Populus’s twice weekly poll earlier today had topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 7%. Unlike the YouGov polls since Ed Miliband’s conference speech Populus has not shown any sort of boost for the Labour party. The poll was conducted over the weekend, so would have partially got the start of the the Tory conference and their marriage tax announcement… but in past years when there is any sort of conference boost it has tended to show up after the leaders’ speeches.

Still to come tonight we have the monthly ComRes poll for the Indy, then either tonight or tomorrow morning the daily YouGov poll for the Sun. Let’s see if they give us any consistent picture of whether Labour have retained a conference boost or not.

UPDATE: The monthly ComRes poll for the Independent has topline voting intention figures of CON 33%(+2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 11%(-1), UKIP 11%(+1). Changes are from a month ago, and full tabs are here. As with Populus, no sign of any Labour conference boost.

212 Responses to “Populus – CON 36, LAB 39, LD 11, UKIP 7”

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  1. AMBER

    I wasn’t refering to attendees-if you re-read my post you will see I was refering to policy platform & scope-if repeated in a GE campaign

  2. Rosieand Daisie

    I’m sure your dad’s very clever, but don’t let him get you to do the ironing that’s just cruel.

  3. Prediction time:
    Lab 39
    Con 33
    Lib 9

  4. So prediction time for yougov then.

    I’m going to go with a surprise. Yougov still shows Labour bounce. Comres looks like a very small sample and Scotland looks wrong so I am going to say that is an outlier. Populus seems to always be doing its own thing, they have odd weightings and their turnout weighting makes it jump all over the place.

    So my prediction is

    Lab 40
    Cons 33
    LD 8
    UKIP 11

  5. Oldnat – I naturally assumed Osborne did that to give himself some wiggle room (or so he could re-announce it later one and get another bite of the good news cherry).

    Damian McBride thought tweeted that “He’s only saying that so he doesn’t have to score it (take the cash out of his public finance projections) before he does it.”. Which has a ring of truth.

  6. Oh, why not?

    Con 32.8%
    Lab 39.4%
    LD 9.4%

  7. Everything started to go wrong for Gordon Brown when they told him to start smiling.

    The smile (or that thing that Ed Balls keeps telling him to stop doing) was also George Osborne’s big problem, but he seems to have lost it now, and the new hairstyle makes him look quite tough.

    Gary Gibbon quotes the IFS comment on his existing all-the-way-to-2020 austerity plan being “eye-wateringly tight” and asks: so the new plans are “eye-popping” maybe?

  8. Will GO demand that the OBR does the sums for these promises (including Cleggies ‘feed the kids’ ones)?

    Otherwise can we predict that Balls will?

  9. Colin

    That’s right and it’s certainly what the next election will swing on.

    I’ve watch some of both conferences not enough because of work (this retirement’s not going well) difficult to offer an unbiased opinion because of my own political leanings so I won’t, but we agree on most things I think.


    There is good reason for the mantra on here “Don’t look at the Scottish cross-breaks”. :-)

    Mind you, if that wee sample was correct, then the SNP would be increasing their vote share, not fading.

    Scots Tories might be returning to their traditional home instead of camping out with Labour. Maybe that explains why Jim Murphy has been posting lots of tweets about how the middle class is being discriminated against!

  11. @ Colin

    The policy manifesto will, IMO, reflect the interests of the Party which is writing it. A narrow Party will = A narrow manifesto.

    And regarding Osborne’s speech; I was riveted. I read every word. IMO, Economically, we are being governed by shirkers not workers – the BOE & global economic forces will apparently do everything which is required to create a recovery for all. The government will do nothing – except perhaps let you keep a little more of much less.

    Following that, I was amazed to hear GO ‘expects’ a surplus to be generated in the next parliament whilst taxes are reduced. Really, that is not credible. Perhaps IDS told him so. It is now really a question of: Which of them is “thick”? – (FYI, before I am accused of being partisan, GO is being reported as having said this about IDS.)

  12. @ Richard,

    Comres often comes out with odd numbers- we call them Comedy Results for a reason- but these results are broadly in line with what they’ve been getting recently. Barring evidence of a Labour conference boost from non-YouGov pollsters I think our default assumption has to be that it’s a good poll and the numbers just haven’t moved.

  13. There are also some economic questions in that comres poll

    After the next election, which of the two main political parties do you think is most likely to…

    Make your family better off Cons 31/Lab41
    Keep the economy growing Cons 42/Lab33
    Keep energy prices low Cons 21/Lab48
    Keep public spending under control Cons 47/Lab28

    So some wins for each there.

    I think we all agree the economy is currently the issue that will decide 2015, the public seems to be clear where the strengths of each party lie on the economy, so then the focus for each party must then be on making the issue that each party is best at the defining issue in the public’s mind.

  14. Anthony

    Or, as Colin has hinted, you can say anything you like at a Party conference. The intention is to increase VI – and nothing else.

  15. turk

    “Rosieand Daisie

    I’m sure your dad’s very clever”

    Yes, he is. He’s lovely as well.

    He says you must be American by the way ‘cos they all think that irony is something that looks like a iron.

  16. For all the talk of banning the niqab and burqa, I reckon a lot of politicians would do quite well out of wearing one.

    Ed Miliband either looks like a smiling Wallace or he’s doing the Death Stare, George Osborne either has an evil smirk or looks like Ronnie Kray. I’m not saying it matters what they look like, just that it distracts from issues!

    Frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t passed a law banning televisions!

  17. Curse of the neutral perhaps but I’m not really seeing much difference in the policy conduct of any of the conferences. All of the parties plans look about as coherent and joined up as one another.

    The headline grabbers probably won’t come until Cameron’s speech in any case (as was the same with Ed.)

  18. How can GO with a straight face state say that Labour should have ran a budget surplus before the crash when he at that time committed the Tories to matching Labours spending – how is he allowed to get away with such hypocrisy?

    Being non-partisan politicians from across the spectrum have an essential asset to deal with this problem…have at least two faces…

  19. Oh yeah good point

  20. No tweet?

  21. @Chris

    “how is he allowed to get away with such hypocrisy?”

    Adding to @Catmanjeff people also tend to have short memories for these sorts of things and also, arguably, depends on how well repeated it is in the press and other media.

    Nobody, for example, remembers that Osborne said “Ireland stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in economic policy-making” in 2006/07 just before Ireland went to the wall, but everyone and their dog knows that Brown said he had “ended boom and bust” (both of which, in their own way, were profoundly stupid and inaccurate statements)

  22. I see that T May [who I long ago predicted would take over in 2015 but let’s wait and see – LOL] wants to deport criminals before they appeal.

    I think we should go further with this: deport them before the buggers have done anything criminal to ruin the lives of hard-working families and whether or not they are from other countries anyway.

    Australia perhaps but we don’t really care.

  23. @Old Nat

    Scots Tories might be returning to their traditional home instead of camping out with Labour.
    Have you anything to back up that assertion or are you simply alluding to the Better Together cross-party campaign?

  24. @Spearmint

    I looked back at last month’s poll and you are right, the figures for Scotland were similar. So maybe not an outlier after all.

    I’m sticking with my Yougov prediction though, I think it would have been tweeted by now if there was a similar Tory recovery there.

  25. Been away for a bit, so mercifully missed part of the conference season.

    Obviously, whichever party we each support is clearly doing brilliantly, as ever, but I personally have been struck by the ease with which Ed M has seemingly effortlessly moved the language of the debate.

    While away, I heard multiple TV news outlets, a Daily Telegraph editorial, Michael Gove, and the Deputy PM all use the expression ‘the cost of living crisis’.

    As with the ‘bedroom tax’, you win the war of linguistics, and you’re a long way to winning the war of votes. Labour seems to have shifted the debate with almost effortless ease, and this ability should worry Con strategists.

    I also felt Cons reaction of bringing forward part two of help to buy, when most analysts are suggesting dropping it entirely, smacks of a party political oriented response, rather than sage national economic planning. The BoE has been given the watching brief on the policy though, and I rather wonder whether they will, like the OBR, end up causing problems for Osborne with their judgements.

    Difficult to tell quite who is really up and who is down just yet with this latest crop of polls, but I get the feeling Cons have just have had a bit of a fright. I think they are realising that Ed M might just be prepared to do things that aren’t in the playbook.

    A note on Scotland; I don’t know how effective the no campaign will end up being, but in a sane world the yes side would have just completely blown their credibility with some utterly nonsensical statements about Scottish pensions. A more calamitous misuse of statistics is harder to imagine.

    I can’t really tell how much traction these kinds of announcements will get in terms of voter engagement, but there must be some SNP supporters worrying somewhat about the factual holes appearing in their current crop of arguments.

  26. @Rich

    There are issues with running a budget surplus Rich that Osborne probably hasn’t told you about but which we have discussed numerous times on here… We last did it about a week ago…

  27. Amber

    “Might be” isn’t an assertion!

    This is an assertion – “Jim Murphy must be worried about his retaining his seat, if he regularly tweets about how the middle class are suffering.” :-)

  28. @Rich

    “It’s a more than fair question. For huge advocates of Keynesian economics like Brown and Balls, if they can’t run a surplus at the height of the Blair boom, then when exactly does this cyclical Keynesian surplus ever get built up…”

    Well Brown and Balls were always pretty straight neo-liberal supply-side people; it was only when the crash happened that they switched to Keynesianism.

    Chris’ point, as I understand it, is why is Osborne being allowed to get away with such a statement when he clearly never had an intention of running a surplus at that time either (given his commitment to deficit spending plans). So it is, perhaps, a fair question on Osborne’s part (not that running a surplus would have helped) but it’s one he should be asking and answering himself.


    Welcome back – you’re just in time to catch the PM’s speech!

    “but in a sane world the yes side would have just completely blown their credibility with some utterly nonsensical statements about Scottish pensions”

    Really? I thought the talk of keeping the pound and having the BoE look after monetary policy would have killed it.

  29. @Colin

    “How many rabbits can EM keep pulling out of his hat?”

    Or even Were-Rabbits?

    (think about it)

  30. @alec,

    You certainly havnt surprised me with your interpretation of the conferences season so far.!

    Any problems at all you saw last week?, or all effortless plain sailing?

    As I said earlier, I think we might end up just where we started in terms of the polls.

  31. and welcome back by the way. lol

  32. Looking at that Comres data, the lie of the Scottish Westmister seats are:

    Lab 30 (-11)
    Con 19 (+18)
    SNP 8 (+2)
    Lib 2 (-9)

    Hmm. A few more polls first. Heh!

  33. Chris’ point, as I understand it, is why is Osborne being allowed to get away with such a statement when he clearly never had an intention of running a surplus at that time either (given his commitment to deficit spending plans).
    Surely we can allow that Osborne might have changed his view since then! Or are we all to be pickled in aspic; forever glued to something we said years ago? There is so much to criticise in Osborne’s speech, isn’t something which he said years ago merely an unwelcome distraction?

  34. I’m afraid that this is another Populus poll that strains credulity in terms of the sample and the impact of reweighting (in this case more the lack of impact).

    Like YouGov, Populus don’t weight by 2010 vote but rather by party identification. However, you can still look at how their sample said they voted in 2010.

    The unweighted Populus 2010 data shares are Con 563, Lab 360, LD 365. The figures are adjusted to Con 557, Lab 377, LD 386 after weighting.

    This would be consistent with the Conservatives gaining 48% more votes than Labour in 2010. In the actual result, the Conservatives got 25% more. So the Populus data only stands up if you are content with an explanation of massive false recall in their sample, with lots of undisclosed 2010 Labour voters.

    However, I find differences on that scale – between 48% and 25%, with Labour still 3rd behind the LDs in 2010 – too big to be plausible. We never see discrepancies that big in YouGov data. I think a reasonable conclusion is that the Populus reweighting by party ID didn’t do its job properly in this particular poll, and that even allowing for false recall, 2010 Labour voters have been substantially underrepresented in the reweighted sample. And if so, the Labour lead must be above 3%.

    And that’s before we get on to how UKIP identifiers are treated…..

  35. @AU

    Not 100% the case… For a relatively brief period following the dotcom crash they relaxed policy to counter recessionary effects. But besides that, yeah pretty neolib, until the crash…

    Given Osborne’s promises about the deficit in this parliament I wouldn’t bet the house on his surplus promise either. Especially with all those boomers to keep happy etc.


    So you put the numbers into Scotland Votes, as well. :-)

  37. Generally, yes. Always good for a laugh. I don’t think have updated their methodologies since before 2011, so it’s all bunkum really, but it’s a fast way to get a rough idea of what things might look like.

    Also noticed that the Comres data came to 101%. Obviously us Barbarians Scots give that little bit extra.

  38. Rosieanddaisie

    “You must be american”

    I’m not, but my wife is, before we moved back to the UK from Texas to take up farming she was an Attorney in marine civil law, now she really is properly clever and rather lovely as well.

  39. Test


  40. Lab were last above 37% with Com Res in April.

    Since then, their polls (both types) have shown Lab vote shares starting in May of:
    35, 34, 35, 36, 36, 37, 37, 37, 36 and now 37%.


    Agreed. A fun exercise is to see how low the LD vote has to be before they show Charlie Kennedy losing his seat.

  42. @Amber Star

    “Surely we can allow that Osborne might have changed his view since then! Or are we all to be pickled in aspic; forever glued to something we said years ago?”

    Of course he’s allowed to change his views; I’d be delighted if he did on a number of things!

    My point thereby was simply against the fact that politicians in general (taking this statement by Osborne as a representative) get away with using the benefit of hindsight to gain political points against something that happened in the past (in this case to feed the who is economically responsible narrative), when they themselves held the same views.

    “There is so much to criticise in Osborne’s speech”

    There is indeed; but that wasn’t the question that was asked that I was answering


    “Given Osborne’s promises about the deficit in this parliament I wouldn’t bet the house on his surplus promise either”

    Of course not: he’ll just keep moving the goal posts until he hits his target (as he does with the deficit)

  43. @ Statgeek,

    I suppose I hadn’t accounted for the possibility that all the Comres polls are rogues!

    Haven’t you been finding a slight Tory revival in your Scottish YouGov data, though? Maybe this is a genuine trend that just hasn’t caught people’s attention yet.

  44. No Sun tweet tonight. Maybe the Sun hacks are too busy taking homage from their mates in Manchester to bother.

  45. @Rich – “Any problems at all you saw last week?, or all effortless plain sailing?”

    My first reaction to the big announcement on energy prices was not favourable, to be honest. It still isn’t in many ways, as I don’t believe the central questions have been answered – namely, what are Labour going to do to reform the energy market in the two years of the freeze. This is the real question, but it isn’t so easy to grasp, even if/once the detail is available.

    I did like the moves on business rates for SME’s paid for by abandoning a planned CT cut of big business. Small businesses have had very little support from Osborne (arguably suffered actual harm in many ways) who is obsessed with helping big business. I think this was a smart move from Ed, and might well play under the radar to a degree.

    I think Ed has been brave, but is taking risks. Clearly he thinks that enough voters have changed after 2008. The trick he needs to pull off is to remind us of the gross failing in global capitalism that we have just lived through, and then convince us he is the man to address these. He clearly think being anti big business is a risk worth taking.

    If nothing else, this is an interesting position, which along with his moves on union funding will see him playing a very high stakes game in 2015. Something needed to be done, but I’ll wait to see if he has the answers.

  46. John Murphy

    “I will spare DC and GO from the sting of my rhetorical whip since their own tongues scourge them better than anything I can think of saying”.

    I’m just guessing here, but I’m sensing your not a Tory supporter then John.

  47. @Spearmint

    Yes, there’s been a small lift of Con North of the border. It think there’s a fair bit of party to party churn, but the effect looks like Lab down, Con up, and I’m generally content to state that Lab folk in Scotland don’t jump to Con without a bit of thought (if only as to what their pals will say).

    From August onwards, the Con VI in Scotland has been generally above 20%. Lab has been 35-40%. SNP swings from 20% to 30%. Lib in 5-8% region. Little sign of UKIP.

    I decided not to update the charts until this coming Sunday at the earliest. Too much swinging. Hopefully, the conferences will cancel each other out and we’ll have a better idea. The MAD data is relatively unchanged from the time prior to the 2-day neck-in-neck period. 5% or so.


    With all the usual caveats, the Tories have benefitted from the LD collapse – as have SNP and Labour.

    I’d be wary, though, of talking about “Lab folk in Scotland” as a coherent group. The motivation for voting Labour in Saltcoats and Newton Mearns are unlikely to be identical.

  49. turk

    That’s nice [about yer Missis]

    Does she call you “Honey” ??

  50. Spearmint

    “Haven’t you been finding a slight Tory revival in your Scottish YouGov data, though? Maybe this is a genuine trend that just hasn’t caught people’s attention yet.”

    I wonder if the Tory vote in Scotland is now a protest vote?

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