At the weekend we had a positive glut of national polls. In the last couple of days they’ve been joined by London and Wales polls from YouGov.

The Welsh poll for ITV Wales has Westminster voting intentions of CON 28%(-1), LAB 29%(+4), LDEM 12%(-4), BREX 15%(+1), Plaid 12%(nc). Changes are since mid-October, and show Labour retaking the lead over the Conservatives in Wales. While recent movement is in Labour’s favour, compared to the result at the 2017 general election these would be terrible figures for Labour. Compared to the shares of the vote in the 2017 general election in Wales the Conservatives are down six points, Labour are down twenty(!) points, the Liberal Democrats up seven, Plaid up two. So while the Tories are losing support, the slump in Labour support would likely result in many Labour seats falling to the Tories. As ever, Roger Awan-Scully has more in depth analysis here.

The YouGov London poll for Queen Mary University London shows similar dynamics in the capital. Current vote shares are CON 29%, LAB 39%, LDEM 19%, BREX 6%. Compared to the 2017 general election results in London that represents a drop of four points for the Conservatives, a drop of sixteen for Labour, an increase of ten for the Liberal Democrats. While the Conservatives are losing support, the large scale movement of voters from Labour to the Liberal Democrats may well win them a significant number of seats. It is a reminder that while people have been looking towards the more “leave-inclined” Labour seats in the North and Midlands for potential Tory gains, it is perfectly possible for them to win in more remain-inclined seats where they are losing support, so long as Labour are losing more support.

How it actually translates in terms of seats is difficult to know (especially in a city as politically diverse as London, where the dynamics of the race may be radically different in the inner-city seats, the leafy Lib Dem-Con marginals of South-West London and the more typical Con-Lab marginals in North London). Over the last few days we’ve also seen a drip-drip of constituency polls by Survation, primarily conducted for the Liberal Democrat party. So far they have published polls for South East Cambridgeshire (showing an 11 point Tory lead, a Con>LD swing of 11.5%), North East Somerset(a 16 point Tory lead, a Con>LD swing of 15%), Portsmouth South(a 3 point Lib Dem lead, a Lab>LD swing of 15%) and Cambridge (a 9 point Lib Dem lead, a Lab>LD swing of 16%). Obviously they all show the Lib Dems doing well, but I would urge some caution in their interpretation, as I would with any political party commissioned polls. It is impossible to know how many constituency opinion polls the Liberal Democrats have commissioned, so it’s perfectly possible that they have commissioned another ten, twenty, thirty constituency polls in seats where they weren’t doing quite so well, and choose never to publish them. We’re probably only seeing the constituency polls that the Lib Dems want us to see.

Finally, while I am not going to update with every individual national poll – the best way of looking at voting intention polls will always be to look at the broad trend – I’ll just update with those we’ve seen since my last post.

There is a new ICM poll for Reuters, the first of a regular series for the election campaign. Topline figures are CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 15%, BREX 9%, GRN 3%. Fieldwork was over the weekend. It’s been almost a month since the last ICM poll (their regular voting intention polls seemed to peter out somewhat after Martin Boon left to set up Deltapoll), so changes since their last poll aren’t really relevant. This poll got some attention from the single digit Labour lead, though given the paucity of ICM polling in the last year we can’t really tell if that’s movement, or just ICM’s methodology.

Secondly there was a new YouGov poll for the Times. Topline figures were CON 38%(-1), LAB 25%(-2), LDEM 16%(nc), BREX 11%(+4), GRN 5%(+1). Fieldwork was over the weekend and changes are from last Thurs-Fri. The YouGov/Sunday Times poll at the weekend had some sharp movements: a six point increase for Labour, a six point drop for the Brexit party. Today’s poll partially reverses those changes, suggesting it was probably something of an outlier… though that means Labour are still four points up on the YouGov/Times poll last week.


529 Responses to “London, Welsh and Constituency polling”

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  1. @Alec

    It looks like I’ve had a lengthy explanatory post disappear.

    I remain somewhat confused. In my 11.12pm post yesterday I covered state aid limits in some detail, and you then subsequently said that remainers don’t ever do this.

    I get the feeling you might have missed this original post? That would make sense.

    I hope we can agree on this. I’ve covered the technicalities of state aid definitions, extent, limitations, exemptions, GBER etc etc many times on UKPR, so I was a bit surprised at your claim that this is something that is ignored.

    That isn’t true, which is the point I was looking to make.“

    ————

    My point was not that no one ever mentioned state aid, or even the limits on it. You can keep going on about that, but it’s not in dispute.

    My point was that, whatever is said, it tends to skate around a proper assessment of what actually is restricted in TOTALITY.

    Which is rather important. How much are EU rules on state aid potentially denying us in totality?

  2. The thoughtless ramblings that make up many social media comments have for some time been the downfall of young people seeking employment. This is because employers are exploring social media of candidates. It seems that a similar thing is starting to emerge in politics.
    I said many stupid and thoughtless things between the ages of 13 and 20, luckily none of them were anything other than words in the air and therefore ephemeral, young people today are not so lucky!

  3. @Davwel

    “On Cambridge, I doubt many students will remain beyond full term in order to attend the Varsity RU match at Twickenham.

    That second week in December used to be the time for admission exams and interviews. I remember ploughing through tough papers on the Tuesday morning, then afterwards going down to Twickenham for the game. Another candidate had a car, needless to say from a private school, but we never saw him again.”

    ———-

    Well my hazy recollection is some went to Twickenham together, but also some stayed back in College to watch it together on the telly.

  4. @PTRP

    ”These are still markets are they not take space: The ESA lives on subsidies and state aid does it not!!!! You cannot distort a market where there is only one player“

    ———-

    Yes I didn’t cite NASA to address the distorted markets issue, but as an example of things business may not fund adequately.

  5. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/23/10-best-euro-myths-from-custard-creams-to-condoms

    “This is a subject that has exercised Boris Johnson for about 15 years. In 2002 he wrote that some of his “most joyous hours” had been spent composing “foam-flecked hymns of hate to the latest Euro-infamy”, the first on the list: the ban on prawn cocktail crisps.

    Except that the EU never banned the crisps. The EU contends that this palaver was the result of an error by the UK government, which failed to include prawn cocktail when asked to send a list of flavourings and sweeteners in current use to the EU, which was drafting a harmonised EU-wide list. When the mistake was spotted, the information was provided by the UK government and the list was amended.

    But this hasn’t stopped Johnson from getting angry about it. As recently as March, the former London mayor cited the “great war against the British prawn cocktail flavour crisp” as part of his evidence of Brussels-gone-mad and a reason he was campaigning to leave.”

  6. The the Remain pact is a bit of a puzzle. Not sure why some seats like Wokingham are not included where an high profile brexiteer sits Also the pact includes Greens standing down in some Labour held seats such as Exeter where the incumbent is prominent remain supporter. If they were so intent on promoting Remain/ Peoples Vote supporters they would have stood down against a few prominent Remain Labour MP’s as well to make the point that this is a cross party movement.

  7. @PTRP

    “As to finding cures again rather like the US does we can give money to university fund new Horizon programs and the like for technologies that EU believe it needs in the 21st century.

    You act as if the EU does not do this sort of investment and subsidy when in fact it does lots.”

    ————

    Yes, once again, that the EU allows some state aid is not in dispute.

    Whether it allows “lots” is something else entirely.

    A developed economy has to do a lot of investing in new stuff to get growth, because the pre-existing has already been exploited.

    Even Germany only averages about, what, roughly 1.5% growth over the last couple decades? If we want to do significantly better than that we need a lot more R&D.

    We don’t even have proper full employment (as opposed to zero hours etc., so there is still room for lots more investment.

    According to Alec, investment in batteries might fall foul of the EU. But just batteries alone is a big deal. How much more might fall foul of such rules?

    What’s the total hit?

  8. @CambridgeCol

    It is possible that in some seats, a marginal improvement, perhaps better, could be achieved.
    But your assumption is that the votes will automatically transfer: however a lot of Green voters, for example, will vote Labour. Or perhaps more likely, not vote at all. Then there is the possibility of an ‘unofficial’ Green or PC or LD standing, as RAF has highlighted.

    And then, as other posters have pointed out, there is the impact upon other constituencies which might be negative: the obvious example is in Scotland where LDs, who as ON confirms, are ardent Unionists, will not be pleased by a link with Plaid. And some ‘Orange Book’ LDs ( what happened to them? ) might vote Tory.

    Perhaps most importantly, is the long term repercussions: the LDs have ‘abandoned’ several seats to the Greens where they were runners-up in 2010. Exactly the seats they need to win if Jo Swinson wants to be PM.

    And they are now ‘in coalition’ with two parties, which might send the odd tremor up a LD spine.

    Parties build support over time: its a long term game. My thinking is that playing around with ‘small beer’ opportunistic
    deals is not how long term traction is achieved.

    There will be some interesting number-crunching when the results are analysed, that’s for sure. And you might be right, in that the ‘deal’ might kick start interest and galvanise a local campaign or two.

  9. “Does the WTO Airbus case involve only member states’ subsidies (France, Germany, Spain, UK), or the EU’s as well?

    The answer lies in the following docs, the main parts totalling 2,535 pages.

    Naturally I read the whole lot this morning before lunch.”

    https://twitter.com/CoppetainPU/status/1180122806643826688

  10. @ Millie

    I don’t presume that all of the votes from those standing down will go to the reamining party of the three, I just wanted to show that the numbers are not necessarily minimal. I do think that those votes are less likely to go to Con however. If they help Labour retain or gain some seats, that is fine.

    In some seats I believe Labour are likely to benefit. Vale of Glamorgan is an interesting one. LD and PC are standing down for Green. Con won this over Labour by 4.1% in 2017, but LD and PC combined polled 6.2% at that election. Alun Cairns, with all of his baggage is the Tory candidate (at present anyway).

    Stroud is another that could help Labour. Labour won over Tories by 1.1% in 2017. LD are standing down and polled 3.2% in 2017.

    There are several others like this that may help Labour.

  11. @ptrp

    “That is crazy. If a party loses a majority within the life time of the parliament they cannot just act like they are still the majority and have all the powers of the majority that makes no sense. It means elective dictatorship does it not”

    Indeed, though on the flip side, not having endless options to stymie a minority government might have forced a vonc and GNU rather than MPs maintaining a kind of puppet government.

  12. JamesB @ 5.54 pm

    Thanks for putting up the link on Lindsay Hoyle`s intentions.

    With Nick Robinson doing the interviewing, and the BBC putting out the story, I will await seeing how the new Speaker actually operates before jumping to ToH`s conclusion.

    As you say, a key phrase in the story and a gesture to balanced reporting, could be in the comment that LH will follow what the MPs decide.

  13. @Matt126

    You are right – another flaw of the Remain Alliance is that the choice of seats makes no sense whatsoever.

    The LDs stand down in Exeter to allow a no-hoper Remainer Green to fight arch Remainer Ben Bradshaw.

    And in neighbouring East Devon, the no-hoper LDs don’t stand down to assist the Remainer Independent, who has a clear chance of winning the seat from the Tories.

    The explanation, apparently, is that these deals are locally organised, so haphazard.

  14. @Millie

    Back in the 1980s after the formation of the SDP, that Party and the, then Liberal Party, agreed to split all the Parliamentary seats between them for the 1983 GE. Despite very amicable relations between the two Party leaders (Roy Jenkins and David Steel), that caused a great deal of argument between activists on the ground over which party took which seat. I suspect that the 60 seat deal is about as much as can be achieved between parties as disparate as the Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid, and even that has caused problems in constituencies like Pontypridd.

    One of the ‘selling points’ of the SDP/Liberal deal was that it demonstrated two parties with different policies, but broadly in the same part of the political spectrum could work together in a coalition. The big win for Thatcher in 1983 ended that, although it took until after the 1987 GE for most, but not all, members of both parties to agree to merge to form the Liberal Democrats.

    One notable Liberal, who was very opposed to merger but very much later joined the Lib Dems, is Michael Meadowcroft. His articles on Liberalism, which include discussions of 1980s politics can be found here: http://www.bramley.demon.co.uk/liberal.html

    You are right when you say that parties build support over time and, under normal circumstances, I would not expect top-down agreements. However circumstances are not normal: one can see parallels between Corbyn and Foot (although Foot was a far better politician than he was given credit for) and Brexit and Thatcherism. If Brexit is not stopped now, I cannot see any likelihood of the UK rejoining the EU for a generation; the wounds of Brexit will be too raw to allow it and the UK itself may cease to exist.

  15. @TOH

    Hoyle is out of his depth, but I’m sure you’ll love him.

  16. @CambridgeCol

    The other interesting one is surely Totnes, which is very hard to predict.
    Totnes has a ‘brown rice and lentils’ reputation, and the Greens have done reasonably well in the past. Sarah Wollaston, who of course defected to LD from Con, ( via the Tiggers et al ) has a significant local following.
    But Totnes is essentially typical rural Tory and voted 54% Leave.
    So very hard to call, and a good example of where the Remain Alliance arrangement could be crucial.

  17. Gedling, constituency voting intention:

    LAB: 42% (-10)
    CON: 37% (-6)
    BREX: 13% (+13)
    LDEM: 6% (+4)
    GRN: 1% (-)

    via @Survation
    , 04 Nov
    Chgs. w/ GE2017 result

  18. Millie

    What ON said is that whatever manoeuvres parties adopt in E&W will have only a marginal effect in Scotland.

    You shouldn’t exaggerate the effects of your polity here.

    Whichever party forms the Westminster government that will be imposed on us and NI obviously matters, but it may not matter that much.

  19. Gedling is the 195th safest Labour seat and predicted by Electoral calculus to go blue.

    This poll suggests otherwise, with Labour winning by 5%

    There may be wild swings from one constituency to another in this election so we cant assume too much.

    However, if the poll is accurate, and the Tories miss out on Gedling by 5%, then forecasts of a substantial Tory majority might be wrong with 5 weeks of campaigning still to go.

    Interesting.

  20. Charles and others on the MRP

    There is some misunderstanfing, I think.

    Basically, the method is: you attach an odd (rather than probability) to a person with various attributes (it is much broader, judging by YouGov’s experiment in 2015, including things like newspapers, TV programmes values, and so on, than the usual demographic stuff in the “normal” polls) to vote for a political party, and then you run it against a sample.

    The result of that is used for correcting the a priori odds, and now you run it against another sample, and so on. Soon (it depends on the principles of the attribute), so let’s say after 15 runs the a priori odds are close to the outcomes of the experiment. Mathematically it means, that an extraordinary outcome is needed to substantially (I avoid the word significantly) change the a priori odds (Look up Bayes factor).

    Obviously you need a large population (people you can ask) to run the samples. The MoE would be all over the place, but in this method.

    Now you need to match these odds with the demographics (wwell, the attributes you used) with constituency information, and you can predict constituency level outcomes with a very strong odd.

    It is unclear if YouGov tests the outcomes by grouping constituencies (it is actually dependent on the level of information about the constituency).

    So, the logic is: individuals vote. Individuals vote according to certain attributes or values or beliefs or habits but there is an error rate partly because we cannot ask everyone and also because there is a level of uncertainty and also statistical fluctuation. The method filters this out to a good degree so person A having attributed B,C,D,E, ..N is likely to vote (or doesn’t vote) to a political party. Now we check the distribution of such an lifestyle person A in various constituency. This gives us the likely proportion of such a person voting for party x.

    It has been around for a few hundred years, just didn’t get much attention because of the intensive calculation needs, algorithm and a relatively large population (which is a sample) to be used for subsamples. The first app in the US Apple store that could do the calculations appeared about 4 years ago.

    It is also disliked by some statisticians because you have a priori odds (i.e. it conflates deductive and inductive differential reasoning – when you have your standard poll, you cannot go beyond the data. If you start from.assumptions about the chance Labour has, you cannot go beyond the assumption, only accepting or rejecting t on the basis of the data, so you cannot go beyond the hypothesis. In the MRP method you try to combine the two, which is quite problematic, but the problem is managed through the Markov Chain (but of course the problem is not eliminated).

  21. Odd snippet

    SLab have had to dump three candidates – two of them because of anti-Semitism, although I hadn’t detected much sign of that in SLab.

    Was SLab just so restricted as to its candidate pool that it was selecting from a particularly nasty pool?

  22. New thread:|)-

  23. “When she says they “merge into one” on Brexit, she is lying.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/07/jo-swinson-labour-tories-brexit

  24. @ SHEVII – My point was the “indirect” implications and note the “affect” with an “a” is limited to only a few seats.

    However, you do make an excellent point:

    “it’s not like Green are passing their voters votes on to LD is it?”

    Fully agree and that is a point I’ve made before. Whilst it is possible to “guess” (or speculate with some info from “hypothetical” polling on Tactical Voting) at impacts on a spreadsheet (eg 50% of the modelled votes that party X might have got without a pact will move to party Y that they have a pact with) then it is also possible that Green decide to vote LAB or abstain – hence you could apply a wide range of possibly outcomes but it would be very risky to assign probabilities to which “scenario” turns out closest to the outcome (per seat and in aggregate)

    All we can really say with any confidence is that “pacts” will add more uncertainty into any specific seat and MIGHT have consequences (good or bad) at a national level.

    We do know from polling on most important issues that Brexit is the dominant salient issue in this GE for the x-breaks that polling companies use (with doesn’t include one for Greens) and for sure other issues matter to many folks.

    I’d fully agree that LAB’s policies would be a “closer match” to most Green VI

    We’re yet to see LDEM’s full manifesto but it certainly won’t be anywhere as ambitious on tackling climate change as Greens own manifesto (or LABs)

    @ BANTAMS – Agree on Hartlepool. That seat, along with Redcar and a few others, are seats that “stand-out” as ones that CON should “quietly” leave to BXP (as v.v.v.unlikely CON could win them but BXP would have more chance, still low, but better) in return for clear run at rest of NE + NW where there are many seats that CON MIGHT win if BXP stood down and backed local CON candidate.

    However, if CON are seen to be doing a pact with BXP in any seats then it will probably cost them several CON-LDEM marginals

    The most concerning issue will be in seats that CON MIGHT win if BXP stand down and the seats they MIGHT lose to LDEM (or SNP) due to BXP draining 5-15% of the Leave vote (that could be as many as 50 seats that CON lose/don’t win – certainly enough to risk costing them a majority)

  25. @Carfrew – “My point was not that no one ever mentioned state aid, or even the limits on it. You can keep going on about that, but it’s not in dispute.

    My point was that, whatever is said, it tends to skate around a proper assessment of what actually is restricted in TOTALITY. ”

    Ah! You should have said! Your post was distinctly vague, if that was your intended meaning. No wonder there was a misunderstanding.

    “According to Alec, investment in batteries might fall foul of the EU. But just batteries alone is a big deal. How much more might fall foul of such rules?”

    I know you are a stickler for people not misrepresenting what you say, so perhaps you might want to reconsider this misrepresentation?

  26. @Alec

    It’s what I’ve been on about all along, but I found a more obvious way of putting it. And regarding batteries, I was referring to where you said “However, this does create some difficulties for targeted aid, as you can’t select specific sectors, so this is fine for general greening measures, but not helpful if you want to target a specific tech sector – such as battery development, say.”

    Hopefully that’s clear too now. (Unless you misrepresented yourself). So to come back to the point, what other “specific sectors” we might find useful and which might fall into the category of “targeted aid”?

  27. JamesB,
    “Ultimately the new rules will be up to MPs and so will depend on the makeup of the house post election, if it remains hung I can’t see MPs surrendering power in a hurry.”

    The FPP system is designed to give one party an unfair grasp on power, and to restrict new challenger parties gaining power.

    If commons rules are changed to prevent MPs revolting against the government, it will simply be a reinforcement of the effects of FPP. So get 1/3 of votes cast in an election would get you a majority of MPs, and then that majority becomes locked in for the duration of a parliament, even if MPs come to reject what the government they chose is doing in their name.

    Of course it doesnt quite work like that. The commons can choose to change its standing rules at any time. But it would add an additional barrier to sudden revolts against the government.

    The fundamental question though is whether FPP is unfit as an electoral system. It has contributed to bringing labour and conservative into disrepute. It only really works as an exercise in democracy if there are only two views on an issue (and only one key issue). Otherwise it forces voters to abandon their views and accept a least-worst outcome. But then you end up with a set of MPs no one likes.

    In a proportional system it is much more likely voters will feel , eg, if 10% feel strongly about the environment, they end up with 10% green MPs. Greens being maybe a good example here, because unlike lab or con they have a clear narrow issue principle which supporters might adhere around. BxP indeed are another example.

    As to what lab and con believe….who knows. Here we are with con adopting the economic policies they just lambasted lab for having for the last ten years.

    Although, the current conservative policy is no more than a recognition that if Brexit happens there is going to have to be a massive stimulus to the economy to counteract the negative effects. So if con dont get into power they wont enact the stimulus anyway. If they do, there isnt any choice but to throw money at Brexit and cross their fingers.

    Hammond’s warchest was supposedly created to help Brexit transitions, and this is precisely how the conservatives are now using it.

  28. WB61,
    “The thoughtless ramblings that make up many social media comments have for some time been the downfall of young people seeking employment.”

    Then the question is, does society need to change so that young people do not say what they believe starting from birth, or does society change to become more accepting of all sentiments diverging from a very narrow political correctness.

    The real problem for politicians is perhaps that while the young may choose on the whole to have freedom to say what they want, there will always be a group of voters who might be offended by some off message statement. Where elections have narrow results, and they always do somewhere, then every last vote matters and so a culture is created where whatever society on the whole thinks, political candidates have to be selected from amongst either the tiny proportion who by luck never in their life said anything to offend someone, or amongst those who have only a very narrow outlook which happens to coincide with not offending anyone.

    If we end up with the first sort, it massively shrinks the talent pool. If the latter sort then not only is it a small pool, but it will create a ruling elite utterly out of tune with the real values of society.

  29. Danny : The fundamental question though is whether FPP is unfit as an electoral system…… It only really works as an exercise in democracy if there are only two views on an issue (and only one key issue).

    Well it depends on what you mean by democracy. Plainly FPTP does not, and is not intended to, deliver a HoC matching the gradations of popular opinion on every question. What it is intended to do is generate :

    (a) a government with power to govern and
    (b) an alternative government ready and waiting to take over should the government screw up

    and in each case, the people who choose are the voters, rather than the civil service or the Army or the nobility or a cabal of politicos gathering in smoke filled rooms a la Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Austria etc. That it is the voters who choose the goverment is what makes it a democratic arrangement.

    If the UK continues to have substantial third party voting, and if it continues to have regular minority governments, then perhaps FPTP has had its day. But it happily delivered majority governments for the great part of the post war period, so maybe we need a longer run of failure to form a judgement as to whether it has had its day.

    It’s interesting that the years of growing third party voting have coincided with a period during which the UK has subcontracted a large part of its government to a committee of foreigners.

    If Brexit ever happens, and we have a government which at least in theory has the power to govern, perhaps we will see if UK voters will return in greater numbers to the idea of picking a goverment, rather than conducting a multipart opinion poll.

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