Saturday, 25 January 2014

Weekly Poll Lowdown

In this weekly poll I asked you to become YouGov (or more realistically Betfred or Ladbrokes). You seem to think that by the end of this year the Conservatives will be ahead in the polls. A fair proportion also believe that things will stay as they are with Labour being in the lead. Some mad people think the UKIP will take the lead in the polls and the most insane of you believe the Lib Dems will have the highest proportion of votes. I think 4% of you need to see some sort of therapist.

Which Party will have the largest percentage of the votes by the end of this year?

Lib Dem 
No Idea 

Total votes: 56

Before I essentially start stabbing into the dark to try and predict what is going on I must say that any predictions are based on current trends. Trends can change, events can happen. This is why interpreting the results of a poll are so hard, a poll is almost out of date the moment it is published in this weird political whirlpool that exists in Westminster.

Personally though I could see the Conservatives having some sort of lead in polling by December 2014. Since the Autumn Statement, which was in December or winter for some reason, there has been a growing belief that the Conservatives have got it right on the economy and that the United Kingdom is surging upwards at a decent pace. It's pretty hard to argue with 1% growth figures and ones which are predicted to be over 2% this year.

Coupled with this is employment is up by 1.6 million since 2010 and is likely to further increase. Unemployment is also tumbling. Last month saw the second biggest fall on record so that now 7.1% of the workforce are unemployed (closing in on the Bank of England 7% unemployment level for considering raising interest rates). In fact in the last few months the decline in unemployment has been great enough for it to be likely to reach just above or at the pre-recession level by the General Election.

Labour is also all over the place like a very confused octopus. Labour have picked too many and terrible choices of things to talk about over the last few months. For example no one trusts Labour on welfare and yet for half of January they have chosen to lecture the British people about how to reform the failed system they created. It's no wonder the public see the Conservatives as best to deal with welfare. For the last month as well they have been talking about immigration, an issue with very strong opinions. Yet Labour did the most damage by applying no restrictions on immigration and not implementing migration controls with the rest of Europe. Their choices have been poor but selecting two major issues in one month is almost as bad, if I were the average voter I'd be perplexed by what is going on.

The one area where Labour has been concentrating on, and will continue to do so because they has positioned themselves to the point where they can no longer stop, is the cost of living.  There are many problems with putting all your eggs in this basket. Firstly it is marketed as a cost of living crisis. As was pointed out by Andrew Neil, the idea this is a crisis is completely hyperbolic as retail sales are going up caused by middle and low earners spending more. Secondly everyone always complains about the cost of living even in the best economic climates. This is rightly so as people want to keep as much of their own money but this means it has never been a deciding factor in a General Election. The best way to talk about the cost of living is to target a few substantial issues and then talk about them lots, like the Conservatives have done with fuel duty. You don't get anywhere by complaining about everything and therefore nothing. Lastly, although I would not be as brave as the Government or Gudio Fawkes to proclaim the cost of living problem is over, things can only get better from here on in as we have seen with high predicted growth rates and pretty low inflation. There is clearly a shift in opinions on the squeeze.

With these general trends considered I could imagine a 2 or 3 % lead in the polls for the Conservatives  by December 2014. I believe the tide of Labour leading in the polls will turn sometime over the summer. It's not going to get any better for Labour considering the economics and their past record of picking poor places to make a political stand.

Vote in the new poll. 

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