Back now, and ready to go through the rest of the Sunday polls apart from the voting intentions and pick out some of the more interesting findings:

  • YouGov’s poll for the Sun on Sunday asked about tactical voting (it didn’t actually use the term, as I think many people use it to refer to different things. It asked if people were voting for their first choice, or a different party that would beat a party they disliked from winning). 77% of people said they were voting for their first choice, 11% tactically. A word of warning about interpreting this – 8% of Tory voters said they were voting tactically, 11% of Labour voters, 12% of Lib Dem voters, 11% of UKIP voters… but we don’t know if that means 8% of Tory voters are voting Tory for tactical reasons, or that 8% of would-be Tory voters are actually going to vote for someone else for tactical reasons (or a mixture).
  • The YouGov Sunday Times poll had a number of questions on British Muslims and on terrorism. People were split over how well integrated British Muslims are into British society and the extent to which they share British values. 46% of people think the majority or almost all British Muslims share British values, 46% of people think that only a minority or hardly any British Muslims share British values. 42% of people think that most or the majority of British Muslims are well integrated, 50% think a minority or hardly any are. UKIP voter’s attitudes towards British Muslims are far more negative than supporters of other parties – 73% of UKIP supporters say most Muslims don’t share British values, 79% say most British Muslims aren’t well integrated. Nigel Farage’s comments about areas of Britain being like ghettos with sharia law were rejected by most respondents – 33% though they were broadly true, 41% thought they were false. 75% of UKIP’s own supporters believed them.
  • There was a particularly interesting immigration question in the Sun on Sunday poll, essentially asking people to choose between a multicultural approach and an integrationist approach. Slightly to my surprise a multicultural approach was the more popular – 36% thought it better that immigrants leave their own cultures and traditions behind and integrate fully into British culture, 48% thought it better than immigrants retain and celebrate some of their own cultures and traditions.
  • Going back to the terrorism and surveillance questions in the Sunday Times poll, just over half of respondents (52%) thought that the security services do need more access to the public’s communications in order to fight terrorism, 31% thought they already have all the access they need. A similar proportion (53%) would support requiring internet and phone companies to retain users data for 12 months and provide it to the security services on request, though by 51% to 35% people think accessing someone’s personal communications should require the consent of the Home Secretary. While people think accessing personal communications data should require the consent of the Home Secretary, when asked whether they trust the authorities to use the information they obtain responsibly they actually trust Ministers & the Home Office less than the police and the intelligence services. 50% trust the police to use the information responsibly, 63% the intelligence services, 45% the Home Office, Ministers and civil servants.
  • In the ComRes poll they asked (via my old favourite the agree/disagree statement, grr!) whether people agreed with the statement that “Ed Miliband is using the issue of the NHS for his political advantage, not because he cares about it”. 49% of people agree, 26% disagree. That looks bad, but I have my doubts about questions about politicians’ motives. I suspect they largely just reflect a general cynicism towards the motives of all politicians, rather than opinions about particular politicians or decisions. YouGov asked a very similar question in their Sun on Sunday poll, but asked it about Ed Miliband AND David Cameron, and got answers that were almost the same. 46% thought Ed Miliband was using the NHS for political gain, 19% doing what he thought was best for it, 20% both equally. 48% thought David Cameron was using the NHS for political gain, 15% doing what he thought best for it, 19% both equally. As you’d expect, in both cases supports of the Conservative and Labour party both thought their own leader was doing what was best, but the opposing leader was just using it for political reasons.
  • The debate over the debates rolls on, and so do poll questions about it. Opinium asked about whether particular leaders should be invited – 61% think the leader of UKIP should, 46% the leader of the Greens, 30% the leader of the SNP, 23% the leader of Plaid Cymru. The current proposals for debates between Con, Lab, Lib Dem and UKIP leaders was supported by 37% of people, opposed by 31%. YouGov in the Sun on Sunday asked people to pick from some possible combinations. The most popular individual option was the widest, the Lib, Lab, Con, UKIP, Green and the SNP and Plaid. This was picked by 35% though, so while it was the most popular single option, 49% favoured a narrower option – 20% favoured the proposed Con, Lab, LD & UKIP, 17% Con, Lab, LD, UKIP and the Greens (but not the two nationalists). 12% supported an even narrower option, excluding UKIP. In their Sunday Times poll YouGov found people still think David Cameron should take part even without Natalie Bennett – if she is excluded 31% think Cameron should refuse to take part, 52% think he should take part anyway. However, asking about the other side of the deadlock, if Cameron refuses to take part without Bennett 52% think the broadcasters should call his bluff and invite her, 28% think the debates should go ahead without him, 8% think the debates should be cancelled.

193 Responses to “Gleanings from the Sunday polls”

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  1. @ Anthony

    …but we don’t know if that means 8% of Tory voters are voting Tory for tactical reasons, or that 8% of would-be Tory voters are actually going to vote for someone else for tactical reasons (or a mixture).

    Maybe your YG colleagues could ask future questions in a way which would elicit that information…

  2. Maybe… ;)

  3. :-)

  4. Wait, haven’t they already?

    The first question is a voting intention question. So the obvious interpretation seems to be:

    Question 1: I am voting Conservative.

    Question 2: I am voting for my second choice to block another party from winning.

    Ergo, the Tories are my second choice and I’m voting for them for tactical reasons.

  5. You missed the one which stood out for me Anthony.

    Only 31% of people understand what the “Deficit” is.
    Worse-51% think it is “The total amount of money that the government has borrowed”

    Makes you wonder what the point of any televised debate on economic policies is !

  6. @ Spearmint

    Are you a programmer by any chance? Because that’s how their minds work.

    Programmers invariably need to be reminded that the majority of people don’t think in a logical, ‘flowchart’ way.

  7. What about having two questions. One goes like this:

    1) Rank the following parties, with your most preferred party first and your least preferred party last:

    The Labour Party
    The Conservative Party
    The UK Independence Party
    The Liberal Democrats
    The Green Party
    The Scottish National Party/Plaid Cymru (for Scotland and Wales)

    2) For which one of those parties, if any, would you cast your vote if there was a general election tomorrow?

  8. Colin – if the PM gets confused not surprising voters who dont have a first PPE from Oxford might.

  9. Colin – a further thought.
    Maybe DC beats EM on Econimic competence ratings as his (incorrect) knowledge on the subject is simiilar to the pluraility of voters.
    EM is just too smart for the typical voter?

  10. @ Amber,

    Heh. No, although I do use it a bit in my work. And you raise a fair point.

    But for someone to be following the other interpretation, it requires either that they answered the first question as “Which party would I prefer to see win?” instead of “Which party am I planning to vote for?” or the second as “Would I ever vote tactically?” rather than “Am I planning to vote tactically in 2015?”

    This probably happens to some extent, hence Ashcroft’s preference for asking a second, constituency-specific question, but I assume YouGov have chosen the wording on their VI question in such a way as to elicit the desired response from most of their panel, and the wording in the tactical voting question is as clear as it possibly could be.

    So this is more an Occam’s razor issue than a flowchart issue. The desired interpretations of both questions seem like the most intuitive ones, and when you add the answers together you arrive at the flowchart, with no need for the YouGov panel to follow the logic themselves.

  11. Amber Star

    Actually, programmers are normally either thinking “ooh, coffee” or “Why the **** is this code producing this result? I really wish I used more comments when I wrote this a year ago”

    I think programmers realise the rest of the world (excepting scientists (excepting biologists)) are weird, but overall they have bigger problems that need solving that (Such as “why won’t this code compile”.)

  12. @ Jim Jam,

    EM is just too smart for the typical voter?

    Well, we know from that Mail article that he predicted the recession when almost none of the world’s financial experts or economists could see it coming!

  13. I remain astonished that 92% of the population think these debates are worthwhile….

    They have an almost universal cynicism of politicians yet they want to hear them regurgitating the same old nonsense live on TV. I just don’t get it.

    I guess most of them are hoping that at least one of them makes a complete tit out of himself.

  14. @ Alan (from previous thread)

    Thanks for your continuing efforts to fathom out how the Electionforecast model works. Perhaps we’ll get there before May 7…

  15. @ Spearmint

    Are you struggling to find a tactful way of saying that Anthony & I are a wee bit thick? ;-)

  16. Something else from that Sunday Times poll: how popular the minor parties are in GB as a whole.

    Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if the following held the balance of power in coalition formation after the election:

    SNP
    Good: 14
    Bad: 52
    Neither: 16
    DK: 18
    Net approval: -38

    Greens
    Good: 34
    Bad: 26
    Neither: 24
    DK: 15
    Net approval: +8

    Ukip
    Good: 26
    Bad: 52
    Neither: 10
    DK: 12
    Net approval: -26

    Lib Dems
    Good: 21
    Bad: 42
    Neither: 23
    DK: 14
    Net approval: -21

    So in GB as a whole the SNP are staggeringly unpopular, worse even than Ukip and the Lib Dems. Meanwhile, everyone loves the Greens, who have occupied the Lib Dems’ old spot as the cuddly none-of-the-above option.

    Also interesting- Tory net approval of Ukip as a possible coalition partner is -17. It’s best of the three but hardly promising.

    I think this does complicate the coalition-formation situation for Labour, as it’s pretty compelling evidence that a Lab-SNP coalition would not be met with enthusiasm in England and Wales. Miliband’s best bet is probably just to form a minority government (or make a pact with the Greens) and dare the SNP to vote him out, which would be Labour’s natural inclination anyway.

  17. @ Amber Star,

    No, no! “Unduly concerned”, is the phrase I might use. ;)

  18. @ Spearmint

    “Unduly concerned”, is the phrase I might use.

    Nice 1, you’re very good at the tactful stuff. :-)

  19. (Also I think I was trying to say that there was no way to word the question better, and the answers are therefore in the hands of Providence and the arbitrary unpredictability of polling panels.)

  20. @Anthony

    Out of curiosity do you know if any pollsters are running estimates on what voting intention would be like if AV were the system no FPTP?

  21. @Alan

    “I really wish I used more comments when I wrote this a year ago”

    I never use comments. Looking back over old code is always a wee adventure. :))

  22. @Spearmint

    “So in GB as a whole the SNP are staggeringly unpopular”

    For GB, read Scotland and for SNP, read Conservatives. Each are regional to many of the others’ supporters.

    I can see the next Wings poll:

    “Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if the following held the balance of power in an SNP coalition formation after the election”

    Conservatives -80
    Labour -60

    :))

  23. Sorry to post off the immediate thread topic, but I have been doing quite a bit of spreadsheet work to extract the following information and I didn’t feel like just filing it away.

    In anticipation of the publication of the Ashcroft Scottish constituency polls I have checking the degree of alignment between the state-of-play as seen by the two models that offer seat-by-seat projections: Electionforecast and May2015. In some cases the discrepancies are quite remarkable. Look at Glasgow East for example.

    When the polls eventually come out it looks as if one or both of the modelling groups is likely to emerge with egg on their faces.

    (I am not sure how the formatting will work when the comment has been uploaded .. so, apologies if it gets messed up.)
    ————————————————
    Constituency by constituency assessments of how things currently stand in Scotland:

    Entries occur in the order: Constituency; May2O15 (Jan 17 dowload);
    Electionforecast (Nowcast also downloaded on Jan 17)
    ===========
    Aberdeen North SNP over Lab by 19.52 Lab over SNP by 1
    Aberdeen South SNP over Lab by 19.86 Lab over SNP by 9
    Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine SNP over Con by 14.58 SNP over Con by 20
    Airdrie and Shotts Lab over SNP by 0.93 SNP over Lab by 10
    Angus SNP over Con by 30.47 SNP over Con by 35
    Argyll and Bute SNP over Con by 26.73 SNP over Lab by 31
    Ayr Carrick and Cumnock SNP over Lab by 6.37 Tie SNP/Lab
    Ayrshire Central SNP over Lab by 8.78 SNP over Lab by 6
    Ayrshire North and Arran SNP over Lab by 14.23 SNP over Lab by 19
    Banff and Buchan SNP over Con by 31.04 SNP over Con by 41
    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk SNP over Con by 3.55 SNP over Con by 9
    Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross SNP over LD by 32.11 SNP over Lab by 31
    Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill Lab over SNP by 15.95 SNP over Lab by 4
    Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East SNP over Lab by 1.25 SNP over Lab by 15
    Dumfries and Galloway SNP over Lab by 1.53 Lab over SNP by 10
    Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale SNP over Con by 2.69 SNP over Con by 8
    Dunbartonshire East SNP over Lab by 21.9 SNP over Lab by 12
    Dunbartonshire West Lab over SNP by 7.59 SNP over Lab by 13
    Dundee East SNP over Lab by 40.5 SNP over Lab by 34
    Dundee West SNP over Lab by 16.57 SNP over Lab by 15
    Dunfermline and West Fife SNP over Lab by 8.59 Lab over SNP by 12
    East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow SNP over Lab by 6.87 SNP over Lab by 14
    East Lothian SNP over Lab by 12.39 Tie SNP/Lab
    Edinburgh East SNP over Lab by 19.07 SNP over Lab by 9
    Edinburgh North and Leith SNP over Lab by 17.06 Lab over SNP by 5
    Edinburgh South SNP over Lab by 18.16 SNP over Lab by 11
    Edinburgh South West SNP over Lab by 11.2 Lab over Con by 16
    Edinburgh West SNP over Con by 22.34 SNP over Lab by 9
    Falkirk SNP over Lab by 19.97 SNP over Lab by 34
    Fife North East SNP over LD by 24.06 SNP over LD by 22
    Glasgow Central SNP over Lab by 5.2 SNP over Lab by 10
    *Glasgow East Lab over SNP by 5.74 SNP over Lab by 25
    Glasgow North SNP over Lab by 11.25 Lab over SNP by 7
    Glasgow North East Lab over SNP by 21.1 Lab over SNP by 7
    Glasgow North West SNP over Lab by 0.67 SNP over Lab by 12
    Glasgow South SNP over Lab by 5.13 SNP over Lab by 4
    Glasgow South West Lab over SNP by 11.74 Lab over SNP by 29
    Glenrothes Lab over SNP by 7.46 SNP over Lab by 8
    Gordon SNP over Con by 35.7 SNP over Lab by 40
    Inverclyde Lab over SNP by 0.72 SNP over Lab by 13
    Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey SNP over LD by 32.13 SNP over Lab by 20
    Kilmarnock and Loudoun SNP over Lab by 6.95 SNP over Lab by 8
    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Lab over SNP by 15.64 Lab over SNP by 2
    Lanark and Hamilton East SNP over Lab by 7.6 Lab over SNP by 4
    Linlithgow and East Falkirk SNP over Lab by 12.91 SNP over Lab by 6
    Livingston SNP over Lab by 13.61 SNP over Lab by 3
    Midlothian SNP over Lab by 14.12 SNP over Lab by 7
    Moray SNP over Con by 38.11 SNP over Con by 55
    Motherwell and Wishaw Lab over SNP by 7.96 SNP over Lab by 22
    Na h-Eileanan An Iar (Western Isles) SNP over Lab by 45.56 SNP over Lab by 65
    Ochil and South Perthshire SNP over Lab by 26.73 SNP over Lab by 13
    Orkney and Shetland SNP over LD by 4.15 SNP over LD by 8
    Paisley and Renfrewshire North SNP over Lab by 1.03 SNP over Lab by 3
    Paisley and Renfrewshire South Lab over SNP by 6.62 SNP over Lab by 5
    Perth and North Perthshire SNP over Con by 31.64 SNP over Con by 37
    Renfrewshire East Lab over SNP by 6.5 Lab over SNP by 2
    Ross Skye and Lochaber SNP over LD by 17.66 SNP over LD by 35
    Rutherglen and Hamilton West Lab over SNP by 8.18 SNP over Lab by 1
    Stirling SNP over Lab by 14.78 SNP over Lab by 3

  24. @ Statty,

    See also “Liverpool”, “Manchester”, “Sheffield”… It’s not such an insurmountable problem though if your region is the populous South of England, although I think most of us would agree it’s a problem.

    To be politically toxic in ~90% of the country is, I suspect, a barrier to becoming part of that country’s government (unless of course you can lop off the part of the country that doesn’t like you and rule a much smaller country instead).

  25. Spearmint
    Just confirms that the SNP and UKIP are seriously polarising. Their standing in the polls at the moment will also encourage people to come out at vote against them, something that arguably happened in the indyref and may happen in May. I’m thinking both will end up lower than current polls suggest. Don’t discount the Marmite factor.

  26. Tark,
    Ah that fag ash smell.Ugh.

  27. JIM JAM

    Well not talking about it at all seems pretty smart , if people generally wouldn’t understand ,if you did talk about it.

  28. Hi Unicorn,

    We just found your posts from a couple days ago and today, impressive bit of work! We will add a UNS comparison to future posts doing Nowcast comparisons to Ashcroft polls. We had done some quick checks to verify that we were doing at least that well, but it is definitely information we should post in the evaluations.

    A few quick comments covering some of your points.

    1) Our model uses the data from constituency rather than the standard voting question, which is reflected in the relative performance of our predictions versus those two benchmarks. This requires us to do a recalibration of our other constituency-level data to try to make everything comparable. Lots of room for problems there, but it does mean that the fairer test is versus the constituency question.

    2) We do propagate information from previous constituency polls based on a multilevel regression model, but our ability to outperform UNS relies on there being clear patterns in the other constituencies beyond what UNS implies, which is not always be the case. We would love to outperform UNS by more than you observed in your calculations, but we expect this to vary by the constituency groups that Ashcroft polls.

    3) We are fully prepared to have egg on our face re: Scotland, right now we are squinting very narrowly out of one eye in anticipation.

    Could you get in touch via [email protected] so we can ask you a few questions about how you calculated your UNS benchmark and about the regression model you ran on the old Ashcroft polls? We are always looking for good ideas…

    Cheers,
    Ben

  29. @COLIN

    I remain deeply distressed by the complete lack of understanding of economics demonstrated by the great British public. Sometimes I am almost as distressed by their lack of understanding of other quite different matters – such as who runs the health service in their part of the UK but generally economics takes the prize. I was recently informed, in all seriousness, that the country’s economic problems were caused by MPs stealing all the money in expenses. This from someone who had hitherto displayed no obvious signs of insanity. I put it down to the use of calculators in schools. Nobody has any idea where the decimal point should be.

  30. Unicorn,

    Those Scotish seat predictions are certainly a hostage to fortune for May2015 and election forecast.

    Presumably, given the differing results by seat in both directions, these models aren’t based on UNS. Nonetheless, I find it hard to credit a projection of landslide SNP gains wiping out all opposition bar a dozen or so Lab MPs.

  31. @TARK

    The SNP are not polarising in Scotland as I posted on the previous thread from British Future ICM

    Scotland
    Party I would Never vote for

    SNP 33%
    Labour 41%
    Con 64%
    LibDem 66%
    UKIP 67%

    So SNP is a contender with 66% of Scots I can’t imagine any party in the UK beating that score.

  32. Yes the lack of economic knowledge is appaling among some people.

    Was told the other day in no uncertain terms that “while the deficit may be going down, the difference between what the government gets and what is spends, ie the amount it has to borrow is going up.”

  33. Busy day, so only just tucked into my Sunday papers. Rawnsley in the Observer has obviously been reading my posts again because I’m sure I was first to coin the term “gerontocracy”! Maybe not, and he’s on good form again, tackling the disastrously low turnout and registration amongst young voters and how this threatens to undermine our democracy. I thought his point was a good one when he said that while a low turnout amongst young voters might hurt Labour primarily in May, it will have terrible long term implications for the credibility of our democracy, hollowing it out from within as politicians and policy makers pander to the only section of the electorate who can be guaranteed to vote in any great numbers; the over 65s.

    So, Mr Nameless, and all the other young political activists, of whatever political hue, good luck in your attempts to galvanise and engage the young in democratic politics. There are an awful lot of old cynics of my generation who believe politics is just a means of assuaging their well polished and comfortable grievances and would be very happy if the generation who can really shape and change our future stay away from the ballot booths; this May and probably forever.

  34. @RMJ @ Colin
    Regarding your joint lament about the lack of knowledge of economics which the general public have, I should like to make a contribution.

    I did an economics degree. I have read a lot of economics textbooks. If I may paraphrase one of them- “economists are very good at taking each others definitions to the cleaners” i.e. criticising each other. However, when it comes to proposing solutions to problems, they is a lack of consensus. Hence, there is the saying “Put a dozen economists together and you’ll have thirteen different opinions.Another saying saying is “put all the economists in the world end to end and they would n’t reach a conclusion.

    I have reached a conclusion about economics. It is as follows. There is no law in economics such as you find in physics. Therefore you cannot produce results that an engineer or scientist produces. Certainly you can produce theoretical economic models. However, they are just models, which may or may not be close to reality.

  35. “35% of definite UKIP voters tell ICM/British Future survey that they believe Farage will be PM after election.”

    https://twitter.com/MSmithsonPB/status/556907480169869314

    They don’t say how long after…

  36. @Couper

    Shhh! You’ll upset the locals. :))

  37. RMJ1

    Its not good is it?

  38. Colin,

    Serious point is that it is not how Econimically credible the parties actually are that matters but how credible they appear.

  39. Since we’re on the subject of Scotland, my latest chart update:

    http://www.ncpolitics.uk/2015/01/scotland-westminster-polling-labours-fightback-continues.html/

    Since John Curtice already put out his writeup (but not the tables) there’s not much to add for now…

  40. Tark

    Even apart from Couper’s evidence that your assertion somewhat lacks any substantiation about the SNP being polarising, it is meaningless to compare a binary referendum with a multi-party election.

    Under the FPTP system so beloved by Con & Lab, the ABS vote will be split across a range of parties.

  41. @ Paul H-J

    “Presumably, given the differing results by seat in both directions, these models aren’t based on UNS.”

    Correct. Neither set of projections uses UNS. The May2014 site does offer viewers the option of ticking a box and converting to UNS. But this is not the authors’ preferred approach. Moreover, VI change is modelled differently in constituencies where Ashcroft has polled.

    “Nonetheless, I find it hard to credit a projection of landslide SNP gains wiping out all opposition bar a dozen or so Lab MPs.”

    The next batch of Ashcroft polls will give us a much better idea whether we are in the middle of a landslide of this magnitude. With current SNP and Labour VIs, I think these projections are entirely plausible. Far less certain is what eill happen to these figures over the next sixteen weeks.

  42. JIM JAM

    In terms of VI that is always true for political choices-not just the “economic ” ones. How could it be otherwise when politicians fail so abysmally to explain & give honest & straightforward answers.?

    In these circumstances , perception of credibility must be an infinitely variable thing; into which all sorts of factors feed. An amalgam of all the personal experience , impressions & mental crosschecks , and ones own history of listening to all this stuff time & time again -and then observing the actual outcomes.

    It is no surprise to me that so many young people , suddenly presented with the need to actually register themselves to vote , are failing to do so.

    They would need to hear as many years of political obfuscation and half-truth as we have , in order to perceive anything at all.

  43. There going to be a lot of disappointed UKIP supporters then come the Friday Morning after the election. Then. The PM on June 1st will be either Dave or Ed.
    My dad through is considering voting UKIP and he thinks Nigel will be the kingmaker helping Cameron stay in power. He refuses to believe there is a decent chance Nigel wont even be in the commons so I do believe the figures.

  44. Plenty of people don’t follow opinion polling. We, we have to understand, are weirdos. A great number of people who are opinionated if not specifically political go by what’s around them and what people they know believe and say. Speak to a UKIP supporter and they’ll be the kingmakers in May. There are plenty of Green supporters who say “I’m voting for a Red-Green coalition”. Both are unaware (and don’t like to be told) that neither scenario is very likely to take place.

  45. @Statgeek and Alan

    (Sorry this might be lost on some of you)

    Obe of the best program comments I ever saw was made by a young lad who worked for me, and I have shamelessly used it since.

    WHILE 6=6 ‘I am not a number, I am a free man
    .
    .
    IF(SOMECONDITION) GOTO OUTOFLOOP
    WEND

    ——————————————
    Re the polls and other comments:
    It is true that many members of the population are innumerate. The situation is not helped by certain older media presenters who seem almost proud of their lack of mathematical, technical or scientific knowledge.

  46. I wouldn’t worry too much about the economic illiteracy of the mass of the Great British Public. They are no more in the dark on this topic than the economists.

    We’ll muddle through, by and by.

    @Adge – my old economics teacher Mr Duckham taught us that managing an economy was like driving down a hill with an accelerator but no brakes, with only the rear windscreen to look out of.

    Since those heady days of youth, many governments have proved him correct.

  47. Colin,

    You are right of course about the behaviour of politicians (and I would add aided and abbeted by the media) alienating the public and young voters in particular from party politics.

    The fact politicians have to engage with voters who are largely ignorant of issues can’t help though.

    I guess that is why the implied manifesto is so important.

    In the end impressions of whose side you are on, competence and do you seem a reasonable guy/gal etc become more important.

  48. @Colin – for my money (or perhaps for my leveraged credit – who knows?) the greatest act of economic illiteracy has come from those right wing commentators who insist on claiming that national accounts are like household budgets – duh!

    If these same people opted to evict their children and make themselves homeless, because the idea of running at a debt for 25 years to buy a house was wrong, I would give them more credit, but they are so stupid they can’t even see where their own parallel ends up.

  49. @Alec.

    Surely the greatest act of economic illiteracy is believing the reason you have a massive public sector deficit is because the public sector isn’t spending enough money…

  50. @Neil A – it would be, if that’s actually what people thought, but I don’t think anyone actually says that. It’s about cycles.

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