Kantar have published a new voting intention poll ahead of the budget, the first I’ve seen from them since the general election. Topline figures are CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 5%. Fieldwork was between last Tuesday and this Monday.

This is the first poll to show a Conservative lead since September and the largest Tory lead in any poll since the election. As ever, it’s best to look carefully at any poll that shows an unusual result before getting too excited/dismayed. The reason for the unusual result appears to be methodological, rather than from some sudden Tory recovery, and down to the way Kantar treat turnout. As regular readers will know, many polls came horribly unstuck at the 2017 election because instead of basing turnout on how likely respondents said they were to vote, they predicted respondents likelihood to vote based on factors like their age and class. These methods assumed young people would be much less likely to vote, and produced large Conservative leads that ended up being wrong. Generally speaking, these socio-economic models have been dropped.

At the election Kantar took a sort of halfway position – they based their turnout model on both respondents’ self-assessed likelihood to vote, whether they voted last time and their age, assuming that older people were more likely to vote than younger people. This actually performed far better than most other companies did; Kantar’s final poll showed a five point Conservative lead, compared to the 2.5 they actually got. As such, Kantar appear to have kept using their old turnout model that partly predicts likelihood to vote based on age. The impact of this is clear – before turnout weighting Labour would have had a one point lead, very similar to other companies’ polls. After turnout weighting the Conservatives are four points ahead (the full tabs and methodology details are here).

(Another noticable difference between Kantar’s method and other companies is that they use the leaders’ names in their voting intention question, though given there is not nearly as much of a gap between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings as there used to be I’m not sure that would still have an impact.)


633 Responses to “Kantar- CON 42, LAB 38, LDEM 9, UKIP 5”

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  1. PeteB,

    “if we assume that cheap labour from the EU will reduce after Brexit, if only because the £ has fallen in value, then productivity will automatically rise.”

    Will it?

    Productivity is measured on output and value added divided by hours worked. So if we replace a low paid Romanian farm hand working 12 with a UK one working only 8 productivity will drop. If the Romanian one also picks more fruit per hour it will also drop.

    If some firms go to the wall and others automate, which will only happen if they can finance the conversion with guarantees it will work we still face the prospect that the Value added from the cheap labour firms lost won’t be made up by the new added value of those that modernise.

    If the GA drops by 10% but the workforce only by 5% we become less productive.

    I suppose if we fired almost everyone and automated everything else, they guys watching the machine would be hugely productive…he’d have to be to earn enough and make enough profit to pay the massive social security bill for all the unemployed.

    Peter.

  2. @Trevor Warne

    ” Cleggmania soon collapsed could we see the same for Corbynmania?”

    If my memory serves right, Cleggmania lasted about three weeks, not six months.

  3. Do we have Corbynmania at all?

    Post poll analysis by YG suggested his positive pull at the GE was matched by a similar size negative push.

    The manifesto or specific elements within were more significant.

  4. I understand that YouGov has Lab 41 C 39. I thought that since this is a polling site there might be some mention of this on this thread but darned if I can find it. Why do you all witter on so?

  5. @ TIM – Cleggmania unwind continued up until the 2017 GE although he can still gain an audience in Brussels despite no longer representing anyone in any official capacity whatsoever – did Barnier get a cut on book sales?

    Clegg’s majority in Sheffield Hallam
    2010 15,284
    2015 2,353
    2017 -2,125 (lost seat)

    The 2010 collapse of Cleggmania needs to be viewed in the context of all party leaders approval collapsing:
    https://yougov.co.uk/news/2015/04/22/leadership-approval-ratings-farages-lead-narrows/

    At brief periods during his era of doormat, Clegg managed to poll near/above Miliband! He was bad but not the worst!

    I prefer to look at the difference between party leaders rather than the absolute levels of approval.

    The big difference between Cleggmania and Corbynmania is that we visibly saw Clegg as a doormat. Corbyn is hiding from Brexit and voters are hence giving him the benefit of the doubt over “doormat” status – at the moment! IMHO

    Starmer tactically helped Corbyn out but that has just increased expectations amongst Remain IMHO.

    However, unless Corbyn’s Brexit bluff is called then he can hide in ambiguity and maybe never has to face the wrath of the youth vote.

    Circles back to why I’d be quite happy with a GE, although I’d prefer a new ref first.

    Worst case LAB come to power sooner but tied to Starmer’s Brexit (ie pretty much Remain). If you multiply out the X-breaks in any poll you’ll see the two highest ‘camps’ are CON-Leave (current HMG) or LAB-Remain (Starmer’s LAB). LAB-Leave is a smaller % and CON-Remain is a political impossible grouping (ABL vote)

    IMHO LAB’s best chance to win the next GE with a clean majority is to hide in ambiguity until after Mar’19 (sadly quite easy as CON foolishly decided to be propped up by DUP) and then Corbyn ‘retires’ with a smooth handover to someone like Starmer who can keep the Remain vote by saying he would have done it differently. I’m not sure what they do about Scotland though – that is where I see the difference between needing SNP C+S or a clean LAB majority. Of course Remain want the SNP C+S but I’m rambling now :)

  6. Tis mentioned a few times Barnaby.

    My guess is that your (understandable) skimming missed them

  7. Now? Trevor?

  8. @ JIM JAM – CMJ did a short write up on leadership issue. I hope he posts a longer one in due course. Singh’s reputation has been damaged but I think most people accept that Corbyn’s current leadership ratings are somewhere between possibly and probably the reason for the LAB VI ‘ceiling’
    https://www.ncpolitics.uk/2017/11/arent-polls-moving-despite-chaos.html/#more-2801

    I don’t rate LEs as that important but they do often register a protest vote (due to low turnout). Last week CON +1 and others hold. This week I think none changed hands. I don’t know if anyone on UKPR really follows the LEs but if they do could they explain why LAB aren’t gaining seats on those?

  9. Trevor Warne: In short, LAB could be vote stacking in safe seats and the Brexit paradox for Corbyn is that he needs Remain voters to get most seats let alone a majority but isn’t putting up any fight to Remain. If the GE is after Mar’19 what will those Remain voters do? Cleggmania soon collapsed could we see the same for Corbynmania?

    The polls only measure VI, not motivation or strength of feeling. It is possible brexit may have both stoked up and covered over strong feeling. So some of the Corbynmania may just be ABT as a pinning of blame on the tories for brexit. I suspect that some of the tory VI is from people adversely affected by austerity who are only hanging with the tories to see brexit through.

    So to me that looks like more of the same for any election before B day [unless leavers begin to see that the promises are not holding up]. After B day, I doubt there will be any gratitude to the tories, so Labour could do quite well, but not so much out of conviction as punishing the tories.

  10. @Trevor Warne:

    I voted Leave and would do again. But the awful truth is that most of the Commons are cheering for the EU in the negotiations. There is simply no majority in the Commons to stand up to the EU on anything, so the EU will make ever harder demands. The EU knows that the only majority in the Commons is for accepting those demands. Next up will be an open end d transition adopting the entire body of EU law and all amendments.

    What happens in terms of public opinion is another matter. An angry acceptance is possible – although the whole approach of Remain has been to fix Leavers with the blame for an inherently doomed project, or for an incompetently run project.

    The only difficulty is that they need about 20 story MPs loyal to the EU. Not difficult enough in itself, but many of them will see Corbyn as a disaster equal to Brexit.

    So Brexit lurches on, as Remainers hope that something turns up so they can be seen as putting the project out of its misery rather than stabbing it in a be back. But kill it they will.

  11. Run on a Tory favouring poll. Call an election.

  12. Technicolouroctober

    “So none of you brexites are expecting any specific benefits, nor are you prepared to reiterate previously claimed benefits such as £350,000,000/week to the NHS – you are just expecting a bumper surprise bundle of mystery benefits? Well, fair enough, it is a valid position.”

    I agree with you about the Brexiteers position being generally all mystery and vague promises with nothing tangible.

    Whether it’s a valid position for people to take is debateable – unless you meant some obscure meaning of the word “valid” I wasn’t previously aware of :-)

  13. “…– although the whole approach of Remain has been to fix Leavers with the blame for an inherently doomed project, or for an incompetently run project.”

    So far, so good then.

  14. Does anyone know where that big bus is parked… you know, the one with 350m per week for the NHS painted all over it…..

  15. @ TO – Motivation . Most, if not all, polling companies ask Likelihood to Vote (LTV) and apply weights to that although it failed in 2015 and was overwhelmed by the demographic filters in 2017. LTV is kind of a proxy for motivation but we have reason to doubt its reliability.

    Strength of Feeling . A recent YouGov split out the reasons for voting and UKPR discussed it a little but fair to say none of us really felt that comfortable making any guesses on how ‘strength of feeling’ (or marginal voter swing) was really captured. At the margin it was good for Corbyn as most LAB VI were in the more true LAB sections versus a much higher ABL % in the CON VI. Repost the tabs, see p4
    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/t7a4lpcsdh/TimesResults_171108_VI_Trackers.pdf

    The LAB lead at the moment roughly offsets the CON seat bias so both would end up with roughly same seats and most would expect LAB have more ‘friends’ and hence would patch together a min.govt.

    IMHO the reason for having a GE pre B-day could tip it either way and also post B-day really depends on major unknowns. It’s all to play for!

    @ JOSEPH1832 – it is indeed a mess. May is probably too weak to use her chat with Tusk to ensure they understand this is a final offer before we reset talks to min.deal BUT the extra funding from Hammond and the silence on the 40bn from Boris+co. gives me cautious optimism that May knows she is running out of time to decide whether to fold completely (which would almost certainly trigger 48 names and a leadership challenge) or walk out (risking a net 7 CON-Remain MPs putting HoC into full deadlock).
    The most likely outcome is “non” to “sufficient progress” and both sides just stare at each other for another month before we up the offer to 50bn and go through the farce again but at some point May has to chose a side and stick with it – might cost her her job, might cost CON power (less likely) but if the ‘bunny in the headlights’ routine continues then either the EU or the right of her party will run her down.

  16. Barnaby marder

    “I understand that YouGov has Lab 41 C 39. I thought that since this is a polling site there might be some mention of this on this thread but darned if I can find it. Why do you all witter on so?”

    Probably because the polls are so static at the moment there is not really that much of interest.

    To be honest, not that much has happened to sway VI since the election.

    – Brexit trundles on towards its inevitable outcome – whatever that may be.
    – The sleaze thing affected both parties.
    – a few resignations and sackings haven’t seemed to bother most people who just get on with their daily lives.

    VI is bogged down by the Brexit divide in our society. Opinions are pretty much entrenched – as evidenced by the ding dong exchanges on this site.

    Now what might it take to really shift the polls…….

  17. Alec

    (“…– although the whole approach of Remain has been to fix Leavers with the blame for an inherently doomed project, or for an incompetently run project.”)

    “So far, so good then.”

    Hoist by his own petard methinks :-)

  18. barnaby

    I was just going to write the same response as Tony btg: it’s like groundhog day with static polls.

    I’ve already expressed my own opinion, which is that based on traditional rationales they are very bad for Labour.

    The last election suggested that that tradition doesn’t necessarily hold. But the next one might not be for years and with two, three or more different leaders – so WTF knows anymore???

  19. @TOH – “There is a good piece by Alex Brummer in the DM today about why the productivity figures are wrong. As you probably know Brummer is the City Editor who has been City Editor of the year a couple of times. His views have widespread support if you care to investigate as I said yesterday.”

    OMG!, as they say. You do really make me laugh sometimes. It was only a few weeks ago that you berated remainer posters on here for quoting articles from the Guardian, dismissing this as a propaganda rag or somesuch, while adopting your standard backfoot snooty defence as you lectured us about how you take no notice on the media tittle tattle, including in your list of bete noirs – the Daily Mail. ‘I pay no attention to all that rubbish’ was your somewhat superior riposte to your critics. Now, the DM appears to be the font of all wisdom, because some bloke pens an article that supports your view.

    As it happens, I did investigate this issue as you suggested, and couldn’t find any evidence of widespread views that the productivity data was wrong – only lots of hard evidence that our productivity levels are low, which is completely different.

    In terms of the article, it reads as incoherent rubbish in my view. He first takes the rise of Just Eat to demonstrate that he thinks productivity is underestimated, then going on to say that the services sector “[doesn’t] produce tangible goods”. That’s complete rubbish – it does, along with some intangibles. [With things like design expertise and patents, manufacturing also produces intangibles – something Brummer seems unwilling to understand]. As far as Just Eat is concerned, sales of meals and turnover is completely tangible (ever had an intangible takeaway?) so relate sales to employment numbers/payroll and you have your productivity measure. Very poor example.

    He then says “…placing so much faith in the economic forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility is a huge mistake.”

    That’s odd, because on March 8th 2017, after the OBR significantly upgraded it’s growth forecasts, he said the OBR “….now says the UK economy will grow by 2 per cent.”

    No caveats there – he took the OBR good news at face value.

    Back to the recent article you quote, and he offers no evidence whatsoever that there is any defect in the productivity figures – just a spurious list of UK service industry successes, with absolutely no indication of how official figures measure their productivity. The closest he gets to evidence is the bit where he says in relation to the UK’s poor productivity data that “The answer, in my view, is a deficiency in the data available.”

    You have cited a biased opinion piece as factual evidence, and worse – for this you have delved into the bowels of an organ you expressly told us a few weeks ago that you don’t read and pay no attention to.

    Naughty naughty!

  20. The appearance of the cottonmouth snake in our old hen house has been explained mother and eight baby cottonmouth’s doing well ,now I need to point them in direction of river from whence she came any Ophidiologist’s out there.

  21. Joseph1832,

    “There is simply no majority in the Commons to stand up to the EU on anything, so the EU will make ever harder demands.”

    You wouldn’t find a majority of troops willing to take on a Tiger tank with a stick either.

    As I’ve said from before the Referendum…They’re bigger than us, can wait longer are better able to absorb any disruption.

    What’s your plan?t he rocky tactic; goad them into hitting us and hope they tire themselves out before we have brain damage.

    Brexiteers may see it a cowardice or a lack of “élan” but staying under cover rather than rushing a machine gun is actually usually the best tactic.

    I can understand people saying we should stand up to the bullies in Brussels, but this does run the risk that they’ll kick your teeth out!

    Peter.

  22. @Trevor Warne

    @ JIM JAM – CMJ did a short write up on leadership issue. I hope he posts a longer one in due course.

    I hope to finish a blog posy on this matter (with graphics) today.

    I’ll let you know ;-)

  23. Correction

    @Trevor Warne

    @ JIM JAM – CMJ did a short write up on leadership issue. I hope he posts a longer one in due course.

    I hope to finish a blog post on this matter (with graphics) today.
    I’ll let you know ;-)

  24. @ CMJ – thanks!

  25. alec @ toh

    “You do really make me laugh sometimes.”

    One of the nice things about this site is the amount of hilarity it spreads around.

    I think I’ve merely smiled at a couple of posts over the years – so I am quite envious of all the chortling and larfing that the rest of you are doing.

  26. I’ve been trying to build a model for the possible new Irish elections but its complicated to build and I have little idea on the party allegiances. Does anyone know the possible coalition outcomes from a politically plausible view?

    It seems most people think it would be the same outcome (FG with FF support) but are following possible:
    1/ FG (or FF) forming a coalition (or equiv of C+S) with SF?
    2/ The rough breakdown of all the independents that might allow FG to drop FF (or vice versa)?

    My very crude attempts gave me FG+SF as a probable outcome but are SF too far from FG?
    Is the polling for SF (and FF) the reason FG need to be so demanding over Brexit?

    FF+SF sounds more politically plausible and combined they might just about get enough seats, certainly if some independents can be added in.

  27. CMJ

    Can’t you do one with a posy as well? Sounds sweet.

  28. @Peter

    “Are you sure about that?”

    No, I’m not sure of where his misunderstanding is, hence I used the word ‘assume’, fully aware of the implications of assuming.. :)

    However, the the statement that there are no facts in quantum physics is balderdash. To reference the classic example, while the state of the cat may be unknown when the box is closed, when it is opened it is very much dead or alive, there is no zombie cat.

    Even if you’re considering before events there are plenty of cases where the levels of uncertainty are for all intents and purposes are negligible. There’s probably a chance you could quantum tunnel through a wall if you threw yourself at it hard enough and everything lined up just right, but I’m not sure you’d find anyone willing to bet against anything other than a mess to be cleaned up.

  29. Since there was some attention given here to a Civey poll on German party standings I thought it might be worth mentioning that we have now had a later one from INSA which seems to contradict it, notably showing a 2% gain for CDU/CSU to 32% and a similar slump for Afd,

    With gains for the FDP and existing gains for the Greens it doesn’t exactly make Merkel’s coalition talks easier but does suggest that there might not be a significantly worsening situation for her.

    No sign yet that another election might resolve matters,

  30. Corbynmania has been going for over two years now and shows no sign of abating. Unusually for a mania it’s long lasting and deeply felt. It’s tripled labour party membership and rescued the party finances. It’s spawned a cottage industry of alternative media and campaigning groups. Quite different from the ephemeral cleggmania.

    Perhaps it not a mania?

  31. joseph1832:
    What happens in terms of public opinion is another matter. An angry acceptance is possible – although the whole approach of Remain has been to fix Leavers with the blame for an inherently doomed project, or for an incompetently run project.

    You are right about remainers. I can’t understand why they are not rushing to claim they invented brexit and steal the glory for themselves. After all, that is typical behaviour when the nay sayers find that the nay said project is blossoming.

  32. Trevor Warne @ TO – Motivation . Most, if not all, polling companies ask Likelihood to Vote (LTV) and apply weights to that although it failed in 2015 and was overwhelmed by the demographic filters in 2017. LTV is kind of a proxy for motivation but we have reason to doubt its reliability.

    Yes, sorry, I was not entirely clear. I don’t mean motivation in a quantitative sense. I mean why people feel the way they do

  33. @Peter Cairns – “….before we have brain damage.”

    Before?

    Clearly you are an optimist.

  34. I think the UK gov’t is actually immune to further brain damage.

  35. “TREVOR WARNE
    I’ve been trying to build a model for the possible new Irish elections”

    Ooooh!!! Some people have all the fun Trevor….

  36. @ PETER – “As I’ve said from before the Referendum…They’re bigger than us, can wait longer are better able to absorb any disruption.”

    I’m just checking, when you put (SNP) after your name that does actually stand for Scottish National Party?? Are you talking about IndyRef2 or Brexit?? :-)

    I’m not keen on military comparisons but I think it is fair to say we under-estimated our opponent (and our own forces abilities!). However, only a fool (like May perhaps?) would meet a superior force on the battlefield using the same (or inferior) weaponry.

    UK only ever had a few cards that could have secured a fair deal:
    – Money (played badly so far but possibly gives May the excuse to reset talks from min.deal up approach after Dec talks fail?)
    – Security (off the table it seems but under a punishment outcome continued friendship is an issue?)
    – Financial Market supply-chain through London (the EMP for EU banking sector and hence possibly the whole ‘project’ in an extreme no deal outcome?)

    Politically unconditional surrender does not appear to be an option with May reliant on her b4rstew4rd faction, full retreat (via revoke) might be impossible (and asking means we revert to unconditional surrender).

    I expect May has pushed the limits with the b4rstew4rds and hence in the New Year we may get the nuclear option – leadership election with new leader telling the EU to ‘go whistle’. I suspect folks like Boris, SMogg, IDS, Dodds, etc. would be only too willing to have an excuse to press the red button! Not my desired outcome when I voted Leave but after May called then c0cked up the GE she has become reliant on the Kim Jong Un faction.

  37. YouGov have posted their latest poll on their website. Looks like two to view. One pre-budget (at top) and a post-budget below which enables immediate budget impact views
    https://yougov.co.uk/news/categories/politics/

  38. @Valerie
    At least you know where you are with Ken, TOH and co. Not like with that damn Schrodinger: poor cat doesn’t know if it’s coming or going

  39. Colin
    Your 10.37

    Thanks for that Colin. That was one of the pieces I had read recently and I think the work the Irish have been doing makes my point very well. Good of you to take the trouble.

    Valerie
    “I think there is something a bit creepy about grown men who kill birds and animals for fun. Fortunately this site is the only place I am likely to come across them.”

    I think you leave in a sheltered environment of your own choosing, nothing wrong with that, but I think you will find that plenty of women enjoy field sports as well. As I understand it hundreds of thousands shoot game in the UK during the season.

    Barnaby Marder
    The YouGov poll in the Times is now up on their website. I suspect the Chancellor will be quietly pleased with the figures relating to his budget measures. All his measures receive positive responses.

    Alec
    Predictable response from you re the Brummer article. I have said many times the DM is our daily paper, my wife likes it in particular. I read it and the Guardian (on line) so I get different views. If you don’t like that article try reading the item Colin posted at 10.37, in particular I would recommend you consider the following point from the article:

    “As it happens, Ireland has been doing pioneering work on this, trying to improve the measurement of its high-tech industries. This is particularly important for Ireland as it is home to the European headquarters of Google, Apple and Facebook. Its Central Statistics Office has come up with a different calculation for the real gross value added by its high-tech sector that it believes more accurately reflects its contribution to the economy. If you apply the Irish method of calculation to the UK, our national output has been rising just as fast after the recovery got going in 2010 as it did before 2007. The real value added in the UK economy is about £100bn higher than estimated. That would be about 5 per cent more.”
    As I say many people recognise there is a real problem which needs addressing and as I said to Colin above the Irish work looks interesting.

    Paul Croft
    “I think I’ve merely smiled at a couple of posts over the years – so I am quite envious of all the chortling and larfing that the rest of you are doing.”

    I laugh at Alec’s posts much of the time, you clearly need to put your lute down for a minute and let yourself go! :-)
    To be serious what are you working on at the moment, I certainly enjoy the sound of the lute?

  40. AW

    I cant believe my last post went into moderation. it was a paragon of reflection compared with my recent efforts!

  41. TREVOR WARNE @ BZ

    I agree DUP do not want a border in the Irish Sea – they want it on the 310mile land border!

    Time will tell, but I would agree that Foster might regard a hard border as marginally less awful than a sea one. Sadly, she’s currently railing at the RoI government, presumably to avoid being questioned on the impact to the Belfast Agreement.

    DANNY

    Even people committed to a cause ought to be able to realistically discuss the difficulties and what they plan to do about them. Yesterday we had Hammond evading questions on R4, today Arlene Foster (I think). Its pathetic.

    Agreed. It was indeed Foster, and a pity that she was allowed to rail on against the RoI instead of being quizzed on the fate of the Belfast Agreement.

    A DUP MP [Dodds, I think] was on Sky News later in the morning also railing at the RoI government and claiming that the magic border in the DExEU paper on NI is the only solution needed.

  42. ROI

    some people might be forgiven for thinking that no hard border exits between ROI and NI. But it does. there is a hard tax border,a hard vat border,a hard health border. The only soft border is people and goods.People are not an issue so it is goods only.

    so people are saying the tax,vat health border can remain where it is at present namely at the 310 mile the land border, the people border can remain where it is so the only issue is not where the hard border should be generally but where it should be for one aspect of it,namely goods.

    Not a deal breaker i would suggest.

  43. TOH

    Crikey ease off will you! if we suggest that our economy is greater than declared the junkster will demand even more money from us and the FA budget will rise as well.The last time he looked at us he made us include pros*itution.
    I was hoping we could grow the economy without anybody knowing this time.

  44. “The last time he looked at us he made us include pros*itution.”

    Now that’s an interesting question. Just how do you meaure efficiency in that particular sector?

    @Guymonde – “At least you know where you are with Ken, TOH and co. Not like with that damn Schrodinger: poor cat doesn’t know if it’s coming or going”

    Not too sure about that. My understanding is that the cat is here, there, and everywhere, simultaneously, but only until you try to locate it.

    In many ways this is the same as @TOH’s view on the Daily Mail.

  45. YouGov poll boring from VI, all MOE stuff, but the budget bits are worth a read. Cherry picking a few bits:

    Asked for three top budget picks (allowed to pick 3):
    Extra NHS money 62%
    Increase min.wage 40%
    Money for housing 23%

    Not too much partisan split. Clearly the additional spending was viewed as helpful and elsewhere in the poll 93% of CON and 88% of LAB approved of the extra NHS money. Pay rise for nurses is now not only morally sensible but politically vital. As/when we have a GE more money for NHS looks like a very obvious vote winner (more sooner a good idea IMHO)

    CON VI very happy about the 3bn for Brexit planning, 74% liked that. Interestingly 43% of LDEM and 36% of LAB also liked it (asked as good idea v wrong priority was slightly odd phrasing of answer choice though?)

    The only ‘bad’ issue for CON seems to be on UC where 45% think the changes were not enough although the other answer choices were quite harsh and DK was not far behind at 39% (and was highest pick for CON VI).

    The low opinion of the economy and the low OBR forecast is IMHO a good thing for CON as with expectations so low their is more upside potential than downside risk.

  46. Have I missed any measures to ease student debt?

  47. For the benefit of clarity, there are no facts, that is a fact. Schrodinger would be proud of me. ;-)

  48. Tuition fees and student loans are simply a way of levelling the playing field to the advantage of the less academic. It operates as a tax on those who have gained an educational advantage but only has to be paid if that advantage results in a higher income than that expected by the rest of the population. A more overtly socialist idea would be hard to design.

    Fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and so, as a concept, is a moveable feast. It appears that the same applies to productivity. I would guess that true productivity is somewhere between the past optimistic forecasts and the present pessimistic predictions. We will know, or have a useful indication, from tax receipts which are, however, a lagging indicator. Today’s will hope they indicate before the next election.

    I am still pessimistic about a trade deal with the EU. I hope I am wrong, but I can’t help feeling that the EU negotiators will mess it up, to everyone’s chagrin, by overplaying their hand. For both sides and I am afraid we have to recognize that there are sides, this may not end well. Just because I believe we should have stayed in, does not mean that I think the EU will be able to handle our exit with any degree of competence. Some of the players will inevitably be feeling slighted and will act irrationally as a consequence.

  49. Today’s should be torys. I should have written Conservatives. Lazy!

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