We’ve had two “new” polls on EU membership this week (the inverted commas are there becuase while the ICM poll out today has fresh fieldwork, the ComRes poll earlier in the week was actually done at the end of September). ICM’s latest figures have REMAIN on 44%, LEAVE on 39% (tabs). ComRes meanwhile had REMAIN on 55%, LEAVE on 36% – a far more solid lead for those wishing to stay in the EU (tabs)

There is obviously sizeable gulf in the figures different polling companies are reporting on the EU referendum. ComRes have done several polls on the EU referendum since the election and have consistently shown REMAIN with a strong lead, in contrast two YouGov polls last month both showed LEAVE with a small lead (though they had been showing a modest lead for stay earlier in the year). ICM have been conducting a weekly tracker on EU voting intention, and their figures tend to show a modest lead for those who want to stay.

Polling methodology is in a period of flux as pollsters reassess their approaches in the light of what went wrong at the general election, but I don’t think that explains the difference here. ComRes have indeed adopted a new turnout model based on socio-economic factors… but the nineteen point lead is without that extra turnout weighting, it would be even bigger with it. It could be a online vs telephone difference – YouGov and the regular ICM tracker are both conducted online, the ComRes polls by telephone – but that’s hardly enough evidence to be confident, there will be many other differences in methodology.

While we can’t really tell why there is a difference, we can say where the difference is: Conservative voters. All three pollsters have Labour voters splitting strongly in favour of staying, albeit with some difference in quite how strongly (ICM had 55% of Labour voters backing REMAIN, YouGov had 58%, ComRes 73%). The contrast among Tory voters was larger, ComRes has Tory voters wanting to stay, ICM has them broadly split, YouGov has them favouring exit: in the most recent polls YouGov had only 33% of current Tory voters wanting to stay, ICM had 42% of 2015 Tory voters, ComRes had 56% backing remaining. In practice, of course, how they Tory vote ends up splitting will depend to a significant extent on the leadership David Cameron gives in the referendum and which senior Tory figures come out in favour of leaving – there’s a long way to go yet.

The Sun had fresh YouGov voting intention figures today, fieldwork conducted straight after Jeremy Corbyn’s speech. Topline figures are CON 37%(-2), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 17%(+1) – changes are since YouGov’s last poll in mid-September, just after Jeremy Corbyn became leader. Tabs are here.

The rest of the poll repeated some of the questions YouGov asked just after Ed Miliband became Labour leader, five years ago. Corbyn’s figures are worse than the ratings Miliband had at the time and as I wrote in relation to the Ipsos MORI poll earlier in the week, while Corbyn’s ratings aren’t that bad at first glance, brand new leaders normally get some leeway from the public, so they are bad when compared to the ratings new leaders have usually got.

YouGov also repeated the bank of party image statements they normally ask at conference time, testing positive and negative lines about the Labour party. The figures are (remarkably) close to what they were five years ago when Labour first entered opposition – 71% think Labour need to make major changes to their policies and beliefs to be fit for goverment (up 2 from 2010), 58% think they have lost touch with ordinary working people (down 1), 56% think they haven’t faced up to the damaged they caused to the economy (down 4), 44% think they care about helping all groups, not just the few (up 2), 39% think their core values and principles are still relevant (down 2), 42% think they would cut spending in a fairer and more compassionate way than the government (up 1).

The only areas* where there is a significant shift since 2010 are the claim that Labour are a party only for immigrants, welfare recipients and trade unionists (49% agreed in 2010, now only 42%) and the claim that if Labour returned to government they’d get the country into even more debt (47% agreed in 2010, 53% agree now).

Afrer five years in opposition, Labour don’t really seem to have made much progress at all in nullifying their perceived weaknesses. There is still an underlying strength in their brand – a large chunk of the public do think their heart in the right place, that they care about the many not the few, that they are more caring than the Tories. The big weaknesses though remain those negative perceptions about the economy and the belief they’ve lost touch with their ordinary supporters – the challenge for the next five years is to address those.

(*There was also a big shift in a question about whether Labour will be ready for a quick return to office after a short period in opposition. We debated whether to keep that statement from 2010, given Labour have now been in opposition for five years. We decided to keep it because it can still make sense if you interpret it as being a short period from now, but given we’re assuming people will interpret it differently I wouldn’t really compare 2010 and 2015 on that one)


ComRes released their monthly telephone poll for the Daily Mail last night, topline figures were CON 39%, LAB 30%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4%. While the nine point Conservative lead looks similar to most recent polls, note that ComRes have been showing larger Conservative leads of late (typically around 12 points) so comparing like-to-like this represents a narrowing of the lead. The poll was conducted over the weekend, prior to Jeremy Corbyn’s speech (tabs here)

There are two new bits of YouGov polling today. First up is the regular Welsh political barometer. The usual caveats apply about it being just one poll, but it shows Labour support perking up in Wales since Jeremy Corbyn’s election – Westminster voting intentions with changes from last month are CON 26%(-2), LAB 42%(+5), LDEM 5%(+1), Plaid 10%(-2), UKIP 16%(+1).

Assembly voting intentions are CON 23%, LAB 39%, LDEM 6%, Plaid 18%, UKIP 13% for the constituencies, CON 24%, LAB 34%, LDEM 5%, Plaid 18%, UKIP 14% for the regional vote. Roger Scully’s commentary is over on the Elections in Wales blog here and has an Assembly seat projection of 29 seats for Labour, 12 for the Tories, 10 Plaid, 8 UKIP and one for the Lib Dems.

The Times also has some YouGov national polling, showing the Leave campaign narrowly ahead in their EU referendum polling – REMAIN 38%, LEAVE 40%. This is the first time YouGov have asked the question using the new referendum question, so some of the shift might be due to that (I discussed here how asking the question as Remain vs Leave seems to produce figures that are better for those who wish to leave than asking it as Yes vs No), but nevertheless it’s the first time since November that YouGov have shown LEAVE ahead. Tables are here.

Ipsos MORI have published their September political monitor for the Evening Standard. Topline voting intention figures are CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 7%, GRN 4%.

MORI have made another methodological change in the light of the polling error at the general election. Previously they had started including how regularly people say they usually vote in the turnout filter, now they have also added additional weighting by newspaper readership. Again, the methodology review is still an ongoing process, and MORI make clear they anticipate making further changes.

The rest of the poll had a series of questions about perceptions of the party leaders and parties.

Jeremy Corbyn’s first satisfaction rating is minus 3 (33% are satisfied with him as leader, 36% dissatisfied). At first glance that isn’t bad – it’s a better net rating than Cameron or the government! In a historical context though it’s not good. New leaders normally get a polling honeymoon, the public give them the benefit of the doubt to begin with and Corbyn’s net rating is the worst MORI have recorded for a new leader of one of the big two parties (the initial ratings for past party leaders were Miliband +19, Brown +16, Cameron +14, Howard +9, IDS 0, Hague -1, Blair +18, Smith +18, Major +15, Kinnock +20, Foot +2)

Looking at the more detailed questions on perceptions of Jeremy Corbyn his strengths and weaknesses compared to David Cameron are very similar to the ones we got used to in Cameron v Miliband match ups: Cameron scores better on things like being a capable leader, good in a crisis, sound judgement; Corbyn scores better on being in touch with ordinary people, having more substance than style and being more honest than most politicians. Asked overall who would make the most capable Prime Minister Cameron wins by 53% to 27%.

Of course, all of Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings need to be seen in the context that he is very new to the job and the public don’t know a whole lot about him beyond the initial negative press. Early perceptions of him may yet change. His figures may get better… or worse.

MORI also asked about perceptions of the Labour and Conservative parties, and here the impact of Corbyn’s victory on how the Labour party itself is seen was very evident. The proportion of people seeing the party as divided is up 33 points to 75%, extreme is up 22 points to 36% and out of date is up 19 points to 55%. Both the Labour party and the Conservative party had a big jump in the proportion of people saying they were “Different to other parties” – I suppose it takes two parties to be different from each other!

Full details of the MORI poll are here