August YouGov Poll

The topline voting intention figures in August’s YouGov poll for the Telegraph, with changes from last month’s figures are CON 38%(nc), LAB 31%(-2), LDEM 18%(nc).

The poll supports ICM’s findings earlier in the week in regard of the two main parties – the Conservatives seem steady while Labour seem to have lost support over the last month, possibly as a result of their response to the crisis in Lebanon or the foiled terrorist attacks.

Clearly there has not been a boost in the Liberal Democrat vote like that recorded by ICM – some commenters have asked whether the ICM change in the Liberal Democrats was genuine, given that the level of support ICM recorded for them in July seemed unusually low. Could it just have been a return to the norm after a rogue poll? I didn’t think so, a second ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph at the end of June had also shown a fall in Lib Dem support. Given that their large boost in ICM’s poll isn’t reflected here though, it is a possibility.

In his commentary Tony King says “because YouGov typically elicits the views of approximately twice as many voters as the other polls, its findings are less subject to random sampling fluctuations. Month by month, YouGov’s findings tend to be less dramatic than the other polls’. Largely for that reason, they are probably more reliable.” There is more to volatility of polls than just the random sampling – in fact ICM’s polls are normally just as stable as YouGov’s, despite the smaller sample size. Over the past 6 months or so they have become far more erratic. I can’t think of any reason why this might be, I’m inclined to think it’s bad luck – they’ve just happened to have a couple of outlying polls.

On YouGov’s other trackers, David Cameron retains a small 2 point lead over Tony Blair as the “Best Prime Minister”. The Conservatives have also pulled ahead of Labour as the best party to run the economy, possibly due to the impact of the rise in interest rates since the last YouGov poll. On a forced choice question on whether people would perfer a Conservative government lead by David Cameron, or a Labour government led by Gordon Brown, Cameron lead by 7 points, 43% to 36%. This is almost unchanged from the last time YouGov asked the question, when Cameron had a 6 point lead.

The Telegraph also includes the aggregate data from YouGov’s polls over the last 6 months, allowing us to see where the swing to the Conservatives has been concentrated. As has been noted in various polls, the swing is significantly larger amongst women than men – 6 points rather than 2 points. It is also far larger in London than elsewhere in the country(though not in the South-East, which along with the North-West and Yorkshire has one of the lowest swings). The regional differentials don’t actually make much difference to the bottom line figures on how these levels of support would play out at a general election. Taking the average of YouGov’d polls over the last 6 months, on a uniform swing they’d see the Conservatives getting 274 seats. On a regional swing using these figures, they’d get 276 seats – no significant difference at all.

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