The YouGov/Sunday Times poll had some questions trying to tease out people’s perceptions of who has the best claim to be PM in a hung Parliament. This is, obviously, not necessarily the same thing as who will be. Much of the discussion I’ve seen on this has been at cross purposes – some people rightly saying that the leader who can command a majority in the Commons has the constitutional right to be PM, others saying that in circumstances X, Y or Z or with party A, B or C that may be seen as illegitimate. These two things are not contradictory – it is perfectly possible to have a situation where a leader has the perfect constitutional right to be Prime Minister, yet is seen as illegitimate by the public. If the study of public opinion tells you anything, it should be that public opinion is quite often wrong. A good example is Gordon Brown in 2010 – remaining as PM while negotiations took place was quite clearly his constitutional duty… but it didn’t stop him getting flak for “squatting” in Downing Street. Public opinion on the legitimacy of who becomes PM won’t make any difference to who gets the invite from the Palace, the maths will decide that, but it may make a difference to how that government is perceived by the public in the longer term.

On this front, by 47% to 26% of people think that the biggest party has the best claim to form a government, even if other parties collectively have more seats. If there is a difference between the party with the most seats and the most votes, by 43% to 29% people think it is votes that should matter.

Asked about whether parties should try to go it alone or form a coalition there is an interesting difference. Should the Conservatives find themselves the largest party then 58% of Tory voters think they should try to strike a deal with other parties to get a majority, 29% think they should try to go it alone. Should Labour find themselves the largest party the figures are much closer – 44% of their voters think they should try to strike a deal, 39% think they should try to go it alone. YouGov then asked what the other side should do in those circumstances… in both cases, the balance of public opinion is that oppositions should give a minority government a chance. If the Conservatives try to go it alone, 32% think the other parties should vote to bring them down, 40% think they should be given a chance. The figures are almost identical for a minority Labour government, 30% think the Tories should just vote them out, 39% that they should give them a chance.

The polling on all these questions will likely be transformed completely next week when the numbers are known and these questions become opinions on a Cameron government, a Miliband government or whatever, rather than hypothetical situations – these aren’t set in stone. I expect many respondents who say largest party should form the government might change their answer in the event largest party was X or Y. The point us how the parties behave next week, whether they are seen as being in the right and behaving in a responsible way will have an impact on the public’s perception of them.

Both the YouGov/Sunday Times poll and the Survation poll asked people who watched the Question Time leaders special earlier in the week who they thought had won – both found Cameron clearly ahead. YouGov had Cameron winning by 42% to Miliband’s 26% and Clegg’s 13%, Survation had Cameron winning on 38% to Miliband’s 24% and Clegg’s 9%.

As well as the YouGov/Sunday Times poll there was also a separate YouGov poll for the Sun on Sunday. This has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5% so is also bang in line with YouGov’s pattern the parties being roughly neck-and-neck. The poll included a question on people’s preferred coalition/deal which showed a very even split, the same as we’ve seen in many other polls – Con/LD 21%, Con/UKIP 18%, Lab/LD 20%, Lab/SNP 16%. However they also asked which coalition people think would be worst, which produced a much clearer result – Lab/SNP 39%, Con/UKIP 32%, Con/LD 6%, Lab/LD 4% – people fear the SNP and UKIP’s influence on government, the poor old Lib Dems are seen as quite benign.


We have good four or five polls in the final Sunday papers before the election, here is what’s appeared so far:

Opinium in the Observer continue to show a very tight race, in this case with the Conservatives just ahead. Topline figures are CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%. Full tables are results are here. Note that while the Observer describe the poll as the last Opinium/Observer poll before the election that doesn’t mean it’s Opinium’s final call, they’ll hopefully have another poll in the week.

ComRes have a new telephone poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror. Their topline voting intention figures also have the race right down to the wire – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%. Interestingly this is a telephone poll rather than an online one, in the past ComRes have tended to do online polling for their Sunday newspaper contract and phone polling for their daily newspaper contract. It suggests we may not be getting an online ComRes poll we can compare to the election result. Tabs are here.

Survation for the Mail on Sunday have Labour ahead. Their topline figures are CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%. Their poll also included a version of the question prompted with candidate names in respondents’ own constituencies (something MORI used to do in their face-to-face polls at election time and Angus Reid did in their election polls in 2010) – that produced figures of CON 29%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%. Tabs are here.

The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times continues to float around neck-and-neck. Today’s figures are CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%. YouGov and the Sunday Times also have a new (separate!) Scottish poll, that has topline figures of CON 17%, LAB 25%, LDEM 5%, SNP 49%.


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Royal baby bounce?

There won’t be one. Stop being silly.

If you’d like a longer answer. The birth of Prince George had no discernible effect upon the polls, the Royal Wedding had no discernible effect. The Diamond Jubilee was followed by a couple of polls with a reduced Labour lead, but nothing that couldn’t have been normal sample variation. Events with direct relevance to the election normally have little or no effect on voting intention; the leaders debates had minimal effect, scandals and policy announcements normally have minimal effect. The idea that something with such a complete disconnect from the things that determine voting intention will have an impact is somewhat fanciful.

The only direct impact it makes is the news agenda. If any of the parties were planning on a big policy announcement over the weekend it will now have to struggle against the royal baby to get in the papers and the news bulletins.

Of course, should the polls move in the next few days I expect history will record that the royal baby won the election for David Cameron, in the same way that we pretend that the bug in Gordon Banks’ tummy lost the 1970 election for Harold Wilson. In reality I expect any change in the polls over coming days will be noting at all to do with royal procreation, and everything to do with the existing drivers of voting intention – people making their minds up or changing their minds based on perceptions of the leaders and parties, of competence in running the economy and public services, and hopes of fears of what sort of government will emerge from a hung Parliament.


So far we’ve had two new GB polls today, both continuing to show the race pretty much neck-and-neck:

  • Populus’s twice-weekly poll has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4% (tabs). Note that Populus appear to have made a slight methodology change – their tables include a reallocation of don’t knows, which has the effect of slightly increasing Lib Dem support and decreasing Labour support.
  • Meanwhile a new Survation poll for the Mirror had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 3% (tabs are here)

Elsewhere Lord Ashcroft released his latest, and final, batch of constituency polls – ten constituency polls in a mix of different types of seat. The full details are here:

  • Four of the polls revisited Con-Lab marginals where Lord Ashcroft’s previous polling had found a tight race. In Norwich North (2 point Labour lead), Pudsey (1 point Tory lead) and Wirral West (3 point Labour lead) he found little difference from his previous polls, in Croydon Central he found better news for the Conservatives, with a four point Tory lead compared to a four point Labour lead in March.
  • Another poll revisted the LD-Con marginal of North Cornwall, finding the same two point Liberal Democrat lead as the previous poll in March.
  • Three of the polls were newly surveyed seats – Battersea had been speculated as a seat where the Tories were in trouble, but Ashcroft’s poll found no swing since the election and a twelve point Tory lead. In Stourbridge he found a 4.5% swing from Con-to-Lab, leaving the Conservatives only 2 points ahead. Best of all for Labour was Peterborough, a seat the Conservatives won in 2005, where Ashcroft found a 6 point swing to Labour, putting them 2 points ahead.
  • Finally Ashcroft repolled two Scottish seats. In Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (currently the only Conservative seat in Scotland) he found the SNP increasing their lead, up to eleven points from two points last month. In East Renfrewshire, Jim Murphy’s seat, he found the tide moving away from the SNP (possibly due to tactical voting by Tory voters) – in April his poll gave the SNP a nine point lead, the latest poll has them leading by only three points.

Weekly Round up

I’m not going through all this week’s polling like I normally do on Friday’s – frankly there has been too much – but just to complete the record set, the UKPR polling average for the final week of the campaign shows figures of CON 34%(+1), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(nc), pushing the Tories slightly ahead.

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc, the Guardian and YouGov are below, with the majority of them now suggesting the Conservatives will win slightly more seats than Labour, though only Steve Fisher’s model predicts a Parliament where any sort of Conservative-led government looks feasible.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 290(+4), LAB 258(-5), LD 25(-1), SNP 53(+2), UKIP 3(-1)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 280(-3), LAB 268(-2), LD 27(+3), SNP 49(+1), UKIP 2(+1)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 275(+5), LAB 267(-6), LD 27(+1), SNP 56(+1), UKIP 2(-1)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 276(+3), LAB 267(-1), LD 27(-1), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 3(-1)
YouGov Nowcast – Hung Parliament, CON 272(+2), LAB 276(-1), LD 24(-3), SNP 52(+2), UKIP 3(nc)


In what is presumably their penultimate general election poll (their final call poll is normally in the Standard on election day itself) Ipsos MORI have topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 8%. It’s quite a shift from their previous poll, which had a two point Labour lead, so usual caveats apply. Full details and tables are here.

Panelbase meanwhile have new figures of CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%. I haven’t seen any tables yet, but I’ll update when available. UPDATE: Tabs are here

Still to come tonight we have the daily YouGov poll and a snap ICM/Guardian reaction poll following the Leaders Question Time special.

UPDATE2: The daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%. Meanwhile the ICM/Guardian instant reaction poll following the Question Time special found veiwers thought David Cameron came out narrowly on top – 44% thought Cameron did the best, 38% Miliband, 19% Nick Clegg.