Coffee House

Tory poll weaknesses show why an Eastleigh win is so important

11 February 2013

The latest ICM poll for The Guardian is interesting because it highlights the weakness in both the Tory and Labour positions. The Tories are 12 points behind on 29, doing appallingly with women voters—trailing Labour 25-51, and haven’t managed to halt UKIP’s momentum. But Labour’s position is not as strong as the headline figures suggest. A plurality of voters still places the blame for the economic slowdown on Labour’s ‘unsustainable spending’.

Polls in mid-term do not tell us that much. But the more bad news they bring for the Tories, the grimmer the mood on their benches will become. This is one of the things which makes Eastleigh so important for Cameron. A win there would cheer his own side and encourage them to believe that they can win a majority in 2015. Conversely, a failure to take the seat will add to the mood of despondency among Tory MPs.

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  • cyllan2

    well if cameron wanted to win he should vomit some policies normal people would vote for….not just maximinoritie’s

  • berosos_bubos

    I would say that this by-election is easy to call. The Huhne scandal will not deter LD voters. The Labour vote will have grown since the GE. Ukip will take votes away from the Conservatives. Therefore the result will be LD,Con,with Ukip and Labour quite close in third and fourth.

  • Daniel Maris

    Eastleigh is too unusual to be much use as an indicator of the way things are going – unless Labour surprise everyone and win it. It is a naturally Conservative seat that ended up with the Lib Dems because of a scandal, coupled with Labour tactical voting, and now might return to the Conservatives as a result of a scandal.

    But a Conservative win will help maintain the Tories’ delusional state aka Micawber Syndrome.

    • AnotherDaveB

      A Tory win will show the Conservatives they are on track to take seats off the LDs. A LD win will show them they are not. A Labour win will terrify both the Conservatives and the LDs.

  • Barbara Stevens

    Whatever the result is it will be a reckoner for them all. Mostly for the elite politicians who think they are invinceable. UKIP are storming ahead, one must ask why? I assume it’s because most of us are fed up with the status que, I know I am. What have we had for the past 40 years, lies, stealing, wars, which we have no business in; and waste of public money on grand ideas at our expense. The financial crisis which we all know began over the pond, but banks here tried to make a quick buck and then went bust, Labour had no choice but to bail them out or all would have been lost. They did not stop spending money they didn’t have so they impounded the problem and made it three times as bad as it should have been. We all know the results.
    Can you not blame anyone for having doubts or ill feelings towards the politiical elite, I know I’m just fed up with the lot and my vote too, will go to UKIP. My mantra in the future will be STOP THE ROT, DUMP THE LOT, VOTE UKIP.

    • Grrr8

      Most UKIP supporters (never mind their politicians) make me rather grateful for our political elite.

      • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

        I hope you’re enjoying the status quo, I know I am – it gives me endless schadenfreude to watch clueless muppets like yourself defend it.

        • Mombasa69

          Anyone that votes UKIP is a clueless muppet, a vote for UKIP just allows Labour to re-gain power easily, if that isn’t thick and clueless then tell me what is.

          • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

            When you come to terms with the fact that there is no difference between Labour in red and Labour in blue let me know.

    • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

      Couple of things..

      A lot of the worst excesses of the crisis that came to fruition in 2008 would not have been possible without London, many of the worst kinds of financial instruments were already illegal under US law but were NOT illegal under UK law which is why the biggest banks put their divisions in London.

      Secondly, Labour DID have the option to let the banks go bust. Yes I know it would’ve been chaotic and perhaps frightening for a short while but the greatest example of moral hazard writ large – that banks can play fast and loose with people’s money because they know the government will bail them out come what may – was never addressed. And here we are five years later scarcely any better off whilst Iceland rockets ahead because they let the banks go bust. Do not believe the apocalyptic rumours that banks spread.

      The truth is if we do want anything other than the status quo we first need to stop voting for the same parties (I’m with you on UKIP) and secondly we need to stop back-stopping the status quo when push comes to shove because the banks and the government scare us into handing over our life savings.

    • Mombasa69

      UKIP a bunch of Tory elitist d1cks, I much prefer the Tory party as it is without these arrogant nobs that wouldn’t cross the street to p1ss on me if I was on fire.

  • Russell

    This should be the most interesting election for years. The tories need to do well, the LibDems need to do well, Labour need to do well and even UKIP need to do well.

    Not only might the Lib Dem vote be dramatically reduced, but the tory vote could similarly be dramatically reduced, as well as the Labour vote. Even UKIP might not do as well as people think they should. So all political parties might suffer whoever ‘wins’ (gets the most votes out of a tiny turn-out)
    I think only UKIP can really win in this election by getting a large % of the vote and finishing either in front of labour or better.

    For the record, I suspect the LibDems will hold the seat with a massively reduced number of votes, the tories 2nd with a similarly massively reduced number of votes and UKIP 3rd with their highest ever % of votes with finally labour 4th recording a big reduction in their voting numbers.

    • clare62

      I’m not sure. I think Labour may well pick up a large share of previous tactical voters who used their vote to stop a Conservative victory. It really depends on these voters as to whether the Liberal Democrats retain the seat. Will they hold their nose and vote Lib.Dem again or not? Clegg specifically told them he did not want them voting for his party anymore so maybe not.

  • Smithersjones2013

    David Cameron – Dead man walking…..2 years to go…..

    • Barbara Stevens

      From the beginining I’ve always thought Cameron like a ‘Brasso Kid’ shiny on the outside, and no substance underneath. It appears I may be right.

  • disqus_hEVMnkIMuK

    Look at the photo – polyester men supporting a wacko woman. They’ve taken over all political parties – what’s there to vote for? At the moment of ultimate destruction, it will be left to us to pick up the pieces, and the great electorate, living off the minority who work their hearts out, will never thank us. Yet, somehow, our day will come.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I don’t know whether she’s whacko, but the artist had to work overtime to airbrush away a few of her chins, for her posters.

      If the Cameroons lose this election big, and/or are embarassed by UKIP in any way, I’m predicting a puff of white smoke to appear over Cameroon HQ, and a new leader elected by the holey don’t see.

      • AnotherDaveB

        No-one is going to challenge Mr Cameron for the leadership before the 2014 EU elections. If they still look like losers then…

  • BenM_Kent

    A good poll for Labour and one that perhaps starts ramming nails into the coffin of this appalling, vicious, divisive and shambolic Tory government.

    • Chris lancashire

      For vicious and divisive you couldn’t possibly beat Blair-Brown.

  • paulus

    What are you on about James? this is an ideal constituency, piss off two thirds of irreconcilable conservatives who hold conservative views and appeal to the waivering lib dem vote. I have full confidence that this master strategy will come to full fruition in this tightly fought marginal.

    Apparently, the supreme pontiff is seeing the errors of his ways. A lifetime of wearing dresses has led him to the realisation that he is fact gay. and can no longer be associated with reactionary catholicism.

    It all makes sense, the logic is self evident the victory will soon be won.

    • Lodekka

      Labour will win this by election. The Literal vote will collapse in their direction- UKIP will pick up lots on the none-of-the-above votes pushing them in to third or even second place. The Literal Democrats will come as low as fourth. Looking forward immensely to this by-election.

  • alexsandr

    dave could win this. promise a EU in or out referendum for may 2014. And ban EU meat imports NOW until its sorted on public health grounds.

  • Archimedes

    This idea of the Tories doing a terrible job of attracting women’s votes is a myth. If you look at YouGov polls, women are consistently the largest group of “Don’t knows”. Secondly, they are the least likely group to vote for one of the “Other” parties. All in all, it adds up to a weighted distribution of the vote that favours Labour, but the Tories do not on average do that much worse in attracting female votes than they do attracting male votes – it’s just that Labour appears to do better among women than it does among men. How that actually plays out in a real election is probably a very different story.

    • telemachus

      The unveilling of O’Farrell author and comedy writer will give added impetus to the Labour effort in Eastleigh and they will run the Tories a damn close race.
      This is the end for all except Cable and Hughes on the yellow benches

      • Hepworth

        I don’t even bother reading your posts anymore mate, I just mark them down by reflex.

        • telemachus

          I on the other hand enjoy yours

      • Archimedes

        Ich verstehe nicht.

        I write that in German in order to give added impetus to the unintelligible nature of your comment.

        • telemachus

          Or to demonstrate admiration of the master race

          • Archimedes

            Awww tele! You can just see right through me, can’t you? What we have is very special…

          • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

            Du bist ein richtiger Idiot weisst du das? Ich habe interessantere Gespräche mit den Einwohner meines Aquariums gehabt. Außerdem sag’ ich dir, dass der Aufruf von Deutschen als eine “Herrenrasse”, weil er Deutsch gesprochen hat – ist mir tiefgründig unwissend.

            • ArchiePonsonby

              “My dog’s got no nose!”

              • TheOtherTurnipTaliban

                How does he smell then?

      • Barbara Stevens

        Having a comedy writer is about right for a Labour candidate, you just could not make it up.

        • telemachus

          We need levity in the dull austere Osborne world

    • Barbara Stevens

      Who says women are the largest ‘don’t knows’, I’m a woman and I know quite well what I will vote for and whom. There’s no hesitation at all. Please, why assume women don’t know, give us your reasons for assuming that. Women are probably the best at logical thinking when it comes to political support, as they run homes, bring up children, and most work as well, no mean task, I’m sure making a political decision is not beyond most of them.

      • Archimedes

        They are the largest group of undecided voters in polls – that’s my reason for saying “If you look at YouGov polls, women are consistently the largest group of “Don’t knows””.

        I’ll try not to be smug about the irony here…oh! oops…

  • UlyssesReturns

    I disagree that Eastleigh is so important. Whatever result we get will be a ‘one-off’ and will not point to either a resurgence of the party or the continuing failure of the tories to engage with the electorate. The tory poll weakness rather shows just how goddamn awful Cameron and his band of vegetable eaters is. One keeps praying for strength, consistency and vision but instead we are left giddy by continuous u-turns and disheartened by the false promise of an occasional right-wing stance, soon forgotten in another unfathomable act of neo-liberalism. This is a government lacking in political purpose and conviction and swayed by the variable winds of chance. Useless, useless, useless.

    • Vulture

      Eastleigh is important because it is a bellweather ‘must-take’ Tory seat: southern, Lib-Dem held, average income. I was at the UKIP hustings last night : impressive candidates, of which one, Surrey Councillor Diane James, has now been chosen. She’ll make mincemeat of Hutchings. UKIP will do for Dave because they’ll stop him taking the seat and then if they have any sense of self-preservationmthey will more to depose him and his yuseless mate Osborne.

      • UlyssesReturns

        UKIP as a political party do not impress me – they are just a missing part of the Conservative party with a few lefties thrown in. I would rather get back the party I have lived since I was the blessed Maggie’s constituent than vote for a one-trick pony, even though their stance on the EU is identical to mine. If the best they can do is deprive the tories of seats and usher in labour and its band of criminal incompetents, then a plague on them and their political opportunism. I believe in grown-up politics, not in single-issues determining the fate of nations.

        • Wessex Man

          Oh dear UlyssesReturns, I’ve got a an invite in front of me to a UKIP event featuring an MEP Paul Nuttall, who is Deputy Leader of the UKIP and the list of stuff they are listing for their next manifesto is quite extensive. I don’t think I’ve seen anything from the other parties yet.

          Are you saying that they shouldn’t stand, in the last opinion poll I read Mail on Sunday they are ahead of Labour in Eastleigh. Should Labour not stand to give the Lib/Dems a chance?

          Frankly I don’t think your politics are grown up at all!

          • realfish

            I’ve got a list of aspirations that are quite extensive also. A win on the lottery, a villa in the South of France, an new Aston Martin, a fit blonde….UKIP stand about as much chance of achieving their aspirations as I do.

            Watching Cameron wipe the floor with Labour and Milband during the EU budget statement this afternoon, I think that it’s about time those that care about this country realise that UKIP is a one man band, with its own divisions and a real danger to the future of this country. Look at Miliband today, weak, formulaic, hopeless and out of his depth. A vote for UKIP can only put this unworthy man closer to the door of number 10 together with policies that will tie us ever closer to Europe.

            By the way, the whole basis of this article is barking mad. Incumbent, mid-term parties dishing out medicine that doesn’t taste good, rarely, if ever, win by-elections. The Tories don’t hold Eastleigh, for a Tory led government to actually win it would be seismic.

        • Tim

          Try reading some of their policies on their website.

          Then you’ll find that it is in fact your criticism that is a one trick pony, not UKIP.

          As to political opportunism – no party has a divine right to exist nor does it have a divine right to kill off others. If I choose to vote for UKIP knowing it might lead to a Labour government, that is very opposite of opportunism.

          Grow up yourself

        • emptyend

          “If the best they can do is deprive the tories of seats and usher in
          labour and its band of criminal incompetents, then a plague on them”

          Maybe so – but what Eastleigh is likely to show, I think, is that UKIP can actually WIN seats. The Tories and Labour are both weak and I think the UKIP candidate will be able to peel away much of the disillusioned LibDem vote that might otherwise have gone to Labour. A plague on ALL the established parties, I say – they would all promise anything to get elected…….and we have all seen that they behave differently in Government and let down their voters.

        • Smithersjones2013

          How very unconservative of you to infer that the Tories should hold a monopoly over right of centre politics. Don’t they believe in free markets after all?

          For a party that is only 20 years old the idea that UKIP can attract something close to one-sixth of the electorate in some polls is astonishing and must compare to the rise of the Labour movement in its early days in the late 19th Century.

          UKIP are responding to an increasingly large gap in the political market They are now the only mainstream right of centre party since Cameron deserted the right for that worthless piece of tarmac in the centreground somewhere between Islington and Primrose Hill.

          And for one trick ponies UKIP are impressive given that the Coalition’s Flagship tax policy (income tax allowance increase) is nothing more than a watered down version of UKIPs own longstanding policy that was initially proposed in 2006. Their proposals on numerous other issues from the English Question to Energy are far sounder and more consistent than the slapdash mess of contradictory ideas that is the Coalition.

          Furthermore, it is ridiculous to keep trotting out that mindless piece of Tory propaganda about UKIP letting Labour in. If the Tories were good enough, offered decent coherent policies and could be trusted then it wouldn’t be an issue. The Tories would prosper. The problem is they don’t offer decent coherent policies and clearly cannot be trusted. If Labour win in 2015 just as they successfully averted a Conservative majority in 2010 its first and foremost down to David Cameron and the Tory party leadership.

          Its time Tories and particularly the Cameroons grew a collective backbone and accepted responsibility for their increasing failure and stop blaming others……..

          • Grrr8

            Poll results do not equal votes, particularly with a party of protest. If UKIPs polling results were for real, brother Nige would be running in Eastleigh rather than hiding in Brussels whilst consuming a large taxpayer funded salary. I look forward to UKIPs destruction in Eastleigh and in 2015.

            • Austin Barry

              I suspect that Cameron experiences real, scrotal-tightening fear when he looks at the various national and Eastleigh polls.

              He is finished.

              • Grrr8

                Lol, I suspect the same of brother Nige, hence his continued residency (hide-out) in Brussels, instead of manning it up and contesting Eastleigh. Ironically, Cam isn’t likely to be supported in the HoC by the odious Hutchings woman. Her positions are closer to UKIPs. As John Major said…

        • Barbara Stevens

          Thats a narrow assumption of a political party. UKIP have policies on most things, have you taken the time to read their website? If not then you cannot really claim what you state. Every party as a manifesto, and one decides once the manifesto as been read. Most of the people listed as candidates for UKIP are local if possible. Once that was what all Conservative candidates were, now there from the London bubble, professional candidates, same goes for Labour. Never underestimate the underdog!

      • telemachus

        UKIP have chosen Diane James as their candidate in Eastleigh, a Surrey councillor and healthcare campaigner. After last night’s hustings she won almost 70% of the vote. Party sources are stressing to Guido that the fact she is currently a member of Community Speedwatch in rural Ewhurst is mere coincidence.

        So what does Guido know?

        • AnotherDaveB

          It’s a joke. Mr Huhne’s has just been convicted, and had to resign, because he got his wife to take his speeding points.

          • telemachus


      • AnotherDaveB

        How do the hustings work? What’s the format?

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