New Harris/Metro poll

There is a new Harris poll in this morning’s Metro. The topline figures are CON 35%(-1), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 17%(-1). Others are up to 20%. Changes are from Harris’s previous poll and are well within the margin of error.

The Metro, for some unknown reason, have chosen to draw comparisons from the poll before that – perhaps because it makes it look more dramatic. They claim this poll shows support for the main parties being hit by the fuss over the fake lobbyist sting, which is rather tenuous given that the fieldwork was conducted between last Wednesday and this Monday (so two thirds was before the story broke) and that it doesn’t actually show any notable movement from the previous poll.

Anyway, I have also had a look at the tables for the poll, so have some more details of Harris’ method. Unlike most other UK pollsters, they do start out by asking people whether they are registered to vote and excluding the 4% who say no and 3% who are not sure. They also use a squeeze question on people who say they are undecided, and while they ask likelihood to vote using a verbal scale, I don’t think they actually filter or weight by it.

On weighting, Harris use age, gender, education, region and internet usage (obviously all users are online, but some people are more online than others – this is their way of controlling differences between “fast responders” and “slow responders”). Education is unusual, as is the absence of social class as a weighting variable. Finally Harris weight by their own “propensity scoring” – a figure they have calculated themselves to deal with the differences between people who join online panels and take surveys, and the majority of people who do not. It is based on attitudinal, behavoural and demographic characteristics and calculated by comparing the online sample to a representative face-to-face sample, and weighting as appropriate.

270 Responses to “New Harris/Metro poll”

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  1. MATT

    I agree.
    It’s a very tough call for any leader of the opposition.

    Yes he brought out the key things which AD/GB didn’t mention .

    But I do think he gets too animated, and then speeds up too much.

    I am glad to see his displays of anger recently ( Generals are Tories at PMQs & Labour leaflet lies at Press Conference)-but if his general delivery was more controlled, these moments of passion & feeling would stand out more.

  2. “@Matt,

    A fairly put, your points are becomming steadily better put and steadily less partisan…”

    Thanks. Despite my political views, I always strive, at least, to interpret the polls in a realistic manner (i.e. I don’t believe, as things stand, either party will obtain a majority). However, I admit I can be a bit biased sometimes when it comes to talking about specific policies.

    Ironically, I, and my family (i.e. parents), have always been very low earners, so I guess I’m not what people would class as a typical Tory. I don’t think I am even a Tory – I have merely become disillusioned with Labour because I don’t believe they help families like us (j.e. childless, working class (employed)).

  3. @Matt,

    That is centre ground politics for you.

    You take your core vote for granted and do nothing for them, instead you compete for the fence sitters in the middle who are that whimsical they vote for personality not policies

  4. @ EOIN

    RE: Cameron’s symptoms – one might think he’s had too much Caffeine or similar.

    Also, I do think Sam being pregnant will be occupying his thoughts. His ‘family man’ image seems genuine. He’ll be worried in case something goes wrong, not looking forward to moving home, missing time with the new baby etc – if his bid to become PM is successful it will put a big crimp in their personal life.

    I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes, despite his wealth & connections.

  5. Darling did well. Measured, authoritative, and even with a smidgeon of humour. However, I thought Cameron’s response came across quite forcefully and effectively. One all, and no real change to the polls.

    Clegg had some good things to say, but most people will wonder why he was reading them like a script that was handed to him, rather than in the manner of someone who passionately believed in what he was saying. Missed opportunity for him.

  6. I wonder what life was like in a Warsaw Pact country where every one was a communist. My take on Camerons response was completely different to the Labour / Anti Tory group on here.
    I thought he was funny but made plenty of telling points. Darling has all the personality of a dead haggis and Brown makes PMQ totally pointless. The only answer he has to any question put by the leader of the opposition is Lord Ashcroft. It is about time the Labour stooge who passes as speaker instructed Brown to answer questions with yes or no.

  7. @Amber,

    I could not agree more. I am not sure that “niceness” has the necessary endurance for a gruelling campaign…

    I think the stamina (or perhap workaholic tendancies) of Brown are an anethema to Cameron. And if fairness to him, why shouldnt they be… he does have a young family etc..

    I think we are starting to see the healtg effects of a long campaign..

    a fit and healthy cameron would have walked the gay interview…

  8. “@Matt,

    That is centre ground politics for you.

    You take your core vote for granted and do nothing for them, instead you compete for the fence sitters in the middle who are that whimsical they vote for personality not policies”

    Very true.

  9. @ Roland,

    One might deduce from your tempetuousness that you are not enamoured with the sliding polls.

    Do you think Cameron’s delivery connected well with uncedided voters? Afterall, thatmust be the modus operandi of everything he does and says between now and May 6?

  10. @Eoin
    Enough with the health smears! Are you working for Damian Mabride or something!? That comment was extremly partisan and dose nothing to contribute to the discussion of polls at all.

    We will have to wait and see what the polls will say about the Budget. I personally think it was too timid and and didn’t go far enough.

  11. Amber
    I agree but they don’t see it that way – they see No 10 and the history books as a paradise to be gained. We who retain our senses see it as a prison and as a life (lives) lost. The 24 hour nature of it (self-imposed) is the worst.

    Lord Salisbury used to dive out the back door 5 to 6 ish to a coach that whisked him off to Kings Cross. He was home for dinner outside Hatfield just like any other commuter before 8.

  12. I was impressed by Cammo’s response, clever and well presented, impeccable timing as ever, Prime Minister in waiting, methinks.
    I don’t kid myself that others, all equally subjective,and wrong, of course, won’t disagree.
    Still plenty of time for surprises…… :-)

  13. @Kyle,


    Cameron is alikeable guy.. I think it is good that he has a better grasp of the worklife balance..

    It is not partisan to speculate that a long campaign might be hard for a relatively young inexperienced campaigner…. if you rememebr the US camapign.. Obama took up smoking half way through it because he found it tough going..

    there is absolutely nothing wrong with that comment…

  14. BillRoy:

    I was wondering if you were related to KillRoy [wottever happened to him?] but was charmed by your grovelling apology. Thankyou on behalf of those who, like me, are completely dispassionate in our own observations. [please add your own lols – I refuse to participate.]

    I agree with an earlier post that Nick Clegg’s words were [sadly] better than his performance. It is a difficult line of course; Cameron was passionate but, again as someone else remarked, the passion seemed borne of “where’s it all going wrong for us Toffs?” frustration to me. [I write that dispassionately of course.]

    Are there any phsycologists/phsyciatrists [never know which is right] who can explain why at times Brown is absolutely on top of his brief and comes across as very sincere and commanding but, at others, lapses into what sounds like mannered, almost deliberate, stuttering/word repetition, when there seems no raison d’etre [that’s French] ?? For example “Mr. Mr Mr. Mr Mr. Speaker…” I’m sure something is signified by it and would love to know what it is. Any dispassionate suggestions?

  15. Ken
    With respect you will be one of perhaps 250,000 who did listen to all that. I’ll bet they were nearly all decided voters. It’s the sound bites they are now playing and will play for the next 24 hours (if David Beckham does not divorce Posh or something) that will have an effect.

    Some here opined that the best course for AD was to send us to sleep. He certainly would have achieved that but they will only play his Ashcroft (and don’t forget Zak) jibe so he will be happy with that.

  16. @EOIN CLARKE…………….On health issues, I think that Cammo has a slight advantage over Broon in that he doesn’t have the distraction of fighting his own side as well. :-)

  17. @Paul Croft,

    Clegg does not have a dispatch box- they all read… also the poor guy rallied for his punch line since that is the only bit shown

    Reference Cameron: when does passion becoem bluster?

    Brown’s stuttering lol (i like lols) maybe when its a question he likes it flows better….. a bit like my son’s hearing….

    Tempestuousness is how you spell it and I am not like a tempest myself. Yes, I think Cameron should attack Labour by day, night and twice in the afternoons for as long as it takes. When said and done there is no shortage of ammo. As for undecided voters, perhaps they need reminding of some of the things which Brown and Labour are responsible for, other than the usual propaganda of course. The tightning of the polls still does not cause me distress because I do not react to a % point here and there on ONS. There are still quite a lot of things to cheer a Tory above and beyond a 2% rise in You Gov or whatever.

  19. @Ken,

    gordy’s enemies are toothless, most of them were on the take and are now discredited either with glam photoshoots (Flint) retriement (Purnell) or potential indictment (Byers et al)

    There is only bananaman left and I think by Gordy has the measure of him…

  20. @roland,

    I defer to your spelling, I am dippin gin and out of basque texts at the minute so i dont think could spell my own name…

    If Cameron made this campaign more about his team, and not just him he’d be fine…

    wheel out David Davis- he is very impressive
    William Hague is affable
    Where is Michael Howard the core vote will like him?
    I even think John Major would play well…

    he should not take it all on himself..

  21. Who’s bananaman? I like to appear knowledgeable on here but I ‘ve forgotten this one.

  22. It’s too early to judge the impact of the Budget & associated histrionics. The departmental budgets put out later plus the analysis & reports in the media will take time to be digested.

    Personally I thought Cameron overdid the “anger” bit, though I suspect he’s been told to be more passionate, but I doubt that will register with the voters.

  23. @HOWARD…………..Thanks for the respect. I watched the budget in our office, along with over 150 others, mostly blue it has to be said, but I take your point, we live in a culture of sound bites. Whether this budget will resonate with the public remains to be seen, our collective view was that it had nothing memorable for swing voters, we’ll see. :-)

  24. @Howard,

    I am just impressed with myself for spelling it correctly… :) :) :)

    David Miliband…… I think he is an affable guy with some good values but come on the banana?

    If the Tory leadership thought you know as much as you think you know, I am sure the wheels would be in motion straight the way. In the intrim we will just have to muddle along.

  26. Cameron was decisive, firm and controlled in his response, I must admitt I was quite impressed.

    There were no real “sweetners” to write home about today really, however I believe Darling will come under fire for failing to properly and fully detail his plans for deficit reduction. Many believe that a continuation of Labour will allow our national debt to spiral out of control.

    I keenly await Alex Salmond’s response, Darling and Labour (as per usual) have done little for Scotland.

    As for the polls, I don’t think today’s event will alter much.

  27. @Well I now know how to spell tempestuousness thanks to you :) (ps.. I will not correct your spelling- the educationalist in me would not approve)

  28. Roland: If you’re going to do spelling corrections then “tightening” is how you spell it………………..

  29. @EOIN………………..Gordy’s enemies are the Unions and their representatives in the House. :-)

  30. @Ken,

    Very good point….

    I dont think the anger is put on Derek. Asking someone questions and getting Lord Ashcroft as an answer and, as a supplementry “you were wrong about this, you were wrong about that, you were wrong about the other, for the 30,000th time, but never a proper answer, would make anyone angry.

  32. According to that bellweather of UK politics, Absolute Radio, absolutely no-one interviewed thought the budget made the slightest bit of difference.

    Paul Croft – I believe you used double question marks there, steady now.

  33. There really are some very silly people on this site. This is a good poll for the Tories. I use good in its relativistic Einsteinian sense. Even using the UNS this shows the Tories by far the largest party and Labour and Lib Dems even together are still below a majority of seats. Going by memory the poll shows most of the others to be UKIP/BNP/Green with figures respectively of 6/4/3. if you assume half these Others will break back to the main parties, as I am sure they will, the biggest number will go to the Tories and this poll indicates an election now would produce figures of 39/30/18 (Tories gain 4, Labour gain 2, Libs gain 1).
    However the other polls today are not good for the Tories. YouGov still below everyone else.

  34. I was not impressed by David Cameron’s response, far too much anger and not enough thoughtful statesmanlike commentary. After the very competent performance by Darling I doubt whether the polls will move against Labour.

  35. @Marco,

    Could you give us what you see as a realistic position in the polls please?

  36. Sue: “Double question marks.”

    I was practising my stutter.

  37. Just off home, we drop into Smollenskys Canary Wharf on the the way out, quick cider and fag outside then into the 4×4 , thanks AD. :-)

  38. @Lin,

    Today went agaisnt all my expectations. Your right to say Darling was very competent… if Labour come through the post budget polls in touch then there will still be everything to play for…

    I am now querying if an outright labour majority is possible… It cannot be dismissed lightly

  39. @ HOWARD

    “Who’s bananaman? ”
    Milliband D-the last of the “blairites”-EOIN has been ticking them off for “Gordy”.

    UNITE are doing something similar-for UNITE.

    “The departmental budgets put out later plus the analysis & reports in the media will take time to be digested.”

    Sorry to disappoint you Derek-there isn’t going to be one. GB insisted-it will be in the Autumn after we have all voted.
    The reason?-because of the current “uncertainty”

    As Robert Chote of IFS just explained on SKY-the Budget contains the “envelope” of spending for the next five years-but NO departmental detail-so you can’t work out where the cuts will hit.You don’t even know what the forecast Debt Interest is-which is interesting (!)…The Budget indicates that Borrowing will increase from £800bn to £1400bn over 5 years, Gilt rates have been nudging up-they are a touch under 4%. If interest rates and/or gilt servicing costs rise…..well do your own figures.Debt interest could become the third biggest “spending department” by some forecasts.
    Oh-and of course the whole thing depends on growth from 5/4/2011 being 3.25% pa. If it’s not the whole thing goes down the toilet.

    So -no Departmental Spending Plans before you vote I’m afraid.

  40. I would have classed today as a missed opportunity for Darling- absolutley no sweetners whatsoever (??).

    A rise in alcohol, tobacco and fuel will be as welcome a mass of excrement in the pool of a 5 star hotel. No matter who is in power, Joe Average Public will consider the aspects I have detailed above.

    Cameron was in touch and demonstrated he has no fear in expressing his dis-enchantment when he simply does not believe in something, demonstrated today with Darling’s budget. Can’t see any change in the post budget polls, all down to debates, policies and manifestos now. The slating by the LibDems regarding ADs failure to fully outline deficit reduction methods was interesting.

  41. @ ROLAND
    “Asking someone questions and getting Lord Ashcroft as an answer ”

    Don’t know if you’ve seen the Guardian on this ROLAND.

    All smoke & mirrors apparently-they won’t find anything about Ashcroft worth having.

    Pure theatre I think-kept the troops behind him happy-nothing to do with the Budget though.

    Asked by a journo., how much tax do you forecast getting in from the Belize arrangement-answer was none!

  42. @GEORGE GARDNER……….Your 5* hotel pool allusion…………………..I’m having my tea ! :-)

  43. If there is a Labour majority, I would eat my Cat.

  44. Thank goodness posters are telling me how Sky News are reporting the budget. After all I wouldn’t be watching would I?

  45. Is it a small cat Kyle?

  46. Yes,Colin

  47. You said you were listening to Absolute Radio Sue.

    It wa good of you to tell us how they felt-I would certainly have missed it.

    Just thought I would return the complement. ;-)

  48. @ COLIN

    So -no Departmental Spending Plans before you vote I’m afraid.
    Andrew Sparrow in the Guardian had lots of the detail on the departmental spending reductions in his article. Do you think Andrew just made it up?

  49. Opinium -4%
    ICM -3%
    YG -3%
    Harris -2%

    For those interested, this is the trend of the Tory lead……

    Can anyone tell me when we can expect a Angus Reid poll

  50. I see how my earlier post might have looked. I apologize.

    Very diverging perceptions of Cameron’s response.

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