The monthly ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight. Topline figures with changes from their previous online poll are CON 32%(+1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 18%(+1): no significant change from a month ago.

ComRes also did a batch of favourable or unfavourable questions. As usual no one actually got a positive rating – the least unfavourable was David Cameron (minus 18), followed by Nigel Farage (minus 21), Ed Miliband (minus 34) and Nick Clegg (minus 43). For the political parties the Conservatives and Labour were both on minus 16, UKIP were on minus 19, the Liberal Democrats on minus 40.

Having the Conservative party and Labour party viewed equally unfavourably is unusual. Whatever the ups and downs of day-to-day politics, the Labour party is normally seen more positively than the Conservative people (people see Labour as having it’s heart in the right place in a way the Tory party doesn’t). As ever, it’s just one poll so unless other polls start showing the same I wouldn’t get too excited.


Lord Ashcroft has produced another round of marginal polling – full details here. His last batch of polls revisited the Con-held ultra-marginals with Labour in second place. This time they deal with some Conservative held marginals with slightly larger majorities and revisit some Labour held marginals. The latter aren’t of much interest at the moment (with Labour ahead in the polls there is no realistic chance of the Conservatives gaining seats from Labour, so until and unless the Conservatives start showing a lead over Labour in national polls polling Labour-held Conservative targets is a little bit academic, though I may return to them in a future post), for the immediate future the Con-held marginals are more relevant.

Lord Ashcroft’s earlier polling of Con-marginals took the eleven Con-Lab seats with majorities under 2 percent. This round of polling took the seats with majorities between 2 and 3 percent, eight of them. The average swing across these seats was 6 points from Con to Lab, the equivalent of a 5 point Labour lead in the national polls. A little larger than in national polls at the moment but, as with Lord Ashcroft’s previous waves of polling in Conservative -v- Labour seats, not that different.

As usual with Lord Ashcroft’s polls this wasn’t a poll of a group of marginal seats, it was eight fully fledged polls of individual constituencies and looking at the individual seats spits out a few interesting findings. Lord Ashcroft used the two stage voting intention question for the constituency poll, first asking people a generic voting intention question and then asking people to consider their own constituency and the candidates likely to stand there in an attempt to squeeze out tactical or incumbency effects. Normally this has a huge effect in seats where the Liberal Democrats are in contention, and very little effect in seats where they aren’t. The effect of the two stage question here was illustrative – in four seats the Conservatives did very slightly better in the second question (what we’d expect from the incumbency effect). In Warrington South (a three way marginal) and Bedford (which has a strong local Lib Dem presence) the second question boosted the Lib Dems. In Stroud the second question boosted Labour, perhaps because the ousted Labour MP David Drew is seeking to return at the next election (Patrick Hall is also seeking to return in Bedford, where the second question also showed a slightly bigger swing to Labour). Also worth noting was the healthy performance by the Greens in Stroud, up on 12%.

A final observation: Southampton Itchen, one of the four Labour held seats, showed a swing of 0.5% from Lab to Con, putting the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck on 33%. This seems unlikely, while John Denham is standing down in Southampton Itchen the last time Ashcroft polled the seat in May it had an eight point Labour lead. A more likely explanation for the rather odd result is probably that suggested by Lord Ashcroft himself in his commentary – that Southampton Itchen has a substantial university population (students and staff) who wouldn’t have been around when the poll was conducted.


It’s now exactly one month to go until the Scottish referendum, and this morning’s Times has a fresh YouGov Scottish poll. Topline figures are YES 38%(+3), NO 51%(-4). Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 43%(+4), NO 57%(-4). The 43% YES figure excluding don’t knows is the highest YouGov have shown so far.

The previous YouGov poll straddled the Salmond-Darling debate, so this is their first test of support post-debate. Looking at all four of the post-debate polls, we’ve now got Survation showing a significant move to NO, Panelbase and ICM showing modest movement towards YES and YouGov showing a significant shift towards YES.

Clear as mud, but I think it’s fair to conclude that despite Alistair Darling emerging as the initial “winner” of the first debate, the broad trend amongst the post-debate polls is looking like things may have actually moved a little in the YES direction.

Looking back at the post-debate poll, it might be worth remembering that existing NO supporters tended to think Darling won, existing YES supporters tended to think Salmond won – so Darling’s “victory” was largely a result of him having more supporters to begin win. If subsequent polls do confirm that there has been a movement to YES since the debate, perhaps we’ll conclude that attitudes towards who won the debate were different amongst swing voters…


There are two new Scottish polls in Sunday’s papers, an ICM poll for the Scotland on Sunday and a Panelbase poll commissioned by the Yes campaign. These are only the second and third polls that we’ve seen conducted wholly after the debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling, the first one from Survation suggested a significant move towards NO, but these two paint a different picture.

Taking the Panelbase/Yes Scotland poll first, topline figures are YES 42%(+1), NO 46%(-2), Don’t know 12%(+1). Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 48%(+2), NO 52%(-2). Changes are from the Panelbase/Sunday Times poll in July. Compared to last month it’s a slight move towards YES, but is not particularly significant by Panelbase’s standards: their penultimate poll also had YES on 48%, and they’ve have YES on between 46-48% since March.

The ICM poll in the Scotland on Sunday has topline figures of YES 38%(+4), NO 47%(+2), Don’t know 14%(-7). Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 45%(+2), NO 55%(-2). It’s a bigger NO lead than Panelbase are showing, but the same modest movement towards YES. As with Panelbase, it’s not a massive change from the longer term trend – so far this year ICM have had YES between 43% and 48%, and YES 45% is right in line with the average of all ICM’s Scottish polls this year.

So, two polls, both show a modest movement towards YES since last month, but neither a significant shift from the longer term trend. What it does mean though is that the movement towards NO in Survations’s post-debate poll has not been echoed in other companies’ polls.

(Incidentally, I’m on leave this week, having a break before the long slog to the general election, so expect light blogging for the next few days)


Lord Ashcroft has today published a new poll of Uxbridge & South Ruislip, a generally unspectacular and unnotable safe Conservative seat in West London. It shows voting intentions of CON 42%(-6), LAB 28%(+5), LDEM 6%(-14), UKIP 19%(+16), what would be an unsurprising Conservative hold.

The reason for the poll is – of course – the speculation that Boris Johnson might or might not apply for the Conservative nomination following John Randall’s decision to step down at the next election. Lord Ashcroft also asked how people would vote if Boris Johnson was the Conservative candidate, which unsurprisingly showed a popular and well-known candidate would give the party a boost.

The poll also included a question on what Uxbridge voters thought about Boris being MP at the same time as being mayor. The result was split right down the middle – 50% thought it was fine for Boris to do both for a year, 50% thought they weren’t compatible and Boris should wait until 2016 or resign as mayor if he wanted to be an MP. Amongst Conservative supporters in Uxbridge they were more accomodating – 63% thought Boris could do both for a year.