There is a new Harris poll in this morning’s Metro, I think it’s their first since the general election. Voting intention stands at CON 36%, LAB 30%, LDEM 25%. Unlike all the other companies we’ve seen reporting post-election voting intentions (YouGov, ICM and ComRes), who are all showing the Lib Dems suffering from their decision to go into coalition, Harris have them above the level of support they got at the general election (in fact, they don’t have any significant change from the general election shares of the vote at all). 52% of people said they did not expect the coalition to last the full five years intended, much in line with similar findings in polls conducted at the time the coalition was announced.

It’ll be interesting to see which pollsters continue to produce regular political polls in the wake of the general election. Newspapers don’t tend to have much money to spending on polling after general elections, and it tends to be the time that contracts are not renewed. This time round there were several new entrants to the market, presumably polling in the run up to the election to get the publicity. We know that ICM, YouGov and ComRes are continuing to poll for their respective clients and I assume we will shortly see Populus polling for the Times again and that Ipsos MORI will soon resume their monthly political monitors. It looks like Harris will still be polling for the Metro, but only time will tell whether we continue to see regular voting intention polls from Angus Reid, Opinium and TNS BMRB.

There was also a new BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday yesterday, their first post-election effort. Topline voting intention figures were CON 39%, LAB 32%, LDEM 19%.

Finally, there is a YouGov poll for Migration Watch reported in the Telegraph here. Despite the Telegraph’s report the poll does not say that half of Labour and Lib Dem voters would have switched to the Conservatives if they had boasted a stronger policy on immigration, rather it says that amongst people who said the Conservatives were their second choice – which was under a fifth of Labour and Lib Dem voters – over half included a tougher stance on immigration amongst the things that would have made them switch. Of course, that would still be a notable amount (a couple of percent points would have given the Conservatives a majority), but I will voice my normal extreme caution over polls asking about things that would make you likely to vote for X or Y. It doesn’t mean people would actually change their vote, rather people tend to use questions like this merely to indicate which policies they like (or dislike) – and we know from almost all polling on the subject that the British public tend to support stricter limits on immigration.

277 Responses to “New Harris and BPIX polls”

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  1. @Eoin
    OK. You will find that Churchill was a Tory before he became a Liberal – as of course was his father. He changed party twice, and could easily have done it a third time had the right opportunity have come along.

  2. @ Barney Crockett – “…in a context where bigger forces are weakening labour…”

    Good point, forgotten by many critics of New Labour.

  3. Johnty

    Old Randolph and his ‘orange card’ explain the matter perfectly since he was one of the original 92… they did not like the Idea of William Ewart’s coversion to Irish Home Rule in 1885. :)

  4. @Barney
    Have looked it up. Prices of bonds increased when QE was introduced in March 2009 – Bank can buy almost anything, including equities, but in practice tends to buy Government securities to put money in the hands of banks in the hope that they will lend it and so stimulate the economy. As to why UK bond yields are lower than Greece, Portugal and Spain it is of course because of the financial competence of Brown and Darling – or the fact that the Tories were ahead in the opinion polls for several years and the markets were confident that GO would turn it round! Imagine trying to explain this on the doorstep.
    Time for bed, and will try to get rid of my anorak.

  5. Johnty/eoin
    Remember Churchill’s comment on being challenged about this along the lines of anyone can rat but you have to be someone to re-rat! Also Churchill was defeated as Liberal in Dundee, not by a Tory but a prohibition candidate allegedly put up by the still very powerful Thomson family
    Billy bob
    Thanks and thanks!

  6. Johnty
    I should have known that Thanks

  7. @Eoin
    Am confused again by the reference to Chamberlain and 92 and the “orange card”. Certainly Randolph Churchill was never a Liberal – a most independent and awkward member of the Conservative Party (like his son), but unlike his son he never left.

  8. Johnty,

    Your testing me at lthis late hour but it is fun…

    Randy mandy’s dad (LATER lORD dERBY) served in Lord Grey’s government (whiggy whigs)

    He then performed a volte face and joined old blueys

    so you see…. skullduggery was in Winston Churchill’s DNA

    Surely you do not need me to expalin the orange card….

  9. @ DavidB

    I watched Newsnight too. Like you (& unlike hooded man), I thought all ‘the usual suspects’ were good.

    I actually still like Burnham best. The pundit thought Andy was worst which is fine by me. New Labour was very popular with pundits but out of touch with ordinary people so I think that’s in Andy’s favour.

    He really knows what he is about; he stands his ground on things that aren’t popular at the moment (like Iraq & reciprocal economic migration within Europe).

    But I thought they all had good points. 8-)

  10. @ Johnty

    “Think Marx’s comment was about Napoleon III;”

    It’s completely unimportant, but he compared the radicals (Jacobine) of 1793-94 and radicals of 1848-49 in the Class struggles in France. Sorry for the pedantry.

    “not sure what he would have made of LLoyd George or Churchill for that matter.”

    Don’t know, but it’s interesting to read what he wrote about Gladstone.

  11. Since the discussion is brought to historic subjects, I would like (as a “continental”) to point to a very important development in the European political scene, i.e. the irreversible decline of a major historical political current: Christian Democracy. In recent elections in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Belgium, christian democratic parties had their worst results ever. In the Czech republic, the KDU-CSL failed to pass the 5% threshold and was left out of parliament for the first time. In the Netherlands, the CDA received 13,7% (the previous historic low was 18,4% in 1998) and is, for the first time, the fourth party in parliament (it was always 1st or 2nd, and only in 1998 it was 3d). In Flanders (Belgium) the CDV polled for the first time below 20% and came second, after the separatist NVA (in all previous elections it was the first party of Flanders). And, if one is to believe the polls, the CDU-CSU in Germany is at about 30%, which sounds quite unbelievable. Compared to these tectonic shifts in European politics (in just one month, no less than 5 new parties entered in parliaments of EU countries such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Belgium, and four of them are poised to take part to the new governments that are being formed), the UK political landscape appears as a paragon of stability.

  12. @ Virgilio

    The fragmentation and amalgamation of various parties on the Continent is interesting. I still wonder which way the UK will go (depends on the fate of the coalition I suppose).

    The problems of Christian Democratic parties is more important. It could represent a political major shift (as it was in Italy after 1991) or a major shift from social market economy (we will see what happens in Germany) or just a blip. It’s good that you pointed out this – could be a very big thing.

  13. Virgilio
    FPTP must be the main suspect explaining our stability. There are though distant echoes. In Scotland the tradional Conservative Party has gone in to steep decline with one suggestion ironically to re-brand as Christian Democrat which would suit many of its Scottish followers. on the other hand the Scottish Nationalist Party has many similarities to the new parties in Europe. Combative, demagogic, leader-dominated, using the demotic, disrespectful of tradition. It is all there

  14. @Laszlo – If you have an idle moment, google-earth Stuart Cameras, 221 Whitechapel Road E1 1DE.
    It is an interesting street scene. In Victorian times ‘the waste’ was London’s major hay market. Local legend has it that a certain gentleman launched an international organisation and manifesto from the upstairs room. I think historians differ on details, but there is usually some truth behind a legend.

  15. barney crockett

    What an odd post!

    I’m sure it was just a slip of the keyboard that made you type “Scottish Nationalist Party” in full (and inaccurately – the party name is “Scottish National Party”) instead of just SNP. Alternatively, you are a Labour politician and the “error” was wholly intentional, with the intention of slurring the opposition.

    “Combative” – is any party not? What do you make of Iain Gray’s style at FMQs?

    “demagogic” – you’ll need to provide examples for that charge to stick, and you’ll need to ensure that the same standards apply to Labour.

    “leader-dominated” – Do you remember a guy called Tony Blair? – or the whole purpose of the “leader debates?

    “using the demotic” – Do you mean that using Scots is somehow wrong?

    “disrespectful of tradition” – Ah, you have me there! The tradition in Scotland is that most people vote Labour and get Purcells! You are a strange kind of socialist (but a perfectly normal Scots Labour councillor) in that you are essentially conservative.

  16. @ Billy Bob

    He lived in Dean Street from 1851, but I don’t know where he lived earlier. However, I’m quite happy to accept Whitechapel (maybe this is why I always buy it in Monopoly, even if it’s a bad investment :-)).

    From the point of view of the current polls, parties and coalition Chapter III point 1-2 of the mentioned little pamphlet is quite interesting.

  17. @Barney Crockett
    I agree that there are similarities between the SNP and the new regionalist/separatist etc. parties in Europe. Still the SNP appears almost as a moderate party compared, e.g., to the Lega Nord in Italy, which is overtly racist, or the NVA in Flanders, which wants to banish altogether the French language from the Holy Land of Flemish-speakers, or the PVV in the Netherlands, for which every single moslem is a threat to the nation… unfortunately the list is long. So, if my only choice were (God forbid!) one of these parties or the SNP, I would certainly prefer the SNP. More generally, one observes a general shift towards “identity politics” as a reaction to economic and cultural globalization, and also an extreme fragmentation of political forces (in the Netherlands, the first party has 20 % and the first + second 39%, not to speak about Belgium, where all parties are regional and it takes at least four or five of them to form a majority, which can take months!) which renders very difficult the formation of stable governments in a period that this is exactly what would be needed.

  18. virgilio

    “Still the SNP appears almost as a moderate party”

    So kind!

    Please explain how the SNP is any more “extreme” than any other party in Scotland. Of course, you may think that having an aim of giving Scotland the same status as Denmark is “extreme” – in which case all the Danish parties are “extreme”, which would be an odd description.

  19. Balls done well in the Leader’s debate last night. If it was a battle versus expectations arguably he won. Even on policy I think he has it spot on. My least favourite answer was D Milliband’s statement rhat in some cases the state has got “too big”.

  20. @Johnty – “Labour have not been very successful at raising issues of inequality – and it is difficult in view of the great inequalities that got significantly worse during their period in power.
    I don’t really understand the bond market, but has not quantitative easing increased the demand for bonds”

    I think Labour did a good job on income inequality and effectively prevented the gap from widening which it would have done considerably without their interventions. They failed to act on wealth inequality, largely through booming asset and property prices, which was a major error and also led to the crash ultimately. GO is reported to be about to give the Bank of England new powers designed to prevent asset bubbles – they look very encouraging and could be the most significant intervention in the credit markets for years.

    On bonds, many people predicted demand would slump when QE stopped. It hasn’t – the Bank hasn’t bought up anything for months now but UK bonds are still heavily oversubscribed (and getting more so). Given the figures from the OBR and that borrowing came in consistently below and tax receipts consistently above Darling’s forecasts I have no doubt this position would have been maintained had labour won the GE.

    Many people have said that 2010 was the election to lose, but I have consistenty disagreed with this. The UK situation is serious but not disastrous and the doom mongers grossly overplayed the pessimism. We are in an eminently recoverable position and a good government will surprise people if they take the right steps as there are lots of progressive savings that can be made without derailing the recovery.

    I’m not sure DC and GO will be this good government, and so far the question about what kind of society will emerge from this period of adjustment has yet to be answered.

  21. Must agree with OLDNAT; SNP is moderate, unless you view a desire to alter the constitutional status quo through democratic means as ‘extreme’, in which case your definition is wrong.

  22. ‘I’m not sure DC and GO will be this good government, and so far the question about what kind of society will emerge from this period of adjustment has yet to be answered.’

    Alec, give them a go, they are too busy fixing the immediate needs of the economy!

    And anything would be better than the paranoid police state, pointless target setting, illegal war making, pathetic paperwork creating state of New Labour…

  23. @Laszlo – He never actually lived in Whitechapel …the room was rented for weekly meetings of some sort… perhaps Jenny put her foot down ;) Whitechapel would have been a convenient venue for members of the emigre community.

  24. @ Billy Bob

    Thank you.

  25. Eoin – Did Cuddles impress? According to labourlist poll quoted in yesterday’s D Telegraph he is doing well on 2nd and 3rd preferences (important). Brother D still ahead on first preference. Zup not doing too well at all :(

  26. @ ALEC

    “I’m not sure DC and GO will be this good government”

    I take that as progress Alec – you would have been very sure before the GE ;-)

    …but I agree with ” the question about what kind of society will emerge from this period of adjustment has yet to be answered”-not because I don’t understand what kind DC wants, but because of the massive inertia which must be overcome in order to achieve it.

  27. @Eoin
    “Surely you do not need me to expalin the orange card”
    My eyes always glaze over when confronted by the “Irish Question” – but by all means explain it to me. The discussion on here seems to be very wide ranging so why not.

  28. @Jack & Colin – I am trying to give them credit where it’s due – in my last post on the BoE changes for example.

    As yet though we still seem to be in the zone of agressive cuts in spending with many in the Tory party fighting tooth and nail against the more progressive measures (like CGT proposals on second homes). My concern is not so much with the leadership but with the party as a whole.

    The other consideration of course is that we have a coalition. On their own, DC and GO would have been a problem in my view, but the outcomes will be significantly different now.

  29. @Alec
    Labour has presided over a winner takes all society – even in the public sector there has been a widening disparity between those at the top and the rest.

    re bond markets. I Investors are coincerned about deflation and a possible double dip. In that situation equities represent a poor investment – and austerity and deficit reduction is good for bond holders. Money has to go somewhere – at the moment Germany, US and UK provides a relatively safe home, and in the case of the UK the coalition Government has been making all the right noises to satisfy the market.

  30. JohnT,

    “Orange Card” Or better still To play the orange card- is when the ‘well to do’ or aristocractic elements of Toryism stoke Protestant fever- or anti-Catholic sentiment.

    To some extent the secret meetings pre-election between Owen Patterson and (was is Lord Salisbury or Viscount Cranbourne?) and the various elements of Protestant sentiment in Ulster. I think what arose out of it became known as ‘unity candidates’ but unity in the sense of everyone except Catholics.

  31. BillyB,

    Yes cuddles did. DM was not bad either, at least I understand him a bit better. His is no-ones disciple- not least Blair’s- his ego is too big for that.

  32. @OLDNAT
    Please accept my apologies, I certainly had not the intention to offend Scotland or those who support its independence – in fact I sometimes try to moderate my very pro-scotish feelings because I do not want to appear biaised because of my French education (in France Scotland is presented as a natural ally and friend) and my center-left leanings. But lately I am very concerned about parties such as the Lega Nord (I was nevertheless careful not to put at the same level the SNP and these parties) which, under the pretext of independence, wish to create authoritarian and intolerant states. Despite the fact that officially I am Greek (by birth and early childhood) and French (by education and citizenship), in Northern Italy I already feel very uneasy, because of my Southern Italian ancestry. I am sick and tired of their offensive comments about Romans, Napolitans etc, I almost do not recognize Milan, the open and tolerant city of the past. So please again pardon me, I would certainly prefer to live in an independent Scotland than in the realm of Senator Bossi and his followers.

  33. Eoin – just watching. DM: state got ‘too big’ on 90 days and petty rule making, not too big on services. Keep spending high so that proportion spent on unemployment does not rise. (He likes CCTV :) ). Precise and clear communicator.

  34. BillyB,

    Yes admittedly he went up in my estimation a litte :)


    Are you yearning for the “auld alliance” :)

  35. @ Alec

    “As yet though we still seem to be in the zone of agressive cuts in spending with many in the Tory party fighting tooth and nail against the more progressive measures (like CGT proposals on second homes). My concern is not so much with the leadership but with the party as a whole. ”

    There is no need for conditional tense (or using adverbs expressing conditionality). The cuts have been on and hurting. In Liverpool the cuts for this financial year already decided are close to 10 million (further cuts are expected in the autumn), almost exclusively frontline services: 4 million from education, 3.5 million from renewal projects, 1 million from enterprise grants. The transport budget has not yet been released, but there are talks of up to 50% cut. Now, I don’t say that there is no unncessary spending among these, but it’s not the point.

    In business support agencies any unallocated grant that would have time to be allocated by the end of the financial year has to be repaid to the Treasury right away.

    It is the leadership that does it and not the Tory Party. Cameron praised various schemes (e.g. Future Job Fund) up here during the election campaign. Now these are cut. I also think (well, sporadic evidence) that the driving force behind many of the cuts is the LibDem Party – they (the ones in government) are much more ideologically driven in this than the conservatives.

  36. I watched newsnight and was impressed with all the candidates, I liked the tone of the debate, they agreed on a lot and where disagreed were very respectful. DA was less smug than I have known her and I felt all made good points. I like AB but he did seem a bit timid at times and would definitely need to grow into the role. Overridingly I would far rather any of them than DC or NC

  37. @Alec Re Bond yields and AAA

    The rating agencies are concerned with the ability to service and repay debt. The size of the debt is important but so is the income stream to service it i.e at the national level, taxes. Comparisons with Greece were always superficial. Our debt has a much longer maturity profile and we have an efficient tax system so we are in no rush to repay debt and can service it. If needs be we can raise taxes tomorrow and expect a reasonable inflow. We are also not constrained by membership of the Euro.Rating changes are lagging indicators anyway as bond prices would have reacted first. They’ve only just downgraded BP.
    Gilt yields have fallen 25bp since the election but bond markets have been generally healthy as equities have struggled. The pound has been strong as well.
    For AAA rating watch we need to keep an eye on the10 year spreads over Germany. At the start of 2009 gilts were just 5bp over but increased to 56bp by the start of 2010 due to mixture of election fears and the budget deficit. It peaked at just over 100 bp prior to the election and the height of the Greece crisis. Since then we have moved back the mid-80s. To put these in perspective gilts traded about 180bp over Germany in 1997 and I don’t recall any ratings crisis. E&OE.
    Greece went from 230 bp over Germany at the start of both 2009 and 2010 to 1000 over on May 6th. Interestingly it is back to 666 over. Oh dear!
    Spain has gone from level yields with gilts at the start of the year to 130 bp over. The bond markets have bigger problems elsewhere to worry about us. The gilt market will have problems as and when we start reversing the QE but that is known and should be in the price ie that 85bp premium over Germany.
    I would suggest a high degree of scaremongering has gone on regarding our AAA rating. I would suggest that the actions taken/ planned by whatever govt formed last month were sufficient to maintain AAA.

  38. @Laszlo – “…no need for adverbs expressing conditionality”

    If the Czar draws a line and catches the tip of his finger on the ruler, then engineers will describe a perfect ten mile curve on the otherwise straight Moscow to Petersberg railway. Orthodoxy is uppermost in peoples minds. The word has gone out.

  39. @ Billy Bob

    It’s understandable – this is what they are measured by. Obviously there will be people who refuse it, but it will be still implemented. This budgetary control works like this – both in private and public sectors. Extremely inefficient when the data that measures performance derives NOT from the process that meant to be made more efficient.

    What could hold it up is if the people who have to implement it expect the collapse of the coalition and new elections – they they can wait for that standing on one leg. But I guess they think it’s unlikely so they will play the ball.

  40. Old Nat
    Thanks for your posting which gives me a chance to explain a few things.
    1Sorry about Scottish Nationalist. A pure slip.
    2 I didn’t mean to even hint that the SNP were extremist. Rather I was saying that the SNP is what you get in Britain in the wake of the decline of very traditional right of centre parties. My remarks were comparing the SNP to those traditional parties and not to for example Labour.
    So for combative, disrespectful of tradition etc these are spheres in which the snp is different not to Labour but to the patrician traditions which once dominated most of the areas where they are strong. I mentioned demotic here not at all because I disapprove, on the contrary, but because I am interested in languge shifts. I believe that in Norway, the left and right used to speak what are in effect different languages but with the shift from traditional Christian Democracy this has changed. All that is said so far applies also to Northern Ireland where the DUP have supplanted the traditionalist Unionists.
    On leader domination I think the relative position is extreme by any standards. Remember that no member of the Scottish Parliament was elected in the name of the Scottish National Party. The party name on the ballot paper was Alex Salmond for First Minister SNP with the SNP in small type.
    I agree that in policy terms none of the parties in Scotland are entirely free of demagogic positions (and I hope I challenge them in all parties) but to take one example, the SNP have frozen Council Tax without having any strategy for getting out of the longer-term problems posed.
    Demagoguery goes beyond policies to propaganda and here the signs are slightly worrying. The campaign against Professor Tom Gallagher demonised as the “Nutty Professor” by the First Minister’s press people for making not particularly exceptional comments from a moderate pro-independance position should be considered alongside the un-ravelling cyber-nat situation where a number of individuals have had to leave the SNP, or employment within the SNP etc for making extremist comments or having possibly broken electoral law.

  41. For those interested i attach two points from the Labour Party (NI) in advance of tonight’s general meeting. I enclose the first because it is quite a frank account of where Labour went wrong. I include the second to warm the hearts of reds interested in the continuing surge to party membership.

    (see below)


    It seems strange to be meeting when our party is not in government, but unfortunately we lost the General Election, losing about 100 Labour seats in the process. The Party lost the support of many of its natural supporters. This is natural after three full terms in office. However, there is no doubt that while we were good in our response to the economic crisis, we had lost our radical edge. It was galling to be outflanked by the Lib-Dems on fairness. However, given the Party’s lack of awareness of the impact of large-scale immigration on the living and working conditions of many of our supporters, and issues such as the abolition of the 10p income tax rate and bankers’ bonuses, that charge had resonance with the electorate. It is also clear that while the leadership connected well in Scotland, there was a serious disconnect with middle and southern England.

    We are pleased to report that we in LPNI experienced a membership surge of 20-25 per cent during and after the election, showing that the Northern Ireland public was responding to the national debate, despite the fact the Party was not running Labour Party candidates.

  42. ‘Aleksander – agree entirely. For a couple of years now I have regularly posted here about the nonsense talked about a UK downgrade. While UK is large, the servicing costs are relatively low and as you say the maturity dates are a unique asset of the UK debt structure. Not many people understand that we will have to raise far less on the bond markets this year than either Germany or France. The steps taken by Darling were perfectly sufficient to see us through the crisis in an orderly manner. The Tories have been disappointed that the OBR hasn’t given them the ammunition they thought they would have, but they still want to cut more agressively. This will be a major risk.

  43. On a different issue, and OT, the employment/unemployment stats released today generally look good. Indeed, the CIPD have issued a press release which IMO sends a positive signal but with a cautionary message.

  44. Mike N,

    Finger crossed! Nothing is more devestating to local communities than high unemployment. It seems like stating the obvious but some regard it as a tool to bring down inflation.

  45. With regard to the SNP being “leader-dominated”, I think it is a very diffcult charge to deny under Salmond. Not only the ballot-paper at the last Holyrood election as has already been noted- in the televised Scottish debate at the General Election all the other parties had representatives who were actually standing in the election, for the SNP Mr Salmond pushed himself forward again and found it rather hard to dodge the suggestion that this was because he didn’t trust anybody else to do it.

    But the Catch-22 for the SNP is that with less focus on Salmond they do less well – witness the electoral disaster of the Swinney leadership. So is it a fault in the party or a response to what works with the electorate?

  46. Tony,

    If you had been following the English coverage of the GE you would have been forgiven for thinking the blueys were a one man band.

    charisamtic leadership is one way of striving for electoral fortune.

    Arguably as our politics become more californianised, it is only going to get worse.

  47. Alec “The Tories have been disappointed that the OBR hasn’t given them the ammunition they thought they would have…”

    Indeed, imagine the media furore had AD ‘massaged’ the figures to paint a rosier picture. Instead some papers desperate for a storyline seem to suggest that AD deceived GB by making very pessimistic forecasts.

    The Cons were hoping to find evidence of incompetence to justify savage expenditure cuts. Now, IMO cuts that go beyond the requirements set out in the Fiscal Responsibility Act will be excessive and unnecessary.

    This issue must be a problem for the coalition.

  48. Eoin,

    I totally agree with that, but at least Mr Cameron was actually a candidate in this election.

  49. Mike N,

    GB and AD waged an internal battle over a second stimulus package. Every story that racheted up pressure on the government deficit made AD’s case stronger. Every tiem he undershot borrowing it made GB’s case more appealing. unfortunately 2 out of the 3 undershoots occurred after GB had lost his job.

    On another note… if say for example microsoft constantly ‘talked down’ its business prospects, what impact would it have on an external customer?

    I am sure you have heard the old saying… throw enough mud and sooner or later some will stick?

    GO is the like the pied piper of Tatten, sitting in Fitch rating agency…. except his tin whistle (or flute if your that way inclined) does not have an ‘A’ hole…. tis all ‘B’s mysteriously.

  50. Tony O,

    SNP does not want to be accused of fiddling expenses or double jobbing… Big Al would be unwise to sit in both chambers. I think this must be taken into account… I do take your point that SNP are top heavy… I am simply playing devils advocate in the absence of a thistle clad poster with a retort…

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