Following on from the two point and four point leads in the Ashcroft and Populus polls today the other two voting intention polls tonight both have six point Labour leads.

ComRes‘s telephone poll for the Indy has topline figures of CON 27%(-3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 17%(-1)
Meanwhile YouGov‘s daily poll for the Sun has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%


It’s Monday, so we have the weekly Ashcroft poll and the first of Populus’s two weekly polls

Populus‘s topline figures are CON 33%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 12%(+3) (tabs here)
Ashcroft‘s topline figures are CON 32%(+5), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 14%(-3) (tabs here)

Populus shows slight movement away from the Conservatives, Ashcroft a movement towards the Conservatives… but one that is probably just a reversion to the mean after an unusually low score last week. I suspect all we are seeing here is normal sample variation around an average Labour lead of 3 or 4 points.

We are now heading towards the silly season, so big, unexpected events aside, don’t expect much in the way of poll shifts in the month ahead. It’s an election year so it may not be as quiet as usual – the parties will be trying to make the most of that empty news agenda with announcements… but equally, I doubt they’ll want to waste any major announcements in the Summer. Unless any events come along to change things Westminster politics will have a bit of a quite period until conference season – punctuated, of course, by the extremely major event of the Scottish referendum in seven weeks time….


This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are up here. Topline figures are CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% – a Labour lead of one point

28% now think the economy is in a good state, 36% a bad state. It’s still negative, but it’s creeping ever upwards – 28% is the highest YouGov have recorded since they started asking the question in 2010. Similarly on people’s own economic optimism, 19% expect their household finances to get better over the next twelve months, 31% expect them to continue to get worse – the net figure (“the feel good factor”) of minus 12 is still negative, but it’s the least negative YouGov have recorded since 2010.

YouGov also reasked some questions on Gaza that they initially asked a week ago. Public opinion has moved slightly towards the Palestinians – a week ago 23% said they were more sympathetic towards the Palestinians, now it’s 27%, but the broad picture remains the same: most people aren’t more favourable to either side, both sides are considered equally to blame for civilian casualties, and both sides’ actions are considered unjustified.

The Sunday Times also had a new Panelbase poll on the Scottish referendum. Topline figures are YES 41%, NO 48%. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 46%. Panelbase use slightly different wordings for their polls for the Sunday Times and for Yes Scotland, and it’s unclear whether they make a slight difference to the results or not. It doesn’t make much difference to the trend either way: since March Panelbase’s level of YES support has been steady at 46%-48%.


Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 11%. The three point Labour lead is typical of this week’s YouGov polls, which have all shown 3-4 point leads.

A couple more things to flag up, earlier in the week YouGov repeated their question asking people to put the parties and their leaders on a left-right spectrum. There isn’t much change since it was last asked. Labour are still seen as more centrist than the Conservatives, Cameron a little more right-wing than Miliband is left-wing. Cameron is seen as marginally to the left of his party, Miliband bang in line with his. In that sense Ed Miliband isn’t seen as some wild left winger (certainly not compared to the right-wingness of the Tories), but note that he is seen as far more left-wing than his predecessors: Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were both seen as significantly more centrist than the party they led. There are some very nice graphs of the data here.

While it’s not really about polls regular readers will know my sideline in boundary changes. While the boundary review for the coming election was cancelled the changes the government made weren’t repealed, just delayed. The process will start again automatically in 2015, so the issue will inevitably raise its head after the next election with either the Boundary Commissions starting a new review under the new rules, or the government legislating to change the rules again. Johnston, Rossiter & Pattie – the foremost scholars of British boundary redistributions – have published a new paper aimed at informing that debate, looking at whether slightly increasing the tolerance from 5% to 8%, encouraging the Boundary Commissions to split more wards, or sticking with 650 seats would reduce the level of disruption (spoilers: the first two would, the latter wouldn’t). It’s summarised here, and the full report is here.


Lord Ashcroft has released a second tranche of polls in Con-v-Lab ultramarginals, full details are here. It’s a repeat of his first polling of Con-Lab seats in April and now as then, Ashcroft polled the 12 most marginal Conservative held seats with Labour in second place, plus two other seats (South Thanet and Great Yarmouth) that he thought might have interesting UKIP results. Note that this wasn’t what we’ve often called a “marginal poll” in the past (a single poll of a group of marginal seats), it was 14 separate polls, one in each seat, individually sampled and weighted.

In April, the average swing in the 12 Con-Lab ultra marginals was 5.5% from Con to Lab, the same as in the national polls at the time. In other words, Con-Lab ultra-marginals were behaving right in line with national polling.

The average picture in the national polls is unchanged since April – the national swing from Con to Lab in GB polls conducted during the time Ashcroft did his latest fieldwork was 5.4% from Con to Lab. Lord Ashcroft’s findings in the marginal polls however have shown a slight weakening in the Labour position relative to the Conservatives, looking at just the 12 ultra-marginal seats the Conservatives are down by about 1.5% on average, Labour down by about 2.7%, UKIP up by about 4.5%. This looks like a European boost – the previous poll was done before the European election campaign, this one started in mid-June. The average swing in the ultra-marginals is now 4.9 from Con to Lab, meaning an increase in UKIP support has slightly hurt Labour. While the difference is too small to really make a fuss about, it also means that Ashcroft’s polls now show a slightly smaller swing in Con held marginals than nationally – in line with what we’d expect given the normal incumbency effect.

In two of the seats polled, Thanet South and Thurrock, UKIP were ahead in voting intentions, which will be enormous help for them in convincing voters they are a viable general election vote in the local area.