Six weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls:

Opinium/Observer (19/3) – CON 36%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
YouGov/S Times (20/2) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
Survation/MoS (21/3) – CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%
Populus(22/3) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%
Ashcroft (22/3) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%
ComRes/Mail (22/3) – CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Times (23/3) – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (23/3) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (24/3) – CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%
Survation/Mirror (25/3) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4%
YouGov/Sun (25/3) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%
Panelbase (26/3) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (26/3) – CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
Populus (26/3) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%

It’s been a busy week in terms of voting intention polls – ComRes have now moved to weekly polling for the Daily Mail, Survation did two ones (one for the Mail on Sunday and one for the Mirror) and we got the first UK poll from Panelbase. Five of the polls showed dead heats between Labour and the Conservatives, there were three Tory leads and six Labour leads. The bigger picture remains one of the two main parties being neck-and-neck, but there have been slightly more Labour leads than Tory ones in recent polls, so the UKPR polling average this week has Labour one point ahead – CON 33%(nc), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(-1).

Scottish and London polls

ICM had new Scottish and London polls out this week. In Scotland they found Westminster voting intentions of CON 14%(+1), LAB 27%(+1), LDEM 6%(nc), SNP 43%(nc), UKIP 7%(nc), GRN 3%(-1), changes are from their previous Scottish poll in December. At 16 points ICM show a slightly smaller SNP lead than some other companies, but there is no significant change from their previous poll, suggesting its something methodological rather than a narrowing of the SNP lead.

This morning ICM had a London poll for the Guardian. Voting intentions for that were CON 32%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%, GRN 8%. That represents a four point swing from Conservative to Labour since the general election – the equivalent of a one point Labour lead in national polls – so again suggests that the swing in London is much the same as in the rest of the country.

Week 12

  • David Cameron ruled out standing for a third term as Prime Minister. Unusual not because of the content – if he wins he was widely expected to stand down at some point after the European referendum anyway – but because he said it, out loud, to a journalist. In terms of public opinion 55% of people said Cameron was right to rule out a third term, 18% wrong. A majority of supporters of all parties – including Tory voters – thought it was the right thing to do. 21% of people said it made them think better of Cameron, 9% worse of him, but for the majority of people it made no difference to how they viewed him.
  • The final PMQs of the Parliament was dominated by exchanges on ruling out tax rises. Asked before Cameron ruled out a VAT rise and Ed Balls ruled out a National Insurance rise, at the start of the week YouGov found 43% of people expected tax to go up if Labour won, 29% expect it to go up if the Conservatives win. Under a Labour government, 43% expected income tax to rise, 41% expected fuel duty to rise, 39% expected national insurance to rise… but only 22% expected VAT to go up. Under a Tory government 34% expected fuel duty to rise, 31% expected VAT to rise, 29% expected NI to rise and 25% expected income tax to rise.
  • The debate debate finally came to an end with an agreement to have four events: a Paxman interrogation of Miliband and Cameron; a seven-way debate between Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Uncle Tom Cobley and all; a debate between the five opposition parties and a Question Time special with Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, one after the other. The Paxman interrogation took place last night. An ICM poll straight after the debate found people thought Cameron came out better than Miliband by 54% to 46% – we will have to wait until the weekend to see if it has any impact upon either voting intentions or perceptions of the leaders. Over the last five years Cameron has consistently had better ratings than Miliband, so in many ways a performance that’s pretty even has the potential to help Miliband far more than Cameron. As ever, time will tell.
  • The physical mechanics of the general election have started to kick in. Yesterday Parliament was prorogued, on Monday it will be dissolved and the writ issued and we’ll be off. The start of the formal campaign means various bits of regulation kick in, including the broadcasting restrictions requiring coverage of the main parties and spending limits upon the parties.

Projections

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc and the Guardian are below (the Polling Observatory team are doing fortnightly predictions, so nothing new from them this week). Three of the models continue to show the Conservatives with just a few more seats than Labour, but Steve Fisher’s prediction from Elections Etc now has them 35 ahead of Labour. This is due to a methodology change rather than a move in opinion – Steve’s model for predicting the vote shares in England & Wales remains unchanged, but he’s no longer assuming such a big drop in SNP support in Scotland, and has rejigged how he translates projected votes into seats based on Ashcroft and YouGov polling (it’s explained in more detail here.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 296(+12), LAB 261(-17), LD 21(nc), SNP 47(+6), UKIP 5(+2)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 283(-1), LAB 280(+2), LD 26(+1), SNP 38(-2), UKIP 1(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 273(-4), LAB 271(+3), LD 24(nc), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 5(+2)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 277(nc), LAB 269(+1), LD 25(nc), SNP 53(-1), UKIP 4(nc)


367 Responses to “Six weeks to go”

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  1. ON
    “I’m sorry if you were offended. But if you read the comment properly you would have noted that I was saying that royalty can be more economically useful when dead.”

    Not quite logical or true to any reading of history or the ethnography, I am afraid. They have to be sufficiently long-lasting and active, not necessarily virtuously or usefully so, to be useful dead. It”s the institution rather than the person – of whom we loyally hope for the best – which functions to keep us all tottering along as a Monarchy.

  2. Isn’t the ICM ‘immediate reaction’ poll entirely dependent on the break down of who was watching the debate at the time?

  3. @CatOswyn

    “5 Things The Betting Markets Suggest which Polls Don’t’.”

    I presume one of the things listed will be “A Conservative Majority in 2010”.

    How did that work out?

  4. @OldNat

    You are a bad, bad man, although an excellent s**t-stirrer, so that early training obviously is standing you in good stead. I have to admire your ability to wind-up poor David in Oxofrd, whilst saying the opposite of what he thought you said and convincing him that you speak for the SNP. Not a bad night’s work, you old scoundrel.

  5. @”It doesn’t bode well for their ability to run their companies, other than into the ground.”

    I think it “bodes ” a number of obvious things for these people –
    a fast exit from any NHS Contract & refusal to tender for new ones being just one which seems obvious.

    Which , in turn, “bodes” a number of things for capacity & efficiency in the NHS,

    Which in turn “bodes” quite a lot of addional taxes for someone.

  6. Figure 4 in the above link says ~15% of UKIP VI in September is now intending to vote Con. Labour picking up about 10% of Green VI and about 4% of UKIP VI in September. Supports the “small party squeeze” broadly seen in GB polls.

  7. Figure 5 shows support for the “LD doing better in their own seats” theory, but only to a limited extent.

    “It is also worth noting that whilst Lib Dem loyalty since 2010 is abysmally low (23%) it is moderately more respectable at 41% in their own seats using the Ashcroft question. These are crumbs of comfort perhaps for Lib Dem MPs defending their seats, but crumbs at least. According to our seats model this is likely to save no more than around 20 seats for the Lib Dems…”

  8. I do think a collapse to the UKIP vote down to 7% or less is the conservatives best chance of forming the next Government. Think UKIP will continue to go down , just not sure how far it will go.

  9. Im sorry – but why are these models still building in ‘swingback’ for the tories?

    Sure the tories may pick up some more votes from UKIP – but they are getting any from labour – and labour are just as likely to pick up some VI from greens and a bit of UKIP.

    This is what the trends are over the past three months – why are the models so determined to fly in the face of the polling actual evidence rather than how a tory government fared at the polls nearly 20 years ago.

    I think there may a lot of rather shocked and confused torys (and fisherites) come may 8th. They can conceive of the idea of Ed M in no.10 – despite that being the most likely outcome according to the polls.

    The same goes – with nobs on – for UKIP voters – “the polls are wrong/rigged” “everyone i know if voting UKIP” etc – this isn’t good – I expect the internet to be awash with conspiracy theories post election as the Kippers face up to the fact that their haul of mps could fit confortably into a vauxhall astra – rather than the 100+ they seem to be expecting.

    This is not good for democracy – one only has to look at the self delusion and crackpot resentment of parts of the right in the US to see that.

  10. @Andy S

    Returning to matters at hand do various statisticians and/or pundits on this list give any credence to this increase in LD values in the Scottish crossbreaks?

    In the past I have calculated the MoE of YouGov Scottish crossbreaks and – in line with the rather small sample sizes involved – the figure comes out as an incredibly high one in excess of 8%.

    Because there is so much variability in these data changes can only be detected if they are either massive (as happened last August) or stable over a very long period. Given this, I would say that it is unlikely that the LD changes can be established as real effects.

  11. @ Unicorn

    Many thanks for your analysis of my UKIP observations last night. I bow to your better judgment.

    Is it possible I am confusing Methodology differences between pollsters at a given point in time with average poll movements over time? What led me to the observation was Anthony’s summary of the week’s polls.

    Ie- UKIP 9% in London but Con/Lab swing identical to national average. UKIP with Survation 18% but Lab lead of 1. UKIP 10% Comres/Mail Lab/Con equal.

    I’ve felt a similar thing

  12. @Millie – “The bookies odds are more sophisticated than people think, and I suspect they are quite a reliable guide to voting intentions.”

    This is something we hear on here quite often. Have you any evidence though? My understanding is that betting markets were badly wrong in 2010, substantially underestimating Lab seats in particular.

  13. ooops- I meant to finish that I’d felt a similar thing at any given point in this parliament where there were big methodology differences between pollsters that it didn’t affect the, then, Labour lead that much.

  14. @Simon

    Point taken.

    However, the interesting bit looking at the Lib Dem seats at the bookies is that there is considerable variation, beyond anything that might be predicted from the polls i.e. local swings.
    I do not see the same effect in Tory seats, where the ‘swing’ ( as represented by the local odds ) was much more even across the country.
    Just by way of example, Tim Farron is 12/1 on to win his seat.

    Leaving Scotland aside, my thought is that the defining dividing line within the electorate is whether or not the Tories are palatable; ‘can you stomach that lot’. If you can’t then you will vote for whoever is most likely to keep them out. Hence the strong performance of the LDs in the betting where the Tories are the challengers.

    The key battleground for the Tories is not economic competence ( that battle is largely won, I suspect ), it is to convince as many as possible that they are not a bunch of toffs sneering at the masses.

  15. @Alec
    @Simon

    No I don’t to be honest, Alec My point was that the local variations from seat to seat cannot be explained by ‘noise’, and appear to mean something. I was surprised to see how the betting followed discernible patterns/trends, apparently overlain with local effects.

    By way of example, the only challenger to the Tories in my constituency is an Independent, who started in the betting at 66/1, but is now 9/2 or 5/1. Her odds have plummeted, yet there has been no poll of local voting intentions. Now as we get closer to the election, I note a forest of boards appearing in her support. The rapidly falling odds cannot have been caused by any poll: there were none. It was simply some canny local investors seeing an opportunity, believing that she has a chance.

  16. @Shev

    If the pattern is not evident in recent polls it could either mean that it is obscured by noise (most likely IMO) or, perhaps, that this particular form of churn is now no longer happening.

    By extending the analysis to several months’ worth of polls I was able to detect a subtle, but real (and very reliable) effect that was basically compatible with what the churn people find. If for some reason it stopped happening a few weeks ago, my analysis wouldn’t have picked this up. The patterns from the earlier phase would have been enough for the effect still to be seen in the data.

    So, while it is impossible to rule out a recent change I am confident that the effect is there but that it can be discriminated from noise only by using formal methods.

  17. Colin

    Totally agree, sheer madness.

  18. 36 years today since the Vote of No Confidence which brought down Callaghan.

    Also the site (whatever you think of his politics) of one of Michael Foot’s greatest speeches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCXcF8L0KTA

  19. Roger M

    Interesting post overnight and if I can attempt to summarise.
    Those seeking affirmation of switching vote and/or voting for the first time are more likely to be engaged in the debate, I guess more people who are certain who they will vote for won’t bother. This is not a massive difference but enough to affect the overall make up of respondents but a few %age points.

    In this sense (my reading) those switching to Lab and Cons have firmed up. (may be a little of those thinking of switching away from one of them but not directly over)
    My (perhaps biased reading) is that the idea that as EM was exposed some switchers would be put off has been weakened and in this sense Labour gained more from the
    event than the cons whilst the latter also benefited a tad.

  20. Reggie side

    The models aren’t building in a “pro Tory” bias (apart from Fisher who tries to account for the fact that pollsters consistently under predict the tories)

    What the EF model does is merely say a voter that voted X in 2010 and now says they will vote Y is more likely to vote X (transferring their vote back) than someone who didn’t vote for X. Choosing the 2010 benchmark has some reasoning, as it implies the act of actually sticking an X in the box is significant. It’s likely not to be the best possible measure and with infinite data a better model could be chosen, but with very limited data a very simple model is justified.

    The effect of swingback is pushing the Conservatives up to a mighty 34.5%, hardly out of the bounds of reasonableness. Just because a model incorporates a autoregressive factor doesn’t mean this factor has to dominate the predictions. With little data the strength of the factor is uncertain (and is an average value for an average election, and is a measure of how effective the campaign runs, have a good campaign you’ll outperform the prediction, a weak one you’ll underperform) and might well need tweaking particularly for reverting very strong swings. Again with very small amount of data trying to create a sophisticated model could fall into the trap of over fitting historical data while not improving the predictive capacity of the model.

    The important point is the strength of these factors is data driven, not “let’s tweak the various factors until it gives me a prediction I like” which pretty much is no different to sticking out a personal opinion of what a prediction should be.

    Are these models right? Not enough data to say, only that historically they fit the data better than a model that doesn’t have an autoregressive factor (if there was no autoregression seen historically, the model would be able to reduce the factor to zero so in effect a “no regression, the best prediction is the current position” is a subset of autoregressive models)

    Ultimately it’s unlikely this family of models will be made or broken by any single election but it will be informative to compare predictions from this family of models vs a “what the polls say now” model and see how well each predicted the election 6 months before an election.

    As another test it’d be interesting to compare it to a “take the predictions of anyone with an opinion 6 months prior to an election and draw at random.” and compare the mean and standard error to the numerical models.

  21. TOH

    The interest, for me, lies in the signal, not the policy announcement.

    We can’t discuss policy in detail here, and in this instance one couldn’t do so without the answers to a number of question-like “5% of what?” , and ” Is a contract let at NHS Tarrifs making a “profit” ?”

    So ” 5% cap” , like “privatisation” in the NHS announcement are meaningless. But they aren’t meant for considered analysis. They are buttons attached to an “Issue” with a perceived Labour lead.
    The desired response to them is Pavolvian, not intellectual.

    The trouble with dog whistles of this type is that unlike real dog whistles they can be heard by everyone. And as the Dogs come running towards you, other voters are running away.

    Anyway-I await a response from Cons which simply says -we will fund Simon Stevens’ report-” Five Year Forward View” , and thus strive to improve care & safety in the NHS.

    I expect to wait a very long time though.

  22. Interesting 4 page leaflet today from Jim Murphy MP.

    Lots of pictures of Jim, tag lines of “re-elect Jim Murphy” and “a strong voice for East Renfrewshire”.

    Funnily though despite having 4 pages of A4 Jim never once mentions which party he represents or whether he has any particular role in that party…

    I wonder what internal polling LiS have done? Obviously it’s helped them decide against even mentioning the L word.

  23. @alan –

    cheers for that – im still not exactly clear how the models are working – but are they still predicting a tory lead in the polls come the GE (reflected in the predicted seat numbers?).

  24. MR NAMESS.
    Thanks for the link to Michael Foot’s speech, great memories.
    However I do wish he had not become leader after the 1979 GE. (1980, I think, after Jim Callaghan)

  25. @TheSheep @Alan

    Thanks for post about R and Pandas.

    I’ve downloaded and played with both this morning.

    From the get-go I have found R to much more intuitive.

    I don’t know enough about Python, and need to learn more in future. I’m sure Pandas will make more sense.

    I also have Sofastats, which does basic functions really well, with good explanations of the results.

    Thanks again for sharing your good advice.

  26. NORTHUMBERLAND SCOTT and others

    I have had a campaigning leaflet from a Lib-Dem MP which does not say which party he is from. The only clue is a yellow stripe down the front page. Is he afraid to name his party?

  27. Tony, NS,

    It’s very common for Lib Dem MPs to do this – “Hallamshire Life” has been delivered to people in Clegg’s constituency with only an advert on the back page to identify it as being from the LDs.

    Rather more underhand are the leaflets I keep finding which push left-wing attacks on Labour in student areas, without any party branding at all. Printed right on the crease in three point font: “Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats”.

  28. @Andrew

    Am I right in thinking that all of the projections assume that there will be an increase in Conservative support together with a drop in Labour support as we get closer to the election day. If so, has that been proven right over the last few weeks?

  29. @Colin – “Which in turn “bodes” quite a lot of addional taxes for someone.”

    You’ve made an assumption here that private provision is better. That’s interesting, as it hasn’t always been born out by actual events. PFI is private contract based, as were many hospital cleaning contracts, with some pretty dire consequences. I know you are not a fan of PFI, so maybe had we adopted this policy much earlier, these contracts could have been better value?

    The problem here is on both sides. The Labour policy is, as you say, a dog whistle to those who resist any private provision in health care. As someone who runs a private company, for a profit (not in health care, but 90% based on community benefit outcomes) I can’t agree that private enterprise is inherently ‘bad’. I suspect there is a role for some forms of private enterprise within the NHS. Unreasonable profits are, well – unreasonable, in my mind regardless of what business you are in.

    You and TOH appear to take an opposite view, that private provision is inherently better, and presumably cheaper, otherwise you wouldn’t assume failing to attract private providers would increase taxes. If it means the job is done at cost, and not at cost + profit, it could actually in theory mean less taxes are needed. That’s your particular prejudice.

    However, the point of this is polling impact. I posted yesterday that in terms of winning votes at the GE, I think this is a smart move.

    I can see multiple pitfalls in the actual policy itself, but ask a Tory candidate if they a) Support greater privatization in the NHS and b) believe private companies should be able to make whatever profit from NHS contracts they can get away with, I think we know they would struggle to answer ‘yes’ and ‘yes’.

    To me, this appears to be a pledge that addresses two policies that aren’t being suggested by anyone. I suspect it will have very limited practical effects, will cost taxpayers nothing, and as such is about as close to a dream election promise as you can get.

  30. We can expect YG’s methodology to change shortly (next week?), which will present an improvement in Con VI relative to Lab VI. This change is to reflect the propensity of Con and Lab supporters voters to actually vote.

    So, although with YG C and L VI appear to be neck and neck, the change will undoubtedly push C ahead of L (or at least reduce any L lead).

    Does the GE prediction models include this propensity factor?

  31. @ RAF

    The ‘bias’ in the sample group may well be explained by the fact that the “debate” was in London where most recently ICM (and indeed last month YouGov) found a Lab lead over the Tories of precisely 10%.

    I’d actually done the same analysis as Roger Mexico, ‘cos I was a bit piqued at the result being downplayed because the sample was too ‘Laboury’. I didn’t post it, ‘cos it would have seemed partisan coming from me.

    Initially, I thought of the same explanation as you. And if it had been a poll of the studio audience, that would be the perfect explanation. But it was a poll of people watching it on TV, unless I’m mistaken.

    Roger Mexico’s theory that it’s voters who’ve changed Party being over-represented is a very reasonable suggestion but I don’t think that’s the whole story either. It’s probably about as good as it gets though.

    But one alternative is to suggest that the debate itself being between two Parties pushed undecided voters and ‘soft’ voters (whose Party wasn’t in the debate) towards picking one of the two Parties who were actually involved; & having been pushed to make a binary choice, more chose Labour than Conservative.

    That might, just might, be a sliver of a hint that Labour may have picked the correct message (albeit it’s a dull, rather negative one) when they say: If you don’t vote Labour you’ll get the Conservatives. i.e. on the very slim evidence of this ICM poll, when pushed to make a binary choice, a lot more people choose Labour than Tory.

    I apologise if this seems a bit partisan because it’s coming from me, but I decided to just fly the kite anyway.

  32. Doh, ‘Do’ not ‘Does’

  33. @ Northumbrian Scot

    I wonder what internal polling LiS have done? Obviously it’s helped them decide against even mentioning the L word.

    None, of which I’m aware.

    But somebody, who shall remain nameless, has been pushing for Scottish Labour to be Labour Scotland. Perhaps Jim hasn’t decided which to use yet, so used neither in this leaflet. ;-)

  34. @Garry Gatter

    Am I right in thinking that all of the projections assume that there will be an increase in Conservative support together with a drop in Labour support as we get closer to the election day. If so, has that been proven right over the last few weeks?

    Not all of them. Most of the models claim to be estates of what would happen if an election were held ‘tomorrow’. Only Electionsetc and the Electionforecast model make assumptions about changes between now and May 7.

    Those changes are indeed along the lines your describe. Recent weeks have seen a modest increase in the Tory VI. However, against some expectations Labour support has not fallen in recent weeks. (See second comment at the beginning of this thread.)

  35. Amber Star,

    I have done nothing of the sort!

  36. @ Mike N

    Why isn’t propensity for Cons and Labs to actually vote already built into the methodology?

  37. Reggie side

    Steve Fisher is, his model pretty much is saying “the pollsters are slightly wrong because they have been in the past”

    EF predicts a slight lead but well within margin of error so a case of coin flip, albeit with a slightly biased coin. 57%/43%. It’s very much jiggling around the critical point in terms of election outcome where 10 seats here or there (which is probably the scale of uncertainty we’ll have come election night) would change the makeup of the next government.

  38. Ernie
    AW should be able to answer yr Q.

  39. @Mike N

    The pollsters may already include some kinds of adjustment to take account account of propensity to vote. They tend to make everyone’s le effort to eliminate systematic biases. @RM and others will be able to provide more information on such matters.

    Does the GE prediction models include this propensity factor?

    The provision of swingback could be construed in part as covering this. The two reversion models are forecasting that the Tory showing will be better than is being suggested by the current polls. This adjustment is based on tendencies seen in past elections. In part, this could be due to differential turnout.

    That said, however, I believe there is evidence that the Tory/Labour turnout imbalance is reduced in close elections. If that is true, then this may not be an important factor on May 7.

  40. Re: likelihood to vote

    I just checked the methodology article Anthony posted the other day. YouGov is actually the only polling company not to include likelihood to vote… yet

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/methods2.gif

  41. Unicorn
    Thanks

  42. Gary Gatter

    If anything Lab have slightly moved ahead of Con over the last week and in terms of the past few weeks there has really been no change between Con and Lab. They were neck and neck a month ago and remain so now. In reality since the start of the New Year there has been little change between the two parties. There was an expectation of crossover a few weeks ago but this has not happened with Con not pulling ahead.

    It remains all to play for with neither side likely to gain a majority although the bookies odds on a Lab maj remain very generous.

  43. @ Umicorn

    Thanks- although I had more or less accepted what you said as fact. I wasn’t really querying whether this pattern has changed recently more just why the top line UKIP vote from different polling companies in the current week’s list of polls doesn’t seem to change the Lab-Con dynamic. Whether UKIP are at 18% or 10% seems to make no difference to what the gap is between Lab and Con (in this set of polls).

    I was just wondering if their methodology explained some of that. The obvious explanation would be for example that if they have a high VI for UKIP they also have high VI’s for the parties that might take votes of Labour (Greens, LD, SNP) and that means the gap between Labour and Tory remains unchanged as they both lose equally to the smaller parties with different churns. But just scanning Anthony’s list this week doesn’t seem to work with that theory!

  44. ALEC

    @”You’ve made an assumption here that private provision is better.”

    Actually I haven’t -read my post again.

    I was , as I said, considering the “message” , rather than the policy, which is not yet defined.

    As I said, Dog Whistles can be heard by others-as well as the Dogs.

    I’m imagining one such-who runs a company employing lots of people-some working at NHS establishments providing contracted out services. So he receives this new message-you are no longer “preferred” , and if you do get a new contact, we will “cap” your “profit”. We wish the State to employ all NHS workers.. A related message might say-this will require higher taxes-and you will be paying them. It would be an interesting set of messages for such a person to receive coming up to a GE don’t you think ?

    So far as Cons are concerned,as I said, the appropriate message seems screemingly obvious:-
    We have a competent person running NHS England. He wishes to improve patient care & safety regardless of political ideology. He has reported on how he wishes to do it. We agree-and will fund it.

  45. ALEC

    I forgot to agree that for EM , these” messages” will seem to be a “smart move”. I can only agree that on the basis of their polling on NHS as an issue , it is.

    For others, they will indicate , with other related messages”, what sort country Ed Miliband wants us to live in.

  46. @ Mr Nameless

    I have done nothing of the sort!

    :-) Hallam Labour or Labour Hallam? I’d bet money that you don’t care, so long as you win. :-)

  47. Good morning all from a very windy Giffnock.

    “At 16 points ICM show a slightly smaller SNP lead than some other companies, but there is no significant change from their previous poll, suggesting its something methodological rather than a narrowing of the SNP lead”
    _______

    Yes I think most of us here would agree with this analysis. It’s very easy for some to break sweat when we see a slight movement in the polls and at the same time forgetting about the ole methodological thing.

  48. It seems odd that YouGov have decided to go from not weighing for likelihood to vote, to doing so, just as the campaign begins, as it creates a false impression of momentum for the parties when there isn’t any. Puzzled.

  49. If the LibDems retain a reasonable number of seats in May, largely as a result of ABT tactical voting, would they seriously consider entering into another coalition with the Conservatives or even offering C&S?

    I would suspect based on “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice ..(choose your own expletives)” there won’t be much support for them at the next election which could come much sooner than 2020.

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