The full details of this month’s Populus poll in the Times (the first part of the large pre-conference poll that Populus run each year) won’t be available till tomorrow, but the topline voting intention figures are on the front page of the Times here: CON 30%(-4), LAB 45%(+5), LDEM 10%(-2). Changes are from Populus’s last poll back in July.

The fifteen point lead for Labour is the largest any company have shown so far this Parliament – and certainly the largest Populus have produced (the bigger Labour leads tend to come from Angus Reid and YouGov). I hasten to add my usual caveats about any poll that shows an unusual result – sure, it may be the sign of a huge shift in public opinion, but it is equally likely to be down to sample error. Other polls have not shown a vast increase in the Labour lead – ICM and ComRes have been steady, the average Labour lead in YouGov’s poll has perhaps inched up slightly in the last few weeks, but it is so small it is hard to be sure.

Of course we haven’t seen ICM, MORI or ComRes’s polls yet this month – perhaps they will echo this – in the meantime stop and wait and see (and perhaps sob quietly to yourselves at the amount of attention this particular poll will inevitably get, as the media, twitter and political blogs all take their normal route of making the outlier the story and ignoring the underlying trends.)

The only other question mentioned on the front page of the Times is on preferred Prime Minister – despite the large Labour lead, people when forced still say they would prefer a government lead by David Cameron. 23% of people say they are happy with Cameron and want him to stay, 37% say they are unhappy, but would rather have him than Ed Miliband, 31% (I think – bit blurry) say they are unhappy with Cameron and would prefer Miliband. The crossbreaks on that question will be interesting to look at once the tables appear!


236 Responses to “Populus/Times – CON 30, LAB 45, LDEM 10”

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  1. @Anthony W

    “……………..and perhaps sob quietly to yourselves at the amount of attention this particular poll gets, as the media, twitter and political blogs……………”

    What, a bit like we did when everybody went overboard about that ICM poll about three weeks ago that showed a Labour lead of only 5%?

    I agree with you about the need to hedge bets until distinct patterns emerge but, at the risk of repeating myself, here we have yet another major pollster with the Tories in the very low 30s. ICM and YouGov are looking like sore thumbs with the odd 34% we see every now and again.

    IPSOS/MORI, Populus, Opinium, ComRes, Angus Reid, TNS/BRMB, Survation all singing the same 30% song and they’ve been singing it for some time now.

  2. Wonder what the ukip figure is?

  3. The story seems to indicate that the popular choice would be to have a Labour government at Westminster – led by David Cameron.

    “Heir to Blair” indeed!

  4. The previous Labour high on Populus was 42% (April 2012 and April 2003), so 45% is remarkable.

    The last time Conservatives were this low on Populus was October 2005.
    27-28% would be the floor for them

  5. On one hand, the voting intention is very encouraging for Labour (though, may be a bit of an outlier, we’ll have to see)….on the other, the leadership/preferred prime minister answers are very encouraging for the Conservatives.

  6. Crossbat – indeed*. Poor reporting and interpretation of polls crosses all party boundaries! (Though I hasten to add that the Times itself has been quite measured in its write up – Sam Coates normally does a very good job on reporting polls. One shudders to think what horrors the Independent, say, would have fashioned from it)

    (*Actually, reactions to the ICM one were worse in a way, since at least this poll does show a big increase for Labour. There was lots of silly excitement over the ICM poll when it showed no change whatsoever. I’m not sure what is worse, getting excited over rogue polls or getting excited over house effects.)

  7. ” I hasten to add my usual caveats about any poll that shows an usual result ”
    ….

    Indeed the Lib/Dems are on double figures!! ;)

  8. Union strikes and widespread exposure of Ed will see off Labour in the end.

  9. @AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    “On one hand, the voting intention is very encouraging for Labour (though, may be a bit of an outlier, we’ll have to see)….on the other, the leadership/preferred prime minister answers are very encouraging for the Conservatives.”

    Not so sure I agree with that analysis; if I were a Tory I’d be more worried that Labour were on 15% even though their leader is not liked! What would the lead be if he were liked?

  10. Anthony – isn’t that leader question loaded?

    Shouldn’t it offer symmetrical options for Cameron and Miliband?

  11. Looks like Labour have established a fairly solid lead, which is going to be very hard for David Cameron and his team to do anything to eradicate in a hurry! A 15% poll lead for Labour, with the Tories on just 30% is John Major territory- and we all know how that ended up!

    And Ed Miliband is much more left-wing than Tony Blair was, as to what this portends for Britain- when the Public Debts remain dangerously high (and getting worse) even as things stand- I kinda dread to think!!

  12. @ Martin

    Union strikes and widespread exposure of Ed will see off Labour in the end.
    ———————–
    I think the public would be okay, if the Unions went on strike, it’s when their members go on strike that the public is less happy. ;-)

    Please may I have my pedant award now.

  13. Martin:

    Brilliant and detailed analysis – well done.

  14. This is the pre-conference Populus poll. Note that well. And the future spin, when Labour returns to normal 40’ish, will be that Ed’s speech to conference/ general media attention on Labour has cost the Party 5 or whatever points.

    David Cameron’s conference performance (or Boris Johnson’s, depending on who you favour) will have ‘narrowed the gap’ by whatever points the post cenference has narrowed by…

    :roll: Cynical, moi?

  15. Hi Croftee

    You got your 15 point lead, at last. :-)

  16. I totaly agree with Martin. The nearer we get to the UK election and the more exposure Ed receives and the public realisation that Ed could be the future PM then I too think the polls will shift.

    I’m not at all surprised if we see a 20% Labour lead in the months to come..we are in the midst’s of cuts and they are not popular.

    At best Ed would probably muster a minority government.

    Mind you if he can muster the same exposure as Kate Middleton then he could just pull it off..no pun intended!!

  17. For the avoidance of doubt, “Martyn” and “Martin” are two different people, as Anthony can no doubt testify.

    Regards, Martyn

  18. Romney has been caught on camera at a fundraising event making remarks about the 47% who will vote for Obama no matter what… because they don’t pay taxes… “my job is not to worry about those people.”

    Fact is many working families on low income and the retired pay no direct income tax, but do pay an array of other taxes.

    @Martyn

    We know who you are… sort of. A a semi-convincing AI construct would be my best guess. (Joke!)

  19. @AMBER STAR

    You said “…Please may I have my pedant award now…”

    * You may have it. (in the sense of “you have permission to have it”)
    * You might have it. (in the sense of “it is possible for you to have it”)
    * But you won’t have it. (in the sense of “the actual outcome of whether you will or will not have it”)

    I’m not pedantic. I’m precise… :-)

    Regards, Martyn

  20. @Billy Bob

    Hah! That’s what Tron said, just before…er, forget I said that. Nothing to see here folks, nothing to see… :-)

    End Of Line, Martyn

  21. SoCal

    Is THIS going viral Stateside? Looks like Romney may have committed political suicide.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/09/secret-video-romney-private-fundraiser

  22. BillyBob.

    You scooped me. Although I got the link ;)

  23. After all that flailing around a couple of weeks ago it is not a huge surprise to see the lead at 15% – I don’t believe it is quite that big, more like just under 10%. It seems a bit suspicious to see one party suddenly scraping support from everyone else without anything happening (no omnishambles this week that I noticed).

    I suppose all this really tell us is that the public are not convinced by anyone atm. And I wouldn’t be too certain of that conclusion either. bring on those conference speeches.

    Talking of speeches, did anyone notice a speech made by M. Romney, that Obama’s support is based on approx 47% of US voters being government dependents? Now that is provocative stuff indeed. I think we can take it he is definately not looking for a big victory.

  24. @leftylampton

    Regardless of the content, it will be the scornful tone which will stick in people’s mind… he’s talking about a lot more people than the ones who famously “cling to their guns and religion”.

  25. Allan Christie

    I totaly agree with Martin. The nearer we get to the UK election and the more exposure Ed receives and the public realisation that Ed could be the future PM then I too think the polls will shift.

    ____________________________________________

    Hmm. As time has passed, and the public have had more exposure to Miliband as leader, and to the Tories and Lib Dems in government, has the polling improved for Ed, or for the Coalition?

    Regarding being in the midst of unpopular cuts, unfortunately we are not really in the middle with more than eighty percent of them still to come. So if you are right and the Tories take a 20% hit because of the cuts, the problem is that they may still be taking that hit when the election comes…

  26. BB.

    If this is genuine (and the videos appear to show Romney) then he is blown out of the water. No politician can openly say that they disregard 47% of the electorate and hope to win. It’s political hemlock.

    It’s reminiscent of the Gillian Duffy moment. Not quite as clear cut in its dismissal of a section of the electorate, but probably more hurtful in its consequences. Brown’s dig was at the opinions of perhaps 15-20% of the electorate. Romney has said that he cares little for the opinions of nigh on half of his electorate.

  27. @ Old Nat (from the previous thread)

    “Thanks for that Virginia poll.

    While that 41% “support” for Romney’s remarks may be that, it could also be that many GOP supporters didn’t actually know what they were, and just assumed that he would be right!

    Having met Florida Republicans who seriously believed that the US should simply nuke the Arab world and turn it “into glass”, nothing would surpriseme!”

    You’re welcome. I hope you’re right about some of that 41%. I’d much rather someone support an outrageous comment simply because they’d heard it then support something they actually knew about.

    Here is the first national poll on the issue:

    http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/17/middle-east-turmoil-closely-followed-romneys-comments-viewed-negatively/

    Only 25% approved of his comments while 48% disapproved (that’s nearly a 2-1 margin). I think that it’s probably over 50% amongst registered voters and all adults (another national poll released today once again shows a massive disparity between those types of polls).

    Now as for those Florida Republicans, I think that they’re a bunch of ignoramuses. I mean, I felt that way once. The afternoon of September 11th, 2001 as an angry and extremely upset teenager. But I would think most rational people would calm down and take a deep breath after a while and not have those same feelings.

    “The Kentucky poll also confirms that earlier California one – that Romney voters are mainly anti-Obama, not pro-Romney, while Obama supporters are positive about their candidate.”

    And here’s what is so unusual about this. Normally voters don’t love the incumbent. I can remember 1996 and 2004 and a whole lot of Clinton and Bush voters were not in love with the incumbent but simply felt like the challenger simply didn’t cut it. This is especially striking considering the following: (1) the horrendous state of the economy, (2) the high number of disappointed liberals and progressives, and (3) the fact that Romney is the most disliked Presidential nominee of a major party in the history of polling. I mean, he is far more disliked than Kerry and Dole ever were.

    Yet you noticed this in both states (and I really didn’t). And both states are near polar opposites at the moment politically. The percentage of Republicans and Conservatives voting for Obama in California is striking. I don’t know quite why that is (maybe the defense industry is not happy with Ryan). The high numbers of Kentucky Democrats voting for Romney is probably due to Obama’s name and skin color (sorry as I am to say it).

    @ Rich O (from the previous thread)

    “I actively want Obama to get back in purely because I think there will be a more mature attitude to foreign policy. I am very nervous about the Iran/Israel situation under Romney.

    Obama is right on this one, we need Russia & China on board.”

    I don’t blame you for feeling that way (I heard much of the Tory Cabinet feels that way). I’m nervous about Iran/Israel no matter what. We don’t have to like the Russians or Chinese (and they don’t have to like us) but working with them towards common goals is important.

    If Romney couldn’t go your country without managing to get into a public dispute with your Prime Minister, I don’t know how he will deal with Hu Jintao or Vladimir Putin…..or for that matter anyone.

  28. SOCALLIBERAL

    Thanks for the link. I note that there were different measurements depending on the extent to which people had been tracking the story of the embassy attacks/Middle East generally.

    At a guess (and not based on knowledge!!) those most concerned with following Middle East scenarios would be Jews, and Christians who welcome the Rapture that Armageddon would produce.

    At least the latter group would no doubt welcome Romney’s inflammatory stance.

  29. Yes I think the government will be in trouble popularity-wise thanks to the cuts that need to be made, in order to keep the AAA rating etc etc. Things that people want and need to use will suddenly vanish, or else where they were free, now they have to be paid for.

    A 20% Labour lead may well be possible sometime in the next 18 months. As Gordon Brown and John Major found, climbing back from that level to parity is at least difficult. I don’t think DC is in quite the bad situation these two found themselves, but it’s not going to be easy from here.

    Re the Romney situation, I take it he could still win with 53%? If he can get all of them and in the right places?

  30. @leftylampton

    I think this ties in with an impression I got from watching speeches at the GOP convention… Republicans really think America is a basket case, they don’t like the way the world is changing and they can’t handle it.

    Bill Clinton at the DNC was at pains to point out that he has disagreed with Republicans on many things, but he has never hated them, and he has always been prepared to work with them when things need to be done.

    The ‘Dreamers Act’ debate (children of illegals who came to the country as babies and have sworn allegiance to the US ever since) characterised how the Democrats have managed to successfully co-opt the keeping-the-American-Dream-alive theme in this election.

  31. @ Amber Star

    This diary I saw on DKos made me think of you (I think you will appreciate the diary or at least the mindset here).

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/17/1132798/-Unpaid-Internships

  32. SOCALLIBERAL

    Reading the comments, I’m surprised that no one actually identified the firm as “How Do You Roll – Custom Sushi Shop” – Austin, Texas.

    I’m sure Alicia at that company wouldn’t mind getting lots of emails from concerned individuals

    http://austin.craigslist.org/egr/3252107038.html

  33. @ Martyn

    “For the avoidance of doubt, “Martyn” and “Martin” are two different people, as Anthony can no doubt testify.”

    Well I like the spelling of your name far better. It’s got far more sex appeal than the other spelling to be honest. And I was fairly certain that you were not the same person.

    @ Lefty Lampton

    “Is THIS going viral Stateside? Looks like Romney may have committed political suicide.”

    I think it is but I’m going to have to wait for the 11 pm local news to tell you (and if Jon Stewart is on tonight).

    You know what’s funny? I’m not as outraged and offended by this as I was by his Libya and Egypt statements. Don’t get me wrong, I am outraged and offended by his view on the matter. But it’s a view that he’s not alone (sadly) in taking and one that seems to becoming more prevalent among hardcore right wingers. Plus, he said it in private where he didn’t realize he was going to be recorded and put on Youtube. So he didn’t intend to be divisive. It’s not quite political suicide. If it hurts him (and I don’t know that it will), it’s more like a political accidental death.

    @ Billy Bob

    “Romney has been caught on camera at a fundraising event making remarks about the 47% who will vote for Obama no matter what… because they don’t pay taxes… “my job is not to worry about those people.”

    Fact is many working families on low income and the retired pay no direct income tax, but do pay an array of other taxes.”

    He’s really setting a high bar for himself isn’t he? I mean if Obama is guaranteed 47% of the vote, that makes his road to reelection all the easier? (Top Obama campaign strategists have acknowledged that if Obama heads into election day with 46% approval rating, he’s likely to lose, with 47%-48% approval rating, he’s 50-50 to get reelected, and if he’s at 49% or 50%, he’s a lock to get reelected).

    And as to your last point, it’s true. But could we just acknowledge something here for a moment? It is only because of government that millionaires (and for that matter the centa-millionaires and billionaires) have made it. No, it detract from their success and accomplishment in any way. Individual initiative, drive, hard work, smarts…those are all critical. And no, I don’t believe in 90% tax rates or think that every government decision is correct. HOWEVER, the government’s investments, the government’s laws, the government’s protections are what enabled people to have the opportunity to make the money they did.

  34. @ Old Nat

    “Reading the comments, I’m surprised that no one actually identified the firm as “How Do You Roll – Custom Sushi Shop” – Austin, Texas.

    I’m sure Alicia at that company wouldn’t mind getting lots of emails from concerned individuals”

    I wasn’t trying to find out actually. I’m amazed that you discovered this (in awe actually). I think you, like Gordon Brown, may be twice exceptional.

    Going to respond to your other comments in a minute.

  35. @SoCal

    I agree with the ‘cranky person’. IMO, The abilities & experience they want makes that a job not an internship under US Labor laws.
    8-)

  36. SOCALLIBERAL

    I am like Gordon Brown in one way – I lack the inter-personal skills to make a successful politician.

    We differ, in that i recognise that. :-)

  37. @ Billy Bob

    “I think this ties in with an impression I got from watching speeches at the GOP convention… Republicans really think America is a basket case, they don’t like the way the world is changing and they can’t handle it.”

    You’re not alone in this assessment. It was MSNBC commentator Chris Hayes who brought this uprepeatedly during the Convention. Like a lot of it seemed to be this feeling of good times gone by and upsetedness over the fact that the world had changed. (I’m not sure I like the way in which the world is changing but I resolve to do something about it). And that seemed to spike a lot of the extreme negativity.

    “Bill Clinton at the DNC was at pains to point out that he has disagreed with Republicans on many things, but he has never hated them, and he has always been prepared to work with them when things need to be done.

    The ‘Dreamers Act’ debate (children of illegals who came to the country as babies and have sworn allegiance to the US ever since) characterised how the Democrats have managed to successfully co-opt the keeping-the-American-Dream-alive theme in this election.”

    And Bill had EVERY reason to hate them too! Especially after what they dragged him through.

    I don’t think we co-opted the whole American Dream theme in this election. We’ve always had it. Hell, we were the ones who created it in the first place! It’s just that this election we seem to be the only ones talking about it while the other side seems to be whining about how it’s gone and how Obama took it all away (perhaps to give it to black people or Latinos or the Jews or the gays or the Europeans or perhaps a different group of foreigners).

    I do think though that we did co-opt the whole patriotism/strong military/we care about the veterans theme. Although I don’t understand why they couldn’t get a gay soldier to talk about the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and instead chose a straight one (well maybe he’s bi and I’m being biased). It wouldn’t have been too hard to find one, even a former service member. They could have just asked Dan Choi or any of the other several dozen fellow soldiers who repeatedly chained themselves several times to the White House gates. Or they could have just trolled Match.com or Chemistry or even OKCupid!

    (See, this is why they need me on their campaign).

  38. Latest events that could have a negative impact upon support for the govt:

    1. £9,000 per year Tuition Fees are just about to start. It will suddenly be an issue for a lot of youngsters that are not normally intrested in politics. Parents and Grandparents won’t be happy about it either.

    2. A lot of NHS staff are to be made redundant before April 2013 and they are starting to panic. NHS cuts are starting to have an impact upon services. The gov’t will be blamed for everything that will go wrong in the NHS.

    3. Boris is making Cameron look very weak.

    4. A lot of Tories won’t have liked the idea of neighbours building massive extensions, and building upon green-belt land.

    5. The booing of Tories at the paralympics means that others will start to think the same and join the bandwaggon.

  39. SOCALLIBERAL

    “(See, this is why they need me on their campaign).”

    Don’t they have an opening for an intern? ;-)

  40. @ Old Nat

    “Thanks for the link. I note that there were different measurements depending on the extent to which people had been tracking the story of the embassy attacks/Middle East generally.

    At a guess (and not based on knowledge!!) those most concerned with following Middle East scenarios would be Jews, and Christians who welcome the Rapture that Armageddon would produce.

    At least the latter group would no doubt welcome Romney’s inflammatory stance.”

    You’re welcome and that is perhaps true. But I’m hardpressed to think about what Obama has done in his response to the attack on the Benghazi Consulate that you could disapprove of.

    @ Keith P

    “Re the Romney situation, I take it he could still win with 53%? If he can get all of them and in the right places?”

    I don’t know about that. Mainly because I don’t think his analysis is correct on how people vote. But even if that were true, I’m not sure that there are a remaining 6% to get. Wealthy Americans don’t uniformly vote Republican (if they did, the political map would look very different).

  41. @ Old Nat

    “Don’t they have an opening for an intern?”

    I know you’re joking but…….

    Well, I’m not going to share this story cause’ it’ll make me too upset. The bottom line though is that I will not go and work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, and move to some battleground state….for free.

  42. @ Lefty Lampton, Billy Bob, and Keith P (and anyone else who cares)

    Mitt Romney just gave a press conference in the Golden State in which he came off as desperate. He didn’t really apologize for what he said but instead tried to pass off his comments as being “not elegantly stated” and “off the cuff.” He really should get out of California, I can’t think of a worse state for him…..he could do even worse than John McCain (who’s 08′ performance was historically bad).

    Oh and MSNBC reporter Steve Kornacki just brought up the Gillian Duffy incident (so smart that one is! I got to meet him at the Convention……I might have, unsuccessfully of course, tried to flirth with him) as the most comparable thing in politics to what Romney did. But even that was different. I think most Brits probably agreed with Gordon Brown on that one. That wasn’t Gordon Brown showing resentment for a large segment of the population.

  43. @ Old Nat

    “I am like Gordon Brown in one way – I lack the inter-personal skills to make a successful politician.

    We differ, in that i recognise that. :)”

    Yeah, that’s true too. But I meant twice exceptional in that you possess both a learning/academic disability and an extremely high IQ.

    @ Amber Star

    “I agree with the ‘cranky person’. IMO, The abilities & experience they want makes that a job not an internship under US Labor laws.”

    I think he’s technically correct. The Department of Labor should start cracking down on this far more than it is and I’m glad to see they’re increasing their vigilance. Of course the Department of Labor is actually doing work again and fulfilling its role. As the current Secretary once mentioned to me, the only thing the last Secretary of Labor did with her days was smoke and spend her time doing tacky yet expensive office redecorations.

    But I thought you would appreciate the diary for its perspective against free work and the entitlement of some to do it (leading to personal gain and societal loss).

  44. AS
    “people when forced still say”
    How do you offset the effect of DC’s being in the job,while EM is in the job of opposing?
    How do you calculate the progressive effect of a learning or adoption process by which people become educated about the alternatives of an austerity and a growth approach
    “People will say” – gnomic slogan on mammy waggons in Nigeria, meaning no matter what you do people will talk about you.

  45. If there has been a shift in the polls (believe it or not, I accept AW’s cautionary note) there may well be one important factor.

    Hillsborough.

    It would explain why Cameron is doing well (we don’t blame him, and he did the apology gracefully and not grudgingly) but no matter how well he did it, many are reminded just how toxic they were/are, the Murdoch link and lying police are there, the crushing of the miners’ strike…and at the same time the anti union rhetoric is cranked up in the here and now, and we all know about phone hacking and Levenson.

    I think it is quite possible that people can think Cameron more statesmanlike than Milliband and still vote Labour in droves.

    Of course, there could not be any such poll movement, and if there is it could be short lives, but many people are hissing mad about Hillsborough and like it or not, the Tories are in the ugly mix there somewhere.

  46. Labour lead on 12 – Latest YouGov/The Sun results 17 Sept: CON 33%, LAB 45%, LD 10%, UKIP 5%; APP -37

    Is that Labour VI increasing?

  47. Good Morning everyone; skipping less reluctantly off to work now.

    Will it last, NICK P?

  48. Ed Milliband -more exposure generally does the leader of the opposition good..he has had a rather uphill task against a coalition with an in built opposition. After all why get leader of the opposition to oppose something when you can readily find a member of the government or high up in the Tory or Lib Dem party that will provide the quote you need…adds a bit more spice.

    Labour’s polling of around 40% has been very consistent with Ed polling badly. As long as the party sticks together why should that change.

    and lets not forget the Tories need something like an 8% lead to form a government by themselves – a swing of 23% from where we are now????

    ..and Cameron wont come out of the Levenson report smelling of roses, a pincer movement of guilt by association and blame from the Tory right for opening the can of worms with an ill thought out enquiry..

  49. morning chris

    Will it last, who knows?

    There are two schools of thought. There’s the chrislane theory which involves the Tories always retaining power and incumbents clawing back points and Milliband and published policies being trashed, leading to a narrow Tory advantage in the actual GE.

    Then there is the wildly optimistic nickpoole School, in which incumbents NEVER increase their vote share and cuts and omnishambles lead to a creeping Lab lead growing and growing like creeping Tory death until the next election when we have a great Red landslide.

    Who knows?

    Current Tory tactics seem to be declare a tactic of attacking Milliband but don’t actually do it, instead talk up the economy saying we’ve turned the corner, green shoots everything is getting rosier and wait for Lab to rebut so they can accuse them of “talking down the economy” and being unpatriotic.

    We shall see.

  50. The polls that indicate a Lab voting intention but a preference fro Cameron as PM are stgrongly reminiscent of the Tory leads coupled with a preference for Callaghan over Thatcher in the late 70s. That leader preference gave Labour voters (false) hope and what we got was a long long period of Tory Government.

    Will we see Labour back in for three terms?

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