It’s going to be hard to get away from talking about the by-elections this week, but I’ll (mostly) avoid it today.
Late last night a story popped up that got the psephosphere talking, which the Mirror titled “Jeremy Corbyn pays for secret opinion poll on whether he should quit before 2020”. If that’s correct it’s a pretty extraordinary sales job by their pollster.
We already know from published polling that Labour’s support is at or near a 34-year low while in opposition (and its lowest ever at this stage in a parliament). Every active pollster has Labour’s current voting intention in the 20s. Corbyn has – on some measures – the lowest personal ratings of any leader ever (on other measures he narrowly beats Michael Foot). His party trails on every major issue except the NHS, but when his name is mentioned in the question, Labour falls behind on that too. The two by-elections this week shouldn’t even be close on any empirical basis – par for an opposition party in a straight fight with a governing party is about an 11 per cent swing in its favour (Labour actually got a 12.7 per cent swing in Corby in 2012). While oppositions have on very rare occasions lost ultra-marginal seats to governing parties, losing one with a 6.5 per cent majority to a party in power would be unprecedented in postwar Britain. Given the mountains of evidence we have already, I’m struggling to think what we could learn about public opinion from this poll that isn’t obvious already.
The two polls that came out over the weekend were inline with what we’ve been seeing – YouGov/Times was very little changed with the Conservatives leading 40-24 and Opinium/Observer showing 40-27, which is much bigger lead than that poll normally has. Today we should get the fortnightly ICM/Guardian poll (which has had some of the wider Tory leads due to the way it handles turnout).
Finally an interesting article to tell you about from Rakib Ehsan at The UK in a Changing Europe, looking at aggregate level analysis of the Brexit vote in areas with large British Asian communities. Some of the findings may surprise you…