There are three new polls tonight, and they all show a post-budget swing towards the Conservatives.

YouGov/Sun: CON 39%(+2), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 18%(-1)
ComRes/Independent: CON 37%(nc), LAB 30%(-2), LDEM 20%(+1)
Opinium/Express: CON 38%(+1), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 18%(+3)

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has a 7 point lead, up from 5 in their Sunday Times poll and equalling the highest they’ve had the Conservatives this month. ComRes show the Conservatives unchanged, but Labour dropping two since the end of last month. Opinium have a ten point Conservative lead.

The changes themself are not massive, but every poll since the budget has shown a trend back towards the Conservatives. There seems little doubt that the budget has shifted things back towards the Tories a bit. The question now is whether it lasts, or whether it is just a brief downwards blip for Labour that will pass as new events (like the Conservative tax announcement or whatever coverage tonight’s Chancellor’s debate gets) take over the political news agenda.

UPDATE: Lib Dem figure from Opinium corrected (you’ll have to wait till tonight for tonight for it to get corrected in the sidebar)


508 Responses to “YouGov, ComRes and Opinium show Tory lead growing”

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  1. We now have 82 polls in 2010 with precious little movement. 38/31/18

    Is there a game changer or are we trundling all the way to a hung parliament?

    for those trying to eek tory majorities out of a WMA 38/31 … your clutching at straws…….

  2. Mark – I rather hoped you’d know! I’ll delete it ;)

  3. IMHO, last week’s budget, far from being an exciting start to Labours campaign, has made it look at through Labour is out of ideas.

    At the same time, the Conservatives seem to be either showing their hand for the first time (or getting their act together). I also feel that many people may have underestimated Osborne, who may look like a kid, but based on his announcements today may actually be quite shrewd.

    Is this the start of a swing back to the Cons? Will be back in 40 30 20 territory before long?

  4. @Trevorsden

    Forgive my use of the word strange

    of course they dont no…

    they have just been for some time inextricably linked

  5. Anthony,

    On the matter of boundary changes, presumably the demographic shifts that favour Labour, and which are periodically corrected by the boundary commission (not that that is their specific remit!) are still going on, and will continue to have occurred since the boundary commission’s last report. Is there any way of estimating what impact this will have?

  6. Osborne didn’t embarrass himself – not by a long way. Once that is understood, the question of who delivered the best witticism doesn’t matter. Osborne scored respectably.

    More importantly, the Tories have found their line – perhaps courtesy of the BBC’s Stephanie Flanders: “If there is waste on a grand scale, why wait a year to cut it?”

    The real question is who Cable will take votes from? He projects fiscal responsibility so the harm may be to the Tories.

    A mugs game predicting how this will affect the polls short term, but I doubt if there will be a Labour boost.

  7. Mike. If you calculate the average lead by adding the last eight polls of those listed, the average is now 8 not 7. Is this how it is calculated?

  8. @ ROLAND

    I thought GO did well tonight. And regarding his little jibe at VC about not actually having to implement LD policy – well GO simply said what the rest of us were thinking.

    I’d say CON are 8% ahead following cumulative bad news on lobbying, budget & FGF down. Tories will depress the population into voting for them.

    Still, they’re beginning to play the hand they’ve been dealt – that must come as a relief to you.

  9. Andrew Myers,

    I doubt whether Brown would hold on, though Labour are expected to do better in the locals polls by virtue of having done badly last time. He could be tempted to hang on if the polls sit around 8%-10% lead as a last throw of the dice, hoping for a local poll bounce.

  10. @Statto,

    For the LibDems to hold most or all of their seats against the Tories, you would expect an overall vote share that would probably push the Labour share down significantly. Either way the Tories should gain a lot of seats if their vote is in the high 30s somewhere. Unless of course you are in the school of thought that believes this election will see an unprecedented amount of tactical voting. Perhaps the LibDems will score only 18% of the vote, but get those votes only in their own strongholds. I can’t see it myself.

  11. Is there any information anywhere about how all the various opinion pollsters carry out their research? Does it vary from poll to poll. If they are mainly telephone surveys, how are people selected?

    Has anyone on this site ever been asked about their voting intentions?

    I really don’t believe that the polls are really that instructive. It will be a battle mainly in the marginals which are part of the see-saw system.

    Lets hope for some tactical voting. I want to see coalition goverment and a referedum on PR.

  12. I’ll try again as I got no reaction. Others at 11, 14 and 18 respectively is way out of line if the polling was around the same time and it doesn’t really matter at whose cost or gain of the main parties. One must be well out and i would hazard (from all previous polls) that it must be Opinium. I base that on probability that we are talking 37 31 19 here at present. (WMA)
    That makes others on 13.

    Sound sensible?

  13. Neil A –

    I am of the school of thought that believes this election will see an unprecedented amount of tactical voting. :-)

  14. AMBER
    “I thought GO did well tonight”

    I know this was to Roland-hope you don’t ( both) mind me responding.

    Thank you-I agree.
    I thought AD looked nervous-but would call it a score draw on these two.

    Notwithstanding the audience reaction to VC, I cannot , alas ,say what I feel about his performance. ;-)

  15. “I think it depends how the public viewed tonight’s debate. If Osborne was perceived as worse than the polls may slide again, if him and Darling come out looking equal then this may continue.”

    Does anyone really think “the public” will have wasted any of their lives watching tonight’s debate? Only political hacks are interested in rubbish like that – three politicians answering questions with an audience of hand picked party faithful (for balance) from each party. Answers are predictable (yah booh, you’re talking rubbish but I’m not etc.), and the whole thing so stilted you will gain nothing from watching it. (Although watching Alastair Darling walking into the studios on the Channel 4 news was an eye opener – he has such short legs he walks funny).

    What will count is how the political media report the debates. BBC will slag off the Tories, Sky will slag off Labour, Channel 4 will talk up Vince Cable and slag off the Tories.

    Victory in the debates will not be measured by the performance of the 3 speakers, but by which media the public pay most attention to and how much they choose to report them.

  16. One observation: the best way to get a lib dem leaning voter to vote tactically for your party?

    Be nice to, and about, Vince.

  17. @ Statto

    By my calculations an extra 23 seats for the Tories would take them up to Norwich South.

    Edinburgh North is 46 seats up the list from the winning line (or a 92 seat majority assuming they win eveything below).

  18. @TREVORSDEN

    It’s probably 38 days until the election.
    You are right – no ‘groundswell of a move to put Gordon back in’.
    But the tory lead is only around the same as it was 38 days ago, so no groundswell of a move to put Dave in neither !
    Just a 2% drop in the tory vote, and a 2% rise in the labour vote will probably see them neck and neck in terms of seats, and almost certainly a Lab/ Lib govt.

  19. Eoin,

    As I’ve said before, I do feel Labour need to close the gap to around 2% – 3% consistently to get there. A Tory vote of 38% (and certainly 39%/40%) will do it if the marginals show a slightly greater swing than national. And there is that massive undecided liberal vote (which could of course go any which way).

    I just don’t see a hung parliament – if the tories remain ahead the very few voters who are undecided may just go with who they perceive will be the winner ie the party in the lead by 5% 6% or whatever.

  20. When can I find out when the extra 1% came from in the YG poll for the Tories?

    it is probably the most important event of the day.

  21. So as expected a swing back to the Tories post-budget. Albeit must smaller than swings in previous years.

    Now the question is all about the NI Tax Cut. Already being ripped to shreds by the likes of the IFS for banking efficiency savings which when announced by Darling last week were described by Osborne last week as “complete fiction”. Its going to be interesting to see if “tax cut” resonates, or if the flat contradictions in Osborne’s policies register.

    Not sure that the C4 debate tonight did either of them any favours. The format didn’t allow enough cross examination between the three of them.

    Personally I would be surprised if we didn’t see the polls start to narrow once again. I haven’t seen anything to change the trend of narrowing we have seen these last few months.

  22. It’s pretty much as I thought – the budget was fairly unpopular with the British public. No surprises really.

    I think the current polls are a bit better for the Conservatives than what I thought, if I’m being honest. I think it’s starting to look like a small Tory majority is a realistic – albeit far from certain, as yet – possibility. However, to stand a very good chance of securing a majority, the Tories would still need another 1.5-2% of the vote IMO (though, I accept that if they do much better in the marginals, this might not necessarily be the case).

    Relatively pleasing news for the Tories, but I still think the above results would probably result in a hung parliament.

  23. @Geriant.

    I could openly dedicate an entire post to my opinion on Alistair Darling, but I don’t and won’t.

    It is disappointing to witness a small minority Labour supporters launching all the toys out the pram when a poll tide turn is seen. A sensible, level head please.

  24. @Statto, Mike N, or David in France, if your about…….

    can you call a 38/31/19 for us please? how do you feel it works out?

  25. If Brown delays until June 3rd, surely that will be seen as just a desperate last act of clinging to power for a further 4 weeks? It could backfire on him as he’ll come across as not having the balls to come out and fight.

  26. Andrew Myers, yes Edinburgh North (7.75% swing) is before Norwich South (which would require 8.15% swing), and you may have counted more accurately than I.

    But you get my point, that a lot of swing!

    There are also a couple of other Scottish seats in that 120-150 bracket, which are unlikely to go blue.

  27. Newsnight’s Michael Crick just made George O the winner of tonight’s debate.

  28. Eoin, is noone else allowed to give a view?!

  29. BBC News very negative towards cons NI plans, ITV News also slightly negative (although not as harsh).

    Big news is that Blair (remember him) is planning to give big speach Tues attacking DC. Apparently they want to monitor reaction to it before/if he joins election campaign.

    I said weeks ago i could not un derstand Lab doing budget before election, i also think the NI plan by Cons could weaken their message.

    Politics eh, its a funny old game.

  30. R Huckle – look at the FAQs linked on the left hand side of the site for some details on the mechanics of polling.

    For phone polls, respondents are selected by randomly selecting numbers from the BT phone book, then randomising the last number so as to include people who are ex-directory (sudden thought, does using the BT database mean people in Hull are never polled?)

  31. @ Éoin

    Tory rise from 36 to 39 => 1.5 points off LD as the LD conference bump slipped away. 1.5 points off UKIP from ‘keep Labour out’ – it always happens after the polling gets very close.

    Labour dropped fractions of points to LD/ Greens/ SNP following the dull budget.

    That’s my quick round-up. I’m sure Anthony, or an amateur poll expert will set me straight if this isn’t the case.

  32. Well do I really need to publish the adjusted YG figures for taking into account the ‘likelihood to vote’?

    Well for those that are interested, and I know some will not be, applying the 5% reduction to the likelihood of Labour supporters compared to Conservative voters to actually turn out and vote the figures tonight are:

    C = 39.63%
    L = 30.89%
    LD = 18.29%

    Whether you accept the adjusted figures or not (which are done solely so as the varying pollsters can be more readily compared – YG {like AR} do not weight their polls on ‘likelihood to vote whereas all other major pollsters do) the talk of the last week seems to have died away. Some posters were even contemplating a small Labour majority, a lot more a hung parliament, now (at this moment) it would seem that the Conservatives are moving into majority territory again.

    I posted on another thread earlier that I am sure the Conservatives have two aims, the first to get to ~45% and the second to reduce Labour support to ~25%, earlier I said it looked like they were achieving both and these YG results reaffirm this.

    The predicted worst debate is over for the Conservatives now, the following three debates will have Labour putting their hopes in Brown!

  33. “@ ROLAND

    I thought GO did well tonight. And regarding his little jibe at VC about not actually having to implement LD policy – well GO simply said what the rest of us were thinking.

    I’d say CON are 8% ahead following cumulative bad news on lobbying, budget & FGF down. Tories will depress the population into voting for them.”

    I admire your honesty, Amber Star. I find your objectivity (and honesty) when analysing these polls refreshing.

  34. @DWIN
    “BBC News very negative towards cons NI plans, ITV News also slightly negative (although not as harsh).”

    Of course the BBC is very negative – the Beeb is completely biased in favour of Labour and against the Tories. After all the Tories are going to dice the BBC up if they get elected.

    I don’t think we are left with any media organisation that does not have its own political agenda any more.

    @ANTHONY WELLS
    “For phone polls, respondents are selected by randomly selecting numbers from the BT phone book, then randomising the last number so as to include people who are ex-directory (sudden thought, does using the BT database mean people in Hull are never polled?)”

    There will always be some ex-directory people who will tell pollsters where to go for calling an ex-dir number, so I would always expect these to under-record older Tories and UKIP members, and lower social grade Labour supporters. Unless anyone can tell me how they weight back up for the missing respondents.

  35. @Richard
    Can Brown schedule an election during the Spring Bank holiday week?

  36. Well it is looking now like there will be about 25 seats which are going to be absolutely critical. Maybe whether DC crosses the 325 line will be decided by say 3,000 votes? In a country of 60m.

    I guess that’s democracy though.

    What we really need is some more focussed polling on those key marginals. Why bother with the national picture now?

  37. Statto – I agree with you about the Tories’ problems winning LD seats and winning seats in Scotland, but I still think they may get a very big swing in places like the Midlands where there large numbers of marginal seats. If that happens they could win quite a healthy majority without the LD or Scottish seats.

  38. It doesn’t look terribly good for Labour, really. At a time when they need the polls to be closing they’re going the other way. It’s becoming harder to see how they can turn the situation around with just five weeks to go (unless Gordon goes for June which I would not now rule out).

    I don’t think either Osborne or Darling did a great deal tonight to influence voters either way. Darling is too nice to get stuck in. Osborne was no more than OK, but I expected better. Cable good but perhaps a little too avuncularly shambolic to be taken seriously in this day and age.

    Respect to Amber Star for telling it as it is.

  39. @Ken – “Newsnight’s Michael Crick just made George O the winner of tonight’s debate.”
    That’s a bit misleading. He said in relation to expectations some might think GO won as he wasn’t as bad as many expected. He actually said that in relation to audience reaction GO was last with St Vince first.

    The two key polling issues now are whether this post budget poll boost is just a transient reaction or the start of a new chapter, and whether the Tory NI plan gets any traction – in either direction.

    Digressing for a moment though, it is a strange election when the main parties are trying to hide from the huge issues [my top two are the serious choices needed on the deficit and the fact that in the lifetime of the next parliament there won’t be enough oil to meet global demand] while between them coming out with some really good ideas on some pretty unimportant stuff by comparison. Today labour announced good ideas for the Post Office bank accounts and fans ownership of football clubs. The Tories equally have come up with some intelligent and challenging thinking in other areas. But none of this will matter a jot unless they deal with the big ones. What an odd paradox.

  40. @ken
    **Newsnight’s Michael Crick just made George O the winner of tonight’s debate**

    Yes, but he also added it was because expectations of GO’s performance were so low.

    Just a thought – I wonder if the same will happen to Gordon Brown. He may outperform David!!!

  41. @Colin
    “Notwithstanding the audience reaction to VC, I cannot , alas ,say what I feel about his performance. ”

    Colin, please do say. I am intrigued.

  42. @Amber,

    Thank you very much. That is very useful information

    Have blue leaning voters within the libs got the jitters?
    I think we knew it was only a matter of time before UKIP voters got the jitters and returned home…

    its like th ekid who runs away from home andreturns before his mum even noticed he had left

    the labour vote is holding up well at 31-32%

    Somehow though I cannot see BNP voters coming back to Gordy…

    do BNP like scots, I dont know much about their politics? is ENP more appropriate?

    @Neil A,

    I am very sorry of course you can

    its just that these three guys know their stuff- I am hoping they’ll make me a small fortune ;) sorry again

  43. Richard,

    I agree that to defer the poll will be fatal for Labour. The election that never was will re-surface – Brown needs to be seen as single-minded and unwavering – the tv debates will be important.

    The polls are still close enough to give him an outside chance – the sooner the election the better for Labour I feel.

  44. I expect tonights debate to have little or no affect on the polls. The reason for this is that relatively few people will have watched it, and on top of that, there were no knock out blows. I found it fairly even. I did like the cross party comment by Darling in response to Osbourne saying he stole the stamp duty idea.

    Labour supporters must be worried though, as the gap is clearly widening again in all polls following what is being reported as a lacklustre budget. The same people on here who are saying this is all ok, are the ones who predicted level pegging after the budget.

    One thing I can say, that I strongly believe in, is that if Brown breaks with 300 years of history and calls the election after the end of the current parliament in late May or June, he will definately be out. It would just look like a desperate attempt for 4 more weeks.

  45. Please stop conspiracy theories on GE date.
    it will be May 6th…….Any delay would be political suicide.
    Jack Jones – accept your point, although i thought the BBC has been more balanced recently, and they have agreed (apparently ) to stop running Ashcroft story. BBC news tonight was imho brutal on the Cons.
    ITV (cons leaning) also critical.

    Finally if VC can be more honest because they will not win GE, why is it wrong for GO to be honest in telling him the LDs will not win.

  46. I doubt the GE will be put off until June 3rd – it’s just 3 days after a bank holiday and right in the middle of school half-term holidays for most.
    And some schools will also be on holiday the week before.

    Plus, do you remember the effect on the polls the last time GB put off an election ?

  47. @Alec……………..I concur, and I have made comments similar to yours on a previous thread. At the moment I am watching a rather depressing piece on Newsnight showing the huge problems faced by the old industrial areas in creating their future prosperity, harrowing.

  48. DAVOD:

    The election date could be any date till 3rd of June 2010 as long as it is not on a weekend and not on a public holiday.

    Convention is to hold it on a Thursday.

  49. @ PETERBELL

    I’m not Colin :-) but I thought VC’s performance was popular & populist – because he can afford to be. And it had the desired effect so he obviously knows what he’s doing in that respect.

    VC’s best moment – when he had the grace to admit that – while having a ‘bad’ feeling about the rise of personal debt – he had no idea of the extend of the contraction in global liquidity & that it would crash banks both large & small.

  50. “If Brown delays until June 3rd, surely that will be seen as just a desperate last act of clinging to power for a further 4 weeks? It could backfire on him as he’ll come across as not having the balls to come out and fight.”

    Indeed. Regardless of the fact that (as far as I’m aware) Brown hasn’t actually set a fixed date yet, the media and the public have almost decided it for him. More than a few times people/media have dropped using ‘if’ or other condifionals in reference to the 6th May.

    If he suddenly delays to June at this short notice I think it runs the very real risk of the whole dithering thing coming back and that was not good on the polls last time around.

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