This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 43%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10%. It isn’t the biggest Labour lead YouGov have shown this month, but (leaving aside a rather outlandish 29% back in April) it matches the lowest Conservative score this Parliament. UKIP, meanwhile, remain in double figures on 10%.

Yesterday afternoon there was also the weekly poll by TNS BMRB, which has topline figures of CON 30% (+4), LAB 40% (-1), LD 7% (-1), UKIP 12% (-4), OTHER 10% (+1). The increase for the Conservatives and the drop in UKIP support is probably no more than a reversion to the mean after an unusually high score for UKIP in their poll last week.


22 Responses to “Latest YouGov and TNS BMRB polls”

  1. There was a comment on Conservative Home tio the effect that Conservatism used to be about making English people better off – now it’s about making foreigners better off

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  2. Anthony, do you think that the Populus poll for the Sun today on the benefits uprating bill was a push poll?

    Example:

    “Benefits have been rising twice as fast as wages since the crisis began so it’s fair to cap in-work and out-of-work benefits rises at 1 per cent for a temporary period.” Agree/Disagree

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  3. That’s a pretty awful wording, and does indeed push the respondent in one direction.

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  4. A decent end of year Poll for Labour.
    Not a lot of Christmas cheer for the Tories or LD’s

    As for UKIP, well who cares really they won’t get any seats at the next GE.

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  5. To be fair Steve, the LDs have finished on a high!

    Yep, that’s how low they have sunk!

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  6. JW – I’ve given up on trying to explain to people what a push poll actually is – or at least, what the term “push poll” as originally used in the USA means, which is the only sense I use it in. Suffice to say it isn’t one of those in any way, shape or form.

    What lots of other people insist on using the term push poll to refer to is polls with questions that are going to produce skewed results. In that sense, my opinion of questions written as agree/disagree with argument X is well known – they risk bias in direction of that statement, particularly when they are statements justifying a point of view. If you asked people if they agreed or disagreed with a statement in the opposite direction you’d probably get an opposite answer.

    They certainly have legitimate uses to testing statements and arguments that can’t really be “de-biased”, but you need to balance them with statements and arguments from the opposite point of view or you are going to get a partial and skewed picture.

    I really don’t like political parties commissioning polls for *publication*. Doesn’t do them any favours.

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  7. @ Anthony

    I know that push (or propaganda) polls used to be about calling as many people as possible to push – in the guise of a poll – an opinion or story which was biased or even untrue.

    But there’s no need to call lots of people now; if you can spread the poll &/or its biased result through media & social media then that’s doing the same job as a traditional push poll isn’t it?

    Or is the difference that traditional push polls weren’t polls at all & the callee’s response wasn’t even recorded?

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  8. @AW

    And again, I have to disagree with your personal definition. It is *not* the definition as originally used in the US.

    The definition is *intent*, not a prescribed format. Is this poll intended to push opinion rather than gauge it? That’s the sole, single definition. And it is quite, quite clear that leading questions are intended to push opinion rather than gauge it.

    To quote Mark Blumenthal, “Again, the proof is in the intent: If the sponsor intends to communicate a message to as many voters as possible rather than measure opinions or test messages among a sample of voters, it qualifies as a “push poll.” If the poll’s purpose is to present an argument in favour of something, either in it’s original form or by publishing the ‘results’, it is a push poll.”

    I can see no defence that the above question wording could possibly be intended as a legitimate gauge of opinion, it is instead presenting a defence of policy.

    It is a push poll.

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  9. LD 7% (-1)

    Push poll?

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  10. @Allan Christie

    The Conservative party commissioned populous poll published in the Sun. Asked the question “Benefits have been rising twice as fast as wages since the crisis began so it’s fair to cap in-work and out-of-work benefits rises at 1 per cent for a temporary period.” Taking an Agree/Disagree answer.

    If the had just taken that as private internal testing of an argument they wanted to present, fine. But they published it in an effort to show “The people support us” which makes it a push-poll, a poll being used to push opinion rather than gauge it.

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  11. Again, more very low scores for Tory VI.

    Despite rising household optimism, some signs that retail spending and mortgage approvals are creeping upwards, and no obvious catastrophes recently, Tory support seems to have pitched downwards to a significant new low in the last week or two.

    Given the timing, this isn’t particularly significant yet in terms of the next GE. However, these days, Tories are a panicky lot. If Cameron enters the New Year and we get towards the end of January and their ratings are still dire, I would imagine we will start seeing all manner of skittishness and sniping start from within his own ranks. Indeed, with Oborne’s piece this morning, it may already be happening.

    This is where poor poll ratings mid term can become very damaging. Ed M has seen off the internal criticisms by a period of solid leads and election successes. By contrast, Cameron seems to be inching towards that space where even your friends start to wonder if you’ve got what it takes.

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  12. I do think a lot of the polling establishment in this country is forgetting something really, really important about political polling. There is no money in it. There really isn’t. Political parties, and political movements, have tiny tiny tiny budgets. The money is made in private corporations polling on baked bean packaging. Political polling is advertising a Market Research firm’s ability to gauge public opinion.

    If they keep chasing down these roads of allowing politically motivated commissions, they’re going to be advertising very bad messages about how reliable their Market Research is. They need to take a much much harder line on what they will allow to be polled, and what they will allow to be published.

    ComRes for instance have taken a huge blow to their credibility because of some poor choices over allowing politically dictated question formats, and slanted publication of the results to claim public opposition to same sex marriage.

    And I think that Populous were *very* naive if they thought they were conducting internal only research on an argument, they should have had cast iron contracts about not publishing something in a way that makes Populous look bad.

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  13. Today’s Independent is making a big play of a recent ComRes poll showing less than half the respondents support Osborne’s 1% benefits rise in the Autumn Statement: –

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/less-than-half-the-public-back-george-osborne-on-decision-to-raise-most-state-benefits-by-less-than-inflation-8426259.html

    The headline is literally true, albeit spun a little (there’s still a small majority – 49% v 43% – in favour of Osborne’s measures) but it does suggest that Osborne’s attempt to set a political trap for Labour may end up ensnaring him instead. It’s quite obvious that this “shirkers v strivers” demarcation hasn’t formed clearly at all in voters minds and I think there’s some real scope here for Miliband to get on to the right side of the argument. As an issue, it also plays nicely into his still vague One Nation Labour vision and could afford him opportunities to add some flesh to the bones. Privileged and wealthy Tories driving wedges in our society versus Everyman Labour politicians trying to bind us all together in difficult economic times? It’s got some potential traction, hasn’t it, in a political world where mood music, symbolism and presentation is nearly everything.

    By the way, am I the only one that thinks that Osborne’s attempted benefits trap for Labour is vintage Lynton Crosby? Early signs, perhaps, that his influence is already coming to bear.

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  14. @CB11

    Now I know why politicians ignore polls unless heavily in their favour. “Less than half the public” is a term that the media should avoid in polling. “Less than half of all respondents” sounds boring though.

    “Less than half of all the plebs we asked” ?

    :)

    @All

    Labour ‘MAD’ lead has jumped up 0.7% in two days, most likely as the MAD calcs catch up with the daily polls. 11% lead in the MAD calcs, which is a new high.

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/polling/approval-ratings/party-lead/ (right-hand chart)

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  15. JayBlanc

    Agree completely about some of the more unbalanced polling that we’ve seen recently. I suspect that the increased number of polling organisation may make some pollsters feel unable to stand up to some of the commissioners as they would like – though in some cases it could just be sloppiness or bias on the part of the individual dealing with it.

    As you say the real danger is to the reputation of the polling organisation. It could be that some commercial organisations want pollsters who are more biddable, but most will prefer to be told the truth rather than what they want to hear. Whether such commissioners will be much aware of such damaged reputations is another matter – but such things have a way of seeping into the wider consciousness. You only have to look at the way the polls and pollsters were covered in the US elections and the elevation of Nate Silver into American folk hero.

    The Populus poll is at least shown as explicitly for the Conservatives, but if you actually look at the questions in the tables:

    http://www.populus.co.uk/uploads/OmConservatives_Dec12_Short2.pdf

    there would be little doubt of it. They need to be careful that they don’t get the reputation of being the Tory house pollster, especially given the amount they do for Ashcroft. And when differently worded questions on the same topic get wildly different answers as we have seen here, they should worry that people may misinterpret it as the actual polling process that is biased rather than the questioning.

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  16. Jay – you are on the money that it is the releasing that is the issue. If the intention was to see how the measure would be received if a specific narrative could be established as a way of gauging presentation then all well and good.

    Alec – Re Oborne’s piece I thought it rather supported the PM with one or 2 criticism which I thought were more at the Osbourne part of the Cambourne personna.

    Whilst clearly I am not a Tory and don’t agree with Oborne on many of his policy judgements , I thought it was a fair and balanced piece from a right of centre perspective.

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  17. Enough politicians, journalists, bankers, police officers etc. have chosen the low road & sunk their professions into disrepute. Why should we expect polling firms to be any different?

    Of course the good firms will be tarred with the bad firms’ brush but that’s the way the free-market often works. If the polling association & its reputable members choose to turn a blind eye to sharp practises then they can look forward to polling itself being viewed as worthless.

    The fashion for 9 out of 10 cats prefer ‘Whatever’ will surely wane when the majority of the public decide polls are not market research of actual opinions but marketing tools designed to elicit the desired response & then be used to push a product or policy.

    When that happens, all polling firms will be out of business; it’s simply another example of short-term greed trumping sustainable best practises.

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  18. There have been far too many examples of push polling (as defined quite reasonably by Jayblanc) from Populus for this latest one to be excused on the grounds of naiivity. It’s surely reasonable to conclude now that they are aware of the uses to which these obviously loaded questions are going to be put, and it reflects badly upon them that they are willing to ask them anyway. Either money talks, or they are more than willing to collaborate actively in the nefarious purposes of the client.

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  19. What possesses someone to switch support from Green to Climate change denying UKIP?

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  20. Steve –

    (a) remember they are both anti-EU parties but more importantly…
    (b) they are both recipients of “I don’t like any of the big parties so I’m going to vote for someone new” votes and…
    (c) some people are just downright odd

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  21. Steve

    Common sense.

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  22. @Steve

    Idiocy. Of the highest order.

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