The Christmas polling break is over. Opinium have the first poll of 2015 out tonight, conducted for the Observer. Topline figures are CON 32%(+3), LAB 33%(-3), LDEM 8%(+2), UKIP 17%(+1), GRN 4%(-1). The poll has a sharp drop in Labour’s lead, down six points since a fortnight ago, but the previous poll was that rather incongruous seven point Labour lead, so part of the change will just be a correction after an unusual poll.

Note that fieldwork for the poll was the 30th Dec to 2nd Jan, so included New Years Eve and New Years Day. There isn’t actually any real evidence that doing fieldwork on bank holidays when many people are out doing stuff produces odd results… but I’m a bit wary of it. There are examples of polls done on bank holidays producing very odd results, but there are also examples of polls done on perfectly normal days producing odd results and polls done on banks holidays producing normal looking ones.


372 Responses to “First poll of 2015 from Opinium”

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  1. @Martyn
    ‘The British armed forces actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were perfectly legal in British law, and were properly authorised by the prime minister and minister for defence. If memory serves, they were even accompanied by authorisation by parliament, (although technically that’s a political courtesy, not a precondition).’

    The implication of the above appears to be that the UK Executive and Legislature has discretion as to whether to abide by International Law. That is an interesting assumption which many tyrants – past and present – would happily rely on. With hindsight what a waste of time and money those Nuremberg trials were.

  2. Lablover

    Labour make the rules! Sorry Couper.

    I have full confidence in a Labour majority in May, but on the off chance that we are a few seats short, I dare either the SNP or Libs to bring us down.

    They know full well that if they so much as tried, our spin machine would go into overdrive and paint them as siding with the tories and a lot of the public would probably buy it.

    […]

    And there you see the beauty of the plan.

    The libs either handed victory to Labour in 2010, or side with the Tories and take the heat for keeping them in govt and allow Labour to easily step back in 2015 thanks to the Lib collapse. They chose the latter and have been paying for it ever since.

    I’m aware that this could be just trolling, but this struck me as revealing about the sort of attitude behind a lot of Labour thinking[1]. What is important is not to implement Labour policies but to get Labour into power. If absolute power can’t be delivered, opposition is great, providing you can find someone else you can blame. Hence the way in which ending up with a mainly Conservative government is treated as a good outcome in that comment[2]

    Politics is seen as being about process rather than ends, and the idea that politicians are primarily elected to do things for their cause, their constituents or their country seen as just odd. It’s not so much that politicians are ‘in it only for themselves’ (though many such seem to have personal benefit high on their to-do-list), but that being in power has become the end rather than the means.

    So rather than work with the SNP[3], a Party not that dissimilar in political terms, Labour should ignore the fact the SNP held balance and, if they don’t get their way, sit on the opposition benches pointing fingers. This would encourage the electorate to see the errors of their ways and they would then vote Labour for ever.

    But even in its own, process-led, terms this may be a mistake. The SNP are fairly canny operators and will do their best to get unpopular things to be backed by Lab and Con rather than themselves. And Labour at Holyrood tried a similar sitting and pointing strategy in 2007. That went well, didn’t it?[4]

    Finally this sort of all-or-nothing attitude may appeal to hardcore Party supporters, but it can also alienate those less attached. It comes across as arrogant and dictatorial (not qualities most voters prefer in their governments) and is less likely to encourage tactical voting from those who support Parties who might be potential partners. That is less an issue in Scotland (where Labour will be mainly looking for Conservative tactical votes), but perceptions can affect other areas.

    [1] I also can’t help being amused about the idea of a hyper-effective Labour “spin machine” – look at its success over the last year as reflected in the poll ratings of the Party and its leader. I’m afraid wingeing BTL on the Guardian comment pages is not the same as spin.

    [2] As it happens the numbers made a Labour-led or minority government difficult anyway, but it was noticeable how half-hearted Labour’s negotiations were and the relief with which many of those at the top of the Party sank into opposition.

    [3] It’s worth pointing out that the SNP have made this a fairly easy option by saying they wouldn’t support a Conservative government and you get the impression that they are not too keen on a formal coalition. Confidence and supply or even something more ad hoc seems preferred.

    [4] It’s often forgotten that the SNP’s victory in 2007 was both very narrow and at the expense mainly of the small Parties (SSP etc). It was their time and credibility in government that enabled them to get into their present level of support and start to take votes from Labour.

  3. WRT the legality of otherwise of the Iraq War.

    Every war ever fought has been “legal” under the laws of the nation who started it.

    The argument over wherther it was illegal under international law will probably never be tested in court. However the common perception is that it most certainly was illegal under those terms.

  4. I’m not sure why anyone thinks Lablover is necessarily a Labour supporter. His/her comments seem pretty nonpartisan to me, and the name is presumably a reference to how brilliant laboratories (not science, just labs) are.

  5. I agree that there is little prospect that US and British political leaders being hauled before the International Criminal Courts for their past actions. It makes it so sickening and hypocritical when others are held to account when our own leaders have just as much to answer for as the likes of Milosevic – Gadaffi etc – yet even the non-belligerent states such as France ,Germany and the Scandinavian countries seem disinclined to press the point at all.I would argue that the Nazi leaders put on trial in 1945/1946 were less guilty of the indictment of ‘planning for war’ than were those who ordered the 2003 Iraq invasion.

  6. @”.I would argue that the Nazi leaders put on trial in 1945/1946 were less guilty of the indictment of ‘planning for war’ than were those who ordered the 2003 Iraq invasion.”

    Gulp !

    We really need a UK Poll soon.

  7. While we happen to be on a Scottish thread, let me just say that the interesting scenario is if Lab have a majority in EWNI but not in the UK as a whole, because the SNP have enough seats to prevent it.

    The question is: what leverage the SNP might have in this situation and would they use it? If the SNP are not going to bring the government down on UK matters and abstain on EWNI matters, then what leverage do they have? Just blocking minor pieces of UK-wide legislation that aren’t a confidence matter? Wouldn’t that look like working with the Tories anyway?

  8. Echo that Colin.

  9. As if by magic, Populus appeared!

    Lab 36 (+1)
    Con 34 (-1)
    LD 9 (=)
    UKIP 12 (=)
    Oth 10 (+1)

    Tables here: http://popu.lu/s_vi150105

  10. @Colin

    I made the point quite seriously.Military leaders such as Keitel and Jodl had no responsibility for any political decision to launch attacks on other states. Goering certainly did not want a war in 1939. Indeed the only defendant who could reasonably be accused of -egging Hitler on was Ribbentrop – yet at the end of the day even he lacked executive authority to make the decision.

  11. @statgeek, @graham, @reggicide, et al

    I hold a distinctly minority opinion regarding international law: namely, I don’t think it exists. It’s a network of agreements between states that only has force via the executives/legislatures of those states. This is why treaties can be abrogated, disavowed, etc.

    The Westminster System obeys existing laws and conventions until it doesn’t want to, then it overlays those laws and conventions with new ones and proceeds on its merry way. That’s how it works. So I am entirely relaxed about the legality of those wars: the correct procedures were followed, ergo legal.

    I appreciate not a lot of people share those views. Neverthless, “e pur si muove”

    (Parenthetically, this is why I hope we never leave the various European Human Rights conventions. Otherwise we’ll be handing over absolute power to people who – entirely legally – kill with impunity)

  12. Graham,

    I and no fan of Blair or the Iraq war but there is a huge difference between a democracy that votes to go to war openly, particularly to intervene to protect innocent people being persecuted by an unelected dictator, and an unelected dictator persecuting innocent people.

    We shouldn’t have removed Saddam’s without a UN mandate to do so, so in that respect it wasn’t sanctioned under International law and could be viewed as a criminal act, but using the term War Criminal actually undermines the case as the majority of people will never equate Blair with Hitler.

    Apart from anything else if the UN had mandated the overthrow of the Iraqi regime I suspect the same number of people would have died.

    The war in Iraq was a huge mistake and we went about it the wrong way but the way forward is to enshrine ways to prevent it happening again in UK law not to chase Bush and Blair.

    Peter.

  13. @HAL

    The SNP want more powers for Holyrood. Thier policies and supporters are centre left so I doubt they would have much trouble supporting a centre left Labour government policies.

    They would not support severe Austerity and cuts to the welfare budget so Labour problem might be that the SNP are too left-wing on the other hand that might please many Labour MPs and supporters – and Labour can blame the more left wing policies on the SNP. The SNP will not mind because that will boost them in Scotland and middle-England might just fall for it. win-win.

  14. Couper2802,

    So the bargaining goes thus: The SNP says “if we don’t get more powers for Holyrood, then we’ll….” what?

  15. @statgeek, @graham, @reggicide, et al

    (I forget which of you brought up the Nuremburg trials, so forgive me if I include you as a group)

    The prior authority in Germany (head of state, head off government, legislature, etc) had ceased to exist. The only law pertaining to Germany post-surrender was occupation law imposed by the occupying forces.

    International law was not imposed directly upon the defendants, it was imposed indirectly via occupation law. The distinction is crucial.Since the trials were held under occupation law (the only legal authority pertaining at the time), not international law, they were legal.

  16. In Britain, Parliament is sovereign, and the Iraq thing was authorised by Parliament. (Blair actually changed precedent here by going to Parliament. Previously war was declared by the PM by himself, using the Royal prerogative devolved to him – and because of the precedent set by Parliament authorising Iraq, Cameron was forced to go to Parliament over Syria, and any future PM will also have to go to Parliament to get authorisation for war – such are the joys of our unwritten constitution and how it changes with precedent).

    As I’ve said before, Blair was imitating Attlee over Iraq, it was his version of Korea and Greece. Note that there was no UN mandate for either Korea or Greece, despite Britain being a member of that org at the time. Therefore if Blair is an international war criminal, so was Attlee.

  17. @ Mr N
    For the sake of completeness as that “others” stat is a little deceptive. Lab 36% Con 34% UKIP 12% Lib 8% Green 4% SNP 4%Other1%
    Good poll for the SNP somewhat lacklustre for UKIP and the Greens but it’s populous so what do we expect?

  18. @ RogerMexico

    I think there is a lot of spin as to what negotiations took place in 2010 between which parties and to what end so it’s difficult to be sure how hard Labour did or didn’t try. But it seems logical to me that with the mathematics and, as you say, the predicted downfall of the Lib Dems by siding with the Tories Labour weren’t going to try too hard- especially while they were looking for a new direction/new leader.

    Next time will be different though as it will be EM’s only chance to become Prime Minister and, assuming he has some level of support within the party, I think he will want to do a deal with the SNP more than putting one over on them but no longer being leader.

    None of the coalitions or C&S look especially great options for anyone. Lab-SNP I could see, Con-LD also but I don’t think the Maths will be there and I think the LD’s are likely to be similarly inward looking after the 2015 election- more concerned about new leader and rebuilding the party than they will be about getting involved in another coalition.

    UKIP I doubt will have enough MPs to statistically affect the make up of a government unless the Tories make remarkable progress in the next 4 months such that they end up with more seats than last time. UKIP have thrived on being anti establishment anyway and won’t want to commit electoral suicide by backing one of the “Westminster elite”.

    The rest of the speculation about coalitions and alliances is just wishful thinking (like the Lab-Con one). The only way these more speculative alliances would come about is if the cash machines dry up while the country is waiting for a government and politicians perceive the country will be grateful to the parties for literally saving the economy.

  19. @Candy

    Parenthetically, Cameron wasn’t forced by the Blair precedent: he could have ignored it (and constitutionally speaking I think he should have). The ability still exists and don’t discount the possibility that future PMs[1] can start a fight and bypass Parliament totally.

    [1] I think you need three Privy Councillors to do it, two of which have to be the PM[2] and Minister for Defence
    [2] Incidentally, this is why Churchill was his own Minister for Defence (OK, Minister for War as then was)

  20. @Roger Mexico

    “That is less an issue in Scotland (where Labour will be mainly looking for Conservative tactical votes), but perceptions can affect other areas.”

    No, the logical tactical vote of a Conservative in Scotland is for the SNP in an SNP/Lab contest. If Labour hangs on to its Scottish seats, it has a good chance of forming a government that will last 5 years. If the SNP take a swathe of them, there is a fair chance that any minority Labour administration would fall within a year. I assume that Conservatives would prefer a shorter lived Labour government to one that went the full five years.

    I disagree with a fair bit of the rest of your post as well, but will leave it at that.

  21. At a time of increasing dislike of foreigners in England not a good time for the SNP to start stealing money

  22. Peter.
    ‘I and no fan of Blair or the Iraq war but there is a huge difference between a democracy that votes to go to war openly, particularly to intervene to protect innocent people being persecuted by an unelected dictator, and an unelected dictator persecuting innocent people.’

    I have to disagree. A democratic state has no more right to engage in unprovoked aggression than does a totalitarian one – indeed by doing so it loses its claim to moral supremacy and sets a highly dangerous precedent for others to follow. The German attack on Poland would have been no more justified had it been approved by a democratically elected Reichstag which would have made it comparable to our own actions in 2003.
    In military terms, it was clearly an attack of pure cowardice in that we knew full well that our intended victim lacked the technology to effectively defend themselves or to retaliate in kind.I have always regretted that the British and Americans were not defeated that year – unlikely in the extreme though that was. Our armed forces were being used – indeed abused – as instruments of evil and aggression and did not deserve to prevail.To be frank – and I am not referring to yourself here – I am always appalled by the sheer humbug and hypocrisy of so many who condemn aggression by other states but then turn a blind eye when our own country becomes guilty of the same thing.

  23. Nothing new in the Polulus poll.

  24. The Nuremberg trials were victor’s justice.Four nations that had committed genocide won a war and tried the losers for not killing enough people.

  25. Candy
    There was a UN mandate for Korea – the USSR failed to apply their veto.

  26. Amber Star (from yesterday)

    Perhaps [pollsters] feel (or even know) that despite their best efforts to secure a representative Scottish sample, they have too many Yes leaning voters in their population. They may not be confident that this has been successfully weighted down.

    Perhaps they feel (or even know) that the SNP support is clustered in such a way as to ‘waste’ a lot of votes. Constituency polling may help shed some light on this.

    Perhaps they’re aware of significant levels of switching between SNP and Labour or LD by pannelists (Peter Kellner was at pains to point out that members of the YG panel, during the referendum campaign, changed their minds – sometimes more than once – about how they’d vote. Also that some changed their minds between YG’s final poll and their actual vote the next day).

    Perhaps the pollsters feel, based on past experience (which may or may not be relevant), that incumbency will assist Labour and LD MPs when the 2015 campaign gets underway.

    I’m not really sure that any of these are really valid, though of course the pollsters may believe them.

    Some samples are a little too Yes-heavy but others are adjusted for that and it doesn’t make much difference (as I’ve said current Scottish polling is remarkably consistent). In any case there is some evidence that Yes voters may be more likely to vote, so adjustment may not actually useful.

    The SNP vote is historically very evenly spread – it’s why they (and the Tories) have failed to get many seats in Scotland, unlike the Lib Dems. This becomes an advantage when you start to get into the upper 30s in polling terms. In any case, if there is variation it tends to be in getting additional votes in your weaker areas rather than the stronger ones.

    A high level of switching has certainly occurred – we wouldn’t be seeing these figures otherwise. But that’s not to assume that people will then switch back. And it’s a different sort of decision from a referendum one and one where people may feel more inclined to experiment.

    As to incumbency, there’s very little evidence of it being a substantial factor, except in Lib Dem seats. Labour isn’t in contention in most of those, these are supposed to be the SNP’s easy seats. In any case Ashcroft’s figures show Lib Dem incumbency tend to take from all political Parties, so any reduction in SNP seats will only benefit the Lib Dems.

    I suspect the real reason for pollsters’ reluctance to predict the massive seat changes that current polls imply is simply that historically massive changes don’t usually happen. After all not a single Scottish constituency changed hands compared to 2005 in 2010[1].

    They also have very little past polling to go on. But anyone who looked at what the Survation polls in the first half of 2014 were telling us[2]:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2015_United_Kingdom_general_election#Scotland

    should not be surprised by the current Labour ‘meltdown’. The SNP already lead in most of them, usually at 38-40%, during times most polling was showing Yes at a much lower level than was actually achieved. We were constantly assured that this didn’t matter as we couldn’t really judge till things settled down after the Referendum, but we’re now half-way between the Referendum and the General and if things are to revert to some previous ideal they haven’t got long to do so.

    Instead the SNP’s support has increased a bit and Labour’s correspondingly dropped[3]. To make things worse this brings the SNP into the sunlit uplands where every seat becomes possible even likely[4].

    Now the usual provisos have to be made. Four months may not be a long time even in politics, but it’s not nothing; more polling (especially individual constituencies) is needed; No voters are less likely to have decided who to vote for – though it doesn’t have to be a No Party. But on current form 40 SNP MPs is very likely and even 50 possible. Pollsters tend to disbelieve in landslides because they don’t happen very often. But it’s what their polls currently show.

    [1] Glasgow East was won with a small majority by the SNP in a 2008 by-election, but reverted to Labour at the General Election

    [2] Admittedly this seems to have been mainly me, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Only Survation produced any figures at all before IndyRef and this enabled the results to be to some extent ignored (though the other figures from the same Survation polls weren’t that out of the norm). There was even less info from 2013 – just two from Lord A including that odd mega-poll.

    [3] Last year Labour also lost votes to Greens and UKIP as in the same period in the rest of GB. It’s possible that these could be squeezed back, both in Scotland and elsewhere, but in Scotland they have a non-LibLabCon alternative (the UKIP-SNP voter overlap is probably larger than either Party is happy with).

    [4] By law every comment on Scotland has to have the word “except Orkney and Shetland” in it somewhere.

  27. @Wolf

    The Allied Powers did not commit genocide by any definition of the word, nor did they seriously try to.

  28. P.S. There could never have been a mandate for Iraq because Putin would have vetoed it.

    But was Putin opposed because he genuinely thought Iraq should have been left alone – or because he saw the anti-war protests and thought, lets stir the pot and give them something to latch onto (lack of UN mandate). His supposed ally Iran was in favour for historical reasons, not least Saddams use of chemical weapons against them.

    Did he give Edward Snowden asylum because he genuinely thinks spying on your citizens is wrong, or because he wanted to embarrass the Americans?

    Is he helping the anti-EU parties in Europe (UKIP, Front National et al) because he genuinely agrees with them about devolving power from Brussels, or because he thinks having a massive free-market on his doorstep is a threat to his superpower ambitions and he wants to break it up?

    There are an awful number of useful fools around doing his work for him on all fronts.

    I happen to think the Iraq invasion was wrong because we simply didn’t have the resources to do it right. But lets face it – the argument that if you don’t get approval from Putin you are a war criminal is barking!

  29. Lots of talk still going on regarding likely coalitions in the event of a hung parliament.

    If it is a hung parliament then I can’t see why the largest party can’t just run an minority administration? They will need to haggle and do trade off’s along the way but that should surely benefit everyone in that most parties will get some of their policies through parliament.

  30. Ah, Wolf is one of those who thinks that because the Dresden bombing wasn’t our finest hour, consequently the Allied Powers were just as bad as their opponents. I see.

  31. @Graham

    I agree with you. One of the things that was going to be in the Scottish constitution (sigh) was war only if sanctioned by UN.

  32. @Allan Christie

    I like the idea and pretty sure the SNP would only give C&S support to Labour not a formal coalition.

  33. CANDY

    Is he helping the anti-EU parties in Europe (UKIP, Front National et al) because he genuinely agrees with them about devolving power from Brussels, or because he thinks having a massive free-market on his doorstep is a threat to his superpower ambitions and he wants to break it up?
    ______________

    I thought Russia was already a superpower and that’s why NATO ruled out any military action against Russia’s democratically taking back the Crimea and it’s alleged interference in the Donbass?

    I don’t the EU needs Putin to break it up, we’re doing a fine job ourselves.

  34. @ Lablover

    “..the UNS projection has predicted a Labour majority ever since I started reading..”

    Further to the responses offered by @ Couper2802, you might like to read the following piece by Peter Kellner:

    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/12/01/uniform-swing-rip/

    The title says it all, really. “Uniform swing is now worse than useless – it is positively misleading.”

    This article just endorses what many had been saying for some time here and elsewhere. The distortions cause by making these assumptions also compromise models that work in essentially the same way.

    Best not to take the UNS projections too seriously.

  35. COUPER2802
    @Allan Christie
    I like the idea and pretty sure the SNP would only give C&S support to Labour not a formal coalition
    _______

    The SNP only have to look towards the L/Dems to see what happens to junior partners in government.

  36. Peter Cairns (SNP)

    I and no fan of Blair or the Iraq war but there is a huge difference between a democracy that votes to go to war openly, particularly to intervene to protect innocent people being persecuted by an unelected dictator, and an unelected dictator persecuting innocent people.

    Indeed. But the US and UK didn’t go to war in Iraq to “protect innocent people being persecuted by an unelected dictator”. Such a principle would produce a much longer to-do-list with many of the entries a great deal less of a pushover. Instead they went to war to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction. Which didn’t exist.

  37. @Graham – China vetoed the Korean war – but the UN decided that the govt in Taiwan represented China and not Beijing, and declared their veto invalid.

    Like I said it’s a daft system when a “good” war is one approved of by Stalin, Mao or Putin.

    @Allan Christie -“I thought Russia was already a superpower and that’s why NATO ruled out any military action against Russia’s democratically taking back the Crimea and it’s alleged interference in the Donbass?”

    Nato has decided to use sanctions first like they always do. They only ever go in militarily as a last resort. And the way Russia is suffering proves they are not a superpower, the whole point of superpower status is that you can hurt others but they can’t hurt you.

    And Euuuh at your use of the words “democratically taking back Crimea”. I suppose you think it was the epitome of democracy for the Soviets to remove the Tartars from their Crimean homeland, and just when they’ve gone back, thankful that Crimea is no longer under Russian domination, the Russians come back and nick the land again.

    I suppose you are one of those thrilled too at the unauthorised Russian sortees into Scottish air space and want to help Mother Putin along by giving up Trident too.

  38. I see Populus are still sticking with the 35% strategy, thank goodness.

    :-)

  39. Phil Haines

    No, the logical tactical vote of a Conservative in Scotland is for the SNP in an SNP/Lab contest. If Labour hangs on to its Scottish seats, it has a good chance of forming a government that will last 5 years. If the SNP take a swathe of them, there is a fair chance that any minority Labour administration would fall within a year. I assume that Conservatives would prefer a shorter lived Labour government to one that went the full five years.

    That is indeed logically true, but the point is that Labour are certainly trying to get those tactical Tory votes against the SNP on unionist grounds. And they have no where else to go for the extra votes, as the Lib Dems are already down to bedrock and other small Parties (Green, SSP, a lot of UKIP) are more likely to go the SNP.

    Of course the same argument works the other way and should encourage Labour voters to switch to SNP in those (admittedly not very many) places where the Conservatives have a chance and Labour doesn’t.

  40. The Nuremberg Trial was also concerned with other indictments such as ill -treatment of prisoners & foreign workers , crimes against humanity etc. I am not wishing to suggest any parallel with the Iraq 2003 war concerning those other issues – simply ‘the planning for war’ indictment. Only politicians should have been held culpable for the latter, and under the Nazi Fuhrer principle such decisions really only came from Hitler – though there is evidence he was actively encouraged by Ribbentrop..

  41. Good Evening All; day one of work done.

    MR NAMELESS.
    Thank you for your poll news; usual caveats apply, I think.

    GRAHAM.
    I disagree with you about the German ‘elites’ culpability; they knew what was going on with the Four Year Plans.

  42. Candy
    Communist China was not admitted to the UN until October 1971 – it ,therefore, had no influence re-Korea.
    I believe that the USSR boycotted the relevant Security Council meeting and so denied itself the opportunity to use the veto – a mistake it never made again.

  43. @Roger Mexico

    It is not tactical voting LiS want, they want to convert Tory and LibDem voters into Labour voters. That is why Murphy is in charge.

    In a GE, Con v Lab, Cameron v Miliband, very few Conservatives will vote Labour and very few Labourites will vote Conservative.

  44. CANDY

    I was going to give you a reply but then read this.
    ……..
    “I suppose you are one of those thrilled too at the unauthorised Russian sortees into Scottish air space and want to help Mother Putin along by giving up Trident too.”
    ________

    Grow up.

  45. Chrislane,
    The elites were certainly aware of rearmament ,but I don’t believe the military had much inkling of Hitler’s aggressive plans until the Hossbach conference in November 1937 at which serious opposition was expressed by senior officers.

  46. “it’s populous so what do we expect?”

    I usually expect it to be spelled rong.

    “Nothing new in the Polulus poll.”

    At least the above is more imaginative but, as to the substance, it may not be dramatic but it is certainly new and therefore interesting/newsworthy.

  47. After a load of partisan nonsense infested threads I said I wouldn’t post till after the election. And until now I kept to that. But I kept lurking. However now I have to comment. This “Nazi” “war crimes” thread is an absolute disgrace to a polling site. Clearly when I warned that things would deteriorate further I did not realise they would get this bad this quickly. I am not even going to lurk now. Bye bye.

  48. @ Phil,

    No, the logical tactical vote of a Conservative in Scotland is for the SNP in an SNP/Lab contest. If Labour hangs on to its Scottish seats, it has a good chance of forming a government that will last 5 years. If the SNP take a swathe of them, there is a fair chance that any minority Labour administration would fall within a year. I assume that Conservatives would prefer a shorter lived Labour government to one that went the full five years.

    Surely that depends on what you think the long-term consequences for unionism are, though.

    If I were a Scottish Tory voter I would be seriously concerned that the election of a Conservative government before 2020 would result in a second independence referendum and a Yes vote, leaving me stranded in a Scotland in which an increasingly leftwing SNP has consolidated the leftwing and nationalist vote to the point where any real opposition is impossible in the near future, and in which I could no longer even count on the SNP to do the rightwing things (a Dutch auction on corporation tax, etc) it had always promised.

    Unionists desperately need to buy time in hopes that the SNP will screw up and lose support (or that the collapse in oil prices will register with the Scottish electorate) and only a Labour government can buy it for them.

  49. @ Roger Mexico

    It’s often forgotten that the SNP’s victory in 2007 was both very narrow and at the expense mainly of the small Parties (SSP etc). It was their time and credibility in government that enabled them to get into their present level of support and start to take votes from Labour.

    I’d like to see the evidence for that assertion. Because my analysis and canvassing experience suggests that, prior to the referendum, about a quarter of a million voters thought of the Scottish Parliament as being ‘like a local council election’ and didn’t bother to vote. If contradictory evidence exists, I’d be interested to see it.

  50. @Spearmint
    I don’t think that a Tory Government – indeed any government – would agree to a further referendum before 2020.

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