In terms of support for Brexit we end the year in pretty much the same place as we were on June 23rd. Among some there is a desire to jump on the slightest bit of evidence to suggest that people have changed their mind one way or the other. Overall however, the polling suggests that public opinion remains largely unchanged.

There have been numerous polls since the referendum that have asked how people would vote in another referendum tomorrow (below are all the polls I can find in the last three months):

ComRes/CNN (18th Dec) – Remain 45, Leave 47 (Remain 49, Leave 51)
Gallup International (7th Dec) – Remain 54, Leave 46 (Remain 54, Leave 46)
ComRes/Mirror (27th Nov) – Remain 46, Leave 47 (Remain 49, Leave 51)
YouGov (25th Oct) – Remain 44, Leave 43 (Remain 51, Leave 49)
BMG (24th Oct) – Remain 45, Leave 43 (Remain 51, Leave 49)
Survation/ITN (12th Oct) – Remain 44, Leave 44 (Remain 50, Leave 50)

All except the Gallup International poll are within the margin of error of the referendum result (I think the contrast is because the Gallup poll has a very large proportion of university educated respondents, which correlates with support for EU membership). On average they show only a small movement towards Remain and – looking closer – even that may be illusionary. Looking at the actual tables for the polls none of them show any real net movement between Remain and Leave voters, the small move to Remain is only because people who didn’t vote last time claim they are more likely to vote Remain this time. I would treat that with some degree of scepticism – of course, it could be those people took the result for granted and would be spurred into action in a second referendum… or it could be those who couldn’t be bothered last time probably wouldn’t be bothered in a second referendum either.

In addition, YouGov have asked a regular question for the Times on whether people think leaving was the right or wrong way for Britain to vote. That too shows no obvious evidence of Bregret:

YouGov (5th Dec) – Right 44%, Wrong 42%
YouGov (29th Nov) – Right 44%, Wrong 45%
YouGov (15th Nov) – Right 46%, Wrong 43%
YouGov (12th Oct) – Right 45%, Wrong 43%

Both sides of the debate have taken other figures to try and claim that the balance of opinion has shifted in their direction. In recent days I’ve seen several people who really should know better getting excited over voodoo polls in local newspapers that claim to show a big shift towards Remain – rather than let this post get overtaken by a rant, I’ve addressed that elsewhere. On the other side of the divide, some Brexit supporters have a tendency to misinterpret this YouGov poll to claim shows 68% now support leaving the EU. This is a little disingenuous – the poll doesn’t show that support for leaving has grown from 52% to 68%, it’s a different question asking about what the government should do. The 68% includes 23% of people who say they do NOT personally support Brexit, but that the government has a duty to do it.

Neither does there appear to be much current appetite for a second referendum. ComRes for CNN found 35% thought there should a referendum on the terms of exit, but 53% thought there should not. A similar recent question by Opinium for Keiran Pedley found very similar results – people opposed a second referendum on the terms of Brexit by 52% to 33% and also opposed one if the economy worsened, again by 52% to 33%. A poll by YouGov found that only 26% of people thought it was legitimate for those opposed to Brexit to campaign for a second referendum, 59% thought it was not.

As things stand public opinion does not appear to have moved since the referendum and people do not want a referendum, but as ever they are only a snapshot, not a prediction of how attitudes to Brexit may change in the future. Is there anything we can tell from current polls about how public attitudes towards Brexit might develop? There are two obvious “known knowns” ahead that could potentially change attitudes to Brexit: the negotiations and the economic impact.

The financial angle depends on what the economic impacts are and how long they take to show themselves. I am not an economist so won’t seek to speculate. I will urge caution though about polls showing that people would turn against Brexit if it cost them x amount of money, caused a recession, unemployment or so on. Should the economy collapse, I have no doubt that it would have a major impact on attitudes to both the government and to Brexit. I am less confident about what impact more modest economic bad news will have. Polls attempting to measure this assume that people will blame any economic ups and down on Brexit, and I don’t think they will – or at least, they will interpret it through the prism of their existing support or opposition. People who opposed Brexit will blame economic bad news on it, but people who supported it will blame it on other factors, or on obstructive Europeans, or Remoaners talking Britain down or whatnot. It is the nature of human beings that we are very good at defending our beliefs against data that might challenge them.

More interesting are the negotiations. We don’t yet know what sort of Brexit the government will be aiming for (well, not in any useful terms. We know what colour Brexit they want, but this is of limited use in judging potential public reactions) but given there are different possibilities and people have different preferences, once firm targets are announced some people will likely be disappointed.

Lots of polling evidence shows that the public would like to maintain free trade with the EU, but would also like to limit EU immigration – in Boris Johnson’s words, the public’s preference is clearly to have their cake and eat it. This is unlikely to be available.

If they have to choose, the polling evidence suggests the public are very evenly divided. There have been various polls using various different wordings that amount to a forced choice between EU market access or cutting EU immigration – all show a tight divide. An ORB poll this month found people agreeing by 44% to 40% that more control over immigration was more important than keeping EU free trade; a YouGov poll in November asking a forced choice between market access for British exporters and reducing immigration broke down as 49% for market access, 51% for immigration; ComRes in November found 42% would prioritise the single market over immigration, 43% would prioritise cutting EU immigration; NatCen found 49% of people said we should accept freedom of movement as the price of staying in the single market, 51% that we should not.

Looking only at immigration vs market access is probably taking to tight a focus anyway. I suspect the public will judge it as a overall package – as a whole, does it seem like a good deal for Britain? Even there is evidence is contradictory though: Opinium asked people to pick between a “soft Brexit” scenario and a “hard Brexit” scenario and people preferred the former by 41% to 35% (though the question also made clear that soft Brexit was economically better, which the public won’t necessarily think). YouGov have asked people to rate a number of scenarios – a hard Brexit on WTO terms, a limited trade deal along the Canadian model and a Norway type deal remaining in the EEA. On those a Canadian type deal polls significantly better than a Norway type relationship – 50% think it would be good for Britain, 65% think it would respect the referendum and 51% would be happy. In comparison the figures for a Norway type outcome would be 34% good for Britain, 33% respect the referendum, 37% happy (WTO terms would also be bad – 34% good for Britain, 66% respect result, 37% happy).

That is the narrow path which Theresa May must navigate – a Brexit that doesn’t mess up Britain’s trading relationship with Europe so much it sinks the economy, yet is not perceived by Leave voters as a betrayal. If we end up with a Brexit that has tougher consequences that some Leave voters expected then there is potential for public opinion to move against it. On the other hand, if we end up with a Brexit that retains more links with the European Union than some Leave voters hoped for there is the potential for a betrayal narrative to take hold, presumably to the benefit of UKIP. Either situation may bring division within the Conservative party, which has only a wafer thin majority to begin with.

Ultimately, I suppose those are two questions that matter about public opinion on Brexit. One, will public opinion move sufficiently against Brexit to make it avoidable? Two, how will it impact on the popularity of the Conservative government and opposition parties?

To answer the first one, as yet there has been little or no net movement in opinion since the referendum, the majority of people think the government have a duty to implement the results of the referendum and and the majority of people are opposed to revisiting the question. However, given the vote was only 52-48 it wouldn’t take much to tip opinion in favour of staying once the consequences become a bit more visible. It remains to be seen if the negotiations or economic developments do change things. Getting majority support for a second referendum is a much bigger ask and would be a necessity if there is any chance of a second referendum (well, counting 1975 a third referendum) has any chance of delivering a different result to 2016. Anti-elitism was an important factor in the vote, and the perception that an uncaring and distant political elite didn’t like what the public said so wants them to vote again differently would be a very powerful narrative.

As for the political parties, Brexit is the mission that has been forced upon Theresa May’s government and the yardstick they will inevitably be judged by. Thus far the public think they have been carrying it out badly, yet this has not damaged their position in the polls (presumably because it is still early days). If Brexit doesn’t work out well for them, they will suffer – especially given the high expectations of some Brexit supporters. The government’s great challenge will be to sell the compromises that will be necessary, the difficulty will be persuading the public that such compromises are either unavoidable or in Britain’s interests… as opposed to being the result of government ineptitude, backsliding or lack of ambition. If people believe the latter – that a government led by someone who never really wanted Brexit anyway is failing to be ambitious enough in our Brexit negotiations, I imagine it will be UKIP who benefit. If they deliver Brexit that’s hardness is beyond doubt, but the economy collapses, who knows who will benefit…


475 Responses to “Where public opinion on Brexit stands”

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  1. YG

    On an early general election:
    Support: 39%
    Oppose: 42%

    (via BritainElects)

  2. GUYMONDE

    I have to take issue with your 12.47 post. I have no problem with being described as an “Old Git” but miserable I am certainly not. I have had a broad smile on my face ever since “Leave” won the EU Referendum and it will get much broader when Art. 50 is triggered.

    :-)

  3. OLDNAT

    “However, it may be that Parliament(s) will not get much, if any, opportunity to decide on any of these matters, if the SC rules in favour of the Government – though we’ll know that fairly soon.”

    Indeed, obviously I hoping they find for the Government.

  4. Interesting article:

    http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/12/06/why-theresa-mays-english-doesnt-translate-to-america/

    So May is a religious nut-job – no surprises there. I think she fancies herself as a new Queen Elizabeth I, fighting off the EU Catholics and their fiendish plots.

    God help us with this nutcase at no.10!

  5. TOH

    While I can’t see that the tabling of Article 50 will be much affected, however the SC decides the various strands of the UK constitution work.

    I’m much more exercised at the prospect of living in a state where the protections, that were thought to exist, against over powerful Executives, turn out to be mere chimeras.

  6. Tancred

    I have no way of knowing whether that article you linked to has any basis.

    However, if it has, then –
    “May’s political career is given coherence by her supposition that her Christian duty is to the people of England rather than to humanity in general or even to other Christians.” –
    should terrify any Irish, Welsh, Scots (or anyone else not included among “the people of England”) who are subject to her governance! :-)

  7. @PAUL H-J

    “TOH,
    Fully agree. The pity is that it is ardent remainders who will no more listen to the PM than they do to the people.
    (Last line of Tancred’s 12:56 post is particularly illuminating. Why he thinks anyone should listen to his views after that statement amazes me.)
    PHJ”

    My views are what they are and you can take them or leave them. My point is quite simple – referendums are political mechanisms used by weak leaders who are unwilling to take on their opponents. Thatcher would never have called a referendum and certainly not Winston Churchill. Cameron was a weak and indecisive head of government who was so afraid of losing the general election that he was willing to risk the nation’s future for his pathetic political goals. I hope he dies a painful death.

  8. @OLDNAT

    “However, if it has, then –
    “May’s political career is given coherence by her supposition that her Christian duty is to the people of England rather than to humanity in general or even to other Christians.” –
    should terrify any Irish, Welsh, Scots (or anyone else not included among “the people of England”) who are subject to her governance! :-)”

    Yes it should. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  9. @Markw – “Alec, it was a slur. Calling someone not normal cos you lack the ability to understand their position is a slur.

    Your first use is clearly not the same as the second.”

    You are very quick to judge, but I still disagree with you. What I actually said was –

    “Most normal people would probably think that once the anniversary of Corbyn’s re-election approaches, if dire poll rating continue, then two years is more than enough. However, pro Corbyn Labour members don’t necessarily fit into the ‘normal’ category, and Corbyn certainly doesn’t, but we are at least beginning to see a realisation on the left that they are in an absolutely dire electoral position, and that much of that stems from the leadership at the top.”

    I fail to see why that would be construed as a slur, as it seems more like a statement of the obvious, and very much in line with how many Corbyn supporters describe themselves and their views on his future.

    @AC – “ol Corbyn might trash the Labour parties chances of winning the next UK election but he is giving a substantial minority of the British public a voice in parliament which New Labour left behind.”

    Indeed. At this point, while the post re-election rumblings about deselection of rebels goes on, it is worth considering the fact that Corbyn remained representing such people in parliament (along with other backbenchers) throughout the New Labour years.

  10. Does no-one want to discuss polls on this site any more??

    Good news for the Lib Dems keeping the gains with Yougov after the Opinium poll. Will that put them above the significance line in Catmanjeff’s graphs?

    Also it does seem unlikely that the Lib Dems can be both on 12% and 6%! Something wrong with the Opinium methodology?

  11. Andrew111

    It’s hard to discuss polls when we can’t see the tables!

    All that we have is the journalist’s selection of what they choose to emphasize. For example, in the BMG poll we don’t even know how the indy question was phrased – and BMG/Herald don’t have a reliable history on that.

  12. @andrew111

    Lib-dem score of ~9% seems reasonable to me.

  13. @ANDREW111

    There isn’t much to discuss quite frankly. UKIP is holding up reasonably well and the Lib-Dems are gaining a little, but nothing of note.
    Much depends on what happens this year – if the proverbial hits the fan then we could be in for some movement in opinion, but until then it’s static. What I will say is that once May finally declares her hand then we will see movement, for sure. If she reveals herself as a ‘hard Brexiteer’ as I believe she is, then she will lose support to the Lib-Dems, for sure. Tory remainers are a loyal and patient lot in general, and they will wait and see what she does before deserting her; they want to give her a chance.

  14. @WOOD

    “Lib-dem score of ~9% seems reasonable to me.”

    I think they are much nearer 12%. The other poll is a rogue IMHO.

  15. For some reason, YG have made the tables for this London poll (19-22 Dec) available

    https://t.co/puQMal6dMU

    “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the job that Sadiq Khan is doing as Mayor of London?”

    Satisfied: 42%
    Dissatisfied: 11%

  16. @Tancred, why?

    LDs from Sept onwards
    7
    8
    6
    7
    8
    8
    8
    8
    8
    9
    7
    8
    8
    11
    8
    10
    6
    10
    8
    7
    9
    9
    7
    9
    11
    9
    14
    6

  17. Peter Cairns

    Can you include the views of the Ipsos-MORI panel in your 2017 predictions?

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3824/Britons-predictions-for-2017-Brexit-economic-concerns-and-a-Royal-Engagement.aspx

    The 91% who say aliens won’t visit Earth in 2017, may have been confused, since Trump is already here.

  18. @Andrew111

    Here are your charts:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzTTW1ecy-NDSHk5OGVDb2JMQkE

    A year end extra present for Mr Farron, and another gift box of Hi-Karate talc for Mr Corbyn.

    @Wood

    You seem to be lumping the VI from different polling companies together. I have looked just at You Gov (lots of polls throughout the year) and without a doubt the Lib Dems have improved significantly.

    I think in a GE, their improvement nationally spread will look modest, but I suspect their improvement focused on their key areas, such as the south-west, will deliver more gains than their overall nation VI suggests.

  19. @CMJ
    Yeah, I’m no stats guy, but I don’t particularly see a reason to rate yougov above anyone else.

    Eyeballing it, over 2016 LDs went from ~7 to ~9, and had disproportionate local successes…as is their wont.

  20. I think the main thing is that the Opinium poll that gave hope to Labour that there was minimal swing since 2015 looks like a rogue, and a Tory victory in Copeland looks very likely to me.

    However as I said on the Copeland thread I think the Tory % will come down largely because of NHS problems (A&E closures up and down the country), and we could go into a general election with no party above 35% and four parties above 10% (plus the SNP mopping up Scotland). That would be unpredictable!

  21. @Wood

    You really need to look at data from the same company.

    If all companies are showing an increase (even if the nominal value for each company is different), it points to an improvement. The different nominal values indicate different methodologies.

  22. “You really need to look at data from the same company.”

    Well ideally, but which?

    Looking just at yougov/times, doesn’t change my guesstimate at all…~7 to ~9.

    Before July: 6 8 6 8 6
    Since Nov: 10 8 9 9 11

    “If all companies are showing an increase (even if the nominal value for each company is different), it points to an improvement. The different nominal values indicate different methodologies.”

    I know, I agree. 2016 was a good year for LDs…..I’m sure they’ve been thinking as much over new years’ :)

  23. ANREW111
    ‘I think the main thing is that the Opinium poll that gave hope to Labour that there was minimal swing since 2015 looks like a rogue, and a Tory victory in Copeland looks very likely to me.’

    This YouGov poll is already two weeks old – having been conducted 18/19 December. Rather odd that it was not released before Christmas really. The Labour share is out of line with what was given by three other pollsters in December – Opinium had them on 31% -Mori showed them on 29% whist ICM gave Labour 27%.. Opinium – fieldwork just a few days before YouGov – is unlikely to have been a rogue. Much more likely that we are seeing a house effect in that Opinium has not shown a Tory lead bigger than 12% since May 2015.

  24. CMJ
    Thanks for the charts!

    Yes, you have exactly the right methodology to look for trends. Using more than one polling company distorts the picture.

    Obviously because the different companies favour different parties what we don’t know is whether there is a systematic error in YouGov. If you believe in Ipsos-Mori the Lib Dems will be above your chart and if you believe in Opinium they will be below (and Labour well up)

    What remains to be seen is if the Lib Dem improvement since Richmond Park (in all the polls other than Opinium) will consolidate above 10% or slip back as it did after Witney…

  25. Graham,

    Well, basically we are looking at pre-Christmas polling. Opinium gave Labour 31% (+2%) and LD 6% (-1%). Those directions of change are against all the other polls in the period, and as you say Opinium favours Labour compared to the other companies anyway.

    So the Opinium poll looks like an outlier within the the normal Opinium polling and should probably have shown LD 9% and Lab 28%, with a significant net swing from Lab to Con since 2015 as all the other polls have shown recently

  26. @Andrew111

    You could always calculate if it’s an outlier :-)

  27. Andrew111
    The pre-Christmas polling was consistent to the extent that it tended to show some reduction in the Tory lead – and the Tory % vote share.Opinium has consistently been showing a smaller Tory lead than other pollsters throughout the the post May 2015 period. ICM has tended to produce the biggest Tory leads – though in December that mantle switched to YouGov!
    I do think that YouGov’s 24% for Labour is at odds with what other pollsters are picking up.
    It might be worth recalling that in May 2015 the final Opinium forecast was a Tory 1% lead which meant that it fared no worse than other pollsters in terms of the outcome. What we don’t know is whether some pollsters have overcompensated for their debacle and as a result are now overstating the Tories. Conversely has Opinium failed to make sufficient of an adjustment? We simply do not know – though it is probably fair to say that local elections have failed to confirm signs of a big Tory lead.

  28. @Tancred

    “@ANDREW111
    There isn’t much to discuss quite frankly. UKIP is holding up reasonably well and the Lib-Dems are gaining a little, but nothing of note.”

    Not much perhaps in terms of party support now, but there’s more to polls than that. The Times for instance, report on a Yougov poll which finds that people are now more worried than before about the state of their household finances, and that ”

    The Conservatives’ reputation for economic competence has taken a hit, with the proportion nominating the Tories as the best party to handle the economy dropping from 41 per cent a year ago to 33 per cent now. ”
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/8bed19a2-d06c-11e6-962c-fe439ed038d1

    Could it be that May’s honeymoon is wearing off, and the Conservatives will now start to come off their peak?

  29. When was the last time Yougov had LD at 12%? The most recent I can find was July 2013.

  30. Wood,
    Why do you keep ignoring the poll published today?

    From the Lib Dem point of view the question is whether there has been a Richmond Park effect.. so far evidence suggests a 2% increase since November, but it remains to be seen if that persists, or indeed if it is just a random shift of all but one polling company in the same direction at the same time..

  31. Graham,
    I agree that the true Labour % is probably higher than 24%, and also probably lower than 29%

    However CMJ’s analysis of Yougov polls shows convincingly that the Tory % has been static over the last six polls, ( about 12 weeks I guess) while Labour has fallen and is now outside the standard deviation for the year..

    None of the other pollsters are frequent enough to draw any conclusions regarding trends over such a short period..

  32. The tentative conclusion from CMJ’s dsta would be that the Labour decision to go soft on Brexit and vaguely harder on immigration in order to protect their vote from UKIP has so far only led to shedding of votes to the Lib Dems.

    I think Labour actually would have to reinforce their rhetoric tenfold to convince WWC voters they are hard on immigration. And that would lead to further loss of their middle class support that voted overwhelmingly Remain. And the Party is instinctively pro-immigration ( or very resistant to snti-immigrant rhetoric) so that will never happen.. Meanwhile the Lib Dems are consistent on Brexit and Labour just look indecisive.. “caught between two stools”

    This is not going to be solved just by getting rid of Corbyn. It is actually the Blairite MPs who are most worried about immigration and the WWC.. so what you have is the leaders of the Remain wing of the Party leading the abandonment of the Single Market.. that is a dangerously inconsistent policy, given that all the polls show that public opinion is evenly divided on single market membership ( including freedom of movement)
    The only hope for this view is if the EU decides to relax the freedom of movement pillar of single market membership..

  33. I see several peeps are squealing over which poll is correct regarding the Lib/dem VI. That’s like squabbling over which biscuit produces the most crumbs…Rich tea biscuits or Digestives..

    Crumbs for thought!!

  34. @Peter Cairns
    ‘There will not be a General Election and the reduction in Westminster seats will go through.’

    The vote on the reduction in Westminster seats will not occur until Autumn 2018!

  35. CMJ

    It would be really really interesting if you extended your fascinating analysis to other polling companies.

    Then us mere mortals would not be left trying to calculate whether particular polls are outliers ????????

  36. Allan,

    It is stupendous momentum! Can’t you feel the suuuuurge??

  37. ANDREW

    The Lib/Dems are at such a low base I suppose even the slightest of slightest breezes in their direction would seem like stupendous momentum.

  38. Recently YouGov appear to have replaced ICM with its tendency to show the biggest Tory leads. As recently as last Spring it appeared to be the most favourable pollster from Labour’s perspective!

  39. GRAHAM

    Polls tend to have trouble picking up shy Tories and the fact they got it so wrong at the last election when the Tories actually won a majority…… conventional wisdom would suggest the Tories are probably 20% clear of Labour. ;-)

  40. Allan,

    We it is true that the equivalent for the Tories would be going to 60%!

    Still, I will go with my prediction that a not dissimilar change will see the Tories below 35% before the end of 2017, and that will be accompanied by a mighty wailing and gnashing of teeth!

  41. Allan,
    But they all changed their methodology to inflate the Tory vote share since then!

  42. AC

    I don’t think conventional wisdom does agree with you there . This is particularly so in the present context where pollsters have made significant methodological adjustments following their May 2015 debacle. Quite a few commentators have questioned whether the pollsters have taken their adjustments too far and as a result may be exaggerating the Tory lead.There is certainly no sign of a big swing to them in the local elections – outside Scotland.

  43. ANDREW

    I’ve no doubt the Tory VI will drop between now and 2017 and might even drop further before 2020 but despite all the pollsters Greek mythology changes on VI, I tend to look at the different strands of questioning over areas such as trust, the economy and so on where the Tories are well out in front.

    I said it before the last UK election when polls had both Labour and the Tories neck and neck peeps were ignoring other areas of the polls.

  44. GRAHAM

    I accept the recent methodological adjustments may show a slight advantage to the Tories but as I said in my comment above I look at other strands of the polls where the Tories are well out in front in all the major KPI’s.

    I wouldn’t read too much into local elections. The SNP hammered the Scottish election in 2011 but only made modest gains in the following local elections and were left disappointed at not winning Glasgow.

  45. Allan Christie

    “I wouldn’t read too much into local elections. The SNP hammered the Scottish election in 2011 but only made modest gains in the following local elections ”

    I wonder if it’s unwise to try to extrapolate patterns in the Scottish polity to England – just as it is unwise to do the reverse.

    After giving the SNP an absolute majority at Holyrood, I can quite see that some would have seen a need for some counterbalance at LA level.

    The poor souls in England only have the UK Parliament to legislate on their local affairs, and also get endless stuff in the media which conflates “UK” and/or “British” with “English”, so are inevitably confused as to how to manage English affairs, and achieve balance in their governance.

    Local elections is all they have.

  46. AC
    ‘I wouldn’t read too much into local elections’

    I certainly do not read much into individual local elections, but I would still expect to see evidence of a pattern when viewed across the board if a party is surging ahead or falling back. We are seeing clear signs of Tory recovery in Scotland , but there is no indication of that in England & Wales – nor is Labour falling back very obviously in that most of the odd poor by election results they have suffered appear to owe a great deal to local circumstances. I suspect that the LibDem surge at local by elections flatters to deceive in that they are expending more serious effort than the other parties – and that will pay handsome dividends when turnout is so very low at such elections – typically below 30%.

  47. OLDNAT

    “The poor souls in England only have the UK Parliament to legislate on their local affairs, and also get endless stuff in the media which conflates “UK” and/or “British” with “English”, so are inevitably confused as to how to manage English affairs, and achieve balance in their governance”
    _________

    Well they do have added excitement of the police commissioner elections and with the recent rail grief we could soon see fat controller elections but despite all that I do agree it is unwise to draw parallels with elections in Scotland with those in England.

  48. @WOOD

    “@Tancred, why?”

    The polls you posted seem to average out at around 9.5%, but they do not reflect tactical voting that is inevitable in any general election and is clearly already taking place in local elections.

  49. I’ve started some work on the 2017 Local Elections.

    Just some initial observations.

    These seats were last fought in 2013, when Labour were polling around 40% nationally, compared to the Conservatives on around 30%. The national share of the vote was as follows (this being the vote share recalculated to reflect what would happens across the nation):

    Con 25 (-13)
    Lab 29 (+4)
    LD 14 (-9)
    UKIP 22 (??)

    Conservatives

    Councillors won 1116 (-335)
    Councils won 18 (-10)

    Labour

    Councillors won 538 (+291)
    Councils won 3 (+3)

    Lib Dem

    Councillors won 352 (-124)
    Councils won 0 (-1)

    UKIP

    Councillors won 147 (+139)

    So Labour were ahead in the polls in 2013, and had quite a decent night, making gains. Therefore, to hold onto those seats and councils this year looks very hard indeed.

    The Conservatives had a mid-term local election blip (not uncommon), so are probably looking to make good gains. The current polls suggest the seats lost to UKIP may come back to them.

    The Lib Dems outperformed their national polling, and probably hope to make gains based on recent local election results. Additionally, there are elections in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset – all historically decent areas for them. If they are coming back, it should happen here.

    One County Council stands out as a litmus test – Nottinghamshire. It has swung back and forth on a regular basis. Here are the recent results (seats):

    2001

    Lab 40
    Con 20
    LD 3

    2005

    Lab 38 (-2)
    Con 25 (+5)
    LD 4 (+1)

    2009

    Lab 14 (-24)
    Con 36 (+11)
    LD 9 (+5)

    2013

    Lab 34 (+20)
    Con 21 (-15)
    LD 8 (-1)

    *** Please the the changes are vs the last election, and does not include mid-term by-election changes.

    Labour also grabbed Derbyshire in 2013 too, so another council in the Midlands, an area with marginals that Labour really need to start making headway into to be competitive in the 2020 GE.

    I’ll do some more digging and analysis in the next few months, but there is plenty election-geekery in 2017 to look forward to !

  50. Interesting Fabian paper – “Stuck – How Labour is too weak to win, and too strong to die ”

    http://www.fabians.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Stuck-Fabian-Society-analysis-paper.pdf

    or summaries in Guardian, National etc or here

    http://www.fabians.org.uk/publications/stuck/

    ” Labour must prepare itself to work in partnership, in an era of quasi-federal, multi-party politics.”

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