In this post back in January I wrote about the partisan effects of the different methodologies the different polling companies used, of how some companies tend to show consistently higher or lower scores for different parties. Since then I’ve been meaning to do a reference post explaining those different methods between pollsters. This is that – an attempt to do a summary of different companies methods in one place so you can check whether company A prompts for UKIP or what company B does with their don’t knows. As ever, this is from the published methodology details of each company and my own understanding of it – any mistakes are mine and corrections are welcome!

Phone polls

There are four regular telephone polls – Ipsos MORI, ICM, Ashcroft and ComRes/Daily Mail (ComRes do both telephone and online polls). All phone polls are conducted using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) – essentially taking phone numbers from the BT directory and then randomising the digits at the end to ensure the sample includes some ex-directory numbers, all polls will now also include some mobile phone numbers, though the pollsters have all said this makes little actual difference to results and is being done as a precaution. All telephone polls are weighted by some common demographics, like age, gender, social class, region, housing tenure, holidays taken and car ownership.

Ipsos MORI

Now the most venerable of the regular pollsters, Ipsos MORI are also the most traditional in their methods. They currently do a monthly political poll for the Evening Standard. Alone among GB pollsters they use no form of political weighting, viewing the problem of false recall as unsurmountable, their samples are weighted using standard demographics, but also by public and private sector employment.

MORI do not (as of March 2015) include UKIP in their main prompt for voting intention. For people who say don’t know, MORI ask who people who are most likely to vote for and count that equally as a voting intention. People who still say don’t know or won’t say are ignored. In terms of likelihood to vote, MORI have the tightest filter of any company, including only those respondents who say they are absolutely 10/10 certain to vote.


ICM are the second oldest of the current regular pollsters, and were the pioneer of most of the methods that became commonplace after the polling industry changed methods following the 1992 debacle. They currently do a monthly poll for the Guardian. They poll by standard demographics and by people’s past vote, adjusted for false recall.

ICM don’t currently include UKIP in their main voting intention prompt. People who say they don’t know how they will vote are reallocated based on how they say they voted at the previous election, but weighted down to 50% of the value of people who actually give a voting intention. In terms of likelihood to vote, ICM weight by likelihood so that people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote are fully counted, people who say they are 9/10 likely to vote count as 0.9 of a vote and so on. Additionally ICM weight people who did not vote at the previous election down by 50%, the only pollster to use this additional weighting.


Lord Ashcroft commissions a regular weekly poll, carried out by other polling companies but on a “white label” basis. The methods are essentially those Populus used to use for their telephone polls, rather than the online methods Populus now use for their own regular polling. Ashcroft polls are weighted by standard demographics and by past vote, adjusted for false recall.

Ashcroft’s voting intention question has included UKIP in the main prompt since 2015. People who say they don’t know how they will vote are reallocated based on how they say they voted at the previous election, but at a different ratio to ICM (Ashcroft weights Conservatives and Labour down to 50%, Lib Dems down to 30%, others I think are ignored). In terms of likelihood to vote, Ashcroft weights people according to how likely they say they are to vote in similar way to ICM.


ComRes do a monthly telephone poll, previously for the Independent but since 2015 for the Daily Mail. This is separate to their monthly online poll for the Independent on Sunday and there are some consistent differences between their results, meaning I treat them as two separate data series. ComRes’s polls are weighted using standard demographics and past vote, adjusted for false recall – in much the same way as ICM and Ashcroft.

ComRes have included UKIP in their main voting intention prompt since late 2014. People who say they don’t know how they will vote or won’t say are asked a squeeze question on how they would vote if it was a legal requirement, and included in the main figures. People who still say don’t know are re-allocated based on the party they say they most closely identify with, though unlike the ICM and Ashcroft reallocation this rarely seems to make an impact. In terms of likelihood to vote ComRes both filter AND weight by likelihood to vote – people who say they are less than 5/10 likely to vote are excluded completely, people who say they are 5/10 to 10/10 are weighted according to this likelihood.

Online Polls

Online poll sampling can be somewhat more opaque than telephone sampling. In most cases they are conducted through existing panels of online volunteers (either their own panels, like the YouGov panel or PopulusLive, or panels from third party providers like Toluna and Research Now). Surveys are conducted by inviting panellists with the required demographics to complete the poll – this means that while panels are self-selecting, surveys themselves aren’t (that is, you can choose to join a company’s online panel, but you can’t choose to fill in their March voting intention survey, you may or may not get randomly invited to it). Because panellists demographics are known in advance, pollsters can set quotas and invite people with the demographics to reflect the British public. Some pollsters also use random online sampling – using pop-ups on websites to randomly invite respondents. As with telephone polling, all online pollsters use some common demographic weighting, with all companies weighting by things like age, gender, region and social class.


YouGov are the longest standing online pollster, currently doing daily voting intention polls for the Sun and Sunday Times. The length of time they have been around means they have data on their panellists from the 2010 election (and, indeed, in some cases from the 2005 election) so their weighting scheme largely relies on the data collected from panellists in May 2010, updated periodically to take account of people who have joined the panel since then. As well as standard demographics, YouGov also weight by newspaper readership and party identification in 2010 (that is, people are weighted by which party they told YouGov they identified with most in May 2010, using targets based on May 2010).

YouGov have included UKIP in their main prompt since January 2015. They do not use any weighting or filtering by likelihood to vote at all outside of the immediate run up to elections (in the weeks leading up to the 2010 election they weighting by likelihood to vote in a similar way to Ashcroft, Populus and ICM). People who say don’t know are excluded from final figures, there is no squeeze question or reallocation.


Populus used to conduct telephone polling for the Times, but since ceasing to work for the Times have switched to carrying out online polling, done using their PopulusLive panel. Currently they publish two polls a week, on Mondays and Fridays. As well as normal demographic weightings they weight using party identification, weighting current party ID to estimated national targets.

Populus have included UKIP in their main prompt since February 2015. They weight respondents according to their likelihood to vote in a similar way to ICM and Ashcroft. People who say don’t know are excluded from final figures, there is no squeeze question or reallocation.


Not to be confused with their telephone polls for the Daily Mail, ComRes also conduct a series of monthly online polls for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror. It is conducted partially from a panel, partially from random online sampling (pop-ups on websites directing people to surveys). In addition to normal demographic weightings they weight using people’s recalled vote from the 2010 election.

ComRes have included UKIP in their main prompt since December 2014. Their weighting by likelihood to vote is slightly different to their telephone polls – for the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats it’s the same (include people who say 5+/10, and weight those people according to their likelihood) but for UKIP and Green I believe respondents are only included if they are 10/10 certain to vote. Their treatment of don’t knows is the same as in their phone polls: people who say they don’t know how they will vote or won’t say are asked a squeeze question and included in the main figures, people who still say don’t know are re-allocated based on the party they say they most closely identify with.


Survation do a regular poll for the Daily Mirror and occasional polls for the Mail on Sunday. Data is weighted by the usual demographics, but uses income and education rather than social class. Recalled 2010 vote is used for political weighting. Survation have included UKIP in their main prompt for several years. They weight by likelihood to vote in the same way as ICM, Populus and Ashcroft. People who say don’t know are reallocated to the party they voted for in 2010, but weighted down to 30% of the value of people who actually give a voting intention.

Note that Survation’s constituency polls are done using a completely different method to their national polls, using telephone sampling rather than online sampling and different weighting variables.


Opinium do regular polling for the Observer, currently every week for the duration of the election campaign. Respondents are taken from their own panel and is weighted by standard demographics. Historically Opinium have not used political weighting, but from February 2015 they switched to weighting by “party propensity” for the duration of the election campaign. This is a variable based on which parties people would and wouldn’t consider – for practical purposes, it seems to be similar to party identification.

Opinium do not include UKIP in their main prompt (meaning they only appear as an option if a respondent selects “other”). They filter people by likelihood to vote, including only respondents who say they will definitely or probably vote. People who say don’t know are excluded from the final figures.


TNS are a huge global company with a long history in market research. In terms of public opinion polling in this country they are actually the successors to System Three – who used to be a well known Scottish polling company and ended up part of the same company through a complicated series of mergers and buy-outs by BMRB, NFO, Kantar and WPP, currently their ultimate parent company. At the last election TNS were the final company doing face-to-face polling, since then they have switched over to online. The sample is taken from their Lightspeed panel and is weighted using standard demographics and recalled 2010 vote. TNS do include UKIP in their main prompt, and also prompt for the BNP and Green. TNS filter and weight people according to likelihood to vote and exclude don’t knows and won’t says from their final figures.

Putting all those together, here’s a summary of the methods.


As to the impact of the different methods, it not always easy to say. Some are easy to quantify from published tables (for example, ICM and Ashcroft publish their figures before and after don’t knows are reallocated, so one can comfortably say “that adjustment added 2 points to the Lib Dems this week”), others are very difficult to quantify (the difference the choice of weighting regimes makes is very difficult to judge, the differences between online and telephone polling even more so), many methods interact with one another and the impacts of different approaches changes over time (a methodology that helps the Tories one year may help the Lib Dems another year as public opinions change). Rather than guess whether each pollsters methods are likely to produce this effect or that effect, probably best to judge them from actual observed results.

TNS have confirmed they do prompt for UKIP, and also prompt for the BNP and Green – I’ll update the table later on tonight.

491 Responses to “Different pollsters methods – a summary”

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  1. Could DC’s ‘announcement’ be another way of sort of saying ‘five more years!’?

    Is it a way of encouraging the party to get fully behind DC in the campaign?

    Is it another of those off-the-cuff remarks by DC that he might subsequently regret saying?

    As DC is apparently more popular than the party, will the voters be less inclined to vote Con as they may think that DC would only be in post for three years?

    And there’s the ‘arrogance’ aspect of the announcement that will surely disturb undecided voters.

    On the other hand…perhaps attention is being deflected away from policy issues that could be damaging to Con GE prospects.

    It’s an interesting development. Is it a game changer? Surely not.

  2. Thanks for this post Anthony. Can you or someone else explain how these house effects/different methodologies create such big differences between e.g. ICM and Survation in their UKIP scores. Seems to me that phone v online can’t explain it which makes me wonder if for some reason the samples they interview are unwittingly different. At least one isn’t getting a representative sample.

  3. MIKE N
    More subtle, I think. Cameron’s thought bubble reads “If I say five more years of effective and respected premiership is needed for stable government and completion of planned economic regeneration, they’ll think arrogant b-stard; and then they’ll think, hold on, yeah, he’s prepared to be thought arrogant as a calculated risk to be given the reins for another term. This dude is pretty cool.”

  4. I am quite interested in the odds the bookies are offering.

    To pick a few markets out.

    Labour 2-1to be the largest party. Reading the discussion on here and following the data it would seem that whilst this is absolutely in the balance 2 to 1seems very generous?

    Similarly 5/6 on lib dems getting less than 27seats. Most seem to be talking of 20 seats as a decent result for them.

    SNP 5-6 to get 43 or more seats. This seems quite likely from the data. Especially if we believe the recent data that the biggest swimg s look like being where they are most needed.

    So do these look generous? Is it the bookies following the money rather than the data. Or is it all about swingback? Interested to hear your though ts. This is a very serious matter as I am considering placing the princely sum of £5 on one of these markets (prob the first).

  5. 07052015

    It is highly misleading to post the YouGov Scottish Cross Breaks in isolation as the sample size is tiny.

    OLDNAT presents the data in an excellent manner, aggregating the scores from several YouGovs together.

    He has recently posted such an analysis and showed no statistically significant change in Scotland.

  6. Ian H

    Many posters have suggested that the SNP could win 53 or even 58 seats, leaving just the one in Orkney and Shetland.

    A complete wipe out in Scotland, presenting the SNP with a massive mandate for change in Scotland.

  7. Everybody complains when politicians are not honest and won’t answer the question. The bizarre furore following Cameron’s interview tells us why. My own view is that 10 years is quite long enough in any top job but apparently politicians are never supposed to say that. I have to say that I saw no sign of a presumption that he would win this time. He did say he would be disappointed if he didn’t win but what would you expect?

    Present polling makes it too close to call but I expect a combination of differential turnout, the shy Tory phenomenon and a few UKIP returnees, to lift the Tory vote three or four points clear of Labour on the day. In terms of seats that may or may not be enough to form a government.

  8. @PETE B
    Isn’t Bank Holiday bounce to do with people being away on holiday? Labour voters traditionally worked in manual jobs whereby they had fixed holidays. Tories, being in different types of jobs and having more flexible holiday arrangements, stayed at home on Bank Hols to avoid hoi polloi.
    Only if they don’t have children, otherwise they have the same windows as everyone else

    “The Tories aren’t quite that delusional, though”
    Whoever wrote this doesn’t know the Tory party. The capacity among us conservatives for self-delusion is enormous.
    I remember tories arguing blind that the tories would win about two months before the 2005 election. there are still plenty of tories who actually think the tories will win a majority- i mean 326+ seats- in little more than 6 weeks time.
    No party goes into an election saying “it looks like we are going to lose, might as well not vote for us.”

    I’d be surprised if they didn’t say they were going to win whatever the evidence.

  9. Just for the record there are the 15 seats that EF currently think will go Tory (with the percentage chance):

    I think a couple of caveats are in order if you are trying to assess the state of play in the Tory/LD battlefield.

    (1) As you no doubt know, EF doesn’t ‘currently think’ that the Tories will pick up every seat in which their estimated p-value is greater than 0.5. The figure that goes into their official projection (at the top RH of their home page) is the sum of these probabilities.

    (2) Any such list (or estimate) is premised on the ElectionForecast assumptions about reversion-to-mean, including having the Tory VI rising to 34.2% (about one percent above current estimates) and the LD VI rising to 13.7% (a surge of almost 6%). It would be helpful if comparable information could be summarised on the basis of more modest LD swingback.

  10. So lets look at the different methods and see if that explains certain recent ‘outlier’ polls.

    Lets start with the easy one – Survation. What is the key difference – this “Data is weighted by the usual demographics, but uses income and education rather than social class.”

    Survation came up with
    Con 30
    Lab 34
    UKIP 17
    LD 10

    But fortunately they show the social class on their crossbreaks – their published results have this social class ratio

    AB 23%
    C1 16%
    C2 31%
    DE 31%

    Other pollsters normally have near this ratio

    AB 28%
    C1 29%
    C2 21%
    DE 22%

    This is the second month that Survation seems to have significantly more C2/DE’s than other pollsters (I haven’t checked before then)

    Re-weighting their poll to the usual social class ratios changes their results to

    Cons 34
    Cons 38
    LD 7
    UKIP 15

    So their routinely high UKIP score I think comes down pretty much to their lack of social class weighting, but using income and education instead.

    Their sample size is also only 1000, pretty low for an online pollster, so that perhaps explains the now high Lab score this month, just MOE. Other than that, this poll now looks much more in line with other polls this month.

  11. John Pilgrim
    Hmmm, that’s an alternative interpretation.

  12. Frankly I think people just read their own prejudices into most things that happen in the political sphere.

    Most left-wing activists, when they think about Cameron, have a sort of humming going on in their head. “Tory Toff. Arrogant. Smug. Sense of Entitlement. Thinks He’s Born to Rule. Tory Toff. Arrogant. Sense of Entitlement. Thinks He’s Born to Rule”.

    Anything he says or does just gets swept up into this, including someone answering a question about how long they would like to remain prime minister. I’m not sure what the correct answer for a non-Tory Toff, non-arrogant, non-smug, unentitled person should be? “I’m probably going to lose the election anyway so who cares?”

    All sides (including me) have a similar tune going on in their heads, of course, it’s just that the lyrics are different depending on their political prejudice.

  13. @MrNameless

    “The Labour Party is composed of pessimists. The Tory Party is overly confident. It’s been the way for a long time now…”

    Quite so. There used to be a feisty and entertaining UKPR poster called Drunkenscouser, I think, who used to describe the Labour perma-pessimists as serial “bed-wetters”. I couldn’t have put it better and I think what they tend to do is mask their innate defeatism in the cloak of realism. As you can see on these UKPR discussion threads, they are often warmly applauded for their “realism” and “honesty” by other posters yearning for their pessimism to be proved true. I sometimes wonder if the pessimists themselves actually hope they’re proved right too, looking forward to the very outcome you’d think they’d least prefer. Better to lose and be right. Very strange.

    Of course, they could be proved right, but pessimism, by its very definition, is the tendency to imagine and expect the worst possible outcome. It shouldn’t be confused with wisdom and foresight.

    On the other hand, many Tory supporters exude confidence that the British electorate will eventually “come to their senses”, just like they always used to do in the glory days of old. This optimism can sometimes be confused with nostalgia!


  14. My two cents on why he might be doing it:

    We know from Wisdom Indeces (and looking at press coverage more generally) that a lot of people seem to think a Tory government is most likely even if polling doesn’t bear that out. This might be an attempt to make it look inevitable that he’ll return so anti-Tory people who aren’t necessarily well informed don’t bother to vote.

  15. @Richard – you have put Cons instead of Lab in your last set of voting intentions

  16. On betting…if someone waged DC would still be PM after the GE, do they win their bet even if he resigns with a few days/weeks?

  17. ‘with’ should be ‘within’

  18. It was certainly an unexpected revelation. I think for two reasons :-

    * Crosby’s erstwhile grip , keeping a narrow focus on factors where Cons have a perceived lead.
    * DC was asked to list his failings-but in that instance did not respond with the “honesty” now being attributed by Ministers to the other revelation. He declined, saying that was for others to say. I presume a danger sign flashed showing EM trotting out any admissions DC might have made.

    Both of these factors-particularly the first, make me believe that this was a lapse-and therefore a breach of the Crosby dictum.

    I can see no VI upside resulting from it -a third reason to believe that it was a lapse.
    I can see plenty of downside resulting from it.

  19. Prof ,of course but old nat doesnt get up as early as he used to .Dontthink anyone on here will be mislead by any one set of figures no matter how beguiling my narrative.

    Anyway what do you think of the Falklands story -pretty desperate stuff eh ?

  20. ……….and as Mike Smithson points out this morning, DC personally is a big lead factor for Cons.

    Looks like a cock up to me.

  21. NeilA
    Irrespective of how through the lens of their own prejudices people perceive DC’s ‘announcement’, it is worthwhile discussing whether it was deliberate or unscripted and if so its purpose and effects on VI.

    I recall the Camcam from pre GE 2010 which was intended I presume to show DC as a normal hubby. No Camcam this time I note.

  22. “No party goes into an election saying “it looks like we are going to lose, might as well not vote for us.”
    I’d be surprised if they didn’t say they were going to win whatever the evidence.”

    Have you heard what the labour mp simon danczuk is saying? or some of the labour coup plotters last november?

  23. I notice that all the companies give UKIP more than the mean are conducting Online polls.
    That doesnt really surprise me. I have seen online polls conducted which show UKIP at 50% and more. (Of course those were not being properly conducted but there is a touch of the keyboard warrior about many UKIP supporters…).

    I wonder what the percentage of mobile phones called is per company that use Phone polling? Are those that give more CON a higher score than the mean using less mobile phones?

  24. @Paul

    Thanks for the correction.

    Next I looked at ICM. Why is their UKIP score so much lower than anyone else?

    I think it has to come down to prompting/telephone method.

    Anthony, you said that Ipsos Mori do not prompt for UKIP, but I don’t think they prompt for anyone?

    Their question seems to be
    How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow?

    I found this, very old, but it says
    “Note that we don’t prompt our respondents by suggesting the parties that they might pick, or by reading them a list.”

    But ICM ask
    “The Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and other parties would fight a new election in your area. If there were a general election tomorrow which party do you think you would vote for?”

    So name the other main parties but do not include UKIP on that list.

    I think it is worth pointing out that distinction if true, as I think that probably explains why Ipsos Mori still gets a relatively normal UKIP VI vs ICM?

    [Richard – I *think* MORI do prompt, back in 2001 when Roger was writing they hadn’t switched to telephone and I think they only prompted in the immediate run up to an election campaign when they could use candidate names. I think they now prompt for the main parties, but obviously happy for clarification from MORI! – AW]

  25. Its a mistake ,time will tell how big,.Tories are under a lot of self imposed pressure having written off their opponent and pride always comes before a fall.

    Budget was overly defensive ,this announcement if it was calculated (?) is defensive .All seemingly based on the assumption of a tory victory built on the economic fundamentals .

    Very low inflation figure expected shortly.

  26. @jim jam
    “So Lab+Con 72% for example still represents a steady decline from the main parties, seen as likely to form a part of the Government.”

    You are right.

  27. @07052015

    Sorry, what is prideful about directly answering a question from a journalist? Wouldn’t it be more prideful and arrogant to refuse to inform the public of his plans and avoid the journalist’s question?

  28. I think @Neil A is being a little unfair, and I think @Colin has it bang on. It was a mistake, pure and simple.

    The ‘correct’ answer, which PMs down the years are very well used to giving, would have been along the lines off ‘look [name of interviewer] all I’m focused on now is winning this election and making sure we [insert favourite policy themes here]. It’s up to the people of this great country to make those kinds of decision and I’m 100% focused on the job in hand’ etc etc’.

    It’s a very easy formula that PMs down the ages are well versed in. I do think there is an element of the Cameron mask slipping here, and friend and foe alike do point out a certain type of assurance which some call arrogance, and I think that is what has happened. Before 2010 when asked why he wanted to be PM he answered ‘because I think I would be rather good at it’, which comes across as an extraordinarily arrogant thing to say, and this time I think JL lured him into a false sense of comfort.

    The reaction of the Tory party shows that they were not prepared for this, it isn’t a good thing for them to have to handle but it isn’t a game changer, but it does suggest that Tory minds don’t always focus clearly on what they need to do. They’ve lost at least a day of campaign time, and set many hares off that could distract in the next 6 weeks.

  29. Inflation goes to zero. Conservatives offer more austerity.

  30. @Anthony – thanks both informative and for me well times as I am getting poll-axed with the number and variety of the blessed things…

    On DC and his PM pledge – his admiration for Mr Blair perhaps knows no reasonable bounds as personally I think Blair was mistaken in giving that hostage to fortune – though at the time he gave fortune the hostage Brown was the asset and Blair the liability in the course of the 2005 election.

    I’m not very sure it will matter much to voters on one level – it matter s much more to those like is who follow things with obsession of collectors of early porcelain examine cracked china. That said together with his disinclination to debate there is a image of a man who thinks the better part of his career is behind him and in politics that is always an encouragement to rivals.I am sure it may be used deftly in the Debate on 2nd April.

    in 2005 vote Blair get Brown worked for Labour helping to shore up its core vote – I am not sure vote Cameron get Osborne or May quite manages that finesse.

    The polls remain as they have been all along – close. Perhaps we should believe them and look to the seat count on 8th May. I cannot help but see that the SNP wedge will make it much more difficult for the Conservatives to survive as a minority government. Much may turn on how the LibDems act in the aftermath – if Clegg loses Sheffield Hallam there will in any case be a vacancy and a change of tack – if he is reelected -more likely by far) he will be much weakened. i’m unsure he will be able to deliver his party into a conservative led government that will still probably lack a working majority.

  31. ALEC

    @”The ‘correct’ answer, which PMs down the years are very well used to giving, would have been along the lines off ‘look [name of interviewer] all I’m focused on now is winning this election and making sure we [insert favourite policy themes here]. It’s up to the people of this great country to make those kinds of decision and I’m 100% focused on the job in hand’ etc etc’.”

    I couldn’t agree more-that was the open goal, which he declined.

    I am willing to believe that this was an honest answer from a man who is not a machine politico. And for some it will confirm an attractive trait in him.

    But , that it generates distracting chatter, and opportunities for Miliband , gives some credance to the cock-up theory-even if you cloak it with the honesty factor.

  32. Put it this way, even if Cameron won the GE and kept his pledge to have a leadership election after the following GE, then he could still be the longest serving PM since Thatcher and (if he gave up the reigns 3 years in) the longest serving since Gladstone.

    All he’s done is give an honest (and accurate) answer to a question that is traditionally dodged. Whether he had planned to do it in advance is a bit of a moot point. The length and detail of his answer demonstrates fairly clearly that this wasn’t an “off the cuff quip”. He’s put plenty of thought into his views, even if he hadn’t discussed them with his party.

    It seems the “non-arrogant” thing to do is to lie and obfuscate when asked a question. Which is a little sad.

  33. “then he could still be the longest serving PM since Thatcher and (if he gave up the reigns 3 years in) the longest serving since Gladstone”


  34. @Colin & 07052015

    Broadly agree that this was a mistake, nothing in the interview its seems to indicate this was a premeditated announcement.

    Reasons why it could play badly with the electorate:

    + The ‘presumption’ issue – though I suspect, this is mainly confined to those who already regard Cameron as being ‘entitled and elitist’ and is therefore factored in to VI

    + The ‘heart not in it’ perception, this is an interesting, more subtle and ultimately damaging negative attribute that has attached itself to several single term US presidents, Carter and particularly George Bush Sr in the fairly recent past.

    + The Cameron more popular than the Conservatives quandary. If, as the continual emphasis on downplaying Miliband and focussing on the PM, protecting Cameron from the head to head debates suggests, this is core to Crosby strategy, the news that the star player may be gone from the scene sooner than anticipated may not play well with ‘soft Tories’ and the DKs required for any late surge.

    + Damaging the ‘chaos over confidence’ message. This has emerged as one of the three pillars of the Conservative campaign with LTEP and Cameron vs Miliband. Many of those who will actually vote will remember how corrosive leadership issues were to the administrations of Thatcher, Blair and Major. The first two were in different ways forced from office early by their own parties whilst the third led an ungovernable government.

    These look like examples of chaos – particularly (fairly or unfairly) Major’s period in office. Voters dislike disunity and party before country, nothing encapsulates that like a leadership election.

    + Finally as I pointed out yesterday, the idea that such an announcement can’t affect the polls isn’t supported by history. Blair’s more calculated declaration presaged a significant change in fortune for Labour in 2004.

    On the side of this having little, no or negligible impact on VI: the opposition have to do something to turn the story to their advantage and keep it in the public imagination or at least the news. Not something at which they have so far proved very adept.

  35. The upcoming GE has echoes of the 1992 GE when the Labour opposition leader, Neil Kinnoch, was generally expected to become the new PM. The swing back to the Tories occurred more or less on polling day itself when the Great British public thought; wait a minute, this guy Kinnoch couldn’t run a whelk stall on Blackpool front. Maybe the same could happen again.

  36. I think Cameron got too relaxed in Lansdale’s company and forgot he was being filmed. It is such a bizarre blunder that I cannot think of another explanation.

    Even if he stays on as PM, he is weakened. This would be bad enough for a leader with a majority, let alone one in minority/coalition.

    A real wtf moment.

  37. Re DC’s pronouncement and the necessity of Latin in the governance of the Raj, I’m mildly surprised at the example used.

    Lord Clyde [apparently an ancestor of DC] was supposed to have sent Nunc fortunatus sum following his 1857 recapture of Lucknow. See Justin Pollard here.

    It remains to be seen whether DC is in luck now.

  38. @Mike N,

    TB was only in office 10 years.

    That’s my point. Saying your going to go after 10+ years is hardly being a “fly by night” and quitting early. It’s simply a statement of logical fact.

    Unless you have a partisan buzzing in your head when you hear it, of course..

  39. I think most of the public will be uninterested in camerons comments – its a classic overheated westminster bubble story. It smacks of a certain arrogance – but this is in now way a VI shifter.

    However – I agree that hes set himself up for trouble should he win a second term.

  40. Unicorn
    “I think a couple of caveats are in order if you are trying to assess the state of play in the Tory/LD battlefield.”

    Agreed. I was just trying to prove a point to someone who found the idea of 15 Tory gains from Lib less than credible. I wasn’t saying that EF forecasts will all be correct, just showing that a respectable forecaster with a reasonable method thinks that 15 gains is feasible. As I pointed out in my post, it will probably be more, because they are assuming 13% LibDem vote share.

  41. @ profhoward

    Inflation goes to zero. Conservatives offer more austerity.

    Both main parties offering it.

    As to why, I cannot imagine. Scared of media headlines perhaps?

    I was always told that people needed to be encouraged to buy stuff when inflation fell below targets. And all that QE would certainly have been much better spent giving ordinary folk a few grand in their bank accounts with the proviso that it is spent within 6 months on consumer goods.

    But no.. both likely winners still offering the right remedy, they just happen to be offering it for the wrong sickness!

  42. @Hawthorn

    Very good point.

    The issue of Cameron being, if he survives, a PM leading a minority or coalition government is an added complication.

    If he were to lead a coalition, would the partner parties have a role in the selection of the new Prime Minister?

    I agree, this would seem ludicrous and people will say it is a matter for the Conservatives to chose their own leader; however, the Lib Dems did make Brown’s resignation a pre-condition of even considering coalition in 2010 with Labour. It also has precedent across Europe where coalitions are much more common.

    And therein lies the problem with this ‘announcement’ / ‘honest answer’ / ‘gaffe’ it is opens a Pandora’s box of speculation that could be seen as making a Conservative vote far from the vote for certainty that I’m sure Crosby and strategists have been positioning.

  43. NeilA
    “Unless you have a partisan buzzing in your head when you hear it, of course.”

    Is that irony?

  44. CB – anyone in mind.

    Joking aside, I am not sure that guesstimating Labour taking 25 seats in E&W off the Cons and 10 off the LDs makes me a pessimist after the 2010 debacle.
    It would be enough but for those Pesky SNP upstarts!!

    I like Maya Angelou’s mothers thinking as told in one of her books (to paraphrase as I cant recall exactly).
    ‘Hope for the best, expect the worst that way you will never be disappointed’
    To be clear, I hope I am wrong and Labour get the 40 Con seats they need (even better if more) which makes a Lab lead Government an inevitability imo.

  45. jim jam

    it’s all about the swing! labour taking 25 seats off the tories is a swing of 1.8% from con to lab in England. most polls suggest the England only swing is 4-5%…polls may be wrong. or mother of all swingbacks, as i have said ad nauseam

  46. Let’s consider for a moment whether DC’s ‘announcement’ was ‘unscripted’ yet a deliberate statement which is intended to challenge the Crosby dictum (to use Colin’s expression)? In other words, the dictum is considered far too narrow in its appeal.

  47. PC – which is why I am considered a Pessimist by many fellow LP members/supporters.

    Similarly, I think those who say DC failed as the Tories did not get an OM against a tired Labour Party and unpopular, PM underestimated the size of the task facing the Tories at the last GE
    It was always unlikely and maybe he could have scraped it but it was tough ask.

    Hence I think 40 Lab gains v Cons is a tough ask regardless of polls showing that happening at the moment.

  48. I don’t think it is a case of a short term polling effect, with people thinking he is either “honest and sensible” or “arrogant and presumptuous”.

    It is a case that his authority is undermined, and the leadership issue will dog him for the rest of his premiership.


    To be fair I think the inflation is a one-off because of the low oil price.
    That said, when prices fall, real debt becomes bigger, so people save more to pay it off and so it goes on (see Japan 1990-2015). Need to be careful.

  50. If you wanted to be conspiratorial about it you could argue that Cameron’s announcement was prompted by the desire to implant a “Vote Dave, get Boris (eventually)” idea in the public mind, thereby capitalising on BoJo’s popularity to help the Conservatives win.

    Of course this sort of idea can backfire as the Tories found out themselves when campaigning in 2005 when using “Vote Blair, get Brown” as a threat, which to a lot of voters thought sounded more like a promise. But faced with Cameron’s menu of successors, some might feel more repulsed than tempted.

    And Blair’s announcement started (or rather intensified) one of those endless internecine Party battles between the supporters of two politicians with almost identical policies, views and backgrounds that the British political class so love. So this might kick off something similar with all sorts of additional attacks from those left off Cameron’s latest A-list wanting to establish themselves.

    However all this may be over-thinking and the simplest explanation for the latest revelation may lie with Neil A’s description of the perception of the PM as “Tory Toff. Arrogant. Sense of Entitlement. Thinks He’s Born to Rule”, which like all such caricatures has some truth in it. Lansdale was at Eton with Cameron and the latter may have slipped into the mode of two old mates chatting in the kitchen about how they see their careers panning out. And one simply isn’t supposed to notice the presence of servants or camera crews.

    Cameron often tends to say things that fit what he thinks his immediate audience wants to hear rather than considering future implications (it’s his PR background I suppose). He could easily have brushed the question aside with “Good heavens, that’s up the electorate” or some similar phrase, but may have been more concerned about saying the sort of thing that people do in such chats. It was probably sincere, but it certainly wasn’t necessary.

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