Today we’ve the final Ipsos MORI monthly poll of 2014 and the last 2014 batch of Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polling (the keenly awaited Scottish marginals polling is taking place next year).

MORI’s monthly poll has topline figures of CON 32%(nc), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 13%(-1), GRN 9%(+2). The Conservatives are three points ahead, but as ever it’s the trend that counts and there is no difference from last month for the main parties here. Note the Greens though – nine points is another new record high for them. Full tabs are here.

Meanwhile Lord Ashcroft’s final batch of 2014 constituencies polls covers three groups of seats. One is another swathe of Con-held Labour targets, another is a group of those Labour seats who the Fabians have identified as the most vulnerable to UKIP, the final one is the unusual seat of Brighton Pavilion. Full details of all the polls are here.

This batch of Con/Lab seats covers those with Conservative majorities between 7.1% and 8.1% – in other words these are seats that would need a swing of between 3.5% and 4% to fall to Labour, the equivalent of national polls showing a Labour lead between zero and one point. This is in the region of current national polls, and as the swing in individual seats varies from one to the next, Ashcroft found Labour ahead in some of these seats, the Conservatives ahead in others. Across all eight seats polled Ashcroft found an average swing of 3 points in these seats, the equivalent of national polls showing a one point Conservative lead – so in this batch of seats, Labour are actually doing slightly worse than they are in the country as a whole. These might just so-happen to be eight seats where the Tories are doing a bit better of course, so don’t run off with the idea that the Conservatives are out-performing in the marginals just yet. The broader finding in Ashcroft’s Con-v-Lab battleground polls so far is that the marginal swing is pretty similar to the national swing.

The Lab-UKIP part of the polling covered four Labour-held seats (Great Grimsby, Dudley North, Plymouth Moor View and Rother Valley) that the Fabian Society’s paper Revolt on the Left identified as being at critical or high risk from UKIP. The polling found Labour ahead in all four seats, but with UKIP in a close second place in all four of them. Labour have a 1 point lead in Grimsby, 3 points in Dudley North, 5 points in Plymouth Moor View and 6 points in Rother Valley. This appears to confirm the research by Rob Ford and Ian Warren that these would be seats where, based on demographics, UKIP would pose a strong challenge – and suggests that Labour cannot afford to take them for granted. It’s also worth pointing out that using standard “how would you vote tomorrow” UKIP were ahead in three of the seats, Labour only moved ahead on the question asking people to think about their own constituency and candidates.

Finally in Brighton Pavilion, very much a unique seat given its Green incumbency, Ashcroft found latest voting intention figures of CON 21%, LAB 28%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 8%, GRN 38%.

323 Responses to “Latest MORI poll and Ashcroft constituency polling”

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  1. @SAM
    The analysis of wind turbine efficiency that you quote is devistating. I enjoy seeing the many turbines in Cornwall and think of the energy imports being saved and have been pleased to see new ones go up. May be I should rethink.

    Your posts about Thorium are most interesting. Why has the process been adopted commercialy?

    I hope this post is not too far off UKPR subject guidelines

  2. Thorium. “Why has the process NOT been taken up commercialy”

  3. Alec

    I agree with your comment on the state of the polls, there has been a movement to Labour but I suspect it is slight.

    “and the pecul!ar autumn statement has allowed Labour to muddy the waters on austerity and open up a more catchy defence on the key economic question.

    I don’t agree with the word peculiar IMO a perfectly rational statement) but it does appear to have had a short term negative effect. I expect this to disappear in the New Year as continuing good economic news (like this weeks) sinks in to the electorate.


    We agree on Thorium being the future of nuclear power.


    Agree with your final comment on climate change.


    Thanks for an excellent site, My apologies again for my occasional lapses,

    To All

    A Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and yours,.

  4. AW

    Could you please explain wht my last post has been moderated. I cannot see anything untoward in it.

  5. Alec
    I agree with your comment on the state of the polls, there has been a movement to Labour but I suspect it is slight and won’t last.

    We agree on Thorium being the future of nuclear power.

    Agree with your final comments on your last post.

    Thanks for an excellent site, My apologies again for my occasional lapses,

    To All
    A Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you and yours,.

  6. @ToH

    For future reference, you used the word “peculi-ar”, which triggers automod. Any word with “li-ar” in it will trigger automod. “Famili-ar” etc….

  7. Sam @ 9.11 am puts out views from a highly contentitious group, the Scientific Alliance, a body that purports to be a group of Cambridge and Edinburgh engineers.

    I can`t speak for Cambridge, but I know that the Edinburgh Engineering Departments totally disown the group`s activities.

    When deception by claiming to be part of prestigious institutions is integral to the group`s publicity, any anayses they publish should be considered spin and not proven fact.

    Other opinions of the SA are that organic food is bad, and GM should be promoted.

  8. @Candy – “You don’t think it’s kinda comic that the Greens think a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset is a great threat to safety Fukushima-style, but the nuclear power stations a few hundred miles across the water in Normandy are not?”

    To be honest, I haven’t the remotest clue what you’re on about. Greens are probably the most internationalist party out there. Our whole philosophy is about seeing the global picture. No one thinks French nuclear is good if they don’t like UK nuclear. Besdies, you’re also geographically challeneged if you think it’s a ‘few hundred miles’ from Brighton to Normandy.

    No, I think this is a good example of a UKPR poster allowing personal prejudice to guide them on a matter that they don’t actually have a clue about.

    Best tip – hole, you’re in it, stop digging.

    I will start to use PECUmisspeaker and FAMILImisspeaker.

  10. @TonyCornwall

    There are a variety of reasons why it’s not been taken up, most of them have little to do with the commercial viability.

    The initial reason the prototype reactor was shut down in the Seventies was political: Nixon wanted jobs in California offered by conventional reactors. Also, Thorium reactors do not breed fuel very useful for weapons. And the oil lobby naturally weren’t keen…

    Nor were the existing nuclear power companies, who were invested in conventional nuclear, and make much of their money reprocessing the fuel rods. Fuel rods are carp: hugely inefficient, using less than one percent of the fuel, and being solid, carrying a risk of meltdown, unlike molten salt reactors which cannot melt down as the fuel and coolant are already molten.

    Other countries have tried it, like China in the past… a difficulty is that for all its advantages – proper fuel mixing so you use it all, no fuel rods to reprocess (and having to shut the reactor down in the process), higher, more efficient temperatures, operates at normal pressures so no explosions of radioactive vapour etc., easy to drain the reactor if necessary… – molten salt is corrosive, so you need special alloys that resist the corrosion, and the Chinese did not have these.

    They do now though…

  11. Charts updated folks.

    SNP lead Labour by 20% points.

    Greens go into 4th place in UK (all areas, except Scotland).

  12. @Roly

    Lol, automod will find some way to getcha in the end tho’. It usually does…

  13. Statgeek,

    But your chart shows the SNP with around 15% lead, not 20%.

  14. TOH

    Thank you for your good wishes – and all the best to you.


    There is a little more to be said about wind energy and the Climate Change Act.

    This month Die Zeit ran a piece about the German energy market. It said that Germany would not come close to meeting emission targets despite massive investment in solar and wind power. Because coal generation is cheaper than gas, coal is being used to cope with the intermittent supply of wind. But coal power takes some time to be available so power producers just keep them running without throttling back. This is still cheaper than gas. So gas plants are closing and “dirty” coal power is increasing.

    This situation is causing distortions in the energy market. The requirement to feed in to the grid all the energy produced means there is oversupply leading to negative power prices. On one particular day German power companies were paying 60 euros per Mwh to get rid of it.

    Die Zeit claims this is not an isolated incident. It suggests that there were 71 hours of negative power prices in the first half of 2014 and states the claim of a think tank “Energy Brainpool” that this will rise over “a few years” to over 1000 negative hours. One quarter of green energy would be wasted.

    The Scientific Alliance makes the point, echoed here by Die Zeit, that electricity only has value if it is available when it is needed.

    If the countries in the EU do not meet their commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions then what the UK will achieve by following the Climate Change Act 2008 (which comes from the Renewables Directive) is likely to be a reduction in global temperatures that is so small that it is not capable of being measured.

    Even if the EU countries that have signed up to reducing carbon dioxide emissions live up to their obligations it is unlikely to make any difference to the global level of carbon dioxide. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions inevitably means higher energy costs making companies less competitive. There will be loss of business to China and other countries that rely on cheaper coal.

  15. David Welch

    I’m not inclined to take your criticisms of the Scientific Alliance seriously.

    You say that the views of the Scientific Alliance are “highly contentitious” (sic) and come from” a body that purports to be a group of Cambridge and Edinburgh engineers.” The members of the group do not purport to be engineers – they are engineers. I am curious about why you seem not to recognise this.

    You say also, “… I know that the Edinburgh Engineering Departments totally disown the group’s activities.” I find this unlikely. If you are suggesting that there is any formal disowning of the group’s activities there might be some evidence of it on the website at the University. I can’t find any. What evidence do you have to support this claim?

    I find this claim unlikely for another reason. Disowning the activities of the Scientific Alliance is -well – a bit excessive. After all they are individuals – highly qualified- putting forward a point of view. Why should those activities be disowned? I find myself interested in the membership of all the Edinburgh Engineering Department. Why should they disown free speech. All of the members of all the Departments or just the Heads of Department? Are you talking about some clandestine group that monitors scientific opinion and seeks to manipulate it to reach a predetermined conclusion?

    You also say:”When deception by claiming to be part of prestigious institutions is integral to the group`s publicity, any anayses (sic) they publish should be considered spin and not proven fact.” I don’t understand this. What deception are you talking about? Which prestigious institutions?

    And, “Other opinions of the SA are that organic food is bad, and GM should be promoted.” I pay no attention to this unless and until you can show more substance to your claims.

  16. @Hal

    Most recent poll has SNP 20% ahead. Six poll averages was linked to show Greens’ progress.

  17. @Sam – I’m afraid your post above is riddled with misunderstanding and misconceptions. Not uncommon, when it comes to renewables and climate change.

    The main question – will energy be a GE topic – is a broad ‘no’, with the proviso that it could collapse Tory hopes completely in the event that the lights go out between now and May due to capacity constraints. The real risk of this appears now to be passing though. Heysham and Hartlepool nuclear plants are now powering back up after unexpected safety shutdowns (more on this shortly) so the grid safety margin has recovered slightly. The weather has been mild, and generally quite windy, so we haven’t experienced a supply crunch over the last 2 months when the grid was extremely vulnerable.

    Now, a short note on wind power.

    Firstly, let’s look at the Scientific Alliance. Sounds good? It’s a pro industry, anti green group, and just because has the name ‘scientific’ in it’s name, doesn’t mean it is. It was actually founded by the head of the British Aggregates Association who is quoted on the Lobby Watch website as once writing ‘Perhaps it is now time for Tony Blair to try the “fourth way”: declare martial law and let the army sort out our schools, hospitals, and roads as well. Who knows, they might even manage to put the ‘great’ back into Britain.’

    First rule of renewables analysis – check your sources.

    Second rule – check the methodology.

    The report was written by a former nuclear industry engineer, with no apparent expertise in either meteorology or the renewables sector. He adopted a highly strange methodology.

    Instead of looking at actual output of real wind farms, he chose to take wind speed data and then model what power this would produce from assumed wind farms on those sites. That’s odd, considering the UK has a wealth of data from actual wind farms which is freely available from the internet.

    He also used wind speed from anemometers at 10m above ground level (agl) adjusted by assumed calculations to 80m agl. These adjustments require some general assumptions, so again are a potential source of error.

    However. the most incomprehensible thing is that he chose 22 wind measurement sites from airports around the UK. Airports? These are places built in (as far as possible) low wind environments. So, for example, Heathrow and Gatwick are in there, eight of his sites are near the east cost, three sites are in the Republic of Ireland (although the study talks consistently of ‘UK wind sites’). I’m baffled why he chose airports frankly.

    It gets worse. He then takes wind data from 10m agl at 22 airports, projects these speeds to 80m agl at the same sites, and then assumes 10GW of wind capacity is built on these 22 sites. This is utterly barking.

    We already have 10GW of wind capacity operating, but in good wind sites. Why construct a model of something that will never happen to write a scientific analysis of something that is already there?

    You then quote the usual garbage about wind rated capacity and utilization rates. The problem comes because people insist on applying this kind of analysis only to wind power, not the other sections of the energy mix.

    The design capacity for a turbine is just that – the design capacity. It is not intended to run at that capacity very often. So measuring it against an assumption that it runs at that capacity for 8760 hours per year, with anything less than this being ‘bad’ is pointless.

    There are alternative ways to present these figures. So for example, I could tell you that, on average, our nuclear power plants operate at 0% for around 48% of the time. Would it make you feel better about wind power if you knew that nuclear has a comparable operational capacity of something like 50%? Or gas 60%? Against this, wind at something just above 30% doesn’t look so bad, but even then, it’s meant to fill a specific role, not compete in terms of operational capacity. Wind turbine produce some power for around 80% of the time. That’s not too bad, compared to nuclear, which produces nothing for around half the time.

    You then quote someone else on costs, saying “Over the lifetime of a generating plant….”.

    The key bit here is the ‘lifetime of a generating plant’ bit. For wind, that’s all you have. Once the site remediation is completed, which is paid for (usually through a secure bond paid by the site developer) that’s it for costs.

    Where I live, the Coal Authority is still paying large sums of money to shore up people’s houses from collapses of old mines. The Environment Agency is spending millions trying to filter heavy metals from mine water entering the Wear and Tyne rivers. The clean up costs for Sellafield are currently estimated at £65B. But none of these costs are within the ‘lifetime of a generating plant’. You are paying dearly for them though.

    So rule three is make sure you always compare like with like.

    You also say – “The intermittent nature of wind energy is a factor in its cost. Wind energy requires back-up on constant standby.”

    I’m afraid that’s garbage. If it were true, a developer seeking to build a wind farm would – at the same time – also have to build the equivalent capacity in conventional power. They don’t.

    Thanks to ever improving accuracy of weather forecasting, wind power is now highly predictable. From a week out we can predict UK wind output to around 25% accuracy, from 24 hours out the National Grid knows to within a fraction of a percent what wind power it’s likely to get. The notion of ‘constant standby capacity’ is a complete myth, and utter garbage.

    We do need spare capacity in general. Earlier I mentioned nuclear shutdowns – we’ve had a lost of those recently, all unpredictable, each happening instantly, and each taking out a huge capacity from the grid. Then we had fires at Ferrybridge and Didcot coal stations, etc, etc. A balanced power grid, with enough spare capacity is essential. Wind is intermittent, but highly predictable, and is part of that mix.

    So rule 4 is don’t talk nonsense.

    Then you say – “There will be unknown quantities of carbon dioxide production involved in the installation, maintenance and decommissioning of wind turbines.”

    No there aren’t. In general, it’s very easy to do a carbon analysis of construction. The one exception is turbines on peat bogs, where there is evidence of potentially huge carbon emissions associated with the degradation of the peat. Great care is needed in these areas, possibly avoiding them altogether.

    “There is also need for better debate of climate change. The major uncertainties lie in the detection of a temperature increase and in the attribution of that increase to man’s activity. As far as my very limited knowledge goes that ability to attribute a temperature increase to man’s activity seems to rest on “expert judgement” (aka “a guess”).”

    There certainly is a need for a better debate. Saying things like above is an example why. No, there aren’t many uncertainties in the detection of temperature increases – the data is pretty comprehensive and complete.

    No, anthropomorphic influences aren’t on a guess. We’ve known about the greenhouse effect since the C18th, fossil fuel based global warming was predicted in 1908, it was first directly observed in the 1950’s and has been measured annually since then. We have a proven hypothesis, albeit with margins of error.

    The bit where you admit to your ‘limited knowledge’ is correct – I’ll give you that.

    So finally rule 5 I would say would be that instead of trying to provoke a thoughtful debate from an apparent perspective of neutral, legitimate doubt, why don’t you just come out and say what you believe in instead of hiding behind false prose and dubious data?

    You don’t really believe in global warming and you don’t like wind turbines – just come out with it. I can live with that.

    What I can’t live with is pretending to want to have a genuine debate.

  18. Sam,

    Have a look at the Wikipedia article on Scientific Alliance. Further reading is in the references.

  19. Given this has ended up going a long way off topic, shall we draw a line under it now. I’m sure you can exchange email addresses if you want to continue it.

  20. Anthony

    If you will permit this post i would like to say this about the Scientific Alliance. I have an old friend who attends meetings of this group. He is not a scientist but a former Professor of Operational Statistics. I have no doubts about his complete integrity or members of the group with which he associates.

    The Scientific Alliance made a submission to the House of Lords in October this year. Those drafting the submission were Sir Donald Miller, FREng, FRSE, former Chairman of Scottish Power 1982-92; Colin Gibson, FIEE, Former Power Network Director, National Grid;Professor Michael Laughton, FREng, Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of London.

    Why is it imagined that these people are not men of integrity? Why should their opinions and research be regarded in the light of a Wikipedia description which anyone can write and edit? It is a common tactic of some in the Green lobby first to smear those with opposing opinions.

    Having read the criticisms that Alec offers I am pretty confident I can deal with them easily. But debate, bad or good tempered, needs an audience.

    I hope Anthony allows my final word on this topic – off topic.

  21. @Roly

    “You can trust me, I am a Tory.!

    I’m still trying to work out whether that’s an oxymoron, a tautology or a simple contradiction in terms.

    I’m going to settle on tautology on the basis of its definition: –

    “…….that the proposition as stated is logically irrefutable, while obscuring the lack of evidence or valid reasoning supporting the stated conclusion.”

    Merry Christmas by the way.


  22. I think the Tories are going to win in May 2015.

    I’m saying this because, somewhat gratuitously, I want to field tributes from a variety of posters who will no doubt praise my objectivity, fairness, balance, level-headedness and general wisdom.

    I await the torrent of testimonials.


  23. Anthony

    I was wrong. No audience is needed for debate. So, if Alec wishes to be involved in off-blog debate, I am happy that you provide him with my e-mail address. Alec only,please.

    If he does not want to engage with me that’s fine. He might consider taking the concerns he raised about the Scientific Alliance to that group directly. I feel reasonably sure he will get a good, civil explanation.

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