This morning’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%. It also asked how people across Britain as a whole would vote if they could vote in the Scottish referendum – 22% would vote for Scottish independence, 55% would vote against, so more opposed to independence than Scotland itself (obviously the poll included a Scottish cross-break, but I’d caution against reading too much into that – stick to proper, bespoke Scottish polls for that, I suspect there will be plenty along in the aftermath of the white paper). Full tabs for the YouGov poll are here.

There is also a new Survation poll of Thanet South (tabs here), the first of a series of constituency polls commissioned by Alan Bown, a major UKIP donor, presumably of seats they see at potentially good for UKIP. The rest are likely to come out in December, but this one is out early because of Laura Sandys announcement that she’s too retire (though the poll itself was mostly done before that).

Topline voting intention figures in the seat are CON 28%(-20), LAB 35%(+4), LDEM 5%(-10), UKIP 30%(+24). Thanet, of course, was one of the areas where UKIP did particularly well in the local elections and is seen as a seat where Nigel Farage might stand at the next election. Note that there are some methodological changes from Survation’s past constituency polls. Previously they’ve weighted constituency polls by 2010 past vote and reallocated don’t knows based on past vote, in the same way they do for their national polls (though for practical reasons they do national polls online, but local polls by phone). For the latest polls they’ve changed method – no longer using political weighting, and not reallocating don’t knows. This is apparently part of a general review of how they do constituency polling, rather than something for this poll in particular.

Regular readers will be familiar with the debate over past vote weighting. Most companies (the primary exceptions being MORI and Opinium) weight their samples by both demographics, and by a political variable, normally how people voted at the last election, to ensure the sample is properly politically representative. While straightforward in theory, in practice this is complicated by the fact that poll respondents are not always very good at actually recalling how they voted at the last election (a phenomenon known as “false recall”). Companies that weight by past vote like ICM and ComRes therefore use a formula to estimate the level of “false recall” and account for that in their weighting schemes. Other companies, like MORI, take the view that false recall is so difficult to estimate and so potentially volatile that it renders past vote as unsuitable for weighting and risks cancelling out genuine volatility amongst the electorate, and therefore reject it completely.

In the case of the Survation poll of Thanet South, of the respondents who said they voted in 2010, about 41% said they voted Conservative, 38% Labour, 10% Lib Dem and 11% UKIP – so a three percent Conservative majority, when actually Laura Sandys had a seventeen percent majority. It underlines both the potential risk from not using political weighting, and the difficult choices that companies that do use it face – some of that difference will be false recall, but I suspect much of it is a sample that too Labour. Dividing one from the other is the challenge.

278 Responses to “Wednesday polling round-up”

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  1. “Alistair Crymichaelmoore I’m still laughing at that.


    I think I must have missed an episode.

  2. When Ever Cameron makes a right wing statement on immigration policy it appears that UKIP benefits in the opinion polls.

    A lesson there for Mr Crosby perhaps.

  3. Further to my last I think by bringing immigration to the fore it reminds people of the One Trick UKIP pony and allows them the opportunity to get air time discussing how they would be even nastier to foreigners.

  4. Charles,

    I’d like to take issue with your statement

    “The problem with immigrants, if there is one, is that they take jobs, drive down wages, and overload our public services.”

    There’s no evidence that any of these are the case. The problem is more that people *think* they take jobs, drive down wages, and overload our public services. (Perhaps that’s what you meant?)

    All the research shows that immigrants make a net contribution to the economy, and in particular create demand, and hence jobs, as well as occupying them. There is no evidence at all for driving down wages. In fact the average immigrant earns more than the average worker, and the idea that they just take low-wage jobs is a fallacy. Likewise, immigrants are just as likely to work in public services as to use them.

  5. Government u-turn strategy and polling.

    It appears that the government are in the process of making u-turns on those policy positions, where the public support is alligned with that of Labour. e.g payday loans interest cap and now plain packaging of tobacco products.

    If the government are now addressing the policy areas from which Labour may have gained polling advantage, will we now see a narrowing of Labours lead ?

  6. NICKP

    “Alistair Crymichaelmoore I’m still laughing at that.

    I think I must have missed an episode

    I’m sure you will find it on Demand or player.

  7. What on earth does your penultimate sentence actually mean? Really, the standard of your English is appalling.

  8. Swivel Eyed Loon for Beginners

    Influx= More than One

    Swarm=More Than Two

    Hoards= More Than Three

    Swamped= A Five aside Football Team

    Indigenous People= Someone who Reads the Daily Mail

  9. 106 comments and that is all you have to say?

    You’re not Paul Croft who became Rosie and Daisy by any chance?

  10. jayblank
    Your analysis of the nat prospectus was spot on. The great thing from the nat point of view is that no UK government can ever give any Scottish government joint control of sterling and the SNP won’t go without it. So they can stay in the UK while blaming UK government for everything
    The youth vote?
    Baby-boomers like so many of us on this site remember our rebelious youth but check with our kids. The future is more worrying for them than it seemed to us. All the secondary schools in Aberdeenshire have had votes and all, I think, had more than 2 to 1 and most 3 to 1 majorities for staying in the UK. The big votes against came even in Fraserbrough and Peterhead Academies often inaccurately seen as nat strongholds. A similar vote with similar result took place recently in Nairn. It doesn’t look as if young people will be out of line with others.
    EU citizenship?
    Others will have pointed out that there is no such thing as a citizen of the EU. Two countries have left the EU/EEC, Greenland and and Algeria. No one argued that Algerians continued to be EEC citizens?

  11. @Barney Crockett

    Sorry, I’m a bit confused by something you said. Do you really mean that in the event of a Yes vote that the SNP would not declare independence without currency union? Because I don’t think the answer will be settled before the referendum…

  12. @HAL:

    And they generally arrive pre-educated at someone else’s expense. They also tend to be young and healthy so make far fewer demands on the NHS than the average native. Sick, old and lazy people rarely migrate.

  13. Is there no YouGov poll this morning?

  14. Morning Everyone,

    The document certainly did appear to be a Party Political Manifesto Document of rather arrogant demands for an act of independence.
    They also seem to assume that they will always be the government of Scotland – they soon wouldn’t be if things start to go wrong – and that’s called democracy.

  15. @Barnaby – yes it came through ages ago.

    32 -39

  16. Today’s YouGov – Lab 39 Con 32 LD 10 Ukip 13

  17. I notice that we now seem to have reverted to the practice of a couple of years ago whereby YouGov comes out just after 10pm.

  18. @Steve,

    What’s the Swivel Eyed Loon translation for “182,000”?

  19. NEIL A
    What’s the Swivel Eyed Loon translation for “182,000??

    I am not sure but I think it might be the Odds against UKIP being in Government after 2015

  20. @Sine

    I don’t see it any more arrogant than any of the Westminster parties saying that Scotland can’t survive on its own, or that an independent Scotland might be at risk, security-wise.

    That’s two of their three main points. The third is somewhat opaque and can apply to any pair of bordering nations, who are prepared to cooperate within each other.

    So let’s sum up. Money and security. As many Scots are canny Scots and their soldiers are among the best in the British army, what’s to worry about on those two points?

    (The same could be said of any of the UK nations’ soldiers really, but you get the point)

    To paraphrase Oldnat, I could set out the BT case far more eloquently, and in ways that would appeal to not just rUK leaning Scots, but to all but the 100% separatists. Even their strategy of choosing the name ‘Better Together’ is flawed. If BT is good, then let’s get into the EU even further. ‘Not always Better Together, but Better Together in this case’ is a mouthful.

    Leann Wood of Plaid Cymru got it right by saying,

    ” England is a sister nation with which all three nations have a “common Britishness” ”

    We also have very different ways of seeing how growth (and wealth) should be encouraged. If the BT camp had any sense, they would call for a UK ‘oil fund’ and show that they are not throwing the oil money down the drain. John Major’s government left the lottery fund alone, while the Blair government did not.

    It worries me that an Independent Scotland with a socialist government will not keep its hands out of the till (especially a Scottish Labour one, as they have previous form in such things).

    Still on the fence. I think independence is the way to go, but not with the current VI of Scotland. Labour forever, and that will be Scotland’s ‘Darien II’.

  21. @The Sheep

    In this white paper, the SNP have sold a Yes vote on the basis of promises of certain statuses with the EU and UK being maintained, and these statuses are actually mutually exclusive. Because of this an unlikely Yes vote would be a poison chalice for the SNP.

    If the SNP couldn’t achieve the status with regards to EU membership and retaining the Pound they sold the referendum on, it would discredit them and the independence process. There would be a lot of anger directed towards the SNP, and probably harsh calls for a fresh referendum before Independence proceeded. I would not put it beyond the SNP to ignore those calls, and press ahead with independence anyway. It would certainly destroy the political careers of every single member of the SNP should they push forward on independence at a disadvantage to Scotland.

    But the whole process is really just a face saving effort by the SNP to say “Well, we could have had all these wonderful things, if only you had voted Yes. But the horrible English frightened you into voting No!”. It’s now clear no serious negotiation and legal process has been put in place to achieve independence.

    Had they actually wanted a clear process, it would have been more sound for there to have been a two stage referendum. First authorising the Scottish Parliament to negotiate an Independence Settlement, then a final Independence referendum on the basis of the Settlement negotiated. Ultimately, I think the reason they haven’t, is no one seriously expects Yes to win, so no real effort is being put into a sound independence process.

    And personally I think it’s a huge waste of Scotland’s public funds to conduct a referendum for no other reason than to say the SNP succeeded in getting a referendum.

  22. Personally I believe there should be a bedding-in period of five or so years prior to EU-related negotiations. First, the EU needs to ascertain if Scotland is financially sound as an independent nation. Secondly, Scotland can get time to see if they can operate in a manner similar to Norway.

    Scotland will need the time to settle in on the home front anyway. They will probably spend the first twenty years arguing with rUK about all manner of things.

  23. The news of the Funding for Lending Scheme announcement is interesting. It starts to look like the decision to cut Mortgage Provider funding from the scheme has come from Mark Carney rather than George Osborne, and announced in a way to prevent political interference as a fait accompli. This appears to be because Carney is very concerned that the Government has created a housing bubble, and is using what ever break levers he has access to.

    It will be very interesting to see what the results will be of the review over how much control the Bank of England has on limiting Help To Buy, and then how much they do limit it. I predict that if they can, they will do as much as possible to prevent a housing bubble and reducing Help To Buy. Even if this results in negative growth, on the basis a soft landing now is better than a hard one later.


    “I’m not an expert so I can’t comment on the White Paper.
    Buy yourself a raincoat it’s a bit wet outside.”


    Oh, you’re not worried about welfare of Scots after all then? It’s not like you need to take exams to comment on the paper, which is for and aimed at the populace. It’s basically a manifesto.

    May have been raining for you, here it was sunny. I have my eye on a coat from Reiss, so naturally I returned with an Airfryer instead. Hard to resist a gadget…

  25. @StatGeek

    Unfortunately, it is the SNP’s position that they will perforce receive all their due in negotiations within *months* of declaring independence, not years.

    “Independence first, settlement after” is… not functional.

  26. Oldnat,

    A couple of points in reply to your posts. You are right, the eurozone states do not have their own currencies. They are also discovering they are not very independent any more. A trip to Portugal, Cyprus or Greece would update you on how that is going! (Cyprus even contains a small corner of the UK already using the euro.)

    As for an independent Scotland joining the European Monetary System, that clearly can’t happen if Scotland is using Sterling, as the Bank of England is not going to join the EMS just for Scotland’s benefit. So there would have to be some other procedure negotiated with all the other EU states. And I don’t think they are going to offer a eurozone opt-out in those negotiations.

    I’m not mentioning all this to raise spurious difficulties. If Scotland wants to go it alone, then good luck… but best not to do it on an unrealistic view of what is achievable.

  27. @Jim (other one)

    “I do get the perception that the SNP think of independence similar to a divorce, and they want a settlement that includes still having the washing done and food provided free…”


    Yes, and worse, is the idea that any demands are justified, simply because of having discussed the idea first. Well, naturally, the more ridiculous the claim, the more likely they will have discussed it first, since others wouldn’t have considered it on account of its being ridiculous. Another irony, is that the Yes campaigners are a bit late to the party regarding their position… if being first to set out your stall gives precedence, then the “Better Together” gang have been making the running for a while.

    To add insult to injury, the follow-up gambit is that if we don’t cave, then they might not take up their share of their banking debt. Which in divorce terms, is like saying you want the house and car, and if you don’t get it, then you’ll dump the credit card debt you built up on them. I mean, they are already liable to get most of the oil… that works out in their favour, fair enough, but they want the stuff that doesn’t work out in their favour as well. They want to share the currency which suits them, but not most of the oil. They want to be in Nato, but ditch the subs.

    And there’s a thing. They’re threatening holding the debt over us to pressure over the currency. Hard to keep track in all the smoke, but has this debt been held over us before? The gift that keeps on giving…

    And if the blackmail gambit doesn’t work either, what else? Well, there’s always the plea to look after their welfare. This approach often crops up when an argument is struggling… we had a variant of it in the energy debate, where we were implored to keep bending over to save the poor struggling energy companies. This welfare angle is a bit worrying regarding the fragility of independence in practice if they are so dependent on our assisting their welfare. And they do not seem too keen on considering our welfare. We are supposed to take on the risk and hassle of a shared currency mechanism, and in their cake-and-eat-it world, guess what… this may only be for a short while if they choose to join the euro. Whereupon we have to accommodate another change…


    Speaking personally, I don’t blame them for trying, and I can understand why they may want independence. Would I personally object to what they wanted? Not really, provided it wasn’t a screw up in practice. But I don’t buy the idea it’s all automatically entitled for them and necessarily in our interests to do as they say.

  28. @Hal – I am perfectly happy to accept your correction and also that immigrants are a net benefit to the community.

    What I think is true is that it is widely believed that immigrants cause problems for services and take British jobs and also (which is counter to the idea that they take British jobs) that they are busy living off hard-working families.

    Personally I believe that particular localities may pay a penalty in terms of strain over services (e.g. Kent CC claims that immigration costs it 3 million and that the economy benefit by 70 million but none of it comes back to them). And I also suspect that in certain occupations (e.g. cleaning in central london) immigrants may drive down wages.

    As the things that I think would be good anyway (minimum wage, more houses, better funded public services) are logical answers to the problem that immigrants are supposed to cause, I am more concerned with getting the solution in place than with the reality or otherwise of the problem. On the other hand I regret the fact that the solution offered is in my view a scapegoating one, not relevant to any possible issues and likely to make a variety of things worse.

  29. Aren’t survation polls rubbish generally. They’re the ones who think UKIP are on 18% nationally. Here’s a hint, they’re not!

    And now we find the sample was suspiciously pro-Labour and pro-UKIP before they even asked the question. Well, what a surprise at the answer that came out.

  30. @TheSheep

    “There will be many people who vote Tory because they think Ed Miliband is the next Chairman Mao, and many who vote Labour because they think David Cameron is the next Franco.”


    Funnily enough, Cameron accused Miliband of being Marxist for advocating intervention regarding cost of living. Which of course allowed Miliband to ask Cameron if he himself was being Marxist now he’s intervening. So we may see what impact a u-turn has on VI… whether people like the change, or hold the u-turn against them. Maybe we’ll get a specific polling question on this aspect…

  31. Allan Christie

    […]I doubt UKIP will win over 10% at the next election. Tories are disgruntled over immigration and Europe and I think Cameron will roll out a few sweeteners before 2015

    I tend to agree, though they might just get into double figures. The interesting question is whether they will fall much from that level, because at around 10% they are causing significant damage to the Conservatives and will probably do so if they poll much above 5%.

    The South Thanet poll is both too small and too limited to give us more than hints, but the way in which those UKIP voters who will give an alternative (most don’t) say they would split evenly between Labour and Conservative if there were no UKIP candidate, is suggestive. The minority of UKIP voters who are possible Labour voters may also be less firmly attached. This is in part because UKIP are a anti-government Party and Labour aren’t in government, but UKIP people almost certainly don’t themselves as rich and will see Labour as more likely to protect them against the privileged as epitomised by Cameron.

    The current UKIP VI certainly contains 2-3 points of protest vote ex-Tories who will revert come the election – and indeed already have for a time earlier this Autumn. But after that any decline in the UKIP vote may not be of nett benefit to the Conservatives unless the UKIP vote drops by a lot. Certainly shouting “Look! Scary Ed!!” won’t cause them all to run back into the blue fold come May 2015 as many seem still to believe.

    As to Cameron’s ‘sweeteners’, I don’t think they will work. In part this is because he has less control over immigration or the relationship with Europe than he would like – as today’s migration figures show. It’s also because in truth he and those around him don’t really believe in it – they’re the people who benefit from immigration and membership of the EU. So attempts to restrict them come across as insincere and liable to contradiction. But also UKIP voters tend to be impossibilists and there is probably little that he could deliver that they would see as satisfactory or enough.

  32. Charles “And I also suspect that in certain occupations (e.g. cleaning in central london) immigrants may drive down wages.”

    It doesn’t seem too long ago that such downward pressure on wages was often or generally perceived as good for the economy as it helped prevent ‘overheating’ – to use technical parlance.

    I have always argued on UKPR that banging on about immigration was a double-edged sword for the Cons and that DC’s promise to reduce the net immigration to tens of thousands would hang round his neck as a deadweight.

    UK net migration has increased according to the ONS.

  33. HAL

    I think you may have missed the point about the EMS.

    We agree that Scotland as part of the Sterling zone could not join the EMS unless the other member(s) did too.

    However, since there is no intention of applying for EMS membership, and EMS membership is a purely voluntary decision for member states, the issue simply doesn’t arise.

    Membership of the eurozone isn’t an “opt-out” procedure. It’s an “opt-in” (if you meet the criteria) one.

  34. HAL

    I think you may have missed the point about the EMS.

    We agree that Scotland as part of the Sterling zone could not join the EMS unless the other member(s) did too.

    However, since there is no intention of app-ly-ing for EMS membership, and EMS membership is a purely voluntary decision for member states, the issue simply doesn’t arise.

    Membership of the eurozone isn’t an “opt-out” procedure. It’s an “opt-in” (if you meet the criteria) one.

  35. Carfrew – couldn’t have put it better myself :)

  36. @john Pilgrim (2.15 and 6.22am)

    On the EU Commission’s ability to give an opinion on independence or not, I’m no expert, so I really don’t know what the procedure is. @Oldnat clearly thinks there is some formal process by which a member state asks them for a determination on such matters, and he may well be correct. What confuses me, is the commission has already stated very clearly what their position is, more than once, so I’m unsure why @oldnat and other nats don’t seem to think the commission’s view is settled.

    You seem to be correct though in that the decision rests with the council of ministers, which means there is no certainty in automatic accession, especially if rUK doesn’t support it.

  37. ALEC

    Yet again – the Commission has at no time expressed an opinion. Individual Commissioners and ex-Commissioners have said various things at various times.

    The Commission position has been made quite clear. It “will only be able to express its opinion on the legal consequences under EU law of a specific situation upon request from a member state detailing a precise scenario”

  38. Ha
    Just had Populus on the phone asking my VI and various questions, some of them loaded, on Heathrow expansion.

    They never called me before – must be the UKPR effect

  39. Spain don’t seem to be too happy about continued Scottish EU membership:


    Spain isn’t too happy about continued Catalan membership.

    That’s why,according to the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, Partido Popular officials met with British Tories to agree a common political line.

    “a senior figure in the Spanish Conservative party, the Partido Popular (PP), will fly to Scotland to meet with Scottish Conservative and Labour politicians in order to agree a united front against independence.

    The leading conservative [Esteban González Pons] attended the conference of the British Conservatives in Birmingham, where he met with the principal leaders in order to agree a position.

    Catalonia and Scotland are different regions and have different problems, but the response has to be a joint one.”

    Its called politics.

  41. “Its called politics.”

    I would call it something different, but I’m sure AW is busy enough without the moderation duties.

    What do they have to fear, expect democracy itself?

  42. If is ridiculous that Labour and Tories are conspiring with Spain against Scotland. This is what I referred to yesterday regarding Labour being careful not to alienate Scots.

  43. I consider it acceptable for unionist politicians to warn about problems independence may bring Scotland in her international relations.

    I consider it unacceptable for unionist politicians to actually try to ensure that there are problems for Scotland in her international relations.

    If Scotland became independent, I would hope and expect that the UK would be her ally in getting the best deal she can from the EU and elsewhere. It’s something that could actually affect my vote. Although I expect I would struggle to find a party to vote for in my constituency that wouldn’t be implicated.

  44. In the context of both the debates in Scotland and in rUK about EU membership and associated matters, I just learned that an EU convention is anticipated for Spring 2015 to consider further changes to the EU Treaty.

    This article by Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff (while not dealing with Scotland at all) is a fascinating exploration of how the EU can easily accommodate changes. (not something which I imagine is ever reported in the MSM!

    Presumably, this is what Cameron is anticipating for his pre- EU referendum strategy – associate membership of the EU.

  45. @OldNat

    Scotland should get full membership, perhaps after a transitional period in the EEA. And in no way should rUK oppose this. It would be ludicrous.

    They might though have to compomise in their Accession Agreement on some kind of pooled sovereignty for a transitional period with with rUK for the purpose of say assisted area status.

  46. @ Guymonde

    So is Friday’s poll going to be an outlier then?

  47. “will only be able to express its opinion on the legal consequences under EU law of a specific situation upon request from a member state detailing a precise scenario”

    So…Scotland won’t be a member state and so cannot ask a question??

    And if no MS asks, the position might seem clear that Scotland is not a MS?

    Just an observation.

  48. RAF

    I agree. Indeed the SNP have suggested that it would be unwise to try to reconstruct the EU Budget arrangements which have been agreed until 2020. In the i4 years between independence and the new EU Budget, that Scotland and rUK should agree on how to divide the appropriate contributions/fundings that are part of current budget arrangements.

    At a guess, that would mean rUK keeping more of the rebate, but Scotland getting more of the CAP money (there’s been a big row here recently about how Westminster has dealt with CAP funding.)

  49. @ NEIL A

    Totally agree

  50. MIKE N

    Since Scotland is not an independent state at the moment, clearly your observation about the contemporary situation is 100% accurate, and Scotland is not a member state.

    Your predictive abilities about the future may be less valid.

    And in other news, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland is not a Catholic, and ursine defecation frequently occurs in arboreal regions.

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