Goodbye secure Tory poll lead, I hardly knew ye

A couple of days ago YouGov published the first set of results of their massive Multilevel Regression with Poststratification poll. This was big news, as the equivalent from the last election in 2017 was one of only two polls that came close to the final result. (The other was a conventional poll by Survation.) The YouGov MRP results showed the responses of the hundred thousand strong panel as of 27th November. If this election were a game of The Weakest Link, that would have been the point at which the Tories said “Bank”. The results suggested a sea of red seats turning blue. (Note for American readers: your colour conventions for parties are wrong. Wrong like the spelling “color”.) As ever, though, a poll is a snapshot not a prediction.

There is no bank. Today’s poll from BMG showed the steepest absolute rise for Labour – five percentage points compared to BMG’s last poll – that I have seen so far in this election, and add to that a decline of two percentage points for the Conservatives. Net change -7, giving Con 39%, Lab 33%. One might argue – Tories might pray – that it ain’t as bad as it looks because it was quite a while since the last BMG poll. Or perhaps it is just one of those spasms that all polls are subject to, poor lambs. But however you spin it, a Conservative lead in vote share as small as six points almost certainly means no Tory majority, which means a coalition between Labour and one or more of the other parties, which means a second referendum, which means, given Labour’s plan to allow foreigners the vote, no Brexit.

When the YouGov MRP came out some Conservative campaigners had been saying that they wished it had been tighter, as such a thumping great lead would make their side complacent. They have their wish now.

I assume from Labour being up five and the Lib Dems down five that we are seeing a straight tactical transfer of voting intention from the latter to the former. The Remain vote is consolidating just as the Leave vote did before it.

Updated: 30th November 2019 — 9:04 pm


  1. If the Labour rise is due to siphoning off the LibDem vote, it’s not that bad: it just shows that lots of Remainers don’t mind a Nazi PM, as long as they can stay in the Fourth Reich… actually, that sounds pretty bad!

    As for colo(u)rs, Americans get related things wrong; and not just wrong, but upside down: calling totalitarians “liberals” and calling the party of the ruling class “the Left”. Both bad habits, unfortunately, are spreading to Europe.

  2. Natalie — Thank you for your spot-on comment about the mis-use of colors in US politics. As if no-one remembers the USSR’s Red Army, or Red China, or The Scarlet Banner!

    The history of that abomination is quite interesting. Not so long ago, the media flipped the colors on the maps they display of vote results, using Red — the Communist/Socialist color — for the Republican Party. The Far Leftists in the media knew exactly what they were doing.

    The surprising part is that so many of the nominal Republicans went along with the travesty — setting up websites like “Redstate” and such like. Four legs good, two legs better — apparently a lot of people who think of themselves as Republicans are extremely susceptible to peer pressure. Even President Trump uses red as the color for MAGA hats.

    Of course, Republicans who are high in the Party structure may talk differently from Democrats, but functionally their actions are quite similar. Rather analogous to Tory & Labour, eh?

    Perhaps the lesson from the color war is that one should never under-estimate the power of the media — and than may be a lesson for disconsolate believers in a genuine Brexit.

  3. Gavin’s comment prompts me to expand on the theme of official colors.

    First, it seems that sport teams wearing red tend to do better, though nobody has figured out why (afaik).
    (IIRC it is also the case that teams wearing black tend to be more rough in their play.)

    Second, there is the fact that red is also the color of the Royal Family. They are not Commies, are they??

    Speaking for myself, i have been advised to wear red, to compensate for my fair skin and hair (the latter now mostly gone). But i prefer to wear black, or dark green.

  4. The Blue/Red thing only came about in 2000 – before that, both major parties used red, white, and blue as much as possible. In 2000, several TV networks used red and blue on maps to indicate which party had won each state, but some had blue/red for Democrat/Republican, while others had it the other way.

    My own theory is that since “red” and “Republican” both start with the same letter, it just caught on better. We Americans like our alliteration when we can get it.

  5. Polls are up and down–even assuming it isn’t fixed as most are to some degree.

    Even if true it seems remarkable that a load of well-off remainiacs want Jizz’s dirty fingernails in their prosperous hides from day one. Of course he has announced one third of their London commute to be paid for by poorer parts of the UK. All uncosted and on the spur of the moment of course.

    However they are foolish to imagine Jizz will keep faith with them. After all has he not announced shite loads of Nationalisation plans his EU masters won’t let him do?

    If he stays in the EU of course–should power come his way.

    The remainiacs are scum and pigshite thick in many cases. But even they should realise that Jizz and the gang–having already betrayed their former voters–have no reason to suck remains’ dick after Marxism has the power it seeks and will promise anything for.

  6. We just like the symbology.

    Red-blooded Americans versus blue-blood fop Progressives.

  7. Mr Ecks writes, “All uncosted and on the spur of the moment of course.”

    Though nothing else was on the scale of his suddenly discovered moral obligation to pay the WASPI women £58 billion, Mr Corbyn has been making so many obviously opportunistic promises that even left-wing people are beginning to laugh at him. There was the promise to give football supporters a say over their club’s choice of manager that I posted about on Samizdata yesterday, and today we hear that he will give up Chequers to the homeless if he comes to power. (For the benefit of readers from abroad, Chequers is not the boardgame, it is the prime minister’s official country residence where he or she hosts meetings and summits.) I hope I am right in thinking that each new promise from Corbyn decreases public belief that he will keep any of them.

  8. My winged pony will be called Emily and have feathers made of lightening.

    Frak you Boris Johnson……

  9. Chequers is a public trust so he is fucking lying about that. As he is about everything. Visiting the homeless on Xmas day–the 23rd of December. And watching the Queens Speech every Christmas Day morning.

    He is a bigger and more compulsive liar than even Bliar himself.

  10. Mr Ecks (5th December 2019 at 3:27 am), while I am the last person to question Mr Corbyn’s dishonesty, he could presumably retain state ownership of Chequers (he’s keen on the state owning things – all things) while removing all security and allowing any homeless (or others) so inclined to squat there without interference.

    Kind of a metaphor for how he’d treat the UK as a whole.

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