The weekly Monday Populus poll is out, and has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 8%. It was conducted over the weekend, and unlike the YouGov/Sunday Times poll obviously shows no impact on voting intention from the Syria defeat.

There is also a new ICM poll for the BBC. This doesn’t have any voting intention figures (the BBC doesn’t like commissioning them!), but has some more general questions on Syria. 71% think MPs were right to vote against military action (20% think they were wrong). Asked if they approve of how David Cameron has handled the situation in Syria 40% approve, 42% disapprove. The figures for Ed Miliband are 33% approve, 39% disapprove. Full tabs are here.

Finally today we have a Panelbase poll commissioned by the SNP that claims to show a Yes lead in the Scottish independence referendum, 44% to 43%. Now, I always advise extreme caution in dealing with polls commissioned by political parties – reputable pollsters should ensure the questions themselves are fair, but they don’t decide what parties ask about, or how they spin the results.

On the Scottish referendum there are some big differences between the polling by Panelbase and the polling by other companies, but the trend data from each company is itself pretty steady. The regular polls from Ipsos MORI have bounced about a bit with NO leads between 20 and 28 points, but there is no obvious up or down trend. YouGov have only done a couple of polls, but have show consistent NO leads in the mid-twenties. There have only been two recent TNS BMRB polls (they are starting up a more regular series later this week) but they showed NO leads of 19 and 21 points. In contrast Panelbase has been tending to show leads of between 8 and 10 points. A much smaller lead, but again a very consistent one with no obviously trend towards yes or no – even by Panelbase’s standards a Yes lead looks odd.

The results for the Panelbase/SNP survey are here. The referendum question itself is completely fair. However, it was not the first question asked. Typically polls always put voting intention questions (Parliamentary and referendum) questions right at the start in order to remove the risk that other questions in the survey could influence or skew voting intention results. Panelbase, for example, normally ask Holyrood VI, immediately followed by referendum VI. In the case of this poll the referendum voting intention question was asked at the end of the survey, after asking people if they thought Scotland could be “a successful, independent country” and whether people trusted the Scottish government or Westminster government more to take the right decisions for Scotland. Both questions had the potential to skew responses to the referendum question. We can’t know for certain, but given the contrast with Panelbase’s previous polls, my guess is that this is what has happened and Panelbase’s next normal survey will be back to a NO lead.

112 Responses to “New Populus, ICM and Panelbase surveys”

1 2 3
  1. Robin

    Miliband was asking for almost exactly what Cameron was proposing after Cameron bent over backwards to accommodate him on the lead up to the vote.

    Then for party political reasons EM voted against Camaron on the day even though they were only voting for a proposal of military intervention pending going through the UN. EM can’t have it both ways and say just because my party voted against military action it didn’t really mean we were against it in principle, it just makes EM look like an opportunist more interested in raising his profile in the Labour part than any real interest in Syria.

  2. See here for an interesting commentary on the Scotland polls, this time questioning the wording of the yougov question

    “That’s quite the most tortured way of turning one question (“Should Scotland be an independent country?”) into a very different one (“Should Scotland leave the United Kingdom?”) that we’ve seen for a while, but mysteriously the media that berated us for not asking the question directly and straightforwardly no longer had any objections to the same practice, as long as it delivered a result they liked better.”

    While it is fair to say, don’t criticise the poll if you don’t like the answer, when you have 2 polls like this that give such completely different answers you have to go back to the polls.

    So – on the one side we have leading questions as a possible reason.
    And on the other side we have question phrasing as a possible reason.

    I guess the lesson is that partisan polls produce partisan results and should generally be ignored?

  3. Oldnat,

    No, it says something else entirely, missing relevance to my original (and non-partisan) comment, but I suppose that was the point?

  4. Another theory courtesy of twitter:

    Graham Little [email protected] 6m
    @ScotlandTonight Main difference. Yougov weighted towards UK election 2010 Labour voters, Panelbase weighted towards Scots 2011 SNP majority

    Any truth in that? Could that explain the different results?


    “I guess the lesson is that partisan polls produce partisan results and should generally be ignored?”

    They shouldn’t be ignored – unless you are looking for polls to give you a prediction.

    How voters respond to the question will be influenced by the thoughts planted in their heads by the campaigns. If the dominant thought is “leave the United Kingdom” (with implications of leaving the monarchy and the “social union”) then the No side will benefit.

    If the dominant thought is “Scotland could be a successful, independent country”, then that advantages the Yes side.

    “Battle for hearts and minds” is a cliche – but a rather useful one in this context.


    While the basis of the weighting always has to be borne in mind, I’m not convinced that it explains the difference.

    It was the same population that voted massively Labour in 2010 and SNP in 2011.

    People do tend to vote in different scenarios for what will benefit them in these different aspects.

  7. @ Colin

    I still think that the growth would run out of steam in the autumn.

  8. ROBIN

    INteresting that you answer is the US Intel report.

    THe JIC letter, which DC had available is certainly just a summary of the degree of confidence our Security people vested in the US intel. THey are both the same source.

    BUt the JIC letter was anodyne when compared with the four page US release.

    It is utterly beyond me why DC was forced to use the JIC letter, when Kerry was preparing to release that detail the day after.

    I think it might have made a difference.

    BUt DC is entitled to respond-our Intel REport was based on the US Intel-you did not accept it on 29th August-what has changed?


    THanks-a brave man to forecast zero growth in Q3 2013.

    I think you will be proved wrong.

  10. @ Colin

    I don’t trust PMI, their record is pretty bad and their figures are very volatile. But if I’m wrong I will state it.

  11. IAN

    @”we’re still awaiting the UN inspectors report, which is what Labour were asking for on Thursday. That would be new evidence.”

    It won’t actually.

    Kerry has already released the US intelligence suggesting that the 21st August rocket attack involved Chemical warheads.

    He has subsequently stated that US have blood & hair samples from 21st August “first responders” which signal SArin.

    The UN INspectors will not say who was responsible, but what was the substance those victims were exposed to.

    So their evidence will not be “new”.

    You may feel that it will be more credible-but that is another matter.

  12. LASZLO

    I wasn’t relying on PMIs-far from it.

    BUt thanks-we will see in due course.

  13. Richard

    The YouGov question was in a form they asked before, so it wasn’t dictated by this particular client. Stu Campbell was complaining about the wording of the preamble to the question:

    If there was a referendum tomorrow on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and becoming an Independent Country and this was the question, how would you vote? Should Scotland be an independent country?

    specifically the bolded words, though it’s difficult to see how Scotland could become an independant country without leaving the UK, but there you go. There also a lot of more and beam going on in complaining about this but being happy with the very leading question in the latest Panelbase. Still it would be interesting to test the wording with and without those words and see if it made a difference. (TNS ask something similar without).

  14. IAN

    I meant to add that BBC reports that French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault is presenting intelligence to MPs which he says shows Syria used chemical weapons.

    And today NATO said Assad was responsible in their opinion.

  15. Those YouTube videos do NOT show sarin… It could be that there was sarin but the videos are fake. It could be that the government had a gas attack and it wasn’t sarin, but there were bodies with sarin poisoning. It could be that the rebels had a sarin attack and the government used something else. And so on.

  16. Colin, Turk

    The motion was lost because 30 Conservative MPs voted against.


    Clearly the material released by Kerry requires a judgement on the degree of confidence inherant in it.

    You along with and all the US Senators have to make that

    NATO, The Arab League, the French & UK Governments have done the same. They are all of one accord.

    So far as I am aware only Russia has publicly agreed with Assad , that the Syrian Regime did not use chemical warheads on 21st August .

  18. Colin

    Love all those impartial jurors! Pity the populations of said countries are less convinced – could be worth letting us see the evidence in that case

    Oh, and once we have agreed who it is then the sentence needs to be handed out.

    I have very little confidence in Western intelligence agencies

  19. Reading the to-ing and fro-ing here on the two issues, it makes me think of those post-TV debate spin programmes about who won.

    I think some of you should apply for a job with the party machines; perhaps you did. In any event, you are wasting your time on me.

  20. ALDC website for by elections looks pretty messed up right now- was difficult even to find and no dates against the results. English elections website also not keeping up with the pace. Any alternatives?

  21. Old Nat

    In the absence of the YouGov Scottish VI tables I’ve made a few rough calculations assuming a non-voter percentage of 18.5% which is what the three YouGov cross-tabs for the period polled (19-22 Aug) average at about.

    For Westminster:

    Con 15% (-2)
    Lab 34% (-8)
    Lib Dem 7% (-12)
    SNP 32% (+12)
    Others 12% (+10)

    Changes since 2010 GE

    For Holyrood:

    Con 14% (-)
    Lab 32% (-)
    Lib Dem 8% (-)
    SNP 39% (-6)
    Others 8% (+7)

    Changes since 2011 Election

    The big change in others may be due to underestimating the non-voters in the actual poll (in which case it’s yet another indicator of the unreliability of the cross-tabs).

    However it should be remembered that the figure in 2010 was low due to incomplete candidate coverage for Greens and even UKIP and both would seem to be around 3-4% in Scottish polls.

    The Holyrood figures aren’t dissimilar to the most recent Panelbase poll. Others is also distorted because lack of constituency candidates, though they got 12% in the regional vote and people may answer in the hope that they will one even if there normally isn’t.

  22. Howard

    We don’t know what happened in reality but the media is spinning a line about the two motions being the same, (which they weren’t), that Miliband in effect misled Cameron (which is a slur that is completely unsubstantiated) and ignores the fact that the population is against intervention at the moment and that the Tory and LD rebels lost the vote for the Government.

    If we had a little more balance then we would not need to respond

    Bound to have this post removed but so should most of Turk’s and Colin’s as well…..

  23. Well back in May the Russians presented evidence to the UN that the “rebels” had used sarin gas but strangely the states were not convinced by that evidence


    @”I have very little confidence in Western intelligence agencies”

    A view firmly shared by Putin.

    Perhaps Obama will convince him this week at the G20………or vice versa ?

    I would love to be a fly on the wall in Moscow this week.

  25. @Shevii

    The local by elections tab here is the only other one I know, but you have to hunt a bit – they have a folder for each week, the last posts should generally have the results for each week.

  26. Norbold

    The motion was lost because 285 voted no and only 272 voted yes, no other reason! Any other theory is just spin.

  27. On a polling point (Scottish again), it’s interesting about Malcolm Bruce standing down next election.

    Here is the 2010 result:

    Liberal Democrat Malcolm Bruce 17,575 36.0
    SNP Richard Thomson 10,827 22.2
    Labour Barney Crockett 9,811 20.1
    Conservative Ross Thomson 9,111 18.7

    Without a popular MP, who certainly enjoyed a big incumbency factor, alongside the poor LD vote nationally, this looks really marginal now.

    Very exciting!


    I think we can call it the CB11 Dictum.

  29. Colin

    Are you implying that to be less than enamoured in the Western Intelligence Services morally equates me to Putin?

    This is the Great Game and the prize is Iran! That is what the US and Israel wants – to neuter Iran eventually.

    We already saw mission creep in Libya, what will prevent it happening here?

    Is the aim regime change – clearly in my view yes. Is this legal?

  30. Norbold

    “The motion was lost because 30 Consevatives voted against it”.

    Just remind us how many Labour MP’s voted against it.

  31. “The motion was lost because 285 voted no and only 272 voted yes, no other reason! ”
    Exactly. I think it is refreshing to see that some MPs have a mind of their own. I don’t want my MP to rubber-stamp everything his leader wants. So in my book DC’s defeat was not a resigning matter. On the other hand would he be expected to resign if lost a second time, and is this the real reason why he promptly ruled out any further action or debate?

  32. RiN

    Is this pretty up to date?

    With Oz & Germany looking increasingly certain, Norway would be a clean sweep.

    But your last report was much less certain ?

  33. Bcrombie

    “If we had a little more balance we then we would not need to respond”.

    How true.


    Are you using the unweighted VI numbers? The 2010 vote figures show 82% voting for the 4 named parties (turn out actually 64%): while Westminster VI 73% : Holyrood VI 79%.

  35. Syria has called on the UN to protect it from “any aggression” it may face in the wake of the alleged chemical weapons attack on Damascus.

    The regime of Bashar al-Assad has written a letter to the international organisation, addressed to secretary general Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, asking for its protection against anticipated strikes.

    It said Mr Ban should “shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria” and asked the body to “maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy”.

    Reported in the Indie

  36. France has not confirmed there will be a vote, as far as I am aware.

  37. @ Old Nat

    Knowing where your sympathies lie, how do you realistically read the situation now & will you stick your neck out as to how you see the independence vote going in 12 months from now?

  38. AMBER

    THis is the BBC report:-

    “French MPs are due to debate the issue in an extraordinary session of parliament on Wednesday.

    However, Mr Ayrault has ruled out a vote, as happened in the UK and is scheduled to take place in the US after 9 September.

    President Francois Hollande is constitutionally able to order an attack without parliamentary approval.”

  39. @ Amber Star

    You’re spot on, a debate without a vote unless pressure being brought to bear succeeds. Prefer our system, at least everyone knows where we “stand.”


    As I said to Richard, it all depends on which campaign has planted their thoughts best in voters minds!

    I’ve always doubted that there would be a huge gulf between the two sides at the end of the day (or that my side would actually win! :-( )

    We’ve all known for a long time what around two thirds of Scots want (or would settle for) – but that’s not on offer. By next year, I suspect that the most important group of Scots will be voting Yes or No in a tactical way to get the nearest they can get to what they want.

  41. I’m glad we are not bombing Syria, whoever’s fault it was.

    The reason Cameron is furious with Miliband is because he cannot get anything through the House without Labour support as he cannot count upon LD or Tory backbench support on stuff that really matters…like going to war. Cameron should have resigend or sacked Hague. The only way he can get the vote through is to either do a deal with Lab or make it a confidence issue…in either case it could be curtains. So he’s cross.

    I think the Government is now a busted flush. The only stuff it can do is what is already agreed. They have no control over events.

    But it’ll limp on like Major’s. But recent polling is the best it’s gonna get the Cameron.

  42. Colin

    I haven’t read that yet but yes the right will almost certainly baring a miracle/catastrophe win the election, I would say that at this point the red/green govt have less than a 1% chance of winning a thirdterm. However what kind of right wing govt is very much up in the air, the conservatives vote share has been dropping as those conservatives that want a hard/populist rightwing govt have been moving to the progress party while those conservatives who are terrified of sucha prospect have been moving to the liberals, whether this trend will continue until election day I don’t know, but at the moment the real electoral battle is not between the blocs but inside the blue bloc. Will we have a blue blue minority govt or a blue green minority govt or can all 4 parties swallow enough camels(Norwegian expression meaning to commit to painful compromises)to govern together

    There are also signs that the centre party is going to have some post election drama which I could go into at length but you would all be bored to tears


    Doesn`t BARNEY CROCKETT post here?

  44. @Smurkesh

    He does!

    He’d best get his red rosette polished up for May 2015!

  45. Smukesh

    Yes it is indeed, at least I believe so, and that does look like a 4 way marginal, depending on how the libdem vote splits

  46. Labour are getting it wrong here.They managed to defeat the government and are on-side with 60-70% of the public on Syria.

    Why not stop raking it up as Jim Murphy did today in the HOC and wait for the vote in Congress.There seems to be a possibility Obama might lose the vote in Congress.


    Could be quite exciting if he is the candidate again!

  48. @Smurkesh

    May I suggest a certain wing of the Labour Party, of which Mr Murphy belongs to, might not be overjoyed by Ed Miliband gaining both status and popularity.

    Beating your own faction’s pin up boy to the Leadership was quite unforgivable for some…

  49. @Nick

    I know how your going to vote in 2015 and i claim the prize

  50. Actually I’m probably going to vote Lib Dem like last time. Cos Lab don’t really score in Reigate.

1 2 3