According to Mike Smithson there is a new Populus poll for ITV news tonight. Topline figures, with changes from their last poll – taken just as the expenses row broke, are CON 39%(nc), LAB 27%(+1), LDEM 17%(-5).

Labour and the Conservatives remain down, and largely unchanged. The big shift is in the level of Liberal Democrat support, which has fallen by five points. Up to now, polls have tended to show the two main parties suffering from the expenses row, but the Liberal Democrats have been largely untouched. It seems strange that they should suffer now, though I suppose it could be that their earlier resilience was actually a positive effect of the Gurkha story, which has now faded from the news agenda.

Support for other parties continues to rise, it was up to 12% in Populus’s last poll, now it’s up to 19%, breaking down as SNP 4%, Green 2%, UKIP 6%, BNP 4% and Plaid 1%.

40 Responses to “Now Lib Dems fall in latest Populus poll”

  1. Er…Mike… The figures for others (19%) actually add up to 17%.

  2. There are 2% of unidentified “other others” too.

  3. Interesting…ICM and Populus have similar methodologies and yield similar results. The others seem to also have similar methodologies and be producing similar (to eachother) results.

    Anthony, I’ve got to ask: What’s the big difference between Populus/ICM and the others? Is it phone vs. online, or something else? Also, I can’t wait to see the tables on this one…

  4. Gray – lots of differences.

    Weighting is different, the mode of questioning (phone vs internet) is different, likelihood to vote is different, how they treat don’t knows is different.

  5. I’m a novice at this, but if this were repeated in a general election ‘tomorrow’, doesn’t Cameron need a swing of 10% to get a majority.

    If we take into account error, turnout etc, he might just get it, albeit it would be a lot smaller than the majority Brown has now.

    Or am I off target completely?

  6. Ah. So basically two entirely different sets of models.

    You know, sometime when the roof isn’t caving in on Parliament I wouldn’t mind seeing a piece on here on the different methodologies (though if there’s already one here I wouldn’t mind getting a glance at it to pick through it). The difference in two sets of models is big enough, after all, that it’s worth a good look.

    Also, I will say that ICM and Populus feel just a little on the dodgy side, Populus a bit more for the LD crash. Considering the amount of blood in the water over the last two weeks, the larger slides shown elsewhere have a bit more merit IMHO. I do feel that the extreme dives are likely temporary (read: The local and EU elections will get some of this out of the system), but I also think they’re real, at least in the short term.

  7. The polls clearly indicate that people want change.

    But it’s hard to see how it will arrive when you get this kind of idiocy:

    I can’t help thinking that ‘none of the above’ will win the next election!

  8. Andy – no, it’s about a 7% swing, less if the Lib Dems do badly (or if the pattern of support or tactical voting shifts).

  9. With “others” polling 19% we can’t really read much into these polls as far as a general election is concerned. Obviously when we do have a general election “others” won’t poll anywhere near 19% and given UKIP are on the highest “others” share at 6% my guess is were a general election to be held in the near future the Conservatives would be the main beneficeries of the reversal of “others” suport.

  10. sorry to be a wet blanket but when a poll says that party x stands at y%, what it means is that ys support lies between x-3 & x+3%; probably. for any one poll a shift of less than 7% probably means nothing; thats where running averages come in handy, mine for example suggests no change. of course it would be even better if all the polls used the same assumptions….
    as to where we are now, its hard to say with all those temporary others; it depends on whether they go “home” at the GE or continue to protest.

  11. Gin – I suspect you are correct, although it does suggest an element of Tory support is quite soft.

  12. It appears Labour have stabilised, but why have the Lib Dems dropped so much, the were at the front of things like Speaker’s Resignation, etc. Doesn’t make much sence.

  13. I agree with Gin. The last two polls probably give a good idea what will happen on June 4 but have little bearing on a general election that may be as much as a year away. Once the expenses furore has died down, and without the incentive of PR, most people are likely to revert to the major parties. If the expenses row has any long-term impact on the polls – and it may not have – it will likely be strongly influenced by how effective and resolute people think the party leaders have been in response to it. My guess is that Tory voters will prove a bit more forgiving than Labour voters, for a variety of reasons. We’ll see :)

  14. Perhaps the public don’t think much to the Sepaker being axed?

  15. Another possibility for the fall in Lib Dem support is that for the first week or so of the Telegraph’s revelations the concentration has been on Labour and the Tories. The Lib Dems looked clean but of course then came rvelations about them too and the nice party does not seem so nice. Also, the other parties have also been getting quite a bit of exposure thanks to the Euro elections. So, for example we have seen BNP election broadcasts etc. Also, support for others in the Euro elections has hardened. In my case I am true blue but will be voting UKIP in June. I like to think myself an educated and level headed elector and I know that all politicians are not on the make. Most are hardworking and decent. However, when you see twits like Anthony Steen so out of touch, I really want to give my own party a good kicking too.

    If you consider the anger there is in the country about politicians, volatile polls are to be expected. And its brilliantly exciting.

  16. This poll represents a swing of 7.5% which is okay but nothing special. It wouldn’t give the Tories much of a majority.

    I wonder whether we’ve reached that stage that sometimes happens very close to a Euro election where people’s Euro election voting intentions actually start to skew their Westminster voting intentions. (Most of the time it’s the other way round of course.)

  17. on the current monthly numbers the tories would win with a majority of 110, the vote for the others is currently 16.8%, with the lib dems on 18.3% and labour slightly higher now on 24.1% with the tories on 40.8%

    change on last month

    CON -2.3%

    LAB -4.1%

    LD 0.0

    OTH +6.4%

    so a big change from the big two to the others lib dems mainly unaffected by all of this but suffering at the same time as there vote is steady this means they have not done any better in the publics eye than labour or the tories at sorting things out and as this poll is showing the lib dems back down in the high teens it could be that the ib dems are now going through the same as labour and tory

  18. If the figures are 39/27/17/19 that totals 102% , Rounding should not give more than 101% so something is not quite correct .

  19. Doesn’t happen often, but rounding can give more than 101%. For example:


    Rounded equals

  20. Perhaps the Lib Dems are suffering because they tend to be the depository for the ‘neirther of the above’ vote and the expenses row has tarred them with the ‘they are all the same’ brush at a time when other parties are receiving much more publicity.

    Polls around Euro elections always go a bit strange and I would expect the LibDems to recover the none of the above vote for a GE jus as the Tories will get back much of the UKIP vote.

  21. Alec
    The Tory vote that goes to UKIP is not ‘soft’.
    There is no group more motivated to get rid of Gordon come a GE. They see no realisitic possiblity of getting rid of him now but will salivating to do so when the time comes.

  22. @ Gin – my impression is that almost everyone thought the Speaker had to go but there’s a concern that he’d be used as a scapegoat to wriggle out of real reforms. If he was pushed out and reforms don’t pass muster, it will be seen as a purely cynical move. But if there are tough reforms, it will just be seen as a necessary move in that process. Just my opinion though – haven’t seen any polls yet on that specific topic.

  23. As I hinted at in my last comment, we may have to wait until July before a stable, clear picture of public opinion emerges. At the moment it is as were the camera is being jostled about by people’s strong emotional reactions.

    My hope that the Lib Dems would get a boost from equalling Labour in a poll has diminished somewhat, at least for now.

  24. David in France… according to the law you’re not allowed to stand as “none of the above” or “don’t vote for anyone” etc…

    Gin, Alec, James Ludlow… I think the assumption that lots of people won’t actually vote for “others” in a GE, may be past it’s ell-by date.

    The context is that within recent-enough memory, a significant number of people abandoned both the Tory government and politics in general in order to vote *for* something; in the current climate, I don’t see what there is for people to actively vote *for* as an alternative to the Labour government… The current climate has a lot to do with the previous “sleaze” thing, and the damage done to public goodwill towards the establishment parties is unprecedented …hence the panic amongst all of them to compete for the mantle of propriety and reform …it’s the whole cynical, patronising, politico-talking paradigm that is resented, not simply the government or a selection of dodgy MPs. The volatility of the situation could deliver shock results – would you have expected the Independent Kidderminster Hospital MP to have won his seat the first time of asking I wonder?

  25. Promsan-
    Though not an explicit “none of the above” option, there -is- a party running on a platform of any candidate who gets elected standing down to allow a fresh election in the seat. Granted, I don’t think they’ll go anywhere, but there is a group that found an end-run.

  26. Promsan-
    Though not an explicit “none of the above” option, there -is- a party running on a platform of any candidate who gets elected standing down to allow a fresh election in the seat. Granted, I don’t think they’ll go anywhere, but there is a group that found an end-run.

    Also, I agree. I could easily see a Green or two stumbling in right now from Brighton, not to mention a major slug of SNP members and a few stray PCs (since their main opposition in Wales tends to be Labour). 25-30 Nationalist MPs wouldn’t surprise me, and I almost expect a few other independent/minor party candidates to wander in at this rate, particularly in some Labour ministers’ seats (as Brown has been sticking by many of them).

  27. When we see the full figures I wouldn’t be surprised if the SNP continue to do well for thr time being.

    While most of the Euro debate is focused on UKIP and the BNP I think the SNP could because the current strom is focused on westminster, do surprising well in June.


  28. Peter,
    I’d agree; the main question is whether they can snag an extra EU Parliamentary seat…any idea what vote share they’d need to get that?

  29. Peter – the SNP has been lucky so far to escape the expenses issue since Salmond is the worst leader in terms of claiming for things he is not receiving (like food in London when Parliament is not sitting etc)

  30. Gray,

    For SNP to snatch a third seat they need to achieve the following:

    (a) more than three times fourth placed party (almost certainly LD); and

    (b) more than twice the third placed party (which would normally have been Con but may now be a close-run thing)

    On the basis that LDs are polling in the region 9-12% that needs SNP to be in mid 30s. But, as Con (or Lab) in third place are going to be in region of 18-22% SNP need to be looking at 40% for a third seat.

    [See Scotland entry in the Euro-Election section – link at top left.]

  31. @ PROMSAN – There may be a few more independent/Other MPs in a general election but the obvious difference between a general election and the Euro election is FPTP vs. PR. With FPTP, most people tend to think that a vote for any of the smaller parties is a wasted vote so instead they take a “lesser of three evils” approach. I don’t see that changing so dramatically as to have a significant effect on govt.

  32. The Election Administration Act forbids a label which would (potentially) misdirect or confuse a voter – so “none of the above” is not allowd (although I understand in Basildon a candidate has registered “NOTA” with the electoral commission, we all know what it stands for but the acronym means…..

  33. The detailed data tables for this poll are on the Populus website . We should note that it is wrong to compare the results with the previous Populus poll . The sample size is only 1,000 and for some reason unbeknown to myself all the past vote weighting shaes are completely different . IMHO the effect of this change is to boost the vote of Others and reduce that of the 3 major parties but I am open to persuasion that I am incorrect .

  34. @ James Ludlow,

    Fair point, but I’m honestly yet to meet anyone who says they’re going to vote for either of the three.

    My sense is that turnout is almost certain to fall significantly… not so much because of disenchantment with the candidates on offer and the system, but more to do with things like:

    – the effects of the recession… having to work more, having less time, and voting getting pushed down the list of priorities because it clashes with work and childcare

    – the sense that most people are going to vote against them, so “i don’t need to bother” – borne out by the disparity between those who say they want an election now, and those who say they would vote if there was one now

    – the change in how people do politics… the effects of the internet in empowering people to organise and do pressure-group-type activities, because you get a sense of instant gratification that you are “involved” that you don’t get when you hand it over to a poltical class, adds to the tendency to feel as though direct action is a better use of your time than voting …more people feel more able (and more educated) and informed to do it themselves than 50 years ago.

    – immigration and emmigration: I would expect both categories to be less likely to vote

    – the fact that the media are practically indulging in a journopornographic orgy over this, and the piranha-like feeding-frenzy is self-perpetuating – a consequence of 24-hour pervasive media I’m afraid …it’s mobocracy (or mediocracy!)

    My sense is that more and more people will be feeling as though a vote for the main three is a wasted vote: taken for granted; lost in the pile of votes… i think this is Part II of the Tory sleaze thing in ’97 – a growing exasperation, resentment and weariness with the status quo… and the catalyst for change is the growth of internet access, and 24hr pervasive media: the information revolution.

  35. Mark –

    I think – though I haven’t checked with Andrew – the past vote shares appear different because Populus don’t weight them all as one. Within those who stated how they voted in 2005 Populus’s target weights seem pretty constant – CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 21% for their last three polls.

    The difference is in the proportions who say they didn’t vote, don’t know or refuse to answer, implying that Populus deal with these seperately when weighting the poll.

  36. Anthony, a question. Why is it that different Euro polls show such variance as as high as 7% for the BNP and as low as 1% for the BNP in the space of a couple of days. It just doesn’t make sense. I am dreading them doing well, which is what I fear from mutterings on the grapevine locally – and I live in leafy Maidenhead! Could it be there are “shy BNP” voters, just as there used to be “shy Tories”. Do the polling organisations need to “tease out” real levels of BNP support. BNP preformance in Labour held area local by-elections has been pretty strong in the last couple of years – yet the polls do not seem to pick up their ratings….why is this do you think?

  37. Tony – the BNP difference will largely be a mode effect. People are more willing to admit supporting the BNP to an anonymous computer screen than they are to a living human being on the end of a phone line.

  38. Thank you very much Anthony, that makes it very clear. So it is a “shy BNP” syndrome!

  39. …equally people are more likely to admit to supporting their policies until they are told that the policies are those of the BNP, because the name regularly mal-associated…. a bit like porn… shopping at well-known northern european discount supermarkets… liking the music of Gary Glitter… etc…

    Obviously very few people rejoice in being considered “nasty”, and fear that an inability to articulate why they feel as they do makes them want to steer clear of discussing it – dissonance reduction as they call it in marketingese.

    Essentially, if (for example) the Lib Dems took on some BNP policies, they could probably get away with it much more than say the Tories… there’s an awful lot of evolutionary psychology at play here.

  40. @Paul:
    Thanks for the general gist there. I suspect this means that the election in Scotland will largely consist of rearranging deck chairs (or seat orders, as the case may be, which does present my biggest beef with PR [the ability of a party to get prominent people on their list re-elected even when said people are highly unpopular]) unless the LibDems somehow fall hard enough to drop their seat.