ComRes have a new poll out in the Telegraph. Topline voting intention figures with changes from last month are CON 25%(+2), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 16%(-1), BREX 19%(-3).

The Telegraph headline their report on hypothetical questions asking how people would vote if Boris Johnson was Tory leader, I’m rather sceptical of the worth of such questions when it’s a hypothetical that actually appears to almost certainly happen in a week or two’s time, but there goes. For what it’s worth, in the hypothetical Boris question the voting intentions are CON 32%(-5), LAB 25%(+3), LDEM 17%(-3), BREX 14%(nc) – a substantial drop in Conservative support from the same hypothetical question a month ago, suggesting perhaps it wasn’t such an effective prediction of Boris’s future impact.

Anyway, my general assumption is that parties normally do get something of a boost from new leaders, if only from the news coverage, enthusiasm of their supporters and whatever the new leader has planned to make an early impact. We shall see for real in the coming weeks.

As ever, other polls are also available – there have been two other voting intention polls this month:

Opinium in the Observer at the weekend had topline figures of CON 23%, LAB 25%, LDEM 15%, BREX 22%, GRN 8% (tabs here)
YouGov in the Times last week had topline figures of CON 24%, LAB 18%, LDEM 20%, BREX 23%, GRN 9% (tabs here)

There remains a significant difference between polling companies, most notably on the level of support recorded for the Labour party. The reason for this is unclear – polling companies these days are not taking radically different approaches towards turnout modelling or reallocating don’t knows, nor in how the questions are asked (though whether the Brexit party or Greens are prompted may be making a difference in some cases). By default that means the differences are more likely to be down to sampling make up – whether by the way respondents are sampled or weighted, companies are interviewing slightly different people. Specially, some companies seem to get Labour voters who are more loyal than others. I suspect some of this may be down to weighting variables (the measures polling companies choose to use, such as whether they control on education or political interest), perhaps some down to when past vote weighting data is collected – whether it is collected in the survey itself, or was collected at the time of the election (or in the case of MORI, whether past vote weighting is avoided entirely).

My advice, as ever, is to avoid the temptation of assuming that the polls that you’d like to be accurate are the ones that are, and that polls with results that you dislike are wrong ones that can be ignored.

However, it is probably worth paying some attention to polling for the European election results in May. At those elections we saw a very similar difference across polling companies, with extremely large spreads in terms of Labour support (final polls varied from 13% to 25%). It did tend to be the same companies showing high and low Labour support, the most obvious explanations did appear to be down to sampling, and when comparing to final results those companies showing low levels of Labour support were substantially more accurate. I am cautious about how much weight to put on these – after all, along with Ipsos MORI who were most accurate, my own company did conspicuously well here, and I wouldn’t want to fall into wishful thinking myself. There are obviously different challenges in polling low and high turnout elections (and other companies have other questions to ask about, for example, Brexit party support), but I would have thought that, in the absence of changes or explanations, it would sensible to be somewhat cautious of polls at the top end of Labour support if those same polls have very recently overstated Labour support in a national election.


24 Responses to “ComRes/Telegraph – CON 25, LAB 28, LDEM 16, BREX 19”

  1. “Anyway, my general assumption is that parties normally do get something of a boost from new leaders”

    ——

    Is this why the Tories keep changing their leaders? Wonder how they’d be polling if they still had Dave leading the way.

  2. Blimey, that was a short thread.

  3. This post is NOT linked to the latest new thread.

  4. Hey, the boss seems to agree with me!

    I think its down to the sub sampling too. The problem is that brexit is a huge vote driver into two camps which cuts across the traditional. And so it matters a lot to not only get lab/con/etc balance right and leave/remain, but to get the right degree of commitment to leave and remain amongst your con and lab.

    otherwise they will cave too readily to the opposite view, in the interests of their party affiliations, or contrariwiase not nearly enough.

    But also, traditional polls tend to overlook non voters. They eliminate them from the headline result. But that could mean eliminating people who are very committed to leave or remain, but dont know what party might in the end be the best for that outcome.

    Oh, and I still think there are people who do not ordinarily vote at all, but who have turned out for Brexit. Who one day will drop out of sight again if it is concluded. So where does that leave a party which has scared away its traditonal voters and gone all brexity?

  5. Excellent, simulating post, AW.

  6. Careful, simulation could get a professional pollster into a lot of trouble ;-)

  7. @DANNY

    Oh, and I still think there are people who do not ordinarily vote at all, but who have turned out for Brexit. Who one day will drop out of sight again if it is concluded. So where does that leave a party which has scared away its traditonal voters and gone all brexity?

    Well, if the issue that was scaring people off is over and done with, it might leave them roughly where they were to start with. Or it could do them lasting damage. Probably impossible to be clear which, before the fact.

  8. Crikey, Anthony didn’t like that Tory Membership poll much, did he? Closed down after 12 posts and and we’re quickly on to a new thread about a clutch of Westminster VI polls instead. Safer ground, perhaps? UKPR is becoming the London bus of polling. You wait 2 months and 1900 posts for a new thread, and then you get two in three hours! :-)

    An interesting commentary and a defiant defence of YouGov’s continually out of kilter Westminster VI opinion polls, the latest one showing Labour on 18% compared to the Com Res and Opinium polls showing them on 28% and 25% respectively. Big differences beyond MOE parameters, so something is going on. Lib Dem strength seems to be overstated in YouGov polls too compared to other pollsters, so it isn’t just the Labour VI out of line. Opinium and ComRes are showing the Lib Dems in the mid teens whereas YouGov is regularly showing them at 20%.

    Anthony’s defence seems to be that YouGov were very close to the actual Labour vote on the EU election, therefore they’re probably getting it right now, but I’m not wholly convinced by that argument. Surely a lot of the Labour to Lib Dem defections that occurred at the EU elections, and which You Gov picked up, will be unwinding now when voters consider how they’d vote in a General Election. YouGov, seemingly alone amongst the pollsters, is suggesting that this vote switching isn’t unwinding at all and that while some Tories are returning from Brexit, very few Labour voters are returning from the Lib Dems and Greens. That EU election was unique and I can’t see those voting patterns, or anything like, repeating themselves at a GE.

    As for Anthony’s sound advice “to avoid the temptation of assuming that the polls that you’d like to be accurate are the ones that are, and that polls with results that you dislike are wrong ones that can be ignored.”, I just hope the good Mr Wells isn’t in danger, unwittingly of course, of committing the very sin he wisely advises us all to avoid!

    :-)

  9. Meanwhile in Wales;

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-48881158

    Former First Minister Carwyn Jones is accused of lying under oath in the Carl Sargeant inquest.

    Both that version and the quite differently written Guardian piece are pretty grim reading for his reputation – and not what Labour needed in Wales when they’re under pressure from many sides already.

  10. Danny
    Nice to be able to agree with your post of 10:22.Your last sentence was

    “So where does that leave a party which has scared away its traditonal voters and gone all brexity?”

    To which we could add ‘or one that has gone all remainy’.

  11. Initial reaction to Labour’s policy position outlined today seems very unfavourable – for reasons as some posters here have argued, very eloquently.

    I wonder if will be a tenable manifesto position.

  12. @CROSSBAT11

    Surely a lot of the Labour to Lib Dem defections that occurred at the EU elections, and which You Gov picked up, will be unwinding now when voters consider how they’d vote in a General Election.

    If they are unwinding then no-one is picking it up. ComRes and Opinium have Labour holding steady since before the Euro election, YouGov and Survation have them going down sharply since it. Whereas everyone has the LibDems going up significantly since the Euro elections, albeit from very different starting positions in some cases, and most have the Greens going up too (ComRes may be the exception, I can’t see the GRN number from the latest poll yet).

  13. Crossbat,

    There is no reason whatsoever to assume EITHER that Yougov and Mori are wrong and Comres and Opinium are right OR vice versa. You picking one of those options reveals wishful thinking… Anthony favouring the companies that came closest in the Euro election is at least based on evidence…

    However, one of the noticeable thing about the Euro campaign was that virtually all the pollsters showed Euro voting intention for for the Lib Dems within a point or two of GE voting intention in the same poll, regardless of the level of support. Whereas the same polls showed BXP support unwinding to Tory (mainly) and (as I recall) a bit of unwind of the Green vote.

    So, we don’t know what the actual positions of Labour and the Lib Dems would be in a General Election tomorrow. We do however know that a Liberal party came above both Lab and Con in a national election for the first time in over a century, and a nationalist party also beat them both (as in 2014), which does suggest that things are very different from the two party dominance of 2017, and voting patterns may be rather unpredictable.

  14. Pete B,
    “To which we could add ‘or one that has gone all remainy’.”

    Yeah, I realise the phrasing was a bit clumsy, but it aggravates me when people are asked what issues concern them and they say Brexit, that they might well mean ‘stopping brexit’. Just so here.

  15. Which one is it? Boris caught lying, or just doesn’t understand WTO rules?

    I go doesn’t understand the rules.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-brexit-business-wto-gatt-24-article-eu-trade-leave-a8996001.html

  16. @PETE

    And he’s not the only one. We also have dear old Mr Weatherspoon pratling on about Free trade after Brexit on our tv screens. Of course he isn’t in the least bothered about the collapse of British industry if we did go completely free trade. Beer sales would probably go up.

  17. @Pete – Johnson has sat through numerous cabinet briefings and has staff of his own doing spadework on what the options are. Even more so that the posters on here who came up with reams of nonsense around GATT 24, Johnson knows full well we can’t have tariff free trade after a no deal, as he also knows that no deal means no deal – we won’t get his ‘implementation period’ that his policy depends on to make the necessary adjustments to no deal, because he will have just walked away from the deal that was designed to provide an implementation period.

    He is a l!ar, as he has always been on numerous issues, and that’s that I’m afraid.

    Another l!e is the insistence by some that at least no deal will end the uncertainty and allow business to get on with investing. This article, from a farmer, has a telling quote – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/09/farmer-no-deal-brexit-eu-agriculture-food-britain

    “I despair when I hear those who are dead set on leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October, pronouncing that this will bring the end of uncertainty. The huge irony is that if we crash out with no deal, uncertainty will remain king, but this time it will probably last for years while the powers-that-be grapple with the task of striking a future trading relationship with the rest of Europe.”

    Absolutely right. We’re still dreaming of unicorns, even after we’ve slain the last one standing.

  18. The one thing that seems fairly clear this month is that the Brexit and LD “surges” have stalled and the average for them both so far this month is slightly down on last month.

  19. Just a brief observation on the Scottish crossbreaks – limited numbers involved, I accept, but that’s what we are given to work with.

    What many south of the Border forget is that the SNP is not the only party in Scotland which favours independence. The Scottish Green Party is also a ‘nationalist’ party, though not, of course, always agreeing with the SNP on policy issues: it is often pushing for more radical actions than those enacted by the SNP government. And the growth in support for Green parties across Europe (Scotland included) shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

    My point is a simple one: it is now a consistent feature of Scottish polls that combining the SNP and SGP VIs produces an apparent majority for independence (I say ‘apparent’ because we cannot be sure that VIs for Holyrood would automatically translate into definite support for independence).

    It is not therefore necessary for the SNP to have a majority in Holyrood, nor a majority of votes cast in Scotland, in order for a move towards another Indyref to be triggered. If SNP + SGP produces a majority in both Holyrood and in Scotland as a whole, then the mandate for a new referendum is clear. To attack the SNP leadership for its push towards Indyref2 whilst ignoring the strength of the SGP, as London based politicians are doing, is to show, yet again, a fundamental ignorance of current Scottish political life.

    And IMHO a Boris premiership can/will only accelerate the (still slow) drift north of the Border towards support for Indyref2.
    Have a good day, all!

  20. John,

    I am 55 and expect an independent Scotland in my life time; and I don’t anticipate being a centenarian

  21. @ johnb

    “If SNP + SGP produces a majority in both Holyrood and in Scotland as a whole…”

    I notice that Scotland in Union has started to anticipate this by saying that is not reasonable to assume that a vote for the SNP ( I don’t think they acknowledge the existence of the SGP!) is a vote for independence or by implication presumably a second referendum.

  22. I’ve not seen any comment here on the provenance of the UK Ambassador to Washington’s emails… apologies if I have missed it.

    I have been hearing that the source of the story was Isabel Oakeshott, now strongly connected with Mr Banks and Leave EU.

    The e-mails would have been available to only a small group of ministers and senior civil servants.

    It appears at least possible that this may be a deliberate attempt by the pro-Brexit hard right section of the Establishment to trash our ambassador in Washington so that a more ‘Trump-friendly’, pro-Brexit ambassador can be appointed by Johnson.

    In doing so they may have irrevocably damaged the confidence our diplomats have in providing honest and unvarnished opinions back to our government, which is hardly a good thing.

    It’s all getting very poisonous…

  23. My response to a couple of questions posed by Pete B about UK involvement in creating EU regulations and directives was orphaned by the rapid appearance of two succeeding threads. So, apologies if repeating myself strikes some as self-aggrandisement, but I don’t iike to leave answers in limbo.

    Pete B : How much say does the House of Commons have in that process? And what about areas where the UK has no veto and finds itself in a minority?

    These are good questions.

    The answer to the first is that parliament has a committee to watch what’s going on. The long-time chair is Bill Cash and Kate Hoey is a member, so it’s hardly a bunch of uncritical euro-patsies. As wiki has it:

    “The European Scrutiny Committee is a select committee of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The remit of the Committee is to assess the legal and political importance of each EU document, and decide which EU documents are debated. The committee also monitors the activities of UK Ministers in the Council, and keeps legal, procedural and institutional developments in the EU under review.”

    I think if there was any systematic doing-down of UK interests you could rely on Bill Cash and Kate Hoey to shout it from the rooftops (or at least the Sun and Express), so we can probably assume that (from a brexiteer perspective) everything is disappointingly fair to the UK.

    As to, “what about areas where the UK has no veto and finds itself in a minority?”, I think I’ll bat that one back to you. Can you come up with any examples of that happening, and the UK being forced to accept a regulation it has opposed?

  24. Jim Jam,
    “I am 55 and expect an independent Scotland in my life time; and I don’t anticipate being a centenarian”

    Certainly Brexit is pushing apart the UK in terms of the future people want, but also the central government seems to be trying to roll back devolution to Facilitate Brexit (if nothing more). Several key promises to Scotland and indeed N. Ireland seem to have been broken.

    Despite claims for the referendum, there has never been a real majority of support for Brexit. All there has been is a vote in customary UK style, where the largest minority wins. Again in customary style, on the basis of pretty flakey claims for the outcome of any particular course of action during the campaign. Winning by trickery was never calculated to help the losers accept the result.

    But this doesnt simply threaten Scotland’s membership. It highlights a difference between London and its surroundings and the rest of England, particularly unfortunate since London makes a disproportionate share of the national income. No taxation without representation? England needs to split into separate nations?

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