There were four voting intention polls yesterday – an unusual flurry, largely it appears because of the military action in Syria. YouGov and Opinium were their regular polls, but ComRes seems to be asked on Wed & Thurs in order to measure support for an attack beforehand, Survation was conducted on Saturday to measure support afterwards.

YouGov‘s voting intention figures for the Times yesterday were CON 40%(-2), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2). Fieldwork was Monday and Tuesday and changes are from the previous week. We’ve already seen YouGov polling on Syria earlier in the week, which asked specifically about missile attacks and found 22% support, 43% opposed. Tabs for the voting intention poll are here.

Opinium for the Observer had topline figures of CON 40%(-2), LAB 40%(nc), LDEM 7%(+1). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Thursday. It included only the briefest of questions on Syria; asked which leader people would trust the most to respond to the situation 35% said Theresa May, 20% said Jeremy Corbyn. The full details of the poll are here.

ComRes for the Sunday Express is the first voting intention poll the company have produced since the general election (I was beginning to ponder whether they’d given it up!). Looking at methodology changes, ComRes appear to have dropped the socio-economic turnout model that resulted in such problems at the last election and returned to essentially the methodology they used at the 2015 election, weighting by just standard demogs and past vote, and weighting by self-assessed likelihood to vote. This produced topline figures very much in line with everyone else – CON 40%, LAB 41%, LDEM 7%.

On Syria, ComRes asked about whether people agreed Britain should join the US and France in taking “military action against President Assad in Syria”. 29% of people agreed, 36% disagreed, and 35% didn’t know… another poll showing the balance of opinion opposed to strikes. Full tabs are here.

Survation for the Mail on Sunday is the only poll conducted after the missile attacks, with fieldwork wholly conducted during the day on Saturday. As regular readers will know, Survation typically show the largest Labour leads in their polling, but today’s figures are very much in line with everyone else – CON 40%(+2), LAB 40%(-5), LDEM 9%(nc).

Survation asked about whether people supported the “missile strikes on Syrian government facilities overnight in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack”. 36% of people said they supported it, 40% said they were opposed – a closer division than in some of the pre-strike polling, which may be because the question specifically linked it to the chemical attack, or may be because people just become more supportive once it has actually happened.

Survation also found 54% of people thought May should have sought Parliamentary support beforehand (30% did not), but on balance tend to approve of how she has handled the situation. 37% think she has dealt with it well, 29% badly. In contrast 19% think that Jeremy Corbyn has handled it well, 36% badly. Full tables are here.

Looking at the situation overall, headline voting intention polls continue to show Labour and Conservative neck-and-neck on average. On Syria, differently worded questions produced results that vary from clear opposition to just slightly more opposition than support, but it’s clear the public did not whole-heartedly support military action in Syria.


732 Responses to “Survation, ComRes, Survation and YouGov polls on voting intention and Syria”

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  1. The idea that all Religious fanatics fighting in Syria are with the opposition is straight from the official Russian propaganda .

    Russian spokespersons are forever claiming that Assad is a secular bulwark against “Terrorist” religious fanatics .

    The truth is that Islam’s bloody schism is as present in Syria as it is in Yemen & every other ME warzone.

    Shia on Assad’s side-Sunni against him.
    Even the Palestinians are there-on both sides.

    The Shia power base of Iran is represented by their own forces, and groups like Hezbollah.

    The defenders of Sunni Islam are represented by Saudi & Qatar along with groups like Muslim Brotherhood & Hamas.

    Even the proposition that Assad is a secular leader at all is questionable. Some analysts have claimed that his government exploits sectarian tensions in the country and relies upon the Alawite minority to remain in power.The Alawites are a Shia sect.

    The war in Syria is just another war between the two major sects of Islam as they struggle for pre-eminence & regional power .Their many sectarian groups & brigades doing the bloody work of that religion’s two blood soaked antagonists , Iran & Saudi Arabia.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War

  2. @cloudspotter

    Thank you for sharing that. Absolutely incredible the generation gap that exists. Heartening to know we have the youth on our side.

  3. Since the west failed to act in 2013 in Syria the effect on the Syrian population is stark

    Figures from U.N. put the number of dead in excess of 600,000.
    UNICEF figures concerning children over 400 arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons. Up to 2017 19,811 children killed.
    UN figures for displaced people within Syria 6.5 million number of refugees fled Syria 3 million.
    Some seem to think the vote in Westminster in 2013 was the finest thing for many a year I think it was an act of moral cowardice that doomed an entire generation to unrelenting misery and has left them in the hands of tyrant kept in power by a Russian gangster.

  4. Colin

    “Their many sectarian groups & brigades doing the bloody work of that religion’s two blood soaked antagonists , Iran & Saudi Arabia.”

    Spot on.

    Of course, they are funded and supplied by blood (and oil) soaked antagonists from outwith Islam too, such as Russia, USA, Israel …..

  5. @AL
    Not sure that 64 year olds are really youth.
    Labour has had a lead in people of working age ever since I started lurking here 5 or 6 years ago, often in every age group, sometimes very close in 55-64 etc.
    The question is, will these voters turn right as they grow older (as those on the right allege) or will they stay with their preference for Labour.
    I think they will stay, though no doubt the balance will shift back again at some point in the future, probably after I’m in the great Soviet in the sky (or down below, more likely)

  6. As to Syria, I can’t claim enough understanding to really make a judgment but my instinct is with AL – either as ISIS takeover or another decade plus of civil war. Unless someone makes a new colony, deferring the problem.

  7. @Colin

    “The war in Syria is just another war between the two major sects of Islam as they struggle for pre-eminence & regional power .Their many sectarian groups & brigades doing the bloody work of that religion’s two blood soaked antagonists , Iran & Saudi Arabia.”

    Exactly, and all the more reason not to intervene. Assad is a brutal dictator prosecuting a civil war of unspeakable barbarity, but there is no military intervention, beyond the use of irresistible force, that will either alter the course of the conflict or alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people. That won’t end, I’m afraid, until Assad wins and his opponents sue for peace. Once that doleful outcome transpires, perversely, there may then come non-military opportunities to build something from the ruins. The slaughterhouse has to stop first though and as much as it pains me to say so, that day comes much quicker with an Assad win.

    I’m not a pacifist. and there are occasionally sound arguments for the use of military force, even beyond the obvious one of pure self-defence, but pretending we can police these horribly intractable quasi-sectarian civil wars, such as the Syrian one, is a cruel self-delusion arising, quite often, from conceited notions of global status.

    Was there ever a time to intervene in the Syrian war? Probably not, although when it started in 2011 as an “Arab Spring” uprising against the Assad dictatorship, maybe there was an argument then to destabilise Assad as he began his brutal suppression of his own people in plain sight. Executions, mass arrests, torturing; all this was played out in full view of the UN and the West, but nothing was done. Blind eyes turned at the point of Assad’s maximum weakness. This now mystical parliamentary vote in 2013, that voted against air strikes in retaliation to the Homs chemical weapon deployment, is a red herring I think, more likely cited by some to disgracefully finger Milliband as the cause of the current slaughter. The case for intervention was way too late then, the conflict had degenerated into a proxy-fuelled bloodbath by 2013, and gesture bombing to pre-advised “enemies” would have been as pointless then as it is now.

  8. CB11

    “when it started in 2011 as an “Arab Spring” uprising against the Assad dictatorship, maybe there was an argument then to destabilise Assad as he began his brutal suppression of his own people in plain sight.”

    the Syrian government had made numerous arrests of political dissidents and human rights campaigners, many of whom were labeled “terrorists” by the Assad government. In early February 2011, authorities arrested several activists ……

    Police and security forces responded to the protests violently, not only using water cannons and tear gas, but also beating protesters and firing live ammunition

    Much the same as the argument to destabilise Rajoy in Spain (or lots of other regimes)?

    If foreign states currently chose to create and fund armed resistance in Catalonia (there being none existing) and others chose to fund Rajoy (to ensure control of the wine production) would the outcome be any different? (the Spanish Civil War comes to mind).

  9. Peter Cairns

    ISIS spent 3-4 years fighting on multiple fronts, as far apart as Kobane on the Turkish border to Fallujah in Iraq, the idea that Damascus was somehow out of their reach is preposterous.

    Mosul is much further away from the ISIS strongholds on the Euphrates river around Raqqa thab Damascus, and yet they were able to take that city in a few days and hold it for 2 years.

    Furthermore ISIS were not restricted at all to eastern Syria, at their peak in 2014 they were able to fight on multiple fronts thousands of kilometres apart simultaneously. With a power vaccuum in Damascus there was simply no other force on the battlefield which could have withstood them and prevented them from taking over.

    It’s factually incorrect to suggest ISIS was restricted in terms of movement – they

    The fact some people would be willing to put our military into an alliance with the people who chopped off Alan Henning’s head or who carried out so many despicable terrorist attacks throughout the world appalls a d disgusts me, and based on polling the clear majority of the British public too.

    Assad is vicious and brutal but he defeated the secular rebels in early 2013, the Free Syrian Army disbanded and today no longer exists as a functioning fighting force, leaving the West a straight choice between supporting the Jihad or supporting him.

    Although the Tory party has a long history of supporting jihadists, going all the way back to Maggie Thatcher supporting the mujhadeen in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, as well as the support they gave Al-Qeada and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group when they wanted to topple Gaddafi, this was one act of complicity too far and overwhelming public revulsion at the prospect of our government overthrowing Assad to enable various flavour of Jihadist nutters to take power.

  10. Opinium/Open Britain have a poll on whether their should be a public vote [does that mean a referendum???] on the final deal between UK and EU.

    I can’t find the tables, but EU News reports the results

    http://www.euronews.com/2018/04/15/more-than-half-of-the-uk-wants-public-vote-on-brexit-deal-survey

    The poll found that people aged between 18 and 34 were most in favour of having a “people’s vote”, and people aged 55 and over were most opposed to the idea.

    Broken down by country, 59% of people in Scotland expressed support for the idea, compared to 58% in Wales, 52% in England and 45% in Northern Ireland.

    Of respondents who voted to leave the EU, 45% were opposed to the idea of a public vote, compared to 38% in favour.

  11. @Peter C

    Thanks for your account of Getting Out The Vote. Particularly liked the guerilla postering thing, and obviously checking the polling reality.

    It seems a good idea to have activities pre-planned, as you suggest: I recall during the election some constituencies were swamped by the numbers of young people turning up and weren’t sure what to do.

    Deploying people to other – possibly more marginala- constituencies also makes a lot of sense to someone inexperienced in the matter like me, and was a way Tories compensated for lack of boots on the ground during the last GE, where apparently they made it quite competitive and laid on free curry and pizza etc.

  12. @Guymonde

    “the question is, will these voters turn right as they grow older (as those on the right allege) or will they stay with their preference for Labour.”

    ———–

    Yes, the big question. For example are the older voting Tory because they have assets and pensions etc. the younger don’t have, or is it some fundamental change in mindset that happens regardless?

  13. via Number Cruncher

    Number Cruncher Politics
    ?

    @NCPoliticsUK
    20m
    20 minutes ago

    More
    Rallings & Thrasher/Sunday Times [English] local election projections

    National Equivalent Vote:

    CON 36 (+6)
    LAB 36 (+5)
    LD 18 (+7)
    UKIP 2 (-16)
    OTH 8 (-2)

    Changes vs 2014 NEV

    Net seat changes:

    CON -75
    LAB +200
    LD +30
    UKIP -125

  14. peaking of da Yoof, in the Times it says…

    “Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson team up to draw young electorate to Tories

    The politicians are to help launch a new think tank that aims to steal Labour’s thunder with policies for the under-45s”

    “The environment secretary and the Conservative leader in Scotland have agreed to front the launch of a think tank called Onward, which will create “retail policies” to appeal to the under-45s who abandoned the Tories at the last election.

    The group, which has been given the blessing of Downing Street chief of staff Gavin Barwell, will draw up policies to boost Theresa May’s government and contribute to the Tory manifesto in 2022.

    Will Tanner, a former aide to the prime minister, has been recruited as director. The think tank will launch on May 21, after what are expected to be poor local election results for the Conservatives.

    Those involved say Onward will address what many Tory MPs see as a dearth of ideas with “doorstep appeal” to voters. Its name echoes En Marche!, the movement that swept Emmanuel Macron to power in France.”

    “We hope to be an ideas factory for the centre right and reach out to new groups that in the present climate the Conservative party isn’t very good at talking to,” Tanner said. “We’re a modernising, one-nation organisation. We believe in the value of markets but also the good that government can do.

    “We want to come up with ideas that can be sold to the public and will be popular. This is not some exercise in high-falutin theory. We want to come up with crunchy retail politics that appeal to the young, which means the under-45s, not just the under-25s.”

    Those behind Onward hope to create a raft of policies, some of which can be implemented quickly. Others would form the centrepiece of the 2022 manifesto, whoever is party leader.

    Early publications by Onward will include ideas to help families with living costs and job security and what Tanner calls “better solutions to dysfunction in the housing market”.”

  15. carfrew

    Blimey… makes you wish you was young.

    “Crunchy retail policies” sound really attractive.

  16. CB11

    @”That won’t end, I’m afraid, until Assad wins ”

    Of course.

    Which is what I believe the triumvirate who launched this strike understand well.

    This attack was not meant to help topple Assad-that isn’t possible militarily without Armaggedon ensuing.

    It was meant to signal to him ( and to Russia) that the increasingly casual use of CW will not be tolerated. It is too risky & scary. It has horrendous potential for mass killing. And it IS illegal.

    I have little doubt that backchannels ensured that no civilians were present on those sites & that there was no danger of hitting Russian assets.

    There has been no military response from Russia.

  17. Carfrew

    ““Michael Gove and Ruth Davidson team up to draw young electorate to Tories”

    It’s not clear why the Tories think Gove & Davidson can attract the “young electorate”.

    Gove (an Aberdonian) represents an English constituency, and is hardly new blood for voters in E&W.

    Davidson managed to garner much of the anti-indy and pro-Brexit vote to make gains in Scotland, but those ideas seem unlikely to have young English folk flooding to the Tory banner.

    The VI of the young electorate (16-34) in the most recent Scottish poll (Panelbase) doesn’t suggest great prowess by these Scots Tories in enthusing their compatriots, so why would those in E&W be different?

    Female : Con 5% : Lab 34% : LD 4% : SNP 36% : UKIP 1% Green 3%

    Male : Con 12% : Lab 26% : LD 5% : SNP 45% : UKIP 2% Green 4%

  18. OLDNAT

    @”Of course, they are funded and supplied by blood (and oil) soaked antagonists from outwith Islam too”

    And staying there -Macron has decided.

    He has a plan apparently.

    “Macron, speaking on French television BFM and online site Mediapart, said “we are preparing a political solution” aiming at allowing a political solution for Syria.
    He stressed the French diplomacy is able to talk with Iran, Russia and Turkey on one side, and the United States on the other side.
    He said “ten days ago President Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria. We convinced him to remain.”

    usnews.com

  19. Colin

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Macron’s political solution for Syria involved French oil companies having a role in Syrian reconstruction (alongside the Russian, American, Turkish and Israeli ones).

  20. There’s nothing in any of these polls to suggest that the country is much excited by these Syria events.

    The fact that we answer questions when asked, doesn’t mean that we care much about the subject. And there’s nothing whatsoever, to suggest that Syria is affecting voting intentions.

    The respective levels of party support remain, as ever unchanging.

    The only poll which has anything to write home about is the Survation one, which shows (by recent standards at least), a significant swing in favour of the Tories since their last poll.

    That however merely puts them them back into line with where the other polls were all along.

    There’s also a miniscule firming up of the Lib Dem position as compared with recent months, but that can be attributed to some members of the public’s habit of avoiding reality and imagining that there’s always a third (and better) way.

    This time the ‘third way’ is to neither support the Syria intervention, nor to oppose it.

    The Lib Dems are the perennial dustbin in which voters of this mindset throw their voters.

    The only other surprising feature I gleaned from these figures, is that although in a minority, 39% pf people said that Mrs May should act without consulting Parliament.

    That to my mind, is a surprisingly high figure. and it suggests that the 39% people have thought about it, and understand the issues which arise.

    Simply replying that she SHOULD consult Parliament is a very default easy answer to give, when you don’t much care one way or the other, don’t know much about what the consequences of doing so might be.

  21. Good Evening everyone

    I dear that seeking to confine the Syrian Civil War to essentially part of the ongoing Saudi Arabia v Iran battle for hegemony in the middle East is an over-simplificarion of the dispute. There are numerous other factors at play:

    1. (At the start at least) the conflict was not at all religious in nature but an Arab Spring protest by oppressed people against a totalitarian dictatorship.

    2. Russia’s desire to prevent further erosion of its traditional sphere of influence around it’s western borders. This is coupled with US, UK and France wanting to push Russian influence Futher and further back to its borders. There is therefore a strong Cold War element to the conflict. Indeed,this is why Russia has drawn a line in the sand and out 10s of thousands of troops of the ground. They will not yield in Syria.

    3. The unusual make-up of the government of Syria compared with the rest of the Middle east. The Alawites are the ruling house in Syria. Alawites are an offshoot of Shiah. However , the pupolation is overwhelmingly Sunni.

    4. While Iran and it’s proxies are backing Assad, and Saudi Arabia and it’s proxies are backing the rebels; the situation within Syria us complex. many Sunnis in Syria back Assad. Many don’t.

    5. Not a factor as such, Morea comment. The War is effectively over. Assad with Russian military assistance has slaughtered his way to victory. Any action anyone takes now is meaningless to the overall status of the conflict.

  22. Please accept my apologies for typos – particulars “it’s/its”. Autocorrect is never my friend!

  23. RAF

    All true, and we could add –

    6. Syria isn’t a “nation”. It’s a colonially constructed state that includes peoples who more strongly identify with folk in neighbouring colonially constructed states.

    7. Oil and gas reserves (and who controls them).

  24. @OldNat

    Indeed.

  25. Roger Mexico
    Thanks for your gallant attempt to discuss polling. You made some very good points.
    ————————————————
    However, the discussion has got wider as usual.
    On Syria. It’s obviously an extremely complicated situation with multiple different sides – Assad, ‘normal’ rebels, ISIS, Al-Quaeda, Kurds etc, and multiple interferers – USA/UK/France, Turkey, Hamas, Iran, Saudi, Russia etc etc.

    Forgetting all the detail, what is the best possible outcome for Syria and the West? I have no idea, and I don’t think our leaders do either – hence bombing Isis one day and Assad the next. Apart from bombing stuff like chemical weapons factories (what happens to the bombed chemicals BTW?) we should keep well out of it. If Russia ends up controlling Syria does it really matter? There are other routes to get oil and we’ll all soon be powered by windmills anyway.
    —————-
    On the Second Referendum. If there is to be one, presumably there should be just two options on the polling card in order to make a decision decisive. However if the question was something like “Do you accept the terms that have been negotiated with the EU?” a lot of people will vote No, but for different reasons. Ardent Remainers will vote No because they don’t want to accept leaving on any terms, and ardent Leavers will vote no because we have given too much away in the negotiations. Therefore IMO the question should be something like “Do you accept the terms that have been negotiated with the EU, or just Leave anyway?
    ————————————
    Sorry for the long post and if I’ve repeated any points others have made. G’night all.

  26. The question should surely be:
    These terms have been negotiated for our exit from the EU. [I hope] The EU have agreed that should we wish to remain, we may do so on the terms previously negotiated.

    Given these two options, do you wish to:

    Remain in the EU [ ]
    Leave the EU [ ]

  27. “There are other routes to get oil and we’ll all soon be powered by windmills anyway.’

    ———–

    Globally, solar is showing signs of exponential growth. Last year installations grew by 50%. That’s a doubling every two years.

    In four years that’s a quadrupling, in twelve years it’s 64 times the amount.

    Currently solar is a bit shy of 2% energy production worldwide. But with that kind of exponential growth, it could be dominant in little more than a decade.

    It’s being driven by the fall in costs of solar, now only 8 cents a kilowatt hour, a fall of 70% since 2010, and prices continue to fall.

  28. “Do you accept the terms that have been negotiated with the EU, or just Leave anyway?”

    ———

    We could cut out all the froth and just go for the heart of the matter with the most polarised question.

    E.g. “Do you think we should be cast adrift from the protection of the EU, forced to make dubious trade deals with places no one’s heard of and eat weird fish, or should we be a vassal state accepting free movement and and the crazy whims of the Brussels bureaucrats?”

  29. ““Crunchy retail policies” sound really attractive”

    ——–

    Yes, we already had a Crunch just a decade ago, it’s a bit worrying they if they think we haven’t had enough crunch.

  30. OldNat

    I can’t find the Opinium EU poll either, but here’s one that YouGov did for Best for Britain (NI’s obviously given up on by all of them):

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/cqvaei0d1b/BestForBritain_Results_180406_w.pdf

    It’s a split sample which shows the importance of question wording among other things. Half were asked Once the negotiations between Britain and the European Union over a Brexit deal have been completed, do you think there should or should not be a public vote on whether Britain accepts the deal or remains in the EU after all?

    Should 39%

    Should not 45%

    Not sure 17%

    and the other half Once the negotiations between Britain and the European Union over a Brexit deal have been completed, do you think the public should or should not have a final say on whether Britain accepts the deal or remains in the EU after all?

    Should 44%

    Should not 36%

    Not sure 19%

    (my bolding)

    So depending on how you phrase it, you can claim that people do or do not support some sort of second referendum. The differences between the two in bold are effectively nothing (how could the public have a meaningful “final say” without a vote) and from the tables seem to come mainly from Leavers. Presumable some of those are ‘soft’ Leavers, looking for an escape route if things look bad, without wanting to admit they would like a second referendum.

    Note that the choice option given is between Staying and Deal, rather than Leaving and Deal (as Pete B suggests). Obviously that makes more sense because ‘Just Leave’ is effectively kicking the can down the road, which is effectively the mistake the first referendum made in that the implications of Leave are not set out.

    There was a third question asked to both halves If there was a public vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union, how would you vote? which gave Remain 44%, Leave 41%, which at least suggests YouGov’s Right/Wrong EU tracker is producing the same sort of result as other repeat question wording.

  31. OLDNAT (from last thread)

    YG tables still showing 3% for BNP in Scotland, and 0% in E&W.

    Either a rogue sample, respondents who can’t distinguish between “S” and “B”, or a little YG gremlin?

    I don’t know why YouGov continue to specifically offer the BNP as a choice in Other Parties. They only had 10 candidates in 2017 and 8 in 2015. There’s other minor Parties that did better. It’s like when Opinium kept including Veritas as a named option, long after that Party had disbanded (not that it was ever much of a band in the first place).

    It’s very possibly people in a hurry misreading the screen and thinking they were choosing SNP. Probably men in their 40s too vain to think they need glasses (well it is all men and they’re mostly 25-49). It could be an odd weighting anomaly, but YouGov’s targeting means that there don’t seem to be the extreme weighting that would cause that.

  32. OLDNAT

    we could add –

    6. Syria isn’t a “nation”. It’s a colonially constructed state that includes peoples who more strongly identify with folk in neighbouring colonially constructed states.

    7. Oil and gas reserves (and who controls them).

    Actually neither of those is really true. Syria has a long history under that name (indeed who has longer?). Not admittedly as a state, but then that itself is a recent invention, but there has usually been some sort of Damascus-based entity covering the area with its own identity since Roman times at least.

    It’s certainly not an entirely colonial invention with a modern name, like Iraq or Saudi Arabia or Jordan – or indeed Lebanon which was split off it by the French, though that now looks back to Phoenicia for its identity. The only major group that identifies with outsiders is the Kurds and Syrian Kurds were always less separatist than others, perhaps because Syria was always less culturally monolithic than neighbouring states.

    Although Syria does have some oil and gas (though not great reserves), it’s not the enormous amounts that other Middle Eastern countries have. It used to have enough for its own needs and some to export but it’s not significant geopolitically. They’re big enough to be important to Syria, but not big enough to matter to anyone else.

  33. @raf

    Thanks for injecting some sensible factual analysis into the debate about Syria!

  34. RONALD OLDEN
    “There’s nothing in any of these polls to suggest that the country is much excited by these Syria events.”

    Specifically no, but the issue has painted another easily avoidable barndoor sized target for May’s opponents to kick their footballs at.

    It must be tricky in doorsteps to enthuse the unenthused about Brexit, or even to expect so much as a raised eyebrow over the paradox of incentivising the DUP with an extra 1bn pocket money to turn up and vote for cuts in services, some of which could be avoided had the incentive not been given.

    On the other hand, reminding voters of the government’s record on health, education, housing, police cuts, Grenfell, potholes, library and sure start closures, and anything else I’ve missed, while suggesting that spending billions on missiles (the effectiveness of which supporters of the action now appear to be trying to play down) simply because Trump asked us to, and not even allowing MPs to vote on it first, bypasses all the controversial stuff in a way that politically disengaged friends of mine would be able to follow.

    I am having difficulty in imagining a way in which Little Nell being dragged into the headmaster’s office today is going to end well for the government, even assuming that they win the vote, and admit that I’m looking forward to reading about it later, watching it live being somewhat less tempting.

  35. @ Old Nat

    Will be interesting to see the write up on those R&T forecasts. I’m not quite clear how Con NEV rising 1% more than Lab from 2014 and a collapse in UKIP leads to Lab gains of 200 seats and Con losses of 75.

  36. OLD NAT

    @”I wouldn’t be surprised if Macron’s political solution for Syria involved French oil companies having a role in Syrian reconstruction (alongside the Russian, American, Turkish and Israeli ones).”

    Ah the demon “Oil” for which “Western” countries will do anything in the ME.

    Isn’t this story a bit old hat in the world of US shale production ?

    Syria has less oil reserves than UK by the way ( WIKI)

    on your earlier:-
    @”The Barzah and Jamrayah facilities were inspected by OPCW at the end of November 2017, and they found no scheduled chemicals or evidence of activities breaching Syria’s obligations.”

    They said all “declared stocks” had been removed.The Times reports that OPCW said it was “not yet in a position to confirm that declaration is complete or accurate”.

    Chlorine, unlike nerve agents like Sarin, is not itself a banned chemical. It is banned for use in war.

    There is nothing to stop Syria from producing & holding chlorine for legitimate purposes & then dropping it on children from conventional bombardment in cellars. Chlorine is heavier than air.

  37. AL

    “Thank you for sharing that. Absolutely incredible the generation gap that exists. Heartening to know we have the youth on our side.”

    Yes fascinating statistics, but don’t count on youth n the long term. The present young will grow older and probably wiser as most generations do. The interesting thing will be if there is a Corbyn style Labour government in 2022, and the result is a collapse in the national finances, where will the young turn? Back to Tories or where else?

  38. Turk,
    “Since the west failed to act in 2013 in Syria the effect on the Syrian population is stark”

    That is unfortunate, but is not the issue. The issue is whether our intervention would have changed the outcome. And indeed, changed it for the better rather than the worse.

    ” I think it was an act of moral cowardice that doomed an entire generation to unrelenting misery ”

    But is there historical evidence to show military intervention conclusively stopping future warfare? Or is it not more often the case that even where warfare is temporarily suppressed the underlying issues guarantee it breaks out again, frequently more vigorously for having been forcibly suppressed?

    Oldnat,
    “If foreign states currently chose to create and fund armed resistance in Catalonia (there being none existing) and others chose to fund Rajoy…”

    Precisely. And this highlights that the UN is really a forum for the major world powers to settle minor disputes amicable, but then to formalise non intervention in their perceived interests when two or more of them decide to slug it out.

  39. RAF

    But the Syrian civil war is complex BECAUSE of Islam’s bloody schism.

    It isn’t a simple Dictator vs Rebels war for the same reason that Iraq, Yemen & every other ME conflict isn’t-because Islam has such a high profile in the lives & governance of people in that region, and its two factions pour their brigades & groups into every conflict to continue the 1400 year old war about the Legitimate Successor to Muhammad.

    How many have died over those centuries in this ridiculous argument?

  40. TED: This was one missile strike (and America paid for most of it). It most assuredly did not cost this country “billions”.

    Money which, by the way, comes out of a ringfenced defence budget we have pledged to NATO. So it’s not like you can appeal to higher spending priorities elsewhere, unless you want to betray your international allies. There is no reason we can’t spend more on other things without making cuts to stuff you don’t like – in fact that’s a very Tory argument.

  41. OLDNAT

    Thanks for the Railings & Thrasher figures. I had not put numbers on my own thoughts but these projections look OK to me.

    RO

    Thoughtful post.

  42. @CLOUDSPOTTER
    I just saw this on Twitter:
    4 GE Polls released yesterday summary (5852 People):

    4381 People – 18-64:
    Con: 32%
    Lab: 47%
    LDem: 8%
    Other: 13%

    1471 People – Over 65:
    Con: 62%
    Lab: 23%
    LDem: 7%
    Other: 8%

    Thanks for posting, it does seem that the age when more people vote for the Conservatives than Labour is getting older. Would be interested to know if that is the case or has this always been the case.
    I appreciate the young on average are more likely to vote Labour but a clear majority for Labour up to the age of 65 seems quite startling.

  43. Why is Assad still in power?

    * 70,000 Iranian troops plus 250,000 “militia and agents” paid for by Iran.
    *Russian planes.

  44. Polling, state of the parties.

    Looking at the figures I wondered whether the UKIP trickle down effect has finally ended. All the UKIPers are now gone, mostly to con, while cons have defected to soft leave=labour and labour to hard leave=libs.

    Result, tory recovery stalled, libs showing modest improvement. Subject to future repositioning depending on party Brexit stance.

    Cant be many people polled, but I see from yougov, uKIP scored most support in the 50-64 age group. The change from the usual rise in support with age might just be random variation (well, probably is), but it could be a sign the angry diehard leavers are not in fact the pensioners.

    The yougov question on whether there should or should not be a referendum most starkly highlights the result looking at referendum leave/remain breakdown. 69% of leave voters think there should not be a rerun, 61% of remainers think there should. Its all about wanting one to overturn the last result, or refusing one to prevent it being overturned. Not about democratic principles at all.

  45. The Other Howard,
    ” The present young will grow older and probably wiser as most generations do.”

    Im not at all convinced. The evidence seems more that the young maintain their same attidudes into old age. That people who were labelled left in their youth are conservatives in old age, might simply mean the conservatives have adopted most of what the youth demanded. Which if you look at Uk society over this timespan, would seem to be the case. Cameron gay marriage, and all that.

    Following this reasoning, if youth are demanding banking reform and EU membership….

  46. NEILJ, CLOUDSPOTTER

    Don’t be taken in too easily, two can play that game. Just looking at the latest YouGov and ComRes polls (because I can’t be bothered to do it for all of them):

    People 18-24:

    Labour 64%
    Conservative 17.3%

    People 25+:

    Labour 38.6%
    Conservative 42.1%

    You could translate that to mean that the Tories are winning among the over 25s, and technically that’s true, but it’s not really an accurate picture. The crossover point is somewhere around 50, and both parties have pretty healthy support either side of that. The big divide is at the extremes. Given that they’re neck and neck in the polls, if you separate either extreme out (and 65+ is a pretty massive group) then you can make it look like either party is winning among the ‘majority’ and it’s just some villainous oldies/youngsters that are propping the other side up.

  47. One factor traditionally influencing the age/Tory relationship has been that Labour voters tend to die younger. Their ranks were thinned out faster by the grim reaper.

    But I suspect that must be changing, with the decline of health-sapping industrial occupations, near-universal central heating, reduced smoking rates etc. I’m sure the effect still exists – I recall research showing that life expectancy amongst civil servants was directly related to occupational grade – but it’s maybe weakening. I also wonder if the social composition of 65+ Tory support is changing: will all those angry old C2DE brexiters perhaps not share traditional Tory longevity?

    (BTW, I think the demographics of life expectancy are a legitimate topic for discussion on a polling site. I don’t suspect Tories of being gleeful at the higher death rate amongst their opponents; nor do I expect thinking Tories to indulge in faux horror at mention of the topic).

  48. SOMERJOHN

    @”One factor traditionally influencing the age/Tory relationship has been that Labour voters tend to die younger.”

    Hmm-tried to find some data on this intriguing suggestion.

    Can’t see anything to support it-but came across this from USA , which indicates the opposite of your proposition.( though translation to UK demographics isn’t automatic)

    https://www.medicaldaily.com/liberal-vs-conservative-lifespans-one-tends-live-longer-other-no-one-knows-why-320258

    I love the remark quoted from a political satirist :-

    ““Did they really need a study?” “Conservatives like guns, tobacco, fossil fuels, deep-friend endangered caribou,” while liberals “like yoga, weed, clean air, free-range kale… and giving everyone free health care.”

    :-) :-) :-)

  49. Could be an interesting day in HoC.

    https://twitter.com/MikeGapes/status/985791284429447169

  50. QUOTE (The Other Howard)

    ” The present young will grow older and probably wiser as most generations do.”

    ——–

    Way to go equating [right of centre] political opinion with wisdom.

    For the record, I, myself was young and naive once…but, you know what? I’ve moved leftwards as I’ve got older.

    For example, when I first heard about nuclear weapons [described to me in the playground as ‘a bomb that could take out a city’], my reaction was “I hope they don’t make many of those”…

    As a teenager, into my early 20s, I thought that nuclear weapons were a bad thing, but, accepted the deterrence argument.

    Now, older and having seen both Labour & Tory governments, my ideals and principles are driven by a kind of pragmatism.

    My thoughts on this issue now are that, hard as it might be, we must get rid of all nuclear weapons from the face of this planet.

    The reason is simple, if we keep them, they will eventually be used in anger…hopefully long, long after I’m dead and gone, but, it could be next month, or in 5,000 years time. Man has not invented a weapon that he hasn’t used in anger repeatedly.

    On issues generally, I would describe the childhood me as utterly naive, my mid to late teen years as liberal-populist, my early 20’s as utopian liberal [I was all for bypassing political parties and a large degree of localism, not unlike Professor Marriott’s idea in Yes Prime Minister, turning leftwards then at around 23-25.

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