The Invisible Tories 346

UPDATED Good Morning Britain trumpeted its latest poll today showing a net increase in the Tory lead since last week of four points, to 45% to 31% over Labour.

As you know, opinion pollsters do not just take the raw figures provided by respondents, they weight those respondents to provide a representative sample by age, gender, location, past voting history etc.

But when you drill down into the headline results from the weighted samples, they make no sense at all. For example Survation in this poll have the Conservatives sweeping up Labour in London by 46.8% to 41.2%. In 2017 the Conservatives got hammered in London by 33.1% to 54.5%. Survation are showing a swing from Labour to Conservative in London of 13.5%. That is absolutely massive, and nobody believes that is happening on the ground. The Tories could well lose several more seats in London.

Similarly in Scotland, Survation show the SNP vote down nearly nine per cent compared to 2017, at 33.2%. Again, nobody believes for a moment the SNP vote is really as low as that.

Of course I understand that the sub sample for each area from which these results are calculated is very small. But expecting that a number of sub-samples, which at the regional level are self-evidently nonsense, chance to balance out into an accurate national picture when you add them all up, is ludicrous. I am only looking at one poll here, and not particularly picking on Survation for any reason. But I hope this demonstrates that opinion polls should be viewed with extreme scepticism.

Original Post:

I live in a marginal constituency, where the excellent Joanna Cherry of the SNP has a lead of just over 1,000 over the Tories. If the most recent opinion polls are correct, the parties’ standings at this moment are similar to the result last time, the momentum is with the Tories and this should be a key Tory target. Yet I have not received one single Tory leaflet (and I live on one of the main residential streets) nor have I seen one single Tory campaigner, including when I have been out delivering leaflets for Joanna Cherry myself. Nor have I seen one single Tory poster in a house.

It is not just on TV that the Tories have been skipping interviews and debates, they seem to have eschewed any semblance of a ground campaign too, in what presumably is a key target seat for them. Boris Johnson is not popular with any of the local residents I have spoken to, and there is no enthusiasm at all for Brexit in this part of Edinburgh. In short, I am absolutely unable to square the opinion polls with the evidence of my own eyes and ears.

What is your experience?


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346 thoughts on “The Invisible Tories

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  • Colin Macleod

    I saw Calum going round by himself delivering leaflets in Currie, and he’s been at the hustings.

  • Ingwe

    York is a pretty safe Labour seat (Rachel Maskell) but there have been no Tory or Lib Dem canvassers in our street. We’ve received leaflets from the Labour Party, the Yorkshire Party and the Greens. When Mr Corbyn was coming to York a week ago, we went listen to him. As it happens, he was delayed in traffic and went on to Whitby. But York was packed with Labour supporters, chanting Jeremy Corbyn’s name. Heard this is common. Yet today, again, the BBC stated that neither would-be leader, Johnson or Corbyn were personally popular. Simply not true so far as Corbyn is concerned.

  • Roger Ewen

    I contacted David Sutherland, Highland Council, regarding unknown individual going around estates, with paperwork showing they have never voted asking residents to sign papers allowing them to vote on there behalf.
    More that eight weeks have passed and David Sutherland has never got in touch.

    At the same time I contacted the electoral Commission in
    Edinburgh, they too haven’t been back in touch. I left a message on the answering machine, as no one answers directly this number, again, todate, no ones bothered to reply, or to contact me.

    Peter Lilly, that well known ex Tory MP is setting up Scotlands electoral electronic voting system, a system proven in America to circumvent the democratic processes.
    And the Labour Party voted it in some years ago! Can this along with Labour voting for austerity budgets and measures be considered collusion between the establish English parties.
    Or not allowing members of the Labour Party to stand for election in the six counties, for fear of breaking the Tory unionist vote, tantamount to collusion?

  • Adrian Kent

    I know this isn’t news to you, but this twitter thread does a good job of adding some numbers to the systematic.biases of the current polls – with the poster estimating the Tories lead to be under 3% (and probably narrowing).

    I’ve been canvassing in Shoreham-by-Sea (just west of Brighton) – a Tory held marginal with an excellent Scottish socialist Labour candidate in Lavinia O’Connor and our estimates from our feedback & previous experience lead us to believe it’s too close to call even in this SE seaside constituency with large Leave voting areas.

    I actually live just down the road in Hove, but couldn’t bring myself to do anything for our local MP Petere Kyle who last week brought David Milliband down to campaign FFS.

    We’re likely heading for another hung Parliament.

    • Carl

      Similar here in NE London. Wes Streeting also had David Miliband campaigning for him in our constituency this weekend. We have participated in the much bigger campaign to get Fazia Khan elected in neighbouring Woodford Green. Both seats are marginals but have seen Tories out campaigning only once.
      In fact the Tory MP for Woodford Green has taken to turning up unaccompanied in the dead of night on people’s doorsteps, making outlandish claims about what would happen under Labour.

      The night Nosferatu came calling – –

  • Braggs

    I received a green party leaflet despite there being no green candidate in my area. Other than that lots of lib dem leaflets near the start of the campaign, less recently, some labour leaflets recently, and a few tory leaflets. Signs in windows and gardens mostly lib dem and labour. Where I live is safe tory, although quite close to a city that is safe labour. I am not a very social person so can only say who two or three people other than me are voting for — probably labour. Although I may abstain myself if it’s looking particularly hopeless. I don’t want to vote for a losing team.

    • AKAaka

      “I don’t want to vote for a losing team”

      Interesting. That’s straight out of the nudge unit’s handbook.

  • loola

    ‘Shy Tory’ vote – aka British intelligence rigging the ballot. They don’t need to canvass. Prepare to be shocked on Friday the 13th.

    • Sopo

      Have to agree. The unpredictability of the public mood makes this a great opportunity for meddling.

    • Ruth

      Yes, there’s going to be massive rigging as there’s a major flaw in the system. After councils receive and process the postal votes with rigid checks that they are valid, the brown envelopes are opened and actual ballot slips are put into large boxes ready to be taken to the counting centre on election day. There they are counted to check that the exact number of votes registered at the council offices matches the number of votes. The ballot slips are mixed with the polling station votes. If a government was so-minded/desperate for a certain result, surely it would be very simple to get into council computers and its agents to enter council offices and swap boxes making sure that the total number of votes correspond to the number of council registrations of the postal votes sometime before election day. Postal votes make up about 20% of the vote.
      If postal votes were counted separately into the number of votes for each party and the result published, this would eliminate major rigging as the outcome would be expected to tally more or less with the polling station vote. If the votes were rigged in this way it would have a major impact in marginals.

      • Steven Robert Gill

        Ok so this is worryingly prophetic, lots of stuff circulating on twitter about Idox, the private firm who process votes (Tory peter lilley used to be it’s director) & how the postal vote may be amiss. Particularly with Laura Kuenssberg dropping herself right in the shit with her dodgy as fuck comments about postal votes, along with Dominic Raab pretty much admitting to electoral fraud on video.

  • tartanfever

    Mundell’s seat – SNP canvassing door to door in my village although they didn’t come down my street. SNP literature through the letter box and via post. Lack of Independence issue from SNP, more Stop Brexit.

    Two letters from Tories via post – one concentrating on ‘no to second indyref’ and a host of devolved responsibilities ie health and the other a how to fill in a postal vote guide with a cross against Mundell’s name.

    Nothing here from Labour or Lib Dems and no Green candidate.

    All in all, much the same as the last election. Absolutely no posters anywhere on the streets or windows.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Stirling calling. Only SNP and Tories making a show. Labour and LibDems stepping aside for their Better Together sidekicks? Tory pamphlets just dripping with negativity. Constituency poll conducted by Ashcroft theee months or so ago had the Tories lagging behind the SNP by around 20%, they should get their erses well and truly felt.

  • Bill Taylor

    I haven’t seen much in the way of campaigning in my part of Edinburgh from any party except for an SNP stall at the weekend. We did have a direct mail leaflet from the Brexit ‘party’ a few days ago but nothing from the Tories. Maybe their private pilling is showing most Scottish seats as a lost cause so they’ve decided not to waste time and money north of the Border?

  • revjimbob

    I have had a couple of Tory leaflets here in Ayr, but that’s probably because the local Tory MP lives down the street

  • J Galt

    No Tory campaigning in East Ayrshire – postie delivered leaflets yes.

    Another point, I am being bombarded with online Tory propaganda, particularly when I look at YouTube, is this personalised through cookies? If so they have been sadly misinformed!

    As for the stop Brexit over Independence emphasis – yes it’s annoying – even depressing, however there is no alternative to SNP on Thursday.

    • S

      That’s my expectation: that the Conservatives took it all online and don’t bother with face to face anymore. I use an ad blocker so I have no idea.

    • 'Gordie

      They’ve been pushing Independence here in Glasgow’s east End(I’m in the East End but Glasgow NE consituency) and on TV, etc to be fair. Just targeting no voting areas with Brexit I assume.

  • Margaret

    I live in Joanna’s constituency, too. No communication at all from the Tories. One leaflet each from Lib Dems and Greens. Two leaflets from the SNP.

  • EB

    Always assumed an army of miserable old farts who spend their lives at home glued to bad media are the Tories’ rock.

  • Giyane

    The image of Khan’ a blade displayed very deliberately to the cameras followed by the grim Tory reapers in black is all the canvassing they need. For many, Jeremy Corbyn’s contemplativeness and compassion is a sign of weakness, while Frankenstein and his female assistant dressed as Victorian undertakers smack of Imperial confidence.

    Seeing real messages or real people on the doorstep would spoil the Tory Hollywood drama campaign. Not having a TV these images struck me as theatrically staged like a black and white melodrama accompanied by a grand piano.
    We have only had a leaflet about Liam Byrne where I live , complete with red jacket and fake ginger beard to appeal to the Muslims. A kind of homely speed bump campaigner without panache or purpose.

    Millionaires pretending to be ordinary is so much less appealing than ordinary hotspot Tories pretending to be imbued with moral indignation. All fake. All visual.
    Nobody has the attention span for a political campaign.

  • Athanasius

    It’s a very strange election. Unique, I’d say, with nothing previous comparable to it. I don’t believe the opinion polls can be trusted, not so much because they’re often “push polls” designed to curry support rather than assess the public mood; I’m not sure even the properly conducted ones are gauging the public mood properly, mainly because the public is extremely volatile and so many people are still uncertain what to do on Thursday. In England, anyway. It’ll be a very interesting Friday.

  • Martin

    Tories invisible in Brighton Kemptown & Uxbridge. They’re pinning it all on media support + targeted social media stuff. And the BBC.

  • Glasshopper

    My wood burner is well stocked for lighting paper, courtesy of everyone but the Tories. They don’t bother advertising, and nobody puts their posters up in any election around here. They usually win anyway, but Labour are close and the only likely alternative, though i expect their ludicrous manifesto will keep them out this time.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    The doormats of East Dumbartonshire are buried under a blizzard of LibDem pamphlets (all contractor delivered). The SNP is putting up a strong presence with local activists.
    Much hilarity is derived from LibDem’s inept delivery; “Tories and Labour are out of the race in …. insert name of place here.”, “boosting renewable energy and insulting every home.”, “Ross, Sky & Lochbar” (leaflet delivered to neighbouring constituency). A serious point is being missed. The LibDems are an AstroTurf outfit. According to Private Eye they have 33 members in the whole of the city of Sheffield. Jo Swinson’s campaign manager for East Dumbartonshire lives in Hull (and is indeed the LibDem candidate for Hull North). The Facebook page for East Dumbartonshire LibDems has 270 likes.
    The LibDems are a micro-party and yet the election spend is huge. In the 10 month period to end August (covering only a pointless EU election) they spent £367K on Facebook advertising alone.
    WTF does the money come from? Same sources as funded New Labour. At least New Labour had a mass membership to cover the dodgy income, the LibDems are pure AstroTurf. Why is nobody in the MSM capable of highlighting the obvious (rhetorical question)?

    • Susan Smith

      We’ve had 2 letters , one poster ( up in our front window now ) and a canvasser from the SNP , a couple of leaflets and a canvases from the Tories, and nothing from anyone else . 2 large SNP billboards in the wealthy western edge of the constituency and one large Tory one .

  • John Macadam

    Edinburgh South. Lots and lots and lots of FibDem leaflets [some even spelling the name of the constituency correctly], but no visible activity by either FibDems or Torys. SNP and Labour both canvassing and holding stalls. All window posters either SNP or Labour save for one Green poster

  • Edwin Steel

    I have been canvassing busily in Aberdeenshire for the last five (or so) weeks, Craig. I have met met quite a few Tories – one nice one – the majority very belligerent and just downright nasty. However, many of them are actually embarrassed to admit they vote Tory (which is understandable) because in the face of widespread poverty and the horrendous Tory austerity measures they know it is a completely selfish vote. Difficult problem to balance for many of them, whilst attending church, praying to the baby Jesus and keeping a watchful eye over their financial interests. Bitter? Me? I wouldn’t say so. Disappointed really in the hypocrisy of supposedly ‘decent citizens’..,,

    • Susan Smith

      Speaking to a Daily Telegraph reader, keen on his investment portfolio but who hates the elite who are inflicting brexit on us, whilst moving their own substantial financial assets out of the country . It’s a two horse race for him, and my feeling is he’ll be voting SNP.

  • Neneh Kirschbaum

    No obvious door-knock campaigning here in Rutland and Melton. Historically, perhaps THE safest Tory seat, with Alan Duncan as MP for 30years, and Conservative well before him. He is standing down this year, but probably – correctly – deemed unnecessary to bother “preaching to the converted”.

    Hawkwind on Sunday 21st July? I’m impressed!

    Lemmy was really good on Silver Machine

  • Republicofscotland

    We now expect the Tory loving media to push any form of polling that suggests that the Tories are in the driving seat. Of course outside the media bubble things are a bit different from what theyre pushing.

    As for leaflets, I’ve had them from all the major parties in Scotland stuffed ever so quitely through my letterbox. I read with interest that Jo Swinson’s constituents are receiving party leaflets that are sent from Hull, and that very little LibDem canvassing has been done in her constituency, she must be very confident of re-election.

  • Martin Davidson

    Tommy Sheridan sums up the opinion poll fraud very well:
    “Ignore the predictions of the unreliable and rigged opinion polls conducted primarily by organisations owned and controlled by right-wing Tory millionaires more intent on shaping opinions than reflecting them; this current General Election is very much in the balance.”

    His complete article can be read at:–powerful-piss-on-us–the-media-tell-us-its-raining/

  • Mist001

    Opinion polls aren’t for displaying peoples opinions but are for shaping peoples opinions. Nobody wants to back a loser, so shape peoples opinions that the Tories are the winners.

    It’s stupid but it’ll probably work.

  • Clive Thomson

    I honestly think they’re going to rig it.These polls are purely to form opinion,not gauge it.I know of no-one that has ever actually been polled.
    These polls serve as preparation for a desired end result.

      • Michael

        Many of us believe they also rigged the Brexit referendum to Remain but because the desire to Leave was so strong they didn’t rig it enough. Word went round the internet the day before to take a black pen so your cross couldn’t be erased and changed, which might actually have secured the majority. I also think they plan to rig this election but hopefully the Labour vote will be too big to rig.

        If the Tories steal it or get in because so many are secretly utterly selfish bastards, millions of ordinary people will, frankly, be fucked. Such despair will soon lead to massive unrest. If they deny us change peacefully we’re going to have to force it drastically.

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