Monday tends to be the busiest day of the week for polling (not least because phone polls are mostly conducted across the weekend). We have four polls due today: Populus, Ashcroft, YouGov and ComRes. ComRes’s poll tonight will be in the Daily Mail, who seem to have taken over ComRes’s phone polls from the Independent, their host since 2006.

The twice-weekly poll from Populus has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6% (tabs here). This is their first poll of 2015 not to show a Labour lead.

The weekly poll from Lord Ashcroft meanwhile has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 8% (tabs here). This is his largest Labour lead of 2015 so far, and UKIP are sharply down – 11 points is the lowest UKIP have recorded in an Ashcroft poll. The online/phone poll contrast in terms of UKIP support seems to be alive and well, with the last three phone polls from MORI, ICM and Ashcroft giving UKIP scores of 9, 9 and 11 respectively, but online polls continuing to show them in the teens.

UPDATE: Here are tonight’s other two polls. ComRes in the Daily Mail have figures of CON 34%(+3), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 13%(-4), GRN 8%(+1). The two point Conservative lead is the largest ComRes have shown since 2010, and their UKIP score is the lowest since last Spring. Meanwhile YouGov in the Sun have topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%.

Putting today’s four polls together we have one Labour lead, one Tory lead, and two polls showing the parties neck-and-neck – all perfectly in line with normal sample variation around the parties being pretty much neck-and-neck, probably with Labour just ahead. Note the UKIP picture though – all the regular phone polls have them at their lowest score for some time, and 13 points is equal to YouGov’s lowest score for them this year. The trend is difficult to discern given the wide variations between different pollsters, but looking at the average of the February polls so far UKIP do seem to be down slightly.

364 Responses to “Monday’s polls – UPDATED”

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  1. Roll A Hard Six

    I’m sure that’s the case.

    Because of the existence of the Holyrood list system, supporters of smaller parties (including the Lib Dems) know that there is a vehicle for their party having a voice in the legislature, so there is less pressure on them to vote for it in FPTP Westminster.

    Standing candidates in 2015 is either sensible name recognition tactics for 2016 – as with Greens and SSP – or pretensions to being a “big boy party” by putting up nominal candidates in most seats – like LDs and UKIP.

    Brenda must be rubbing her hands in glee at all these contributions to her private purse!

  2. @Shev

    “I’m suspicious of the Ashcroft poll so my sense is that Cons are gaining, possibly nudging ahead.”

    Not sure who posted thwt comment but there are a couple of things that can be said about it.

    Nudging ahead? Unquestionably false, Take any reasonable number of recent polls and you will find that Labour is still reliably ahead of the Tory VI. We are certainly still some distance from crossover (though this is predicted to occur before May 7 even on the bssis of continuing trends).

    Gaining on Labour? Certainly true if you take the figures for the whole of the last 14 months. The two parties’ trend-lines have been converging reliably over this period. However, if you concentrated on just the last couple of months, I doubt whether you could show any statistical evidence of convergence between the two sets of VIs.

    The best description of the recent polls is that the main parties are hugging their trend-lines, while Ukip and the LDs are shifting a little away from theirs – but not by enough to have any big effect on seat tallies.

  3. @RaHS

    It certainly looks like the Scottish Greens will take somewhere between 6 and 10 MSPs in 2016 on current polling numbers.

    They are insulated somewhat by strongholds in Glasgow and Edinburgh which returned them with 2 MSPs even on a relatively low national percentage (4%) in 2011.

    Based on the European elections UKIP have a relatively even spread of appeal scross Scotland so it’s a bit trickier for them in that they probably need 5% nationally to see a single MSP (and they only scored 1% in 2011). The flipside is that if they can score 6-7% they could easily get 6 MSPs.

    Both parties could end up with more elected representatives for Scottish Parliament seats than for post-2015 Westminster seats.

    That will probably depend on how well LiS do in plurality seats. On current numbers they’re likely to get very few of them but to be head of the queue in some regions when the d’Hondt divisor is first calculated.

  5. @oldnat

    I have for some time been intrigued by the variables that could derive from Holyrood’s D’Hont/AMS electoral system being adopted for Westminster elections.

    It always had the ”something for everyone” appeal i.e. keep your link to your local representative but get a ”broadly” proportional result (of sorts) overall. Though, in retrospect, perhaps Labour wishes it had gone for straight PR for Scotland instead…

  6. COUPER2802

    I’m not saying that what she did or said was acceptable. I am arguing that she seems a Robinson’s jam jar short of a full cream tea.

  7. @ Old Nat,

    Don’t the E&W Greens have professional broadcasters in their ranks who could help?

    I think an accountant might be more useful. Bennett’s real problem isn’t that she gives unpolished interviews, it’s that the Greens’ sums don’t add up and anyone who asks about them is going to get an answer that’s transparently gibberish.

    The astounding thing is that she crashed on Marr for the exact same reason a few weeks ago, so you’d have thought they would realise they have a massive problem here and take steps to fix it.

    @ Crossbat,

    Eh, if you can’t be bothered to vote you clearly don’t mind who forms the government. It’s tacit approval. It’s not like people who can’t be bothered to fill in a ballot are going to start a revolution because only 25% of the population voted for the Government.

  8. With the appropriate Scottish cross break

    Populus: Con 267; Lab 302: Lib 25: SNP 32; Oth 23
    Ashcroft: Con 233; Lab 327; Lib 19; SNP 49; Oth 22
    Comres: Con 281; Lab 283: Lib 18: SNP 46; Oth 22
    Yougov: Con 272; Lab 302: Lib 19; SNP 35: Oth 22

  9. @ Roll A Hard Six

    “Though, in retrospect, perhaps Labour wishes it had gone for straight PR for Scotland instead…”

    It would not surprise me if there was a correlation between a given electoral system and how people considered who to vote for. Whatever the system, we probably get the government we deserve (perhaps with the exception of FPTP in a non-two party system…sounds familiar).

  10. @ Johnb160,

    This is why I think the betting markets are a little confused. People don’t understand just how well the Conservatives need to do in order for Cameron to keep his job.

    (And we can safely assume those Lib Dem numbers will be up a bit from UNS due to tactical voting/incumbency, to the Tories’ detriment.)

  11. Its probably best to wait until after the budget as the polls show Conservative and Labour neck and neck on circa 35% a piece. I would guess George has a rabbit or two up his sleeve to entice some of the don’t know’s! We live in very exciting times.

  12. Roll A Hard Six

    As a long time advocate of STV, I was dubious about the AMS system.

    It took a couple of elections for the electorate and parties to “play around” with it to use it to best advantage, but it would be my preferred option now.

    STV has proved too vulnerable to tactical decisions as to how many candidates a party stands in particular wards – even with surplus vote redistribution.

    Were England to adopt an AMS model, I could see a real rise in representation for smaller national parties like the Greens, but also for regional/sub-national parties like Yorkshire First or Mebyon Kernow.

  13. As Barbazenzero says there is a relationship between dominance of the Plurality seats by a single party and the value of the d’Hondt divisor.

    In 1999 Labour won 53 constituency seats and won all the seats in 2 regions and all but 1 in another 2.

    This generates a higher divisor because in some regions Labour had more seats than the d’Hondt divisor would give them because of their plurality success. For example West of Scotland in 1999 Labour received 9 out of 16 seats (56%) on 38.5% of the list vote.

    This higher return for Labour raises the d’Hondt divisor for the other parties with 6.5% being needed for a list MSP there in 1999.

    As we have seen more mixed results the average divisors have decreased:
    1999 6.3%
    2003 6.1%
    2007 5.3%
    2011 5.1%

    If the SNP were to win even more plurality seats in 2016 then divisors could go back up.

    However in 2011 the SNP did significantly overperform their divisor in any region, despite sweeping the constituency board in North East Scotland because they had 52% of the vote they still received an additional list MSP.

    The closest region was Lothian where SNP won 8 of 9 constituencies on 39% of the vote. If they had lost one of those constituencies to Labour then Labour would have kept their 3 list MSPs for 5 Lothian MSPs in total.

    One scenario in 2016 is for SNP to perform strongly in plurality seats winning most constituencies while falling back on the list as the Greens grow in popularity.

    This could lead to d’Hondt divisors rising and the smaller (non Green) parties being squeezed as well as Labour being penalised in a similar way to the SNP in 1999.

  14. Correction:
    However in 2011 the SNP did NOT significantly overperform their divisor in any region.

  15. Mebyon Kernow would still struggle to get anywhere near electing someone under an AMS system because the relevant region would be a lot larger than just Cornwall.

  16. @Hawthorne

    Yes, apparently she phoned a radio show and said she was fine when she went to the Caribbean. She doesn’t seem to have social awareness. An outright racist would probably try to hide the fact.


    re Bennett-she trotted out the same story on DP-numbers to come in the Manifesto.

    Actually, in fairness, that is no different to Lab & Con. Its just that Green policies are so revolutionary in nature , that one wonders how she will ever produce credible costings. On DP this morning she admitted that the Citizens Income thing could not be implemented in “one parliament”.

    Greens are certainly struggling a bit with the examination which comes with the increased VI.

    My feeling would be though, that to the new converts, it doesn’t really matter how their policies are costed. This is a protest looking for a home-by people who would just say-raise taxes-simples.

  18. @JohnB160

    You’re not using the Advanced Swingometer are you? If so, you should bear in mind that its projections are compromised by the fact that it doesn’t take account of local and constituency-level polling information and uses implausible VI-reallocation algorithms.

  19. @ Statgeek

    ‘Scotland might be highest turnout, and there’s every chance that regionally, the SNP might be the most popular party, and yet it will be the party that the rest of the UK will claim has no place in a coalition.’

    I certainly do not believe that the SNP has no place in a coalition or C&S if that’s how the numbers and politics pan out…. so it is a bit of a stretch to lump the attitudes of all rUK-ers together. I just mention this because I find some of the language from north of the border rather alienating. Doubtless, there are advantages to different groups across the whole of GB in fostering that divide but IMO we should not oblige them by pandering to such prejudices.

  20. Sensible advice a few minutes ago from Peter Kellner on Daily Politics. Pretty close to what a lot of us have been saying here..

    President of YouGov Peter Kellner has told journalists to calm down regarding election polls.

    “You should never take one poll to the point where one percentage point makes a difference. What you should do is when you have a skew of polls you should take them together… shake them up.

    “And the story is very simple. Since October, actually, pretty well every poll has shown the two parties level-pegging, or so close together that you might as well assume the Conservatives and Labour are level-pegging.

    “I would advise journalists, politicians, voters – calm down, calm down. If you get one party suddenly going five points up, and then three or four other polls going five points up – something is changing, but we are not getting those movements.”

  21. @Unicorn @JohnB160

    I’m sure you’re right (in fact rather scarily right!) but JohnB160’s calculations are interesting nonetheless.
    Are the ‘implausible VI-reallocation algorithms’ within the Advanced Swingometer itself, or are you referring to the implausible (perhaps) reallocations within the polls them selves?

  22. Surely: if the UKIP vote drops then much of the (drop out) vote will go to the Conservatives? Hence we are now about neck and neck.

  23. Someone pointed out on another thread that recent UKIP converts come fairly evenly from Con and Lab (with some Lib and non-voters). As recent converts are probably more likely to revert to their old party, a drop in the UKIP vote would not favour either Lab or Con to any great extent.

  24. Not sure of the statistical significance but I noticed a drop in the number of voters considering switching parties from 1:4 for the SNP to 1:5, and into the high 30s for Conservative, Labour and UKIP from low 40s.

    To me that says the vote is hardening and while the Greens still face a possibility that a majority could move even that has dropped from high 50s to low. Meanwhile LD are stuck just above 60%, which means they have the softest support.

    On turnout Comres, I think, found that 74% definitely intend to vote in Scotland versus low 60s in England.

    @Roger Mexico

    Unicorn suggested Ii ask about this, notng that Spearmint thought it not appropriate to cross compare elections where the turnout varied markedly.

    That said my observation (1.50 PM February 23rd) was that a comparison of the 2010 vs 2014 local government elections saw LD vote plunge, Conservative and Labour vote drop significantly, all as a result of turnout some would say, except that the number of UKIP voteers increased more than five fold and that for the Green by nearly 11%.

    So I thought it was significant that in the space of four years, when turnout dropped because 2010 was the GE and 2014 the European election, that while the three major parties vote dropped, two minor ones went up.

    Which underscores for me the need to factor in the change of voting patterns between 2010 and 2014 in the weighting formula.

    The average change in support for each party still remains within the margin of error(UKIP closer to the outer edge), but when I see some of the raw respondent numbers being converted to weighted numbers, I am left woindering whether weighting is not distorting true voter intentions.

    My concern, @Roger mexico, is that if swing back comers for Conservative and LD that it will have more to do with weighting than actual change in voting pattern.

    For example, a lot of don’t know LD in an ICM poll would push up the LD support, because ICM converts half (.5) of DK to their 2010 preference. That seems wonky to me.

  25. @PeteB

    Someone pointed out on another thread that recent UKIP converts come fairly evenly from Con and Lab (with some Lib and non-voters). As recent converts are probably more likely to revert to their old party, a drop in the UKIP vote would not favour either Lab or Con to any great extent.

    That is what @CMJ’s churn analyses seemed to show a couple of weeks ago. But the one he posted early this morning told a completely different story. So, this take may be out of date already…

  26. Syzygy

    Might it have been more in tune with your sentiments to have said I just mention this because I find some of the language from both sides of the border rather alienating.?

  27. @ Colin,

    Now now, Labour have costed everything! Ed Balls has assured us that the mansion tax and/or banker bonus tax will pay for every single policy they have, at one time or another. :p

  28. William Hill giving 9/2 on Bennett standing down before the election. Labour have to be praying she stays.

  29. OldNat

    [ComRes coverage is] also obsessed with the EVEL button (but only, it appears, for SNP MPs) – kind of evil EVEL :-)

    Yes I was amused by the spin that they tried to put on the failure of the English to demand that these interfering Scots should be banned from having anything to do with their precious English laws. Clearly any policy that only gets the support of 57% of voters is completely against the will of the people.

    A lot of the opposition is clearly partisan, the 54% of Conservatives opposed may well be aware that a Con-SNP coalition has been ruled out which makes it easy to object to. Even UKIP supporters (at whom I suspect most of this jingoistic nonsense is aimed) are in favour. What Lib Dems there are, are evenly split – perhaps they see being junior coalition partner as theirs by right (is there no end to their masochism?).

    There is a big national difference though. England and Wales are for the idea by 57% to 37%, while Scotland supports by a massive 57% to, er, 41%. So Scots (including 17% of SNP voters) are slight more opposed than rBrits. Though as you say a less formal arrangement than coalition would presumably have even greater support.

    The 55% to 38% support for If the SNP join a national coalition government they should not be allowed to make decisions on laws that don’t impact on Scotland shows pretty widespread support for some sort of EVEL, but is also pretty close to the SNP’s stated policy and again the support in Scotland and even among SNP voters is pretty much identical. Only Labour supporters are (very slightly) against, perhaps thinking as much about their own Scottish MPs as the SNP.

    As I keep on pointing out, EVEL is pretty much unworkable without a separate English Parliament and budget. Even Regional Assemblies wouldn’t help and it would also require the separate setting up of a parallel Welsh legal system as well. And whether something “impact[s] on Scotland” can mean whatever you want it to mean and no doubt will.

    In reality EVEL is about little more than stoking up the fires of English resentment against something or other and inventing another imaginary foe to scare people into voting Conservative. The fact that the electorate don’t seem to be cowering under their beds in fear of the Tartan Horde is reassuring and suggests that the electorate are saner than those who take it on themselves to speak for them.

  30. @GuyMonde

    Are the ‘implausible VI-reallocation algorithms’ within the Advanced Swingometer itself, or are you referring to the implausible (perhaps) reallocations within the polls them selves?

    I was referring to the former. I leave it to @AS and @RM to battle out where things stand concerning pre-publication corrections.

    The AS model assumes uniform swing over the whole of Scotland, different but sgain uniform swings over much of England and so on. As an example of the distortions this causes, with just an 11-point Ukip across English constituencies it “predicts” that Ukip is not in contention in any constituency. The highest Ukip vote in 2010 was 8-9% making the highest VI projection about 20% – which equates to their being nothing more than a minor disruptive influence for other parties. Also, as @Spearmint points out above there are other biases as well.

    Personally, I don’t see what is “interesting” about any set of speculations without a solid foundation. It is as bad as saying swingback will happen just because something similar has always happened in the past.

  31. @ Andy,

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think assuming swingback to 2010 is very sensible either, especially for the Lib Dems. The pollsters have been confronted with a serious weighing and sampling problem because the differences between the people who have stuck with the main parties and the people who have defected to the emerging ones seem to be demographically opaque to them, which gives us a lot of volatility in the polls, repeated and poorly-justified methodology shifts from various pollsters, and general wackiness.

    It’s just that the European Election electorate is so much smaller than the general election electorate that I don’t think you can safely weigh to it either, especially when you take into account the fact that even voters who vote in both elections show radically different behaviour.

    If you want to use that data, the best thing to do might be to go back and look at the 2009 elections and see how they compare to 2010. It’s a very imperfect comparison because Labour were in government then and also the council elections are on a four year cycle rather than a five year one so they don’t match up, but it would at least give you a sense of how voting behaviour differs.

    My suspicion is that the general election electorate is much younger and poorer. We also know that in the past Ukip and the Greens have fared relatively poorly in general elections compared to European elections, although they may now have reached a saturation point where that is no longer true.

  32. @Unicorn – “Not sure who posted thwt comment but there are a couple of things that can be said about it.

    Nudging ahead? Unquestionably false, Take any reasonable number of recent polls and you will find that Labour is still reliably ahead of the Tory VI.”

    This will probably take hours to escape from pre mod, so the thread will have moved on by then and so posting this is probably somewhat pointless, but it was me that made the original statement and I think your response demonstrates the statistician’s problem.

    You deal with historical data, and only historical data. @Shevi and I were making a point expressly about this week – also historical data, but from a limited time span.

    The last 4 polls may challenge your definition of ‘a reasonable number of recent polls’, but they are unquestionably the most recent polls we have.

    I would dispute the reliability of the Ashcroft poll – Labour seems too high, and there is no logical reason for such an increase. If that judgement is correct, then we could begin to argue that qualitatively at least, the polls are showing Cons nudging ahead.

    I do not believe it is legitimate for you to dismiss this view as false. What you can say is that using a longer time series, and including all polls, whether obvious outliers or not, Labour remains ahead. What you can’t say (yet) is whether this still applies to this weeks polls.

  33. Statgeek

    Ironic factoid – Scotland might be highest turnout, and there’s every chance that regionally, the SNP might be the most popular party, and yet it will be the party that the rest of the UK will claim has no place in a coalition.

    Well as you can see from my previous comment the rest of the UK has more sense than to claim that. Not that it will stop other doing so on their behalf.

    I expect Scotland to have an increased turnout (as we saw at the Euros) though whether they will get as high as everywhere in England is another matter. One thing IVR might well do is increase turnout substantially by stripping out non-voters – both validly (died, moved) and invalidly (the sort of people who can’t be bothered to return forms or vote). Of course it may also disenfranchise large numbers of people who want to vote as well, but they are bound to make up a smaller proportion of all those removed than willing voters do of those who remain. Of course whether this is democratically fair is another matter, but it should mathematically boost turnout.

    I’m not really sure how IVR is working out in Scotland. Implementation was delayed till after the referendum, though putting a new system in place eight months before an election was an even more lunatic idea than implementing it in the year before. I’m hoping that Returning Officers are basically ignoring the idea till after May, but it would be useful to get some information on what is happening.

    So if ROs are carrying on as normal, Scotland may end up with a lower turnout simply because their registers are more inclusive. This includes the fact that there was voting at 16 in the referendum. Usually only about half of all 18 year olds (‘attainers’) appear on the register in the year they are first qualified to vote. But already having the records of those who will be coming of age means that more will get the vote (you can see this in the figures).

  34. @Spearmint

    Thanks, I would feel much more comfortable with a weighting system that combined 2010 and 2014 in some kind of combination, and I believe Election Forecast are doing that.

    I agree that depending on the election voters can switch parties for say the European, local government and GE.

    But I am observing, for example, that the oscillation for Labour and Green in 2014 between the EU and local government elections was much less than for Conservative, UKIP and LD.

    Now I am observing in London and the south (southeast and southwest) that polling number for Green are corresponding with EU 2014 voting patterns.

    In British Columbia, where I live, the voting pattern for the Green Party over the last decade has leveled out between our provincial (state/regional) and federal (national) elections.

    In other words this could be the UK election where the UKIP and Green vote settles out at a number well above the 1% to 3% that it was in 2010.

    In part because both parties are running full slates and in more seats will at least send out a leaflet and operate a ground game.

    In 2004 I did some footcanvassing that quite amazed me that despite limited congruence on policy a certain number of voters became determined to vote Green, simply because they were looking for something different.

    In polls that were foot canvassed the vote went from 4% – 5% to 20% – 25%. I have also seen individual poll turnout rise by as much as 50%, especially where high concentrations of youth exist – if their interest is captured.

  35. @Oldnat

    Fair enough – it would also be true to say that I find a lot of language globally, alienating. However, usually for different reasons than in this instance.

    I thought it was clear that I was rejecting the assumption that I (and I imagine, a very large proportion of the population) have any sort of negative feelings towards or desire to do down Scotland or the Scottish. Obviously, if and when such blanket assertions are made from rUK, I want to reject them too.

    Much of the media has ‘dirty hands’ in trying to stir up anti-feelings on all sides and I don’t think that we should buy into it.

  36. Syzygy

    I didn’t imagine for a moment that you would share the Daily Mail view of the world!

  37. Natalie Bennet has cancelled interviews as she is ‘ not well’ some speculation she will stand down and be replaced as leader. Who? And what effect will that have on VI, increased exposure should give Greens a bounce at the right time?

  38. Unicorn

    As far as the Advanced Swingometer goes, if the UKPR one you’re referring to, I don’t think it does anymore than apply UNS to the three countries of GB separately according to the poll figures input. Obviously it works out the English figures by taking the GB polling and removing the appropriate allocations for Scotland and Wales based on the separate polling for those, but there’s probably nothing wrong with that except that it assumes uniform turnout, which is close enough for current circumstances.

    It doesn’t make any further assumption as far as I know and doesn’t apply any data at lower level than country. So local information has to be applied on top. That said I’m not sure that you need to worry because when we’ve seen differences between SVI and CVI on Ashcroft polling it seems to be locally driven and there’s no need to compensate for the extra votes elsewhere in the country. UNS may be pretty good predictor of SVI and the extra changes due to CVI will not appear in normal polling.

    The Electoral Calculus model is very different though and seems to have all sort of funnies in it.

  39. Couper2802,

    Caroline Lucas would be the obvious one, and would probably stick another two points or so on their VI. Other potential candidates include Jenny Jones (who might not say no, no, no, no, no, no to this one) or Darren Johnson, the London AM.

    There’s a twitter account called GreenLeaksUK which has long been interesting to watch. Very critical of Natalie Bennett and now actively advocating replacing her. Not sure how influential that viewpoint is.

  40. Live interviews are very difficult for anyone, I was terrified when I faced this situation a couple of times. I don’t imagine NB will stand down just because of this. Greens do have some other excellent speakers who could take on some of the media load, Shahrar Ali and Amelia Womack (deputy leaders) and Caroline Lucas, as well as Jenny Jones.

  41. @Roger

    “Well as you can see from my previous comment the rest of the UK has more sense than to claim that. Not that it will stop other doing so on their behalf.”

    Just regurgitating what I have read on-line elsewhere. For what it’s worth, I doubt that the SNP want a coalition at all, and would rather have C&S. My point was that electoral representation in the UK is in the eye of the beholder, to the point that those without mandate get heard, while those with mandate get sidelined.

  42. I saw Mike Smithson was Tweeting a fair bit about Bennett. I got the impression he was keen to highlight some weakness (real or otherwise – I didn’t read beyond his headlines).

  43. The problem that Natalie has it that she good at giving passionate speeches about policy, but is terrible at the economics at work behind them. It’s made more difficult for her that she’s arguing from a different economic standpoint. She has to both first explain how the current neoliberal ideas are wrong, the explain how the economics of what she’s proposing work, but she can’t. She’s terrible at explaining it. They need someone who understands economics and can explain it simply to lead their party at the moment, it’s the only way they’ll get any credibility.

  44. Andy Shadrick

    More or less what Spearmint said. I’d only add two further warnings. One is that even two elections with the same turnout may attract different voters – a UKIP voter might be more likely to take part in the Euros, a Lib Dem in locals and so on. Even worse the same voter might well vote differently in different elections – even now there are clearly maybe 10% of all voters who choose UKIP for the Euros and at no other time.

    The second point is that with local elections you need to be careful as to what figures you are using. It’s not only that many Parties may not put up candidates in every electoral district. It’s that many districts may be electing more than one councillor, but some Parties may not put up a full slate of candidates. For example in London where there are many three-member wards, UKIP the Green and even Lib Dems might only put up a single person for the three seats (voters have three ‘X’ votes but don’t have to use them all). Whether you use the total votes for the Parties, the top votes or the average votes will give you very different percentages.

    As to the validity of reallocations I suspect it is a matter of taste. The interesting thing is that at the moment it doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference whether you do it or not. It does help the Lib Dems which might reflect what will happen, even if not for the right reasons.

  45. With the appropriate Scottish cross break
    Populus: Con 267; Lab 302: Lib 25: SNP 32; Oth 23
    Ashcroft: Con 233; Lab 327; Lib 19; SNP 49; Oth 22
    Comres: Con 281; Lab 283: Lib 18: SNP 46; Oth 22
    Yougov: Con 272; Lab 302: Lib 19; SNP 35: Oth 22

    these look like sensible, “ball park” outcomes…with the ashcroft poll being the outlier…

    I would also question Comres on the grounds that 46 SNP seats seems somewhat too ambitious….

    the yougov and populus outcomes seem plausible enough…I expect labour will be lower than 300 but not by that much….the lib dems will be higher, and the tories and snp seem about right.

    Populus: Con 267; Lab 302: Lib 25: SNP 32; Oth 23
    Yougov: Con 272; Lab 302: Lib 19; SNP 35: Oth 22

  46. If Bennett does stand down what’s the procedure? I’d assume there has to be some sort of leadership election, right? How long would that take?

    Unless they let Lucas take it up again unopposed. Does she even want to? Presumably she stood down for a reason.

  47. OLDNAT
    I was dubious about the AMS system.
    It took a couple of elections for the electorate and parties to “play around” with it to use it to best advantage, but it would be my preferred option now.

    It’s probably 2nd best if local representation is important, which I accept it is, but IMO it’s a pity that Lab wouldn’t accept the Jenkins Commission recommendation of AV+. That consisted of AV for the constituency bit plus the existing list system.

    That strikes me as an even better representation of the two needs.

  48. @Statgeek

    “Eh, if you can’t be bothered to vote you clearly don’t mind who forms the government.”

    I think that’s a generalisation. Sure, there will be some who care so little about politics that they neither vote nor care who forms a Government. How many of the 14 million or so who don’t vote these days fall into this category, I’m not sure, but there are many others who don’t. What about these groups, for example: –

    – People so exasperated and disillusioned with the choices on offer that their abstention is the only way they feel they can send a message that adequately expresses their disdain.

    – People virtually disenfranchised by the iniquities of our electoral system.

    – People alienated by the behaviour of politicians, be it the venality of some or the pettifogging infantile antics of others.

    – People who see no evidence that politics has any relevance to them or any ability to change their lives for the better.

    To assume that all those who don’t vote fail to do so because of sheer apathy and couldn’t care less who governs them is a simplistic generalisation and one made by people who tend to be complacently happy to see the continuation of a now virtually defunct status quo. It may be cosy and familiar but it’s broken and failing the country.

    I may be in a minority, but I think our current political system is dying a slow death and the undertakers are the growing army of people in our country who have now all but totally shunned it.

  49. It would sadden me to think that Bennett would go. If she goes on the strength of a blank moment in an interview…who else should go?

  50. Spearmint,

    I had a look at the Green Party Constitution because I was wondering the same thing. The ability to sack the leader lies with the Regional Council, composed of two representatives from each E&W region for a total of 20 Councillors as far as my counting goes.

    Under Section 6, point xi:

    By a two-thirds majority of its voting
    membership the Regional Council may recall
    the Leader or Deputy Leader of Co-Leaders,
    who shall be under suspension until a new
    ballot has been held for both posts at a date
    to be determined by the Regional Council.

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