The first voting intention polls published since the election was called were in this morning’s papers: Survation for the Mail, Ipsos MORI for the Standard and YouGov for the Times. Topline figures were

Survation – CON 34%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%, BREX 12%, GRN 1% (tabs)
Ipsos MORI – CON 41%, LAB 24%, LDEM 20%, BREX 7%, GRN 3% (tabs)
YouGov – CON 36%, LAB 21%, LDEM 18%, BREX 13%, GRN 6% (tabs).

There’s quite a spread between the results – Ipsos MORI have the Conservatives up above 40, their highest in any poll since August. YouGov and Survation have them in the mid-thirties. Labour’s support varies between 26% in Survation down to 21% in YouGov. All three have the Lib Dems between 18%-20%. This means while the Conservative lead varies, there is a consistent Conservative lead across the board as we start the campaign.

It’s worth noting that that Tory lead is largely down to a split opposition. Even in the MORI poll the Conservatives have lost support since the election (in the YouGov and Survation polls they’ve lost a lot of support). This is not a popular government – in the MORI poll, their satisfaction rating is minus 55 – it’s just that the main opposition have lost even more support. The healthy Conservative lead is down to the fact that the Conservatives are retaining the bulk of the Leave vote, while the remain vote is split between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the SNP, Plaid and so on.

For as long as this is the case, the Conservatives should do well. If it should change they’ll struggle. If the Brexit party manage to get back into the race and take support from the Tories it would eat into their lead. The other risk for the Tories is if the Remain vote swings more decisively behind either Labour or the Liberal Democrats (or that there are signs of more effective tactical voting, winning seats off the Conservatives despite a split vote). Essentially Boris Johnson needs to keep the Leave vote united and the Remain vote divided.

It is also worth considering how the Conservative lead might translate into seats. In 2017 the Conservative lead over Labour was only two and a half percentage points. You would therefore expect an eight point Conservative lead to translate into a majority, and a fifteen or seventeen point lead to be a landslide. In reality that Survation poll could easily be touch-and-go for a Tory majority and, while the bigger leads would likely get a Tory majority, it may not be landslide territory.

The reason that the Conservatives translated votes more effectively into seats in 2015 and 2017 was to do with the distribution of the vote. The Conservative re-emergence in Scotland meant that Tory votes up there were no longer wasted (but Labour votes increasingly were), the collapse of the Liberal Democrats in the South-West meant that the Tories vote there returned more MPs. If at the coming election we see those trends reverse, and the Conservatives lose seats to the SNP in Scotland and the Lib Dems in the South, then suddenly their votes won’t be translated so effectively into seats, and they’ll need to win more seats off Labour to make up for it.

Right now we have little evidence of how uniform or not the changes in support are, of whether there is evidence of tactical voting (Survation have released a couple of constituency polls they have conducted for the Liberal Democrats showing them doing very well in individual seats, but I don’t think it’s too cynical to imagine that the Lib Dems may have selectively published seats they are doing particularly well in). In the fulness of time I expect we will see the publication of MRP models along the lines of those YouGov conducted in 2017 that may give us a better steer, but I’ll come to that another day.

In the meantime, as we cross the starting line the Conservatives have a clear lead in the polls, but how it translates into seats is unclear. In the polls with the smaller Tory leads, it may not produce a majority at all. Equally, their lead is dependent upon the Leave vote remaining relatively united, and the Remain vote remaining divided, if that changes, the race could end up being far closer.

515 Responses to “The first polls of the campaign”

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  1. AW sums it nicely for me.

  2. Going to be a fascinating early hours of Friday the 13th of December.

    Unlucky for who?

  3. Just to say we have an MRP analysis from B4B (although the data is a it old)

    “Conservatives will win 364 seats, Labour would win 189 seats, Lib Dems would win 23 seats, Plaid would win 3 seats and the Greens would win 1 seat (Conservative majority of 44)”

    Oh and obviously Leave side might vote tactically of course (which in every seat means vote CON)

    PS No idea why they left SNP out but I’m sure folks can do the maths and if any issues then take it up with B4B not moi.

  4. President Trump endorses Boris and Nigel Farage ticket.
    Trump states Corbyn will be really bad for the UK.
    States present Boris deal with EU will stop US and UK trade deal.
    NATO summit in UK in December will be Trump calling for Germans to pay their fair share and stop freeloading off the USA taxpayer to protect them against Russia while buying Russian gas.
    Love him or hate him, it did not take Andrew Neil to get him to clearly state his policies with no fudge.

  5. Does the YouGov MRP methodology model tactical voting? If not, it might not be that useful this time round…

  6. I note on last thread that some folks (LAB VI?) are trying to “blame” Swinson and LDEM for the GE.

    Well perhaps check the voting, Div#16

    LDEM abstained, if they’d voted “noe” the result would have been 438 v 39 (majority of 399)

    Once SNP indicated they’d back a GE then the maths was there (CON+SNP= majority) so Corbyn had no choice but to be seen to back it (although note not all of his MPs thought the same).

    So if folks want to “blame” anyone then go for SNP not LDEM

  7. What AW does point out is that Boris can not rely on a decent poll lead in order to win a majority. So…

    1/ No st00pid policies in the manifesto (ie NO ‘Dementia Tax 2’, NO hike in upper band tax threshold, etc)

    2/ Show up!! (ie agree to every TV debate and ensure Swinson gets the air time she deserves)

    Or in simple terms “don’t do a Mayb0t”

  8. I see the messages on polling have been streaming in on the previous thread while I have been out in the good weather (well, in NE Scotland) plant recording.

    But to me the main news of the day, apart from Trump`s predictable interference in our UK election, has been Jones` picking of George Ford for the England team for RU World Cup final.

    I had feared Eddie might leave Ford out as lacking weight to cope with the formidable South Africa heavies. But clearly the coach has gone for brains, flair, skill, talent.

    With my Rugby League hat on, I perceive how it has come about that George Ford and Owen Farrell have become chief playmakers for the England RU team. They have been learning the skills from family and schools since early childhood, respectively in Oldham and Wigan, and with both fathers, Mike and Andy, great out-halves for their towns` League sides.

    I can remember Mike Ford doing mesmerising pin-point kicking on Watersheddings, as tough a ground as any to play on since it was at the highest altitude for professional sport in the UK.

    Both George and Owen were playing for junior sides, Saddleworth and Wigan St Pats, as schoolboys, and they captained their town`s primary school teams against each other. Only when their fathers moved south to play for Saracens did the lads start to play RU.

    The southern England media may well start lauding Harpenden School for progressing the lads into being top Union players, and clearly it too did a good job. But contrast the content of these two BBC Sport articles on the pair:

    In the latter Becky Gray deliberately leaves out any mention of Rugby League, saying merely that the two lads played rugby in the street.

    That to me sums up many Sourthern English people`s attitude to the rest of Britain – unimportant, undeserving, best ignored. Which we see in VI.

    Hopefully if England win on Saturday, the Rugby Union authorities will give a few thousands, from the millions of pounds they will gain, to help the club and school RL teams in the North West to keep flourishing. The stuffed-shirt Southern brigade might not be happy, but perhaps Bill Beaumont will sort them.

  9. More on “blame” for the GE.

    Well look at Corbyn’s approval ratings and ask who made him leader of the opposition – not once but twice!!

    If someone more palatable to non-LAB Remain MPs was leader of LAB then they’d have kicked Boris out back in early Sep and put that person in.

  10. As stated on the Britain Elects Twitter feed, the Ipsos Mori poll does not prompt Greens and only prompts 50% of the sample for the Brexit Party.

    This seems a very strange methodology.

    It would be more interesting to see BOTH the prompted and unprompted polls but I don’t think Ipsos have made that info public

  11. “Oh Mibbles thou should be posting at this hour”

    I see that so far this thread has been the Trev’s show…

    My opinion is that we should see this campaign as a re-run of the battle of Cannae; Jezza is Hanibal, facing the massed ranks of Fat Alexander’s Brexit Tories, whilst the massed Labour membership takes to the streets and Social Media and engulfs the Tories, with the LDs retaking 40 or so Tory seats in the West Country and the SNP Taking all of the Tory seats in Scotland.

    You watch those polls tighten!

  12. Rule 1

    Never trust a poll that says the Tories are going to do well in Wales

    Rule 2

    The North is irrelevant. The tipping point for the Tories to win lots of seats in the North is quite far away – if they reach it they’ll have won a landslide elsewhere anyway

    Rule 3

    Rule 2 is an exaggeration. They could win a smattering of up to a dozen seats in the North (inc Yorkshire) which could neutralise losses to the SNP

    Rule 4

    Never trust a poll that says the Tories are going to do well in Wales

  13. Yes, I had hoped Dr Mibbles would resurrect, but hopefully his brains and insight are being put to good and much-needed use in Labour. .

  14. @Davwel

    “Yes, I had hoped Dr Mibbles would resurrect, but hopefully his brains and insight are being put to good and much-needed use in Labour.”

    Dr Mibbles, where art thou? We need you more than ever this time. 2017 looked bad until you soothed us with your psephological balm, but this one feels even worse.

    Please come back and call Uxbridge for Labour!


  15. @PTRP (from the previous thread):

    “They could have kept hoping for people to vote against the WA but it got a second reading so essentially brexit was going to happen although it would soft and Johnson pulled the bill because I believe he does not want the WA to actually go through modified (I actually believe he pulled it because he does not want the WA at all but that is another story)”

    I think this is the real reason Swinson proposed the “notwithstanding the FTPA” Bill last weekend. The LDs have taken an absolute stance against Brexit in any form. To them, a significantly soften WAB would still have become a WIthdrawal Act. But as you say, there is no certainly that this would have been true. Labour wanted the finalised WAB to be subject to a referendum. In those circumstances a referedum may have been carried at Third Reading. It is ecen more likely that Boris would have pulled a heavily amended WAB anyway.

    Whether Boris wants the WAB anyway is anybody’s guess but you might be right.

    @Trevor Warne
    I disagree about the SNP instigating the Early Election Bill. My understanding is that it was a LD idea to which the SNP agreed. The only reason the LDs ultimately did not vote for the Government’s Bill because it did not expressly rule out trying to sneak the WAB through before the election.

  16. Hmm, an election. Perhaps with more polling to discuss UKPR can become a little less of a bearpit? Dare I risk it?

    It is certainly a hard one to predict, with tactical voting and differential turnout being even more prominent factors than normal, sacked MPs standing as independents, defecting MPs standing in their previous seats – or new ones – for their new party.

    My starting position as always is that a straight line somewhere down the middle of the opinion polls is as good a guess as any – which would currently suggest the Tories 9-10% ahead of Labour and looking at a comfortable but not huge majority.

    Too early to really predict anything but as we’ve been asked to have a stab at it, and promised we can amend our prediction later at no additional cost…..

    Conservatives 341
    Labour 209
    LibDems 31
    Greens 2
    SNP 46
    PC 3
    NI 18 (I have no clue)
    Brexit Party 0
    UKIP 0

    Headlines –

    Tories lose a handful of seats in Scotland, London and the SW but fewer than expected.

    Tories gain seats in Wales, the Midlands and the North.

    LDs gain 4 seats in Devon and Cornwall (St Ives, North Cornwall, North Devon and Totnes) and a handful in London/SE and in University towns.

    Labour lose seats everywhere (except possibly the SW where Plymouth Sutton and Exeter both look reasonably safe – although Sutton could go), but are not slaughtered anywhere.

    Outcome – Conservative Majority government. Brexit on 31/01/19 under current deal. Honeymoon due to the poll win and the initial boost to the economy of there being a “deal”, followed by a decline in support once the negotiations for the future relationship get underway.

    Labour crisis of confidence. Corbyn retires from politics to be replaced by Emily Thornberry.

    LibDems revert to “one more push” mode. Swinson remains in post. “Referendum on rejoining” becomes their signature EU policy but is relegated to a bit of a side issue, at least in the short term.

    SNP push for 2nd referendum but don’t get it. Inititiate some sort of protest campaign possibly including an unauthorised referendum a la Catalunya.

    Farage agitates from the sidelines over the future relationship, but doesn’t get much purchase and eventually quits politics in a huff around 2023.

  17. I’m interested in what people think regarding collaboration between parties to secure first past the post electoral successes? I think the election could be won or lost by the effectiveness of Brexit party candidates standing aside for Conservatives versus Liberal Democrats/Green/Plaid C manipulating deals to promote their stance on Brexit.

    I also agree that at this stage, a straight line down the median of the latest polls is probably a good starting position.

    It’s a very difficult election to predict and call.

  18. @OLDNAT (previous thread)

    “Looks like Francois was right, and the country has exploded. Damn place was full of zombies, vampires, monsters (though none resembling Johnson), unicorns and fairies. It is the end of days.”

    The winner for best costume at my son’s middle school (yrs 5 – 8) halloween disco was (by student vote) someone dressed as Donald Trump.

  19. Neil A – your prediction seems about right to me.

  20. Lovely to see Glasgow City Women make it through to the last 8 of the Champions League – the only team left that are not associated with a, incredibly rich and successful men’s team.

    Their goal, Lee Alexander, was superb

  21. “ie” missing from goal…

  22. Sandbach defects to the Lib Dems and stands in Eddisbury.

    Little chance one would say?

  23. Lab increased their share by something like 10% points in the last election from the start to the end of the campaign. This will not happen again (for three reasons).
    1. No-one knew much about May at the start of the last campaign. She showed herself to be truly awful, or at least massively unsuited to election campaigns. Johnson is already very well known – his strengths and his weaknesses.
    2. Labour’s transformational manifesto was a surprise last time, and went down very well. The public broadly support higher taxes on the super rich and the nationalisation of the railways etc. Although it will be similar, it won’t be a surprise this time, and the Con manifesto may match some of its spending pledges.
    3. Jeremy was less well known last time. He has now had an extra two years of being constantly demonised by 85% of the UK media. After struggling to gain any traction in their previous attacks, they’ve now realised the anti-Semitism angle is very effective.
    Lab will claw some of the polling deficit back, maybe 5%, as they remind the electorate of their popular policies, but not nearly enough unless something goes seriously wrong for Johnson. Not impossible but unlikely.

  24. @Lewblew

    Thanks for the heads-up for the new thread.


    Thanks for the prediction. Unfortunately, I can’t take the 18 Northern Ireland as I wouldn’t be marking you on a like-for-like basis with the others. Please have a stab, your lack of knowledge of NI is no greater than most of us (experts/residents like Prof Howard aside). Thanks.

    @Garj, Redrich, Lewblew, & JamesB

    Many thanks.


    Please have a go – nobody gets attacked for failing to win, and the winner gets kudos on UKPR for years!

  25. BBC Radio 4 continuing in their present pro-Tory policy by putting Trump`s attack on Corbyn at the head of news bulletins and succeeding discussions.

    Another unfair treatment by the London media of the parties competing in this GE was 2 or 3 days back in the i newspaper.

    They had a double spread listing the likely manifesto statements for 8 topics of the “six main parties”. That London idea of “main parties” was Con, Lab, LibDem, Green, Brx and Plaid.

    The SNP had not a single policy listed, although this was the so-called Scottish edition. Wales might have some independence in government from London, but less than Scotland. So the paper`s compiler perhaps thought a Welsh party had more relevant things to say on most topics than a Scottish party. But this was so blatant a misunderstanding that the paper ought to get sued.

  26. “Please have a go – nobody gets attacked for failing to win, and the winner gets kudos on UKPR for years!”

    Minutes would be stretching it a bit.

  27. Labour seems to have made some weather today. Not heard much at all from Conservatives, other than Johnson being booed and challenged by staff on another NHS photo op, and I’m getting the sense that CCHQ may struggle to shield us from images of voters targeting the PM at such events. Could be tricky.

    By contrast, Corbyn seems to have hit the ground running, and it got coverage. Trump’s intervention will be welcomed by Labour too.

    More interesting is the Trump angle on the Brexit deal. Johnson’s biggest card is that he acheived a deal that will secure Brexit. So did May, and even as her deal was more poular with the public than in parliament, support for it still dropped, and dropped again, as the meme of it being a terrible deal took hold.

    Can Johnson’s deal sustain it’s aura? That’s a tough question. I think Labour have started extremely strongly by targeting the ‘NHS not for sale’ meme. This allows them to talk about how bad the deal is without talking about Brexit and satying on what they feel is their stronger territory.

    Conservatives should beware. By leaving the really important elements open, this deal enables the opposition to fill that vacuum, so expect the campaign to focus on what Johnson’s deal means to the health and social issues we all care about.

    Day one seems to have been Labour’s, but they need a lot more good days if they are going to pull off another 2017.

  28. Jan 31st now signed into UK law as Brexit date. We would have been leaving in 5 minutes time, had we not died in the ditch.

    So much for the default being Oct 31st. Some people never learn.

  29. Alec: Johnson’s deal was achieved because he changed his position and gave the EU what they wanted.

  30. @Alec

    Smug and happy in the ditch is probably where Johnson is now. He probably cannot believe his luck.

    If he gets any double digit majority, he will be back to Brussels double quick as the ERG demand more concessions on NI etc etc.

    It’s all too late now, but no wonder a lot of Labour MPs regretted not voting for Theresa May’s deal last spring.

  31. MOG,

    OK my utterly baseless random guesstimate for NI is;

    DUP 8
    SF 7
    Alliance 1
    UUP 1
    Ind 1

  32. @”Day one seems to have been Labour’s,”

    Blimey-are you going to keep a daily score Alec ?

  33. R&D
    Oh I don’t know, a certain gent from Surrey ‘dined out’ for what seemed like decades for predicting the result of the 2015 GE.

    For what it’s worth LDs on 40-60, SNP on 45+ MPs,
    Labour largest party…

    The Tall Stories? F*ck ‘em.

  34. Polling Day Weather:

    Not sure if this has been covered, but we have the first long range models offering a completely unreliable guide to what might happen on Dec 12th.

    The CFS v2 model is currently suggesting a deep (955mb) depression to the west of the UK. Each model run subtley chages the picture. Yesterday’s 00.00hrs run suggested gales, rain and probably hill snow in the north, while the 12.00hrs run went for the depression further west and a relatively benign, minor high pressure ridge, albeit transient, suggesting a mild and dampish kind of day.

    CFS models are suggesting a generally mild picture for the 12th, while the latest GFS run (18.00hrs on the 31st) has the depression around 200m SSE of Iceland, suggesting a breezy but relatively mild day for the UK, with at least some rain.

    A bit like the political polls, we won’t really know the picture until much nearer the time, and while the long range weather models can give some good general pointers, they can equally flip completely in a very short space of time, so don’t take the current runs too seriously.

  35. @NeilA

    A very reasonable first stab based on what we know now. My spin through the seat calculator plus some ad hoc adjustments put the Tories and LibDems a touch lower, and Labour a touch higher, but the overall effect is the same as you have it: A small Tory majority delivers Brexit on Jan 31.

    If I remember rightly, in 2017 it took a couple of weeks for the polls to show some drift toward Labour, so I’ll have another look in Mid Nov.

    As for the crystal ball stuff, agree on Farage and SNP although I don’t think the latter will go for an unauthorised referendum, unless Sturgeon is toppled. I foresee more a GLC-style rebel adminstration that sets itself up as an alternative source of authority as far as it can, testing the limits of the constitution.

    Labour’s powers-that-be are already well prepared for Corbyn to go and indeed behind the scenes he’ll be a useful fall guy to pin the blame on for the defeat. There will be no resurgence of the centrists, Corbynism is the creed of the party now, even if the man himself departs.

    The Lib Dems are an interesting one, I too wonder whether going for a ref to go straight back in would have much traction. I expect they will, but I think they’d be better off focussing more on rejoining single market and particularly restoring free movement – which can be done without a referendum and is popular totemic policy with their middle class base.

  36. Whatever happens, if the remain vote is so split it lets in a Brexitty Tory governnent by accident, the next parliament will enjoy the kind of civil unrest this country has never seen. It will also lose awfully heavily in 2024.

  37. @Alec

    Good post. Labour appearing very organised and up for it – unlike 2017 when they were fighting each other as much as anyone else, til the polls moved.

    A Tory party led by Boris Johnson isn’t going to be organised. Full stop.

    The people are so fed up with Brexit, if “Getting Brexit Done” is all the Tories have in their bag they’re going to struggle a la May to gain traction. A Tory victory would only get step 1 of Brexit done which is an actual exit. And that’s only a maybe. Then we’d have years of trade negotiations to contend with. Zzzzzz

  38. While discussion went on about 9 or 12 December for election date, there was much discussion about the effect of students still “being at university” or not.

    I suspect much of that was rather irrelevant, but I checked the St Andrews Uni calendar (in NE Fife which was the most marginal in 2017).

    There, teaching ends on 29 Nov, then there’s a “Revision week” before 1st semester exams from 7-20 Dec. Unless student behaviours have changed significantly since my daughter’s days there, they’ll scoot off home after their last exam, so the pattern will be the same as for the 2015 election.

    In 2017, the students would have all departed by the time of the election. Did that affect the result? I have no idea.

  39. Go on will do it now:

    Conservatives 310
    Labour 231
    Lib Dems 33
    Greens 1
    SNP 49
    PC 4
    Speaker 1
    SF 7
    Ind 1
    All 2

  40. MOG
    Ok, here’s a first guess (after a drink)

    Con – 352
    Lab – 192
    SNP – 51
    LDM – 33
    DUP – 8
    SF – 5
    PC – 2
    All – 2
    UU –

  41. MOG
    Ok, here’s a first guess (after a drink)

    Con – 352
    Lab – 192
    SNP – 51
    LDM – 33
    DUP – 8
    SF – 5
    PC – 2
    All – 2
    UU –

  42. MOG,

    Damn, think I hit the wrong button. This is correct version –

    Con 352
    Lab 192
    SNP 51
    LD 33
    DUP 8
    SF 5
    PC 2
    All 2
    UU 2
    Grn 1
    Ind 1
    Spe 1

  43. Hmmmm

    Bromsgrove South (Worcestershire) result:

    CON: 40.2% (-0.3)
    IND: 22.8% (+22.8)
    LDEM: 18.7% (+13.7)
    LAB: 18.3% (-32.2)

    Conservative GAIN from Labour.

    Yes, I know it’s only a single local election, but this is typical of Labour’s performances in the last few months. It fits with the current VI, possibly even worse. All I can say is that Labour clearly have a lot of ground to make up to even get close to some of the predictions so far. Possible? Maybe. But I don’t think the polls are lying, it really is true that they’re starting from a very lowly place.

  44. I can’t find a link to it online, but I thought I heard Corbyn say on the radio that Labour would take into public ownership the privatised parts of the NHS. I wonder how the GPs will react to that, if I’ve remembered it right. GPs are private businesses, and always have been.

  45. Jim Jam

    Your prediction of
    SF 7
    Ind 1
    All 2

    is certainly plausible. I think Foyle (Derry) will be a fascinating contest between SDLP and SF.

  46. Pete B – I think Labour mean the bits that were privatised since the 1990s. Not the GPs as such.

  47. Trump’s comments seem to have reinforced Labour’s narrative.

  48. @NeilA / PeteB

    Many thanks.


    You’re 3 seats light. Care to adjust?

  49. @NeilA / PeteB

    Many thanks.


    You’re 3 seats light. Care to adjust?

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