Following the Populus/Times Eastleigh poll that showed the Liberal Democrats five points ahead, there is a new Survation poll of Eastleigh in the Mail on Sunday tomorrow that shows the opposite picture, with the Conservative party four points ahead. Their topline voting intentions for Eastleigh are CON 33%(nc), LAB 13%(nc), LDEM 29%(-7), UKIP 21%(+5) – changes are from the previous Survation poll of Eastleigh a fortnight ago.

Both polls were conducted on the telephone and while I haven’t seen the Survation tables both companies tend to use a similar methodology in terms of weighting and reallocating don’t knows to the parties they supported at the last election. I understand they were carried out at about the same time, so it shouldn’t be a “Rennard effect”. The two polls show UKIP with the same level of support, and no significant difference in Labour support – the only difference is the figures for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

I’ll have a proper look when the Survation tables appear, but at first glance the most likely explanation for the difference between the two polls is just the normal variation within the margin of error… suggesting that the race really could be neck-and-neck.

I don’t know if there are any polls of Eastleigh to come – I’ve heard rumours of a poll in the field over this weekend, but we shall see.

UPDATE: The tables for the Survation poll are up here. There are some minor differences in approach (Survation reallocated don’t knows at a lower rate, and didn’t weight up people who didn’t vote in 2010 to as a high a proportion of the sample as Populus did), but none that would explain the difference. Not that the difference really needs a fancy explanation – once you take into account the high level of don’t knows the difference between the two polls can easily be explained by normal margin of error.

389 Responses to “Survation/Mail on Sunday show Tories 4 points ahead in Eastleigh”

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  1. Virgilio

    To be pedantic Cyprus is actually the third smallest EU country (both Malta[1] and Luxembourg are smaller in population and area), but I found your analysis very useful. I got the impression that there was some surprise that Anastasiades didn’t get elected on the first round. There seems to be a bigger resistance than expected to the EU-demanded reforms.

    Of course the alternative to those as you point out was extremely dodgy Lillikas alliance, but the strong support for Malas does indicate that Anastasiades will have to be careful.

    Incidentally I would urge devotee of election trivia to read the Guinness World Records logo dispute section from Wiki. Just because.

    Because the Italian polls don’t shut till 15.00hrs tomorrow, MitM will just have to wait. On which subject, I’m not really sure how I feel about the prolonged ban on polls that you have before Italian (and indeed Cypriot) polls. I can see how a short ban might be useful – especially in pre-internet days when rapid debunking wasn’t as much of an option. However a fortnight seems to go well into suppression of information territory – especially, as you point out, the ways of getting round it combine the worst of both worlds.

    [1] Incidentally Malta has a general election on 9 March, and most annoying the last/only poll was on 13 January with an amazing 38% undecided (Maltese politics is incredibly polarised normally (in 2008 93% voted – considered low! – and over 98% of the votes went to the two main Parties), so this very high)

  2. So with Monti’s currently Centrist government coming to an end and likely to be replaced by a Socialist, that makes 2 of the Big 5 in the EU Socialist, and 3 as Conservative.

    I believe the German election is next year, can anyone tell me if it is likely or not that Merkel will lose? Surely if she does then it will be the socialists calling the tune in the EU, and we might get some growth and less austerity.

  3. I’ve done a bit of digging to answer my own question about Cathy Newman, the lead investigator on the “Rennard” issue.

    Before Channel 4 she was a Financial Times reporter, and her first paper of choice she says in an interview is…you’ve guessed it…..Murdoch’s “The Times”.

    Her timing of the release of this story by Channel 4 is therefore no surprise.

    A Tory sympathising journalist “doing her bit” for Eastleigh, me thinks!

  4. @ManintheMiddle
    On the basis of actual VI polls in Germany, the scenarios for the composition of the next federal gvt. are the following:
    1a. A minority SPD-Green coalition supported in Parliament by the Left.
    1b. The same coalition simply tolerated by the Left (if SPD+Green total is greater than CDU, the Left can favor such a gvt. just by abstaining.
    2. A great coalition between CDU and SPD.
    In other words, no gvt. alliance is possible without the Social Democrats, in the best case scenario for Mrs.Merkel she will have to share power with them. The actual CDU-FDP coalition cannot be reelected because of the collapse of FDP.

  5. Howard,Tony,
    Now I am getting confused,what with the naked rambler and C.Newman all
    Hanging together on the washing line.What a thought and not a pretty one.

  6. @Howard
    Berlusconi’s remark is of course outrageous in itself (but we are already used to it) and it also breaks the law that imposes total silence after Friday midnight. I believe it is the last attempt of a desperate man to catch attention even in this negative way, his neurotic ego cannot support the idea of a definitive defeat (he knows that if he loses this election, there is no come-back possible).
    @Roger Mexico
    Thanx for correcting me, I forgot Luxembourg, maybe because it is never on the front bench of European politics and I never have to deal with VI polls for its GE. I completely disagree with VI poll ban, it is useless and moreover it infringes equality in information, because those who have access to the specialized websites can know the results of “secret” polling, whereas the others no, and unfortunately some members of the first category deliberately misquote their sources so as to influence the others.
    Malta GE is indeed very near, all trends seem to show an easy victory of Labour over the Nationals. You are right in observing that Malta is the most polarized country of EU, in fact there are only two parties in Parliament. This time the Democratic Alternative (a Green party) seems to attract some voters, but not enough to gain seats in Parliament.

  7. Is it me, or is it generally Labour and the left who specialise in tactical voting? At the last election it seemed to be that quite a few Labour cabinet ministers were effectively asking for tactical voting to keep the Tories out, I thought it was really poor. Politicians should never campaign negatively, and asking for tactical voting is about as negative as it gets.

  8. @Tony Dean

    Don’t blame the journalists. Channel 4 News is not the source of this story, just the messenger. Cathy Newman has in the past impressed me above all by her professionalism in the midst of mediocrity elsewhere and continues to do so with this story. “Channel 4 Tory conspiracy” doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.

    But if you want to go to town on this sort of thing, you might reflect on what nefarious conspiracy has caused a by-election to be scheduled right bang in the middle of the court case that gave rise to it. Does the decision of the Lib Dems high command to call an immediate election reflect their infiltration by a Conservative sleeper cell? Or was the judge that dismissed the Pryce jury under instructions from Conservative Central Office to ensure that the retrial was under way on the day of the by-election, with his outburst over the jury being merely a tactic to distract from his motives?

    Maybe they’re all out to get you.

  9. If UKIP can harness the anti-politics, anti-politician vote on Thursday they can win Eastleigh IMO.

  10. I very much doubt UKIP will come anywhere near a win in Eastleigh, they will be a distant 3rd. Libs will win convincingly.

  11. Well certainly The Lord Renard thing will not have helped the Lib Dems in
    Eastleigh.Perhaps this is the last boost Ukip needs or the Cons. I do not think
    The LDs will win this now.

  12. MinM,what fun,no wonder there are more bets being put on this by election than any other.Still anyone’s call.

  13. Amber is right. I attended a very expensive and exotic boarding school which did not have any temporary classrooms (although it did have a couple of slightly ramshackle ones that had been built by pupils as “projects”).

    Overall it sounds like the general consensus is that temporary classrooms don’t impair academic achievement. After all almost all of you were taught in them and you are almost without exception a very talented and intelligent bunch. (I on the other hand am a duffer).

    What I mean by empirical evidence is statistics comparing the trajectory of improvement/deterioration of school performance plotted against investment in new estate. Of course new buildings are a good thing to have. I just wonder at the automatic assumption that £1m worth of spending on a school delivers at least £1m worth of economic benefit in the form of better education.

  14. The think im disapointed about in Eastleigh is that the NHA isnt doing better :( It was a real chance to send a message to this government that we don’t like what they are doing.

  15. think should read thing

  16. @PC You were lucky to ‘ave long johns.

  17. statty

    we had to share them………………

  18. Dear oh dear.

    Farron on Sky just dug the hole deeper.

    What a mess they are making of it.

  19. Looks like the DT front page blows a hole in Clegg’s BBC Defence

  20. @ Richo

    re tactical voting, it has always struck me as just as logical to be primarily concerned not to to have a particular party running the country as it is to have a particular party running the country. It is a negative vote by definition but that doesn’t make it wrong or invalid either for a voter or party to promote it under certain circumstances.

    I have voted Labour, Liberal, SDP, LibDem consistently over the last 40 years depending on who was best placed to beat the Tory (provided that the candidate was OK). The only way to stop tactical voting is to have an electoral system that makes it redundant – whilst we have FPTP tactical voting will continue.

  21. Colin

    You sound distraught.

  22. I agree, often tactical voting can lead to a self fulfilling prophecy. Take eastleigh for example, no one thought labour would do well, so all the labour voters go to the libs or stay home meaning that labour wont do well, if they could just break the cycle and start climbing that’d attract even more voters to them.

  23. The only way to stop anti-Tory voting would be to disband the Tory party.

  24. ^ what a silly comment @nickp.

    The way some of the far lefties talk, you would think they wanted the Tories dead and buried, which would be a disaster for democracy. In fact, you might argue the political process and democracy is at its worst when leaders and parties have no opposition, think Thatcher and Blair years mid term.

    Even as a Conservative voter who cannot abide Labour’s cyclic tax and spend, I still would always want a credible opposition and a strong opposition.

  25. RICHO

    @”The way some of the far lefties talk, you would think they wanted the Tories dead and buried,”

    Yes-some of them have been explicit about this desire.

  26. Richo

    Are you feeling unloved?? Lol

  27. richo

    “Politicians should never campaign negatively”

    I give you Lynton Crosby. Wiki:

    Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate. This is also described as “below the radar” campaigning, with the targeting of marginal constituencies with highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues and personalities.[1] To find such issues, Crosby’s business partner Mark Textor runs focus groups to find which groups to target with what questions.[5] Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages, target marginal constituencies and use lots of polls.[6]

    His tactics have included:

    During the 2001 Australian General Elections, Howard government ministers falsely claimed that seafaring asylum seekers had thrown children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia, and Howard, in the final days of the campaign, launched a slogan that later grew notorious: “We decide who will come into this country.”[7]

    Wow, seems like no one watched the video i posted!


    I did!! That trickle down stuff is rather sobering. ..


    “@Carfrew I probably explained myself badly. I wasn’t suggesting giving more context to the respondents and then asking the questions but rather asking the respondents more questions in order to get at their view of what the key elements in the context are I agree that this might bias them but it might also make their answers easier to interpret.”


    Well it’s possible to test understanding without necessarily prejudicing the outcome in some cases. Not sure that one can do it reliably in all instances. But it’s an interesting idea. ..

  30. Was the Survation poll only about 500 electors as compared to Populus 1000+? I am sure the Rennard thing cannot not have helped the libdems – nicely fanned by the lovely Daily Mail who also highlighted the Survation poll – but think the election problems a very close thing. It would interesting to see UKIP sneak in and take it. No supporter of UKIP but think a UKIP MP would stir things up rather nicely!

  31. Yes, it time we had a ukip mp. I doubt that they will ever get my vote but they deserve representation for the million votes they got at the GE

  32. RiN.

    If UKIP poll 8-10% in GE15, they deserve about 50-60 MPs.

    In my opinion it is a disgrace that we have an electoral system that so badly misrepresents the will of the people.
    But come to think of it, there already ARE 50-60 MPs who vote like UKIP and push a UKIP agenda, so perhaps our system is not all that broken after all…

  33. Lefty


  34. @Richo
    There’s nothing incompatible with want ing the Tories dead and buried and wanting a strong opposition.

    The “lefty” position is that the Conservatives, as now constituted, are an extreme minority position supported by only 30-odd% of the population, wedded to doctrinaire policies at the expense of anything that might work. They haven’t won a GE since 1992 – and even then barely – and will do incredibly well to get any sort of majority in the next GE.

    Whether you like it or not, that’s not an effective opposition – or government for that matter – so they might as well be dead and buried so that someone can produce an effective alternative to Labour in their place. I had hoped that David Cameron would be the man to do it but it appears his own party are determined to wreck any such possibility.

  35. I’m not sure I’d call 30% popular support an “extreme minority position”…

    Actually, I’m sure i wouldn’t…

  36. Although it isn’t really 30% of the whole eligible vote is it? Still not an extreme minority though…

  37. NICKP
    “Politicians should never campaign negatively”
    I give you Lynton Crosby. Wiki:
    Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate.


    Speaking of wedge issues, what was Crosby’s stance on Same sex marriage?

  38. Thanks for the laugh Adam .

    A “lefty” sneering at minorities !

    Mrs Thatchers greatest achievement was to hammer the Left into the ground forever and drag the Labour Party to the right for evermore .

  39. Well the SDP.had quite a part to play in that. And pendulum can swing. Attlee’s government dragged Tories to the left for quite a while . ..

  40. Lefty,

    “In my opinion it is a disgrace that we have an electoral system that so badly misrepresents the will of the people.”

    Actually, I think you’ll find it is called Democracy, we had a vote on changing to a fairer system last year and people rejected it in favour of FPTP.


  41. @Adam,

    Presumably your “effective alternative to Labour” would be in favour of, oh I don’t know, nationalisation, higher public spending, higher taxes, greater European integration and the abolition of the monarchy?

    Average Tory polling has decreased since their heyday, but only by a few percentage points (as has Labour’s actually). What the Tories need is to understand that the old political scene is going and that multi-party politics is upon us (in other words – PR).

  42. Chasglas

    What’s your definition of “for evermore”.

    Being a right-wing-minded person, you’ll doubtless be aware of Churchill’s idea of the long, slow swing of the historical pendulum.

    I’d guess the period of the pendulum is around 100 years, and that we reached one extreme of the swing somewhere between EnRon and Lehman.

  43. The referendum on voting offered only AV or FPTP , not exactly a choice when other modern proportional systems suitable for a multi party system were excluded for consideration .

    Without voting reform it’s difficult to see how the UK in its present form can be regarded as a democracy .

  44. Where’s this all getting us then?

  45. Nowhere really Paul , just something to ponder over our nightcaps .

  46. My post crossed yours chas – I was more thinking of the “lefty”/”righty” stuff.

    PR, grown-up government, free cocoa for over 67s and Bob’s-yer-Uncle is my view.

  47. Bob is not my uncle, danny,david and laszlo are my uncles

  48. Richard in Norway

    I watched your video link .. at least.. I’d already watched it and posted it on Think Left some weeks ago :)

    Its very difficult to understand why those ideas that were the norm 30+ years ago are now considered heterodox … and when the mainstream neo-classical economics has so clearly failed, the obvious solution adopted by Lincoln with his ‘Greenbacks’ is ignored.

    I say very difficult to understand but clearly the reasons are obvious. I’ve just watched the economist Richard Wolff on the latest Bill Moyers show and he says that he had to move over to a Business school to find out how the economy really works.

    Thanks for quoting the unabridged statement by Portes. I had the impression from earlier posts that he and Redwood were singing from the same hymn sheet. My apologies to posters for misrepresenting him.
    The reporting on the Italian election is valuable in illustrating what we are not facing in the UK, an alternative of a EU led austerity strategy or an anticipated public spending spree. It is valuable to see how the present Coalition policy shows up on the industrialised countries league table, with only the UK among the wealthier nations relying on cuts, of 2%+ of GDP in relation to virtually no increase in taxation, similar in balance to the fiscal consolidation imposed on Grreece by the EU, of 4% plus cuts v. zero taxation increase.

  50. @Paulcroft – “Where’s this all getting us then?”

    I think to the point where we need a Lost in Cyberspace Monitor.

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