Sunday, March 1, 2015

Month of destiny

Welcome to March - the month in which the wretched Westminster parliament of 2010-2015 will finally be dissolved.  At the stroke of dissolution, all sitting MPs will cease to be MPs - there simply won't be a parliament at all.  (A bit problematical if there's an impending nuclear war in April.  The contingency plan to reconvene parliament and force through legislation introducing powers of summary execution would be thwarted.  Oh well, the unelected Privy Council would just have to do the dirty work instead.  Isn't British democracy wonderful?)

What that means in concrete terms is that by the end of this month, the parliamentary careers of 30+ Scottish Labour and Lib Dem MPs will already have ended - if we can trust ourselves to finish the job in May.  Now there's a thought to conjure with.

There's another crucial significance to the fact we're now in March, because it was the month that marked the turning-point in the dramatic Holyrood election four years ago.  The SNP's victory in 2011 was arguably the most extraordinary comeback in the history of UK elections, so if Labour leave it any later than March to make telling inroads, we can safely say their chances of turning things around will look very slim indeed.

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The list of constituencies in which I have reports of people receiving recent calls from Populus now stands at six -

East Renfrewshire
Rutherglen & Hamilton West 
Lanark & Hamilton East
Edinburgh West
Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
Ross, Skye & Lochaber

Unfortunately, though, we can't take that as a provisional list of upcoming Ashcroft constituency polls, because it's become clear that Populus have also been conducting very extensive internal polling for Labour.  So the only ones that I can be fully confident will emerge as Ashcroft polls are Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath and Ross, Skye & Lochaber.

If you want to know definitively whether you've been interviewed for an Ashcroft poll, this is how you can tell -

1) The polling company identify themselves as Populus.

2) They ask two separate voting intention questions, with the second one inviting you to think about the candidates in your own constituency.

3) They ask how you voted in the 2010 UK general election, but NOT how you voted in the referendum or the 2011 Holyrood election.

Strangely, I've heard from a couple of people about YouGov making calls.  On the face of it, that doesn't make any sense, because YouGov are an online-only firm (unless they've branched out into telephone polling without me noticing).  I'm wondering if perhaps there's a Chinese whispers effect at play, with Populus being mistaken for YouGov.

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One of the nice things about Indiegogo is that they show you the amount of money donated by people who follow any link you post to a fundraiser.  (There's no information about individuals, I hasten to add - just an overall total.)  In the last post, I linked to three SNP constituency fundraisers - and although the number of people who followed each link was roughly the same, far more of you went on to actually donate to the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale one.  In total, Scot Goes Pop readers have so far given £285 to Emma Harper's campaign to unseat David Mundell.  It seems you're rather keen on the idea of Scotland becoming a Tory-free zone once again, and I can't say I blame you!

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At some point in her life, Stormfront Lite's resident pub bore "Carlotta Vance" was encouraged to think she was a sparkling wit, and the rest of humanity has been suffering the consequences ever since.  She posted this a few hours ago, with the marks of ellipsis helpfully indicating the points where you're supposed to be splitting your sides.

"We haven't had such an entertaining Nat since 'Comical James' defenestrated himself - goodness knows what the demands will be if the SNP do get 46 seats.....I reckon 'free Unicorns' will be back on the table......"

I presume 'Comical James' is me, in which case "defenestrated himself" is code for "he was randomly banned for no good reason, but hey, I'll just bravely lie about that, because it's not as if he has a right to reply anyway".  And "free unicorns" is presumably a reference to Scotland's crazy desire not to have weapons of mass destruction on our shores.

The 200+ countries in the world that don't possess nuclear weapons must seem like Narnia to these people.

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I was at Murrayfield yesterday to see the calamity in person.  Needless to say I'm planning to delight you with my high-quality photographs of the event (ahem), but my eyes are beginning to droop, so it'll have to wait.  Rest assured this is only a temporary reprieve.

24 comments:

  1. wee jock poo-pong mcplopMarch 1, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    4:24 am posting after getting back from the Rugger? That displays a high degree of dedication. Or too much late night coffee. In either case, thank you - we appreciate it.

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  2. was polled this morning, Kirkcaldy&Cowdenbeath, commented on prompting for the SNP

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  3. James, I believe the punctuation mark called ellipsis is generally accepted as being three dots. I dare say this may not be sacrosanct, but she can't even decide between 5 and 6, unless we are supposed to be laughing longer when she uses 6 dots.

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  4. from UK Populus poll published today - Scottish sample;

    SNP 50 LAB 23 CON 16 LD 6 UKIP 4 GRN 1.

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  5. At some stage you'd think people will realise that our "nuclear" deterrent is a political toupée that we lease from the states. The UK is like that guy, you know the one with the really "really" bad wig. Everyone knows its a wig and is struggling not to laugh.

    It would be funny and absurd were it not for the money that is squandered on it.

    I don't believe in unicorns but a lot of people in the UK do.

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  6. At what point do the Scottish samples really begin to mean what they appear to mean; a large SNP MP contingent in Westminster?

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    1. Well, the UK poll subsamples agree with Scotland-wide polls which are themselves all in broad agreement. If people do vote as they say they will, Labour will get mauled in Scotland and Scotland will finally have a decent voice in Westminster; something it has never had before.

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  7. My money is still on the final, head to head debate + inbuilt polling error knocking down the SNP's actual lead to single digits. Labour 30 - 32%, SNP 35-39%

    Then, I suppose it will be the "wretched parliament of 2015-2020" :0)

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    1. Possibly. Ed really, really needs to raise his popularity in Scotland though. Maybe if in the debates offered a sincere apology for threatening everyone in Scotland with e.g. border posts and to take their Scottish £ of them he could swing a few back.

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    2. Either Ed does really well - or very, very poorly - leading to a conservative surge (the natural reaction to that up here being a labour surge).

      The lib dems are also an enduring force. They'll bounce back more strongly than anticipated. UKIP and Greens will fall back - not just in Scotland but all over the UK. The tories in Scotland could see a wee boost or suffer as their supporters back labour against the SNP.

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    3. Are you sure this final debate is going to go ahead, Anon? The broadcasters' contingency plan to empty chair Cameron could work in the proper, non-rigged seven-way debates, but how is it going to work in a two-way debate? Who would bother watching Ed Miliband debate himself?

      Your assumptions about polling error are heroically optimistic, as we've discussed before.

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    4. "My money is still on the final, head to head debate + inbuilt polling error knocking down the SNP's actual lead to single digits"

      Have you watched PMQs before? LOL

      Come the final debate we'll have had the 'glorious spectacle' of little Ed and the fop Cameron on the campaign trail for weeks. I guarantee you by then there will be a least one if not several gaffes and talking points from the campaign that little Ed won't want to talk about. That while the fop Cameron will have to do the debate days after his spindoctor and close chum Coulson goes on trial for Perjury in scotland.

      That debate will degenerate into ill-tempered exchanges between them both pretty damn rapidly. It still hasn't sunk in yet for either of their supporters (though to be fair Cameron's idiot fanclub are still praying the debates won't go ahead) that the format of a two man debate is far more likely to put voters off than enthuse them. There will be plenty of time for followups and no question will be able to be ducked without it being noticed and glaring. Like questions on Jack Straw or Malcolm Rifkind just as one example, since, I'm fairly sure the broadcasters will use questions from twitter and/or the audience.

      Neither little Ed or the fop Cameron are even close to being top class debaters. Even their spin doctors know it. The only way they benefit is from being seen on the screen close to the election in a head to head so as to try and impose the message that only the tories or Labour are entitled to the public's vote. Something which will probably give them a small boost. However, against that you have the actual substance of the debates themselves and the impression that voting for either of them would simply be 'more of the same'.

      Which isn't to say the SNP might not fall back in polling. We very well could, but we certainly aren't out campaigning in force right now because of opinion polls and opinion polls will not stop the campaigning on the ground becoming ever more determined and visible as more and more members join in the closer we get to polling day.

      We still aren't that far off 100,000 members yet this astonishing number of members is still almost being discounted by the westminster bubble establishment in. More fool them. Something they will find out to their cost the closer we get to May.

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    5. "The lib dems are also an enduring force. They'll bounce back more strongly than anticipated. "

      How did that amusingly naive belief work out in the scottish elections, all the local elections or the European elections?

      *chortle*

      They're not called calamity Clegg's ostrich faction for nothing.

      Not only is there no reason whatsoever that Clegg's lib dems will suddenly become more popular but the actual results and proof from every previous campaign under Clegg since 2010 shows the exact opposite. They manage to do even worse than even the pitifully low expectations of not just the westmisnter bubble pundits but those pathetic targets Clegg and the lib dems set for themselves.

      Never underestimate calamity Clegg's ability to turn a hopeless situation for the lib dems into a truly catastrophic one. He's done it time after time after time already.

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    6. The lib dems are also an enduring force. They'll bounce back more strongly than anticipated.

      What do you base this on? All precedent seems to be the other way - they underperformed their polling in 2011 and in 2014.

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  8. Scottish sub samples converging on the full scale Scottish polls from IPSOS MORI, YouGov, TNS, Survation and indeed the last ICM.

    Definitely signifying an enormous shift in public voting intentions. Absolutely atrocious figures for New Labour.

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  9. Just saw a comment on Wings, that a poll in Jim Murphy's constituency is showing:

    New Labour 33% SNP 31% !!!

    Squeaky bum time for Jim, if true :-)

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    1. I'm fairly sure it's not true - it's probably some sort of projection based on national polls.

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    2. Have you ever visited East Renfrewshire? If the SNP can win there then the SWP can win Kensington.

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    3. Careful, Anon. You're getting dangerously close to saying Labour are bound to win because it's a natural Tory constituency.

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    4. It's definately a long shot. The Yes vote in East Renfrewshire was 37% iirc, if all yes voters voted SNP then maybe.... But I doubt it.

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    5. East Ren is less posh than the old Eastwood seat - it takes in Barrhead, for example. This was probably part of the reason it went from being a Labour/Tory marginal to safe Labour. It will likely become a Labour/SNP marginal at this election, but Labour will hold it.

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  10. The questions from Populas sound similar to the ones YouGov were asking online.

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  11. This seems to be the source of the Renfrewshire poll. looks legitimate.

    http://www.barrheadnews.com/news/roundup/articles/2015/02/27/525793-mep-rallies-behind-east-ren-tory-hopeful/

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    1. No, it's a load of garbage. If there had been a constituency poll of East Renfrewshire, we'd all have heard about it. As Calum Findlay suggested on Saturday, they've probably misreported a projection from the national polls based on uniform swing.

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