This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. The rest of the poll included questions on Labour and business and on intervention in Iraq.

The Conservatives are seen as having the best policies towards British business by 33% to Labour’s 19%, exactly the same split as on the economy in general. A Conservative victory at the next election is seen as being a good thing for British businesses by 44% of people, a bad thing by 23%. In contrast 43% think a Labour victory would be bad for British business, just 19% think it would be good. These questions don’t, of course, tell us whether people want a government to be good for business – when YouGov asked what the government’s attitude should be towards big business only 38% think government should primarily be supporting and helping big businesses in Britain, 49% think government should be doing more to stand up to them.

Turning to those business leaders who have criticised Ed Miliband this week, 45% of people think that the bosses of large companies should remain politically neutral, compared to 38% who think they have every right to comment on politics. There is sharp political divide on the question – Tory voters think by 59% to 31% that company bosses should intervene in politics, Labour voters think by 59% to 26% that they should keep out of politics. The idea of a CEO living in Monaco and not paying British taxes commenting on British politics goes down particularly badly, with 73% saying the intervention of Stefano Pessina is not acceptable. Nevertheless, people tend to think the criticism from business leaders is genuinely felt – 54% think business leaders are criticising Labour because they think their policies are genuinely bad for British business, 48% think they are doing do for political reasons (these includes 22% who think they are doing so for both reasons equally). 52% think that the Labour party is damaged by the comments.

YouGov also asked about intervention against Islamic State/ISIS. British air strikes against ISIS are now supported by 63% of people. YouGov asked this question very regularly last year when Britain began air strikes against ISIS, back in October 59% supported it, this is now up to 63%. 56% of people would support increasing the level of British air strikes against ISIS, but people remain opposed to putting US and British ground troops back into Iraq. 32% would support sending group troops back into Iraq, the same as when YouGov asked in October.


278 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 33, LD 7, UKIP 15, GRN 8”

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  1. Like Catmanjeff I do not think this election is a matter of life and death, but it is definitely very interesting and hard to predict. I certainly expect to be bleary-eyed the day after election day.

    The outcome, I would suggest, should favour Labour as they have two bites at the cherry, that is first a chance of winning outright, and second the knowledge that in a hung parliament the Conservatives have few possible allies.

    One unknown is the position of UKIP. Last time I looked at Statgeek’s graphs UKIP seemed to be losing support, but we do not know if the previous pattern of gently subsiding support (albeit at quite a high level) followed by a spike at election time will be repeated this time.

  2. Frederic Stansfield

    I’m not sure that such a position would be universally held at every point in British politics.

    Last September, for example ………

  3. FAREHAM GRECIAN

    I’ll repeat what I said to Etienne, I am not a Tory I am an economic Libertarian.

    “The biggest gainers from any income tax cuts, including the raising of thresholds, are always those paying the highest rate, that is the highest earners.”

    All I can say is […].

    As for my own attitude [it wouldn’t be in line with the comments policy, as this is a site about public opinion and polling in general, not to debate each others political views – AW]

  4. AW

    Fair enough, I thought I was commenting on the polls, but agree I overstepped the mark with that last post.

  5. @TOH

    Cons should cut the basic rate or re-introduce the 10% rate & maybe increase the level when people start paying 40%

    Osborne could say:
    ‘Spending under control & he wants to help with ‘cost of living’ & stimulate the economy’

    That’s what I’d do in March if I wanted to win in May.

  6. toh

    “There are some posters here who try to stop others from posting by making snide comments. Sad reflection on them and what they believe.”

    Yes, I thought ole Colin was a bit heavy with Unicorn myself. But s/he didn’t seem overly bothered.

    [Mind you, apart from Anthony, I am not clear how anyone here can stop anyone else from posting.]

  7. Unicorn

    While you are right that a model should “learn”, there is a risk that models are over fitting this new data. It’s akin to drawing a wiggly line through a set of data points when a linear model gives a pretty good fit. It’s interesting to note the discrepancy with a forecaster getting worse with the addition of data. It’s harder to comment on “how close to zero” do the residuals get. If a model consistently ends up far away before a set of polls and heavily corrects to fit the new data, we might be seeing some over fitting and all the model is good for is telling us what we just learned. Ideally the prepolling residuals should reduce as more data comes in.

    The other test of the models would be to compare how well these constituencies are predicted when repolled after a shift in national polling. Ultimately this is the real metric that seat prediction models face, given a set of national polls (and some constituency level polling), which seats are marginal and how are they likely to break. No one will point to how well VI in ultra safe seats were predicted if it missed all the marginal seats.

    To summarise, the best prediction models are ones that predict well in unpolled seats (very tricky to spot correlations with this little data, although demographics might play a part) and in seats that haven’t been polled in a while. The fact the adjust should be reassuring that the model is behaving well, how well it adjusts could be down to over fitting (It’d be relatively easy for a site to “predict” exactly what Ashcroft said yesterday and get a very good score for how it adjust, no matter how poor it’s original predictions were)

    The problem is although Ashcroft data does help capture information in areas where UNS clearly isn’t holding, it is still just a snapshot, and isn’t really suited to making predictions in movement. I’m fairly sure Ashcroft + UNS would give a good prediction of an individual seat, until the point where UNS no longer holds and a new snapshot is needed. Ashcroft is clearly not trying to find out how votes move around YET. Right now it seems he’s trying to find out where the differences between UNS and what is happening at a constituency level.

    I’d hope he at least knows the question he wants answered rather than gathering lots of data and wondering what questions he can answer with it. Seat prediction models are trying to use this data to do more than it was really intended, until there exists data that follows a group of constituencies over time, barring a suite of Ashcroft polls just before the election, I wonder how well these predictors will do compared to an Ashcroft + UNS (which should poll equally well). The whole thing is assuming that constituency level polls don’t have some methodological problem that leads to biased results that need to be corrected for.

    It’d be interesting to see when a group of seats get repolled, to go back to when they were last polled, take the national level of swing between the polls apply it to the first set of polls and see how it “predicts”. Barring some massive political event, such a simple model might well be sufficient. In the event of a massive political event I suspect the attempts at predicting at a constituency level with be seriously hampered, at least until a new snapshot takes place.

  8. [Mind you, apart from Anthony, I am not clear how anyone here can stop anyone else from posting.]

    I agree so presumably they will stop making comments aimed at doing just that. It’s mildly irritating although as AW says it is best to ignore it.

  9. I don’t think tax cuts in this budget are the winner they have been in the past when the economy has been more stable.

    Firstly it opens a debate up about choices “Well if there is room for tax cuts then why aren’t I getting a pay rise in line with private sector” say millions of public sector workers.

    More importantly it dampens the austerity argument that the Tories are relying on. Currently many voters think there is no choice to austerity and it is certainly what the Tories are saying. Tax cuts opens the argument up to there being a choice and “things aren’t as bad as they are saying if they can make tax cuts”.

  10. Frederic Stansfield

    “I fully agree with the majority of people polled who regard it as unacceptable for a foreign national living abroad and not paying taxes on his business in Britain to comment on British politics. I would say it is totally unacceptable and disgusting”

    I rarely post on here – usually content to read the opinions of those more erudite than I, but this I am afraid has brought me out of my shell.

    Why is it disgusting? Why is it unacceptable? You may not agree with what he says, but why should he not say it? I don’t pay any tax in Greece, or US, or France – is it unacceptable and disgusting for me to state my views on Greek, US, or French politics?

  11. Jim Jam

    I think the main influence of the press is that the 24 hour news channels have too much space to fill ordinarily and sometimes, no doubt, are lazy; so they fall back on the press narrative too often.

    Simple example a few talking heads ‘reviewing’ the papers is cheap and easy TV requiring little research by the broadcaster

    This is very true and I think it’s the answer to the paradox that the influence of the Press has increased as their circulation has declined. Although not many people watch the 24-hour news channels, the needs of them have come to dominate how news organisations operate.

    This dictates what filters through to the news that most people actually do consume – on the main bulletins and the headlines on stations like Radios 1 and 2. The cheap, the nearby, the immediate, the easily summarised become what is covered and comment is preferred over analysis.

  12. “I agree so presumably they will stop making comments aimed at doing just that. It’s mildly irritating although as AW says it is best to ignore it.”

    Quite so – that’s what I always try to do Howard. It’s just not that important really.

  13. ROSIEANDDAISIE

    So glad we agree.

  14. Howard

    Yes: a sense of humour and a bit of balance and perspective works for me.

    My daughter’s friend lost her baby, at the age of two months, just after xmas. Most things seem unimportant after that.

  15. Statgeek.

    I do like Pointillism. Such an interesting art form. :-)

  16. @Alistair

    UKIP’s last 4.76 years (pedantic mood).

    https://twitter.com/StatgeekUK/status/564581179605938176

    UKIP having a mixed time at present. They peaked at 16% in October and are currently in the 14-15% realms nationally (depending on which method you use). Add a percent if we’re talking England & Wales. They really struggle in Scotland, and it skews their national VI slightly.

  17. ROSIEANDDAISIE

    What a tragedy, totally agree with you, very sad.

  18. “I do like Pointillism. Such an interesting art form”

    Can’t see the point of it meself.

  19. @ Alan

    As usual, I agree with almost everything you say. Overfitting is definitely apparent in the post-polling error metrics. To establish thiis, I did a little Monte Carlo simulation in which I campared the Euclidean Distance metrics for a thousand artificial poll/prediction comparisons. Each VI was sampled from the population distribution N(0, 1.5) [Normal Distribution with mean zero and SD = 1.5 – the rough equivalent of a thousand respondent poll]. From memory, the mean error score was about 5. So, assuming that a prediction has the same uncertainty as a poll (dubious) the best you should be able to do is get error scores down to about this level. As two of the models did better than this, they must have been overfitting.

    I also agree with your comments about the theoretical benefits of repolling. But I don’t think Lord Ashcroft is going to spend his thousands to help the work of the modellers. So, we’ll just have to live with what we have.

  20. @Alister1948

    Minimum seat count for Conservatives to get a majority within a 3-party coalition (2 party is harder) I reckon is around 286 seats, assuming SNP won’t touch them with the proverbial. For Labour, assuming SNP might help them out, I reckon it’s a minimum of 256 seats.

    I don’t see a way of either large party getting into power in any form without the SNP lending a hand. After all those years of nationalists complaining about Westminister controlling their patch, and now the favour is being returned – what irony.

    Or else the polls will shift. Ahem.

  21. UKIP having a mixed time at present.

    —-

    I am one of those who maintained all along that UKIP would be the dog that didnt bark at this election.

    It still seems that way to me.

    On the one hand they have done incredibly well; 16% or so in the polls and seats in Europe and at local level.

    But they were only ever going to win, at most, perhaps 8 seats. Probably less. And, consequently, they were never likely to play any role in the next government.

    A lot of politicians. and the media in general, have mistaken the loudness of the UKIP message for it’s popularity.

    As things stand, if UKIP want to progress they need to take and keep LAB votes. (Something UKIP have only woken up to in the last 12 months). And whether they make more effort in that manner in the next five years.. will affect whether or not they disappear as a political force.

    Their only other hope of remaining significant is to force a CON split into, if you like, Thatcherite/UKIP wing and One-Nation/Heathite wing. It is a division long overdue. But will it happen…… I’m not so sure.

  22. @DiF

    One thing that constituency polling might help with would be UKIP’s concentration (or a lack thereof), or if their VI is spread evenly.

  23. @ Statgeek

    Interesting graphs as ever.

    Visually it looks as if Ukip’s recent faltering may be linked to a real VI drop in the North. Perhaps this undermines their official line that they are drawing support just as much from Labour as from the Tories. To me, that claim never really rung true. For all the murmurings about Labour defections there haven’t been any high profile changes. Also constituency polling hasn’t show equivalent levels of threat to the two major parties. If that threat is now receding in areas of Labour ascendency it may be safe to treat Ukip’s influence as merely splitting the right-wing vote. But then London tells a rather different story…

  24. @DavidinFrance

    “But they were only ever going to win, at most, perhaps 8 seats. Probably less. And, consequently, they were never likely to play any role in the next government.”

    I’d be staggered if UKIP came close to 8 seats in May, but that isn’t really the point. As Curtice pointed out on the radio this morning, FPTP favours the party that best concentrates its votes geographically (i.e. SNP who could be the third biggest parliamentary party but come sixth in votes cast), but UKIP’s influence will be most keenly felt in terms of how they influence closely fought two or three way contests in marginal constituencies. They won’t win them, but if they poll significantly, who’s votes they’ve most stolen will influence the result. If they poll nationally what they did in 2010, about 2.5%, then their capacity to influence will be minimal, but if they poll anything like 10-12%, they will be influencing countless constituencies and, ipso facto, the result of the General Election.

    On a much smaller scale, admittedly, I saw this effect at play in the May 2014 local elections. They won few council seats in my town, but disrupted the Tory vote sufficiently to let in Labour in four seats that ultimately took the council from NOC to Labour gain.

    No councillors but, oh boy, didn’t they just influence the result.

  25. I think for UKIP to succeed in Westminster they need a two pronged strategy in England…Sort of a North/South approach. The simple message of immigration and a EU exit doesn’t resonate universally across England so maybe if they go in heavily in the North on immigration and in the South go heavily on an EU exit they could pick up some left over scraps from Labour and the Tories who feel their parties are out of touch on both issues.

    Personally I would like UKIP to come up with a strategy in Wales (where they appear to be doing extraordinary well) to appeal more to Welsh speakers and as such should change their name to “deyrnas unedig parti annibyniaeth cymru” or simply DUPAC!

  26. N.Scot

    “@R&D

    I challenge you to tell an interesting story about Doncaster that doesn’t involve a Little Chef (or Ed Miliband).”

    I once drove though Donneh en route to the local airport – there were no signs for it anywhere !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How I larfed as the time ticked away.

  27. @ Statgeek

    Scotland voting intention: like driving late at night in a severe storm. No wonder we all have such difficulty in agreeing on the details we can discern out there.

  28. On the Yougov poll, the Scottish Tories are on 22% and Labour on 25%. So, using the infallible method of looking at crossbreaks, we can conclude that (a) crossover is imminent and (b) we’re seeing a rather delayed swingback from about 55 years ago.

  29. N. Scot,

    I changed trains at Doncaster when I was on my way to campaign in the Newark by-election. Doncaster station has a really good system which shows where East Coast Trains carriages will be on the platform, allowing you to get in the right place before the train arrives for getting your booked seat.

    Maybe not interesting, but certainly a system other rail operators could adopt.

  30. unicorn

    “I did a little Monte Carlo simulation in which I campared the Euclidean Distance metrics for a thousand artificial poll/prediction comparisons. Each VI was sampled from the population distribution N(0, 1.5) [Normal Distribution with mean zero and SD = 1.5 – the rough equivalent of a thousand respondent poll]. From memory, the mean error score was about 5 etc etc etc etc etc etc…………..”

    These posts should come with a government health warning and be flagged up with:

    “This post contains sums but no banter.”

    At least you spelled “compared” wrong.

  31. @Allan

    UKIP should do a lot more to celebrate the diverse tradtions part of the UK, it would work well for them. Will not happen under Farage whose very single minded in that everyone should be a bit like him and his mates.

  32. STATGEEK

    Excellent ” Pointillism” graph. It will come in handy on May 7?? when it picks up the anticipated seismic activity we are eagerly waiting on.

  33. FRASER

    “. Will not happen under Farage whose very single minded in that everyone should be a bit like him and his mates”
    ____

    I rather like Farage’s persona and commend it to the masses. ;-)

    https://camillerharding.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/brit-holidays.jpg

  34. Unicorn

    I think we can add “with a broken set of windscreen wipers and all of the road signs being considerably outdated” to your analogy.

  35. I misread that as Monte Carlo ‘stimulation’. Sounded fun.

  36. Andy

    A cross comparison between December polls and the first week of February does not show a crossover is coming. By my calculations Labour go from 32.5% to 33.1% and Conservative from 31.7% to 30.8%. The gap between the two is widening not getting closer.

    Meanwhile UKIP barely moves from 15.6% to 15.4% and the LDs go from 7.6% to 7.2%. The Green Party is up from 5.9% to 7.3% and other declines from 6.7% to 6.2%.

    No one has really moved beyond the margin of error, so it is a bit like a horse race where they are all waiting in the paddock to be called out before the starters gun goes off.

    Whoever said LD would get 14% needs to go and look at the post 2014 European byelection results. Historically Green support usually drops once the writ is out, but the firmness of the Green vote may prevent that from happening this time.

    Oh yes when I said a decline of 18% I meant that the Green vote had declined from 9.8% in the south (southeast and southwest) to to 9% now.

    I would think LD is at it’s core, but then results from Scotland really surprise me and if that translates into England as well who knows what will happen.

    I stil think we could see some movement from UKIP to the Tories if it becomes obvious that Labour is going to win and from Green and LD to Labour if the Tories are ahead.

    Though I suspect that the LD supporters that are left are not the centre left support that was there in 2010, as that has already migrated back to Labour and over to the Green party.

    I wonder whether in Scotland the that remaining LD support has gone to the Tories, as that is who I suspect are still left supporting LD, those who agree with the coalition.

    Why would you stay supporting a party that you did not believe should be in coalition with the Tories?

    The other interesting but minor point is to track the size of the smaller party vote, outside of SNP and PC. In Canada that expanded during the early 1990’s, but has since contracted back to almost nothing again.

    You saw that in Scotland and the southwest during the 2014 European election whereby the number of parties running shrank considerably and the anti-Eu vote coalesed, more or less, behind UKIP.

    So in this general election will the BNP, English Democrat, etc vote go to UKIP? And will the ultra-left fractions vote coalesce behind the Green Party?

    My money is on understanding the regional and sub-regional texts in this election.

    Will LD hang on better in the southwest as that region has an older demographic and that is the one group who are still supporting LD in larger numbers.

    Will the size of the UKIP vote undermine the Tories in the North and is the UKIP vote holding up best where there have been race relations and anti-immigrant tensions.

    Can you cross compare current UKIP support, with contituencies where BNP and National Front support was higher?

    In the absence of some clearly resonating national issues the tapestry of an election is woven in the subtext (ie Scotland and the referendum), so are there some burning regional issues that come to mind?

    In conclusion, historically, the Green party vote has oscillated with the rise and fall of social democatic party support, except that in the late January Queensland election Labour went from 26.6% in 2010 to 37.5% in this and Green from 7.5% to 8.4%.

    The issue 23%, un and underemployment and an attempt by the centre-right government to sell off state assets to balance the books.

    A centre right government with 73 out of 89 seats, Labour only hung on to 7 in 2010, has been reduced to 39 seats (including the Premier losing his seat) after one term and Labour are sitting on 44 seats as counting concludes and have the supoport of lone independent to form a majority.

    So what is the subtext in the UK election that is driving the current polling numbers?

    And for the LDs be aware that the centrist Democrats have disappeared off the political landscape in Australia and that in Germany the Free Democrats are having a very hard time meeting te 5% electoral threshold.

  37. Something that confuses me is the often stated ‘Lib Dem voters will move to Tory to block Labour’ or vice versa, so we should see Tories or Labour increase in vote share as we get closer to the election.

    But if you look at the graphs on the right – the last few weeks of all prior elections, there has been no great surge for either Labour or Tories, but actually in the opposite direction, towards the Lib Dems.

    It doesn’t really make sense to me, the logical argument is that tactical voters migrate to the main parties, but in the past the opposite has been true – tactical voters migrated to the third party to block the main parties.

    Now that we don’t really have a strong third party, with UKIP, Greens and LD’s all vying to be that third party though, that may confuse the tactical vote this time round.

  38. @Oldnat / Unicorn (Pointillism / severe storm)

    Ha. It’s not pretty stuff, is it? At least it’s not a straight line with 99% of the chart being blank.

    London’s chart is slightly better:

    https://twitter.com/StatgeekUK/status/564807794969153537

    @Unicorn (UKIP in the North)

    Part of the equation might be the ‘chosen party of protest’. In Scotland, it seems to be the SNP at present, while across England & Wales UKIP seem to replaced the Lib Dems. However, I imagine even the protest voter who was inclined to the LIDs might not be equally inclined to UKIP.

    Perhaps we should consider left-wing* protest votes (Lib Dem / Green / PC / SNP / Respect) and right-wing* protest votes (UKIP / BNP / SNP**).

    So a protest voter who would be Labour when Labour is doing all the right things might shift to Lib Dem at other times, but the Lib Dems went and joined the Conservatives, so the Greens are getting the attention.

    So is the North’s UKIP VI coming from the Conservatives? If we look at the North East and North West from the BBC’s ‘Election 2010’ pages we see:

    NE: Con 23.7%, UKIP 2.7%, BNP 4.4% (Tot: 30.8%)
    NW: Con 31.7%, UKIP 3.2%, BNP 2.1% (Tot: 37.0%)

    Adjusting for populations and merging the two, we get:

    Con 29.7%
    UKIP 3.1%
    BNP 2.7%

    Total: 35.5%

    Current average of the last ten YG polls in the North:

    Con 28.9%
    UKIP 14.5%

    Other is 1.7% and we might assume any number of ‘Other’ parties, including Respect, so for this example, I’m assuming that the BNP has largely been absorbed by UKIP (not making a political statement, rather I’m trying to keep the data easy).

    Total: 43.4%

    So…the BNP as was in 2010 has not inflated this number to 43.4% (almost a rise of 10% points). We don’t generally associate Lib Dem voters (or indeed protest voters) with UKIP. So it is probably one of two possibilities:

    1) Labour defectors – UKIP trying to be the party of the white, working class voter…a label that Labour has struggled to demonstrate in recent years.

    2) Churn…more likely, as Lab and Lib voters go quiet, and WNV / DNV folk from 2010 and perhaps before come out as UKIP are representing them (they believe).

    Labour’s 2010 showing was about 40.6%, while their recent ten-poll average is 41.7%, which isn’t down on 2010. Ergo, I opt for the latter scenario.

    Lib Dem folk have gone to Lab or Green (the latter being up 6%). Some Lab or DNV folk have gone to UKIP. Lab are barely up on 2010 and Con are down a little. Another way to look at it is that there has been a Con to Lab swing of about 1%, with the North taking VI from the Lib Dems. :))

    * I do not define party ‘x’ or ‘y’ as left or right wing; rather I err on the side of traditional collective opinion for the sake of this example.

    ** Tartan Tories?

  39. Andy

    Yep, one of the things that I see that has happened is that the number of voters supporting Conservative and Labour has shrunk from 67% in 2010 to just under 64% in 2015.

    If this becomes an election where 36% of the electorate says no to either Labour or Conservative, then the swing (leaners) will swing between the other parties, hence the swinging now going on in the polls between LD and Green.

    The firmness of the SNP and UKIP voter is around 87% and 88%, as compared to 79% for Conservative and Labour, with Green on 76% and LD on 70%.

    But I had not assumed that voter firmness means they would necessarily stay with that Party. What you see Richard, in my humble opinion, especially in 2010, is voters getting fed up with Cameron and Brown and moving over to Clegg instead.

    In Scotland the swing could be between SNP and others, whereas, in England you could actually, believe it or not, see some swing going on between UKIP and Green.

  40. Lord Ashcroft [email protected] · 32 secs32 seconds ago
    Ashcroft National Poll, 6-8 Feb: CON 34%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%. Full details on @ConHome, 4pm.

  41. Just to balance those objective poster(s) who regularly update us on the disasters that have befallen Hollande’s government in France and those that are about to crash on to the heads of the Syriza administration in Greece, I thought I’d bring everyone up to speed on the fortunes of Mr Abbott’s recently elected centre-right Liberal Government in Australia. Poor old Tone has plumbed unpopularity depths hitherto unseen for a serving Prime Minister and his government is faring little better. He’s just scraped through a leadership spill motion vote, but the prognosis doesn’t look good for him with many of his own party’s MPs wanting him to quit. Tone’s going down the tubes rather quickly and his proposal to knight Prince Philip hasn’t gone down too well either. Oh dear.

    I was in Australia during the 2013 election campaign and it was interesting to see how Abbott operated. Viscerally anti-immigration and anti-state, he hoovered up voters disillusioned with a tired and failing Labor Government led by a deeply unpopular Kevin Rudd. Rudd was portrayed as a bit of a Gordon Brown by Abbott and a largely right wing press, somebody who “failed to fix the roof when the sun was shining”. The Liberal’s critique of Rudd was Crosby-esque in conception and execution and similar to Cameron’s semi-successful campaign in 2010. However, it’s all gone pear-shaped very quickly and I gather the voters are pining for the the old tax and spenders! Politics, bloody hell(as old Sir Alex would say).

    @R&D

    Doncaster tales. Went on a cricket tour to Donny circa 1974 and stayed in the great Rackthorpe Arms Hotel. We used to have a Fines Committee every day and the Fines Chairman would get up after every game, late in the night, and announce which players, from both teams, would receive fines and for what offences. After a couple of nights in the Fawlty Towers like Rackthorpe Arms, the Committee decided that the most severe fine would be to be booked into the hotel for additional nights after the tour had finished!! :-)

    Great memories though of games against Barnby Dun and Bentley Colliery and locking horns with many a Geoff Boycott aficionado, both on the pitch and in the bar. The Tykes did us on the pitch but couldn’t compete with our Worcestershire bred consumption of ale!

  42. The North’s 1150 polls…note that the polling at the 2010 end of the chart bears no resemblance to the 2010 Election VI in the North (Con 30% and Lab 40%)…

    https://twitter.com/StatgeekUK/status/564816374208290816

  43. @Andy

    But I had not assumed that voter firmness means they would necessarily stay with that Party. What you see Richard, in my humble opinion, especially in 2010, is voters getting fed up with Cameron and Brown and moving over to Clegg instead.
    ________________________________________

    But the problem with that theory is that it happened in every graph on the right, for elections from 1979 onwards? (bar ’87 which has no graph) So it must be something more than just the personalities?

  44. The Ashcroft poll is very volatile as usual, 3 point Tory lead! I find that hard to believe.

  45. I liked this from the Ashcroft focus groups.

    The idea of English Votes for English Laws had not managed to capture the imagination of our participants, or sometimes their understanding (“is it when you’ve got to prove you’re English for certain things, like using the NHS?”).

    A useful reminder that politics passes most people by.

  46. ashcroft could be right and the others wrong! If the tories will the election by 3 points, the likes of ashcroft will have a field day.

    i don’t trust his polls, given the “corrections” he has publicly had to make….still i think a tory lead on polling day is distinctly possible.

    I actually think if Miliband had just read his conference speech off the autocue, he would be in a slightly better position. That speech triggered all kinds of adverse media which then magnified itself and was rounded off by the Jason Cowley NS piece which then fed into the various rumours of plots which then fed into VI.

    If you are going to ride a bike with no hands, (ie deliver a speech without notes) you’ve got to make sure you can ride the bike easily enough. Labour have been badly let down by Ed’s poor presentational skills, and lack of self-knowledge.

    The conference speech need to be anodyne, but he did so badly that it set off a run of bad press …

  47. Reading Ashcrofts summary it looks like hes picked up small movements across all the parties leading to an upward movement for the Tories. In a five party state this is understandable.

    Suggest however its very precarious for both main parties (no matter the polls) to be so close to each other on the polls.

    If we get a very mixed bag on the marginals – which of the two parties are best positioned?

  48. The Ashcroft Poll has me thinking. What series of Polls, over what period would we need to see for the learned statisticians among you to pronounce that the Tories actually do have a marginal lead?

    A series of three polls with Tories 2 up on labour?
    A series of say five polls with tories 1 up on labour?

    What is the trigger for it to be said that purely on VI (forget seats etc) tories actually have a lead?

  49. Ashcroft was the closest pollster to 0 on both axes in AW’s recent house effects chart.

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