Today’s twice weekly Populus poll has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs are here.

Meanwhile this morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, full tabs here. Given it’s the last day of the month we can look at YouGov’s averages for the whole of February, which gives us figures of CON 33.2%(33.0% in Jan), LAB 38.9%(38.7% in Jan), LDEM 9.3%(9.2% in Jan), UKIP 11.8%(12.5% in Jan), so no real movement month-on-month.


164 Responses to “Latest Populus and YouGov figures”

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  1. “there was a now forgotten leadership candidate, Brian Gould (still alive and blogging) who would have taken the economy/society in a very different direction to both Tony Blair, John Smith and the Third Way.” (Syzygy 2:30 a.m.)

    I remember Bryan Gould, the MP for Dagenham . A classic example of ‘the road not taken’. He returned to academic life in New Zealand.

    He joins the club of what if’s, like Iain Macleod, RA Butler, Hugh Gaitskell, Denis Healey, David Davis and perhaps William Hague (to be cont….?) Great respect for John Smith though.

  2. @Reggieside

    “re: Leftylamptons analysis.
    The tourble with looking at these past polling trends is that we are in uncharted waters.”

    I tend to agree and if you look at that Fisher analysis the margins of error on the vote shares and seats won are plus and minus 8%, very nearly rendering their statistical predictions meaningless. I’ve heard of hedging one’s bets, but that is bordering on the ridiculous!

    I think the political circumstances are such that past psephological models are very nearly redundant now. The way the Tory vote has behaved these last 20 years or so, the rise of UKIP, the much lower vote shares both parties now receive, the Lib Dem vote meltdown, the opposition holding a consistent and significant polling lead for very nearly the whole Parliament, the lack of enthusiasm for all the party leaders, a coalition government in place; we could go on, and probably will, but we really are in uncharted waters.

    Making accurate predictions based on the past only really works if the underlying circumstances are so unchanged that we can rely on continuing repeatability.

    I don’t think they are and therefore I don’t think we can. Too many unknown unknowns as my old mate Donny Rumsfeld once said!

    By the way, don’t be too hard on the gnomic ChrisLane1945’s observations. I enjoy their off the wall eccentricity, especially when they apply to his local club Manchester United. I always listen to his views about the Red Devils, living as he does closer to Old Trafford than most United fans!

    (Only pulling your leg, Chris!)

  3. @ Alec

    Must admit I’ve rather enjoyed this little exchange of views with CL1945 – love often blinds us to reality, doesn’t it?

    I think what CL1945 may actually have remembered has to do with mood rather than facts though.
    I can actually remember back in 1981 thinking ahead to ‘when Michael Foot is Prime minister’ and subsequently time and time again we saw the Tories recover from apparently hopeless positions to win.

    1994 was only two years after the election so why wouldn’t they recover ? The answer I think has to do with three things and none of them are Tony Blair.

    The Tories’ economic credibility had been irreparably damaged by Black Wednesday.

    The electorate had finally decided that it was time for a change and as Anthony has commented in the past, when that happens it’s very difficult for anyone to change things although Alec Douglas-Home and Gordon Brown both got close.

    Finally the Tories decided to self-destruct over Europe in a manner which still amazes me all these years later.No party can win in that state which, given FPTP, meant Labour couldn’t realistically lose.

  4. Intruding , if I may, on the latest bout of UKPR’s periodic episodes of Blaire Angst.

    I voted Labour in 1997, and it wasn’t John Smith who persuaded me to do so. As far as I was concerned he was just another old fashioned socialist-and a rather grey one at that.

    The people who persuaded me to vote Labour were Theresa Gorman & Tony Blair-in that order.

  5. Blair was never going to lose the leadership campaign unless Gordon Brown had run, and tried to build up momentum a bit earlier. In my view Gordon Brown got a very raw deal, finally being handed the keys as the car trundled towards a cliff. Had he won in 1994, he could have had a lot more success as PM, and we’d have never heard of Tony Blair again – he might even have defected.

  6. Surely a cakewalk of a vote at the Labour conference today. I’m going to predict 80-20% Yes (unlike the Alba referendum!)

    Even within what seems to me like the most leftwing branch of Labour Students, we’ve got I think two people opposed. One I suspect of having flirted with being a Trot (he likes the Socialist Party on Facebook) and the other managed to fight and dramatically lose a by-election against the Lib Dems, so I’m disinclined to trust them on much.

  7. Lefty Lampton,

    Is it possible to do a similar graph showing what happens to the government and main opposition party’s support in the final 12 months, rather than just what happens to the gap between them?

    I ask, as the one thing I’m confident about is that the current Labour 38-39% will not change by more than perhaps a couple of points either way. It’s basically the core Labour vote that stuck with them in 2010, plus the left of centre LDs, who switched (back?) to Labour the moment the coalition was formed.

    The apparent stability of Labour’s vote, and the basis for it, suggests to me that If the election is close, which it might well be, it will be from the Cons gaining votes, not Labour losing them. So it would be interesting to see how often, and by how much, the governing party has gained support in the final 12 months.

  8. @MrNameless

    Is it not also true, though, that Gordon had the chance of calling a GE in the months following his rise to the top and decided against? And was it not only after that the financial crisis really took off? Had he called the GE he might well have won it, though with a reduced majority. And who knows where we might have been now?

  9. @COLIN

    Teresa Gorman. I’d managed to block her out of my memory. Now you’ve spoiled my lunch.
    Wikipedia reveals that her eyebrows are tattooed, presumably due to her natural eyebrows rejecting her.

  10. ernie

    In a fast moving business situations where decisions are needed immediately without waiting for all the appropriate evidence I found a combination of what evidence was available plus my gut instinct served me very well throughout my working life. Not always of course.

  11. ‘Do you want a party of nodding dogs’ and my answer ‘I want a party in power’ that summed up my position. Blair could get us into power that is all I cared about.’

    @Couper2002

    Many of us saw little point in having a Labour Govt in power that was well to the right of the pre-Thatcher Tory Govts we had opposed – ie Heath, Macmillan,Eden, Churchill.

  12. Valerie, I apologise.
    I am mortified that I posted first before you had chance to do so. I can only assure you it was pure chance that I logged on just as there was a new thread (as it happened) and had no ambitions in that area. ‘Ladies first’ is my motto but of course I had no idea there was one in the queue, as it were.

  13. No comprende
    Valerie is first on mine

  14. “Thanks! That is a magnificent spreadsheet.”

    Oo-er Missis Minty.

  15. 86.29 in favour; 13.7 against.

  16. @GuyMonde

    ‘Twas an earlier thread.

  17. Good Afternoon All.

    Lovely day here in Bournemouth, and good news for Ed Miliband, I think.

    CROSSBAT11: Thanks for your comments!

    COLIN: I agree with you again; John Smith was an old fashioned socialist.

    SEN5C: Yes, the mood in 1994 was not so good, I think. Blair transformed the mood on the Left, imo, as they say here.

    Bryan Gould was driven out by John Smith

    The Shadow Budget in 1992 was not clever, in terms of polling, but Neil Kinnock could not get John Smith to change his mind.

  18. @CL1945

    It depends what you mean by socialism. Was it Harold Wilson who said socialism is what every Labour MP says it is?

    My recollection of John Smith was that he was a modern post-Thatcher socialist, that is a little further to the left of the social democrats. An old fashioned socialist he was not.

    The shadow budget in the 1992 Labour manifesto was not an old fashioned socialist budget. The only element that was seen that way was the threshold at which people would pay higher income tax. The criticism was it was too low for those in London.

  19. @RAF,

    Nope, but it was Herbert Morrison!

  20. Putin’s got approval from the Duma to send more troops into Ukraine. Some pretty worrying pictures of tanks in Sebastopol. Not sure what I can do, but I’d like to do something.

  21. Pray they don’t start firing MrN.

  22. In all the interminable past discussions here, I haven’t noticed any voices against the principle of secession by a region where its population demonstrates that it is clearly in favour of that course.

    So, given that it’s not in serious doubt that most of the population of the Crimea now wish to secede from the Ukraine, why such angst if the events which we are now witnessing are going to lead to that outcome? Would Ukraine have allowed the Crimea to secede in the absence of Russian intervention?

  23. @Phil Haines

    Hmm…you are making a lot of assumptions there!

    I think if Russian wanted to take Crimea without going any further it could probably be done without firing too many shots. I suppose it depends what opposition there is in that region to Russian annexation.

    As for the provisional Ukrainian government, they may also accept this, as it would guarantee a pro EU Ukraine government after general elections.

  24. @SEN5C

    There were other significant factors in 1997. The huge amount of work turning around an electoral machine designed for 1945 into one ready for a modern election, the vast effort on the ground by party workers, and Excalibur and the press team ensuring that (for the first and last time) Labour were dominating and controlling the message.

  25. Alex asked about a graph of GEs, with polling 12 months up to them.

    Here is the data for the 1987 to 2010 GEs:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDZzJHdjJFX0x0bDA/edit?usp=sharing

    As has been already mentioned, we may be in such circumstances that historical trends are just meaningless.

    It does appear that Labour have declined in the year up to the GE in most election cycles, and the Conservatives hauled something back. Will this happen up to 2015, enough to be the largest party?

    No idea…..

  26. Very reluctantly…

    There’s no government in Kiev (sorry for the Russian spelling), only a bunch of self-appointed people. They couldn’t even be bothered with reading their own constitution to remove the corrupt president and hence hiving the excuse to Putin – the Russians have nobody to talk to in Kiev officially (except if they find someone to make a deal). And as many of the new “authorities” are plain fascists (Svoboda) – even better for Putin.

    I have no idea how Bnesse Ashton felt about being so friendly with a convicted criminal and knowing that Poland has territorial demand against Ukraine… But she made a huge error (although she was only a mouthpiece surely).

    The Russians now use the same technique as the market people in Kiev (in Donetsk and Harkov). It will have a long tail, but essentially either reestablishing the democratically elected authorities (minus Yanukovich) or the Borders (this what Ukraine means) will be paritioned. Maybe even cheap potatoes will be available in the UK.

    Ps. I have been shocked by the level of ignorance of reporters by British newspapers and television
    Pss: Anthony, the whole Ukraine doesn’t belong to this site in my view. So, I understand if you delete it, but just couldn’t resist after reading some of the posts about it.

  27. RAF.
    Morrison was asked: What is Socialism?

    Herbert replied: Socialism is what Labour Governments do.

    Peter Mandelson’s Grandfather. Peter M used Harold Wilson’s boy scout clothes. Hampstead Branch.

    On the 1994 Local Elections, about which people were speaking before my six mile beach run; In the Southampton CLP, disappointment was expressed about the lead over the Cons at the time, remembering tory ‘clawbacks’ in the 1980-83 period, the 1984-1987 period and the 1989-1992 period.

  28. @Laszlo

    Agree the reporting of Ukraine has been lamentable – many people have been extremely alarmed about the growing role of far right ultra nationalists in the insurrection but the media has almost completely ignored it.

    Now these far right elements have control of security in the Kiev and many other parts of an increasingly unstable Ukraine and there is a real danger of a Yugoslavian style descent in to chaos and of full on fascists taking power of a European country. And of course with Putin stirring the pot and even the possibility of a full on European war.

    Off topic I know – but tis important stuff going down.

  29. @” And as many of the new “authorities” are plain fascists (Svoboda) ”

    I think “many” is unproven. There were certainly some in Independence Square in Kiev as Newsnight reported-but “many” ?-didn’t seem that way-most of them were just ordinary people so far as one could see.

    But I note that Putin uses this description-it is certainly convenient for him as he engineers the annexation of Crimea .

    It seems a popular word to use about protesters on the other side of the world too :-

    ““This is the last time fascists come to Caracas. Rain or shine, fascists will not enter Caracas,” he said. “I will have zero tolerance toward fascism. ”

    President Nicolás Maduro

    …though I must say these are very nice looking fascists :-

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/20/us-venezuela-protests-idUSBREA1J1BX20140220

  30. And it is certainly amusing to hear Medvedev pronouncing on the legitimacy of Ukraine’s government.

    We know that for Russia, the “legitimacy” of its chosen allies ultimately rests on their willingness to kill their own people if they get a bit difficult.

    One wonders what “legitimacy” remains with an administration that does this.

  31. @TOH

    What the devil happened in Antigua? Some of worst bowling I’ve ever seen from an England side in the last few overs of a 50 overs game.

    I can’t put my finger on it, but something is seriously amiss in this England set up and whilst they are no longer members of the current squad, the recent infantile spat between Prior and Pietersen, via Twitter of course, seems to me to be symptomatic of a more general malaise.

    It may sound simplistic, but are they just playing too much international cricket these days? It just seems interminable now.

  32. As for Labour’s special conference and the various changes to the party’s constitutional relationship with the unions, whilst it’s no Clause IV moment, it certainly affords Miliband some good television.

    In the world we live where PR constantly meets politics, and often merges, getting the chance to appear in command of your party and being seen to be prepared to introduce radical change, does a Labour leader no harm at all in terms of public esteem. The detail is secondary to the image.

    It was often said, with no little element of truth attached, that Kinnock was at his most popular when he was seen to be taking on his own party.

    Actually, being a little more serious and less flippant for a moment, Miliband has started a very interesting train to slowly roll today and I don’t think it’s returning to the station any time soon. If he can widen the base of the party, retain the absolutely essential link with trade unions and extend the involvement of ordinary people in the party, then he’s pulled off the ultimate three card trick. A mass movement centre left social democratic party; every Labour leader’s dream since Hugh Gaitskell.

  33. @CL1945 – “Yes, the mood in 1994 was not so good, I think. Blair transformed the mood on the Left, imo, as they say here.”

    Again, a statement with no evidence to back it up.

    I think it’s correct to say that in 1994, Labour still harboured many doubts about winning in 1996/97, because of what happened in 1992. However, these doubts remained and persisted right up until election night and the first exit poll.

    I think you are forgetting that the reason Smith’s passing was seen as so tragic, was because it came just a the point that people – both in and out of Labour – we sensing that the seas change in 1992 was actually going to last.

    I repeat – Smith died seven days after delivering an absolutely crushing local council election defeat on the Tories – their worst performance in 30 years.

    I think you are confusing your natural pessimism with history. You may have been worried, but most others were sensing that a change was coming, and this was well before Smith died.

    Please don’t re-write history based on your personal feelings.

  34. crossbat11

    Yes it was terribly disappointing, England bowled really well for 35 overs but then went to pieces so that West Indies got as far as 269. Then batting, we were going great guns at 180 – 2 but finished dreadfully.

    Basically I think the great team which we built up under Strauss and Flower fell apart after Cook and co had won brilliantly in India, the signs were there even when we won the Ashes in England last year. With better team selection and a bit more luck the Australians could have at least drawn that series. In Australia they out bowled, out batted, out fielded and out captained us.

    Unfortunately I do not think we will recover as quickly as we did after losing 5-0 in Australia in 2006-7. We have lost Trott, Swann, Strauss and Pieterson. Anderson is probably coming to the end of a great career, Tremlett has lost his pace and Finn has been over coached to the point that he virtually can’t bowl at all. There are problems with senior England and MCC management but that has always been true. They need to pick a new coach and i don’t think Giles is the answer, his performance with the limited over teams has not shown any great merit.

    As for Prior, Swann and Pieterson, they are behaving like spoilt children as you said.

    I agree there is too much International cricket now, especially one day games. Personally its hard fought five day test matches for me, like the 2005 series which was a joy to watch, although unbearable to watch at times, remember Edgbaston 2005 when the Australians got closer and closer, but lost by 2 runs?

  35. Catmanjeff,

    Interesting, but most of the “decline” is actually the difference between the last poll and the actual result, which is (presumably) measured in a completely different way, votes rather than surveys.

    So I think most of the effect you mention is the bias of the pollsters.

  36. Catmanjeff,

    Thank you for posting the link to those charts.

    So it looks like from ’87 to ’97 Con rose and Lab fell in the 12 months leading up to the election. In ’01 Lab fell and Con fell (but not as much). In ’05 Lab rose and Con stayed roughly the same. And in ’10 Lab rose and Con fell.

    So something for everyone really. If you just took the data starting from ’01, then we’re guaranteed a Labour win. If you just look at when the Tories were defending their own government then looking very good for them. But overall, I don’t see anything there that would allow us to use the past to predict what will happen in 2015.

  37. “If he can widen the base of the party, retain the absolutely essential link with trade unions and extend the involvement of ordinary people in the party, then he’s pulled off the ultimate three card trick.”

    Indeed he will have, but the key is that if. Much will depend on his performance in the General Election and, further ahead, his performance in government.

  38. @Alex F

    But overall, I don’t see anything there that would allow us to use the past to predict what will happen in 2015

    That is the main insight in my view too…. :)

  39. Statgeek

    If you look back at some of the discussions in the Kirks of Scotland in the 1930s, you may well have been looked at with suspicion back then! :-)

  40. @Hal

    Some years show a decline in the polls over the 12 months (87 and 92), so it isn’t all the difference from polling methodology vs the real vote. 1992 is real kicker, showing a big discrepancy from last polls to result.

    I’m sure AW with confirm this or correct me, but I think that result was a watershed because of the size of error.

  41. Alec, is that fair to CL45? His evidence is his own experience, isn’t it? He is only talking about the Labour mood as he read it at the time – and his remembered mood doesn’t actually clash with your reading that doubts remained in the party. Both can be true, and – to be honest – you are talking about things ‘seeming’ just as much as he did.

    Memories fade. My strongest memories of the period are of literally shuddering when I saw the Sheffield rally on TV and Kinnock shouting “Are y’all right?” “What are you doing?” I remember yelling at the box. ‘Hubris’ was generating ‘ate’ (for those who shared a classical education) before our very eyes.

    The point for me, listening to my mum getting excited a few days later (“Oh, good old John Major. They laughed at him, but he got up on his soap box and…etc. etc.”) was that the Tories seemed to me to know they’d been handed that election by default, like a gift from the gods who were cross with Neil K and wanted to punish him: although he was a nice guy; he’d just fallen foul of “some dark eye watching from afar”, I felt.

    Then John Smith arrived and he ‘seemed’ to me rock solid and to be doing th slow, careful job of lifting Labour back up again and placating the powers – until he died and we got Blair. But – and this is entirely personal recollection – I thought it wasn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference. Blair was doing away with Clause 4, but the Tories were imploding anyway. It was as if they (that’s the party, not Major, who was working hard and rather conscientiously, I thought) didn’t feel they had a responsibility to govern any more. They were there to get their hands on what loot they could before they were kicked out, like they knew they were going to be anyway. They were living in a house that wasn’t theirs.

    That’s the way I saw it. Again, not a shred of evidence to back it up other than the way I saw it and for all I know misread it at the time.

  42. I presume that the soi-disant president of Ukraine could have avoided his fate, had he agreed to early elections, but one assumes he realised he would lose them.

    I still can’t see this issue making any impact on VI here.

  43. I remember a report at the time referring to the unusually large and enthusiastic crowds that turned out for John Smith. It suits the Blairites to claim that he was a liability but the facts say otherwise, e.g.

    NOP interviewed 1,062 adults in 52 constituencies across Britain on 20 April, 1994:

    “Which of these people would make the best Prime Minister?”

    JOHN MAJOR. . . . . . . . . . . .11%
    MICHAEL HESELTINE. . . . 16%
    MICHAEL PORTILLO. . . . . . 3%
    KENNETH CLARKE. .. . . . . . 5%
    JOHN SMITH. . . . . . . . . … . .26%
    NONE OF THESE. .. . . . . . . 25%
    DON’T KNOW. . . . . . . .. . . . .13%

  44. @TOH, Crossbat

    I found it hard to keep focussed on the ODI. If we’d won against a historically poor WI side I wouldn’t have been dancing in the streets and I’m not howling in misery because we lost. That tells me… too much intl cricket.

    From where I’m sitting I have trouble understanding why the captaincy regime survived. I think split captaincy has really happened because there isn’t a strong leader and all this dressing room dissent rather confirms it to me.

    I think we need a strong PM to sort it out, just like Harold did in 1966

  45. buses

    h ttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cashstrapped-local-governments-could-be-forced-to-ditch-subsidised-bus-services-for-the-elderly-and-disabled-9161308.html

  46. @Phil Haines: “So, given that it’s not in serious doubt that most of the population of the Crimea now wish to secede from the Ukraine…”

    Isn’t it? Haven’t seen any evidence to support that. Opposition to the Kiev government isn’t automatically support for secession.

  47. What chance of a free and fair election across the whole of Ukraine any time soon?

    How likely is it that there will be any valid way to determine whether or not the people of the Crimea (or other parts of Eastern Ukraine) actually want to become part of Russia.

    If the Ukrainian provisional authorities try and exercise enough control to manage the election process themselves, Putin will seize on it as a pretext to invade and form a protectorate. If the authorities leave it to the local politicians to arrange (ie for the Russian military to arrange) I expect we’ll probably see a very dubious, but impressively comprehensive, vote for union with Russia (90% plus wouldn’t surprise me).

    I don’t see any outcome other than partition. Nothing short of war between NATO and Russia can prevent it, and I don’t think there’s any appetite for that in the West (we’ve spent decades trying to avoid just that, and we’re not going to risk MAD to support a rag-tag new regime which includes neo-fascits).

    The only question for the Ukrainian authorities is whether to risk trying to hold on to the East, or whether to just let it quietly slip away under the watchful eye of the Russian tanks, and perhaps seek EU aid for ethnic-Ukrainian refugees who wish to relocate to the Western part of the country.

    I agree with those who think it’s all very 1914.

  48. TOH

    Great analysis of our cricket just now.

    Its all come apart hasn’t it ?

  49. NEILA

    If we don’t make Putin pay a price for this we will look completely impotent.

    There are an awful lot of Russian Oligarchs buying London palaces. I think they might let Vlad know how they feel if we could make their comfortable London life a little more difficult.

  50. @Colin

    We can make him “pay a price” in terms of sanctions and international opprobrium, but we can’t prevent what he’s trying to do. And of course, the West is too reliant on Russia to make the price a particularly long term thing (remember Georgia? He invaded one of our allies, pinched a chunk of their country, killed a bunch of people and we’ve forgiven him already).

    Ultimately, we are completely impotent. That’s the terrible choice when you face someone who’s willing to use aggression for political advantage. The only really meaningful response is to fight fire with fire, and we’re simply not going to do that. If it was Serbia, or Iraq, we’d be threatening military action. The Russias and Chinas of this world are immune from that threat.

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