There have been several polls this week showing both the Conservatives and Labour up at 35%, and given it’s a zero sum game that suggests the other parties are getting squeezed. There is a general expectation of this sort of squeeze as the election approaches – the nature of First Past the Post is that votes for smaller parties don’t stand much chance of being translated into MPs unless they are geographically concentrated and as the election approaches the media coverage almost inevitably focuses ever more upon the main contenders (though more on that later).

The graph below shows the average poll scores for the Greens and UKIP across the nine regular pollsters (for those pollsters who do several polls a month, I’ve taken their average across the month).

greenandukip

UKIP have been on a slow but steady downwards trend since their support peaked after Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless’s defections. This last month the decline may have flattened out a bit, but that is largely due to MORI having an unusually low score for them last month that jumped back up this month – without that the line would show a smoother downwards trend. The Green party’s advance seems to have halted last month and started to fade a little this month.

Of course, just because they might be getting squeezed shouldn’t distract from the fact that UKIP and the Greens are still doing incredibly well compared to the last election. In 2010 UKIP got 3%, the Greens 1% – both parties could suffer a bit more squeezing and still end up quadrupling the vote they got last time. For UKIP, there is also good news on the horizon, next week the campaign broadcasting restrictions kick in, guaranteeing them coverage as a major party. For most of the last few months UKIP’s media coverage has largely consisted of the latest row or resignation for inappropriate comments. Next week the broadcasters will have to start giving them more neutral coverage alongside the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems.

In other news, we had the monthly Survation poll for the Daily Mirror out today. Their topline figures were CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4% (tabs.


384 Responses to “Are UKIP and the Greens getting squeezed?”

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  1. As a long term Kipper, I would suggest the apparent fall in UKIP support in light of the 10% range between the best pollster for UKIP, and the worst, is perhaps indicative of the lack of understanding ofg UKIP support.

    There has always been a solid committed UKIP core where everything thrown at them is just water of a ducks back. There has also been a shy UKIP voter base that has been reluctant to broadcast the fact in light of the vitriolic smearing that the media have delighted in throwing at Kippers one and all. Shades of Gordon Brown in Rochdale and that ‘bigoted’ woman. Shades of foster carers in Rotherham having their foster children removed because they were members of UKIP.

    I would suggest that the fall in UKIP support in the polls, is more a factor of their limited exposure over recent months, and the return to smearing us with cries of racism, and that the shy Kippers have just returned to hunkering down.

    There is going to be a lot of analysis post 8th May, will there be enough humble pie to go around, I wonder!! I expect most of the analysts with the benefit of hindsight will be declaring they were right all along, and that they had suggested the result in a lecture they gave in 2005, or some such waffle. Few will admit they didn’t have a clue all along.

  2. Interesting suggestions about why Labour is doing better than expected.

    @Millie: “Labour govt for better economic times”. It’s clearly a judgement call but I don’t really buy this. Everyone know that whoever takes the reins after May there will be painful new challenges to overcome in the next phase of deficit reduction. Party tactics may differ but there are no sunny uplands beckoning us up ahead. So, I can,t see this playing into Labour’s hands.

    @Postageincluded: minimal squabbling? Well, they do seem to be behaving more sensibly than having a party leader listing his likely successors, and in doing so moving media attention away from ‘the grid’. But does this explain the improvement relative to past elections? Haven’t most oppositions managed to stay just as disciplined in the months leading up to an election? If so, what are they apparently doing better?

    Your second suggestion – FTPA – seems more persuasive to me. Undoubtedly past governments have done everything they can to exploit the advantage of being able to fix the timing of an election. Perhaps that alone is enough to make things different this time round.

    @Peter Crawford: Squeeze on the Greens? Perhaps this is part of the explanation. Against trend, their VI drop almost matches Labour’s gain. But past elections have featured aspiring minor parties whose prospects have also faded as the election approaches. Why would this work differently this time round?

    @John Pilgrim: labour-favouring EU social policies? The problem with this is that it could play either way. Such policies may provide assistance for the social democratic wing in any country. But equally, with the EU imposing certain social policies voters might feel that that side of things were already ‘fixed’ and cast their national votes on the basis of a different set of criteria.

    Interesting points all…

  3. @Unicorn

    “But what exactly is Labour doing better than opposition parties in the past? Or – to put it another way – why is the government failing to exploit the traditional advantages of incumbency and power?”

    Excellent post, that points to the most unexpected (according to theory at least) facet of the the present polls: Labour’s apparent, and possibly temporary, buoyancy.

    The first obvious response is that the Conservatives have lost one of the benefits of incumbency when it comes to the GE: they no longer choose its timing.

    Secondly, I would point to something you allude to earlier in your summary… ‘events’.

    Often derided here as having no individual impact on VI, could it be that a succession of events: ‘winter NHS issues’, ‘HSBC tax evasion’, ‘neutral budget’, ‘confusing economic data’ (do we have evidence that deflation is universally regarded as a positive prospect?) and ‘prime minister signals no third term’ have had a cumulative effect?

    I am not making the case for or against any of these on a political basis, but they have unquestionably obscured the core Conservative messages for many weeks now.

    Also the YouGov mega-poll indicated quite clearly that the Conservatives have failed to shift the negative perceptions held by a majority of the public of them across a range of indicators over the last 18 months, ‘taking tough decisions’ apart.

    The same could be said of Labour, of course, but those negative views held in 2013 didn’t prevent the opposition from taking a commanding lead in the polls.

    Occasionally, in focussing on the micro-movements in individual polls and the excitements of Scotland perhaps we miss something more profound – that the degree of economic competence the Conservatives are credited with is not enough alone to win a plurality in the face of the other negative views held of them.

    If this is the case the ‘introduction of other themes’ into the campaign mentioned by some above would seem urgent and critical if anything is to change between now and polling day.

  4. Not bragging…!

    BUT, a while ago I did predict that Labour might rise in VI as they actually got equal media exposure to the Governing parties.

    The problem with painting Lab (and specifically EdM) in a very harsh light, is that when people start to see Lab and EdM out and about, they realise that they are indeed real human beings, and not so bad as they have been portrayed.

    Perhaps there might be a Milibounce tonight, if he comes across well? He often does when talking to the public.

    I think DC was probably wise to avoid the head to head, as that could (just conceivably?) have generated Milimania!

    No sign of any swingback from SNP-> Lab (yet).

    Cue collapse in Lab VI….

  5. Unicorn,

    I think the Lab moderate improvement is partly explained by what some at the time said were pedantic discussion of the nature of Swing-Back in this parliament.

    If the Tories, increased their VI from minor parties while Labour stayed flat is this traditional swing-back which was typically back to the Governing Party from the main opposition and the LDs. (E&W)

    Even when Labs VI fell due to the SNP rise in VI it may have been traditional swing-back arithmetically but it wasn’t in that the relative gain for Con over Labour has not been due to 2010Con returning from a Lab VI.

    Regression to Labours 2010 vote share is perhaps not the appropriate measure as many of the so-called Red-Dems are unusual in behaving like Lab 2010 voters rather than LD ones.

    I wondered what swing-back models would have looked like with a starting point of Con 37, Lab 35, LDs 17 for example.

    Ignore for one moment the 1.5-2.0% GB VI loss for Lab due to Scotland and the mean Labour are returning towards is closer to 35% than 29%.

    I am not the only one who believed for a long time Labour would achieve 35% or a tad higher in the GE (the alleged 35% strategy) based on peculiar swing-back in this parliament.

    Of course losing 1.5-2% in Scotland may reduce this to 34% ish.

  6. @ Unicorn

    I do enjoy reading your thoughts and analyses but I would love to hear what you think the final result will be.

    No problem if you do not want to get in to all that.

  7. @Unicorn

    Why is Labour doing better than expected?

    Because the 2010 election was not won by the Tories, it was lost by Labour

    http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/03/lord-ashcroft-why-i-started-polling-and-how-it-can-be-a-force-for-good.html

    “I asked swing voters, who had voted Labour in 2005 but not in 2010, why they thought the party had lost. Their three principle reasons were that Gordon Brown had not been a very good Prime Minister; that Labour did not seem to have the right answers on important issues; and that the government had run out of steam.”

    They voted Conservative reluctantly.

    This is how Ashcroft sees the election, and I think he is correct

    “The fact is that all the established parties have failed the test the voters set them in 2010. The Conservatives needed to show that as well as getting to grips with the economy they were on the side of ordinary people and could be trusted with public services like the NHS – but they score less well on both measures than they did in 2010.

    Labour needed to prove that they had learned the right lessons from when they were last in office and can be trusted with the money, but people’s biggest fear about another Labour government is that it would spend and borrow more than the country can afford.

    The Lib Dems needed to use what limited influence they had to the best possible effect, but most people struggle to name anything concrete they have achieved – though their heavily localised support may well mean they end up with more MPs than the national polls would imply.

    Meanwhile, people are clear where UKIP stand on immigration and Europe but are less sure what they think about anything else, and some worry that unsavoury elements lurk behind the entertaining Mr Farage. And to most people, the Greens still feel like a well-intentioned single-issue fringe party”

    Labour’s recent rise comes from that final paragraph. It is not for Labour, its just that the alternatives appear worse than them.

  8. At this point in 2010 ‘swingback’ peaked. The final six week saw a partial reversal in the period leading up to May 6th. Will we see the same pattern in 2015?

  9. @John Pilgrim

    Am I understanding you correctly in that you believe EU ‘social democratic’ regulation across areas such as employment law, the environment and consumer protection has created an political context more conducive to the Labour Party by effectively re-aligning the political norm or centre more to their traditional territory?

    If so, it’s an interesting position, for it could be argued that the prevailing post war ‘Human Rights Culture’, which also had its genesis in Europe, though with the European Convention rather than the EU has had a similar effect, gradually helping to shift British public opinion to a more socially liberal perspective as the Social Attitudes survey ably demonstrates this week – the first time the majority of the population are against the death penalty (or at least fail to support it).

    This socially liberal shift has had a marked effect on our centre-Right parties. Who would have thought in the 1980s that the Conservatives would legislate for same sex marriage within little more than a generation? Who could predict that even a party of a more socially conservative hue such as UKIP would have a ‘Gay UKIP’ wing?

    Perhaps the consequence of this new wave of Europeanisation will be to return the Conservatives to some of their more ‘One Nation’ tendencies of the post war period, according to the voter attitudes in the You Gov mega poll and elsewhere this might even help their VI.

  10. @Alan

    Re: House effect variability

    Yes – undoubtedly this adds to the noise and reduces the sensitivity of the analyses using all polls. But to may not be the whole story.

    In answer to your specific (as the output are still up on my screens)..

    Intercept SE estimate for YouGov polls only: 0.311
    Intercept SE estimate for analysis using all polls: 0.387

    So, more noise – as expected, but not a great deal.

    The best fitting YouGov slope (-0.026 units per day: 0.79% drop per month) is about twice the corresponding slope (-0.014 units per day) for all polls.

    So, perhaps there is more to it than house effect noise.

  11. One less LD candidate, and they thought they could win here and have put a lot of resources in, and was tipped as a possible gain.

    http://m.chad.co.uk/news/crime/breaking-news-ashfield-mp-hopeful-jason-zadrozny-arrested-over-historic-child-sex-abuse-claims-1-7177444

  12. “Why are labour doing so well, Better etc

    I dont think there’s any mystery about this. There is a big chunk of voters who depise the tories more than they despise labour.

    A lot of these have deserted the lib dems for their peceived betrayal. Many of these voters went to labour in the early part of this parliament – then drifted to the greens and (to a lesser extent) UKIP – as labour failed to offer anything other than cautious policies aimed at mythical ‘middle ground’.

    Now – with the election looming – the stark choice of labour or tory rears its dismal head and they have drifted back to labour. For many people its a reverse beauty contest – and they see labour as the the least ugly option.

    Also it worth remembering that the tories polled less than 37% in 2010 – given the rise of UKIP, a polling score of 35% is pretty decent – but there problem is that labour has inherited all those lib dem defectors.
    I suspect 35% is close to the maximum of what the tories could poll – unless the UKIP vote collapses over the next month.

    The trouble with all these forecasts is that ‘swingback’ doesn’t take any of these factors into account becasue they weren’t there in any previous election – but its past voter behavior (with classic tory/lab swing voters) that these models are based on.

    To myself and several others on this site this seemed a very obvious flaw – so its no surprise that the tories are not sailing into the distance.

  13. @Hawthorn

    YouGov would pick it up first due to the higher frequency of polls surely?

    Except that I wasn’t comparing YouGov with the resutls from any of the other houses. The first analysis used YouGov data alone and the second used the data from all national polls conducted since January 1st. Since the second dataset includes the first, then by by definition the second offers a higher frequency of polls. So, if it were polling frequency alone the broader analysis would pick up the effect first.

  14. He is the leader of East Midlands LD as far as I can tell, and is a regular of Sunday politics regional section and frequently on east MIDs news.

  15. @ John J

    Will it never end….

    :-(

  16. @Richard
    good post by the way,i think it is fair to say governments lose elections rather than the opposition win them.
    My question,is Labour doing better than expected ?
    from a 29 percent low in 2010,there was only one way to go.Whilst at an average of 33 percent i think is a 10 percent improvement,people keep talking about how unpopular this government are (I always said whoever won in 2010 would be unpopular) .Clearly it would appear much of this is from LD vote share,the loss to the SNP is not significant percenatage wise,given the single figure percentage SNP have will give them 50 seats maybe.
    So are Labour doing that much better than expected ?
    The ones who are suffering in the polls are the tories,who at a similair polling to Labour represents a big drop,again I maintain this is down to the Poll rating of UKIP,only just over 50% of their vote said they were certain to vote for them,so it is soft.
    I think with 50% of the publc apparantly undecided,I would say nobody is doing better than expected,.
    I also think we are going to be left at these poll ratings we are going to have dog’s breakfast of government if any and I have a feeling,people may wise up to this nearer the election and it just might benefit the tories .
    My reasoning is simple,the SNP vote seems steadfast and there are good reasons for that,.The UKIP vote is simply not,those votes will go mostly to the tories and yes Green votes to Labour,but given the size of the relative poll ratings,the beneficiaries may be the blues.
    People don’t like uncertainty and I agree with you that people won’t vote tory because the like them,they will because they don’t like the alternative.

  17. @Reggieside
    your comment
    “Now – with the election looming – the stark choice of labour or tory rears its dismal head and they have drifted back to labour. For many people its a reverse beauty contest – and they see labour as the the least ugly option..”

    i think you could argue the reverse just as much,but the reverse beauty contest is an accurate analogy IMO

  18. Gove is calling in Tory backbenchers for ‘quiet chats’, so it sounds like they have got the jitters.

  19. Labour wins by 26.

  20. @Richard

    Thanks for the thoughtful post and the link to the equally thoughtful Ashcroft piece.

    I was particularly struck by his take on negative campaigning and why parties do it…

    “Personal attacks on individual politicians are the ultimate manifestation of this tendency. As I have often pointed out, normal people are completely mystified as to why parties behave like this. Not only do they find it a pretty unedifying spectacle in itself, they wonder why politicians don’t seem to realise how exasperating people find it.

    The usual answer is that parties do this sort of thing because it works. I doubt this is as true as is sometimes claimed.”

    Perhaps the remorseless targeting of Miliband, not especially by the Conservatives themselves but by certain sections of the press, reinforces the view of the party, by association, as being ‘toxic’ and ‘nasty’ to use Ashcroft and Theresa May’s own words.

    I’m not sure, but the wealth of suggestions on UKPR suggest there could be a whole host of reasons for the current Labour rise.

  21. Unicorn

    It does sound like there is a difference in how pollsters see the UKIP trend. The differences in the slope seem pretty significant.

    The only thing I can think that could cause such a divergence is if different UKIP supporters were weighted differently by different pollsters and one section of their support changed compared to another. Depending on the relative weighting, different pollsters would see a different effect.

  22. @Reggieside

    You express your scepticism about traditional forms of swingback. But interestingly you seem to go on to posit a modified version of the hypothesis. You describe a dilettante set of votes dallying for a time with the Greens, Ukip etc but now finally having to face up to making a choice between Labour and the Tories (and opting on balance for the former).

    There are various different mechanisms suggested to underpin transitional swingback but one is a late shift from ‘protest vote’ to ‘real decision’ mode. In essence, what you seem to be suggesting is that a change of this kind is acting in favour of the main opposition party: a kind of swingback to one of the two major adversaries.

    There may be something in this. But I haven’t seen the evidence in the churn analyses regularly posted by @Spearmint and @CMJ. support for your proposal would have been seen in a recent accumulation of 2010 LD voters under the Labour banner. But I didn’t notice anything much like that. In the most recent @CMJ analysis the biggest component of the Labour rise was to be found in voters with no 2010 identity (that is, either young voters or previous non-voters). So, I am not sure the evidence is there to support your ‘modified swingback’ proposal.

  23. Mibri,

    I think there is a lot of logic in what you say but would add if the Tory rise is too soon and obvious expect an ABT reaction.

    Like a good runner better to time your sprint to the line late but how can political parties this happen, it is not a big mo by-Election dynamic for the GE?

    Also on a technical point will some slightly soft UKIP voters will regret voting the UKIP in their postal vote by the time of Election day?

  24. @Unicorn

    There’s no way of judging party unity of course, so this is all subjective and concerns events I remember, but contrast Labour under Miliband’s leadership to the Tories under Hague and IDS, and Labour under Foot and Kinnock! Those were oppositions that were quite obviously and openly in trouble.

    That’s not to say that the Tories under Thatcher or Labour under Wilson (70-74) didn’t have the occasional tiff and sometimes bad words may have been said, but it didn’t stop them regaining power.

    Governments rarely fail to make enemies. If Oppositions stand around looking like they are gainfully employed for long enough the Government will eventually have made enough enemies to vote them out.

  25. @AW – apologies. You might want to deal with my 1.35pm post as well?

  26. POSTAAGEINCLUDED
    “I’m not sure whether Anthony has you on his balcklist. Apparently I’m on it for getting involved in the argument over a technicality.”

    If so, I am pretty sure it is a grey list rather then a black list, since the problem with threats of expulsion is that iif you carry them out there is no fall-back. UKPR being more Beedales than Rugby AW knows that all his brightest and best girls and boys will react badly and mount protests against the victimisation of even the least popular miscreants. “it’s not fair, Sir, ” they will cry. “What about their families? What about their futures? Where are they going to go?”

  27. UNICORN
    “with the EU imposing certain social policies voters might feel that that side of things were already ‘fixed’ ”

    Ah, but would they though? Equal rights of women in the work place, living wage, equality of employment and social care across the EU labour market, rights of the mentally ill against emprisonment? Much to play for yet to meet the Social Charter, not as imposed by EU but fought for by the left in Europe.

  28. Alec,
    It is also unfortunate to end a parliamentary career with a defeat in the Commons.

  29. Mind you – it does suggest Tory party managers aren’t very good at organising their own side. Could be interesting after a tight election.

  30. Yes very odd end to this parliament .

    To borrow a phrase from the OBR -a real rollercoaster for the Tories.

    [snip]

    Cant see Gove as tory chief whip in the new parliament.

    Will it affect VI – not a lot .

  31. @Assiduosity

    This morning’s events in Parliament will in all likelihood go entirely unnoticed by practically everyone without a close interest in politics, and so not influence the outcome of the GE one iota.

    But when the House of Commons starts to resemble its 18th century self in terms of procedural manoeuvring and plotting, can we be surprised that the public – as polls reveal – seem to regard the political class with something approaching the contempt that our Georgian predecessors held for the representatives of rotten boroughs.

    Apart from anything else, such a desperately sad end to William Hague’s time as an MP, regardless of one’s political allegiances, surely one of the most naturally gifted parliamentarians of his generation, and a solid historical biographer to boot. He looked thoroughly miserable at the end.

    Dissolution can’t come too soon, or there’ll be nobody left to vote for any of them.

    Apologies in advance for any breach of comments policy.

  32. @ann in wales @alec

    Remarkable scenes in the Commons, always liked the Speaker myself but let’s not dwell on it because this will get partisan very easily.

    Do we have any non-YouGov polls coming up today?

  33. “But when the House of Commons starts to resemble its 18th century self in terms of procedural manoeuvring and plotting, can we be surprised that the public – as polls reveal – seem to regard the political class with something approaching the contempt that our Georgian predecessors held for the representatives of rotten boroughs”

    It’s always been like that, even in the 19th and 20th centuries. there has been no “golden age”. It’s just that there is so much more scrutiny and faux outrage nowadays.

  34. @jim jam
    thanks-all i know is a lot of people where I live are already regretting voting UKIP in the councli elections,2 councillors already defected to another party !!
    But hey,that is democracy for you.

  35. Regarding the “why is Labour VI holding up” discussion, is it not because it is always the government of the day that takes the blame. It matters not to most people that NHS scandals actually occurred before the present government was in power. They were made public under this government and in many cases this government made an apology. The same applies to phone hacking, child grooming gangs and the HSBC banking scandal. People have very short memories regarding who was in power at the time – some seem to think that Mrs T was in power for at least 25 years – and the blame thus rests with whoever is the present lot.

  36. @Peter Crawford

    Yes, the 19th century was just as bad as Disraeli’s Vivian Grey vividly reveals. As I wrote my comment I was thinking of Lord North’s term as PM (not that I was alive I hasten to add) which was particularly beset by squabbling of this sort.

    Agreed there’s always been skulduggery, but actually I do think that we have lived through a pretty golden age of parliamentary procedural transparency since about the mid 1980s as many of the more arcane and subject-to-abuse precedents and customs have been stripped away.

    I’m not sure there’s more faux outrage these days – the house was just as apt to get excitable in the past over much smaller matters than attempts to remove the Speaker.

    I am sure that the impact of everything that goes on in Parliament on VI is much less today. Politicians see the media as their means of communicating with the voters and parliament, poorly reported and little headed, is just a side show for most.

  37. @RMJ1

    No doubt a degree of truth in what you say regarding the government in office always carrying the can for anything that comes to light during its term.

    However, this government have been rather adept at apportioning blame to previous administrations on matters such as the economy and deficit.

    If they are still held responsible for health service failures and alleged HSBC misdoing that’s either a failure of communication or because the truth is more complex: in the case of the health service that there will always be problems, in the case of HSBC that the wrongdoing was committed under Labour but came to light under the Conservatives.

    Sometimes governments are legitimately held responsible for things that go wrong when they are in control, what influences VI is how they are perceived to deal with them.

  38. Perhaps we have become a nation of thirds.

    A recent British Social Attitudes survey suggested 29% do not want another coalition government (well it’s close enough to a third for me, as a devotee of aboriginal counting – 1,2,3….lots).

    Current polling indicates approx 1/3 for tories, 1/3 for labour which most political commentators consider will require some form of collaboration between two or more parties to form a government.

    If the election result mirrors current polling, whatever government results is expected to be somewhat unstable, a proverbial dog’s breakfast. Personally I prefer the term a mare’s nest as the breakfast my daughter gives her dog always looks pretty good and when the little mutt has finished there’s not a scrap left and the bowl’s licked clean.

    I believe a mare’s nest can have two meanings and I was originally using the more recent form i.e. a big muddle, mess. However on reflection I wonder if a multi-party outcome might turn out to be the exact opposite of the original meaning of a mare’s nest, in that what initially seems to be a big mess could result in something quite advantageous to democracy. I mean MPs might actually have to engage in proper debate to achieve results, rather than throwing insults at each other, then applying the whip and the party with most MPs wins the day.

    Naive, sure but we can always live in hope.

  39. @BlueBob

    I do enjoy reading your thoughts and analyses but I would love to hear what you think the final result will be.

    Thanks for your comment. I am reluctant to offer a final projection mainly because I don’t UKPR insights are in any way helped by the inclusion of new projections from every Tom, Dick and Unicorn.

    Personally, what I find most helpful is when someone (often Anthony himself) comes up with s new insight or line of argument. That makes me pause and recalibrate my thoughts. So, in short I would consider my own projection to be noise that distorts the signal that might otherwise come through from the UKPR exchanges as a whole.

    That said, I think their are a couple of areas where the evidence nudged me is slightly different directions to most UKPR contributors.

    First, I have presented evidence that the models that can be assessed are systematically biased in favour of Labour (compared with the Ashcroft consituency polls). Others take the view that it is the Ashcroft polls that are biased ..but I don’t buy that. These observations are restricted to models that publish seat-by-seat projections and so permit Ashcroft comparisons. I can’t comment on the others, but the pattern is prevalent enough for me to harbour my suspicions about them too. No one has contradicted this evidence and, indeed, in their latest snalysis of the accuracy other model the ElectionForecast team have tacitly acknowledged that there may be something in my analyses.

    So, given this, my own sense is that the Tory seat tally is going to end up somewhat higher than is assumed by most UKPR contributors.

    The other issue on which I differ with some (but by no means all) UKPR folk is on the level of support (and the number of seats) the LibDems are likely to enjoy. Projections that he LDs will retain more than 15-20 seats are largely based, in my view, on betting the house that figures derived from the Ashcroft Constituency VI measure will be an accurate measure of future voting performance. To me, the CVI questions is a loaded question and one that may misrepresent the respondents ‘true’ voting intention. They are asked which party they will vote for (SVI: Question 2 of the standard survey). Then, as soon as they have responded they are instructed to try again, by adding the preamble: “Thinking specifically of your own constituency..”. Simply asking the question, introduces the presupposition that the respondent hasn’t managed to think through fully, and introduced pressure to have another go. It seems to me that s proportion of the more easily-led respondents may conform to this pressure and report a different voting intention. But in the absence of such a leading question, this may not be how they would behave in the voting booth. Because of this, I have not been persuaded that the CVI figures are fully trustworthy and my hunch is that the real voting patterns will turn out to be somewhere between SVI and CVI.

    This would cause the LiibDems to end up with fewer seats than most contributors are expecting.

    The combined effect of these influences and recent polls is that I suspect that the Tories will come much closer to forming s government than most are expecting. My guess is that they won’t quite make it and that Ed Milibsnd will find himself PM in a parliament with a lot of very angry MPs and with significant sections of the electorate feeling they have been duped.

    But as I say, I would prefer people to discuss the evidence for patterns and trends rather than pay any attention to my own quirky views about how things might turn out.

  40. @07052015

    “Cant see Gove as tory chief whip in the new parliament.”

    The Times is reporting that Tory-leaning hacks are being briefed that he won’t be.

  41. I always thought Gove was made chief whip ,inter alia,to guage whether Osborne had a chance of being leader .

    What noone foresaw was HOC procedure isnt his forte .

    So if the tories are in government it will be a new job or if they are in opposition and also lose Loughborough he could go back to education .

  42. Chris,

    “Cant see Gove as tory chief whip in the new parliament.”

    Agreed, he broke the first rule of mounting a Coup….

    Don’t lose!

    Peter.

  43. I had similar thoughts yesterday.

    https://warelane.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/you-pay-your-money-and-you-take-your-choice/

    I think the simple answer to the question posed in the blog post title is ‘yes’.

  44. UNICORN

    Thanks for clarifying.

  45. @Unicorn
    thank you for your observations.This is my issue with Fixed term act,i suspect this maybe the first legislation pushed through by the other parties should you scenario happen which I have to say would not suprise me in the least.
    I actually think there would be huge anger certainly in England if this happened and a C&S arrangement for any party would simply cause huge uncertainty in the markets and erode confidence in a fragile economy.
    We are heading as I have maintained for a constitutional crisis and another election shortly afterwards.I would prefer a formal coalition with whomever (with any pro UK parties) rather than any C&S arrangement as I believe this will cause .paralysis when we need it least.
    It may not be the colour I prefer ,but this would at least give us a government

  46. On a nation of thirds:

    More a nation of quarters I think:

    1/4 Tory
    1/4 Labour
    1/4 Other Party
    1/4 Sod the lot of them/can’t be bothered.

    Need to include non-voters!

  47. Unicorn,
    “The combined effect of these influences and recent polls is that I suspect that the Tories will come much closer to forming s government than most are expecting. My guess is that they won’t quite make it and that Ed Milibsnd will find himself PM in a parliament with a lot of very angry MPs and with significant sections of the electorate feeling they have been duped.”

    a delightful hedge…no doubt, you won’t be so foolish as to give actual numbers of seats each party wins…

  48. I’ve done some EWMA analysis on the movement in support, as evidenced by the YouGov polls. I’ll add new charts as parties breach confidence interval boundaries.

    http://forecastuk.org.uk/2015/03/23/ewma-analysis-of-yougov-poll-shares/

  49. Executive Summary in Response to UKIP and Green Squeeze

    I found the answers to the question “how likely are you to consider voting for the following parties at the general election” a fascinating question to observe and think about in it’s implications in the YouGov/The Times mega poll:

    1. This election is not going to be either beer and skittles for Labour or champagne corks for Conservatives as the incredible tightness in the race going into the election period could mean a difference of 50,000 to 75,000 votes in some 40 marginal seats.

    2. While 42% of those considering voting Green are also considering Labour, which could help Labour in both Conservative and LD marginals, some 26% of those same potential Labour supporters are also considering Green which could help Green in seats where Green believe they have a fighting chance.

    3. LD may be up in the polls, but they have to hope that the 39% who also considering Green, 32% who are considering Conservative and the 31% considering Labour do not all rush for the exit at the same time. In contrast the potential flow back from Green to LD is only 26% and that from Conservative and Labour 16%.

    4. 95% of those considering Green will not consider UKIP, 90% of LD and 89% of Labour, but 23% of Conservatives are still considering UKIP. If UKIP support rises during the election period Labour could be the big winner in their marginals and Conservative could find itself in competition with UKIP for some of it’s own seats and a few Conservative-LD marginals. Do not write UKIP off, even if their only growth potential is from disaffected Conservatives.

    5. Given that only 46% of Scottish voters are not considering SNP, and with the exception of Conservative voters and the one Conservative seat, SNP still has the potential to make a vitual clean sweep in Scotland

    6. The dark horse of the election is Plaid Cymru who while they only have consideration of just over 1:4 voters in Wales have 50% of Green considering them, 35% of Labour and 32% of LD.

    7. And finally for those who want to write the Green out of the election there is a need to consider that while 25% overall are considering UKIP and 21% are considering LD, 22% are still considering Green.

    The SNP-PLaid Cymru-Green pact seems to be working well with 67% of Green voters in Scotland considering SNP and 50% of Green voters in Wales considering Plaid Cymru, but is too bad we do not know if there are concentrations of SNP and Plaid Cymru supporters and in which English seats.

    General Observations:

    Will definitely consider voting for them

    Conservative 29x.94 = 27.26
    Labour 26x.88 = 22.88
    UKIP 11×80 = 8.8
    LD 7x,79 = 5.53
    Green 6x.85 = 5.1

    This tells me how much each parties support could shrink between now and May 7th

    Total Likely

    Conservative 42x.99 = 41.58
    Labour 41x.98 = 40.18
    UKIP 25.x.98 = 24.5
    Green 22×100 = 22
    LD 21x.97 = 20.37

    This tells me the potential pool of voters from which a parties current strength could draw from and the rank order for that growth

    It is very close between Labour and Conservative just like the current polls, but the closeness and rank order of UKIP, Green and LD surprised me after all the discussion of swing to and from and swingback on this list.

    Total Unlikey/Will Not

    Conservative 52
    Labour 53
    UKIP 70
    Green 71
    LD 73

    Again I am not surprised by the closeness and number for Conservative and Labour, but am again by the very closeness and rank order of UKIP, Green and LD and therefore get the following values as the potential glass ceiling for overall consideration:

    Conservative 48%
    Labour 47%
    UKIP 30%
    Green 29%
    LD 27%

    Again I am not surprised by the Conservative and Labour numbers in terms of those considering, but to have UKIP, Green and LD on the cusp of an election with a 30% to 27% overall voter consideration value that amazes me and tells me the depth of potential rejection of the two major parties.

    This also confirms my view that 2010 weighting of LD values in current polling should not be higher than that for UKIP or Green, in fact it should be a downtick lower.

    In Scotland fully 50% of voters are considering voting SNP with 67% of Green, 1:5 Labour and UKIP voters and 1:7.14 LD and 4% of Conservative voters considering SNP.

    Only 46% of voters are not considering voting SNP, including 33% of Green, but 78% of Labour, 80% of UKIP, 83% of Liberal and 95% of Conservative would not consider voting SNP.

    In Wales over 1:4 are considering Plaid Cymru with 50% of Green, nearly 1:3 Labour, over 1:4 UKIP and only 13% of Conservative are considering the party.

    65% of all voters in Wales would not consider voting Plaid Cymru, 50% Green, 65% of Labour, 68% of LD, 82% of UKIP and 84% of Conservative.

    Clearly two thirds of Green voters in Scotland and half of Green voters in Wales have a high regard for SNP and Plaid Cymru and it would be very interesting to know the reciprocal valuation of SNP and Plaid Cymru voters towards Green in England, and where those voters are concentrated and in what, if any, significant numbers.

    Finally I was intrigued to see that 39% of LD voters were considering Green and while 26% of Labour were, while 42% of Green were considering Labour and only 26% considering LD.

    Thus the potential for Green voters to support Labour in their marginals, while much lower than for SNP and slightly lower than for Plaid Cymru, is only 1:4 for LD. So the potential drain of LD voters to Green versus flow back to LD is exactly equal.

    And the potential flow of LD voters definitely considering another party while only 4% for Green is double than that for Conservative or Labour and four times that for UKIP.

    Likewise while only 16% of Conservative and Labour voters consider LD, fully 32% and 31% of LD are considering Conservative and Labour – so LD had better hope that the potential Conservative, Labour and Green voters do not all leave at the same time.

    And in conclusion 95% of those considering Green, 90% considering LD and 89% considering Labour will not consider UKIP, whereas 23% of Conservative will consider UKIP.

    If UKIP support rises during the election period nearly 1:4 Conservative considerers would contemplate voting for UKIP.

    In Scotland, outside of Conservative voters and the one Conservative seat, the potential still exists for SNP to make a clean sweep of all other seats, with the help of half the Green and 1:5 of all Labour and UKIP voters.

  50. @Assiduousness

    ” I was thinking of Lord North’s term as PM (not that I was alive I hasten to add)”

    You could always ask Old Nat about him.

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