Here’s a round up of polls over recent days. For a quiet February week in a post-election year, there’s quite a lot to rake over.

The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian has topline figures of CON 39%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 4%. Full tabs are here. The Conservative lead is up slightly from last month’s ICM poll (Martin Boon’s comments that “Labour drop three, which is perhaps a more realistic level of performance than the 35% we measured last month. Once again, this phone poll sample recalled voting in a Labour government in May 2015, the sixth time out of nine that our phone polls have done so since the election.”)

At the weekend we had the monthly online ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror. Voting intention figures there were CON 41%, LAB 27%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 3%. (full details are here. The twenty-seven percent for Labour equals the lowest they’ve recorded since the election (and indeed, since 2010) but ComRes have tended to produce the worst figures for Labour in recent polling, largely because they’ve made the most extensive changes since last year’s polling error. ComRes have shifted to a turnout model based on socio-economic factors, while most of the other companies have produced comparatively minor interim changes while they wait for the polling inquiry to report. This may, of course, end up being the penultimate poll in the ComRes/Indy on Sunday series, though John Rentoul tweeted at the weekend that he hopes the ComRes polls will continue in the Sindy’s bright new online future.

Thirdly there was a fresh YouGov Wales poll this morning, as usual Roger Scully offers a full write up over on his elections in Wales blog. In short, they show no real change in Westminster voting intentions, a boost for UKIP in Welsh assembly intentions (Constituency vote is CON 22%, LAB 34%, LDEM 5%, Plaid 19%, UKIP 18%, Regional vote is CON 22%, LAB 31%, LDEM 4%, Plaid 19%, UKIP 18%) and movement towards LEAVE in Welsh EU referendum voting intentions – REMAIN 37%, LEAVE 45%, DK/WNV 19%. It’s worth noting that while Scottish opinion on the EU referendum is far more pro-EU than Britain as a whole, Welsh opinion seems to be similar to that in England.

Fourthly, there’s a fresh ComRes/ITV telephone poll on the EU referendum. As has been discussed a lot lately (I wrote about it here) there is a significant contrast between telephone polls on the EU referendum and online polls on the EU referendum, with the former tending to show a much better position for the REMAIN campaign. Today’s ComRes poll is the first telephone poll since the draft details of Cameron’s renegotiation were released, and they show a significant tighting of the race compared to previous telephone polls – topline voting intentions are REMAIN 49%(-5), LEAVE 41%(+5). The eight point lead for Remain is still much more positive for them than online polls are suggesting, but the movement towards leave since the draft deal was announced is the same. Full details of the poll are here.

Finally, YouGov announced today that Peter Kellner is going to retire as YouGov President at the end of March. Peter was YouGov’s Chairman for many years and was in charge of YouGov’s political polling until Joe Twyman took over the team in 2010. He’s continued to be our best known media face and an incredibly valuable source of wise counsel and good advice since then. I expect Joe or I will write more in due course, but he will be hugely missed.


95 Responses to “Latest ComRes & ICM, YouGov Wales and EU ref polls”

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  1. Good evening all from a cold crisp Clarkston East Renfrewshire. Nice to be back in ole Scotland for a couple of days.
    ………….
    ” Welsh assembly intentions (Constituency vote is CON 22%, LAB 34%, LDEM 5%, Plaid 19%, UKIP 18%, Regional vote is CON 22%, LAB 31%, LDEM 4%, Plaid 19%, UKIP 18%) and movement towards LEAVE in Welsh EU referendum voting intentions – REMAIN 37%, LEAVE 45%, DK/WNV 19%. It’s worth noting that while Scottish opinion on the EU referendum is far more pro-EU than Britain as a whole, Welsh opinion seems to be similar to that in England”
    ___________

    For the Welsh assembly UKIP look set to make major inroads but the link doesn’t provide how many seats each of the parties would win.

    However for Westminster Plaid Cymru would gain 2 seats
    Labour: 25 seats (gaining Gower, but losing Ynys Môn)

    Conservatives: 10 seats (losing Gower)

    Plaid Cymru: 5 seats (gaining Ynys Môn and Ceredigion)

    UKIP are not projected to gain any seats, and the Liberal Democrats would also, on Ratio Swing, lose their final seat in Wales.

    So not too bad for Plaid but utter misery for the Lib/Dems.

    On the EU in out shake it all about referendum Wales looks set to bolt from the EU which I find astonishing considering they benefit more from the EU than other parts of the UK and since immigration tops peoples reasons for voting No and Wales having less immigration than rUK (excluding NI)it just boggles the mind!!

    I can only put it down to the amount of grey English voters migrating into Wales and upsetting/skewing Welsh politics.

  2. “Peter Kellner is going to retire as YouGov President at the end of March. Peter was YouGov’s Chairman for many years and was in charge of YouGov’s political polling until Joe Twyman took over the team in 2010. He’s continued to be our best known media face and an incredibly valuable source of wise counsel and good advice since then. I expect Joe or I will write more in due course, but he will be hugely missed”
    ______

    Personally I think Peter Kellner is the best known face in polling and not just for Yougov. Will be sadly missed,

    Get your CV in AW and you might be the next Peter Kellner :-)

  3. Good evening from a bitterly cold night in Kent, etc etc (why do people start posts this way?)

    My personal hunch is still that the Con-Lab gap is about ten points – Comres are the only ones to have made wholesale changes to the flawed methodology they had at the GE.

    As for the referendum – the state of play is anyone’s guess, but the direction of travel is clearly towards the exit door. The arrival of Grassroots Out has been very timely – not only because it seems uniquely capable amongst the splinter groups of staying focused on Brexit and not getting distracted by infighting, but because it has the whiff of insurgency and is quickly amassing an army of footsoldiers. The remain camp has nothing comparable, at least for the moment, but then comparatively few people love the EU relative to the number that despise it.

  4. @AC
    “Wales …they benefit more from the EU than other parts of the UK”
    That means you believe that the support for Wales would stop if UK left the EU?
    So long as UK is a net contributor to the EU, any EU support received in UK is merely getting our own money back, while the cost of processing the claims goes abroad.

  5. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    The link is not to the Welsh Assembly poll but the Westminster Poll. The post about the Assembly poll is

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2016/02/15/1323/

    Welsh Labour: 27 seats (25 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

    Welsh Conservatives: 12 seats (7 constituency seats + 5 list seats)

    Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)
    UKIP: 9 seats (9 list seats)

    Welsh Liberal Democrats: 2 seats (2 constituency seats)

    Welsh Labour would loose Llanelli (Plaid Gain), Cardiff Central (Welsh Lib Dem Gain) and Cardiff North (Welsh Con Gain).

  6. Anthony

    Roger Scully also notes that YG’s methodology changes had not yet been introduced for this poll. Might that make the Welsh results a little more inaccurate?

    After a discussion on his blog about the YG practice in Scotland of producing more accurate responses by weighting by place of birth, Roger said he intended to contact YG about introducing that demographic into Welsh polls, if it produced equally useful adjustments.

    While only stats analysis would indicate whether that would improve Welsh polling, it seems intuitively likely that an excessive proportion of respondents “born in England” might distort Welsh polling, as it did in Scotland.

  7. DAVE
    @AC
    “Wales …they benefit more from the EU than other parts of the UK”
    That means you believe that the support for Wales would stop if UK left the EU?
    So long as UK is a net contributor to the EU, any EU support received in UK is merely getting our own money back, while the cost of processing the claims goes abroad”
    _______

    All I’m saying is that I’m surprised Wales appears to be heading for a No vote. Wales Scotland and NI do benefit from EU membership and a large part of that is down to geography etc but personally speaking I’m N all the way.

  8. GERAINT

    Thanks for that. On these numbers Welsh Labour would be down 3 seats wiping out their majority and would probably look to go into government with PC or even go into a minority administration.

    UKIP will have certainly made a breakthrough and no doubt Farage (rightly so) will be championing the cause for PR at Westminster pointing out to his party’s gains in Wales under PR.

    Interesting times in Cymru.

  9. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “On these numbers Welsh Labour would be down 3 seats wiping out their majority and would probably look to go into government with PC or even go into a minority administration.”

    Prior to the success of minority administration after 2007 in Scotland, no party fancied that prospect, but I’d be surprised if Llafur spurned that this year.

    On how many measures that they propose would the combined opposition parties vote against them? Maybe they don’t have a Swinney as Finance Secretary, but his example should persuade them that buying abstentions from sufficient members, on the Budget, isn’t too difficult.

    Apart from the Budget, the only other serious difficulty would be if all the opposition parties simultaneously thought that they could make gains at Llafur’s expense in an extraordinary GE. and voted the Welsh Government down on a vote of confidence.

    The chances of that seem so slight as to be non-existent.

    In the case of Wales, Llafur wouldn’t even face an opposition united on any single issue, so the prospect of an incompetent set of opposition parties combining to force through a disaster of the “Cardiff trams” (or equivalent) would never arise.

    As for the much-projected rise of UKIP, there may be some factors which could limit that projection.

    1. Is there an over-representation of “grey English voters” in the YG sample?

    2. Constituency seats are far more dominant in the Senedd than in the Scots Parliament. Roger Scully has previously noted the dire financial straits of UKIP, and their internecine warfare in Wales, which will limit their campaigning strength – which in any case is much more likely to be concentrated on the euroref.

    3. If there is an indirect bonus in Wales from the euroref, will UKIP be the main beneficiaries of Leaver votes?

  10. So which two constituency seats do the WLD keep, noting that one projection above has them gaining a seat in Cardiff Central.

    Further with three months to go, just how soft is the UKIP vote in Wales?

  11. It has to be said that the national polls are truely dire for Labour. There seems to be a mindnumbing lack of awareness from Labour supporters that unless the government eats it’s own head, they are heading for a complete train wreck of an election in 2020. It’s as if Labour are collectively suffering from hypothermia and their brains are gradually closing down.

    The idea that some kind of calamity will befall the government and this will hand Corbyn power isn’t necessarily fanciful, but with such appalingly low levels of support and near zero credibility on many issues, the assumption that Tories losing support will automatically mean Labour gaining needs some serious rethinking, in my view.

    Meanwhile, the interesting stuff seems to be happening within the Tory tent. There is increasing concern evident among Tory backbenchers and the press regarding Osborne’s plans for pensions. He is known to be looking at major changes to tax relief on pension contributions, with the former Lib Dem’s pensions minister’s ideas of a flat rate relief looking likely. The tip is for 25% relief across the board, which would save £6b and benefit 82% of taxpayers.

    However, in Toryland, the knives are out for this proposal, as it would adversely affect the 15% or so of higher rate taxpayers, and the 2.6% of people who expect to earn over £43,000 when pensioners.

    The fact that so much fire is being directed from the right onto a plan to make huge savings which benefit the vast majority of workers and pensioners tells us a great deal about what parts of the Tory party actually stand for. It also tells us that Osborne doesn’t get everything wrong. It also tells us that Labour might well be facing oblivion, if Cameron and Osborne can keep finding big things to do that really help the majority.

    It’s a topsy turvy world out there sometimes.

  12. ALEC

    @”There seems to be a mindnumbing lack of awareness from Labour supporters ”

    I think you have to specify which particular Labour supporters Alec.

    On the basis of family experience & a few Facebook contacts, the idealistic young who flocked to Corbyn have a lot of disdain for “voters”-feel they don’t really think things through properly. So for these “Labour supporters” , existing voters & therefore presumably Opinion Pollls about their preferences , are of no interest. They perceive an army of DNVs who are just waiting to vote for the Messiah now that he has appeared on earth. I think your accusation of “lack of awareness” is well targetted at this group

    More traditional “Labour supporters” however seem more & more aware of what is happening to their party. Perhaps Scotland will be a test for these two strands of Labour support-though we will , no doubt, be reminded by the usual sages , of the unique & very un-English nature of Scottish politics.

  13. @Alec

    Can you tone down the nakedly partisan nature of your posts? It seems you want to make party political points rather than discuss polling. There are ample forums for the former, but not many places for the latter, and you devalue the comments section by turning it into a political rant.

    It’s not that I fully disagree with you: I am a firm opponent of the Labour party, but your preaching is utterly misplaced here.

    Have a little re-read of http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/comment-policy which you no doubt have bothered to look at before but seemingly have forgotten about.

  14. @ALUN009 –
    Sorry but I fail to see how Alec’s post above has contravened AW’s guidelines. It’s a post ABOUT politics, deriving from the consistent poll results since May ’15, and making points based on his(?) assessment.
    Equally his comments about Osborne’s proposals and Tory Right opposition are non-hectoring discussion ABOUT politics.
    Whether I agree with him, whether I would use the same phraseology as he does, are beside the point. He’s entitled under AW’s guidelines, IMHO, to discuss his ideas here.

  15. @ Alan Christie

    Re: votes of no confidence,
    My understanding is that this will not lead to an election because of the fixed term nature of the WA.

    Re: Wales for Leaving: My feeling is that the major driver for this is an anti immigration attitude, although immigration in Wales is low, sociological research tends to show that attitudes towards immigration as a problem are less strident where people live amongst immigrants.
    On that basis it would seem the poll results, unfortunately, reflect that rather narrow minded focus.

  16. @Alun009 – I am, in general terms, a Labour supporter. The ‘general terms’ bit comes in as I am way to the left of New Labour, and slightly more to the left of Corbyn.

    I don’t believe my comments were partisan. I believe the polls are telling us (at present) that Labour are completely stuffed. We are nearly a year into the second term of a Prime Ministers rule who has never been very trusted and who presides over a party less popular/more unpopular than he himself is, securing only a tiny majority in 2015, amidst a stuttering economy and a populace suffering from a variety of cuts, crises and general hardships.

    Being 7-10 % behind in such circumstances is, I would contend, disastrous for any opposition with pretensions to power, especially in an increasingly fractured political system where the binary Con/Lab dynamic is breaking down. Labour are about to be slaughtered (again) in their former northern heartland, and I see nothing remotely resembling optimism for them.

    We also have a Tory government that looks like it is about to do something Labour should have done years ago, namely stop spending £30b or so a year stuffing the pension pots of very rich people with even more cash and effectively enhancing and perpetuating income division between rich and poor from working lives into old age.

    I don’t feel I am being overly partisan in my comments, but should AW think I am, I will apologise and tone it down.

  17. @AC “I’m surprised Wales appears to be heading for a No vote”
    But remember the results of a rather large ‘poll’ a couple of years ago when Wales elected a UKIP MEP and ran Labour a very close second,
    Labour 206,332 UKIP 201,983 Conservative 127,742 Plaid Cymru 111,864
    I suspect the ” the amount of grey English voters migrating into Wales and upsetting/skewing Welsh politics” may have more to do with their organizing ability than their numbers.

  18. Actually – no – I should have phrased the parts of my posts about the proposed pension reform differently. AW does not like us duscussing whether policies are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – that is partisan.

    The point I was really seeking to make on this is that, with 82% of the population seemingly about to get a substantial boost to their pension savings, from a measure that also makes net budget savings of £6b, in a sensible world* this should be extremely helpful to the governments polling prospects.

    *The only caveat there is with this is that I think we have polling evidence that the losers disgruntlement often outweighs the gainers joy, even when, as in this case, 82% of workers benefit and only 2.6% of people are likely to be major losers.

  19. @ Andy Shadrack

    “So which two constituency seats do the WLD keep, noting that one projection above has them gaining a seat in Cardiff Central.”

    As far as I’m aware, the only constituency seat held in 2011 by the Welsh LibDems was Brecon and Radnor. Their party leader Kirsty Williams is the AM there.

    They lost the Westminster seat at the GE as a result of significant movement to the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour, though in fact Plaid and the Greens also took votes from in something of a perfect storm.

    Whilst – anecdotally – the Assembly Member is more popular locally than the former MP was and has a higher profile due to her being the party leader, this will be a tough fight.

    I would guess it relies on her being able to marshal a personal vote – something that didn’t work especially well for the LibDems last year – and persuading soft Labour, Plaid and Green voters that she is the convincing ABT. This was always the traditional LibDem formula in this constituency and it will be interesting to see whether they are able to resuscitate their local party to mount a proper campaign in May.

    It’s made doubly interesting as this is an example of the Senedd seat being identical to the Westminster seat, if the LibDems can hold on, I’m pretty certain that they will look to build from here to mount a challenge to take the Westminster seat back in 2020 – quite possibly with Kirsty Williams as the candidate.

    As Brecon and Radnor was a seat they held – intermittently – when a party with fewer than 40 MPs this must represent the kind of place they would be looking to start the long journey back to political relevance, if such a journey is to be made.

    A big test for the LibDems,, how hard they campaign there will be the first indication of whether they have the stomach for the fight.

  20. Massive opportunity in Wales for UKIP to damage Labour. The Land of my Fathers remains very socially conservative – and Labour now being a middle class protest group don’t have much in common with your average Taff.

  21. “….your average Taff.”

    How delightfully urbane.

  22. @Alec @Colin

    ”There seems to be a mindnumbing lack of awareness from Labour supporters

    “I think you have to specify which particular Labour supporters Alec.”

    I quite agree with Colin here. I think to categorise all Labour supporters in the same way is a significant generalisation.

    Allow something by the way of anecdote…

    I have a couple of friends – one a former Green newly minted Labour, the other an ‘absolute Trot’ (her words not mine) – who are delighted with the leadership of the Party they have just joined, and that’s Diane Abbott, John McConnell and all, not just Mr Corbyn, and both truly believe that it is simply a matter of time until the good people of Totnes and Battersea ‘see the light’.

    On the other hand another friend, a long term supporter and Labour Party member (since her own student days) – the director of medium sized museum – has cancelled her membership and no longer feels comfortable at the tone of the party or local branch meetings.

    Most tellingly, a lifelong party member in his mid sixties, the kind of chap who convenes meetings, acts as a teller at elections, does the groundwork of delivering leaflets… he has adopted a sort of resigned detachment – not because he’s deaf to what is about to happen, he fully believes that without significant change Labour will be hammered in 2020, but because he doesn’t see what means exist within the party machinery at present to change the situation.

    The introduction of the £3 selectorate and the new members like the first two friends I mentioned has changed the composition of the Labour party. Perhaps not those who regularly attend meetings, my retired friend tells me – but crucially those who would have to vote on any change in leadership or direction.

    It seems to me that as well as the ‘Blairites’ there’s a much bigger section of the party that has a sense from polls and elsewhere that something very bad could be going awry – in electoral terms – but that Corbyn et all must be allowed to fail if anything can even be attempted to be done.

    One thing I would note about the doubting of Corbyn friends above is that they would probably place themselves to the left of the last Blair / Brown administration, and were ready for some repositioning for the Labour Party. They don’t like some of his policy positions on Trident, the economy and constitution, but are just as concerned, if not more, about his tone and competence.

    Of course all the above can be dismissed as ‘a man down the golf club told me UKIP are going to romp home… ‘ but, given I’m not a Labour Party member, nor actively involved party politics at all, it seems that if this degree of disquiet within the party is evident to me as an ‘interested observer’, there’s much more within.

    On the polling evidence, of course there’s not a huge amount of hostility amongst Labour voters towards Corbyn – but I can’t help feel that ‘favourable / unfavourable’ questions about this apparently amenable man – such as the recent ComRes survey, which gave him an apparent 56% approval rating amongst Labour voters are asking the wrong question.

    Those polls that delve into whether he is likely to delivery victory, such as the December work by Opinium for the Observer, show greater levels of doubt.

    So, a combination of polling and personal ‘intelligence’ leads me to conclude that there’s not so much a ‘head in the sand’ attitude in the Labour Party, but a feeling abroad that Corbyn must be allowed to fail – if, indeed, that is what he is going to do – before other sections of the party can make a move.

  23. “Once again, this phone poll sample recalled voting in a Labour government in May 2015, the sixth time out of nine that our phone polls have done so since the election”

    Could someone please explain what they mean by this?

    Thanks

    Ed

  24. WB

    Thanks for the note re confidence votes having no effect in the Senedd.

    Indeed the Wales Act seems remarkably silent on rather important matters like the Executive failing to get their Budget through, or the First Secretary and the other Assembly Secretaries resigning, and the Senedd failing to agree on the election of a successor Executive.

  25. @Jasper22

    “… Labour now being a middle class protest group don’t have much in common with your average Taff.”

    Go to West, Mid and much of North Wales and you’ll find that there were never many ‘Taffs’ to begin with, it being a term that refers explicitly to a part of Wales.

    Indeed, the characterisation of Wales as a culturally and socially unified whole is a significant misnomer.

    The country has always been cut across by divisions of language, class (which often go hand in hand), urban and rural, industrial and agricultural. As many have pointed out above, significant migration by English retirees, particularly to parts of the North Wales coast, Pembrokeshire and Montgomeryshire have further complicated issues.

    This is clear to see in seats like Ynys Mon, which have a significant UKIP anti-immigration vote, partly amongst the English retiree population, no doubt, and an equally significant anti-immigration Plaid Cymru vote partly aimed at the English retiree population!

    Added to this the – quite possibly dying – Liberal tradition and you have a more complex political culture than Labour’s erstwhile stranglehold on Westminster seats would indicate.

    As to social conservatism – again I think the picture is much more complex than you paint. Attitudes towards extra UK immigration in Wales seem to map against other parts of the mainland UK with low levels of existing migrant populations.

    Attitudes towards homosexuality are difficult to gage as many polling companies place Wales in with another region for GB polling (West Mids or South West).

    However, the only piece of Wales only polling on attitudes to same sex marriage in the run up to the legislation was carried out by YouGov and with 62% in favour of the changes, placed the population there pretty much in tune with the national average.

  26. Alec,
    I agree with much of your analysis but would point out that – in psephological – terms Labour has been here before – having lagged the Tories for two years into the Parliaments of 1959 and 1987. Moreover at this stage of the 2001 Parliament – early 2002 – Labour was over 20% ahead in some polls yet only managed to win the 2005 election by 3%. I really do not believe that polls at this early stage of a Parliament offer much guide at all as to what will happen in an election more than four years away. As it is ICM is showing Labour slightly above its May 2015 level and local by election results have not been particularly bleak. The May elections may give us a better guide , but I will be disinclined to read much into poll findings until early 2017.

  27. @ Graham

    Very good points.

    Of course, Labour did go on to lose the 1992 GE, but the inroads made were significant and set the scene for the parliamentary turbulence of the Major years, with that PM’s small and unreliable majority.

    The parallels with 2001 are there too. Labour led convincingly pretty much up until the divisive decision to participate in the invasion of Iraq. Whilst good manners currently prevail, more or less in Conservative circles, based on the Major years and recent history in the Scottish referendum, the combination of a closely fought plebescite and constitutional issues certainly has the capacity to cause even more political turmoil than a far off war.

    As AW’s chart shows in the 2001-2005 section, Labour only really recovered after Blair’s ‘detoxification strategy’, when he declared he would not stand again. Now, this PM has already shown his hand in that regard, but the manner of his departure (as planned, or following failure at an EU referendum?) and the person of his replacement will both be significant determiners in the outcome in 2020.

    All that said, miracles have to be worked on Mr Corbyn’s personal ratings and his party’s confidence levels in key areas such as the economy if they wish to capitalise on any Conservative discomfort.

    Interesting times ahead, but those – and there are many especially on the right – who believe that ‘2020 is in the bag’, do seem to have very short memories.

  28. Assiduosity @ Graham

    All true, and the ability of any political party to descend into vicious backbiting should never be underestimated, nor should the potential of a significant portion of the electorate to stick fingers up at the system.

    A referendum can sometimes provoke both of those tendencies simultaneously – and the euroref has that potential

  29. Similarities between indyref and euroref (No79)

    The Royal Intervention

    Laura Kuessenberg on Kate’s husband speaking at Hammond’s invitation at Foreign Office – William quoted as saying… “In an increasingly turbulent world, our ability to unite in common action with other nations is essential.”

  30. @Oldnat
    “the potential of a significant portion of the electorate to stick fingers up at the system.”
    Given that the (apparently truly stated) intentions of all the political parties (except UKIP) are to stay in the EU, that means Brexit.
    Compare the results of the MEP elections in 2014.

  31. The forthcoming European referendum could cause massive upheavals in the political scene if ‘Leave’ wins. I wouldn’t expect ‘Remain’ to alter things much.

    If ‘Leave’ wins, all bets are off. Could it mean a massive swing to UKIP, or would they wither away? Could there be a big revival of the Libdems, as they are the only significant UK-wide party to unequivocally back the EU, and disgruntled Remainers might all rally round?

    For this reason, I don’t think we should take too much notice of polls until after the referendum.

  32. Dave

    It doesn’t mean that Brexit has to win! Just that, whatever the result, if there is a large section of the population that feels “betrayed” by the result, and want to give politicians a good kicking, then current VI may be wholly irrelevant.

    If Remain wins, that might mean lots of Leavers rallying around UKIP, and 35% of the vote could mean a lot of seats – and a wholly unpredictable outcome in those English seats it doesn’t win.

    If Leave wins, then Remainers might move to the most pro-EU party (LDs in England), though currently that seems unlikely : or simply desert the Tories ” for getting us into another fine mess”.

    Most issues in politics don’t matter that much to most people, but this kind of referendum can lead to major shifts in VI.

  33. With regards Labour if you look around the world at the state of many social democratic parties:

    Germany, Australia, New Zealand…

    to name a few countries , they are not doing very well amongst their respective electorates.

    In the 2015 Canadian election the leader of the NDP, equivalent to Labour, managed to take his Party from leading in the polls, up from official opposition status, to under 20% and third party status during the course of a 78 day campaign.

    The point at which I and social democracy permanently parted company, was with the decision to embrace economic neo-liberalism as was the case with Blair in my opinion and an even earlier New Zealand Finance Minister.

    And then I observed the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada oppose the Gulf War and invasion of Iraq, in support of completing the re-establishment of “democracy” in Afghanistan, while the social democratic Prime Minister of England lined up with one of the more right wing Republican US Presidents.

    Further, living in a country that shunned adoption of nuclear weapons, where successive governments have placed a reign on military spending, I encourage you all to compare the state of the health of the social safety net and health care system in Canada as opposed to our free spending military neighbour to the south.

    There is a reason why 84% of Democratic inclined 18-30 year olds voted for septuanegarian Bernie Sanaders and not Hilary Clinton in the Iowa caucuses: her husbands economic policies did not benefit the majority of US citizens.

    There is a reason why 43 year old Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada and then appointed half the members of his cabinet from the ranks of bright female professionals in their 30’s and 40’s.

    Reading this polling blog sometimes reminds me of listening to some of the the tired old white men I served with when I was an elected local government politician, caring about their communities, but scared of the future and uncertain of where to lead us.

    Corbyn, surely, should be judged on the practicality of what he is proposing to do in reality in response to the issues that need to be tackled.

    The pivotal moment in the Canadian election was at the end of August, 2015, when third party, now Prime Minister, Trudeau said, “I’ll do whatever it takes to get the Canadian economy running again, including running a deficit”

    To which the social democrat Prime Minister designate, said we have to stay the course and balance the budget.

    Consequently, it seems to me that the politicians who are gaining traction on both the left and right, are the ones who are offering positive solutions to some pretty intractable problems relating to the economy, poverty, housing and climate change, to name but a few prescient issues.

    Miliband, while he might have been a nice chap, did not strike me as the kind of person who would go to the mat for you.

    Chretien, by contrast, once held a “protester” who tried to physically attack him in public (when he was Prime Minister) in a choke hold by the neck, until the security detail caught up with him.

    It kind of left the feeling, that if you were ever in a fight, this guy would have your back. Canadians watching Trudeau debate Conservative Prime Minister Harper, got the same feeling.

    I am not a Liberal, still voted Green, but there was a moment in the Quebec debate when Trudeau was quite literally roasting Prime Minister Harper for passing legislation that created two classes of Canadian citizens, one that could be stripped of it’s citizenship and deported and one that could not – depending on a very vague definition of who was a “terrorist”.

    So based on the fact that Trudeau took his Liberal party from third party status, 25%, on August 2nd to a majority government, based on 39.5% on October 19th, while the social democrats went from 39% to 19.7% during the same time period – suggests to me that if Corbyn is still leader by the 2020 campaign and has found the right policies to discuss with his opponents he might do very well.

    In the 2015 campaign, with the same Australian Lynton Crosby as worked the magic for Cameron in April, the Canadian Conservatives went from 28% to 31.9% – running ads continuously stating that Trudeau was “not” either experienced or “fit enough” to govern.

    They maintained their base of support, while a majority of the electorate chose between a rejuvinated “liberalism” under Trudeau or a “stay the course” social democrat under Mulcair.

    There is a lesson to be learned somewhere in all this, one that I suspect 45 year old Nicola Sturgeon and 37 year old Ruth Davidson have taken to heart.

  34. Allan Christie – “On the EU in out shake it all about referendum Wales looks set to bolt from the EU which I find astonishing considering they benefit more from the EU than other parts of the UK and since immigration tops peoples reasons for voting No and Wales having less immigration than rUK (excluding NI)it just boggles the mind!!”

    Well in 2013 Britain contributed 17bn euros and only got back 6bn euros.

    I think our payment increased in 2015 as well.

    We could afford to increase contributions to Wales, Cornwall, East Anglia, the North of England and still save money if we left.

    Wales was pretty excited during the Scottish referendum for the same reason. There were articles from Welshmen in the G pointing out that Wales was subsidizing Scotland via Barnett and with the Scots gone, the money they got would increase (no Barnett for them to pay, plus the English would divert their part of the subsidy from Scotland to Wales). I think they were gutted that the Scots decided to stay on and claim the funds! :-)

  35. It does surprise me than any one could think that with over 4 years to go until the next election it is a foregone conclusion that the Conservatives will win.

    This is especially so when you consider in the weeks and even days leading up to the last election the most likely result would have been a Labour coalition Government.

    A lot of water will flow under the bridge between now and the next election, not just with the referendum, but the economy is also not out of the woods yet. Then there are ‘Events, dear boy, events’

  36. @Oldnat
    “It doesn’t mean that Brexit has to win! ”
    No. It is merely an indication. Clearly the result depends on the actual numbers of votes for and against.
    But If almost the whole of the ‘system’ is pro remaining in the EU then for “a significant portion of the electorate to stick fingers up at the system” presumably means more votes for OUT, and the polls are showing a fairly close race. If the number of ‘finger’ votes for OUT is not sufficient to make OUT a possibility, then perhaps the number prepared simply to “stick fingers up at the system” is not actually significant.

    I was assuming that “sticking fingers up at the system” means reacting against what the ‘system’ appears to be advocating BEFORE the referendum, with the possibility of that affecting the referendum result itself.
    You are applying it to ” feeling ‘betrayed’ by the result,” with consequent post-referendum swings in voting intention.

    It seems to me that whatever the referendum result, voting will be fairly close, and so there will inevitably be “a large section of the population that feels ‘betrayed’ by the result,” one way or the other.

    Personally, I feel betrayed by the general reliance of both sides on selective choice of ‘facts’ and presentation of statistics, spin and downright falsehoods.
    [I avoid saying ‘lies’ as I think some advocates have convinced themselves of the truth of statements which are demonstrably false.]

  37. @OldNat, Dave

    My personal view is that it is the closeness of the the EU referendum vote – or indeed any referendum – that dictates how disruptive for the political system it is likely to become rather than the result itself.

    I know that some here will disagree, but had the independence referendum been closer to the original 65/35 spilt many in the Westminster elite assumed, it would, I think, not have brought about the same instant wholesale realignment of the political scene in Scotland.

    Granted, change was clearly coming, or had arrived for Holyrood, but the 2015 GE election result was the product of a referendum campaign that came alive due to its perceived ‘winability’ and sent shockwaves through civil society.

    If the vote in the EU referendum is a small ‘leave’ – there would not only be the Scottish question, but very quickly voices from multinational business, the city, instability in the markets (based on uncertainty rather than actual policy).

    Longer term the complex process of disentanglement over two years, the matter of what happens to EU nationals here and expats abroad. The detail and the opportunity for ‘buyer’s remorse’.

    Even those on the ‘leave’ campaign admit to a ‘tick effect’ in which the economy would slow before – they hope – growing again. Suzanne Evans of UKIP will quite openly admit to this in interviews.

    What effect will this have on the population’s attitude to leaving and to the party that will be seen to have led us to this point i.e. the Conservatives? Particularly that small, but significant group of Conservatives gained from Labour and the LibDems in the last elections, who seem to value competence and economic competence above all else.

    They will also be a party deprived of a PM.

    Could things be further confused by that new group of ‘leavers’ who seem to think that threatened departure is part of some convoluted negotiation for much better terms in the future… paving the way to yet another referendum.

    If it’s a slim ‘remain’, then perhaps the Conservatives can stitch themselves back together on the basis of electoral necessity – they have the failure of UKIP to hold Rochester at the GE to thank for that. But – like newly minted radicals – a whole cast of Conservative MPs may have been made overnight dissenters if they opt to campaign for out.

    Once bitten by the bug of disagreement, how easy will they find it to return to the compliant ways required for a party on a slim majority to govern? How does dissent play out among the electorate?

    And what of Labour? If Mr Corbyn keeps his mouth shut and they dutifully campaign for ‘remain’ on the basis of ‘national interest and workers rights’ they have little to lose (except British exit would be pretty catastrophic for mainstream European social deomcracy).

    But, that’s a big if, and to claim advantage they must seem to be a credible alternative.

    That leaves UKIP and the LibDems, all or nothing for the former one might think (surely they cease to exist if they win? Farage will never be PM negotiating the withdrawal).

    In a strange way, it may be the LibDems that have the most to gain from all of this – Europe, after all, gives them what they seem currently to lack – a reason to exist.

    All of which is to say, yep, all bets off party VI until after the referendum, its fall out and even, perhaps, the leadership of the main political parties going into the GE is settled, which could easily be 2019.

  38. @ Candy

    “We could afford to increase contributions to Wales, Cornwall, East Anglia, the North of England and still save money if we left.”

    No doubt we could .. the question though is whether we would.

  39. @Andy Shadrack

    What you seem to be describing is not so much the failure of the social democratic left – which is enjoying some success here, some failure there – but rather an election campaign in thrall to that rare beast, a true political charismatic with the intellect to match colliding with zeitgeist.

    A cautionary: Tony Blair seemed one such man to many in 1997.

  40. @kentdalian

    No doubt ‘remain’ campaigners in Wales will be pointing out Brussels’ perceived munificence and pointing to the parsimony of the Barnett formula as it pertains to them.

    The EU flags which seem to adorn every new project in the country should assist in making the case.

  41. @NeilJ – to be clear, at no point have I said that the next election will be a foregone conclusion. You are quite correct in my view – four years and a change of leader for the government gives far too much uncertainty to pretend to know the answer.

    What I did say was that Labour is very badly behind in the polls now, at a point when one would normally think an opposition should be doing relatively well, and that they should not assume that the old Lab/Con automatic seesaw
    should continue to operate.

    I think it is pretty clear that labour will be mashed again in Scotland’s May elections, as there isn’t the remotest sign of anything like even the start of a recovery north of the border. Without this, there remains a huge questionmark about how Labour could win the UK in 2020.

    Worse though, in my view, is that for whatever reason, Labour risks not being the home for wobbling government supporters from 2015 or disgruntled voters seeking to boot out a two term government. There is a credibility issue, which now extends well beyond economic competance and is crippling their ability to provide an effective opposition.

    Until we see signs of Labour getting to grips with this, I think it’s safe to assume a third Tory term, but please note – this doesn’t mean that this will necessarily happen – only that I think Labour are currently a shadow of what they should be. [A shadow of a shadow – that’s an intriguing concept?].

  42. I’m quite surprised, but delighted, by that high proportion to LEAVE in Wales.

  43. @Alec

    All of that seems pretty reasonable, but not what you said before, which was all about a total lack of awareness of their party’s supposed predicament on the part of Labour supporters.

    The sense I get is that some Labour supporters – yourself included – do have a sense of impending dread regarding the next election, and the need to be a credible alternative were the ‘wheels to come off’ the current government.

    However, those supporters simply have neither the mandate nor the machinery at their disposal to affect any change on the current leadership or direction of the Labour Party.

    Moreover, it should be stressed that there’s yet to be any proper electoral test of Corbyn’s alleged unpopularity to the electorate as a whole, and forgive me for saying this, but opinion polls do rather come with a health warning at the moment.

  44. @ Assiduosity

    To be fair, Alec is somewhere around the right wing of the Green Party,,and he is certainly not a Labour supporter.

  45. As to polling methodology, the current one seems to be: let’s increase the difference between Con and Lab by 3% … I don’t think Labour reduced the gap to any meaningful extent tough. But they seem to be more efficient.

    I know that the low turnout (15-25%) and the places (safe Labour), and the nature of local by elections are with a huge health warning, but it seems that Labour doesn’t suffer drop in either share or number of votes. So, it is quite possible that Labour didn’t lose voting share, could have even increased by a couple percentages, but not from the Conservatives, and it is quite possible that the Con got back some of the votes from UKIP.

    So, for the time being, any difference between con and lab looks OK. Long time till 2020.

  46. @kentdalian

    “No doubt we could .. the question though is whether we would.”

    This is the $64,000 question isn’t it.

    The effect of the EU in recent years has been a wholesale redistribution of British wealth from the richer South East to the poorer remote areas of the country.

    While the ability to control this money might seem appealing, I see no evidence to suggest that Westminster would do anything other than redistribute all this money back to projects in the South East.

    UKIP supporters in Wales, the North East and other similar areas would do well to remember this fact when the reality sinks in that these areas are further squeezed by Westminster after a “Leave” vote.

  47. Jason
    “The effect of the EU in recent years has been a wholesale redistribution of British wealth from the richer South East to the poorer remote areas of the country.”

    …..but mostly to the poorer remote areas of the EU outside the UK.

  48. “…..but mostly to the poorer remote areas of the EU outside the UK.”

    The effect to the area I live in is positive.

    The South East can look after itself. If the effect of leaving is that my part of the country loses out, then I am against it.

    Westminster’s attitude is that these remote areas can hang. Well I say in response that Westminster, and the South East can hang.

    UKIP supporters in Wales, etc are indulging in what amounts to cutting off their nose to spite their face.

  49. @Jason
    “Westminster, and the South East can hang.” and (to use Wales as an example) when the EU decides to divert Welsh support to Turkey, you would presumably vote Plaid Cymru?
    The “South East problem” arises because there are more people in the SE than in the ‘poorer remote parts of the country’ and so more voters and more people thinking THEY deserve the support.

  50. Good Evening All from a cold but dry Bournemouth East after a sunny day at the sea side

    I recommend a reading of Andrew Rawnsley’s piece about the need Cameron has for a strong showing by Labour in persuading left-of-centre voters to support the Remain cause.

    Very thought provoking.

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