As part of his speech today Nigel Farage showed off polling for various target seats. A couple of the polls were just the figures from previous Ashcroft polls that showed UKIP doing well, but three are Survation polls for UKIP that we haven’t seen before. They show UKIP well ahead in Boston & Skegness – on 46% to the Conservatives 26%, one point behind in Thanet North and on 37% to Labour’s 48% in Rotherham. Of course, polling conducted for political parties should be treated with a medium sized ocean of salt until you’ve see the tables with your own eyes (I’ll put up a link once Survation put the tabs up (UPDATE: here)), but the previous Survation polls for UKIP donor Alan Bown have used their standard methodology.

The polls got very brief attention as they were rapidly followed by Mark Reckless defecting to UKIP and precipitating a by-election in Rochester and Strood. Rochester and Strood probably won’t be the complete walk in the park for UKIP that polls have suggested in Clacton (Clacton’s demographics are absolutely perfect for UKIP and Carswell particularly well thought of). UKIP came top in Medway in the European elections, but that was hardly unusual and as an all-out unitary authority we have no recent local elections in Medway to judge from. The seat does not appear in Rob Ford and Matt Goodwin’s list of the most UKIP friendly Con seats. The unusual circumstances of a by-election though mean anything is possible – and from a national polling point of view, it keeps the UKIP bandwagon rolling, keeps them in the public eye, keeps the publicity coming, keeps them looking like a viable choice.


321 Responses to “Constituency polls and Rochester and Strood”

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  1. I have no idea whether Brookes Newmark’s explicit images included mud or not.

  2. CHRISLANE1945

    “Funny on Roy Jenkins, who, as you know, was not a Tory at all; his Dad went to prison under them, for political action”

    True – but what does that prove – after all, he-who-can’t-be-named on this site is the son of Glenda Jackson!

  3. @ Spearmint

    “If the Lib Dems putting the Tories in power didn’t have people out on the streets”

    No, it was first past the post that put the Tories in power.

    The Lib Dems just reacted in the only way possible under the circumstances (of our appalling voting system) that would have allowed them to introduce at least some of their policies.

    If 2005 and 2010 were aberrant results given how people voted, 2015 will see the reputation of FPTP going into meltdown. Imagine a C33, LD10, LAB 34, UKIP 19 result

  4. …Labour could just about creep into power, propped up by the Lib Dems or Scots Nats, but would be instantly and deeply unpopular, with UKIP taking off.

    Any talk that FPTP always produces a decisive result will be utterly dynamited by next year’s election.

  5. @ Old Nat

    It seems inconceivable that Labour would go through any kind of leadership crisis so close to the UK GE. Is it even constitutionally possible?
    Only if the leader resigned or died. I’m as certain as I can be that Ed Miliband is not going to resign; & I certainly hope that nothing untoward happens to him!

    Interested in your comment that there “is quiet determination to fight local campaigns.” That can be a good strategy for a party with a strong constituency activist base.
    The Labour Party does have a lot of supporters in addition to its activist members. The six point plan which Ed Miliband outlined in his speech to conference has since polled well, which gives activists something to talk about with voters. This, combined with the determined efforts of local supporters, should give Labour a fighting chance of winning in 2015.

  6. The Daily Telegraph has broken the news on the Minister for Civil Society resigning his seat.

    The article says that the only sound from his six storey house in Belgravia was that of dogs barking.

    The paper talks of crisis for Mr Cameron.

    A week is a long time in Politics.

  7. Even more fun is Tories 35, Labour 33, Lib Dems 10, Others 22%.

    On a uniform swing, that would leave the Tories with the most votes, Labour the most MPs, but 18 seats short of a majority, the Lib Dems with 21, so not enough to form a stable majority and others, led by UKIP with loads of votes but almost totally disenfranchised as angry bystanders.

    It would be a complete pig’s breakfast.

  8. Amber

    Thanks for the confirmation that there is no procedure to replace Ed pre UK GE.

    While your second comment reads a wee bit like a press release :-) I’m sure that there are lots of constituencies in GB where Labor has a strong activist base.

  9. @daodao Thanks. About 1 in 7. In the area I live, there are also many people with Welsh roots and families who have returned here after working most of their lives in England.

  10. @RAF –

    “Remember the “left wing” vote (and I use the term quite wrongly) could also split multiple ways – Lab, Green, lefty Dems, City SNPers, SDLP (OK the last one is a bit of a cheat!)”

    …and not forgetting ‘Left Unity’! Err…

  11. @Edward

    Agreed, he closure of the Chatham Dockyard in 1984 was a low point.

    Since the late 90’s we’ve seen the regeneration of St Mary’s Island and the Universities at Medway initiative.

    Rochester, Strood and Chatham taken together must be one of the major beneficiaries of Blair/Prescott Thames Gateway funding.

    Just a few examples of why this area was not been “ignored” in recent years.

    Imo, compared to many areas of acute deprivation in the SE, Medway is positively thriving… that’s not to minimise the very real problems that have left legacy in this part of the world.

  12. @Pressman – “It’s not only desperately unfair but there would be implications in terms of civil disorder.”

    Absolute screamer – even for you.

    I’m assuming you are imagining Tories rioting against themselves for voting in favour of first past the post?

    Dimness in the extreme.

  13. @ Amber

    So Labour will claw its way into power with 35-36% of the vote, winning because of the distortions our voting system, and then have to make lots more unpopular cuts which hit its own funding base, public sector trade unions?

    What could possibly go wrong?

  14. @Mike N

    “Goodness knows how the main three parties can respond to regain their apparently diminishing hegemony of the UK / England political landscape.”

    Perhaps it’s their unwillingness to change with the times that’s part of the problem.

  15. PRESSMAN
    @
    “Richard, the numbers are skewed in favour of Labour. It’s conceivable Miliband could become PM with 31% if the Tory support ends up at around 33, albeit in a Lab/Lib coaltion. It’s not only desperately unfair but there would be implications in terms of civil disorder.
    UKIP can’t win and everybody needs to understand this, it’s a choice between one man or another to lead our great country. That’s why we have to make this campaign a mud wrest”
    __________

    I’m not quite sure about civil disorder because the same thing happened in Aberdeen where the second party in terms of votes won the most seats but to my knowledge there wasn’t any civil disorder, however I totally agree with the rest of your post.

    I still think the closer we get to 2015 and the more exposure UKIP are faced with then people will back away from them.

  16. @Pressman

    “UKIP can’t win and everybody needs to understand this, it’s a choice between one man or another to lead our great country. That’s why we have to make this campaign a mud wrestle.”

    We don’t vote for prime ministers. We vote for constituency MPs. Please stop with that line. It’s tantamount to campaigning. UKIP get a majority of MPs in Scotland, but anyone has the right to vote for UKIP constituency candidates.

  17. RC
    Even more fun is Tories 35, Labour 33, Lib Dems 10, Others 22%.
    On a uniform swing, that would leave the Tories with the most votes, Labour the most MPs, but 18 seats short of a majority, the Lib Dems with 21, so not enough to form a stable majority and others, led by UKIP with loads of votes but almost totally disenfranchised as angry bystanders.
    It would be a complete pig’s breakfast.
    _____________

    I’m looking forward to it.

  18. @ Old Nat

    While your second comment reads a wee bit like a press release :-)
    ————-
    Sorry – but it was sincere & I am also bitingly critical of the Labour Party on occasion, so it probably balances out.

  19. Although it causes short term difficulties it is greatly to a party’s advantage if troublemakers leave. The problem for the Torys is the election is fairly short term. I don’t expect any Labour defectors.

  20. Tory MP Mark Reckless has said he is leaving his party to join UKIP, announcing his decision on the eve of the Conservatives’ conference.

    The Rochester and Strood MP told the UKIP conference he had resigned as an MP, triggering a by-election.

    He said that, as a Tory, he could not keep a promise to “cut immigration while treating people fairly”.

    He is the second Tory MP to defect to UKIP after Clacton MP Douglas Carswell did the same in August.

    Mr Reckless will seek re-election in his constituency for UKIP.

    Mr Reckless won his seat as a Conservative in 2010 with a majority of 9,953 votes over Labour’s Teresa Murray.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29394697

  21. It will certainly damage the first few days of a Miliband government when he has to send the army in and impose a curfew in Tunbridge Wells!

  22. Paul A – “True – but what does that prove – after all, he-who-can’t-be-named on this site is the son of Glenda Jackson!”

    And Toby Young’s father wrote the Labour 1945 manifesto!

    I think I read somewhere that Attlee’s son became a Conservative too.

    Maybe they are all rebelling against their parents. The Peter Mandelson type who stays loyal to the family tribe no matter how much their personal life changes is rare.

  23. Amber

    :-)

    I have never doubted your sincerity.

  24. Attlee’s son defected to the SDP from Labour, you’re thinking of his grandson who is a Conservative peer (he was a government whip until recently)

  25. CANDY.
    I did not know that Michael Young’s son is Toby.

    Thank you.

  26. @Allan Christie

    “It would be a complete pig’s breakfast.

    I’m looking forward to it.”

    Schadenfreude.

    If you can’t laugh at other people’s misfortune, what is there left in life, eh?

  27. @RC

    “Even more fun is Tories 35, Labour 33, Lib Dems 10, Others 22%.”

    If you throw that into EC’s regional predictor, and tweak the polls North of the border to reflect th recent poll, here’s what you get:

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/predict.jpg

    Of the 48 ‘NAT’ seats, 45 are SNP. So we have Con short by 40, Lab short by 44 and SNP with 45. We can also guess at -2 Con and +2 UKIP for that matter.

    I think in that situation Con and Lab will form a coalition. :))

  28. I think talk of civil disorder following the 2015 GE is just about the daftest thing I’ve read here for ages.

    In case it escaped people’s attention, in Scotland a passionate campaign was fought by the Yes supporters. It didn’t succeed but nor did it go down to overwhelming defeat. And what civil unrest has there been following this ‘once in a lifetime’, historic vote which they didn’t win? Precisely none, unless you count the despicable behaviour of the SDL/EDL in George Square. Personally, I would not dignify that with the description of ‘civil disorder’.

    So, to conclude: The idea of civil unrest following an election which can be undone in four or five years seems ridiculous to me.

  29. Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, Ed Balls as Chancellor of the Exchequer?

    ? Happy Days Are Here Again…?

  30. Amber

    Well said.

  31. @ RC,

    I reckon the source of popular discontent is less the decision to introduce Lib Dem policies, and more the decision to introduce Conservative ones. And I’m not sure PR would have stopped Clegg forming a coalition with the Tories- either big party would have been available as a coalition partner, but Labour had just lost a lot of votes and he’s no fan of theirs anyway.

    But it’s all fine- the Lib Dems made their decision as they had every right to do and no one rioted, they just changed their voting intention and waited for the next election. It’s a triumph of democracy.

    @ Old Nat,

    I’m sure that there are lots of constituencies in GB where Labor has a strong activist base.

    Though probably more in Australia.

  32. Spearmint

    Typo joke appreciated!

  33. Spearmint

    nicely pedantic, made me smile when i saw it

  34. Amber

    you found the loophole in the “don’t talk about scotland” rule. Sneaky!

  35. @ Spearmint

    “And I’m not sure PR would have stopped Clegg forming a coalition with the Tories- either big party would have been available as a coalition partner”

    Precisely, and the Lib Dems would have had nearly three times as many MPs and the Tories a quarter fewer, so they could have negotiated fewer Tory policies and more Lib Dem ones.

    However, the Lib Dems are carrying the can for public spending cuts and discontent about living standards. No government in power from 2010 onwards could have avoided either. This is what happens in coalitions in the rest of Europe: the junior partner always suffers.

  36. @ RMJ1,

    Although it causes short term difficulties it is greatly to a party’s advantage if troublemakers leave. The problem for the Torys is the election is fairly short term.

    The other problem for the Tories is they’d need to lose about 40 MPs to get rid of all the worst troublemakers.

    And that would still leave you with a large group of people like Bernard Jenkin who are not actively trying to destroy David Cameron but who are still fanatical about Europe.

    Like the war on ISIS, this is a generational struggle.

  37. Anyone any ideas as to how a large SNP group in the HoC might react to Statgeek’s figures? They are hardly likely to react as the Cinque Stella people did in Italy – are they?

    Given that so many people are (apparently) now saying that DC and EM are indistinguishable politically, one possible outcome of the GE would be what has happened in Germany – faux right and and faux left together in a ‘Government of National Unity’. SNP as Her Majesty’s Opposition?

    Well, given some of the fantasies expressed so far in this thread, the idea hardly seems extreme!

  38. Statgeek

    You know full well that the who leads question is paramount. That’s what won it in 1992 and that’s where the campaign must head.

    Middle England will not tolerate Miliband becoming PM on the back of up to half the electorate having voted Right. Things will turn ugly and there will be something between a backlash and an uprising against the liberal Left and Europe.

  39. Peter Crawford
    “the idea that ukip “harms labour as much as the tories” is a lie put about by the labour party to make people comfortable about voting for ukip. ukip is the tory party in exile basically with a few other ex-BNP, labour, lib dem voters…but the heart and brain of ukip is tory.”

    Aye well, being on a polling website, we’re probably best advised to look at the polling data.

    In summer 12, Lab were on 43, Con on 33 and UKIP on 7

    Today, we’re roughly looking at 36, 33 and 13 for those three parties.

    How do explain that if you insist that the “UKIP hurts Lab” line is a lie?

    You want more? Look at this graph.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election#/image/File:UK_opinion_polling_2010-2015.png
    (Apologies AW for not using your graphs – can’t access them on this iPhone)

    Every single movement of Lab VI in the past 27-28 months has been accompanied by an inverse UKIP movement. Every one.

    And yet we STILL hear this line that UKIP is a repository of votes that the Tories can try to woo back.

  40. Can someone please explain to Pressman that if he wishes to write fantasy film scripts that is fine, but this is not the correct site for such a venture!

  41. And the good news keeps on coming.

  42. @ RC,

    the Lib Dems are carrying the can for public spending cuts

    The Lib Dems are carrying the can for running to the left of Labour for a decade and then going into government with a party that likes to cut the top rate of tax and drive ‘Go Home’ vans around. Darling’s plan was pretty austere, but I guarantee you that the Liberal Democrats would not now be polling at 7% if they had gone into coalition with Labour.

  43. Pressman

    Go to bed. See if the world looks more sensible in the morning.

    Of course, if I actually thought you were remotely credible, rather than a Walter Mitty type, given your supposed position of influence, I’d be advising you to be very careful not to leave evidence of being sympathetic to sedition.

  44. @ Pressman,

    Good thing the Tories have pissed off the police so much, then- they should be right on side.

    I’m envisioning a sort of Orgreave but with everyone in tweed suits and brandishing golf clubs.

  45. I live in the real world of white van man and the self employed grafters of Southern England. The British people have a habit of knowing what is right and what is wrong. We speak their language and we owe to Britain, the country that Maggie saved, to deliver the right result.

  46. And how do we think Pressman is defining ‘Middle England’?
    My guess is that ‘Middle England’ is a lot further south than it was five years ago.

    But Lefty’s point needs to be taken very seriously. Labour may well find that their vote numbers fall – even if they don’t lose a lot of seats. This could see them coming to power on only 30% of the vote. And what chance then boundary changes?

  47. “I live in the real world of white van man and the self employed grafters of Southern England. The British people have a habit of knowing what is right and what is wrong. We speak their language and we owe to Britain, the country that Maggie saved, to deliver the right result”

    @pressman

    You are Al Murray trialling material, and I claim my £5!

  48. I can easily see Nick Clegg supporting a UKIP leaning government and supporting pulling out of the EU just to keep his place at the cabinet table. However I think it is more likely the LibDems will have so few seats they will be irrelevant anyway. At the moment it looks like Labour is likely to win without them however there is always Plaid and the SNP to work with.

  49. @RC
    “Any talk that FPTP always produces a decisive result will be utterly dynamited by next year’s election.”

    It’s more the case that PR very rarely produces a decisive result, the colour of the government being decided by politicians in post election smoke-filled rooms.

    If we are going to have some variant of PR, it needs at least to incorporate a compromise that forces all parties to declare which government coalition they would be part of before the electorate votes. That way the choice of government is back in the hands of the people. I like the principle of top-up seats for the winning coalition as practised in Italy, because it would make it difficult for a party that aspired to be in government to sit on the fence.

  50. ComRes is out:

    Con 29% (-3)
    Lab 35% (+1)
    LD 7% (-1)
    UKIP 19% (+1)
    Green 4% (+1)

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