YouGov’s poll in the Sun today has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 31%, LDEM 18%, so little change in the Conservative lead as we head towards the election.

This poll has a significant methodological change, albeit one which has made hardly any difference to the topline figures. Unlike nearly all of the other pollsters YouGov do not normally take into account likelihood to vote in their topline figures – based I believe on the theory that away from elections polls are snapshots, rather than predictions.

In 2005 in YouGov’s final pre-election poll they did factor in likelihood to vote, which decreased the Labour lead slightly and made YouGov’s final prediction more accurate. At this election YouGov have decided to factor it in from the start of the campaign, so on the assumption that Brown will call the election tomorrow, they are now in election mode and the figures are weighted by likelihood to vote in the same way that Populus do.

This actually makes very little difference to the figures. Without weighting by likelihood to vote the figures would have been CON 40%(+1), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2), so all the likelihood weighting did was push up the Conservatives by one point (which, I should add is pretty typical of the testing we’ve done over the last month. It’s never made more than 1 point difference).

Methodological discussion aside, YouGov’s poll shows Labour rising at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, though obviously the lead has a rather greater contrast! Given the normal doubts about polls over bank holidays, I think the chances are that YouGov or ICM have got a strange bank holiday sample (Opinium don’t have any political weighting, so are likely to be a bit erratic anyway).

With recent polls coming together somewhat around a Conservative lead of around 10 points or just below, it’s probably better to be sceptical of the ICM poll until and unless other pollsters show a similar narrowing of the lead. I expect we’ll have no shortage of polling over the next few days to enlighten us.

528 Responses to “YouGov show 10 point Conservative lead”

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  1. Seems overall the Conservatives are maintaining the momentum gained from NI, though there will be variations in the polls and there could still be some jumping about in the weeks to come. Think myself though the Tories are unlikely to gain over 40%. Disappointing figures for Lib Dems in some polls, but they will have more publicity again soon. ICM usually show lower labour scores, so a bit strange that it’s the only recent poll giving the Government some confidence as on their shares Labour would likely have more seats. Fieldwork for the two ICM polls were actually very close.

  2. Someone said they want small tory majority then hung for voting reform? The only way to get voting reform is to get hung parliament first time round. Tories will never go for it if there is a hun parliament.

  3. @O richard,

    not very impartial

  4. Hmm. ICM at +4 and Opinium & YG at +10? Ok this may be rogue but you wouldn’t expect it at this stage. A cynic would say that its in these companies interest to play around with methodology to produce variant results on optimistic view that result is unpredictable and its hard to demonstrate your value / professionalism distinct from other pollsters if you’re all saying the same thing. Momentum has to be with the Tories now – its just a question of whether it will swing back or not. I still say 30 majority Conservatives – unchanged from my Dec 09 prediction.

  5. Eoin Clarke
    @O richard,

    not very impartial

    I don’t know what you are talking about?! Can you explain?

  6. Simon

    Blind faith is a wonderful thing!

    Given that we have no recent accurate Scottish polling, what is your evidence that the Tories gain from SNP?

    Yes, I know, those of us who want an evidential basis for a partisan assertion are so boring! :-)

  7. sorry I meant tories won’t go for voting reformif they get a majority

  8. In terms of gaining a UK majority, Scotland’s seats are not crucial. I am not sure it makes sense to salami slice off Scotland from GB wide polls, though, as there are several marginal seats there that the Tories should take on UNS, and almost certainly won’t in reality. So the Scots portion of the national polls has an effect (by counteracting slightly – by two or three seats – gains in England that might be indicated in an England-only opinion poll).

  9. BBC News made an interesting point just now (well I thought so), that this election will be fought even more in the public eye than before because “everyone is now a reporter”.

    With mobile phones that can record off-the-record conversations and take pictures, the dumb things that our politicians may say or do can be circulated to the masses via Twitter and YouTube and perhaps influence what the media and polls pick up on, much more readily than before ?

  10. G-20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors April 23 Washington DC

  11. @ Al J
    ‘@Tom Curtis
    **People on benefits shouldn’t be allowed to vote. That would keep Labour out for good**
    So you obviously don’t believe in democracy -what are you doing on a polling site then?’

    That doesn’t follow at all. All democracies restrict those who can vote. Currently in our system it is under 18s, and i believe lunatics, criminals and Lords though this may have changed recently.

    I happen to believe that only taxpayers should be allowed to vote. This does not mean just income tax, it could be those who pay capital gains tax or corporation etc.

  12. @Richard O:

    “Can somebody explain to me what happens in terms of Whitehall support etc when an election is called. I read somewhere that somebody said Mr Brown loses certain powers/privileges.

    Does the incumbent Govt lose certain powers?, not withstanding it is still in charge and would need to be in the event of emergencies etc”

    Until the prime minister resigns or there’s a vote of no confidence the existing government remains the government.

    Recently the civil service issue a guide to normal procedure in the event of a hung parliament. The Government continues to act in that capacity in a care taker role till matters are settled. But it “can’t” make any major decisions that would bind its successors…obvious ones being signing treaties or declaring war. Having no written constituion though this is just a statement of an obvious convention, not a legal declaration with consequences for those who break it.

  13. Tom Curtis – I suspect you are on the windup!

    If not does that mean OAPs and the sick should not be allowed to vote? Afterall alot of them are on benefits.

    However, I do suspect you are trolling!

  14. @PeteB

    **I happen to believe that only taxpayers should be allowed to vote. This does not mean just income tax, it could be those who pay capital gains tax or corporation **

    Well it’s not going to happen –so you can think what you want.

  15. “I happen to believe that only taxpayers should be allowed to vote. This does not mean just income tax, it could be those who pay capital gains tax or corporation etc.”

    Oh good. So that would also include VAT. Meaning anyone who has ever bought anything at any time.

    Prisoners, children and the queen will be grateful for the new rights your scheme affords them.

  16. @ Pete B
    @ Al J
    ‘@Tom Curtis

    With the ridiculous amount of political correctness about at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if fruit trees could vote.

    Seriously though Tom, in terms of your comments, that’s not really what a progressive deomcracy is about.

    If it makes you feel better, you might find that the group you are talking about have a lower propensity to vote. This is anecodotal before anybody jumps on me!

  17. Gattino LOL ;-) ;-)

  18. Neil A

    “In terms of gaining a UK majority, Scotland’s seats are not crucial.”

    There is a logical inconsistency in your post.

    If “Scotland’s seats are not crucial”, then there is an implicit assumption that Scotland is somehow different from England in deciding the composition of the English/UK Parliament. Otherwise you would have said the same of any other “region” or seat in the UK.

    You seem to accept that UNS is now a redundant concept, but somehow feel that aggregating different political systems somehow overcomes that.

    Polling is wholly pointless unless it is indicative of an underlying reality. There are several underlying realities in the political patterns within the UK. If you want to imagine that combining these instead of aggregating them is the most sensible approach then I say the same to you as I said to Simon –

    “Blind faith is a wonderful thing!”

  19. @Tom Cutis, abit of a unfair comment even by my past coments, if you are in work or not you have the right to vote what ever party you wish to vote.

    A bit confusing the polls tonight we wil have to see what the pollsters are saying mid week once the pm anounces the election, i think we will get better story of voting intentions by then.

  20. Pete B

    What about those that pay VAT?

  21. @Richard O

    I would be grateful if you wouldn’t lump me in with the other two – I never said anything about wanting to restrict people from voting and taking away their voting rights.

    Thank you.

  22. @ALJ,

    I wasn’t lumping you in, I was replying to you. I think your rather ironically backing up my point on PC…

  23. @Richard O


    I wasn’t lumping you in, I was replying to you. I think your rather ironically backing up my point on PC…


    Well I suppose you’d better explain yourself -where did I mention PC?
    How does disagreeing with those two have anything to do with PC -you’ve completely lost me?

  24. Oldnat,

    didn’t mean to rile you old chap! In fact I probably expressed myself badly. I suspect you’d probably agree with what I was trying to say which is basically this…

    It’s all very well adjusting the poll figures to exclude Scotland and thereby assuming that the Tories will do better than UNS as a result, but this ignores the fact that the political realities of Scotland mean that several Scottish “Tory target” seats are really nothing of the sort and so would have to be compensated for by additional English/Welsh gains.

    I was just passing comment on the tendency of some of my English Tory comrades to think that you can just exclude Scotland from the picture and bank a larger England&Wales swing to the Tories as a result.

  25. Neil A – Perhaps you are right about Scotland’s seats this year, however, if the election is as close as some poeple beleive then all seats are crucial are they not?

    I remember the 1992 election when the tories got a majority of 21 and won 11 seats in scotland. If they had a 1997 result in 1992 the tory majority wouldn’t have been.

  26. Not only not very good polls – but Sue & Amber aren’t here either! Even the worst polls seem better when they are commenting. :))

  27. I suppose I should retract my “In terms of gaining a UK majority, Scotland’s seats are not crucial.” line altogether. It clearly doesn’t communicate what I meant it to communicate. And of course, Michael, you’re quite right. If one side or other gains a majority in single figures, then the seats of any part of the UK will be crucial, from Cornwall, to East London to North Wales.

    I can barely contain my excitement. First item on tomorrow’s work agenda – annual leave for May 7th…

  28. ICM 4% tory lead is inline with the TNS poll 1 April which had 5 point tory lead?

  29. Neil A – I am with you on your last point although mine will be May 6th as I am a nightshift worker ;)

    In fact I am even watching vintage election footage on youtube! How sad is that ? :)

  30. @Richard O

    **With the ridiculous amount of political correctness about at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if fruit trees could vote. **

    You should really retract your comment to me or else I shan’t take you seriously any longer.

    It’s ridiculous to accuse me of being PC because I disagree with people taking the vote away from those on benefits. I thought you were more sensible than that.

  31. He said “Son I’ve made my life out of readin’ people’s faces and knowing what their cards were by the way they held their eyes,so if you do’t mind me saying I can see you’re out of aces”.(Kenny Rogers)
    It’s going to be difficult for Gordon to pass this test tomorrow @11:00. I would imagine that it is being worked on by his cronies-frantically!

  32. What an odd GE campaign this promises to be. Normally being 10% down with 4 weeks to go would indicate a hopeless cause. But Labour will feel if they can cut the gap to 5%, they have a chance of hanging on. That being so, there’s just a few % in it.
    As for the falling of the LD share, I would guess this is related to exposure. The LD’s had a post debate bounce, only to find the rest of the news week focussed on a Tory/Lab scrap over NI. Once the capaign starts in ernest, they are legally entitled to equal TV coverage, and will inevitably rise.

  33. Tory likelihood to vote is likely to be stronger than for Labour in this election which explains the YouGov upgrade for the Tories. MORI do something similar with their polls.

  34. Neil A

    I’m non-rileable!

    My real concern with polling actually relates to the clients (and the understandable compliance of the pollsters).

    IF NI weren’t totally different from GB in its Westminster elections, the media would insist on their inclusion as well. They have a common interest with the UK parties in portraying elections as presidential/unitary system elections, instead of concentrating on the reality that these are Parliamentary elections.

    The UK is institutionally corrupt – not just the MPs and Lords. What else explains the power of an Australian in the USA in determining voting in North Ayrshire?

    Fortunately, more Scots seem ready to make a rude gesture to the media (press and TV) than seems to be the case in our southern neighbour.

  35. Are there people seriously suggesting that the vote should be removed from those on benefit? I’m sorry, what year are we in?
    Surely, it would be far better to make voting compulsory. That would ensure that the poorest in society (who are least likely to vote) have an equal say in who governs them, and may lead to politicians having to address serious underlying poverty related problems in society that are usually ignored.

  36. YouGuv poll has it about right.

    Forget the spats and let’s get down to the serious business tomorrow.

    Brown calling an election must be against all of his natural inclinations, poor sod.

    I won’t believe it until he’s shoehorned out of his chauffeured jag into the palace. Even then he’ll tell Liz it’s all a rumour that started in America.

  37. @RAF

    Thank you for your supportive comment – ;-) I argued ‘against ‘ that concept of taking away votes from those on benefits -and was accused by Richard O of being PC.

    Thinking about it I think he’s just shown ignorance as to what PC is -and he’s used it in the wrong context.
    Still I think also he’s on a wind -up because he got his figures wrong today on public sector employee numbers lol ;-)

  38. Guys… don’t feed the trolls….

    Night all. Excitement abounds for the ‘morrow.

  39. @Richard O

    ‘With the ridiculous amount of political correctness about at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if fruit trees could vote.’

    Earth calling Richard, What a stupid statement. PC doesn’t mean keeping votes for people. What planet are you on?

  40. @Al J
    Happy to oblige :)
    Actually I hope as many people turn out as possible (above 75% would satisfy me).

  41. I must point out that when people are skeptical about the accuracy, and therefore validity of a pollsters result/s (previously yougov, and now ICM) It isn’t simply because it shows a figure which is negative towards their party, but more because it seems out of line with other agencies.

    When yougov showed several 2 percent leads, it was (although within the MOE) out of line with the other companies.

    The same with Angus Reid, serious posters of even a conservative persuasion didn’t really put their estimates up to their levels.

    And now, despite all other companies, even yougov who have statistically polled lower for Labour than the others, ICM suddenly drastically drops the Conservative lead by 4 points?

    It is these irregularities which calls into question the accuracy of these polls, not simply the fact that they show results we may not like.

  42. @RAF
    “That would ensure that the poorest in society (who are least likely to vote) have an equal say in who governs them, and may lead to politicians having to address serious underlying poverty related problems in society that are usually ignored.”

    The last time i checked everyone is entitled to a free education, so can you please explain to me what are these underlying poverty related problems?

    *Most* people living in poverty have nobody to blame but themselves – and i grew up in a deprived area!

  43. @Tom Curtis

    Sorry it will never happen G’night

  44. Tories have a 10 point lead- passed the magic 40, I think the game is up for Labour, GB has to call the election tomorrow, the day he has dreaded for the whole time he has been PM!

  45. Does anyone know whether compulsory voting in Australia make things easier for the Labor Party there?

  46. @Al J

    Do you believe everyone has the opportunity to do well at school? Even if they dont do well at school, we still have libraries and FE colleges.

    So what excuse, other than they werent good enough, do people have not to succeed in Britain?

    Someone has to fail, we need that deterent to encourage success. Its called survival of the fittest.

  47. @Peter: Even with perfect methodology and no bias polls will vary statistically. The 95% confidence interval for share of the vote in an ideal poll with sample size N is 2*sqrt(p(1-p)/N) where p is the share of the vote recorded. For p around 30-40% this is c 3%.

    There is no simple formula (that I know) for the 95% confidence interval of the CLead but its obviously higher and empirically it’s about 5%.

    Taking the Weighted Moving Average of the polls gives a somewhat more reliable estimate, with a 95% confidence interval of the CLead of around 2%.

  48. The ICM poll asked quite a few interesting questions in addition to headline voting intention.

    The Guardian has some analysis & comparisons to a previous ICM/ Guardian poll.

    The entire article provides much to discuss & debate on this forum. I will not repeat it all here but I hope we can discuss on this or the ICM thread later today.

    The concluding paragraph amazed me – & I am hoping Anthony will comment on it – if not, I will be looking at the details myself as soon as I have time.
    Here is what the Guardian analyst says:

    Among current Tory supporters who say they may switch from the party before polling day (, fewer than one in 10 are thinking of backing Ukip. But almost two-thirds say they could change to Labour or the Lib Dems.

    So – what is the potential switch amongst the major parties:
    The proportion of Lib Dems and Conservatives saying they might vote Labour instead has doubled since ICM last asked this question earlier in the year.

    The ICM figures suggest the maximum potential vote for Labour and the Conservatives – all their definite supporters, plus all potential switchers – is running neck and neck at 42%. The Lib Dem maximum is 28%.

    :-) As I said, I find this result (or the analysis anyway) astonishing. I am looking forward to Rob Sheffield & Éoin (maybe even Anthony, himself) doing an in depth critique of the Guardian’s conclusions :-)

  49. The ICM poll, whether rogue or not, will get them loads of publicity. A very timely moment for them to have an attention grabbing result ;-)

  50. Interesting differences in the polls.
    Does anyone apart from me think that the “interest” caused by this being a potentially open election will rebound on all parties , and the percentage vote will fall overall as the public just get bored with the whole thing?

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