UK election minus four weeks and Spanish election results

The Conservatives still have a large poll lead as the Brexit Party slumps. Also: the left wins again in Spain; now can they cooperate? Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at The University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Four UK national polls were released last weekend from Panelbase, Opinium, Deltapoll and YouGov. These polls gave the Conservatives a ten to 13 point lead over Labour, little changed from the November 2-3 releases of these polls, although the Conservative lead fell from 16 points to 12 in Opinium. The UK election is December 12.

The fall in support for the Brexit Party is assisting the Conservatives in remaining well ahead of Labour. In Opinium and Deltapoll, there would have been a significant two-party boost for Labour if the UK used Australia’s preferential voting. Those polls previously had Conservatives plus Brexit at 51%, but it is now down to 47%. However, the Conservative/Brexit vote is up three in YouGov to 49%, and down just one in Panelbase to 48%.

My opinion is that, if the Conservative/Brexit combined vote is in the high 40’s or above, the Conservatives will win a Commons majority. If this vote falls into the low 40’s, there will be a live contest. Too many people would be supporting Labour or the Liberal Democrats for the Conservatives to be confident of a majority. If the Conservative/Brexit vote falls to or below 40%, Labour will form the next government.

Last week, there were claims made about Labour antisemitism by ex-Labour MPs Ian Austin and John Woodcock. Alleged antisemitism has dogged Labour under Jeremy Corbyn since 2016, but it does not appear to have hurt Labour electorally. Labour performed far better than expected at the 2017 election, and were competitive with the Conservatives through 2018.

Labour’s 2019 poll crash was caused by the polarisation between Remainers and Leavers. During 2019, Labour has reluctantly become a more pro-Remain party, but Leavers dislike any shift towards Remain, and many Remainers want Labour to be explicitly pro-Remain. Under Theresa May, the Conservatives also crashed in the polls, but Boris Johnson has restored Leavers’ trust in them.

I disagree with the proposition that being explicitly pro-Remain would have solved Labour’s problems. Leavers would have detested such a move, and it would be contrary to respecting the Brexit referendum result. Labour would then have been portrayed as an elitist party.

As I said previously, I believe Labour’s best chance is to keep attacking Johnson’s Brexit deal by highlighting its negative aspects, particularly in regard to the National Health Service. They should attempt to turn the election into a question of whether to Leave with this specific deal.

Left wins second 2019 Spanish election, but can they cooperate?

 Spain uses proportional representation by region, which benefits bigger parties relative to vote share. At the November 10 election, the centre-left Socialists won 120 of the 350 lower house seats (down three since the April 2019 election), the conservative People’s Party (PP) 88 (up 22), the far-right Vox 52 (up 28), the far-left Podemos 35 (down seven), the right-wing Citizens ten (down 47) and the new left-wing MP three.

National left-wing parties won 158 seats (down seven) and right-wing parties 150 (up three), with 42 seats going to mostly left-wing regionalist parties. If the Socialists and Podemos can reach an agreement, they should be able to form a government with regionalists abstaining. But these two parties were unable to cooperate in the last parliament.

Popular votes were 28.0% Socialists (down 0.7%), 20.8% PP (up 4.1%), 15.1% Vox (up 4.8%), 12.8% Podemos (down 1.5%), 6.8% Citizens (down 9.1%) and 2.4% MP. The Citizens’ move to the right backfired; they were attempting to replace the PP as the party of the right.

The Senate is elected by first-past-the-post with four seats for most provinces. The Socialists won 92 of the 208 elected senators (down 31) and the PP 84 (up 30), with regionalists winning almost all the rest. With regional appointees, the Socialists have 110 of 265 senators, the PP 98, Citizens eight, Podemos six and Vox three.

Bolivian president resigns after vote count irregularities

On Sunday, left-wing Bolivian president Evo Marales resigned after “serious irregularities” were found in the October 20 presidential vote count. See my personal website for more.

73 comments on “UK election minus four weeks and Spanish election results”

  1. mick Quinlivan – yes, labour can still “lose” but win government – if it can manage to deprive the tories of a majority. Since I don’t think the tories will have any coalition options left after screwing over the DUP.

    I heard from somewhere that a recent yougov poll had tories with something like a 20 point lead over labour amongst the working class. Utterly absurd if true – talk about the turkey voting for christmas!

  2. The DUP would work with the Tories again, but there would be one very non negotiable condition, and that is that either the current Brexit deal is completely squashed, or that there is a Northern Ireland veto mechanism. Either of these two scenarios would be unacceptable to the EU, bringing about a no deal Brexit. However, I am coming to the conclusion that the Conservatives seem to be heading for a workable majority in their own right. Labour I feel will be hit hard in some of their traditional working class areas by voters wanting Brexit delivered.

  3. I think the magic number is around 30. If Lab can contain its net losses to the Tories to this number, then other net Tory losses to snp and ld should ensure a hung parliament.

    To think a Lab supporter should be thrilled if only lose 10 seats to THIS government is all the Corbyn indictment you need.

    Agree DUP will generally support Tories thru a no deal brexit… but i wonder at that crunch reality whether 10 Tories might rebel… If its a small majority only, the same 10 expelled but readmitted Tories could be crucial again.

    I want to also challenge the idea that leave voters in Lab seats switching to Tories is the assumed driver of their losses. Some – but the bigger feared driver are Lab remain voters in marginal seats switching to Lib Dems that allow Tories to fptp it into the lead. That at least could be minimised with a non-compete understanding, which also maximises LD gains in Tory seats where Lab runs 3rd.

    Its a very complex matrix here unlike most elections. Could be one of those that goes into pseph folklore in terms of how the result actually came about.

    Academically compelling for sure but also this minor stuff around impact (breakup of the uk, entrenched deep recession) at stake!

  4. Poll showing SNP with a 21 points lead over Tories in Scotland.

    The average of the Scottish sub-sample of the last 5 YouGov polls.

    YouGov’s subsamples differ from those of other firms because they appear to be correctly structured and weighted.

    SNP 44.2%
    Conservatives 23.0%
    Labour 12.6%
    Liberal Democrats 11.8%
    Brexit Party 4.6%
    Greens 3.4%

  5. The Tories continue to gain from the Brexit party’s withdrawal from Tory-held seats. No sign of a weakening in the Tory/Brexit overall vote.

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    7h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 43% (+3)
    LAB: 30% (-)
    LDEM: 15% (-)
    BREX: 5% (-3)
    GRN: 2% (-1)

    via @PanelbaseMD, 13 – 14 Nov
    Chgs. w/ 08 Nov

  6. Some polling on Labour’s free broadband policy announced Thursday

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    5h
    “To what extent would you support or oppose a policy providing free broadband internet to all UK homes and businesses by 2030?”

    Support: 62%
    Oppose: 22%

    “Would you support or oppose BT’s broadband structure being nationalised, so they are run in the public sector by the government?”

    Support: 32%
    Oppose: 31%

    via @YouGov

  7. First question in the above is a “pony poll”, ie, most voters would say yes if they were offered a free pony. Question is whether the Tories are able to make headway over the costs, or do they go too much for the Communism angle?

  8. I wouldn’t have a free pony. Where would I keep the stupid thing? Someone needs to work on their aphorisms (or whatever the word is).

    Anyway, if the polls are right, or even close, the Conservatives are headed for a big win.

    I feel sorry for the Poms. Not that we’re much better off.

  9. Five UK polls out today, and Opinium, YouGov and Deltapoll are really great for the Tories. Their vote in those polls is in the mid 40’s, and the Tory/Brexit combined vote is 49-51%. It’s a bit different in ComRes and BMG, with eight point Tory leads and a Tory/Brexit vote at 46%.

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    1h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 37% (-)
    LAB: 29% (-)
    LDEM: 16% (-)
    BREX: 9% (-)

    via @BMGResearch, 12 – 15 Nov
    Chgs. w/ 08 Nov

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    1h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 45% (+3)
    LAB: 28% (-)
    LDEM: 15% (-)
    BREX: 4% (-)

    via @YouGov

    Chgs. w/ 12 Nov

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    1h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 45% (+4)
    LAB: 30% (+1)
    LDEM: 11% (-5)
    BREX: 6% (-)

    via @DeltapollUK

    Chgs. w/ 09 Nov

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    2h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 41% (+1)
    LAB: 33% (+3)
    LDEM: 14% (-2)
    BREX: 5% (-2)
    GRN: 2% (-1)

    via @SavantaComRes, 13 – 14 Nov
    Chgs. w/ 12 Nov

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    3h
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 44% (+3)
    LAB: 28% (-1)
    LDEM: 14% (-1)
    BREX: 6% (-)

    via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this week
    Chgs. w/ 08 Nov

  10. Three polls in Remain seats have the Tories winning due to vote splitting between Labour and Lib Dems

    Britain Elects @britainelects
    ·
    3h
    Wimbledon constituency voting intention:

    CON: 38% (-8)
    LDEM: 36% (+21)
    LAB: 23% (-13)

    via @DeltapollUK, 07 – 13 Nov
    Chgs. w/ GE2017

    Britain Elects@britainelects
    ·
    3h
    Kensington constituency voting intention:

    CON: 36% (-6)
    LDEM: 33% (+21)
    LAB: 27% (-16)

    via @DeltapollUK, 07 – 13 Nov
    Chgs. w/ GE2017

    Britain Elects@britainelects
    ·
    3h
    Finchley & Golders Green constituency voting intention:

    CON: 46% (-1)
    LDEM: 32% (+25)
    LAB: 19% (-25)

    via @DeltapollUK, 07 – 13 Nov
    Chgs. w/ GE2017

  11. Here’s a WOW poll from Iowa as regards the US Dem pres nomination. Buttigieg surges 16 pts in two months to take a clear lead over Warren and Biden!

    CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa caucus poll (Nov. 8-13, MoE +/- 4.4 percentage points):

    Buttigieg 25% (+16 since Sep. 14-18)
    Warren 16% (-6)
    Biden 15% (-5)
    Sanders 15% (+4)
    Klobuchar 6% (+3)
    11:33 am · 17 Nov 2019

  12. Those tbree remain seat polls outlined by Adrian above are exactly what should be panicling Labour.

    Losing seats to Torues based on leave voter abandonment is baked somewhat into the cake, but losing remain seats to the Tories because of vote leakage to the LibDems is the titanic here.

    The irony is that remain vote- splitting is going to usher in a Tory majority and the hardest of Brexits.

    This will be the legacy of Corbyn and Swinson, who could have cooperated to prevent it. Their self-interest will torpedo the country. Idiots

  13. vote splitting or not, ex-pat, if what you predict pans out and Tories get a majority it still comes down to the fact that a sufficiently large proportion of the people voted for Boris, knowing full well that he would likely implement no-deal (i doubt there are many who have any illusions about this).

    Its the British voting public who will sow their own destiny regarding brexit, not any byzantine conniving of any opposition figures.

    The British public have a clear opportunity to stop a no deal brexit by voting the tories out. It looks at this stage that they have no intention of doing so. Thats on the voters, not Corbyn or Swinson.

  14. Adrian, if constituencies vote 60% for non-Brexit-aligned candidates, but end up sending a hard-Brexit Tory to Westminster, that’s not on the voters – it’s on a broken electoral system.

  15. caf – thats a simplification of a complex situaton.

    Basically if you are thinking of nothing else but stopping brexit, then you vote LD or SNP. You wouldn’t even vote labour – too risky. There may be a small number of the voting population who will do this, but it will never amount to anything significant in the scheme of things.

    Overhwelmingly, most people will be thinking of a range of considerations when casting their vote. Some remainers will vote Tory, in spite of their remain convictions, and some leavers will vote labour, and quite possibly even LD. So it may that a majority of voters will vote for ” non-Brexit-aligned candidates”, but it shouldn’t be assumed that all of them voted that way because they want to stop brexit – not by a long shot. You can’t dismis the fact that many of these voters may be brexiteers – but voted that way because their chosen candidate stood for something they considered more important than brexit.

    I guess my point is, being a ‘hard brexit candidate’ doesn’t ensure that everyone who votes for you will be hard brexiters, or vice versa. If this was a single issue/Brexit election, then in theory around 51% of voters would unite behind the Lib-Dems and/or the SNP. But they won’t – a great many remainers will vote for labour, and there will be a small number who will vote Tory. You call this splitting the remain vote, but I call it voters simply voting for their preferred party – often in spite of their view on brexit.

  16. AE has a very limited grasp of political reality here, so do not expect much insight re Britain. Corbyn needs to bash hard on traditional Labour policy areas such as public health, education and re nationalization of rail and electricity, which he is doing. I have seen the Labour ads and they are very good. Side by side with this Labour must campaign that a vote for the Greens, a vote for SNP, a vote for vote Lib Dem get more Tory austerity, more poverty with the added bonus of a hard Brexit.

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