We’ve had three new voting intention polls in the last four days. ICM‘s regular poll for the Guardian came out earlier today, with topline figures of CON 42%(-1), LAN 28%(+1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 11%(-1), GRN 3%(-2). Full tabs are here.

Opinium had a new poll in the Observer at the weekend. Their topline voting intention figures with changes from a fortnight ago are CON 41%(+1), LAB 29%(-3), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 12%(-1). Full tabs are here.

Finally YouGov at the tail end of last week had topline figures of CON 42%(+1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 11%(nc). Full tabs are here.

All three polls show the Conservative lead still up around 12-14 points, suggesting that the narrowing in the Ipsos MORI poll last week was indeed just a reversion to the mean and that the polls are settling into a consistent position of the Tories up around 40% and Labour marooned around 30%.

Ahead of the Autumn statement both Opinium and ICM asked economic trust questions – Opinium found May & Hammond with a 26 point lead over Corbyn & McDonnell on who they’d trust to run the economy (44% to 18%), ICM gives tham a 33 point lead on which team would be better able to run the economy (48% to 15%).


827 Responses to “Latest voting intentions”

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  1. @Nicholas
    “but so far as I’m aware none of these have ever voted UKIP, Tory, or LibDem in the past.”

    I am a JC supporter who voted LibDem from 2000 – 2010. I won’t vote Labour if JC is ousted. I am sure I am not the only one.

  2. I find it fascinating that the whole thrust of the coalition, continued by George Osborne, to emphasise the deficit following the economic shock of 2008, has disappeared almost entirely. We now find Conservatives, even quite right wing ones, proposing the Labour policies of emphasising infrastructure development, compensating ordinary workers for the problems of globalisation, opposing the excesses of the financial services industry, building council houses, distinguishing between revenue and capital spending, and even mentioning Keynes in a non-oppositional way.

    Despite this wholesale reversal, public opinion remains solidly that the Conservatives are better at managing the economy. This also requires attention and analysis. If the Conservatives adopt Labour policies wholesale under the new government, why should Labour be seen as clueless on the economy by the majority of people?

    It’s a strange world.

  3. LIZH

    I accept that it is fairly meaningless for me to base political judgements on subjective evidence, but I would be more persuaded if you were switching to JC-led Labour from either the Tories or UKIP.

    Those are the votes that Labour needs if it is to win the next general election.

  4. Terrible numbers for Labour.

    They seem unable to land a punch on the government and are failing to present themselves as a credible alternative.

    The public, clearly, have not warmed to Corbyn and McDonnell nor their policies as currently presented. Personal ratings, figures on economic competence and Conservatives coming within striking distance (in the MORI results) on subjects like housing and the NHS powerfully attest to this.

    Whereas May has – on the surface at least – undergone something of a transformation from rather disregarded cabinet member (regularly left off the list of possible future leaders at one point) to respected PM.

    Just to emphasise how poor this performance is by the opposition, I would point out that – pleasing rhetoric aside – the Government has little if anything of a distinctive domestic programme currently in place. The showpiece policy on grammar schools now appears to be fudged, employees on boards abandoned, the independent Inquiry into child abuse (which was May’s creation) a running fiasco and much of the legislative schedule inherited from Cameron quietly shelved.

    I make no judgement about any of these individual decisions, difficulties or reversals, but surely they are the meat and drink off which oppositions in mid term could normally expect to feed?

    To add to this, the government’s main activity must centre on Brexit, a policy which divided the nation in the recent referendum, with a small majority in favour. Though it is clear that a much more substantial majority now believe the government should enact that result, it will be a House of Commons comprising of a majority of individual members who oppose leaving the EU which is charged with resolving the issue in concert with a House of Lords implacably opposed.

    None of this is to open up the various debates again – certainly not Brexit – but to underline just how good these numbers are for the Conservatives given the incredibly tricky political position they find themselves in. Equally how bad they are for Labour.

  5. Catmanjeff

    “Brexit seems to very muddled, and could be a real weakness for Theresa May, but the Government is closer to the mood of the public than Labour.”

    Clearly true, as the polling numbers indicate.

    Sea Change
    “The only politician with a net positive rating is May on +38.

    Apart from Farage, who is a divisive figure, it appears that if you are perceived as anti-brexit your overall approval ratings are in the tank.
    The “British fair play” attitude at play?

    Probably part of the explanation.

    Assiduosity

    “None of this is to open up the various debates again – certainly not Brexit – but to underline just how good these numbers are for the Conservatives given the incredibly tricky political position they find themselves in. Equally how bad they are for Labour.”

    Absolutely, these numbers in the current situation are really very good for the Tories.

  6. @Assiduosity “None of this is to open up the various debates again – certainly not Brexit – but to underline just how good these numbers are for the Conservatives given the incredibly tricky political position they find themselves in. Equally how bad they are for Labour.”

    Agreed. I believe the Tories are getting credit for ostensibly pulling together and for honouring their commitment to hold the Referendum and to implement the result. Labour, I believe, are actually out-performing their true position compared with what will happen when the Tory’s guns are turned on them in a GE. That’s how desperate their situation really is.

  7. @Assiduosity, Trump and Brexit happened inspite of polls and the media telling us it couldn’t. Any reason why they can’t be wrong on Corbyn?

  8. @Nicholas I don’t understand why a LD vote is less important than a Tory/UKiP one. As an aside, Lab NEC suspended new members who came from other Parties so the Labour NEC clearly doesn’t think they need their votes. Imo the number of people voting in any elections has declined and it is these people that Labour needs to win back more than people voting for other parties.

  9. “It was suggested on the previous thread that politics is becoming more divided along on issue, rather than party, faultlines.

    Opinium asked approval/disapproval of 5 party leaders in GB, and the crossbreaks include the numbers by Remain/Leave.

    Net Approval
    Remainers : Sturgeon +22 : Corbyn +4 : Farron 0 : May -2 : Farage -55
    Leavers : May +40 : Farage +13 : Farron -41 : Corbyn -44 : Sturgeon -46.”

    These are incredibly stark numbers. May +40 with leavers and -2 with remainers. Is Brexit the ‘Corn Laws’ of the 21st century?

    Now, in part the differential has to do with party affiliation and the large numbers of LibDems and Labour voters in the remain ranks, but there are plenty of Conservatives – especially in the South – that continue to support EU membership (the numbers seem to be largely static).

    It seems as if May’s popularity is based on three pillars: Brexit, economic management and not being Jeremy Corbyn.

    On the first of these, we have seen that she scores only moderately in terms of her handling – thus far – of the Brexit negotiation process (I wonder if we will get more questions on this in future polling).

    It seems to me that, to an extent, this might be the high point of her popularity on Brexit. So long as the PM sticks to the self-referential ‘Brexit means Brexit’, it allows each person, each voter, to place their own interpretation on that statement.

    Some – like @TOH and others here – who advocate a complete withdrawal from the EU and all its institutions are confident (and they may well be correct) that it reflects their view.

    Others, perhaps encouraged by the purple prose of our Foreign Secretary, see it as meaning that we shall ‘have our cake and eat it’ – retain all those things about the EU we like, and dispense with all we dislike.

    Others still, and I count many I know in The City among this number, believe it is a holding statement that means some kind of pragmatic accommodation (protecting their interests) will be achieved.

    Finally, other voters, especially those who prioritise immigration above all else, seem to think – as a few polls and focus groups suggest – that it will mean an end to all migration and even a reduction in existing (sometimes non-EU) migrant communities.

    People are – inevitably in my view – going to be disappointed.

    Then we have economic management. This is the area in which the PM holds the greatest advantage over her opponents. However, this too might be a temporary state of affairs.

    Many observers, from reflective and serious leavers to the Chancellor and Governor of the BoE, continue to be of the view that the process of leaving the EU is likely to have a short to medium term destabilising and consequently negative effect on the economy. This may – of course – precede a longer term period of greater affluence, we do not yet know.

    Politics is run on a short to medium term electoral cycle – if, and I emphasise if, that downturn, or even period of below trend growth, occurs during the current electoral cycle, that will inevitably affect Mrs May’s economic competency numbers.

    I would contest it is likely to affect her rating most amongst her key supporters, those who favour leaving the EU, for the simple reason that all the polling data we have demonstrates that the overwhelming majority (not all, but overwhelming) of leave voters believe that departing the EU will either improve our economy or have no discernible impact on it. I concede these questions make no distinction between short and long term prospects, and it would be useful to test how many are willing to endure ‘short term pain for long term gain’ – but I think that the evidence from ‘the age of austerity’ suggests that the effect on polling numbers in the immediate would be marked.

    Finally, we have the ‘not being Jeremy Corbyn’ factor. It’s clear, as I and many others have set out, that the polling numbers indicate Corbyn and McDonnell have not cut through with voters. This could change – either because of circumstances, improvement in Corbyn’s public and parliamentary performance (he is much more effective head to head against May, who is often shaky) or through his replacement.

    On the last of these, many people I know within the Labour Party, including Corbyn supporters, believe he will resign before 2020. Given the scenarios outlined above – depending on the choice of leader – everything might be to play for.

    Given the extraordinary turbulence in politics around the world, the biggest mistake that anyone could make is to assume the result of and election 3.5 years away!

  10. @NIcholas

    “True I also know others who will now vote Labour again because of JC, including those who have re-joined the party, but so far as I’m aware none of these have ever voted UKIP, Tory, or LibDem in the past.”

    @LizH

    “I am a JC supporter who voted LibDem from 2000 – 2010. I won’t vote Labour if JC is ousted. I am sure I am not the only one.”

    I suspect – and know from personal acquaintances – that @LizH is not alone in having switched from the LIbDems of the Charles Kennedy era and afterwards – who presented themselves as being to the left of Blair’s Labour – back to the Labour party after the coalition.

    I also know many people within Labour, both supporters of Corbyn and others, who would be distinctly unhappy with any undemocratic attempt to remove him. A rightward shift in the party’s policy platform and a coup would probably send these people in search of a new home.

  11. @ASSIDUOSITY
    “Given the extraordinary turbulence in politics around the world, the biggest mistake that anyone could make is to assume the result of and election 3.5 years away!”
    ” A rightward shift in the party’s policy platform and a coup would probably send these people in search of a new home.”

    Thanks for answering my question. If JC is ousted I would either support another party or join the ever growing numbers of ‘Won’t Vote”.

  12. @LizH

    “@Assiduosity, Trump and Brexit happened inspite of polls and the media telling us it couldn’t. Any reason why they can’t be wrong on Corbyn?”

    Polls are not an exact science, so are always subject to error. Indeed they come with a margin of error built in – advising us to read them with caution.

    It’s quite possible that in assessing the current state of play with regards to both the Labour Party’s position and Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity that there may be some understatement going on.

    I have a certain sympathy with the opinion set out by @Graham above that pollsters may have ‘over corrected’ for the errors they made in the 2015 General Election and could be over stating the the Conservative vote slightly. There is a tendency to tackle the problems of the past rather than the issues of the present as the former are more easily understood.

    All that said, I think we need to look at the magnitude here of the three events.

    Not all pollsters got Brexit wrong, some predicted it correctly in their final polls and nearly all pointed to a very close race. The problem here was an error in the reporting of polling results and a decision that some journalists and pundits made to give greater credence to telephone rather than online polling, a judgement that proved to be unfounded.

    On Trump, again, he was always in the race. Apart from immediately after the Democrat convention and during the controversy surrounding his behaviour and attitudes towards women, he was always in the later stages – in national polling terms – a viable candidate. Where there were polling errors were in the individual state polls, which pointed to Clinton having greater strength in traditionally Democrat states than was actually the case. Finally, it is worth remembering that Clinton did actually win the popular vote, by a margin approaching 1.5%, so how wrong were the polls at all in that regard…

    Turning to the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. The current figures are far more emphatic. Even allowing for the kind of errors and overstatement I mention above, it seems highly unlikely that the polls could be so wrong here.

    We are talking about a party consistently 10-12% behind in the national polls, which has lost an historically important set of parliamentary seats in Scotland, seemingly for the long foreseeable future.

    We are also looking at some of the lowest approval ratings ever recorded for a political figure – and that includes times when Prime Ministers have been mired in scandal or approaching the ends of their political careers. Only 20% in one poll believe he is doing a good job, it is difficult to see how that transforms into leading a party to victory under our present system.

    Finally, the margins by which the Conservatives lead Labour – and Corbyn and McDonell – on economic competency in particular are even more pronounced. By 33% on one measure. Given that this proved a better proxy for the result at the last general election than actual voting intention questions, one would have to conclude that the picture is not bright at present for the Labour Party.

    Does any of this preclude a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party? No.

    But one has to question whether it is likely. Equally one would have to question whether the poll figures are likely to be so very wrong in this instance.

  13. LIZH & ASSIDUOSITY

    I don’t think there are enough Lib/Lab marginals for LibDem to Lab switches to be enough.

  14. Assiduosity

    Interesting analysis of May’s position.

    She emerged in the leadership election as a calm, competent, safe pair of hands candidate, surrounded by flawed, squabbling, overgrown boys and girls.

    This was based largely on her low public profile and ‘head girl’ image, and despite her indifferent record of achievement as home secretary.

    She has maintained this somewhat gnomic position as PM. But as you imply, you cannot indefinitely be all things to all people. Hero to zero can happen to the most popular of politicians. Hard to believe now how positive Tony Blair’s ratings once were.

  15. Good morning all from a damp windy central London. I forgot just how grim the commute into this place was.

    OLDNAT

    Your link from last night….Sorry I never clicked on it as I thought it was just the link to the EU polling data which you posted on the same comment.

    I’ve since then clicked on it… Very interesting ..CALEXIT…BREXIT must be contagious and not just in Europe.
    ……….

    “Although charity is part of our culture, when you consider that California’s infrastructure is falling apart, our public schools are ranked among the worst in the entire country, we have the highest number of homeless persons living without shelter and other basic necessities, poverty rates remain high, income inequality continues to expand, and we must often borrow money from the future to provide services for today, now is not the time for charity”
    ______

    Well after the election of Donald Trump the calls for CALEXIT are growing however if the main reasons for CALEXIT are in the paragraph above then one would hope that any independent California would not vote in a Democrat administration because clearly the state has suffered enormously under them.

    I don’t think it will ever happen though. The only state I think that could make a successful bolt is Alaska.

  16. @ R Huckle

    “I can’t imagine anything happening to stop an early general election, because i don’t see it being in Theresa Mays or Tories interest to hold on to May 2020.

    The Tories can fight an election at any time of their choosing. They have the organisation and money to do so, when other parties will find it very difficult. The electorate would not be unhappy about an early election, if it was for the purpose of giving a government a strong mandate to deliver a manifesto they agreed with.”

    I’m unconvinced about the prospects for an early election.

    Firstly because Mrs May has promised repeatedly not to hold one. Now politicians go back on their word, but this would be a very unfortunate time to do so. Not only immediately before an election, but also when she is asking the British people to take her ‘on trust’ to conduct Brexit negotiations. It would be a massive self-inflicted wound, and difficult to predict how the public would react.

    Secondly, there is no simple way for the PM to affect an early election. Engineering a vote of no confidence in one’s own government, repealing an act of parliament for political advantage without a manifesto commitment – dodgy territory. Nor is it within Jeremy Corbyn’s gift to grant her one, he may be of the view that an early general election is a whizzbang idea, but it would require the support of the PLP to get through the house – he might find that a vote became more a test of his authority than the PM’s.

    On the Conservative’s finances – they’re not great at the mo – they are normally topped up heavily pre-election, but will those same wealthy Southern donors and corporates be as numerous or generous in a Brexit world?

    Finally, all the polling suggests the public would not be happy or welcoming of an early poll.

    In short, as attractive as it might seem, an early election is not simple to deliver and carries with it many risks. If May is one thing it is risk averse – that said, she might surprise us all if these numbers keep coming.

  17. @ASSIDUOSITY While I get it that the large margin by which Corbyn and Labour is behind in the polls cannot be explained away by margins of error, the elections we have had since Corbyn’s leadership does not mirror the polls. This is why I am convinced that we are not getting a true picture of where Labour is at from the polls.

  18. @ Nicholas

    “I don’t think there are enough Lib/Lab marginals for LibDem to Lab switches to be enough.”

    There are neither enough remaining LibDem seats nor enough remaining LibDem voters in the right places for them to make any serious difference to the overall result at present.

    I was LibDem voters not switching to Labour but rather to other parties that in part sealed Miliband’s fate.

    However, Labour voters switching to the LibDems could be disastrous for the Labour party see: SDP/Liberal Alliance 1983/87.

  19. “Donald Trump has backed calls for Nigel Farage to be appointed Britain’s ambassador to the US, saying he would do a “great job”.
    The president-elect said that “many people” wanted to see the interim Ukip leader as the UK’s top diplomat in Washington”

    Very interesting little clip here of the two men.

    https://www.facebook.com/www.JOE.co.uk/videos/777164779114257/?pnref=story

    They get my vote :-)

  20. In respect of economic competence as a measure:

    It should be remembered that party’s prominence in this measure can be destroyed, virtually, overnight. The Conservative party had led in economic competence from 1977 onwards (insomuch as this was measured by the polls. However one Wednesday in 1992, and a calm John Smith at the helm of the labour party changed that and Labour, as I recall, maintained a lead, albeit small until 2007/8.
    “Events dear boy, events” is a quote that all politicians should carry on a card to bring out and read every time they feel secure in their position.
    As a prognosticator I am not very good, but given the “events” of 2015/16 I am prepared to say this there will be events which will throw all calculations based on predictions off course between now and 2020. That this will lead to a landslide for the Monster Raving Loony Party I am no longer prepared to discount as a possibility. After all what is more mad “BRITAIN will exit Europe and join the Duchy of Cornwall to benefit from tax exemptions.” or “Brexit means Brexit” at least the former explains how money would be saved.

  21. A few recent polls have shown LibDems creeping ahead of UKIP in VI. All three of these show UKIP still ahead. At that level of support UKIP won’t win many (any?) seats, but could affect the result in some.

  22. I wonder if the Trump-Farage love-in will be of long-term significance?

    It looks as if Trump operates pretty much on the level of personal interaction and gut response. If he believes that the UK government, in snubbing Farage, is snubbing him, what will that do?

    It’s just occurred to me that Trump may well come to view – or already have come to view – May as a more uptight, condescending version of Hillary Clinton. Exacty the sort of person he loves to hate.

    What would happen if, in a year’s time, he says to the UK government: “You want a trade deal? Sure, make Nigel your trade minister and I’ll talk to him.”

    Does May do crawling? I suspect not, but perhaps we’re in line to find out.

  23. @ LizH

    “…the elections we have had since Corbyn’s leadership does not mirror the polls. This is why I am convinced that we are not getting a true picture of where Labour is at from the polls.”

    I am curious as to which elections you mean specifically?

    In the small number of parliamentary by-elections Labour have consolidated safe holds in two, lost ground very slightly in one, a fourth is the exceptional circumstance of Batley and Spen. The other truly good result would be Tooting where a marginal result in the GE was improved on in the wake of the London Mayoral election.

    Agreed, that Mayoral election was a very good performance returning that mayoralty to a reflection of how the capital tends to vote in parliamentary elections and ending the success of Boris’ ‘doughnut & celebrity’ strategy.

    Elsewhere, Joe Anderson was re-elected Mayor of Liverpool, but with a substantially reduced majority as the LibDems markedly improved their position. He was almost forced into a second round, which might have proven interesting. Paul Dennett held Salford well, improving a very safe mayoralty.

    Finally, Bristol was a marked success with Marvin Rees succeeding against the divisive independent candidate at the second attempt. Bristol, it should be pointed out is fertile ground for Labour, with the party holding 3 out of the 4 MPs and the City council.

    Across the board in the local authority elections, Labour’s share of the vote fell by 4.3% and its positions in terms of seats (-18) and councils (no change) remained broadly flat. The Conservatives vote held up better but they lost more seats and a council.

    I haven’t gone into Police and Crime Commissioner elections or council by-elections as they are very particular.

    So, I’m a little confused as to what results (other than the London Mayoralty and Tooting) that you believe might point to a position for the Labour Party that is considerably at odds with current polling – or at least current polling that might be slightly over-stating the Conservatives and under-stating Labour. The actual results we have are rather mixed, with the only large scale vote indicating a fall back from the last time those seats were contested of 4.3% – not far off the decline the polls show on Labour’s performance at the GE.

    I hope you will take this enquiry in the genuine spirit in which it is meant.

  24. @Somerjohn,

    I expect being feted by the Queen at Windsor will more than make up for not having his best buddy occupy the UK embassy. Trump seems to me exactly the sort of politician that the UK is well-equipped to seduce.

    @LizH, Assiduoisity,

    I think it is a pretty universal psephological truth that, however imperfect national opinion polling may be, it is a far better indicator of performance in a national election than local and by-election results are.

  25. @PeteB

    “A few recent polls have shown LibDems creeping ahead of UKIP in VI. All three of these show UKIP still ahead. At that level of support UKIP won’t win many (any?) seats, but could affect the result in some.”

    It’s broadly the sort of level or below what UKIP polled in the last GE.

    In the end that didn’t translate into a single Westminster seat – not even for our putative Ambassador to the United States.

    The Conservatives were very effective in mounting a (rather costly) defence against UKIP, costly both financially and in that it cost them a PM and the parliamentary party are now promoting a policy they do, in a majority, not support: Brexit.

    It’s unclear whether UKIP will attempt to go after the same targets again (Farage has said he might run once more for Thanet) or if they intend to turn their fire on Labour strongholds.

    In either case, they will face the same challenges posed by our voting system, massive majorities and entrenched patterns of voting (though the last of these might change).

    If they are after the Labour heartlands, there aren’t a huge number of seats where a UKIP challenge would easily let a third party through the middle – it would seem like a straight run off. So in that sense we would be looking at UKIP victories or no change.

    The real damage – from a Labour perspective – is the ability of UKIP to hold onto its voters in the Midlands marginals. The party’s performance here was one of the possible factors holding Labour back from making crucial gains. If this is repeated again in 2020 it makes the task of winning all the more difficult for Labour.

  26. SOMERJOHN

    I actually see Farage as a useful tool. The UK government could demand Farage cuts all ties with UKIP and then offer him some sort of negotiating position between the UK and the US.

    Farage would negotiate hard on our behalf and I think Trump would give quite favorable trade deals to the UK, after all he supported Brexit and doesn’t much like the EU.

    Having a man at the negotiating table Trump likes might make all the difference and could even strengthen our hand over the EU-BREXIT talks because a more favorable trade deal with the US would mean less dependency on EU authoritarian trade proposals.

  27. @ASSIDUOSITY First of all I am not at all put off by people challenging my beliefs if it is meant well. I am desperate for impartial information and it is very difficult to find it these days.

    If you go by the polling figures, Labour should not be gaining any seats at all and certainly not increasing their majorities. I was particularly impressed by the Tooting and the Bristol mayoral election. I firmly believe Sadiq Khan won because of Corbyn and not inspite of him. Didn’t Lab increase the majority in the Oldham West as well as the Sheffield Brightside by elections?

  28. Assiduosity
    I agree with all that, except for one tiny slip –
    “In the end that didn’t translate into a single Westminster seat”

    Carswell.

  29. @ NeilA

    “I think it is a pretty universal psephological truth that, however imperfect national opinion polling may be, it is a far better indicator of performance in a national election than local and by-election results are.”

    There may be a large degree of truth in this, but actual elections are the results of campaigns fought and so can sometimes presage wider changes in the political environment.

    Two examples of this – in the first instance they might be an indication that a party has a winning message to voters that simply hasn’t filtered through at a national level yet. Secondly, these results themselves can change the political weather, giving a party momentum, increasing the level of media coverage they receive, taking their message to a wider public and possibly allowing them to be seen as more credible alternatives to incumbent governments.

    For these reasons, I wouldn’t discount the psephological value of actual election results alongside polling data.

    I’m just a little puzzled as to what election results there are that point to the Labour party significantly out performing its current polling position.

  30. Assiduosity.
    Labour actually performed much better at the 2016 Local Elections han the polls were indicating or that commentators were predicting. These seats had last been contested in 2012 when the Coalition was at its most unpopular and provided by some margin Labour’s best performance of the last Parliament. There was a general expectation that the Tories would recoup many of the losses then suffered , and in particular, that Labour’s gains would be reversed as reflected in likely losses of up to 200 seats. In the event that did not happen – Labour ended up with a net loss of a mere 18 seats whilst the Tories went on to lose a further 54! Moreover, when compared with year 1 of the last Parliament – 2011 – Labour did better in 2016 by managing a 1% lead over the Tories in the estimated National Equivalent Vote from Rallings& Thrasher compared with a 1% Tory lead in 2011.
    On the separate point made by Neil A re- election timing- Whilst Corbyn has said he is open to fighting an early election May has said she has no intention of calling one. Now if she can change her mind so can he!

  31. Good Afternoon All; home from my new school for dinner time; as we used to call it.

    LIZ H.
    Hello to you; hope the Chablis is good. Corbyn is doing well, and the Lib Dem figures look high, to me.

    That 33% lead for the Tories on the economy means that Labour is on the ‘Long March’ to power, according to JC the second’s future Chancellor.
    Local Elections just show a smaller swing to the Tories from Labour since Ed M was with us; about 10% swing, I think.

  32. I am no fan of Corbyn but it does appear to me that he has the measure of May in Parliamentary exchanges. In an election campaign I suspect he will be at least her equal – including any debates if they take place.

  33. @LizH

    If you go by the polling figures, Labour should not be gaining any seats at all and certainly not increasing their majorities. I was particularly impressed by the Tooting and the Bristol mayoral election. I firmly believe Sadiq Khan won because of Corbyn and not inspite of him. Didn’t Lab increase the majority in the Oldham West as well as the Sheffield Brightside by elections?

    All of those elections were for local representation only, with basically no national significance, or London, where Labour are doing well, and they had an excellent candidate in Sadiq Khan.

    In a GE people vote for a Government who runs the economy, schools, hospitals, deal with international crises etc. A good local candidate helps, but if the public don’t think Labour’s top team can run things well (and polling evidence shiows this clearly), I think people may vote differently.

    This is not said with any bias in mind, it’s just what the evidence seems to show.

  34. Chrislane
    ‘Local Elections just show a smaller swing to the Tories from Labour since Ed M was with us; about 10% swing, I think.’

    I am unaware of any evidence which substantiates that!

  35. Hello @CHRISLANE1945 from sunny Norwich. Looks like your saint Tony is still more interested in his own glory than our Party.

  36. @Catmanjeff

    Past evidence does not show a great divergence between performance at Parliamentary and Local elections in the way that you suggest – even when they take place on the same day. The magnitude of change or ‘swing’ may differ but it would be unusual for results to move in different directions to the extent of contradicting each other.

  37. @CATMANJEFF

    I agree with some of what you say but 3.5 years is a long time and much can happen. Hopefully CLPs will select local MPs to represent them (and we will lose some of the PLP who are more interested in fighting their leader than holding the Govt to account) which will incentivise people to go out and vote for them.

  38. @Graham

    Parliamentary by-elections are terrible guides to a GE performance. People use mid-term by-elections as a free kick at the Government.

    Looking back, when an opposition looks likely to win a GE, parliamentary by-elections are won with swings of 15%+.

    I’m not convinced the by-election this term will mean much come the GE, unless Labour start getting massive swings from the Conservatives.

  39. Tancred et al
    I know I’m late to this party, but
    “I don’t think California should go it alone in such a situation – if they could persuade Oregon and Washington state to join them then they would have a genuinely viable Pacific state with huge potential and 50 million inhabitants”

    and rUSA would not have a Pacific port (apart from those in Alaska and Hawaii, of course)

  40. @ Pete B

    “I agree with all that, except for one tiny slip –
    “In the end that didn’t translate into a single Westminster seat”
    Carswell.”

    Quite right! How could I forget the blessed Douglas – though I suspect Farage wishes he could on occasion!

    In my (very partial) defence, I have come to regard Carswell more as an independent than a fully fledged member of UKIP :-)

    Also he was an incumbent by the 2015 GE, to which I was referring, and lost quite a lot of ground to the Conservatives from the by-election. In fact, his margin over the Conservatives is now less than 3,500, considerably below the whacking 12,000 he used to enjoy as the sitting Tory.

    There is a possibility that seat could swing back to the Conservatives if they pursue full withdrawal from the EU, or that Carswell could ‘return to the fold’ under those circumstances.

    The most likely outcome is that he lasts a little longer as an independent and either bows out gracefully or is eventually defeated.

  41. Assiduosity
    Yes, Carswell seems to be a bit of a maverick, whichever party he represents!

  42. @Catmanjeff

    Parliamentary by electionstend to exaggerate the swing against a Government, but the direction is usually the same.Labour has actually been managing swings in its favour of 6 -8% if we look at by elections this Parliament. Even in Witney – where it was far from competitive – Labour enjoyed a two party swing in its favour of circa 6.5%. Such results – together with local elections – are not confirming the message of the national polls.
    Another point worth recalling is the clear tendency from earlier elections for parties given big polling leads to fail to match them in the ballot box at general elections. We saw this in 1983 when eve of poll predictions suggested a Tory lead of over 20% – yet the actual outcome was a lead of 15.2% We saw it too as far back as 1966 and in the Blair lanslides of 1997 & 2001.In those three cases , whilst Labour had big majorities they fell well short of what the pollsters had predicted.

  43. LIZ H.
    Hello to you; it’s my party, cry if I want to…. to quote a song, when I worked in a school in Norwich, and where I witnessed Neil K’s defeat, when I was young.

    I think Clive Lewis is a potential leader of the Labour Party,, as long as he holds on to his seat of Norwich South. He probably will not be deselected, I would have thought.

    GRAHAM.
    Hello to you, but I think Lab’s vote % is dropping in comparison with 2015, so the swings are illusory I think; similar stuff tended to happen under Foot-Kinnock.
    Back to work now!

  44. @ Graham

    “Labour actually performed much better at the 2016 Local Elections than the polls were indicating or that commentators were predicting.”

    I don’t disagree with much of this assessment – I had meant to include the rider that Labour’s performance was better than many had predicted, but still represented a decline on the past.

    I am not entirely convinced by extrapolations from local election results to national share of vote – a cursory examination of these from the past shows they can be wildly inaccurate.

    Finally, we are rather comparing apples and pears here – the local elections were conducted at a time when the polling showed the main two political parties much closer together than at present.

    YouGov actually gave Labour leads in the polls it published in the two months before the local elections. Other pollsters had anywhere between neck and neck and 8% Conservative leads, with substantial house effects.

    In the time since then, we have had the EU referendum, a change in PM and cabinet and divisive Labour Party votes of confidence / elections of the summer.

    Taken as a whole, whilst accepting your earlier point that there may be some over-statement of the Conservatives and under-statement of Labour in the polls, I don’t believe the present polls can be read as other than pointing to a substantial Conservative lead, and there is at present, in the current post-referendum, PM May environment no substantive evidence to support a conclusion to the contrary.

    This situation might change, but we will have to wait for a slew of actual results under the new dispensation to arrive at this conclusion. By the time those elections arise, PM May could well have lost the towering lead she currently enjoys for other reasons.

  45. CMJ

    @”Brexit seems to very muddled, and could be a real weakness for Theresa May, but the Government is closer to the mood of the public than Labour.”

    In terms of the Government’s prospective levels of support over this Parliament Brexit must be the biggest factor.

    I seem to remember Polling which indicated that the public expect & will bear a degree of economic pain-and still support Brexit.
    Unless there is a catastrophic economic failure leading to recession, it would seem that the economy is unlikely to present TM with VI consequences comparable to a failure in faith in Brexit, or her conduct of it.

    And Brexit, as you so rightly observe, seems to be very muddled.
    This morning The Times reports on TM’s pledge to enshrine all EU law into British legislation in the so called Great Repeal Bill. The report describes the “legal & technical nightmare” being faced by government lawyers in the shape of 40 years worth of EU directives & regulations. “40,000 legal acts in EU , 15,000 court verdicts and 62,000 international standards. Some already incorporated, but needing amendment; others not & needing incorporation”.
    And this is just a part of preparing to leave. The process of leaving & post leaving relationships is another matter entirely. TM clearly signals ( or as clearly as she can) an intent to negotiate a bespoke trading relationship with EU-something quite new. But any attempt-as by Davis yesterday- to have pre-discussion with Barnier & the rest of them is denied. Barnier signals that he is preparing-in consultation with the 27 -a set of protocols & guidelines which is to be presented to HMG. This is a reminder of something so many critics of May seem to forget-there is another party involved in this process.

    At the CBI May seemed to indicate a willingness to seek a transitional deal for leaving in order to avoid “cliff-edge” change for business. Putting aside the additional complexity implicit in such a deal, this extends the Brexit process ; conceivably beyond the next GE.

    YouGov/Times OP of 14th – 15th November 2016, shows “Britain leaving the EU” as the top “important issues facing the country at this time”-61% , way ahead of Immigration, with The Economy third. The same poll gives Cons a 29% to 11% lead over Labour in “best to handle” ratings.

    But in YouGov Poll of 13th – 14th November 2016 the Government had a net – 34% for “doing well or badly at negotiating
    Britain’s exit from the European Union ” -up from -21% at end October.

    So when you say May is “closer to the mood of the public than Labour.”-it is on sufference. Almost everything about this monster undertaking is yet to be revealed to the public. I’m guessing that a fair chunk of it is yet to be properly revealed to the ministers charged with its completion.

    If that negative rating on “negotiating” starts to escalate , at what point does faith in May’s comparative “best to handle” rating slip , and indeed faith in Brexit itself.

    One can’t escape the conclusion that arch Europhile Blair has stepped back into the ring at this particular juncture for a reason , and May must be thanking her lucky stars that it is JC & not Blair facing her across the despatch box when Brexit is on the agenda.

  46. @LizH

    “If you go by the polling figures, Labour should not be gaining any seats at all and certainly not increasing their majorities. I was particularly impressed by the Tooting and the Bristol mayoral election. I firmly believe Sadiq Khan won because of Corbyn and not inspite of him. Didn’t Lab increase the majority in the Oldham West as well as the Sheffield Brightside by elections?”

    This rather assumes that national polling figures will be replicated exactly in every circumstance. It is perfectly possible for a party that is doing poorly at the national level to be improving in areas of strength.

    Indeed, this very thing happened to the Labour Party during the 1980s as it actually became a more dominant force in some of its traditional ‘heartlands’ – and some new areas – whilst declining nationally.

    There are also local factors to be taken into account. On London, different people – including pollsters – have differing views on whether Sadiq Khan won because, despite or without reference to Corbyn. I don’t think we will ever get to the bottom of this, so it is probably a matter of personal opinion. In addition the polarising nature of Goldsmith’s campaign probably played a role.

    Tooting I suspect was a matter of political momentum (as opposed to the movement). Khan’s win proved popular and so his replacement received a beneficial after effect.

    Bristol – as I acknowledged a good result. But it was against a divisive independent candidate, dogged by controversy, in a largely Labour voting city. I can’t see how this has a huge amount of read across to national elections.

    As you say – and I acknowledged previously – Labour consolidated their position in two safe parliamentary by elections, and went very marginally backwards in a third.

    All I am saying is that I struggle to identify the trend that you do of systematic and significant under representation of Labour in the polls as demonstrated by a party making substantial gains in a range of elections. If such evidence comes forward, I’d be happy to amend my view.

  47. Chrislane
    Local by election results have actually been very patchy of late.Labour has had poor results in some areas – Wales comes to mind – but has seen swings in its favour elsewhere compared with 2015/2014 & 2013.There really is not a clear pattern at all – I believe Labour had quite a good result in Bournemouth a few weeks back!
    The Tories appear to be picking up votes in Scotland – perhaps tactical SNP voters returning home in rural areas.Elsewhere,however, they have suffered heavy losses – particularly to the LibDems.

  48. @ Colin

    “So when you say May is “closer to the mood of the public than Labour.”-it is on sufference. Almost everything about this monster undertaking is yet to be revealed to the public. I’m guessing that a fair chunk of it is yet to be properly revealed to the ministers charged with its completion.”

    Agree absolutely with this and much of your analysis here. Setting to one side whether or not one agrees with Brexit, its delivery is beset with legal, technical and political complexities that could prove damaging to individual careers and party prospects.

    Ministers have not yet been told how Brexit will impact on their individual departments, in fact the bulk of work being done on this is via independent consultants and specialists under contract to David Davis’ new department.

    One can only speculate on the reasons for this, but I assume they have to do with maintaining cabinet unity, preventing leaks and circumventing perceived Whitehall inertia.

    The only point on which I would slightly disagree with you is the following:

    “I seem to remember Polling which indicated that the public expect & will bear a degree of economic pain-and still support Brexit.
    Unless there is a catastrophic economic failure leading to recession, it would seem that the economy is unlikely to present TM with VI consequences…”

    I too recall seeing some polling on this, but it lacked any quantification of what that economic pain would look like. How much sacrifice are the public actually willing to bear… a few pennies per week, wage stagnation over years, a decade of austerity.

    As AW has also cautioned, I am slightly suspicious of answers to such hypotheticals. Respondents may declare they are prepared to make economic sacrifices for Brexit in the abstract, but when those sacrifices are to be made will they not blame politicians for not having mitigated them. This is particularly pertinent when so many of those supporting leave appear to be individuals with constrained resources, least able to absorb economic shocks or offset their effects.

    Of course none of this might happen as there may be no economic downturn – we can but hope – but if it does, Mrs May could well need the apparently well upholstered cushion of support and public confidence she appears to enjoy.

  49. @ASSIDUOSITY I agree the polls don’t look good at the moment but the answer we wish to believe in as to the reasons for it determines how we think Labour should proceed. Coupled with that is what kind of a party you want Labour to be. So for me it is not worth supporting a party if it is not the kind of party I want it to be. For too long I have supported the least worst option. I don’t want to do that anymore.

  50. I will give one example of legal and commercial complexity that arises from Brexit. Airbus is joint European venture. At present the UK is covered by the agreements and certificates as to airworthiness (accepted by the world) emanating from the EU regulations. The manufacture of wings in the UK post Brexit without an acceptance by the world of British certification (which would require significant negotiation) would mean that the Airbus products would not be considered airworthy. That means either that the UK would have to accept continuing EU certification and in consequence any changes in EU law in relation to that.
    There are no doubt solutions, but it surely is the case that this type of problem is replicated in various ways across various industries, and multiple solutions will be required. That complexity is going to cause problems in numerous ways.
    Two thoughts: firstly the time and workforce required to deal with this is likely to have been heavily underestimated; secondly this is a prime example of the law of unintended consequences.

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