After a long break the regular Populus polls for the Times start up again in tomorrow’s paper – the topline figures with changes from October are CON 36%(-2), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 11%(-4). This three point lead is actually the lowest any of the regular pollsters are currently showing, but I expect we’ll find that’s because like ICM, Populus re-allocate don’t knows to the parties they voted for last time and these days that works against Labour.

The poll also asked people which they would prefer between the government’s strategy of eliminating the deficit in four years, or Labour’s policy of halving the deficit in four years (although notably the question itself did NOT indicate to people that these were government and Labour policies) – people were pretty evenly split, with 46% prefering the government’s policy and 54% the opposition’s (I’m not sure if they add to 100% because it was a forced choice or because it’s been repercentaged to exclude don’t knows).

The Times report suggests there were also a series of questions rating the performance of cabinet ministers, but the details don’t seem to be online yet.

UPDATE: The daily YouGov/Sun poll is also out, and has topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 43%, LD 9%.

UPDATE2: The 3 point Labour lead was indeed partially due to reallocating don’t knows. Without the reallocation the figures were CON 35%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%. After many years of the adjustment helping Labour in the polls it looks as though the days of shy Tories are gradually reappearing.

132 Responses to “New Populus poll shows 3 point Labour lead”

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  1. Craig… gees you’ll be taking over the world with that 4% ;) Ta

  2. I see RM beat me to it… :oops:

  3. @TGB

    I want the Greens to become the new Lib Dems!

  4. Also, I love the “very good job indeed” and “very bad job indeed” phrases denoting maximum approval/disapproval in the Populus questions.

  5. Amber

    Cameron is obviously following his Tory predecessor Disraeli “Everyone likes flattery, and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel”. Actually I should imagine the Royals are just as curled up with embarrassment as the rest of us with this sort of stuff. Once a PR man always a PR man.

    Meanwhile Anthony is definitely spending too much time reading the comments on this site. After the discussion a weekend ago about how Andy Murray’s ‘Britishness’ went up only when he was winning, we now have a poll:

    ht tp://


    Oh well – it’s usually me that’s the bridesmaid. ;)

  6. @ Craig – I want the Greens to become the new Lib Dems!

    Are you sure?? ;-)

  7. @Craig – “I want the Greens to become the new Lib Dems!”

    Er – no thanks.

  8. Roger – the Andy Murray question is a baseline. We are going to ask it again in the run up to tennis tournaments, when he is doing well, when he is doing badly, etc, etc and see if perceptions of his Scottish or Britishness really do change depending on his success.

  9. Here are the mean scores for the various people that Populus asked about (100 = very positive, 0 = very negative):

    Cameron 44.48
    Hague 43.33
    Clarke 42.71
    Cable 41.72
    Miliband 41.25
    Clegg 38.82
    Balls 38.57
    Osborne 37.81

  10. @Anthony – “Roger – the Andy Murray question is a baseline”

    …followed by a lob, into the net – forehand return OH NO! – IT’S LONG 15 -40. Match point….

  11. @ Alec

    LOL :-)

    It will be interesting to see the outcome of the polling, though. I wonder if people in Scotland will be caught making him British when he loses & Scottish when he wins. ;-)

  12. Cab Murray partner Balls in a doubles match?

  13. @Woodsman
    That was the point ;)

    It was tongue in cheek. :P Eoin reminded me that 4% is nothing to get excited by, as it gets you precisely nowhere in our voting sustem, so I jokingly suggested I hoped they get to the lofty position of the Liberals…nowhere.

    Although I would like to see the Greens become the third party, they’re not centrists picking up votes from both main parties, so it’s difficult to see how that would come about (same problem UKIP’s got).

  14. Craig

    I knew you were being tongue in cheek. If you were being serious you would have been concentrating on the 50% increase in SNP support since the UK GE – puts them clearly on course for an outright majority in the Scottish GE.

    As Amber knows well, we don’t do “gushing” or exaggerated claims. :-)

  15. Craig

    ‘so it’s difficult to see how that would come about (same problem UKIP’s got).’

    Do I really have to explain Craig? How did you get the EU seats?

  16. @ Old Nat

    “Having the same chip on both shoulders at least mean they aren’t distracted by trivia – like evidence.

    As has been frequently pointed out in Scotland, the BBC seems always willing to oblige by removing any such embarrassing stuff.

    In less than 24 hours after the Megrahi story broke, every single reference to it has been ruthlessly excised from its website.”

    I think it was Reagan who didn’t like facts. The Megrahi coverage is mindnumbingly stupid. And all these references to law that the Libyans wouldn’t have known about on their own seems to me to be analysis that is a product of the British class system. I can tell why you don’t like Bob Menendez. I like him but if he was my Senator, I would tell him to take a big cup of “Simma Down Na.”

    @ Amber Star

    “Yuk! Very creepy & un-British (definitely un-Scottish, Old Nat).”

    Lol. I think it’s in some ways easy to both and despise and sympathise with members of the Royal Family. Their entire lives are lived under the microscope of the public and media eye. They can’t make simple decisions without it coming under scrutiny. It’s been implied that Prince Charles had always loved Camilla but married Diana for political expediency (and that Camilla had reccomended her). That’s crazy. Reminds me of the importance of the fundamental right to marry.

    As for Cameron’s unScottishness, perhaps he wants to burnish his warm hearted credentials with Americans watching from abroad. It is a little weird. Not so much being effusive about the couple but the way in which he describes them. Lol.

  17. @ Howard
    A proportional voting system? Any remote possibilty of that on the horizon?

  18. @ Alec

    “@Craig – “I want the Greens to become the new Lib Dems!”

    Er – no thanks.”

    I don’t think the Greens will replace the Liberal Democrats. They do have similar appeals and similar voting groups. They’re both similar in that they are generally progressive parties that are alternatives to Labour (even the Orange Book Lib Dems). But I think one votes Green for very different reasons than one votes Liberal Democrat. Lib Dems I think seem more focused on personal autonomy. That would contrast with some of the more controlling policies of the Greens. And I think Greens are less business friendly than the Lib Dems who seem more business oriented (even the non Orangebook Lib Dems).

    I’m not sure about your Greens because I think they’re probably different from my Greens (though I think both parties belong to the same international party umbrella) but there’s a few reasons I’ve never registered Green or voted Green. Mainly, the Greens have always struck me as too anti-business and too unwilling to compromise. Everytime a Green candidate has won a legislative seat in the U.S., they wind up (with few exceptions) having to switch parties because the party puts extreme voting restrictions on them preventing them from voting for anything that is not an ideal Green peice of legislation (this is a bad idea when you’re a caucus of 1). And Greens elected to local office (in non partisan elections) are often focused on other jobs than the ones they have and use their political offices as a bully pulpit for global issues. Now that’s fine some of the time but that shouldn’t be the primary focus of the job when you’re on a local city council and people want their trash picked up, street lights replaced, and trees trimmed (not lectures on the need for Tibetan independence, however valid the points may be). I’ll also point out that your Greens (Scottish Greens and English Greens) are a lot more impressive than my Greens. Caroline Lucas is one impressive politician. She’s brilliant, hardworking, and articulate.

    The one Green I almost voted for was Peter Camejo, who was a successful businessman and appealled to me as a Green who was reasonable. His campaign focused on budgetary issues and improving state finances. Had he been elected governor, surely he would have been a feirce environmentalist but the first order of business would have been to clean up the budget mess. I wish I had voted for him when I had the opportunity because the candidate I did vote for was a buffoon and lost badly and sadly he passed away a few years ago.

  19. @ Roger Mexico

    “Cameron is obviously following his Tory predecessor Disraeli “Everyone likes flattery, and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel”. Actually I should imagine the Royals are just as curled up with embarrassment as the rest of us with this sort of stuff. Once a PR man always a PR man.”

    Flattery will get you everywhere. :) I’m sure it must be difficult to live one’s life in the spotlight where your wedding is a massively publicized event. I wonder what would happen if Prince William and Kate Middleton eloped and went and got married at some wedding shack out in Las Vegas. I can’t imagine that would go over too well with the British public.

    @ Amber Star

    “It will be interesting to see the outcome of the polling, though. I wonder if people in Scotland will be caught making him British when he loses & Scottish when he wins.”

    That’s a shame. On this side of the pond, he’s just known as British. Though he probably confuses a lot of Americans when he speaks. “He says he’s British! That can’t be right though, he’s not speaking with an English accent! Where’s he really from?”

  20. @SocalLiberal
    May I ask why you have chosen a Conservative background. Is it the colour or the oak tree? it can’t be your politics…

    Shouldn’t the Green Party have a tree logo? Or maybe a Brownsea Island red squirrel? I have one of those on my keyring…

  21. Raf – in the USA the traditional party colours are the other way round to those we’ve come to expect in the UK. Republicans are red, Democrats are blue.

    When I get a spare half hour I might set up a special Democrat donkey for SoCaL ;)

  22. If we get AV I tink I’ll be going Green in second place. Might even go first as they might have more chance than Labour in Reigate & Banstead.

  23. @Anthony

    Indeed. I didn’t thing of that.

    And perhaps an elephant on a red background for Republicans and something special for Independents, so as to avoid bias :)

  24. This matter of colors in politics is indeed funny. In France, Socialists are pink, because red is the color of the Communist Party, and this is also consistent of the pink color of the rose, which is the symbol of us French socialists. In Greece, when the Socialist Party PASOK was founded in 1974, it chose green, because red was the color of communists (as in France). So green it was (and still is), and this is the reason why the color of the Greek Green Party, founded much more later, is yellow!!! On the contrary, the right-wing parties are, in both countries, blue, as almost everywhere in Europe (but not in Germany, where the CDU is black). Of course in Greece there are actually two additional right-wing parties, beside the main conservative one (ND, blue), so the far-right Orthodox Rally has chosen purple and the liberal Democratic Alliance, orange (maybe a reference to Orange book, or just a coincidence?). And to complicate matters further, there are also in Greek Parliament two left-wing parties, beside the Communists, so the Radical Left is pink (as are the French socialists!!!) and the Democratic Left is red and white.
    Bottom line: As a French voter I am usually Pink (and occasionally Green), and as a Greek voter, Green (and occasionally yellow or red and white!). Whilst in UK it would be just red, which is much more simple!!

  25. @Virgilio

    Very interesting post. Do you have any idea as to origins of blue for most of the Europea centre-right?

  26. Historically, the Conservative Party’s colors where the ones of the Union Jack: red, white and blue. But since red has been associated with the left and the Labour Party, the Tories edged towards blue alone. The same thing happened with the French right (French flag: bleu, blanc, rouge, then red=commies, so right= blue). And since France and England were the two most important European countries, the rest of the conservatives in Europe also adopted blue (in Greece, for the additional reason that our flag is white and blue). So, essentially, right wing = the idea of the nation, left wing = the idea of revolution.

  27. Nickp

    If you want to do something green pick up all the drink cans in the street near you and put them in the recycling bin. Of you could do a bit of freeganism.

  28. Wolf

    There are no drink cans in my street, unless you count the ones in the the recycling bins.

  29. Your update2 Anthony now has others on 15. That is a bit hefty to swallow, so at least reallocation mitigated that figure.

  30. Raf – if you go back a while British parties didn’t have the same colours across the country, in different areas there were different traditions. I can’t remember where I found good stuff about it, I’ll have to go back and have a look around

  31. Raf – here’s the discussion I was thinking of. Lots of good stuff here.

    Essentially local areas used to have their own colours, often to do with the local landowners, or local political clubs. The Conservatives adopted blue as their uniform colour in 1949, but many local associations continued to use their own local colours for long after that.

  32. @Anthony
    Thanks for that. A fascinating read.

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