Yesterday I said I hoped we would get some voting intention polls that would help us judge how the PBR had actually gone down. Today we have no fewer than 3 new voting intention polls, but are none the wiser as to what effect the PBR had on Labour support as they directly contradict each other!

BPIX in the Mail on Sunday has figures of CON 41%(-2), LAB 30%(+1), LDEM 17%(+1) (a narrowing of the Tory lead there – but the changes are from a BPIX poll way back in October, so we can’t ascribe it to a PBR effect – just in line with the general narrowing of the lead over the last couple of months)

YouGov in the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 40%(nc), LAB 31%(+4), LDEM 16%(-2). Changes are from YouGov’s poll just before the PBR, so taken alone that would suggest it has given Labour a boost.

However, ComRes in the Independent on Sunday has topline figures of CON 41%(+4), LAB 24%(-3), LDEM 21%(+1). Changes are from their poll at the very end of November. Taking their figures alone, the PBR would appear to have been disasterous for Labour.

The question I’m sure you’ll be asking is who is right? Has the PBR sent Labour craashing back into the low 20s, or pushed them back in the 30s? ComRes’s poll was conducted one day earlier than YouGov’s, but it’s not realistic to think there was such a huge shift in support between Thursday and Friday (especially since the press coverage at the time was hardly glowing for Labour). Overall the figures for Conservative support are very similar, the difference is all down to the division between Liberal Democrat and Labour support. YouGov do tend to show the lowest level of Lib Dem support, so that perhaps explains a little of the gap, but does nothing to explain the different direction of travel. I guess we are just going to have to wait for some more polling to see what the dominant trend is.


117 Responses to “Contrasting figures in Sunday’s polls”

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  1. Point of Information!

    – “… from what I can make out, the SNP has been rather faltering in polls over the last few weeks…”

    Err… you may not have seen this (although Anthony DID report it) but the most recent full voting intention survey, conducted in late November by Ipsos MORI, had the SNP in the lead on both Westminster and Holyrood voting intention:

    Scottish Public Opinion Monitor November 2009 (fieldwork: 19-23 Nov 2009; sample size = 1009)

    Westminster v.i.
    Con 15%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 12%, SNP 34%

    Holyrood v.i.
    Con 12%, Lab 32%, Lib Dem 12%, SNP 36%

  2. Fascinating website!
    But I have only seen one commentator seriously addressing the West Lothian question. On the assumption that SNP may make a few gains in Scotland at the expense of Labour, (and assuming all nationalist parties continue their policy of abstention on English matters) in reality DC requires 275 English seats to prevent GB (including his 35 or so Scottish Labour MP’s) from effecting any policy which effects England only. That means DC needs 86 English gains to give 275 seats and remove this government from power or a 5% swing. Equivalent to approx 36.5% in the polls. Given that the latest reports suggest 43% + in the English marginals, it will take a miracle (and a constitutional crisis!) for GB to remain PM.

  3. @Mark Johnson.

    I think that about Captchas the situation.

    (Sorry, it’s early yet)

  4. I think the election will be very sensitive to events week by week and be volatile – but the conservatives have had ‘the edge’ for a long time and this ‘edge’ may take them through any ‘wobbly’ moments. Jay Blanc’s graphs are interesting in that they point up in the ‘difference’ graph the slow decline of the conservative vote since the middle of the year.

  5. Mark Johnson ,you are way out with your comment both in its tone and accuracy.In simple terms if you look at national debt as a percentage of national income,the position of the UK is not as bad as the Tories make out. Greece,Ireland,Japan,Italy and the US and Spain are in a worse position.The UK position is close to Germany and France.The figures are available on page 22 of today’s Guardian.

  6. MJC-L,
    Save what you have typed – highlight and press ctrl C.
    Then if CAPTCHA does not work you can go back andf do Ctrl V to get back in the box.
    Apologies if you know this already not intending to sound patronising.

    Don’t agree with your assessment BTW.

    Debt Interest is the crucial factor and someone with more knowledge than I can advise what it was in 96 and is now as a %age of GDP.
    As others have demonstrated UK Gov’t debt is typically longer than anywhere else and will remain at lower IR for longer as a result.

    You do seem to overlook also that parlous state of Public Services bequeathed to Labour in ’97.

    Just as arguably the beneifts of a more flexible Labour market took years to manifest (I think mitigating the recession now) so will the better funded Education and Health service reaps dividends later on.
    There is a genuine argument around delivery, value for money and targets but the higher level of spending is irrefutable.

  7. @PETER CAIRNS
    Thanks for the explanation Peter, its about what I had thought.
    However, good to have it confirmed by one who knows.

  8. @ Mark Johnson-Chadderton-etc

    Shouldn’t you be reading the Comments Policy?

  9. I honestly don’t think that there’s much point in analysing these three polls in much detail. People in December seem to have other things on their minds. If last December’s figures had been consistent into January, we’d have had a general election last March.

  10. @DAVID IN OXFORD
    Look out for Peter Cairns, Old Nat, Stuart Dickson and John B Dick. These gentlemen will entertain you regarding Scottish politics. They make an interesting site the more so.

  11. , @JACK

    “So? Anyone who blames Labour for the problems also has to blame the Tories and the bizarre thinktanks like the Adam Smith Lot; after all there is no morality in business their aim is profit (one notes, for example, that Concentration Camps were businesses).”

    Gulags were not businesses, they were correction centres for an over powerful state which wished to control even an individuals thoughts. Is this a good system because its anti business ?

  12. The closer you look at the numbers, the more dire it gets for Labour. On the uniform swing, you have the Cons at 350 seats. But if the swing is slightly higher in the English marginals, (which has been confirmed in private polling for the Cons according to The Times a couple of weeks ago) Labour in England could be headed for the oblivion of less than 100 seats…..from 282! My view is that the firming up of the Labour vote which we are seeing is coming from their traditional strongholds where the the SNP and Plaid are set to inflict the deserved damage. The election is going to be decided in the 180 English marginals which will fall on a swing of less than 10% and at the moment I don’t see any reason for DC to be losing any sleep!

  13. David in Oxford –

    Unless they cough up some actual polling figures and tables to prove it, I’d always advise people to ignore what political parties *claim* their private polling shows.

  14. And even when they do reveal a private poll… Consider that you haven’t seen their other private polls, and can’t identify a trend or an error tendency in that poll. And remember that they will only ever release the polls that are good news for them.

  15. Re that ORB poll that Stuart mentioned earlier in this thread. Tables are now out.

    I wonder why the Tories chose not to publicise Scots views of Cameron?

    “Please tell me whether you have a very favourable, favourable, unfavourable or very unfavourable opinion of David Cameron?”

    Very favourable – 4% : Favourable – 48% : Unfavourable – 33% : Very unavourable – 15%.

    The other questions were as leading as one might have guessed.

  16. Stuart Dickson,

    The UK General Election next year is likely to result in either a Conservative or Labour government in Westminster. Regardless of how you intend to vote, which do you think would be best for Scotland, a Conservative government in Westminster, or a Labour Government?

    Conservative Government
    Labour Government
    Both the same (DO NOT READ OUT)
    Don’t know

    Do you feel that this question is somewhat loaded?

    Particularly since the third question should not be read out loud. I mean surely it would be better to not read out any of the answers and ask…

    The UK General Election next year is likely to result in either a Conservative or Labour government in Westminster. Regardless of how you intend to vote, which do you think would be best for Scotland?

    Ipsos Mori also seem to reduce the difference between Holyrood and Westminster voting intentions. The Conservatives seem stuck in their 2005 general election result. It would be interesting to see if their vote is becoming regionalised in the marginals as some suggest here.

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