Sunday polls

At least two new polls in the Sunday papers. Firstly, the Observer has Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor which has topline figures (with changes from MORI’s last poll in mid-July) of CON 43%(+3), LAB 26%(+2), LDEM 17%(-1).

The Conservative lead remains pretty steady, with both Labour and the Conservatives benefiting from the continuing decline in the support for others.

Secondly there is yet another Scottish poll, this time from Yougov in the Mail on Sunday’s Scottish edition. The poll was conducted between the 26th and 28th August, so hot on the heels of the last YouGov Scotland poll, which was done between the 24th and 26th. The voting intention figures, each with changes from the previous poll 2 days before, are as follows:

Westminster: CON 20%(+1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 18%(+2), SNP 26%(+1)
Holyrood Constituency: CON 16%(nc), LAB 27%(-4), LDEM 16%(nc), SNP 34%(+1)
Holyrood Regional: CON 16%(-1), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 16%(+1), SNP 30%(+3)

It’s a very short time span since the previous poll, but then, it’s also a fast moving story. It’s perfectly possible that all these differences are just variations within the margin of error. Alternatively, it could be a bit of a shift back towards the SNP as debate over the al-Megrahi release continues.

46 Responses to “Sunday polls”

  1. Cons on 20% and the Liberal Dems on 18%- and the SNP on 26%, its all getting rather tight; especially given that the Tories are stronger in key marginals in the Tayside, borders, Edinburgh and East Renfrew than the polls suggest.

    Labour seem to be the biggest losers in Westminster voting intention, with a three point drop.
    Worse for the SNP however is that they no longer seem to capitalise on the Labour vote anymore- the labour vote now splitting up between the three other parties.

  2. The GE results from Scotland given these Westminster figures would be as follows:

    Con: 5 (+4)
    Liberal: 12 (+1)
    Labour: 34 (-7)
    SNP: 8 (+2)

    Interesting, it seems that the tories have got over the expenses scandal firmly- back up at 20% which is where they were according to YouGov from Jan-March this year.

    Liberal recovery is a curiosity- especially given their polling average since 2005 is just 12.9%.

    The SNP are perhaps disapointed if this was the GE result, despite 26% they still only manage a net gain of 2. (And remember Perth and North Perthshire & Angus could be surprise tory gains from them; so these arent good figures for them).

  3. Anthony,

    Firstly how was Glasgow, I hope my kinsmen treated you well.

    Secondly I’ve been thinking about the age breakdowns of the various megrahi polls and it struck me that it would be interesting to see the religious breakdown of the samples. Not so much what religion as whether they see themselves as religious or regularly attend a church.

    That can’t be done with most other polsters, but as part of the panel YouGov may well have a good idea how “religious” those who voted are as they have conducted polls on it before.

    To be honest I am not sure if that information is the property of the Polster or their client so it might have to be the client who asks for it or allows its release.

    Even if it was the clients decision I am sure if it showed a difference between church and non church goers a newspaper might be interested.

    Mario Conti the Archbishop of Glasgow has come out in support of the decision to free Megrahi as have other church leaders and people over 55 are more likely to go to church than those under the age of 35.

    So maybe belief in god is a factor or the way in which Kenny made his statement struck a cord with people who were.


  4. The 2nd half of August 2009 average is Con 42 Lab 26 Lib Dems 18.

    The 2nd half of August 2008 average was Con 46 Lab 26 Lib Dems 17.

    Since this time last year the Cons have dropped 4 points, 3 to the others and 1 to the Lib Dems.

    Labour compared to this time last year are unchanged. Indeed, over the last 15 months their average must be close to 26.

    The 2nd half of August 2004 average was Con 33 Lab 35.3 Lib Dems 21.3

    The General Election 2005 was Con 33.2 Lab 36.19 Lib Dems 23.69.

    The Cons remained static, just under one point improvement for Labour and just over two point improvement for the Lib Dems.

    If history repeats itself then at the next GE then we will have Cons 42 Lab 26/27 Lib Dems 20/21

    But as the Euro election and by elections have shown one third of this core vote of 26% is not dependable. Therefore I continue to estimate that Labour will get between 22 to 26% at the GE.

    If Labour did only get 22% who would reap the 4%????


    Is there yet another poll today that is only in the dead tree edition of the Sunday Times Scotland?? AFAIAA there is only this fleeting reference to it:

    ‘SNP makes nuclear subs a prime target’

    “The SNP has said it intends to use opposition to basing nuclear weapons in Scottish waters as a main part of its campaign for independence. The announcement comes as a Sunday Times poll has found that more than 60% of Scots want them removed from the Clyde.”

    The Sunday Times Scotland use YouGov as their pollster.

  6. If we pump those YouGov/Scottish Mail on Sunday findings through the “Scotland Votes” Holyrood seat calculator, we get:

    SNP 44 MSPs (-3)
    Lab 40 MSPs (-6)
    LD 22 MSPs (+6)
    Con 20 MSPs (+3)
    Grn 3 MSPs (+1)
    (Ind 0 (-1))

    65 MSPs are required to form a majority government. This could be achieved:

    SNP + LD = 66 MSPs (a common combination at local govt level)
    LAB + LD + GRN = 65 MSPs (this is the so-called “Traffic-light Coalition”)

    Note: it is very hard to use this seat calculator until we have a the full YouGov datasheets, because a tiny number of Green or SSP votes can knock out the figures a fair bit, due to the bottom places on the regional list being extremely tight.

  7. I haven’t been following Scottish Westminster voting polls in great detail, but would others agree that the recent movements could provide a tiny glimmer for Labour? Labour is in effect in a damage limitation exercise, and any recovery in their support in Scotland (or other core areas) would help keep the prospective Tory majority down. If the SNP are hitting some turbulence does this help Labour in this aim?

    I still think it’s too early to run with Phillip JW’s analysis and talk of Labour at 22% at the GE. This must be seen as unlikely, given the probability of a somewhat improved economic climate and some awkward issues for Cameron to face. I think it’s more likely the Labour vote will go up 4% from here than down. The big question is whether 43% of people have decided they just want a new government regardless or whether an impending Tory government will lead to a much more detailed examination of what this will mean and if the voters currently backing them will like what they see. On balance, it’s probably the former, but around the margins there will be some who pick up the odd scare story and get frightened off, some who return to Labour as a result of the recession bottoming out, and some who decide they just can’t vote Tory in the end. It’s hard to see much more travel in the other direction, as Labour have been so low for so long, so I would expect the margin to shrink, but possibly not by very much.

  8. Having been canvassing yesterday, it is evident that this issue is not making the waves it was last week. In fact I am begiining to detect signs that people are beginning to realise that for from a naive decision, the decision was the right one and for the right reasons (not for oil like Jack Straw, Mandelson and Brown). So far the heads of the RC and Church of Scotland as well as Nelson Mandela, John Prescott, Dame Shirley Williams, Lord Steel, Charles Kennedy and many more have backed Kenny McAskill.

    Given that on Wednesday the real murderer, codenamed Abu Elias and part of a Iranian funded Palestinian group, is going to be named by Christine Grahame MSp using parliamentary privilege, I think within a matter of a couple of weeks the SNP poll results could be significantly higher and those for Labour and the Tories will tumble as their cheap pointscoring will be obvious. People will begin to realise how we have been deceived for the last 9 years or so and how Labour and the US Government have lied to the public about the true killers’ identities.

  9. Anthony – still no SNP candidates pages???? Beginning to wonder what it is about our candidates you don’t like that prevents you posting a page……..


  10. Anthony – the main polling graph isn’t working properly, I suspect you may have made a mistake entering the MORI figures.

    Also wondered what has happened to the figures from last weekend’s BPIX survey, have you not managed to find out if the 23% “others” includes don’t-knows or not, or have you finally given up on BPIX and/or all non-BPC members?

  11. @Borderer – be careful. While I understand and sympathise with your point re the naming of the real Lockerbie bomber, never forget that you (and AW) don’t have parliamentary privilege, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty etc etc

  12. As I suggested from the rumours circulating in Glasgow yesterday these are very goog figures for the Nats.

    They have been attcked from all sides but are emerging not just strongly but improving their position.

    It shows real strength in depth.

  13. Anthony, Is this extract from the Guardian report correct? Surely low turnout is more likely to adversely affect Labour?

    “Ipsos MORI analysis suggests that if the turnout were to hit an unusual high of 78%, based on today’s figures the Tories would enjoy a landslide parliamentary majority of 126. But if it slumped lower than the last general election to 50%, there would be a hung parliament”

  14. Borderer:

    Background info, that may be good to know:

    – “The Parliament does not derive rights by reference to privileges which exist (whether by statute or otherwise) at Westminster and there is no concept of “parliamentary privilege” in relation to the Scottish Parliament or its members in the sense understood at Westminster.”

  15. Must admit one of the reasons I supported the release was not merely that I want my state to be charitable but that I also have very strong doubts about his conviction. (And I still remain annoyed with the USA bullyboy tactics – we ha enough of that with George Bush)…

  16. @Alec

    “I still think it’s too early to run with Phillip JW’s analysis and talk of Labour at 22% at the GE. This must be seen as unlikely, given the probability of a somewhat improved economic climate”

    Have to agree with that. Labour are now at 26%. Improving house prices and economic conditions in general would not suggest any further fall in their support.

    It may well remain at 26% – as the public obviously want change.

    But it may also increase to, say, 29% or a little more in time for the GE. In which case we could get a hung parliament or small Conservative majority.

  17. All

    You need to have “Political Emotional Intelligence” to make long term poll predictions. I am afraid that apart from myself, I have little confidence that anyone commenting on this site has any !

  18. I take it that’s Greens on 5% for the region, right?

  19. two things come from this set of polls the first is, that the tories have come bac pritty well from the expensses story and labour have remained static throughout the last year, the tories in my eyes will continue to slowly move back towards the mid 40’s as time gose on and labour will most likely only lose another half point if that the lib dems maybe the main losers in all of this with there vote being taken by the tories in any case my own long term prediction based on the current changes since the last election is

    CON 43.4%

    LAB 24.1%

    LD 17.8%

    OTH 14.7%

    the equals a conservative majority of 170 seats and a swing of 11% from labour, any mp with a majority of less than 22.1% is in trouble, however a wise note that the prediction is favoring labour as we come nearer to an election as there vote is no longer falling but is now steady, a majority of 120 is more likely in the long term with the lib dems also falling more towards the end of this year.

  20. I now think although the tories will never admit it they must now prepare for Government,with 7 months to go before the GE is called it is now a done deal for me,the tories now need to think of the country,pressure labour to let the tories see the computers that have all the individual spending of departments,it is unforgivable that they are not allowed to plan now for the cuts that have to be made.

    What a shambles labour are,when the SUN attacks Brown of Afghanistan 48 hrs later he visits,is that what we have come to with this Government?

    Labours biggest problem is never before have they treated their sterotypical support or their actual support so bad,never!

    When will the sun come out in full support of DC,as it seems it is just a matter of time now,this will itself be the end of an era & as the two men who made New Labour Blair & Brown one gone one on his political deathbed,New Labour is being given its last rites.

  21. Peter –

    Just back from Glasgow now, all good (though I can’t resist mentioning an advert I saw up there encouraging people to follow the countryside code. It’s just the most Glasgow advert you can imagine, none of that “close gates, pick up litter and look after the countryside” malarky, no, no, no – in Glasgow you get a cartoon of a fierce looking, skinhead rabbit brandishing a big stick and saying “Gonnae no damage ma patch!” – here). On the more substantive question ;) , it’s up to clients to ask for extra cross-breaks.

    Borderer – it isn’t lack of will, it’s some technical problem I need to track down. Essentially, it should work just the same as the list of Plaid PPCs, except instead of only looking at Welsh seats, it would only look at Scottish ones. For some reason though, it buggers up :(

    Elagabalus – main polling graph seems to be working OK now, so probably an intermittent problem. I never managed to find if those figures were re-percentaged to exclude don’t knows or not, hence I didn’t put it in. I should probably just take it on face value and shove it in there.

    Alec – I was assuming that Borderer meant that Christine Grahame MSP was going to use parliamentary privilege (if it exists, and Stuart suggests it doesn’t) to give the actual name of the person she suspects, as opposed to the codename!

    Reg – it seems like a very unusual claim. Polling figures almost always suggest that Conservative voters are the more likely to vote, so suggests like this usually show the Tories doing better the higher turnout goes (not sure if that is really a sound conclusion to draw from it, but that’s the direction the figures normally point in). I expect MORI will put whatever findings the article was based on up on their website at some point and we can see for ourselves.

  22. One other issue & i think its a legit call,how many if any labour voters will not vote or not vote for Labour to destroy New Labour as new Labour was never for the core vote anyway & thats what we are down to 1 in 4 votes.

  23. @Jack – if you had doubts about his guilt (as I do), you perhaps shouldn’t support the release – as the appeal was withdrawn in order to fulfill the necessary conditions. Now we’ll never have a satisfactory resolution and he will forever be guilty in the eyes of the law. Worse, if he was innocent, the guilty are free to roam with no legal avenue for redress.

    @Rich – you’re last post is probably right. The relationship between the Murdoch press and Cameron will be interesting. The Tories have taken an unfriendly stance towards the BBC in many ways, and Murdoch’s view on this is clear. Most interesting was Cameron’s recent focus on Ofcom in his quango speech. Most commentators believe he embarrassed himself on this by showing a lack of understanding of what Ofcom does, (odd for an ex media man) but interestingly, Murdoch doesn’t like Ofcom either. I’m not confident that Cameron has learned the hard lessons from the last 25 years in UK politics and I suspect we will see some bad decisions made on the basis of suspect relationships between big business and the governing party.

    There are also other issues facing the Tories. Their recent progress towards dominance in local government is part of a classic march to national power, but now exposes a host of possible issues. With Tory councils now seeking to fast track planning applications if you can afford the extra fee, and withdraw other services deemed unnecessary, soon Labour will have some new targets to hit. I also think Alistair Darling’s line about the Tories ‘wallowing’ in the chance to cut services could well attract some support. The Tories are all but certain to win in 2010, but I’m not yet going to predict a landslide, or even a solid working majority.

  24. ALEC

    The problem all Labour people face is we are now pretty much at the same place in the polls as we were in Oct 2007.(cancelled GE)

    At that time we heard the same old mantra from Labour,only diffrence it was than almost 3 yrs to a GE,we have time to put it right was the call,that had more substance than now it has to be said with 8 months to go.

    Maybe the brand is broken & can’t be fixed with the people in charge of things i.e.Brown/Mandy.

    I really for the life of me can’t see any news coming about that will change it now.

  25. These are good results for the SNP

    In less than a week we have seen a swing back to the SNP

    I predict that we will see a further swing back to the SNP when the Al Megrahi story subsides

    Labour must be very worried that their support is dropping desite all the national coverage

  26. ALEC

    The Labour hope seems to be the economy improving will fix things in the polls.

    Before the recession the tories were 15-20 points ahead,Brown had numerous bounces during the CC,however the tories were always ahead in these polls when it came to handling the economy post recession even when Brown closed the gap to 1 point in DEC/JAN 2008 the tories were way ahead when it came to handling things after the recession.

    What not only you but others expecting better economic performance will result in the same jump in Labour’s vote forget.

    Not only does this fly in the face of all the polls,it also dosn’t bode well in history 1996 we had probably the best performing economy in the G7.

  27. The labour vote is next to nothing in England even if the economy improves the unemployment figure will rise for many months to come,This will be mainly in England as the Scottish ,Welsh, NI,economies rely on public sector jobs moved from England in the last 10 years.So the labour party will be wiped out in England apart from areas were there are large ethnic and traditional labour voters .The ld support will suffer when people realise if you vote liberal you will get labour in England people will come to see that as the ge comes closer

  28. @Rich – “Maybe the brand is broken & can’t be fixed with the people in charge of things”
    I think that’s a very apt summary of the position Labour is in. I feel you may have slightly misread my comments – I’m not predicting a great Labour rally. Frankly, 31% for them in a GE would have to be seen as a very poor performance, even if they could get to that level. All I’m saying is that, in my opinion, they are now probably at the bottom of their potential GE range and on balance, may recover slightly from this point. Whether is enough to prevent Cameron getting a 100 seat + majority I’m not so sure, but there is an outside chance his majority could be much less than this, but all in all, as you say, the polls have been pretty constant for a long time now.

  29. Can one or two of you take note::

    Please keep your comments to polls and polling.

    There are countless other (rather tedious) places where people can bicker endlessly and support one side or another.


  30. Due to the 2.3p per litre rise in fuel duty on Tuesday and the end of the Summer holiday period I’m expecting the next Yougov poll to show a drop of about 4 points in Labour’s support from their last poll.

    There is a good chance that their next poll will show Cons 43 Lab 24 Lib Dems 20.

  31. If you look back at 97/01/05 General Elections the only difference with now is OTHERS,they average about 10% in the GE’s above,they look to average about 12-14% now.

    The reason these parties have flourished:

    SNP-Blair & Iraq war
    UKIP-immigration & EU.

    1997-LAB 43% TORY30%

    2009-TORY 43% Labour if it were not for others would be expecting around 30% a reverse for the big 2 of 1997,

    If as i expect the LIB DEMS & Others manage around 32% of the vote at the next GE.

    So 68% for the big 2 to play for

    The tories get 41%-44%

    Even at the lower end of that scale Labour can only achieve 27% of the vote,at the higher end only 24%.

  32. @ PHILIP JW

    In a recent ( very downbeat ) piece for The Times, Ruth Lea reminded us of the tax increases currently in the pipeline.:-

    In addition to the 2.3p a litre you mention on 1st September, the stamp duty holiday on properties costing under £175,000 will finish by the end of the year and the standard VAT rate will return to 17.5 per cent in January 2010. A new 50 per cent income tax band comes into force in April next year.

    She also exampled how inadequate to the task of public sector finance balancing, other major tax rises would be -eg-Four percentage points on the basic income tax rate, from 20 to 24 per cent, could raise £20 billion. An increase in the standard rate of VAT from 17.5 to 20 per cent could yield almost £12 billion. that’s £32 billion maximum — a drop in the ocean compared with current annual deficits.

    There is a degree of irony in your suggestion that Labour’s pre-GE tax rises will reduce their polling support to the advantage of the Conservatives, whose post GE tightening will have to be of a different magnitude entirely.

    Cameron will have to think long and hard before putting major tax increases into a post GE victory fiscal tightening package.

  33. It will be worth waiting to see what effect, if any, news of growth in the economy has on the polls. I’ve already seen front page headlines referring to the sharp rise in house prices, and a batch of ‘it’s over’ headlines in October/November if official figures show the recession ending may have some impact. I only say may, but there are still some issues to play out.

  34. The Observer report on this poll also mentioned a sensitivity analysis with regard to turnout, which apparently gave a range from a hung parliament at 50% turnout to a Tory lead of 126 at 78%.

  35. No Populus poll in the Times since mid-July.This must be the biggest gap of any major polling company, any news, Anthony?

  36. I still think GB will not be leader at the next election he will be gone by the end of the year!

  37. ‘ALEC
    @Jack – if you had doubts about his guilt (as I do), you perhaps shouldn’t support the release – as the appeal was withdrawn in order to fulfill the necessary conditions. Now we’ll never have a satisfactory resolution and he will forever be guilty in the eyes of the law. Worse, if he was innocent, the guilty are free to roam with no legal avenue for redress.’

    But he’d be dead by the time it happened. Personally I too would take the ‘compassionate release’ if I was dying rather than staying in jail trying to prove I was innocent and not living long enough to do it. I’d happily allow others to prove my innocence over time after I was dead…

  38. The Labour Party will not get rid of Gordon as they have already changed leader once this parliament and to do so again would more than likely mean calling an immediate General Election. GB will want to stretch out being PM as long as possible so will put off calling one untill May next year.
    On another point, as a Conservative supporter i would love to say the election is in the bag given the sustained poll leads the Tories have had but there is still 8 months to go to the election and anything can happen. It should make for an interesting few months.

  39. It is too late for Labour to change leader. But we should seriously consider whether the Liberal Democrats, whose performance in the opinion polls has been similarly abysmal for some time now, would do better under somebody other than Nick Clegg (presumably Vince Cable). Like it or not (I don’t), leadership image is to a considerable extent about looks, and Nick Clegg cannot help that he has a babyface image rather like David Cameron’s, but not as effective.

  40. The real issue may not be is there a revovery,not how strong it is,the real issue is will it be a jobless recovery?

    For my part despite what certain politicians say,i believe the Public sector will have to shrink from 6m to around 5m,that at a time when private unemployemnt is still increasing.

    In my opinion with a smaller leaner Government we will be looking at a norm of 2.5m unemployment at least over the next decade.

    I also belivee due to this the BNP & UKIP will become much stronger,my call is for UKIP to perhaps win the next EU Elections if the issue is not addressed by the next tory Government.

  41. The Labour Party for some insane reason chose to put huge amounts of immigrants into Labour heartlands,this was a ridiculous decision from a moral standpoint & a political one.

    Northern English cities who feel hard done by sucessive Conservative Governments then got a labour Government who knew jobs were hard to come by in these regions in good times,they then foisted a huge immigrant wave of these regions.

    I hope i am wrong but with more generational jobless in these areas,the BNP looks more attractive to the teens,especially when mom and dad are jobless & they see immigrants in work.

    The BNP in 10 years time will be huge in the North of England & the West Midlands i fear.

  42. In my region the West Mids people of my age 30 are increasingly turning to the BNP,a city not far from me Stoke-on-Trent could conceivebaly have a BNP MP within two GE’s.

    To think we can brush this under the carpet & it will disappear is totally wrong-headed.

  43. Yesterday the Scottish Parliament condemed the Scottish Government’s handling of the Megrahi decision (

    With only one Labour exception, the vote was on party lines (Lab, Con, Lib against SNP + SGP).

    There was some fun on behalf of Labour as their motion clearly disagrees with the Prime Minister’s statements.

    Parliament also only disagreed with “given the mishandling of this process by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice”, which is a weasel word compromise to ensure the Liberals voted for the amendment – many Liberals agree with the substantive of the decision.

    Note that the vote was explicitly not a confidence vote – either in MacAskill or the government (because that would mean new election, which opposition doesn’t really want, and certainly not over this issue).

    Which is why I guess that (a) that’ll be the end of it as far as Scotland is concerned and (b) it will have no long-term effect on the SNP polls.

  44. Christian

    It won’t be the end of it.

    The anti-SNP Scotsman will keep the issue on life support. As new information comes out, Megrahi dies, and anniversaries happen the issue will be raised again and again. The Scotsman have it in for Kenny Macaskill possibly for the alcohol restrictions and he would have been wrong in their eyes whatever he had done.

    Whether it will do any significant damage either to the SNP or trade with America is less certain and whatever the immediate effect, it will decay over time.

    Would a lost confidence vote in the minister necessarily mean an election if a majority coalition could be found?

    Unsurprisingly (and not for the first time) the sole Labour MSP not voting on party lines was Malcolm Chisholm who is the only surviving Ex MP of the 5 from the Donald Dewar era.

  45. John,

    If the Scotsman keeping a non-issue on life support would have any effect, the Nats would below 10% a long time ago. And if Megrahi dies before the next Scottish elections Macaskill will be totally vindicated.

    A lost confidence vote would necessarily mean an election as no alternative majority coalition exists. If one existed, they could bring down the SNP government at any time.