D minus 25
Yesterday’s polls:
ICM/Sunday Telegraph (7th Apr) CON 38%(+1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 21%(nc)
YouGov/Sunday Times (9th-10th Apr) CON 40%(nc), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2)
ComRes/Independent on Sunday/Sunday Mirror (9th-10th Apr) CON 39%(+2), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 16%(-4)
BPIX/Mail on Sunday (9th-10th Apr) CON 38%(+1), LAB 31%(+1), LDEM 20%(nc)

There was also a OnePoll survey in the People, which showed figures of CON 37%, LAB 31%, LDEM 21% but for which I don’t have the information to know if we can give it any weight.

The topline voting intention are all broadly consistent – largely I expect because yesterday’s polls all came from the more established pollsters and those showing lower levels of support for Labour have tended to be the new entrants to the business. The Conservatives are at or just below 40% (ranging between 38% and 40%), the Labour party in the low thirties (30% to 32%). There is more variation in the Lib Dem score, with ranges between 21% and 16% – that latter score just doesn’t ring true to me and I’d be surprised if ComRes’s next poll doesn’t show them bouncing back.

The Conservative lead of something around the 8 points that these polls imply (the equivalent of a 5.5% swing) would not be enough for an overall majority in itself. Rather the Conservatives would have to rely upon outperforming the national swing in the marginal seats that actually decide the election. We had one marginals poll last night, from ICM, and it showed a swing of 6.3% to the Conservatives, so only slightly larger than the national one and still slightly short of the 6.9% they need for an overall majority.

This morning’s Independent on Sunday has has predictions of the pollsters themselves. All except Ben Page of MORI predict a small overall Conservative majority (including Peter Kellner, Andrew Cooper, Martin Boon and Andrew Hawkins) – the implication being that the pollsters expect either the Tory lead to grow during the campaign, or the Conservatives to outperform in the marginals by more than yesterday’s ICM poll suggested.

UPDATE: In the comment below Ben Page of MORI has clarified that what the Indy had as his projection was actually what he thinks would happen based on the polls now. His prediction for the final result is also a small Conservative majority.

529 Responses to “Sunday morning round up”

1 2 3 4 11
  1. @Fluffy thoughts

    “I’m inclined towards Any Cooke’s analysis; given an eight-point lead I would expect a Tory majority”

    I “am inclined towards” AW’s analysis as opposed to Political Bettings apparently Lib Dem but pro Cameron analysts (in the way my old commie grandfather voted Thatcher in 1979 and still called himself a commie !!).

    So here is AW:

    “To put the level of the “marginal’s bonus” in context, if the Conservatives need an 11% lead to get an overall majority on a uniform swing, if their swing in marginal seats is 0.8% higher than they would actually get an overall majority with a lead of 9.6%.”

    The average lead of all the polls yesterday was 7.2%………..though I guess by your calculations that projects a 30-50 seat majority yes ???

  2. @Howard

    “The supporting evidence is not available on this issue because the future has not happened yet”

    Maybe it has ;)

  3. Sky News Breaking: 8 out of 8 pollsters agree with Marco Polling. (I refer honourable members to the answer I gave last night). Actually it’s the usual Sky headline: everyone’s wobbling due to a hung parliament uncertainty. In the past we had The Great Stink, and The Great Depression. I think we are now living in The Great Con: when vast numbers of media and press people ignored the overwhelming evidence that there is going to be a big Tory victory. Marco doesn’t care; Marco lives on a huge landed estate. But the pollsters should care: if we are presented with The Great Clunking (Grinning) Face of GB on May 7th all 8 pollsters will be having severe career problems: if anyone has a personal interest in being right it is these pollsters. On a related matter I believe it is not in the purely political interests of the Conservative Party to get a majority of about 20; if they get this they will be in power for four years and will bear the full brunt of attack over the ‘cuts’. No, if the Tories cannot get a landslide, much better to be about 10 short of a majority with Labour and LibDems well short of a combined majority. Cameron will be PM; the other parties will have to be restrained in their opposition to the giant cuts which will have to come (because if they are so opposed, why not bring the government down ?), and Cameron can play the patriotic card (me against the other mere politicians) for a year and then without a majority will have a good excuse to call another election and get a landslide in 2011: Tory Heaven.

  4. @KTL
    I believe your assumption is correct regarding Clegg supporting the largest party. For no other reason than gut feel I also think you are right about Cameron and Clegg getting along better. However, there are Labour politicians who are a bit more personable than the Great Helmsman who might take over.
    Overiding all this IMHO, is if it is as close as the polls suggest, Cameron should go it alone, and to pot with the LDs.

  5. @rob Sheffield- finally some sensible analysis


    “To put the level of the “marginal’s bonus” in context, if the Conservatives need an 11% lead to get an overall majority on a uniform swing, if their swing in marginal seats is 0.8% higher than they would actually get an overall majority with a lead of 9.6%.”

  6. @Colin & Rob – I haven’t read Clegg’s latest speech, but comments he has previously made were very definately in terms of the social problems that would arise if governments sought to make big cuts without being honest about what was coming. In this I think he is totally and absolutely correct. Cameron has now completely abandoned his earlier pretence to be ‘telling it like it is’ and has promised tax cuts and major spending increases, without identifying any viable means to pay for the promises. It is a short term tactic to win the election and will unravel terribly once he gets into power and the public sees the scale of the damage the promises will mean. Alone among the big three, the LibDems have actually offered a much more coherent approach, with some large and specific promises allied to some not quite so large but highly specific spending cut pledges. They have also sensibly ditched the nonsense that we can protect NHS budgets regardless. While even the LibDem numbers don’t add up, I’m afraid Cameron and Osborne really are living in never never land. It’s as bad as Brown’s ‘investment vs cuts’ mantra that many here rightly ridiculed last year. It’s completely incredible and if they weren’t up against a Brown led third term Labour party it would already have lost them the election. It’s so bad that even some in the city are beginning to get worried about a Tory win as they are now wondering if they are going to be able to tackle the deficit after the string of promises they have made. We are living in lunatic times.
    BTW – this morning’s Tory spending pledge – they are going to expand Sure Start……another day, another billion.

  7. marco

    very amusing!

    But what will matter professionally for the polling companies (as said above) is

    (a) how accurate they are;
    (b) if they make eve-of-poll predictions based on their data as opposed to ignoring it/ tweaking it/ adjusting it as they do with the IoS predictions that are not matched by their own current survey data.

    Though I suppose if they think (a) and (b) are in conflict they might be tempted again to disregard (b) in favour of what their gut tells them about (a) !

    Which is what all of them have done for this IoS bit-of-fun: even PB have downgraded the size of the majority that their published data suggests the Conservatives will get !!!

  8. I’m going to have to change my name I think.

    To broken record.

    38 30 20 12

    No trend.

    All within the margin of error.

    Polls just aren’t moving.

    All is not to play for.

    The polls are not more volatile than ever.

    Vanity of vanites all is vanity.

    I did think the marginals might be more dramatic, but once actual polls have been done there they are largely within the same swing as it is nationally, the UNS has it near right.

    Absolutely no sign of anything dramatic, looks like these polls are not going to move and you can put them to bed as they are.

  9. Why have we left figures for pollsters opinions?

    last night the companies spoke a c.7% lead was confirmed.

    The quattro boost fires them to a 0.8% boost in the marginals.

    That is not a majority.

    It smacks of desperation to start to cling to pundits analysis

    The trend is mathemtically proven to be against the tories.

    It is becomming disingenuous to deny it.

  10. The problem for Labour is that I see no real evidence that they are making any inroads into the Tory lead. If you look at the polls over the past 2 or 3 weeks (i.e. post-budget) the Tory lead has gone from around 2-4% to 7-10%, and has now consolidated. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see how Labour can gain the 4 or 5% needed to become the largest party in a hung parliament situation. Still all to play for though.

  11. @alec

    I wholeheartedly agree on the ‘honesty issue’- and on that issue for me it’s a ‘plague on all their houses’. Pre Budget I was arguing that we needed numbers and honesty from Darling and we did not get it- because they made a political calculation that ‘if the Tories are going to be dishonest then so are we’. The NI rise was locked in from PBR09……otherwise that would have gone as well !!!! And we have spending commitments and tax cuts coming thick and fast from DC-GO…..both mad and bad.

    Only Cable has been (slightly) honest on these matters.

    I would hope that the voters would see through all of this and demand some honesty from ALL of them…….but my 44 years and 30 following politics tell me they won’t :-(

  12. Regarding UNS:

    Does anyone know how many marginal seats there are in Scotland, Wales or England’s metropolitan-areas? The media narrative always focuses upon the South-East of England and state that if the Tories rack-up xyz votes there they are required to do proportionately better elsewhere.

    I know sub-samples should be taken together with a fair chunk of salt-mine, but the trends seem to show Labour doing well in the North and Scotland. [Wales always appears to be bundled-in as a part of England.] If Labour gain 40% of the Scottish-vote they’ll end up with ~40 Scottish seats, but this will be reflected with a voter-unwind in the Midlands.

    This GE will be the first mass-internet election in the UK. This allows for more analysis and debate. Which ever argument is correct will only be known come May 7th, so let’s enjoy the event and be prepared to caste-off some old indomitables and young whipper-snappers alike. Let’s face it, no-one seriously is Keynsian anymore, are they…?

  13. Labour’s share before the campaign


    Labour’s share after the campaign


    Now… hands up who notices a difference?

  14. Anthony is saying ; bald facts, on the present polling results, the Conservative party need a lead of 9.6% to do the business. They currently do not have that level of lead, therefore they will be a few seats short. Ok no arguments there. But the 8 pollsters including Peter Kellners see the Cons in with 10 to 40 seats majority why? Either they think the marginals are understated, or they like Smithsons law, (the Labour lead is ALWAYS overstated,) or they think the Tories will pick up more support. Take your pick.

  15. Matt

    The lead of all polls in April up to the day of the calling of the election was 8.4%

    The lead of all polls since the calling of the election is 8.1%

    The current marginal’s poll made in conjunction with a national poll suggests that- based on the marginal’s premium (and not accounting for TV)- for a majority the Conservatives need a 9.6% lead……..

    Go figure !!

  16. “last night the companies spoke a c.7% lead was confirmed.”

    A minimum of 7%, I’d say. The other 2 polls are saying an 8% lead.

    “The quattro boost fires them to a 0.8% boost in the marginals.

    That is not a majority.”

    You’re right that the polls at the moment would be very close, but would probably be just short of an overall majority (depending on the results in each seat/marginal). However, a slight shift in either the marginals or the overall lead, and we have entered Cons majority territory. Remember, the Tories have had a 10% lead in quite a few of the polls recently – enough for a majority.

    “It smacks of desperation to start to cling to pundits analysis”

    Agreed. It’s just a bit of fun to see what the experts think.

    “The trend is mathemtically proven to be against the tories.”

    The trend? With all due respect, Eoin, I see no real significant trend against the Tories at the moment. This may change, of course, but Labour just isn’t making significant inroads into the Tory lead in recent polls – certainly not at anything like the rate required to be the largest party anyway. The Tory lead has grown over the past few weeks, no Labour supporter can deny that.

  17. @Roland,

    I think looking at how the Lib Dem vote breaks, they see a lot of undecided Lib Dems siding with the Tories…

    this might push them closer…

    I happen to agree..

    I think if you back a lib dem into a corner and tell him he must vote Labour- he will quite rightly tell you to go take a running jump for yourself..

    Lib Dems are nothing if they are not independant minded folk. They won’t take kindly to being told what to do. Aside form that they actually really like Cameron. They do not like Brown.

  18. @Matt,

    I have them making about 1% a week

    By by calcuations it is exactly the rate required.

  19. @Matt,

    The Tories vote is holding up well of that there is no doubt.

  20. @EOIN
    Eoin mate, I am ashamed to say that for an ex army engineer, and then a pension specialist my grasp of figures is adequate, probably well above the average these days, but not brilliant, not outstanding. However, I have no more idea than the man in the moon what your recently posted rows of numbers are for.

  21. Roland

    “But the 8 pollsters including Peter Kellners see the Cons in with 10 to 40 seats majority why?”

    it does NOT matter what they think in their guts this far out !!!

    But if you persist I would say two things

    (a) group think
    (b) fear of being the company that cannot get it right and the loss of business that would entail.

    For (b) the ONLY sensible tactic (this FAR away from polling day) is to play safe and say “small majority”- most of them give ranges as well.

    But- as said- none of them are making predictions based upon their own companies current data- it’s all their gut feeling.

    So you should give it as much kudos as you would someone coming on here and not using ‘IMHO’ when saying what they think the election result will be :-)

    Like I said- let’s see what they project in the eve of poll predictions…..and whether they end up being accurate or not.

    ps yesterdays 5 polls average a 7.2% lead…..

  22. @Roland,

    The Labour party have hit 32 in 5 of their last 11 polls.

    Bar a pre election ICM rogue poll their highest figure was 31.

    Categorically, Labour has climbed a percentage point in the last fortnight.

  23. In the 7 days before the elction camapign began, ICM and YouGov had the Labour party on 29% of the vote.

  24. Well, after revealing the NI, I always expected a massive jump in the Tory lead. It was to be expected that the Tory lead would stagnate and even fall by 0.5%, or thereabouts, after the issue had died down a bit in the media. That’s the nature of tax cut revelations/giveaways i.e. the party who issues them gets a massive temporary boost that stays as a longer term trend in the polls, but stagnates at about 1% lower than it did when it was first issued.

    However, the Tory lead is still holding up nicely at anywhere between 7%-10%. YouGov, for the first time in months has also consistently had the Tory lead on 40%. Labour needs to make massive gains in the next 3 weeks to even be the largest party – make no mistake of that. It;s possible, of course, but it will be very hard when they have to defend their record (as an incumbent) to the public. They’ll have to do a blimming good job too.

  25. The poll for One Poll was actually carried out pre-campaign (from 31st March to 7th April).

    Other than that I see that Anthony’s average has moved the Conservative lead up by 1%, so I’m not sure what polling evidence there is to support the view that the gap is narrowing.

    The last ICM poll before the campaign started gave the Conservatives a 4% lead. Today, it’s 8%.

    The last Yougov poll before the campaign started gave the Conservatives a 10% lead. Today it’s 8% (but today’s poll was conducted simultaneously with polls putting the Conservatives 9 and 10% ahead).

    Angus Reid: 11% and 11%.

    BPIX and Com Res 7% and 7%,

    Harris 9% and 10%.

    Populus 7%, but we have no pre-campaign poll to compare it with.

    Opinium 10% and we wait to see what their first post-campaign poll will say.

    So, no change over the past week.

  26. Eoin,

    They also had pre-campaign polls giving Labour 31% and 32% of the vote.

  27. @Sean,

    It is time to be a wee bit more straight.

    The ICM poll on 31/03/10 had LAbour at 29%.

    Everybody accepted that the 4% lead was out of line.

    You Gov had labour at 29%.

    Now they are hitting 32 regularly.

    These figures are undeniable….

  28. The Tory’s average lead over the past week (4th-10th April) has been 8.5%.

  29. @Matt

    ‘However, a slight shift in either the marginals or the overall lead, and we have entered Cons majority territory’

    A shift to who?! (exposes wishful thinking there?).

  30. Using the 18 April polls, the Labour party’s support has grown by 0.8% since the campaign began.

    To try and spin your way out of it is psuedo-Mathematics.

  31. Sorry, ‘a shift to *whom*’

  32. Rob

    “Over the last week the narrative has basically been about NI and almost nothing else and- despite the initial very good start on this by the Conservatives- by yesterday the two big parties had fought themselves to a score-draw on it.

    That is reflected in the batch of polls in the latter period of the first week (in contrast to first few days) that mean- since Tuesday- the average has *hardly changed* i.e. we are talking movements over the first week of less than 0.5%. This week in polling terms has not been especially good for anyone….”

    I would suggest the polling evidence over the last week has been good news for the Conservatives on several counts. Firstly by virtue of the simple fact that the average poll lead has increased, albeit only slightly, but that is the purpose of averages. Your point that the ‘narrative’ has been solely concerned with NI is fairly indeterminate since you could just as easily say that accompanied with talk of stopping the ‘job tax’ has been talk of ‘Tory deception’ and ‘cutting 40,000 jobs.’ So despite both viewpoints being at the forefront of media reporting the average lead has increased over 14 polls and the Conservatives have garnered 40% of available support four times this week compared with zero times the previous week (irrelevant to lead obviously but in terms of support it is good news for them). Additionally this weeks polling has seen the continued halt and indeed, as mentioned previously, reversal of the tightening in the poll lead which we witnessed up until a fortnight ago. Some commentators speculated that with the official start of the campaign the polls would start to tighten once more. This hasn’t happened. In fact the opposite has happened, which is good news for the Conservatives. This was also the week in which the ICM marginals poll showed the Tories just short of the 6.9% swing they need. Now because of sampling error the actual swing could be quite a bit below where they need to be, or it could already be above where they need to be but the good news for the Tories is that the poll is suggesting they are within reach of achieving the second biggest swing since the war. This is a slight improvement on similar polling the previous week. Finally, today eight senior pollsters predicted that the Tories would gain an overall majority. So there is some significant polling experience suggesting that the Tories will be the next majority; something which I imagine they will view as good news.

    “There are several elephants in the room (immigration, the war in Afghanistan, prospects of a VAT rise, Europe and a referendum) but with respect I don’t think a hung parliament is one of them. Partly because it has been discussed loudly to death over the last 2 months so anyone remotely interested in politics will know all about it; and partly because the vast majority of voters could not give a monkeys- they don’t engage with its nuances nor it potential ramifications. Which BTW are not all bad at all……”

    Well, there’s not much I can respond with here I’m afraid other than I wouldn’t classify the issues you have mentioned as elephants in the room. My point is that the real significance of a hung parliament won’t become apparent to voters, and perhaps the political media, until it really is on the immediate horizon. I haven’t heard any high profile public suggestions that a hung parliament will be dangerous is what I’m getting at.

    “Danny Finkelstein is an ex LD/SDP member who jumped shipped rightwards and would like to tell us that most of his ex party voters (if not members) are closet Tories as well…..just like he was. But I think he is stretching his argument somewhat and other data (for example the 2010 study mentioned above, a recent article from Curtice and past election voting trends) tell us that- whilst the LD preference for Labour over conservative has declined- it is *still* a preference i.e. any LD switchers will be greater in number for labour than conservative.”

    The methodology for the ‘Fink Tank’ model is nothing to do with Danny Finkelstein so his background is fairly irrelevant. The methodology they use for it is complicated and certainly different to what Curtice will be doing so the two results are not exclusive of each other. In my view it adds to this weeks good news for the Conservatives though since it raises the prospect of less tactical voting between Labour and Lib Dem than might be assumed.

  33. Anthony’s 39 – 30 is accurate.

    Since the campaign and began treating all polls equally (except the Kylie one – sorry kylie) I have

    Tories 38.6
    Labour 30.45

    On rounding that is 39 -30

  34. Eoin,

    It’s statistically unsound to simply pick the worst pre-campaign figures for Labour in order to back up your case.

    One could just as easily argue that 29% for Labour with Yougov and ICM were the outliers, as every other recent poll from them has put Labour on 30%+.

  35. The Tory’s lead from the previous week (28th March-3rd April) was 7.92%. Basic maths.


    Tory Lead from (28th-3rd April) = 7.92%
    Tory lead from (4th-10th April) = 8.5%

    I see a trend emerging, and it ain’t towards Labour.

  36. @Sean,

    My case is not backed up in that manner. In fact my databse does not even include the ICM figure since it was a March poll.

    I simply cite it to point out that there has been a real increase in the labour vote.

    If I may say so, it si you who are unsound in citing a rogue 33% to back up your case.

  37. These are angels on heads of pins. I think that Eoin is justifying the need for one side not to get carried away or count chickens. His point is well-made.

    The same will apply if we start getting 37 33 22 in a row of three. It will be different if we are three points away from 38 30 20 in two weeks time.

  38. Eoin,

    You cannot deny that the Tory lead has increased over the past 2 weeks – do the maths yourself. It just cannot be argued. The Conservative lead has GROWN over this week when compared to the previous week – it’s simply a fact.

  39. RobSheffield: “I would hope that the voters would see through all of this and demand some honesty from ALL of them…….but my 44 years and 30 following politics tell me they won’t ”

    The problem is that the Conservatives came close with their ‘age of austerity’ rhetoric, but were soon rewarded with a decline in the polls in favour of ‘keep spending, keep borrowing to secure the recovery’.

    Now, everyone says bigger cuts than Thatcher – but no one dare cut anything. The Tories again come closest, but are lambasted for wanting even to cut waste. Heaven knows what the response would be in the polls if they actually tried to cut even the most discretionary of services!!

    But, of course, the same was true the other way round when Darling talked of the worst crisis of 60 years. So, yes, a plague on all their houses.

    The only event that, I can see, changing things, is if the sovereign debt crisis comes to a head. I suspect we shall get more evasion of the issues, but whoever wins will have no mandate for facing up to a reality that they had sought hard to deny.

    My prediction – British public to continue their Faustian pact with the diabolical Mr Brown – IMF to start reaping souls by end of the year.

  40. Of course, the Conservative vote was worse yesterday – I don’t doubt that. But over the course of this week the average lead is higher than it was the previous week.

  41. @matt,

    yes that is correct!

    Over a two week period it has most certainly grown.

    Try this though, try separating your figures pre-campaign and post campaign and see what you get. Also, I exclude Marches polls, I think they are a full week before the campaign started an it that sense hisotric. But feel free, if you wish to include them. There are about four other posters (Bill Roy, NBeale – I forget the others..) who do the same.

    Now in fairness to me, I announced before the election started that this is how I would calculate them. I was not to know that it would narrow in this manner.

  42. @Eoin,

    Your figures are interesting, but isn’t the problem with them, that they are all in the margin of error.

    I see the general figures as reasonably static within a margin of error.

    Checking Anthony’s posted data, since the election was announced. The figures in favour of the Tories have been as follows, starting from the 6th to today.


    Plotting this on a graph, the trend line is pretty static. Even with my Business Studies degree, I am struggling to extract a meaningful trend. Maybe I am missing something from your in depth interpretation?!?


  43. It’s like I said, Eoin – it depends on what you use as your starting point.

    Now, during the middle of last week, the Tories had a few leads of 10 or 11% in a couple of surveys. This is what makes this week’s lead lower if you make the comparison. However, if like me, you take it over the whole of this week and the previous week, and compare them, the Tory lead has increased by just over 0.5%.

  44. @HOWARD
    I do agree this is counting angels on pin heads and it is that aspect I cannot quite grasp the point of other than a partisan refusal to accept that the Conservative party are going to finish this election with a lot more seats than the Labour party.

  45. @Howard,

    Thank you for that…

    A BPIX 2% Labour supporters accept its a rougue
    A ICN 4% Labour supporters accept it is a rogue,
    The OnePoll gives a 6% lead, Labour accept it is a rogue..

    I have duly noted that the Tory posters are not so gracious.

  46. @richard O, Matt,

    If you guys are being sincere, which I strongly suspect you are, then please take a look at the Labour party’s support pre- campaign aprils and post camapign aprils.

  47. @Matt Richard,

    Be careful to count the Harris pre-election (Not the 6th as anthony has posted) the fieldwork was early april.

  48. “Now in fairness to me, I announced before the election started that this is how I would calculate them. I was not to know that it would narrow in this manner.”

    Yes, true. I’m certainly not doubting your statistics (or the choice of them necessarily). I guess it’s a case of both sets of stats contradicting each other with regards to the lead. Neither are right/wrong per se, they just tell a slightly different story. They are also both skewed by outliers.

    So you could argue both:-

    1) The Tory lead has fallen since the election campaign started;
    2)The Tory lead has increased over the past week, when compared to the previous, by over 0.5%.

    and be right in both cases! The joy of statistics.

  49. Whatever the polls look like, can people please stop claiming their analyses to be “facts” or “undeniable”? Polls don’t tell us “facts” in the first place, and in any long sequence of numbers you can find just about any trend you want to.

  50. Matt /Edward et al

    The lead of all polls April 1st to April 6th (the calling of the election) was 8.4%

    The lead of all polls since the calling of the election is 8.1%:

    If you remove the People poll (which finished on the 7th April…) it is a lead average of 8.3%….so a tiny decline and NOT an increase in the lead.

    Given the NI narrative of the last 5 days- *surely* less than even the least partisan Tory poster was hoping for….as for the more partisan ones……

    Of course the most recent days polling- the four polls yesterday (excluding the people)- gives a lead average of 7.5% :-)

1 2 3 4 11