There is a bizarre new ComRes poll reported tonight which shows the Conservatives down a whopping 15% to just 30%:
Conservative 30% (down 15%)
Labour 22% (down 4%)
Lib Dem 19% (up 1%)
This is completely out of kilter with other recent polls as far as the Conservative share goes and usually that suggests a rogue poll. However, as some say, one person’s “rogue” is another’s “start of a trend”. We will have to see what the next few polls say and what happens on Thursday.
UPDATE: Mike Smithson at Political Betting has an explanation for these strange figures. Also please note that the changes I showed are from the Indie Poll last month. However on the more usual way i show changes (from the last poll of that organisation), the Conservatives are down 10% rather than 15% – still a huge difference from other polls.
The tie-up between the Ulster Unionist Party and the Conservative Party has been much derided by the Democratic Unionist Party. However, (hat tip to Slugger O’Toole) tonight the DUP has lost two Councillors to the “new force”. Cllr Harry Greenaway (Dungannon & South Tyrone) has joined the UUP and Cllr Deirdre Nelson (Ballymena) has joined the Conservative Party.
This will be a welcome addition to the combined Ulster Conservatives and Unionists when until recently all the traffic had seemed to be in the other direction.
There is a new Westminster MORI poll reported tonight which shows both Labour and the Lib Dems tied on 18% and the Conservatives holding a huge 22% lead:
Conservative 40% (down 1%)
Labour 18% (down 10%)
Lib Dem 18% (down 4%)
SNP & PC 4%
This is an unprecedented low for one of the two big parties and indicates that Labour are heading for a drubbing in the County and Euro elections on Thursday. MORI has a history of being somewhat erratic in their findings but these ratings would lead to a Conservative majority of 192 and 421 seats, according to Electoral Calculus. Labour would have just 141 seats and the Lib Dems 51. Outside of London, Labour would be left with just one seat (Bristol South) south of a line drawn from the Wash to the Severn River. They would also be almost annihilated in the Midlands.
There are now two questions in my mind:
- How low can Labour go in a major opinion poll? All bets must be off now.
- How long can Gordon Brown survive? I wouldn’t be surprised now if there was a major move to get rid of him next week after the election results are known.
Whilst the focus recently has been on the European elections on 4th June it should not be forgotten that many parts of England also face local elections for their county councils. Here in Berkshire we have an all-Unitary system, so the Euro’s are the only elections for us and I have already completed and posted my two-foot long ballot paper.
The Times has been running a number of articles looking ahead to Thursday and the likely results. It suggests that due to public anger over the expenses saga turnout could be higher than originally thought.
In the local elections Labour are defending four County Councils: Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. All are expected to fall to either No Overall Control or to a resurgent Conservative Party. This matters because those Counties contain numerous Lab / Con marginal seats and the loss of Labour Councillors will damage the activist base for the Labour Parliamentary candidates. In the South West the Lib Dems are also vulnerable to the Conservatives in Devon and Somerset, and Cornwall will be holding its first elections as a Unitary Council. Overall there are 27 Counties holding elections and seven Unitaries. There are also directly elected Mayors in Hartlepool, Doncaster and North Tynside. In seat terms, The Times suggests that Labour will lose up to half of the 493 seats it is defending and the Conservative will gain at least 200. However, Rallings & Thrasher, the local Government experts, suggest that to be on course to win the General Election the Conservatives need to win at least an additional 250 seats. The Lib Dems are predicted to be plus or minus about 50. I think this is realistic. The BNP will probably also win a handful of seats in Essex.
In the European elections The Times suggests that the Conservatives are set to increase the number of seats they hold by three or four on top of the 27 they won in 2004, and that is despite a cut in the number of UK seats from 78 to 72. The paper suggests that UKIP could come second, adding to the 12 seats it won last time. Labour could lose up to six of the 19 seats it currently hold and the Lib Dems could come fourth in seat terms, losing several of the 12 they won last time. The Times suggests the Greens will pick up a couple of seats and the BNP will see its leader Nick Griffin elected in the North West region. Personally I do not expect to see UKIP increase its seats and think a reduction is more likely.
Contrary to what The Times suggests, we in Reading have not been at all shy about canvassing in the current political climate. I have been out on several sessions and generally been welcomed on the doorsteps both in my ward and elsewhere. As I indicated in an earlier article, I have been surprised at the almost complete lack of any Labour activity on the streets.
What do you think? Will the Times’ predictions prove accurate?
There is a new Westminster YouGov poll in today’s Daily Telegraph which shows both Labour and the Lib Dems down slightly and the Conservatives unchanged:
Conservative 39% (no change)
Labour 22% (down 1%)
Lib Dem 18% (down 1%)
This is basically no change on the last poll and is interesting that the Conservative share is holding up at about 40% +/- 1 or 2% in each poll, while Labour are in the low 20% and the Lib Dems are polling greatly different amounts with different organisations.