This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun is here and has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 10%. Once again, the Lib Dems remain in double figures.

Yesterday Opinium also put up an interesting article clarifying their methodology and pondering why it could be that they consistently show some of the highest levels of support for UKIP. First, it confirms that Opinium use two-stage prompting in their voting intention question, asking people if they’d vote Con, Lab, Lib Dem or Other, and then only giving the options of BNP, Green and UKIP to people who say other (this is the same as YouGov and in contrast to Survation, who prompt for UKIP in their main question).

Opinium’s guess seems to be that their higher UKIP scores are down to not politically weighting their sample. As regular readers will know, the majority of polling companies use some sort of political weighting. In most cases they weight their samples so that respondents’ recalled 2010 voting behaviour roughly matches what actually happened in 2010, with some allowances made for faulty memory, though YouGov instead weight using party identification. The two exceptions are Ipsos MORI and Opinium.

Ipsos MORI do not weight by past vote because they worry that the levels of false recall can change in response to changing public opinion, in particular they worry about people aligning their recollection of how they voted in May 2010 with how they’d vote now. Other companies like ICM and Populus acknowledge the reality of false recall, but think it is basically pretty constant and changes only slowly over time. In practice it means that MORI’s samples are sometimes more Labour inclined than those of other companies, and can be more volatile (although MORI would argue that this is genuine volatility that weighting by recalled vote is disguising).

Anyway, Opinium are the other company that do not politically weight and suggest in their article that this could be why they are showing a higher level of UKIP support than most other companies. This is certainly feasible. As I’ve written before, the two most obvious explanations for the difference between online and phone polls in terms of UKIP support is either interviewer bias (people are embarrassed to admit to a human interviewer that they are supporting a party outside the main three, less so to a computer screen) or if people who are online are more likely to vote UKIP than those who are not (or, of course, a combination of the two factors). If online panels do get a disproportionately large proportion of the sort of people who’d vote UKIP, then not using some sort of political weighting to control for this could easily produce much higher levels of UKIP support.

182 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 33, LAB 43, LD 10, UKIP 10”

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  1. I always look down on those who just post ‘first’ – but it was like fresh snow laid out before me.


  2. 12% Labour lead yesterday, 10% today so no sign from the first two polls conducted during and after the Commons debate and vote on the Benefits Bill of any discernible shift in voting intention. Cracking down on benefit claimants may attract majority public support, if the polls are to be believed, but doesn’t appear to have any great influence on which party people would vote for if there was an election tomorrow. Still some time, I guess, for something to ripple through but if it was an issue that was going to have any great effect on opinion, I would have thought it would be early on when voters get caught up in the news coverage and political commentary. If the polls aren’t twitching now as the furore rages, I think we can conclude that it isn’t going to be a subject of deep political significance outside of the Westminster bubble.

    On the return, now much mooted, of David Miliband to front line politics some time this year, I’m reminded of some fairly unscientific, quasi voodoo possibly, focus group work that I saw on TV (ITN, I think), shortly after the May 2010 election. A supposedly representative group of voters, spanning all ages, genders and political persuasions, were shown the photographs, and video clips of them speaking, of all the likely candidates for the Labour leadership. The list didn’t include Diane Abbott but, as I recall it, did include, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, Ed Miliband, David Miliband and Alan Johnson. The group were asked for their gut reaction to each of the people they were shown in terms of their likeability and Prime Ministerial/leadership qualities. Apart from one female member of the group who said, somewhat nefariously, that her sister fancied Ed Miliband, they all went unanimously for David Miliband as by far and away the most convincing and credible candidate. They were pretty uncomplimentary about all the others.

    Now, all the normal caveats must apply about the superficiality and unreliability of the process, but the group did appear to be a fairly representative cross section of humanity and the sort of people you might conceivably meet in any normal walk of life. It wasn’t the sort of nonsense where a pollster goes into a Golf Club bar in Berkhamsted to ask the members what they thought about Tony Blair; this did seem an attempt to get opinions from people with absolutely no axe to grind on the subject.

    Forgetting for now whether he would have been a better leader than his brother, I think his return to the Labour front bench can only be a real boost to the party’s electability. The timing and likely role that he would undertake will be interesting however.

  3. NEW THREAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. AW
    The MORI three option prompt could also trigger a preferance for UKIP,out of the three options e.g. as having a defined economic policy, in an otheriwse indeterminate intention to vote other.

  5. AW
    It is a puzzle nevertheless, since if both Opinium and Mori are doing the same on political weighting then one should not expect their results to differ widely on a ‘minor party’. I have not the knowledge but is there perhaps a difference in the nature of the supplementary VI question after the primary prompt one?

  6. JP Our posts crossed!!

  7. Keep and eye on this story –

    As the Green Deal kicks in, we will witness huge amounts of miss selling, with victims being persuaded to buy energy savings measures with no up front payments. Energy bills will be increased, with payments theoretically coming from savings, so the householder is no worse off.

    Companies are salivating at the mouth at the prospects of this, and I expect Green Deal to end up being not a great deal more than a government sponsored miss selling scandal.

  8. Howard – Remember their sampling is totally different, MORI are using quasi-random sampling by telephone, Opinium are drawing a sample from an internet panel.

    The biases from quasi-random phone sampling that show up when you don’t use any political controls will be different to the biases from online panel sampling when you don’t use any political controls.

  9. @Crossbat11

    “If the polls aren’t twitching now as the furore rages, I think we can conclude that it isn’t going to be a subject of deep political significance outside of the Westminster bubble.”

    I’m not so sure. A professional friend of mine was aghast when I told her what benefit cuts were due in April. She will be affected by cuts to her tax credits, both working and tax. A single parent, she gets no support from her ex-husband and who now has no idea what her future holds.

    Many of the public simply don’t know what is happening and yes, some don’t care. I was astonished that she didn’t already know as I expected her to be aware of political controversies.

    I think when the benefit cuts actually hit in April and thousands are expected to pay council tax where previously they were awarded full CTB, I think that’s when the public will wake up to the realities around them.

  10. Poll Alert!
    YouGov for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Sample size: 100 MPs)

    Average ‘deserved’ pay – £86,250.
    Labour MPs – £77,322
    LibDem MPs – £78,361
    Tory MPs – £96,740
    Others – £75,091
    Probably the worst poll to be released, as far as PR goes for MPs.

    Survation (5th Jan, Con 29, Lab 38, Lib 11, UKIP 16) also asked for VI for European elections –
    Con 24.2 (-3.5)
    Lab 31.3 (+15.6)
    Lib 10.7 (-3)
    UKIP 21.8 (+5.3)
    Green 6.3 (-1.8)
    BNP 1.4 (-4.8)
    SNP 3 (+0.9)
    Plaid 0.8 (nc)
    Other 0.5 (-11.9)

    Seats (using regional crossbreaks):
    Con 17 (-8), Lab 23 (+10), Lib 8 (-3), UKIP 16 (+3), Green 3 (+1), SNP 2 (nc), PCY 1 (nc), BNP 0 (-2)

    Perhaps results of VI taken with a pinch of salt? Last time Labour did so well in European elections was 1994.

  11. @Chordata
    The government are probably getting off pretty lightly at the moment.

    As someone pointed out debt does not cause any economic pain – so no mass unemployment, house price collapse etc. It is paying back the debt that causes pain and that pain will start in earnest for many in April.

  12. Interesting international, as well as national reaction to tak of leaving the EU. Sounds like the Tories can only threaten/negotiate [take your pick] with:

    “Give us what we want or we’ll…….err………um……. stay.”

  13. Tinged,
    I tend to agree about the Euro elections (i.e. that Lab VI is higher than they will actually get). On the other hand, 1994 was the last time there was a Tory government when there were Euro elections, so possibly some people use it as a protest vote against the government?

    If the seats turn out as predicted, I think UKIP would be disappointed, even if they do gain a few.

  14. @ Tinged

    Other 0.5 (-11.9)

    Do we know who that “Other” is? -11.9 is a big downshift. It looks rather odd, to be honest.

  15. Amber
    The poll only prompted for ‘Other party’, I’m taking the 2009 data and adding all the minor (not the named parties) up to get the 11.9% drop.

  16. Amber – the 12% last time is because all sorts of weird and wonderful parties come out of the woodwork for European elections and all their tiny vote shares add up… but obviously they haven’t come out the woodwork yet, so pollsters don’t ask about them and people don’t know about them to say they’d vote for them

  17. Good news

    Norway is the happiest place on earth according to Forbes magazine.

    More good news

    The UK didn’t come in last place

  18. •?•

  19. @ Tinged & Anthony

    Thank you :-)

  20. Norway is the happiest place on earth according to Forbes magazine.

    I guess it depends on what you want from life.

    Although I dont live there, I have been on many business trips to Norway and Sweden.

    And the thing that strikes me every time is this: the food is AWFUL. Like school dinners from the early 1960’s.

    So, the Norwegians may like it, but if I lived there – as food matters a lot to me – I’d be very un-happy.

    The VI poll for EE is very interesting because, if verified, it would very probably mean that the group Socialists and Democrats (PES and allies) will overcome the EPP as first party in EP. Italy, France, Romania and the Netherlands are now very problematic for the EPP, and since it is not represented at all in the UK, it is almost certain that its lead over the socialists in Germany, Poland and Spain will not be enough to reverse this trend. It would also mean that the group European Conservatives and Reformists will be overcome by the Lefties of GUE-NGL and fall from 5th to 6th place, given also the bad showing of Czech ODS.

  22. Richard in Norway

    According to Wikipedia Norway’s suicide rate is almost twice ours (11.9 per 100,000) as against 6.9. Better statistics? Long dark winters? Irrelevant? Proof that those gloomy Norwegian authors got their country right? Take your pick or suggest a better explanation.

  23. AW
    Yes I missed the point about the collection method, thanks. One feels that, as you have a trade association of sorts, you could all agree on the question on VI at least?

    Otherwise we are comparing apples with pears. Of course it’s difficult to get over the differences of data collection, I grant, but I could imagine one or two wheezes that could be used.

    The telephone people could use a recorded Q after stressing the anonymity of reply, and the online people could introduce a background sexy gendered voice to even it up! (Is ‘sexy gendered’ tautological?)

  24. Charles

    Perhaps Norway is so happy because the miserable folk top themselves leaving only the happy ones behind

  25. That old bloke

    I must admit that I do miss British cuisine, in particular Takeaway curries and kebabs, but we do have very good bread, excellent cured meats and fresh fish

  26. the telegraph readers are really annoyed about that poll on mp’s pay, the comments are coming thick and fast, over 700 now, for an article which wasn’t that visible. Oddly the DT said nothing about Tory mp’s wanting 20k more than their labour counterparts

  27. Richard in Norway

    ‘Perhaps Norway is so happy because the miserable folk top themselves leaving only the happy ones behind’

    Could be! But building on your idea, perhaps its a Darwinian process. Survival of the happiest. Only those with the sunniest dispositions can survive Norwegian food and winters. If so, I hope you were born to Norway and have not had Norway thrust upon you.

    But then again, perhaps it is just an illustration of the problems of interpreting statistics, those relating to voting intentions included.

  28. Kitsune,

    Yes, there was a “Border Poll” in Northern Ireland. It didn’t work.


    Note that I didn’t say you’re not often wrong- just that, even when I disagree with you, I don’t regard you as talking rubbish.

  29. Not that I particularly like it, but I just get the feeling the consensus view in this country is moving to a social democrat centre left position.

    I am a Conservative voter, but it feels like there is an aggressive left movement starting to move the agenda, and I just wonder if the Conservatives are in danger of getting bred out, to coin a phrase.

  30. Richo

    I think you might be spending too much time on ukpr where all the aggresive lefties hang out, it’s distorting your veiwpoint.

  31. RiN
    You might be happy but Mr Stephen Tall thinks that one could even be optimistic about LD chances to counteract all the ‘wipeout’ talk we get (that he says comes from the YouGov President).

    He made me happy for a nanosecond.

    Here is the link

  32. @HOWARD

    He is forecasting 16 loses for LibDems down to just 40 seats and says…

    “none of this is to suggest the Lib Dems should be in any way remotely complacent”

    ,,bless :-)

  33. The press are carrying a story about Liam Fox attacking proposals for gay marriage ( along with the now obligatory photo of him in the helicopter with a minigun).

    It is an outside bet but part of me thinks he could be the first tory to Jump to UKIP.

    Thoughts people?


  34. @ Peter Cairns

    No Conservative MPs will defect to UKIP. There may be a split off from the Conservative Party & a new Party formed which will have policies which attract most UKIP voters & some Conservative voters.

    A credible new right of centre Party could outstrip the main Conservative Party. It would be most amusing were it to call itself the Tory Party. IMO, it would quickly reach 25% levels of support & UKIP would be reduced to a few % again.

  35. @TINGED FRINGE (7.22

    “Poll Alert!
    YouGov for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Sample size: 100 MPs)

    Average ‘deserved’ pay – £86,250.
    Labour MPs – £77,322
    LibDem MPs – £78,361
    Tory MPs – £96,740
    Others – £75,091
    Probably the worst poll to be released, as far as PR goes for MPs.”

    Sky News currently reporting the poll and public reponse to it. If this was reported earlier this evening (I was not watching TV until after midnight) or is repeated tomorrow then imo. this will be bad news for MPs generally but terrible news for the Tories.

  36. @ Bill Patrick

    Thanks – I missed that one, but doesn’t that mean you missed 1975 (which I what I thought you meant)? By including 2011 you’re clearly not confining yourself to independence-related referenda.

    I still think there’s a distinction between “safe” referenda following an election and possibly arising from manifesto promises by the governing party, and “risky” ones close to a date by which an election must be called. I admit the sample is a bit small!

  37. @Richo

    Don’t worry, there’s not really a change. The country wasn’t as right wing as you thought, it’s just that the left was split. It isn’t any more, now it’s the right that’s split but that isn’t the “aggressive, envious” lefties’ fault. They didn’t make Clegg rip up his manifesto, or determine Cameron’s policy on the EU, immigration etc. when it comes to UKip.

    Chin up, your not the first to worry that the other side is in the ascendent… I didn’t see any right wingers complain when everyone including me was giving Labour a good kicking…

    If I were you I’d worry about your party’s policies as they are giving all the ammo. Only tonight I listened to a Tory MP take a pasting on the radio for advocating a 30% rise in MPs pay. I mean they only just voted a one percent “rise” for the poorest!! Surely you can see the problem with that??? Won’t stop some complaining at any criticism though…

  38. @Tinged

    Thanks for those polling numbers!

    Did not expect that Labour figure to be what it is. May I ask if there is some other polls for the European elections? So I can see what others polls have as their figures especially for Labour, and UKIP as I was under the impression UKIP were going to be top party or at least a close second.

    As those figures give them to be more close to being second or close third.

    Also wonder if Cameron’s speech on EU will have a meaningful impact, even if he offers referendum it will be after next GE. Even with that I think those going over to UKIP could well be sceptical of his offer, so he may not get voters back but could his speech stop voters going to UKIP. Will be interesting to see! :-)

  39. Just read the Lib Dem article. I keep coming across this idea that while the percentage vote may show a big fall, their impressive electoral machine will countervail.

    And it might but I’m wondering how badly this machine will be hit by defections and dissatisfaction. Is it all intact or has it taken a hit of any significance. ..

  40. Kitsune,

    You’re right, I did forget about the 1975 referendum.

    I agree that not all referenda and election manifestos are of a piece.

  41. @ Roger Mexico (from the previous thread)

    “Uh?? According to Wikipedia

    Murphy is the most common surname in Ireland, the fourteenth most common surname in Northern Ireland and the fifty-eighth most common surname in the United States.

    It’s also the fifty-fifth most common name in Great Britain, strongest as you might expect, in areas with high historic Irish immigration, such as North-West England.”

    It was a joke. :) Or an attempt at making an ironic comment. Failed either way. Lol. :)

    It is interesting though to get two Democratic challengers who become beloved by the progressive netroots in their way to upset victories share the same name and get errant tweets meant for the other.

    “I foresee endless hours of enjoyment watching the campaign, especially as practically everyone prominent in the No campaign hates everyone else in it[1] and they all have very different political visions for Scotland. But I’m not sure that campaigns make much difference except when things are tight. By the time the formal campaign starts most people will have made their mind up and the remainder will tend to shift to the status quo.”

    See now, you look at this sort of stuff in the best possible way…..for pure entertainment value. This is why JM needs to stop all his piousness about not campaigning with David Cameron and start finding his inner diva. Start demanding things like a car and driver for the campaign, sharing the podium with the Prime Minister, getting equal speaking time, insisting on your choice of music for campaign rallies, show up to every public appearance at least 30-45 minutes late to everything. And use the time to focus on your own fundraising and building up your own public profile.

    Because when you become a wanted political commodity, you can start gaining all sorts of concessions that will benefit you and drive your newfound allies absolutely crazy. But the best part is, there’s little they can do about it except have some of their aides snarp about it off the record to various reporters (who write for publications that most voters don’t even read). He can do more to get under his skin than anything Ed Miliband says to him at PMQ (or any angry look that Gloria DiPiero gives him).

    “[1] Especially if they’re in the same political Party.”

    Lol, that’s the best part! Of course, as long as it stays civil and there is no potential physical violence with one MP yelling to another MP of the same party ‘Get out of my Face!” repeatedly and then physically grabbing the other around the shoulder and yelling “You want to get into this?!” requiring bobbies to come up on stage and separate the two. Cause’ really, no one needs to see the political equivalent of a drunken bar fight.

    @ Amber Star (from the previous thread)

    “I’ve spoken with Ed Balls a few times, he’s actually very likeable; I’ve never met David Miliband but I’ll make the effort to do so asap, pass on your message & see what he says! ;)”

    I almost met David Miliband last year. I was within 10-15 feet of him. If I had been quick witted enough and gotten my chance, I would have introduced myself as your friend.

  42. Con 31, Lab 42, Lib 11, UKIP 10

    Again, no real change.

  43. Tories at the very bottom end of current YG polling spreads. No apparent kick from the benefits debate so far.

  44. Today’s YouGov (31/42/11) makes 10 polls in a row where Lib Dems score 10 or above. This is the longest run since 2010. It mirrors last year’s polls where LD had a Christmas Bounce until 11th Jan.

    In 2012, YouGov gave us a 9 point average from Jan to Nov, reaching a low of 8 in May. December averaged 10 points and so far January’s average is a touch higher.

    Looking at the 2010 LD vote, there has been a step change of 4 points in the Lib Dem VI, corresponding with a similar drop in LD – Lab switchers. LD – Lab switchers are continuing to bleed to DK.

    Whatever happened in Mid November, I’m on the edge of believing it to have caused a real change in VI.

  45. @SoCalLiberal

    I’ve spoken with David Miliband, and he is very sharp and a nice guy to talk to. I’ve also met Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson (luck and timing, not any kind of political judgement!). As individuals, regardless of your view on policy, they were all very nice to talk to. Gordon Brown even sponsored me for the London Marathon…

    Sometimes we can forget that politicians are also people,.

  46. “Con 31, Lab 42, Lib 11, UKIP 10”

    Those billboards are taking their time to work their magic aren’t they? Lynton will no doubt be disappointed!

    As for the Lib Dems, now regularly in double figures, maybe the dead parrot was only resting after all and hadn’t really ceased to be. It appears that the more they abuse their coalition partners the more popular they become. Does it really say that on the tin? lol

  47. “Whatever happened in Mid November, I’m on the edge of believing it to have caused a real change in VI.”

    maybe it took time (six weeks) for NC apology “I’m sorrry, I’m sorry, so, so sorry” to enter voters’ mindset?

  48. Having frozen the pay of public sector workers and limited the increase of income of people on JSA to 71p a week it would be complete electoral suicide for any party to try to push through a £30K pay rise for MP’s.

    But you can never underestimate how out of touch with reality some people can be.

    The truth is MP’s probably are underpaid a bit.
    But this really relates to cost of living in London, while maintaining a family Home outside of the commuter belt (as such it effects Labour and LD MP’s more than Tories as many Conservative MP’s have constituencies located in the SE and Shires( not to mention independent incomes) and like the rest of us can commute.

    It is probably appropriate to look at alternative accommodation arrangements for MP’s who actually need a London base. I believe in Sweden MP’s are provided with furnished accommodation which IMO would be the way to go.

  49. @ Colin Green

    The Lib Dems will do much better in the seats they currently hold than the polls predict. If the MP is popular and people don’t see a reason to vote for alternative candidates, then I suspect that when it comes to putting the x in the box, they will reluctantly back the current MP. There are some exceptions to this, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander.

    One factor that I am not sure about, is the under 25 vote in Lib Dem seats, where Tories are challenging. I am sensing that some of those that may have voted Lib Dem, due to tuition fees, against Iraq war etc, will either not vote or vote Tory with their parents. The Lib Dems are now so closely associated with Tory or right of centre policies, that they will not pick up some of the votes they attracted in the past. In the south of England, where Labour can’t win, the Lib Dems risk losing their seats to the Tories, if the Tories are not affected too much by UKIP.

  50. Colin Green:
    “Whatever happened in Mid November, I’m on the edge of believing it to have caused a real change in VI.”

    There was a marked improvement in YG LD VI from the last week in Nov.

    Prior to 28 Nov, LD VI had been at 10 or above only 8 times in the previous 40 polls. Since that date is has been below 10 only 5 times in 26 polls.

    Before the last week of Nov, LD 5-point running average YG VI had bobbed around between 8.4 and 9.2. Since the end of Nov it has run between 9.4-10.4.

    So a small but apparently real improvement for the LDs.

    What happened in late Nov? The obvious one is the Leveson debate, where LDs voted against the Govt.

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