February 16, 2005

Sir Robert Worcester

Bob Worcester, Chairman and founder of MORI gave his inaugural lecture tonight as a new Honarary Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies.

Around 60+ people attended the lecture, entitled 'The Coming Election(s)'. The main election being the General Election which Sir Bob predicted would be on May 5th 2005 nearly four years ago (seems likely to come true) and the second election being not really an election, but a referendum on the European Constitution.

Here are a few of the facts, statistics and observations which Sir Bob told his audience, which may be interesting especially as some of them may be worth a wager!

– Labour and the Tories have a core vote of 30% each, with 'others' having a core vote of 20%. The other 20% are the much sought-after 'floating voters'.
– Sir Bob identified a 'political triangle' which highlights how voters make their decisions. For 42%, issues are most important, for 32% it's Leader Image and for 24% it's Party Image.
– The turnout fell from 30m voters in 1997 to 25m voters in 2001.
– In 2001, 39% of 18–24 yr olds voted, compared with 70% of 65+ voters.
– Essentially, the 'grey' vote has a voting weight of four times that of youth voters. In 2005, Sir Bob expects this to rise to 6x or 8x the weight.
– Sir Bob predicts an 8% fall in turnout for 2005 (compared with 2001)
– The most important issue right now is foreign affairs and defence – However – during an election period that falls down the list and is replaced by Education and Health.
– Immigration is the 5th most important policy
– 39% of voters consider Blair the most trustworthy leader (compared with 19% for Howard and Kennedy)
– But Gordon Brown has far higher trust ratings than any other British political leader

– Currently, 72% of the electorate are against the Euro.

To win a referenda on the European constitution, four things need to happen:
– Blair and Brown must be united and active in promoting it together
– Other EU countries must have voted yes in their own referenda
– The constitution must be presented as a 'restricting' document
– Captains of industry must be onside

And so, predictions for 2005 and beyond:
– Labour majority of 80–100, possibly 120. If Howard gets less than 200 seats, he will resign (currently headed for 180/190?)
– Howard will quit, being replaced by David Davis
– Blair will resign in August 2006
– Brown will take over and win the 2009 General Election (under Proportional Representation, which will have had to be brought in to satisfy Labour backbenchers)
– Brown will have to form a sort-of-coalition with the Lib Dems as PR will not ensure a majority.
– Conservatives in the wilderness until they return to their One-Nation ideology.
– Future of the Labour Party lies with intellectuals such as David Miliband, Ed Balls, Ruth Kelly
– The Next election will be on 7th May 2009.

It will be very interesting to see how many of Sir Bob's predictions come true. He doesn't expect the European Constitution to be passed by Britain, but doesn't expect the Tories to come back to power for a good while, either.

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. What surprised me was the proportion of electors reporting that they were very interested in politics. Apparently it was 60% in 1973 and has remained at 60% right up to the last election.

    Unsurprisingly Worcester thought that the turnout at the 2005 election will be less than 55%.

    Interestingly in 2001 16% of people said that they were new Labour, 19% old Labour, now only 12% are new Labour and 29% are old Labour. Although I might have copied the numbers down wrongly. So a credible new "old Labour" party could make things very interesting. Possibly the only thing which would give the Conservatives a chance!

    16 Feb 2005, 21:38

  2. Very interesting, thanks.

    16 Feb 2005, 23:35

  3. David Millband

    "The future of the Labour party lies with intellectuals such as David Millband, Ed Balls and Ruth Kelly"

    Ed Balls. Ha ha!

    17 Feb 2005, 11:12

  4. I misheard the old/new labour split (so demonstrating that lectures aren't a very good way of communicating details). It's 19% new Labour and 16% old Labour. See link

    Ed Balls might have a funny name, but to quote from

    "A leader writer at the Financial Times, he was lured by Brown in 1994 and given early prominence by a witty Michael Heseltine jibe for littering his master’s speech with economic gobbledygook: “it’s not Brown, it’s Balls”. The young adviser had already made his mark with a Fabian Society pamphlet arguing the case for Bank of England independence. That was one of Brown’s first and most successful acts as chancellor.

    Not long afterwards he elevated Balls to the role of Treasury chief economic adviser. In his early thirties (he is 37 now) he was in a job normally reserved for people at least 20 years his senior and with decades of Treasury experience."

    22 Feb 2005, 09:49

  5. What predictions has he made in the past, and have they come true?

    Prediction the future election date doesn't seem hard: flip the callender forward 4 years, look and when the locals are in the spring, and pic that thursday ;).

    I don't think the proportional representation thing will happen: Brown will probably win the '09 election with a slim majority via FPTP.

    The fate off the Tories in '09 will depend on how quickly Howard goes. In my opinion they'd to better to hold on to him, defeat the Referendum, then choose a new (properly new this time :p) young guy to lead them.

    Blunkett will be back in the cabinet with 6 months, and will be promenant under Brown (and Clarke will probably go in that reshuffle) . Its too quick for Ed Balls to make Chancellor, so somebody such as Reid perhaps.

    05 Apr 2005, 15:42

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