Sunday polls

Two polls in the Sunday papers: YouGov have topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 36%, LDEM 14% – which is still very much within the margin of error of the CON 42%, LAB 35%, LDEM 15% figures that YouGov have been floating around for the last few weeks.

There is also a OnePoll survey in the People with topline figures CON 40%, LAB 30%, LDEM 23%. Regular readers may recall I gave these no credence to their polling during the election campaign, given did not publish the necessary information to judge whether their sampling and methodology were likely to produce representative findings. In the event their final poll bore virtually no resemblence to the election result, with shares of CON 30% (out by 7), LAB 21% (out by 9) and LDEM 32% (out by 8) – in the same way as I do not know how they conducted polling prior to the election, I have no idea if they have changed their methods since then.

Rumours of ICM and MORI polls tonight were false apparently, though both are due polls in the coming week.

172 Responses to “Sunday polls”

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    Looking at how the Greens have evolved in Germany, and for that matter, looking at how Caroline Lucas has evolved too, I think it is highly likely that under certain scenarios the Green could partially replace the Lib Dems.

    Young people coming up to voting age have had an education riddled wth greenish messages and they might be very receptive to a moderate green message.

  2. @DavidB
    The Greens need PR – they would probably soon do better than the Lib Dems under STV – not so long ago they beat them in the European elections.
    PR is not going to happen though – so the Greens will not be able to make a breakthrough any more than UKIP can. The Lib Dems are now much better at FPTP than they were in the 1980’s – and with participation in leadership debates at General Elections they will have an additional advantage!

  3. Johnty,
    So you think Labour will let the Coalition have two representatives in the leaders’ debate instead of one? Or are you assuming the coalition will collapse before then?

  4. @ Sue Marsh – “I can’t see that it can be anyone but DM”

    The old fox Andrew Neil asked EM how he would feel if he became leader, knowing that he is everyone’s second choice… also accused him of changing his policy positions to curry favour with unions and the left generally. Don’t know if there is really any truth in this, but it made me think.
    He has only been an MP for five years.
    I still think he is a good performer, but I am surprised, I haven’t heard from anyone but Kinnock why they have such faith in him.

  5. She is Kinross and the friend we’ll be staying with is in St Andrew’s. He’s something terribly important and says he can get me a tour of Holyrood!

  6. @ Sue

    You might really like Holyrood, my son loves almost the entire building (some are less enthusiastic).

    I know both Kinross & St Andrews well. The East Neuk of Fife is a lovely, coastal area. You will have a fantastic time.

  7. @Aleksander

    “Thanks for the reply. Would the Scottish Lab/LD coalition in 1999 also have lacked legitimacy on your criteria?”

    A good question and, as a point of clarification, were those elections held on a FPTP basis or had they introduced a form of PR by then for the election of the Scottish Assembly? I only ask because if the Assembly was elected on a proportional basis then the concept of government by a coalition of parties was always s a likely outcome and, as such, a broadly centre left grouping, as the Lib Dems and Labour supposedly were in those fondly remembered days, would have had some clear political and electoral credibility. My guess would be that, in the event of the need for a coalition following the election, most Scottish Lib Dem and Labour voters would have been comfortable with the two parties coming together to form a government. In fact, they would have probably expected them to do so if parliamentary arithmetic deemed it necessary.

    What troubles me about the current centre right coalition in Westminster is its contrivance, both from an ideological and also electoral point of view. It has an inherent incompatibility at its very core, not just in terms of the history of the two respective parties but also in terms of the offers they were purporting to make to the electorate during the campaign.

    Here, as pithily as I am able to describe it, is my problem. A centre right coalition should be made up broadly of centre right political parties. I thought the Lib Dems were a centre left party or have I been a sad, naive and deluded man all these years??

    Of course, it’s always possible that the coalition isn’t really a coming together of anything very much ideologically, more just the creation of an artifice that delivers power to those that built it. Or am I being cynical now?

  8. Billy Bob,

    I agree with EM. He seems very inexperienced, bright as he is supposed to be. He was very snappy and uncomfortable when questioned (using an Ed Balls-esque “What does that mean?”, which is a spin-doctor’s nightmare) as well as being excessively defensive and negative. Andy Burnham also has the same problem, coupled with the fact that he’s a good speaker but a bad listener and was very unlikeable on Question Time, despite the fact that he seems to be a nice fellow when he’s not on the spot.

    David Miliband may be a bit dull and a bit pompous, but his relative experience under the spotlight means that he has the kind of calm demeanour and ability to brush off provocation that any future Labour leader needs. In boxing terms, he can take punches as well as throw them and that’s what Labour needs for a Leader of the Oppositiom. Otherwise, David Cameron will play them like a fiddle at PMQs and get them to be nasty, angry and unpleasant. That’s a risk Labour can’t take.

  9. Did anyone hear Dark Lord on Radio 5 *Live*?

    Sauntered in munching a Danish Pastry, made small talk with another guest, had Ricky Gervais in hysterics, and after five minutes began to get a bit impatient… “Yes, but when are we going On Air?”

  10. @ Bill Patrick – “… he can take punches as well as throw them and that’s what Labour needs for a Leader of the Opposition.”

    In a nutshell. ;)

  11. @ Bill Patrick

    Andy Burnham also has the same problem, coupled with the fact that he’s a good speaker but a bad listener and was very unlikeable on Question Time.
    Very unlikeable on QT? The majority of feedback was that Andy did an excellent job. He also sparred effectively with Lansley in the HoC, clearly rolling with the few punches that Lansley was able to throw.

    Andy B does talk in a straight-forward way that might not win favour with the ultra-clever.

    I agree Ed M seems to have dropped from the sky, compared to some of the others – but that’s what a lot of people like about him. 8-)

  12. @NICK HADLEY………..Your final paragraph rather sums up politics today, only activists believe the ideology, politicians see the pursuit of power as the issue, the ideology becomes a moveable feast.
    Come to think of it, the final sentence of your preceding para also gives food for thought, are we deluded ? Regardless of party, I think we are.

  13. @Nick Hadley – “A centre right coalition should be made up broadly of centre right political parties.”

    An interesting observation that has deep relevance for the discussion above regarding voting systems.

    My view has always been that we should not view the voting system in isolation. We have a politcal system designed for single party majority government, so we have party organisations that fit the system. Two very broad coalition parties plus a third party that keeps open options as to which way they lean with regard to the other two.

    We currently have a coalition government within a two party system – hence your observation of a fairly basic anomaly. I don’t believe there is any point in discussing whether system a or b (or av…) will benefit which party without also examining how it might allow new parties in or old parties to fracture along more logical lines. In other parts of the UK we see more parties getting better representation – a good thing.

    This would be the defining benefit of a better voting system – a wider choice that could bring more people closer to the electoral system and reduce alienation. It would also require the Lib Dems to decide once and for all who they want to be. In such a system, coalitions would work.

  14. @Amber Star

    “I agree Ed M seems to have dropped from the sky, compared to some of the others – but that’s what a lot of people like about him”

    I went to the Labour Leadership hustings at the Great Hall in the University of Birmingham last Sunday (Kevin McGuire, the chairman, even called me to ask a question on PR!) and it’s certainly fascinating to see the candidates in the flesh. My slightly tabloid verdicts of the five candidates, based on what I saw on the day, would be as follows: –

    EM – relaxed, self confident but his answers were a little formulaic and metronomic.

    DA – played her role as the outsider very well but her constant references to “unlike the other 4” became increasingly tiresome. Made a very good winding up speech, though

    AB – obvious sincerity shone through and surprisingly passionate on occasions. On the other hand, he lacked a bit of gravitas and charisma for me and I worry about him in the cut and thrust of party politics when things get rough and ugly.

    EB – the best performer on the day, robust, self confident, surprisingly articulate and humourous and landed the best punches on both his rival candidates and his political opponents (Mr Clegg particularly)

    DM – showed the most nerves and all the tension of a frontrunner frightened of making mistakes. This made him a little constipated on the day, preventing him making the emotional connection with the audience. This showed in the muted applause that his rather effective, in my view, winding up speech received.

    My conclusion and advice to Labour members. Beware being seduced by candidates who tickle the erogenous zones of the party faithful and look instead to the person with the widest electoral appeal. It’s all about three things: electability, electability and electability and that’s why, ironically, I still tend towards the least superficially impressive performer of the five candidates I saw last Sunday – David Milliband. He’s the one the Tories really fear and, even though it was hidden a little bit amongst his obvious nerves last Sunday, it was still abundantly clear that he was the candidate with the intellectual depth.

    I have to admit, a week or so ago DM was third on my list of contenders, but now he’s edged up to first, purely based on the old “scares the pants of the Tories” factor.
    That’s not to compare him with TB, you understand.

  16. @ Alec
    Agree wholeheartedly

  17. @Nick Hadley

    I believe that they used some element of PR though I may be wrong. However I think your point about PR/FPTP is less relevant in the case of the last GE as the polls for many months had indicated a high likelihood of a hung parliament. It was certainly a major talking point in the campaign and possible pairings had been discussed in the media.

    In your original post you discounted any post-election deals and that must apply in the 1999 case as arrangements were not in place, as far as I know, prior to the vote. Whether the voters of each party were subsequently amenable is by your criteria irrelevant and as such the Lab/LD coalition would also have lacked democratic legitimacy. Under your terms any coalition stitched up solely after an election lacks legitimacy. That certainly limiits the field of legit outcomes. It also logically pushes parties together into larger groupings.

    Your other issue with the Con/LD coalition seems to stem from the incompatibilty of their policies. The two great coalitions, spawned by decades of FPTP, are the Labour and Conservative parties themselves. DC may be closer to the LDs than his to own right. TB would certainly have been closer to DC than to his own left. The LDs themselves are a coalition and the Orange Bookers seem to be centre-right.

    This might matter if the Coalition was an ideological project however it is can’t be because of the manner of its formation. It’s a management exercise.

  18. Mike P said, “Your support for the German system is interesting as it is not PR – it excludes all parties which get less than 5% of the vote. If this was introduced in UK then we would have only three parties in the commons now as SNP, PC, SF, DUP, UKIP, BNP etc all get far less than this in May 2010.”

    Actually, the German system is PR. And so is STV. The fact that a system isn’t 100% proportional (and if you wanted 100% proportionality then bear in mind that you might need thousands, or even millions, of parliamentary seats, depending on how many decimal places you wanted to be correct to) doesn’t stop it from being PR by most reasonable definitions.

    Also, Mike is factually wrong with regards to the German system. The 5% threshold is for the list seats. You can still win constituency seats without passing the threshold. If you win one or two constituency seats, you keep those regardless of whether you passed the threshold. And if you win three or more constituency seats, a special exemption kicks in which means that you’re entitled to list seats even if you haven’t passed the 5% threshold.

  19. @ Nick Hadley

    Thank you for your post about the Labour leadership husting. Fascinating to read.

    Funnily enough, I think Ed Miliband is the candidate the Tories fear least & I think he is going to win. Which is why I said (in an earlier post) that if, 2 years down the line Labour are not in the lead, we may need to consider making a change. 8-)

  20. @Nick Hadley/Amber

    On the previous thread I made the following comments after seeing all five candidates on ‘This Week’. Coming from a blue perspective I tried to be fair and not deliberately mischievous and it is on a superficial level.

    I was most impressed with DM who was assured and eloquent. Exposure to high office seems to have made him less geeky and more confident: he seemed more comfortable in his own skin.
    DA was obviously a car crash. AB came over as lacking confidence and direction. He looked defensive and vulnerable. His anti-Southern, anti-media stance seemed more an attempt to differentiate himself rather than a heartfelt belief.
    EB was as combative as ever and he seems to relish the role of opposition. In this respect he is destructive rather than constructive. As such I cannot see him as the leader of a party, let alone a cabinet – too divisive.
    EM was the biggest disappointment for me. He came over as very much someone’s little brother. He was trying too hard to please, always looking around seeking approval. I felt he took the criticsm to heart – almost tears before bedtime.

    From my perspective DM came out head and shoulders above the rest.

  21. @ Aleksander

    I think that, in a way, you are agreeing with me… that Ed M is the candidate least feared by the blues 8-)

  22. @ Amber

    Maybe not least feared but certainly not feared. His shift left and the union backing would also make it easier to pigeon-hole him. He just didn’t impress me. He reminds me of those managment consultants using clever words but not saying anything. Though that didn’t hinder DC.

  23. @ Aleksandar

    He reminds me of those managment consultants using clever words but not saying anything. Though that didn’t hinder DC.
    I think everybody is hoping for a little more than heir to Blair style from the next ‘crop’ of leaders. 8-)

  24. @Amber

    Shame that I can’t even spell ‘management’ so little hope for me.
    Sadly the maverick conviction politicians have been steadily replaced by the managers.

  25. @RichardP
    “So you think Labour will let the Coalition have two representatives in the leaders’ debate instead of one? Or are you assuming the coalition will collapse before then?”
    Just shows how hard it is to make predictions in the current situation!
    There are so many variables. Let us assume the Lib Dems are still an independent party at the next election and that Clegg is still leader – in or out of the coalition ; let us assume that David Cameron is still Tory leader. In that situation I think I would put my money on the leadership debates being a three party affair. Labour could of course refuse to take part or demand that Clegg is removed – now how would that play with the uncommmitted 30-40% of the electorate?

  26. I see we have the first privatised University.

  27. @Sue
    I thought we already had the University of Buckingham? Is my memory failing me?

  28. Memorable Phrases: “Turning government on its head”

    Perhaps the electorate will start to show a more conservative turn of mind, and we will then see large polling leads for Labour?

  29. Johnty – Willets granted it official Private status.

  30. @Sue
    Are you talking about the University of Buckingham – which is certainly private and has been around for 30 years – or this new one that has just been recognised?
    Are you opposed to it?
    What struck me was the vocational nature of its current and projected courses – how Higher Education has changed over the past 30 years!

  31. Just crunched some numbers on my own Blog about these “favourable” polling results, and have come up to a surprising election outcome… As always, click on the name in this post to see my blog.

  32. @Jay
    I find your analysis fairly convincing. It looks to me that the UK is in a standoff – a bit like 1974 – with the public not really convinced about either major party.
    You are wrong to label the 1974 period as a coalition by the way – it was a hung parliament followed by a minority government not a coalition. You probably should remove that from the table.

  33. Johnty – Maybe I’m confused?? This is the BBC link, perhaps you can translate. Hard to tell these days what is a genuine news story and what is stirring the pot…..

    h ttp://

  34. @Sue
    The BBC article says “The UK’s first new private sector university college for more than 30 years”.
    Following the American model – as in pretty well everything else.

  35. Johnty – So this BPP IS a new private university? I suppose there will be more.

  36. ” I think Ed Miliband is the candidate the Tories fear least & I think he is going to win. ”

    If the accounts of EM’ pro union campaign are correct, and his stance is as portrayed in the press, then if he does win, there will be some very divisive politics ahead.

    The big public sector unions have signalled they will resist job cuts & pension entitlement changes. It seems clear some strikes will be called.

    I could have foreseen someone like AD-or even DM-taking a measured & reasoned stance-based on degree rather than principle.

    But if EM, -as leader-follows through on his public utterances, and union support, one can envisage a much more intransigent Labour stance, aligned firmly with union action.

    Back to the Future?

    How this would play in the minds of the electorate will be interesting.

  37. @Sue
    Looks as if it is an existing group of private colleges given University College status. Think it is owned by an American company.
    Have no idea whether others will happen.
    You will find a number of institutions in “developing countries” going from private college to university status e.g. Malaysia – where there is a shortage of places, and where it is often a way of providing a cheaper quality education than sending your children overseas. Often UK, Australian and US Universities have collaborated in setting up such institutions. They all seem to provide vocational type courses – no pure science, mathematics, humanities.

  38. @Sue

    BPP seems to be a private company that provides courses in law, accounting and finance including professional development courses. Willetts has granted it university status whatever that means. I presume there must be advantages to BPP re status, degree giving and ,of course, finance.

  39. Have posted too much lately. Gonna take a break, but before I go I was amused at an article on Conservative Home entitled:
    “Conservatives and Labour MPs should work together to defeat Chris Huhne’s green zealotry” They don’t like his anti-nuclear/pro wind farm stance.
    Think ther may be similar problems with the defence review and Trident, and of course AV – the Conservative right has already been plotting with Labour supporters of FPTP.

  40. @JohnTy

    Oops, did mean to say ‘coalitions and as elected minority governments’.

  41. I was not convinced by Cameron’s attempt to recast the ‘special relationship’ in his sub-Love Actually speech proir to the meeting with Obama.

    There is a category problem for me here. ‘Conservative’? How about The ARP… (The American Revolutionary Party). As usual Tories are showing contempt for British institutions in their zeal to turn this country into a US mini-me.

  42. @ Sue

    BPP have written manuals & provided training for ICMA & CACA since I was at University (which wasn’t yesterday).

    Early stages of ICMA & CACA could be considered vocational but the final exams are actually post-graduate level. The CACA (which I know most about) is like a combination of Chartered Accountancy & an MBA.

    I’d always assumed BPP were a UK company because the qualifications they offer are recognised everywhere in the world but their head offices are in the UK (CACA is based in Scotland). 8-)

  43. @Amber
    ‘The East Neuk of Fife is a lovely, coastal area’
    I nearly fell out of my chair. Be careful about using ‘that word’ to your Dutch friends Amber.

  44. @ Johnty July 25th, 2010 at 9:19 pm
    “The Greens need PR …PR is not going to happen though – so the Greens will not be able to make a breakthrough any more than UKIP can.”

    Except the Green Party has made a breakthrough into the House of Commons without PR (unlike the much wealthier UKIP). While it will be very hard for the Green Party to win further seats, that is no more impossible than winning the first one was. Indeed it may be that the enhanced profile and credibility make it easier.

  45. I would imagine that at this rate the greens will do very well indeed. It is becoming obvious that very many voters are disillusioned with the Libs but it doesn’t follow by any means that they will be happy to vote Con or Lab. Why would they? They weren’t before.

    Right leaning Orange Bookers will surely vote Tory, left leaning Libs will vote Lab and the others will either stay Lib or look for an alternative. I’d have thought Green was the ideal alternative for many Libs.

  46. The Greens have a problem in that they have had a substantial ‘little England’ mentality in the past which is a counter intuitive tdirection to someone like me who is sympathetic to the main thrust of sustainability

    Sue, we Lib Dems will scatter to the four political winds when STV is achieved (so the following is highly theoretical). We see movement to two of the wind directions (back to Lab and Con) already but a third could indeed be to a green type party. But I suspect there will always be a genuine liberal party, judging by what is tthe case in countries which already have PR.

  47. @WOOLLYMINDEDLIBERAL “…we Lib Dems will scatter to the four political winds…”

    Interesting comment whcih sort of confirms my view that LDs are a repository for anti-Lab/Con voters.

    Ironic that the raison d’etre of the LDs could prove to be its nemesis. (Alongside being in coalition with the Cons, that is.)

    So, if there were no obvious outlet for the ‘anything but the Cons or Lab’ brigade, where would disgruntled voters go?

  48. Woolly,
    I don’t know where you get this “‘little England’ mentality” from, but if, as you say, it is in the past, then it is hard to see how it could still be a problem.

    I get the impression there are few left leaning LibDems who will ever join Lab. ‘Left leaning’ LibDem members tend to be anti-nuclear, anti-war, and tend to be even more vehement than the rest of their party in their critique of Labour’s more authoritarian tendency (ID cards, detention without trial, lots of CCTV cameras), add to that that they tend to be more pro fair trade and more concerned about environmental justice/sustainability, and I suspect that this group too are more likely to head for the Greens than Labour.

  49. Ben – Exactly.

  50. One of the interesting and often unnoticed things in the last two decades has been the rise of the Lib Dem core vote. Before then the Lib Dems (and before that the Liberals) could only rely on a core vote of about 5% – the rest of their voters tended to be protesters or the generally sympathetic who would not always vote for them.

    However that core vote has since risen to about 12-14%; as much due to the local building and maintaining of support as by credible national leadership (though both are needed). You can see this in poll support for policies and leaders as well as headline VIs. This has been at a time where the core vote for the other two parties has fallen.

    That’s why the Lib Dems have only to worry (at least in the long term) if they stay consistently much below 15%. I suspect many of the current Conservative respondents are indicating support for the coalition rather than the Tories and that their vote will go to the Lib Dems where it matters.

    Unlike Woollymindedliberal I don’t think the Lib Dems will split on achieving STV or indeed on any of the other scenarios being optimistically touted. That’s not what core voters do (of course there’s always an ebb and flow between Parties, but it’s small in comparative terms). What is more likely to happen if disillusionment with the coalition takes hold and stays, is that supporters will abstain and activists stop activity – similar to the gradual collapse in Labour activity under Blair etc.

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