ComRes’s monthly online poll for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror has topline figures of CON 32%(+4), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 16%(-1). Changes are from their poll a month ago, conducted just after the Lib Dem conference. The 32% for the Conservatives is the highest ComRes have shown in their online polls since January, and the three point Labour lead the lowest since before the omnishambles budget in 2012 (in recent months ComRes’s online polls have tended to show lower support for the Conservatives than their phone polls). Tabs are here.

In contrast the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer has no narrowing, with topline figures of CON 27%(-2), LAB 38%(+2), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(+2), popping Labour back into a double-digit lead for the first time since July for Opinium.

There have been some apparently conflicting polls in recent weeks – some like MORI and ComRes showing things narrowing sharply, some like Opinium and Survation still showing double point leads, some like Populus showing all remaining steady. Remember that all polls have a margin of error, all are unavoidably subject to sample error, the ebb and flow of random chance. Don’t focus too much on individual polls, look at the broad trend, which is a Labour lead in the mid-single digits. It’s certainly down from the bigger Labour leads we were seeing this Spring, but more recent polls are not showing any strong trend either way.

ComRes’s poll also had some quite fun split sample questions, seeing what effect mentioning the party leaders in questions and attributing policies had on answers. Party preference on economic issues showed no real difference between asking if people preferred Conservative or Labour or Cameron or Miliband (as YouGov and ComRes have found before, the more general finding was that Labour lead on “cost of living” type measures, the Conservatives on more general economic competence). They also asked about a couple of policies, attributing them to David Cameron and Ed Miliband in one half of the sample, presenting the bare policies to the other half. On the two Conservative policies it made no difference mentioning David Cameron’s name, on the energy price question support was six percentage points lower when Ed Miliband was mentioned… interesting, but it’s only one data point (and the policies were very high-profile ones that presumably lots of people in the control group knew were associated with Ed Miliband and David Cameron respectively).


57 Responses to “New Opinium and ComRes polls”

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  1. AW has sneakily programmed a new thread before he went out.

  2. Actually I sneakily got back earlier than expected!

  3. Going back to AW’s comments on previous thread about why UKIP has not been included in the prediction tool, there is such a tool on electoral calculus, if people want to use it. It will also tell you what seat changes are likely.

  4. AW
    Yes I have now replied my thanks on previous thread for completeness. I just wanted to say i played around on EC with the UKIP stuff and realise now what you are getting at.

    Very salutary. I do recommend particularly UKIP and Con supporters to take a good look and play with various percentages.

    I hope you won’t mind me saying that EC presents a very interesting list of changed seats immediately below its overall result and this really brings home what incumbency has to overcome.

    “UNS rules OK” but i recall that Vernon Coaker overcame it in 2010.

  5. Anthony,

    Given that trends are what matters rather than individual polls, has anyone done a graph of the lead each pollster shows rather than percentages?

    Peter.

  6. @Peter

    Yougov did one this week: (but that is obviously only yougov)

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2013/10/15/its-long-term-trends-stupid/

  7. “Actually I sneakily got back earlier than expected!”

    There was I thinking it was an all night rave that starts at one in the morning!

  8. R Huckle and Howard

    I too have experimented with Electoral Calculus and am not conviced by their methodology for UKIP. Seems to me they are spreading the predicted vote for UKIP more or less uniformly over the country and paying little attention to actual poll results. One time when I had UKIP getting into the low twenties EC predicted them winning just two seats, both in the North of Scotland!

    Simple observation shows that UKIP’s best results are coming from the East of England. When EC starts to mirror that effect then I’ll have more faith in its predictions.

  9. ” @shevii

    “Actually I sneakily got back earlier than expected!”

    There was I thinking it was an all night rave that starts at one in the morning!”

    Anythony is a lot older than his youthful looks.

  10. IAN

    “One time when I had UKIP getting into the low twenties EC predicted them winning just two seats, both in the North of Scotland!”

    Sounds like they are simply assuming that “others” mean UKIP. Either that, or they have actually read some of Danny Alexander’s words and got confused. :-)

  11. I’m wondering if panelbase’s announcement that they were only including people who had ‘signed up’ before a certain date in polls relating to the Scottish Referendum may have given some people ideas; if there is such a gap between online and telephone polls, is there a panel-stuffing thing going on?

  12. Ian

    I wonder if you read AW’s answer to me in last thread?

    Here is the relevant excerpt regarding your ‘ ‘aveegotaliteboy’ constituencies and their ability to go against UNS..

    ” Alternatively if UKIP do really break through at the next election and beat the Lib Dems (which I think is extremely unlikely, but it does not mean it’s not a scenario worth exploring), it’s perfectly possible that it won’t be uniform, that there will be areas and seats with particular demographics were UKIP do significantly better than others. In this case UKIP would do better than a uniform swing suggests… but by definition, it’s not a uniform swing, so has no place in a UNS calculator (and more to the point it’s impossible to predict with confidence).
    So in brief, on a Uniform Swing UKIP wouldn’t win any seats at all on any likely share of the vote, so it’s a waste of time programming it. On more unlikely shares of the vote, it seems unlikely to me that UKIP support would be uniform, so a UNS calculator would be misleading…. which is why I don’t include UKIP in the swingometer – it would be pointless at low levels, misleading at high ones.”

    I can see this readily and I suspect you can, whilst paying homage to Vernon Coaker, as I did. What a hero!

  13. Ian
    “Simple observation shows that UKIP’s best results are coming from the East of England. When EC starts to mirror that effect then I’ll have more faith in its predictions.”

    That’s certainly true at the moment, though there are little pockets all over the place. I suspect that in the future their pattern of support will be of a similar type to LDs – i.e. strong in certain regions, with isolated strongholds almost anywhere.

    I have played around with EC as well, and I think it must be very difficult for them to model new parties, because there is no significant history to go on.

  14. Howard & AW
    I hadn’t read AW’s explanation, but it’s nice to know he agrees with me, even he he is a lot more verbose!

  15. Perhaps the best bit of Anthony’s explanation is ” a UNS calculator would be misleading”.

    In UK terms, the calculator is already partial in that it excludes Northern Ireland.

    Including Scotland was valid when the “swingometer” was first produced on black and white TV, but is long past it’s sell by date with what is now a very different political system here.

    While Wales is the political system most similar to England’s, Plaid rivals the Lib-Dems for 3rd place, instead of UKIP does in England. It’s not clear why anyone would want to include Wales or Scotland in an already partial UNS projection for the UK.

    If England starts to demonstrate significant regional differences, to the extent that you can start to talk of different political structures there, then regional UNS projections there may have some purpose.

    Or we can just accept that UNS is a 1950s idea that can be quietly buried, or just applied to England, if that is seen to have some remaining value.

  16. Apparently tomorrow’s YouGov in Sunday Times is Lab 41 Con 31 -Ukip 13 LD 9

  17. LDs on 9% again l see, that upward trajectory cannot be gainsaid!

  18. Opinium

    According to the poll, 33% of respondents approve of Cameron, and 51% disapprove [-18 net]. That compares with 25% who approve of Miliband, and 44% [-19 net] who disapprove.

  19. @ Graham

    Apparently tomorrow’s YouGov in Sunday Times is Lab 41 Con 31 Ukip 13 LD 9
    ——————
    Really? That’s another high score for Labour; Opinium is a good ‘un too. I never get too excited about ComRes either way (IMO, not for nothing are they known as ComedyResult)

  20. @Amber, Graham

    I believe the source of the Yougov figure is someone tweeting the Yougov figures from 31 Aug. I tried to post that earlier but copied the name of the person who tweeted and it sent me into moderation. So let’s wait a little longer for an official Yougov number, or a more reliable source.

  21. ” @Graham

    Apparently tomorrow’s YouGov in Sunday Times is Lab 41 Con 31 -Ukip 13 LD 9 ”

    Not true. These are for a Sunday Times poll at the end of August tweeted by Etonoldboys an hour or so ago and retweeted by others.

    Think you will have to wait until the morning.

  22. Rats!

  23. Observer reporting that Clegg ‘turns on Gove’ over free school ideology. It appears that a second unqualified free school head has now left after damming reports into teaching standards.

    Clegg is reported as calling for all state school teachers to be qualified. That’s a really quite basic demand, but it’s actually quite astonishing that Tories seem to whizz along with this idea of free schools, blissfully happy to have children’s education in the hands of people with no knowledge, experience or qualification in teaching.

    As we get more free schools, so we will get more basket cases, and as bad news is louder than good, I suspect we will see Gove’s star wane.

  24. So no news on YG then?

    I take it from that it’s unlikely to show the same lead as ComRes.

  25. I’m also surprised that AW doesn’t just tell us. As far as I recall the Sunday Times YG polls are only embargoed until 10pm the preceding Saturday and we’re now beyond that.

  26. Anyon explain what is “free” about free schools?

    i.e. compared to State Schools.

  27. MissGlenghis

    I’m wondering if panelbase’s announcement that they were only including people who had ‘signed up’ before a certain date in polls relating to the Scottish Referendum may have given some people ideas; if there is such a gap between online and telephone polls, is there a panel-stuffing thing going on?

    I suspect only a handful of us noticed Panelbase’s announcement which was aimed more at the their pollster peers than the ordinary punter. They were clearly worried about the consistent difference between their results and everyone else’s. For what it’s worth it’s clear that no one at the moment seems to be getting Scottish weighting right – perhaps unsurprising in a country which has four different electoral systems for different levels of government and which now has a referendum as well.

    So panel-stuffing is unlikely as a deliberate tactic or even an inspiration. But I suspect there is a problem with online panels, especially the smaller ones, in that they may attract a certain sort of person who may not be politically representative. Actually, as I keep on pointing out to everyone’s tedium, this is self-evident because online panels are more likely than average to contain people with firm opinions who will be attracted to join by the chance to express them[1]. So current UKIP voters, who may well fit such a opinionated profile, may well be over-represented on online panels – which is the main discrepancy between phone and online, without any organised campaign to put them there.

    [1] This even applies to mainly consumer panels, such as Panelbase – if you have firm view about washing powder, you probably do about education.

  28. ALEC

    “Clegg is reported as calling for all state school teachers to be qualified.”

    When I started teaching in 1968, I was part of the first teaching force in Scotland that was 100% qualified.

    Qualification doesn’t guarantee effectiveness – but it’s a damn good start! Having a General Teaching Council to determine standards – and enforce them – works pretty well to improve teaching standards. Abolishing the General Teaching Council for England always seemed a strange concept to external eyes.

    Getting rid of Gove would seem to be a good idea for English schools, but it would make little difference to the endemic problems in education in England.

  29. ROGER MEXICO

    ” if you have firm view about washing powder, you probably do about education.”

    Mrs Nat has firm views on both – but has the good sense to accept that it is better that only one of us is publicly opinionated. :-)

  30. Roger Mexico
    Isn’t it also true that online polls would be more likely to attract computer-literate people?

    I understand that UKIP tend to be stronger amongst DE (in marketing parlance) and older people – people who might be expected to be less computer-literate.

    Wouldn’t that counterbalance your point?

  31. @MissGlenghis @Roger

    This post explains what Yougov at least does(did) to prevent panel stuffing

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2328

    I do wonder how other pollsters control this though, is it only Yougov that has a fixed panel where they have a history for everyone? Could this be a reason why we have such different UKIP numbers between different firms?

    I know from twitter that UKIP are very good at finding online newpaper polls where you click a button to say who you will support, those regularly show UKIP numbers completely out of line with the actual results. Could they also be signing their members up to complete polls? Perhaps that is why Populus needs to weight them down so much?

  32. @ Pete B

    Could be, but I doubt it. Many posters here didn’t hatch the eggshell yesterday. Being probably the most cosmopolitan country in the world UK people embraced Skype happily. Also in spending terms the silver-hair generation doesn’t show ignorance of using computers (and tablets and smart phones), but perhaps they like complaining about them.

  33. @ Colin

    I don’t want to spoil this thread with answering to your post a few from Friday. Apologies, but I had some deadline things to complete. I don’t think we had any major difference about the core problem.

  34. Interesting to see a former Labour (but still an) MP praising Miliband’s intervention while excoriating the SLab leadership.

    http://ericjoyce.co.uk/2013/10/2081/

  35. Apologies if my earlier info was wrong! I passed it on in good faith from another polling site.

  36. Pete B

    Isn’t it also true that online polls would be more likely to attract computer-literate people?

    I understand that UKIP tend to be stronger amongst DE (in marketing parlance) and older people – people who might be expected to be less computer-literate.

    Wouldn’t that counterbalance your point?

    I think that might have been true when computer use was less widespread, but there are probably enough that match that demographic that they can make a sufficient impact online. Also it’s not just being able to use computers that matters, you need the time to fill in surveys etc as well. The most under-represented age group tend to be the under-25s and you couldn’t accuse them of lacking in computer savvy, they just have other things to do with their time.

    Certainly if you look at the comments on Daily Telegraph and Mail sites, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of UKIP advocates or those sharing their opinions.

    Also the UKIP demographic tends more male, which matches computer use, and the most under-represented SEG tends actually to be C2 rather than DE (maybe also a time thing). Conventional SEG groups tend to be poor political predictors and so not good for weighting (I suspect there are problems due to age change), but no one has come up with a better alternative yet.

  37. ROGER MEXICO

    “no one has come up with a better alternative yet.”

    Perhaps measuring by values might provide a solution?

    Hadn’t come across this research before but http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/11359/the-new-electorate-why-understanding-values-is-the-key-to-electoral-success seems rather impressive.

    It certainly seems to explain the situation in Scotland that puzzled Richard a couple of threads ago.

  38. @ Old Nat

    Labour in Scotland are wise to stay out of it; I hope they continue to do so but I’d bet money they won’t. As far as I’m concerned, three parties involved (Government, Ineos & Unite) means there’s already a crowd.

  39. @ Old Nat

    EJ says he’s lobbying the government about ‘helping Ineos with investment’. If by investment, he means government buying a controlling stake, then I could agree with him. If he means giving the company a big fat hand-out then he’s going against public opinion. Polls show the public are in favour of state ownership of core utilities & services – which you already know; I was trying to play to the gallery there, not preach to the choir :-)

  40. I got an automod because I used the word fly!ng; so if my comments @ Old Nat seem odd or repetitive to anybody, that’s why.

    And before anybody else says it, all my comments @ Old Nat probably seem odd or repetitive to some folk!

  41. @ Old Nat

    Jon Cruddas – Caring, Earning & Belonging is Labour recognizing ‘the Settlers’.

  42. Amber

    “Labour in Scotland are wise to stay out of it”

    That has seldom stopped any opposition party before! :-) and as you suggest they won’t now.

    But Joyce’s blog specifically attacked the intervention of Neil Findlay MSP, shadow cabinet minister. As he pointed out, Findlay is either intervening on a “personal” basis – which is inappropriate for a shadow minister, or he is speaking on behalf of Scottish Labour.

    That both you and I agree that strategic facilities should be in public ownership will surprise no one. (We may disagree as to which state has that ownership, of course. :-) )

  43. Amber

    “my comments @ Old Nat probably seem odd or repetitive to some folk!”

    LOL!

    “Jon Cruddas – Caring, Earning & Belonging is Labour recognizing ‘the Settlers’.”

    So your lot are now going where we started?

    “The success of the SNP is an example here. It began with a ‘pride in nation’ message, which attracted Settlers, and then nurtured support among Pioneers with an overtly egalitarian offer (in Scotland, Pioneers account for over half the electorate and therefore form by far the most important part of any electoral equation), and finally lured the Prospectors, both with a prosperity message and by being seen to have momentum.”

  44. @ Old Nat

    Nah, the SNP are simply following a path which Labour already walked. It’s sustaining a sense of purpose & enthusiasm which is difficult when you’ve been in government for years & you’ve made one too many compromises. Sometimes you have to take a step back & find that sense of purpose before you can move forward again.

    So let’s see how the SNP fare going forward, if their unifying sense of purpose regarding independence takes a hard knock come autumn 2014.

  45. @ Old Nat

    As he pointed out, Findlay is either intervening on a “personal” basis – which is inappropriate for a shadow minister…
    —————-
    Why is it inappropriate? I know you dislike ‘authoritarian followers’ so I’d hope you’d not find it inappropriate for a shadow cabinet minister to express a ‘personal’ view on twitter type media.

  46. Amber

    If you already walked that path, then your Cruddas point becomes somewhat pointless.

    “It’s sustaining a sense of purpose & enthusiasm which is difficult when you’ve been in government for years & you’ve made one too many compromises” [that’s difficult]

    I agree, but then, unlike you, I’m not really fussed whether the SNP or Labour (though I’d prefer the Greens to be the coalition partner to either of them) is the largest party in the government of an independent Scotland.

    That goes back to the whole “values” thing that I linked to earlier. Also, I think it explains the apparent contradiction that in the MORI poll 54% of those intending to vote Labour are satisfied with the performance of the SNP Government.

    They would like the policies to continue – just with a different set of politicians implementing them.

    As I’ve said before on here, I don’t really understand the thinking of those who have sworn undying loyalty to whichever group of politicians currently have taken control of their party.

    I’m pretty sure that Labour in an indy Scotland would follow social democratic principles and abandon the “something for nothing” rhetoric.

  47. Amber

    I understood that SLab adopted the normal convention in UK politics (and it may well not be an appropriate convention) that shadow ministers, like their equivalents in government) are bound by collective responsibility.

    Are we to understand that any comment from a shadow minister, in future, is simply to be taken as their personal view and that they aren’t speaking for any one other than themselves?

    That would perhaps be appropriate for some party that had no internal policy coherence, but I presume that you wouldn’t want to pitch SLab into that forum.

  48. @ Old Nat

    Aren’t you throwing 3 separate things into one bucket:
    1. General Party discipline, concerned with presentation after a Party ‘line’ has been established;
    2. Cabinet (& shadow cabinet) members being expected to vote with their whip or resign their executive position; &
    3. Cabinet collective responsibility, which concerns governing & therefore doesn’t apply whilst in opposition.

  49. AMBER

    Four surely?
    It also concerns the right of a politician to respond on the hoof to an issue which needs public debate but in which the response does not necessarily constitute a policy commitment.

  50. Latest YouGov / The Sunday Times results 18th October – Con 33%, Lab 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 11%; APP -26

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