Lord Ashcroft has released a good selection of new constituency polls, covering some interesting constituencies. Full details are here.

The least intersting is probably High Peak – a largely run of the mill Con -v- Lab marginal. Ashcroft previously polled it in February, finding a wafer thin one point Labour lead. In the second survey the Tories are now ahead by 2 points, but the changes are within the margin of error – it still looks like a seat on a knife edge.

He then looked at two seats that were effectively three-way marginals in 2010 – Colne Valley and Bristol North West – both seats the Conservatives won with the Lib Dems in second place, but Labour an extremely close third. In both seats the Lib Dems have collapsed completely and they are now Con -v- Lab marginals, in Bristol North West the Conservatives have a healthy nine point lead, in Colne Valley it is again on a knife-edge, with the Tories just two points ahead.

Moving on Lord Ashcroft polled Bristol West. This is one of the few Lib Dem seats we haven’t had a constituency poll of yet, but more interestingly it is one of the Green party’s main target seats for the election. The poll suggests they will fall well short – while it shows the Greens moving up to second place with 25% of the vote, they are far behind Labour on 38%.

Finally Lord Ashcroft polled two UKIP targets. One was Thurrock, an ultra-marginal between Labour and the Conservatives at the last election that appears to be one of UKIP’s best hopes for a gain – here Ashcroft found a four point UKIP lead over Labour in second place, the Tories just a point behind. The other was Rochester and Strood, UKIP’s by-election victory last year. Today’s Ashcroft poll gives the Conservatives the advantage in trying to retake it – CON 36%, LAB 24%, LDEM 3%, UKIP 33%.


Two weeks to go

A brief summary of this week’s polls before I have some downtime:

YouGov/Sun (17/4) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
Opinium/Observer (17/4) – CON 36%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/S Times (18/4) – CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (19/4) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
Ashcroft (19/4) – CON 34%, LAB 30%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%
Populus (19/4) – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4%
ICM/Guardian (19/4) – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%, GRN 5%
TNS (20/4) – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (20/4) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (21/4) – CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (22/4) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
ComRes/ITV/Mail (22/4) – CON 36%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5%
Populus (23/4) – CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (23/4) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
Panelbase (23/4) – CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%
Survation/Mirror (23/4) – CON 33%, LAB 29%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4%

The UKPR polling average continues to show a tie – CON 33%(-1), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(nc). Some of the individual pollsters are showing consistent leads for one party or the other (YouGov and Populus, for example, are generally showing small Labour leads, ICM and Ashcroft small Conservative leads) so it’s not the case that all the pollsters are showing an exact tie, more than the average of the different companies’ house effects is neck and neck.

Other polls

There was one Scottish poll this week – a new YouGov poll that confirmed their previous 24 point lead for the SNP (tabs), there was also a new YouGov poll of London for the Evening Standard with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5% (tabs).

There were three constituency polls. Lord Ashcroft released two extra constituency polls with his weekly GB poll, showing the SNP ahead in Edinburgh North and Leith and Edinburgh South. Meanwhile Survation released a new poll of Thanet South, showing Nigel Farage nine points ahead. We should have some more constituency polls from Lord Ashcroft first thing tomorrow morning, including a poll of Rochester and Strood.

Projections

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc, the Guardian and YouGov are below, all continue to show a hung Parliament, but the models disagree on whether the Tories or Labour will be ahead on seats – Elections Etc, Election Forecast and the Guardian all have the Conservatives with more seats, YouGov and the Guardian have Labour slightly ahead.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 286(-6), LAB 263(+3), LD 26(+4), SNP 51(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 283(+3), LAB 270(-7), LD 24(-3), SNP 48(+6), UKIP 1(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 270(+2), LAB 273(-3), LD 26(nc), SNP 55(+1), UKIP 3(nc)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 273(+4), LAB 268(-3), LD 28(-1), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
YouGov Nowcast – Hung Parliament, CON 270(+4), LAB 277(-2), LD 27(nc), SNP 50(nc), UKIP 3(-2)


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As well as today’s GB voting intention polls Survation have released a new poll of Thanet South commissioned by the UKIP donor Alan Bown. The poll shows Nigel Farage with a nine point lead over the Conservatives in second place, full topline figures are CON 30%, LAB 26%, LDEM 2%, UKIP 39%, GRN 2% (tabs).

The poll is broadly in line with Survation’s previous poll in Thanet South, which was conducted back in February and showed Farage with an eleven point lead. However, it contrasts with the ComRes poll of the same constituency earlier this month which showed the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour all neck-and-neck.

I wrote about the differences between the ComRes and Survation polling in Thanet South earlier this month here. In short there are some obvious contrasts between the two companies approaches – how they deal with don’t knows, for example – but neither are obviously doing anything wrong, so there is no particularly reason to think one or the other is right. I guess in two weeks we will know who is ahead in Thanet South and how tight the race really is (though even then, we’ll never know for sure how tight the race is right now, or how tight it was in early April, or back in February.)


Thursday’s polls

Earlier on today we had a new poll from Panelbase, with topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%. Full tables are here. I’m expecting quite a few polls out tonight – Survation’s regular poll for the Mirror is due, we have the daily YouGov poll for the Sun and there may well be others to boot.

I’ll be out this evening, but will do a round up of them all once I return. In the meantime feel free to discuss them here as they appear.

UPDATE: On top of the Panelbase poll we have three other GB voting intention polls, from ComRes, Survation and YouGov:

  • Survation’s latest poll for the Mirror has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 29%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4% (tabs).
  • ComRes’s latest telephone poll for the Mail & ITV has toplines of CON 36%, LAB 32%, LAB 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5% (tabs)
  • YouGov for the Sun have topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%

Looking at reactions on social media there are lots of people getting excited or dismayed by getting two Conservative four point leads in short succession. There is always a temptation to look for movement in the random variation of polls (especially when there has been so little genuine movement to get excited over!). However, there are four polls today – two Conservative leads, two Labour leads. The time to pay attention would be when the balance of the polls consistently starts showed one party or the other ahead, right now they still seem pretty evenly balanced.


ComRes have a new battleground poll out, results here, this time looking at 10 Conservative held UKIP target seats. The poll covered some seats that UKIP announced as targets last year but taking out some that no longer seem realistic, like Aylesbury, and adding some obvious ommissions like Castle Point. The overall shares of the vote with changes since 2010 were CON 39%(-7), LAB 28%(+2), UKIP 21%(+15), LDEM 5%(-10), GRN 4%(+4). UKIP have obviously advanced strongly since 2010, but remain in quite a distant third place.

It’s quite hard to know what to make of this poll. For a start, with UKIP coming from a very low base it’s quite hard to accurately predict what their best chances of a gain are – so some seats here like East Worthing and Shoreham probably aren’t in the top rank of UKIP targets. More importantly, with a poll of a group of marginal seats like this we can’t tell what the distribution of the vote is between these different seats. Most estimates are for UKIP to pick up only a couple of seats beyond their two by-election gains (which are not included in this sample), so from this poll we can’t tell whether UKIP have about 21% in all these seats (and hence wouldn’t win any of them), or are doing much better in the more promising seats like South Thanet and Thurrock and less well in the others, meaning they could win some.

I suppose all we can reasonably conclude is that UKIP don’t look like they are about to sweep the board across these seats, it’s impossible to tell from this poll whether or not they are in a stronger position in a minority of them.