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Just a thought on the UK polls May 22, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

As noted by Dermot O’Connor here, the weekend polls continued to show the BLP increasing its vote.

The Conservative lead over Labour has fallen by six points in the last month, but the party retains a commanding advantage in the latest Opinium poll for the Observer.

Theresa May’s party has a 13-point lead over Labour, with a 46% share of the vote. The party is down one point on last week’s poll.

However, Labour has increased its poll share to 33%, up a point on a week ago and up seven points on a month earlier. The Lib Dems remain in third place on 8% of the vote, with Ukip on 5%. Both are unchanged since last week.

It’s interesting how this is considered in some of the accompanying reporting. For example the Guardian quotes this:

Adam Drummond, the head of political polling at Opinium, said: “With the Conservatives retaining such a significant lead and the Liberal Democrats failing to take flight, Labour-leaning voters who dislike Jeremy Corbyn appear to be gradually returning to the fold, safe in the knowledge that they can vote against a Tory landslide without making him prime minister.

“Although the Tory lead is shrinking, the slow rate of change means that it will be mid-August before Labour close the gap.”

As always, short of catastrophe, the Tories are almost inevitably going to win this one. But. But. The thought strikes on how much self-inflicted damage the BLP went into this election with and how that coloured the last couple of years. Those who inflicted that damage – those who refused to countenance Corbyn’s leadership, really do have a lot to answer for. Their inability to accept his democratic legitimacy is almost certainly going to have cost the LP vital percentage points at the polls. One could go further. Their antics prior to the Brexit referendum almost certainly led to a perception of weakness about Corbyn and the LP that fed in to the result of the vote.

Yet the reality is that – as the old line goes, there’s no life outside the (Labour) party. For those on the centre left in England and Wales (Scotland is obviously different) it is the only game in town. And this has ramifications for how matters proceed over the next number of years.

I think it likely that much the same conditions will pertain in relation to the balance of forces inside the BLP, albeit now Corbyn may well have significantly improved on the last GE outing some years back and under a different leader. For a better result for the LP means many more on the right and centre right of the party being returned. They’re going to have to come to terms with the political terrain they’ve helped shaped. And pretty fast too. It’s going to be an interesting few years ahead, and that’s quite apart from the bigger issues – so to speak.


1. ivorthorne - May 22, 2017

It’s fascinating. Corbyn has made his share of mistakes but if he returns a better result than 2015 in circumstances where large parts of the Labour establishment have been sabotaging him, what will that mean for his future? Were it not for the implosion of UKIP and the resulting boost to the Tories, things could be rather different. And looking at the Lib Dems, one could hardly argue that a more “moderate” Labour leader would have attracted more votes. The Blairites’ arguments will seem even more implausible. Will most of them use the result as an excuse for another push?

Make no mistake, Corbyn is a weakness for Labour but not because of who he is but because the neoliberal elements of his own party, along with the traditionally Labour leaning elements of the media collaborated with the Tories and the traditionally right wing sections of the media to portray him as something he is not.

Imagine if instead of working against him, they had accepted the verdict(s) of the party, and adopted his agenda.


2. Michael Carley - May 22, 2017

Gary Younge, who is one of the few just men for whose sake the Guardian may be spared, has it about right here:

For the past two years, the incantation among mainstream pundits and the majority of the parliamentary Labour party has been that under Jeremy Corbyn Labour offers no opposition to the Tories, and he will eventually destroy the party. Increasingly, though, it seems he could be the party’s best hope for survival and renewal, precisely because he has articulated what opposition to austerity might look like.

The problem was that Corbyn was failing on his own terms. As such, the manifesto has had an almost therapeutic effect. Beyond reintroducing basic social democratic policies to the arena, it provides the clearest illustration yet of what the last two traumatic years within the Labour party have been about. This unexpected left turn in the party’s leadership was, it turns out, not about delivering the party to Hamas, but delivering decent public services and a programme for tackling inequality.

A lot can change in 20 days. And if the national media have been this hostile when they thought Corbyn was down and ostensibly out, one can only imagine how dark a turn things could take. But for the first time in a long time, Labour stands for something more than office.


It includes video of Corbyn’s name being chanted by 20000 fans when he turned up at a Libertines gig.


3. benmadigan - May 22, 2017

Do the Conservatives want to lose this election and pass the poisoned brexit chalice to the left?



4. Dermot O Connor - May 22, 2017

Caveats about don’t take the exciting polls too seriously until they’re backed up by others, but this one has the Tory lead down to 9%, with Labour on 35%. Getting close to the 7% loss by Miliband 2 years ago. Bad, but not exactly meltdown either.


In context, Blair in 2005 won 35.2% of the vote. This means JC might beat Blair’s 3rd election tally. It’s well within the grounds of possible. Beating Miliband and/or Brown’s results is also on the cards.

It’s going to be tres-embarrassment for the Blairites to call for his head in 3 weeks, if he beats TB’s final outing (and Browns / Milibands). Especially given the uneven playing field. JC will be (electorally at least) the most successful Labour leader in the last 17 years.

JC may not need to win this election in order to win it.


jc - May 22, 2017

I heard Stephen Bush on the New Statesman podcast over the weekend point out that the polls typically overestimate the Labour vote by about 4%. The pollsters are apparently very agitated about this and seeking to making better adjustments this time around, which may make the polls even more suspect (hard to know in which direction).

Anyway, taking encouragement from possibly maintaining the 2015 vote level misses a couple of very bad developments for Labour: (1) a chunk of voters that drifted from Labour to Ukip appear to have moved onto the Tories, so they are directly affecting contests in Labour/Tory marginals rather than wasted Ukip votes under FPTP; and (2) Labour appear to have been consigned to complete irrelevance in Scotland (unionist Labour voters seem to be trending to the Tories, in a reversal of the Quebec scenario where conservatives flocked to the Liberals to fend off separatism). With Scottish Labour apparently dead, it looks like only a dramatic change in the party structures or the voting system will avoid permanent Tory domination.


Dermot O Connor - May 22, 2017

Good points – but with the UK fptp system, against the tories, a lot of that tory lead could also be stranded (with them racking up huge majorities in seats they already win anyway, so possible that their high % will not result in a commensurate majority.

Scotland is baked in now anyway, as that was lost under Miliband.

Re: UKIP: how much of the UKIP’s working class vote is coming to Labour now? It’s certainly not going to the Libdems, so when we see UkIP down 3 or 4%, Labour up the same, and tories -1 or -2, even given churn, I think it’s at least possible that some of the disaffected working class votes are coming back.

I don’t enough about the psephological nuts and bolts to dare to make a prediction on seats, mind! I’m certainly not betting my life on a Labour gov., mind… but it would be satisfying to see Labour hold their own or beat the last 3 Labour results. To hell with the disproportionate allocation of seats under their fucked up system.

Two new polls also showing big Labour moves (but all taken before the IRA ambush on Corbyn by that disgusting sky-slag).



5. Lamentreat - May 22, 2017

Latest Welsh polling. Even with two pinches of salt, some v. unusual swings here:

LAB: 44% (+9) CON: 34% (-7) PC: 9% (-2) LDEM: 6% (-1) UKIP: 5% (+1)
(via @YouGov / 18 – 21 May)


Joe - May 22, 2017

Feckin hell. JC for PM. Put your money down now.


Dr. X - May 22, 2017

Surely that can’t be real?


Lamentreat - May 22, 2017

As far as I know it is genuine, but these are figures for Wales, not for the UK as a whole.


An Cathaoirleach - May 22, 2017

The Welsh Poll details are available on Prof Roger Scully’s site http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2017/05/22/the-new-welsh-political-barometer-poll-5/

The figures, compared to 2015 are as follows

LP 36.9 now 44, up 7.1%
Con 27.2 now 34, up 6.8%
PC 12.1 now 9, down 3.1%
UKIP 13.6% now 5%, down 8.6%
Lib 6.5% now 6, down 0.5%

Only one seat changes hands, a seat the Conservatives took from Labour in 2015.

This would suggest a repeat of the 2015 result, where Labour increased its vote in areas where it did not need additional votes, but failed to pick up the voters it needed to take additional seats.

England & Wales are returning to a two party structure, Conservative & Labour, while Scotland also has a two party structure, SNP & Conservative.

Mrs. May’s likely number of gains on a seven per cent swing is around 40 seats, giving her around 370 seats, a majority of 90.

For the LP to make any gains, they would to massively improve on this performance.

To put the Conservative vote in context, in Wales it was 21.4% in 2005, 26.1% in 2010, 27.2% in 2015 and is now forecast to be 34%.

The LP received 42.7% in 2005, 36.3% in 2010, 36.9% in 2015 and are now forecast to be 44%


CL - May 22, 2017

“The recent local elections showed the resilience of the Welsh Labour party. A party does not dominate the politics of a nation for nearly a century, as Labour have done in Wales, simply by accident. Challenged strongly by the Conservatives in this election, Labour seem to be fighting back strongly. There are more than two weeks of campaigning to go, and all to play for. And Labour are still very much in the game.”-Roger Scully.


Joe - May 22, 2017

Let’s keep the excitement going anyway. Wales voted Brexit and broadly reflected England in the Brexit vote trends and the Tory landslide/Labour collapse poll figures for the General Election. Now it’s completely transformed. Why should England be any different? May and the Tories have made an unprecedented monumental cock-up of their campaign and the people are turning to Labour in their droves.
JC will be PM which will give SF cover to take their seats in the mother of all parliaments. JC as PM will do Brexit for Britain but not for NI. He will cede NI to the RoI creating a UI. If the unionists object he will threaten them with Trident. The UI will have full membership of the EU and will join NATO.

I will have a G&T followed by a series of TIAs.

Liked by 1 person

An Cathaoirleach - May 22, 2017

CL & Joe Yes, the figures are interesting, but need to be put in context.

There is a consistent pattern developing – the Conservatives gaining throughout GB & Labour gaining in England & Wales, both squeezing smaller parties.

The type of swing required for Labour to start making any gains is still very far away. The LP was at a higher % three weeks before the election in 2015.

You can put your money down, either by betting on the spread or on fixed bets, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Betting the way you want an election to go is a sure way of losing.

The number of Conservative marginal seats, which Labour could take without a collapse of the Conservative vote is tiny.

Below is a link to a swingometer, with which you can play.



CL - May 22, 2017

“The shift comes after the launch of Labour’s manifesto, which included popular policies such as nationalising the railways, energy grid, and water companies, as well as rent controls and taxes on the richest five per cent of earners.”


RosencrantzisDead - May 22, 2017

It probably was aided by the Tory manifesto being rubbish and managaing to anger its entire base.

Already, we have seen May undermine her own manifesto by having to ‘revise’ her ‘dementia tax’ plans. This was the person who some people were proclaiming a political genius last week.

You have to hand it to Corbyn. His policies have won people over, and we know it was his policies because his media coverage has been overwhelmingly negative.


An Cathaoirleach - May 23, 2017

To develop your point – the policies are popular, but the leader is not. He is acting as a drag on party performance, by how much you can argue.


RosencrantzisDead - May 23, 2017

Corbyn is not a popular leader, but this does not entail he is a drag on party performance. To establish such we would need to show that a different Labour leader would be doing better. I do not see any potential replacement who would do better with the electorate.

Farron, for example, could be touted as a model for a Corbyn replacement. He, however, is not very popular either.

Meanwhile, May is popular despite significant short-comings. There does not seem to be an entirely rational basis for this. I have seen inertia advanced as a reason: the electorate see no reason to change the current government and leader at this time. What I can say is that popularity of leaders may be entirely unrelated to the quality of said leaders.


RosencrantzisDead - May 23, 2017

Further to what I said above: Jeremy Corbyn is a bigger vote winner than Tony Blair.

Hard to see what possible new leader would improve Labour’s performance.


6. sonofstan - May 22, 2017

@D O’C – Labour could do better percentage wise and much worse seat wise. See JC’s second para.


Dermot O Connor - May 22, 2017

100% not in dispute; the UK FPTP system is wretched in seat allocation (SNP winning 50+ seats with 5% of the vote, and Libdems winning 9 seats on 8%, etc). Hell, the SDP won almost 26% of the vote and only got 23 seats in 1983! A bloody joke.

Point being: if Lab’s share of the vote is better than the past 3 elections, that proves that you don’t need to be a centrist triangulator to win votes…which is what what the NuLabs would have people believe. Seat allocation depends on other factors (regional distribution, etc).

A 9% lead sounds like a lot, you only need 3% or 4% swing from Tory to Lab for brown underpants time.

You can expect them to throw everything at JC now. Funny how they accuse him of being stuck in the 70s, but are asking him gotcha questions from that period “Do you condemn IRA bombing”?

Why, has one gone off?


sonofstan - May 22, 2017

According to YouGov, if the election was confined to the under 50s, Labour would win. And if you’re under 35, you’re unlikely to have a very clear idea of what the IRA were, or did. And even if you do remember, you’re probably long over it.I’d suspect a lot more people would forgive JC for talking to Adams than would forgive Blair’s creepy devotion to Bush.


CL - May 22, 2017

“James Brokenshire has challenged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to answer five questions on the IRA, following a weekend dominated by Mr Corbyn’s attitude to the terrorist group.”

“Answering five questions set by James Brokenshire, the Conservative Northern Ireland Secretary, Mr Corbyn’s aides said the leader does believe the IRA committed terrorist acts, is happy to equivocally condemn the group and believes that it cannot be equated with the British army’s role in the troubles.”

One has to wonder about that ‘equivocally’?


FergusD - May 23, 2017

The Sun’s take on it:


They seem to have forgotten that “SF/IRA” are now part of the NI govt. And that Heath helicoptered in the IRA leadership to London (or Chequers?) back in the 70s at the height of The Troubles. Well of course they haven’t, it is just bollocks which even they don’t believe. Propaganda for the masses. I wonder if the masses fall for it anymore?

Someone told me polls show that Labour has majority support amongst the under 55s – anyone seen that?


sonofstan - May 23, 2017
7. Dermot O Connor - May 22, 2017

Latest: http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9890

ICM poll for the Guardian
CON 47%(-1)
LAB 33%(+5)
LDEM 9%(-1)
UKIP 4%(-2)
GRN 2%(-1)

Survation poll for Good Morning Britain
CON 43%(-5)
LAB 34%(+5)
LDEM 8%(nc)
UKIP 4%(nc)


8. Dermot O Connor - May 23, 2017

Bear in mind that I’m in Oregon, so only follow events via internet, and mostly via text, so I miss a lot (99.9%) of the events as visual theater. So haven’t seen the Neil interview with May. Given how disastrously this went, should be interesting to see if it dents the lead further:


Murray on the BBC bias:

QUOTE: It is a fact that in all opinion polls for the last week, Labour is doing better than their performance in the 2015 General election. They will have more voters. Yet the BBC continues to produce “vox pops” in the news, which they pass off as representative, interviewing Labour voters who are converting to Tory. Of five “ordinary” voters the BBC showed in a vox pop interview from Middlesborough today, one of the five was definitely switching from Labour to Tory, and another one was “probably” going to switch from Labour to Tory which was a “game changer”. The journalist concluded the Labour Party was struggling to hang on.

But that is not what the opinion polls tell us. The Labour vote is growing not falling, and the Tory vote is indeed growing, but mostly by transfers from UKIP, not by transfers from Labour. The BBC “vox pop” gives a deliberately false impression of what is happening. There is so much they do not tell us. How did the BBC find and contact these people who are switching from Labour to Tory? How many random people did they interview? What percentage of random people they interviewed were switching to Tory, and how did they select their sample? Did they find not one person who was switching to Labour – because the polls show that people are?

This blatant and undisguised propaganda continues all day every day. Fortunately even the most sophisticated propaganda has difficulty selling ordure as birthday cake. Every time May appears, the smell is deterring buyers. How they will hide her still further for the rest of the campaign, will be fascinating to behold.


irishelectionliterature - May 23, 2017

Bad day yesterday for May. However the bombing in Manchester will have lessened the impact.
She has appeared neither Strong nor Stable during this campaign. Her competency as a tough negotiator can certainly be questioned.
Hopefully the Tories shall continue to fall.


Ed - May 23, 2017

There was a similar ‘vox pop’ at the time of the Labour conference in Liverpool last September, the BBC somehow managed to find 3 former Labour supporters from the locality who would never, ever vote for Labour under Corbyn. Bear in mind, the Labour Party had taken 61% of the vote and 80 of a possible 90 seats in the local elections just a few months earlier; this year, the city voted for a Corbyn-supporting Labour politician as mayor with 59% of the vote. It seems safe to say the ‘anybody but Corbyn’ electorate is a minority, on Merseyside anyway, but that didn’t stop the Beeb; they had their story and they were sticking to it.


6/5against - May 23, 2017

vox pops are so often used by radio/TV to trot out a tired and untested narrative, as if they had equal status with well designed opinion polls.

On the rare occasion they don’t match the narrative, it doesn’t seem to matter. I recall one occasion during the recent bus strike where those one the vox pop all expressed some degree of sympathy with the strikers. Presenter and reporter both agreed that that sympathy wouldn’t last long, and went on to discuss how unpopular the strikes were….


An Cathaoirleach - May 23, 2017

Dermot, From the UK coverage I have seen, the emphasis has been on the decline in the “others” & the size of the lead the Conservatives have over Labour. Once there was clear signs that it was declining, it was covered as a serious fall.

Claims of bias in the media are subjective. I am not in favour of “vox pop” type of coverage, but it seems to be dominating broadcast media these days. Selection of stories/angles to cover is also subjective. Personally the biggest story of this morning is not the Manchester bombing, but the comparative performance of the UK & German economies.


While the Financial Times & Bloomberg may reflect my bias, I have no doubt that I will remain in a small minority.


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