YouGov’s first poll of the year is out tonight, with topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 8%.

YouGov have made a couple of methodological changes to start the election year. The first and most interesting is to include UKIP in the main prompt for voting intention. Prompting is something I’ve written about here many times before, most recently here. It’s tricky because it really can make a difference, yet there is no real way of knowing when it is appropriate and when it isn’t. There are instances when pollsters have overestimated the level of support for minor parties because they prompted when they probably shouldn’t have (YouGov & UKIP in the 2004 European election, and the Greens in the 2007 Scottish election), but go back to the 1980s and polls that failed to prompt for the Liberals & SDP tended to underestimate their support. It’s clear from history that you can both get it wrong by prompting when you shouldn’t, and get it wrong by failing to prompt when you should.

I’ve written before about the difficulties of making the judgement call on this. There is no obvious way of drawing the line – whenever I write about it in the comments section people make helpful comments saying “why not if the party is in third place” or “if the party is over x%” or whatever… but all these are utterly arbitrary – perfectly reasonable in themselves, but no help in getting it right. It’s not even clear what we should be looking for – it it a certain level of support, or a level of public awareness and familiarity, or a level of media coverage?

In the event however the difficult decision pretty much made itself. It’s something YouGov have been quietly testing on and off over the years, and it seems to be making less of a difference. Testing at the end of last year showed about the same level of support for UKIP in prompted polls as in unprompted polls. Presumably UKIP are established enough in the public mind for prompting not to make a difference, at which point the decision became a simple one. Note that the fairly low UKIP score in today’s YouGov poll – 14% – is not a result of the change, in our testing last year we were showing UKIP at around 17% when prompted, at at time when they were around 16%-17% in unprompted polls.

With YouGov shifting over it means three companies (YouGov, ComRes and Survation) now include UKIP in the main prompt, Populus, Opinium, Ipsos MORI, ICM and Lord Ashcroft polls do not. When ComRes made the switch they too seemed to show very little difference in levels of UKIP support (though their online polls seem to have made some changes to turnout weighting at the same time) but just because prompting doesn’t make much difference to YouGov polls, it does not follow that it won’t make a difference anywhere else – in particular, the impact of prompting may be very different in an internet survey with two pages to click through than in a telephone survey with a human interviewer. What is the correct approach for one sort of polling will not necessarily be the correct approach for another company’s polls.

The other change in YouGov’s methods is much smaller, a tidying up of the sample spec to try and reduce some of the oversampling and reducing the amount of weighting needed. The overall quota targets are the same and the weighting remains exactly the same so there should be no difference at all in the published voting intention figures. The only difference anyone might notice is in crossbreaks: YouGov have started to include ethnicity in the sample quotas for London, which may have an impact in the London crossbreak.

UPDATE: I somehow managed to miss the first Populus poll of this year this morning – figures there were CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs are here.

214 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 31, LAB 34, LD 7, UKIP 14, GRN 8”

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  1. Barney Crockett

    You allege improper behavior by a journalist and the evidence is?

    In his own words by the sound of it:

  2. @Barney Crocket

    His own words ‘Alan Cochrane Diaries’.

  3. Someone posted earlier on that the new batch of Ashcroft constituency polls is about to turn up later this week. I thought I’d just grab today’s set of figures for the Electionforecast Nowcast and share them here so that others can have a look as judge how well they are doing when the polling data turn up.

    The problem is that they are updated before you blink so you have to freeze them if you want to assess how well they are doing.

    Constituency — Conservative VI (%); Labour VI; LibDems; SNP; Plaid Cymru; Greens; Ukip ; Other

    Aberdeen North — 10; 35; 6; 39; 0; 6; 2; 2
    Aberdeen South — 16; 34; 9; 31; 0; 8; 2; 1
    West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine — 20; 15; 15; 43; 0; 4; 2; 1
    Airdrie and Shotts — 6; 36; 2; 52; 0; 1; 3; 1
    Angus — 21; 14; 3; 55; 0; 3; 3; 1
    Argyll and Bute — 14; 18; 8; 50; 0; 6; 2; 1
    Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock — 16; 37; 2; 39; 0; 2; 3; 1
    Central Ayrshire — 13; 37; 2; 43; 0; 3; 2; 1
    North Ayrshire and Arran — 9; 32; 2; 52; 0; 2; 2; 1
    Banff and Buchan — 20; 12; 3; 58; 0; 2; 3; 2
    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk — 22; 13; 21; 34; 0; 3; 4; 1
    Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross — 8; 20; 16; 49; 0; 3; 2; 1
    Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill — 6; 40; 2; 48; 0; 1; 2; 0
    Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East — 6; 37; 2; 51; 0; 2; 2; 1
    Dumfries and Galloway — 22; 40; 2; 29; 0; 3; 4; 1
    Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale — 26; 23; 4; 38; 0; 4; 4; 1
    East Dunbartonshire — 10; 29; 15; 40; 0; 3; 2; 1
    West Dunbartonshire — 5; 37; 1; 53; 0; 1; 2; 1
    Dundee East — 10; 24; 2; 58; 0; 5; 2; 1
    Dundee West — 6; 35; 3; 50; 0; 3; 1; 2
    Dunfermline and West Fife — 5; 46; 13; 30; 0; 4; 2; 1
    East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow — 9; 37; 2; 47; 0; 3; 2; 1
    East Lothian — 12; 35; 4; 42; 0; 4; 2; 0
    Edinburgh East — 8; 35; 5; 41; 0; 9; 1; 1
    Edinburgh North and Leith — 11; 32; 11; 32; 0; 11; 1; 2
    Edinburgh South — 15; 36; 10; 27; 0; 10; 1; 0
    Edinburgh South West — 22; 39; 5; 20; 0; 11; 2; 2
    Edinburgh West — 17; 27; 15; 34; 0; 6; 2; 0
    Falkirk — 8; 24; 2; 60; 0; 3; 1; 1
    North East Fife — 15; 20; 18; 39; 0; 5; 3; 1
    Glasgow Central — 4; 35; 3; 52; 0; 2; 2; 1
    Glasgow East — 4; 35; 1; 54; 0; 3; 1; 2
    Glasgow North — 4; 38; 7; 44; 0; 3; 2; 1
    Glasgow North East — 4; 45; 2; 43; 0; 3; 1; 2
    Glasgow North West — 7; 37; 3; 45; 0; 4; 2; 2
    Glasgow South — 7; 38; 3; 45; 0; 3; 3; 1
    Glasgow South West — 5; 56; 2; 29; 0; 3; 3; 2
    Glenrothes — 6; 42; 2; 45; 0; 3; 1; 0
    Gordon — 11; 16; 9; 58; 0; 3; 3; 1
    Inverclyde — 8; 39; 3; 46; 0; 2; 2; 1
    Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey — 8; 21; 19; 43; 0; 4; 3; 2
    Kilmarnock and Loudoun — 9; 37; 1; 47; 0; 3; 2; 1
    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath — 7; 42; 2; 44; 0; 2; 2; 1
    Lanark and Hamilton East — 11; 41; 3; 39; 0; 3; 3; 1
    Linlithgow and East Falkirk — 9; 37; 3; 46; 0; 2; 3; 1
    Livingston — 7; 38; 2; 47; 0; 2; 2; 1
    Midlothian — 7; 37; 4; 44; 0; 4; 2; 1
    Moray — 17; 13; 5; 61; 0; 2; 3; 1
    Motherwell and Wishaw — 6; 33; 2; 55; 0; 1; 2; 1
    Na h-Eileanan an Iar — 2; 14; 1; 79; 0; 1; 1; 1
    Ochil and South Perthshire — 14; 32; 3; 45; 0; 5; 2; 1
    Orkney and Shetland — 6; 13; 37; 38; 0; 3; 2; 1
    Paisley and Renfrewshire North — 10; 41; 2; 41; 0; 3; 2; 1
    Paisley and Renfrewshire South — 7; 42; 2; 43; 0; 3; 2; 1
    Perth and North Perthshire — 19; 12; 3; 59; 0; 3; 2; 1
    East Renfrewshire — 22; 40; 2; 32; 0; 2; 2; 0
    Ross, Skye and Lochaber; — 7; 13; 19; 54; 0; 5; 2; 1
    Rutherglen and Hamilton West — 7; 46; 3; 40; 0; 2; 2; 0
    Stirling — 17; 33; 4; 37; 0; 6; 2; 1

  4. I’m going away because @Unicorn is posting too much.

  5. As a sort of corollary to “which party might UKIP VI return to” I will repeat my own theory, which treats traditional “swingback” as irrelevant in 2015.

    The figure for Tory and non-Tory VI have been pretty consistent for a number of years – around 68% to 32% and however much Labour VI drops there is no comparable rise in Tory VI.

    Because that is a long term trend I believe that many of the “non-aligned” have been disappointed with Labour [and especially their leader] but are toying with other possible options because the Tories are simply not an option for them at all.

    BUT – that is in meaningless opinion polls. It doesn’t have any serious meaning in terms of governments being changed or re-elected.

    It is because of those underlying factors that I simply can’t see a sufficient recovery in the Tory VI in May but, at the same time, also think enough of the “other-option searchers” will – perhaps reluctantly – support Labour.

    Far from a “deafening silence” if I am wrong I will have no problems at all in acknowledging the fact, should the Tories still be a part of government in 17 weeks or so.

    By the way, given we have known the date of the election for nearly five years, five weeks seems a ludicrously long time for the actual campaign – especially given that it now looks like it will be nearer five bloody months !!

  6. Gray

    […] has AW given any thought to tweaking his seat count calculations in light of the fact that polling in Scotland seems to hint that the SNP may pick up a few seats net on the last election?

    Not only has he given it thought, he’s even given you a model you can play with:

    and put in separate polling figures[1] for Scotland[2] as well as for GB as a whole, then it will give you separate country totals and an overall seat total. It’s still UNS, just Uniform National Swing in two or three different nations.

    It’s probably worth reminding people that UNS is being used in two different ways on here at the moment. One is whether the swings are uniform over all of GB (clearly not – they’re wildly different in Scotland) and the other the more technical one of how swings operate in individual constituencies based on the previous result. There is still some use in this as in the past it has work well in practice, if less well in theory.

    Anthony does continue to use all-GB UNS in his projection from his poll of polls, but that comes plastered with more health warnings than an A&E in a flu epidemic. I think he only does it because people ask for it and it stops other people making a hash of it.

    [1] You have to click the up and down arrows to adjust the percentages. It doesn’t always work first time and the percents don’t all total to 100 (don’t ask) but it’s useful once you get the hang of it. The Scots and Welsh seats alter on the map as you change the figures, but to display the English seats and overall total you need to click on ‘CALCULATE’ towards the bottom.

    [2] And also Wales – despite what Spearmint says, we have had a few polls over the last year. They’re quite interesting, but show very little movement in seat terms (only 2-3), so can be ignored for this purpose unless you’re down to quibbling over individual seats

  7. @Unicorn

    Douglas Alexander looks like he has a fight on his hands in Paisley. I hope Ashcroft has polled Paisley.

  8. @R&D

    Think of the poor non-political-anorak Scots who have just had a 2 year long referendum campaign and now after a brief Christmas rest are straight into a GE campaign – to be followed shortly by a Scottish GE.

    We have to be politically engaged because there is bugger all else going on.

    Happy times for me of course.

  9. Richard

    Now that the tables are up for yesterday’s Yougov, I looked for ethnicity to be shown somewhere in the weightings/ cross breaks, but it was not there.

    YouGov have weighted by ethnicity in London (at least at the White/Non-White level) for a long time. I assume they still do, but we’ve actually been getting less information on the tables[1]. I don’t think they’ve ever done ethnicity weightings on GB-wide polls though, though they might for more specialist stuff where it was relevant. Certainly I’ve certainly seen other pollsters use weighting by Census definitions and so on for question areas where it was relevant.

    The point is that outside London the ethnicity numbers aren’t high enough for differential voting patterns to make a difference on a country-wide basis (though it might in smaller areas).

    With regard to your question last night on the youth vote, I suspect the weighting by working status has more to do with whether people are in education or not. I remember Anthony saying that were worried that they were getting too many students and graduates in their samples and they were worried if that biased it.

    I’ve mentioned here before that I think YouGov’s under-25s may be untypical (too ‘politicised’ perhaps) and this could be biasing their overall figures. This might explain why YouGov’s Green figure is slightly higher than with other pollsters. It’s not a big difference and it could be also due to the way their past vote/id weighting works – indeed that might mean YouGov pick up certain real changes better than others.

    [1] When they’ve appeared at all – since August there have been no tables for the monthly YouGov-ES London polls, even though they have clearly been carried out. We just get the headline figures added to the tracker file a month later. Presumably the BoJo Fan Club (aka the Evening Standard) have asked them to restrict them, which they are entitled to if nothing has actually been published from the results.

  10. @Roger

    Thanks. Anthony mentioned this in his main post above “YouGov have started to include ethnicity in the sample quotas for London, which may have an impact in the London crossbreak”

    So that is why I was expecting something about ethnicity to appear in the cross breaks or weightings sections in today’s Yougov.

    I obviously didn’t understand his comment correctly, but then it led me to wondering what else is used as ‘hidden’ weightings/ sample quotas, and should we be made aware of what those are for each pollster and when they change – it may help explain some of the very different figures we see between pollsters and would aid in transparency.

  11. it seems there was also a change to Scotland sampling

    “However we are controlling our sampling in London and Scotland more carefully, so anyone who regularly studies our crossbreaks may notice a difference within them. Most importantly, we have started including controls on ethnicity in our London sampling, an important factor in driving voting intention.”

  12. Richard

    I’d noticed that in the YG intro to today’s poll.

    It’s not clear what they mean by that, but if they have sampled the Scots on the panel more in line with the relevant Scots numbers, rather than just contributors to the GB norms, that would make sense.

    No idea if it is relevant or not, but the SNP/PC ID group (most of whom will be SNP) has been downweighted by less this time, than it was in their pre-Xmas poll.

  13. @ MrNameless

    “The Lib Dems are set to lose 295 deposits..”

    OK – I couldn’t resist it.

    On proportional (regression-based) swing, the LibDems are scheduled to lose ‘only’ 186 deposits. This sets aside 19 seats (NI + Speaker) where they are unlikely to field a candidate and therefore cannot lose a deposit.

    This also assumes there is no Swingback in favour of the LDs between now and the election. If the campaign helps them, then the figure could be a good deal lower than that.

  14. Richard

    It looks as if what YouGov are doing is to apply the weighting they have done for some time in their London-only polls to the London portion of their daily polls as well. This would presumably apply not just to the final weighting they apply, but also in how they send out their invitations to participate in each poll. If you get this right it may reduce the severity of the weighting you then need to apply.

    The data wouldn’t appear in the daily weightings though because it only makes sense in part of the sample – they don’t do the same for their other GB regions.

    Looking back at the last London weightings data YouGov published[1]:

    they do seem to do a more elaborate ethnicity weighting than they have shown in the cross-tabs in the past. It’s clear that some groups (Indian, Pakistani, Black) are under-represented in normal polls[2] and weighting is needed.

    As to if “there a whole bunch of hidden weighting factors applied that are not reflected in the tables?” it’s probably true. For example that poll shows a breakdown in the cross-tabs by region of London, but it’s not clear if they are weighted to separate targets for those areas. It’s also possible that individual polls or even questions may have additional weighting by some criterion that is not normally thought relevant.

    [1] One of the minor irritations of the monthly London VI data not being published (as opposed to more important topics asked by the polling, such as hipsters) is that these are the VI tables are the ones which normally have the weighting data attached.

    [2] I’m not sure if allowance is made in the targets for possible differential voting rates. Or for ability to vote. Non-White panel members may be Commonwealth and so can vote in all elections. Some White ones may be limited (eg EU) or have no voting rights (eg US) and this will be especially problematic in London with its high non UK-citizen percentages.

  15. Daily Politics today mentioned possible UKIP strength in Wales (though Roger Scully’s article also mentions PC growth).

  16. @Unicorn

    Pasting a summary of one of you lines:

    “Glenrothes — Lab 42 SNP 45”

    Hmm. You think?

  17. In fact…

    “Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath — Lab 42 SNP 44”

    Hmmm….hmm…no, I’m not convinced.

  18. @Old Nat; Welsh polls do show some movement in VI but as Roger Mexico says almost no seat changes – the two most likely are 2 Lab gains here in Cardiff.

    UKIP won’t win a seat and PC are not going to lose Arfon. @Unicorn’s models showing Arfon in play ignore an upturn in PC’s vote since 2010 and the huge disparity in constituency resources in that seat which contains about half the entire PC membership; ignoring Wales for the 2015 GE election result is sadly reasonable, very little will change from 2010 here

  19. Anthony:

    I thought you might be interested to know that when one types the name of the website into the address bar of a web browser the page from 24th November appears rather than the newest page. I’m not sure why this is happening.

  20. More hints at a slowing of growth in the latest PMI data. All three sectors are showing sharp declines for December, but due are still showing growth.
    Today’s fall in the service sector PMI was particularly noticeable, and seems to have caught the markets somewhat off guard, with the pound falling in response.

    These results have led many commentators to revise downwards their predictions for Q4 GDP growth, and it’s going to be interesting to watch. There is a definite trend downwards in all sectors now, and if the December results are matched in the first couple of months of 2015 then by March the talk will be about whether the economy is entering recession. However, while business confidence is certainly declining, at present this eventuality does seem a long way off.

  21. I thought one of the best areas for Labour support was London. So the move by Murphy to highlight the flaw in the mansion tax plan – in that it disproportionately effects London seems a stupid move. If this is the inevitible set piece fall out with London Labour it seems a very silly issue to pick.

  22. I’m often reminded of that great old quote, “If you stop telling lies about me, I’ll stop telling the truth about you” when I see and hear people, usually utterly partisan themselves, complaining about the standards of political campaigning and electioneering. I share the distaste for some of the petty name-calling and yahboo that masquerades as political debate, and long for something much more uplifting, but my advice to those who would like to health check the partiality of the criticism is to think very carefully about who’s doing the complaining. In the world of attack dogs and rebuttal units, frustration with the efficacy of an opponents case can often lead to real anger.

    Talking about interesting old sayings, I came across this Arab proverb the other day. “He who predicts the future lies even if he tells the truth”. If true, where does that leave all us psephological soothsayers and economic forecasters??


  23. Doesn’t Jim Murphy’s comments about the Mansion Tax show ones of the challenges that Labour face? What makes sense in Scotland – where it struck me as a reasonable point to make – comes across as very insensitive in London. This need to fight two at least slightly different campaigns is a specific problem for Labour & they’ll need to get communication more joined up on issues like this

  24. Except that hardly anyone in London would pay the mansion tax. We aren’t all property millionaires.

  25. Except that hardly anyone in London would pay the mansion tax. We aren’t all property millionaires.

    The labour voters who fall into the bracket (emily thornberry, ed miliband and friends) are not going to stop voting labour because of it.

    Abbott wants to have as wide a reach as possible in a potential mayoral election, but it won’t prevent labour from gaining seats in the capital.

  26. @Lurker

    Agreed. And even fewer will pay it here in the West Midlands. You literally do have to live in a landed estate out in the sticks to even get within sniffing distance of £2m.

    Another case of a right wing press campaign going off in their face, because those writing the attack lines fail to appreciate that their privileged lives are so far removed from the rest of the UK population.

  27. @ Statgeek


    Just to be clear, these are not *my* figures and so nothing to do with what *I* think. It is just an exact download of the Electionforecast Nowcast retrieved early this morning. I did this to help UKPR contributors to evaluate the workings of the model when the Ashcroft polls come in. When the November batch arrived I was caught out because I hadn’t made a record of the Nowcast and by the time I looked it had already been updated to include the new constituency polling data.

    In fact, it has already been updated again since I downloaded this copy, so some of the figures could already be slightly different.

  28. coup

    We have to be politically engaged because there is bugger all else going on. ”

    Yeah, Scotland is pretty boring to be fair. Still, there’s always irn bru and tunnocks wafers to cheer you up.

    And swatting midgies.






    nope – that’s it really.

    ……………… Oh ! No… there’s moaning about the English.

  29. regarding Murphy, that is very good, “I am on the side of Scotland” politics and though it may have a positive effect there it certainly won’t have a negative effect in London.

    Those who are against it and to the right of politics are fixed anyway and most others approve.

    I thought it a daft idea when it was suggested by the LDs and still do: we need a sensible reappraisal of Council Tax in my view.

    But that is not the point: it is a fairly popular idea.

  30. @ Chris in Cardiff

    “…PC are not going to lose Arfon.”

    I don’t pretend to know anything about what is happening on the ground. It was just numerical calculations that highlighted this constituency as showing interesting patterns.

    However, I now note that the 2010 majority was quite modest (1455 votes) and the Labour candidate this time and last (Alun Pugh) is a very experienced politician who has been a Minister in the Welsh Assembly. If the seat follows national trends then the candidate should have enjoyed a bit of a Labour boost since 2010, and so I would have thought that there is every chance that this is a seat that is very much in play.

    I have to admit to my shame that I know very little about PC polling trends as these are rarely reported separately in national polls. If the party is on an SNP-like trajectory then you may well be right that this is a safe HOLD in the coming election. Exactly how much have PC VIs rising since 2010?


  31. R & D

    I couldn’t agree more. Reform of CT – revaluation (after nearly a quarter of a century) and adding extra bands – is LONG overdue. And all proceeds (including those of the half-baked Mansion Tax) should go to local authorities (Boris should like that), not to the Treasury.

  32. I genuinely don’t think there’s a single house in Sheffield which would fall into the MT price range. Most expensive I can find (a beautiful 7-bedroom place with an enormous garden in the leafiest bits of Fulwood) goes for £1.2m.

  33. Quite a put-down to certain London mayoral candidates on Labour List:

    “It’s incredibly depressing to watch the craven failure of many Labour Mayoral candidates to stand up for taxation on a tiny fraction of the richest Londoners. They may be the donors and supporters of some of the candidates (and who knows, perhaps even some of the candidates), but that 3% won’t decide who becomes Mayor of London. And someone who lives in the capital, I’m certainly going to find it very hard to back any mayoral candidate who I feel has put their ambition or the mayoral race in general ahead of electing a Labour government to serve the whole UK. They may say that they’re standing up for London, but they don’t speak for me – and I’d wager they don’t speak for most of the 97% of Londoners who live in less expensive locales.”

  34. Plus other taxes (including withdrawal of tax expenditures) on second homes and on BTL and foreign-owned (both individuals and companies) properties.

  35. … and on empty properties (on a sliding scale by length of nonoccupation, say, starting at six months).

  36. Colour me incorrect – most expensive I’ve found is now a £1.8 million house in Dore. It’s got five bedrooms, three garages, an indoor heated swimming pool and a gym. Still wouldn’t be taxed.

  37. … (and while we’re about it) with all capital gain on land for development going to the local authority.

    To say nothing of building at least 250,000 dwellings a year, from the off, for at least the next five years.

    And, of course, a raft of measures to relieve the new rent-poor millions, including all those hard-working families and the younger generations.

  38. The issue I have with Jim Murphy is that he quoted £250m coming to Scotland because of the Mansion Tax and Barnett. However the tax is expected to raise about £1.2bn of which Scotland gets it’s population share of What England gets, roughly 10%.

    As about 88% goes to England Scotlnad should get about 9% or £110m… Not sure where he’s getting the other £140m from.

    It could be as health is a large share of that £110m he is adding it up for the full Parliament at say £50m (close to half our annual share of the Mansion Tax)a year for 5 years of which 1,000 extra Nurses would use £30m a year.

    Apparently this is over and above anything the SNP promises so if we decide to fund 1,500 extra with the Mansion Tax Murphy would probably need to raise tax elsewhere just to fund the nurses!

    I wonder what a Minority Labour government with only a dozen Scottish Labour MP’s would do if a London Labour MP put forward an amendment that the Mansion Tax be distributed to The Local Authority it was raised in but ring fenced for affordable housing?

    May we live in interesting times!


  39. @Chris in Cardiff

    What Jim should have said was Labour would implement a mansion tax (no need to mention regions, people know if there house will come under that tax or not) which would raise xyz for Holyrood.

    Instead hes unnecessarily tried to compete with the SNP at Holyrood with a pledge that has no real policy or basis (and I suspect the SNP are already preparing to unravel in 2016); a comment which is unnecessarily provactive with his Labour colleagues.

    Its a difficult place to be but not worth the blundering around Murphy is providing here; he certainly needs to seem his ‘own man’ but he needs to do that through Holyrood policy – more Nurses on the back of a policy Labour is committed to is not worth the fight.

    Poor start for Scottish Labour all in all; they need to appear independent but also appear to get the gains of being part of a UK wide party. That’s tricky, be too argumentative and theres got to be a question of “Why not just vote SNP?”.

    Ultimately it all comes back to a poor policy of adding on to SNP commitments, which is the politics of a party fighting for an identity. Chose something worth fighting about.

  40. Unicorn @ 1.32 pm:

    The prediction you have relayed for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine is quite unrealistic.

    To put SNP on 43% of the vote when they are down and out here, and haven`t yet selected a candidate, seems to be merely a dogmatic transfer of the LibDem vote from 2010 for which there is no supporting local evidence.

    Obviously ethnicity has not been a factor in the prediction, this constituency having just about the highest proportion of non-Scots voters of any in Scotland.

  41. R&D

    I will wait to see which party is brave enough to revalue properties in London and adjust the Council Tax bands accordingly (possibly). It hasn’t been done since around 1993. Let alone add extra bands at the top end.

  42. Unicorns figure are interesting, but I don’t think the LDs are going to lose the Northern Isles to the SNP! There are also some other very strange figures eg the SNP on 79% in Na h-Eileanan an Iar!!

  43. Was quite embarrassing to hear the Labour mayoral candidates criticising the Mansion Tax today, but at least Lammy and Jowell are fairly consistently on the right of the party. Abbott on the other hand has spent the last couple of years trying to paint herself as a left-wing maverick of sorts so she really ought not to be opposing the idea of redistribution.

  44. The Council Tax banding is interesting.Here in Wales we of course did get
    re banded.Most of the population benefited,but not those in Monmouthshire
    the richest part of Wales.We bought our house very reasonably in 1999,but only because it needed a vast amount of work doing on it.After rebanding we
    shot up to the top council tax band and found the council tax,minimum services
    Etc,as large as our mortgage.No wonder they dare not introduce it in England!

  45. Chris in Cardiff


    It’ll be interesting to see Scully’s Part II.

  46. Sooner or later a revaluation will happen-its now 24 years and counting.

    All it needs is a working majority and political courage -why are you all laughing ?


    (ref to Unicorn)

    What about Orkney & Shetland? Lib/Dem 37% SNP 38%

    Chances of that happening??????????????????????????????

  48. Unicorn 1.32 pm:

    The prediction you have relayed for West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine is quite unrealistic, like several others.

    To put SNP on 43% of the vote when they are down and out in WA & K, and haven`t yet selected a candidate, seems to be merely a dogmatic transfer of the LibDem vote from 2010 for which there is no supporting local evidence.

    Obviously ethnicity has not been a factor in the prediction, this constituency having just about the highest proportion of non-Scots voters of any in Scotland.

    Unicorns figure are interesting, but I don’t think the LDs are going to lose the Northern Isles to the SNP! There are also some other very strange figures eg the SNP on 79% in Na h-Eileanan an Iar!!

    I agree the Western Isles VI looks very high and although it’s a SNP seat in both parliaments they did vote No so even at that it sort of breaks the broad 45% Yes vote by a large margin which would see the SNP pick up most seats.

    Orkney and Shetland (two separate seats in Holyrood) did have a bit of a scare in 2011 when two independents ate right into the Lib/Dem vote so maybe, just maybe we are now seeing their votes shifting towards the SNP and exposing the Lib/Dems.

  50. Re Election Forecast and individual seat “predictions”.

    Folk might like to have a look at what the site itself says. eg At the level of individual seats, there are lots of factors that may matter, that we are not measuring. We don’t know whether we’ll see a particularly strong performance for the Bus Pass Elvis Party, or unduly heavy rain in that region on election day, or whether the local MP is embroiled in a scandal. If there is something systematic that might affect the results across a range of constituencies, and which can be measured, let us know.

    They are conducting a modelling exercise, applying current polling and past history as an academic exercise. If there is constituency polling in O&S, then the prediction for that somewhat idiosyncratic seat will change. Up until then, the pattern for other Scottish LD held seats will be applied to it to a significant extent.

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