Wednesday night polls

There are three new polls tonight. YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%(nc), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 19%(nc). Labour are up one point, but there is no significant change. Last week the Conservatives had a lead over Labour of about 4 points with YouGov, this week it seems to be consolidating around 6% or 7%.

Secondly we have a new poll from Angus Reid. They have topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 28%, LDEM 22%. I have not put changes since their last poll since Angus Reid seem to have made a significant change to their weighting, essentially using micro-geographical weighting. Most pollsters weight their sample by region – Angus Reid’s new weighting uses about 140 geographical units based on similar Parliamentary constituencies. Clearly this poll shows a smaller Conservative lead than their previous poll, but at present we can’t tell if that is due to a change in sentiment, or the change in weighting.

Finally there is a new Harris poll for the Metro. This has topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 19%(+2) – implying a significant drop in their strangely high figure for others. The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 29th – so most, but not all, of it was conducted after the Budget.

314 Responses to “Wednesday night polls”

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  1. @CRAIG U
    I would love to agree with you Craig and indeed do agree with your reasoning, but apart from the NI issue I dont believe the public care anymore. People are becoming sated with half truths, mispeaks, dodgy stats and downright lies. Frankly it is only disinterest and a certain tribal loyalty fuelled up by the media when they hav’nt got anything better to cover, that keeps this election thing going at all.

  2. Sorry my last post should have been at Edward

  3. James L,

    If the Tories want a majority, 38% will not be enough.

  4. Gordy can put the GE date off and save face quite comfortably.

    All he has to do is have a longer campaign

    it is the vacum which causes the speculation….

    remove the vacum and the date is unimportant…

    how long was major’s campaign?

    I can see Sue as different as our views are we are quite alike.
    Just as I say if Cameron cannot win this thing outright he is a loser. You say if Brown trips up on timing again he deserves to loose. There is much we agree about.

  6. Eoin,

    The combined Labour/Conservative share looks to be very much in long-term decline. A close contest may keep the combined share at 69%, but I don’t think it will boost it.

    It was a little disappointing to go to bed thinking we were 13% up with AR, and then to discover that it was 9%, although changes in weightings make it very hard to know if this is a decline in the lead, or not. OTOH, an average lead of 6-10% is not too bad for an Opposition, this close to an election. 10% with Harris is nice, too.

    My impression is that the gradual shift to Labour that was apparent from the start of the year to the end of February has now petered out, but, we’ll have to see what the campaign brings.

  7. “James L,

    If the Tories want a majority, 38% will not be enough.”

    If Labour poll 30% or less, it most likely will be.

  8. @ Mitz – whether 38 is enough for a Tory majority depends on the Labour share. Like I said, a Tory win depends on the lead (and the spread), not on some magic 40 figure.

  9. Sean,

    Not if you think UNS is anything like close to being accurate. Punch in 38-28-18-16 (ie lowest recent figures for Labour and LD) and Conservatives are short of a majority.

  10. @Rob: A agree that it’s too early to call a trend.

    Not at all convinced that Tories cant get to 40% – their polling over the last 36 days has been 37.7 +/- 1.3 so 40% is within 2 Std. Any anyway the electorate might make up its mind once the election is called.

    @Eoin: I know Brown will need to be “dragged kicking and screaming” if the polls are looking bad for him, but bottling the Election now would lead to a massacre. Look what happened when he bottled last time. And Labour has run out of money – they cannot afford two election campaigns.

  11. 1983 70%
    1987 73%
    1992 76%
    1997 74%
    2001 71%
    2005 68%

    @Sean, I would not be so sure…. note 1992…. is 2010 the new 1992??? The conservative share of the vote in 1992 dropped by less than 0.5%…

    Reference AR, their others are still a tad high, I think the tories could forsee a couple of that % coming back to them…

  12. I happen to agree with Mitz, there is no logic whatsoever to Labour polling sub 30%. The Conservative Party require 40% of the vote if they are to have a majority.

  13. Indeed Roland!!! Convergence.
    Plus my pet name for you is “Floyd” and I liked him too ;)

  14. Mitz

    **If the Tories want a majority, 38% will not be enough.**

    You’re probably right. If the Tories managed just 38% Labour would need to achieve the giddy heights of 27% & LD’s 21% to deny the Tories a majority -by just one seat -on UNS.

  15. Who voted Labour in 2005 – this is billion dollar question.
    Core vote and?….. (Let’s say core vote is 30% for Lab, though I’m being generous to the Cons there)
    Core vote won’t change.
    So, of the other few percent a proportion will probably not be voting Lab this time. I accept that a lot of swing voters will have swung to Call me Dave, the Heir to Blair
    BUT – How many Lab sympathisers will actually come BACK from 97 and 2001 and 2005 who want to keep the Tories out. Shy Labour. TV
    This is why I think the Labour vote will actually be largely unchanged on the day of reckoning.
    The VOTERS will have changed, but I’m not sure the overall % will.

  16. The labour vote could remained unchanged by albour could still lose office.

    Unpopular governments are often removed by new voters…

    1974’s two elections saw a combined Tory/Lab vote of 74-5%

    But when Thatcher removed Labour the combined share was 80%

    Labour tried to remove Major in 1992 with 3.6% extra share of the voter… but the Tory vote held up and labour failed….

    I forsee an almost identical re-run of 1992.

  17. Mitz
    There are a number of factors regarding a 10% Tory lead which were fully discused in the golden days of late 2009 when the Tories thought 10% was a poor lead. First, the marginal uplift, second, remove Scotland. This shows that national swing matters but it is not the be all and end all. I, as a non expert have read enough from people who do know, to realise that the Conservatives needing an 11% lead for a majority of 1, is a statistic beloved of Labour supporters. However it does not bare to much scrutiny.

  18. Anthony White – because you changed your name. WordPress holds back all new posters for manual moderation, and it identifies them by whether someone with an identical name and email address has posted before – if not, they are “new”.

  19. The Drumchapel & Anniesland by-election to replace ex-Cllr Purcell on GCC has been set for 6 May [see]. Could someone in Glasgow have set that date backing the odds or with insider knowledge, I wonder?

    FWIW, as only a single vacancy exists, it will effectively be counted by AV rather than STV. In the 2009 Drumchapel & Anniesland by-election it took five rounds for Lab to win through after receiving 48.44% of first preferences.

  20. Sue Marsh – Labour ‘core vote’ cannot be taken as any higher than the 23% – 24% that still said they would vote Labour at the worst of last years polls. Saying that 30% is Labours ‘core vote’ is not correct, as it would not be correct to say that Conservatives ‘core vote’ is 38%.

  21. I think Sue’s analysis is very difficult to challenge. Clearly Labour’s majority declined from 2001 to 2005, and there were some specific reasons why some of the electorate wanted to “punish” Labour in 2005, chief amongst them being the perceived lies leading us to war in Iraq. I agree that some swing voters might be won over by Cameron, but that equally some of those that went away through anger in 2005 will be back. 31-2% seems a perfectly feasible figure for Labour, in which case the Conservatives will need well over 40% for a majority.

  22. Eoin, you’d have to back as far as 1923 to find an election in which a party that led by 8% didn’t win an overall majority, and that was when the third party won 151 seats.

    Sue, polls indicate that Labour have lost a quarter to a third of the people who voted for them in 2005, but as they’re averaging c.30%, rather than 24-27%, it would seem that some previous non-voters are backing them. Labour’s problem is that these former non-voters are likely concentrated in their safe seats, where turnout was very low in 2001 and 2005.

  23. @Bill Roy/ Sue,

    Bill is proably right Sue, although that does not take away from your analysis. Even the Tory posters privately accept that Labour will get to minimum 30%.

    The occasion alone, if nothing else, will see to that.

  24. Eoin – Publicly and privately I do not think Labour will poll more than 29% of the votes on polling day, indeed I am of the opinion it could well be sub-28%.

  25. @Sean,

    If we say that 68% is the big two’s share and you think 8% is enough, then in effect you are forecasting a 38/30 requiremnt.

    The fist thing to point out is that labour won on 35% so of course it is possible.

    The most crucial aspect though is that the bulk of Tory voters can stand to live outside Tory areas.

    Britain has a segregation, which only looks tolerable because NI’s is worse. It is this dilemma which makes it so hard for the Tories.


  26. Surely the reason why the combined Lab/Con vote was so low in 2005 was because the LibDems successfully adopted Iraq, a very divisive issue.

    I see no obviously divisive issues this time round. Simply whether to cut this week, next week, last week or never. And whether to call cuts cuts, or efficiency savings.

    I’d expect Con/Lab combined vote to be higher.

  27. PS re the 2009 Drumchapel & Anniesland by-election:

    It was the exclusion of the Con’s 366 accumulated preferences wot won it for Lab, with 192 of them being not further transferable, 89 going to the L-Ds and 47 to the SNP, but just 38 to Lab were enough to tip them over the 2,668 quota at 2,689.

  28. @IBill Roy,

    In Easter week, St Paul, the road ot damascus and doubting thomas all spring to mind…..

    but if you dont feel the spirit, then you dont feel the spirit!

    Who knows, you may be right….

  29. FWIW, I think a lead of 38/30 would put the Conservatives on 315 – 335 seats – somewhere between just falling short and a small majority.

    WRT the Conservative vote, it’s not really the case that the Conservatives win big, but useless majorities (in 2005, 21 Labour MPs won 60%+, but no Conservative did). Their two big problems were the fact that their vote was more evenly distributed across the country than Labour’s, and that it was harder for them to win seats with vote shares for 35-40% than it was for Labour to do so, due to tactical voting against them.

    This time, I’d expect the degree of anti-Conservative tactical voting to be a less, and Labour’s vote distribution to be less helpful to them than before, as they lose a lot of people who voted for them in 2005, but partially offset by former non-voters.

  30. Oh dear-the “business leaders” don’t like accusations of having been “deceived” -levelled by Mandy, Byrne & AD.

    Bit a row brewing.

    Surely this isn’t what Labour need-unless they really are prepared to go down that ancient road:- Business vs Public Sector ; The Rich vs the Poor ; Toffs vs The Rest.

    I don’t see this as sensible at all-but Mandy never says things without thinking first ….usually.

  31. @Sean,

    It is where the 330 come from that causes the most difficult in that analysis.

    I know we disagree on the degree to which a north south divide but 97% of Tory Mps hold English seats…

    there are c.50 seats held by Libs and independants..

    Of the c.290 Labour Mps in England, you probably need 45% of them….
    Having viewed them on a constit by constit I cannot see it, for the life of me…

    On help form NI seats,

    The bad taste the Tory UU alliance is going to create within the DUP could even cost you their support at the 2010 parl…

    this morning a UU candidate was deselected for his homophobic views….

    Cameron’s views on Leviticus could cost him the PM’s position…. if the decision rested with the DUP.

  32. @Sean,

    a point of carification, my c.50 Lib is based on their Englsih seat share….

  33. A Conservative lead of 8% across Great Britain as a whole, would amount in all likelhihood to a lead of 11% across England and Wales, and a lead of 14% across England.

    14% would give them a landslide in terms of English seats. c.320 English seats (out of 533 in total) would be quite plausible, IMHO.

  34. Sigh. The Tories probably need a lead of 10% of more to be sure of a decent working majority but it’s the lead that matters, not whether it involves 40% or more. So why not just use the lead figure instead of wiffling on about magic 40%s?

    Personally I think the votes shares will be very close to 40-30 on the day though of course variations are possible and the UNS doesn’t and can’t tell us exactly how that might translate into seats won. Labour’s bedrock vote is usually considered to be about 30% but it’s perfectly feasible that Labour could rise a couple of points higher or sink a couple of points lower if their recent troubled performance continues and we see a return to the antipathy towards Brown and co that was apparent for much of last year. Given the succession of recent blunders, it not inconceivable that Labour’s recent small gains could just melt away again.

  35. @Sean,

    I’ll take a closer look at the English seats, will take me a while.

    My own hunch is that for that effect to have a hance it would require a higher English turnout…. especially in the North west and the West Midlands.

    This whole concept of having to rely on disparite Ulstermen and Lib Dems ect, to inherit the wonderous realm that is Britannia is for the dicky birds. If Gordon Brown wants to limp along in such a fashion for 6 mths or so good luck to him, but why should the Tories? If the British people cast sufficient votes for Labour to keep the Tories from an out right win so be it. Being open to the potential blackmail of Ulster Unionists or Liberals just to stay in office for an extra month is not good politics. It would probably suit Brown (hang on any way you can) but, I reiterate, why should Cameron?

  37. Very good question Roland. So what, in your view, would Cameron do in the event of having the most seats but not a majority?

  38. What does Mandelson really think will happen if he goes into attack against 20 highly respected business leaders talking about “peddling a deception”?

    I suspect the last thing Mandelson wants is for Brown to win the election – he wants him to lose in such a way that the Blairites get control of Labour back.

  39. I agree ROLAND.

    I think Cammo would rather watch Brown scratch around to stay in power by his finger nails-then watch him stew in his own juice as the crisis rages.

  40. Colin – “Bit a row brewing.”

    I think Lab had to challenge the business leaders. Not to do so would lend credibility to it and the Con NI cuts.

    I said on anothert thread that Lab must have expected the Cons to go for ‘reversing’ the NI increases, so I presume that they are ‘content’ to fight this GE on the economy and that voters will prefer ‘spend’ to ‘cuts’. Whether this works in practice, we’ll have to see.

  41. @Trevorsden 12.49 a.m.

    There have been a lot of poor figures in the last 2 months so the Q1 figures will be interesting and could be poor to average.

    No such luck – see

  42. @MITZ
    I think a lot would depend on the figures. Clearly 10 seats short is a different kettle of cod to 38 seats short. IMPO, 10 seats short, soldier on dare them to defeat us. 38 seats short let Brown, Vince the Sage et al get on with it.

  43. Roland,

    If the Conservatives fall short, , but have more seats than Labour and Lib Dems combined, it’s not realistic to expect Labour to hold on to office.

    Refusing to form a government would be a dereliction of duty, IMO.

  44. @ NBEALE
    “What does Mandelson really think will happen if he goes into attack against 20 highly respected business leaders talking about “peddling a deception”?”

    Well from the responses this morning it looks like-” if you expect us to get the public finances back on track , why increase the cost of employing our people?-and why not tackle government “profligacy ?

    …….if it escalates I can see the next response being-” and another thing-about that 3.5% growth you’re relying on …..”.

    This is a row Labour do not need.

  45. @Sean Fear: you overestimate the size of Scotland & Wales. Scotland is about 8% of the electorate and Wales a bit more than half that. Exclusion of Scotland normally adds up to 2% to the Tories’ share.

  46. @SEAN FEAR
    Of course Sean, but surely if the Conservatives have more than the LDs and Labour combined there shortfall will be very small. After all the only other players are the Nats and frankly my view is Scotland is another country.

  47. Colin – the growth figure is looking more likely to-day.

    The central issue remains – when do you make efficiency savings/ : As soon as you recognise them (v expensive what with redundancy and welfare) or when the economy is growing enough for new jobs to be found without the need for welfare support.

    It’s not big news that a company boss wants the former – many successful companies started making redundancies well before the recession started. They did so to protect their profit margins, and could do so without having a wider remit to govern the country as a whole. They don’t have to pay housing benefit and jobseekers allowance out of their turnover.

    They only had to think of their shareholders. Govt has to think of more stakeholders.

    I can’t see the Tories winning votes as a result of pointing to their natural supporters and saying “look, they support us”

  48. JASON

    “I actually think that a small majority would be the worst possible result for the Tories.”

    I think you are wrong !

    1. A party with so many new MPs is likely to be much more disciplined early in it’s life in Government.

    2. Few Tory Europhobes and hard-right unreformed Tories from the shires are standing this time.

    3. If the Tories win overall then the opposition especially Labour, with drastically less MPs, will be relatively much weaker than pre 1997.

    4. I am not up to date on the prospects for the Tory alliance in Northern Ireland but any seats they win there will be useful for voting purposes. Also I expect Sein Fein is likely to do better than in 1992 but may not vote in Parliament.

  49. I agree JohnTT – by far the most convincing Tory line at the moment is “we have all identified efficiency savings to be made (Lab £11bn; LD £15bn) so why not do it now?” IMHO adding NIC reduction (or not) into the mix has muddied the waters and made it more easy for Labour to argue back. The Tories should hammer away at the “efficiency savings now” aspect, and be more specific about the cuts they would make themselves if they want to win this particular argument.

  50. @JOHN TT
    I see your point John, BIG BUSINESS SUPPORTS TORIES SHOCK. However, if men of this calibre back the concept and affordability of Osbournes proposal, it takes a lot of sting out Labour rebuttals of its affordability.

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