Post-Paxo Poll of Polls

As of this morning there have been 5 polls since Paxo interviewed the two leaders. Averaging them all out it appears there has been no ‘Miliband bounce’ post-Paxo as Labour have hoping, the two main parties are still neck and neck. Both the Tories and Labour are squeezing up towards that 35% mark, while UKIP are feeling it down on an average 12%. The Green surge has fallen away slightly down on 5 points.

Not like the Sunday Times to have an errant poll throwing everyone off guard

Voters Don’t Trust ‘Em, Say Sod ‘Em

sod-the-lot-vote-ukip

If you want an illustration of just how low trust in politicians is nowadays, Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report has a classic example from last week:

I mentioned some YouGov polling about which taxes would rise under a Labour or Conservative government, conducted before Prime Minister’s Question time, Cameron ruling out a VAT rise and Ed Balls ruling out an NI rise. YouGov repeated those questions in this poll to see if they had changed. At the start of the week, 31% of people thought VAT would rise if the Conservatives won.

Following David Cameron ruling out a rise in VAT, this is now… 32%. At the start of the week 39% of people expected national insurance to rise if Labour won, but since Ed Balls ruled it out, that has changed to… 40%. A lovely illustration of how much of the politicians’ arguments, exchanges and pledges make not the slightest difference to public opinion.

Savour that. After the Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, the Right Honourable David Cameron and the Right Honourable Ed Balls both solemnly promised not to raise specific taxes, the public now believes they are actually more likely to do it. This is why, in Guido’s opinion, Nigel Farage is on to something with the vote winning campaign slogan: “Sod the lot. Vote UKIP”

Women’s Equality: From Maggie to Pink Buses in 40 Years

As Harriet Harman’s plans to spend her election riding around in a pink bus campaigning on female equality are revealed, ironically it is 40 years to the day that Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Tory party. Labour have still never elected a female leader, though at least Hattie is fighting for the sisterhood in this interview with Mehdi Hasan today:

HH: “Unite has provided us with a driver and blow me down they’ve managed to find a woman with one of these licenses. We’ve had lots of doctrinal discussions, such as: should we be alright with a male driver?”

MH: “Has there been any discussion of the colour of her vehicle? Isn’t driving around in a pink van a bit patronizing? A bit clichéd?”

HH: “Well it doesn’t have big eyelashes on the front.”

A union official driving Labour’s sexist bus on the 40 year anniversary of Maggie becoming Tory leader. PMQs gold for Cameron…

UPDATE: The Times say the eyelashes were actually mooted by a Labour frontbencher and genuinely considered.

Relative Values: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

OSBORNE-NELSON

The spat between George Osborne and Fraser Nelson over whether or not the deficit has been halved is very much a Westminster bubble affair of little consequence to anyone outside SW1. Interested voters who even understand the difference between the deficit and the debt know that the government’s target to balance the budget in 2015 has been missed by £100 billion or so. As Jonathan Portes over at the Keynesian redoubt of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research gleefully points out, George Osborne has succeeded in implementing the Darling plan, which his own Financial Secretary to the Treasury condemned, for being endorsed only by The Guardian. The Chancellor deserves a degree of Fraser’s ridicule for only managing to execute the very Plan B that Osborne himself once ridiculed as ruinous.

The Tories are arguing, whilst simultaneously carrying the goalposts, that they have managed to halve the deficit in relative terms, relative to GDP. Professional economists seem to think that is a fair method of measuring the deficit. So how are they doing, in relative terms, on other key indicators?

The national debt relative to GDP is up, from 78.4% under Gordon Brown in 2010 to 90.6% last year. It is still rising, which is in the government’s own self-defined terms a big economic failure.

The Tories like to boast that employment is higher now than ever before, as indeed it was every year under the last Labour government, because the population grows. The unemployment rate is relative to the population. That is down impressively from 8% to 6% thanks to IDS, better still the youth unemployment and long term unemployment rates are also down. A trump card in the economic argument.

Per capita GDP was, as Danny Blanchflower and Ed Balls kept pointing out sombrely with smirks on their faces, falling. We were getting, on average, poorer. According to World Bank figures, the answer to Reagan’s famous question for voters “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” is a “yes”, just about. After inflation voters are on average 1.8% better off now than they were in 2010.*

Quantitative Easing on a scary scale has rigged other economic indicators like inflation and interest rates whilst pumping up asset prices. Great if you already owned financial assets or prime London property…

It seems a long-time since The Spectator was eulogising George Osborne as “the true Tory leader“, the enmity towards the Treasury from the Speccie is near constant nowadays. Guido notes that in a Tory leadership election it is almost certain that the magazine will back Boris, a former editor, against Osborne…

*Although for higher income earners – the income bracket usually well disposed towards voting Conservative – Osborne’s Guardianista pleasing fetishising of the Gini coefficient will mean they are probably worse off. Only a genius political strategist like Osborne would bash his core vote hardest.

First They Came for the Upper Decile…

top-decile

Yesterday was another orgy of “bash the rich” political populism. Once again, as the above chart from the Treasury shows, the most productive people were punished the most by the Chancellor. This is because he thinks it is good politics. It isn’t.

Osborne boasts that he is putting the biggest burdens on the broadest shoulders because “the rich can afford it”, a view widely held across the political spectrum, even some Tory MPs agree. They might have a rethink when they understand that the upper income decile getting clobbered year after year is not the mansion and yacht owning super rich, it includes them. The median gross income that puts an individual in the top decile is £60,500, that is less than what an MP earns. The same MPs whom so often claim they can’t live in London on their salaries….

Since 2010 Osborne has gone out of his way to make sure that the gini coefficient is better than it was under Gordon Brown, the measure of income inequality shows that inequality is declining under the coalition, the rich are not getting richer relative to the rest of the population. We are all relatively poorer is Osborne’s pathetic boast.

quintiles-since-2010

By the next election the upper quintile since 2010 will have suffered the most under this government – upper income voters are usually well disposed towards voting Conservative,  yet the Chancellor clobbers his core vote. Why do members of the commentariat glibly repeat that Osborne is a strategic genius? The Conservative voter’s answer to Reagan’s famous question “Are you better off now than you were four years?” is most likely “no”. For an individual to be in the upper income quintile they have to earn the princely sum of £39,800. Not exactly people who spend their weekdays in mansions and weekends on yachts… 

Why does the son of a baronet do it? It is because he is the son of a baronet that he feels he has to do it, the toxicity of the posh, rich charge is what they fear most. The polls persistently show that people think they – Cameron and Osborne – don’t understand “ordinary people like us”. So to neutralise the charge they punish their own supporters most, and it still doesn’t do any good…

DATA SPECIAL: Karen Danczuk Twitter Selfie Analysis

Guido’s favourite Labour councillor Karen Danczuk was given a tough time during her appearance on Loose Women, coming in for some particularly unfair criticism about her allegedly provocative Twitter selfies. This blog has always been at the cutting edge of agenda setting data journalism, so Guido decided to investigate and put Karen’s defence to the test. The evidence presented below shows that Mrs D is right, despite what the Loose Women said more often than not her selfies are just good, clean fun:

In light of this indisputable new evidence perhaps Karen’s critics should start talking about some of her other assets…

Chart of the Day

mili-venn

There Has Been No Global Warming For Past 18 Years

Today is an inconvenient anniversary for greenies: as of 1 October there have been 18 years with no global warming. Weather satellite data collected by the Earth System Science Centre at the University of Alabama shows the earth’s temperature has “plateaued” since this day in 1996. Its director Dr John Christy says:

“The fact that no one predicted what’s happened in the past 18 years indicates we have a long way to go to understand the climate system. And that the way the predictions were wrong were all to one direction, which means the predictions or the science is biased in one direction, toward overcooking the atmosphere… Our ignorance is simply enormous when it comes to the climate system, and our understanding is certainly not strong and solid enough to make policy about climate because we don’t even know what it’s going to do”

The same climate activists who don’t want to talk about this data are moaning that Dave cut the green crap from his conference speech today…

Today’s Outstanding Contribution to Statistical Excellence

It seems Guido has a challenger in the statistical excellence stakes. We suggest that Ally McCoist and Rangers FC nominate themselves for a Royal Statistical Society award next year:

Even the LibDems would be proud of that one.[…]

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Guido Commended by Royal Statistical Society

Guido is honoured to have been commended by the Royal Statistical Society at the Statistical Excellence in Journalism Awards today. Commenting on this blog’s data journalism over the last year, specifically our exposé on gender inequality at the patriarchal CLASS […]

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BBC Pays MPs More Than Every Newspaper Combined

Press Gazette has crunched the numbers and worked out that the BBC pays more money to publicity-seeking MPs for vanity appearances than every national newspaper combined. Rory Stewart trousered £8,000 for his documentary, Alan Johnson pocketed £5,317, while part-time MP […]

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GRAPH:  BBC Mind Share v Public Market Share

BBC-PAPER-CHARTFor years the BBC has explained its disproportionate consumption of the Guardian newspaper compared with public market share by arguing that it needs to buy more broadsheet papers than popular ones to best provide news for licence fee payers. It […]

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Quote of the Day

Labour’s Austin Mitchell muses on the campaign:

“What’s the problem? No use pointing at the leader. Too late to change and unnecessary for Miliband is doing well at Question Time. His problem is connecting with the real world. He doesn`t speak people and his protective team of naive kids are playing West Wing rather than letting the leader relate to real people. We could point at the party, shrunk in numbers and enthusiasm because everything, from policy formulation to candidate selection, comes top down rather than bubbling up from below so campaigning becomes the opium of members deprived of any real role, though they`re not even sure what they’re campaigning about, with or for, but its role is marginal.”

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