Ten weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls.

YouGov/S Times (20/2) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
Opinium/Observer (20/2) – CON 35%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
Populus (22/2) – CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
Ashcroft (22/2) – CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 8%
Survation/Mirror(23/2) – CON 28%, LAB 34%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 19%, GRN 4%
ComRes/Mail (23/2) – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 8%
YouGov/Sun (23/2) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (24/2) – CON 35%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (25/2) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (26/2) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
Populus (27/2) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%

The voting intention polls are continuing to show the same stasis we’ve had for the whole of the year so far, Con and Lab almost neck and neck, Labour just a smidgin ahead. Of this week’s polls five showed Labour leads, three Tory leads, three with a draw. The UKPR polling average is wholly unchanged from last week, remaining on CON 32%(nc), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 15%(nc), GRN 6%(nc). Perhaps the most notable change among some very unnotable polls was a change in who commissioned them – ComRes had been the pollsters for the Independent since 2006, but this week switched their monthly telephone poll over to the Daily Mail (they will continue to carry out online polls for the Independent’s Sunday stablemate).

Scottish, London and Constituency polls

TNS put out a new Scottish poll this morning with topline figures for Westminster voting intention of CON 14%(-2), LAB 30%(-1), LDEM 3%(-1), SNP 46%(+5), UKIP 3%(+1) (tabs). The previous TNS poll had shown an SNP lead of only ten points, this TNS poll is far more similar to the Scottish figures being shown by other companies.

YouGov put out a new London poll earlier in the week for the Times with topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 9%, GRN 6%. This gives Labour an eight point lead in the London, but given they won the vote in London at the 2010 electon is actually a slightly smaller Con>Lab swing that in the country as a whole. I wrote more about the poll here.

Finally there was a new Survation poll of Thanet South for UKIP donor Alan Bown, showing Nigel Farage with an eleven point lead. This compares with the Lord Ashcroft poll of Thanet South last November that had, once corrected, shown Farage one point behind the Conservatives. It may be that UKIP have managed to open up a lead in Thanet South since November, but there were also substantial methodological differences between the two polls – the new Survation poll prompted using the candidates names, which may well have helped Nigel Farage as the most well known of the candidates. There were also differences in weighting – Lord Ashcroft weights by recalled vote and by social class, whereas Survation don’t; Survation weight by council wards within the constituency whereas Ashcroft doesn’t. Finally there were don’t knows – Survation exclude them, Ashcroft assumes some vote for the party they did last time. And of course, this is a poll commissioned by a party – that should make no difference to how the poll is done (apart from adding candidate names this is Survation’s regular methodology), but it brings with it publication bias: if parties commission polls and don’t like the results, they don’t publish them.

Week 8

  • Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind were caught in a newspaper sting on MPs taking second jobs. Rifkind stepped down, Ed Miliband promised a ban on second jobs. YouGov polling found only 26% thought that MPs having second jobs helped keep them in touch and was better than full time politicians, 60% thought they should concentrate on their main job and second jobs risked corruption. 54% would support a ban on MPs having second jobs.
  • Immigration figures came out showing net immigration way above David Cameron’s stated ambition to reduce it to “tens of thousands”. I suspect the Conservatives failure to meet the target has long been accepted by the public and priced into their opinion though – early last year the proportion of people thinking it was likely the government would hit their target had already fallen to just 9%. Still, coverage of immigration will likely keep UKIP’s strongest issue high on the agenda.
  • Labour announced their policy on tuition fees. On the principle of who should pay for higher education the public are actually quite evenly split – 43% think it should be paid from general taxation, 42% that students should pay it through tuition fees or a graduate tax. For a reduction in the level of tuition fees though I expect Labour will get the thumbs up – in December YouGov found people were in favour of a reduction in tuition fees by 54% to 21%, even if it meant less funding for universities
  • And the debate debate struggled onwards. At the weekend the papers quietly suggested that the debates may now be dead, on Monday the broadcasters announced the order of the debates (the two big ones first, followed by the Cameron-v-Miliband head to head). For the moment though, it seems to have gone quiet.

Projections

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015 and Elections Etc are below, along with the Guardian’s new election projection. As usual, everyone is projecting an extremely hung Parliament, with the two main parties close together in seat numbers.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 279(-2), LAB 283(+1), LD 23(nc), SNP 40(nc), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 285(+3), LAB 276(-4), LD 27(+2), SNP 39(-1), UKIP 1(-1)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 270(+4), LAB 271(-4), LD 26(nc), SNP 56(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 275, LAB 271, LD 27, SNP 51, UKIP 4


375 Responses to “Ten weeks to go”

1 5 6 7 8
  1. Heil
    Absolutely, and up to the Mersey and Humber, and down to Bristol. Wessex will be a client kingdom of course.

    And on that note – time for bed.

  2. @ Pete B

    “I might have to start the Greater Mercia party.”

    You might get your first recruits from these people:
    http://www.evilmagic.org/mnp/facts.html

  3. “Exactly where non-southerners choose to place the border between “The Midlands” and “The North” is not our business….”

    As a non-southerner who lives in that murky area, it’s an issue of great contention. I tend to believe that the North begins immediately north of Derby.

    Even south of that, it’s spotty. The town where I went to school, Ashby De La Zouch, might as well be in Surrey for all you could tell from looking at it. Coalville five miles away looks like a former pit town in the Dearne Valley.

    Of course to a Northerner, the North begins ten miles south of wherever they are at the time.

  4. I think the solution to our Howard problem is to rename both.

    Newly identified Howard mentioned a connection to Higher Education. Therefore he should be “Prof Howard”

    Meanwhile TRH Howard should be “Sir Howard” just so he doesn’t get title envy of the Prof.

    That leaves “Lord Howard” free should the former Tory leader decide to join the site and update us on the Kent political situation.

  5. @RAF

    Is Bethnal Green and Bow the same area as Tower Hamlets, where the Tower Hamlets First took 34.9% of the vote and 18 council seats to Labour’s 22 and 38.6% of the vote, with Conservative on 5 seats and 12.1% in 2014?

    Mayor Lutfur Rahman, I assume of Tower Hamlets Independents, is now in the high court over an election campaign legal action, presumably brought by Labour supporters.

    Meanwhile no Respect candidate, so far, in the seat where George Galloway won in 2005 and Respect got 16.8% in 2010.

  6. Looking at Opinium, they didn’t have to weight up the Conservatives as much as they did last week, so in that respect their new party propensity weighting is working – if they hadn’t done that last week would have showed a large conservative drop not reflected in other polls.

    Looking at how the party propensity weightings are changing from week to week though, not sure I understand them.

    UKIP weighting started off at 9.8% on 7th Feb, was down to 9.5% by 21st Feb now at 8.9% in today’s poll.

    Lib Dem weighting on the other hand started at 3.5% on 7 Feb, 3.7% 14th Feb, 3.8% 21st Feb and now 4% in the latest poll.

    Green weighting started at 7.1% and has also grown each week and is now 7.6%

    The other main movement has been an increase in the Conservative weighting by .5% since their first party weighted poll until now.

    Not sure I really understand those movements, UKIP possibly has been seeing a drop over the month, and the Conservatives have possibly increased, but we haven’t really been seeing any rise in Lib Dems or Greens that I have noticed that should cause their weightings to move, if anything the Greens seem to be dropping since their last interview.

    Anyway, still early days with this, perhaps it will make more sense in a few weeks time.

  7. @ Laszlo

    Comment apprecisted!

    But…

    I’m not sure about your penultimate paragraph..

    Was that where I threw out some comments about how a ‘good’ model might manifest itself? If so, I have to admit that I haven’t yet had the chance to think it through very well.

    However, it would be odd if (say) six months out an ‘election tomorrow’ model emerged from the exercise as a more accurate GE predictor than any of the models that are claiming to offer projections about seat tallies in the election itself. Models of the second kind explicitly add swingback adjustments in an effort to make their predictions more accurate than they would otherwise have been. To be ‘beaten’ by an election-tomorrow model would imply that these additional calculations are simply not fit for purpose.

    For election-tomorrow models, what I would expect to find would be for predictive accuracy (quantified by Euclidean Distance measures) steadily to improve as the election approaches, reaching their best performance in runs conducted just before the vote itself. On the other hand, genuinely forecasting models (if they work) should be able to anticipate, and build in adjustments for changes that are yet to happen and therefore perform more accurately than their competitors weeks or months out from the GE. A perfect – all-knowing – model would be right on target for every projection made in advance of the election. Impossible, but at least a ‘good’ model should outclass its snapshot competitors in the months before the election. Given this, I think,I at least have an outline of a way of evaluating the various models … which is something that has rather perplexed me up to now.

  8. 100 for Joe Root

  9. @Andy
    “@RAF
    Is Bethnal Green and Bow the same area as Tower Hamlets, where the Tower Hamlets First took 34.9% of the vote and 18 council seats to Labour’s 22 and 38.6% of the vote, with Conservative on 5 seats and 12.1% in 2014?”

    Yes. It’s in Tower Hamlets.

  10. @Mr N
    “Of course to a Northerner, the North begins ten miles south of wherever they are at the time”

    O come on now, it’s more than 10 miles. Vic Reeves’ sitcom “Catterick” is (I think) based on that idea that Catterick is a long, long way away – it’s 15 miles south of Darlington (his home town and mine).

    The Real South starts at Leeds.

  11. @Andy

    Tower Hamlets Council is split into two General Election contituencies, Bethnal Green and Bow; and Poplar and Limehouse.

  12. @ Unicorn

    I think it was the last three paragraphs rather than the penultimate (although that’s the most important). It is far too late now, but I promise that tomorrow I will write it up.

    I really appreciate how in that post you brought together the numbers and the narratives, checking one against the other, allowing for errors, yet I insisting on the evidence. It is just very good (I’m not an authority or anything, but it is just sounded how the analysis should be done).

  13. Spearmint

    Someone here (Roger Mexico?) once calculated how much influence the Lib Dem fortress strategy was likely to have on their overall vote share (this was back when their overall vote share was ~12%, not ~8%. and we were wondering if it could get up to 15%) and it turns out the answer is “shockingly little”.

    The maths is fairly simple. Even if they are averaging a 10 point gain between SVI and CVI (Ashcroft’s last batch showed an average of +14 – but we’ve seen others being lower) and you say they will get this effect in 60-odd seats (their current and a few others) then that still gives only them a one point rise. The rise comes from all the other Parties (pretty much pro-rata) rather than say Labour voters being tactical, and it will be ‘new’ votes so a genuine increase in VI. But not that much.

    At the time I also assumed that maybe half the currently uncertain Lib Dems would go back to where they came, if only for want of anything better. I’m less certain now, the rise of the Greens and their increase in candidates gives somewhere else for those reluctant Xs. And even current Lib Dems show a tendency to go elsewhere because of the collapse of the vote in 90% of constituencies. You only have to look at the fall in somewhere like Glasgow North from 31% to 4%. Her Maj will probably knight Clegg for services to the royal petty cash.

    OTOH I wouldn’t have expected them to be the third best-funded party at this stage either, so they have mysterious support from somewhere…

    Not that mysterious. The Electoral Commission has details:

    https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/Search/CommonReturnsSearch.aspx?type=basicDonationSearch

    £400,000.00 13/11/2014 Central party Mr Max Batley
    £250,000.00 09/12/2014 Central party Mr Dinesh Dhamija
    £250,000.00 02/12/2014 Central party Brompton Capital Limited, 3
    £115,946.50 02/12/2014 Central party Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd,
    £110,200.00 30/11/2014 Central party Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd,
    £78,000.00 13/12/2014 Central party Stobo Castle Health Spa Ltd,
    £65,000.00 31/12/2014 English State Party Mr J Noel Penstone I
    £60,000.00 09/11/2014 Central party Sponsorship Blackfriars Hotels Limited
    £55,000.00 31/12/2014 Central party Lord Alliance
    £50,000.00 19/11/2014 Central party Mrs Jean Vernon-Jackson I
    £30,000.00 17/12/2014 Central party Mr Graham Tobbell
    £30,000.00 29/11/2014 Central party Mr Joe Zammit-Lucia
    £27,000.00 31/12/2014 Maidstone & The Weald Mr Derek J Webb
    £25,000.00 21/12/2014 Central party Mr Richard Duncalf
    £25,000.00 31/12/2014 Borough of Brent Mr Derek J Webb
    £25,000.00 29/11/2014 Central party Mr Charles Brand
    £25,000.00 14/11/2014 Central party Lord na Strasburger
    £25,000.00 23/11/2014 Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey Orion Engineering Services

    etc

  14. @Andy

    According to this piece in the Graun

    The petition has been brought by four residents of Tower Hamlets; Andy Erlam, Debbie Simone, Azmal Hussein and Angela Moffat, against Rahman and the returning officer John Williams.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jan/14/tower-hamlets-mayor-lutfur-rahman-fraud-claims

    I’m not sure you can assume they are Labour supporters with the implication that this was the reason for bringing the case to court.

  15. @Neil A

    “Greater Mercia starts on the North bank of the Thames, though, surely?”

    But as the lost tribes of the Matto Grosso start at the south bank of the Thames, where does that leave Wessex?

    @Various Howards
    There’s a vacancy for a Lurker

    @Whatever Howard
    I was standing at the back of a HEFCE meeting where St Vince was explaining the tuition fees regime back when. I had to suppress a giggle as I had never seen so many grey heads shaking in unison whilst emitting a low growl (each)

  16. @Andy

    According to a piece in the Guardian, dated 14th Jan 2015

    “The petition has been brought by four residents of Tower Hamlets; Andy Erlam, Debbie Simone, Azmal Hussein and Angela Moffat, against Rahman and the returning officer John Williams.”

    I did supply the link but it triggered auto-mod so you will need to find it if you want to read it.

    I’m not sure you can assume they are Labour supporters with the implication that this was the reason for bringing the case to court.

  17. @Crossbat
    ‘You also need to factor in the Lib Dems probably getting into the mid teens come election day ‘

    I don’t think that is very likely now – 10/11% maybe.

  18. I have modified my month end polling average for week four of February to include Opinium and the latest YouGov poll:

    Labour 33.8% (+.7%)
    Conservative 32.2% (+1.4%)*
    UKIP 14.4% (-1%)
    Liberal Democrat 7.9% (+.6%)*
    Green Party 6.4% (-.9%)
    Other 5.3% (includes SNP/PC -.8%)

    But I caution against the veracity of these statistics based on a review of Survation polling with GE 2010 weighting absent and Lord Ashcroft using it in South Thanet:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_in_United_Kingdom_constituencies,_2010%E2%80%9315#South_Thanet

    All the pollsters need to explain how, contrary to the complete collapse of the LD vote in every constituency poll undertaken (except the 56 they won in 2010), they are now rising in the polls, apparently by .6% during February.

    Further with the SNP vote as firm as it is it beggars belief that Other has shrunk .8% during February. As I keep saying the modelling is all wrong, but I guess we will have to wait until May 7th to find out who is right on that assessment.

    Finally for those who are interested below please find the state of party nominations as of February 28th (2010 in brackets):

    Labour 620 (631)
    Conservative 608 (631)
    UKIP 511 (558)
    Liberal Democrat 498 (631)
    English and Welsh Green 441 (310) – note the three separate Green parties have nominated 476 combined
    Trade Union and Socialist Coalition 95 (37)
    SNP 59 (59)
    Plaid Cymru 38 (40)
    Scottish Green 31 (22)
    Sinn Fein NI 11 (17)
    Democratic Unionist Party NI 10 (16)
    Alliance NI13 (18)
    Social Democratic and Labour Party NI 10 (18)
    Green NI 4 (4)
    Independent NI 1 (1)
    Other 221

  19. Scottish crossbreak in today’s YouGov

    SNP 38% : Lab 28% : Con 20% : LD 4% : UKIP 5% : Grn 4%

    Mean of Scottish crossbreaks in last 15 YG polls

    SNP 43% : Lab 26% : Con 17% : LD 5% : UKIP 5% : Grn 4%

    This week’s mean of YG Scottish crossbreaks

    SNP 43% : Lab 24% : Con 17% : LD 4% : UKIP 7% : Grn 4% (Range – SNP 38 – 48 : Lab 19 – 29)

  20. Good Morning All, from a windy beach here in Dorset, hoping for an Irish-England draw today in Dublin.

    SCOT NAT: faint signs of a Labour improvement in the land of north Britain?

  21. @chrislane1945

    No; Labour’s average this week with YouGov (24%) is lower than their three-week average (26%). The position (SNP low 40s, Labour mid 20s) has been stable since the autumn.

  22. @ChrisLane
    Every now and again YG come up with a noticeably lower SNP figure, which usually reverts next time.

    @AW
    Do YG have a policy of moving round their various participants in some sort of non random order, so that every now and again the group which shows lower SNP VIs is asked the question? Or are we seeing genuine swings?

    In general:
    Anyway, what struck me, looking at the figures, is the high Tory VI. On that sort of figure (20%) they could sweep the south (only three seats, of course, but it looks good on a map) and take Deeside from the LDs.

  23. JAMES:
    Thanks!

    DAODAO.
    In the six counties of the north of Ireland I think Labour can rely on three SDLP people and SF if they turn up!
    I also think that forty Labour gains in England and Wales from the tories and ten gains from the Lib Dems will make the Labour Party, narrowly, the largest party.

  24. @Daodao

    Your first sentence was not in good taste! (IMO)
    Your analysis of the situation in E&W, on the other hand, is one to keep in mind once the results start to come in after polls shut.

  25. JOHN B.
    Thank you for your comment about Daodao’s first sentence, which was totally inappropriate.

  26. Re: Where ‘the North’ (of England, of course) starts.

    It depends on whether you divide England into two (north and south) or three (north, midlands and south). Any complaints from East Anglians and Sou’westers will have to be dealt with elsewhere.

    North – South – rule of thumb is the River Trent as far as Newark.

    North – Midlands – South – rule of thumb is a curvy line dividing North from Midlands following the A534, the A54, A6, A619, A57. What happens east of Lincoln I’m not sure.
    Dividing Midlands from South – not my territory.

    As for the ‘real’ north in UK terms: anything north of Inverness (though Shetlanders may raise an eyebrow at making the division so far south…… after all, from Unst to Inverness is the same distance as Inverness to Manchester…. )

  27. @ CL45

    By my calculations, 50 Lab gains (40 from Con & 10 from the LDs) in E&W, set against 30 Lab losses in Scotland, only brings them to 278 seats. A Con loss of 40 seats to Lab and 2 losses to UKIP (I expect no more), set against 20 gains from the LDs, leaves them on 285 seats. SF won’t turn up and the parliamentary balance has gradually been tilting against the Stoop Down Low Party over the years.

  28. @FG

    I agree regarding DaoDao, but on the other hand I sense the same inability to withdraw from party loyalties from others as well! Often people seem unable to imagine that others may have a different take on things….
    That seems to me to have been a major problem for the Tories for a generation now, but it was equally a problem for Labour during the 1980s and 90s.
    More locally I find my own occasional conversations with Amber run along similar lines – and I am probably more guilty than she in this matter…..

  29. Probably ought to have written ‘than she is’. Apologies

  30. Daodao

    I think it’s the Tory 20 gain from the LDs which doesn’t convince me…….

  31. DaoDao,

    I think the main weakness in your numbers is the 20 Con seats from the LDs, 10 more likely.

    However, I also think 40 for Lab from Cons is tough ask.

  32. In response to Barney Crocket’s posts last night regarding online behaviour: I give you DaoDao and rest my case.

  33. I didn’t mean to cause any offence by my description of the SNP. It espouses nationalism and socialism, like PC and SF, as distinct from the multi-/inter-nationalist standpoint of Labour and similar socialist parties elsewhere.

    Re the boundary between the Midlands and North of England – politically, Cheshire has more in common with the North Midlands, with the boundary historically along the Mersey. However, Greater Manchester, Warrington/Halton and Greater Merseyside have encroached a little further south over the last 100 years (e.g. Wythenshawe is in historic Cheshire). Places along/south of the A537 are still really part of the Midlands in many ways.

  34. DAO DAO
    Yes, these figures are close to where I think things will go.
    The SDLP, Plaid and Green Party MP’s will be pivotal in this tight race.

  35. @DaoDao I think many in PC at least would claim that they are Welsh nationalists whereas Labour and Tories are British Nationalists (not at all to be confused with BNP, just a different concept of where & what the nation is); not sure that Labour are really that internationalist are they? Greens and even Lib Dems have more claim on this.

    Amusing to see the debates about where the North starts in England. In Wales we have two absolute definitions; administratively at the borders of the 6 counties (of north Wales not Ulster) and more idiosyncratically in the village of Talybont north of Aberystwyth where, allegedly, dialects of Welsh are more north Walian whereas a few miles to the south in Aber they are more south Walian

  36. Prof Howard here.

    From OLDNAT’s posts its interesting to compare Scot voters:

    10 Feb: “Mean of last 20 YG Scottish crossbreaks SNP 42% : Lab 26% : Con 19% : LD 5% : UKIP 4% : Grn 4%”

    01 Mar: “Mean of last 15 YG crossbreaks: SNP 43% : Lab 26% : Con 17% : LD 5% : UKIP 5% : Grn 4%”

    No change over 20 days. Nothing much happening in terms of swing back. yet.

    These figures seem to suggest that Labour has not managed to increase vote share against SNP over the last week or so..

  37. This is started to look like the election that didn’t happen, with the Parties throwing millions at it for months and the polls not budging an inch….

    It’s like WW1, vast effort and sacrifice for little or no gain.

    Peter.

  38. There are three northern counties, Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria. Anything below those three is at best North Midlands. There are some in Northumberland who would draw the line at Durham.

  39. To be fair to Dao Dao, there are parties that profess a Scoialist outlook on society but want to limit this socialism to their own nation only. This can seem to the outsider as a strange paradox and the term ‘national socialist’ can, in a technical sense at least, seem to cover this outlook.

    Socialism by tradition has tended to me more outward looking, internationalist in nature, suspicious of borders, barriers and nationalisms.

    Nationalism has by tradition tended to by more insular, defining ‘us and them’ and relying on that percieved distinction to form and bind a community, even when it has been a pan-state nationalism.

    Now, if you aim to employ socialist policy within society but then define as distinctly separate that socialist society from neighbouring societies (indeed, making the point that only your own society is socialist and neighbours are not), based on an idea of a historic ”nation”, then it is hard to describe this philosphy in any terms other than ”national socialist”.

    The MASSIVE problem here is not the apropriateness of otherwise of this term in the technical sense, it is the universal association of it with Nazi Germany.

    The term ‘National Socialism’ will forever be political dirt which is entirely understandable but in a purely unemotive technical sense it is arguably an acceptable description of the vision of parties like the SNP and Plaid. There are elements within UKIP that advocate something similar within the limits of the UK. There is an equal – though far less well known term – ”National Conservatism”, which can be seen as the right wing equivalent of left wing National Socialism. The identification of Nationalism with the right alone is of course standard but wholy misleading.

    I don’t offer these thoughts as a criticism or an insult to any of the parties mentioned. I think the problem is one of terminology and suitablility of terminology and people rushing to the (incorrect) judgement that to describe a modern philosophy as ‘national soclialist’ is to try to claim it is the same as the Nazis.

  40. @Howard

    I’ve not really been expecting any much swingback between SNP and SLab.

    As for a repeat of the current coalition: it seems unlikely because I don’t think the Cons+LD will be anywhere near enough for DUP or someone similar to bridge the gap: that’s if all are interested.

    Don’t forget the LD’s have their own little disaster area in Scotland too: I think they will lose about half their seats there. That’s going to be important in trying to build a coalition with at best a tiny majority.

    The only place we can expect something resembling an outright Conservative victory is England. But I don’t know how that can be exploited as there’s still a UK parliament.

  41. @KeithP

    If the Lib Dems lose just half their Scottish seats I suspect they will be over the moon and consider it a ”good” night, relitively speaking.

  42. Is anyone else is interested in the fact that YouGov have for the first time added in the Greens in full to their crossbreaks? There are are some implications for what might happen if their vote gets squeezed (although it only confirms what some of us here have been saying for some time).

    Or is this just a site for discussion of Scottish cross breaks?

  43. Phil

    Prof Howard here.

    The Scottish situation seems rather important, hence the focus on that. As for the Greens, I think Ed Miliband has them in his sights.

  44. Simon Heffer ,who I normally avoid like the plague ,expects a constitutional crisis after May.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/02/simon-heffer-could-general-election-lead-constitutional-crisis

  45. @RMJ1

    Never mind Durham, the part of Northumberland I’m from we consider Cramlington to be in the south.

  46. @KeithP

    If people worry that a rise in SNP MPs makes it more likely that Conservatives are the largest party, and that causes it to be more likely that there is a Conservative-led government. Maybe that holds up the Labour vote.

    From what I can tell I recon that the DUP see their role as helping support whichever government emerges, rather than trying to swing things from Tory to Labour or vice versa. I don’t think they want to choose the king, but rather to work with whatever king emerges. There is a danger for them in being held as being responsible for determining which of the two parties is in power.

  47. Last post by Prof Howard

  48. @roll a hard six

    While it’s technically true that one could describe the SNP as national socialists without implying that they’re Nazis, it would prevent a lot of unfortunate misunderstandings if people said ‘socialist nationalists’ instead.

    Of course, I don’t believe for a second that Dao Dao was trying to describe the SNP objectively, and similarly I expect he knows that SDLP doesn’t actually stand for Stoop Down Low Party.

  49. I would rather we did not call the SDLP the Stoop Down Low Party, it is derogatory.

  50. Howard,

    Agreed. It’s immature and cowardly to badmouth Northern Irish parties when there are none of their supporters here, and out of tune with the tone that we like to have on here.

1 5 6 7 8