YouGov’s fortnightly tracker of AV voting intention is in the Sun tomorrow. Voting intention is YES 34%(-3), NO 41%(+3), changes are from the last poll a fortnight ago.

Back then YouGov was showing a sharp tightening of the race, with Yes and No neck and neck (we suspected at the time it might have been a rogue poll, so ran it two days in a row. They both showed the same picture, so the tightening of the race was probably true). That was before the formal launch of the NO campaign, before Clegg and Cameron’s speeches and before the media started giving the referendum campaign some attention… and together it appears to have given the No campaign a boost.

We saw a similar pattern in ICM’s poll earlier this week. YouGov tend to show better results for NO than ICM do because YouGov’s question is prefaced by an explanation of what AV and FPTP are (something Populus also found when they asked two versions of the question to a split sample), but the trend in both YouGov and ICM is the same – a move towards No in the last fortnight.

UPDATE: YouGov daily figures are CON 37%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. The six point Labour lead is the same as yesterday’s.

226 Responses to “YouGov show NO campaign 7 points ahead”

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  1. NIckP
    Perhaps my memory fails me, but didn’t DC propose reduction in MPs following the surfacing of the expenses scandal? DC saw an opportunity and said there should be fewer MPs who are potentially costing the UK money – er, in expenses, I assume.

    But I’m sure someone will correct me.

  2. Imo any gerrymandering is using the Elecotoral Register rarther than polulation.
    Boroughs with more elderly get fewer people/MP than boroughs with lots of young people – is that right?
    Also areas with more recent EU immigrants who can’t vote in GEs, which arguably have more problems, will be similarly affected.
    Finally – there is evidence somewhere that non registered members of the pop are likely to be non conservative.

    As an aside Governement Whips (whoever in) will be pleased as the payroll %age increases. What chance a future demand for more MPs to keep the executive in check.
    A more representative 2nd chamber my answer this point I guess.

  3. Andrewteale has just pointed out on Vote-2007 that ALL the seats in North Yorkshire are within quota, so the whole county could* remain happily untroubled by the boundary review.

    *As opposed to will. Though I expect it will.

  4. @AW

    As I found when playing with the London figures, though, just because a region is within quota doesn’t mean it’s possible to leave it alone. The demands of other regions may sometimes spill over.


    You’re absolutely right that using the electoral roll introduces a strong bias. This was plainly a deliberate gerrymander.

  5. MikeN

    Your memory is correct.

    It was something like , less MPs =less cost ( not just expenses)=Parliament shares in the nation’s belt tightening + we are over represented by international standards + it makes it “fairer” anyway.

    I think it had a general appeal at the time of the expenses scandal, & I would be surprised if less mps is anytheless popular now.

    It certainly had a more credible ring for me than GB’s & NC’s equation of Expenses Scandal=Broken Politics=Need AV.

    NC used this piece of logic in his recent YES campaign speech.

    Perhaps that’s why a comparison of his speech & DC’s produced a seven point lead for No ?

  6. Whst on earth is Saint-Lague and d’Hondt all about – double Dutch or double French to me and I reckon that I’m as much of a polkitical nerd as anyone else on this board!

  7. Similar methods for distributing seats (apparently they both avoid the Alabama paradox, but you don’t want to go there).

    d’Hondt – you divide the electorate/vote of each area/candidate by the number of seats that have already been allocated them, plus 1. The area/candidate with the highest result gets allocated the next seat. Repeat until all seats are allocated.

    Sante-Lague – you divide the electorate/vote of each area/candidate by twice the number of seats that have already been allocated them, plus 1. The area/candidate with the highest result gets allocated the next seat. Repeat until all seats are allocated.

  8. Robin

    You plainly don’t understand what gerrymandering actually entails. Either that or you are merely spouting off in the hope of getting any sympathy.

    Please show any evidence that the electoral commission will use political, racial, linguistic, religious or class groups when deciding on the new boundaries.

    Your unfounded claims are a pretty serious slur on the independence of the electoral commission and if you are so paranoid that the entire world is against Labour then your judgement or opinion lacks a certain amount of credibility.

  9. It is of course, not Gerrymandering per-se, which is the manipulation of boundaries.

    It could be argued that it is a form of demographic manipulation, if certain groups were less likely to be on roll.

    It could be argued that it is not a million miles away from what Dame Shirley Porter did, (which AFAIK was not boundary manipulation either).

    Could this become a political hot potato?

  10. The Euro elections use the d’Hondt formula, don’t they?

  11. @Alan,

    Nothing to do with the Electoral Commission. What has been rigged are the criteria by which, under law, the EC must abide.

  12. @ Alan

    Did he say the bias was a concious decision by the electoral commission? He simply pointed out, communities which don’t vote as much – working class estates for instance – will be adversely affected by weighting constituencies on electoral register rather than population.

  13. @ Lurker

    She’s no longer a dame, thankfully.

  14. The South West is tricky, but has limited options.

    Firstly Cornwall has too high an electorate for 5 seats, too low for 6, so there is no option but to pair it with Devon. Between them they get 17 seats, down 1.

    Neither Dorset and Wiltshire fit nicely into quotas, but paired together are perfect for 14 seats (down 1).

    The rest of the region doesn’t lose any seats, but needs some wrangling to pair counties together to allow seats within 5% of quota.

    Somerset is too large for 5 seats so needs linking. It fits beautifully with Bath and North East Somerset to provide 7 seats. Bristol, North Somerset and Gloucestershire are all nicely in quota… but South Gloucestershire isn’t.

    Linking South Gloucestershire with Gloucestershire works on paper, but requires seats almost 4% below quota on average. Difficult in practice. Alternatively it could be linked with Bristol or with Wiltshire/Dorset.

    Many other people – this is getting near a silly partisan discussion that I have no wish to encourage, but just to check… you do all know that the current boundaries are also based on electorate, not population, as were the ones before that and the ones before that, etc, etc? The recent legislation didn’t make any alteration at all to what figures boundary reviews were based upon – the significant changes were to fix the number of seats, introduce a single UK quota, to speed them up, and prioritise equality of electorate other other existing considerations.

  15. Craig – yes, European elections use d’Hondt.

  16. In looking up Alabama paradox (you were wrong, AW, I *did* want to go there), I found this fantastic snippet:

    In 1982 two mathematicians, Michel Balinski and Peyton Young, proved that any method of apportionment will result in paradoxes whenever there are three or more parties (or states, regions, etc.). More precisely, their theorem states that there is no apportionment system that has the following properties (as the example we take the division of seats between parties in a system of proportional representation):

    * It follows the quota rule: Each of the parties gets one of the two numbers closest to its fair share of seats (if the party’s fair share is 7.34 seats, it gets either 7 or 8).
    * It does not have the Alabama paradox: If the total number of seats is increased, no party’s number of seats decreases.
    * It does not have the population paradox: If party A gets more votes and party B gets fewer votes, no seat will be transferred from A to B.

    In other words, straight PR is not as simple as you might think, and there is no obviously fair system for allocating a number of seats to different regions.

  17. There’s a new poll by Angus Reid showing a 11% “swing” away from the Big Society since July, if anyone’s interested.

    Interesting that even in July, a majority (54%) thought the idea would result in more jobs lost and more services cut.

  18. I would expect the people to not be on the roll are transient renters (which tend to be urban, single, young and/or poorer), non-UK citizens (who cannot register for general elections), and perhaps people with dubious tax records.

    Apart from the last group, you might expect these to vote Labour.

    If that were the case, this would actually be worse than the Porter proposal. It could be argued that they have disenfranchised themselves by not registering, but this also removes their representation.

    The effect might end being more complicated however due to knock-on effects into other seats.

  19. @Anthony

    I did not realise that was always the case, which of course would render that objection invalid.

    Might explain why Labour did not kick up a stink about it.

  20. Craig

    Actually he’s pointed nothing out apart from repeating his opinion that it is a “deliberate fix”. If he had at all attempted to form any sort of coherent argument that the procedures used are inappropriate, then perhaps debate could have occurred.

    Until I see any signs that constituencies are oddly shaped to include the requisite number of estates or an unnatural racial distribution frankly I see nothing wrong.

    If not the EC then has Cameron stipulated how the boundaries should be drawn based upon political, racial, linguistic, religious or class grounds?

    I still fail to see why people ineligible to vote should be considered when drawing an electoral boundary.

    A lot of hot air.

  21. Lurker – the The House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act 1944 which first set up the Boundary Commissions and regular boundary reviews defined quotas in terms of electorate rather than population.

    There was at least one boundary review before then around 1918, but I’d have to check at home what rules were used for that. Go back into the 19th century and before the reform acts and there was obviously very little relationship indeed between size of electorate and representation.

  22. @ Jim Jam

    “Imo any gerrymandering is using the Elecotoral Register rarther than polulation.”

    Gerrymandering can be done using population. There are a lot of risks in drawing legislative districts (whether they’re districts, divisions, ridings, or constituencies) based on voter registration numbers.

  23. Anthony

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Perhaps the sensible thing for any party who feels hard done by is to do a targetted registration drive with the election afterwards in mind?

    I might expect a lack of people enrolled to disbenefit Labour, on the other hand the similar phenomenon of differential turnout seems to disbenefits the Tories.

    How much more educational this blog is compared to others I might mention!

  24. I have a question. Is the reduction in the overall number of Parliamentary seats one that is part of the referendum? Or has this been a seperately enacted measure?

  25. The referendum is on the AV system only.

  26. Yes, I used the term ‘gerrymander’ loosely, and I apologise profusely for not using the correct term, ‘malapportionment’. mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    “Electorate” (those entitled to vote) does not necessarily equal “those on the electoral register”. I acknowledge that electoral roll has been used for decades, but it is only recently (starting at the time of the Poll Tax) that the two have begun to diverge to any meaningful degree.

    However, IIRC the EC was previously allowed to use measures of voter transience, non-registration, double registration etc in determining appropriate electoral boundaries. Although local boundaries would be drawn using electoral roll, there was a justifiable bias between regions to account for increased population mobility (and lower rates of registration) in urban areas.

    Unless I misunderstood, all those nuanced and perfectly reasonable additional criteria have been swept away. The direction of action of this is very obvious.

  27. @ socialliberal

    Only the AV option is dependant on the referendum. The redistribution aspect is law.

  28. Anthony

    “Firstly Cornwall has too high an electorate for 5 seats, too low for 6, so there is no option but to pair it with Devon. Between them they get 17 seats, down 1.”

    Does that mean that some new constituencies might straddle the county border?

  29. Colin

    From what I understand there is no might about it, some constituencies WILL involve 2 paired counties.

  30. Alan


    It was just that I know Cornwall quite well & can imagine the reaction down there.

    I have family on IoW too & the two constituency outcome there ( I think that is correct?)
    is only marginally less daft than sharing with the mainland.

  31. Colin

    Yes the IoW was always going to be a tricky one as it’s size falls pretty much in between 1 and 2 constituencies in size. Obviously 2 constituencies makes more sense than dividing one between the IoW and the mainland.

    I’m not 100% sure but the other abnormalities I assume are Shetland and Orkneys, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, both being much smaller than the average seat.

  32. One question that comes to mind.

    How often will the boundaries have to be redrawn under the new system? After every term?

  33. Question for AW


    Do you know at what point Ralling, Thrasher et al will start work on calculating notional results for the new boundaries?
    Will they wait for the final report in 2013 or work on provisional recommendations?


  34. @Robin

    ‘However, IIRC the EC was previously allowed to use measures of voter transience, non-registration, double registration etc in determining appropriate electoral boundaries’

    These are all variable issues and cannot be standardised across the whole country. My reading of the 1944 Act does not allow such subjectivity in the discussion. These issues are tackled by having boundary changes more frequently and by councils and political parties getting people registered.
    As I see it the EC is pretty constrained by objective parameters which do not and cannot cater for these variables. You cannot set up an Act which allows for nuanced criteria if you wish the EC to be an independent non-partisan body. The EC cannot be asked to anticipate population movement. If that was the case then the population movement to the South should have increased seats there pre-empting the people. That could be a case of malapportionment IMHO.

  35. For those of us who are mostly English, how do you pronounce “Na h-Eileanan an Iar”

  36. Robin – the previous legislation provided no statutory basis for taking into account any of those things – certainly no such things were removed in the recent amendments to the rules, so to the extent that boundary commissioners did take them into account (they can consider all sorts of things at reviews!), they still can.

    It is an issue that was raised in some submissions and local inquiries, but certainly at the fifth review it was never taken into account at all in the allocation of seats to counties. Every county received the number of seats they were mathematically entitled to based on the number of people on the register on the enumeration date (barring arguments about arithmetic vs harmonic mean).

    In the fourth review a Boundary Commission *did* attempt to recommend giving least one area fewer seats than it was entitled too, based upon projecting population trends forward. Mathematically Glasgow was entitled to 11 seats, but the Scottish Boundary Commission recommended 10 seats on the basis on its falling population. This was rejected in the revised proposals, so didn’t actually happen.

    I’m not aware of arguments about under-registration having been given any weight by any Boundary Commissioners. In the 4th review it was argued at the East Sussex inquiry – the Assistant Commissioner’s report stated that he had not received any credible evidence that that was under-registration in the area, and “even if evidence had been available I do not consider that I can go behind the clear words of the definition of the electorate”. Rossiter, Johnston & Pattie’s study of the work of the Boundary Commissions says this approach was universal.

    What you may be thinking of are local government ward boundaries. Unlike Parliamentary boundaries they can (indeed are compelled) to take account of projected population change, and are drawn up based on projected electorate figures rather than actual ones.

    Colin – at least one constituency will HAVE to straddle the Cornwall/Devon border.

    Alan – once every five years (in order to tie in with the fixed term Parliament Bill – while there is no provision in the Act to change it, my guess is that if there was an early election outside the fixed 5 year timetable an Act would be passed to amend the boundary changes law to bring it back into alignment with electoral timetable)

    RayfromtheNorth – I don’t know, but I intend to produce some at the provisional stage.

  37. Anthony -thank you.

    Wait to see who the poor sod with one foot each side of the Tamar turns out to be. :-)

    Localism eh? !

  38. Colin – I pronounce it “The Western Isles”, but I bet Oldnat is going to come and slap my legs now for my horrid English imperialism ;)

  39. Colin – I expect it will be something combining Saltash and Torpoint (and whatever hinterlands that are needed to make the maths work) with the Western part of Plymouth.

  40. Colin Green

    n? ?h?l?n?n ?n?j??r in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

    Na haylanan an yar would be reasonably close – English speakers can always just call it by its English name – The Western Isles – just as you call Deutschland Germany.

  41. Anthony thanks

    I suppose that would represent a catchment area for employment in Plymouth.

    But they won’t like it in Oggy Land!

  42. Anthony

    As you can see, I wasn’t so discourteous! :-)

    Eoin and I might call England Sassun (land of the Saxons) in preference to Engerland,

    If you remember a previous diversion into pronunciation, Engerland is that place inhabited by crocerdiles) :-)

  43. How about “Tamar Bridge” as the constituency name. A famous landmark, and it says it all!

  44. Aleksander

    The EC cannot be asked to anticipate population movement.

    The trouble with that decision is that doing nothing is also a choice – effectively anticipating no population movement, demographic change, under-registration that may be corrected etc.

    Anthony rightly says that Boundary Commissions have never explicitly used expected population changes in the past – though you suspect they may have silently taken them into account when choosing between similar options. But the work was done for them by the way ward boundaries were drawn up and they as they never crossed ward boundaries, they didn’t need to do anything else.

    By making equalisation of numbers the be-all-and-end-all, the Government are laying themselves open to the very criticism they’re making themselves. The scheduled date for the next election is nearly four and a half years away from the date the calculations are based. Changes in the meantime will alter the criterion deemed so essential and result in calls for unfairness.

    To see how quickly things can alter you only need to look at Northern Ireland. The reason why it gets 16 rather than 15 seats is that registrations in the months after the May election pushed it over the boundary.

    Some of us have maintained all along that the real stupidity of this whole process (apart from the cost associated with saving the ‘costs’ of 50 MPs), lies in the limiting of the discretionary powers of the four BCs. They have showed themselves impartial and sensitive in the past (ironically the only time they have breached their advisory guidelines was to make constituencies more equal in size). By tying their hands in this way, the Government will probably end up with decisions nobody likes and every blames the coalition for.

  45. Interesting that Northern Ireland gets 16 seats and not 15 seats as previously predicted. This does indeed lead to an Alabama paradox under FPTP: a 15 seat solution would leave the SDLP with 2 seats, under a 16 seat set up, they basically lose 2 seats. I’d a crack at a 16 seat set up. First, here are the raw figures by district council:

    moyle 11633 0.16
    ballymoney 21130 0.28
    ballymena 44202 0.59
    larne 22502 0.30
    carrick 27178 0.37
    n’abbey 56289 0.76
    antrim 33771 0.45
    lisburn 76941 1.03
    belfast 169503 2.28
    castler’gh 45315 0.61
    n down 54283 0.73
    ards 53672 0.72
    down 46969 0.63
    banbridge 32531 0.44
    newry + m 65003 0.87
    armagh 40996 0.55
    craigavon 59469 0.80
    fermanagh 44107 0.59
    dungannon 35708 0.48
    cookstown 24520 0.33
    magheraf’t 30299 0.41
    coleraine 37691 0.51
    limavady 22092 0.30
    derry 72573 0.98
    strabane 27520 0.37
    omagh 34738 0.47

    Belfast has to lose a seat (under a 15 seat solution it was possible for it to lose 2.) The 9 councils in the west have a total of 4.42 seats compared to the current 5 so either Coleraine or Dungannon council has to be paired with councils to the east. After trying the Coleraine option first, the Dungannon one made much more sense in terms of keeping existing seats and district council areas intact. The 16 seats were then:

    MID ULSTER: Strabane, Cookstown, 4 Omagh wards and 7 Magherafelt wards, including the town itself.

    FERMANAGH&WEST TYRONE: Fermanagh, 17 Omagh wards

    FOYLE: Derry district

    EAST LONDONDERRY: Coleraine, Limavady, 9 Magherafelt wards

    NORTH ANTRIM: Ballymena, Moyle, Ballymoney

    EAST ANTRIM: Larne, Carrick, 10 Newtownabbey wards (the current 3 plus Rathcoole, Cloughfern and Ballynure)

    SOUTH ANTRIM: rest of Newtownabbey, Antrim and Glenavy ward from Lisburn

    LAGAN VALLEY: gains 4 Banbridge wards from South Down

    BELFAST NORTH WEST: 23 Belfast city wards from Bellevue to Falls Park

    BELFAST SOUTH: current seat minus Castlereagh wards, plus remainder of West Belfast and The Mount and Ballymacarrett wards

    BELFAST EAST: 9 Belfast wards, Castlereagh council

    NORTH DOWN: current seat plus 6 Ards peninsula wards

    MID DOWN: rest of Ards, Down (except Newcastle)

    NEWRY AND MOURNE: council plus 4 Newcastle wards

    ARMAGH AND DUNGANNON: both local councils

    UPPER BANN: no change

    Politically that would lead to Sinn Fein losing a seat in the west but gaining the new South Belfast from the SDLP. The SDLP would also lose their South Down seat.

  46. Colin Green

    “For those of us who are mostly English, how do you pronounce “Na h-Eileanan an Iar”

    As someone who lived there for 28 years I can reliably assure you that mostly those who are Scottish pronounce it “Western Isles.”

  47. John B Dick

    “As someone who lived there for 28 years I can reliably assure you that mostly those who are Scottish pronounce it “Western Isles.”

    So it’s just John Snow and Jonathan Dimbleby who say Na Haylan an an yar then?

  48. Latecomer to the thread so please bear with me.
    I have no problem at all with using electorate rather than population. That’s simple logic. And as AW pointed out has been used since before most of us were born. What I did obkect to was a plan to use “electors” (the number that voted on the last electoon) rather than the “electorate” for that election.

    Equalisation I am less keen on. Generally, poorer people in inner cities are more in MP’s than affluent folk inthe Home Counties and southern Shires. Also there is an argument for smaller countries in the Union having a disproportionate number of seats relative to electorate to ensure that England cannot so easily trump everyone else. This is how EU voting works.

  49. I have wondered all through this process why the focus has been on equalization. Yes, in an ideal world constituencies should be roughly equal, but the BC saw to that within their remit. The problem was not the criteria they were working under, but the infrequency of general reviews. I believe the situation would have been little different if the Act had just stipulated that they had to do things more often and limit the number of seats to 600 overall. I understand that a normal boundary review by the old method would in all likelyhood have led to roughly the same potential increase in Conservative seats, and roughly the same diminution of Labour ones. The new Act makes things very restrictive for the BC to little advantage to any party. The REAL issue of disparity in the FPTP system between Labour and Conservative has not been addressed – differential turnout! That is why there is, and will continue to be, a Labour bias in the system. One solution would be to base electoral boundaries on turnout at the previous GE. Labour would be apoplectic at this – but, I say this not as a Tory, but as a neutral – it would create a level playing field in FPTP between the two main parties. Perhaps when individual registration comes in it could be done on the basis of either turning up to vote and registering at the same tim in person for subsequent elections at the polling station, or by the act of returning your postal vote. To be fair, others could apply throughout the year, but boundaries would by definition be fixed as per those who turned out. In what way would this be unfair, in principle?

  50. Should be “poorer people in inner cities need more MPs”

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