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It will be interesting to see how the others fare after May 3rd - they will be getting much more attention than usual right now so hopefully they will fade over summer, as long as the votes come to us.

Terrible for Labour, which is great!

The Liberal Democrats are going up again.

The lesson is: if only we tack to the hard-right, we can win back that enormous 1% that will vote for UKIP (the core vote) and then our glorious leader Maggie Thatcher (some mistake surely? Ed) will be PM once more.

Maragaret, I agree with you up to a point but the problem is where those 1% of UKIP voters are - if enough of them are in ultramarginal seats they do pose a problem.

Having said that, Labour's support is shockingly low - only 5 points ahead of the LDs!

Sorry, I meant Margaret of course.

More people inclined to vote BNP than UKIP???!

Let's not make this another UKIP discussion!!! More interesting is the increase in support for the LibDems. My guess is that we'll top 40% on May 3rd and the halo effect of that result might finally see us break the 40% mark in the opinion polls. Good results last year certainly produced a fillip for us.

Amen, Editor!

If 15% of the electorate vote for minor parties how do conservatives get 43% + of the votew-the winning post. I dont think Francois Maude has thought of this. Dont forget all polls exclude Northern Ireland 2/3% of the vote-add them to the minor parties-Tory policy is to irritate their own supporters and voters on Irish terrorism,immigration,the EU,devolution for so long it is their default mode

Terrible for Labour, but 36% for us is still not good enough. We need to be well above 40%. David Cameron has certainly improved Conservative ratings, but the question is how much more upside potential has the current exercise in detoxification. Having charmed the soft left-liberals, can Cameron now offer something to the right, without losing on the soft left?

I think most of us out there canvassing know that 36% is a ludicrously low figure. This pollster will be embarassed on May 4th.

The Conservatives will not poll as much as 40% in May's local elections in their actual vote , the Others figure will be too high for that . They should get 40%+ in the notional figures given by the BBC and Rawlins & Thrasher which redistributes some of this higher Others figure back to the main parties .
For interest in 2003 the actual Conservative % share was 34.6% in England and 31.5% including Scottish local election votes . Others were 12.3% in England and 16.4% including Scotland .

Obviously bad for Labour so I won't wear out the keyboard prentending otherwise.

Reasonable result for the greens, although they had a poll on 5% earlier in the year. I would guess the margin of error is pretty high on these low percentages....

One final point. Even after adding up all the small parties there is still 4% missing, I wonder what answer they gave. 4% is nearly a million votes on a 60% turnout. I take it they don't poll in NI?

I agree Editor about the issue of the Lib Dems. However, what this poll is not able to reveal is the make up of that increase. On the surface it still looks like Tory Lib Dems returning to Tory and Labour voters fleeing to the Lib Dems. Each could be balancing things out put it would certainly change the make up of Lib Dem seats after the elections.

comstock - there are apparently out there parties attracting 4% of voters that are not Cons/LD/Lab/UKIP/BNP/Plaid/SNP or Green. Doesn't seem to include Northern Ireland so it's a mystery (6% of 36-44 year olds want to vote for these mysterious others). There is either an upswelling of support for the English Democrats, Trotskyists or others or it's a "none of the above" view.

full tables at

comstock - just looked a bit further and quite a few are in Scotland so could be the SSP, Solidarity there but in England and Wales? Respect?

4% for Independents in a local council poll would be on the low side.

Ted, a fair proportion of the 4% who say "Other", without specifying a minor party, will be BNP supporters who are too shy to admit it. My guess is that the real level of BNP support is more like 4-5%, overall. Respect wouldn't register more than 1% across the country as a whole.

Anthony, on these figures, we would win an overall majority of 6. The rule that we need 42%+ to win is not a hard and fast one.

This poll is somewhat similar to the 1983 general election result - aside from the fact we're 7 points lower, on 36% rather than 43%! - in so much as it shows an even split in the nominal centre-left vote.

1983 saw an SDP vote of 25% (versus Lib Dems today on 22%) against a Labour vote of 27% (identical). However, as electoral calculus will demonstrate, this still allows ourselves to "come through the middle" despite our low % vote share and achieve an overall majority of 6.

Naturally, electoral calculus does talk a lot of nonsense with regard to Lib Dem fortunes, but it does how we can benefit from tactical voting "unwind".

The challenge for us now is to squeeze out another 8% of the vote from both the Liberals and "Others".

It's not the disaffected right which are the biggest problem, but the "disaffected" period.

These people are those who are very cynical, sceptical and downright fed-up with politicans. They want honesty, integrity and real solutions.

I think the "PR" strategy has gone as far as it can in attracting new voters and Cameron now needs to shift to his "grit", as promised.

I think we'll have to wait until after the local election results and the Assembly elections to get a clear picture of what is really happening. Opinion polls can be unreliable particularly for the Independent. The Tories got 40 per cent of the vote in last year's local elections I think. I think they will probably need to obtain at least 42-44 per cent of the vote before they can be confident of securing a working overall majority at the next election.
If the Tories are now 9 points ahead of Labour, imagine what the lead could be when Brown takes over!

Sean Fear 11:13 "Anthony, on these figures, we would win an overall majority of 6. The rule that we need 42%+ to win is not a hard and fast one."

True, but I think you rapidly lose legitimacy as you fall beneath 40% vote share.

A 43/44% vote for the government is *somewhere* approaching an absolute majority, it's a only a smidgen away from 50%, and by strongly outpolling the alternatives demonstrates the electorate have made a clear choice. Also if the Conservatives were the winning party, the share in England would be more like 46/47% - even better.

If you do win with 35%/36% then you have the problem that almost 2 people voted against you, for every 1, that did. You're also far more likely to get clobbered, both in the media and in the polls and less likely to pass enduring reforms. It gets worse and worse as you move away from the 50% "median".

No doubt we 'could' win with less than 40%, but I'd be very unhappy about it, Conservative majority or not.

We must push out to the 42/43/44% target as hard as we can.

Sean , on Anthony Well's swingometer you would still be 24 seats short of an overall on these poll figures .

Do Communicate tend to underestimate the level of Conservative support?

Yet again I look forward to the latest Yougov poll.

The attached, cut from YouGov-UK Polling Report is quite heartening.

Posted by Anthony Wells in Voting Intention, Communicate

Communicate Research’s monthly poll for the Independent shows Labour at their lowest level for decades - the last polls I can find with Labour this low are from September 1983. The headline voting intention figures, with changes from last month are CON 36%(+1), LAB 27%(-4), LDEM 22%(+2). The poll was conducted between April 20th and April 22nd.

Last month Communicate started weighted their polls by past vote, so in theory at least (I haven’t yet seen the details of how they are weighting their polls) they should no longer be as volatile as they have been in the past. ICM’s monthly poll for the Guardian and YouGov’s poll for the Telegraph are also both due in the near future. If they show a simialr drop in support for Labour then next month’s elections could be very unpleasant for the government.


Thanks for the link, Ted. Looking at page 7 of that, I see the Tories are only at 4% in Scotland. I know they are doing badly, but I can't see them going that low!

10% for 'other minor parties' in Scotland seems very high....

I reckon that there has been some miscounting somewhere.

It's CR, so I wouldn't pay it too much attention, despite its excellent findings. ICM should be out within a few days though, and hopefully it'll paint a similar picture.

If Brown were Labour leader we would be several dozen percentage points further ahead. Hurry up Blair, bugger off!

True, but I think you rapidly lose legitimacy as you fall beneath 40% vote share.
A majority is a majority, and from the point of view of passing legislation a majority of 6 on 35% or 36% of the vote or less is no different than a majority having got 46% of the vote, although it does mean that a party governing on such a low vote is vulnerable to other support focusing on another party especially where it was achieved on a low turnout.

As for the poll itself, if true it would be bad news for both main parties and good news for the Liberal Democrats and lots of other parties. Mid term opinion polls are notorious for bearing little actual relation to the final result, in fact even exit polls can be way off and Communicate's polls I notice seem somewhat volatile. However it is just over 2 years until the next General Election and polls over the end of a government from this point normally show support for a government going a bit further down and fluctuating before going back up even if they still end up losing, it isn't really comparable with 1982-84 or 1987-88 because that was Labour around the time of a General Election and the opinion polls were showing more like their actual levels of support as compared with in mid-term in 1980-81, 1985-86 and 1989-90 when a substantial element of support was short term grumbling by Conservative voters either saying they would vote for an opposition party or refusing to answer.

There isn't much to compare it with since 1997 really because Labour's support faced a sharp drop from 2003 because of many people opposing the War in Iraq switching to the Liberal Democrats or Respect Party and this effect didn't really peak until into 2004, if the war had been a year earlier then the lowest levels of Labour support shown in opinion polls might have occurred in 2003 and been showing below 30% regularily.

It may well be that Labour was already down to a fairly hardened core of voters in terms of Local Elections in which case their actual Local Election vote may well not be much changed even if their support at General Election and Devolved level has dropped further.

I'm not sure that opinion polls on voting intention in terms of predicting how people might vote in a General Election if there was one now when it is 2 years away are actually particularily useful - polls regarding the Local Election might well give some actual indications that may be not so far off the mark.

The 36% (and the Lib-dems 22%) I think is due to some poor strategy recently and some sensible stuff from the Lib-dems. So I think it was a poor decision to debate the sailor stories angle as it was never going to lead to Des Browne's resignation. I think the vote of no-confidence in Gordon Brown just looked like points scoring and worse failed and the whole mayor fiasco needed to be sorted before it went public or else it never should have. Combine this with the fact that Norman Baker filibustered out a daft private members bill that just looks like same old tories with something to hide (and worse supported by authoritarian Labour). Cameron should jump on this bill when it is debated again as any benefit he has gained from being against ID cards and road pricing is in jeopardy by excluding MPs from freedom of information and the press will just scream hypocrites and doubt his libertarian credentials.

I think the vote of no-confidence in Gordon Brown just looked like points scoring and worse failed and the whole mayor fiasco needed to be sorted before it went public or else it never should have.
The no confidence motion in the Chancellor of the Exchequer merely united more Labour MPs behind Gordon Brown and united the parliamentary Labour Party, the no confidence in the government motion pushed by Labour in October 1990 had the same effect with regard to the Conservative Party. There isn't much point in pushing for confidence motions when one party has a clear majority of seats, it's a waste of parliamentary time - John Smith had some success in harrying the government on motions on Europe that the government had turned into confidence motions although I don't think that Tony Blair or Gordon Brown would fall for that one.

Yet Another: "A majority is a majority, and from the point of view of passing legislation a majority of 6 on 35% or 36% of the vote or less is no different than a majority having got 46% of the vote"

Yes, but if you re-read my post, you will see that it is *exactly* these sort of sentiments I was warning against.

No doubt legislation *could* be passed through the HoC on any parliamentary majority (obviously) but such reforms would enjoy a very feeble electoral mandate. This is important because such a government elected on such a narrow plurality would be subject to greater party indiscipline, adverse media coverage, increased opposition in the HoL and a serious chance of the reforms being overturned subsequently as they "didn't enjoy popular support".

I really, really don't want us to win on 36/37% of the vote. It is crucial for us to reach 40%+ at the least.

If this did occur (very unlikely I assure you) I think we'd have a terrible time. We'd have difficulty implementing any serious reform and there'd be a real danger of a "one-term wonder" Tory government followed by yet another long spell in opposition.

Don't get too excited by the likely Tory predominance in the imminent English local elections. It is possible that I am not unique in my voting pattern:

Local elections - invariably Conservative.
European elections - invariably UKIP.
General elections - whichever I feel is best for the country.

Next time round it is certainly not going to be LibDem or Labour and, on present indications, very unlikely to be Conservative, despite previous voting and personal liking & admiration for our local MP - the wondrous Boris. One personable genius does not an acceptable Party make!

LIbDems eating into Labour, and UKIP dead as a dodo. Looks good, although CR are a bit dodgy.

No doubt legislation *could* be passed through the HoC on any parliamentary majority (obviously) but such reforms would enjoy a very feeble electoral mandate.
Government majority and party unity rather than the actual vote they got tends to be what plays the largest factor, there were huge rebellions by government MPs in the late 1960's, early 1970's, under Margaret Thatcher and through much of Labour's 10 years - in the case of under Harold Wilson in the late 1960's and under Edward Heath in the early 1970's these were parties that had got over 45% of the vote, the 1964-1966 Labour Government was not far off 45% of the vote and had huge problems getting legislation through; Margaret Thatcher never got 45% of the vote in a General Election and yet mostly government legislation went through, didn't seem to make much difference to the House of Lords what vote the government party had got at the previous General Election.

When a party is in power it does have the advantages of being able to set the timetable, to if it has a will force an agenda - policies passed through and implimented successfully could lead a government coming into power on only 35% of the vote or so winning support for previously rejected policies and sweeping in again but the next time on a landslide with maybe 45% of the vote.

The problem with the Conservative Party leadership is that it is light on actual substance and puts short term PR over actually developing a coherent philosophy and policy framework for government, a government that takes difficult and unpopular decisions and is shown to be right has better longer term prospects than one that simply trys to impliment what focus groups suggest is of short term concern to the electorate.

People respond well to parties that have a clear direction and show that they are keen to solve problems and govern in the national interest rather than simply focusing on using the state apparatus to favour special interest groups.

National Security, Defence, fighting crime and investing in R&D and strengthening the transport infrastructure, utilities and communications, deregulating the labour market and abandoning any concepts of using the state to attempt to even income differences are by far the most important things to achieve long term economic growth and everything else is of secondary importance.

It'd help if everyone read the actual poll results. The latest poll from Communicate Research shows topline figures but these figures conceal reality. It’s a real can of worms and the newspaper – as do all newspapers – goes for the spin rather than the truth which IS in the poll itself.

The ACTUAL figures which include those intending to vote but either refusing to say for whom, or intending to vote but don’t yet know for whom (totalling 22%) are below

(Base intending or likely to vote)
Conservative 28%
Labour 21%
LibDem 17%
Others 13%
Refused to say who preferred or Don’t know who preferred 22%

In addition to these are the usual Won’t vote or unlikely to vote who are 33% of the original sample. What it boils down to is that the OTHERS are 35% of the total intending to vote.

The Conservatives will not poll as much as 40% in May's local elections in their actual vote

Bradford Council

Bradford % Poll

What it boils down to is that the OTHERS are 35% of the total intending to vote.
No, because those refusing to say or don't know will include large numbers of those who are considering between the 3 main parties - the actual likely preference of the don't knows and refused to say is unknown and could include those who support a party but are reluctant to say it, or perhaps are torn between 2 or more parties - maybe people people not sure whether to go for UKIP or Conservative, or Conservative and Labour, or Labour and Liberal Democrat or maybe even all 3 main parties and the Greens, I rather suspect both a lot of people wavering between Labour and Liberal Democrat or Labour and not voting on the one hand, and between Conservative and not voting and between Conservative and UKIP on the other.

We really need to be scoring 40%+ and really need to understand the reasons why not. I personally think it's lack of choice. In the public eye there is not a lot of difference between NuLab and the Conservatives. The challenge is to show that there is....

ICM Poll figures just out
Con 37 -4
Lab 30 -1
Lib 21 +3
Oth 12 +2

The Libdems certainly seem to be showing signs of a recovery don't they.....

"The Libdems certainly seem to be showing signs of a recovery don't they"

Probably because Ming's been out of the public eye.

CR is poor, ICM is bad... for all but the LibDems... which makes it worse.

Good news. I think the opposition have to take a small part of the credit for Labour's poorer showing recently. Effective opposition is as much about attacking the record of the government as promoting your position, in-fact the two should jive nicely together. The Conservatives, as Blair conceded this week, are at last effective in opposition, and (I would like to add) he has a dammed cheek accusing us of being policy light. His government are in power now, today, and are doing nothing creative or positive to improve the lot of British people, are going to get kicking in Scotland – threatening the Union, a kicking in England locals and are blundering from one ill conceived reform, ban, criminalising act, cut or re-organisation be it Health, Tax, Economy, Education or Defence.

As for the Lib-Dems: out-of-date, irrelevant and essentially pointless. This shower harbour the lofty ambitions of wooing a disaffected Labour vote, many of whom are really disaffected Tories we lost to New Labour years ago, but are now very close to by-passing Lib-Dems entirely on the route to us.

No, Project Cameron does have a long way to go, but considering the depths we plunged to, I believe it’s on track, and doing remarkably well.

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