We have our usual rush of Monday polls today, all showing a slightly healthier Labour lead than of late.

The first of Populus‘s two twice weekly polls had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs). Populus’s average so far this month has been CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, so this has the Conservatives a little lower than usual, UKIP a little higher than usual.

Lord Ashcroft‘s weekly poll had topline figures of CON 27%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 7% (tabs). Compared to his recent polls this has the Conservatives down a tad, Labour and UKIP both up a tad.

The daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%. YouGov’s average figures so far this month have been CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16% – so again, the Conservatives lower than usual, UKIP higher than usual.

None of the figures are different enough from recent polls to be sure the difference isn’t just normal sample variation, but the fact all three are showing a shift in the same direction (Conservatives down, UKIP up) means it’s possible we are seeing a bit of a publicity boost for UKIP following Rochester & Strood last week. Time will tell. Note also what it doesn’t show – any decrease in Labour’s support following several days of fussing about White Vans and Emily Thornberry.


365 Responses to “Latest Populus, Ashcroft and YouGov polls”

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  1. @ToH

    “Plenty of solid fuel and logs at home, plenty of candles for light, and a little gas burner for cooking soup. During the day plenty of very good walking locally, and plenty of books to read in the evening.”

    ———-

    Sorry Howie, but how can any of that compare to UKPR? Soup?? And not everyone* has an oldie-worldy fire at home.

    That said, I am quite chipper at the moment because someone brought up Thorium in a real life convo the other day, and then someone else – I kid you not – was interested enough to ask more about it**

    * e.g. Me…

    ** interestingly, she’s an Italian singer. I think she may do some opera…

  2. Someone on the last page mentioned imported strategists and their less than stellar results. One of the things I expected David Axelrod to bring to Labour was the excellent social media strategy that worked so well for Obama in 2008. In fact, as anyone who follows Labour/Labour Left/EM/that Eoin fella on twitter will know, the standard is still pretty embarrassing. It’s just as bad in most of the other parties, although the SNP has done a great job of mobilising their activists (often on UKPR as well! Just kidding). Ironically two of the better Labour tweeters are John Prescott(!) and Al “old media” Campbell.

    Interesting to see this uptick in Lab support despite Thornberry. I suspect it’s a combination of the controversy being one of those classic Westminster issues nobody else takes any notice of and EM’s summary execution of Thornberry shielding him from the tabloid attempts to turn it into something more serious.

    I read in the paper earlier that Labour have dropped their objection to tax devolution in Scotland. It’ll be interesting to see if this has any effect on their polling there. Apparently Jim Murphy will be announcing it and also putting pressure on the SNP re the upper tax rate so I’m interested to see if it’ll boost his ratings as well.

  3. Times Red Box:

    YouGov said to the public, and then asked, exclusively for Red Box: “Which of the following best reflect the reasons for your current choice?”

    We are notoriously poor at understanding our own behavioural drivers and we like to seem rational, so one might have expected the highest proportion to choose “I am backing the party that offers what I think are the best specific policies” – but in fact that was the preferred option for only 19 per cent.

    Overwhelmingly, 57 per cent said: “I am backing the party that best reflects my ideals and principles”.

    Just 6 per cent chose “I am backing the party whose leader would make the best prime minister”; 5 per cent “I am backing a party that isn’t my first choice to stop a party I dislike from winning”, 4 per cent “I am backing a party in order to send a message or make a protest”; 3 per cent “I am backing the party whose local candidate would make the best PM”.

    Personal attacks by the media at a party leader don’t seem to influence voters into voting against the party they would most like to see in power.

    Several newspaper editors & reporters should take note.

  4. @Carfrew 1048

    And ‘survival’ in this context means the ability to maintain one’s own (rather small) identity in a context where there is a rather larger ‘partner’ who, despite all claims to the contrary, still sees any wish to maintain that identity as incomprehensible and only worthy of insult.

    Enough!

  5. @ToH

    “Being serious I doubt there will be power blackouts.”

    ————-

    I think we need to respect the expertise on the board. Alec clearly has knowledge on the subject, given his career, and willingness to monitor the real-time contribution of different energy sources to the grid. Like, Ken’s the authority on Portugal, you on allotments, Colin on Lidl, Howard on the Dutch etc.

    Speaking of the Dutch, I recently learned they export 20% more than us, despite a population less than a third of ours. Even the French export more than us, which should cheer Colin…

  6. @Carfrew

    Funtypippin fact: I wrote an essay at University extolling the virtues of nuclear power generally and Thorium in particular! I don’t really know anything about your polywells though I’m afraid.

  7. Carfrew

    ** interestingly, she’s an Italian singer. I think she may do some opera…

    Excellent.

    It might surprise you, but I also think Thorium nuclear power has a great future.

    Have a good day, off to see “The Imitation Game”

  8. John B

    “And ‘survival’ in this context means the ability to maintain one’s own (rather small) identity in a context where there is a rather larger ‘partner’ who, despite all claims to the contrary, still sees any wish to maintain that identity as incomprehensible and only worthy of insult.

    Enough!”

    ———-

    Insult??? There’s that victim thing again…

  9. @lurker – the media narrative is important. I don’t think of myself as easily swayed, but before 2010 I was def influenced by the Guardian heavily supporting the LibDems – only they could protect our civil liberties etc. Polly Toynbee came out for them, and Porter.

  10. The Grunge is reporting that Labour will endorse full control in Scotland for income tax, and is also going to use this to campaign to reinstate the 50p top rate in Scotland – something the SNP has not yet backed.

    Significant developments?

  11. This particular round of polls confirms [that] Labour moves into majority territory when UKIP moves up, or, in other words UKIP’s rise mostly hurts the Tories and has a net positive effect on Labour’s VI. Of course, if UKIP fades five months from now, we will probably see a Tory minority government.

  12. @ToH

    It wouldn’t surprise me Howard: I seem to recall you trained as a chemist or summat. Enjoy your day also!!…

  13. @Unicorn

    I haven’t statistically analysed the data so I can’t give a personal opinion on whether it is an artifact of timing.

    However, almost every academic I have read on this issue believes there is a genuine phenomenon and any rigorous analysis would of course take account of such an obvious confounding factor.

    The most commonly offered explanation I have seen is that during midterm the electorate mainly focuses on their dislike of the government, only nearer the election do they focus on the opposition. Only then does it become crystallised in people’s mind as a CHOICE between parties.

    There is clear evidence for this.

    In opposition in the 80s and 90s Labour Party was getting poll ratings of 60%.

    Not only was Neil Kinnock never going to get 60%, NO party has got anywhere near that figure.

  14. @ Ben Foley

    “Is there any chance of doing similar maths on the Green shares, please?”

    Happy to oblige! (For others, this is a reference to my post yesterday (at 6.14pm) on 2014 polling trends.)

    Using a comprehensive set of polling data since January 1st 2014, the best fitting linear regression for the Green party VI has an intercept of 5.41 and a positive slope of 0.0098. For @CMJ and others who want the technical information, the R-squared value in this case was 0.41 – a little better than for the other parties.

    What this means is that the Green Party VI has been showing a small, but highly reliable monthly increase of about 0.3%.

    Plugging the election date into the equation gives a May 7 projected VI of 7.11%.

    The corresponding figures I posted yesterday for the four other parties were:

    Conservatives: 31.55%
    Labour: 31.47%
    LibDems: 6.05%
    Ukip: 17.75%

    So if past trends continue, these calculations suggest that the Greens will overtake the LibDems over the next 2-3 months and turn in a higher share of the vote on Election day itself.

    Discuss…

  15. Came across this in the comments section of that newpaper beginning with ‘G’…and took a screenshot:

    It’s from an article titled “Scotland to be offered total control over income tax after Labour U-turn”, which mentions Jim Murphy a fair bit. I honestly haven’t been keeping up with the leadership election, other than what I read here.

    “The significant switch will be confirmed on Tuesday by Jim Murphy, the favourite to become the next Scottish Labour leader, two days before Lord Smith of Kelvin publishes his cross-party deal on extra powers for Holyrood.”

    Is Murphy getting in on a nod, rather than a vote? Perhaps Amber can elucidate (I seem to remember she preferred another)?

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/murphy.png

  16. @Funtypippin

    I said I’d say summat about it for Syzygy when she asked… tricky to explain tho’ especially concisely. Just briefly, rather than the traditional fission of a Thorium reactor, where atomic nucleii are split, the Polywell reactor does fusion – the fusing together of atomic nucleii, which as you may know is much harder to achieve, since forcing the nucleii together is very difficult. But I think you get roughly four times more energy, with much less radioactive stuff, and there’s enough fuel for millions of years.

    The nucleii of atoms are all positively charged, and thus repel each other strongly, thus very high temperatures are required to achieve fusion, like around 100 million degrees, to force them together with enough vigour.

    This hasn’t been achieved in a controlled fashion for a sustained period… they are building the ITER facility in France in the hope of doing so. But to contain the incredibly hot gas plasma and keep it from touching the sides of the container, they use huge, supercooled magnets, confining the plasma in a ring. This unfortunately generates currents that require more magnets to control it… expensive and inelegant.

    The polywell uses electric fields – which are much stronger than magnetic fields – to contain the plasma, and confine it in a ball in the middle of the reactor: much easier to control. Thus the whole thing is much easier, smaller and cheaper.

    Such a reactor also offers the potential of using a fuel like Boron for the reaction, which would be fab as it doesn’t produce neutrons (which create much of the radioactivity), and it would produce protons in the reaction: i.e. the direct conversion to electricity. No inefficient turbines and stuff…

  17. I bought the Big Issue this morning as I sometimes do, and it contained a piece on Yorkshire First, who put up candidates in Yorkshire and the Humber at the European elections this year.

    Apparently they’ve selected their first candidate – for Colne Valley – who is a former Labour councillor for Golcar Ward on Kirklees Council, Paul Salveson.

    CMJ, you’re from that neck of the woods if I remember. Do you know anything about this guy or have any thoughts on potential for this new party?

  18. LURKER

    I don’t think “most voters are impressed” with politicians per se-as a species.

    Of course internal division is famously offputting for voters too-but I doubt they notice these days .

    I can see that you dislike the Press-it comes through loud & clear.

    But I think you are naive if you think that political parties can stick to one pure truth forever & ever. Things happen. The public mood changes. Voters decide on new things to be concerned about.

    Any politician who refuses to try & understand, to try & address those concerns is asking for the sack-voters will just find someone else to vote for.

    I hear all the stuff about “leadership” & not pandering to populism-but at a time when politicians have such dire levels of credibility & respect, no amount of standing on the moral high ground is going to help.

    Look across Europe-voters are abandoning the prescribed orthodoxies . And it is because politicians have taken them for granted.

  19. @John P

    “The most commonly offered explanation I have seen is that during midterm the electorate mainly focuses on their dislike of the government, only nearer the election do they focus on the opposition. Only then does it become crystallised in people’s mind as a CHOICE between parties.”

    If I might go a step further, I would remove the word ‘electorate’ and replace it with ‘media’, and in some cases ‘business leaders’, ‘doctors’ and so on.

    While the voters are the deciders, the specific areas of the national make-up (e.g. NHS workers, teachers, Heathrow residents) make the most noise throughout the term of a government, and the media decides which group or groups get the air time.

    So the voters don’t exactly make the decision, so much as do the bidding of the majority of the media.

    /cynic

  20. Chatterclass

    My point is that you were making a reasoned judgement. The reason the Lib Dems could be painted as being more interested in civil liberties than Labour at that time is because they were. The Guardian could therefore make a persuasive argument.

    When Julian Glover used the Guardian to praise Cameron, I am presuming that were not persuaded. If papers were that powerful, then he would have been more successful.

    If someone reads and agrees with a Sun editorial blaming foreigners for our woes, I believe that person is making a mistaken judgement. However, I accept they are making a judgement and are not being a mindless sheep.

    You also should not assume that people buy papers for their politics. I can use an extreme example of a mate of mine. He reads the Daily Mail, is fluent in French and German, gets enraged by anti-Europeans (xenophobes he calls them), votes Lib Dem, owns shares in Eurotunnel and detests Michael Gove. He buys the Daily Mail because it is not too heavyweight and is not a red top.

  21. @TOH

    “Have a good day, off to see “The Imitation Game””

    Is that a Tory Focus Group? :-)

    By the way, as a fellow cricket fan, I expect you’re as concerned as I am by the news coming out of Australia about Phil Hughes. The little Aussie left-hand batsman played for Worcestershire for a year and became an immensely popular member of the team. Good player too, although, at Test level, a little susceptible to the ball that swung late or left him off the seam. Loved to cut and pull and was an extremely brave player of quick bowling. He was hit on the head by a ball in the recent South Australia and NSW Sheffield Shield game at the SCG and is now in a critical condition. Shocking news and I hope very much he pulls through.

    I played cricket for 40 years of my life, and much of it before helmets were worn. Frightening now to look back on the lucky escapes I saw and experienced on a cricket field over all those years. I have a two inch scar on my jaw where an old quick bowler for Moseley, the legendary Red Harrys, hit me when I was a young opening batsman. Many people forget what a dangerous game cricket can be.

    Quick and full recovery, Phil.

  22. LURKER

    I was responding to this from you :-
    “Do you think the Tories and Labour are helping themselves by acting like narcissistic rabbles?”

    I didn’t ask what incident(s) you had in mind, but assumed you referred to the bout of public internal “discussion” going on in both Cons & Lab.

    That was why I responded as I did.

  23. @John P

    Concerning ‘swingback’ I was probably overdoing the devil’s advocacy in that earlier post of mine. However, I do still wonder whether the past is a good guide for what will happen this time round.

    You paint a picture in which people tick a ‘protest’ box in mid-term and then, as the Election looms up, return to a sober choice between potential governments for the following five years. This time, the protest vote has gone largely to Ukip and whilst @Pressman still thinks these voters can be drawn back into the Tory fold, I don’t think it is at all clear that the choreographed patterns of the past will repeat themselves in May 2015. Will this new generation of protesters go to the Polling Stations intent on making the traditional calculated judgements? Or will they go against tradition and try to give the government a bloody nose?

    Swingback depends upon the electorate behaving as it has done in the past, and we could well be operating in a completely different environment this time round.

  24. Colin

    You seem to agree with my point that backstabbing is not impressive to voters, so there is no point in broadening this discussion as I think we are in agreement.

    The other arguments you think I am making are only being made in your imagination.

  25. Yougov/Times working class poll – file in the challenging sterotypes bucket – no, not all working class voters support Labour.

    To put this into context I found this comment from Peter Kellner in the Guardian from Aug 2010 when looking at how people voted in 2010:

    “Over the long-term, two different but related things have happened. Not only have working-class numbers shrunk – today they comprise just 43% of the electorate – but class has largely lost its significance as a determinant of votes. In 1970 the “class gap” was a vast 34 points (56% of C2DEs voted Labour, compared with 22% of ABC1s). By 1997 it had shrunk to 17 points. It is now just six points.”

    Here is the poll:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/otdfzsrr0r/Times_Results_141124_Working_Class_People_Website.pdf

    Which party do you think is most in touch with the views of white, working class people today?

    None of the above 29
    UKIP 27
    Labour 21
    Don’t know 12
    Cons 9
    LD 2

    The results for the white C2DE bracket were basically the same as the overall results (UKIP+2, none of them-2)

    So that looks like the same trend Peter Kellner was picking up back in 2010 – the class divide in voting behaviour is now very small.

  26. @Unicorn.

    Basically I agree with you.

    The basic human behaviour that led to swing back hasn’t changed but the circumstances have.

    The problem is that one could make a good argument either way.

    The phenomenon of UKIP may prevent conventional swing back.

    It is also possible that there will be a significant ‘Miliband effect’ as the polls approach with a huge swing to the Conservatives.

    Neither would surprise me.

  27. LURKER

    Fair enough :-)

  28. And while we are challenging stereotypes I found this – do all working class voters hate immigration? No – apparently it is older folk who dislike immigration. The class difference is minor.

    http://leftfootforward.org/2014/04/age-appears-a-bigger-factor-in-immigration-debate-than-class/

    Which matches a personal anecdote. I attend one of those budget gyms, and we have lots of Dan WVM types, and lots of Eastern Europeans in there. And surprisingly everyone gets on really well – the Polish chaps spot weights for the skinhead tattooed cage fighters and vice versa, and many of them appear to be firm friends.

    The future looks bright.

  29. It’s an interesting idea, that the public are simply getting bored of the endless attacks on Ed. I think this may be a case of the public being ahead of the media narrative and that the media may yet catch up – if only out of boredom of saying the same thing over and again.

  30. “Note also what it doesn’t show – any decrease in Labour’s support following several days of fussing about White Vans and Emily Thornberry.”

    Why not? What period do these polls cover relative to that particular media storm in a teacup? What about Ed Milliband’s interview alongside Myleen Klass as well? how do these polls tie up with both of these?

  31. For ‘swingback’ to occur it would have to be to BOTH parties in the government. I am yet to see anyone suggesting this. Naturally because this situation is unprecedented in our lifetimes.
    Also for ‘swingback’ to be the case the Prime Minister would have to be able to select the most propitious timing for a general election, that is not available as this is a fixed term parliament.
    So can we stop talking about the “inevitable” swingback, because it clearly isn’t evidenced.

  32. SHEVII

    Ah now, as a Donny Rovers fan, I can explain. There are many, many folk from Doncaster who latched onto Leeds as the nearest “big club” (yeah, I know…hard to believe, but cast your mind back a few years0, considering their hometown club to be a joke.

    Those of us who stuck with the Rovers through thin and thin have nothing but contempt for these Donny Whites.

    No football fans anywhere at any time can have had a more joyous experiences than we Donny fans did when we beat Leeds at Wembley in 2008. It made everything worthwhile.

  33. @Deborah:

    As stated in my last post I don’t believe swing back is inevitable but see my post of 11.18.

  34. @Deborah.

    My 11.18 post was a reply to Unicorn who also put forward the theory that swing back mainly results from selective timing of elections.

    Given the explanation I put forward in my post, this wouldn’t necessarily be prevented by a coalition of two parties.

  35. @Nick P […]

    I thought you might be interested in what John Rentoul of the Independent had to say on this very subject only this morning. I’m not a great Rentoul fan, to be honest, and I don’t wholly agree with what he has to say, but it’s certainly an interesting viewpoint: –

    “There would be a lot of angsting about a party winning power on barely a third of the vote and a lot of words wasted on our broken political system and how Miliband’s government lacked legitimacy. It would all be froth and babble. The legitimacy of plurality voting, the so-called first-past-the-post system, has never been greater. We have only just had a referendum on the subject and the will of the people was clear. Those are the rules and if any party wins a majority under them, it has a mandate.”

    He has a sort of a point I suppose, and those parties, newspapers and politicians who campaigned so assiduously against AV, and for the retention of FPTP, don’t really have a leg to stand on, do they?

  36. Whingeing about the electoral system, especially if it’s the one that campaigned hard to preserve, smacks of a party that knows it’s going to lose.

  37. @MrNameless

    Very interesting announcement from Yorkshire First.

    I’ve met Paul Salveson and he’ll be a really strong candidate. He single handedly invented the Community Rail Partnership concept in the 80s and founded ACORP the body that co-ordinates them. He has a very strong background in both transport issues and community activism which would seem to be the issues Yorkshire First could make progress on.

    If I were in that constituency I’d happily vote for him. A real hands on, get things done sort of a bloke.

  38. @Crossbat & Nick P

    Surely one of the arguments for FPTP is that it provides a clear winner with a workable majority in the HoC. Unfortunately, present VIs seem to suggest that the outcome of the next GE will provide neither.

    And just on the term ‘first past the post’ – this is a misnomer if ever there was one, for unlike horse racing, from which I think the term derives, you don’t know where the post is until the final losing vote has been counted.

  39. @Alec

    Agreed!

  40. @Alec

    Agree with that. What’s your opinion on my position, i.e. being gleeful about the possible results of an election system that I campaigned to be rid of?

  41. @PI – we agreed the electoral system, so we agree with the result and celebrate/commiserate.

    There is nothing remotely unconstitutional or illegitimate about any result the system provides us with.

    If people feel the result isn’t a correct reflection of societies wishes, then come forward with a better system and we can decide whether to adopt it or not.

  42. @John B

    “And just on the term ‘first past the post’ – this is a misnomer if ever there was one, for unlike horse racing, from which I think the term derives, you don’t know where the post is until the final losing vote has been counted.”

    I know what you mean, but I think you might be taking the horse racing analogy just a bit too literally! Our current electoral system only requires the “winner” to get more votes than any other candidate in the race, irrespective of what percentage of the total votes cast that “most” means. It could be 70%, it could be 35%, it doesn’t matter. I accept your point that the “most” figure may not emerge until the last vote is counted, but the metaphor of being the “first” to that figure, or “past the post”, still applies.

    It’s a hopelessly disproportionate system when there a multiplicity of runners and riders in the race. I await a contest, maybe it’s happened already, where the winner emerges with about 25% of the vote. Don’t bet against it in May 2015 in a constituency where Labour, Tory, Lib Dem, UKIP and Greens are all reasonably competitive.

  43. @Crossbat1

    There is that – plus the point that marginal voters know that the entire trick to FPP is to vote against the party you really don’t want, not that that you do. Hence you can argue that Labour (or whoever) winning a majority on 33% is the will of the people.

  44. Re “Swingback” and fixed term

    There’s a pretty strong relationship between length of parliament and swing against the government but this is surely due to governments that are in trouble delaying the election in the hope that “something will turn up” – what might be called the “Micawber” syndrome. Usually, nothing turns up that helps, and often things get worse – see the final days of Callahhan, Major and Brown.

    A fixed term government has instead to arrange everything to be just right on the night – even if this involves damping the economic pendulum to release it later for better electoral effect. That can’t be an improvement.

  45. John B – “As for Candy’s hopes that the Scots might be less ‘clannish’, I suggest a read of Tam Devine’s book ‘The Scottish Empire’, in which there are many references to such behaviour both at Westminster among Scottish MPs and Lords, and in the wider empire where Scots often (but not always!) made great progress under the patronage of other Scots. Scotland is a small community. We often know, or know of, each other. … Some might argue that it’s how Scots (and perhaps many other small nations) survive in the world.”

    Try this thought experiment – substitute the word “Scot” in your argument for another minority – say, “Muslim” or “Etonian”.

    You get “Etonians made great progress under the patronage of other Etonians” and “Some might argue that it’s how Etonians survive in the world.” :-)

    Clannishness is unmeritocratic, full stop. And apart from the unfairness aspect, it leads to incompetency when a member of a clan is promoted over a better candidate from the wider community.

    Perhaps the reason Scotland lags is not to do with “Westminster” at all but to do with clannishness resulting in people who should not be promoted holding key positions? In other words insider problems.

  46. Longtime lurker and occasional poster on this board. Last time in 2010 so please be kind.

    Swing back is difficult to measure and as many have pointed out there are simply too many factors at work to assess it’s impact, but one possible effect might well occur during the campaign itself when the people in a given constituency are offered a choice of candidates and parties and are only able to recognise one of those standing. Usually the sitting MP. To me, this is something that wouldn’t show up either in national polling.or in the Ashcott
    Marginal polling which appears sporadically. I know the encumbancy effect has been discussed before but this is one specific aspect of that effect thatsimply wouldn’t ccome into effect for many, who barely pay attention to political issues lunch til the campaign itself gets under way.

    The Miliband effect has been mentioned as something that could benefit Tory vote but it might well work the other way. People will see Ed and listen to him properly for the first time, realising that he isn’t the muppet that everyone has been claiming he is. His personal rating might well go up too. Of course Labour voters might also think he is even worse than they possibly realised!

    One lot thing concerning the recent hash tag campaigns on Twitter. In spite of rumours to the contrary, all 3 campaigns have been totally grassroots led, originating from a small number of Labour supporters, most of whom have very few followers compared to the media big hitters. The fact they have caught on so well is, I think testament to the fact that Labour supporters and supporters of Ed of whom there are many suddenly have something to cling on to in the face of what has been seen for many as almost one way traffic from all sections of the media. It might prove to affect voting, it might not, but as a campaign aimed at galvanising supporters and party, it has, most agree* been phenomenally successful.

  47. Sorry for typos and long windedness of the above post. Getting to grips with a new tablet device, but very slowly.

  48. @ Lefty

    Thanks- I would never have expected that little footie puzzle that has been puzzling me for years to be so comprehensively explained on a polling site!!! The only explanation I could come up with was Yorkshire nationalism and reassuring to know it wasn’t the case.

    @ Statgeek and John B

    You’re quite right to pick me up on my SNP “will they be mature” comment. Obviously this applies to Labour as well but I’d still say Labour is more at risk- imagine if the LDs had pulled the plug on the Tories after omnishambles where that would have left the Tories? The LD’s didn’t which could be down to being mature, being too invested in the coalition and also probably not being the best time for them to call an election (in retrospect it feels like day 1 was the best time in the five years for the LD’s to pull the plug but they weren’t to know that).

    With SNP/Lab confidence and supply I see it much easier for the SNP to stitch up Labour than it would be for Labour to stitch up the SNP and every chance they might both want to be doing precisely that!

  49. @Bobajob.

    “There is that – plus the point that marginal voters know that the entire trick to FPP is to vote against the party you really don’t want, not that that you do. Hence you can argue that Labour (or whoever) winning a majority on 33% is the will of the people.”

    You make a very good point.

    I’ve always thought that one of the best arguments for the FPTP electoral system is that a General Election is made up of 650 mini-elections, each one won by the candidates who gets more votes than his/her rival. If you win 326 or more of those mini-elections you win the General Election, irrespective of whether you win on total votes cast. Simple and easy to understand in a way.

  50. I think the most significant point from the Ashcroft polling is the England only result:

    (h/t Andy JS)

    “Today’s Ashcroft poll has figures for England only:
    Lab 34, Con 28, UKIP 22, Green 8, LD 6?

    Assuming that the Con vs Ukip figures won’t be evenly distributed – I think there’ll be a combination of clines: south to north, east to west and less prosperous to most prosperous – then I think you’re going to increasingly see a distinct split into either Ukip-first or Con-first seats with the less prosperous half of viable Con targets in the south and east all vulnerable.

    There might not be enough time for this to cement in place before the GE but then again there might.

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