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This is good news, but we need more polls like this!

you have to give the leadership credit for this - I only follow the polls casually but we seem to have been around the 36-40 mark for some time. now for the forties!

As I've said elsewhere; hardly surprising given the news about police feeling Blair's collar this week.

The Telegraph (p14) think exactly the same.

Just imagine what a lead we would have if Hague or Davis were running the party instead of the current effete pair of pseudo-aristocrats with their well-scrubbed Teacher's Pet faces.

We desperately need a party leadership that "Looks like Britain" and if that means dumping today's Douglas-Home style Eton Mafia let's do it.

I'm not sure you can say that this is about "the police feeling Blair's collar last week". Labour's support is actually up very slightly. This poll is almost unchanged from the previous ICM poll. The interesting thing is the difference between ICM and the likes of Populus.

This is a good sign for us. The headline voting figure now needs to at least stay at that level long enough to bring the "poll of polls" up there. I always caution against trying to project long-term results from any one individual poll, I believe you have to integrate up over a number of them to take out volatility due to events while the poll was in the field.

Even better than the headline VI figure for me, though, is the increase in the proportion of people who are starting to see us as winnners - that really is something that should feed upon itself and provide a boost to our activists. Everyone loves a winner, after all!

I'm not too worried about the "14% of Conservative supporters might back UKIP". Yes, we obviously need to do more to explain to these supporters what we're doing and how we'll deliver for them, but they're only considering it, and UKIP is still profoundly stuck on 1% of the vote! I want every single vote we can get in target marginals, but I suggest we don't talk up their chances for them.

Speaking of helping out our opponents:

We desperately need a party leadership that "Looks like Britain" and if that means dumping today's Douglas-Home style Eton Mafia let's do it.

Because obviously when you have the best polling for 14 years, a nasty little coup is the first thing you think about doing. Give me strength...

My understanding was that DC's personal polling has generally been higher than that of the Conservative Party as a whole (evidence not to hand, sorry). I don't know how this fits with your theory that the leadership is somehow holding us bck in the polls?

Great news. Shame the same numbers didn't get this level of coverage in the NOTW two weeks ago.

These polls have for the first time put us realistically into overall majority territory. Obviously we'll expect the usual UKIP trolls on here and in parts of the Telegraph saying either 'We'd be even further ahead with someone else in charge' or 'It's just because of Blairs cash for coronets problems, it's nothing to do with Cameron' but for those of us who want to see the conservative party running the country after the next election these ICM polls are heartening news.

Keep up the great work!

9% of Labour supporters also say they could vote UKIP. This poll shows that for both Tory & Labour inclined in the poll the next parties after their preference are the LDs and Greens. UKIP are the fourth choice.
Not saying UKIP can't affect the outcome but that they are relatively unimportant - they mattered in 1997 when we were down to bedrock support.

PoliticalBetting.com - which puts a lot of faith in ICM (despite its relatively small and phone-based samples)

Well I would say that "phone-based" is the key to the apparent anomaly.

Apparently junk phone calls began as long ago as 1927 when The Times described them as "an insolent intrusion into the privacy of the home"

Exactly my view. As far as I'm aware I haven't yet been contacted by ICM but whenever double glazing, timeshare and other hucksters phone my ex-directory number they get a grilling and a blasting before the phone is slammed down.

Incidentally I've never wasted much time on PoliticalBetting.com, but as far as I can see it's nothing more than a hot air blog created by the overinflated ego of some complete nonentity.

I've been making money on political bets for a quarter of a century (a very big stake on Brown becoming Labour leader at the moment)and in my opinion PoliticalBetting.com provides no worthwhile information whatsoever to the serious investor.


It is always a pleasure to read CONhome when a new poll comes out. But are you attacking ICM because it is a phone poll? Eh?

Given that ICM uses the phone to contact respondents just like Populus, Communicate Research, NOP and many Ipson-Mori polls are you also dismissing those surveys as well? Or are you following the great CONHome tradition of seeking to undermine anything that shows your leader in a less than bad light?

Encouraging poll.

But even better than the polling figures is Tory Loyalist's obvious fury.

This poll is very bad news - for the idiots who have been warning us for months that Cameron's leadership would result in a mass stampede of Tory voters to UKIP.

In fact, the ICM poll suggests something that anyone with half a brain knows already - election are won by whichever party can most convincingly claim to occupy the centre ground of British politics. The poll demonstrates that potential defectors are far more likely to go to the Lib Dems and the Greens.

This is what Maggie did - she FIRST won the centre ground and only THEN did she redefine it.

The drop in Lib Dem support suggests that Cameron's strategy is working. He and Steve Hilton are about a hundred times more sophisticated than the nay-saying numbskulls who use CH to vent their spleen at the leadership. I bet Gordon Brown and co. curse their bad luck every day that such emotionally self-indulgent, tactically inept fools are too marginalised to be able to persuade or force Cameron to veer from his current (election winning) course.

I think that the 14% of Tories and 9% of commies who say they may vote UKIP simply consists of the 25% or so of the population that is very interested in Britain leaving the EU.

I think Mike Smithson's letting you off lightly here Tim. Your coverage of this poll reflects a continuing decline in the status of ConHome as a forum for sensible Conservative opinions to be discussed.

The rancid and laughable postings of this week's UKIP troll 'tory loyalist' are a sad indicator that the good work ConHome does, especially on candidate selection is ruined by an inbuilt editorial dislike of the leadership of the party.


Will you explain why you include the unweighted and discredited Communicate Research in your poll of polls when you exclude Mori for the same reason?

ICM is considered the most reliable pollster by PB.com. The last set of ICM polls has been posted by Mike Smithson on the site:


No "faltering of the Cameron project". No "slippage". And UKIP as a total, utter irrelevance with more Tories saying their second vote would go to the Greens than to UKIP.

As to "the police feeling Blair's collar" Labour support has risen in this poll. It had no effect. What is being shown is LD and Green votes coming across to the Tories and it is consistent with a 51% of Tories polled putting LDs/Greens in second place with ukip a pathetic 14%.

Some very good news from this poll.

What we do not need is for DC etc to "over egg" the numbers and believe that it backs what they are doing 100%. DC needs to keep 99% of what he has and not lose more through Toynbee and Hoodie follies.

Conservative Home must recognise that this survey indicates that its users are not representative of Conservative voters because ICM finds only 14% leaning to UKIP whereas ConHome had 40%! The reality is that we do have a larger participation of UKIP leaning folk than the potential voter base.

Also voters are more likely to switch to Greens than UKIP.

The changes I want DC to follow are all about effectiveness. Beefed up PR, Policy Co-ordination, Full time Party Chair/CEO, Professional by election people... Some of which are in ConHome's 12 points.

DC give yourself a pat on the back, now go and improve the central operations, please.

Good to hear from you Mike and Happy Christmas!

This revisits our recent conversation over lunch.

My only point is that ICM interviewed 1,000 people and some polls are now a lot larger than that. I'm a general believer in internet polling - that's the way the industry is moving - and I think the internet's key advantage is that people are more likely to be honest to computers. I made the comment because your praise of ICM was so emphatic this morning.

It's interesting to read all of the enthusiasts for the leadership saying how wonderful this poll is this morning just as the critics welcomed last week's Populus poll. Both are reading too much into different polls, I think. My view (and I've always been open about this) is that the party enjoys a modest lead but it should really be larger given the Government's year of woe. I think the leadership understands that and that's why we are seeing something of a rebalancing of the project with a strong message on family life and slightly tougher language on tax. The Conservative Party will enjoy sizeable and sustained leads when it acts as a coalition of the right and centre.

I have no idea where the poll rises are coming from. I guess the hint comes in the fact it was for the Guardian...

This poll is yet further proof that the party is well on the road back to power and the leadership are taking us down the right path to get us there.
I am not surprised by the negative comments by those posting or by the editor. This site is now nothing more than a site for those opposed to the leadership. Its become well and truely polluted by all of those who have been responsible for ten years of opposition and who believe the nonsense that to get back to power all we need is the same old right-wing nonsense of tax cuts etc. They are nothing more than the dinosaurs of modern day Conservatism.
As for Tory Loyalist I think he or she should take a ride in Doctor Who`s Tardis back to the eighteenth century where his views belong!

HF when you said "Beefed up PR" for a horrible second I thought you mean proportional representation!

Conservative Home is the market leader and the best site around but the proportion of ukippers and anti-Cameronites in the comments can lead to a false impression of how well we're doing, and the dangers that beset us. ukip, as a proper poll indicates, is nowhere.

Jack, weve been over this before and you are still coming out with these refuted arguments. Please listen to us critics before posting. The tax cut argument is wrong by the fact that many of us were annoyed that Cameron shunned the Forsyth Report whilst talking about relative poverty.

I wouldn't worry too much about people's second choice for voting, especially when it is to minor parties. Most voters think about who they will vote for, rather than taking time to rank all the available parties. And if you can't stand Labour or the Lib Dems it's greens for centre-right Tories and UKIP for rightwing ones. But that doesn't mean they will actually vote for them (except maybe in euro-elections under PR).

You cannot attack this poll for being in The Guardian, James. I do not question ICM's integrity as a pollster.

People are getting too excited on this thread. This poll is consistent with the poll ICM produced for the News of the World two weeks ago. ICM has been giving the Tories a steady lead ranging from about 4% to 8%. YouGov has been showing Tory leads of 4% to 7%. Populus has been giving the Tories a smaller lead. Communicate Research and MORI have indicated a very narrow Labour lead but only Communicate Research is included in CH's Poll of Polls because of the volatility of MORI's series. When I dropped MORI from CH's Poll of Polls I was accused of trying to exaggerate the health of the Tory position. I can't win with everyone!

No Tim you can't win!!! But take heart. I think that the fact that people from Jack Stone to 'Tory Loyalist' continue to post here even though both seem to think that this site is overrun by their political enemies indicates that Conhome is the premier conservative blog in the UK today.

Jack Stone, as so often, over eggs the pudding.

CH is clearly a lot more substantial and pluralist than Mr Stone would have us believe. Yes, the Editor is sometimes torn between being a good journalist (which he is) and propagandising on behalf of his particular brand of Conservatism. However, lapses like his intro to this piece (highlighting the fact that the ICM poll shows that 14% of Tory voters are potential defectors to UKIP while failing to mention that it also reveals that far more are potential supporters of the Lib Dems, the Greens and Labour) and his obsessive and rather nasty campaigns against his internal party enemies should be set against his creation and maintenance of a first class resource for Tory activists (and Fleet Street!). It is a real achievement and Mr Stone's inability to acknowledge (or perhaps even see) this make me wonder if he's a troll.


It's true that you can't please everybody. But do you recognise that unweighted polls are worthless?

If you take out CR, because it is unweighted, you'd have an accurate poll of polls.

I have sometimes found myself on his side on other threads but "Tory Loyalist's" comment at 8:19 is pathetic. Calling the leadership the "current effete pair of pseudo-aristocrats with their well-scrubbed Teacher's Pet faces" is just childish personal abuse. It adds nothing to any debate and merely parades his own bitter chippiness and prejudices. In fact, for me, it now makes me discount whatever else he has to say in ostensibly more sensible manner if it comes from someone feeling that degree of bile towards his own party's leadership.

If he really feels that way it might be best for all concerned for him to leave the Party, leave this website and leave the rest of us to have a sensible discussion and, absolutely certainly, rename himself "Former Tory, former loyalist".

I am not in favour of censureship but he is testing the boundaries of our tolerance.

So true, London. Of course if those "effete pair of pseudo-aristocrats with their well-scrubbed Teacher's Pet faces" started ranting and raving in UKIP-approved style about crime, immigration and Europe then Tory Loyalist would perform a spectacular 180 degree turn and praise them for their cool aristocratic leadership and well bred sense of patriotic priorities.

Despite his vulgar Prescottian abuse, it's not Messers Cameron and Osborne's class he really hates - it's their politics.

Editor also, I must correct you on ICM showing a Tory lead only up to 8%. That is factually false. ICM has recently recorded a 10% lead, see the post above.

Their average lead for the Conservatives in the recent period is a very healthy 7.4%

The Guardian again...............beware !

Seemingly ICM gets good poll-ratings for any party that is sympathetic to The Guardian ethos.

I doubt many Conservatives would vote LibDem unless to remove an incumbent Labour MP.............The Guardian wants Labour to swing towards the LibDems.

It is hatred of Labour that polls reflect and complete disbelief that chimpanzees can wreak such havoc. Now do a poll as to which Govt Department is the biggest disaster and see whether The Home Office beats the MoD and The Department 'for' Education...........

The Conservatives should focus policies at this minute on restructuring Govt Departments like The Home Office, Treasury, MoD - if Labour tries to adopt their policies it will cause open warfare for Brown within Cabinet

Leave Tim alone! Without this site we'd be stuck in the dark ages (Hello! Tory Loyalist!).

OK that was the Christmas bit. But Tim you are completely aware that your poll of polls is RUBBISH, I have explained this in great and alarming statistical detail on lots and lots of occasions. I can't believe you are lumping unweighted non-random samples into the mix as well (as Tory T points out).

Let X be a random variable denoting ... oh what's the point.

You were also very naughty to highlight the "14%" figure as though 14% of Tory respondents had indicated that they were about to vote Nutter. Of course the poll suggests nothing of the sort; only that a very small minority of Tory voters - a much smaller number than those who tend towards the liberal and the green tinge - feel closer to the Nutter Party than they do to any other. You must have written it to stir up the hornet's nest of Nutters who love to come on here and tell us in their oh-so-sorrowful (and verbose!) tones that they're about the leave our (massively larger) party for good. One is sorry for them, of course, but one doesn't need to conflate their unhappy disposition with a misleading story about a poll, a poll which in fact does nothing more than confirm what is obvious to he what has eyes to see and what has ears to listen (even if he doesn't have a sense of grammar what to write with): Mr Cameron is very popular, and his politics and style are making our party a viable proposition for government once more.

By the way, ukip's overall vote share? Drumroll please......1%!

Do not forget folks that the 1% you deride for UKIP is enough to lose us the election. Add in support for the BNP and the can't be bothereds and you have the problem that became public at Bromley.

Ditto everything Graeme Archer just said, except for saying that Ukippers come on here and announce their defections in "oh-so-sorrowful" tones. They are much more likely to froth at the mouth and post denouncing us as "socialists", and show real eagerness to put Labour back in for a 4th term, than show any sorrow at all.

Unfortunately for them, it seems we have more of a threat from the Greens - ha!

Umbrella man, glad you brought up Bromley.

In Bromley ukip spent about a hundred grand!! They also stodd Nigel Farage as their candidate and they did APALLINGLY badly and we did NOT lose votes to them.

We lost votes to the Liberal Democrats! Tons of them.

The campaign steered well clear of Cameron and look what happened.

Good to see the UKIP troll nearly exploding with rage (actually I think he might be a lib dem or nulabour, the class based insults give it away).

Anyway, this poll is obviously excellent, but, the real story is one which was hardly highlighted and, I'm afraid to say Tim, it does show that the ConHome polls are unrepresentative of conservative voters. More than twice as many conservatives see the supposedly hated lib dems as their second party (well, rather them than labour I suppose) and there are actually more people who would vote Green as a second choice than UKIP!

This is priceless stuff, and proof that we are infested by UKIP trolls who sully the debate.

Umbrella Man - are you studying for a PhD in ignoring the bleeding obvious?

We can veer to the centre - and risk losing some of the 14% who fancy UKIP.

Alternatively, we can veer to the right - and risk losing some of the 51% who fancy the Lib Dems and the Greens.

Do the maths, dumbo.

Please address the point I made eagle eye. The real risk is a combination of centre right voters doing a combination of things including voting UKIP and especially staying at home. Over the last few years all of the parties have lost millions of voters and we have lost most.

Two points in response to your comment, Cardinal Pirelli.

One - ICM asked Conservative voters and I asked the opinions of Conservative members.

Second - the questions were different. ICM asked about tendency to vote for another party. I asked about which other party was closest to respondents' views. UKIP is closest to my own views, for example, but I wouldn't consider voting for them.

You may not like the results of CH polls but all results are compared to a control population of people recruited from Tory mailing lists and that accurately predicted last year's leadership election.

True Tim, and the voter/member difference is key I feel. We should not be aiming policy at conservative members but voters and Cameron's tactic in this regard seems to be working.

The important figures missing in The Guardian report are regarding what party Lib Dem voters would have as their second. If we are at least neck and neck with labour on this one I would consider that a job well done.

I have no worries about the polls here being accurate for conservative members but I do think they are out of step with voter opinion. I also stand behind my view that UKIP trolls are more than active around here, even if they are not taking part in polls.

WRT the tendency to vote for another party, I imagine that the 32% who said they might vote Lib Dem would represent a large number of people who vote Lib Dem in local elections, and Conservative in other elections. In Bushey, for example, we have scores of such voters, and there would doubtless be other parts of the country where this is true.

If 32% of Conservative voters really would consider voting Lib Dem in national elections, I'd say that's something to worry about.

19% of Conservatives being prepared to vote Green sounds wildly implausible, given the differences between the two parties.

It's interesting that Lib Dem voters seem to be switching to the Conservatives. It goes to show that Cameron is right to pitch in the centre ground on areas which matter such as the environment. He will retain the core Tory support of 32 per cent and be able to win across floating voters.
Lib Dems talk a lot about the environment so Cameron is clearly appealing to them.
Also in polls where voters are asked who they would vote for if Brown were Labour leader the lead increases even more so Cameron is on the right track. There are no net votes to be gained by banging on about tedious right-wing issues such as immigration and Europe.

I'm grateful for that Cardinal. I take a lot of trouble to ensure the CH polls accurately reflect party opinion. Threads are a very different matter and I've never pretended that they are representative. We do have a lot of UKIP infiltrators on threads - I'm sure - but I have banned folk who persistently knock threads off subject and will continue to do so.

Sean: I think those numbers may be true. Do you remember how many Tories went Green at the 1989(?) European Elections? I don't believe that they'd studied the Greens' policies - just their outlook.

they mattered in 1997 when we were down to bedrock support.
A mid-term poll showing the Conservatives at 40% cannot be treated as some kind of indication that there has been a huge surge above where the Conservatives were in 1997, in fact if anything Conservative support was stronger in 1997 than it has been since because they got more votes in that election than in 2001 or 2005 and have only advanced percentagewise because of the fall in the Labour vote since 1997, UKIP have advanced further since 1997 than the Conservatives have in terms of gaining votes - last time despite a split in UKIP they still increased their vote more than the Conservatives did.

In 1986 the situation between Labour and the Conservatives was not that much different in terms of an opposition facing a governing party, certainly the Conservative majority was far stronger but ultimately the Conservatives came back and won the election.

I wonder now how much effect Tony Blair now has on Labour support, it is now so well known that he is going - mostly the things he is going to do in the next 5-9 months (depending on when he goes as Prime Minister) have already been set in motion, people now are thinking about the next Labour leader. If Gordon Brown was to be lead off in chains I would imagine Labour support would plummett down to even below levels it was at under Michael Foot (especially if Gordon Brown by then had become leader).

I'll try having a look at the London Elections website, Tim. I'd be astonished if there was anything approaching that degree of cross-voting between Conservatives and Greens for the Mayoralty.

The aptly named Mr Woolley may find "right-wing issues such as immigration and Europe" to be "tedious" but he should be aware that there's a world of difference between downplaying issues that might alarm Lib Dems voters, BBC editors and Establishment creeps (the Leadership strategy) and actually being soft on these issues.

Personally, I don't think Cameron is the latter.

Do you remember how many Tories went Green at the 1989(?) European Elections?
And the 1988 Local Elections of course, people keep going on about the "successes" of small parties who have failed even to get anyway near the levels of vote that the Green Party has had in Local Elections and to a lesser extent in EU Elections and yet they claim that these smaller parties are on the verge of sweeping into parliament. There are very few parliamentary seats in which a very small party is actually not far from being a possible victor - there is one seat in which the Liberal Party has been not that far off on a couple of occasions and even come second ahead of the Liberal Democrats, there is one where the Greens were not far off, I recall Tommy Sheridan coming a strong second in one in Scotland, so far UKIP support has been spread rather broadly but a surge in national support might carry them through into a few seats.

Of course a lot of the people voting Green in 1988 and 1989 were reflecting mainly Liberal and some SDP voters who saw what appeared to be their party(s) going into meltdown - the Labour vote in 1988 and 1989 did not seem to have been affected. There seemed to be 2 contests - a Labour-Liberal Democrat-SDP-Conservative contest which the 2 main parties seemed to be winning and also some kind of protest vote from the old Alliance that the Greens were getting, ultimately the Liberal Democrats won out in their battle with the Greens and SDP and kept most of the Alliance support in 1992.

Sean, why does it surprise you that there is so much cross-over between Greens and Tories? Both care deeply about preserving the quality of the natural environment, it's just that the Greens think it can only be protected with a command economy.

As the vast majority of voters only know of the Green Party for their environmental outlook, it shouldn't surprise us that as the environment becomes a bigger issue, more people are willing to consider the Greens (regardless of their original affiliation).

I'd be astonished if there was anything approaching that degree of cross-voting between Conservatives and Greens for the Mayoralty.
They deal with different issues though, someone in a General Election might vote Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat or UKIP because they favour nuclear power and\or retention of nuclear weapons, they might feel that the Greens economic policies were not practical at a national level, might wel;l want stricter policing and harsher penalties - at Local Government and Devolved level even something like the Mayor of London is restricted in what they can do, Ken Livingstone can't ban nuclear power or scrap nuclear weapons, he doesn't even have the tax varying powers of the Scottish Parliament. One thing that the move to devolution has done perhaps is encourage people to vote and campaign more on issues relevant to a particular tier of government rather than voting solely on national issues.

Well, that's why I'd want to know if this question applies to *all* elections, or just Parliamentary election. And are these percentages based on *all* Conservative voters, or only those who say they might switch?

Surely, we'd hope that most Conservative voters would say they wouldn't switch.

This poll is further vindication of Dave's superb work to date. Long may he continue.

It even depends on how the question is phrased doesn't it. If someone asked me an open question "Would you switch from Conservative?" I would just say "no". But if the question is posed in a more closed form - I don't know what ICM did - such as "If you were not able to vote Conservative, which party on the following list would you vote for?" then the answer I would give would depend on what was on the list.

I can imagine completely why Tories might vote Green in a local election, despite being aware of their carniverous left wing stance (the Greens' stance, not that of the Tories). If I was faced with a local election here and no Tory to vote for, I'd rather vote Green than Labour (never) or Liberal (none of our local libdems remotely qualify for the adjective "liberal"). I would tell myself that I wasn't voting for their socialism, but to send a signal about Anything But Labour, and Can We Have Plastics Recycling Please. I doubt my woolly thinking is untypical.

"carniverous left wing "

The Green party? Vegetarian, surely!

"Do you remember how many Tories went Green at the 1989(?) European Elections? I don't believe that they'd studied the Greens' policies - just their outlook."

Weren't the greens somewhat more small-c conservative back then?

As for this poll, it is clearly good news. When Cameron begins to flesh out some policies I expect the lead will increase further.

Lib Dems talk a lot about the environment so Cameron is clearly appealing to them.
Also in polls where voters are asked who they would vote for if Brown were Labour leader the lead increases even more so Cameron is on the right track. There are no net votes to be gained by banging on about tedious right-wing issues such as immigration and Europe.

Richard Woolley
----------------------------------------------Here is the biggest contradiction of them all.

Environmental degradation - energy shortages - traffic gridlock - being buried in Waste - housing shortage - loss of green fields etc,etc. are all CAUSED by Immigration and the EU (get ready for the Turks folks.

In short Environmental Issues = Immigration and the EU

Eagle eye:

"We can veer to the centre - and risk losing some of the 14% who fancy UKIP. Alternatively, we can veer to the right - and risk losing some of the 51% who fancy the Lib Dems and the Greens. Do the maths, dumbo."

I almost agree with you Eagle eye, but its not just a matter of right and left. All three of these smaller parties have an anti-establishment appeal. While it's great to see the Conservative Party make progress under DC, we need to start appealing to this sentiment. In this regard DC's background is actually an advantage in a Nixon-in-China kind of a way. We can start articulating some of the frustrations and alienation of the electorate without looking like a bunch of deranged populists.

A really good place to start would be with the funding of political parties. We should resist efforts to force the taxpayer to fork out for expensive campaigning and instead impose tough camapign spending limits.

Graeme, I see the full question is "Which of these parties would you consider voting for at the Next Election? Please choose as many or as Few as You like" which is pretty open-ended.

The sample of Conservative voters is tiny (250) so the margin of error is very big.

33% of Conservatives said they wouldn't swich, 32% said Lib Dem, 19% Green, 14% UKIP, 10% Labour, 8% BNP, 15% "Some Other Party".

By contrast, 36% of Lib Dems wouldn't switch, 30% might vote Green, 18% Conservative, 16% Labour, 8% UKIP.

In general election conditions, I doubt if anything like those proportions of Conservative voters would contemplate switching to the Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP, or BNP. In local elections, the figure for Lib Dems is I think too high, but undoubtedly quite a lot would consider voting for them. The figure for UKIP would probably be higher in a Euro election.

Whoops! 32% of Lib Dems would consider voting Labour, only 24% wouldn't switch.

Personally I think we should include losing the Ashes in that list of things to blame the EU on as well!

I am flabbergasted at the number of responses in so short a time. I very much hope that it is indicative of a resurgence of support and interest in the conservative party. John Redwood's article today is valuable. It describes the best way forward in party funding [absolutely no increased state funding of political parties]. I hope the conservative party vigorously pursues this line.

Sean you're right of course, but the sampling variability isn't enormous. If X, the no. of Tories who say "NO" to switching in a sample of n, is Binomial(n, theta), where theta is the probability of being a never-switcher, then this sample has a standard error on the estimate of 33% of roughly 2.9%, which isn't surprising because pollsters love that plus or minus three point thing, as though it has some epistemic validity, which of course it doesn't, snort, being a long-run property that has no meaning when applied to an actual sample.

Sean, yes, those numbers are interesting.

First, you have to wonder about the political literacy of the 8% of Lib Dems that could also support UKIP.

Second, if the Conservative Party didn't exist, 61% would jump left and 22% would jump right. Does this mean that the party is slightly to the right of its membership?

Second, if the Conservative Party didn't exist, 61% would jump left and 22% would jump right. Does this mean that the party is slightly to the right of its membership?"

Some of the sample are people who would contemplate voting for parties *both* to the Right and Left of the Conservatives. The same voter might vote Lib Dem in a local election, and UKIP in a Euro election if the Conservatives didn't exist.

We also don't know what the 15% who say "some other party" have in mind. I suspect that quite a lot of them are shy BNP sympathisers.

Valedictoryan - I think the salient point is that party members' views are to the right of conservative voters.

On the Lib Dem issue, the high other preference figure from conservative to lib dem could well be a result of this poll picking up those that we are peeling away from that party.

Cardinal Pirelli, 32% of 40% is 13%. There is no way that there can be that number of switchers between Conservatives and Lib Dems, outside of local elections.

Even in the worst of times since 1997, no poll or election result has given us 27%, with the Lib Dems on 31%.

I've just had an aha moment in the bath, preparing myself to face the west end. It's a Christmas present for Tim about the CH "Poll of polls". I'm not going to rant again, but the basic reason that the CH figure is a useless estimator, as presented, is that all the different polls are lumped together. Now no poll is an unbiased estimator of true party support, by dint of the methodology used to construct the polls. So averaging them all doesn't remove these distortions, leading to a good (unbiased) estimator with smaller variance than the individual poll numbers, it actually probably distorts the truth by adding all the systematic biases together (every month we probably get a bit further from the truth). There's no law of large numbers which will make the CH poll of polls as it stands ever trend towards the truth. OK that's the ranting bit, here's the aha bit.

If we can assume that the systematic bias within each poll is the same each month, then each poll is giving an estimate of tory support which is T+b (say), where T is the true level of Tory support we're after ("after" in the sense of "we want to estimate well") and b is that poll's systematic bias. If I subtract this month's poll estimate from last month's poll estimate, then assuming the bias in each month is the same (which I think is fair since the methodology doesn't alter, I don't think, month to month) I get an estimator of the change in support for the Tories which is unbiased.

Now, if I did that for every poll I would have a set of unbiased estimates of the change in Tory support from last month to this.

Since these estimates are unbiased, it would now make sense to average them a la CH poll-of-polls, but we wouldn't get a (dreadful) estimate of Tory support now, instead we would get an excellent estimator of the change in Tory support from last month to this.

Tim, if you went to your excel sheet and for each poll individually subtract the latest estimate of Tory (or each party) support from that pertaining 12 months ago, and then average them, you could tell us a very good estimate of the change in support for each party over the last 12 months.

John Lewis here I come!

NB NB This is NOT the same as the "change in support" figure which Tim puts into each party's box on the poll of polls. The statistical bit that's crucial is to perform the first-order differencing within each poll before constructing the between-poll average.

Mr Fear - If you add the recent switchers those to the conservatives already inclined to the lib dems then the figure doesn't appear outlandish to me.

I was confused by your lib dem preference figures, did you mean that they would switch to labour much more than conservative? If so, that's a worrying figure and I would hope that the gap closes in the future.

Excellent news and a welcome Christmas present. ''Imagine the poll lead we would have under Hague'' - no thank you, I remember the lead Labour had over us for those four years! While Hague is an outstanding politician, as are IDS and Howard the public never warmed to them. They like Cameron, even if some on here do not. I trust the public to know what it wants.

I'm not convinced.... I'll wait and see what the next lot of polls are like ( you gov, another populus, gallup, etc.) before getting excited at the possibility that the party will break over the 40% barrier. 'Out there' in the 'real world', i pick up that- yes- Labour and especially Blair are despised, but there's no real interest in getting the buggers out amongst the voters. Which brings me back to my point made on earlier posts- turnout. The great unknown.

That sounds pretty good to me, Graeme Archer. Make it so, Editor.

I remember the lead Labour had over us for those four years!
Except for briefly in Late Summer\Early Autumn 2000, it has to be said though that for all the occasional poll leads in the last parliament the Conservative performance was little different and if it hadn'tve been for the Liberal Democrats picking up votes from Labour then the result might actually not have been much different from that in 2001, the Conservatives gained about a quarter of a million votes that amounted in an election with only slightly higher turnout to only 0.6% of the vote, in 1945 to 1950 Labour was supposedly ahead throughout or level - yet there was a success in that in the General Election the Conservatives made a major comeback and cut the majority to 8 - ultimately it is the result at the election that matters.

Cameron's decision to call for a snap election is a classic piece of Machiavellianist politics.

The reality is that the longer this government stumbles on, the higher the chance of a Conservative victory, so the best scenario for Cameron would be for Brown to hang on until 2010. However, Cameron is cleverly calling for a snap election, safe in the knowledge that Brown would never go down that route.

I wonder about the value of such a poll considering we are seeing the final days of Blair. Surely such a poll would be interesting to read after Brown settles in Number 10, and is conducted after his first 100 days?

As for the unsurprising knocks at UKIP on this thread, please carry on for it will do not one thing to put us off our course, and merely emphasize why so many people are turned off politics.

This thread (along with paracetamol, a strong cup of tea and some chocolate) was just what I needed to combat my severe hangover today.

This promising poll result is only the tip of the iceberg of delight - we also have Tory Disloyalist's all-too-obvious rage at Conservative progress and Hefferite disgust that we have failed to achieve the soaring poll ratings that a 'real Conservative' like John Redwood or Norman Tebbit could achieve as leader; comprehensive proof to refute claims that the Conservatives are haemorrhaging support to UKIP (who are seemingly less likely to attract support from us than the Liberal Democrats and the Greens); and some unwittingly comical spin on this news over at Tumbleweed Central, where the best claim that even the modern-day Pangloss can make is "UKIP are not going to be hitting the poll radar for a few years yet"...

and an astute comment on that site that this is a "dreadful poll for ukip". Yes it is, but the only way you could be surprised is if you were believing the ranters commenting here and not looking at either real opinion polls or real election results, or for that matter membership figures. All of those confirm ukip to be a fringe party dwindling into insignificance.

Eurosceptism within the Tory party however is alive and blossoming with some of the most prominent sceptics headed for Parliament at the next election. And as a committed sceptic I say hooray for that.

No one knows how IDS would have done because he was removed before he got the chance, he wouldn't have won a majority but I think it would have been closer and Labour might have lost it's majority, as soon as Michael Howard abandoned much of what IDS had developed in terms of policy and instead went for a tabloid type approach a lot of people were turned off, people want clarity - John Major didn't seem to know what he was thinking a lot of the time, William Hague was a bit all over the place as well, Michael Howard was also sending out mixed messages - people get confused when a party that claims to stand for cutting bureacracy and small government then also fires people for saying that if more efficency savings could be made then they would be, and as for the Conservative position on immigration - it had no coherence whatsoever, that there would be a fixed cap on levels coming in but that if there were people with special skills that were needed or refugees then they would be carried forward into the next years figures - would there have been Immigration Level deficits in which so many people were being carried forward that there were more than the actual limit? If there is a cap then either it doesn't apply to Refugees and it is absolute otherwise, or the cap is absolute and inflexible, the other alternative is to use a fixed set of criteria for how people enter the country and leave it like that, otherwise in the event of numbers arriving impossible to accomodate (such as some kind of major natural disaster somewhere or war - for example if there had been massive widespread volcanic eruptions on some contininent - North America, Europe, Asia etc.... and tens or hundreds of millions of people were looking for somewhere to go) then the state has to reserve the right to close the borders to all non-UK Nationals - anything else is just empty rhetoric or sheer fantasy that will lead to chaos.

"I was confused by your lib dem preference figures, did you mean that they would switch to labour much more than conservative?"

Yes 32% Labour to 18% Conservative. Of course, it tells us nothing about the likelihood of any party's voters switching. I can't honestly believe that only 24% of Lib Dems would refuse to contemplate voting for another party.

The only thing that can be read from the poll is that support for Labour is remarkably steady and not likely to go further down (unless also the Chancellor become involved in the police investigation).

Cameron can probably get a few more votes from the LibDems if he makes the leftwing policies he has implied in his speeches, but he will then risk a further exodus of Conservatives (with big C).

The only reliable poll is youGov which has large sample size and has a fudge formula that adjusts for difficult to reach age and social groups eg working middle class men. Experience at the last three GE has confirmed its pre-eminence and I have stopped reading any other polling.

However, Cameron is cleverly calling for a snap election, safe in the knowledge that Brown would never go down that route.
If David Cameron and Menzies Campbell and Nigel Farage all ask for an early General Election, then Gordon Brown would be able to say that there was a clear consensus for an early election if that was what he chose to do - on the other hand for an Opposition Party to say there shouldn't be an early election is frequently interpreted by the public as being an admission that they can't win an early election. Labour in 1983 undoubtedly lost some support to the Alliance when they said it was too soon for a General Election.

" The statistical bit that's crucial is to perform the first-order differencing within each poll before constructing the between-poll average. "

Wonderful stuff Mr Archer. An already very good day has just got better.

I am afraid a lot on this site haven`t really yet got the point of why Cameron is doing so well. He simply as seen that unlike many who contribute to this site and in the Conservative Party the public are not obsessed by Europe and immigration. People on this site are so obsessed by those two subjects I find that virtually every discussion ends up by being dominated by them.
The public are concerned about the NHS, crime and the state of the environment as well as there childrens education and the dangers to there kids that drugs posses.
If we keep discussing these subjects and come forward with policies that allay peoples fears about these subjects than we will gain support and do even better than we are now.
We will not get back to power by boring the public silly going on and on about immigration and Europe.
For once lets speak for the people and not at them.

One fairly favourable opinion poll in the middle of winter and the Cameroons go wild with ecstasy. They must be feeling a bit embattled if they have to clutch so desperately at straws. The question anyway is not really whether Cameron could/would win. Maybe so. It's whether he would do anything worthwhile if he did win and is therefore worth voting for. On that one, my vote is still very much with the uncommitted. Cue lots of deranged abuse about "UKIP trolls", "extreme rightwing bigoted views" etc etc.

Actually, Jack Stone, very few people on this thread have commented about immigration.

Most polls show, however, that it is in the top three of the voters' concerns, as does the fact that the BNP is averaging 17% in local by-elections.

I know I am going to regret asking, Jack Stone,
What are DC's policies for dealing with Britain's education and health crises, drugs and crime?
I have heard him extensively worrying about the environment but I am not sure I have heard a batsqueak out of him on the rest. His standing in the Polls would be a good deal higher if the public thought he had something worth listening to on these issues.

I for one do not bang on about `Europe' on my blog or websiter at www.ukiplewisham.com. When openly campaigning, I say that we want full democracy returned to this country so British politicians can pass our laws - no one else. Lewisham is realising how powerless its own councillors are - including the three Conservatives - in the Council whereby the Labour Mayor can represent the borough as a Labour authority although it has no overall political control when judged by party representation since Labour councillors are in the minority. That is why all opposition councillors and parties are banding together to fight this anti-democratic power. And I say to people that this is not different from what we have said about the EU and our national ability to determine our destiny.

I also say that all the concerns the public has: Health, law and order, immigration, education, council tax, local authority accountability, public transport etc are based upon legislation that is mostly decided in advance in the EU. It is utterly irresponsible for politicians from any party to maintain the deceit that British lawmakers have the last say on laws passed in this country. I regret to say that this will only worsen as people will be pressed to pay more taxes for less public services, and the inevitable penny will drop.

This turn of events will probably take a while to make its impact on polls but that is the price one must pay for patience and diligence in this campaign...

Your spelling errors and poor use of "there" for "their" have been pointed out so often that it is simply your perversity that causes you to repeat the error incessantly.

Immigration is very important - our Somali friends kill a Bradford policewoman and expose the failed state that is Britain.

If you don't think the NHS is overwhelmed by the exploding population in this country Jack Stone I suggest you stop snorting.............it is the huge increase in England's population which is causing so many problems.

Just why is the Govt maintaining 22 houses in Leeds for FAILED asylum-seekers ? What is going on in this country ?

These may not be Southend concerns but I suggest you try visiting areas where asylum-seekers are being cascaded into mosques and schools and British workers are being fired and replaced with Poles and Slovaks............it is quite widespread

QUOTE: "Mr Glover also attempts to pour cold water on fears that Tory voters might defect to UKIP. He notes that only 14% of Tory supporters said that they might back UKIP. That does not seem an insignificant number to ConservativeHome. Only a much smaller proportion of defections could frustrate the party's ambitions for a majority."

Yes, it has to be said that unless the Conservative party offers the British people a referendum on continued EU membership the chances of it returning to government are slim. Recent Eurobarometer poll confirms that support for the EU in Britain is lower than ever.

TomTom, you are in danger of "banging on" about real issues.....just as Winston Churchill "banged on" about German rearmament in the mid-1930's.

I agree with Tom Tom's analysis - but I'd be aghast if DC started to vocalise it.

There is a core - perhaps 25% - of voters who are unambiguously sick of what is happening to Britain and are ready to vote for just about anyone who can sort it out.

There is another 25% made up of leftists, some (but not all) immigrants, self-conscious Celtic fringists and guilty posh riff raff who are broadly happy with the trajectory that the UK is on.

What DC is interested in is the 50%+ majority that realises that there's a problem but feels uneasy about the stern measures that would be required to change course and restore our national fortunes - as well as fairly cynical about the motives of politicians who claim to have the answers.

To rave about crime, Europe and immigration in classic UKIP style would frighten the horses and would actually RETARD our ability to ever tackle the challenges that this country faces.

That may sound cynical - it's not. Political leadership isn't the same thing as speaking your mind. My fear is that some of the 'ultras' on this site simply want to let off steam in a cathartic splurge of emotional gratification that does nothing to help poor old Britain. Having obtained release they retreat to bed and leave the rest of us to the daunting task of rescuing a wonderful country that is gradually being brought to its knees by an establishment on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Don't be too downcast by the reluctance of the majority to face up to our problems. Centuries of comfort compared to Shakespeare's "less happy lands" has bred a certain complacency. The English are always slow to wake up. Look at the 1930s.

The difference this time is that an increasing proportion of 'the English' are not the descendents of those who always came good when it mattered.

That that vital culture be transmitted horizontally as well as vertically? Time will tell.

Recent Eurobarometer poll confirms that support for the EU in Britain is lower than ever.

UKfirst, but have you seen any up-to-date polling on how much impact the issue has on voting intention? The only polling data I've seen on this was from 05/05, where only about 15% of the electorate at most rated it a significant issue when determining their VI. I've never seen another polling question quite like it since, though.

Michael McGowan, I think I'm going to start counting the Churchillian references on this blog, he seems to come into every thread sooner or later at the moment! Come on, Tories forward, not back!

No sorry, maybe not the right phrase...

by: Jorgen "The only thing that can be read from the poll is that support for Labour is remarkably steady and not likely to go further down (unless also the Chancellor become involved in the police investigation)."

Actually the data states that only 36% of Lab, 33% of Con and 24% of LD say they will not vote for another party.

From that it is clear that there are still a large % of Labour that could vote elsewhere and an even larger % of LDs.

Long Termist, I'm sure Stanley Baldwin said much the same things as you in the 1935 General Election campaign. The problem was that the follow-through which was forced on him anyway by subsequent events was too little too late. It always is when politicians bury their heads in the sand of the fabled centre ground, rather than seeking to shift it.

For information, the Eurobarometer poll shows a decline in the EU being seen as a "good thing" in Britain by a massive 8% (to 34%) since spring 2006

Last time the big 3 parties and the media managed brilliantly to keep the EU off the agenda at the general election and the sheeple were taken in. This may not happen so effectively another time - particularly if Brown decides to outflank Dave by taking up some eurosceptic rhetoric.

some (but not all) immigrants,

I think many more than you would imagine who hold a view of a different England and are disappointed by the one they find.

It is an irony that very many immigrants and ethnic minorities would like to be part of the England that was rather than the England that is, but their problem was the one exemplified by Art Malik as Hari Kumar - that he wanted to belong to that England but was rebuffed.............but finds he has no wish to have much to do with what is now perceived to be a depraved England.

I don't think immigrants to this country or ethnic minorities in the main have vastly different aspirations from what were traditional English values

To rave about crime, Europe and immigration in classic UKIP style would frighten the horses and would actually RETARD our ability to ever tackle the challenges that this country faces.
Whether UKIP if they got to parliament would actually do anything about it is another matter, but surely the major problem is that both parties and especially the Conservative Party have talked endlessly about crime, EU and immigration while actually doing very little or the opposite of what they have been saying on them. Throughout the 1980's through to 1997 there were speaches on getting tough on crime, bringing back Capital Punishment and not being run by Brussels and what happened was that EU powers were extended and criminals circumstances were made easier and far more restrictions were placed on how teachers, pupils and police could discipline people. Labour has been very EU-fanatic since 1997 and has been consistent on this although under Gordon Brown it will probably return to a more pragmatic approach like Jim Callaghan's, this government like every other for decades has continued to talk about dealing with crime and Terrorism while continuing with extreme Liberal social policies.

People are prepared for hard measures to get things done if they are not half hearted and are introduced in a coherent manner as quickly as possible - most people don't care about due process so long as the right people are jailed or killed.

We shouldn't spend all our time worrying about ought and should concentrate more on is. Don't scoff, I'm not being Pollyana (well a bit). Just back from Oxford Street. Was moved to tears by a west indian steel drum band playing Christmas Carols outside John Lewis. Wasn't the only one singing. It (modern life) is not all bad (pace the best Blur album ever) and absolutely, yes absolutely, cultural transfection can be horizontal as well as vertical, and neither is it just in one direction.

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