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. @SHEVII

    I can’t say, but I look forward to seeing myself in the tables.

    Us 90 year old mixed-race transexuals who voted Green last time but with a BNP VI are few and far between.



  3. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but it doesn’t seem to be that it’s the Unionists who have been making the running on the Scotland/EU question, more likely they have been following up on statements made by various allies and/or commissioners.

  4. If David Cameron succeeds in getting an agreement from the EU that citizens from new member countries will not have the automatic right to free movement, does that mean that if/when Scotland joins the EU, its citizens won’t be allowed in to the rest of the UK?

    Just musing…..

  5. @Oldnat – “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””

    And I say again, hmm….

    When the head of the commission says – “What I said, and it is our doctrine and it is clear since 2004 in legal terms, if one part of a country – I am not referring now to any specific one – wants to become an independent state, of course as an independent state it has to apply to the European membership according to the rules – that is obvious.”

    and – “For European Union purposes, from a legal point of view, it is certainly a new state. If a country becomes independent it is a new state and has to negotiate with the EU.”

    Barruso seems to be stating a clear view of the commission, which was repeated this week, and I would find it very odd if the head of the organisation was saying something repeatedly that wasn’t the organisations actual position.


    “Maybe I haven’t been paying attention”

    That does seem a likely explanation.

  7. @Guymonde

    “Us 90 year old mixed-race transexuals”

    Hmm. I had you pegged for 70-75.


  8. @Alec,

    I don’t see any problem at all with the negotiations on Scottish EU membership taking place during the interregnum between a “Yes” vote and actual secession. I also don’t see any problem with the 28 member states deciding whether they will support Scottish membership in advance of that actual secession date, and having the details worked out in time for “Scotland leaving the UK&EU” and “Scotland joining the EU” happening simultaneously.

    I appreciate that some members may see political reasons not to want this to happen, and I can can see there being hurdles in terms of the actual terms of membership, but if the will is there I think the deal could be done without any legal impediment.

    In general, the EU is keen on having new members, particularly members who are prosperous, have strategically important resources and are “properly European”. The delays that usually occur in applicant countries (to do with economic alignment, improving democratic institutions and/or human rights etc) simply do not apply to Scotland.

  9. @oldnat

    Perhaps I should have said that it was the SNP who really made the running, by claiming that membership would be automatic.

  10. “What do they have to be scared about?”
    Everyone should be scared by the spectre of Catalonian independence. Unlike the Scotland/England situation the economic incline between Catalonia and the rest of Spain is very steep. Spain would instantly be in a desperate position if Catalonia split. The situation would also be bad in Catalonia because it is so reliant on “exports” to the rest of Spain.
    I shouldn’t have to say what this would mean for the Euro and hence the world economy.
    I was in Catalonia in October and have to say for a Scot it was a shock because lots and lots of Catalonians want the split. Flags absolutely everywhere. In part this is because of Rajoy who never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity but nevertheless an independent Catalonia would be a disaster for everyone.
    Whatever the Tories or anyone else here thinks, the Spanish government will have to oppose Scottish entry to the EU and I don’t think Cameron will be keen to be too closely associated with Rajoy

  11. ALEC

    I do understand that from your perspective as someone opposed to independence, creating doubts about the future is a legitimate tactic.

    That you cast doubt upon an exact quotation from the EU, (I presume that what was your “hmm” implied) seems a strange response. Strangely, it comes from the exact same source that you are quoting from!

    Have you actually looked at what you quote from Barosso?

    Not a single word in that conflicts with the SNP position.. Barosso is no fool. He selects his words extremely carefully.

    At the same time, none of what he said in his letter to the House of Lords conflicts with the SNP’s view either.

    Like Rajoy, he carefully stresses article 49 of the Treaty, which would only apply if Scotland were to exit from the UK without having already negotiated its terms with the EU.

    The text of that letter is here


    While I totally agree with you that saying it would be “automatic” was singularly daft, that’s a different thing from “making the running”.

    For that you need to look at the joint planning of The Spanish PP, UK Tories, and Scottish Labour and Tory.

  13. @TARK
    “Carfrew – couldn’t have put it better myself :)”


    Thanks Tark. One really goes through the looking glass on some of this stuff. I was just checking back on the previous thread, and couldn’t help noticing that Scots doing better out of the Barnett formula was considered a bad thing by the same person who now has issues if Scots get less if they vote no. There’s no oleasing some people…


    I agree with much of what you say about Rajoy and the economic strength of Catalunya.

    It is, indeed, possible that Madrid would be so intransigent as to be unwilling to look after their own interests by coming to a reasonable compromise with the Catalans. After all, it is largely measures like banning the use of Catalan in Catalan schools that they have driven so many Catalans into the independence camp.

    Despite the posturing of UK politicians, I don’t anticipate Westminster being so insanely stupid as to adopt a similar policy if Scots do vote Yes.

    “an independent Catalonia would be a disaster for everyone.” seems rather an apocalyptic judgment, however! :-)

    There was localised economic disruption when Slovenia left Yugoslavia, but the world is still here.

    I’m really disappointed that you didn’t offer your UK solution (that the UK would expand and absorb more countries) to the Iberian situation. Wouldn’t it be much better if Madrid controlled Portugal (and Gibraltar, of course) as well?

  15. @OLDNAT

    “Despite the posturing of UK politicians, I don’t anticipate Westminster being so insanely stupid as to adopt a similar policy if Scots do vote Yes.”


    But isn’t your argument that the reason you want “independence” is because you weren’t given that “reasonable compromise” eg too London-centric.

    So if you want to leave because UK didn’t give you enough of what you want, why expect it to be different post-independence, or with respect to Spain?

    Like I said… Through the looking glass…

  16. ALEC
    Your quote from a verbal statement by Barosso ““What I said, and it is our doctrine and it is clear since 2004 in legal terms, etc” seems to me to be less clear cut than his letter to the HOL, which was clearly drafted for him by his legal department. The Commission is a civil service, and its head’s off the cuff statements are an opinion of a different and lower order than one provided by the Commission to a formal request by a member state. The Catalonia question is one entirely of domestic politics, with a history of domestic terrorism which may lead to pressure not to have Scotland and the acceptance of independence and recognition of right to membership of the EU set a precedent. The Spanish Government may hold the threat of voting against an application for membership of the EU by an independent Scotland, but that can’t be m ore than an agreement to “bear in mind” the consequences for Spanish domestic politics, in any discussions with the Conservative and Labour parties, but could not be a conspiracy or any kind of commitment to a policy position in the run-up to seeking an advisory statement by the Commission or to a vote of member states in the Council of Ministers on an independent Scotland’s application for membership. IMO, if Scotland gets independence, then the fox is shot, and Spain would not vote agains membership.

  17. “Whatever the Tories or anyone else here thinks, the Spanish government will have to oppose Scottish entry to the EU and I don’t think Cameron will be keen to be too closely associated with Rajoy”


    Well apparently the reason they want “Independence” is because we are the London-centric bad guys. Even when we give them more money, that’s still bad because “hypocritical”. But if they get “independence”, their manifesto is predicated on us being “good guys” and giving them what they want.

    “Drink me”…

  18. @Carfrew

    For UK, read ‘Westminster’. Most nationalists would probably be happy with devo-max or federalism.

    Would England be happy to be known as the ‘state of England, in the country of the United Kingdom’?Should Scotland be happy to be described as ‘one of the regions of the United Kingdom’?

    Worse yet, having lazy foreign folk refer to the UK as England. Try the looking glass yourself.

  19. @Statgeek

    Quibble with oldnat if that’s what you want. You know what I mean, you couldn’t challenge the argument…

  20. I am longing for a new thread, we’ve got so much to discuss about things that could affect VI (immigrants, Boris, hmm, well perhaps not).

  21. Ok Howard, lets have one about Libdem VI prospects!!…

  22. HOWARD

    Immigration is in the thread title, so why don’t you post on it? We are (mostly) intelligent people who can follow a number of different discussions in the same thread.

  23. I think Boris’s comments will just confirm the elitist Tory tag. He was so wrong on a number of fronts in particular ‘greed’ is what caused the financial meltdown. Greed is most definitely not good for anyone.

    But his comments on IQ are just scary.

    I have no idea why people think he is lovable or that he could be the next Con leader.

  24. @MSmithsonPB: UKIP hit 14% in latest YouGov poll
    CON 33%
    LAB 39%
    LD 8%
    UKP 14

    A poll to discuss

  25. Couper – Really? Not convinced it’s anything other than natural MOE.

    I don’t think the polls have changed at all this week – not a jot of inter-week variance, because there’s not really been oodles to talk about. Cammers had a bit on immigration a couple days ago, but didn’t get any lasting coverage, and most of what he said has been stated before.

    Tell you what though – there were more than a couple posters on here that said the Tories would be level and/or have a narrow lead by the time the early nights came. As it is a 6/7 point lead going into Winter, and past the 18 month mark is a steady election base for Labour.

  26. So well,the Borris Johnson speech.Any impact on VI?

  27. COUPER2802

    Isn’t that within the moe of recent YG polls?

  28. Actually,that looks wrong.Only one R in Boris.

  29. Good Evening All. Beautiful on Southbourne/Bournemouth beach tonight.

    ROSIEAND DASIE. They are in an extraordinary position.

    UKIP’s impact will be huge at this level of 14%.

  30. ON and others.
    Thanks, I just thought one would be intruding when there is a Saltire on top.

    OK, I am slightly surprised that the fact that the PM proposed introducing measures that were actually already in effect, as explained by the EC representative for that subject, was not highlighted more by the supposed independent BBC and ITV. I did not suppose that people could just turn up here and draw JSA, but had supposed that to be the case, which the EC fellow confirmed. I did not know they could be shewn the door if they were ‘on the streets’ but good to know that is the case.

    I don’t know what is going on at No 10 but it appears (I stress appears) that the background people there are prepared to give any old nonsense for the PM to come out with. I suppose they have worked out that the ‘noise’ is good enough in itself. Perhaps it is. We should see some poll reaction over the next few days?

  31. Tonights Yougov:

    Con – 33%
    Laab – 39%
    Ukip – 14%
    Clegg – 8%

  32. Not overly interested in the referendum but do feel the YES side ten to personalise too much of what should be a “debate”.

    Latest to be got at is Major – not for the points he makes but because he presided over the loss of virtyually all Tory MPs in Scotland.

    I’m sure he did but don’t see what that has to do with the arguments either way.

  33. @Carfrew

    It’s not even an argument. Will Cameron side with the Spanish to undermine the Scots’ chance of EU access? Then in the next exciting instalment, we’ll have Gibraltar hissyfits. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

  34. Howard

    I’ve seen the headlines on Cameron’s suggestion and the response from the EC Commissioner, but been busy with other stuff! :-)

    What is Cameron proposing that are actually changes?

  35. Today’s U-turn on cig packaging following the ones on payday loans and green carp make me suspect that a slight worsening of the Con VI is on the cards. My experience is that whatever the merits voters don’t like u-turns any more than they like dis-unity.

  36. @Oldnat – I remain completely baffled why we have not resolved our discussions on Scotland and EU membership before now, but I am grateful for the link to Barruso’s letter – it vindicates precisely everything I have been saying, so thank you.

    You’ve subtlety shifted the apparent focus of the debate onto what SNP policy is or is not – but that is nothing to do with what I was pointing out. I have consistently said that there is no automatic right of EU membership, that EU membership would need to be negotiated from scratch, that membership would need to be ratified by all remaining member states, and that at least one of those has stated that this will not be automatic.

    Barruso’s letter confirms this to be the position of the EU commission. Note that I have also said that I don’t expect Scotland to be excluded from the EU, but that I think the SNP might well be surprised at how long the process takes, and they will not get the deal they want.

    The SNP have stated many times that they will inherit all the UK privileges and opt outs – they won’t, as they will have to bargain some of these away, thanks to the process that you confirmed with your link.

    There are times when I think you really need to accept that an inconvenient point is an established fact. But then again, if you opt to post links that confirm what the other side is saying, then maybe not.

  37. ……………..oh dearie me.

  38. Hi Jack R:

    ”Tell you what though – there were more than a couple posters on here that said the Tories would be level and/or have a narrow lead by the time the early nights came. As it is a 6/7 point lead going into Winter, and past the 18 month mark …”

    Quite a few of us steadfastly predicted the opposite though! And I think we gave some pretty good grounds for thinking that way, so it was, maybe, a bit more than luck. Having said which, we could, of course, yet be proved to have been guessing hopelessly…

  39. Very interested to see the BoE withdraw funding for lending on mortgages. Clearly they are twitchy about house prices, and I wonder if they are sending a message regarding Help to Buy.

    Oddly enough, land registry found house prices actually fell last month, but I think the BoE action may be significant. Consumer spending and confidence may be turning downwards again, and if the government comes under pressure on policies to pump the housing market, I think they could be in for some uncomfortable questions on economic strategy.

  40. ALEC

    I note that you have shifted your stance to BILLY BOB’s one that the suggestion of “automatic” entry was unwise,

    As you’ll have noted I agree with that.

    I also agree that if Scotland exits the UK prior to having negotiated the treaty, then Article 49 would apply.

    However, Article 49 is wholly irrelevant until the point that Scotland does exit the UK. The position between the referendum and actual independence is unaffected by Article 49.

    Consequently, you are wrong in stating that “EU membership would need to be negotiated from scratch”. As part of the EU, Scotland is already wholly compliant with all of the aquis.

    I understand why you wish to ally yourself with Rajoy – sat though that is,

  41. ON (over what DC is proposing extra on EU immigration benefits rules)

    From what I gleaned from the EC bloke, – nothing. I got my info via foreign press so perhaps we should recognise that one should not listen to foreigners in this country, that is, as long as one doesn’t wish to be unpopular. So I don’t imagine we’ll hear much from those who do know but would prefer it not to be known that they know.

    I’ll do a bit more research but I don’t keep as late hours as you do, so will come back on this.

    It’s not even an argument. Will Cameron side with the Spanish to undermine the Scots’ chance of EU access? Then in the next exciting instalment, we’ll have Gibraltar hissyfits. It’s all smoke and mirrors.


    Yeah, I only mentioned Spain for context, my argument, was about the UK thing, remember?The thing you needlessly took issue with? Because when I said “UK”, I meant “being in the UK”, as opposed to the pointless way you took it to mean.

    (I declined to use “Westminster” at the time because some quibbler might have gone “Ah, but they can’t have so much of an issue with Westminster if they want a shared currency etc. etc.”)

    So, let’s hear your objection to my argument about the UK, otherwise you were just quibbling off the point.

  43. HOWARD


    I’ll be off to bed soon. Early start tomorrow as grandson minding tomorrow.

  44. Watching Question Time.
    Terribly depressing.
    Sturgeon looks good purely because the rest of the panel are all dire
    And I generally have a positive view of the Scots

  45. They do seem to like a good quibble…

  46. Has anyone said



    I never watch the programme – can’t stand all their

    “If I was in charge if everything, with my commonsense approach then everything would be fantastic.”

    Oh no it wouldn’t.

  47. Yawn – what a damn bore! – the more I hear them all bickering the more I’ll be glad when Scotland has voted next year!


    They didn’t show the bit where there was a power cut.

    Eddi sang to the audience apparently. Probably better to have shown that. :-)

    I rather like Pat Harvie.

  49. sine

    Hear hear: we’ll also be pretty close to the return of a Labour Govt by then – which will be nice.

  50. sine

    I should point out though that it is NOT compulsory to watch proggies you don’t like.

    Try my technique of not turning the telly on.

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