Over the last year couple of years Labour’s lead has gradually been whittled away, from ten points in 2012 they are now holding onto only the very narrowest of leads, with many polls showing them neck and neck. At the same time we have seen UKIP’s support getting ever higher, with polls regularly putting them in the mid teens. One naive assumption could be that supporters have moved directly from Labour to UKIP, but in reality there is a lot of churn back and forth between parties. A political party could be picking up support from one group of voters, but losing an equal number of voters somewhere else. The voters now backing UKIP could be people who earlier in the Parliament were backing Labour, even if they didn’t vote Labour in 2010.

Every month YouGov carry out around twenty polls for the Sun and the Sunday Times. In any individual poll the crossbreaks of 2010 Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are too small to be robust, but by aggregrating up the polls from a whole month we have enough responses to really examine the underlying churn, and by comparing the figures from 2012 and 2013 to today, we can see how party support has changed.

All these charts are based on YouGov’s figures. For simplicities sake the movement between the parties are always *net* figures – for example, there are a very small number of people who voted Labour last time but said they’d vote Lib Dem this time, but the vast bulk of the movement is in the opposite direction. I’ve netted them up to get the overall movement between each party. I’ve also excluded very small movements made up of less than 0.2%. The percentages are of the whole of the sample, not of each parties support, and because the sample also includes people who say don’t know or won’t vote things don’t add up to 100%. You can click on each image to get a bigger, readable version. With that in mind…

2012churn550

Here’s October 2012, a high point for Labour when they were enjoying an average lead of around 10 points in YouGov’s national polls. Labour’s vote at the time was very robust, they were making a very small net loss to UKIP, but otherwise their vote from 2010 was solid and they had added to it small amounts of support from 2010 non-voters and Conservatives and a large chunk of former Liberal Democrats. Lib Dem support had already slumped, with the large majority of their support going to either Labour or to Don’t know/Would not vote (DK/WNV). The Conservatives had started to lose support to UKIP, but it wasn’t yet a flood – they were also losing some support to Labour and a large chunk to DK/WNV.

2013churn

Moving onto October 2013, Labour’s lead had now fallen to around 6 points in YouGov’s national polls. They were still holding onto their 2010 support, but their gains from the Conservatives and non-voters were starting to falter. The movement of support from the Conservatives to UKIP had vastly increased, but part of this was balanced out by fewer Con-to-DK/WNV and Con-to-Lab switchers. The number of lost Tories was growing, but lost Tories were also switching their destination, saying they’d support UKIP rather than saying Labour or don’t know. The Liberal Democrats and Labour were also starting to see increased movement to UKIP, though at this point the big chunk of LD-to-Lab voters remained solid.

2014churn

Finally here is the picture from October 2014. Labour’s average lead in YouGov’s polls last month was just 1.5 points and their retained support from 2010 is now faltering. In 2012 20.6% of our polls were made up of people who had voted Labour in 2010 and would do so again, that has now dropped to 16.6%. Those 2010 Labour voters are now flaking away towards UKIP, the Greens and the SNP. Movement from Con-to-Lab has now dried up completely. The chunk of CON-to-UKIP voters has continued to grow, but mostly at the expense of CON-to-DK/WNV, meaning Tory support has remained largely unchanged. Most importantly that solid block of LAB>LD switchers has started to wither, down from 6.6% of the sample to 4.6%. The Liberal Democrats themselves aren’t doing any better, but their former supporters are scattering more widely, moving to the Tories, UKIP and Greens.

Comparing the churn from 2012 and now you can see Labour’s issue. In 2012 all arrows pointed to Labour, they were picking up support from everywhere and holding on to what they had. Today they still have the benefit of a strong transfer from the Liberal Democrats (though even that’s declining), but they are leaking support in every direction – to the Greens, to UKIP and to the SNP.

One of the reasons the Conservatives ended up falling short at the last election was that they failed to clearly identify themselves as THE party for change – the public wanted rid of Gordon Brown and Labour, but following the debates Nick Clegg managed to make many people think the Liberal Democrats were the more convincing alternative. Ed Miliband may face a similar problem, the government still isn’t popular and still has a relatively low level of support, but the anti-government vote seems to be fracturing away from Labour to alternative non-Conservative parties like UKIP, the Greens and the SNP.

(This post is also featured on the New Statesman’s May 2015 here)


402 Responses to “How the votes have shifted since 2012”

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  1. This churn analysis is very interesting and raises concerns about the shortcomings of Anthony’s basic UNS model for converting poll figures into seat projections. The 2014 diagram shows that Labour is currently picking up roughly the same percentage of LD as the Libdems are retaining. The Tories are benefitting at about a third of the rate. As I understand it, the UNS model adds the average gain uniformly to the Labour and Tory tallies in each and every seat. That problem with this is that with an average 15-16% drop for the LDs between the 2010 election (c. 23%) and now (recent average about 7%), a high proportion of seats simply did not have enough LD votes to contribute equally to this overall drop. Arithmetically, the 15-16% national fall MUST be concentrated in the LD seats with the strongest 2010 presence. In support of this I have compared the UNS projections with the recent polling results for the 43 marginal seats covered by Ashcroft’s August – October polls. In every case where the LD 2010 vote was higher than 20% UNS underestimates the fall, whereas it systematically overstates the drop in seats where LD 2010 tallies were low. Scatter plots for the 43 marginal seats reveal a reasonably linear graph indicating not a uniform drop across all LD tallied but a PROPORTIONAL loss of about 60-65% of their 2010 votes.

    If you tweak the UNS model to distribute these lost votes to Tories and Labour on a seat-by-seat basis, then some interesting changes occur. Specifically, there are a dozen or so 2010 Tory seats with strong LD presence that UNS ‘declares’ as remaining in Tory hands on current polling data, but which swing over to Labour control of one assumes that there has been a proportional distribution of the departing LD votes.

    As an illustration of this phenomenon, consider Watford. 2010 voting figures were: Conservative – 34.9%; Labour – 26.7% and LD – 32.4%. Applying uniform swings, Conservatives drop 5 points to 29.9% (tracking the national drop from 37% in 2010 to the 32% figure showing in Anthony’s most recent polling average). Labour rise 2 points to 29.7% (corresponding to the rise from 30% in 2010 to 33% now), and so the projection is that the Tories should (just) retain the seat. (According to the model, the LD vote should have dropped only to about 17%).

    In contrast a proportion sharing model predicts that the Tories rise to about 31%, Labour overtake them to reach 35-36% and the LDs plunge to 11%. Note that a comfortable Labour gain is in line with the Ashcroft marginal polling data for Watford collected in mid-August.

    What is happening here is that in a seat with a substantial LD 2010 presence the departing LD voters are offering Labour s better-than-average boost.

    There are obvious shortcomings with analyses based on proportional as opposed to uniform redistribution of votes, but my point is that by placing excessive reliance on UNS-type models we may risk missing some interesting patterns in the data.

  2. CHRISLANE1945

    All this concerted media onslaught on Ed M, including the article you refer to, was designed to deflect attention from the disasters befalling Cameron over the next few weeks, beginning today with Osborne [and] the EU payment [] followed on Monday by the Tory EAW revolt and then the Rochester by-election loss, followed by yet more Tory defections to UKIP.

    This sort of nonsense is going to be kept up for the next 6 months, you don’t need our friend Pressman to know this, the sad fact is that some silly Labour MPs and pretend Labour supporters will fall for it and keep the non-story going.

  3. @Chris Lane 1945

    “Joe Haines has written an article for today’s paper on the Labour Party, and it is well worth reading. He suggests that Labour’s polling figures would be improved if ‘the party’ removes Ed M, now.”

    I bet he regrets that sympathetic biography of Robert Maxwell.

  4. Deborah,

    In vote terms, the swings in 1950 and 1992 were not big swings, regardless of whether or not you look at vote shares or total numbers. The Tory vote increased numerically in 1992, and only fell by 0.3%. Labour’s vote share loss of 1.6% in 1950 was bigger but not big.

    On the other hand, I would be surprised if there isn’t a swing against the Tories, but that’s based on the fact of austerity reducing the scope for giveaways rather than a generalisation from a couple of heterogenous elections.

  5. What struck me in when looking at those diagrams is how small most of the movements are. It really is a collection of small movements one way or another than can spell gloom or joy. I do not sense any mass defections or movements – and I am aware of how UKIP’s number have improved in the last half year.

    What this means, as far as I can discern, is that those wont to panic should pause – if the shifts are marginal then that, to me at least, seems very recoverable.

  6. In other words, it is clear from Anthony’s diagram that, if the UKIP vote collapses, there will be a majority Tory government in 2015.

  7. OK Anthony. That post in pre-Mod was a bit blunt, but the point was fair.

    The Tories are unlikely to recover voters who have deserted to Ukip by taking a stand over an EU issue – a very public stand – only to fall on their sword.

  8. Mbruno: Not necessarily. Whilst you may be justified in presuming that it will return ‘home’ it does not have to be the case. Besides, UKIP will get some votes – so it would depend on what part of their vote collapses. Any collapse could conceivably include Labour deserters – and factoring in the current small lead all UKIP switchers going back to the Tories and Labour still would probably deliver Labour more seats in Parliament.

  9. I suspect that we will see a slightly improved turnout next May, owing to the likely closeness of the election. I am intrigued by how those who have not voted in the last two GEs will use their votes.

    In marginals these usually abstainers could swing it.

  10. Thanks for putting me right AW. Fascinating.

    If I read you right, are you saying that in non-landslide years, the movement was predominantly mediated through third parties (mainly Alliance, SDLP, LDs)?

    That really IS fascinating if so. Because that suggests that the lack of a centrist third party this time round has finally opened the opportunity for the other parties to develop on the left and right – where they aren’t mediators of votes, but repositories, at least temporarily.

  11. Unicorn is clearly right in thinking that it is useful to look at individual constituencies. On this basis there will clearly be some where the Lib dem defections benefit Labour and it looks like Watford is one of them. On the other hand there are others – notably in the West Country – where on Ashcroft’s figures it looks as if Lib dem defections benefit the conservatives. In much of that part of the world the anti-conservative vote has traditionally been liberal, and that is now split. Unicorn is clearly meticulous and painstaking so that it would be interesting to know what the overall result of her/his analysis of the 45 Ashcroft marginals is.

  12. I think this reflects the electorate flailing around trying to find a party that in some way meets their needs and failing to find anything worth voting for.

  13. I don’t understand how the Ed whirlwind has gained so much traction over the past 24 hours. Latest from the web is that he has “gone into hiding”. Someone close to him must be feeding this frenzy – and it must affect the polls over the next few days.

  14. A year ago I thought it was all bad for Cons losing vote share to UKIP, but now, I feel it’s inevitable The Greens as a more left wing party will take more and more vote share from Labour. Interesting how things change.

  15. @unicorn

    You raise an interesting point.

    In 2011 (January) I had a look at all seats where the the Tory majority (or LD majority) was less than one third of the LD 2010 vote share. Conclusion: Con/Lab gains from LD would be roughly equivalent, but 40-50 Con seats would be vulnerable to Labour. Obviously local factors interfere with that broad-brush approach, also on the night a handful of ultra-marginals going one way or the other could make a big difference.

    Since that time the proportion of 2010 LDs switching to Labour has fallen; the proportion going to other parties has risen.

    I tend to think that a reasonable proportion of voters are aware of the fact when they are living in a marginal constituency… that didn’t stop many voting LD rather than Con/Lab in the marginals last time, so they well may stick with their new choice Ukip/Green (or stay with/return to LD) rather than swing to Labour in greater numbers than to the Conservatives.

    Barring a last minute Con/Ukip accommodation, those 2010 LDs in marginal seats will still be decisive in 2015.

  16. UNS has served pretty well… Except that the next election looks like one involving significant swing between five parties. Yes, UKIP are unlikely to actually win a significant number of seats, if it’s even able to retain the by-election wins, but they will disrupt vote shares by significant margins. And while the SNP’s potential damage to Labour is relatively contained, and losing Scotland entirely doesn’t count Labour out of contention, it does make it slightly harder for them. But this all makes it very hard to try to model a predictive seat-count based on universal swing alone.

    This is why I’ve been using a “Monte Carlo Simulation” of 2000 elections all run with vote shares moving around within a standard deviation of the predicted poll result. Instead of having on specific seat count, you get 2000, and can both generate a median result, and say what the probabilities are for one party forming a government alone or in coalition.

  17. @Jasper

    Nothing is happenening. It all started and ended last night. Now if newspapers want to continue to talk about it, that is their right. We have a free press.

  18. Raf – the most convincing explanation I’ve seen is from Raf Behr, that there really wasn’t any plot or anything going on other than the grumbling the lobby are used to hearing from Labour MPs, it’s just it reached such a critical mass it became a news story: “More a mass groan that got suddenly (and accidentally) amplified – collective hot mic mishap.”

  19. Lefty – I really haven’t looked in great detail yet. I just wanted to check whether past elections really did such much direct movement between Labour and Conservative, so checked just that figure from a couple of elections.

    There’s probably merit in checking lots more elections too, but I don’t have SPSS at home so can’t do it till I’m back in the office.

  20. From my point of view a lot of people to congratulate/agree with tonight – AW for the nth time for his graphics, Britinkorea for noting that Labour was losing votes in all directions, Bill Patrick for suggesting that this might account for their appearance of paralysis, John Pilgrim for noting the common themes in Green, Labour and SNP policies and Welshborderer for sage remarks about the role of enthusiasm and assistance to the polls in elections. And of course there are all the people who have said that Ed M is not going to be ousted. The which is, short of a nervous breakdown on his part, surely true.

    So what to make of it. As far as I can see the logical policy for the Conservatives is to go after UKIP votes. There are many there who have voted conservative in the past and might do again. By contrast there does not seem to be any enthusiasm on the part of the other parties to vote ‘Conservative. So they need to edge right (or whatever direction UKIP is) and hope that the Ken Clarke tendency continue to vote for them for fear of the alternative.

    As for Labour I would thought its job was to forget UKIP, telling UKIP voters that it feels their pain, disagrees with their diagnosis and will try and respond to their troubles by other means. This is really no more than a recognition of the inevitable. The conservatives are always going to outbid labour in the competition for UKIP votes and so Labour would be better off sending clearer signals to other parties that it is on their side. As Bill Patrick points out failure to send a clear message does them no favours.

    In pursuit of this clear message Labour should surely try and draw as clear battle lines with the conservatives as it possibly can, attacking them as elitist, incompetent at managing the economy, looking after their own and enriching the rich at the expense of the poor. This would no doubt be unfair, although no more unfair than the Conservative jibes the other way on and it would aim to draw clear battle lines and engender a bit of the enthusiasm of which the Welsh Borderer speaks.

    That done, it is open to Labour to shamelessly steal their opponents plans – so it can emphasise its green credentials, be as Europhile as the Liberals, scrap HS2 (as per UKIP) but use the money to put into a beefed up regional policy, keep the Barnet formula, promise to raise the income tax threshold etc etc. And somehow it needs to get across that it is passionately concerned with fairness and with enabling everyone to have meaningful lives and anyone who believes in this and wants something practical done about it has to vote for them i.e.as per John Pilgrim it needs to show that it shares the aspirations of these other parties. And in my view if there are useful policies there to be stolen it should by all means steal them.

  21. @Charles
    “..it would be interesting to know what the overall result of her/his analysis of the 45 Ashcroft marginals is”

    It would take a bit too much grazing time to provide a full answer right now, but the picture is quite clear for the (fairly large) batch posted on the Ashcroft blog dated September 28.

    In all but one of these marginal polls (collected in the days after Aug 20th), both UNS and my crude proportional redistribution analysis correctly predict the outcome indicated by the polls themselves. This batch represents low-hanging fruit and one can’t help wondering why Ashcroft spent his money collecting these data. They include a number of seats in which the LDs were neck and neck with either Labour or the Conservatives in 2010. Since the election, the LD collapse has been so precipitous that virtually any analysis would hand these seats to the then closest competitor. The exception here is Bermondsey and Old Southwark. In this case, the UNS 15% reduction for LD leaves the party (at 33%) with just enough to push Labour into second place. In contrast, on proportional reallocation of LD votes they come in at just 17%, leaving Labour way out in the lead.
    I’ll return to the others after spending a little time roaming in the mountain tops.

    “..her/his..”

    Gender is entirely irrelevant to my species, as we reproduce using intellectual connections.

  22. @leftylampton

    Mark Pack had a theory (based on statistical analysis no doubt) that LD generally loses 50% of its support between elections…

    Some come back, but the impliction is that a large proportion drift away, LD (during previous parlaiments) then attracts a new cohort of freshly dillusioned voters from one or other of the main parties.

  23. To counteract any criticism of UNS type programming, we have a considerable number of Ashcroft local polls, now, that tend to reinforce the general direction of national polling. I think those who have severe mistrust of UNS need to recognise that unless there are things we don’t know (oh, don’t start *that* again), LD voters who wanted a Lab-Lib government are now more or less permanently Labour whilst those who could not stand the coalition on the rightish side of opinion, have gone UKIP. What would make either of them return is unclear. I suggest it will not be the announcement of the Chancellor today about the EU contribution, but there may be some other defining moment, who knows?

    I have this view that UKIP supporters are a more decided bunch. Within that acquired UKIP support, are the ones that came from the Conservatives less flaky than than those who came from LD and Lab? My view is that they are, but further clever polling questions could perhaps give us a clue.

    The same question goes for the Labour dystopia. Our colleague CB11 thinks that these voters are more flaky but s that just wishful thinking?

  24. Unicorn and others,

    I have long argued that a proportionate model is more accurate for a seat by seat forecast.
    Before the last GE Anthony said to paraphrase (forgive me AW if I am wrong) that using a proportionate approach was more accurate seat by seat but UNS would give pretty accurate numbers for total seats whilst getting some wrong in both directions.
    Regional voting (Eg Labour better in London hence bigger swings elsewhere last time also affects this).

    I guess the question is does the coalition dynamics and 4/5 party (5/6 if Greens included) render the UNS projection too far out.

    FWIW – my view is that in E&W UNS will probably produce fairly accurate seat count projections but that there will be more seats with a result at odds with the UNS forecast except in LD/Con marginals.

    BB – re net gain, I have long thought that 20% net LD vote per seat was a more realistic expectation/target for LabvCons.
    Other thinbgs being equal (which they arre not) would deliver the first 27 Labour targets from the cons, although as per above they could take target 40 and miss out on 10 or whatever.

    This is how I arrive at my 285/295 Con/Lab number as I also give them both some gains from the LDs.

    SNP taking more than 10 from Lab would change the largest party status, although some UKIP from Cons would move that number (I think 3-5 possible).

  25. I find Paul A’s comment particularly succinct.Cameron will be facing very
    challenging problems in the next few weeks .[Snip] Osborne
    today has not helped.Therefore it is difficult to see this press onslaught against
    EM as anything other than a pre-emptive strike.
    .

  26. @Howard
    “I suggest it will not be the announcement of the Chancellor today about the EU contribution, but there may be some other defining moment, who knows?”

    Don’t be so sure. No-one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the electorate.

    Re: Con-Ukip voters less likely to return than LD-Lab voters. I agree that the former group are less likely to return. However, I also think it likely that the latter group are only likely to return in areas where the LDs are the main challengers to the Tories, and where LD incumbents face a challenge from the Tories.

  27. @Jim Jam

    Agreed, 33% net was always going to be at the very top end of expectations… and, as Labour’s polling position dwindles, they will need to concentrate more resources on the lower end target seats (and defend their own marginals).

  28. RAF

    “No-one ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the electorate. ”

    H.L. Mencken wrote many good one liners (though that one was buried in a diatribe against FDR), though he wrote so many that you can always find one of his to counter any other that he wrote.

    In this case I’d suggest “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”

  29. It’s the 24 hour news fixation.

    I think that it is possible that in the case of Osborne’s claim, the rebuttal was there, almost before he finished speaking. In the case of ‘the recession was all Gordon Brown’s fault’ there was no rebuttal of any consequence, let alone late-coming.

  30. AIW

    Seems Ed is being let down by those close to him….the poor man keeps having his brother thrown at him. Guess it wii always be.

  31. @JimJam
    “…using a proportionate approach was more accurate seat by seat but UNS would give pretty accurate numbers for total seats whilst getting some wrong in both directions.”
    I would suggest that past success of UNS has been because it has been evaluated in relatively unchallenging circumstances. When last did a party last polling in the 20s lose two thirds of its support? Also, in a system with exactly two parties (and no loss to non-voting) the two approaches are algebraically equivalent, so past elections may not have provided a stringent test of Uniform Swing assumptions.
    All I am saying is that with six parties now in play, it may not be safe to rely upon tried and tested tools. Why not play around with different models of vote reallocation? Churn analyses like those on AW’s post provide an ideal evidence base for analyses of this kind.

  32. @OldNat

    Inconsistency is the lifeblood of the rent-a-quote :)

    As soon as I’d quoted H L Mencken, I visited his page on that most noble of faux online encyclopaedias and expected someone to respond as you did.

  33. Jasper,
    I wish people did not keep referring to EM as “poor”,which suggests he is some sort of sad sack who became labour leader by pure chance.Just saying.

  34. RAF

    My other alternative was to point out the Scottish GE of 2011 as a classic example of the error of Mencken’s assumption.

    With your response I get to do both! :-)

  35. @Paul A

    If the Telegraph online is anything to go by they seem to have generated getting on for a score of articles (in two days) undermining Miliband.

    So far they have a video of Osborne’s statement, plus one other article… the general idea seems to be that any criticism of the chancellor will be fairly be muted.

  36. Phil Haines

    If so, then it was a clever political stratagem.

  37. @Paul A

    As yet this isn’t even a news story for the Murdoch stable, Mail online have reproduced one Press Association “smoke and mirrors” piece so far. Perhaps the idea was to let it pass as the storm over Miliband raged on.

  38. It’s not a non-story Paul, it’s a very real story and one that will rumble on, particularly as Blairite figures will step forward during the coming months to further undermine Miliband.

    Meanwhile, the BBC were banging on about phone hacking whilst they should have been concentrating on the real news as usual.

  39. BBC has this story.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29956289

    What I find interesting is the focus on other EU countries providing clarification.

    It has a quote from Ed Balls at the end. Unless Balls said the same thing prior to the announcement as to how the increased contribution is to be paid, then he is left looking as if he is playing catch up.

  40. @Pressman

    No. It IS a press story. Until the press can prove otherwise.

    So, what’s your take on the EU budget result?

  41. @Phil Haines – I think that sounds about right. It was known about in March, so Osborne deserves some credit for political footwork.

    If the Tories do get any benefit from this, Labour should blame themselves. I’m constantly staggered when I think that all parties have researchers, staffers, politcos etc coming out of their ears, but they never seem to have anyone that can actually research, read legislation, do the numbers, and find the holes.

    The minute this £1.7B number came out, someone, somewhere in the Labour party should have been crawling all over it. We know the media are bone idle and gave up research years ago, but it wouldn’t have taken a genius to find out whether this affects the rebate.

    All it would have taken was a single question at PMQ’s to dismantle the notion of the £1.7B net payment, and today, Labour would be able to say Osborne has come away with nothing other than a delay in the payment.

    As with things like the ‘huge increase in basic pension’, which is actually the biggest cut ever in the history of state pensions for the low paid, I despair utterly at all of our political parties and their fundamental inability to ever analyse anything properly.

  42. Shaun Ley on the Beeb making some comment about Tesco bringing forward rebates from suppliers… rebates due to be paid in the future.

  43. Yes a very good post from Crossbat11 today 1.33 pm , or 13.33;
    `
    Some of this is just what what I was thinking although I could n’t have expressed it as well as Crossbat11.

    What can Ed Miliband do? Well he could go out and meet people who favour other parties, such as Greens, UKIP, Lib Dems, perhaps even Conservatives and SNP.

    Now, you may say that he is not going to get very far. These people are fairly well committed to another party.
    However, that is not the point.

    What is the point, then? There are two points – first Ed Miliband gets a new image of himself and Labour of going out and listening and meaning difficult people, the most difficult, the most hard to please. Let these people be tough with him. he can take it. He listens. He is making the effort; Now, here is the second point.

    People say that Ed Miliband has n’t got it – with people, on the door step. He is no Bill Clinton the charmer. However, in this tough environment, meeting people who actively are committed to other parties parties opposed to Labour, in this environment, even Bill Clinton would struggle. This is tough, these are tough conditions. This is going into the lions den, regularly going into the lions den. You don’t expect to win. Even if you were Bill Clinton. However, you will gain a lot. Your skills will increase wonderfully.

    They say that Alan Johnson has the common ouch to talk to ordinary people. However, you are doing more than that. You are talking to the most hostile people, not ordinary people.

    What does this mean? Well if you deal with the lions, go into a lions’ den then you will have no trouble with the easy things – such as talking to non-hostile uncommitted voters, on the door step.

    Crossbat11 points out where the voters are to be won over in other parties.

    I was thinking of a biography of the music group the Beatles. Before they became famous, they were hired to go to Hamburg, where they had to play long hours before audience s that were not necessarily receptive. The Beatles did it, and when they came back to Liverpool and played at the Cavern Club again, people said, “My goodness they have really improved.” Those long hours with the difficult audiences in Hamburg had their effect. The Beatles were vastly improved.

    It is the same,I say, with Ed Miliband, look for the tough gigs, the unreceptive audiences, close up, you will benefit so much that Alan Johnson and Bill Clinton will be able to do no better.

  44. Jim Jam – No.

    RAF – I think it has to be seen as a victory of sorts, certainly with 6 months to go, it has to be presented in that way.

  45. truffles

  46. Anthony in news with this post.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/07/labour-moral-collapse-troop-scattered-miliband

    “Yet, at the very same time, the dissidents noted pollsters had detected a pattern of Labour leaking support not just in Scotland. They pointed to research conducted by Anthony Wells from YouGov. He said that in 2012: “Labour was picking up support from everywhere and holding on to what they had. Today they still have the benefit of a strong transfer from the Liberal Democrats (though even that’s declining), but they are leaking support in every direction – to the Greens, to Ukip and to the SNP.”

  47. adge3

    Well he could go out and meet people who favour other parties, ….. perhaps even ……. SNP.

    :-)

    All he has to do is to stroll down any street in Scotland!

  48. Sorry AW – fist time I took the bait for a long time.

  49. @AW – red mist attack – sorry!

  50. @Richard – that report – and indeed to a certain extent AW’s analysis here – is fascinating, in the sense that it has focused on Labour. If there is a party that has arrows pointing out in all directions, and limited arrows pointing towards it, it’s the Tories, yet the story is about Labour.

    Partly I guess this is because the situation has changed, and change is news, but I do find this imbalance a little odd.

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