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These polls indicate that something is not going according to plan. We should be miles ahead of this Labour Government which is ruining this Country. Time for a rethink on how we deal with the aspirations of traditional supporters like myself.We should for a start,ditch this 'A'List and only choose candidates on merit and stop interfering with the rights of a Constituency Party to pick a Candidate of their choice without the threat of withdrawl of support from CCHQ. What we need are Candidates who are 'street fighters' and not just a bunch of no doubt very nice people who might just disappear when the going gets tough. I think a return to a bit more of right Conservative principles might just do the trick.The Country is crying out for a change and by that it does not mean another Blair Mk 2 or for that matter liberal policies.

Baxter has Labour 7 short of a majority on poll of polls- the best position they have been in for ages. Worse still, looking at all the supposed Tory gains, most are from the Lib Dems and when you look at the MP and the local Lib Dem organisation, 'in our dreams'is a phrase that comes to mind. It is quite depressing.

Some traditional Tory speak/ideas are needed to energise the Party enough to win.

There are reasons why CR produces better results for Labour than most. Its monthly sample is not weighted by past vote, which tends to result in picking up more Labour supporters.

On average, the Tories are about 3-4% ahead of Labour.

Christmas polls are clearly unreliable, as we have seen over the last few weeks with some very wide variances.
I suspect that the party must keep plugging away, laying bare the shenanigans of NuLab and hope that people notice and wait for the polls in mid-Jan.
There is a danger, that the electorate are becoming totally apapthetic, and don't care who governs, knowing that their pockets will be picked clean by whoever is in control. Indeed, there are others who recognise the cold truth, that politics in Westminster is becoming increasingly marginalised by Brussels/Strasbourg where the legislation is created and nodded through.

Another poll with some interesting nuggets to be pulled out of it.

Contributors on here have occasionally noted that CR seems to be the only pollster not to weight respondents against their remembered VI at the last General. I'm not sure whether or not this difference in methodology accounts for the fact that CR is the only poll showing a Lab lead at the moment, but it's interesting that rightly or wrongly it stands alone in this.

DC comes out above Brown on most of the personal characteristics questions, yet trails marginally on the "best PM" question - a difference from for example the most recent YouGove data, if I remember correctly.

If you take the headline change in VI between the 3 main parties alone, you could surmise that the purported collapse of the LDs is actually benefiting us more then Lab - you could say that we've picked up 2/3 of that to Labs 1/3, although I know that's pretty crude to say the least! I'm not sure it's possible to reliably poll the movements and motivations of switchers this far out from the GE, but it would be interesting to know.

The minority parties data provides some food for thought - especially the 4% with the Greens. For all the noise made on here about BNP/UKIP, peeling off some of that Green support would be a far better thing to do if we can. Interesting that their leader (sorry, Principal Speaker) is accusing us of being flaky in our environmental policies today. We need to hold a consistent and articulate line on those if we're to successfully target that segment of the electorate.

To respond to a couple of other points on this thread so far:

We should for a start,ditch this 'A'List and only choose candidates on merit and stop interfering with the rights of a Constituency Party to pick a Candidate of their choice without the threat of withdrawl of support from CCHQ.

Bruce, If you're referring to what was said at the candidates' conference, I believe that the comment as only that CCHQ would help constituencies that helped hemselves to a greater level than ever before. As regards the Priority List, I'm surprised to hear you imply that it has had a negative imoact on VI - most crititcs of that project that I have heard have come from the angle that that the whole thing would have negligible impact on VI in any case.

I'm always interested to hear from critics of the Priority List (which I acknowledge is not a perfect system, nothing ever is) which measures they would put in its place to reform candidate selection. After all, simply going back to the past is not an option.

Worse still, looking at all the supposed Tory gains, most are from the Lib Dems and when you look at the MP and the local Lib Dem organisation, 'in our dreams'is a phrase that comes to mind.

There is an issue here - are you looking just at the LD organisation, esbonio, or relative to our own?

We do all need to do far more to build up our campaigning capabilities on the ground, particularly where we are facing now-marginal but deeply-entrenched incumbents. Especially as you rightly say, in the face of those LD "street-fighters", to borrow Bruce's phrase.

Some traditional Tory speak/ideas are needed to energise the Party enough to win.

I've always been bemused when the idea of winning isn't sufficient to energise us to win, it usually works for me... just wondering, do you think this is a peculiarly British phenomenon?

It's quite clear that the novelty of Cameron (such as it was ) has worn off. He's not staying the course.

Didn't you read earlier this week that the surge of new Tory members has stopped and that membership is probably now decreasing.

I've certainly seen that in my own association. Several people have died, two have joined UKIP one the BNP (although that's supposed to be a secret) and there are NO new active members although there may be one or two "paper" ones.

These days the range of social events we used to offer are defunct so really there's nothing at all for new members except a few small parties.

Let's face it. We're a party of greyheads with very little new blood coming in. If Cameron stays leader we'll be dead within 10 years.

John Irvine says we are a party of 'greyheads with very little new blood coming in.'. Is he living in a parallel universe? We have loads of 20 and 30-something PPC's and new councillors, way more than Labour have.

Richard, I imagine the Greens' support is very largely taken from the Lib Dems. In many urban areas, they appeal to the same type of voters - affluent, non-religious, well-educated, young, and left wing. That's not a group that's going to switch to the Tories in any significant numbers. In fact, a good Green performance is something we should welcome, precisely because of the damage it will do to the Lib Dems. The Greens probably cost the Lib Dems around 30 seats in the London borough elections, and a couple of councils.

Internet pollsters, such as Yougov and BPIX, typically put UKIP and BNP on 6-9% between them. People are reluctant to admit to telephone pollsters that they're going to vote BNP - but the BNP's election results suggest the internet pollsters have got it right. The BNP is currently winning 17% in local by-elections, compared to 9% for the Green Party.

On your final point, surely winning an election is simply a starting point? It's not an end in itself.

Didn't you read earlier this week that the surge of new Tory members has stopped and that membership is probably now decreasing.

John, I did see that, and it made me first of all look forward to the roll-out of our new campaigning and database software in the New Year, so that we don't have any excuse to say that our membership figures are "probably" doing anything. We need to be more professional about this, and I'm pleased we're slowly resolving the anomalies in actually keeping track of our members!

How do you blame DC for your lost members? Especially the ones that sadly died, I'm kind of assuming here that people did die before 6/12/05? By the way, why is your defection to UKIP secret? I presume his being slung out of the party would be pretty public from one end or the other, we really don't want those kind of people.

It is a battle - and especially so for us. Our membership and vote has tended on average to be a little older then the other parties in the past, forcing us to run faster to stand still to overcome erosion of our membership base by lapsed or deceased members.

You mention the erosion of your membership, and then say you don't offer anything in terms of events? Could there be a connection in both directions? What is your local campaigning on the ground like, has it been allowed to be eroded on the same way? People join active organisations, not moribund ones.

It is hard work, yes, but worthwhile to make even steady progress.

Again, Conservative Home, a great site of which I am a huge supporter, discredits itself horribly by writing up a Communicate Research unweighted poll, and by adding it to the "poll of polls" (itself discredited by method as pointed out by Graeme Archer, a statistician).

ConHome further blots its nice blue copybook :) by not even mentioning that CR is a completely unweighted poll, and therefore is considered worthless by all serious poll watchers.

As Mike Smithson points out this morning on PB.com, this CR poll has Labour *improving* its position since the last general election! Credible? I think not.

The true "poll of polls" has a Tory lead of around 7%. This is calculated by Graeme's method of taking the *change* in the parties' posititions in each pollster since the general election to now, and then averaging out that change, and then adding or subtracting it to the actual figure gained at the General Election.

This eliminates bias in each pollster's methodology instead of collating it as Tim's method does.

For example, if Populus had the Tories on 32% post election and has them on 37% now, their gain is plus 4, and so forth.

Give the devil his due, ukiphome ran this method and the real poll of polls figure is as follows:

30.2% - (249 seats) Labour

37.5% - (311 seats) Conservative

20.9% - (57 seats) LibDem

Call me simplistic if you like but if the Liberals are slipping and the BNP are achieving 17% in by-elections, what on earth is the Tory party doing positioning itself to the left of centre.

NB: by "each pollster" I mean of course each serious pollster that weights by past vote recall, that is, ICM, YouGov and Populus.

I'm living in the real world. I don't know about "parallel universe" but Anthony Calvert is certainly in a fool's paradise.

I'm talking about the ordinary membership not the tiny number who become candidates and who are always quite young because they are in it for the career. people over 40 seldom start as candidates. Thats always been the case.

As for councillors they are all ages. They come they go. Most seem to get bored with it after a while. Others need the money.

The secret defection is to BNP and its secret because shes married to an officer of the association. I believe she resigned from the Tories

erm.... plus 5, not plus 4. Sorry for the typo.

All pollsters use different methodologies, Tory T. CR is not unweighted, as you suggest. It does not weight by recalled past vote. It does however weight by all the usual demographic criteria, and filters by likelihood to vote.

As it happens, I don't think that is a very good method, but unless and until it's compared with a general election outcome, who's to say which method is right? Pretty well all of the pollsters performed respectably in the general election.

IMO, every pollster who is a member of the British Polling Council (which CR is) should be regarded as respectable.

The BNP is currently winning 17% in local by-elections, compared to 9% for the Green Party.

Thanks, Sean - I'd briefly forgotten your expertise in the field of local by-elections.

Your profile of Green voters is interesting, too - in general exactly the kind of voter I would want to attract, although the last part "and left wing" might make it more difficult for us! If the soft LibDem vote is going to the Greens, any sign of any of it moving to us in your analysis?

Good point also about the "shyness factor" among some minority parties when responding to phone pollsters, something you're right to point out that I hadn't factored into my comments on this particular poll.

On your final point, surely winning an election is simply a starting point? It's not an end in itself.

I agree with you that the "end" is to enable Conservatives to govern effectively. However, I'm currently a campaigner rather than an elected representative, so by the time my colleagues are into the delivery phase, I'm already thinking about the next contest! Perhaps this skews my perspective? If it skews it in favour of winning I'm not really worried...

I would guess that some soft Tory voters in the Home Counties, who had switched to the Lib Dems, have reverted to us. We won't get the more ideological Lib Dem/Green voters though.

Hmm some interesting findings, but let's not forget it is only an opinion poll, and as with Ipsos-MORI, one should pass round the salt and take a handful before making any observations.

The Liberal Democrat rating is undoubtedly poor (and in line with the 15% YouGov rating) but is it a true indication of their support amongst the public or a reflection of the fact that their only notable news story over the quiet Christmas period has been Lembit Opik dumping Sian Lloyd for a Cheeky Girl (and all that nonsense with the passport)?

These results, if we are to take them seriously, are interesting in terms of small party performance and the implications for the Conservatives - one might suggest that the strong Green showing, the poorer than might be expected BNP rating and the quite frankly abysmal UKIP performance continue to expose the myth that a strong Conservative message on the environment, rather than continuing to harp on about Europe and immigration ad nauseum, is a mistake that is driving our supporters into the arms of UKIP and the BNP.

Richard,thanks for accepting that the current system for choosing candidates is imperfect.You follow that by saying that we cannot return to the former way of choosing candidates. I ask why not? After all it was good enough to have been the method by which DC and Francis Maude and Theresa May were chosen so was it all that bad. Well come to think of it maybe you have a point at least with the last 2 which I mention.Seriously though,there was nothing really wrong with the former way of choosing candidates.At least,it made sure that those on the ground felt able to work for the candidate of the own choice.I still think that DC should make a real gesture towards the main body of members and not to a liberal minority in our Party who wish to airbrush out our past successful history and the great leaders who have led us to success.

Sean Fear,

That is nonsense, and as a regular on PB I think you know it. The weighting that matters the most, and renders the results irrelevant without it, is past vote recall. Mike Smithson, as you know, does not pay attention to either Mori or CR, even though Mori uses a likelihood to vote filter too, because neither pollster uses past vote recall.

I daresay you will not find a single poster on that poll-devoted site today taking CR seriously.

The current system is imperfect, Bruce, but so was the previous one. The current system has, however, delivered one of DC's stated aims with the increase in the proportion of women candidates to over 38% in winnable seats, compared with just 9% of the parliamentary party.

I know we're getting a little off-topic here, as you still haven't demonstrated how you think these changes are linked negatively to VI, but:

At least,it made sure that those on the ground felt able to work for the candidate of the own choice.

I've always been surprised by this pickiness about which candidates people in the Party claim they will and won't work for.

It's interesting to me because I joined the Party in 2001, and worked to help my local MP from then onwards - I'd had no vote in his selection, though, but it didn't stop me, strangely.

Then, even more strangely, I went to work solely on a target seat ahead of 2005, where I had no say in the choice of candidate at all as it wasn't my constituency. It didn't lessen my commitment to getting him elected there one bit.

This always come to mind for me when people discuss e.g. open primaries, and say that "the members must have the last say", or they won't be "our candidate".

Not "feeling able to work for the candidate" is usually just a childish reaction a vocal minority of people have to their mate not getting the job, I'm afraid.

What percentage are the Don't Knows?

i'm not really that surprised, even taking into account the inaccuracy of this poll. Until people know what the Tories stand for it's going to be hard to get above 40.

"I daresay you will not find a single poster on that poll-devoted site today taking CR seriously."

I've just spent the last few minutes chuckling at a post on there which reads "no amount of lipstick can pretty up the pig that is CR" - says it all really :-)

If all the polls were showing a Labour lead of 40% "Tory T" would be predicting a Cameron landslide, and what's more he'd have the data to prove it.

Is CCHQ open for business today TT, or do you get paid overtime for home working?

Haven't checked yet, but I bet you were posting on Christmas Day.

Steve the party is positing itself not left of centre but in the centre. People on this site describe it as left-wing because on the whole they are so far out on the right-wing there off the pitch.
Also I would hope you were not suggesting that the party should compete with the BNP for the racists vote!

You can close your eyes and ears as much as you like. This is yet another poll confirming that the Cameron express train after an initial good start stopped and has not moved for quite some time.

CR's last poll in the GE had them 3% above the actual Labour vote and 2% below the Conservative vote. CR consistently over states the Labour vote and understates the Conservative one.

Overall the polls in 2006 were our best for more than 10 years.

They were Labour's worst and LDs worst since 2001.

Richard,I have no quibble with your beliefs as you see it.I do note that you have only been a member since 2001 so that in itself is commendable that you should seek to give your considered opinion as to how to choose candidates. You say that the new system has achieved DC's aim of having more women candidates. You appear to have dismissed the fact that we,the Conservatives,have been the only Party to have had a woman as the Leader of the Party and that she went on to be a great PM. That was all done under the old system of choosing candidates. Can you offer me any other explanation other than that she did so on her own merit. 'Merit',that appears to be another word which the modernisers are attempting to airbrush out of Conservative principlies. My belief is that anyone who has merit from whatsoever a background should be encouraged to succeed and that is non negotiable as far as I am concerned.

My belief is that anyone who has merit from whatsoever a background should be encouraged to succeed

I agree with you on that point Bruce, which is why I think we should continue to reform candidate selection in the future, not go backwards. We need, for example, more people from different professions, from public service backgrounds and so on, and we need to address the issues of financial exclusion that face candidates. We also need to do this more transparently in a way that is sensitive to the views of candidates on the wider list.

I think we have often come at this discussion from the wrong end - the demographics of the parliamentary party are not an end in themselves, but one indicator that in the past we perhaps haven't been drawing on the widest possible pool of talent. Any process for addressing that does inevitably introduce flaws of its own, but we have to decide whether they're tolerable or not.

We probably agree on this more than we think, we just come at it from different ends. It's a beginning, not the full process I hope. And we've probably hijacked this thread to talk selection more than enough (sorry folks!).

Tory T, Much as I like Political Betting and respect Mike Smithson's views, his comments are not the law of the Medes and the Persians.

Past vote recall probably makes sense, but we don't know for sure that it does. And for that matter, ICM, Populus, and Yougov all use different weightings for this purpose in any case. As it happens, neither CR, nor MORI are coming up with polling figures that are much different from those given by Populus and Yougov, in any event.

CR and MORI both poll in ways that are regarded as sound by other members of the British Polling Council, so there is no reason at all to discount them.


To be entirely cynical about it, most votes that we're losing to the BNP are in places we have no realistic prospect of winning. If ex-Tories vote BNP, and enough Labour voters switch to the BNP to beat the Labour candidate, Labour finish up being humiliated and demoralised, which is of benefit to the Conservatives.

Jack Stone, the point about democracy is that the vote of a racist counts for as much as the vote of a saint.

the point about democracy is that the vote of a racist counts for as much as the vote of a saint.

A point very well made and wholly underestimated

Which translates to Con 262 Lab 352 Lib 6 (!)

So both Labour and the Tories are gaining support and (if you believe Electoral Calculus) seats

If these numbers are anything like right this is a supberb midterm for Labour. I don't believe the libdems will go quite as low as 6 seats though, although I think 2005 was a high water mark for them, nor do I believe there will be many if any Labour gains.

But this is a midterm poll, there is proberbly some swing back to the incumbants to come yet.

Sean, I think you're being way to complacent about the BNP threat to the Tories: it's certainly true that traditionally the BNP has thrived in deprived, urban, inner city areas where the Conservative vote is low.

But the picture today is much more complicated: witness the BNP gains in places like Epping Forest, Broxbourne and (though they didn't win) Redbridge and Horsham. The sort of wards they're doing well in are still not what might be described as stereotypically Conservative (as in "high Tory" areas) but they are Conservative-voting places.

Given that urban areas are becoming tougher for the BNP; either because the ethnic minority proportion is increasing rapidly or because more young professionals, not a BNP demographic, are transforming the areas, the likelihood is that suburban, working class or lower middle-class communities which at least lean Conservative are far more likely to be the new BNP stomping ground.

the point about democracy is that the vote of a racist counts for as much as the vote of a saint.

Yes but "Jack" doesn't believe in democracy.

Don't you remember the post in which he said he wanted a one-party state with nobody who wasn't a "Tory" (ie his idea of a Tory) elected to parliament?

This from the Southender (Ha!Ha!) who doesn't know how many MPs represent his supposed home town and never reads his local paper!

ToryLoyalist - you had already received your final warning about relentlessly personalising threads.

Things certainly could develop the way you suggest Peter. At the moment, even in Epping and Broxbourne, it is the Labour-voting areas where the BNP is doing well.

But it is certainly quite plausible to imagine the BNP gaining in Conservative-voting areas.

On the comment about loads of 20 and 30-somethings standing, I cant speak for everywhere else but in my area, I think Im the only person under 40...

Alongside the poor internet connection I have, Im pretty damn bored of the same bitching contests. I cant even be bothered to go to this site that often. The pro-Cameron posters on this site keep posting the same old tired arguments which get refuted but still repeatedly appear. The level of debating on this site never goes above that seen in your average sixth form. Due to the style of debating that goes on here, we can already guess what the sides in the arguments will be and we know that no one will change their minds over it so we go round and round and round. Its not a criticism of Tim or Sam, but this site can get awfully boring at times.

I will not get personal about this so I will not mention names but those who support racism by believing that we should actually be courting the racist vote should be ashamed of themselves.
I want to see the party get back into power supported by the decent majority not the indecent minority!

Sean Fear,
I concede your well made point about the mathematics of the BNP effect on both the Labour and Tory vote but that is only valid in its present context.
The leader of the the BNP recently made a speech in the US in which he stated that the party should remodel itself to be seen as more respectable and address the economic fears of voters who at some time in the future will blame an economic downturn on recent immigration.
There is an interesting article in Todays Telegraph online about the Stirling crisis of 1976, when we faced an economic meltdown only prevented by IMF aid which was given because of the fear that a destabilised Britain could cause the collapse of NATO. At that time Callaghan also predicted civil unrest in the UK if no financial aid was forthcoming.
The above scenario is just what the BNP would thrive on. Fortunately in 1976 we scraped through and the legacy for Labour was that the British people no longer trusted them with the economy. We all know what happened next when the electorate trusted Margaret Thatcher's government with a monetarist agenda.
What if we face an economic crisis in the near future, it may not be a wholly racist vote which elevates the BNP to an undeserved position in British politics. It also is incumbent on the Tory party to be positioned with the correct policies to take the wind out of the BNP's sails.

Fortunately in 1976 we scraped through and the legacy for Labour was that the British people no longer trusted them with the economy

Save that the whole thing was a Treasury scam and they did Callaghan over as they had in 1967. Healey was a real dork for trusting the Treasury who simply botched the numbers

Sean Fear,

It is not only Mike Smithson who does not take Communicate Research seriously; the entire posting community over at PB.com has dismissed this poll because CR does not weight its vote by past vote recall.

I don't think you will find one post on there today, and it is a site mostly dedicated to discussing polling, that takes unweighted (by vote recall) polls seriously. You yourself are the only example.

As HF says, CR was a full 5% out on the election overstating Lab/understating Con.

Why would anybody think that a sample not weighted to the make-up of actual electors would return a correct result?

Scam or not the result was a cut in public spending and the winter of discontent etc.
My point was that given the same situation today would the British people swallow the medicine as they did then or turn to a more simplistic remedy.

Tory T, since polling professionals *do* take CR seriously (they wouldn't admit them as a member of the BPC otherwise), I'm willing to trust their judgement.

The BNP is currently winning 17% in local by-elections, compared to 9% for the Green Party.
And how many seats is that contesting? In itself that figure means little because it has to be looked at in relation to what seats are being contested and what aren't - not only this but BNP success in Local Elections has not translated into success in other elections.

the legacy for Labour was that the British people no longer trusted them with the economy
Really the Labour Party's reputation for economic competence was destroyed in 1967 with devaluation - Labour started losing masses of councillors and ultimately lost the 1970 General Election, they might have hung on if the election had been a bit later but it was a big fallback from 1966, in 1974 Labour won not despite a further fall in their support because the economic competence of the Conservative Party notably of Edward Heath was called into question - Labour support hardly changed from the February 1974 General Election through to and including the 1979 General Election - what happened was that Edward Heath was even more discredited in October 1974 than he had been earlier, after the IMF crisis Labour was actually still on course to win probably a slightly increased majority, but the Winter of Discontent caused a certain unity of the opposition behind Margaret Thatcher - especially with the Liberals having collapsed since 1974, Labour support by the early 1970's was already at it's lowest since 1935, then of course the choice of Michael Foot as leader coupled with a huge wave of support for the Falklands War mean't Labour was going to struggle even to sustain their 1979 position, if Dennis Healey or David Owen or Peter Shore had succeeded Jim Callaghan then probably the 1983 General Election would have seen a similar result to that of 1979.

By 1992 Labour support was if anything actually slightly stronger than in the 1970's but facing the strongest Conservative support since at least 1970, if not 1959. In 1997 general Election the Labour vote went above 40% for the first time since 1970 and was still way lower than the votes they were getting in the 1950's.

So far as I can see the signs are at the moment that the first half of this parliament has continued from the second half of last parliament - Labour support is little different, Conservative support is slightly higher and the Liberal Democrats have been a bit down and continuing to decline.

Most of the gains at the next election will be Liberal Democrats losing their seats, no doubt Labour will recoup their losses from getting back seats from the Liberal Democrats and yet another false Liberal dawn comes to an end.

Sean, if your standard for "serious pollster we should pay attention to" is merely membership of the British Polling council, which is more about rules than accuracy, then that is pretty low. By that standard Mori would be included, Mori with its crazy swings and Labour favouring no past vote recall. Even ConservativeHome excludes Mori. Yet it's a member of the Brititsh Polling Council.

I am a believer in the "wisdom of the crowds" principle, cf: 100 policies. The crowds of poll watchers on politicalbetting, other than yourself, give CR no credence at all. I think there is a reason for that.

It is not only Mike Smithson who does not take Communicate Research seriously; the entire posting community over at PB.com has dismissed this poll because CR does not weight its vote by past vote recall.

So what?

How many of those people do you suppose actually place substantial political bets? Very few I would guess, and I've been doing it for a quarter of a century.

You seem to be utterly obsessed with the mechanics of these polls. Well I've got news for you.

Public opinion is utterly unpredictable. It isn't a muchine that that will simply churn out the result you would like.

Sad, isn't it?

Firstly, if the Lib Dems are on 14% on a UK basis, I'd love to know what they're on in England alone, without Scotland and Wales. It could be single figures.

Secondly, today's defections are really just more of the same, by which I mean: more people from London and the South East discovering that Cameron is quite a nice chap from the London / South East area. Some defections from Lib Dem candidates elsewhere in the country would have been far better.

Tory T, certainly I take MORI seriously as a pollster. I believe that they have the largest client base of any pollster in this country, which suggests others do so as well.

Interestingly enough, they have actually been the *least* volatile of the pollsters in recent months, showing (usually) a small Conservative lead, and occasionally, a small Labour lead.

I have doubts about their filter mechanism, but they are a reputable outfit.

Yet Another Anon - since the start of September, the BNP has fought 15 by-elections, the Green Party 13.

Well, Sean, I certainly respect and enjoy your analysis of local election results over there. Best to leave it at that for the night.

It does not really surprise me that there are many of the contributers seem to be very knowledgeable regarding the accuracy of the various pollsters. It really begs the question as to what their occupation is? Are they working in occupations which give them some insider tips as to how the various polling companies conduct their polling. There of course may be a more simple answer! I wonder what that can be!!

Actually, what the polls prove more than anything else is that we're all sheep. How else could a sample of 1,000 people accurately predict how 30,000,000 are going to vote?

"The Independent describes as a "squeeze question" - "designed to draw out people who are reluctant to disclose their voting intention" - increased allegedly shy Labour support."
The pollster's have had a problem for a long time with "shy tories" and have regularly tried to sort the problem. They have consistently over estimated the Labour vote and I am sceptical that they are correcting a "shy Labour" vote before it has really occurred in great numbers.

Those who translate a dip in LibDem opinion polls to a reduction in the current numder of MPs are forgetting that, with the ever increasing importance of local/regional factors, the LibDems have the ability and organisation to entrench themselves irrespective of the size of the individual's majority. I should know, when I was a LibDem I won, and then held, a ward in a London Borough in what should have been a safe Tory seat! Until the Conservative party learns how to be street fighters there will be no significant gains against the Lib Dems - I still think (fear) that a hung parliament is on the cards?

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