Say what you like about Dominic Cummings, he knows how to get your attention:
Sometimes all one can say is “Read this”. It is by peer-turned-pollster Lord Ashcroft, who used to be Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, but whose relations with the Tories are no longer so friendly.
Tim Shipman, Political Editor of the Sunday Times, tweets:
Datapraxis ran 270,000 YouGov interviews through their own predictive MRP model (like the ones that predicted the last election) 10:00 PM · Nov 23, 2019
These four polls showed Tory leads over Labour of 10, 13, 13 and 19 per cent respectively. The average of the four gives a slight increase in the Conservative lead. Meanwhile Lib Dem hopes were getting bounced up and down: Deltapoll showed them up 5, but the other three were down a little or steady.
But the big news was the MRP – Multilevel regression with poststratification – poll. In the previous election YouGov’s MRP poll was one of only two (alongside a conventional poll by Survation) that did well. This one is slightly different, in that YouGov’s data has been used, but the MRP model is not their own but that of an outfit called Datapraxis.
Polls do not foretell the future. Things could still change. They did in 2017. But this is a blow to Labour’s hopes.
This same poll might not be so great for the personal hopes of some Conservative MPs. A subsequent tweet from Tim Shipman adds,
The Datapraxis MRP modelling predicts that 7 big beast Brexiteers are in danger of losing their seats.
Read the whole tweet to find out which MPs they are. Number 6 will worry you.
It was always clear that the “credible Leave option” that the Labour party proposes to pit against Remain in a second referendum is a fake. The plan is for Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry to get together with their EU opposite numbers and, after the least arduous negotiations imaginable, to emerge beaming with a “deal” deliberately designed to be as unattractive as possible.
But if that wasn’t enough, the Labour manifesto plans to make assurance doubly sure, as Macbeth said when deciding to murder Macduff. I quote:
We will oversee the largest extension of the franchise in generations, reducing the voting age to 16, giving full voting rights to all UK residents, making sure everyone who is entitled to vote can do so by introducing a system of automatic voter registration, and abandoning plans to introduce voter ID which has been shown to harm democratic rights.
The innocuous phrase “all UK residents” includes non-UK citizens from any country. As it says elsewhere in the manifesto, there are three million EU residents in the UK. They will get to vote on whether the UK remains in the EU. The majority by which Leave won the 2016 referendum was 1.3 million.
BXP will not be running in 317 seats where the ‘Conservative’ Party won in 2017. The pragmatic electoral arithmetic is simple to understand, but will the Tories actually seek to deliver a meaningful Brexit if they gain a working majority? I am far from convinced. But why Farage is doing this is not hard at all to grasp.
1) I am beginning to think that the best strategy for the Leave side would be for the Brexit Party and the Conservatives to make no official pact, and to continue to denounce each other vigorously, but to make a de facto pact in terms of which seats receive money and campaign volunteers from the two parties.
(EDIT 12:30, 11 Nov 2019: Whether or not that would have been the best strategy, it is now off the cards. Guido Fawkes reports, Brexit Party will Stand Down in 317 Seats the Tories Won in 2017)
2) In an effort to correct for the errors of their disastrous 2017 campaign, the Conservatives are deliberately holding back their main effort until later. This may be an overcorrection, but we’ll see. Expect the fireworks to start after the launch of the Labour manifesto. (The Conservatives’ own manifesto will be as short and uncontroversial – for which read fiscally incontinent – as possible.)
3) Talking of which, the line over which the campaign will be fought will be the words from the 2017 Labour manifesto that may or may not appear in the 2019 Labour manifesto: “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.” If these guys were to get their way the election result would be a Tory landslide. But Labour’s instinct to fudge will probably prevail.
3.5) It is sad to note that if I am right, both (2) and (3) require the Conservatives to move in an anti-Libertarian direction in order to win.
The Manchester Evening News reports:
A Parliamentary candidate who could lose out on £22,000 in taxpayer cash if she is not elected to a Trafford seat next month says it could leave her unable to pay her mortgage.
A leaked letter revealed MP Angela Smith, who is standing as the Lib Dem candidate in Altrincham and Sale West, has appealed for a change in government rules.
She could lose out on the cash if she’s unsuccessful at the General Election on December 12. She says she is ‘fighting for fairness in how MPs are treated’.
Ms Smith, who ‘hates injustice’, described her ‘horror’ at the thought of missing out on the money.
She previously served as MP for Sheffield Hillsborough, from 2005 to 2010.
Ms Smith is currently MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, having been elected to the seat in 2010.
She quit the Labour Party in February alongside six other MPs. They formed The Independent Group, later renamed Change UK.
Government rules state that if an MP loses their seat, they are paid two month’s salary in a ‘loss of office’ payment.
The cash gives former MPs time to find alternative employment and adjust to life outside Parliament.
But, because Ms Smith is standing in a different constituency to the one she currently servces, she would not be entitled to the money if she is not elected in Altrincham and Sale West.
“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.