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The impact of the 1st debate on WH2016 & the prospects now for Corbyn: this week’s PB/Polling Matters TV show/podcast

September 28th, 2016

After a big few days in both UK and US politics the PB/Polling Matters looks in detail at the impact of Corbyn’s re-election and where the Trump-Clinton battle stands now. How much importance should we attach to the instant post debate polling and in the UK is there any way that Corbyn can now move forward following his convincing leadership victory.

Joining Keiran Pedley (@keiranpedley) are Rob Vance (@robvance) and Leo (@leobarasi)

Rob highights the post debate polling showing a boost for Clinton and the team discuss whether it will last. Keiran explains why he hasn’t ruled Trump out yet and Leo sets out a strategy Trump might take in the final few weeks of the campaign. Keiran and Rob then look at which states will be important to watch out for in upcoming polls.

Leo then moves on to Ian Warren’s Labour leadership exit poll by YouGov and the team discuss what Labour MPs will do next. Keiran looks at recent ICM and ComRes polling and what it might mean for a future Labour policy offer as the party seeks to reunite and make up ground versus the Tories.

Finally, the team look ahead to Theresa May’s first Tory conference speech and what Corbyn has to do to look like a PM-in-waiting.
Follow this week’s guests at:

The audio podcast version.

Mike Smithson





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Trump winning the online, unscientific, polling

September 28th, 2016

Why PB is introducing a new policy on voodoo poll comments

PB is introducing a new policy for its comments. Any comment that refers to a self-selecting voodoo poll as though it was a real poll where the sample has been properly selected will be deleted. Repeated regular offenders risk having their posting rights withdrawn.

The reason is that we are seeing so many non-selecting polls where anyone with internet access is able to participate that these can be confusing. Just look at how Trump is using the voodoo polls to bolster his effort.

From now on commenters can refer to such surveys but they need to distinguish them from proper polls.

Mike Smithson




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A former odds-on favourite for the Democratic nomination says the LDs could form the next UK government

September 28th, 2016

Back in late 2003, not too long after the Iraq War, the governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, was causing a stir on the WH2004 betting markets. He had become just about the first politician to tap into the power of the internet and was running a very effective online campaign building up hundreds of thousands of supporters.

By early January 2004 ahead of the Iowa caucuses he looked unstoppable with the money and, apparently, campaign organisation see see him through the primary battle. On Betfair he moved to a 65% chance of winning the nomination.

It all started to fall to pieces at the first hurdle. Against all the predictions he failed in Iowa and his shouting response to the result became an immediate online hit.

This is by way of introduction to his observation on the UK political scene in the Tweet above.

For the record I don’t believe he is right.

Mike Smithson




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If Seamus Milne really is going then that could help efforts to help unify Labour

September 28th, 2016

Is he becoming the sacrificial lamb?

We don’t know yet whether the highly controversial Milne is actually going but judging by the Tweets that’s been the buzz from Liverpool overnight.

There’s no doubt that Milne became a very powerful figure in Corbyn’s party as was seen in the controversy over reports that he altered the speech of the shadow defence secretary to water down its impact.

Him out of the way should certainly make it easier for the party to come together following JC’s re-election and those MPs opposed to the leadership will feel that their efforts have not been totally in vain.

As a former PR person myself (at one stage working for Milne’s dad in the 80s when he was BBC Director General) I’ve been underwhelmed by the way Seamus has approached his job. He appeared to have all the power of Alastair Campbell at his peak but without the skills to get good media coverage.

Let’s see how this develops.

Mike Smithson




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At least the divisions within LAB at the Liverpool conference have not quite got as bad as this

September 27th, 2016



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Labour’s TINA* nightmare.

September 27th, 2016

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Don Brind evokes Mrs Thatcher’s memorable assertion

It’s International Peace Day and I’m in the strange position, for me, of defending Jeremy Corbyn. My audience is someone who ought to be a natural Corbynista – a veteran campaigner for peace and international development.

“I like Jeremy as a person,” I tell her”. He’s a decent man.” She is having none of it. “I think he’s a vain old man. He’s loving all that adulation but he’s peddling false hope.”

Fast forward to Liverpool and the Labour Women’s conference, where a delegate from Tooting gets into conversation with one of the leader’s most ardent and longstanding supporters. “He needs to shape up,” says Tooting woman. The reply is an eye-opener. “The trouble is, he is difficult to manage.”

Labour’s nightmare is that after a second leadership landslide this “difficult to manage, vain old man” is Labour’s TINA*. There Is No alternative to him — no credible rivals either on his own side or amongst his many doubters.

But the need for Corbyn to “shape up” and raise his game as leader was emphasised by the inept way his media chief Seamus Milne made last minute autocue changes to the speech by Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis.

I know and like Lewis but I haven’t seen him face-to-face to get his reaction to being Milned but his treatment is depressingly reminiscent of the experiences of Lilian Greenwood, Chi Onwurah, Gloria de Piero, Sharon Hodgson, Nia Griffiths and others that led them to resign from the Shadow Cabinet.

So it shouldn’t have come as a shock to Lewis – and indeed it won’t have done. When he declared his support for Corbyn’s in late July Lewis said: “We must also acknowledge that the leadership of the party has not been good enough yet – that is Corbyn’s fault, just as much as it is mine and my colleagues.”

Lewis’s speech in which he effectively sank Corbyn’s hopes of committing Labour to opposing Trident renewal was hailed by Owen Jones as evidence of his potential as a future leader.

And while the polls remain so dire the leadership question will hang over the party despite a declaration by Chuka Umunna that Corbyn’s victory had settled the issue. The idea that a change may be necessary is supported by Corbyn’s critical friend Owen Jones. He argues that “If the challenges aren’t being met, and the polling remains disastrous, then it will be time to consider somebody else better placed to communicate radical ideas in a way that convinces and inspires, perhaps from the new intake of MPs.”

But for now the issue is making the party an effective force in Parliament. It’s in this context that I believe Corbyn ought to embrace the idea of elections to the Shadow Cabinet elections — rather than “not ruling it out”.  It would be the most substantial olive branch he could proffer.

It would allow those who resigned or refused to serve an honourable way back. Implemented in the right spirit it could promote mutual respect between the leader and those who are asked to confront the Tories at Westminster.

It will be a signal from the leader that he knows he has fault and limitations but that he is determined to be the best that he can be.

*It was, of course, Margaret Thatcher who was nicknamed TINA for her repeated assertion that her neo-economic policies were the only show in town. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_is_no_alternative

Don Brind



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The WH2016 betting moves markedly back to Clinton after convincing first debate performance

September 27th, 2016

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On Betfair it is now Clinton 68% Trump 30%

Well over £3m was traded on Betfair as the market moves back to Hillary Clinton following a confident first debate performance against Donald Trump.

This is how Taegan Goddard of Political Wire summed up the night’s event:

“. Clinton was particularly effective when needling him on not releasing his tax returns, saying, “Why won’t he release his tax returns? Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is.”

Trump couldn’t resist and in the resulting back-and-forth, he actually bragged about not paying his workers and not paying taxes. “It’s called business,” he repeatedly said.

On the substance of the debate, Clinton was the clear winner. She was controlled and methodical in making her case. Trump was constantly interrupting and spit out jumbled talking points that sounded like they came from some obscure corner of the Internet.

It wasn’t even close. Clinton crushed him…”

There are still two more Clinton Trump events as well as the VP debate and we must remember that in 2012 Romney hammered a lacklustre Obama in the first session but was beaten in the remaining two encounters. My guess is that Trump will learn from what’s happened and be better prepared next time.

The Clinton campaign will be clearly hoping that the narrative of the election will move back following a difficult period when everything seemed to be moving against her.

The next national and swing state voting polls are eagerly awaited.

Mike Smithson




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The Clinton versus Trump debate thread

September 27th, 2016