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. Last minute prediction

    Lab 35
    Con 32
    LD 6
    Green 5
    SNP/PC 5

  2. This just tweeted:

    Britain Elects [email protected] 1m

    National Opinion Poll (YouGov):
    LAB – 36% (-1)
    CON – 31% (=)
    UKIP – 15% (+2)
    LDEM – 6% (-1)

    Is that 6 too high for @ChrisLane1945?

  3. Amber

    This isn’t the place for detailed discussion of a Conference speech. My post related more to Ed Ball’s promise of further austerity.

    However, “time to care” sounds like one of these awful PR crafted soundbites that parties insist on coming up with, And is Ed insisting that NHS England will spend these resources exactly as he has specified, on those specific staff categories? That seems a terribly centralist micro-management by a politician.

  4. Oh I forgot about UKIP….

  5. @RAF

    I bet DC wishes he could say that.

  6. There are supposed to be two more (defectors). Any ideas?

  7. @CatmanJeff


    At least I remembered the Nats!

  8. Two more defectors and we’ll have another gang of four.

    Who knows, one might be called Bill?

  9. Lefty

    “When someone is beguiling a disenfranchised section of the electorate by promising them what they want and deliberately misinforming them about what would actually come to pass”

    Politicians opposed to Labour might find that an excellent description of Amber’s notes on Ed’s speech!

    We know that fear tactics can win campaigns – and partisans who use them will enthusiastically endorse such tactics.

    Whether that is actually beneficial to the body politic is somewhat more doubtful.

  10. @Maura

    Best gag on that subject yet. :))

    I agree with you about the Lib Dem figures. I have thought the figures to be wrong for some time.

  12. “Paul Bristol: Labour ‘s performance has been actually disappointing as the party doesn’t seem to be able to climb above its 35 % ceiling on a consistent basis. The Conservatives on the other hand are being held back by the UKIP surge. I am still sceptical though that UKIP will poll above 10 % on election day.

  13. ON

    If we didn’t have populists peddling half-truths and untruths, there’s be no justification for fear tactics. When we DO, it’s by some way the lesser of two evils.

  14. Have said for ages that the potential for the Tories to fall away even more as people realise they can’t win in May is enormous.

    To me it now looks like something quite remarkable will need to happen if that is not to be the case.

    I’m not sure that UKIP will be vulnerable to attacks on their detailed policies because no-one will be expecting ole Nige to become PM. The knowledge that Cameron is a soon-to-be ex-PM however, will mean that all bets are off in terms of both voter and MP behaviour.

    Add to that the fact that Clegg can conduct the most brilliant and logical campaign possible and hardly anyone will give him the time of day, and we are all set for a particularly odd election.

    One however that it would surprise me for Labour not to win.

  15. KeithP,

    I’d have to be a Tory party member to be a Tory MP, and then a Tory MP to defect to UKIP. So it isn’t me.

    The timing does suggest some measure of co-ordination and planning, but then again Mr. Reckless may have inferred from the Clacton polling that he stood a good chance of retaining his seat.

  16. Also, my prediction that there would be a swing TO UKIP during the campaign, rather than away from them, looks rather good now.

    About 34-32% (UK percentages) in Labour’s favour looks very likely now.

  17. Well Keith it certainly won’t be the great Sir Bill Cash. I think we can all see that the LD numbers are wrong; its inconceivable that they will be as low as the polls have them right now.

  18. Lefty

    I am more than happy to leave your last comment as a testament to your belief system. :-)

  19. Apparently we are not allowed to discuss conference speeches, but I guess it’s OK to point up polling about said speeches.
    As I have previously mentioned the 6 points mentioned by Amber were polled by Survation.
    With one exception, all of these proposals found favour amongst all age groups, all regions/nations, supporters of all parties, and both genders. The sole exception was Conservative supporters disagreeing with the break up of banks (though not by a very wide margin)

  20. @Bill Patrick

    I’m sorry, but is he really called Mr Reckless?

  21. Maura,
    Lovely,I do think Oscars quotes are splendid.Even when adapted.As they often are.I particularly like the Little Nell one.

  22. @ Billy Bob,

    I got the impression that you were trying to extrapolate to overall trends over the two year interval- otherwise why pick two typical polls instead of two completely random ones?

    @ Old Nat,

    Whatever else can be said of Miliband’s conference speech, beguiling it was not.

  23. I think that what we will see in the months before the election is a patriotic fightback, what we are looking to coordinate is a campaign involving celebrities and sporting legends to help get the result we want.

    It will be about defending Maggie’s legacy and recognising that we are now a modern multicultural country. One that doesn’t want to go back to profligacy under a man totally ill equipped to lead our nation. A double edged fight against Labour and UKIP.

  24. (And I say that as someone who liked this year’s better than last year’s.)

  25. @ RAF
    I’m sorry, but is he really called Mr Reckless?

    There is also the prominent Tory Eurosceptic Bill Cash.

  26. @Pressman

    Do you really think the public give a gnat’s chuff about what celebrities and sporting legends think about politics?

    Do you think we are that dumb?

  27. ON
    Thank you. Personally, I don’t want to see people I care about singing the Hallelujah Chorus as they blunder into a disaster because they have been sold a pup by a snake oil salesman. If it’s necessary to scare them to their senses then I’m happy to do it.

    Would you prefer them to learn from their experiences?

  28. I love reading Pressman.

    It is like a Marvel cartoon strip fantasy world.

  29. “I think that what we will see in the months before the election is a patriotic fightback…”

    Last refuge…?

  30. @ Guymonde

    Thank you for picking up on why I thought it was okay to report from my notes of the Labour policies listed in the leader’s speech i.e. because there has been polling on them.

  31. @Guymonde

    Your comment reminiscent of the Ashcoft wake up and smell the coffee style polling.

    @Bill Patrick – “some measure of co-ordination and planning”

    Ever since before the 2001 election it has been nigh on impossible for a europhile Tory candidate to get selected (Simon Walter’s Tory Wars has an interesting chapter on tactics used). Even those who are pro-EU to some extent have to adopt the anti rhetoric.

    Where’s the big ideological divide between Carswell/Reckless and Dominic Raab or other rising stars in the Conservative movement?

  32. @ Old Nat

    And is Ed insisting that NHS England will spend these resources exactly as he has specified, on those specific staff categories? That seems a terribly centralist micro-management by a politician.
    I can report that these are the staff which have been requested by people well qualified to decide these things.

  33. RAF

    yes indeed, he first shot to notarity(damm this spell check) early on in this parliament for his drinking prowess and subsequent inability to turn up for important votes. I made an oblique reference to him a few days ago when I was bemoaning the sorry state of our elected representatives

  34. Terrible headlines for the Tories eve of conference.Sleeze and UKIP.Quite potent.

  35. Pressman

    I really love satire but I think you are overdoing it slightly

  36. @Paul Bristol

    Don’t you see?

    Ed will be on the verge of victory, but Jim Davidson will tell us he will leave the UK if Labour wins, and add to that the endorsement of Jimmy Tarbuck, the polls will reverse to ensure Dave wins a crushing victory.

  37. @ Old Nat

    And ‘time to care’ is not a PR sound-bite. It is a comment which is often made by care workers & health workers.

  38. Catmanjeff

    you just convinced me to vote labour, I’d do anything to get rid of Jim Davidson

  39. Odd, really, but another function of the English language.

    ‘Reckless defects’ has an entirely different meaning to ‘reckless defects’.

  40. Amber

    “I can report that these are the staff which have been requested by people well qualified to decide these things.”

    I’m also happy to leave that comment to stand as a testament to the faith that party members can have in their leaders (and their advisers).

  41. @RiN

    I recall Phil Collins threatening to go if Labour won in 1997.

    Sadly he stayed (I think).

    Even more sadly he left his music in the public arena.

  42. It will be about defending Maggie’s legacy and recognising that we are now a modern multicultural country.
    And Pressman executes what is know in the trade as a piked Reverse Ferret with half-twist.

  43. amber

    Do try not to spoil one man’s hobby of putting down all and sundry.

  44. @Catmanjeff

    I always remember Carol Vorderman’s scary appearance on Question Time before the last election. I swear Dave was cruising to a OM before that point. I tell ya ….it was the thinking man’s crumpet that gave them a flaccid hung parliament! ;-)

  45. @Pressman

    “a campaign involving celebrities and sporting legends to help get the result we want.”

    Roy of The Rovers is not actually a real person, you know.

  46. It seems my short term prediction was on the button. Clearly the loss of one point from Lab was caused by delayed reaction to Miliband speech criticism (not).

    I am impressed with that from RAF, although I think he took a sneak look before CMJ posted the YG poll – in the same minute too (??). I am just jealous really.

    To predict LD on 6 was worthy of our friend from Bournemouth beach.

  47. ‘Consultation’ is clearly another word in the English language that has another meaning –

    We say that people are disinterested in politics, but here we have a government consultation on proposals to allow fracking under people’s homes without their permission.

    Nearly 41,000 people responded, of which 99% opposed the proposals. To which the governments response was “Having carefully considered the consultation responses, we believe that the proposed policy remains the right approach to underground access and that would mean that our overall policy approach is not the best available solution.”

    Why bother asking?

  48. Catmanjeff

    Michelle Mone said she would leave Scotland if we voted for devolution in 1997. She failed to carry out her promise.

    In protest, I have refused to buy any of her bras since.

  49. I think you will find that celebrities threatened to leave in 1997 if Labour implemented their policies from the seventies. Of course we know they didn’t do that.

    But now, confronted by Miliband’s policies of punishing successful wealth creators; it will be a different story and we have a succession of celebrities and economic experts lined up.

  50. Can anyone tell me what Ed’ M’s six points are and how to look up what Survation found about them?

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