Or perhaps more accurately, a round up of polling bits and bobs that I’ve missed over the last week or two!


There has been various polling on the BBC and the Jimmy Savile affair, most of it generally damning. Of particular note though is this poll from ComRes, who rather than asking whether the scandal had changed respondents’ opinions managed to dig out some questions from a poll they did for Newsnight back in 2009 to repeat. 62% of people agreed that the BBC was an institution we should be proud of, down from 76% in 2009. 45% of people thought the BBC was trustworthy, down from 62% in 2009. Obviously with a three year space we cannot assume that the drop is linked in anyway to the Savile affair, there could be many causes over the last three years, but either way it is a sharp drop in public regard of the BBC.


There have been several polls on Scottish Independence over the last month. I mentioned the Ipsos MORI quarterly Scottish monitor, but there have also been polls by Panelbase (who are a member of the British Polling Council, but seem to be far from pro-active when it comes to publishing tables! Thanks to Roger Mexico for finally wringing some tabs from them) and two from YouGov that had referendum questions, one for the Better Together campaign and one for The Courier.

Ipsos MORI/Times (amongst those certain to vote) – YES 30%, NO 58%, DK 12%
Panelbase/Sunday Times (amongst those likely to vote in Scot Parliament elections) – YES 37%, NO 45%, DK 17%
YouGov/Better Together (all voters) – YES 30%, NO 56%, DK/WNV 14%
YouGov/The Courier (all voters?) – YES 29%, NO 55%, DK 14%

Party leaders

As well as voting intention this month’s Ipsos MORI poll included their tracker on whether people like the the main parties, the party leader, both or neither, a question I’ve written about in the past. 41% of people say they like David Cameron, down from 47% when MORI last asked the question in January 2011. In comparison 35% of people like the Conservative party (down marginally from 37%), meaning that David Cameron is still a positive for his party, out performing them by 6 points (down from a 9 point advantage in 2011). In comparison 37% of people like Ed Miliband, hardly changed from the 36% who liked him in 2011. 51% of people like the Labour party, up more substantially from 45% in 2011. This means Miliband trails behind the Labour party by 14 points (up from an 11 point gap in 2011).

Police Commissioner elections

Also from Ipsos MORI was this curious poll of voting intentions in the Police Commissioner elections. The quoted headline figures were Lab 16%, Con 8%, LD 4%, Others 3%, Independent candidates 30%, Wouldn’t vote 27%, Don’t know 11%. MORI normally take the approach of only including respondents who say they are 10/10 certain to vote, but in this case only 15% of people said they were certain to vote, and a sample size of about 150 people would be of no use to man nor beast.

I am dubious about the results anyway – polling contests where there are lots of independent candidates who may, or may not, have a chance of doing well is a difficult task. People invariably tell pollsters that they would like to vote for Independent candidates, and invariably fail to do so when actually given the chance – if you just put on a generic “A candidate that is not representing a political party” people tend to imagine some idealised Independent candidate who agrees with them, rather than the somewhat idiosyncratic sorts who actually stand as independents. Time will tell, but I sincerely doubt that independent candidates will get 50% of the poll in the police elections. Given the limited number of constituencies and the uneven pattern of parties contesting them, I think this may be a contest that would be best polled by asking people which county they live in and giving them a list of the actual local candidates to choose from. The expected low turnout however still makes it a tricky challenge to poll.

262 Responses to “Things you may have missed”

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  1. Jo Chamberlain’s Sept 8 1885 speech to at Warrington from the compilation of speeches by HW Lucy

    A very good example of Radical Joe’s ideas.

  2. @Colin – I saw the CBI distributive trades survey story. I’m not quite sure how to take this, as it only covers the first couple of weeks of October and is a year on year survey, not looking at the change between Sept/Oct specifically. Therefore, this could have more to do with a bad October 2011 than a good October 2012, but nonetheless, is does seem to be better than expected.

    One thing I would say is that the biggest increase is in the furniture and carpets category, with growth of 58%. I don’t know if this is big enough to affect the numbers, but the volume of flood damage earlier this year will have led to a large number of restocking claims. It’s also worth noting that the survey found that sales are still depressed and well below seasonal norms, and there was contraction in the wholesale sector, against expectations. Again, I’m not really clear what this means.

    Any positive numbers are good news, but my worry is that we are seeing better retails sales as household debt rises once more. In some ways, this is inevitable (‘give me virtue, but not just yet’) but I would be far more comfortable once we see spending return without the return of big debt.

  3. MIM
    Yes, but the German people elect the German government. Is it the case that newspapers/TV stations etc are all controlled by europhiles & the sceptics have no vocal conduit and thus there is no debate?

  4. Alec: Your post on wind power sums up coalition problems very well.

    If they’re as thick of thieves the electorate don’t like it and if they squabble them ….. well, the electorate don’t like it.

    I also agree with your financial point but feel the Labour Party should have made the running with the “whys” re “too far too fast” a long time ago.

    As with GB being petrified by Osborne’s death duty stuff when he should have called their bluff AND an election and pointed out the merits of the counter-argument, politicians just don’t like to risk intellectual argument or debate.

  5. Could it possibly be that the German government don’t have some over-arching plot to rule a unified Europe… But it’s really that they’re trying to make a face saving argument for reversing track on Austerity measures by increasing Europe’s spending budget?

    Nah, that’s too simple, got to be the conspiracy.

  6. Colin
    “Minutiae”, or as they say, the devil in the detail. The fiscal and spending mechanisms conjured up by the Commission, CAP for example, which plonked 1.5 Italian buffaloe and 200 sq.m. of Greek water melons, alongside av. 67 head UK dairy farms, subsidised the non-use of land in conditions of food shortage, and corrupted the lot, including smarty English and Scottish grouse shooters and phony woodmen, have something to answer for..
    In a referendum, I;ld vote for any Government that gets in among them.

  7. ALEC


    You look at the detail behind trade sector indices much more than I do.

    I only posted the reference because I get a bit tired of your grim determined search for bad news.

    The big numbers are the ones which will matter aren’t they -Unemployment, GDP change, Deficit , Government Debt.



    I have no doubt the CAP is stuffed full of nonsense like that.

  9. @Colin

    The ones that really really matter in politics are Consumer Confidence, Average Wage, and Cost of Living Inflation.

  10. @Colin – bit unfair that – I have posted some much better figures on occasions. It’s just that there genuinely hasn’t been much good news recently.

    Yeah, well, whatever happened to health, education, child care, and all that stuff?
    I just had lunch with some nice Armenians in Yerevan, who had watched the OG Opening Ceremony and were struck with the portrayal of the NHS and the Ormand Street Children’s hospital. Yes, I found myself saying, that’s what we’re passionate about.
    I do believe i actually meant it.
    What about that then, Danny Boyle?

  12. @MIM

    There is a big difference between German people (many of whom despise the Euro and long for the Deutschmark) and the German government who want more Europe, and think the answers to Europe’s problems is more Europe.
    You Gov do an EU in/out tracker of a sample of people in each of the EU states. The EU is least popular with Norway & UK; most popular with Germany & Denmark.

    Norway: 18/68 = -50
    UK: 28/49 = -21
    Germany: 57/25 = 32
    Denmark: 59/29 = 30

    Germans are the least happy with their own government: approval/ disapproval is 20/69 = 49 Disapproval.


    And a useless but cute bit of info. for SoCal, over 90% of Europeans – if they could vote in the Presidential election – would vote for President Obama.

  13. Amber, I wouldn’t give those figures much credit. Denmark is one of the more Eurosceptic nations along with UK Sweden and Czech Republic. Norway aren’t even in the EU.

    Saying you want to be in the EU, is different to saying you like all the things about the current EU and want more of it in your life.

    I wouldn’t leave the EU, but I don’t want more of the unbalanced structure where things are imposed on us without a say. I want a more integrated Europe, but I don’t want anything imposed, even if its something I agree with.

  14. As EU affairs are parochially significant in polls, (think veto ‘bounce’ 2011 I understand the reason for comments but do not understand where some are coming from.

    Germany, France and Sweden (the governments) all want a cut, as I believe the Netherlands and Denmark do.

    So where is this idea coming from that the German government is not wanting to carry out the wishes of its voters?


    From what I gleaned from articles

    a State’s attitude is governed by whether it is a net contributor or otherwise.

    How surprising!!

  15. Alec

    ” but I would be far more comfortable once we see spending return without the return of big debt”

    That would be a good trick when real incomes are declining, you can’t spend what you don’t have unless you borrow. Sorry but that’s maths for you

  16. BBC: ‘Government loses vote on EU budget’

  17. @John Pilgrim

    I do think erosion of public services offered by the NHS is already leading to an increase in Cost of Living Inflation. For instance, top down pressure on GPs to stop making prescriptions for regularly taken over-the-counter available medicines, and a steady increase of what’s considered regularly taken over-the-counter available medicines.

    Try getting a prescription for anti-histamine nasal spray, even if you have asthma and acute rhinitis… The push is already on for the pain medications used for chronic back pain.

  18. I am slightly confused by Labour`s stance…Are they still pro-European and is this just politics?
    The government do look weak and Cameron may have to veto a EU budget increase now.

  19. Fascinating article by Nate Silver on the 538 blog concerning what state polls suggest about the national popular vote.

    Nate argues that averaged state polling averages are a better indicator to predicting the national popular vote that national vote polls – at least recently.

    What this means is unclear. Obama is currently around 2% ahead on averaged state averages, with national vote polls more of less tied.

    Ah well, at least the data is interesting :)


  20. Is this the first time Cameron has lost a vote in the commons? Or have there been others that I am forgetting?

  21. SMUKESH.
    Raw politics is what is is.

    You are probably young!

    I am 57. Until 1987 Labour was quite anti European.

    Bevin and Morrison: Durham Minerswill not wear it.
    Gaitskell 1963: Thousand years of History speech
    Wilson’s Opposition to Heath 1970-1974
    Bennism 1983 Manifesto

    Maurice Glassman is taking Labour down the Faith, Flag and Family road.

    Cameron seemed worried today

  22. Dennis McShane & Bill Cash through the same lobby-that makes sense doesn’t it !

    DC has now got de facto agreement from Labour to use his Veto if he decides to.

    Don’t yet know what the size of the Conservative pro amendment was. Did every Labour MP vote for the Con rebel amendment?

  23. I can’t understand Labour’s position on the EU budget. Not that long ago they were lambasting Cameron for wielding a non-veto without attempting to get any other countries. Now they appear to be arguing for Cameron to press for something which won’t necessarily get the support of other governments with the bargaining chip of a non-veto.

    I really hope they offer a better explanation than this. If the plan is to try to get the Tories to tear themselves apart over Europe (like they did pre-1997) instead of any point of principle, I’ll be disappointed. And I don’t think it will work either. Last time the UK public were a lot more EU-friendly. Not this time round.

  24. @CL1945

    Ed Miliband is known to have pro-European views,so I hope this is just opportunism and he wasn`t arm-twisted by the Euro-sceptic Balls

  25. There is a list of government defeats in the Commons since 1945 on wikipedia here:


    This is the second government defeat for Cameron. The majority of government defeats since the war were, as one might expect, during 1974-1979 when Labour did not have a working majority (or a majority at all later on)

  26. Howard
    “Germany, France and Sweden (the governments) all want a cut, as I believe the Netherlands and Denmark do.”

    If this is true, then Cameron hasn’t got a problem. What Germany & France want, G & F get. Unfortunately, I don’t think you are correct.

    As you state, DC now has a clear mandate from Labour to go for a reduction & if he can’t get it, then use the only other weapon at his disposal ie veto as a last resort.

    Is DM really sure what he is doing?

    `Is DM really sure what he is doing?`

    What has he done?

  28. @SMukesh

    If cutting EU budget is anti EU then surely cutting budgets in the UK is anti UK.

  29. Whoops! I meant is Ed M sure what he is doing?


    @”Wilson’s Opposition to Heath 1970-1974″

    Wilson & Brown applied for membership in 1967, after the Sterling crisis of 1966.

    The badly put together “Probe” was rejected.

    Wilson’s subsequent opposition to the terms of entry negotiated by Heath’s , is thus a nice parallel to Ed Miliband’s tactics this evening .

  31. @LIZH
    `If cutting EU budget is anti EU then surely cutting budgets in the UK is anti UK`

    Not necessarily…But I am sure a veto in the current situation would lead to an escalation in the Euro crisis which nobody wants.

  32. “A motion ‘That this House has considered the matter of the economy’ was defeated by 79 to 213. Such a motion is normally agreed without a division but the Opposition forced a vote for which the Government whips were unprepared”

    I don’t really think anyone would consider that a defeat. What were the consequences of this so called defeat? It never even got mentioned by the press. I think this is some procedural anomaly rather than an actual defeat.

    I think Labour are probably doing it to force the Tories to rip each other apart, but I agree that in this time of trouble the EU should reign in a little because if we give more to the EU, it will mean even more harsher cuts here.

  33. @SMukesh

    In times of austerity we are all in it together as they say. DC doesn’t have to veto, he has to negotiate well.

  34. If Gisela Stuart is right-that a number of Labour MPs are concerned about UK’s continued membership of EU-but daren’t say so-and that the EU “core” is moving away from both the non EZ 10-and the EZ periphery.-then might we see a groundswell of opinion taking in Anti EU MPS across both Labour & Conservative benches.

    ie that EM has opened a Pandora’s Box tonight .

  35. Ed was on TV recently asking for more understanding for the mentally ill.I don’t think he’s really in charge of his party any more than Cameron is in charge of his.


    Take fewer painkillers. Try to get more exercise and sleep on a harder bed.

  36. Although a short-term defeat, this is probably good for Cameron in the longer term – he now has to use his veto over the budget (if it even comes to that) so can gain a veto bounce in support.

    I do also wonder if this is a signal from Labour that it’s going to switch positions back toward euroscepticism – even if it’s just all talk and no action.
    This could really upset the workings of the coalition – with Cameron caught even more between the libdems and his right wing.

    It would also probably have the effect of making both major parties more eurosceptic (if a euroscepticism arms race broke out), more in line with the views of the general public.

  37. Wolf: Can you explain your first comment with regard to the mentally ill please>

  38. @TF

    He can’t veto the budget. If he does it rolls over.

    As for Lab tactics, perhaps it was an attempt to hoist Cameron on his own veto petard for the reasons stated above.

    Either way, it reminds me of a similar silly game played by the,late,John Smith against John Major – although on that occasion the,Government managed to tie the vote, with Ms Boothroyd making,the,casting vote for the Government as per convention.

    Captcha: SE28. Pretty close to where I currently am!

  39. That an organisation, which has not had it’s accounts signed off for over a decade, should demand an increase in it’s budget, when it could probably achieve many times the amount wanted, in savings, through the introduction of proper systems and a full audit trail for every penny spent, just beggars belief.

    When we bought our place in France, which used to be a sheep farm, it was apparently standard practice for the farmer to have an understanding with the local abbatoir/ other farmers, so that when he was notified that there was to be an EU inspection (for which the EU has to give notice), extra sheep would be brought in (live ones obviously). The EU man called, counted the sheep & bingo, that’s the basis of the animal subsidy. Said sheep returned to their previous abode next day.
    Now if this is going on in France, it is sure going on in other countries.
    Simple way to stop it – do surprise inspections, unannounced.
    OK I know it’s hearsay but so was the apparent common knowledge at Broadmoor, that Saville was a paedophile, according to Ch4 news tonight.
    There is rarely smoke without fire.

  40. 51 Tory rebels.

  41. I don’t imagine Labour will think of it as Euro-sceptic – more Euro-realist.

    It really doesn’t make sense, on the face of it, for Governments from Greece to Spain to the UK cutting their individual budgets but allowing the overall EU budget to not only escape any cuts but actually increase.

    Its just another drip in the continuing decline of the Tory party.

    [Snip – who was good or bad at PMQs isn’t discussed here, as it never produces anything other than tired partisan hackery – AW]

  42. I really think we see the best of America in the response by Presiident Obama, Governor Richie and so on downwards, to the problems faced by the East Coast of the States.

    There’s something very “normal” and everyday about the way they talk about it all and inter-act.

  43. @Paul.Croft

    Re: America

    It’s amazing how grown up politicians become at a time of real national (in this case regional) crisis.

    On a slight tangent, I think Romney has no choice but to.keep.campaogning. If he stays out of the news altogether his goose will be cooked.

  44. COLIN.
    i agree with your parallel with 1970-1974.

    Enoch and Harold did a deal I remember, in 1974.

  45. @Colin

    “51 Tory rebels.”

    That’s 5 more than the number required to trigger a leadership election.

  46. Apparently no Labour MP voted with the government despite being pro-European…Miliband is leading quite a disciplined opposition

  47. @LizH

    Possibly, but if on the most divisive of issues for the Tories, the rebellion from the right is just 51, DC will be very relaxed indeed.

  48. @ PaulCroft

    “I don’t imagine Labour will think of it as Euro-sceptic – more Euro-realist.”

    More like rampaging Euro-opportunist. I seriously think any credibility Ed Miliband had has been undermined by this cynical stunt. To claim this is not simply a short term ruse to capitalise on right wing Tory euroscepticism is frankly laughable.

    This will not help Labour pick up votes because I don’t think anyone believes it is for one moment based on a genuine shift of position on Europe. It is also a huge hostage to fortune as regards foreign policy.

  49. @ Smukesh

    “Apparently no Labour MP voted with the government despite being pro-European…Miliband is leading quite a disciplined opposition”

    You’re being ironic, right?

  50. Good move by Labour. The government is defeated because Labour & rebels do not want to send more money to the EU. That should go down well with mostpeople. And EM made a strong case concerning cuts at home.

    There is no reason to assume this is tactics by Labour – it is perfectly reasonable not to increase the EUs budget when everyone elses budget is being cut.

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