Two new polls out tonight suggest strong public support for the new Conservative / Lib Dem coalition government. Of course it is early days but the new Government seems to have got off to an impressive start.
A new ComRes poll for BBC Daily Politics shows:
- Reducing budget deficit – 60% to 29% say they expect the new government to be effective
- Cleaning up politics – 54% to 36% say new government will be effective
- However, people are less optimistic on improving NHS – 45% to 43% say will be ineffective
- And an even split on reducing crime – 45% say effective and the same percentage say ineffective
Analysis of the results by voting behaviour last week shows that:
- Conservative voters are the most optimistic about each measure, followed by Lib Dems and then Labour voters
- Labour voters are, overall, pessimistic about the new government’s effectiveness at reducing crime, improving the NHS and cleaning up politics
On whether the coalition is good or bad for Britain:
- 44% say good, 21% say bad and 28% say will make no difference
- Again it is last week’s Labour voters who are the most negative – 45% of them say it’ll be bad, 24% good compared to 65% of Tory voters and 58% of Lib Dems who say good and only 11% and 17% respectively who say bad.
60% Approve of the coalition government with only 33% disagreeing. 87% of Conservatives approve, 69% of Lib Dems and 25% of Labour voters.
I was shocked today to hear the news that East Ham MP Stephen Timms was today stabbed during his constituency surgery. Apparently a 21 year old woman stabbed him in the abdomen whilst attending the surgery purporting to be seeking the MP’s assistance. It is a fear that has stalked MPs since the former Cheltenham MP Nigel Jones was attacked with a sword during a constituency surgery. Sadly during that incident his constituency assistant was killed.
It is unfortunately the way of the world that politicians at all levels sometimes attract those whose sanity could be questioned. Fortunately events such as today’s and that in Cheltenham are very rare. However, precautions have to be taken and no MP or Councillor should be in a position of meeting unknown members of the public alone. Many MPs have switched to appointment only surgeries but by and large Councillors still operate open surgeries. The difference is that most Councillor surgeries are conducted with two or three Councillors present.
I am sure all readers will join with me in sending Stephen Timms very best wishes for a swift recovery.
It is often said that our current electoral system causes people to feel that their vote is wasted in safe seats and that turnout is higher in marginal seats. I thought it might be interesting to have a look at turnout in Reading Borough wards in the local elections. The following was the turnout by ward, from highest to lowest:
Thames – 78.1% (Safe Conservative)
Peppard – 74.6% (Safe Conservative)
Tilehurst – 67.5% (Lib Dem/Conservative marginal)
Caversham – 67.2% (Safe Conservative)
Park – 66.3% (Three way Green/Labour/Conservative marginal)
Southcote – 65.3% (Labour/Conservative marginal)
Kentwood – 64.5% (Safe Conservative)
Minster – 61.9% (Labour/Conservative marginal)
Norcot – 60.9% (Safe Labour)
Redlands – 59.4% (Reasonably safe Lib Dem)
Battle – 56.2% (Safe Labour)
Church – 54.7% (Conservative/Labour marginal)
Katesgrove – 54.4% (Lib Dem/Labour marginal)
Whitley – 53.9% (Safe Labour)
Abbey – 53.5% (Labour/Conservative marginal)
I considered the results over the last three local elections to assess how marginal a ward could be considered. It is notable that there appears to be little correlation between turnout and marginality. There is a better (but not absolute) correlation between the political complexion of wards, with the top two being Conservative and the bottom two Labour held.
Overall I don’t think much can be concluded and certainly it is not the case that a marginal always produces a higher turnout.