Sunday, 23 November 2014
Labour lead at 1: Labour 34%, Conservatives 33%, UKIP 17%, Lib Dems 8%, Greens 5%
The Labour Party retains a small 1% lead in this week's poll of polls. Labour, the Tories, and UKIP are all up very slightly from last week's poll, the Lib Dems and Greens are holding steady on 8% and 5% respectively, whilst the share for parties other than these 5 has dropped by 3%.
The situation remains largely the same as it has done for the last few weeks, with Labour retaining a narrow lead, UKIP someway behind in 3rd, and the Lib Dems and Greens grapple for 4th place.
A note of caution about the Green Party surge. The Greens polled 0.8% in 2010 and managed to win 1 seat. To poll at 5% is very good news for them and confirms that they have, to some extent, "Surged." However this does not make it likely that they will win another seat at the general election next year, as their vote is too thinly spread, which is not a good way to win FPTP seats. The same goes for UKIP, which has an upper ceiling of around 20 seats on its current level of support. Up until UKIP get 25% of the vote, or until they surpass one of the two main parties in support, winning more than 20 seats is not possible for them. There comes a tipping point, up until which UKIP does not win many seats, and after which it starts to win many seats at once. That tipping point is when they manage to get 25% or more of the vote.
A word about "Thornyberry gate"
Labour did very poorly in the Rochester and Strood by-election, but its misery was compounded by the fact that its shadow atourney general, Emily Thornberry, was forced to resign after posting a tweet which many people regarded as being offensive. The tweet was of a house owned by a working class man, with an England flag and a white van, labelled "Tweet from Rochester". The tweet itself was not offensive, but the implication behind it offended people: after all, what is unusual about working class patriotism? Thornberry apologised and resigned, but the damage had been done, and "Thornberry gate" was all over the Sun newspaper the next day, giving Sky News and the Tory media the excuse to talk about something other than Cameron's embarrassment in Rochester.
My recommendation to the party would be to be very careful about what its elected representatives post on twitter during the election campaign. Miliband must run a sleek and professional campaign with no gaffs to ensure that the hostile press cannot make scandals out of little things. Can he do it? Only 6 months are left.