In my round up of AV polling earlier this week I said that while different companies were showing different topline figures, all the companies that had polled in the last month or so were united in showing the tide moving in the direction of the NO camp.

ComRes’s monthly poll for the Independent on Sunday is out now, and follows the same trend. The YES campaign are on 34% (down 6 since February), the NO campaign are on 37% (up 7 since February). Don’t know is at 28%. Notably while YouGov’s polls that preface their question with an explanation of FPTP and AV have been showing a NO lead for a long time, this is the first poll asking the bare referendum question to have shown NO in the lead.

Topline voting intention meanwhile is CON 37%(+1), LAB 40%(-2), LDEM 11%(nc), Others 12%. Changes are from the previous online ComRes poll a month ago, since on average their online polls seem to show higher support for the Conservatives than their phone polls.

UPDATE: There is also a YouGov poll on AV for Sky News out tonight – voting intention (using the bare referendum question, without the explanation of the systems used in the AV tracker for the Sun) is YES 37%, NO 32%, Don’t know 24%, Would not vote 7%.

20 Responses to “ComRes show NO ahead in AV referendum”

  1. Anthony,

    Are you still of the suspicion that ComR’s online/offline polling are tending to show a difference?

  2. Anthony,

    I know you said as much in your snippet but its just that the difference doesn’t seem quite as pronounced recently although of course i accept the relative scores per party rather than lead still show some difference?

  3. There’s not a vast difference this month…but that’s one data point, so I definitely wouldn’t conclude it’s suddenly gone away! On average over the time they’ve been doing it there certainly appears to be a mode effect

  4. Anthony,

    Do the polling companies limit the AV polls to those certain / very likely to vote? Given that they are recording %s for those who say that they will not vote, I assume they that do not.

    It seems to me that it is going to be very important to focus on those certain / very likely to vote on 5 May as most people probably *won’t* vote in this referendum and, in fact, it would be surprising if turnout even reaches 40%. Polling the whole electorate could give a very distorted picture.

    Will the polling companies take this on board as we approach May 5?

  5. It seems that the Yes campaign is suffering a slow death. I haven’t heard any decent stuff from them yet and was expecting a strong rebuttal to the “Historians Challenge” but I’ve heard more rebuttal on this site than from them in the papers (but maybe cos I’m spending too much time on this site …. :-)).

    The Yes 2 AV campaign’s main argument seems to be the current system is unfair and we’ve got to change it, but their arguments FOR AV seem to be half-hearted (not necessarily bad arguments but it’s just that they don’t seem to really believe in AV) – their main argument is simply that it’s a step in the right direction.

    An interesting question is … if Cameron is heavily seen to be advocating No and he wins, I wonder if he’d get a post-referendum bounce. Any precedent for winners getting a bounce (e.g. Heath? Blair?)? Perhaps bounce less likely when you are simply advocating the status quo – that doesn’t really show daring leadership and winning an argument.

  6. Grafton – this ComRes one is weighted by people’s likelihood to vote, the YouGov one didn’t have any likelihood to vote weighting.

    I expect all the polls in the immediate run up to the referendum and the final call polls will be factoring in turnout in various ways.

  7. Anthony – I’ve been in contact with Andrew Hawkins at ComRes who says that the turnout filter applied to the AV questions was the same one they used for the standard Westminster voting numbers.

    Only ICM and MORI in all the polling have applied specific AV turnout weightings.

  8. Interesting that there is so much variation between pollsters. I too suspect that turnout will be low for the referendum for many reasons, including that for many people they genuinely can’t work out which will be best (including me!).

    Is there a minimum turnout and majority? It wouldn’t seem right if there was (say) a 51% vote in favour from a 25% turnout. It would be even less legitimate than our last few governments.

  9. There is no turnout threshold. That was subject to a long parliamentary battle which in the end saw it defeated.

    What if the referendum had backed FPTP on too low a turnout – would we have been able to continue with it?

  10. Mike,
    I would have thought that in the absence of a decent majority in favour of change, it would make sense to stick with the staus quo. I wasn’t sure how the parliamentary arguments had ended up, so thanks for that.

  11. I wonder if this the result of this referendum will come down to whether or not the majority of people voting really understand what AV is. Could it be that ignorance or knowledge is the determining factor?

    As an aside, I’m curious about the advertising on this site. Does it “know” what interests me? I’m constantly getting the Cravendale cats, which I find extremely funny and I wonder if the system knows that I like cats.

  12. Charles,
    Do the majority undertand wwhat they are voting for in a general election? I think many vote on tribal lines, and one of the reasons for comparatively low turnout in local elections is that they are usually less tribal.

  13. The YouGov poll on AV for Sky News seems to be an antedote to the ComRes poll findings – what is really going on is still very hard to guess. I suspect the more that the Conservatives become identified with desiring a NO vote, more Labour voters will vote YES. Their activists won’t, even if previously pro-AV, because they will prefer to give Clegg a bloody nose – but very often the bulk of voters for a party do not behave in the same way as the activists of that party. Given that I suspect this to be the case it will all come down to whether sufficient Labour voters turnout to protest against the Tories in the local elections, or the Tories get their vote out. For the first time for many years I reckon local knocking-up ward organisations will actually matter, rather than media level campaigning.

  14. To their great credit, ComRes have (as usual) published the detailed tables straight away. Populus: take note.

    And… as usual… the findings are absolutely dire for the Scottish liberal Democrats (usual caveats apply):

    Westminster voting intention – Scotland
    (+/- change from UK GE 2010)
    sub-sample size = 178

    Lab 43% (+1)
    Con 23% (+6)
    SNP 23% (+3)
    LD 4% (-15)
    oth 8% (+6)

  15. Surely the LDs shouldn’t be afraid of any cross-break that has the Tories and Nats on level pegging??!

  16. @Stuart Dickson

    Can I ask why you have so much faith in the sub samples?

    The Lab and SNP figures look credible but the Tory and LD figures don’t really.

    The lib dems are in sharp decline in parts of Britain but it should not be exaggerated.

  17. If 4% doesn’t make Tavish Scott “afraid” then the man has superhuman qualities.

    Having seen the “man” in action over several years, I fear that he is all too mortal.

  18. A Brown,

    “Can I ask why you have so much faith in the sub samples?”

    Yes, you can. The answer is: bitter experience. The sub-samples, when monitored over a long period, do not lie.

  19. As I’ve mentioned on my own blog, I’m somewhat suspect about ComRes’s question order. If, as it appears, they ask the AV referendum question after a series of related policy questions, that will cause bias. ( )

    I am glad to see YouGov moving to asking the bare ballot question, and note that this repeats the evidence from their asking it in a No campaign poll that showed it produces a lead for Yes.

  20. I dont believe the opinion polls lie as they are being confirmed by every byelection outside the South East. Libdems are especially unpopular in Scotland and Wales (and the north) because they have always presented (and been perceived) in those areas as a decent middle class party representing the poorer half of the population. Think Lloyd George, Jo Grimond, David Steel, Menzies Campbell. Many voters in those countries voted for them in 2010 as a decent alternative to Labour. I know several people in Wales who will never do that again. What the LibDems did in 2010 is equivalent to Labour’s “longest suicide note in history” manifesto in 1983. It will take a generation to pass before this is forgotten or forgiven. Understandably perhaps the LibDems don’t yet get the message. But they will ! I’m just sorry for the LibDem leader who has to play Kinnock to Clegg’s Foot before they get their Blair (hint – maybe get Blair now – he always was a Liberal manque !)