Polls: Labour’s surging. Non-London doorstep: It’s a “nuclear winter for Labour.” Party braces for worst

by Atul Hatwal

Just over two weeks ago I posted a projection of huge losses for Labour – over 90 seats – based on dozens of conversations with activists, candidates and officials who cumulatively had sight of tens of thousands of canvass returns.

Since then, I’ve continued those conversations as Labour has apparently surged in the polls.

The result is a marked improvement in London but precious little to cheer about outside the capital.

The last few weeks have seen a strong rise in Labour promises in key seats across London, although constituencies such as Dagenham and Eltham remain very difficult.

But in the West Midlands, Yorkshire, North West and the North East, any improvement has been nugatory.

One campaigner from London who spent time in the North East last week described it as a “nuclear winter for Labour.”

The doorstep returns outside of London are saying that Labour is still running substantially below its 2015 vote, that Ukip votes are transferring in huge numbers to the Tories with losses in prospect of the mid-60s to mid-90s and a lingering possibility that the situation could be even worse come Thursday.

What on earth is happening? Are the doorstep results wrong? Or is it the polls?

In terms of the canvass returns, the data is partial. Labour members and supporters have been knocking doors in core Labour wards, in seats that are under threat. In the last week they’ve been focused specifically on Labour voters.

If there was a shift, this could happening out of sight of the canvassers. For example, Labour might be piling up support in safe Labour seats where there is little activity.

It’s possible and there is likely to be an element of this but the scale of Labour’s poll surge suggests this should be something bigger than just a safe seat phenomenon.

One explanation might be a rise in support among those in a household that don’t normally take part in the doorstep conversation but do answer online polls, such as young voters.

The polls themselves indicate that Labour’s rise is being driven by enthusiasm among young electors with a striking proportion saying they are committed to voting.

But since the rise in the polls, Uncut has heard various stories about Labour candidates and campaigners scouring their electoral rolls to identify households with voters under 25 – whether they live in Labour wards or not, whether they or their families have a history of backing Labour or not.

The feedback has been that in the overwhelming majority of cases, this pool of voters is neither sizable enough to make a difference nor are the canvass returns from these targeted efforts tallying with the level of rise that the polls are suggesting.

So perhaps the problem is with the polls?

There has been a debate within the polling community about how turnout, particularly among the young, should be weighted. It’s summarised here but broadly, the higher the turnout for younger voters in poll results, the better things are for Labour.

This explains why different pollsters have Labour at different levels but not why Labour has improved in most polls at a rate not reflected in the party’s canvass returns, over the past weeks.

James Morris, Ed Miliband’s pollster, tweeted a paragraph on Friday from an article by a US academic just before the Presidential election, which might offer a rationale for why the majority of polls are moving in the same way, out of sync with the doorstep.

Ironically, the Rivers of Lauderdale and Rivers quoted above is one Doug Rivers. That would be the Doug Rivers who is now the chief scientist of YouGov, who were the first to report a Labour surge during the campaign and currently have the parties just 4% apart.

This would also explain why positive polls for Labour beget further positive polls and momentum builds – supporters are more and more enthused and respond when polling companies get in touch, while the reverse happens with Tory backers.

If the polls are wrong on this basis then that could signal a deep structural problem for the industry.

However, there might be another option. A scenario where the canvass returns and the polling methodology are both right: respondents aren’t being straight with the pollsters.

This has been mentioned by several Labour officials and candidates as a potential reason for the gap.

After the 2015 election, Mark Textor – Lynton Crosby’s business partner and currently doing the polling for the Tories – said that the pre-election polls were distorted because public pollsters failed to understand two factors.

First, the difference between party preference and desired government outcome. Voters might identify with Labour but they didn’t want an Ed Miliband-led coalition so voted accordingly.

Second, that some voters gamed the polls. They used them to signal a protest before reverting to a different choice in the polling booth. It’s worth taking in, what he said,

“We were polling massive numbers of voters every night and assessing how they looked at their choices, so we knew that in normal public-style polls they were saying they preferred Labour … but at the end of the day the actual outcome they wanted was a David Cameron-led Conservative government, and the only way to do that was to vote Conservative in their local seat,”

“We measured their preferred style of government … they might say: ‘Normally I prefer Labour’, but we asked: ‘Which scenario do you want as an outcome?’…so we knew there were a lot of voters who on traditional voting patterns were Labour voters but had made the tactical decision that the best choice was to vote for David Cameron … we were measuring outcomes and not just voting preference.”

“They were using polling like a protest vote – they might think: ‘I don’t really want Miliband, but I’ll say I prefer him to tickle up the Conservatives’ – or whomever – but we knew at the end of the day when we measured their preferred model in government what they really wanted was the outcome of a stable Cameron-led government.”

Labour campaigners fear something similar is happening right now.

In every seat, canvassers are encountering lifelong Labour supporters who still identify with the party but not Jeremy Corbyn.  This group tends to have voted for Ed Miliband reluctantly and are now either sitting out this contest or ready to vote Tory for the first time to prevent a Corbyn premiership.

These switchers represent a new generation of shy Tories, located deep inside Labour’s core vote. They are embarrassed at voting Tory, sufficiently so to deny their intent to friends, families and pollsters. Some of the older Labour officials and campaigners have reported familiar doorstep cadences from 1992 – “It’s in the eyes,” one said to me.

One last point is worth noting in judging what is happening on the ground.

The Tories do not look like a party that thinks Labour is threatening a range of their seats in England, which is what the polls suggest.

Based on what Mark Textor said after the 2015 election, we know something of what they are doing. Large scale nightly polling, targeted at specific seats, with questioning framed as per the quote above. At this stage in the campaign, postal votes – which have been sampled over the past 5 days, giving them an idea of actual vote performance – will also be factored into the mix.

This is then used to shape their social media targeting on Facebook, local newspaper ad buys and visit schedule for the cabinet and leader.

Last Friday, Theresa May visited Sheffield. Specifically she was in Don Valley, Caroline Flint’s constituency, a seat where Labour led the Tories by 21% in 2015. On Saturday, she was in Penistone and Stockbridge, Angela Smith’s seat, where she won by 14% over the Tories in 2015. Tonight, May was in Bradford South, a seat where Judith Cummins beat her Tory opponent by 17% in 2015.

The fear of Labour officials and candidates, particularly in the West Midlands, North East, North West and Yorkshire, is that if the Tories are on course to flip seats like Don Valley, many more could be vulnerable. One official in Yorkshire told Uncut that a string of Morley and Outwoods – the seat Ed Balls lost in 2015 – was on the cards for 2017.

The polls might be right. There could be a surge of young voters that rewrite general election rules. This could be the first contest in living memory where a party increases its rating by so much during the short campaign. Labour could be about to poll near its 1997 level at the general election.

After Corbyn’s triumph in the Labour leadership, Brexit and Trump, the old certainties no longer hold sway. This is certainly the desperate hope of Labour candidates up and down the country. Rarely have so many, who have worked so hard knocking doors, hoped that they’re so wrong.

But the evidence from Labour’s own data and the Tories’ campaigning choices is compelling and it suggests that they are not.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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81 Responses to “Polls: Labour’s surging. Non-London doorstep: It’s a “nuclear winter for Labour.” Party braces for worst”

  1. Paul says:

    thanks Atul. That is such a clear explanation of what is probably happening atm. Am always suspicious when I hear conformational biases from supporters / canvassers etc. The many reports of Labour candidates, supporters etc reporting this reluctant shift feels real and you have explained the disparity between poll f/b and likely actual votes. Labour supporters do not want to hear this feedback, but they are. Issues like dementia tax and fox hunting have cut through but when I ask people who they want to be PM on the 9th I hear May or not Corbyn from many trad Labour supporters.

  2. RO27 says:

    Great article.

    It is a really interesting read and it explains a lot.

    Thank you for taking the time to write it.

  3. King Coconut says:

    I think the most compelling evidence that the Tories are on course to win is they don’t seem panicked. Aside from the usual tribal tittle-tattle, there has been no concerted offensive. Secret weapon Boris hasn’t been deployed, either.

    You mention that May has been giving speaches in strong Labour areas, rather tellingly, so has Corbyn. Yesterday he was in Blyth, a real heartland. If he was expecting gains, surely he’d at least be at marginals such as Chester or Lancaster, for example.

    My prediction for this election is the Tories will win a majority; but the big talking point – much like the EU referendum – will be that London is totally out of step with the rest of the country. I think with Corbyn being a London MP, popular amongst the young of which there’s many in London, and the fact Labour’s vote has held up in the capital consistently (see Sadiq Khan winning quite comfortably), we are going to see two election results; London’s and the rest of the UK’s.

  4. fred smith says:

    something is happening judging by the panic from boris, ids, bradley in recent telly interviews.

    the polling gives around 7% average lead .. and thats probably right at this moment. on polling day it could go either way.

    judging from tonights gateshead meet there certainly is a massive (estimated 5000) want for change amongst some ..

    the real issue is are labour supporters enthused enough to vote for blairite – new labour plp who have spent 2 years undermining corbyns very existence. this is where its ‘won’ or ‘lost’.

  5. fred smith says:

    @king coconut

    may has been canvassing tories in labour heartlands. hard to judge her impact with tightly controlled unannounced visits.

    ukip-ers will switch to tory – the reverse doesnt happen. so the reliance is on brexit ukip-ers and the far right anti immigration vote. this despite may not because.

    corbyn has to shore up the labour core vote solely for the reason that there has been considerable damage caused by the vitriolic attacks from the blairite – new labour plp. even now there are blairite – new labour such as charles clarke , john mcternan, joan ryan jess phillips etc across the media campaigning against corbyn.

    labours momentum has been halted by the terror attacks. the media – bbc in particular – have been running a pro tory campaign.

    just imagine if over the last 2 years corbyn had been given support. just imagine if the blairite – new labour plp had understood that corbyn was about renewal of a tainted brand. just imagine if they had realised that the brexiters – labour switchers was a response to the new labour legacy — immigration, eu, economy, iraq .

    it never was about corbyn. it has been about blairism and new labour. some will find that hard to swallow.

  6. Big John says:

    King Coconut – yes, London is different – as you point out, the main difference is demographics: the number of young people. We don’t have as good a grasp of the age profile of seats as we traditionally have had of the class profile – but I think the age profile will be a better predictor this election.

  7. Barry says:

    Theresa May has had a lot of controversy and criticism over this election campaign. We will see come Thursday/Friday whether her strategies have payed off. But Atul, you predicted Jeremy Corbyn to come 4th in the leadership contest, so I’m going to take what you say with a pinch of salt.

  8. JR says:

    In my experience Labour supporters – or in this election, I should say Corbyn supporters – are far, far more vocal in their political preferences than anyone else, particularly online. Furthermore, this is often pushed with a hostile, aggressive manner – my Facebook feed currently fills up daily with pro-Corbyn memes, anti-Tory memes, a great many coloured with abuse directed at anyone in the electorate who considers voting for the Conservatives. Not all Labour supporters of course do this, but many do, and this election is the worse I have seen for this behaviour.

    The people I know who are conservative-inclined are completely silent regarding their politics online, and no wonder. Who wants to be sneered at and told they are stupid, brainwashed by the right-wing media, evil, heartless and so on? This habit of keeping quiet about ones political choices I strongly suspect extends to any contact with pollsters, who are after all strangers, and so they are simply not being told the truth by people who have learned an excess of caution. This will be particularly prevalent amongst younger people who are more susceptible to peer pressure. How many young people (particularly studenty types) will publically declare their intention to vote for Corbyn, but privately couldn’t give a toss? But in the voting booth, no-one is watching, peer-pressure counts for nothing, and you can put the cross in any box you choose, and to hell with what anyone else thinks! There’s a certain power that comes with that.

    I’ll be fascinated to see the result, and how it compares with the polls.

  9. David Heseltine says:

    Even after 2 years of anti Corbyn rubbish, even after you’ve berated everything about him, even as the polls are claiming an unprecedented tightening of the gap. You still can’t bring yourself to admit that Corbyn may very well be going on to win the GE. It’s ridiculous. How can you consider yourself a Labour supporter with such rubbish? Shocking.

  10. Ian says:

    I agree with KC above that London v rUK is going to be the story of election night. Labour, and even more so the LibDems, have allowed their parties to be captured by a small group of unrepresentative people who are mostly well off and mostly from central London. In Labour this manifests most obviously with a top team whose seats are largely from the capital, in the LibDems through a policy platform and campaign pitched at London remainers.

    The Tories are not immune to thinking from inside the London bubble, but their relative weakness in the capital and long history of being run from the shires, plus the nudge that has been given to their outlook by both Brexit and Mrs May’s attempts to redirect the focus of their policies means that, beyond the M25, their campaign is resonating more strongly. Labour will hold on in its northern city seats, and others with very large numbers of younger voters. But in the typical county marginal in the Midlands and North, Labour is in for a very bad night indeed.

  11. Keith says:

    A football team doesn’t go in to a match expecting to lose. Awful article.

  12. Selohesra says:

    Will be worse for Labour if they do well & restrict Tory majority because then they will be stuck with Corbyn, Abbott, McDonnell & Thornbury for another 5 years meaning they lose 2022 as well

  13. fred smith says:

    how odd, i left a comment or two .. and not a sign of them. why?

  14. Nick Good says:

    This is proper journalism.

    Well done.

  15. MartinKil says:

    What percentage of canvasser doorstep encounters are with Men rather than Women. Over the last month it’s the women’s voting intention which has changed

    Poll = Tory / Labour
    ICM = -5 / +9 – 14% point turnanound
    Survation = -4 / +11 – 15% point turnanound
    ComRes = -3 / +9 – 12% point turnanound
    Yougov = -5 / +9 – 14% point turnanound
    Opinion = -8 / +10 – 18% point turnanound

    Could it be we have a cohort of Shy Labour Women who have returned to Labour having strayed further afield ?

  16. Ash says:

    My family and I have been lifelong labour voters, but this Thursday we will ALL be voting for the tories.

    If there was an box on the ballot paper that had the option for voting for the labour party BUT not Jeremy Corbyn, we would happily tick it.

  17. Scott says:

    I think it’s going to be what we have seen in the brexit vote, the US president​ vote, and the French vote. The richer cities connected to global finance and capital​ combined with middle class youth returning big votes for Labour with falling totals for Libdems and Greens. The Tories making huge gains in the labour heartlands via Ukip. And Scotland it’s going to be who can pick off the most anti Snp voters.
    Corbyn made the pack with the devil by not running on brexit. And dumping QE and retaking control of the bank of England. But that was what the blairites demanded. The London elite are the problem.
    Like Clintonism it preverts all it touches.

  18. madasafish says:

    This is the 15th General Election at which I will be eligible to vote.
    The poorest set of political leaders for Labour, Tories and LibDems I have ever seen. To describe them as Second Rate is to be unfair to Third Raters.. I put May as Third Rate, Corbyn at Sixth Rate and the LibDem Leader as 10th Rate and out of his depth.

    Any Party with Diane Abbott as Shadow Home Secretary is frankly a joke and an embarrassment – she makes Boris Johnson appear a political genius.. And any Party with Boris Johnson as Minster for anything is short of political competence.

    I have no idea who is going to win on Thursday but frankly it’s unlikely to be a pleasant or enjoyable five years whomever wins..

  19. Prez says:

    This is a really good analysis. We all know the polls are wrong and Corbyn is never getting anywhere near the high 30s on thursday, but it’s good to read some clear, level-headed discussion of why.

  20. JIM says:

    Labour all my life but will be voting Tory for the first time ever on Thursday. May is bad but Corbyn is far worse. I hope that after the election he’ll be gone, but I wouldn’t put money on it

  21. John Browne says:

    Maybe we should stop the polls once an elections gets called that way parties and candidates could assume nothing and have to work for every vote

    It would save us all a load of time and money and force candidates to focus on local issues not national figures.

    I think a number of commentators on here are spot on, people lie to pollsters or prefer not to say.

    Trust in our political process is a huge problem and life reflects politics trust is polls is also infected with the same virus its hard to disentangle the two.

    All this bleating about leader x y or z is honest and principled is clearly rubbish and misses the point. We all change our minds this is not the story. For most voters the their vote is worthless, until that changes and we feel we have real power trust will continue to decline and the arguments will become more shrill until we talk our way blithely into political deadlock. How often have we heard (expect from the tiny number of true believers the deluded and zealots from all parties) ‘they are all as bad as each other’ ‘a plague on all your houses’ the worst of all worlds, make a VOTE count and the rest will take care of itself trust the people after all we have to rely on each other not party leaders who no matter how gifted brilliant etc etc will always let you down

  22. ed says:

    Seems like utter fantasy. Canvassing in West Midland marginal seats, this is not our experience at all.GE 2015 vote seems to be holding up. Some evidence of people coming over from UKIP, Green, LD and even a few from Tories. Admittedly, some older working class voters are indicating UKIP to Tory cross over but even some of these are showing signs of wavering. Whether we will actually gain the seats in question, there is nothing like any ‘nuclear winter’ (!)in the offing. Pity the New old Labour guard take such pleasure in their disaster mongering.
    P.S Atwul, where/what are your actual sources? A few gossips with some New Labour mates and washed up right wing MPs?

  23. Sarah says:

    I just can’t understand the mentality of not liking Corbyn and therefor scoring for a party who will destroy the NHS and increase wealth gaps. Plenty of Corbyn Supporters held their noses and voted for brown and Blair

  24. Cuthbert Rizla says:

    What’s interesting is looking at the bookies odds across the board on Oddschecker.
    Probably the best odds you’ll get for the Tories getting more than 375 seats is only 11/4.
    And the odds on a big Tory win and Corbyn’s unpopularity have hardly moved since the campaign began.
    Remember these organisations spend huge sums on their own private polling as well.
    I’m extremely confidence that certain pollsters,led by YouGov,are going to find more egg on their face than on their plates at breakfast on Friday morning.

  25. JonF says:

    @fred smith.
    Your comments were removed by the BBC or embittered Blairites. More likely however, you were too dim-witted to press the refresh button.

  26. Tony says:

    There’s only one poll that counts and there is still plenty to play for.

    As for the polls, the methodology would have been the same back when they were showing big Conservative leads.

    These canvassers who hear such criticism of Corbyn, how do they respond to it? They ought to try to defend him. I bet a lot of them don’t though.

  27. uglyfatbloke says:

    I think you’re broadly right. Scottish Labour’s dedicated campaign against the nats will result in several tory MPs getting elected. Dugdale will see that as a personal victory even if it’s what gives May a majority. In practice May won’t be dependent on half-a-dozen Scottish tories, but she’ll claim that gives her a mandate for anything and everything.

  28. Douglas says:

    Labour might be able to take large cities to counterbalance the Conservatives taking everything else. But there are only so many large cities and far more everything else

  29. Paul Davies says:

    There has been a consistent trend upwards in ALL the polls since TMay called the election. The upward swing steepened dramatically after the manifesto was published. While I still do not belkieve we can win on Thursday (as we have started from a very, very weak position) I do think we will improve by 4-5% on the last election – with possibly about 35-36% of the vote.
    Its difficult to gauge this election a there are so many factors in play – the most pronounced being the polarisation of the electorate into two camps, red and blue. This may, in fact, create an unexpected result. Lets hope. But one thing is for certain, it will push Labours vote up and higher than 2015 and 2010.

  30. Judy says:

    Just what do you predict as the reality of how this claimed “London surge” will translate into successful Labour retaining of seats targeted by the Tories? You mention Dagenham as being difficult– yet the Labour majority there is well over 7,000. You also mention Eltham as being difficult– yet the Labour majority is over 2,500. So where does that leave Labour seats like Hampstead and Kilburn, where Tulip Siddiq has a majority of around 1200 and Ilford North where Wes Streeting has a majority of a few hundred. Both these constituencies have substantial jewish electorates, on which a reliably sampled poll by Survation indicated just 13% intending to vote Labour and 77% intending to vote Tory– both constituencies where the Jewish Labour vote in Blair’s time was around 60%! How will Labour do any better than Ed Miliband Labour which scored these results? Do you have any canvassing evidence it will?

  31. Tafia says:

    As I said over a fortnight ago, I am a member of Plaid Cymru and I live in a Labour/Plaid marginal (Ynys Mon, held by Labour in 2015 by 229 votes).

    I said then I would – at 60 years of age and never having done so before or even having the inclination to, vote Tory purely beause of Brexit. I stand by that and on Thursday I will definately vote Tory.

    This is a BREXI election – Social care, terror, cuts etc etc are sidesgows and are distracting the voters from the core issue. BREXIT is going to happen and if it goes badly then we will face heavy job losses, massive cuts in all social programmes from health to education to welfare, a stock market crash (damaging pension plans) and a recession lasting years. So everything depends of the strength of our position – a weak tory government or a Labour fronted. Minority/coalition would be disastrous. May needs a big majority (50+) asnd if we don’t give it to her we deserve the consequences.

  32. anosrep says:

    Remember, Hatwal also said Jeremy Corbyn would come fourth in the leadership election.

  33. Sim says:

    I think it’s disgraceful how life long Labour voters can dare vote Conservative, many of us held our noses and kept a Labour government in power because we knew that Tory rule was never beneficial for majority of people. Yet when it comes to the party moving further left and with a leader who has been disparaged by the media for so long, you all jump ship. Just glory supporters the lot of you.

  34. Simon says:

    One thing is certain – the older vote is very reliable with an extraordinary 90% turning out for Brexit. Doubtless the majority of them is going to plump for May to follow through with Brexit. There will be some swing to Labour among the silver vote as the dementia tax is very unpopular.

  35. Heidstaethefire says:

    Rest assured, Tafia, you’re going to get the consequences, and then some. The E.U. is a flawed organisation, but Brexit is going to be an unmitigated disaster.

  36. Landless Peasant says:

    Well no one ever comes to my doorstep! Myself & everyone I know say theyll be voting Labour, all my neighbours, all my old mates I see down the Jobcentre, not heard one single person prepared to vote for the enemy the vile Tory Scum. The word on the streets is ” get the Tories out!”. Im in West Yorkshire.

  37. Tafia says:

    It will only be a disaster if we haven’t got a neogotiating team strong enough to tell the EU we will walk away with no deal unless they play ball and carry it through.

    Corbyn isn’t strong enough, May is.

    Make no mistake, we will be leaving without a deal and by March 2019 if May has a strong enough position. This is good. Industry needs to know which way we are going so it can plan accordingly. Corbyn’s position will lead to years ad years of negotiations with the UK stuck in a hinterland and industry paralysed because there is no firm cut date.

  38. Mohamed Mahdi says:

    I expect labour’s vote in a lot of strong marginal or strong seats will hold up pretty well. They should gain some seats in areas like Sheffield, London and wales which will counterbalance some losses most likely in their heartlands. They will lose at least a dozen or two marginal or somewhat solid majority seats where the UKIP got a decent share of the vote last time, but there vote in their heartlands will hold up mostly. In the end they are likely going to break the 200 seat mark and they may win as many as 225 seats. If they are really lucky they may win a ton of seats in non-traditional labour areas which will counterbalance losses in their heartlands. If this happened which is unlikely they will probably win over 250 seats tommorrow.

  39. HuskyDown says:

    The idea that the Tories are going to deliver a positive Brexit for the UK (and that a Corybn led government would make a cock up of it) has got to be one of the dumbest things I have ever seen.

    The English are fooling themselves if they think they hold any cards in the negotiations with the EU. The UK needs the EU far far far more than the EU needs the UK. Merkel held almost ALL the cards going into this – and that was BEFORE Macron wiped the floor with Le Pen, before immediately pivoting into a firm Franco-German alliance.

    If May thinks her “Lesser Thatcher” act is going to fool anyone on the continent then she’s an even bigger fool than I thought. That only – ONLY – path the UK has to salvage anything out of Brexit is by mending fences with the EU and patiently negotiating a mutually agreeable compromise.

    Personally, I predict the English will choose the stubborn, nativistic tact like they always do and foolishly let May keep the reins. I hope you enjoy declining GDP, declining standards of living, more austerity, an eviscerated public sector and the swells laughing their arses off at the stupid proles cutting their own throats.

  40. Ryland says:

    I thought it was an interesting article then i read that …’postal vote s will have been sampled’ – any idea of specific seats where you can sample postal votes? I have been going to elections and election counts for 10-15 years and have never been involved in one where you can sample postal votes – the process simply does not allow for it. If the rest of the article

    I have been doing stuff in Swansea area; here it feels more like Assembly elections in 2016 than 2015GE. A lot more members and supporters helping out than in 2015. If you want to place a bet = Labour to regain Gower from the Tories is one to place your money.

  41. Peter Neal says:

    As a branch organiser in Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland, I can confidently assert that the “activists, candidates and officials” who you have spoken to, who have apparently had “sight of tens of thousands of canvass returns” will be able to tell you little about what is happening to the UKIP vote, as it is not being directly canvassed by Labour activists, either on the ground or on the phone.

    What I can tell you is that the Labour promise is holding up: up in some wards by a little, down in others by about the same. In a constituency where 6,935 people voted for UKIP in 2015, where they have not fielded a candidate, where the 2015 UKIP candidate has endorsed the 2017 Tory candidate, and where our MP would have been defending a slim majority of 2,268, had he not deserted the battlefield, we are potentially 4,667 votes behind (before you take into account the effects of a new candidate).

    However, looking at the 2010 result you see a meteoric rise in the UKIP share of the vote, from 1,881 to 6,935 (although I think it’s fair to assume that the 1,576 people who voted BNP in 2010 probably voted UKIP) a rise of 368% (or 200% if you include the BNP) it is clear that at least some of these UKIP voters must have been former Labour voters, however, between these two elections voters choosing Labour went up 1,055, not down. And though it’s fair to say we likely benefited from the collapse in the LD vote from 7,340 to 1,564 there is no evidence to say they voted Labour in 2015 (and no canvassing either).

    There is all to play for in this election and we have seen an explosion in local activism from door knocking to telephone canvassing. If the data previously entered into contact creator is anything to go by, people are switching from Tory to Labour, Labour to Tory, Against and Undecided to both, and all I can say is that overall the Labour promise (close to our actual number of votes in 2015) is largely holding up. This campaign will be decided by the new voters who have registered in their 1,000s in the past few weeks and those who voted UKIP at the last general, what we can’t do is predict what will happen.

  42. Mindhorn says:

    Good article. I definitely don’t see Corbyn getting anywhere near the figures the polls are saying. The explanation that the Labour surge is a positive reaction to a decent campaign is plausible. However, when push comes to shove I’m pretty sure a lot of these people have no intention of returning Corbyn as PM. We shall see.

  43. Harry says:

    ….vile Tory scum

    And we wonder why there is so much intolerance in our society. Is it possible to disagree but respect the opinions of another? This absolute hatred is neither healthy nor supportive at any cause for advancement.

  44. John Denton says:

    Also recall that in 2015, the Tories had a small majority and at the least we need to keep them small so they cannot ruin the country with their half-baked Brexit negotiations and constant cutting off public services. Surely everyone has eyes and can see the damage they have already caused – poor roads, NHS in crisis, no decision on Heathrow, selling off nuclear and gas, more tax cuts for the rich – or am I one of those young Londonders (50 years old young)?

  45. John Denton says:

    T May voted in by the Tory party against no other candidate. She was Home Secretary when policing budget was cut and border controls made worse by cutting jobs. How can people think she is better than Corbyn who has stuck to his principles for the last 30 years? weird but then a lot of people voted for Hitler and Mussolini

  46. nick says:

    I’ve never lived in a marginal before but I’ve been telephone-polled by the Labour party and had stacks of flyers, including today a really ‘get the core vote out’ one featuring an ex miner and ‘save the NHS’.
    I’m in North-West Durham FFS!
    Curious experience.

  47. John Martin says:

    I remember the 1992 election when the polls supported a Labour victory. However, many Tories simply kept Schtum, and didn’t say which way they would vote.

    I suspect the same will happen tomorrow – a clear and decisive Tory majority will occur.

  48. Very good, clear analysis.
    Here’s my take
    I only voted tory once – in 1979 – to my eternal shame. I’m afraid I took in the rubbish about the trickle down economy, which in the 80’s was a sick joke in the north of England.
    I think the tories will win on Thursday and in a way I hope they do. Not because anyone needing the NHS or using food banks will have any reason to cheer but because the country will have to watch while the tories are run ragged by the red in tooth and claw Brexiters who will refuse to accept any kind of compromise on a deal with the EU and we will end up with the hardest Brexit of all: No deal. Can’t pretend that the economic consequences will be pretty. (Tin hats and second jobs required). But for all those who were obsessed with the return of “sovereignty” (which seems to amount to a desire to return to blue passports and smoking in pubs) I say watch out for the moment in 20 years time when a ninety year old Angela Merkel gives a symbolic (handshake/apple cake) to the UK in recognition of their re-joining the EU.

  49. NoneOfTheAbove says:


    I tip my hat to you sir….

  50. paul barker says:

    Interesting article Atul. Any thoughts on whether any of this impacts on The Libdems, could there be significant numbers of Libdem Identifiers who will vote Tory ?
    To answer my own question, I would say not because The Libdem vote is already squeezed down to The Core. My guess is that The Polls have the Libdems about right, around 8%. Because of the Tory & Labour rise The Libdems will lose Seats in England & may make gains in Scotland.

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