The Friday edition of Populus’s twice-weekly poll is out today and has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8%. The 36% for the Tories is higher than most other polls have shown the Conservatives, though that’s probably partially a result of Populus tending to show relatively low scores for both the Lib Dems and UKIP (now that Populus have rejoined the regular polling rota I should get round to doing an updated post on the various companies’ house effects). Full Populus tabs are here.

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun this morning had figures of CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. Full tabs are here.


151 Responses to “Latest Populus and YouGov figures”

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  1. As ever, in polls those ‘sure to vote’ are too numerous. Around 35 – 40% have not voted in general elections this century. Getting supporters to vote is vital. Judging by by-election results, the two main parties have more difficulty (or LibDem and UKIP are work harder locally.)

  2. As an update to an earlier discussion on a previous thread about UK electricity production, I’ve just been reading some pretty grim reports about current movements in the industry.

    I hadn’t realised that the Tilbury power plant has now been shut down. This is the UK’s largest biomass power plant, but was seeking financial assistance under new ‘contracts for difference’ to make the necessary upgrades to enable it to operate under new emissions guidelines. DECC refused, meaning that we’ve now lost 10% of our renewable power production.

    The rate of shutdown of old coal fired plants is frightening, as the big six are withdrawing in advance of the new emissions requirements, but with slumping coal prices, they have been currently using these plants at maximum capacity, which has in turn forced many gas plants to be mothballed, with some being closed altogether. When all the coal plants shut for good in a year or so, there will be even less capacity to take over, as the government has sat back and failed to provide short term protection for non coal output in the meantime.

    Elsewhere, the big six are scaling down their investment plans in the UK power supply industry, directly due to the confusion and lack of clarity of government policy. Everyone in the industry says it’s a complete policy mess, and as a result they are simply looking to invest in other countries where governments and markets give a much clearer steer to investors. This is something that has really kicked in post 2010, as the coalition has failed to grasp any of the fundamentals of the energy industry.

    Some people suggested yesterday that much of the blame for power cuts in 2015 would be put onto the last government. There is some validity in this, but only a little. There was a much clearer level of certainty within renewables investments, and arguably Labour had demonstrated a much higher degree of awareness of future potential issues, even if they had not finalised how to deal with them.

    By contrast, energy policy has been the coalition’s worst area, by a considerable margin. They seem fixated on shale gas as a policy objective, not realising that this is an extractive industry, whereas it’s the power generation industry that desperately needs attention. We can frack all the gas we want, but if we don’t have an energy production market conducive to investment, we’ll have nowhere to burn the gas and we can export the results to those who can while we shiver in the dark around our candles.

    As I’ve read these reports, it has confirmed my thinking that should we experience a 2015 energy supply crisis, which is absolutely possible (probable, many within the industry claim) then the blame is going to land very firmly on the coalition’s door, with DECC and the Treasury in particular taking maximum damage.

    For poll watchers, I would suggest we need to have a look at the long range weather forecast around December 2014. If the start of 2015 looks like being characterised by a long cold spell, it greatly increases the chances of an election being fought against the back drop of 1970’s style blackouts, but this time without a union to blame in sight.

  3. Alec

    Won’t Britain just import electricity from Europe, or is the infrastructure not capable of moving so much power. I would have thought that the UK like Norway was fully integrated in the European electricity market

  4. Just a thought about my data.

    I may have just picked up the change methodology a few polls back.

    I will check later.

  5. The notion that, because of his parentage, Dan Hodges’ views are made from a Labour perspective is about as credible as the notion that for similar reasons the views of the Miliband brothers must represent the perspective of the CPGB.

  6. It’s pretty astonishing how if Labour is in such a disastrous state (as per many in the media) they are still polling 39%.

    It will though be interesting to see if the Tories can poll 35%+ consistently. I can’t see it personally. Even if the economy booms. If only 37% were prepared to vote Tory last time, getting close to the same next time seems unlikely.

    I also think the LDs will poll higher in a GE and that the UKIP figure in the Populus poll is far too low.

  7. @Alec – thanks for your posts on energy etc which I always find enormously instructive (not that your other posts aren’t instructive also but in matters of energy I particularly need instruction!) What is the answer to RiN’s question?

  8. dave

    As ever, in polls those ‘sure to vote’ are too numerous. Around 35 – 40% have not voted in general elections this century.

    More than 40% in 2001:

    http://www.ukpolitical.info/Turnout45.htm

    But polls always have more voters in them than there ‘should’ be for a pretty obvious reason. If you’re the sort of person who actually bothers to respond to a poll, you’re also more likely to be the sort of person who votes. Apathy will always be under-represented.

    The situation is even more extreme when the polling is based on an online panel, because these are people who have actually signed up to give their views (not just on politics of course, but on consumer goods and services and so on). So having all those opinions they are more likely to actually want to exercise them at the ballot box.

    The question is does it matter? It doesn’t seem to with regard to election results. Indeed by not clogging up your sample with people who aren’t going to vote, it may help get more effective figures for a fixed sample size. There may however be a problem with some referendums.

  9. @RiN – we will if we can. Electricity imports are currently rising steadily, and we already import between 3 – 4% of total usage. The problem is the capacity of the interconnecter network into and out of the UK. We are the least connected country in Europe, with connections to France, the Netherlands (just opened in 2011) and Ireland. There is a scramble to extend the network, but it’s all a bit too late.

    We’ve currently only got 3000MW of import capacity, with another 2000MW likely to come on line by 2015. This totals 5GW capacity at maximum, so this is the current limit of what we could import.

    In context, we currently have 77GW of generation capacity, so maximum import capacity could only ever be 6.5% of peak capacity at very best.

    Expected loss of current capacity between now and 2015 include about 12GW of coal and oil, a further 0.8GW of coal as it switches to biomass and losses capacity, 1.4GW of biomass due to close, and 0.5GW of nuclear coming off line. That’s 14.2GW of lost capacity, compared to an additional 2GW of added import capacity. This is why we are facing a crisis.

    The other question is whether there is sufficient power for us to import in the first place, regardless as to the network capacity. Peak demand periods tend to be in cold weather, especially very cold winter high pressure systems, which also tend to reduce indigenous wind output.

    These types of pressure systems typically cover large areas, with origins in eastern continental air masses, meaning that much of northern, central and eastern Europe experiences similar weather patterns when we do. At such times, their demand is high, we will be competing with maximum demand across the continent, and if there are any supply issues on this scale, we’ll be the last in the queue.

  10. The possibility of power cuts could be a Referendum issue.

    These are 2010 figures but page 13 shows that Scotland produces more than it consumes and power cuts north of the border when the lack of capacity is in the South might become a political issue.

    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/933/0110153.pdf

    Peter.

  11. WARNING, MORE NORWEGIAN POLLING(Peter you have been warned)

    There was another poll out today done by mori, it showed the conservatives dropping nearly 5 points with Labour going up 1, but it’s out of line with all the other polls both in numbers and direction, it could be that they have picked up movement that the other pollsters haven’t and next week the other pollsters will show the same. However I think it’s a definite rogue, but that didn’t stop one of our papers going with a “polling shock for Erna” front page headline(so it ain’t just in Britain that it happens and not always to the benefit of the right) I still believe that such headlines move VI so even if the other pollsters concur next week I still won’t be sure that this poll wasn’t a rogue

  12. Last post should have said…Labour going up by 2

  13. I have to say, the Norwegian Labour party have a much funkier rose than our one.

  14. Nameless

    Everyone in Norway gets a red rose from the Labour party before the election, party workers go round handing them out

  15. On the day of the local elections earlier this year, I went to the memorial of one of my friends, who’d sadly died a couple of days before.

    The memorial was at my old school, and my girlfriend and I bought some flowers to put down. I only realised later that walking down the street in a red shirt carrying a bunch of red roses, I must have looked like quite an eccentric party worker.

  16. Roger Mexico
    ” If you’re the sort of person who actually bothers to respond to a poll, you’re also more likely to be the sort of person who votes”
    That’s a pollster’s assumption ( a reasonable one, though you might be the sort of person who sits at home a bit bored)
    “Apathy will always be under-represented” That’s a methodology choice.
    “The question is does it matter? ” it does if many of those who have not voted for the past 15 years decide to vote again. Suppose turnout 2015 returned to say the 75% level. Who would those extra 10 or 15% vote for?

  17. @petercairns – your point about power cuts and the referendum is valid, but it’s much more complex that that.

    Scotland currently gets around 30% of it’s total power from nuclear, with around half of that due for decommissioning in 2016. On it’s own, that’s going to give Scotland something like a 10% shortfall in the medium term, when it’s going to be reliant on English exports.

    Alongside this factor is the growth of wind, which isn’t a stable energy source. You are replacing a more or less steady power source with 60 – 70% capacity utilization with something more like 25 – 30%. Scotland doesn’t really have sufficient geographic size and generation capacity to buffer such variability, and is actually far less well connected than England will be by 2015 to balance out problems.

    In the medium term, Scotland will be more reliant on England for balanced loads than vice versa, unless and until significant tidal power comes online. Recent developments suggest that this potential has been grossly over estimated – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/wave-goodbye-to-hope-of-tidal-energy-exports-scots-politicians-told-8698504.html

    if anything, Scotland is suffering more than England in terms of the run down of reliable capacity, but there are many things Alex doesn’t want you to know about.

  18. RIN:

    Personally, I find your posts on Norwegian politics fascinating!

  19. RAF,

    One problem for Labour and the LDs in 2015 is that in 2010 they were able to say “We’ll make our finances good- but not yet!” This gave them a significant advantage over the Tories, especially since in economic and spending debates they could naturally align together against the Tories (“I agree with Nick” etc.).

    In 2015, it’s unlikely that we will see that happening, because if the economy is recovering then the case for delaying austerity becomes much harder.

    However, I’ve said for a long time (since late 2009, I think) that the winner in 2010 will be the loser in 2015. I can’t see a party that’s led through five years of austerity have anything other than a dro[ in the polls, but I don’t think it will be as bad for the Tories in 2015 as some people think. Their main problem will be that a portion of the LD vote will go to Labour and that this will cost them Lab-Con marginals.

    That’s why I think we’ll see Labour get somewhere in the region of 315-360 seats and be in the position to form the next government. To forecast even further: I think Labour will find managing austerity hard, because of the nature of their support, and I think there’s a long-term opportunity for the Greens and other left-wing parties if they move a bit to the centre.

  20. I would experience great pleasure if most of Scotland post-independence (and just as people sorted out which side of the border they’d be on) had a sudden conversion to hardcore Thatcherism, whereas most of England re-read “Arguments for Socialism” by Tony Benn and decided that he had a point.

    That would serve just-deserts to those who want to re-arrange national borders for the sake of political advantage.

  21. @Bill

    ..and I think there’s a long-term opportunity for the Greens and other left-wing parties if they move a bit to the centre.

    Please, no.

    It’s taken me long enough for me to find a party I’m happy to be in. If the Greens moved to the centre a bit, I’d have to find another party…(again..)

  22. I wouldn’t, mainly because that clash of ideologies would probably lead to a massive bloody war, and I’m of prime conscription age.

  23. Alex Harvey

    Thanks

  24. If the lights go out in 2015, who will people blame?

    Well, obviously some will be tribal about it. Their party members and MPs could go round cutting all the cables and they’d still blame someone else.

    Of the rest, some will blame the power companies, some the party in power, maybe there’ll be a media narrative that it’s the consumers fault (as with the banking crisis) which some will buy into, some will try and look at the facts and conclude Labour didn’t do enough but Coalition failed to act given that… Some will just watch the footie on the box instead, only wait, they won’t be able to.

    Me I’ll put it down to the usual: wrong people making it up the greasy pole, poor systems etc…

  25. Catmanjeff,

    I have no particular sympathy for someone who has had the luxury of finding a political home.

  26. What amazes me is that new builds don’t come with minimum green products fitted as standard, water reclamation for toilets and solar hot water or even solar to provide daylight electric to the home, tie in I don’t agree with; if it is costing more than the product is worth.

  27. @Carfrew – “If the lights go out in 2015, who will people blame?”

    On this one, 5 years into power, I don’t really see any doubt that the sitting government would be buried by the abuse that would follow. Making things work is a central requirement of the government, and a howler of this scale is inescapable.

  28. Example: the strikes and three day week in the early 70s were arguably the fault of the Labour government failing to reform trade union law with In Place of Strife, but Heath takes all the flak for it historically.

  29. Why does hearts have minus 11 points?

  30. @ Richard in Norway,

    I’m very much enjoying Norwegian Polling Report. Thanks for the updates.

    @ RAF,

    If only 37% were prepared to vote Tory last time, getting close to the same next time seems unlikely.

    Depending on what happens with Ukip, it’s quite possible they’ll retain most of their 2010 voters, since they show little sign of swinging over to Labour. And they’ll get some Lib Dems. I think it will be hard for them to top 37%- they’d need to start drawing from Labour or get more of the disaffected Lib Dems, and they seem to have no strategy for doing so- but if the Lib Dem -> Tory flux is as big as the Tory -> Ukip flux they could break even.

    @ Bill Patrick,

    That would serve just-deserts to those who want to re-arrange national borders for the sake of political advantage.

    That seems a bit unfair to the independence movement. What’s a nation, after all, except a group of people with shared political interests? There’s no inherent virtue in the current mapping of national borders. If the Scots collectively decide they don’t share the political interests of the rest of the UK, why should they be bound to them forever just because of some decisions taken hundreds of years ago by unelected royalty? For that matter, why should the English be bound to the Scots forever, if they decide their political interests no longer align?

    “We don’t want to live in a Tory/Labour country” is as reasonable a basis for secession as any, I would say. It’s different if the richer half of a country is trying to run off with all the resources, but if the source of the schism is just irreconcilable differences in political values, an amicable divorce seems like a fair solution.

  31. Mr nameless

    No heath was at fault for not recognizing that the miners had a legitimate claim based on the dynamics of supply and demand, if the coal industry had been in private hands then coal prices in Britain would have risen at the same rate as abroad but the govt of the day expected to get coal cheaper because it was in public hands

  32. Jim(the other one)

    “Whatever next”

    I take it you read further down the article to discover the Liberals and Labour had similar meet the Leader idea’s involving people parting with cash.

  33. I don’t think Labour can be blamed for the industrial strife suffered under the Heath Govt – which brought in its own Industrial Relations Act in 1971.

  34. Spearmint,

    “That seems a bit unfair to the independence movement.”

    Not at all: it’s only one of the arguments for independence and one of the worst.

    “What’s a nation, after all, except a group of people with shared political interests?”

    A lot of things. If there was nothing else to forming nations, then we could divide the UK on the basis of constituencies rather than on the basis of ancient borders.

    You will find differing political interests in all countries. In fact, people in Scotland have never agreed on everything.

    However, even if the answer to the above question was “nothing”, there is still a difference between sharing some political interests and sharing a detailed ideology.

    “There’s no inherent virtue in the current mapping of national borders.”

    I didn’t say that there was.

    “It’s different if the richer half of a country is trying to run off with all the resources”

    Why, given that in that case they would have different political interests?

  35. @Spearmint

    I broadly agree about the Conservatives polling at more than 37%.

    I have a feeling that we are entering a period of tight elections with small or no majorities. I think we will be seriously divided north and south, Labour and Conservative.

    I do not see miraculous economic uplift. Unless we fundamentally change our economic model, we will be tied to austerity for many, many years.I think the decade will be like the 1970s – the stresses really fragmenting the UK socially.

    If there a path out of this, no major party has yet articulated what it will be.

    Where are the visionary Leaders?

  36. @TURK

    yes I did read further down the artical.

    Oh please… if you cannot see the difference… ah well, shame really.

  37. article…even

  38. That’s true and I’m not absolving Heath from his share of the blame. It’s just that it wasn’t entirely his fault either, much as it wouldn’t be entirely Cameron’s fault if we have power cuts in 2015.

  39. Ipsos MORI’s take on their recent poll:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/08/biggest-problem-labour-people-dont-know-what-it-stands

    “The much more important finding from the poll is therefore on understanding of the leaders’ policies – and again this is worrying for Labour. Half of the public (51%) still do not know what Miliband stands for, compared with 33% for David Cameron. And the position among party supporters is just as bad. Only 23% of Conservative voters say they don’t know what Cameron stands for compared with the 40% of Labour voters who don’t know what Miliband stands for. However, this not just a problem for Miliband but for the Labour Party as a whole. Another poll for the Standard in May last year showed a very similar pattern, with a much greater understanding of what the Conservative Party stands for than what the Labour Party stands for.”

  40. @MrNameless

    ‘An important job had to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.’

    Is it this that you mean?

  41. Yes. The problems of the 1970s were the fault of various governments going back decades, as is our current energy situation and a few other things too.

  42. @ Bill Patrick,

    It’s not a question of everyone sharing a precise ideological doctrine. But if Scots decide collectively that, in a very broad sense, they want to have a different sort of society than the English do, independence seems like a reasonable way to achieve that and make both nations happier. It’s not the only solution- there’s also devolution, or both sides can stick it out and try to persuade the other of their vision for society through political debate- but it’s a genuine problem and this is a genuine solution to it. I don’t think there’s anything dishonourable about taking that into consideration when considering the question of independence.

    The richer half of a country is rarely richer entirely through its own virtue, so a split based on wealth or resource distribution often involves reneging on historical debts and that is dishonourable. London, for instance, is a global financial capital in large part because of the wool trade and then the industrial revolution that happened in the rest of the country, and because of the colonialism enabled by troops and arms that came from the rest of the UK. I don’t think it gets to turn around and say the rest of the country “Thanks for filtering your trade through me back when you manufactured stuff and creating all this great financial infrastructure for me! Now I just trade derivatives and I don’t need you anymore, so piss off.”

  43. Jim(TOO)

    Shame really

    Oh the blindness of some to their parties fund raising antics, it’s always the other party that’s the worse, and no there’s absolutely no difference between them. And the real shame is you can’t see it because of your partisan view.

  44. Hearts were deducted 15 points for going into Administration under the league rules. They have payed three won one and draw one so now are at -11.

    Peter.

  45. Spearmint,

    “both sides can stick it out and try to persuade the other of their vision for society through political debate”

    Exactly.

    “I don’t think there’s anything dishonourable about taking that into consideration when considering the question of independence.”

    Would you apply the same rationale to drawing up local government boundaries? For example, if you have noncontingious local government boundaries, then you could have more politically uniform councils.

    “The richer half of a country is rarely richer entirely through its own virtue, so a split based on wealth or resource distribution often involves reneging on historical debts and that is dishonourable. London, for instance, is a global financial capital in large part because of the wool trade and then the industrial revolution that happened in the rest of the country, and because of the colonialism enabled by troops and arms that came from the rest of the UK. I don’t think it gets to turn around and say the rest of the country “Thanks for filtering your trade through me back when you manufactured stuff and creating all this great financial infrastructure for me! Now I just trade derivatives and I don’t need you anymore, so piss off.””

    So you’re saying that there are considerations beyond sharing political interests, and thus there is more to nationhood than sharing political interests?

  46. It seems arsenal fans are all socialists, they were screaming “spend some money ##@#” at the match today, obviously they don’t believe that you can’t solve problems by just chucking money at them

  47. New thread

  48. Alec,

    The existing situation in Scotland is only more secure if nothing breakers down. For forty years 80% of Scotland’s power came from only four plants, two coal and two nuclear.

    Diversifying our supply makes sense but takes time. We are getting criticised for pushing so hard on renewables as well as support for CCS but not enough was done to diverge from Labours UK energy policy in the first decade of devolution.

    I would expect that if in the next two years we see a crisi looming we could extend Hunterstons like to 2020+ or even plug part of the gap with gas. After that the three things that will play an increasing part in squaring the circle will be more reliable and regular large off shore wind generation, a series of new big pump storage proposals and hopefully but a bit later a Scotland Norway Interconnector that links into their currently progressing one with Germany.

    As I have commented here before, Scotland’s strategy might not be perfect and it sure ain’t cheap, but at least we’ve got one that adds up to more than cross your fingers and hope something turns up.

    Peter

  49. Peter

    Bloody hell, I’m already annoyed with the German link without having one to you guys as well. Norway is self sufficient in electricity and it used to be dirt cheap before they deregulated it, now the power companies run the reservoirs low during the summer sell the electricity cheap in Europe, and if we don’t get the expected rainfall in the autumn they have to import expensive electricity in the winter and bills skyrocket

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