With a huge quantity of elections on Thursday, we also have a huge amount of opinion polling ahead of it. Here is a summary of the polling on this week’s elections and what we can predict about this week’s results from it.

SCOTLAND

The Scottish election race has been heavily polled and with fairly consistent results across polling companies. Everyone has the SNP clearly ahead in both votes, and we can be confident as confident can be that the SNP will win. The broad questions are:

a) How close the SNP will get to an overall majority in their own right, rather than with the Greens
b) Whether Labour or the Conservatives will be in second place
c) Whether Alex Salmond’s Alba party will win any seats

At least six companies have released Scottish polls in the last week or so (and we may well get more tomorrow). Most have shown the SNP around 50% in the constituency vote (SavantaComRes in the Scotsman were lower at 45%, but was conducted a week ago now, so I don’t know if they have another to come). In the regional vote most companies tend to show the SNP at around 36%-41%, with everyone showing the Conservatives in second place on around 22% and Labour third.

It is hard to translate votes into seats with confidence between so many of the final regional seats end up being won by extremely small margins, but it is probably the best way of understanding the interaction between the two votes. The most recent projections have tended to suggest that the SNP may just scrape a majority.

Sky projects 67 seats for the SNP based on the Opinium poll, John Curtice in the Times suggests 68 SNP seats based on the YouGov data. Panelbase in the Sunday Times at the weekend was projected to deliver them 65 seats by Curtice. The Herald’s BMG poll was projected to deliver 68 SNP seats. If the SNP do fall short then they will easily have a pro-independence majority with the Greens anyway, but an outright majority may give them a stronger moral case in the inevitable argument with the UK government over a referendum.

Finally, there is Alba – Alex Salmond’s new party. There has been some difference between polling companies on their projected level of support. For a while Panelbase were giving them around 6% while other companies were giving them derisory support. The final YouGov & Opinium polls did at least see them climbing to 3% (possibly enough to get a seat somewhere depending how unevenly their vote is distributed), while the most recent Panelbase poll had them dropping to 4%.

WALES

In the past Wales has not tended to attract much polling – there have been elections when it was YouGov and no one else. This year has been more interesting, with polls from SavantaComRes, Opinium and ICM. There are final Welsh polls from YouGov and Survation due out out tomorrow (and possibly SavantaComRes too) so we’re not done here yet.

The polling show far has also shown Labour ahead, but by differing amounts. Back in February and March YouGov produced a couple of polls showing the Conservatives within touching distance of Labour. Since then Labour have pulled back ahead, with a lead of 9-11 points on the constituency vote, 7-10 points on the list vote. We will see what the final polls show tomorrow.

LONDON MAYOR

Perhaps the most foregone conclusion that we have polling for – there has never really been the slightest doubt that Sadiq Khan was going to be re-elected as London mayor once Rory Stewart dropped out (even when Stewart was in the race polling showed an easy win for Khan, but at least Stewart had the potential to shake things). Given the race hasn’t been competitive there hasn’t been nearly as much polling as in past years, but we have had two final calls today (and perhaps more to come tomorrow). Both show Khan winning easily.

Opinium’s final call has Khan winning the first round by 48% to Bailey’s 29%, with Porrit in third on 8% and Berry on 7%. Khan wins easily on round two.
YouGov’s final call has Khan slightly lower on the first round, winning by 43% to Bailey’s 31%, with Berry on 10% and Porrit on 5%. Again, Khan wins easily on round two.

MAYORAL ELECTIONS

As well as London, there are elections for seven combined authority mayors (Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England, West Yorkshire). We have polling for two of those, and in the case of the more recent polls, both show incumbents who were initially elected on a knife-edge now cruising to re-election.

The West Midlands mayoralty is being defended by the Conservative Andy Street. We have two decent sized polls there. Redfield & Wilton polled about a fortnight ago and found a 9 point lead for Street on the first round, but only a 2 point lead once second preferences were redistributed. Opinium released a more recent poll on Tuesday morning, commissioned by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership which projected a clearer win for Street – a 17 point lead and victory on the first round.

The only other poll I’m aware of is for the Tees Valley race. This was won by the Conservative incumbent Ben Houchen by an extremely narrow margin in 2017. The only poll is by Opinium. It has a sample size of only 387 (243 once you take out don’t knows and won’t votes) and the size was such that Opinium didn’t have the space to filter for likelihood to vote. For what it’s worth though, the shares were CON 63%, LAB 37% – suggesting a very easy hold for the Conservatives.

HARTLEPOOL

Survation have produced two opinion polls of Hartlepool. The first for the CWU early in the campaign, the second for Good Morning Britain, conducted at the end of April. Constituency polling is a difficult challenge that has a somewhat patchy record, and small sample sizes mean they are large margins of error. That said Survation’s latest poll showed a very solid 17 point lead for the Conservatives, well outside the margin of error. The poll would have to be very wrong indeed for this not to be a Conservative gain.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

Local elections rarely get much polling because of the nature of the contest. There is very uneven pattern of contestation, so many people don’t get a choice between all parties. In many places people get more than one vote so can vote for different parties. From a pollsters point of view, it’s also difficult to know what you are measuring – the “Projected National Share” that the BBC calculate on election night is not the actual shares of the vote – its a projection based on the votes in some key wards – so even if pollsters did ask about local elections, the numbers wouldn’t match the numbers the BBC announced on the night!

Normally the only attempt we get to predict likely gains and losses in local elections is therefore the Rallings & Thrasher modelling based on how people have voted in local council by-elections. This time round the coronavirus lockdown means we’ve had hardly any local council by-elections, so even the Rallings & Thrasher model lies dormant.

Unusually though we have got a couple of predictions using polling data. YouGov released a poll last week of councils that cover Northern & Midlands seats that the Tories won at the last elections (the so-called “Red wall” seats) that was used to project gains and losses here – that predicted Tory councillor gains in those areas.

Meanwhile Electoral Calculus have make predictions of district and unitary councillor gains and losses based on data from newcomers “Find Out Now” (a company that polls people visiting the PickMyPostcode website). Not sure why the county elections were excluded, but there goes. That predicts gains of about 300 seats for both Labour and Conservative, at the expense of Lib Dems and Others (note the overall number of seats rises because council changes). Note that the YouGov fieldwork was mid-April, the Electoral Calculus data last week, so quite possible that it pre-empted some of the recent poor coverage for the Government.

POLICE COMMISSIONER ELECTIONS

The final set of elections on Thursday, and very much the poor relation, are the Police Commissioner elections. Given the lack of public profile these – rather unsurprisingly – don’t appear to have been polled at all (indeed, given the uneven pattern of contestation and the fact I expect many people have no idea they are happening and won’t make their mind up how they’ll vote before being presented with a surprise additional ballot paper on Thursday, they would probably be rather hard to poll if we tried).


13,821 Responses to “Polling ahead of Thursday’s Elections”

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  1. Why Macron kept the door to London open.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-58614229

  2. @Mercian

    Some Parliaments have certain things set in stone to prevent changes and movement back from modernity.

    Fixed term parliaments are a good example. Introduced by one Tory government, and abolished by another within ten years, or two parliament terms.

    Then there’s the human rights act…piffling little piece of paper. Does not apply to those in power, or their financial backers. Who cares? Not them.

  3. Loving the EU’s charger regulations:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-58665809

  4. Starmer seems to have finally worked it out, from p30:

    “The economic project that drove the Tories and the Liberal Democrats through the last decade has died. The painful debates over leaving the EU are over”

    or maybe not as not longer after that ‘epiphany’ we have

    “Down one path is the same old Tory approach to the economy and society.. ”

    So still fighting the ‘old Tory’ (the economic project that died) or not?? Maybe that is why he is choosing internal battles??

    The rest of it just comes across as criticising Boris for having no ‘plan’ but without stating what LAB ‘under his, new, leadership’ would do (ie the ‘vague’).

    So when it comes to “The Labour path leads to a better, brighter future.” then where are the details??

    Better the devils you know, non?

  5. YG article covering seat implications, but ignoring tactical voting, in the Blue and the Red wall:

    “Labour are struggling to make big inroads with voters”

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2021/09/23/labour-are-struggling-make-big-inroads-voters-are-

  6. Some of the comments on Starmer’s essay:

    “It’s a necklace of platitudes strung together with banalities, fastened with cliché.”

    Rafael Behr (Groan)

    “is that it is not impossible to imagine @BorisJohnson saying almost all of it (apart from the sentence about giving more power to trade unions”

    Peston (ITV)

    “It’s mesmerisingly bad. Terribly written, a mishmash of clichés, platitudes and banalities.

    It does show the promises made in the leadership election were dishonest, but we already knew that.”

    Owen Jones (‘Leftie’)

    Ouch!

  7. Did Bojo the clown seriously talk about Kermit the frog?

  8. @PETE
    Did Bojo the clown seriously talk about Kermit the frog?

    Yes and he didn’t like him being unnecessarily rude to Miss Piggy

  9. “It’s a necklace of platitudes strung together with banalities, fastened with cliché.” Rafael Behr

    “Terribly written, a mishmash of clichés, platitudes and banalities.” Owen Jones

    Comment: the plagiarism checker software in my head is sending me an alert.

  10. And meanwhile, BP starts to ration petrol deliveries due to driver shortages.

  11. The only time Labour went behind in the polls 97-2001 was s very short period during the ‘fuel strikes’.

  12. @Robbiealive – “This pious sonority has a slightly hollow ring to it? The posters have only got 15-20 years left and the cataclysm they predict is not really their problem.

    And this is Extinction-anxiety without the Rebellion or the Activism. Still if expressing fashionable pessimism & fatalism on a blog makes you feel better . . .”

    Wheesht with your miserablist middle class nonsense. Such prejudice! You have no idea what those posters do in their spare time.

    I’m a member of ER and have done some highly entertaining stuff with them, and it’s time you stopped being quite so judgemental about matters where you are in total ignorance.

    Or maybe that’s what makes you feel better?

  13. Hard to credit how a functioning government can allow a crisis like this to develop and grw across so many sectors.

    This is a staggering level of incompetence, and this has come about because Johnson and his pals think governing is about refusing to listen to experts and anyone else that doesn’t say what you want to hear.

  14. STEAMDRIVENANDY

    14.6m voted for Brexit supporting parties,17.5m voted for parties that didn’t support Brexit. Nobody knows what the 15.4m who didn’t vote felt. But on a % basis 31% supported Brexit, 38% were against and 34% didn’t vote.

    Labour campaigned on the position they accepted the result, just not the terms and there should be a further vote on those. Starmer genuinely believing that staying in the EU’s SM would be against the referendum result, hence why he and the likes of Emily Pigs-Head were trying to force a farcical vote over the terms.

    In addition, prior to the GE2019, research showed 35% of Labour voters had voted Leave and research shows that most of those would not vote Labour in a General Election if it tried to overturn or succeeded in overturning the result, with many prepared to switch to the Tories – as subsequently happened. (As a point of interest, 61% of Tory voters, 36% of SNP voters, 33% of Plaid voters, 32% of LD voters, 20% of Green voters and 70% of floating voters also voted Leave.)
    39% of “Younger Working Class voters (25% of population)” voted Leave.
    73% of “Older Working Class voters ( 16% of population) voted Leave.

    Corbyn was acutely aware of the fact that to win a General Election with a majority, he needed another 4 million votes and alienating people who supported Leave would not only cripple his chances and almost certainly guarentee a Tory majority in the backlash, which as events showed, was exactly what happened.

    I’ve often wondered whether Starmer only went with the second vote pantomime to deliberately undermine Corbyn with the aim of replacing him. Certainly, a couple of years before he was outspkenly in favour of accepting anbd enacting the result.

  15. @ EX HGV – Likes of Ashworth certainly tried to undermine Corbyn, even if he tried to claim it was ‘banter’:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/10/corbyn-criticism-was-banter-says-jonathan-ashworth

    However, Starmer + his chums should know the sayings:

    What goes around, comes around
    Revenge is dish best served cold

    Hence perhaps why Starmer is choosing to have the ‘civil war’ now rather than bovver to do the job of LOO and actually provide any opposition to CON HMG

    As for the Rema!niacs still fighting EURef’16 then Starmer did actually say one ‘policy'[1] in his vacuous essay (p30):

    “The painful debates over leaving the EU are over”

    Perhaps worth bookmarking that one in case any EUphil!ac still tries to claim it isn’t over.

    [1] Well if you consider a policy to have no policy as a policy. So nothing about what LAB would do about unresolved issues like NIP, whether to ‘align’ on food, etc? As Starmer said:

    “The painful debates over leaving the EU are over”

    Blank cheque to Frosty+Boris on those issues then as Starmer will maintain his ‘vow of silence’ on anything/everything to do with Brexit.

  16. @ JJ – “The only time Labour went behind in the polls 97-2001 was s very short period during the ‘fuel strikes’”

    Are XR going to start targeting refineries and fuel distribution depots?

    I’ll repost YG link with polling:

    “Most Britons oppose the M25 climate protests, particularly those who have heard more about them”

    https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2021/09/17/six-ten-brits-oppose-climate-change-protesters-blo

    IIRC then some LAB councillors have been involved but Starmer is sensibly not aligning himself with XR.

  17. Alec.

    Thought he was referring to me actually. Our resident Saloon Bar Loudmouth.

    Harry Enfield. Mr. You don’t want to do it like that.

    Dead ringer.

  18. It’s funny the fuel protests being brought up.

    I find it odd that when truckers and farmers blocked fuel supplies, causing major issues to people trying to go about their business, they seemed to enjoy a good level of public support.

    When an environmental group shuts down one road, MSM and the public kick off.

    Some cognitive dissonance going on there.

  19. Shevii

    I approved of Militant being expelled in the 1980’s mainly because they had power in certain areas (LIverpool) and were breaking the law to the detriment of their constituents.

    While I would disprove any Trotskyist organisation, you are factually wrong.

    The breaking of the law (hah! That councils cannot set a deficit budget – should we arrest all the governments that broke the rule?) happened because the data on which the regulation was based was 10 years old by then – do you know what population movement happened in those 10 years? (It was the government that broke the law (fairness and equality). Also the disregard of the employment changes (the council becoming the largest employer).

    The housing estates that were built from the excess spending are still there and they are certainly look good. The people put together the money for the 47 councillors’ fine.

    The real fall down was the break between the unions and the council. Had the unions voted for a 3-day strike there wouldn’t have been a breach of the law, by the unions voted for a.one-day strike.

    It was a long time ago, but facts remain facts. The minutes of the meeting between the council and the unions are available to the piblic.

    So, your argument is wrong (plus, a number of the members of Militant didn’t know that they were members of a Trotskyist organisation).

    And it has to be added that the force that crossed Scotland Road (demarcation between Catholics and Anglicans) was the Militant (through the postal worker union) and not the Labour Party.

  20. CMJ
    Speaking as one who had little sympathy with the right wing fuel protests of yore, my main objections to the M25 protests are first that there seems a radical disconnect between what they are demanding and the route they have chosen to express their ire and, second, that if I was the one who hit a protestor leaping out in front of my vehicle I doubt I’d get over it in s hurry. They aren’t even getting their point across, just annoying and freaking out motorists.

    As one who would consider myself in line with their aims, I find their actions baffling.

  21. @TED

    They have kept themselves in the news for days, which is the goal of the road blockages.

    Given the cause they are supporting (better insulated homes), the current crisis sharply shows they are correct – if we had better insulated buildings, we would need less energy, reduce fuel bills and reduce the CO2 emitted. Would anyone with even a modicum of brain cells really think less of the campaign to insulate homes because they got held up a few hours on a motorway?

    Direct action has it’s place in democratic society for sure. I get more delays driving caused by a***hole drivers who don’t pay attention on my motorway commute and leave me sat in queues for many hours each month when they crash.

    What was the purpose of running in front of a race horse? Not directly linked to votes for women, but caught the attention of the media.

    Without direct action, that has risk attached, there are a number of things ordinary people would not have right to today.

    I’m with them all the way.

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