The daily YouGov poll for the Sun tonight has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 11%. The two point Labour lead is the lowest that YouGov have shown since October, and 36% is the highest they’ve shown since October. Usual caveats of course apply – it could be a further narrowing of Labour’s lead, or could just be normal margin of error. It does, however, underline the narrowing of the Labour lead that we saw in YouGov’s daily polling last week.
Meanwhile, as if to illustrate how much of the daily back and forth of polls is just random variation, this morning’s twice-weekly poll from Populus shows movement in the other direction. Topline figures there are back to CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 13%, UKIP 8%. Tabs are here.
Finally there is another batch of UKIP donor Alan Bown’s Survation constituency polls, showing high levels of UKIP support in most of the seats selected – even compared to Survation’s national polls, which tend to show the highest levels of UKIP support to begin with. All four constituencies surveyed have much higher Con=>Lab swings than national polls imply, to a extent that looks somewhat doubtful to me. Swings at general elections aren’t uniform… but it’s a fair guide, parties perform a little better in one seat, a little worse in another seat, but if you’ve got a series of polls showing swings that are *all* substantially better than the national average, almost regardless of marginality, who holds the seat, etc, something’s not right. Somewhere or other they need to average out.
These seats where presumably selected as ones where they thought UKIP were doing particularly well, so perhaps that’s the reason – where UKIP are doing particularly well it results in a bigger swing (in which case they would by definition not be typical of other seats – so do be careful of extrapolation) but I’m dubious about constituency polling so far from the national picture, especially without political weighting. We shall see.
The most interesting thing I actually found there was the difference between the increase in the UKIP vote in the three coastal towns polled (up 23, 20 and 25 points) and in Crewe and Nantwich where it was up only 8. Now, leaving aside the prompting and the weighting and whether it’s a good measure of the actual level of UKIP support, all four were done on the same basis so should be comparable to each other. One interesting question about UKIP support at the next election is how uniform it will be – UKIP got comparative few council seats in 2013 for the level of support they achieved because it was spread so evenly, they just ended up coming second a lot. If their support in 2015 is the same they would struggle to translate support into any actual MPs. In terms of winning seats it’s much better to have areas of strength and weakness. Seaside towns were some of their better areas in the 2013 locals, and the contrast here between Crewe & Nantwich and the seaside towns suggests their support may be clumpier than thought… but again, don’t read too many conclusions into that single poll.