With under a week to go till the by-election tomorrow’s Times has a Populus poll of Eastleigh (£). Voting intention now stands at CON 28%, LAB 11%, LDEM 33%, UKIP 21%.

If one assumes that the Ashcroft poll earlier this month was conducted by Populus using the same methodology, then this suggests that the Conservatives and Labour have both gone significantly backwards during the by-election campaign, while UKIP have advanced into a solid third place.

I’m hoping we may have more Eastleigh polling over the coming days so I’ll update once it arrives or once we’ve seen the Populus tables.

UPDATE: Rick Nye has kindly sent me over the detailed tables for the Populus poll so here are a couple more things worth noting:

First, there is a very high level of don’t knows or refusals. Populus interviewed 1001 people, but a quarter said don’t know and a further 12% refused to give a voting intention. In a close race that high proportion of don’t knows obviously have the potential to change things.

Secondly, Populus don’t just ignore those don’t knows. Like ICM they assume that a proportion of them will end up voting for the party they did in 2010. This adjustment made no difference to the Lib Dem lead, but reduced the reported level of UKIP support (as they didn’t have many former 2010 voters to reallocate).

Without the reallocation of don’t knows the topline figures would have been CON 26%, LAB 12%, LD 31%, UKIP 25%. The reallocation of don’t knows has worked very well for ICM and Populus at general elections, improving their accuracy, but I remain uncertain about how well it works at by-elections. Without it the position between UKIP and the Conservatives is very tight.

Thirdly, everyone assumes that the UKIP support comes mainly from the Conservatives. It isn’t quite the case. 17% of 2010 Tory voters are saying they would vote UKIP, but so are 11% of 2010 Lib Dem voters and 10% of 2010 Lab voters.

194 Responses to “Populus give the Lib Dems a 5 point lead in Eastleigh”

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  1. First!

  2. lol if true that’s abysmal for Labour.

  3. I hasten to add I’m not doubting your report of the poll. By true, I meant if that’s the results on the night.

  4. What does the pound sign mean?

  5. Let’s compare to 2010, shall we? It makes it pretty stark.

    Lib Dems 33 (-13.5)
    Conservatives 28 (-11.3)
    UKIP 21 (+17.4)
    Labour 11 (+1.4)

  6. It doesn’t really matter what Labour get in the Eastleigh by-election, as their outcome can be put, pretty fairly, down to tactical voting.

  7. Eastleigh poll (if this is close to the result) – it answers the question regarding the anti-Tory tactical vote – it will still be there come 2015. So bad news for the Conservatives.

  8. LDs -13.5% v GE. Poor for them.
    Con -11.3% v GE. Lousy for them.
    Lab +1.4% v GE. Lousy for them.
    UKIP +17.4% v GE. Not at all lousy for them.

  9. craig

    bizarre that labour are what you focus on.

  10. @NickP

    Others 7% (+6.1)

  11. AAA no more – What will the political fallout of this be? UKIP beating Torys in Eastleigh? (bearing in mind this poll)
    Lib Dems backlash against Torys?
    Poll lead widening?
    Tory Back bench rebellion?
    Or pretty much nothing?
    We Shall have to see?
    Either way, interesting times!

  12. @Wes

    The pound sign after a link is used to point out that the thing the link is linking to cannot be accessed without payment (for example the Times website)


  13. I read an article somewhere (Telegraph?) where the suggestion was that the overwhelming verdict from Eastleigh was contempt for all politicians.

  14. @PaulCroft

    It was expected the two coalition parties were going to see falls in their votes; that Labour are barely a beneficiary from that is fairly shocking.

  15. lol if true that’s abysmal for Labour.
    Yes, a disappointing poll for Labour. A little consolation might be taken from the LDs being ahead of the Tories.

    The main focus of interest now must be: Can UKIP pull ahead of the Tories & take 2nd place?

  16. 28% would make the Tories pretty unelectable nationwide. i assume the stay-at-homes and UKIP are hurting them.

    Could be just by election blip of course. But it looks like despite the LDs being in Government, voters will still vote for them to keep the Tories out.

  17. It has been said on here previousy that the next poll would be critical for the Lib Dems. If Labour had a significant increase in VI then previous LD voters could flow back to Lab. With these figures it is obvious that Lab are not in the running and therefore I expect to see even more Lab voters moving to LD. Conversley tonight’s news re the loss of AAA could cause more Con voters to move to UK.

    All in all a LD victory is looking very likely.

    From a personal perpective, if LD win, should I be pleased or upset. On one hand Clegg et al may realise the importance of keeping the left of centre voters happy and therefore take the more left approach which I would want. On the other hand, he may think that if he can hold Eastleigh he can just carry on as he has for the past couple of years.

  18. Ukip can go out and squeeze the tory vote here. Hope they have a decent candidate, it would be a shame if their first mp was a duffer

  19. The credit downgrade doesn’t play into anyone’s narrative except UKIP’s. I smell a major surprise; I don’t SEE it, but I smell it.

    And when UKIP wins it’s first seat, that’s terrible news for the Tories.

  20. Eastleigh poll – much as expected, although Labour would have hoped for more I think. However, I’m pretty sure they would have traded a decent third and a Tory gain, for a poor fourth and a Lib De win.

    I don’t think there is any doubt among sensible analysts that a result along these lines would cause delight in Lib Dem circles, encouragement in UKIP followers, a shrug of the shoulders in Labour ranks, and real concern among Tory supporters.

    A word of caution to Lib Dems though – by elections can move very quickly, and if this poll is accurate, it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that Tory voters might just give it all up and pile in behind UKIP.

  21. Tables might be along the lines of:

    Lab picking up 5% from LD, losing 2% to UKIP, losing 1% to Others.
    LD losing 5% to UKIP, 5%to Lab, 3% to Others.
    Con losing 10% to UKIP, 1% to Others.

    But in practice, movements between non-voters and DKs makes it more complicated than that.

  22. It’s worth mentioning that UKIP must be getting significant support from other parties, not just the Conservatives.

  23. Whoops – as Phil has just pointed out.

  24. alec

    that latter suggestion is one I made earlier dependent on the next [this] poll.

    I do think it fits the scenario quite well. Labour could also think soddit as well, and also vote ukip. They have a decent candidate.

    It will make Lab numbers look bad but its rather like losing 4-0 or 5-0 at footy – either way you’ve lost***

    You can see why I am footy monitor; I do know my stuff.

  25. @Peter Bell

    Were the result to be like this, about the only silver lining for Lab supporters is that it will dissuade the LDs from
    ditching Clegg before the GE for a leader less toxic.


    I thought the same – Cons might move en masse to UKIP if they’re seen to be in contention. It’ll be interesting to see the VI before reallocation of “don’t knows” back to 2010 allegiances. UKIP will by definition attract none of those.

    But I disagree with you about Lab preferring 4th and a Lib Dem gain to 3rd and a Con win. It makes no difference whatsoever in the context of this parliament, other to perhaps guarantee that Clegg will, as Peter Bell puts it “just carry on as he has for the past couple of years”, so guaranteeing another couple of years of Cameron and Osborne running the show.

  26. re: AAA downgrade, does the line that “Germany and Canada are the only major economies to currently have a top AAA rating – as much of the world has been shaken by the financial crisis of 2008 and its subsequent debt crises.”-BBC work as an excuse for more austerity or less ?

  27. @ Bill Patrick

    “The credit downgrade doesn’t play into anyone’s narrative except UKIP’s. I smell a major surprise; I don’t SEE it, but I smell it.
    And when UKIP wins it’s first seat, that’s terrible news for the Tories.”

    On the money as always. Perhaps tonight with this poll and the news of the ratings downgrade we have moved one tiny step closer to a major split in the political right of the UK.

  28. Emma – are you saying the majority of liberal votes are tactical votes? If you are you are completely misguided. There is a liberal tradition in this part of the world which is much stronger than the labour tradition. Liberalism goes back a long way and there are many areas where labour has no real chance. Liberals are not just misguided labour supporters.

  29. Also worth bearing in mind that at Corby UKIP spectacularly overperformed on the Ashcroft/Populus final poll, both in absolute terms and relative to the LDs.

  30. Only about 12 countries in the world left with AAA rating who’s next, and does it really matter to anybody other than GO and EB. unless of course it falls below AA 1 which of couse is more likely if GO panics or is pushed by the opposition, abandons trying to cut the deficit and goes for increased borrowing instead.

  31. If the Conservatives fail to win this key seat it will be devastating for Cameron who will probably face more splits and even a possible leadership challenge. Labour will be disappointed but it was hardly a seat which was winnable. I reckon next Thursday will be a watershed which marks the demise of Cameron.

  32. @Bill Patrick – “The credit downgrade doesn’t play into anyone’s narrative except UKIP’s.”

    I disagree. This is exactly what ‘too far and too fast’ was all about. Osborne derided this, saying that protecting AAA was all that mattered, but Labour said a greater emphasis on growth was more appropriate, with a slower deficit reduction path. According to the narrative, judged at this moment in time, Labour got it right.

    I have to say, I did warn that hanging your credibility on the ratings agencies was a duff strategy, but he didn’t listen.

    The obvious question is does it matter? Various countries have lost AAA without obvious harm, but I don’t think any of them had Chancellors who said this was the most important thing they had to protect.

    It’s embarrassing for Osborne, and another problem in terms of government credibility. The clear fact is that the strategy has gone staggeringly wrong.

    Forget the ratings agencies – they really don’t know what they are talking about. The simple truth is that in Autumn of 2010, Osborne said borrowing by the end of this Parliament would be £35b, but in Autumn 2012 he had revised that by a staggering £64b to £99b. Had a Labour Chancellor delivered such a crushing, humiliating about turn, they would have been ripped to pieces by the press, media and public – as they were post 2008.

    Osborne and Cameron have so far avoided this fate, largely through projecting the image that they are the good doctors applying the required medicine and that they know what they are doing. Credibility is something that can vanish overnight, both in the markets and amongst the electorate. This is therefore an extremely dangerous moment for the government, and the Tory party in particular.

  33. Not really a prediction, but I have the sense tonight that the UK’s economic position is unraveling and that we could all be in for some straightened times, and that this will hit the Tory half of the coalition much harder than their Lib Dem colleagues.

  34. @Alec
    Green shoots withered away? What do you make of the timing of the announcement? Friday eve after the markets have closed.

  35. A Tory victory in Eastleigh may have encouraged Cons to behave as a minority Govt, forcing the Lib Dems to quit, with nowhere to go.
    If the Lib Dem vote holds up, then this damages Labour’s chances of OM, as Labour 2nd party in more Tory marginals & disappointing figures for Labour.
    But its a by election, so inferences on voting at GE are stupid, but the result will affect narrative & stir MPs

  36. Ozwald

    These kind of anouncements are nearly always done on a friday evening

  37. This is bad news for Osbourne, presaged by a sort of slow run on the pound in recent days. He and the government were relying on this being a regular sort of recession, where by now things would be definately looking up. But as I have said before, this is now clearly not a regular sort of recession.

    Not a good time to be a chancellor, and not a good time to be having a by-election. UKIP ought to do well, since by having no representation in parliament, they cannot be blamed for any of it, whereas the other more popular parties are either in government now or fairly recently turfed out. But I can see Ed Balls looking better by comparison.

  38. osbOrne

  39. I can’t see how the fall in the Triple A will help UKIP?

    Surely it’s a major win for Labour? They’ve had a decent 10-15 point lead for a while now, but have always lagged behind the Cons on Economic Competence, now that the Tories have lost the AAA surely that will give a poll boost to Labour, not just on “who do you trust more with the economy” but also in actual VI as well?

  40. @RiN
    “These kind of anouncements are nearly always done on a friday evening”

    Thanks. Let’s see what happens Monday morning, though the ‘experts’ I have listened to on the Beeb think the downgrade is pretty much priced in already.

  41. MiM
    “I can’t see how the fall in the Triple A will help UKIP?”

    It might help them in this by-election, where Labour have no chance.

  42. @Turk
    An alternative view, from your side of the political spectrum, although not perhaps far enough to that side for your liking:

    “As for what this downgrade means politically, there’s no denying the truth: it’s terrible for George Osborne. All along, the Chancellor has pointed to our triple-A rating as ultimate proof that he has the right plan and that it’s working. But now he only has that Aa1 to point towards – at least in the case of Moody’s rating – that argument is going to be harder to sustain. And all with a Budget coming up, too.”


  43. @Greg
    The LD vote isn’t holding up. They’re down 13 points since 2010.

  44. The irony of tonight’s news is that, economically it matters not a jot. It’s well established that, for monetarily sovereign countries, the ratings agencies’ judgements have had no correlation with interest rates for years.

    Politically, of course, it’s dynamite. If you have set something up as the metric by which your performance should be judged, then you will be judged that way.

    Yet another example of Osborne the tactician, bigging up the importance of AAA in April 10, but not being a sufficiently sharp tactician to realise that he should have shut the f*** up about it from mid-May 10.

    But he couldn’t. He never could drag himself out of the mode of Opposition where the job is to land jabs on your opponent. He never did realise that, once in power, you build hostages to fortune with every statement.

    He’s now hoist by the petard that he spent months unnecessarily crowing about.

    Why was it that he gained this Master Strategist reputation? I forget now.

  45. The reallocation of DKs in the earlier Ashcroft/Populus poll had the following effect LD +2%, Con+1%, Lab -2%, UKIP -1%

    If we assume that the impact is similar in this one, you would get the following VI before reallocating DKs:
    LD 31%, Con 27%, UKIP 22%, Lab 13%.

    Might be a bit generous to Lab and unfair to UKIP given shifts since the earlier poll. So a better guess would be:
    LD 31%, Con 27%, UKIP 23%, Lab 12%.

    Getting quite close, methinks. 31% might not be enough to win.

  46. Thanks Dave B, blinded by the 11% Con drop

  47. Combine this with IDS’s “Workfare is Working” response to the legality ruling and today’s public accounts committee finding that the program ended up costing the tax payer more while actually worsening chances of employment, and there’s a huge danger of a particularly toxic narrative about the conservative front bench setting in.

    Let’s face it, the omnishambles narrative isn’t something the conservatives need to worry about any more. That’s in the rear view mirror, and pales into what they are now heading towards. It’s a movement away from competency issues, and towards suspicion about truthfulness and motives.

  48. Alec,

    Perhaps “too far, too fast” was always about a credit downgrade rather than simply a pop-culture naive Keynesian prediction of a fall in GDP growth as a result of deficit-reduction. I don’t remember hearing this over the past few years, but perhaps I wasn’t listening hard enough; I was too busy listening to predictions of rising unemployment.

    However, all that is quite irrelevant: “We need to spend more” is not the narrative you want at a time like this. It helps Labour indirectly, but I think they’ll stay fairly quiet and vague for a while.

  49. Ukip MEP Marta Andreasen has defected to the Tories, she says that Cameron’s pledge to a in – out referendum is a ‘game changer’ and she dislikes Master Farage.

    Interesting to see the reaction to this, and if it has any impact on Ukip.

  50. The interesting question IMO is how many Labour voters will lend their votes to UKIP as a one-off gesture in order to defeat both coalition parties at the same time? It must be tempting given that it’s obvious their own candidate isn’t going to win. There’s no shame in doing badly in these circumctances: after all, Labour polled a paltry 944 votes in the Winchester by-election in 1997 just a few months after winning a titanic 179 seat majority in the HoC.

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