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”

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  1. Roland
    I’ve heard Kilroy Silk speak like that. Perhaps he’s rejoined.

  2. Rob Sheffield – Sean isn’t making a unproven assertion, he is entirely correct.

    ICM and Populus both publish their topline figures prior to their reallocation of don’t knows (effectively their assumption of “shy Labour voters”), and without it both of their most recent polls would have shown a 10 point lead.

  3. SUE
    No joke promise.

  4. Ha! just googled it and it’s true!! I think it’s great

  5. Are all manifestos out this week?

    Just a thought occurred to me; Labour could be playing a secret but risky blinder? Con have got all their headline grabbing policies out in the 1st week, very little has snuck out from Labour. Just as long there’s fair coverage, 1st week coverage has been very biast to the Cons, Labour could reduce this lead.

    RE – Polling experts – I agree with the majority of comments here, other than Angus Reid not one of those pollsters companies are predicting what they’ve forcast.

  6. I would be nice to see Peter Kellner back on the BBC’s election night programme as he was in 1992 and 1997.

    Any possibility of this?

  7. @RolandHaines
    “On a light note has anyone seen the new UKIP poster. It shows a photo of GB DC and NC witha slogan underneath saying
    “sod the lot”. Nice.”

    That’s the sound of the hung parliament bandwagon I was talking about getting louder. Makes the unpredictabliity even more unpredictable.

  8. @ FRANKG

    “So some of you should stop trying to rip into them for their predictions in this very finely balanced situation and accept they too are allowed to speculate. If they are not trying to justify their predictions from currrent polls, why should you worry. Too many of you are too fond of making predictions yourselves about the future and presenting them as either fact or inevitable.”

    At least you understood what they are saying FrankG.

    If others had done so -and read the sensible advice of people like Sean- the countless column inches of pointless partisan pointscoring which have been retched over this thread , would not be smeared all over it.

  9. Looking at the posts on this thread this evening I was pleased to see that one or two posters thought a small Conservative overall majority or a Conservative minority would allow true blues on the back benches to exert pressure in favour of genuine Tory values. This would be great but it would be even better if Osborne came out and told the truth that he would increase VAT if necessary. As I’ve written before on this site I’d like to see VAT at 30-35% on everything and virtually all other taxes abolished. Some might say that the poor might starve because of the cost of food if this happened -I say that the poor should give up drinking and smoking and have access to food stamps as they do in some parts of th USA. I have no doubt that a high rate of VAT would encorage a more responsible society and virtually no other taxes would encourage enterprise and success.

  10. UKIP advert
    They will have been able to pay a decent company to produce this. Pearson is really a Tory – you know the real sort, so he knows that apathy is the greatest way to get a small Tory victory. He then hopes to get the Bill Cash group working again. He does not want a big one.

    Why does apathy work for the Tories? Because their voters always vote. In local elections I could go down the marked sheets after an election and it is uncanny to tick off all their voters that you know of. Local elections were a good way of identifying ones you had not previously canvassed.

    Thus I have always agreed with the thrust of Bill Roy’s arguments but had supposed that the pollsters had already worked out how to weight for this. Apparently they haven’t in some cases.

  11. Colin – I honestly think I’m missing something here. I haven’t seen anyone point scoring or read any conspiracies or seen anyone be partisan about them. There’s been a lot of talk about the predictions, but I’ve only noticed an understandable interest in the opinions of the pollsters. Given that they didn’t tie up with the evidence of the last few months, it was always going to be a subject of discussion, but posters such as Sean Fear et al have given some good suggestions and I thought that was that?

  12. Some of the things that have been wrote are ridiulous.

    Just beause ICM publish their topline figures of 10% does not make their 8%’s carry any less authority.

    Just beasue Im and MORI dont show a big enough swing in the marginals does not make it excusable to still harp on about 3% boosts from the marginals.

    Just because so-called experts are wheeled out and predict a Tory majority does not make it any more of a relaity.

    Facts are more appealing.

    Not one poll has shown the Tories on course for a majority of even 1.

    YouGov and AR who come the closest have not published marginal polls. But even with their Quattro boost would still leave it touch and go..

    That and the rpoven gradual increase in LAbour more make it increasingly unlikely that the Tories are on course for a majority.

  13. @son of thatcher

    I’m not going to bite on your heartless suggestion about VAT on food and starving.

    Howwever I agree in principle on much higher VAT on Non essentials and luxuries and very low direct taxation.

    Of course this would also solve unemployment because of the vast army of customs and tax inspectors that would be necessary to enforce it and stop smuggling and fraud.

    “As I’ve written before on this site I’d like to see VAT at 30-35% on everything and virtually all other taxes abolished. Some might say that the poor might starve because of the cost of food if this happened -I say that the poor should give up drinking and smoking and have access to food stamps as they do in some parts of th USA.”
    Sounds a bit more like the Tories we all know and love.
    Please get out and about more, preferably into the marginals, and remind people.

  15. Re the interchange between RosieP and Anthony. Is it really the case that the YouGov methodology has changed? If so, this would seem to explain the difference in the YouGov results that I picked up on. Do all pollsters make such changes? If so, is it a waste of time to look at trends in polling results, which may simply be the result of changes in methodology? Perhaps it would be clearer if the YouGov results were labelled YouGov1 and YouGov2, or have more than two methodologies been used?

  16. Absolutely Cozmo – Do you think we can get Son of Thatcher a slot on primetime every day between now and the election ;)

  17. @Son of Thatcher,

    That’s clearly too extreme, which would only marginalise the party. Any big learch to right of left tends to damage parties.

    On the outlies of your theory, there are some merits though. I don’t see why VAT shouldn’t be far higher on some non-essential items, i.e. Cigarrettes, Massive TVs etc.


  18. Ernie. Yes the YouGov methodology has changed and AW confirmed that broadly speaking, they add about 1% to the Tory lead. So, the latest YouGov 40 32 18 would probably have been about 39 32 18 before the change.
    However, I believe the changes are made when a polling company thinks they are more likely to represent an accurate reflection of the situation, so I suppose if any conclusion can be drawn it’s that previously they were underestimating the Tory lead.

  19. George Osborne would make a big gain in the polls for the blues if he could guarantee no VAT increase.

    Taxing people for lifestlye irrespective of ability to pay, does not go down well with some of the electorate.

  20. colin

    “the countless column inches of pointless partisan pointscoring which have been retched over this thread , would not be smeared all over it.”

    with the *greatest* of respect:

    The disagreement has been about whether these pollsters ‘gut feeling personal predictions’ for the IoS- that are not related to their current employer survey data- should be given any more credence than any other persons “crystal ball gazing” as FrankG so *correctly* called it.

    The people willing to say that (1) anyone can make a prediction and that (2) it has as much value 4 weeks out as anybody else’s *gut feeling personal prediction* we all know.

    We also know the people- who for *pure partisan* reasons- have been crowing that ‘these chaps know more than us/ they obviously know something is going to happen/ they are technically skilled and we are all amateurs” etc etc and very amusing it has been to read such chutzpah !

    The difference between the former and the latter groups of posters is not that they were ‘ripping the pollsters apart’. More so they were finding it farcical that anyone could take these IoS ‘gut feeling personal predictions’ more seriously than anyone else’s.

    The only retching, pettiness and partisanship on this thread has been from those who claim the IoS predictions somehow miraculously have more value than any other…..simply- IMHO- because they reinforce these peoples own particular prejudices and wishes for the election result.

    As said- it’s been highly enjoyable reading a lot of the posts today.

    I- for one- shall be taking the final *actual* polling COMPANY predictions on elections-eve VERY seriously… ;-)

  21. Son of Thatcher

    Can you and your hundreds of thousands of like-minded fellow Conservatives please get out and do as much canvassing as you can and as fast as possible…..:-)

  22. @Rob,

    I agree Son of Thatcher’s views were extreme, and possible even tongue in cheek.

    but, for detrimental effect, I also wouldn’t say no to lots of far left Tony Benn ethos people campaigning for Labour.

    The general point is the same, only centre ground politics get people elected now, which is why Blair moved there. I woudn’t mind GB getting more exposed as further left, which he clearly is! (IMHO) !


  23. Personally after the week the Cons have had and the coverage they’ve enjoyed 40 is clearly their maximum. Predict tightening again of the polls over the next week, given there’s fair coverage and scrutiny given to all parties.

  24. @Eoin

    Direct taxation is a tax on lifestyle as well.

    The difference is one of choice.

    Anyone with any form of income (Lord Ashcoft et al excluded) HAS to pay it.

    If VAT is not charged on the nececities, food, clothing etc then we have a coiich whether or not to pay it. We do not have to buy luxuries.

    People might just choose to use their money in other ways, saving investment, education etc.

    If VAT rises are accompanied by a paralled cut in direct taxation there is no reason why it should not be socially acceptable.

    Sounds to me like a much better society.

    Enforcement would be the problem IMHO

  25. @Richard O,

    I am not going to argue tax. I enjoy paying it.

    I think electorally Labour have blundered by not including a VAT promise in their manifesto.

    If the tories include it in theirs they will kick booties

  26. @Richard O, my apologies that was for John F

  27. @AW – Please can you remove myself from moderation – by time you get round to publish my post is way out of date. Reading through some of the comments on here, even myself at my height of ranting does not come close to the levels of partisanship shown by some.

    You rarely don’t publish one of my comments and think I deserve the same 2nd chance you’ve shown others here. Please

  28. @Eoin

    I think electorally Labour have blundered by not including a VAT promise in their manifesto.

    If the tories include it in theirs they will kick booties


    I agree.

    But is it not worse that that for Labour. Over the past week they have rasied the spectre of a VAT rise by the Tories time and time again. By not excluding such a rise themselves they have effectively neutralised a weeks worth of campagining regardless of what GO does.

    Even if GO does not include it t

  29. ‘Son of thatcher’ is a pretty poor impersonation of a Tory. Far too unsubtle; must try harder.

    Mr Clarke – the polls are currently showing leads of 8-10%. You say this is a hung parliament – despite labour only having a majority of about 60. But it is still a lead of 8-10% and if the people who run the polls think differently to you on that basis, then its their opinion and, sorry to be frank, their opinion is a bit more nuanced than yours.

  30. The Lib Dems poster says Tories will increase VAT, how do they know this?

  31. I predicted a 3% bounce from the NI cut

    I predict a 2% bunce if he makes the VAT promise

  32. @Trevorsden

    Yes I think basic logic would agree with you

    except there has not been a 9% or a 10% for some time

    we had a bundle of 7s and 8s

    the marginal boost is 0.8%

  33. Just also noticed, that Tony Blair’s memoir will come out in September, entitled ‘The Journey’.

    Would it not be rather ironic, if this is released shortly after the electorate finally reject New Labour?

    ps: this is not a partisan comment, as I might even buy it. I doubt their will be an honest account of the relationship with Brown though…

  34. If they make that promise re VAT freeze they’ll lose all credibility and will be punished in the polls.

    Labour could have made that committment as they’ve not introduced any new spending the Cons certainly have – freezing VAT as well they’d be rightly laughed into the low 30’s.

  35. I suspect there might be rather a lot of books by former ministers and MPs coming out soon

  36. BPIX 7%
    Comres 7%
    Populus 7%
    ICM 8%
    YG 8%

    Harris 10%
    AR 11%
    Opinium 10%


  37. “the marginal boost is 0.8%”

    Isn’t 0.8% the ‘marginal swing’, so more than a 0.8% difference in vote?

    It’s still short of what is required though, granted.

  38. @Eoin

    I think electorally Labour have blundered by not including a VAT promise in their manifesto.

    If the tories include it in theirs they will kick booties


    I thought you were joking the first time round.

    Best stick to number-crunching and avoid strategy if you seriously think this would be a vote winner for the Tories. It would be as helpful to the other parties as SonofThatcher’s proposal..

  39. I would say 40% (i.e. 2 in 5) of polls in the last 3 days would give the Conservatives an overall majority. One of the other polls would leave it touch and go (i.e. probably just short), and the other 2 would result in a hung parliament IMO.

  40. Matt,

    MORI had the marginal swing first at 5% then it grew to 5.5%

    ICM have the marginal swing at 6,3%

    They had an 8 point lead…. which is a 5.5% swing

    thus 6.3 – 5.5 = 0.8%

    In the past Sean has said that marginal boost would be 2.5-3.0%.

    He neglected to comment on marginal boost today

    Instead he chose to comment upon pollsters and spirals

  41. “I think electorally Labour have blundered by not including a VAT promise in their manifesto.

    If the tories include it in theirs they will kick booties”

    Actually, I think Eoin has a point. If the Tories include it in their manifesto it would make it much harder for Labour to claim that the fall in NI will inevitably mean an increase in other taxes, namely VAT.

  42. @Green G,

    Numbers ironically are not my forte,

    Strategy is.

    It would capture votes, be sure of it

  43. @ Sue Marsh

    Thanks for the info. I’ve not been following closely enough. If YouGov have changed, then presumably others are changing too and it all could be a bit woolly, to say the least. The main problem is that if trend is to be measured meaningfully, then the method has to stay the same. If we forget about trend and just concentrate on homing in on the correct result, that has its problems too. If the reason for changing is that results are out of line with other pollsters, that seems especially questionable – all homing in on the average, which is what indeed may be happening as the pollsters seem to be getting closer to each other. It seems to me that could lead to everybody close together – either everybody right, or quite possibly, everybody wrong.

  44. “MORI had the marginal swing first at 5% then it grew to 5.5%

    ICM have the marginal swing at 6,3%

    They had an 8 point lead…. which is a 5.5% swing

    thus 6.3 – 5.5 = 0.8%”

    I see. The point I was making is that the 0.8% is the actual difference in swing between the marginals and national vote, surely? So this would surely mean that the Tories would get slightly more than 0.8% extra votes in the marginals when compared to seats nationally (i.e. swing is not the same as % of total votes cast).

  45. I have read most of this thread with growing incredulity. Why do some people seek to rubbish the views of the eight pollsters on the basis that current polling does not give the Tories a majority? They are making a prediction that the polls will have shifted towards the Tories by May 6th, a prediction that doesn’t seem out of court, if not my preferred outcome.

    To say that these are mere opinions that have no more validity than the views of anyone else seems a bit odd. While there is no reason to believe that the pollsters are privy to unpublished information, they are presumably making a judgment based on their sense of the underlying direction of movement and their experience as people who take the pulse of the electorate.

    If you deny that their views have any validity you are implying that they are no more than statisticians who number-crunch without any understanding or interpretation. I would prefer to believe that they are basing their predictions on some expertise and not just gut-feel/guesswork. Why after all do all broadcasters regularly invite pollsters on current affairs programmes to comment on what the polls mean?

  46. @Eoin
    t would capture votes, be sure of it
    In that case let me put this to you.

    Cons’ greatest vulnerability is credibility. All the big 3, including GO, have been saying that “no chancellor can rule out a VAT rise in the future”.

    Ergo, AD and VC would tear them to shreds, showing it as further proof of changing policy on a sixpence as well as reinforcing the question as to where they are going to raise the money for deficit cuts. Tories are currently trying to get away from that agenda.

    If you can persuade CCHQ to adopt the strategy, I will be sad because this election will stop being interesting and become a foregone conclusion.

  47. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m questioning whether:-

    Difference in swing between marginals and national vote = Difference in % of total vote in marginals and national vote.

    I hope I’m making sense!! lol

  48. Either way, the marginal results are certainly not as good as the Tories would like!

  49. @leslie,

    It is a well put point and it is fairly put.

    Let me try to explain why I could not give two hoots what they predict.

    They had a pollsters conference quite some time ago… Seems an age now…

    The predictions made seemed credible at the time…

    Afterwards, the lead narrowed considerably.

    Now we all have egos.

    Why would they want to dramatically change their point of view?

    Go back through anthony’s threads and you’ll see it.

  50. Greengrass – when EOIN predicted the NI cut would be good for he Tories, I was incredulous and argued energetically to the contrary. He was right.
    The logic must be that the voters will believe anything nice they are told. Therefore, a promise not to increase VAT, however unsustainable or irresponsible, would probably give a poll boost.
    Hopefully EOIN won’t mention it again, in case anyone at Tory HQ are reading ;)

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