On poll movements

This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun again showed a Labour lead of seven points – CON 32%, LAB 39, LDEM 11%, UKIP 13% (that’s Tuesday MORNING’S poll, btw, Tuesday evening’s isn’t out yet!). Five of YouGov’s last six polls have shown single figure Labour leads, whereas previously the average Labour had been consistently around 10 or 11 points. Put in the context of the falling Labour leads from ICM, MORI and Opinium it is pretty undeniable that something is afoot.

YouGov’s average figures in the first half of April were CON 31%, LAB 41%, LD 11%, UKIP 11%
The average over those last six polls is CON 32%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 12%

So roughly speaking we appear to have had a small increase for the Tories, a slight knock for Labour. At this point we can normally expect lots of speculation about what has caused it… or more typically, lots of people claiming that the thing they personally care deeply about has caused it, the thing they think their party shouldn’t be doing has damaged them, or the thing they think their party should be doing has helped them. Normally such claims don’t bother with evidence.

The harsh truth is that we usually can’t really tell what has caused a movement in the polls. Sometimes there is an obvious event that coincides with a big shift in the polls which, while it doesn’t prove anything, does strongly imply a connection (after all, we can’t be sure that the big drop in Tory support in March last year was definitely due to the budget, but it would be a remarkable co-incidence if it wasn’t!). Other times there are all sorts of plausible explanations.

The most obvious explanations for the current narrowing relate to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. That could impact the polls in terms of lots of positive retrospectives about Thatcher in the media… or could have an indirect effect in the sense that it interupted the normal flow of politics. David Cameron got to spend a week or two looking statesmanlike without the normal dirty business of politics and governing. However one could equally look at other underlying factors, the welfare debate for example, perhaps a generally more focused presentation by the government since Lynton Crosby returned, some figures from the Blair era apparently criticising Ed Miliband. All these things add up.

My own working assumption is still that is it is a Thatcher effect of one sort or another that will fade away, but it really is impossible to know. We shall have to wait and see if it lasts.

UPDATE: The Sun Politics team have tweeted tonight’s results – CON 33%, LAB 40%, LD 10%, UKIP 12%

482 Responses to “On poll movements”

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  1. Basel are just about the best opponents you could hope for in a European semi final…

  2. four hundred !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Oops I see what you mean. I meant by the next election of course!

  4. and one.

    [bugger! and Rich’s post was rubbish]

  5. Oh dear, another late goal, Champion !

  6. Late goal

    Well done ole Rafa

  7. I seem to recall that the 4G sale was last quarter, so wouldn’t that add about £2.4bn in revenue? Which is nice, but unfortunately a one-off. Plus the unfortunate unemployment figures make me think this may not last long.

  8. What are you resident lefties going to be like if we have a strong recovery! Do you actually want one! :-)

  9. Good Evening All.
    No recovery seems very likely, whoever is in power.

    I think.

    ‘Normal’ is what we have now, I think.

  10. Just watched ‘The Politician’s husband’ ,seemed quite Borgen like and therefore worth giving a chance.

    Things seem pretty dire on good ole UKPR at the moment,roll on the local elections and some real votes to mull over.

  11. ewen

    “Things seem pretty dire on good ole UKPR at the moment”

    Yes – I blame Ken.

  12. As far as construction is concerned, my balcony overlooks Canary Wharf, from South of the river, this morning, whilst enjoying a croissant and coffee in the sun, I counted 15 construction cranes in action, later, on my way to Westminster aboard a Thames Clipper, I counted another 43. Commercial and residential construction appears to be booming in London, if only we could find a way of connecting the wealth of the South, to the rest of the country………..I don’t have the answer, but I do know that the jobs are here if people are prepared to travel.

  13. @ PAULCROFT…………I thought you might, I’m flattered in a strange sort of way.

  14. Ken

    So you should be.

    Is it your clipper or are you the ticket collector?

  15. @PaulCroft,

    “Would you like to be speling moniter? Usual pay and conditions.”

    Name your price.

  16. @ PAULCROFT……….I don’t need to work, but were I a Clipper ticket clipper, I would be the best clipper on the Clipper.

  17. I notice the funeral cost for MT was £3.6m (exl estate contribution), rather than the emotive £10m quoted by critics, including by some on here…

  18. ken

    “I don’t need to work”

    Ah…. I forgot, you’re a Tory…………..

  19. Rich

    I expect everyone who said that is feeling dead embarrassed now that it’s come in so cheap. The penny-pinching sods.


    I am a bit worried about Spurs: I know they have to play Chelsea and, on checking the rules I see they can’t both win that match but, en el otro mano, they can’t both lose either.

    What should I hope for?

  20. Come on Paul, it was an attempt by the left to whip up resentment, nothing more, nothing less. You can at least concede that one. ;-)

  21. @ PAULCROFT……….I’m retired now, but I hold the Thames Clipper, clipping, record, and achieving that milestone was the high point of a very satisfying career.

  22. @PaulCroft,

    “I am a bit worried about Spurs”

    You and me both.

    “I know they have to play Chelsea and, on checking the rules I see they can’t both win that match but, en el otro mano, they can’t both lose either.”

    It’s effectively a win-win kind of game for Arsenal….though, if I were an Arsenal fan I’d probably be happiest with a Chelsea win. It might mean Arsenal would find it harder to finish 3rd, but it would increase their chances of a top 4 finish and, hence, Champions League qualification.

  23. Ken

    Do ANY Chelsea supporters appreciate Benitez? He seems to have done OK to me and been very stoical throughout. Must say i’ve quite admired him – thought Chesea were great second half against City and should have had extra time.

  24. LASZLO

    @”Did I miss something?”

    No -obviously I did.

    Must check the state of the French economy again. Perhaps I read the wrong reports.

  25. Rich

    You’re preaching to the unconverted.

  26. Just seen this – for a tweeting offence:

    “Norwich will punish the player internally”

    Seems a bit harsh to me.

  27. @Ken (10.20 pm)

    “………..I don’t have the answer, but I do know that the jobs are here if people are prepared to travel.”

    And where will people live and who will teach their kids and who will look after them when they are ill.

    Instead of encouraging more jobs for London & the SE any responsible government would be looking to expand business and therefore jobs in the regions. As someone (Paul C?) said earlier in this thread, in the north east we have been in continual recession since 2008.

  28. @PaulCroft,

    “Just seen this – for a tweeting offence:

    “Norwich will punish the player internally”

    Seems a bit harsh to me.”


  29. @ PAULCROFT………..I’ll be dahn’ the Bridge on Sunday, sitting about 10 metres away from Rafa, he does seem to attract a certain opprobrium from the more reactionary members of the Blue family, but overall we give him the support appropriate for a temp.

  30. RICH

    @”You can at least concede that one. ;-)”

    I admire your persistence Rich.

  31. lol.

    Farage on QT…

  32. @ PETR BELL………People are coming here from all over the world, they seem to thrive, perhaps they behave differently, they find homes, schools, and jobs, they start companies, I don’t have the answers, but I see and experience the effects.

  33. @PETER BELL………I’m sorry for confusing your name with the name of our goalie.

  34. Steve
    Farage is living proof of David lcke’s Giant Lizard theory,or in his case Giant Gecko theory.

    (My apologies to any Lizards or Geckos reading this).

  35. Steve should have been Rich.

  36. To dismiss the concentration of jobs and wealth in London and the South by saying that people should move there is one of the very good arguments for Scottish Independence. Maybe the North of England would like to join us.

  37. @ Rich

    What are you resident lefties going to be like if we have a strong recovery! Do you actually want one! :-)
    Of course we do! Sharing the proceeds of growth; 1997 revisited; it’ll be a stroll in the park compared to ‘cleaning up the Tory’s mess’. ;-)

  38. AMBER STAR……….Sharing the proceeds of growth until it has all gone, 2010 revisited,

  39. @ Couper 2802

    I am a full-blooded Yorkshireman and I would love Yorkshire to join an independent Scotland.

    I have always felt more in common with Wales and Scotland that the South and South East

  40. ^ brilliant!

  41. I meant @amber @ken. Brilliant!

  42. Miracles: all this unabated excitement over the growth figures – I guess we will all be able to retire a year earlier than we expected which will still be two years later than we planned!

    I hope in the giddying excitement we have not lost sight of the purposeful effects of rebalancing the economy…. if it wasn’t for the growth in the service sector which we have repeatedly been told was the bit of the economy that was too big and caused our problems all along… .. there would have been no growth!

    Plus ca change….which is probably the only small change any of us will get this side of the Styx – keep a penny for the ferryman just in case….

  43. @Ken (10.57 pm)

    Do I read you correctly in that you are totally in favour of more people coming to London. Can you not see that the place is overcrowded and the infastructure is near breaking point in many areas.

    My son lives in London, has just paid almost £300,000 for a 1 bed average sized apartment, often has to wait for the third or fourth tube to get into work and I cringe at thought that he may have children who need schooling or that he may need hospital treatment.

    In Newcastle, he could buy a 4 bed detached for the price, have reasonable transport facilities and excellent hospital facilities. However there is no work for him here. As I said earlier, the government’s priorities are all wrong re the north/south divide.

  44. Redwood was on the radio an hour or so ago saying how the growth in the service sector was down to increased government spending. ..

  45. @ Ken,

    AMBER STAR……….Sharing the proceeds of growth until it has all gone, 2010 revisited
    We’ll not need to worry about that until 2030. :-)

  46. 34 39 11

  47. @Mark,
    is that a guess or has the bun tweeted

  48. COUPER2802
    Count me in for Lancashire, lots of shale gas to add to your abundant resources

  49. @Greg
    We’d be unstoppable with Yorkshire’s gold medals, your shale gas and remember we have about 100 years worth of whisky and biscuits (a big Scottish export). What does the South have? We are better off without them
    We would have to think of a name for the country.

  50. @COUPER2802

    “We would have to think of a name for the country.”


    The North.

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