Workington Agonistes

“Workington” sounds like a name made up for a novel. But it is a real place, a small town in Cumbria that used to have a coal mine and now has the questionable fortune to have become for the 2019 election what Basildon was in 1992 or Nuneaton was in 2015.

Damian Lyons Lowe of the polling company Survation tweets,

On behalf of Simon Walters at Daily Mail, we have polled the seat many in the media have described as a “must win” in this election as an indicator for Conservative fortunes in parts of the north of England – Workington in Cumbria.

The results were: Conservatives 45% (+3), Labour 34% (-17), Brexit Party 13% (+13), Liberal Democrats 5% (-2), Green Party 2% (+2). The figures in brackets are changes since the 2017 general election.

It is only one poll, but the results indicate that, as suggested in the previous post, the Brexit party running in most or all seats may not harm the Conservatives as much as it would seem at first sight. In fact the presence of the Brexit Party in the contest could indirectly benefit the Conservatives by taking more votes from Labour than from them.

Interesting as the electoral horse race always is, let us not forget that this (potential) change in voting patterns is also a change in how people see themselves.

The Daily Mail produced this graphic of some of the questions asked in the Survation poll. Take a look at the answers to Q5:

Regardless of your current voting intention, if you change your mind before Dec 12, which other party would you consider voting for?

We see the old certitudes dissolve before our eyes.

Or maybe we don’t. Never forget that for the first few days after Theresa May called the election in 2017 that ended with her losing her majority, her already high polling figures rose yet further. Nor did the Tory vote share ever drop very far during the entire campaign – the trouble was, Labour’s rose sharply.

Updated: 2nd November 2019 — 5:59 pm


  1. Typo — Labour in the graphic you linked to was 34% rather than the amazing 3%.

    [Now corrected. Thank you for pointing out the error – Ed.]

  2. As Hillary Clinton could tell us, polling has many problems. Trying to understand the numbers, both for now and for the 2017 General Election, they each add up to 100%. Implication is that one of the prior questions was:
    — Did you vote in the 2017 election?

    We know intuitively that 100% of the population of Workington did not vote in the 2017 election. Thus, this poll excludes the possibility that some people who were apathetic last time might be motivated this time.

    If the pollsters further winnowed down the sample by also asking those who voted in 2017 if they intended to vote this time, then the reliability of the sample becomes even more difficult to assess.

    Fascinating number is that 27% of the people who intend to vote did not know what was the best Brexit policy — this after 3 years of non-stop coverage and discussion!

    Other fascinating numbers were that while 45% of the sample listed Brexit as the main issue in the election, 31% chose “Other” (not NHS, immigration, economy) as the main issue. Implication is that there are major issues out there which weigh on the minds of the people but are completely off the radar of Westminster political junkies.

  3. Let’s hope the magic grandpa act won’t work twice for Corbyn.

  4. The Conservatives are fully aligned with an ever expanding state; financed by more borrowing for now. They have no wish to remove the UK from the orbit of the EU, nor any wish to counter the culture of ever-increasing statism. They only seem to want to be the ones holding office for as long as possible, past when the fan starts hitting the brown stuff.

    The Labour Party are promising transformation, and they will deliver if in power, and the 12,000,000 or so who vote for them will fully merit the poverty and starvation that follows, they must know by now what and who they are voting for. I doubt that the Labour vote will fall much, even you are sufficiently stupid and/or evil to have voted Labour previously, you probably won’t mind being taken for a fool this time.

    I fear that there will be no realignment, just a slide back into 1970s-style chaos, thuggery and poverty.

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