There are two GB polls in the Sunday papers. Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer has topline figures of CON 28%(nc), LAB 35%(-2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 19%(+3). Meanwhile the weekly YouGov poll in the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%.

Opinium normally produce higher levels of UKIP support than other companies, but even by their standards the UKIP score is the highest since July. For YouGov the UKIP score is the highest since June, and follows on from a 14% yesterday. As ever, once can never be completely sure about the reasons behind poll movements (nor certain they aren’t just blips) but it’s tempting to link these figures with the recent prominence of Eastern European immigration in the news. This is a useful reminder of how public opinion can be a lot more complicated than “popular policy => more support”. The YouGov poll finds that the policies David Cameron has suggested on EU immigration (putting residency requirements and time limiting benefits for EU migrants and, deporting EU migrants sleeping rough) are very popular – all received over 80% support. However the short-term impact in the polls does not appear to be more Conservative support, but to push the immigration issue up the agenda and, therefore, increase support for UKIP.

Then again, shutting up about it probably may not have been much better either – the media were shouting about Romanian and Bulgarian immigration anyway, and will likely do so even more as January approaches, and would also have spent their time demanding Cameron did something. It’s not really as if Cameron could had kept it off the agenda if he’d wanted to – not doing anything at all could have been even better for UKIP!

Following the publication of the white paper on Scottish Independence I’m expecting some new Scottish polls measuring if there has been any impact on referendum voting intention. In the event there only seems to be one in the Sunday papers – a Progressive Scottish Opinion poll in the Scottish Mail on Sunday. They have YES on 27%(nc), NO on 56%(-3), Don’t know on 17%(+3). Changes are from their previous poll in September. Progressive are not BPC members, so we have limited information on what they do, but suffice to say the poll does not show a massive change from prior to the white paper. I’m hoping there will be more Scottish polling in the next week or two on the back of the white paper, so we shall see if it paints a consistent picture.


524 Responses to “Sunday YouGov and Opinium polls”

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  1. More generally, on the perennial question of “Are Labour doing well enough?”

    To pick up on Catmanjeff’s point, in previous parliaments, government recoveries from the midterm blues have relied on large numbers of Lab -> Tory or Tory -> Lab defectors switching back to the governing party at the election.

    At this point Labour VI comes almost entirely from 2010 Labour and Lib Dem voters, not from Tory defectors. To reduce the Labour vote share the Tories will therefore have to create new Tory -> Labour defectors rather than recovering their own lost voters. It’s not impossible, but a) I suspect it is something that is very difficult to do from government and b) there is no evidence the Tories have any strategy for doing it apart from “Ed Miliband is carp”.

    The Tory -> Ukip flux will probably behave more like historical mid-term blues, and it’s important to recognise that the Tories were seeing VIs around 40% earlier in this parliament. A result of 36-38% is probably attainable. But that won’t be good enough to keep them in government unless Labour collapse.

  2. The question is – who is going to vote Tory in 2015 who didn’t vote Tory in 2010?

  3. @BCrombie

    “Yes that regulation is so terrible isn’t it – much better to shoot wild animals than regulating things.”

    A friend of a friend had to go through some qualification to be legally able to shoot deer. He had been shooting deer for years prior to the new legislation, but the rule makers rarely use common sense. A shooter should fill out a form for every deer shot.

    Among other things, the shooter should give a cursory inspection of the hide and internal organs, for obvious signs of disease.

    The story goes that the form was filled out thus:

    Condition of the carcass

    Surprised

  4. RE: Regulations

    I work for a company that manufactures packaging for direct food contact (beverages) in a technical role that includes dealing with auditors and external certification bodies.

    It’s simple – if we need to do xyz to work to the standard required, we must do it. We can’t bleat who is going to pay for it. We do what we have to do, and this is rolled into the price charged. The filler may absorb the price, or they may pass it onto the supermarket. They can decide whether to absorb the cost or charge the consumer.

    I do find the farming works to be odd. They should do what is needed, and ultimately the consumer needs to pick the bill up.

  5. Statgeek

    How many deer was he shooting to find recording it was a big constraint? I am also quite happy that someone who goes around shooting things has to be certified

    Also, if killing a wild animal (legally) then why shouldn’t information be collected to see if there was any risk of a disease pool.

    It seems a bit over the top to me but then it is not always easy to get the balance right.

  6. If Labour win with about 36% (only slightly less than their current VI average) then we would have had four PMs in a row whose parties received about 35/36% of the vote, covering a period of 15 years.

    To put that into some perspective, people talked about Labour lacking a mandate for socialism in October 1974 when they got 39.2% of the vote, and Thatcher lacking a mandate for radical changes in 1979, 1983 and 1987 when she got 44/42% of the vote!

    Yet the period from 2005-2020 will hardly be one in which no radical changes have taken place. It’s enough to make me question FPTP, and I really, really, REALLY like it.

  7. A wee bit of polling – as reported by the gruan; I’ve not read it myself yet.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/03/tories-behind-labour-level-with-ukip-key-marginals

  8. Amber

    Survation polls by UKIP donor. Presumably Anthony will give the same warnings that he did previously.

  9. Catmanjeff, Statgeek, Others

    Are the number of parties directly related to what percentage of the electorate votes for them or does it just affect the number of people who vote? What is the highest percentage of the electorate any single party has ever had voting for them?

    If we go back to the hard stats like this we may be able to form some idea of how the next election might work.

  10. @ Amber

    Only key marginals in the sense of a Tory overall majority. I guess to an extent, although a fair enough poll, it Is being used for UKIP propaganda to say they have as much chance of winning these seats as the Tories do and a message that says voting UKIP is not letting Labour in.
    That was the narrative of the write up anyway!

  11. @Bill

    I made this point a few days ago myself.

    I think FPTP was more valid when parties won on 40 +% of the vote.

    In 2005 Labour won the election with 21% of the electorate supporting them.

    In 2010 the Conservatives won just 23 % of the potential vote.

    By comparison Harold Wilson won 36 % of the potential vote.

    In 1979 Margaret Thatcher won about 33 % of the potential votes.

    Can anyone imagine anyone winning 40% + in 2015? I can’t.

    Come in FPTP, your time is up.

  12. I blogged some time ago about the disproportionate affect of FPTP here:

    http://theroadtobatleymarket.wordpress.com/2011/05/15/our-electoral-system-is-still-broken/

  13. BILL PATRICK

    Presumably AV is now off the table (thank goodness) as referendums on a specific topic are considered to be “once in a generation” (and presumably they mean human, as opposed to badger generations).

    However as FPTP, as the sole system, becomes unattractive – even to its supporters – there’s seem no reason for Westminster not to consider the AMS systems which they thought would, and seems to, work elsewhere,

    I’m not holding my breath for that, though.

  14. Catmanjeff

    FPTP is fine. PR and AV are not so great.

    If half the people deliberately disenfranchise themselves, so what?

    At what point would non-voters’ non-voting be heard? I think you are saying it is already making a point. I beg to differ.

    Are they not just giving more responsibility to those who can be bothered to take part?

    Isn’t it more a sign of their own lack of education?

    I mean, fancy being allowed a vote after eight or nine thousand years of human history! And some can’t even be bothered once every four or five years to say whether they prefer Labour Tory Lib Dem, Green or UKIP.

    I would like to see anybody who doesn’t vote taken off the register for the next five years.

  15. Dudley North Survation poll with changes in GE2010
    :LAB 45+6
    CON 25-12
    LD 2% -9
    UKIP 23 +14

    Great Grimsby Survation poll with changes on GE2010
    Great Grimsby: LAB 40+7: CON 20-11: LD 12-9: UKIP 23+16

    Bad polls for the coalition These are Con targets

  16. @Bcrombie

    “I am also quite happy that someone who goes around shooting things has to be certified”

    While the people who make these silly laws need no certification; just a majority of people to back them in an election. :)

    The game dealers are best qualified and experienced to inspect carcasses. They also have far more to lose if they don’t inspect it properly. If something is amiss, then fill out a form, but let’s not fill out forms every time nothing new happens (well not unless you like to live in bureaucracticville). Can we take this forward to the Police? “Drove from A to B and nothing happened. Drove from B to C and nothing happened…”

  17. From the Graun article…

    “The polling suggests that 70% of the Ukip vote is not coming from Conservative voters in the 2010 election.”

    “Meanwhile Ukip is significantly outperforming its projected figure from most national polls, up 15 points on 23%, far above the 15% projected from national polling.

    Survation suggests: “This may be due to the fact that in marginal seats voters are by definition more volatile in changing their allegiance, but might also be partly due to the fact national polling from certain opinion polling companies underestimates the level of Ukip support (and over-estimates Conservative support).”

    ….

    “Survation said removing Ukip from the equation would not succeed in restoring Conservative fortunes in these areas. If Ukip ceased to exist and all Ukip defectors from the other three main parties were returned to the parties they voted for in 2010, the Conservatives would still be trailing Labour in the two seats 34% to 52%.”

  18. This idea that UKippers will inevitably return to the Tory bosom… Didn’t work quite that way when SDP split the lefty vote in ’83. Some may have, but they still got a quarter of the vote…

  19. IAJ

    The constituency I live in will never change from Con. Even in 97,it returned at 8800 Con majority. My voting is pointless. I do actually still vote, but I am effectively disenfranchised by FPTP.

    I don’t think you can put it down to a lack of education.

  20. It’s getting quite exciting all these polls paid by for private individuals. Survation article is here:

    http://survation.com/2013/12/new-constituency-polls-in-grimsby-dudley-north/

    So that’s three of the eight. Any bets on the others?

  21. CLOUD SPOTTER

    There is a logic to the FPTP position.

    If you really wanted your vote to count, then you would move to a marginal constituency. As Boris Johnson might say – don’t blame other people because you can’t be bothered to take the appropriate steps to make your vote count.

    Using work, home, family and such stuff as reasons is not an excuse.

  22. Anyone who moves house in order to have their vote count probably shouldn’t be voting. And if FPTP is so great why does none of the parties use it for its own elections?

  23. From Roger’s link….

    “UKIP’s support in these seats is not all or even mostly Conservative defectors however – only 30% of current UKIP voters in these areas were recorded as being people who voted Conservative in 2010 – 70% of their support is from other sources. 10% are coming from Labour voters and a significant proportion (around 20%) from people who were not recorded as having voted for any party in 2010.”

  24. Looks like we are back to 10pm poll results.

    YouGov/Sun poll tonight: Labour lead back up to 8: CON 32%, LAB 40%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%

  25. Thanks Liz: I’d just got used to looking forward to them arriving in the early morning.

    Tis all very perverse of the Sun.

  26. If it were my call, I’d be for AV with compulsory voting. That way, all voters have to take some responsibility for things, and every constituency ends up with the majority of constituents more pleased than less pleased. As it is, we have most less pleased again and again.

    Even if your least liked party gets elected, you can’t claim that most people didn’t vote for it. Every MP and government gains a modicum of a mandate.

    Having said that, we might get no end of compromise parties and coalitions with all pre-election policies dropped. That scenario would need to be addressed prior to an election.

    The only real problem I have with AV is that established parties might have an advantage versus others when being ranked by a voter (voting for the brand name, rather than the policies). As someone who waits until election week, and reads all manifesto summaries before I really make up my mind, I am in the minority. I don’t believe 90% of manifesto content, but the blatant fibs are more telling (the SSP’s manifesto is always good for a laugh).

    @CMJ

    “In 2010 the Conservatives won just 23 % of the potential vote.”

    Indeed, and they formed a coalition and with the Lib Dems they have 36.3% of the electorate, which is the best mandate since Labour in 1966 (36.4%) or the Conservatives of 1959 (38.8%).

    Labour’s best ever victory in 1997 took 30.9% of the electorate, while Major got 32.7% in 1992. In fact compare the two Thatcher victories:

    1979 – 13,607,923 – 43.9% of votes – 33.3% of electorate – Majority of 44
    1979 – 13,012,316 – 42.4% of votes – 30.9% of electorate – Majority of 144

    With that in mind, I think it’s fair to say that while we use FPTP, the mandate is the majority of seats and nothing else.

  27. Typo…second comparison line should be 1983.

  28. @ROSIEANDDAISIE

    I think the Sun has given up on the Tories winning the next election.

  29. ROGERH

    Hard choice then, innit?

    Remain where you are, with a job, house and family and you are not only effectively disenfranchised, but then the FPTP enthusiasts tell you its your own fault that you have no influence over your governance.

    I’m sure that some clever people must have come up with alternatives – Why are they never listened to for England’s governance?

  30. @Carfrew

    (Your quote, requoted)

    “The polling suggests that 70% of the Ukip vote is not coming from Conservative voters in the 2010 election.”

    UKIP might start hoovering up ‘did not vote’ folk from 2010. There are plenty of folk out there who obviously didn’t like the options available.

  31. YouGov/Sun poll tonight: Labour lead back up to 8: CON 32%, LAB 40%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%

  32. Dudley North had the fifth highest UKIP vote in 2010 while Great Grimsby was about 41st – I assume they were put together because (like Ashcroft’s last lot) they were seats that the Conservatives need to win for an overall majority. On this showing they would only squeak in if every single UKIP voter went to them.

    I’m not sure if these are the full tables for the constituencies because there were some questions asked in Thanet South that aren’t here. So it may be that they will appear later, possibly combined across all eight.

  33. STATGEEK

    But if you look at Scotland’s local government by elections (which are effectively AV) the result is just what you suggest – the dominant party/parties in the area hoover up the votes.

    Compulsory voting could be applied to any electoral system.

  34. I’m not great at reading tables, but the Great Grimsby/Dudley North poll appears to show Labour picking up more actual votes from among 2010 Cons, than from among 2010 LDs.

    The Labour loss to UKIP is more than made up by that number of 2010 Cons switching to Labour.

    Con also suffering a (smaller) net loss to LDs on top of the haemorrhage to UKIP… the only area where they are making a very modest gain is from ‘some other party’.

  35. @Oldnat

    The difference is the tactical voting. All my point of view of course, but with FPTP the tactical voting is generally to keep out one of two likely candidates. Anyone but [insert hated party of your choice].

    AV provides a means for positive tactical voting. You (a hypothetical Scot in this example) may like the SNP, but you may also prefer the Green Party. You may never vote UKIP, and have stopped considering Conservative as an option. You didn’t like the Blair / Brown years, and have no love of the Lib Dems since 2010.

    SO you vote SNP then Green, and leave the rest blank. Yes you might go SNP, Green, Lib, Lab, UKIP and leave Con blank if you’re an ABT type voter, but the whole process seems more positive, rather than negative. If nothing else, it forces the voter to consider the implications of their choices.

  36. @Statgeek

    Thanks for the information

    The info I posted was a few highlights, rather than a full analysis.

    The 1979 and 1983 data shows the difference a split opposition makes.

    Essentially FPTP gets more disproportionate the more people vote outside Labour and the Conservatives.

    Since I cannot see the electorate fitting neatly back into the two party boxes like it did in the 1950’s, all I can see is FPTP bringing our parliament into further disrepute.

  37. @Statgeek

    Personally I don’t like AV (I voted against it in the referendum).

    I think some weighting is required when you may get someone winning on fourth ranking votes.

    I rather like the system used in the Scottish Parliament.

  38. @CMJ

    I voted against it too. Not because I inherently dislike it, but for the simple reason that the Lib Dems were trying to change the system to suit themselves.

    Regardless of the system, compulsory voting (option to spoil) would make a world of difference to the system. Yes it would bring a lot of criticism, but it would also force the existing ‘elite’ to change. There’s far less scope for complacency, as the safe seats will be less safe.

  39. The BBC did a piece on the potential impact of AV on recent elections:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8506306.stm

    The 1997 election was really disproportionate, and under AV Labour’s 43.2% of the vote would have given a majority of about 240 (even more disproportionate than FPTP).

    43.2% of the vote should never give a party 68% of the seats.

    That’s why I don’t like AV.

  40. STATGEEK

    While that’s very true (especially about my preferring Green! :-) ), I’m more inclined to look at the practical effect. There remains no chance of the Green candidate getting elected in my constituency, so it would do little but give me a sense of having done something, for me to cast my 1st preference for Green, then decide which unappealing option I was actually going to try to get elected in my single member constituency.

    Having a multi-member Ayrshire constituency would be better, as is having some FTPT constituencies in the region and a 2nd vote where I might have a reasonable chance of getting a Green MP – as I can now do for an MSP.

    I was dubious about the AMS method when it was first proposed, but voters have shown an ability to use it in their own interests, as opposed to the interests of the political parties.

    Power in the hands of voters, not parties, seems a preferable situation.

  41. I’m not keen on forcing people to vote. What if you dislike all of the candidates and parties?

    It would need a none of the above option for sure.

  42. STATGEEK

    “@Carfrew
    (Your quote, requoted)
    “The polling suggests that 70% of the Ukip vote is not coming from Conservative voters in the 2010 election.”
    UKIP might start hoovering up ‘did not vote’ folk from 2010. There are plenty of folk out there who obviously didn’t like the options available.”

    ————

    True. Immigration, for example, is very salient in issue trackers. And if none of the major parties have been addressing this sufficiently, then some may have not been interested much in voting for major parties. If now Ukip are perceived to be better addressing this issue, then they may indeed hoover up in the way you suggest.

    And these voters may not turn to another party in a General Election, since on the salient issue, the other parties are a disappointment.

  43. @Catmanjeff: With a different system people would vote in a different way so all such calculations should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Even so it only gives Labour an additional 27 seats, pushing their share up by just 4.5%.

  44. The YouGov tweeted put us straight back to the norm of recent times:

    Five poll rolling average

    Con 31.8
    Lab 38.8
    LD 9.4
    UKIP 13.2

    Lab Lead 7

  45. @RogerH

    Of course such retrospective analysis will have it’s vagaries.

    The 1997 election under FPTP gave Labour 63% of the seats for 43.2% of the vote.

    In 1983 the Conservatives won 61% of the seats with 42.4% of the vote.

    I find both results democratically unacceptable.

    I refer to Lord Hailsham’s ‘Elected Dictatorship’.

  46. @CMJ

    “It would need a none of the above option for sure.”

    I did mention ‘option to spoil’. I’m not sure a ‘none of the above’ option is a positive way to go. Is it fair to give any government a vote of no confidence on their first day in the job? It’s not the fault of the most popular party if they are less popular than 50.01%

  47. STATGEEK

    ” Is it fair to give any government a vote of no confidence on their first day in the job?”

    I’d have thought so if none of the competing parties (or even potential coalitions of them) could command such a low level of support.

    It might reverse their thinking that we are their creatures, rather than the other way around.

  48. @Statgeek – “Quite right. If they [farmers] said yes to everything suggested from regulators and politicians we wouldn’t have farmers for very long.”

    That isn’t an untypical view from the farming industry, but in many ways it is seriously misguided. Farming has developed a rather dreadful mindset that all that is needed is for government to ‘get off our backs’ and the horny handed sons of the soil will be much better off.

    You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve had the same conversation in the pub with my farming friends who say they want nothing better than DEFRA and the EU to leave them be, and then I ask if that means they would be happy to give back the subsidies. At this point, we start talking about football.

    However, there is a serious point here. Farmers expect the taxpayer to cover them when there are problems. bTB is a classic example of this. There are sound reasons for ensuring compensation for diseased beasts – otherwise you would have hidden cases and greater potential infection.

    However, by not having to take financial responsibility for such problems, bad farmers have little incentive to deal with the problem. The case I highlighted about the first bTB case in my own county since 2008 is a case in point. What farmer, faced with paying their own costs for losses, would ever have thought of buying animals from a high risk bTB area? Under any sense of logic, this is a mad thing to do, yet he did it, knowing he would not have to pay to clear up the mess.

    There was an enormous fuss when Labour suggested post foot and mouth (quite reasonably) that the farming industry should in future pay a small insurance levy to contribute to disease outbreak costs in the future. The main complaint was that farmers who didn’t maintain sufficient bio security could find they didn’t get the payouts.

    They didn’t seem to realise that this was the point. As it is, the taxpayer remains the bail out fund, which is one of the reasons that we have such lax bio security on farms to this day.

  49. STATGEEK

    ” Is it fair to give any government a vote of no confidence on their first day in the job?”

    I’d have thought so if none of the competing parties (or even potential coalitions of them) could command such a low level of support.

    It might reverse their thinking that we are their creatures, rather than the other way around.

    I think this is the message the police commissioners should hear:

    The public doesn’t care one iota about them.

  50. @Oldnat

    For what it’s worth, the SNP were elected with 22.7% of the electorate (constituency votes). There isn’t a party in the UK that commands a majority of the electorate. The Conservatives managed 40.3% in 1951. My spreadsheets tend to stop at 1945 as it’s easier not to include National Liberals (Lib or Con).

    Anyone got an election with 50% of the electorate (post rotten borough times).

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