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Day: March 23, 2015

On comparing Lord Ashcroft Polling, Iain Dale predictions & odds for Lib Dem seats – Part I

Lets look at a few of the seats where Lord Ashcroft has done some constituency polling and compare them to how Iain Dale thinks that the seat will go before throwing in the latest odds for the seats. Politicos seem to think that Iain Dale is pretty darn good and believe his predictions are pretty accurate. We know the pitfalls of Ashcroft polling (it doesn’t name the candidates and for sitting MPs of all parties – this is often to the detriment of the sitting MPs) and well you never see a poor bookie, do you? I’ll be using the odds from Betfair for these odds.

Note: Iain Dale has got in touch to point out that he made some revisions last week, which are on a different link to the full list that I was working from. I have added to this article to reflect this and it effects Carshalton & Wallington

We’ll start with the biggest difference between Iain Dale and Lord Ashcroft – Carshalton & Wallington

What does Iain Dale say about Carshalton & Wallington?

Sitting MP: Tom Brake (LibDem)
Prediction: Conservative gain

Somewhat charismatically challenged Brake is nevertheless a very good constituency MP and this could seem him through, but the Labour vote here is bound to recover. However, I’d say this was a 50/50 prediction and could easily go the other way. This would be the sixth time Brake has fought the seat and that counts for a lot.

Wow. Bit of a blow there for Tom Brake. He won by 11% in 2010 so that would be a big defeat for the Lib Dems. Lord Ashcroft polled the seat in November 2014 and his polling resulted in a Lib Dem hold but not only a Lib Dem hold – he had the Lib Dems stretching their lead and taking the seat by 20%. Lib Dems on 43%, Conservatives on 23% with UKIP up to 17% and Labour on 12% with a few others.

Odds: Lib Dem 2/7, Cons 5/2

Iain has pointed out that in his updated version it is rather different – which pretty much kills this part of the piece but…

Sitting MP: Tom Brake (LibDem)
Prediction: Conservative gain
Revised Prediction: LibDem gain (I assume he means hold)

Somewhat charismatically challenged Brake is nevertheless a very good constituency MP and this could seem him through, but the Labour vote here is bound to recover. However, I’d say this was a 50/50 prediction and could easily go the other way. This would be the sixth time Brake has fought the seat and that counts for a lot. UPDATE: The Ashcroft poll is even more conclusive than the one above 43-23.

So Tom seems like he’s in a much better position now according to both Iain and the LA polling…

Next up we’ll stay in London where things look tight for Simon Hughes in Bermondsey & Old Southwark if you believe Lord Ashcroft but Iain Dale thinks he’ll hold on.

Sitting MP: Simon Hughes (LibDem)
Prediction: LibDem hold

I had thought this would be a dead cert hold for Simon Hughes but increasingly I am wondering if I am right. Labour seem very confident they can take this. However, if you look at the electoral hurdles Labour would have to overcome to win this, I think they’re going to have a tough task. They might also be hindered by a number of coalition-friendly Tories lending Simon Hughes their votes. Or they might not 🙂

I was out doing some campaigning in Guildford at the weekend and one of the chaps I was with was going to Bermondsey on the Sunday. The campaign seems active and Simon Hughes has been a local MP since 1983 in the guises of several different boundaries. Yet Lord Ashcroft in September had Labour within a point of Simon Hughes in a seat where he’s held on with relative ease for quite a while. I’m a big demographics guy and I can see why Labour think they can do well here. Simon has a huge personal vote and I suspect when he stands down it’ll be a very tough hold for the Lib Dems but this time around, Simon could well hang on but I can see why Labour are shorter than 2/1.

Odds: Lib Dems 4/9, Lab 7/4

Next up we’ll go to a seat where the public perception is clear, the Lib Dems are toast in Cardiff Central.

Sitting MP: Jenny Willott (LibDem)
Prediction: Labour gain

Most pundits seem convinced this is a surefire Labour gain. I’m going with the flow here, but I am not 100% sure. Willott could benefit from some Tory tactical voting to keep Labour out. In addition, although UKIP aren’t strong in Cardiff, they could take votes away from Labour as well as the Tories, just as they are sure to do in North Wales. Jenny Willott shouldn’t give up the day job quite yet, but she’s in for the fight of her life.

Lord Ashcroft agrees with the Lib Dems winning by 12% in 2010 but losing by 12% next year. The polling was done in September 2014. Yet there has also been some polling done by the Lib Dems which has her within 1%. As a punter the value is with the Lib Dems but I certainly wouldn’t put it in any accumulator, that is for sure. This is the type of seat where the Lib Dems should lose according to conventional wisdom so a win here and it’ll be a huge win. It will probably need tactical voting to help bring back an excellent MP but it should be noted that more bets have been placed on an LD hold than a Labour win here.

Odds: Lab 1/3, Lib Dem 9/4

Lastly in the first post of this sort (I say first – obviously depending on time etc.) is the one I’m looking at closer than any other seat, Cambridge.

Sitting MP: Julian Huppert (LibDem)
Prediction: Narrow LibDem hold

A genuine three way marginal, this seat has been held by all three parties in recent memory. It went LibDem in 2005. If you look at the size of the LibDem majority here, Julian Huppert ought to be considered very safe, but this is a seat which swings with the wind, and if the wind is blowing towards Labour you can see it returning to them. It obviously has a high student vote and this may determine the outcome. However Huppert has been a strong performer both locally in Parliament and if anyone can hold this seat for the LibDems, he can. But bearing in mind the LibDems’ calamitous results in May I’ve now changed my mind and think Labour will win here.

UPDATE: 16/1/14 And I’ve now changed it back due to more information received about the Labour campaign and candidate, as well as the efforts the LibDems are making here. I now think the odds may be marginally in favour of Julian Huppert.

So Iain Dale has flip-flopped and Lord Ashcroft polled this seat in September 2014 and had Julian Huppert losing by 1% to Labour. The reason I think this seat is one to watch is because Julian is fucking fantastic. He is everything you could want from a Lib Dem MP.

He has a passion for his constituency, he has very green credentials, interacts well and also is constantly being seen and heard in parliament. The Tories seem to not like him and that is probably a good thing. I’m a big Julian fan and if he can’t win in Cambridge then I just wonder what the electorate are on. Regardless of your political allegiance, you have to say he’s an excellent MP and can do great things both for the Lib Dems but more importantly for the people of Cambridge.

The bookies have no idea what to make of Cambridge. Labour were the favourites for a long time but the sheer weight of bets on Julian have seen him become the favourite. This seat has seen representation of all three parties of recent government in the past three decades. It was a Tory seat that went red in 1992 and became super safe Labour in the Tony Blair landslide, however they lost big in 2005 and Julian rolled in 2010.

Obviously the university is a huge issue here and that is not great for the Lib Dems but Julian has always been a strong voice against tuition fees and voted against any increase. It will eat into his vote but he has very quickly become one of the most recognisable faces the Lib Dems have and he has a very high personal rating. I think (and hope) he holds on and if he does – he can hold on to that seat for decades should he want to.

Odds: Lib Dems 8/11, Labour 11/10

More to come…probably.

Iain Dale predictions come from here, Lord Ashcroft polling from here and the odds are from Betfair.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

On missing out on £40 because of talking too much politics…

Every so often here at The Rambles of Neil Monnery we (well what I mean by that is me, myself & I) we get e-mails from companies wanting to advertise on the blog. I take these approaches on a case-by-case basis depending on the type of article that they want written and the type of site/business they want advertised. I was recently approached about a piece for an online bed retailer. No harm, no foul I thought and that £40 they were offering for an article could be put towards something that I didn’t need on eBay so I agreed. They would provide an article and I’d upload it to the blog on their behalf. Simple.

So a week or so had passed and I was informed that despite them approaching me, they decided that my blog was too political and they thought a piece about bedding wouldn’t look natural. I did point out that my blog can be about whatever I decide to write about. I cover a variety of topics (as they surely knew when they approached me) and indeed have actually written a blog post about my own bed before so there is precedence. I said just tell me the links and key terms you need in the article and I’ll write it myself. Apparently though I couldn’t make something look natural even if on my own blog. Yeah…

Now in a bizarre twist the company that approached me for this link also approached me around 18 months ago but in a very different guise. They approached me to see if I was interested in heading up the outreach department on this very project (not just the online bedding stuff but their whole outreach project).

I get e-mails from their outreach people all time because a) my blog is pretty powerful SEO wise so getting a link on my blog is actually worth a fair few pennies and b) my blog is so varied in terms of content, it ranks well for a variety of key terms and therefore appeals to a wide range of advertisers. Every time I get an e-mail I am tempted to reply telling them that had I been interested then I could have easily been their boss but I wasn’t keen on returning to the office nor moving to York and I was more than (and still am) comfortable and content with my current work situation.

This amused me so I thought I’d write about it because hello, it is my blog and I can write about anything I like but I’d also write a few words about my bed in addition to what I’ve written before. My bed is actually my most expensive purchase that I have ever made. My thought process was that if I’m going to spend a third of my life in bed then I might as well buy a very good one that was extremely comfortable. So I did. It was more expensive than my 42″ HDTV, it was more expensive than any of my computers or laptops. It was more expensive than my iPad. You start to get my drift. So I actually know all about spending money on a bed and the value of doing so.

I could have been quite the spokesman for an online bedding company because I like to spend a lot of time in bed. Unlike most who may use the bedroom as a hot and spicy place full of fun and frolics, I don’t have that option because I’m a lamentable human being or at the very least, my love life is. So I use mine to listen to the weather. Hearing the rain fall and the cars splashing in puddles is the most relaxing experience. I do my thinking in bed and when you take take in the marathon fantasy baseball draft that I do then I can lay there and think about that for hours. In the winter I often go to bed early just because it is so comfortable and warm.

Spending money on a good bed (well mattress, the frame really is secondary) is one of the best things that you can do if you can afford to. I sleep extremely well these days and I never *touches wood* have any back issues. So people of the world I proclaim this, if your finances dictate that you can spend money on one ‘luxury’ item in terms of for the home then I’d go with a really good mattress. Go down to your local bedding store and lay on a few and find one that feels right to you and go get it. You won’t regret it.

When I bought a bed, I just went into Dreams and the woman came up to me and asked about budget and I essentially told her that there was no budget but I wasn’t going to be stupid. I laid on a few mattresses and found one that wasn’t full memory foam but the top 5cm was memory foam with the usual springs under the rest of the mattress. It just felt good and was within my (in my head) budget. It also helped that it was over 50% off compared to its usual price. So I agreed to buy it and it got made to my specifications and a couple of weeks later I had a bed. That was over six years ago and I’m very happy with my bed and I have no plans to upgrade at any point in the near future.

So things to take away from this pointless exercise, spending money on a very good mattress is not a false economy, I can write whatever I like on my own blog and make it not stick out like a sore thumb and for those outreach people who approach me about advertising, don’t approach me, agree to everything and then say you can’t make it a natural fit. You should do your research beforehand and if the blog isn’t the right fit then don’t approach me in the first place. By doing so and changing your mind you just waste my time and yours. So do your research and if the blog is the right fit then drop me an e-mail with your proposals.

We (I) are open for business, just like the country, am I right people? Am I right…?

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.