A round up of voting intention polls published during the week. We have had three polls with fieldwork conducted wholly after the announcement from Nigel Farage that the Brexit party would not stand in Conservative seats:

Panelbase (13th-14th) – CON 43%(+3), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 15%(nc), BREX 5%(-3) – (tabs)
YouGov/Times/Sky (11th-12th) – CON 42%(+3), LAB 28%(+2), LDEM 15%(-2), BREX 4%(-6) – (tabs)
SavantaComRes/Telegraph (11th-12th) – CON 40%(+3), LAB 30%(+1), LDEM 16(-1), BREX 7%(-2) – (tabs)

The three companies have taken different methodological approaches to this. The YouGov survey offered respondents a list of the parties likely to stand in their constituency (so if a respondent lived in a Conservative seat, they were not able to pick the Brexit party). The Panelbase survey offered people the full list of parties, but also asked their second preference, and used the second preferences of those people who said they were going to vote for the Brexit party but lived in a seat where they are not actually going to stand. ComRes still allowed people to say Brexit party in seats where the Brexit party are not going to stand, but no longer included them in their main prompt when asking who people were going to vote for). I expect some of these approaches will be purely temporary, as going forward we will have the actual list of candidates in each seat and I expect many companies will move towards giving respondents only the relevant candidates for their own constituency.

Obviously all three show Brexit support falling sharply as fewer people are able to vote for them, and unsurprisingly this has favoured the Conservative party (though given any direct transfer to the Conservative party from the Brexit party standing down will be concentrated in seats the Conservatives already hold, so it won’t necessarily help them win any extra seats).

Since the weekend, but before the Farage announcement, we also had the following polls released.

ICM/Reuters (8th-11th) – CON 39%(+1), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 15%(nc), BREX 8%(-1) (tabs)
Kantar (7th-11th) – CON 37%, LAB 27%, LDEM 17%, BREX 9% (tabs
ComRes/BritainElects (8th-10th) – CON 37%(+1), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 17%(nc), BREX 9%(-2) (tabs)
Survation (6th-8th) – CON 35%(+1), LAB 29%(+3), LDEM 17%(-2), BREX 10%(-2) (tabs)

Note that Kantar made significant changes to their methodology for this poll, adding a squeeze question for don’t knows, and imputing voting intention for those who still said don’t know. This change reduced Conservative support by 4 points, and Labour support by 1 point, so the like-for-like changes from their previous poll in October would have been Conservatives up 2, Labour up 3.

A word about trying to discern trends in support. As regular readers will know, the different methodological approaches taken by pollsters mean there tend to be some consistent differences between their figures, one company may typically have higher figures for the Conservatives, one may have higher figures for Labour. These are known as “house effects”. Currently ICM, ComRes and Survation tend to show lower Conservative leads. Deltapoll, YouGov, Opinium are tending to show higher Conservative leads.

The way the publication schedule has panned out, the companies showing higher leads are tending to publish more at the weekend (because they are polling for the Observer, Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday) while the polls for the companies with smaller leads are tending to come out midweek (as they are polling for the Daily Telegraph and Reuters). What this means in practice is that you’re liable to get two or three polls in a row showing smaller leads mid-week, and two or three polls in a row showing bigger leads at the weekend. It doesn’t mean the lead is falling and rising, it’s just the different approaches taken by pollsters. The thing to look at is the trend from the same pollster – is the lead up or down compared to the last poll from the same pollster? Are other pollsters showing the same trend? If so, something is afoot. If not, it’s probably noise.

On that basis, the lead appears to be broadly steady – both Labour and the Conservatives are gaining support that the expense of the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit party.

With four weeks to go, the Conservatives maintain a solid lead. Of course it’s worth remembering that the Conservatives also had a solid lead at this point in the last election too – much of the narrowing in the Tory lead came after the manifestos were published. In theory at least, there is time for things to change – although that said 2017 was an extremely unusual campaign in terms of the amount of change in party support.

120 Responses to “Understanding the latest voting intention polls”

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  1. @Statgeek

    So someone at the BBC wrote 1964 instead of 1864. Is one typo really so terrible? It looks a bit paranoid to suggest that’s an example of BBC disdain for Scotland. And when it comes to typos, not many of us on UKPR are pearly white. Plus, I found the photos really interesting. Who’d have guessed the sun ever shone at haymaking time in Scotland?

  2. JSB

    I was watching the rugby this afternoon, and saw that even in Papua New Guinea the video ref works quickly. And this was on BBC not Sky.

    I did see in midweek a newspaper article reporting on the action that the English Premiership are proposing to take to improve their VAR – putting up on the stadium screen what possible problems are being investigated.

    It looks a very minor improvement to me, and I had a full dose about this big problem from my Sheffield United choir bass last Sunday “4 minutes to see a Sheffield toe was a centimetre offside”

    I now realise that the English lower divisions aren`t using VAR, by the way.

    This inability of big outfits to keep to well-tested arrangements, or invent satisfactory new ones, or roll out good ones, needs to be absorbed by our politicians. An important example relevant to “nationalising” Open Reach is the disaster that has happened to rural bus services. Now Stagecoach runs them there is great unreliability, obvious waste, people complaining bitterly. The “nationalised” service for Deeside run from Ballater by people who cared for their communities was so obviously better than Stagecoach run from hundreds of miles away, but Johnson`s Tories are stuck with big business is best.

  3. @Somerjohn

    “Is one typo really so terrible?”

    It depends on the typo. If they type “He called the politician a twit”, but autocorrect, or some [email protected] in the journo office decides to play with the vowel options, it’s a moment of amusement.

    Then there’s state broadcaster, who isn’t proof reading its content. Terrible? No. Sub-standard? Yes.

    Don’t defend their mistakes. They won’t defend you when the politicians tell them to run a story that doesn’t suit you. They’ll take their wages and sleep well.

    We all correct each other happily, and we mostly accept it as face-value correction input. The Beeb doesn’t like being told it screwed up, as it’s full of its own self-importance and they too have an agenda.

    When they stop forcing the license on folk and using the license fee to promote others’ political ends, I’ll stop criticising them when they’re wrong.

  4. @RobertNewark
    Reposted from the last thread as I realised after I posted it, that it was a dead thread, and who ever goes back to old threads?
    ‘Whoever goes back to old threads?’
    I think in our national politics that it tends to be communists and socialists who do this AND also their political opponents who use the old stale attack lines.
    The former benefit from old voters who can remember dying and the latter flounder because new voters do not have a clue what they are talking about.
    Only the calendar and seasonal setting is different about this election (so far).
    My research is if you are not a news and political anorak that nothing is cutting through.
    TV debates? Who knows but could be who cares? Compare and contrast with figures for tonight.
    Will politics get front pages tomorrow, or lead tv and radio news bulletins?
    Manifestos? Are these news events to get maximum publicity or are they now embarrassing things to be buried on a bad/distracted news day?

  5. Some interesting constituency polls coming through for London. Lib Dem surge appears to be real, very close in Wimbledon and Kensington.

    If Tories pull ahead I can see quite a few Cons in London switching to LD, safe in the knowledge that Corbyn won’t be PM.


    I think it will be tight. I’ve not entered MOG’s competition but I favour the opinions of LASZLO and BEDKNOBS. In Scotland it seems there is no constituency where the seat is between Con and Lab. And Mansfield? Are there others like that?

  7. CON: 44% (+3)
    LAB: 28% (-1)
    LDEM: 14% (-1)
    BREX: 6% (-)

    , surveyed this week
    Chgs. w/ 08 Nov
    8:24 PM · Nov 16, 2019

  8. @davwel
    Thank you for your very kind, thoughtful post.
    In view of the Premier League having nearly two weeks off for the international break, the hot issue has become cold. Although it could microwave up in the weekends going in to the GE.
    If I recall, whether I expressed it clearly or not, my wider point was and is:
    1. This is exactly the wrong time of year for politicians to have a GE campaign if they want to win the war of attrition for maximum media coverage for their brand.
    2. The key to getting any cut through coverage for their brand is bandwagon jumping swiftly on whatever issues are red hot with identifiable significant groups. The other one they missed was to be fast enough out the blocks with the areas affected by the floods.
    3. I can see this being politicians trying to run up an escalator coming down as the huge advertising spend on social media and traditional media kicks in hard for Christmas retail and other events. Other powerful forces depend on us discussing what we normally discuss.
    Politicians do not have the undivided attention of many, and may not get a hearing because of the GE timing. I just see angry and exhausted people who wanted the GE over so they could meet work and academic deadlines and prepare/focus/relax into their late November/December cycle. There is a lot of stress around (and has been since Sunday retail started) with few chances to relax. Live football and Christmas family time are a few. Their being ‘under attack’ puts people under strain to the straw and camel stage. I anticipate a backlash for the main parties held responsible. Time will tell.

    But your response was far better than I deserved. Thank you.

  9. The deltapoll constituency polls seem to be 3 London ones paid for by the Graun (note they copy Survation’s “dodgy question”)


    Note F+GG is v.different to Survation. Wimbledon has been discussed on UKPR as a “possible” for LDEM. Kensington? I’d have thought LAB would want to try to keep that and bit naughty to think they are “out of contention” (hence the term “dodgy question”)

    I hope LAB folks are outraged by the suggestion ;)

    Opinium numbers are also out:

    CON: 44% (+3)
    LAB: 28% (-1)
    LDEM: 14% (-1)
    BREX: 6% (-)

    I’m not sure what Opinium are doing with regards to “pulled candidates” but CON’s +3 is not offset by BXP?? (not as per AW then Opinium tend to show one of the bigger/biggest leads for CON and this is MoE kind of stuff anyway)

  10. @John Smith

    Those Deltapoll London constituency polls have some interesting findings below the headline VI figures: –

    – Most Labour and Lib Dem supporters are prepared to vote tactically if their preferred party is out of the running.

    – Labour supporters are willing to switch to the Lib Dems in overwhelming numbers – in all three seats by enough to give the Lib Dems victory.

    – Lib Dem supporters tend to prefer Labour, but far less decisively. If they can’t have a Lib Dem MP, quite a few would vote Conservative, in each case by enough to increase the Tory majority.

    Some suggestion there that Labour voters are more prepared to vote Lib Dem tactically than Lib Dem voters are to vote Labour. Reciprocation not guaranteed.

    I know these are London polls, but that last finding doesn’t bode well for Labour in their Tory/Lab marginal seats elsewhere in the country. Remain ex-Labour voters less forgiving than first thought, perhaps?

    One poll, and London specific, but more evidence that a 2017 repeat is looking an ever more distant prospect.

  11. CON: 41% (+1)
    LAB: 33% (+3)
    LDEM: 14% (-2)
    BREX: 5% (-2)
    GRN: 2% (-1)

    via @SavantaComRes, 13 – 14 Nov
    Chgs. w/ 12 Nov

  12. Another little thought on the vexed question of allowing opinion polls to be published during election campaigns. If we get more of these constituency polls much nearer polling day, they will give clear signals to voters as to which way they should vote tactically.

    A good or a bad thing? Please discuss.

  13. @Cambridgecol

    These opinion polls are getting faintly ridiculous. Opinium 16% Tory lead, ComRes, 8% Tory lead. Fieldwork over identical period. ComRes has Tory VI 3% lower than Opinium and Labour an eye-popping 5% up on Opinium.

    Methodology difference, I’m guessing.

    I hope the polling stations don’t adopt different “methodology” on December 12th!!


  14. Can anyone provide some insight into the methodologies which are causing such wildly varies polls?

  15. One amusing, but telling, thing I noticed watching the rugby this afternoon was the BBC auto-text “translation”. We had had it on for the fascinating doc on how many words William Shakespeare had invented that had become accepted English; I didn`t need it today but was too engrossed in the pIay to switch it off.

    Several times I noticed “will he kick the girl”, “he`s missed the girl”. Then I twigged. This text, like so much else on BBC, is geared up for SE England, for those whose dialects don`t pronounce “r”s.

    So the commentators were talking about kicking goals. I wonder if the same auto-text is used when/ if the BBC transmit English Premiership games.

  16. Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 44% (+3)
    LAB: 28% (-1)
    LDEM: 14% (-1)
    BREX: 6% (-)

    via @OpiniumResearch, surveyed this week
    Chgs. w/ 08 Nov

  17. @ Crossbat

    I’m guessing there will be more polls tonight. I took part in a Yougov poll two days ago so there should at least be one out from them I suspect.

    Crazy differences.

  18. Statgeek
    “When they [BBC] stop forcing the license on folk and using the license fee to promote others’ political ends…”

    Well said. I think the BBC should have one free-to-air public service TV channel and one radio station, and the rest should be paid for by subscription. They’d soon get slimmed down!

  19. @Davwel, et al

    Thanks. I haven’t used one drive before; it was an option in Excel so I tried it. I can see no way to make anything in it public, so unless anyone comes up with a way to put the spreadsheet, or its contents, on here that is (a) free, and (b) simple, I’m afraid you’ll all have to go without my workings.

  20. Re: Polling variation.

    Someone’s wrong; that is clear. Who that is remains unclear. Of course, everyone could be wrong. That would be unsatisfactory.

  21. If the LDs are only polling 14% nationally, it’s not really credible to see them in contention in the London seats surveyed by Delta.

  22. @CROSSBAT11

    Some suggestion there that Labour voters are more prepared to vote Lib Dem tactically than Lib Dem voters are to vote Labour. Reciprocation not guaranteed.

    That shouldn’t come as a surprise – roc LDs (like Swinson) have a similar world view to Tory Remainers, many of whom see Corbyn as a bigger threat than Brexit. Conversely, a number of LDs are just as anti-Tory as many Labour supporters and will vote accordingly.

    The key think to look for over the next week is not necessarily the size of lead in respective polls but more is their signs the gap is tending to narrow. The commentariat seem to be giving the last week to Labour – will that lead to Labour gaining ground?

  23. And another

    CON: 37% (+6)
    LAB: 29% (+3)
    LDEM: 16% (-4)
    BREX: 9% (-2)

    via @BMGResearch, 12 – 15 Nov
    Chgs. w/ 04 Oct

    Mad variations.

  24. crossbat11: Another little thought on the vexed question of allowing opinion polls to be published during election campaigns. If we get more of these constituency polls much nearer polling day, they will give clear signals to voters as to which way they should vote tactically.

    A good or a bad thing? Please discuss.

    Tactical voting informed by opinion polls is no more than a hack to the FPTP voting system which assists in optimising the voters’ ability to vote against the front runner they dislike the most.

    The problem is FPTP voting, which needs to be replaced by a system which allows people to vote FOR what they do want rather than AGAINST what they don’t want. Once FPTP voting is consigned to the dustbin of history, polls will be a less useful or vital aid for voters making their choices.

    On the basis of the foregoing, I would heartily resent any attempt to curtail opinion polls in campaign periods under FPTP, other than to ensure veracity. If FPTP is replaced, I think that the issue diminishes significantly.

  25. Not sure about that BMG poll. Britain elects has posted it just now as conducted 12 – 15th Nov, but it seems to be the same poll that that BMG posted on 11th Nov (conducted 5th – 8th Nov)

    Britain elects have also just posted this:
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 45% (+4)
    LAB: 30% (+1)
    LDEM: 11% (-5)
    BREX: 6% (-)

    via @DeltapollUK
    Chgs. w/ 09 Nov

    Surely a rogue as seems far too low LD and too high Con.

  26. MoG:

    After all your effort reminding us and storing the submissions, would it be possible to do a simple extraction in Word.

    Give name, then comma-separation of Con, Lab, LD, Brex, SNP, PC seats. Forget NI since many of us were just copying or struggling with it.

    Then copy and paste into the UKPR message box.

    A further possible problem with Excel is its variations – I have looked into “Save as” for my Excel data and find 25 different types e,g Text-Tab, CSV (comma separated, and older versions Excel97.

  27. Blimey, Yougov gives Conservatives a 17 point lead.

    CON: 45% (+3)
    LAB: 28% (-)
    LDEM: 15% (-)
    BREX: 4% (-)

  28. batty

    “A good or a bad thing? Please discuss.”


    Your go.

  29. Frosty

    Both my head and heart tell me these polls with the biggest Tory leads are wrong – I am aware how daft that sounds. I just don’t buy it. Tories are certainly with a comfortable cushion but these are insane.

  30. @Frosty

    Blimey, Yougov gives Conservatives a 17 point lead

    And that’s after a ‘bad’ campaign week for the conservatives.

  31. MoG

    I should have suggested putting the name on the extreme right end, so the columns look near-justified.

  32. Evening all
    Tories ahead.
    Lib Dems too high. IMO
    Labour are finalising their manifesto Plenty of time! (they think)

  33. Question,

    If people can only say BXP with some of the pollsters when there is a BXP candidate does this mean that 4% for example will be a bit above 8% average in seats where they are standing?

  34. @Graham

    “If the LDs are only polling 14% nationally, it’s not really credible to see them in contention in the London seats surveyed by Delta.”

    Unless they are being destroyed in Tory/LD marginals which is very possible. Whichever way the polls are read Jo Swinson is having a truly shocking campaign. At least Labour has improved their position somewhat from the start of the campaign.

  35. @Davwel

    Not a bad idea, but will need some fiddling as I have the rows for parties and the columns for entries. I’ll see what I can do.

  36. RAF.
    Hello to you.
    The 1951 GE saw a Liberal collapse which enabled the Tories to win power on fewer votes, as well as the rural bonus under the revised boundaries.

    Maybe the ‘Vote Liberal, get Corbyn’ is working in the largely middle class seats. When Blair was leader that slogan was less effective, I think, and allowed Paddy A and Charles K to do well in 2001 and 2005,

  37. MOG

    Re: Spreadsheet.

    Import the Excel spreadsheet into Google Sheets.

    Then share a view only link to the Google Sheet on here.

  38. This looks like landslide territory for the Tories. A reward they do not deserve for shambolic governance. We get the Government we deserve.

    What seems clear is the hopeless inability for Corbyn and Swinson to come together will ensure that many Remainer voters will be split between Lab and Lib allowing Con to win through the middle.

    On a positive note Wales v Hungary. Tuesday night. Winner takes all. Can’t wait. I shall be in attendance.

  39. I wonder if these two latest big Tory leads are a result of Leave voters nearly all deciding that the Boris deal is the best they’re going to get, together with Remain voters who accept the result of the referendum and just want it all to be over? 45% doesn’t seem unreasonable in those circumstances.
    Incidentally, I’ve just had a free paper called The Hourglass through my door. I haven’t read much of it because the bits I did read seemed insane. It seemed full of extremist environmentalist stuff. We do have a Green candidate so I’m guessing it’s from them, though it wasn’t obvious.

  40. I don’t think it is the methodology of the pollsters. I guess it is the underlying confused population distribution that creates wild variations in the samples.

    I have no evidence but I guess such variations would be present in two samples of the same company.

  41. @Davwel

    Ok, it took some fiddling about, but I got there…


    If you want a record of yours, or anyone else’s, predictions, all are shown below in .csv format:

    305,255,22,41,5,1,0,8,2,6,0,2,2,1,EDGE OF REASON
    380,164,40,38,6,1,2,9,1,6,1,1,0,1,JONES IN BANGOR
    374,187,19,43,3,2,2,6,1,8,2,0,2,1,NORTHERN RURAL MODEOMAN
    318,261,12,35,4,1,0,10,0,8,0,0,0,1,EXTERMINATING DALEK
    280,277,19,48,4,2,1,8,0,8,2,0,0,1,TOBYTRONIC STEREOPHONIC

  42. @TonyBTG

    to which I can only reply: wtf are Google Sheets, and will they go with my duvet?

  43. Good lord, polls showing everything from a hung parliament to a 164 seat majority. If they don’t start to converge a bit then someone is going to wind up with an awful lot of egg on their face. There must be a few pollsters sweating bullets at the minute.

  44. Probably worth noting Yougov polls 11/12 May ’17 and 16/17 May’17 gave Tory leads of 18% and 13%, so there is still hope!

    Big Tory leads may push certain voters into the hands of Labour – another straw to clutch.

  45. That’s probably about it for this weekend’s polls. Here’s my rough averages:

    CON: 43 (+3)
    LAB: 30 (+1)
    LIBD: 14 (-2)
    BXP: 5 (-3)

    The comparison is with my rough average for last weekend’s polls. You can just assume about 4% SNP, 3% GRN and 1% PC for the other mainland parties, they never change much.

    So, as expected, CON seem to have benefitted from the (semi) collapse of BXP. It may be that BXP have lost more than just the votes they would have got in the Tory constituencies, it could be that the change in policy has lost support and respect elsewhere too.

    Otherwise, a so-so week for Labour, when they really needed to be moving, and a seemingly poor week for the LibDems.

    At the same stage in 2017 we had:

    CON: 47
    LAB: 31
    LIBD: 9
    UKIP: 5

    so not very different now really, apart from LibDems being a bit stronger this time, but maybe fading fast.

  46. Con Lab LbD Brx compy
    44 28 14 6 Opi
    41 33 14 5 CoR
    37 29 16 9 BMG
    45 30 11 6 Del
    45 28 15 4 Ygo

    For MoG a test

    My 2 minutes of compiling tonight`s in Excel, pasting to Word, pasting to UKPR

  47. @Davwel

    I’ve had quite enough tests for one day, thanks. Everything is easy when you know how.

  48. MoG

    Well done. I go happy to my bath inspired by your skill and dedication, but sad at tonight`s polls.

  49. Chrislane

    Hello again! The 1951 election was not so much a Liberal collapse but more a failure to contest seats on the same scale. In 1950 there had been 475 Liberal candidates compared with a mere 109 in 1951.

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