit uprating.

    0.1 was government consumption by increasing spending on health and education

    0.3 was Gross Fixed Capital Formation causing by increased government investment in solar and wind farms and from house builders starting more houses.

    These % are rounded down, they are slightly more to make 0.65.

    I think this is right, people can correct me if they know better, I don’t mind.

    For Q3 2013 you will have to wait to Friday for the output side and November for the consumption side

  13. “But one can look at our major trading partners to see how they did. And look at exports. If exports to EZ didn’t decline as fast as our growth, it’s hard to pin it on the EZ. ”

    Problem with that is this assumes that a decline in exports directly correlated to exactly the same shrinkage in GDP. We can’t know that for certain. There are also other problems that EZ woes stand to cause, such as lack of investment from the EZ, or investors in the UK or elsewhere holding on to their money through fear of poor economic performance, whether or not that actually came to pass.

    The point is that there’s far too many variables at play to conclusively prove how much one event or the other caused problems in the UK. Sure, politicians will argue over that till the cows come home, but going back to the original point of how this pans out with the public, expect most of them to agree with whichever party they were going to vote for anyway.

  14. CROSSBAT11…………Tory…….! :-)

  15. “expect most of them to agree with whichever party they were going to vote for anyway.”

    Ha that’s very true!

    Doesn’t everybody usually do that – choose to read and listen to things that support our point of view. I think it is called Confirmation Bias, so our belief system is not disturbed.

  16. @ Colin/CNS

    Obviously borrowing figures more encouraging than they have been for a long time but for me it simply highlighted being 18 months from 2015 and still borrowing £110Bn a year with their original manifesto saying it would be zero by then.

  17. Actually, it could be argued that the euro zone crisis was good for the UK and for public finances because of capital flight from southern Europe, it may well be that austerity in Britain would have been more devastating and more counterproductive if the eurozone had not also engaged in austerity

  18. “and still borrowing £110Bn a year with their original manifesto saying it would be zero by then.”

    That’s not quite true – they said that they would clear the structural deficit, which is supposed to be what the deficit would be if the economy was fully recovered. I think this figure is too subjective myself to be meaningful, but I think a structural deficit of £0bn works out as a non-structural deficit of £30bn-ish.

    But, yes, it’s highly unlikely the Government are going to be on course for the deficit reduction originally promised in 2010.

  19. “@Chris Neville-Smith

    But, yes, it’s highly unlikely the Government are going to be on course for the deficit reduction originally promised in 2010.”

    Would those polled and voting be entitled to believe that the coalition had failed to meet their main objective ?

    Looking at the coalition agreement, I am not sure that target figures were actually set as such. The agreement says this

    “We will signi?cantly accelerate the reduction
    of the structural de?cit over the course of a
    Parliament, with the main burden of de?cit
    reduction borne by reduced spending rather
    than increased taxes. ”

    By April 2014, the deficit is expected to reduce down to 6.0%, from a high of nearly 12% in 2009. So the coaltion are on track, but it may not be until 2017, that the UK gets back to a deficit of around 3%, which appears to about the average over the years.

    There has been some good news today about a property tax boost, so if the governments help to buy scheme does cause a prooperty boom, the deficit may reduce quicker. ( But of course store up problems in the years ahead).

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-22/u-k-budget-deficit-narrows-as-property-recovery-boosts-tax-1-.html

  20. ” I think a structural deficit of £0bn works out as a non-structural deficit of £30bn-ish.”

    I shall stop worrying about the fiver I owe my mate

  21. @Chris NS

    “Problem with that is this assumes that a decline in exports directly correlated to exactly the same shrinkage in GDP. We can’t know that for certain. There are also other problems that EZ woes stand to cause, such as lack of investment from the EZ, or investors in the UK or elsewhere holding on to their money through fear of poor economic performance, whether or not that actually came to pass.”

    ——–

    Nah, it doesn’t have to be exact. If growth declined for a while before exports, you really can’t blame it on the EZ slowdown.

    As for investment, sure that declined, and not just from the EZ, but that can be put at the door of Austerity which can diminish demand.

    In other words, you are introducing needless variables, and overselling them, or the exactitude. If our growth preceded export decline, you don’t have to know exactly to have issues with the EZ being the cause.

    And investment is an effect rather than a cause. Reduced demand leads to less investment, so any such decline would favour the idea that austerity was at fault. Especially if it wasn’t just the EU reducing investment.

  22. I mean, many have claimed the EZ was the problem, but I’ve yet to see any data in support of it. If they are so sure, surely they can point to something?

  23. For what it is worth :-

    EZ vs UK GDP changes-

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/euro-area/gdp-growth

  24. …….you will need to select the filters:-

    Compare with -UK
    and GDP growth

    Then you get the two graphs together

  25. Back on the topic of the Brighton and Hove poll, the past vote recollection for the local election is flawed since it does not capture those who split their votes between candidates of different parties, which happens a great deal in local elections. Unless I have missed something.

    And a point not made above is that the Green party in Brighton and Hove is very split, with two failed attempts to replace its leader, Jason Kitcat, in the past year or so by a more left-leaning councillor. Green councillors were among the most vocal critics of the council’s policy on the binmen’s wages.

    It is not beyond the bounds that the Green administration may fall apart entirely over next year’s budget, leaving the Tories to take over, perhaps supported by Labour? This will render any predictive value that this poll has for elections in 18 months time completely invalid.

    Any predictive value over what happens in Brighton Pavilion at the GE is limited anyway, of course. But it needs to be borne in mind that last time, Labour’s campaign was heavily focused around persuading people that a Green vote could ‘let the Tories in’. Now that this has been proved to be nonsense, there could be quite a few votes flowing towards Dr Lucas.

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