This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. It comes after an eight point lead yesterday, and a couple of six points leads at the end of last week, so we’ve had a couple of polls in a row with leads at the top of the normal range. I’m always wary of reading too much into polls that could be explained by normal sample variation, but it could be that the price hikes from British Gas and the renewed prominence of energy prices as an issue over the last few days has given Labour a bit of a boost. Or it’s just random sample error – keep watching the trend.

There were also some YouGov questions in the Times on Free Schools, which found a significant drop in support since YouGov last asked in September. A month ago 36% of people in England supported free schools, 40% were opposed… a pretty even split. Now 27% of people support free schools, 47% are opposed. I suspect the shift is more to do with the coverage of the dysfunctional Al-Madinah free school in Derby than Nick Clegg’s recent comments, but looking specifically at his comments 66% of people agree that schools should only be able to employ qualified teachers, 56% that all schools should have to follow the national curriculum.


488 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 32, LAB 39, LD 9, UKIP 11”

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  1. @ Amber Star

    Happy Birthday!!! I didn’t realize you were a scorpio but now it explains it all. I always inevitably befriend and get along well with scorpios. Liberal scorpios are often in touch with the suffering of the world which probably explains your whole political philosophy.

    I have a crush on a scorpio right now, he’s so completely unobtainable. Maybe not as unobtainable as JM is (I’ve given up on my quasi-Wallis Simpson fantasy involving him) but almost as close. Same category.

    Anyway, I hope you had a nice birthday.

  2. I should add, that the effect is clearer with Ukip, because Tories delayed their response. You can argue that Miliband had delayed his response too, keeping his powder dry to frustrate Tory counter-measures.

    Whereas quite often, rivals respond more immediately, thus obfuscating the effects on VI, such that one might think a genuine shift back-and-forth in VI is just another artefact of MoE.

    This time around, Tories are endeavouring to respond more promptly on Cost-of-Living, but they appear thus far to have somewhat limited room for manoeuvre. That said, they found a way with housing, so I doubt it’s over just yet…

    I should add, that I’m not ignoring the effect of the economy, just saying that other things may have more impact than surmised, but it can be a bit hidden.

  3. There is a silent minority that are very angry, worried who know what is coming, this silent minority of 3 million people are waiting for the misery of cuts to fall on them, and the only problem is this silent minority are people who in most cases have family or friends who support them…

    So when most of the supporters of this group see just how much more support these people are going to need after any cuts or the person concerned it will be like a branch of a tree cut and left to wither and die, then I do not think it is 3 million people, it could be a multiple factor of three or four but even if it is just double you have to take pause.

    The one thing this group wants is to have a say, more so now than ever before because of the fear and anger that is mounting.

    I think this group of people will cross party boarders because of self preservation and literally having no choice, but I think it needs warning against for all political parties because like the grey vote if this group coalesce as they are being forced to, to protect themselves they will seek vengeance of sorts.

    We are heading for a period when mistakes made will have dire consequence because of the vulnerability of this group of people, and that will hurt any government just as much as the pain these people will suffer.

    The present government have slowed down the process to affect this group as much as possible, I presume to see the next election out in the hope of another five years, the planed rollout has now been scaled back to just a few pilot areas, what I would of liked to have seen is the pilot area’s to have been down south instead of above the divide, but that was too much to hope for really for obvious reasons.

    This is beginning to filter around the net

    h ttp://benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2416-claimants-to-lose-dla-permanently-if-falsely-accused-of-fraud-dwp-decides

    h ttp://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/briefing-on-how-cuts-are-targeted-dr-simon-duffy/

    and yes I think this will be a factor at any future election, even a pebble will cause ripples I think this is more than a pebble… but who knows

  4. Couper2802/Spearmint
    I do think that his model, under previous ‘normal’ circumstances would probably have held up.

    Under the previous (i.e pre-2010) electoral context, if Labour were polling at 38-ish, it would be the result of gaining the ‘protest vote’ from the Conservative party (which has largely gone to UKIP), so we could probably assume a large Labour drop, with a large Conservative gain as that protest ‘returns home’.

    However, Labour haven’t gained the Conservative protest – with the rise of UKIP – and had the Conservatives gained a majority in 2010 Labour would probably be lagging at sub-32 levels of support (given the lack of LibDem vote drop).

    So his model partly works under the assumption ‘Assuming LD share at 11.8’.. but if the LD vote stays as low as it currently stands, we can’t really expect ex-LDs-now-Lab to suddenly switch to the Conservatives[1].

    So for Labour to lose the ex-LD-now-Lab, it’d likely require them to ‘return home’ which increases the Lib vote above that 11.8% position.

    IMHO Using this sort of forecasting method, based on old assumptions, would be akin to predicting the 1983 election with the assumption that the SDP don’t exist – or forecasting current economic growth using the assumption of ever expanding credit (like pre-crash times) rather than running under the assumption of households/governments/companies deleveraging (e.g austerity).

    [1] If you look at Lord Ashcroft’s polling in to ‘types’ of voters, Labour haven’t gained the ‘aspirational’ voters that they would have gained in the past but liberals and ‘dependents’.

  5. “We’d be completely daft to get rid of those because what you’d be doing is solving the energy bill crisis on the backs of the poorest. No, absolutely not, won’t agree to it, forget it. If that can be funded in a more generous way, then hey, I’m all ears.

    The green taxes we have been pushing as Liberal Democrats in this government have been extraordinarily successful and point to an extremely green, clean energy future. They’re not being touched and they won’t be touched.”
    – Ed Davey on Green levies.

    Seems like really mixed messages from the LibDems on the levies. The ‘funded in a more generous way’ seems to leave it open to funding them out of general taxation, but seems broadly pushing for keeping them.

    I can’t see how this can do anything but help the Conservatives, electorally.
    If the LibDems now change positions (and back the reduction), they look like they’ve backed down (with Cons taking all the credit) and if they don’t, the Conservatives can run with the narrative ‘We wanted to reduce your bills, but Nick Clegg wouldn’t let us’ all the way to the next election.

  6. You can tell we are on the countdown to 2015 now – the poll watchers are starting to get excited

    With the date know I would imaging we only have 6 monte before we start seeing the serious positioning and in the middle of that the Euros

    Can Labour hold on to 2010 LD?
    Can UKIP surge on the back of the Euros?
    Will the economy trickle down work in time? etc.

    The 2015 election result will be pored over for years to come as it is a little unique in our recent history. Can’t wait until that night in May 2015!!!

    By the was, on another subject, I have just been forbidden to post on LDV – seems that I get a little too over-excited when challenging some of the nonsense posted over there. This as a lifelong LD voter as well. Them’s the breaks!

    I tend to behave better on here though – much nicer crowd

    Hats off to AW for that

  7. There was some discussion yesterday evening about the likelihood of a coalition being formed after the 2015 election.

    Of course anything is possible. However under FPTP with a uniform swing UKIP will get nil seats, and above all for reasons often discussed here the LDs are likely to lose many seats to Labour.

    Therefore the two largest partiesare likely to have a bigger proportion of seats than in 2010, so there is a higher chance of Labour or Conservatives having an overall majority.

    The result may be close, but it would have to be a lot closer than in 2010 for a coalition to be necessary.

  8. @tingedfringe

    “So his model partly works under the assumption ‘Assuming LD share at 11.8?.. but if the LD vote stays as low as it currently stands, we can’t really expect ex-LDs-now-Lab to suddenly switch to the Conservatives[1].”

    I agree this is the problem with the model. This and the fact he is using historical trends for the bounce back from mid-term and not taking into account the amount the % fell – as a result the Cons bounce back to greater than the GE result which as we know ‘never happens’

  9. @bcrombie I hope you are no longer a life long supporter…(unless of course you are in a Tory/lib Dem marginal). :)

  10. @bcrombie

    Go to Labour all your friends are there :-)

  11. Chatteclass

    No, fortunately not

    I have no time now for the LD under their current leadership, although people like Evan Harris still are very good.

    The members who frequent LDV though are some of the more unpleasant types – I am not sure how they can ever criticise the other parties when they behave like they do

    Here though a much nicer board (although I do get in trouble sometimes)

    Oh and Happy Birthday (belatedly) to Amber.

  12. From Monday onwards there is going to be a major talking point which touches on politics, but you won’t be able to discuss it on UKPR. There is going to be huge media interest ! And I expect many people in parliament will be looking on with a huge amount of interest and some will be very nervous about what may be revealed.

    You will have to wait until the 12 good Men or Women have reached their verdicts and even then I suspect that AW will not want it discussed here, because it has nothing to do with political opinion polls.

    I think AW may be wise to issue a reminder about this, before Monday, as once the information of the cases starts to drip onto the media, I suspect that people will be tempted to post about it.

  13. R Huckle

    I agree with you on the principle about not discussing the details of the case but it will be difficult to avoid if we see any consequences that affect the polls.

    This could be one of the ‘game changer’ events if it calls into question the integrity of the PM.

    I think though we should all try to show some self-restraint.

    I worry though that the headlines early in the week may be more focused on the after effects of the storm that is brewing in the Atlantic. The weather forums are getting hot at the moment predicting another 87 in areas of the south. May mean climate change is back on the agenda, or even wind farms if there a few that fall over!

    Keep safe everyone

  14. R Huckle,as we have no idea what evidence will be presented it is impossible
    To say what any effect this May have on polls.To say that this has nothing to do
    With opinion polls is stretching it a bit in my opinion.Not that I intend to comment,she said hastily .

  15. Shepshed West By-Election:

    Lab 683 (48.1%; +9.4)
    Con 560 (39.4 (-2.0)
    LD 178 (12.5%; -7.4)
    Lab Gain from Con
    Majority 172
    Turnout 25.17%

    Quite a close ward to my heart, since Shepshed has one of the best fish and chip shops I’ve ever been too.

    A pretty interesting by election in other respects too – There’s no UKIP spoiler, so we see a straight three-way fight and we see what we suspected – a small Con>Lab switch, but much less significant than the LD>Lab switchers.

    Secondly, that’s a decent turnout for a council by election. When I worked on Loughborough Ashby, we got something appalling like 9%.

  16. Loughborough Hastings:

    Lab 554 (61.4%; -4.2)
    Con 127 (14.1%; -20.4)
    UKIP 111 (12.3%; +12.3)
    Other 85 (9.4%; +9.4)
    LD 26 (2.9%; +2.9)
    Lab Hold
    Majority 427
    Turnout 19.84%

    Very very interesting thing here: traditionally, the question about who UKIP are taking votes from is answered with “the incumbent.” But here all they’ve managed to do is wreck the Tory vote (20% decline!).

    The “Other” here is unspecified, but I’d imagine they and UKIP account for the small Labour drop.

    A word about the Tory vote dropping. Don’t necessarily take it as some evidence of the Conservative party in the Midlands being wiped out – it’s just that the Loughborough Conservatives have barely any organisational strength (lost 10% of their members in the last year) and don’t have a great record on fighting by elections very hard.

  17. @ Ann in Wales

    Remember that leading Labour politicians also had close relationships with various people in the media. It is not just the current government. It should be no surprise really that whoever is in government should look to have friends in the media.

    Yes I suppose we won’t know whether anything may come out which is politically damaging and therefore could affect polling.

    I doubt that AW will allow discussion here, unless it is weeks after the outcome of any court proceedings and then only in the context of polling trends. Unless there is a game changer piece of information that comes out, I just cannot see these cases making any difference to polling.

  18. @ B Crombie

    I tend to behave better on here though – much nicer crowd
    —————-
    The people who comment here are incredibly nice. I have been surprised & delighted by the birthday messages I have received, they have really made my day + weekend!

    There are always witty, informed & interesting comments posted plus pointers to & comments on all the day’s political news stories which are worth reading. It’s a really super site & I don’t know why e.g. the Graun, Telegraph etc don’t make the effort to manage their comments forums more along the lines of Anthony’s model!

  19. @TingedFringe

    “I can’t see how this can do anything but help the Conservatives, electorally.”

    That’s because you’re not looking deeply enough into the politics of it all. The reason that Miliband is currently mining a rich seam of political gold with his price freeze pledge is that his idea is based on an attack on the “mega-profits” of the highly unpopular “greedy” energy companies. That’s his narrative and it chimes with public sentiment. Cameron on the other hand, with Clegg too in the shadows, looks as if he’s involved in knee jerk reactive politics, desperately playing catch up and, rather than rising upsetting the energy companies, he’s basically doing their bidding and going after the green taxes he and Clegg once purportedly supported. He’s looking very silly and it showed in the Commons exchanges last week. The contortions and flip-flop priorities are being noticed by the electorate. Meanwhile, Miliband continues to don the Robin Hood green; doing wonders for his image and public profile in the meantime.

    Now, I’m assuming that your argument, like Colin and Turk’s, is that it won’t matter how the bills are reduced, and by what convoluted means, the electorate will descend on bended knee and thank and reward the government. I’m not so sure, firstly on the grounds I’ve described above and, secondly and more intriguingly, because of what I heard the ex-Tory minister-now-spokeswoman for the Energy companies say when asked about Cameron’s statement. As you would expect, she was being as helpful and supportive to the government as she could, but wriggled like the proverbial worm on a fish hook when asked by what amount the tax reduction would actually reduce bills. No quid pro quos or hostages to fortune there at all. Profit optimisation opportunities spied, I suspect.

    By the way, weren’t you the fellow who said “watch the polls move now” after Cameron’s EU Referendum pledge? I’m still watching! lol

  20. @Crossbat

    yes I am just totally confused now, i am not sure what deal the LD’s and Cons are going to make

    and the thing about the Cons win if they can say ‘we tried to reduce your bills but Nick Clegg won’t let us.’ I can’t see that being a positive it just looks feeble.

  21. I agree with Amber’s last comments (which come with even more gravitas now she is one year older). Posts are of a much higher standard and moderation is applied fairly, diplomtically and politely by AW – as you can see when he recently gave some advice to folk who might be tempted to write predicatbly partisan stuff :-

    “please bugger off and write them elsewhere.”

    lol

  22. Very good analysis from PK on the YG website on why the Tories are more unpopular in the north of England

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/10/21/why-northerners-dont-vote-tory/

  23. ………..”more along the lines of Anthony’s model!”

    Owr dad says don’t tell his Missis.

  24. Crossbat

    You seem to be suggesting that the size of the bills is not really the issue, that it’s the power and influence of the energy companies that is the issue and any party that gives them a kick in nadgers will receive an electoral boost irrespective of the effect on bills

  25. The 2005 general election is an interesting one. It broke thus:

    Con 31.7
    Lab 35.2
    LD 22

    Next time out you might well see LD get less than that, but will Lab get less? More pertinently will Con get more?

    Interestingly the calculator on the right says that a 32/35/22 split gives a Lab majority of 6, when that actual vote gave Lab a whopping 413 seats.

    What has changed? I would argue, not much. UKIP will nick some of the Con seats but does anybody seriously expect Lab to get less than 35% or less than Con?

    Those marginals where the anti Tory vote will work out tactically how to keep the blues out. I can’t see HOW the Tories can win in 2015.

    2010 and 2005…

  26. 2005 gave Labour 355 seats!

    Otherwise, pretty good analysis. The hope among the Tories seems to be that they can capitalise on the Lib Dems dying off and snatch some seats in the South, but I still fail to see how they can hold all their current seats and gain another 22.

  27. Sort of, although what people actually end up paying for their energy is not unimportant, either politically or economically. It seems to be that until the current rigged market, in effect a cartel, is made truly competitive, a lot of what both Miliband and Cameron are suggesting is essentially political mood music. “We feel your pain” gambits from both of them, but I think Miliband is playing by far the best tune thus far.

  28. @RinN

    Oops, I pressed the button too early. My comment above was a reply to your earlier one.

  29. oh yeah..355 seats. Was looking at 2001 seats.

    Still, can’t see how the Tories can hold onto what they have got, let alone win any Lab seats.

    Realistically, what is the most that Con can get? Slight increase on last time? Seems unlikely but if the economy booms for the next year?

    I really struggle to see how so many commentators are predicting hung parliaments etc.

  30. Re: Energy debate
    I am thinking the world has moved on from left-right debate and now is about big business V the individual. EM looks to be on the side of the individual. DC at the moment is looking that he is on the side of big business.

    I hope EM has more of these ideas.

  31. @ Carfrew,

    Yeah, I agree that predicting a Tory win based on rising economic optimism is too simplistic and fails to take into account a whole constellation of other factors, including Labour’s ability to shift the terms of the debate and diminishing marginal returns on voter recapture as the Tories approach their ceiling. But it at least has the advantage of not being completely stupid, whereas that Fisher analysis…

    @ Tingedfringe,

    The inability to account for the behaviour of the Lib Dems is definitely a big part of Fisher’s problem, but there are other assumptions that are just inexcusably wrong. Assuming the shy Tory affect stays constant from 1974 through 2010, for instance. Or modeling the mid-term blues as a straight numerical value rather than a percentage drop from the previous election result.

    What baffles me about the paper is that his model returns something that’s obviously a nonsense result- no sane psephologist thinks the Tories have a 57% chance at a majority; it would require a sitting government to improve its vote share and Labour to do worse than it did in 2010, and both these things are statistically unlikely- but it didn’t occur to him to adjust the model. What was he thinking? Unless he wants us all to be talking about it, in which case, result!

    But I can’t imagine he wants the conversation to be “Wow, this Fisher guy builds terrible models.”

  32. *shy Tory effect, bleh. What do they teach them in schools these days?

  33. Nick P
    Strikes me that the Commentariat are 75% Tory and Metropolitan,they really believe that BoJo is the biggest threat DC has! Long may they do so,Oborne is the only one who seems to know the score .

  34. @ Bcrombie,

    To be fair to whatever LDV admin banned you, you have basically been trolling their private grief this whole time. Although I suppose as a former member of the Lib Dem family you have certain prerogatives!

    @ Nick P,

    Tory incumbency effects + Tory gains off Lib Dems in the South.

    I think neither of those things are going to come to their aid as much as they’re hoping and they’re in very deep trouble. A Tory-Lib Dem government seems to consolidate ABT tactical voting rather than collapsing it, which would be a big problem for any party but is especially pernicious for the Tories because the ABT vote is huge.

    But if people/swingometers are predicting the Tories will hold on to what they have, that’s why.

  35. Spearmint

    I don’t agree with that at all – I keep trying to engage with them but it is difficult one time. There is one poster there, an elected representative, who does bring out the worst in me.

    Most of the time I have been a paragon of virtue…

  36. ” I don’t know why e.g. the Graun, Telegraph etc don’t make the effort to manage their comments forums more along the lines of Anthony’s model!”

    Probably couldn’t if they wanted to. Certainly it would be extremely difficult to do now – DT and CiF comments already have a culture of bug-eyed lunacy, the bad comments have already driven out the good, it works here because it’s been ingrained from the start. The subject matter also helps – political polling brings in quite an intelligent and anoraky sort of crowd (no criticism meant – you guys only *read* a website about political polling, how anoraky would someone have to be to *write* one?), rather than the mass general public.

  37. Re. energy bills, does anyone understand the political logic behind this Coalition green levy -> general taxation wheeze? Won’t Labour just turn around and say, “Cameron wants to take the money to lower your bills out of your hard earned pay, because he’s afraid to challenge the energy companies and take it out of their profits instead!” It just seems like he’s taping a giant “Kick me!” sign to his head.

    Also on HS2. Surely inviting Labour to take the credit for cancelling [unpopular thing] is a mistake? I know it worked out brilliantly for Cameron on Syria, but the political mood music is rather different this time. It’s a domestic rather than foreign policy issue so the Government doesn’t have an automatic advantage, Miliband is currently on the ascendant and Cameron in retreat, not the other way round, and the “Cancel HS2” noises are coming from the leadership and not Diane Abbott. If the Government want to cancel it, why don’t they just impose Ed Balls’ value-for-money tests themselves, say “Oh whoops, it fails!” and then cancel?

  38. Spearmint

    I am interested of your view that Syria worked out ‘brilliantly’ for Cameron. He managed to get himself out of a hole that is true but I don’t think it can be defined a ‘brilliant’.

    What it did do, from my forays on LDV, was to get quite a lot of converted LD and even some long-term members riled with their leadership and sympathetic to the approach of Miliband (even if he was a bit lucky with how the votes panned out).

    Looking forward to 2015 those unhappy LD may be far more important to his chances of success than any of the more hawkish – time will let us see

  39. Spearmint – HS2 is an interesting issue. Generally speaking it is pretty low salience, other than people living along the route concerned about property blight or big rail lines through the countryside, people don’t give much of a toss. The answers to polling questions will be largely driven by the big price tag (if you stick a price tag of £50bn in a question almost everything becomes unpopular).

    Many of the seats where it’s a critical issue are ones where the Tory vote is weighed anyway. On the other side of the scale, it’s a huge infrastructure project that (in theory at least) benefits the North – it’s a flagship way for the Tories to try and address the perception that they don’t care about the North. What did the Tories ever do for us? Well, they spent billions providing a high speed rail link to the big northern cities. It certainly won’t be a magic bullet – there’s no such thing – but in the longer term it’ll be something they can point to. Hence, politically I expect the Tories don’t WANT to cancel it.

    On the other hand, politically they won’t want Labour to have an uncommitted £50bn to pay for stuff, and putting aside the politics, practically it would indeed be almost impossible to go ahead ahead with such a project without cross-party support. You can’t go ahead with all the land acquisition, all the compulsory purchase stuff, all the multi-billion pound construction contracts, if there is a good chance that 2 years down the line it will all be cancelled.

  40. Crossbat

    “Now, I’m assuming that your argument, like Colin and Turk’s, is that it won’t matter how the bills are reduced, and by what convoluted means, the electorate will descend on bended knee and thank and reward the government.”

    If your going to quote either me or Colin please try and use sensible language to discribe our argument, just because we have a different view point it doesn’t make our argument any less valid.

    I appreciate this is mainly a Labour supporters web site and maybe a few on here see a centre right view as an imposition, but unless you want a site that has only one main point of view were you all pat each other on the back and spend endless hours say how wonderful EM is, then other people with views different from yours should be encouraged not caricatured or stereotyped.

  41. Ooh, Fisher has responded to some of the initial criticisms of his paper (but not to the constant 1976-2010 shy Tories or mid-term blue rebound > actual mid-term blues one, sadly):

    http://electionsetc.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/initial-responses-to-comments-so-far-on.html

    @ Bcrombie,

    Somehow he managed to get it to reinforce the “Ed is carp” narrative without taking a hit to his own credibility, and Labour didn’t really seem to get any credit for it, polling-wise. It was the best spin operation I’ve ever seen.

  42. @ Anthony,

    Thanks! Sounds like the Tories are in between a rock and a hard place- they don’t want to cancel but they can’t let Labour oppose it without opposing it themselves, for both political and pragmatic reasons.

    Isn’t there a danger for them in being seen to let Labour set the agenda on it, though? Or is this the sort of thing that psophologists (thanks, TF, brilliant coinage) obsess over but which doesn’t move actual VI at all due to low salience, etc.?

  43. Spearmin

    On the ‘spin’ side yes I did think it was well managed but it does help when the press where also trying to cover their backs at the same time. I don’t agree that it reinforced the Ed Miliband perception at all -rather it ended up as a score draw when Labour should have expected a narrow benefit at least.

    As with all these things though the long game may be more important and it possibly went some way to neutering Iraq.

    Iraq was one of the main reasons (along funnily enough with tuition fees) that led to the exodus of voters to the LD.

    I know my friends who are Labour turned LD (with my coercion as well in some cases I am embarrassed to say) are now citing the tuition fees and Syria as two of the reasons why they have switched back – and they have no intention of changing.

    This generation – people in their mid-late 30s have never voted Tory and have no intention of doing so. They are floating on the what they perceive as the centre-left. The Tories don’t get considered by them at all.

    This is purely anecdotal so may have little relevance, but it is why I am so eager for us to get to May 2015 so I can see what happens – perhaps if I wiggle my nose….

  44. Spearmint – given Miliband and Labour’s horrid ratings on looking like a PM in waiting and being ready for government, I think setting the agenda for a while does probably help them somewhere where they need help.

    Like HS2 helping the Tories with their problem in the north though, it’s not a magic bullet. It wouldn’t suddenly make people see Miliband as Prime Ministerial or Labour as ready for office…but it’s something in the right direction.

  45. @Anthony Wells
    “political polling brings in quite an intelligent and anoraky sort of crowd (no criticism meant – you guys only *read* a website about political polling, how anoraky would someone have to be to *write* one?), rather than the mass general public. ”

    Have you ever been train spotting ? Quite often people who are very intelligent enjoy collecting information.

    Must admit I went train spotting once with a couple of friends who were interested in trains. Did not repeat the error ! Liked the trains, but crossing off numbers in a book seemed a tad silly to me.

  46. Anthony

    I agree that the fact that we all know that we should be talking about polling or a subset of it does help us to self-regulate more than we would normally (though clearly not enough for your liking).

    The other websites though are overtly about politics so a comment that ‘I think X is great because of Y and Z’ will always bring back the retort – ‘well I think they aren’t because A and B’ and invariably end in some sort of argument and because we are only limited to words and not the other forms of communication (tone, body language etc) frustration can lead to intemperate comments.

    R Huckle

    Are we really the trainspotters of the political world – seems a little harsh…but possibly true?

  47. If trainspotting and opinion poll watching gets too exciting then why not try collecting the names of Stobart trucks ??

    http://stobartsaddos.com/

    Now I just need to spot Emily Jane and I’ve got all the Es
    :-)

  48. I am trying to avoid the mistake of saying that because Labour are favourites to win the GE of 2015, then the Conservatives should be written off long-term or short-term. The Conservatives are a long-established political party which formed the government for most of the 20th century and are very likely to win an election sooner or later.

    The right of centre split, and left of centre unity, make this unlikely for 2015 – as seen from now – but a Conservative win is not impossible.

    The Conservatives might appeal to swing voters if the economy improves. UKIP could collapse, or just possibly ride a wave of support after the euroelections of 2014, to the extent that they damage Labour as well as Conservatives. The Grangemouth incident could trigger a wave of nationalism in Scotland, hurting Labour.

    It is always possible for as yet unforeseen scandals/illnesses, resignations etc to affect the fortune of any particular party. Ditto events.

    Probably the best thing the Conservatives could do would be to identify some articulate MPs from the midlands and north of England, promote them, and use them widely on TV to boost Conservative appeal in these parts of the UK.

  49. Just selected our PPC in a draughty church hall. Talk about Anoraks!

  50. TURK

    @”unless you want a site that has only one main point of view were you all pat each other on the back and spend endless hours say how wonderful EM is, then other people with views different from yours should be encouraged not caricatured or stereotyped.”

    I asked AW to pass my e-mail address to you. He hasn’t responded , so I don’t know if he has or not.
    If you get it, would be please to chew the fat now & again.

    best wishes.

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