Several newspapers last night reported a “poll” commissioned by Labourleave in Stoke on Trent. It claimed to show UKIP on 35%, Labour on 25% and the Tories on 10%.

Labourleave have today put up this document. It is fair to say it is light on methodological detail.

There is no sign of who did the fieldwork, how the data was weighted or even what mode it was conducted by. We do not have any information about the demographics of the achieved sample. Worryingly it doesn’t even specify that it was specifically Stoke Central though I can only assume it was. All we have is a sample size of 182. In a random sample this would give a huge margin of error of plus or minus 7 percentage points (despite the 4% it claims in the document)

My understanding is it comes from Labourleave convassing their own database of contacts in Stoke (though there has also been a suggestion that it was a Facebook poll). Obviously something like that brings a heavy risk of bias depending on who they have on their database and what skews may be present. With all those concerns, one can put very little weight upon the results. Even if details are forthcoming and it turns out it was actually conducted and weighted in an appropriate way, the tiny sample size renders it of limited use.

For now – at least until more detail is forthcoming – ignore.

866 Responses to “Labourleave “poll” in Stoke”

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  1. @ Laszlo

    I strongly suspect that we are seeing another iteration of the coup. There are rumours that Tom Watson is on manoeuvres (but then when isn’t he). However, the thing that I’m noticing is that there are many more rightwing provocateurs on social media sites and patent disinformation about Corbyn’s position.

    It seems that the centre-right of Labour are yet again using the Brexit vote to try and unseat Corbyn and, just as with 24th June 2016, that is more important than opposing a Mrs May’s plans as to how we leave the EU. However, presumably, their real aim is to impact the two rather difficult by-elections, and of course the timing of those resignations do not look like a coincidence.

    I believe that the open letter in the Observer is being matched by an equally fervent letter of support. Nevertheless, like you, it is my impression that the membership is not yet ready to ditch Corbyn and the resignations that I am aware of, all come from people who were already equivocal about Corbyn. However, that is purely anecdotal.

  2. 0ldnat,
    “On how the government is doing at negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union:
    Well: 18% (-7)
    Badly: 52% (+6)”

    I don’t wish to be partisan here, but does anyone foresee how there could be good news on the Brexit front for years?

    The conservatives have done remarkably well trying to make a bad situation look good, and May made a good stab at ‘we shall fight them on the beaches, we shall never surrender’. Any action which might be seen as favourable by one side, looks bad to the other, and inaction is starting to annoy everyone, yet inaction is inevitable because of the timescales. This position is surely only going to get worse for the government, and is the precursor of questioning the entire process of Brexit.

    I have no idea what labour are doing, but total lack of a plan still at least absolves them from having promoted the wrong solution. Their only plan seems to be to wait for government to mess up, but then that is normally how government changes. This would argue that their low poll rating does not matter. The conservatives will win or lose the next election by their own actions.

    “I’m also presuming that “badly” includes lots of folk who thought we were/would/should be out of the EU already”
    Ditto. But it hardly helps May that she is upsetting both sides.

    Sea Change,
    “Perhaps the 18% who think they are going well are ultra-Remainers who see no A50 and no negotiations as a good thing?”
    If I have to choose, I would suggest they are the group who think the government has to go through with it because there was a vote, so they expect it not to work well but must be done.


    Why do you think that a Labour rebellion against Article 50 would play badly in Stoke? I appreciate that the position and statements of their candidate there will be pretty relevant, but beyond that… Labour voters are broadly in favour of remaining, the overall voters in most Labour seats (especially Stoke) want to leave.

    So why would Corbyn saying “we have to leave, the people have voted” and a big chunk of the party saying “no, this is too hasty, it isn’t thought through” not potentially play well to both sides?

    It’s not like people in Stoke need a good reason to vote Labour, they’ve been doing it forever; they’d need a compelling reason not to, and confusion and mixed signals could potentially take that away, compared to a clear position that many people might point to as something they disagree with?

  4. @Graham

    I think it is also a matter for the rest of the rUk to decide if we would want to accept a “2nd Ulster”.

  5. laszlo,
    “It is none of my business, but if JC chooses this vote to show his authority, he is making a personal mistake.”
    Given all the circumstances, maybe he thinks the only way he could get them to vote against Brexit is to tell them not to. There might be a rationale in stirring up the issue of for or against within parliament. Even if the conservatives decline to join in, they do not want anyone staging a real debate about Brexit, so maybe labour have to take both sides. Worked for the conservatives in the referendum campaign (sort of).


    2/3rds of Labour voters voted for Remain. However they were clearly not evenly distributed across the country. Labour fortresses in Greater London voted exceptionally heavily for Remain.

    Stoke voted 70% for leave.

    If the Labour leave vote there decides that Labour are ignoring their wishes they will likely lose the seat IMO.

  7. @Graham “I continue to disagree with the assumption that how people voted in the June 2016 Referendum will determine party political alleigance at future General Elections. How much sign is there really that Tory voters who supported Remain are going to switch en masse to the LibDems?”

    I have not said there will be a Labour switch en-mass. But I think it is naive to suggest that Brexit has not become THE issue.

    I would not expect that many Tory remainers to switch to the Lib Dems because they would, like most democratically minded people, accept the result of the referendum.

    The danger for Labour is of course far more serious. By appearing to NOT accept the result and voting against the triggering of A50 and against the wishes of many of their constituencies outside of London they run the risk of losing Copeland AND Stoke. And that would only feed the narrative that Labour are becoming the voice of Metropolitan London and not the working class.

  8. It appears from yG polling that remain support is falling away. The split is 52 to 37 with strong support is 40 to 23.This means that constituencies that were evenly split are now potentially Brexit.Perhaps members of Parliament should take this trend into account.

    reference:kieran pedley PB site

  9. ALEC

    Although you are correct that we had not triggered A50 Mrs May wished nonetheless to reassure millions of Europeans about their future. Mrs Merkel declined to take that opportunity for political reasons.

  10. @S THOMAS
    “It appears from yG polling that remain support is falling away. The split is 52 to 37 with strong support is 40 to 23.This means that constituencies that were evenly split are now potentially Brexit.Perhaps members of Parliament should take this trend into account.”

    This does not surprise me in the slightest. The UK’s attitude to the EU was always one foot in, one foot out. I don’t believe that some of the arch EU federalists get this, even if they stopped to consider why we never made much of an effort to join the Euro.

    This half hearted attitude is prevalent from the public to politicians, and any shock at the EU referendum result amongst those more inclined to continue our “in / out, shake it all about” membership is now fading and reflected in the polls.

  11. Reassuring news from the BBC:

    MPs are to ‘investigate propaganda and lies’

    Phew! That’s ok then…

  12. @Old Nat

    Rather than joining Denmark or Norway, is it not an option for Shetland and/or Orkney to become fully independent? There are many smaller countries.

    @ Robert Newark
    “Surely a more valid analysis of gun deaths would be ‘per 1,000 of population’. A large country is bound to have more than a smaller country.”
    Quite so.
    I’m a little perplexed by your comment however as in my original post I supplied the relative incidence of murder in the three countries concerned. For your information, once again:….”

    Apologies for speed reading your original post and only picking up the raw numbers. I had already battled through several of your rather lengthy posts and got to skipping through them, obviously missing something in the process.

    Maybe you could be a little more succinct in making the points you do and less pedantic in the hair splitting area?

  14. @Sea Change – I think you are really struggling with the line that the UK ‘special relationship’ was so special that it has enabled us to get concessions on Trumps travel ban. It’s plain to see that this is nothing of the kind, and is merely the clarification of what the policy is, as it applies to any nation.

    I think you are also struggling if you try to gloss over the mechanics of how this was done, as this morning, that is becoming the main story. US media are now reporting that the order was not subject to the standard cross departmental review before signing, so the state departyment didn’t know how to interpret it, the border agencies don’t know how to enforce it, the justice department hasn’t assessed whether it is constitutional, and the security agencies have not been asked to comment on the security risks. As it happens, privately they are now advising that the measure is likely to be counter productive and increase the risk of attacks. Global stock makets are also looking shaky this morning as a by product of this.

    There is no question that the reaction has rocked the Whitehouse, but the biggest impact from this is the realisation among many that Trump really doesn’t under how government functions. If carries on like this, the examples of ineffective and incompetent policies will stack up, and be much to his detriment.

  15. It will be interesting in what way Trump and Brexit will affect polling over the next year or so. Rather than encourage people to the right politically, it could actually persuade moderate voters to the centre left, with them looking for a party the represents their views.

    At the moment Labour are not very well placed to obtain votes of people unhappy with current world politics and it could be the Lib Dems that increase their share of the votes. Tories have since Cameron shifted more to the liberal centre, but i think Theresa May has a more authoritarian right wing tendency. This might play well to Tory grassroots and UKIP supporters, but to more moderate centre voters, i think they will struggle to identify with Mays Tories.

    As i said yesterday, Trumps politics will have some affect on UK politics and will make Brexit more difficult. Trump seems to be up for a trade war and the UK could be caught in the middle of it.

  16. Re: the petition. As Number 10 has rightly pointed out this morning, it is raw populism. In that respect it does have political importance as it hits hard at what I think a lot on the Right seem to have forgotten – the following crucial points

    – it’s not just the Right that can be populist
    – populism is not always going to benefit the causes of the Right/Leavers
    – they are very far from immune to populism
    – just because Labour is in disarray doesn’t mean that people with liberal views have gone away or are going to be quiet (in fact they are boilingly angry, currently at pretty much everyone and everything. Espcially the young)

    Over the medium term I think it will become plain that Farage’s decision to embrace Trump wholeheartedly was bad for UKIP. Trump’s delegate to Davos made the very shrewd point that if Trump fails, the obvious and likely next step for the US is a left-wing reaction a la Sanders.
    Kippers – and Tories – ought to reflect that the same almost certainly goes for the UK.

  17. @Alec
    Yes, but…
    Trump is likely to use any ‘resistance’ to his orders as the swamp fighting back and trying to frustrate democracy (where did I hear that before) so that he has to work harder to drain the swamp.
    If any of this is seen to be unconstitutional I guess that may change the narrative, though I am far from an expert on the American psyche.


    “So I will sign one online petition, and that is to ban them altogether.”

    I’ll join you, where do i sign?

    Thanks for the regular updates of your charts, helpful and interesting.

  19. @S Thomas

    The fact that many people who voted Remain are now resigned to the UK leaving the EU does not mean they now actually support Leave. It just means that the accept that they lost and the process needs to be enacted.

    Nor does it mean they’re happy about it. Imagining that would be a very basic and very serious political blunder. Not that it will prevent many people from making that blunder, of course.

    We may well look back on the referendum as a process that took one group of people who were angry with the political process and replaced them a larger, angrier group whilst not actually addressing the real issues of the first group.

  20. @Alec That is not how the media are reporting it, They are reporting that Boris Johnson got an exemption after the Canadians got one.
    Look at the papers

    How the policy gets refined further in the coming days is really of little importance now to the UK. Whether it is shown to have been incompetently triggered or not is a matter for the Americans to judge. So I don’t see how any of this is this a stain on the FCO. The government stepped in on behalf of UK citizens. That is a PR victory.

  21. @chrisriley

    Those are valid points. The same may well be true in Scotland and Northern Ireland regarding post Brexit arrangements. Acquiescence does not mean approval or support.

  22. Danny

    “I don’t wish to be partisan here, but does anyone foresee how there could be good news on the Brexit front for years?”

    There are plenty here who do not see armageddon happening and there are plenty like Mervyn King who think that in the years ahead we will look back and say “whay is all the fuss about”. However we have gone over those arguments many times. Posters here are polarised like the country at large.

    From apolling point of view the interesting thing is that the negative view about the governments handling of Brexit so far support for the Government is very strong by any measure.
    Like OLDNAT I suspect the negative view of the governments handling is as much to do with the fact it hasn’t happened yet as anything else.

    We need more polling.

  23. SThomas/JonesinBangor –

    It was an Opinium poll, not a YouGov one (your comment confused me something rotten – was thinking “I don’t remember doing *that*)


    Your wasting your time Robert, It appears Assiduosity was not happy with [email protected] site rules and decided to stop posting. His/her Choice. The relevent posts are yesterday morning around 10-10.40.

  25. The petition passes 1m signatures and rising fast.

  26. @OLDNAT

    After talking with a lot of folks here and listening to the media clearly Trump’s landslide of executive orders has created two narratives.

    1) He is someone who walks the talk, which is refreshing in a politician.

    This opinion piece sums that up

    2) He is amateurish, dangerous and lacks empathy.

    He started off at -8 in favorability on the 20th, there should be some polls coming out this week to see the effect of his first 10 days in office.

  27. @Hireton

    There were 4,150,260 signatures for the 2nd Referendum petition. Maybe people can get this new petition to beat that one!

  28. @seachange

    Not sure which approval.raring you are using but Gallup showed Trump at 0 net rating on his inauguration day and that had moved to -8 after the first week.

  29. @Hireton – I’m using the RCP average of polls. Click on the 14 day and you can then look at it on the 20th

  30. I hope we soon get polling on whether Trump should get the full State Visit treatment or just come for a business meeting, as May did to Washington.

    It seems to me there is the possibility of a growing backlash against what may come to be perceived as excessive UK subservience to the US. It looks to me like the needy kid who sucks up to the playground bully. But I don’t have great insight into the pro-US/anti-Europe mindset. Is dislike of the EU so strong that subservience to the US is always preferable, in any circumstances? Maybe some of those here who lean in that direction can shed some light.

    Re the State Visit, some have pointed to the visits of Caeusescu and Mugabe as precedents, arguing that SVs are all about political expediency and nothing to do with signalling approval of the visitor. But I would argue that those precedents should serve as a warning that the over-hasty offering of a SV to leaders destined to be totally discredited can come back to bite those who make the offer. Thank goodness the German corporal was never offered a State Visit!

  31. Keep up @Robert Newark. Assiduousity hasn’t been posting – he’s headed ‘back to the real world”. Judging from this thread, it looks like normal service has been resumed on this site. More’s the pity :-(

  32. SYZYGY
    “I’m noticing is that there are many more rightwing provocateurs on social media sites and patent disinformation about Corbyn’s position.”

    This is, I think, particularly true of his (and McDonnell’s) position in migration. However the reason is that of a gap between the by-and-large research based policy ground out in the EU and that of Westminster, where Juncker’s assessment of the need to have an EU strategy (which applies particularly to the UK as well as Germany) which takes on board global demographic and unemployment in relation to European ageing and skills and labour shortages in a context of pensions and economic growth (assessed statistically country by country in the EC 2015 Ageing Report) filters only piece meal and slowly into a research careless and ignorant UK Parliament, Government and Opposition. Small wonder that there is a need for a Parliamentary enquiry into fake information and propaganda; what other have we had on migration and the funding of the NHS?

  33. @Sea Change – “@Alec That is not how the media are reporting it, They are reporting that Boris Johnson got an exemption after the Canadians got one.”

    Well, well, well! The British media gets it wrong!

    Wonders never cease.

  34. somerjohn

    The german corporal used to visit foreign countries without waiting for an invitation as i recall.

  35. Two points. Labour’s instruction to support the service of article 50 at second reading is good politics. It acknowledges that there has been a referendum that supported this. It doesn’t stop firm opposition as to the way the Conservatives are going about it. This seems to me a perfectly good position, which will be understood and supported by large chunks of the electorate.

    However it does of course emotionally stick in the gullet of many people who see it as supporting a disaster to come. I understand this too. This is really just a tactical issue, and won’t I think affect support (or lack of it) for Labour in the medium term.

    Secondly I think the petition against the state visit is useful politics, and for the first time in my life I have contributed to one. While generally a “waste of time”, if it can be got over 5 million, there will be a real political effect. Populism, as noted above, can serve many political positions. I look forward to a YouGov survey on the state visit.

  36. S Thomas

    @”The german corporal used to visit foreign countries without waiting for an invitation as i recall.”


    I’m reading comparisons with Orwell’s “1984” this morning.

    For some, their perception of “Democracy” is beginning to look decidedly dodgy.

  37. Oldnat this survey in Northern Ireland might be of interest to you. It is about how NI people perceive their Unionist or Nationalist identities or, increasingly, the absence of it.

    Life and Times survey of 2015 found 33% of those sampled had a Unionist identity, 25% a Nationalist identity and 40% said they were neither Unionist nor Nationalist. Of those identifying as Nationalist or Unionist 16% said their corresponding identity was very strong, 44% said it was fairly strong and 39% said it was not very strong.

  38. Somerjohn
    “Maybe some of those here who lean in that direction can shed some light.”
    I do not totally fit your target audience when you asked that question but I am happy to give your some thoughts from somebody who does not see the World as you do.
    Firstly I do not see a growing backlash in the manner you describe. We are clearly not subservient to the USA whilst currently we are somewhat subservient to the EU, the ECJ for example. It’s one of the reasons given for leaving the EU and the voters generally do not support staying under its partial control. For evidence of that see May’s strategy speech for leaving the EU and the voters support for it as shown in the Times YouGov survey of the 17th-18th January. Hopefully we shall have some polling updates in due course.
    Many mention the current running petition on the visit as evidence to support your view. As I think Sea Change pointed out over 4 million supported a petition for a 2nd referendum on the EU and yet the polls show that is not supported by the general public who don’t want a 2nd referendum. Like Catmanjeff I think this whole business of petitions is just a nonesense and the law should be scrapped.
    Secondly whilst I have no ill will to EU countries I do not any strong feeling about the EU itself other than I expect the Euro to fail unless there is fundamental reform (see Stiglitz & the LSE reports) and the EU itself eventually. I think our leaving the EU will hasten both those events but of course that’s just IMO.
    As to the state visit itself, I feel it should go ahead although we would probably both “hold our nose” as it happens. I certainly have no great support for many of Trump’s views, but he is President of the USA and a trade deal post Brexit would be useful (no more than that). Like May I do support his view that the Europeans who don’t currently spend a fair proportion of their GDP on defence and it would be interesting to see polling on that.
    Finally as I for some reason we had to be subservient to some World organisation I personally would rather it was the USA than the EU.

    I hope that helps answer your question.

  39. TOH

    As ever, thanks for that clear explanation. It would be fascinating to see polling evidence on this topic, and how it changes as the Trump presidency unfolds.

    I think there is a potential conflict between the ‘take back control’ narrative and the ‘Brexit means we must stick by the USA, at whatever cost’ one. It will all depend on how perceptions of Trump develop, I suppose: if general revulsion and mockery take hold, the SV could turn into a liability. Trump will not take kindly to evidence that he is despised in Britain, if that’s how it turns out. As someone else has pointed out, populism can work both ways.

  40. @Sea Change
    ‘I have not said there will be a Labour switch en-mass. But I think it is naive to suggest that Brexit has not become THE issue.’

    It would certainly be an important issue , but I am far from convinced that it would prove to be the most salient issue. Frankly it is far too technical for most people and millions of voters will have voted Leave or Remain purely on the balance of probabilities etc without having really strong feelings one way or the other.The February 1974 election provides a good example of an election called on the issue of the Miners Strike and the Three Day Week – yet other issues came to the fore by the end of the short three week campaign. Similarly, had there been an election in 1971 or 1972 the outcome would not have been determined by the single issue of Entry into the Common Market.

  41. Good afternoon all from quite a dull cold central London.

    Nice poll for Brexiteers…..

    Mike Smithson [email protected] 10h10 hours ago
    Polling Matters / Opinium survey: Public backs Brexit as the right decision by 52% to 39% as opposition softens

  42. Edge of Seat – “It’s not like people in Stoke need a good reason to vote Labour, they’ve been doing it forever; they’d need a compelling reason not to”

    Turnout matters. If Lab had won Stoke with a high turnout in the last election, the challengers would be facing an uphill battle to win people away from them, and as you say, those who voted Lab may be resistent to voting for anyone else.

    But – turnout in Stoke Central in the 2015 election was just 49.9%

    However turnout for Stoke for the EU referendum was 65.7%

    UKIP will be targetting the group who didn’t vote in the general election, but came out to vote Leave in the referendum. This group are not Lab loyalists, their issue is apathy – and the only thing that overcame their inertia was excitement over leaving the EU. People who don’t vote tend to believe that voting doesn’t make a difference, “they’re all the same”. But it did make a difference last June, and that heady taste of power might prompt them to vote again.

    If this group think that there is a possibility of Lab trying to block Article 50, they may vote UKIP to signal their displeasure – which is why the Corbyn team is so anxious to ensure Lab MPs don’t defy the whip.


    Thanks, just to be clear I was not saying we should stick to the USA at whatever cost but I do believe that there is an can be a stronger “special relationship”. Other than that i would agree with your reply.

  44. The papers (and Johnson) may say various things in this post-truth but this is what is on the US Embassy’s website:

  45. Why don’t these people with “dual nationality” just dump their nationality of one of the affected countries, and rely on their British passport?

  46. Britain Elects [email protected] 1h1 hour ago
    Scottish independence poll:
    Yes: 43% (-1)
    No: 51% (+1)
    (via Panelbase / 20 – 26 Jan)

    Not much has changed on the ol indy front. Looks like Brexit ain’t that big a deal with voters in Scotland as far as independence is concerned, however it will be interesting to see if the polls shift after in favour of independence in a couple of years time when the UK has actually given the EU the boot.

    It is worthy of note that around 33% of SNP supporters voted leave. Something to bare in mind..

  47. I am wondering whether there is a slow burn impact on Labour’s polling of “splits”.
    Certainly it has long been held as a political truth that parties which are “split” poll badly both in VI and in actual votes at actual elections. The trend that CMJ has been identifying is of a slow decline (point by point as it were).
    I was wondering if there is any historical evidence (in terms of VI) as to how long it can take to recover from a negative perception of a political party on a particular point.
    I thought about this in the context of economic competency. Labour suffered very badly on this measure following the Winter of 1978, however despite two significant recessions the Conservatives did not lose the aura of economic competency until Black Wednesday 1992. Even then Labour found it hard to dispel earlier perceptions.
    Given that the level of disunity in Labour (in the PLP at least) and the fact that it has persisted for such a significant period, I do wonder what prospects there are for it being overcome in the short term even if there were a change of leader, and a ramping down of disunity.
    Is there any evidence which supports or undermines my (forgive me) perceptions on this?

  48. Regarding the petition – there is an interesting map of where the signatories live:

    Mostly Hackney, Islington, Hornsey and Cambridge. Bastions of Lab and leftiness.

    Mrs May can safely ignore them as these are seats that never vote Tory. If those people are cross with her, they’ll simply vote for their current MP again and the status quo is maintained.

  49. I’ve been looking at Labour seats with UKIP second on the new boundaries.

    UKIP need a 8.3% swing to take Stoke Central from Labour. On the new boundaries UKIP start winning seats with a 6.5% swing, 10% gains 3 seats,15% gains 15 seats and 20% gains 30 seats.

    Those look like really improbable swings.

    However, in post-truth 2017 who knows!

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