Populus’s monthly poll for the Times is out, with quite striking results. Topline figures with changes from their pre-conference September poll are CON 33%(-1), LAB 41%(+3), LDEM 8%(-4), Others 17%(+1). An eight point Labour lead is the highest Populus have shown since the election (indeed, it’s the highest they’ve shown since the election-that-never-was in 2007). The Lib Dem score is also strikingly low – we’ve seen them drop to 8 points in YouGov polls, but it’s the lowest from a telephone poll.

I will make my usual caveat about any poll showing a sudden change in support – it could be the start of a trend, it could just be an outlier. The ComRes and YouGov polls we’ve seen since conference season have not shown any significant move from the Lib Dems towards Labour. The poll was conducted between Friday and Sunday, so it is the first poll conducted since Liam Fox’s resignation, but we’ll also have YouGov’s first “post-Fox” poll later tonight.

The other questions in the poll also found the position shifting towards Labour. Cameron, Osborne & Clegg’s lead over Miliband & Balls on being the best economic team fell from 18 points to 13 points, there were also drops in some of the Conservative party’s ratings on party image – including a 6 point drop on being “honest and principled”, from 36% to 30%.

41 Responses to “Populus/Times – CON 33%, LAB 41%, LDEM 8%”

  1. Polldrums? Not.

    UKIP reported at 5%.

  2. I’ll look forward to seeing the tables for that.

    Maybe my crack about 2% for the LDs in 2015 wasn’t all that silly! :-)

  3. Dodgy, er, skewed sample more than probably.

    No matter how much it is tempting (as some do on the basis of one poll) to proclaim a shift.

    IMO this is not a FOX event- lets see what YG says tonight and tomorrow night for any light on the potential impact of that situation.

  4. It’s slightly shocking that with others on 17% we don’t get a breakdown; it’s twice the vote share of the junior coalition partner and half the vote share of the main coaltion partner.

    It seems like an increasingly discredited attempt at maintaining a two/three party system.

  5. YouGov poll shows 3 point Labour lead – CON 37%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%.

    Nothing to see here folks.

  6. Anthony

    You said this was a telephone poll, but some questions include

    “If haven’t heard of them/don’t have a view, type in DK”.


  7. As reported in the “Times”, up to the paywall:

    “Ed Miliband’s Labour Party has its largest lead over the Conservatives since the general election, according to a Populus poll for The Times. Worries over the economy and the fallout from the resignation of Liam Fox as Defence Secretary both appear to have hit Conservative and Liberal Democrat poll ratings. Labour’s share of the vote has risen to 41 per cent, up 3 per cent since September. This gives the party an 8 per cent lead over the Conservatives, the highest figure since May 2010, suggesting an overall majority would be likely under both old and new boundaries if there were an election immediately. The poll puts the Liberal Democrats on 8 per cent, the lowest figure for a Populus poll since they went into government with the Conservatives, having been on 11 per cent for most of the year and 12 per cent in September, just before the…”

  8. MJones –

    All pollsters publish breakdowns of the minor parties – you just need to look. In the case of this poll, it’s Green 3%, SNP 4%, UKIP 5%, BNP 1%, Plaid 1%, “other others” 4%.

  9. Not sure how to comment.
    Can’t see Labour getting such a boost from Foxgate – especially LibDems suffering the largest drop.
    LDs are showing a slight trend down with yougov but it seems to be moving toward Con (or Others>Con, Lib>Others).

  10. Oldnat –

    I don’t know where you’ve seen the tables to get that, so can’t really comment. The Times has the blurb:

    “Populus interviewed a random sample of 1,511 adults aged 18+ by telephone between October 14th & 16th 2011.”

    So it’s presented as a phone poll. What Populus have sometimes done for the Times is do the main poll on the telephone, but run some additional stuff on a separate online poll, so they may have done that in this instance.

  11. Remarkably similar to the latest Opinium (Sept 30).

    It showed a +3% for Labour, a record (Opinium) Lab +7% lead , and Con on 33% again.

    LDs have been flatlining at 9% with Opinium.

    Any possible reason for a similarity between these two polling companies?

  12. “Other Others” = 4%? That figure seems to big to be credible.

  13. I’m with old Chou on this one; another poll supporting that old sage Curtice’s “neck-and-neck” theory with the widely loathed Ed Miliband letting a bouyant Tory party play their “get out of jail” card!! lol

  14. I wonder whether programmes like ‘ Have I got news for you’ and ‘ Mock the week’ have any influence on VI. Both of these had about 10 minutes of having a laugh about Foxgate and Catgate.

    Why the Lib Dems are down, I have no ideal. Nick Clegg and is fellow LD ministers have been very quiet recently.

  15. Anthony

    I went in to look at last month’s poll, to dig out those numbers, and saw the wording there – though when I look at it again, it’s probably just an instruction to the interviewer.

  16. I don’t know, this is a shock, could it be that the libdems really get the blame for everything in the coalition. If the drop in libdem support is due to the foxhunt and I did wonder with the 8 in yougov, then while we might bleat that it is unfair, we should wonder why. It can’t be that the public believe that fox is a libdem? Surely not? Or could it be that the distinction between the two parties have really become so blurted, I expect many reds would shout yes. Or could it be that the libdem tactic of being very quiet about the fox affair has backfired monumentaly, after all in the minds of many the role of the libdems is to rein in the worst impulses of the blues, and the fox affair would indicate a total failure. Where was the libdem junior minister? Why didn’t they blow the whistle? Why were the libdems so quiet about this? Dodgy dealings are to some extent expected from the blues but for the send to stand aside and let it happen may be too much for dem voters to stomach.

    Or course this is nonsense cos we know this poll is a rogue, don’t we?

  17. Yougov – 37/40/9.
    No real change.

  18. @ Old Nat (from the previous thread)

    “Nicely ask the cowboy who is destroying your community not to do it. He’ll just do it a different way.

    Like the citizens of that western town, the Wall Street protesters aren’t very smart.”

    I really don’t agree with that assessment. I mean maybe some of the European protesters who decided that they would riot and engage in violent and destructive behavior aren’t particularly smart. But I see nothing to suggest that those in the Occupy Wall Street movement are stupid. If anything, I’ve noticed a number of intelligent people joining the movement or supporting it.

    In a large movement like this, you’re going to get all sorts of people who support and join, some dumb, some smart.

  19. I’m just watching the Hissborough debate in the Commons. There’s a lot of emotion, obviously, and quite a bit of fury still.

    The police and News International might be dragged back into the news again…I wonder if the Tories will suffer at all too. That infamous Kelvin Mackenzie smear on the Liverpool fans was supposed to have been sourced from a Tory MP and a Chief Constable.

    I must say though in the House at the moment the Tories are every bit as sensitive about it as the others. Teresa May has promised complete disclosure of Government papers including Cabinet minutes.

    It brings it all back. A terrible day, and the aftermath was a disgrace.

  20. @RinN

    “Why were the libdems so quiet……………..”

    It’s very hard to be heard when you’re trussed up, bound and gagged, in the boot of a car being driven towards a cliff by drivers who care little for your welfare beyond a slight concern for your temporary usefulness to them!

    Far better to be either a passenger inside the car or even an occasional driver. That way you may be able to have some influence over the time of your arrival at the cliff edge. Still destined to go over though, to the rocky crags and swirling electoral seas below!

  21. Posting this from other thread:

    An equally interesting correlation is time since 1964 and share of the vote the 3 main parties combined get. It is equivalent to y = 99 -0.8x, where y is the sum of Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat votes, and x is the number of parliaments since 1959. It has a correlation co-efficient of 91%.
    If you extrapolate that to next parliament, that’d give you a vote share of 87.6% of the vote, +/- % 4.38% with 95% confidence.

    Ohoho! Even more interesting: if you normalize the data for all elections so that the three main parties have the same share of the vote as they did in 2010,the LibLab correlation becomes even stronger! The reason that 41/10 is at the bottom of LeftyLampton’s range is because as time goes on, all three main parties are losing voters to smaller parties at a roughly equal rate. There’s actually two components to the LibLab vote, as time is a factor too.

    If you normalize the results, you get:

    C L LD
    38.44602851 39.3401222 9.83503055
    37.86036961 43.26899384 8.112936345
    41.80952381 39.08281573 7.271221532
    34.82672234 33.91022965 17.41336117
    33.27157895 36.04421053 17.56
    41.01061571 34.48619958 13.04883227
    39.48179872 26.32119914 23.50107066
    39.82289417 29.39308855 21.80777538
    40.16993464 32.51851852 17.21568627
    29.90989011 41.48791209 16.4021978
    31.14855876 39.90909091 17.5210643
    31.42729306 34.37360179 21.60626398
    35.67494357 28.73814898 22.79232506

    This produces a LibLab sum average of 51.76% – smack bang on where it is as at the moment.
    It also tells something very interesting. Lib and Lab votes are strongly interdependent upon each other, but the Conservative vote does not strongly correlate with either of the other two. Any change in the Conservative vote outside losses to small parties seems to be due to Conservatives just not turning up, or the Conservative base shrinking.

  22. Old Nat
    SNP at 4% of the UK vote. I wonder how high that puts them in Scotland?

  23. @RAF; about 45%.

  24. Crossbat

    While your comment might have a lot of truth in it, it did not at all make me feel better. You must remember that us libdems are tender souls and some sympathy would be appreciated. %#%%#%%#%%#off (smileything)

    But really is it possible that the dems are being punished for being ineffective in preventing “Tory sleaze”

  25. RAF

    Much the same as last month.

  26. You gov numbers would put others up by 3 ? That would be significant

  27. @Top Hat
    If that is correct, I find it hard to see how Labour can poll 41% nationally.

  28. @RinN

    Sorry to depress you; it wasn’t intended and I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek with the motoring metaphor anyway.

    Put simply, if the Lib Dems had more supporters and members like you, and rather less like Henry, then I think both the coalition and your party’s future electoral prospects would be much healthier. As it is now, I think you’re being used by a party that, at heart, is deeply antagonistic to most of what I always believed the Lib Dems stood for. it’s all very sad.

  29. @Raf; it simply says that at the next election, Lib + Lab will roughly equal 51%, or, a range of 48% to 54% with 95% confidence. Labour can poll 41% nationally as long as the Lib Dems don’t exceed 13%.

  30. Raf

    But if half the SNP vote was to go to labour then labour would be on 43, the Scottish votes don’t really have much impact on UK polls

  31. Crossbat

    No worries, and the pretend swearing was just working class humour

  32. re: the Lib Dem vote

    although nothing dreadful has happened this month for them there has been quite a lot seen of Chris Huhne for various reasons, and in particular re: heating bills, swapping utility companies etc. I think he is beginning to represent the Lib Dems a bit in the mind of the electorate and I think he has put his foot in it recently.

  33. @Top Hat

    Again with the historical correlations.

    They tell us precious little (if anything) about the next GE with a 2/ 2.5 party race: oh and a possibly buoyant SNP thrown into the mix for the first time as well.

    There is no split UK GE centre left currently. Though my long-standing prediction has been that sometime after the third set of local election shelackings in 2013 (and before the parliament has served its term) the lib Dems will depart from government.

    So no divided centre-left at present: there is Labour and there are a few stubborn refusniks like RiN defiantly still calling themselves Lib Dems but disowning virtually everything the LIb Dems are supporting this government in doing. Some of these were on newsnight the other week cheekily claiming at the LD party conference that LD policy was to abolish university tuition fees…..!! With straight faces !

    We are in ‘New times’- reflecting the realities of none of the periods backwardly mapped by the various correlation merchants on here tonight!

  34. @Anthony Wells

    Thanks for the hard work on the initial Boundary Commission for Scotland.

    However all your totals should all add up to the GE2010 vote totals, albeit now within their new constituencies. For example the total of Con votes in GE2010 should be the same overall total in your figures.

    Your figures appear to be missing 98,991 votes!

    The breakdown appears to be;

    Con 21,235
    Lab 33,886
    LD 25,890
    SNP 16,037
    BNP 159
    Green 651
    Others 1133

    This may explain why the turnouts in some of the seats seems a little low.

  35. Frank – that’s very strange. I shall have to take a look

  36. Frank – thanks for spotting it. The error is now corrected – it makes a substantial change to Galloway & Carrick, which is now notionally Tory

  37. @TOPHAT

    “Any change in the Conservative vote outside losses to small parties seems to be due to Conservatives just not turning up, or the Conservative base shrinking.”

    If you compare turnout of 1979-2010 (focussing particularly at 1992 vs 1997), you’ll see similar results. The Conservative voters of 1983-1992 didn’t turnout so much from ’97 onwards. Perhaps it’s a generational thing, where the voter base started dying out. The voters of the 50s which voted Conservatice were 40 years older in 1997. Many of them would not have been around.

    Additionally, the Thatcher factor (love it or loath it) was in full swing prior to 1992. Many people, while perhaps not being Conservative as such, voted for her because she gave them hope/Council house/shares in BT etc. :)

  38. @FRANKG

    Well done Frank! It just goes to prove that one person can make a difference in an election. :)


    I echo the well done on the Scottish BC seats changes.

    Have you considered factoring in any (if they are possible) 2011 Scottish Election results and/or the changes in the Scottish VI (specifically the Lib Dem VI) for any seats?

    I’m curious as to how the current outlook is, considering the 2010 election data is pretty out of date (not your fault of course).

  39. your rolling average seems to be stuck

  40. Clare
    re: the Lib Dem vote … lot seen of Chris Huhne for various reasons, and in particular re: heating bills, swapping utility companies etc. I think he is beginning to represent the Lib Dems a bit in the mind of the electorate and I think he has put his foot in it recently.

    I agree – I think he has been damaging to the LDs for a variety of reasons.

  41. R Huckle
    I wonder whether programmes like ‘ Have I got news for you’ and ‘ Mock the week’ have any influence on VI. Both of these had about 10 minutes of having a laugh about Foxgate and Catgate.

    I think it was more than 10 minutes on HIGNFY on Liam Fox alone. It was a laugh for about two to three minutes and then became a yawn.

    IMO (and I know there are many posters who do not share my opinion), while the BBC has excellent and balanced political reporting programmes, it just cannot achieve this when it comes to other shows.