Monday, March 19, 2007

Tories On Course for Clear Majority Says New Poll

An ICM Poll in tomorrow's Guardian puts the Conservatives on 41%, Labour unchanged on 31% and the Liberal Democrats down one at 18%. This is the Conservatives best ICM poll since August 1992. If you type these figures into Electoral Calculus you get a Tory majority of 74! Con 362, Lab 239, Lib 18.

When asked which party they would support in a contest between Mr Brown, Mr Cameron and Sir Menzies Campbell, Tory support rises by two points to 43%, while Labour’s drops by three to 28% - a 15-point gap. The Lib Dems remain on 18%. When you type these figures into Electoral Calculus you get a Tory majority of 180! Well, we can but dream.

As Peter Snow would say, 'Just a bit of fun!' But seriously, every single poll in the last month has shown the Conservatives heading for government. The big question is: how will the advent of Gordon Brown affect things?

Full writeup of the poll on Guardian Online HERE.

51 comments:

Tony said...

I'm not getting carried away by it, but it is good news and suggests we are attracting support from the target areas. There is still a long way to go.

Labour's move to the left post-Blair may not be quite a lurch, but it is likely to be pronounced and people are remembering what that will mean.

Anonymous said...

There's one other factor which no one seems to be taking into account and which I believe may affect how much current polls reflect real voting intentions.

For the first time ever, I've been giving tactical answers to the poll I take part in on a regular basis. Why? Because I'm angry with all politicians. They lie and bamboozle the electorate, so I'm creative with my survey replies. A friend of mine tells me she's equally angry and doing exactly the same. I wonder if we're the only ones?

Auntie Flo'

David Anthony said...

How will the advent of Tory policies affect things? This is the real question.

I'm guessing Cameron will be aiming for a 'thin' manifesto like Thatcher's first win.

GM said...

How will the advent of Brown affect things you ask? Not as negatively as everyone thinks, would be my guess, but then, you've been engaging in your own bit of mischief-making on 'comment is free' haven't you Iain? I enjoyed your article, but for all your implicit charge of a lack of cowardice, I don't think Miliband will take the bait, do you?

LordHawHaw said...

I dont know what's more encouraging about this. The fab lead or the favourable coverage in ConHome!

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

A 10 point lead and a 74 seat majority? - it must be time for some more boundary changes - that will soon stop those pesky Tories undermining democracy in this way.

Marquee Mark said...

gm,

How will the advent of Brown affect things you ask? Not as negatively as everyone thinks, would be my guess

Not sure I agree. The final departure of Blair is going to be accompanied by a massive amount of retrospective stuff filling the media. I think that will have the effect of reminding people how high their hopes were for him in 1997 - and how far removed from those hopes the actual delivery has been.

It will be a dreadful background for Brown to start his premiership in - because he will be there in shot with Blair for those ten years of disappointment. It will be like the Tories having a hundred PPB's. Wouldn't be surprised to see the Tories get a bounce, not Brown.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

....perhaps we should have MPs ONLY from Scotland in the future, the English obviously can't be trusted with the future anymore.

morrocanroll said...

yAmazing. Why, then did we have a big puff piece from Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer and from Matthew d'ancona in the Sunday telegraph?

Where is this Brown support coming from?

Brown has successfully claimed status as the money man for the last 10 years, and that means he is equally being blamed for the massively increased tax take.

And Broonites, consider this. Everybody who has moved house in the last six-seven years is carrying a massive chunk of stamp duty. I know that 12k of my mortgage is Brown's fault. That and the destruction of Europe's finest private pensions system.

Blair has floated above all this because he's seen as the broad-brush vision man. Brown is, rightly, seen as the executioner on the domestic front.

I ask the commentariat, why do you think Brown will have the ghost of a chance as PM?

Anonymous said...

If Brown can stay away from the image consultants I think he would be an appealing alternative to the Blair-lite Cameron.

Scary Biscuits said...

The great thing about these polls is that they're before a number of things yet to fully sink in:

1. Yates of the Yard gets his teeth into Tony's top team. Although for some people it will just remind them of how sleazy the Tories are it's bound to hurt Labour more.

2. The next and subsequent budgets are likely to the toughest since Labour came to power, meaning that any problems in the NHS etc. that haven't already been solved by limitless money are unlikely to be solved now.

3. The housing depression in the states is likely to infect us too.

4. Brown has a deeply insecure character - as evidenced by his vengeful and vindictive nature. This character flaw will become more apparent as people see more of him and can only harm his poll ratings further.

5. Iraq looks unlikely to get better anytime soon, further draging on Labour's popularity whether Brown withdraws or stays.

All in all, this must make a pretty depressing picture for Labour MPs. How long before they start to fear losing their seats more than they fear Brown's ire?

Labour's strength - the small number of ministers that have resigned over policy in the last 10 years is now it's weakness: with the loss of Robin Cook, they have nobody of any stature who is not totally associated with the current regime.

Don't count Florida said...

Ummm... However you look at these numbers the best you can get is a Tory majority of 8, certainly not 74.

I like the positive thinking, Iain, but I think you might need a little top-up course in electoral maths.

I get:
Conservatives 329
Labour 251
LD 39
Other 31

no longer anonymous said...

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Scary Biscuits said...

Moroccan roll,

Why, then did we have a big puff piece from Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer and from Matthew d'ancona in the Sunday telegraph?

The reason for these puff pieces is quite simply: corruption.

It goes like this: the government uses taxpayer's money to employ PR spivs in "Government relations". These spivs have access to privileged information denied even to MPs plus budgets to 'create' more information. This information, worth more than cash to many journalists, is given only to newspaper journalists who write nice things about their political masters. They therefore enter into a corrupt bargainwith the government.

Whilst this sort of thing is entirely legal in the US (see the West Wing) and much of Europe, it is illegal here. See the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889-1916. I'm still waiting for some specific information that would enable a prosecution, so if anybody has some, please get in touch.

Anonymous said...

It is pure political fantasy to imagine that anyone other than Brown could succeed Blair.

Can you imagine the anger and bitterness of the Brownites and many others within the Labour party if he were to be denied. If, say, David Miliband were to stand and win, what role could be offered and accepted by Brown in a new Miliband cabinet - none!!!

The Labour party would be riven for maybe a decade or more to come. Similar to the SDP breakaway in the early 80's.

Jack said...

Don't count florida...

Your calculation is on the standard opinion poll, Iain's was slightly misleadingly based on the party leader figures of Cameron 43, Brown 28, Campbell 18. In fact on the spreadsheet I use, that's a Conservative majority of 108, but it doesn't mean much.

Still, the straight poll is good enough!

Iain Dale said...

Rubbish. My calculation for 74 was based on the headline figures. Do you not read what I write? The Brown stuff was the 180 figure.

david kendrick said...

Iain, it seems that you are part of the media that is explaining how poor GB will be. A risky stratagey, as lowering expectations can only be good for GB.

His party ratings can't go much lower. If there were no decline when GB takes over from the most successful politician in labour history, how can that be bad?

Scary Biscuits said...

David kendrick said...
Iain, it seems that you are part of the media that is explaining how poor GB will be. A risky stratagey, as lowering expectations can only be good for GB.

Lowering expectations can be risky both ways. The upside is that you look good by comparison. The downside is that you create a self-fulfilling prophesy. My money's on the latter for Brown.

The Empty Suit said...

Given the amount of bad debt in the global economy and the excessively high of asset prices against long-term trends, I do wonder if this will be another 1992 - a good election to lose. If/when it all goes up in a puff of smoke and the economy does go bad, house prices fall, unemployment rises and all of the attendant unpleasantness comes out, whichever party is in power will have hard time blaming the other lot.

Simon said...

It seems as though even after the boundary changes (the EC system seems to take them into account), there is still a Labour bias in constituencies. Those percentages give a Tory majority of 74, but if you reverse them a Labour one would be 136...

Not that I'm bitching :) - a very encouraging poll.

Newmania said...

Good good good . What I do nnot understand is how numbers of seats can be extrapolated from this sort of Poll, though. We know that there are mountainous majorities in the South and unwinnable seats in the North Scotland and Wales.
There is the posibility, it seems to me, of having a government that is elected by significantly less people than vote for the opposition Party . I believe this has happened several times before but this time it could be a lot worse

This would further pressurre on the Scottish problem not to say the Welsh. The Conservative Party are i assume aware of this or they would not be so keen to appear Liberal and tax neutral.

I have rad that you are more likely to get run over on the way tio the polling station than have your vote make any difference and it comes down to 800,000 people.

In thie context I wonder how meaningful these figures are welcom though they well be

Anonymous said...

"type these figures into Electoral Calculus you get a Tory majority of 74!"

Garbage in to the garbage can and you gets garbage out m'boy!

Hardatwork said...

"Anonymous said...
If Brown can stay away from the image consultants I think he would be an appealing alternative to the Blair-lite Cameron. "

Crikey...if he manages to look like the illest man ever WITH image consultants...what could we expect otherwise? The b*stard son of Frankenstein?

Richard Dale said...

I don't know what other people are using, but I put the same figures into Electoral Calculus and found the same result as Iain.

"Garbage in to the garbage can and you gets garbage out m'boy!"

Just for once I would actualy like to see the left-wing, anonymous idots disappoint me. How often have I pointed out that they have no actual argument, they just like to hint that they can think and that those thougts lead them to conclude that someone is wrong. They are not bright enough to get away with it though, and come up with inanities.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful news.

Now we have a realistic prospect - the first in many years - of being bullied, harangued and patronised by lying Tory Illuminati crims instead of lying New Lab Illuminati crims. Wow.

Plus ca change...

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eddie said...

The important thing to remember is that the chances of the LDs being reduced to 18 seats is almost zero. Ming may be bad, but uniform national swing doesn't seem to apply to them. What they lose to the Tories they are sure to make up to Labour. If the LDs drop below 50 MPs I will be very surprised. A good result will be to hold their position so they cannot be ignored in the inevitable jostle for the crown.

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The Ludingtonian said...

What I do nnot understand is how numbers of seats can be extrapolated from this sort of Poll, though. We know that there are mountainous majorities in the South and unwinnable seats in the North Scotland and Wales.

Precisely what I was wondering myself. How do poll percentages translate into seats?

I assume it's some sort elegant mathematics, too complicated for my poor old head.

Roger Thornhill said...

AFAICT, with Gorgon Brown in, the election is for Cameron to lose, nothing more nothing less.

...but would it just remove Brown and return us to NewBlairbour?

"NeueArbeit Macht Frei"

Jorgen said...

Then once they're elected we can ditch Cameron and put the Libertarian Alliance in charge.

But that is the problem: if we win, we are stuck with Cameron!

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The Remittance Man said...

Mr Ludingtonian,

I pondered this question too. Eventually I figured they must have a list of the results of the last election, constituency by constituency. They would also have the poll of poll numbers from the same time and probably have some really clever algorythm that links the two.

Then assuming that poll results are uniform across the country they apply the new figures somehow to the previous numbers and see who wou win this time.

I'm sure it's a bit more complex than that, but that's how a dumbass mining engineer would go about it.

Still, one has to remember, like a lot of simulation done on computers it's all bollocks really. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.

The Remittance Man said...

Alternatively they use the swing figures. Eg: If tories up 10% and Labour down 12 and Lib dems up 1, what would happen in Little Poddlington East?

Repeat for every constiuency in the land and see who your fantasy Prime Minister will be.

Sorry, I'm having a boring day at work. Pondering how to create my own electoral predictor has suddenly become a lot more entertaining.

Tony said...

Anonymous said...
If Brown can stay away from the image consultants I think he would be an appealing alternative to the Blair-lite Cameron.
9:43 PM
-----------
If anyone thinks Brown is appealing in any way, considering his tax and spend record and silence on policy he supposedly opposes, then they deserve all they get.

When the Tories put their policies on the table and focus on the key areas where Labour has catagorically failed, I can see support for Cameron growing.

Anonymous said...

"The big question is: how will the advent of Gordon Brown affect things?"

Seems to me that if Gordon Brown is a Stalinist, there might not be another general election.

Scary Biscuits said...

eddie said...
The important thing to remember is that the chances of the LDs being reduced to 18 seats is almost zero. Ming may be bad, but uniform national swing doesn't seem to apply to them.

Presumably you're not counting the last election when the uniform swing (if split into north and south versions) very much applied to them.

After the last election, in the south, the Libs are hanging on by their fingertips to the majority of their seats and all of these seats can be expected to change to the Tories as a result of (a) Cameron's charm offensive and (b) less political voters finally waking up to the fact that the Liberals are more left wing than Labour.

In the north, the swing at the last election was still away from the Tories if anything (due to Michael Howard) and from Labour to Liberals as a result of Iraq. In the next election there is likely to be a swing to the Tories across the country, even in Scotland, and good local campaigning by LibDems is likely to make even less difference that it did last time. They are likely to pick up some northern seats from Labour but the margins are such that this will not be anything like as many as they will lose to the Tories.

My prediction, based on polls since the election, is that their net loss will be between one half and two thirds of their current sixty odd seats. Most LibDems agree with me btw; this is why they were so keen to get rid of Charlie as they recognised that his neither-one-thing-nor-the-other chatshow strategy had run its course. Alas for them they ended up with Ming.

Ralph said...

Eddie,

The Lib Dems should be looking at gaining seats at the next election. It doesn't say much for your party if you can't win seats with Labour becoming more and more unpopular.

Don't count Florida,

Still even with a weighted electoral system the Tories are still majority territory using either Anthony Wells’ or Electoral Calculus’ models.

eddie said...

Presumably you're not counting the last election when the uniform swing (if split into north and south versions) very much applied to them.

You will note I used the word national swing. Besides, that all depends on what definition of "north" and "south" you are using. I recall the Lib Dems doing pretty well in the South West at the last election.

I don't know what LDs you're talking to, but I have certainly never heard such predictions of doom and gloom that they could be down to 20 MPs at the next election.

The Ludingtonian said...

Mr. Remittance Man -

Thanks for the explanation. That makes sense now.

The Remittance Man said...

Mr Ludlingtonian,

The pleasure's all mine.

By the way does anyone know where I can find all the results of the last election? Preferably in Excel format.

Now I've started thinking about this i've decided it's far more interesting than what I'm supposed to be doing. Especially when what I am supposed to be doing is bollocks of the first order and emenated from Head Office.

David Lindsay said...

Don't believe a word of it. It is psephologically impossible for the Tories to win the next Election, the swings involved being off the chart of reasonable possibility.

Why are you siding with The Guardian, which now might as well be called The Cameron, since (without changing one jot of its editorial position) it is the nearest thing to a fanzine among the national newspapers, and contains nothing of the critical approach found in The Daily Telegraph or The Daily Mail? And why do you want the same outcome as Tony Blair wants, and for which he is undoubtedly going to vote in the privacy of a polling booth?

In any case, the aim of opinion polls is not to measure public opinion, but to influence it. In this case, it is to influence it in favour of making Labour feel compelled to choose an Oxonian Leader instead of Gordon Brown. PMs are allowed to have an Oxford degree, or no degree: that is The Rule. And Brown falls into neither category.

Anyone who really does think that polls are there to measure public opinion should have stopped paying attention to them 15 years ago, when they mis-predicted the 1992 General Election by more people than there were living in the United Kingdom at the time, or whatever it was.

This latest one, like all of them these days, has had to be recalculated to exclude the constant 34-37% that says, not that it "doesn't know", but rather that it is determined not to vote next time. What if, between now and then, a movement were to arise which was capable of taking even half of those missing votes?

And where was this polling actually conducted? No doubt in the South-East, where the Tories already hold most of the seats anyway, having re-captured most of their 1997 losses there. A fat lot of good that has done them. Meanwhile, they are in a worse state than ever in Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands, where their loss of first many and then most of their seats first nearly and then actually cost them office in 1992 and 1997 respectively; and in the West Country, where their battle against the Liberals makes the difference between a majority Government and a hung Parliament at every General Election.

But will anyone have been polled in Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands or the West Country? No, of course not!

Umbongo said...

I think we need Al Gore to explain the electoral statistics. His explanation would be acceptable to Cameron and Brown. Anyone who disagreed could be safely ignored or abused as a "poll denier".

Anonymous said...

Richard Dale.

I am not left wing by any sense of the imagination.

Electoral Calculus is an intereting but pretty useless site in terms of predicting specific seats - see Iain Dale's own result last time out for one! It is a comfort-blanket for those who wish to avoid intelligent thought and detailed analysis - and for any Conservative to take any store by it is really a boon for Gordy Broon.

Similarly, no serious politician trusts mid-term polls to mean anything at all. Look for all sorts of things within polls, but do not (which ever side you're on)extrapolate from them unless you want to be seen to be an idiot.

So - electoral calculus is a garbage-handler. Garbage in, garbage out.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

David Lindsay said:
And where was this polling actually conducted? No doubt in the South-East, where the Tories already hold most of the seats anyway...

Most polls these days seem to be conducted by phone call.
Which means they are not random since they exclude people who
1.who have no fixed line phone
2.monitor incoming calls for "sales calls"
3.have teenage children
4.always on the phone themselves
5.don't speak English
6.ex-directory?
7.have joined that "no sales calls" scheme?

not sure about the last two, but its strange how little methodology about how such polls are conducted is published these days.

(A topic for a TV prog Iain? - how phone polls are conducted)

Anonymous said...

The Cons need Millie as leader.He's about the one person who could make Dave look good.
Did electoral reform send out the ballot papers as well as doing the count?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, you know tha tthe elctoral calculus website works on national uniform swings and takes no account of other factors. If we were to believe electoral calculus, you'd be MP for North Norfolk instead of having come 10606 votes behind.

Iain Dale said...

Thanks Nich, needed to be reminded!

I don't take the Electoral Calculus figures totally seriously as my post made clear.

Even I would think it highly unlikely that the LibDems are reduced to only 18 seats!

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