Political Betting has the latest results from a new AngusReid poll. Their topline figures are CON 38%(-2), LAB 26%(nc), LDEM 19%(+1). As ever, Angus Reid show a lower level of Labour support than other companies (for my thoughts on why see here), but the narrowing gap between the Conservatives and Labour echoes that elsewhere.

Angus Reid have also produced some figures for groups of marginal seats – note that these are properly weighted seperately from the main poll, and not just cross-breaks. It was also a larger poll to ensure they were decent sized samples.

Amongst 150 Labour/Conservative marginals these figures showed a swing of 12% from Labour to the Conservatives, a lot higher than the swing recorded in the country as a whole. As far as I’m aware every poll of marginal seats in the last year or so has shown the Conservatives enjoying a larger swing in the marginals to varying degrees. I’m always slightly wary of the exact difference (and the extent we can draw meaning) but the pattern is at least strongly consistent across studies by all different pollsters.

Amongst Liberal Democrat held seats the shares of the vote, with changes from 2005, are CON 33%(+4), LAB 16%(-3), LDEM 39%(-7). Here I would urge more caution – I have severe reservations over marginal polls carried out in Lib Dem seats.

Essentially, I have rarely if ever seen such a poll that doesn’t report a big drop in Lib Dem support, even when subsequent elections don’t reflect that. Often they also show increases in Labour support even when the party is down. For example, in November 2004 Populus did some private polling for Michael Ashcroft in Lib Dem held seats being targetted by the Tories – they found the Lib Dem support down by 8 points. The following year the Lib Dem share of the vote in those seats remained static.

My guess is that this is because people do not factor in local candidates or tactical decisions when answering voting intention questions (or perhaps do not consider these things at all until an election is called). Naturally enough, these factors weigh the heaviest in Lib Dem constituencies.

In the PoliticsHome marginal seat polls in 2008 and 2009 I used very heavy prompting, and asked people two versions of the voting intention question to push people towards really considering how they would vote locally… and it massively increased Lib Dem support (and showed them holding their own against the Tories in some parts of the country). I’m not necessarily saying those were more accurate – it’s never been tested at an election and for all I know I could have overegged it – but I always take voting intentions in CON -vs- LDEM marginals with a great deal of salt.


126 Responses to “Angus Reid marginals data”

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  1. Even if we allow for Angus Reid overstating the Tory lead by about 4 points (I don’t think it’s the case, and I don’t want to re-open that debate, it’s just for the sake of argument), we still have a poll showing the Tories taking almost all the Labour seats on their top 200 target list if the marginals swing is correct.

  2. A Conservative rise of 4% in Lib Dem marginals is perfectly plausible. A 7% fall for the Lib Dems seems unlikely, in practice, and could be expected to be less than any fall in the Lib Dem vote share overall, IMHO, at least where an incumbent MP is standing. In all likelihood, a bit of the “Labour” vote would turn out to be a Lib Dem vote on the day.

  3. “I have rarely if ever not seen such a poll that doesn’t report a big drop in Lib Dem support,”

    er? I had to think about this for a bit – I guess you mean to say:

    “These type of polls almost always show a big drop in Lib Dem support”

  4. It all comes down to whether or not the Labour score is 26% or 32%. This makes a massive difference, and presumably if AR have used the same methods for the marginals work as the national poll their 12% Lab-Con swing would be equally at variance with the other pollsters. Having said that, even if the labour score was 6% higher in the marginals, presumably that would mean a swing of 9% – still plenty enough for a Cameron majority.

  5. AR agree with other polls on Tory vote quite well. Difficult to reconcile the lower Labour score even after reading Anthonys analysis. The narrowing lead is captured. The poll was done last week which just might account for the odd 1%. The election will tell or will it!

  6. What I want to know is whether the same thing is happening uniformally in all the marginals.

    It would be one thing if the same thing was happening in Copeland, Barrow, Workington and Carlisle but it’s hard to believe that the same thing is happening in Cumbria as is happening in Thurrock, Birmingham Edgbaston or Westminster North.

  7. Before too much jubilation starts up, this poll, like all the others shows a narrowing of the Tory lead.
    This is the lowest result for the Tories since AR started polling.
    My instinct tells me that one pollster so far from all the others just can’t be right, but either way, the trend seems to be maintained here.

  8. Whilst this comment will enrage certain people, this poll somewhat validates Andy Cookes research.

    I am not celebrating these results because the Conservatives are going backwards without doubt, however they will perhaps reduce some of the Labour “its in the bag” comments

  9. I have said time and again Labour will be destroyed in England.You can have polls that include Scotland then you have an increase in Labour support.I would like to see an English only poll then we will see the real outcome.

  10. @SUE MARSH
    I think my comment covers my feelings but Neil (1st comment ) takes a bit of wind out of your sails regarding likely outcomes Sue.

  11. Might this very large difference between the marginals and the overall picture be a sign of disgruntled Labour voters who would previously have abstained now making up their minds to vote because they fear a Tory government if they don’t?

    And if so, might it be that the swingback is concentrated in seats they already hold where, if memory serves, turnout was so very low last time, depressing their national share of the vote?

    It would make sense of the current narrative, but it would be disastrous for Labour if repeated on election night – piling up huge majorities in seats they already hold while losing all the marginals is a sure recipe for defeat, whatever the headline figures, as the Tories found in 2005.

  12. @ Anthony
    ‘Amongst Liberal Democrat held seats the shares of the vote, with changes from 2005, are CON 33%(+4), LAB 16%(-3), LDEM 39%(-7).’

    What definition of LIB-CON, Lib-held, marginals are AR using? Their 2005 figures show LD46, C29, Lab19. That’s an average LD lead of 17% over Con. Are there enough LD seats with 18%+ leads to produce an average 17%? Anyway, is >20%+ defined as ‘marginal’?

    Finally, why only Lib-held LIB-CON marginals? There are Con-helds too. And even ‘other-held’, eg Watford.

  13. Has AR had another marginal poll? If so, is there much of a change?

  14. “Wolf Macneill”

    Its not Lib Dem marginals. Its polling data from all lib dem held seats.

  15. Even if the sample size is 4000+, spread across a couple of hundred marginals, what kind of MoE is that per seat?

  16. Labour on 26%

    AR really are a joke

    If I were a Tory supporter I wouldnt open the champagne just yet

  17. Wolf MacNeill

    They are treating the LD held seats differently. This is a breakdown of all the seats that the LDs won in 2005 – it will include Orkney & Shetland!

    Still the silliness there of imagining that GB is a single political entity. <>

  18. With a 6% lead for the Tories my cork was just about sqeezing out. Then I saw this and it’s gone right back in again ;-(

  19. GB has had a tremendous amount of stick. If YouGov tonight and tomorrow shows no meaningful change then attacks on GB are no longer productive. It will be down to policy i hope

  20. Roland – we’ll see!!
    I shan’t revisit my prediction, just let it hang there in the ethos…
    I think it’s all getting terribly interesting.

  21. Incase you missed it Sue Marsh & anyone else who is new.

    Welcome

    Happy Polling :-)

  22. craig

    “I have said time and again Labour will be destroyed in England.You can have polls that include Scotland then you have an increase in Labour support.I would like to see an English only poll then we will see the real outcome.”

    I don’t think there will be anything unreal about an excess of more than 30 Scottish Labour MP’s over Conservative ones who will vote on English matters which do not affect their constituents including hospitals which will never treat them or their families and schools which their children will never attend.

    Would even the most optimistic Labour partisan on here predict a Labour majority of more than 30, maybe even 33?

  23. @AL J

    “With a 6% lead for the Tories my cork was just about sqeezing out. Then I saw this and it’s gone right back in again” ;-(

    Well Al you and I are on different sides but I respect your ability to see whats in front of you and accept it.

  24. What I want to know is whether the same thing is happening uniformally in all the marginals.

    It would be one thing if the same thing was happening in Copeland, Barrow, Workington and Carlisle but it’s hard to believe that the same thing is happening in Cumbria as is happening in Thurrock, Birmingham Edgbaston or Westminster North.

  25. If you look at lists of ‘marginal’ or ‘target’ seats on sites such as this you will find amongst them seats like Warwick and Leamington where Labour led by 13% in 2005 and requires at least a 6.5% swing: you’ll also find as you go past seat numbers 120 onwards the swing required is 8% and beyond, and contains Labour 2005 leads well into the upper teens and beyond.

    Why is this relevant- because other polling organisations (and methodologies) are likely to -at present – have marginal swings significantly less than the 12% or so indicated by AR.

    I’d like to see a poll of all 200 least safe seats (of all stripes- there are some current Tory seats targeted by the LD’s for example) and it be undertaken by the mainstream polling organisations.

    For a simple and important reason: if you anticipate a similar differential between AR and ‘the rest’ in their marginals data as exist in their national data than you could project- at best- an 8% perhaps 9% swing in these marginals (against their current national swing figures of 4.5 to 6%).

    That sort of swing in the marginals means an important proportion of those ‘Tory targets’ do not change hands and projects a hung parliament *with* marginal data not just on the uniform swing.

    Furthermore this all ignores the issue of TV- notoriously difficult to predict by polls as has consistently been shown over the years.

    If you plug in a 5% figure for tactical voting by Lab and LD voters against the Tories over at Electoral calculus it makes a large impact even with even a 9% National swing- let alone the current 4.5 – 5% swings nationally being reported in mainstream polls..

    The unknowable impact of TV plus the impact of the minor parties is the big question mark going into this election.

    But I’d like to see a mainstream organisation such as YG undertake a massive marginal poll.

  26. I find it amazing that polling shows the Tories getting 42% in Labour-held marginals compared with only 38% nationally. To get those figures must mean that the Tories are getting rather less than 38% on average in all the other seats, including Tory safe seats.

  27. Anthony,

    How many seats do the Tories gain with a 12% swing across the top 200 marginals?

  28. @OLD NAT
    “Still the silliness there of imagining that GB is a single political entity.”

    Good Heavens – you mean there is more than one of him?

  29. @David E. Jones

    “How many seats do the Tories gain with a 12% swing across the top 200 marginals?”

    All 200 of them plus about another 60…..yes that is exactly what I thought !!!!!

    Roll on mainstream poll of marginals- it will come but the AR philes can enjoy this while it lasts !

  30. I’d put absolutely no store on AR polls. I’m still amazed that they are included at all.

    True: they are either brilliant or else out by 4 or 5 points.

    Unfortunately I know which it is and why.

    The GE will show that their bizarre methodology was nothing but a publicity gamble.

    But, hey ho.. here they are again.

  31. I don’t know why this polling company is given credibility of publication here. They have now proven they are completely out of line of every other esatblished polling company in this country and have no history of polling in his country to back their weird methodology.

    In theory could begin a polling company tomorrow and get my finding published here?

  32. And here are the resuls of the CHRIS POLL
    Labour 89%
    LD 4%
    CON – 10%
    OTHER 7

  33. Nice maths there Roland!

  34. ROLAND HAINES

    He’s been cloned (remember Dolly the sheep was cloned here).

    We’re going to keep sending them down south till we get independence! :-)

  35. Worrying if true. But it’s AR, so I’m withholding judgement on that.

    What are the records on past marginals like? Have they got the swing right in previous elections? That’d be the key question.

    I’d also caution that this is a snapshot of the current situation. The campaign is underway to some extent, but canvassing is going to ramp up two or three times more between now and May. That’ll hit the marginal seats hardest and could affect the likely voter universe quite a lot. It won’t cancel out a 12% swing, but it could reduce it by a point or two, and that’ll save plenty of seats if attention is concentrated in the right places.

  36. @ AL J

    This poll may make the CONS more complacent than ever. Until it came out, all were saying the ‘Change from Brown to a nicer Chap’ strategy wasn’t working.

    This could make them plough on with it. Heseltine & Clark will be told to pipe down because all’s well.

  37. Chris,

    Assuming you complied with BPC regs I would assume so. An impeccable record from elsewhere would probably help too.

  38. Anthony has made a cautious comment, saying at least this is a proper poll, not a sub-set.

    In previous commentaries he has said that, historically, marginals do not swing by much more than the uniform.

    Maybe this will be a game changing election & history will no longer apply?

    But maybe not? (ROLAND, I’m not “in denial”, I’m merely mentioning a previous comment by AW).

  39. @AMBER
    Just look at the non triumphant message I have been sending Amber. Jokes aside, I promise you Cameron has been terrified about complacency ever since we started to get in front. Even to the point that, as long as he knows the marginal position is strong, he does’nt much mind ” Tories down to 7 point lead “. All this 20 points in front worried him, the message at the conference was”its not in the bag yet” You can see he was right to be worried, he aint got 20 points ONS now.

  40. @AMBER STAR

    “This poll may make the CONS more complacent than ever. Until it came out, all were saying the ‘Change from Brown to a nicer Chap’ strategy wasn’t working.”

    That would suit Labour just fine.

    It almost makes you wonder whether AR is actually a Labour false flag Black Op !!!

  41. Amber Thanks -there is always a silver lining. ;-)

    Roland -thanks for respecting my disappointment.

    Rob Sheffield – Your post has cheered me up -again -keep them coming ;-)

  42. Thank you Al-J
    Just for the record I flippin love elections.
    Is it genetic do you think?
    Or am I a little abnormal?

  43. @Derek Pierson – “I find it amazing that polling shows the Tories getting 42% in Labour-held marginals compared with only 38% nationally. To get those figures must mean that the Tories are getting rather less than 38% on average in all the other seats, including Tory safe seats.” You are forgetting all the safe Labour seats where the Tories get almost no votes – this is what would bring the average national figure down, without implying they are underperforming in their own safe seats.

    Had to laugh today. Teenage pregnancies fell last year (again!) continuing the fall since 2002. Hasn’t someone told those young girls our society is broken and they should be breeding like rabbits? Even funnier was hearing News International accuse the Culture, Media and Sport Commons Select Committee of ‘innuendo and exaggeration’!. Wow, they have a nerve, these media folk.

  44. @ROB SHEFFIELD
    Now you see I have thought about that and YOU GOV
    are Tory Blackwater Underground.

  45. Pretty wary of AR, but the general theme is the same as others.
    Looks like the pointing out of different marginal performance by conbots is still a very solid point for them, and could make all the difference.
    Be good to see fresh marginal data from someone else, pref who already did marginals so we can see if labs recovery is having much of an effect…but on the face of it good news for cons.

    Despite ARs results being…..dodgy, Ant’s the expert and he says they’re professional, wouldn’t recommend writing them off just because they say what ya don’t want to hear. I’d be a lot more confident in my lack of recommendation if they’re asking a ‘vote’ instead of ‘support’ question though.

  46. Sue Marsh

    **Just for the record I flippin love elections.
    Is it genetic do you think?
    Or am I a little abnormal?**

    I think we’re all a bit strange in a nice way ;-)

  47. Anthony, it’s sepArate.

  48. If we were to ignore the un-penetrable Con/Lab strongholds, taking the results of these as a foregone conclusion, and conduct an analysis purely based the marginal seats, based on last week’s poll for the marginals, a Con majority of between 140 and 150 seemed possible.

    I believe the polls are now showing the Tories at their bare “core” vote. If a reduction factor to the mean swing was to be applied which mirrors the slight reduction in general poll lead over the past few weeks, a majority of over 100, with 120 as an absolute ceiling is possible.

    Realistically I still predict a majority of between 10 and 50.

    Alledgedly some bookies are taking bets on Labour ousting the SNP at the next Hollyrood election. There are supposedly odds on GB becoming the next First Minister of Scotland, giving up his Kircaldy and Cowdanbath seat in the commons following a UK Election defeat and re-standing for Labour in Scotland at a later date – at least so I am told.

    Anybody in Scotland any the wiser???
    His popularity in Scotland absolutley amazes me.

  49. George Gardner

    Since the SNP and Labour are probably pretty close in Holyrood polling – and Scottish polls show huge disparities! – then, of course, Labour might win in 2011. The new regional list areas look like they will advantage Labour by a couple of seats.

    Re GB at Holyrood – probably wise to have said “allegedly”, but bookies will take money any day from people who want to make stupid bets!

  50. I’m wondering if what Neil said at the start of this thread is correct.

    Anthony, what we need is a poll of marginal polls so we can follow what is happening in the seats that make a difference and a projection based on that. I’m the guy who suggested you put poll of poll figures to one decimal place so no surprise there.

    Is there a reliable poll of marginal polls and a corresponding prediction you can point me towards?

    Can I also ask why, if the marginal question is the only important one, so many polls are national – if I were paying for the poll I’d want it to produce information which is useful

    Finally if Neil is correct why do the Tories look so rattled and why does Labour have such a bounce in its stride?

    I suppose someone might say it is the trend from the Conservatives to Labour but if Neil is correct this would have to continue for some time before it produced anything other than a Conservative victory.

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