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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Polling"

Crispin Blunt and Sue Pascoe: It’s time to correct the stoking of alarm and spreading of misinformation about trans people

Crispin Blunt is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT and Rights, and is MP for Reigate. Sue Pascoe is Acting Area Chairman of the Conservative Women’s Organisation in North and East Yorkshire.

As the UK strives for a new global place in the world, it’s important that we place equal weight on our personal freedoms, the prosperity of our communities, and equality and equity of opportunity for our people as we level up our country.

We must not leave any section of our society behind because of misunderstandings, prejudice or fear.  It is the first duty of government to foster an environment where this exists for everyone. We hope as a Party, a Government and members of society that we can each hold out a helping hand to all those who still struggle, who still face the difficulties of daily life, who still cannot be their authentic selves.

Our freedom and our basic humanity are two of the key components of what defines us as individuals. When we cannot be our authentic selves, our freedom and our humanity is taken away from us.

During recent months, we had begun to despair with some sections of the media and its relentless stoking of alarm and spreading of misinformation about trans people. There appear to have been orchestrated campaigns to try and roll back the hard-won rights of not only trans adults but of vulnerable trans young people as well.

We would like to bust some myths.

  • Women and trans people have the same need to live in safety from abuse, sexualharassment and physical violence. Trans women and trans young people are not aninherent threat to women. Sadly, there are a small number of abusive people in thisworld of all genders and measures and efforts should focus on stopping their actions.
  • We are out of step with other countries around the world in adopting rights fortransgender people – from such countries as Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia to many of the states in the US to countries closer to home like Portugal, Belgium and Ireland. United Nations Free and Equal recommends that a range of measures are introduced by states to support transgender people, from legally recognising the gender identity of trans people in official documents through a simple administrative process in line with their lived identity to gender-affirming healthcare services free from stigma and discrimination.
  • The World Health Organisation made clear in 2019 that being transgender is not amental illness, and should not be treated as such.
  • Considerable scientific evidence has emerged demonstrating a durable biological element underlying gender identity.
  • Language respecting the sex in which trans women and trans men live has beencommon decency in Britain since the 1970s, and has been clearly upheld in UK law since 2004.It is never necessary to humiliate or degrade trans people in order to discuss sex and gender or to address health needs or social inequalities.
  • The Equality Act brought in the concept that gender reassignment was a ‘personal process’ rather than a ‘medical one’. Trans people have been accessing single-sex service and facilities in line with their lived identity for many decades,  and with proportionate protection from discrimination since 2010. Misinformation is driving current fear to try and change this. It will remain permitted under the Equality Act to exclude trans women from single sex facilities, such as a woman’s refuge, on a case by case basis, but it would be anathema to British values to attempt to blanket-ban trans people from toilets and shop changing cubicles.
  • Trans people already access services matching their gender under the law, except inrestricted individual circumstances, with all the protections that have been campaigned for to balance rights. This is why we say so much of the campaigning ismisinformed.
  • All that’s been asked for now for GRA reform is a minor change in administrative arrangements for birth certificates that only impacts the holder of the certificate onmarriage, death, getting a job or a mortgage. Can you remember when you last used your birth certificate or even where it is? GRA reform has never had anything to do with toilets or changing room cubicles.
  • Currently, less than 0.03 per cent of under 18s in the UK are referred to gender identity development services, of which only a tiny number may eventually go on to receive puberty-delaying medication for two or three years while under 16.
  • Changes to curtail trans young people’s healthcare could have serious unintended detrimental consequences on wider children’s health services. We have clinical safeguards such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to ensure best evidence-based protocols. ​We must be guided by evidence and clinical experts and not lobby groups to make policy decisions.
  • Only 5,000 trans people currently have a GRC, fewer than 100,000 have changed their driving licence or passport. The numbers remain small and any proposed reform of the Gender Recognition Act would only apply to people living permanently in theirgender with all their other ID such as passports or driving licences already changed.

We really wonder if the good people of our great nation realise they are being manipulated through fear and false information to roll-back the basic dignity, privacy and safety of trans people who are just trying to live ordinary lives.

Yes, the bodies and life experiences of trans people will never be identical to those of people who are not trans. But that is not good reason to segregate and demonise them. It is also the same with trans young people. Parents of young people who are struggling with their gender simply want their children to have unconditional love and support – to explore their identity and time to enjoy their childhood with assistance from trusted multi-disciplinary professionals in the field free from political interference. That is the right and humane way forward.

In recent weeks, voices have spoken up from global businesses in the City, global media and entertainment businesses, members from across the Commons and the upper chamber; voices from across all sections of society, from within the LGBT community and its close allies, from faith leaders and parents of trans children but, most of all, from trans people with a simple message.

With one voice, asking for trans inclusion and equality, trans people say: we are just like you, human beings who just wish to go about our lives free from hate and persecution. Be kind, let us love and be loved. Let us be our authentic selves. We are not an ideology to be fought over by others.

The bottom line is most people in the UK do not want to reduce trans people’s inclusion in services or undermine their identities. Polling consistently shows the majority of women support trans women’s inclusion in services and reform of the GRA (see the British Social Attitudes Survey and recent YouGov polling).

Ipsos MORI reported this month that 70 per cent of Britons believe that transgender people face discrimination, with a quarter (26 per cent) saying they face a great deal. We have ended up entangling ourselves in unnecessary scaremongering against trans people at a time when most people want us focused on tackling Covid-19, rebuilding our economy and bringing our society together.

Equality and inclusivity for all is an essential bedrock of our free society. We wish to work towards a society where we treat each other with respect, dignity, compassion, tolerance and understanding. We wish to see policy measures which bring social cohesion, and focus on our common welfare, as we work together to emerge from these troubling times.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Conservatives must resist any temptation to get greedy in which seats they target

Among the many things that went wrong in 2017 was a serious error in the selection of target seats, and therefore the allocation of campaign resources and activists. Starting with insufficient and somewhat obsolete data, the Conservative Party struggled to select its targets in the early stages of a campaign for which it wasn’t adequately prepared. Desperate to inform its decision-making, it then updated its selections after a few weeks, based on polling and local election data – only for that information to be rendered incorrect by events, not least the manifesto problems and the growing ‘weak and wobbly’ narrative about the Prime Minister.

The trouble was, the damage was done before the error was realised. They started ambitiously – even targeting a few rare seats with Labour majorities as large as 8,000 – and then the early poll leads and encouraging locals led the operation to get greedy. They switched resources out of defence seats and tight marginals, and into stretch targets, with ruinous effect.

Here is my report after the election:

‘…as the results came in, numerous experienced campaigners in Tory seats with large majorities realised to their horror that while they had been travelling often long distances to give mutual aid to supposed target seats where Labour won convincingly, Tory-held seats far closer to them had been lost. In one instance, a well-resourced association saw the Labour majority in their allotted target seat increase, while a Conservative seat which they drove through regularly to get to the target was lost.

This mismatch got worse as time went on, too. Positive early canvassing returns (pre-manifesto) and the encouraging local election results led CCHQ’s strategists to start not only treating Tory-held marginals as safe, but to divert resources away from the more marginal Labour-held target seats and towards target seats further down the list, ie those with bigger majorities. A candidate in what was supposed to be a top target – Leave-voting, and narrowly held by Labour in 2015 – tells me that:

“CCHQ’s eyes were definitely bigger than their belly. The limited resource we had in [our area] was originally due to be directed to us. That would have already been a stretch, but once canvass returns came in we lost it all together as 5-8,000 majorities were targeted instead. It left us very exposed.”

The moral of the story is that it’s better to stay focused on getting the essentials right than neglect them because you’re carried away with fantasies of a landslide. It’s a lesson that must be remembered at Tory HQ right now. Having enjoyed large poll leads so far, and with an encouraging MRP from YouGov last night, this is precisely the time when the siren temptation to expand the target list comes a-calling.

It must be resisted. If anything, the campaign should be kicking the tyres and ensuring that its defence operation in Tory-held marginals is running properly, and ensuring its must-win target seats have all the resources that they need. A campaign is a complex thing, and myriad moving parts can easily go wrong.

The last election shows the importance of retaining focus, the polls already show some tightening of the Conservatives’ lead, and (as I discussed with John Curtice in this podcast yesterday) all the signs are that the severely underperforming Lib Dems are vulnerable to being squeezed by Labour. In short, things may well get tougher, and closer, before this election has run its course – as Dominic Cummings warned last night.

So if CCHQ’s eyes start once more to get bigger than their belly, they must be alive to the danger of over-reaching, and restrain themselves. If they stay disciplined, they might even benefit from Labour failing to do so – Buzzfeed reports that there are growing frustrations in the Opposition’s campaign machine that troops are being misallocated, either due to over-ambitious plans or discrimination in favour of hyper-loyal Corbynite candidates.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Henry Hill: Is YouGov missing unionist tactical voting in Scotland, or is it not happening?

YouGov’s MRP poll suggests unionists aren’t coordinating in Scotland…

The big story today is the release of YouGov’s new poll for the Times. The headline figure is a projected Conservative majority of 68, but of more interest to this column are the projections for Wales and Scotland (Northern Ireland, alas, isn’t included). How does this tally with what we’ve been hearing from troops on the ground?

North of the border, it foresees the Scottish Nationalists picking up eight seats, with Labour slipping from seven to just two. As we suggested at the end of October, the Scottish Tories appear to be doing much better than early write-offs supposed, holding 11 of their current 13 seats.

Yet there is a gulf between this forecast and the expectations of those closer to the action – one that seems best explained by either YouGov or the campaigners respectively under- or over-estimating the scale of pro-UK tactical voting.

Consider North East Fife. In 2017 the SNP held this seat by two votes, 13,743 to the Liberal Democrat’s 13,741. The Conservatives were in third with a respectable 10,088. YouGov predict that the seat will remain pretty much a dead heat, with the SNP favoured to win. Yet I have yet to speak to anybody who doesn’t think that enough Tory voters will lend their support to eject the Nationalists next month.

The projected SNP win in East Renfrewshire (again by a slender margin, admittedly) is just as puzzling. Paul Masterton, the Conservative incumbent, enters the election with a majority of over 4,700. Last time out Labour racked up a solid third place, taking over 14,300 votes (versus fewer than 16,800 for the SNP), by running a very high-profile campaign fronted by arch-unionist candidate Blair McDougall, who played a prominent role in the pro-Union Better Together campaign.

Again, the overwhelming expectation is that Masterton ought to be able to win over more than enough of those pro-UK voters who backed Labour last time to hold the seat.

Likewise there are more than a few Scotland watchers who think that unionist tactical voting could even help the Tories hold Stirling (a long shot), or gain SNP-held seats where the Tories came a close second last time such as Perth and North Perthshire (SNP majority: 21), Lanark and Hamilton East (266), Central Ayrshire (1,267), and Argyll and Bute (1,328).

Finally, I’ve heard from several sources from different parties that the Tories could be on track to pick up East Lothian from Labour. They placed third last time, just 500 votes behind the SNP. Labour had hoped to win over Conservative tactical votes, but Jeremy Corbyn’s wooing of the Nationalists has reportedly not only completely stopped such switching but is also pushing pro-UK Labour voters the other way. Yet MRP has the Tories in third again.

Of course, on-the-ground feedback isn’t everything – it was partly such reports that had everybody writing Labour off ahead of the 2017 election. An overall SNP advance was the most widely anticipated result going to this election (albeit more at the Tories’ expense), and as YouGov themselves say there are still two weeks to go.

But it would certainly be a disappointing night for unionists – and a damning indictment of their ability to coordinate – if the Nationalists do pick up all these seats next month.

…and that the Tories may have a moderately disappointing night in Wales

In Wales, YouGov forecasts that the Tories will retain all eight of the seats they held in 2017: Aberconwy, Brecon and Radnor, Carmarthen West and South Pemrokeshire, Clwyd West, Monmouth, Montgomeryshire, Preseli Pembrokeshire, and Vale of Glamorgan.

It then predicts that the Conservatives will regain Vale of Clwyd as well as finally winning Wrexham and capturing Anglesey (Ynys Môn) for the first time since the mid-1980s.

Should this be how it pans out on the night it would be a somewhat disappointment for the Welsh Tories. Although those I spoke to never believed that they might really gain nine seats, as an early ‘Welsh Political Barometer’ poll suggested, their expectations were much more in the region of six gains than three (four if you count Brecon and Radnor).

It would mean not only had they missed out on outlying targets such as Alyn and Deesside and Delyn but also on firmer prospects such as Bridgend, as well as both Cardiff North and Gower, which the party won in 2015.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard.

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is an international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. For more information about his work, visit www.lordashcroft.com and www.lordashcroftpolls.com.

My third general election survey shows the Conservatives still ahead on the fundamentals, but there is some evidence that Labour is managing to firm up its vote among 2017 supporters at the margins, with Labour Leavers showing more reticence about switching to the Tories.

When we ask people how likely they are to vote for each party on a scale from zero (definitely not) to 100 (absolutely certain), the Conservatives’ average likelihood score is unchanged at 36. Labour’s is up from 25 last week to 28, the Liberal Democrats’ down from 17 to 15, and the Brexit Party’s (asked of respondents in non-Conservative seats only) down from 11 to 9.

Westlake Legal Group Voting-Intention Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

 

2017 Conservative Remainers’ likelihood of staying with the Tories is now at 64/100, up from 61 last week and 57 the week before. Conservative Leavers’ mean likelihood of doing so is unchanged at 82, while they put their chances of going to the Brexit Party down from 24 to 22. Labour Leavers put their chance of switching to the Tories down from 28 last week to 25 this week, while they say their chances of sticking with Labour are up from 36 to 42/100. Overall, 2017 Conservatives put their likelihood of staying with the party up a point at 77, with 2017 Labour voters’ chance of voting the same way again up from 55 to 60.

Leave voters likelihood of voting Conservative next month is unchanged at 61/100. Remain voters’ average likelihood of voting Labour is up from 40 to 43, Lib Dem down from 31 to 27, and Conservative unchanged at 18.

Westlake Legal Group Election-Stories Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

When we asked people what they had noticed from the campaign in the last few days, the most frequent specific event was the leaders’ debates, followed by manifestos, the Conservative Twitter ‘FactCheck’ story and spending pledges. As in previous weeks, around four in ten said they could recall nothing at all.

Westlake Legal Group Better-Prime-Minister-1 Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

Small changes on both sides of the question put Boris Johnson’s lead over Jeremy Corbyn as best Prime Minister down from 20 points last week (45 per cent to 25 per cent) to 15 points (43 per cent to 28 per cent). The proportion of Labour Leavers naming Johnson is now 36 per cent, down from 40 per cent last week and 44 per cent the week before.

While 93 per cent of those leaning towards the Conservatives name Johnson as the best available PM, only 75 per cent of those leaning towards Labour name Jeremy Corbyn – meaning either that they are unsure about their choice of party, or that they are consciously choosing Labour despite its leader.

Westlake Legal Group Conservative-or-Labour-Government-1 Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

When we force people to choose between a Conservative government under Boris Johnson and a Labour government with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, voters choose the Tories by a ten-point margin (55 per cent to 45 per cent), down from 12 points (56 per cent to 44 per cent) last week. Labour Leavers, who previously said they would prefer a Johnson-led Conservative government by small margins, now say they would rather have Corbyn and Labour by 54 per cent to 46 per cent – a mirror image of their position two weeks ago. Conservative Remainers still prefer Johnson and the Tories by 89 per cent to 11 per cent.

Westlake Legal Group Worse-Outcome-for-Britain Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

Voters as a whole still see the prospect of Prime Minister Corbyn as being worse for Britain than Brexit by 47 per cent to 39 per cent, down from last week’s 11-point margin. Fewer than half (47 per cent) of Labour Leavers now take this view, compared to 52 per cent last week and 58 per cent the week before.

Westlake Legal Group Political-Statements Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

Being “willing to take tough decisions for the long term” is the positive attribute most likely to be associated with the Conservative Party, followed by having the “right priorities for the country” and being “clear about what they stand for.” Labour’s strongest suits are wanting to “help ordinary people get on in life,” having their “heart in the right place” and that they “stand for fairness.” Just 16 per cent say the Tories are “competent and capable” (up from nine per cent in September) while ten per cent say the same of Labour (up from five per cent in September). The Lib Dems are more likely to be considered “clear about what they stand for,” though only 22 per cent of voters say this about them.

In Scotland, 42 per cent say the SNP are clear about what they stand for – the highest rating for any party on any attribute.

Westlake Legal Group Lib-Dem-Labour-Tactical-Vote Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election
Westlake Legal Group Lab-Lib-Dem-Tactical-Vote Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

Around half of 2017 Labour and Lib Dem voters said they would be prepared to vote tactically to keep the Tories out. Fifty-five per cent of 2017 Labour voters said they would be prepared to vote for the Lib Dems if they stood the best chance of beating the Conservative in their constituency (including 58 per cent of those currently leaning towards Labour in this election), and 49 per cent of 2017 Lib Dems said they would vote Labour in the same circumstances (including 55 per cent of those currently saying they are most likely to vote Lib Dem in December).

Westlake Legal Group Government-Outcomes Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

We asked our participants how likely a variety of developments were to happen under a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson, and a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. Leaving the EU soon was considered the most likely development under the Tories, and a second EU referendum the most probable development on the list under Labour.

NHS privatisation and reductions in immigration were also thought more likely under the Conservatives than Labour, while a second Scottish independence referendum, a new financial crisis, and significantly more spending on public services were also thought more likely under Labour.

The chances of “higher taxes for people like me” were thought to be only slightly higher under Labour (58/100) than under another Conservative government (51/100).

Westlake Legal Group Labour-Government-Worries Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election
Westlake Legal Group Consevative-Government-Worries Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

People’s biggest worries about another Conservative government are that they might leave the EU on terms that might damage Britain, privatise the NHS, and underfund public services. Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of Labour Leavers said they were worried about NHS privatisation, 56 per cent about underfunding, and 46 per cent about the terms of Brexit – while 43 per cent were also concerned about erosion of workers’ rights and environmental protection under another Tory government.

The top three worries about a Labour government taking over were Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, spending too much and getting the country into more debt, and that their plans might damage business and the economy (each of these being concerns for between 69 per cent and 88 per cent of Conservative Remainers and around half of 2017 Lib Dems). Just under half (47 per cent) of Labour leavers are concerned about Corbyn as Prime Minister, extra debt, and a Labour holding a second EU referendum.

Westlake Legal Group Map-of-the-General-Election Lord Ashcroft: The Tories hold steady, while Labour firms up its Leaver vote. Week Three of my General Election Dashboard. Tax and Spending Polling Opinion Polls NHS Lord Ashcroft Jeremy Corbyn MP Comment Campaigning Brexit Boris Johnson MP 2019 General Election

Our map of the campaign shows how different issues, attributes, personalities and opinions interact with one another. The closer the plot points are to each other the more closely related they are. This week we see, for example, that the Conservative ‘FactCheck’ story was most likely to be recalled by voters very far indeed from Conservative voting territory, as is also the case with the Russia report – while spending promises are most likely to have been registered by those likely to be the most sceptical about them, and those who think they have heard ‘lies’ are closest to Brexit Party supporting territory.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Neil O’Brien: There are still weeks to go, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-17-at-21.08.02 Neil O’Brien: There are still weeks to go, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017 YouGov The North south SNP Scunthorpe Rother Valley Polling police Philip Larkin Peterborough Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls NHS New Labour Midlands Liberal Democrats Law and order Labour immigration Highlights Great Grimsby General Election Fiona Onasanya MP Don Valley Daniel Finkelstein Culture crime Conservatives Columnists Caroline Flint MP Campaigning Brexit Alasdair Rae

Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough.

The Midlands sky was November grey, and there was the smell of a coal fire from somewhere. I was out delivering leaflets in a council estate in my constituency. Moments after popping one through the door of a bungalow, I heard a door being flung wide open behind me.

A large and angry man appeared. “You can have that back” he said, thrusting the leaflet into my hands. And with that, he swung back into the house and the door thumped shut.

I went on my way. But moments later, I heard the door swing open again. It was the big guy again, and I braced myself for a free and frank exchange of views.

But this time he was in a more sunny mood.

“Sorry. I thought you were Labour,” he said. “Are you the Conservatives? Can I have another one of those?” He told me he was going to vote for us.

It gave me a little taste of what it’s like to be a candidate today for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.I don’t know what it is about life-long terrorist suck-up Jeremy Corbyn, or self-described Marxist John McDonnell, or police-hating Diane Abbott, or their two-faced approach on Brexit… but in many places where Labour might once have done well, they are now regarded with something approaching hatred.

There are still weeks to go till the election, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017.

The ideas we are putting forward are more popular. The campaign feels better run, including on line. People massively prefer Boris Johnson to Corbyn. The question is whether it is enough.

As Daniel Finkelstein has pointed out, we have to win outright, while others can win even if they lose. Why? Because we will never team up with the SNP – while Labour are already dangling another separation referendum to cosy up with the nationalists. The Liberal Democrats can form a remain alliance with Labour – but not us. If we are going to win, it means pushing deeper into Labour territory in the north, midlands and south west, while holding off Lib Dems in the south east and the SNP up north.

The signs are encouraging. One set of constituency polls this week showed us holding seats in London, while another national poll showed us ahead among working class voters by a margin of nearly two-to-one (YouGov, 11-12 Nov).

For someone who got involved in politics when we were in the relegation zone in the mid 1990s, this is heady stuff.
We’ve already come a long way. Alasdair Rae at Sheffield has a neat chart which ranks constituencies in England from the most deprived on the left, to the most affluent on the right.

In 2001, we had no seats in the poorest 30 per cent, and Labour had most of the middle third. [See chart at top of article.] By 2017, the blue tide had already flowed into some areas Labour used to dominate. I hope this time it will surge further. [See chart at bottom of article.]

As we expand, the centre of gravity of Conservative voters has shifted and the Prime Minister has been the fastest to catch the mood. My leaflets this year feature our pledges of 20,000 more police, £450 million for our local hospital and funding for our local schools going up 4.6 per cent per pupil next year. Other than the fact that we also pledge tougher sentences for criminals, controlled immigration and securing our exit from the EU, much of this is the space New Labour used to occupy.

Rumours in the papers say that our tax policy is also going to be squarely focused on helping those working hard on low incomes. I think that would be the right approach.

It’s funny what pops into your head as we pound the pavements in the autumn rain.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Philip Larkin’s poem, The Whitsun Weddings, describing his sun-drenched train journey from Hull in the north, down through the industrial Midlands to London:

“We ran /
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street /
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence /
The river’s level drifting breadth began, /
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet. /
All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept  /
    For miles inland, /
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.   /
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth…”

I feel like we as a party are taking the same journey, but in reverse, with the Conservative tide flowing up through the midlands and north.

Today the route from Hull, which goes via Doncaster, would take you past plenty of Labour marginals. Great Grimsby and Scunthorpe across the Humber. Don Valley and Rother Valley in South Yorkshire. Down through Bassetlaw, where sitting Labour MP and fierce Corbyn critic, John Mann has just stood down, then past Lincoln to the east, and down to London through Peterborough, where we hope to replace jailed Labour MP Fiona Onasanya.

I feel like we have a strong leader, good campaign, we stand for the right things, and people are sick of the delay and dither.

But will it be enough. Will our campaign work this time?

It might just.

Time to get back out there.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-17-at-21.08.55 Neil O’Brien: There are still weeks to go, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017 YouGov The North south SNP Scunthorpe Rother Valley Polling police Philip Larkin Peterborough Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls NHS New Labour Midlands Liberal Democrats Law and order Labour immigration Highlights Great Grimsby General Election Fiona Onasanya MP Don Valley Daniel Finkelstein Culture crime Conservatives Columnists Caroline Flint MP Campaigning Brexit Alasdair Rae  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Neil O’Brien: There are still weeks to go, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-17-at-21.08.02 Neil O’Brien: There are still weeks to go, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017 YouGov The North south SNP Scunthorpe Rother Valley Polling police Philip Larkin Peterborough Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls NHS New Labour Midlands Liberal Democrats Law and order Labour immigration Highlights Great Grimsby General Election Fiona Onasanya MP Don Valley Daniel Finkelstein Culture crime Conservatives Columnists Caroline Flint MP Campaigning Brexit Alasdair Rae

Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough.

The Midlands sky was November grey, and there was the smell of a coal fire from somewhere. I was out delivering leaflets in a council estate in my constituency. Moments after popping one through the door of a bungalow, I heard a door being flung wide open behind me.

A large and angry man appeared. “You can have that back” he said, thrusting the leaflet into my hands. And with that, he swung back into the house and the door thumped shut.

I went on my way. But moments later, I heard the door swing open again. It was the big guy again, and I braced myself for a free and frank exchange of views.

But this time he was in a more sunny mood.

“Sorry. I thought you were Labour,” he said. “Are you the Conservatives? Can I have another one of those?” He told me he was going to vote for us.

It gave me a little taste of what it’s like to be a candidate today for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.I don’t know what it is about life-long terrorist suck-up Jeremy Corbyn, or self-described Marxist John McDonnell, or police-hating Diane Abbott, or their two-faced approach on Brexit… but in many places where Labour might once have done well, they are now regarded with something approaching hatred.

There are still weeks to go till the election, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017.

The ideas we are putting forward are more popular. The campaign feels better run, including on line. People massively prefer Boris Johnson to Corbyn. The question is whether it is enough.

As Daniel Finkelstein has pointed out, we have to win outright, while others can win even if they lose. Why? Because we will never team up with the SNP – while Labour are already dangling another separation referendum to cosy up with the nationalists. The Liberal Democrats can form a remain alliance with Labour – but not us. If we are going to win, it means pushing deeper into Labour territory in the north, midlands and south west, while holding off Lib Dems in the south east and the SNP up north.

The signs are encouraging. One set of constituency polls this week showed us holding seats in London, while another national poll showed us ahead among working class voters by a margin of nearly two-to-one (YouGov, 11-12 Nov).

For someone who got involved in politics when we were in the relegation zone in the mid 1990s, this is heady stuff.
We’ve already come a long way. Alasdair Rae at Sheffield has a neat chart which ranks constituencies in England from the most deprived on the left, to the most affluent on the right.

In 2001, we had no seats in the poorest 30 per cent, and Labour had most of the middle third. [See chart at top of article.] By 2017, the blue tide had already flowed into some areas Labour used to dominate. I hope this time it will surge further. [See chart at bottom of article.]

As we expand, the centre of gravity of Conservative voters has shifted and the Prime Minister has been the fastest to catch the mood. My leaflets this year feature our pledges of 20,000 more police, £450 million for our local hospital and funding for our local schools going up 4.6 per cent per pupil next year. Other than the fact that we also pledge tougher sentences for criminals, controlled immigration and securing our exit from the EU, much of this is the space New Labour used to occupy.

Rumours in the papers say that our tax policy is also going to be squarely focused on helping those working hard on low incomes. I think that would be the right approach.

It’s funny what pops into your head as we pound the pavements in the autumn rain.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Philip Larkin’s poem, The Whitsun Weddings, describing his sun-drenched train journey from Hull in the north, down through the industrial Midlands to London:

“We ran /
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street /
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence /
The river’s level drifting breadth began, /
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet. /
All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept  /
    For miles inland, /
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.   /
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth…”

I feel like we as a party are taking the same journey, but in reverse, with the Conservative tide flowing up through the midlands and north.

Today the route from Hull, which goes via Doncaster, would take you past plenty of Labour marginals. Great Grimsby and Scunthorpe across the Humber. Don Valley and Rother Valley in South Yorkshire. Down through Bassetlaw, where sitting Labour MP and fierce Corbyn critic, John Mann has just stood down, then past Lincoln to the east, and down to London through Peterborough, where we hope to replace jailed Labour MP Fiona Onasanya.

I feel like we have a strong leader, good campaign, we stand for the right things, and people are sick of the delay and dither.

But will it be enough. Will our campaign work this time?

It might just.

Time to get back out there.

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-17-at-21.08.55 Neil O’Brien: There are still weeks to go, but for backbenchers like me, campaign 2019 feels much, much better than 2017 YouGov The North south SNP Scunthorpe Rother Valley Polling police Philip Larkin Peterborough Opinion Pollster Opinion Polls NHS New Labour Midlands Liberal Democrats Law and order Labour immigration Highlights Great Grimsby General Election Fiona Onasanya MP Don Valley Daniel Finkelstein Culture crime Conservatives Columnists Caroline Flint MP Campaigning Brexit Alasdair Rae  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The campaign, week two. “Small earthquake in Chile. Not many dead.”

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-11-15-at-07.53.35 The campaign, week two. “Small earthquake in Chile. Not many dead.” ToryDiary Sajid Javid MP Polling Opinion Pollster Nigel Farage MEP Lord Ashcroft Labour Highlights General Election Dudley North Conservatives Claud Cockburn Canterbury Brexit Party Boris Johnson MP  As the end of week Two’s campaigning approaches, we repeat what we wrote at the end of Week One’s.  Which party has a good or a bad campaign, let alone a good or a bad week, doesn’t usually seem to make much difference to the result.

The Conservative Manifesto and campaigning calamity in 2017 is a striking exception to this rule, and in an election that follows a hung Parliament, and may itself produce one, small developments could admittedly make a big difference.

The largest one this week has undoubtedly been Nigel Farage’s decision to withdraw Brexit Party candidates from constituencies that the Tories won in 2017.  One take on it is that it won’t make much impact on the result, because that party will still contest Labour-held marginals, where it is likely to take more votes from the Conservatives.

That view may make plausible psephology, but it is very poor psychology.  By deploring the possibility of a hung Parliament, placing his faith in Boris Johnson’s latest commitment on transition, and standing down a mass of candidates, Farage has signalled that it is acceptable for pro-Brexit voters to support the Tories.

If that logic applies in “safe” Conservative constituencies, it also does so in marginal Labour ones – and for all his criticism of the Tories yesterday, the Brexit Party leader has not renounced his decision.  Its candidates in Canterbury and Dudley North, two prominent marginal seats, have taken the point and stood down.  Anyone following the election closely will have noticed.

Of course, it may be that campaign disaster lightning will strike the Tories twice; or that the polls are nowhere near what the election result will be, or that the distribution of the vote will be unfavourable to the Conservatives – who, as last time round, will pile up votes in seats they already hold.

All that said, Labour has not led in a single UK-wide poll since late July – when Boris Johnson was elected Tory leader.  (And it has been found ahead in only one survey since: on November 4 by YouGov in Wales by a single statistically insignificant point.)

Politico’s tracker finds the Conservatives ten points ahead.  Lord Ashcroft’s new dashboard finds a blue triple slam: Johnson beats Jeremy Corbyn as best Prime Minister; forced to choose between the two main parties, voters plump for the Tories; Johnson and Sajid Javid are more trusted on the economy than their Labour counterparts.

Punch those figures into Electoral Calculus’s calculator, and you will get a Conservative majority of 110.  Of course, that’s a very crude measure, which doesn’t take seat distribution into account.  And the polls may be wide of where we end up.  And lightning really could strike twice.

None the less, the likelihood is that all that polling is meaningful; that the Farage intervention has been net helpful to Johnson, and that everything else this week – the seperate-but-linked Scottish campaign, all policy announcements, flooding, and even Javid’s attack on Labour’s spending plans, let alone the relative trivia of candidate selections, stunts and gaffes, have made no difference to anything meaningful.

If so, it will suit Johnson to keep it that way through the manifesto launch, beyond into the leaders’ TV debates, and onward until polling day – with the exception of a Wobbly Wednesday or Tremulous Tuesday or Meltdown Monday in that last week, in order to downplay expections and thus frighten Tory voters into turning out.  The Prime Minister is a bracing campaigner but it is in his interest for this to be a snoozeathon campaign.

Claud Cockburn and his Time colleagues once ran a regular competition to get the dullest possible headline they could imagine into the paper.  (Journalists are fond of these subsersive practices.)  According to legend, Cockburn only ever won once – his entry being “Small Earthquake in Chile, Not many dead”.  There are not many electoral dead after this small earthquake of a campaigning week.

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Michigan Senate: Two New Polls Show Democratic Sen. Gary Peters Has Some Trouble, and His Name Is John James

Westlake Legal Group JohnJamesMIAPimage-620x317 Michigan Senate: Two New Polls Show Democratic Sen. Gary Peters Has Some Trouble, and His Name Is John James republicans polls Polling Politics North Carolina Michigan John James Gary Peters Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats debbie stabenow Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020 2018 elections 2018

Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks at a primary night election party in Detroit, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Republican nominee John James gave Michigan’s senior Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow a run for her money in 2018 in a closely-watched Senate race, but fell short.

Westlake Legal Group StabenowVs.JamesMISenate2018-620x371 Michigan Senate: Two New Polls Show Democratic Sen. Gary Peters Has Some Trouble, and His Name Is John James republicans polls Polling Politics North Carolina Michigan John James Gary Peters Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats debbie stabenow Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020 2018 elections 2018

Screen grab via the NYT.

But James, a West Point grad and U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, is not someone who gives up easily. This time around he wants to take on Michigan’s junior Sen. Gary Peters, and two new polls show James’ hard work is paying off:

That “oh, oh” you hear from the Democratic camp of U.S. Senator Gary Peters is that, in one week, two polls are out showing his race against Republican challenger John James is a statistical dead heat and for an incumbent to be in that spot one year before the election is hardly good news.

In the Vanguard, Dennis, Pubic Sector Consultant poll last May it was Mr. Peters 42% and a generic Republican 36%. It is now 39.5% for Mr. Peters and 39.3% for Mr. James.

The race today is a toss-up.

And then there was this poll from earlier this month:

The poll, conducted by the Michigan-based Marketing Resource Group, a firm with ties to Republicans, shows Peters leading businessman and Iraq War veteran John James (R) by a slim 43 percent to 40 percent margin.
[…]
James may have a better chance against Peters, who is seeking his second term in office. Peters is less well-known among Michiganders than his senior colleague; while 75 percent of state voters polled said they were aware of Peters, only 35 percent knew enough about him to say whether they felt positively, 20 percent, or negatively, 15 percent
[…]
The poll shows a tighter race than a Target Insyght survey last month, which showed Peters leading by a 53 percent to 37 percent margin.

His third quarter fundraising haul was pretty impressive, too:

We still have a little over a year between now and election time so obviously a lot of things can change, but the fact that James has a strong showing and is doing well in the fundraising department at this stage in the game is a good sign that the inroads he made with voters during the last campaign cycle are paying off.

His only primary opponent as of right now is a man named Bob Carr, and he dropped out of the 2018 Senate race before the primary. He’s also a former Democrat. The Michigan primary is August 4, 2020.

Even with all that encouraging news, James or whoever the Republican nominee ends up being will still end up having a major uphill battle to clear the final hurdle:

Beyond that, beating the professorial Peters will require doing something no one has done in Michigan in 67 years: defeating a sitting Democratic U.S. senator. The last was Blair Moody in 1952, who had been appointed to serve out a term the previous year and lost an election bid to Charles Potter.

Also, though President Trump won Michigan in 2016, his approval numbers there right now are not good according to the Michigan state chart from Morning Consult (make sure to scroll down and click the Michigan tab). This could carry over in down ballot races if that sentiment doesn’t change between now and November 2020.

In any event, put this one on your list of races to watch next year. The Michigan Senate race in 2018 was closer than people thought it would be and that’s just one of many reasons why Republicans feel like James has a real shot at an upset the second time around.

Stay tuned.

(Hat tip: Legal Insurrection)

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Michigan Senate: Two New Polls Show Democratic Sen. Gary Peters Has Some Trouble, and His Name Is John James appeared first on RedState.

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Home State Blues: Kamala Harris Gets More Devastating News About Her Campaign in California

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

No matter where 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris goes, she faces an uphill battle.

Nationally, she’s polling in a distant 5th place. In Iowa, where she vowed to “f**king move” in order to win over Democrats in the crucial caucus state, her campaign is cratering.

She’s not doing any better in South Carolina, which has a large percentage of black Democratic voters, nor in New Hampshire.

But it’s her home state of California that perhaps more than any other state is showing her the writing on the wall.

Over a month ago an Emerson University survey showed her in 5th place in California behind Andrew Yang.

Unfortunately for Harris, her numbers in there among Democratic primary voters have not gotten any better over time:

Less than five months before Californians vote in the 2020 presidential primary, a new Change Research poll for KQED shows U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris losing ground to the front-runners, Sens. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

The poll, taken after last week’s Democratic candidate debate, finds Warren is the top choice of 28% of primary voters, followed by Sanders at 24% and former Vice President Joe Biden at 19%.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is fourth with 9% followed by Harris at 8%. The October survey puts Harris 20 percentage points behind Sen. Warren, compared with a 14 percentage point gap in our September poll.

The poll also shows Harris trailing badly among female voters and Hispanic voters:

By gender, Warren is the top choice of female voters with 31% support, followed by Sanders with 23% and Biden at 21%. Buttigieg and Harris are the choice of 8% and 7% of women respectively.
[…]
Sen. Sanders is the favorite of Latino voters with 28% support, followed by Warren and Biden (22% each), Harris (7%) and Buttigieg (6%). The only Latino candidate, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, is the choice of just 1% of Latino voters in California.

Harris is in decent shape with black Democrats according to the poll (16%), but she still lags behind Biden (30%) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (20%).

As I’ve said before, I believe she’s sticking around at this point as an audition of sorts for vice presidential consideration, but considering she’s in bad shape across all key demographics, I’m not sure how much good she’d do in terms of the female/black vote for Biden or Sanders should they become the nominee. And the possibility of Warren picking another woman as her running mate is very low.

Of course, general elections are much different than primaries so there’s still a chance she could end up as the eventual nominee’s running mate. But as far as her chances go for the nomination itself, it’s all over but the crying at this point, especially when you consider the fact that no recent candidate for president has gone on to be their party’s nominee without winning their home state.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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Which two Dems have strongest ground game? It may surprise you.

Westlake Legal Group Buttigieg Which two Dems have strongest ground game? It may surprise you. The Blog Polling Pete Buttigieg Elizabeth Warren democrats 2020 Democrat candidates 2020 campaign

As far as ground games go in the early primary states, the two strongest operations come from the campaigns of Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. Warren isn’t so much of a surprise as is Buttigieg.

A piece in the New York Times tallied up the numbers. Warren and Buttigieg have more campaign offices in the early states than any of the other Democrats running for the 2020 presidential nomination. Both Warren and Buttigieg have a total of 47 field offices. Both are going all-in in Iowa, with Joe Biden a close third in Iowa. In the rest of the early primary states, though, Biden is far less aggressive.

Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg have broken away from the Democratic pack with the most field offices overall in the four early states, and they are making an expensive bet that organizational strength on the ground will catapult them to crucial top finishes in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Their ground games give them more workspaces for organizers and volunteers. More organizers lead to more in-person contact with potential supporters in every nook and cranny of a state.

And in Iowa, where picking a candidate is akin to a religious conversion following extended evangelism from a supporter, a strong and broad organization is often the backbone of a winning campaign.

We know that Elizabeth Warren is battling Joe Biden for the lead in most of the polls right now, while Bernie Sanders is solidly in third place. What isn’t noticed so much is that Buttigieg is quietly advancing and is in the top spot in the second tier of candidates. Any momentum that Kamala Harris saw after the first nationally televised debate has completely fallen away. She’s proven to be a poor candidate. In the RCP averaging Monday morning, Biden is at 27.8%, Warren is at 26.0%, and Sanders rounds out the first tier of candidates at 15.2%. The second tier shows Buttigieg at 5% and Harris at 4.5%. Andrew Yang is at 2.7%. Then in what I think of as the third tier (bottom dwellers) are all the rest, led by O’Rourke, who is at 1.8%.

Presidential elections are not national, though, and it is the numbers in the state polls that provide a better picture of what is happening on the ground. Of the top four candidates in Iowa, for example, Warren leads at 22.7% and Biden is at 19.3%. Sanders is at 16.0% while Buttigieg has quietly risen to 12%. For comparison within the second tier, Harris is at 5.3% in Iowa. Buttigieg now has the largest operation of any of the candidates in Iowa. He has 20 field offices and a staff that’s hovering around 130. Buttigieg’s Iowa state director says, “We’re building an organization to win in February because this is a now or never moment for our country.”

Buttigieg may be trying to moderate his campaign rhetoric, too. Though he is still definitely in the far left side of politics, he is less so than others. For instance, in an interview on CNN, he threw Robert Francis O’Rourke under the bus for his crazy position that churches should lose their tax-exempt status if they don’t embrace same-sex marriage and other parts of the LGBTQ agenda. He told Jake Tapper, “I’m not sure he understood the implications of what he was saying.”

If or when Joe Biden leaves the race, Buttigieg might be in a position to pick up the support of his supporters. When or if Sanders leaves the race, though I think he will once again say in until the last minute unless he has another health event, Warren is the natural home for his supporters. What if it all comes down to a Buttigieg and Warren contest by the time we get to the convention? Within the party of identity politics, does a gay, white man in his thirties garner more support than a 71-year-old white woman who lied about her own personal biography for personal profit? One would be the first gay president and one would be the first woman president. Decisions, decisions.

Something both will have to work on is capturing more support from black voters. In the case of Mayor Pete, he has zero support from them. Buttigieg is in Ohio today and rolling out endorsements from state officials and officeholders.

Warren and Buttigieg are the only ones with field offices in Republican-leaning rural areas that swung from Obama to Trump in 2016 in Iowa. Biden’s campaign is concentrating on areas strong in union support. Buttigieg drew a crowd of around 700 people on Saturday night in Des Moines. Buttigieg raised $19.1 million in third-quarter fundraising so he has the resources to go full-tilt in the early states to challenge the top tier if he doesn’t make any big mistakes. It’s still early yet, of course, and anything can happen. After starting to count him out, I’m going back to keeping an eye on him.

The post Which two Dems have strongest ground game? It may surprise you. appeared first on Hot Air.

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