Archive for December, 2013

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And now… our inaugural New Year’s Day Crossword

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

It is with some considerable trepidation that I step into the estimable shoes of stjohn, who has provided us with splendid Christmas Day cruciverbalism for the last six years.  Fear not, stjohn is merely resting, and may well be setting more puzzles in future.  If this offering gets his famous “nod” then we may even collaborate on a jumbo sometime!

Traditionally members have supplied the answers (and explanations of the wordplay) in the comments, so consider this a spoiler alert and a word of warning not to scroll down if you want to have a crack at it on your own first.  If you’d prefer to print off a copy then you can do so here.

A very Happy New Year to lurkers & posters alike, and all good wishes for 2014.

Tissue Price



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What we know about the 2010 LD switchers to Labour – the voters who form Ed Miliband’s “firewall”

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

They are more enthusiastic about EdM than existing LAB voters

On one of the threads yesterday there were a number of questions asking what is known about the group of voters who could put a CON majority beyond reach – 2010 LD voters who now say they will go Labour.

The problem is that almost all the polling data we have doesn’t show this segment separately – so while it is possible to extrapolate we cannot get reliable numbers.

The only exception I can find is a 20,022 sized sample from a Lord Ashcroft poll that was published in March. This set out the data I’ve been looking for and the huge overall sample means that the sub-samples are of sufficient size for us to have more confidence. In this case the total of 2010 Lib Dems polled was 3,781.

Although this data might be old the main picture in the national polls is that the percentage of 2010 LDs now saying LAB has remained reasonably solid.

Nearly 4 out of 5 of them say they won’t switch parties

LD>LAB switchers are the most likely of all groups to turn out to vote

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004




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Clegg’s big EE2014 gamble: pitching the LDs as the party of “in” and leading the fight against UKIP

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Can the yellows retain their 4th place?

The Telegraph is leading this morning on attacks by Nick Clegg and Treasury Secretary, Danny Alexander, on UKIP with them pitching the party as the only one which is enthusiastic about remaining in the EU.

This is the first serious campaigning ahead of May’s elections which are now less than five months away.

The Clegg argument is that a strong vote performance by UKIP in the election will send out the message to business that Britain is less than fully committed to the EU which could make it more cautious about investing in the country. A big UKIP vote could undermine the recovery.

Clearly, given his party’s current Westminster polling position and its record of doing poorly in these elections, the LDs could struggle even to win a single MEP. There is also the possibility that they could finish fifth behind the Greens.

In his New Year message Clegg says: UKIP want out. The Conservatives are flirting with exit. And Labour don’t have the courage of their convictions on this.”

The big question is whether this niche approach, going for the pro EU segment of the electorate, will stave off what many had predicted as being a disaster for the party.

From Clegg’s perspective there is little to lose and maybe a lot to gain by being the one who is not equivocating in his approach to the Farage threat. Also it might be smart positioning the party as the main opponents of UKIP.

Time will tell.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004




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Farage gives in to UKIP’s Facebook revolution over Syrian refugees and gives a Christmas gift to the Tories

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Now he only wants to help Christian Syrian refugees

Methinks he should have stood his ground

It was inevitable, I suppose, that Nigel Farage’s comments yesterday about allowing Syrian refugees into Britain would cause a furore amongst UKIP’s membership and so it has.

Now he’s qualified his remarks to make it clear that he’s only talking abou Christian refugees.

    This is indeed a Xmas gift to the Tories. They will use his U-turn time and time again to attack Farage personally.

Not only is it politically bad to make such U-turns it also highlights what is a weak link for his party – the nature of some of his members.

A mistake. He should have taken the short-term damage.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004




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GE2015 – the scene is set for four way tactical voting

Monday, December 30th, 2013

The campaigns will be about best way of keeping Miliband or the Tories out

A key part of the Tory effort to remain at Number 10 will be to get over to CON-UKIP defectors that in the key LAB-CON battlegrounds the best way of stopping Ed Miliband becoming next PM is by them voting with the blues rather than the purples.

In a select number of seats UKIP will try to show that they are the main challenger to Labour or the LDs by using the well honed approach of the Lib Dems using bar charts. Thus their second place in Eastleigh in February followed by successes in the constituency in the May local elections will help them make a strong pitch to anti LD voters.

Some of the recent constituency polling that the party has carried out will provide the core of their case.

In the key LAB-CON marginals, which are mostly seats lost at GE2010, Labour is already hard at work trying to identify 2010 LDs and to get them on board to get rid of the Tories. September’s Ashcroft marginals polling suggested that they were having a lot of success.

That Ashcroft polling also showed that in spite of the coalition the LDs were making progress with LAB voters in key LD-CON marginals where 19% indicated a readiness to vote tactically.

A lot of this for all four parties is dependent on a good ground game supported by reliable voter data.

Who’ll cone out best from all of this? Which parties have got the committed activists ready to get out knocking on doors evening after evening?

Tactical voting will dominate GE2015.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004




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It’s 2014 prediction time: Will it be another year when the Tories fail to secure a lead?

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

How many times will ICM, last to report CON ahead, have one in 2014?

On how many occasions during 2014 will the Guardian’s monthly ICM phone poll report a CON lead
  
 

This from March 2012 was last to have CON ahead

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004




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New Ipsos-MORI poll finds 68pc ready to welcome migrants from Bulgaria and Romania

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

UKBorder

It is all about how the questions are put

There’s a new Ipsos-MORI poll reported in the Observer that suggests that more than two thirds would be ready to welcome migrants from Bulgaria and Romania provided that they “learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community.”

The poll itself has been funded by the thinktank British Future and comes only three days before the changes relating to the two countries come into effect. Clearly it has been designed to have an impact on the overall debate.

Generally I am wary about polls funded by interest groups without being able to see the detailed data myself. In this case I’m having to rely on the way the paper is reporting the findings. It notes:-

“…British people are happy to accept migrants from the east of Europe who learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community.

As many as 68% of those asked said they would be happy for migrants to come on those terms. That sentiment was particularly strong among people aged between 35 and 44, with 72% supporting their right to come to live and work in the UK….

…the new poll finds that only one in four Britons (24%) believe that restricting the free movement of people, while staying in the EU, should be one of the government’s priorities. A similar proportion (26%) said leaving the EU should be a priority if it does not change its rules on allowing people to come to the UK.

Nearly half (45%) said that enforcing the minimum wage was one of the most important ways of stopping business undercutting British workers by paying European workers less. Around one in five (22%) believed in the importance of managing the impact of immigration by, for example, giving more support to areas heavily affected.

The polling also showed that, while a significant majority did want a tightening of the welfare system (63%), just 2% of those asked believed that there was nothing migrants from Romania and Bulgaria could do to be accepted. This compares with 69% who said that learning the English language should be a priority for migrants, and 64% who said getting a job and paying taxes were among the key things to do….”

Until the detailed dataset is published it is hard to comment on issues like the way the questions were formulated.

The poll detail is now available

The actual poll question that the Observer put on its front page was:-

“Romanians and Bulgarians coming to Britain have got to learn the language, work hard and pay taxes, fit in and be part of the community. If they do that, we should welcome them to the UK”
two in three (68%) agree, while 13% disagree.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004




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2013: The year when according to political punters, at least, nothing changed very much

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

December 2012 compared with December 2013

The chart says it all. There has been almost no change in prices on the Betfair exchange on the outcome of GE2015.

The prices on a CON and LAB majority have edged down a bit with no overall majority moving up a notch.

    The big differences between now than then have been the resilience UKIP in the polls and the fact that the election is now little more than 16 months away.

Labour’s polling lead over the Tories is down a couple of points on a year ago but the gap seems to be remarkably stubborn. Even in the very bad period for Labour in the late summer Miliband’s party continued to see reasonable polling gaps.

There were 3 surveys that had the two parties level-pegging but those moved back sharply in surveys that followed from ICM, Ipsos-MORI and YouGov.

Quite the worst set of numbers for the blues were in Lord Ashcroft’s massive 12.8k sample of the key LAB>CON and LD>CON battlegrounds where the swing to Miliband’s party was considerably larger than in the national polls.

It is very hard to see a pathway to a CON majority.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble since 2004