Populus tonight has topline figures of CON 36%(+4), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 28%(-3). Changes are from their poll a week ago which showed the Conservatives with just a 1 point lead over the Lib Dems, so it supports the slight Tory recovery and slight falling back of the Lib Dems we’ve had over the last week (in fact, along with the rather odd Ipsos MORI poll, it’s the highest Conservative score since before the first debate).

Populus have also conducted a poll in Scotland, which has topline figures of CON 16%, LAB 37%, LDEM 24%, SNP 19%. Like the YouGov Scottish poll at the weekend it shows comparatively little change in Scotland since the last general election. It doesn’t look as though we should expect many seats to change hands North of the border.

YouGov meanwhile has figures of CON 33%(nc), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 28%(-1), and clearly there is no significant change from yesterday’s figures. Despite appearances, the trends here are not really contradictory – they need to be seen in the context of the fieldwork dates. A week ago when Populus’s last poll was conducted YouGov was showing the Conservatives on 31% and the Lib Dems on 34%, so both are reporting the same pattern… it’s just the difference between a weekly and a daily poll.

UPDATE: ComRes’s rolling poll for ITV and the Indy has figures tonight of CON 33%(+1), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 29%(-2). The changes are within the margin of error, but like YouGov’s poll tonight those slight movements are away from the Lib Dems and towards Labour.

759 Responses to “Populus and YouGov polls”

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  1. Thank you for your calm and reasoned point in the final paragraph. I wonder how many posters will keep it in mind?

    Anthony, there is the sad irony that as your quality of posting improves with practice we all seem to be getting worse.

  2. Still cruising towards an even split in seats between TOry and Labour with the whole shebang being decided in a room with Clegg afterwards.

  3. @Neil A,



    I very respectfully disagree.

  4. As totally no partisan it looks to me that a Tory Govenment with a mall majority is on the cards. Talk of a hung Parliament is to frighten voters into reverting to two party politics. This is what The Establishment wants either way the voters lose. Con maj 0-10 seats on present trends

  5. @ Quincel

    Hear Hear!!


  6. Yeah a fairly unremarkable couple of polls there, despite the initial excitement at the figures in brackets :)

    It’s still looking pretty narrow, with no powerful trends yet apparent.

  7. My local Tory candidate was out canvassing in what is a rock solid safe seat. Why put in the effort? No Clegg bounce could even begin to harm him.

    In this election, racking up the easy votes matters. If the Tories get their vote out in safe seats, they could end up getting a decent plurality of votes which would make it hard for the LibDems to back Labour.

    The same logic applies for Labour voters in their safe seats. And, indeed for all voters in all seats.

    No vote is totally wasted or useless – because the voter numbers may prove crucial to the legitimacy of the next government, and possible reallignments.

    -Is there any chance the Cons and Labor will make some deal to hang onto the current power structure (thus, leaving the Lib Dems on the sidelines)

  9. I’m calling it Con 39, Lab 28, Lib 29 so far. LD seem to be slipping very gradually away from a 30 average and Lab seem to be gaining slightly. Will they meet in the middle? Can Nick Clegg give his party the boost they need to stay ahead of Labour or will they slip back to third?

    A simple linear trend prediction based on Post Lib Dem surge figures from the 17th onwards suggest Con climbing to 37 by election day and Lib Dem just pipping Labour to 2nd place at 27. Of course there’s plenty of time for “events” between now and then.

  10. @Theresa –
    Doubtful. Even if the party HQ/frontbenchers etc wanted to make such a deal its doubtful their backbenchers party activists etc. would stand for it.

  11. every average comes out at a 6.5% lead for the Tories at the moment.

    Lib dems appear to have peaked – the you gov poll is very good news for Labour

  12. @ Anthony

    I posted this before deep in another thread but is there any chance you could give an estimate of moE on the YouGov regional breakouts? You posted criticising unweighted data but by implication the weighted data from YouGov is OK – but is the sample size in the NE (for example) big enough?

    If the regional data is correct it could have a huge effect, so from the point of view of pollsters this seems pretty important. I realise the data is old so has to be compared with the national data in those polls, not today’s polls, but is the variation significant??



  13. @ Colin
    Sorry Colin, but your figures are rubbish! You have ‘others’ on only 4%…not very likely.

  14. @ Colin
    “I’m calling it Con 39, Lab 28, Lib 29 so far.”
    Only 4% for Others??

  15. @Theresa

    i very much doubt Con & Lab could work together.

    What I could imagine is Con or Lab offering LD’s a referendum on PR, and then both Con & Lab campaigning for a “no”.

  16. I think the key to the final election result may well be who can get the story to be about their momentum.

    If a slight shift to the Tories becomes more apparent, this can become the news story and much like the Clegg forst debate bounce, becomes self fulfilling. This is the way to t aTory majority.

    Much the same can be said if the Tories fall back towards what have been reasonably static numbers. I think hung parliaments is still by far the most likely occurrence, but whoever can spin the story to their own advantage, can still shift a couple of points their way.

  17. Theresa

    I would guess the likeliest outcome supporting your scenario is CONS having largest popular vote and number of seats/ LDs next popular vote. Brown resigns and Labour refuses to be minority partner in LD/LAB coalition or refuses to commit to full PR etc. Then LAB with moral indignation could offer to abstain on a Queens speech in return for, say, no 6billion this year (deferral might suit cameron because it must be doubtful whether it is really achievable in this financial year)

  18. Theresa: “-QUESTION
    -Is there any chance the Cons and Labor will make some deal to hang onto the current power structure (thus, leaving the Lib Dems on the sidelines)”

    On much of what is important to Conservatives, the Cons are closer to Lab than to LibDems. They would have difficulty in deciding what to cut, of course.

    But, real problem is tribal. Labour’s core vote may have increasingly little in common with the Labour leadership, but they absolutely hate the Tories. The scars of Thatcher run deep, and Cameron hasn’t been doing any bridge-building apologies.

  19. @COLIN

    You are allowing 4% for “others”
    bit low isn’t it? try taking some % from the Tories and you may have things nearly correct

  20. @Theresa

    There is a very good point there we could end up with a Lab/Con Coalition…. a coalition of vested interest… Nick Clegg as official leader of the opposition would just continue the Lib Dems cause….. More airtime for them!

  21. I am a Labour supporter and a collector of newspapers with interesting headlines.

    Ive just turfed out the Sunday Times for 5 April 1992 -four days before election day:

    “Polls say Kinnock heading for Downing Street.”

    I wonder what Sunday’s polls will tell us the actual result wont be?

  22. @Theresa – back in the early 70’s I remeber reading a book popular amongst teeange boys at that time. It was set in the early part of the 21st century. Britains’s economy was in tatters, society disentegrating, unemployment high, skilled jobs low, the Armed Forces engaged in a never-ending war against Islam – and the country was governed by a Con/Lab coalition.


  23. I have been following these postings since a couple of weeks before the election was called.

    I haven’t contributed before now, so forgive me if this covers old ground from before the campaign proper, or if it is not the most suitable of threads to introduce this.

    It’s clear that there is a lot of discussion (often just speculation) as to whether the true state of public opinion is, say 33-28-30 or 35-27-31 or whatever – but a lot less consideration on what that current poll position would lead to in terms of seats.

    The UNS method, as applied is admittedly imperfect and, as is explained on this site, can even lead to calculations showing a party getting fewer than zero votes in a constituency.UNS was also developed in a era of effectively 2 party rather than 3 party politics.
    I have been working on an alternative swing calculator and have been using data from the previous two elections to test for reasonableness and accuracy. I have also input all the notional/actual 2005 results into this calculator so I can make forecasts based on latest national/regional or even individual constituency figures (I will use this last feature on election night to provide a developing forecast as the results come in).

    Interestingly I have found that the concept of “swing” is one that you realise you know less about the more you look into it and think about it, but it is also a concept that most people have a more or less intuitive feel for.

    Essentially what all these calculators do is answer questions of this type.

    In 2005 constituency A’s result was
    Lab 24,000, Con 19,000, Lib 10,000

    In 2010 the constituency A result is
    Lab 20,000, Con 21,000, Lib 12,000

    In 2005 constituency B’s result was
    Lab 27,000 Con 21,000 Lib 8,000

    Assuming uniform swing, no special factors, no boundary changes, or tactical voting etc – what would be your prediction of the votes in constituency B for 2010?

    If anyone is brave enough to provide a top of their head estimate to this, perhaps they could include it at the end of any other comments they might make tonight.

    For information – applying my calculator to the current running average on this site (33-27-30) leads to a forecast of con 279 lab 229 lib 109 others 33.

    This has Conservatives doing significantly better than on UNS.

  24. The Lib Dems seem to be slipping back, although it will still be a three way fight . The Yougov poll is good for Labour (and it comes to something where to be good for Labour is coming 2nd)

    I think at the election, we will see:

    Tory: 34-35%
    Labour: 28-29%
    Lib Dem: 25-26%

  25. Andrew – as a rough guide, with a sample of 1000 the margin of error is 3%, with a sample of 600 it is 4%.

    The differences between the individual regions are not really significant. Between North and South as a whole, there’s probably something there

  26. What nobody can say is whether the Tory boost is going to come in their safe seats or not. All their recent appeals – including tonight’s truly terrible PEB – might just raise their core vote but have little impact on swing voters, I can’t see swing voters finding the garbage about hung parliaments appealing. So the UNS is more pointless than ever.

  27. Completely agree with Peter Kellner.

    We can expect figures of around 36/29/26 when the GE takes place.

    Not sure where some others (Colin Green for ex.) get their figures from.

    There is still room for things to change, but, at the moment, Kellner is going to be right.

  28. @COLIN and others

    You mentioned events and events are what will change the result. Day to day trends can be completely knocked out by events. The economy and the last debate will mean more than any trend.

  29. The markets appear to be taking fright at the polls coupled with the problems in Greece and now Portugal. I guess the fear is that with the polls so close a hung parliament is in the cards and paralysis may follow,,,,,whether any of this will have an impact on voting intentions is anyone’s guess but its all very worrying.

  30. The swing from red to yellow is now with YG 6.2%

    The swing from blue to red is now with YG 3.5%

  31. That Populus poll is very good news for the Tories with a 9% gap over Lab. Con maj. still a real possibility.

  32. regional swings again:

    I note that the Populus Scottish poll above is within 2% of the YouGov regional break for Scotland from last week using a whole week of data. I also note that the global figures for tonight’s YouGov poll are within 2% of the global figures for the whole week of polling used for the regional breaks, so if the regional break figures are significant they are probably still fairly representative.


  33. Where is this Lib Dem slip/decline people are talking about?

    As far as I can see, they’re 29ish, which is where they’ve been about for 5 days

  34. @Neil P
    -I agree.
    – In politics, perception becomes reality.
    -So.. if the story line in the media is …Cons surging in the polls….
    -…..Many voters will believe Cons are surging in the polls regardless of the polling data

  35. kellner sees a drop off of yellow from what we have now ,a slight increase to red and a tory lead of 6 or 7

    on these , he predicts hung

  36. @ COlin Green

    That leaves others on 4%?

    Not happening! WOuld agree with you on Lab/Lib being 28/29 (or vv), but if they are, Con will be 35% tops

  37. Nice to see AW confirming my analysis from the other thread – the Populus poll is showing the same trend as Yougov, when the polls of the same dates are compared.

    Things are remarkably steady, with possibly a slight tory recovery.

  38. In 1992 the surge to the tories was on the Tue/Wed prior to election day.

    The polls from now until Sunday are largely irrelevant.

    But watch the polls for Tuesday 4 May. They will give you the election result:

    It will be Tories 38 Labour 28 LDs 26.

    Cameron outside number 10 with majority.
    Gordon retires.
    Nick and Vince smile and declare it a triumph for Liberal Party.

  39. It must be remembered that part of the Populus sampling period was when the Conservatives recovered significantly after the Murdoch Attack Day. They seem to have dipped a little since then according to the sum of other daily polls from YouGov and ComRes and ICM. The Populus poll does reflect an end of the Clegg Honeymoon of their previous poll, but it is spread over too long a period to tell us where things are tonight. I suspect LibDems have gone down a tweak because of being shoved by questions onto Hung Parliament and Electoral Reform position statements – but probably only a point or two since yesterday. If NC moves off the topic onto finance and has a good Thursday, his slide predicted by so many here might not come to pass – and we will be left where we are on polling day.

  40. -I live in US watching UK elections with interest because I am a political addict
    -Is there early voting in this election?
    -If there is…..a sudden swing towards one party in the few days of the election may not be as dramatic as the polls may indicate

  41. @Tony Dean

    The populus poll was yesterday and today:

    “Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,510 adults by telephone on April 26 and 27”

  42. Do we have a confirmed Comres already?

  43. As it’s a daily survey, surely the You Gov figures must be more or less accurate. For the last couple of days, I have thought we were probably heading for the Tories coming out on top on votes, and possibly just on seats. With the most recent noises Clegg has been making, one gets the impression he (if not his party) would prefer to work with the Tories. It would now appear to be heading back towards Lib-Lab, and I suspect that despite their protestations, Labour will consent to Clegg’s demand for Brown to be removed. Labour seem to be getting some support back from the Lib Dems, which the Tories are not. However, I wonder if, behind the scenes, a possible Tory-Lib Dem deal is being discussed with, say, Cable as Chancellor and two to three other positions (maybe Clegg to something like Communities and Local Government, Norman Lamb to Health, and Steve Webb, whom I was once told is the most clever person in Parliament, to Work and Pensions. Cameron, I suspect, will want to hang on to the Home Office and Justice (rumours were he wanted to reunite policing and justice), the Foreign Office, Defence and Education. I think Ken Clarke would want Business, though even that might be up for negotiation. But if Labour continues to recover, I suspect they will end up with the highest number of seats.

  44. @Amber

    Not yet!

  45. One poll does not make a spring

    I would take anything that bucks a trend with a pinch of salt.

  46. @ Pankot

    Thank you – I stand corrected.

  47. I think from Thursdays leaders debate on the economy onwards, the focus will be on spending cuts and tax increases.

    If there is a slip or announcement which does not go down well or on the hand is received positively, we could be looking at a different election outcome.

    I personally sense that the people who have not decided who to vote for are waiting for the Tories to be more candid. If the Tories can muster the courage to be bold and announce more details of their plans, it is possible they could win with a majority. If they continue to be evasive like the other two main parties, a hung parliament is still the most likely outcome.

    My money is still on Labour to win the most seats, but not the popular vote. Brown will hang on and try to continue, putting a queens speech together. This will force parliament to decide what to do next. Do they form a government of unity or put forward a vote of no confidence which will end up with another election in the Autumn. I cannot see the Lib Dems signing up to a coalition, which could harm them, if another election is held in the near future. But they would talk to the other parties to agree on plans/policies they can all get behind.

    The best outcome for the country I believe is a hung parliament, leading to consensus politics. Any party that tries to govern alone as a minority or with a tiny majority, is likely to be prove very unpopular, very quickly. This really is the election, that many are saying, is the election you cannot afford to win, as the risk for the party, is greater than losing.

  48. @ PANKOT

    Thank you – I guess they are sticking to the 10pm thing, then.

  49. @ dave
    i think you should take your tablets and go to bed, your starting to sound like puddleglum from the silver chair by c. s. lewis

  50. @DAVE

    “It will be Tories 38 Labour 28 LDs 26. ”

    One half decent poll has got all the Tories dreaming tonight lol

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