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Interesting new leaders’ betting market – but where’s the value?

January 26th, 2015

Which of ED/Nick/Dave/Nige/Alex will do worst in their seats?

This clearly is a competition between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage and my inclination would be the latter. Thanet South looks as though it will be a tighter contest than Sheffield Hallam.

Which of ED/Nick/Dave/Nige/Alex will do best in their seats?

This is a hard one because nobody really knows what the scale of the SNP surge will be by the time we get to May 7th. If it is on the lines of the recent Ipsos-MORI poll then Salmond, with his high name recognition will do very well.

The Cameron price looks value given he got 58.8% in Witney at GE10. But he’s very vulnerable to UKIP and other parties that he might well get below 50%. Last month’s Doncaster North poll from Lord Ashcroft had EdM on 54%.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble





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With Scotland looking so difficult Labour’s big hope is the English battleground

January 26th, 2015

Mapping where the main action will be

If the two main parties are level-pegging in England then that represents a swing of 5.7% on the last general election so, all the above should be potential LAB gains on current England only polling data.

In almost all of the seats in the chart there has been Lord Ashcroft single constituency polling and the latest batch, just before Christmas, of those right at the top of the chart had more CON holds than LAB gains.

This has been reflected in the betting which I hope to incorporate into future versions of this chart.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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After the Bashir move from UKIP to CON Marf gives her view

January 25th, 2015

  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.


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    The 22 LAB targets/seats that political scientist, Rob Ford, says could be put at risk by the Green surge

    January 25th, 2015

    Now Miliband might have to secure GREEN-RED tactical voting

    The leading political scientist, Rob Ford of Manchester University, has an analysis in the Observer this morning about the dangers of the current Green party surge to Labour’s GE15 chances.

    The 22 seats, some of them currently LAB held some are targets, are shown above and where on the basis of detailed analysis Ford thinks that Labour might have problems. He writes:-

    “..Labour have performed strongly in such seats in local elections and constituency polling by Lord Ashcroft, and until recently considered many to be very strong pick-up opportunities. The rise of the Greens puts them back at risk, as the disaffected and often idealistic voters Labour had won back may now see the Greens as a more potent outlet for their disaffection than Labour, as well as a closer fit with their social values. Labour often requires a large swing to overcome well entrenched and well organised Lib Dem incumbents, so even a relatively modest leakage to the Greens could make life difficult…”

    My main observation is that we shouldn’t at any stage in the next 101 days underestimate the effectiveness of the big party machines in the key marginals. In most key seats they’ve got the databases and experienced foot-soldiers to help curb seepage of support. The same applies to the Tories where seepage to UKIP could give seats to LAB.

    But there’s little doubt that if the Greens retain a large amount of current support then it will have an impact and LAB will struggle to make the gains that appear to be possible.

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    What’s dangerous for Farage about this UKIP defection is that it’ll raise questions again about his leadership style

    January 24th, 2015

    The MEP is one of quite a few who’ve moved on

    What makes this particularly striking is the timing so close to the general election, and the fact that Mr. Bashir follows a whole line of UKIP MEPs who’ve “moved on”.

    The Tories will do anything to undermine the kippers as they see their vote seeping away to the purples. Many of those have to come back if they are to have any chance on May 7th.

    It was being said by leading Tories last year that Lynton Crosby had a “lot up his sleeve” which would be deployed in the run up to polling day. Maybe tonight’s news is one of them.

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    Well done to ICM and Ipsos-MORI for now providing England only numbers

    January 24th, 2015

    As can be seen the picture is very mixed

    In December I met some pollsters and some of their clients at the BES launch event and suggested that what would be enormously helpful was a breakdown of the England only figures. Whether it was my suggestion or not I don’t know but Ipsos-MORI and ICM are both now following Lord Ashcroft in providing this data.

    These are, of course, only sub sets but England does make up about 87% of the samples in each poll.

    There’s also the addition of separate England only table in the Wikipedia polling pages.

    As the table above shows there’s a very mixed picture on England coming from the pollsters and it is hard to come to any firm views yet.

    The only big trend is that none of the surveys have the Tories getting anywhere near the 11.5% England lead of 2010. Thus if the parties are level-pegging in England that is a 5.75% CON to LAB swing.

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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    The 7-7-2 debate format is just inviting a court challenge

    January 24th, 2015


    The “worm” from the 2nd 2010 debate

    Maybe judges killing them off is what the broadcasters really want

    It was so easy last time: three major GB parties and no other vaguely serious contender. With the SNP messing up their legal challenge, the invites to send more-or-less wrote themselves. As is already clear from the saga so far, it’s a very different situation this year.

    What’s striking to me about the latest proposals is not so much the unwieldy scale of seven parties proposed for two of the debates but the invite to Plaid. You can see how it’s happened. On one level, it follows logically that if the SNP are invited then their Welsh counterparts should be too. Except that while Plaid might be the SNP’s approximate ideological counterparts, they’re far from their psephological ones.

    The case for the inclusion of the SNP is that they might have a significant role in determining who ends up in Downing Street after May given the number of MPs they may well then hold, going by current polling and by actual elections in Scotland since at least 2007 (with the sole, if notable, exception of the 2010 vote). There’s certainly no case based on the number of candidates stood, nor really on the number of votes cast. By contrast, there is a very strong case for UKIP and a much weaker one for the Greens based on their respective national presence in candidates and their performance in real or virtual votes.

    Plaid, however, is a different kettle of fish. Unlike the SNP, they have experienced no upsurge in support, finishing fourth in last year’s Euro-election and only just holding on to their seat. With only 3 MPs at present and no realistic prospect of significant gains, their invitation rests on a very tenuous basis.

    And therein lies the problem: if you ignore the published major/minor party lists, where do you then draw the line, and on what basis? If Plaid gets an invite with three MPs and 165k votes in 2010, why not the DUP who returned as many votes and more than double the number of MPs? But if the DUP get an invite, surely Sinn Fein has to have one too, both for balance and because they won (slightly) more votes than their unionist opponents. It may be that because Northern Irish politics is so divorced from that of Britain that they will let that point pass but it’s still illogical and iniquitous.

    On the other hand, relegating the Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dems into the also-ran division makes the Yellows the biggest losers in these proposals and consequently may invite a challenge from that direction. Loading the stage with five left-of-centre candidates and four other non-Blue/Red leaders dilutes greatly the Lib Dem distinctiveness in a format where it was already going to be hard to both take credit for government achievements while distancing themselves from the Conservatives. UKIP too have reason to feel aggrieved that having forced open the door, three others have rushed through.

    I can’t help but wonder whether the reason that there are so many angles of attack against the format is because the broadcasters don’t really want it but that they do want an authoritative and external decision ruling out the idea, enabling them to return to something more televisually appealing without taking any of the blame for the exclusions.

    David Herdson



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    And on the day that the Saudi King died here’s Marf

    January 23rd, 2015

  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.