The first of this week’s two Populus polls is out and has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LD 10%, UKIP 13%. That gives us three polls in a row from three different pollsters showing the Labour lead down to one point, though it should be noted that Populus do tend to show rather lower Labour leads anyway; they already had a one 1 point Labour lead earlier this month. Full tabs are here.


153 Responses to “Populus – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LD 10%, UKIP 13%”

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  1. Labour’s VI stays in the 33-41% range, barring outliers.

  2. We will have to wait until the end of this week to see if the next Populus and this week’s YouGov polls back this as a trend, or show it to be a “dead cat bounce” from the Budget.

    Cameron is in my constituency today in a ward the Tories lost to UKIP last year. The Budget and their strategy seem wholly about winning back that demographic – the high-turnout over 60s. Meanwhile polls show support for Labour in the low-turnout 18-25 age group at around 60%.

  3. The polls do appear to be narrowing. We will have to wait for an ICM , that should be interesting.

  4. There was an opinion piece in the New Statesman regarding how Osborne is shoring up ‘core vote’ and reclaiming some of the ‘grey vote’ from the menace of Farage, however is there any actual sign of that happening in the polls thus far?

    Certainly the budget seems aimed in that direction, however it’s worth highlighting that the over 65’s won’t benefit from these pension changes, since they will have already purchased their annuities.

    The polls since late 2010 have been remarkably stable, more so than at any other comparative point in polling history over the past several decades (that I am aware of), so it will be interesting to see if the bounce ‘sticks’, or fades rapidly. The pensions changes will appeal to quite a narrow demographic (essentially those nearing retirement with large DC pension pots).

  5. Labour: Miliband has to go.

    In other times, when a leader saw – as he must be able to see – that he was not going to lead his party to power, they would resign.

    There’s no indignity in doing so.

    It would show he cares more about the country than about his own personal ambition.

  6. The polls are probably already showing just about where they’ll be in May 2015. If Labour end up in government on 35% of the vote, methinks FPTP could find itself with few friends outside of the Labour Party.

  7. Reply to David in France, if you can name me a single leader who actually resigned knowing they weren’t going to win, I’d like you to name him, not her she certainly wouldn’t have.

  8. David in France:

    “In other times, when a leader saw – as he must be able to see – that he was not going to lead his party to power, they would resign.

    There’s no indignity in doing so.”

    If I may say, this opinion is somewhat disconnected from polling reality.

    It’s worth pointing out that in every opinion poll released since late 2010, including those from the last few days, if the results were replicated in a GE then Miliband would be PM and sitting comfortably with an overall majority.

    I’d love to see another Ashcroft poll of the marginals in the near future – in the past they indicated that Labour outperform in the marginals, one of the reasons perhaps that in 2005 they gained a majority of 66 on a 36% vote share.

  9. I’d go further than that Bill and say it is well within the 29-45% range. No doubt about it.

  10. David,

    “The polls are probably already showing just about where they’ll be in May 2015. If Labour end up in government on 35% of the vote, methinks FPTP could find itself with few friends outside of the Labour Party.”

    Perhaps, but it didn’t seem to do so in 2005 or in 1974 when Labour won the most seats with fewer votes than the Tories. Maybe twice in one decades will be too much for some people, though.

    UKIP, who are pro-PR for obvious reasons, may already be changing the minds of some people on the right.

  11. Wes,

    I’d agree with that, barring outliers.

  12. Interesting that the fall in the gap in the polls does not seem to have come at the expense of UKip. The 3 polls showing a 1pt gap have Ukip on 15 11 and 13 (all pretty standard). We know of course that ultimately many people saying they will vote Ukip will revert to conservative if there is a good chance the alternative is a Milliband Balls combination as primeminister and chancellor – but only a slight revision back to Labour from Ukip – so I think the conservatives will be much happier with a 1pt gap with Ukip still polling over 10 than a 1pt gap from a collapse in Ukip support.

  13. For what it’s worth (not much, other than the factoid value), the Con + UKIP v Lab + Lib:

    C / U: 47%

    L / L: 46%

    Of the 12 instances of this since Nov ’11 (as far back as my data goes), ten have occurred since Aug ’13, and this is the fifth time this year, and the second time this month.

    The only ‘trend’ if it is a trend, is that when CU is greater than LL, the UKPR folk tend to get somewhat more prickly than usual. :))

    I suppose, if it were Lab 45, Lib 1, Con 29, UKIP 18, it would be a different situation, but so far, the trends are that Con is on 34/35 or greater when this happens. There was an instance of Con 33, UKIP 14.

  14. @Bill

    “Labour’s VI stays in the 33-41% range, barring outliers.”

    Last 30 YG polls has Labour on 37-41% with the four instances of 37 and single instance of 41 being outliers (in my MAD calcs, so caveats apply). Of course if you’re referring to other polling companies, that’s out-with my data.

    Maybe we can have high confidence that Labour’s VI falls between 0% and 100% and no outliers whatsoever?

  15. Another factoid:

    Sunday’s poll on Electoral Calculus throws back Lab OM of ‘4’, while the 45,1,29,18 I mentioned earlier throws back a Lab OM of ‘192’.

  16. Statgeek,

    I would explain the joke, but then it would have no chance of being funny.

  17. What sort of figure could incumbency add to the Conservative total come polling day?

    I must admit to being a little bit surprised at the resilience of the Labour score, I did think it was softer than that.

    But it was up in the low forties at one point so it has been dragged back a bit, just not as fast as I thought.

  18. You would assume that Tory HQ would be very happy with this.

    Its difficult to believe that the UKIP vote will hold up at these levels on election day – ‘Vote UKIP, get Milliband/Balls’ will surely cause a shift from UKIP to Con, and its not as if it’ll need half the UKIP 10%-15% opinion poll levels to move to Con. Very easy to believe that 2%-3% of this will move across to the blue team, which should give the conservatives enough

  19. Bluebob,

    Incumbency will most valuable where the defeated labour mp had built up a personal vote which a new candidate wont have.

    Ashcroft has said expect some unwind from his one-off boost to Tories targets last time so the net effect is hard to discern.

    As per Mr N and others where the LD third place vote is highest will see the better prospects for Lab to overtake Cons.

  20. @BB

    What is quite interesting is that the Min and Max values for Con and Lab since Nov’11 are:

    Lab 35 / 45

    35 was once in Sep’13, while 45 was 20 times in whole period.

    Con 27 / 41

    27 Was twice in May’13, and 41 was sic time between Dec’11 and Feb’12. So if the current VI of 36 is accurate, all that was taken back in less than a year.

    So depending on your point of view, Lab are getting closer to their more recent minimum level, while Con are nudging their more recent max levels, but a fair way off their best max in the past few years.

    The VI of 36% has occurred once in December, and once in September, so if it is maintained, it’s a definite ‘result’. Personally I think we’ll see a mix of 34s and 35s (and I dare say the odd 33, as has been the case before).

    I’ve seen no change in polling despite events, and huge changes for ‘non events’, so I’ll try to be conservative (small c) and go for a 4-5% lead over the next week or two, as opposed to the 5-6% leads of late.

  21. As I posted yesterday Professor John Curtice thinks that Better Together now look “like a campaign in trouble”. If Labour continue to lose ground in the UK polls and do not look like they will win in 2015, the YES vote already neck and neck with No will be of landslide proportions. The SNP are 12 points ahead of Labour in the EU elections according to ICM in this mornings Scotsman. Big things are happening on the streets of Scotland which the polls are just staring to pick up on.

  22. @Jim Jam (and others)

    What of the ‘Incumbency v Protest’ factors? Cancel each other out?

  23. “What sort of figure could incumbency add to the Conservative total come polling day?”

    It depends on the incumbency you’re referring to.

    Incumbent governments traditionally poll less than they did at the previous election. This is true of the Tories in 1983, 1987, 1982, and true of Labour in 2001, 2005, and 2009.

    Sitting MP’s do seem to benefit from a small incumbency advantage, but this is very small and in the context of 2015 completely overwhelmed by Labour performance in the key marginals, which Ashcroft polling suggests is strong.

  24. @ DRMibbles

    Thank you, I am surprised by that, I had thought the opposite.
    Well when I say that I mean more of second term governments.

  25. even though i think labour are favourites, there is no doubt a serious question about Miliband’s electability. His budget performance was very weak.

  26. “Its difficult to believe that the UKIP vote will hold up at these levels on election day – ‘Vote UKIP, get Milliband/Balls’ will surely cause a shift from UKIP to Con, and its not as if it’ll need half the UKIP 10%-15% opinion poll levels to move to Con. Very easy to believe that 2%-3% of this will move across to the blue team, which should give the conservatives enough”

    This makes the assumption that UKIP voters are a) ex Tory and b) willing to consider voting Tory – I believe that specific UKIP polling suggests this isn’t the case, and that any draining of UKIP support will also benefit Labour, albiet not equally.

    The electoral maths require that, to stand a chance of an overall majority in 2015, the Tories require Labour to poll under 35%, while they poll over 40%. Even a 38/36 Tory/Labour result will likely result in Labour being the largest party in a hung parliament. The Tories could have partially resolved that with boundary changes, but the Lib Dems blocked that after the Tories blocked HoL reform.

    It’s worth noting that no sitting government has increased vote share between general elections. But in 2015 none of the usual rules apply – the dynamic of coalition and the rise of UKIP has changed everything, and assumptions based on 2005, 1992, or 1983 are arguably invalid.

  27. “even though i think labour are favourites, there is no doubt a serious question about Miliband’s electability. His budget performance was very weak.”

    Well, opinions will of course differ about that. Some will argue that, given there is no time to prepare a response and it must be delivered ‘off the cuff’ he did as well as could be expected.

    But what is certain is that ‘electablity’ is directly reflected by VI in the polls. And on that level he looks very electable indeed. That may change before the 2015 GE of course, but based on all available polling evidence since late 2010, one cannot sensibly arrive at the conclusion that he isn’t electable.

  28. Statgeek – agree with what I think is your inference that whilst most 2010 Tory MPs in marginals will enjoy some bonus other factors may negate.
    My guess is that whatever the mood swing in the country there will be an additional small swing in marginals as activists and voters engagement will be higher.

    So if Labour gets an average gain over Tories of 25% of the LD vote in each seat, my guess it will be a little higher in Lab/Con marginal.

    Also, Adam’s UKIP-Con returnees (against polls this not 2010) will be greater in Tory marginals as the ‘vote UKIP get an LD or Lab MP’ message will be legitimately pushed harder and have more resonance.
    Expect UKIP to get strong showings relative to nationally in safe lab and tory seats.

    I accept the UKIP will target 5 or so seats based on Euro (and perhaps some council election) results and may come close in a couple although personally I expect even Farage to fail to become an MP

  29. These polls are interesting in ways that aren’t all to do with the narrowing of the Labour lead. As far as I can tell we’ve had five polls in the last few days that have conducted their fieldwork since the budget. The first two were probably a bit too early in the day to be a fair indicator, but the Survation, YouGov and the latest Populus have all taken place after the initial dust has settled and the public have had a chance to digest the media’s coverage. Let’s have a look at the VIs, taking the first polls to appear post budget: –

    Populus: Lab 38 (+2) Con 34(+2) LD 9 (-1) UKIP 12(-1)

    Summary: Both main parties up by 2 points, Labour lead unchanged. UKIP and LD both down by . No noticeable budget effect.

    YouGov; Lab 39 (+1)Con 34(+1) LD 10 (-1) UKIP 10(-1)

    Summary: Both main parties up by 1 point, Labour lead unchanged. UKIP and LD both down by . No discernible budget effect.1

    Now, let’s have a look at the three subsequent polls that have really set the cat amongst the pigeons and got everybody’s pulses racing, again in chronological order: –

    Survation: Lab 35 (+1)Con 34(+4) LD 9 (-3) UKIP 15(-3)

    Summary: Labour up 1 point, Tories up 4 and Labour lead cut from 4 points to 1. Lib Dems and UKIP both drop by 3. First indication of a decent budget bounce for the Tories but Labour VI actually rises by a point. Main casualties of Tory bounce appear to be Lib Dems and UKIP. Interesting stuff.

    YouGov:Lab 37 (-2) Con 36(+2) LD 9 (=) UKIP 11(-1)

    Summary: Mild Tory bounce but first, and only post budget poll, to suggest leakage from Labour to Tory. Accordingly, Labour lead down to one. LD and UKIP seem unaffected.

    Populus:Lab 35 (-3) Con 34(=) LD 10 (-1) UKIP 13(+1)

    Summary: No increase for Tories on last Populus and reduction in Labour lead entirely down to Labour dropping by three points. LD and UKIP more or less as they were.

    So what are we to make of these discordant rated tunes being played by the polls? The Labour lead has been cut significantly but, despite all, they still lead in all the polls. Three of the polls actually have Labour’s lead increasing! The Tories bounce is really only confined to Survation where they leapt by 4 but they’re unchanged in one and have enjoyed only mini-bounces in the other three (+2, +1 and +2). Again, we see real narrowing in the Labour lead only when Labour’s VI takes a large dip (i.e today’s Populus).

    An intriguing question, then. Without the Survation, is there much to get very excited about here? No surges or large flows between the two parties and UKIP still very much alive and kicking.

  30. Apologies for the various typos in my earlier post. I was getting excited and my hands were all a tremble! lol

  31. going on about tory toffs and the bullingdon and eton was a pathetic response to a serious budget. Miliband could have prepared a critique of the govt’s economic management over the last 4 years. there was plenty of material miliband could have prepared without having a preview of the budget.

    his line of attack was misjudged.

    [I think we’ve had enough “Miliband’s budget speech was rubbish” type comments now. In the same way the weekly PMQs “my chap was brilliant, your chap was rubbish” comments aren’t welcome here, I don’t think it’s really conducive to non-partisan discussion – AW]

  32. Some interesting comments on here; Best to wait a few weeks and see where the polls are, My guess is that as we get closer to the summer we will see a very small 2-3 point Tory lead. I might be wrong, but doubt it!

  33. DAVID ‘We know of course that ultimately many people saying they will vote Ukip will revert to conservative’

    Substitute ‘I believe’, ‘I fear’ or ‘I hope’ then you won’t be purporting to speak for a ‘we’ that you don’t.

    My hunch like yours is that Ukip’s former conservatives are more capable of being lured back than new converts from Labour. I also think it is eminently possible that Ukip’s support increases. This uncertainty makes the forthcoming elections exciting.

    In other statistical fields it is usual to extrapolate trends rather than assume a reversion to means; population growth, global warming etc. I see no good reason why political support should always be of the ‘flash in the pan’ variety. The rise of the Labour party was one such event. The interesting thing to me is whether the rise of Ukip is an SDP-type event or a ‘Labour party-type’ event.

  34. My impression of most UKIP voters is that they’d prefer Labour to win than to see Cameron back in Downing Street.

    Incidentally I note that in the last YouGov poll Miliband’s popularity rating was the same as Osborne’s. Make of that what you will.

  35. The polls are probably already showing just about where they’ll be in May 2015. If Labour end up in government on 35% of the vote, methinks FPTP could find itself with few friends outside of the Labour Party.

    -Why the Tories did in 2010 well it was 36%
    and Labour managed a Comfortable majority in 2005 on just 35.25%

  36. What sort of figure could incumbency add to the Conservative total come polling day?

    -Normally Governing Parties lose not gain support in the period of a GE election campaign

  37. Very easy to believe that 2%-3% of this will move across to the blue team, which should give the conservatives enough–

    Apart from the fact that it would mean the Cameron Government would have achieved something that neither Thatcher or Blair did,an increased vote for an incumbent party , 2 to 3% more would not see the Tories win or assuming Labour doesn’t drop more than 3% below them even see them as the largest party.

  38. @Peter Crawford

    “going on about tory toffs and the bullingdon and eton was a pathetic response to a serious budget. Miliband could have prepared a critique of the govt’s economic management over the last 4 years. there was plenty of material miliband could have prepared without having a preview of the budget.”

    You’re right, but you need to be a little more even-handed in your criticism. Miliband is playing the Focus Group game whereby he is determined to keep banging on about the “wedge issues” that have been identified in Labour run focus groups. In other words, the things that the voters most dislike about the Tories. Hence the constant mentioning of the Bullingdon Club, Eton, out of touch toffs etc, etc.

    But Cameron plays exactly the same game. Just watch him at PMQs. Whatever the question, he’ll make sure he gets in references to Miliband being “weak, pathetic and in the pocket of the trade unions”. Now where do you think he gets all that from? Tory run Focus Groups, anyone?

    Expect much, much more of the same from both of them between now and May 2015, especially if there is a 15 second main news bulletin soundbite on offer.

    Dispiriting and depressing stuff.

  39. “The interesting thing to me is whether the rise of Ukip is an SDP-type event or a ‘Labour party-type’ event.”

    Probably more like a Respect event – a one personality, one policy party.

  40. @MR BEESWAX

    “In other statistical fields it is usual to extrapolate trends rather than assume a reversion to means; population growth, global warming etc.”

    ———

    Now there’s an interesting question. To what extent may polling differ from some other fields, considering that polling is a competition between parties, there is the matter of human agency, and it may get progressively harder to secure more and more votes.

  41. “Now where do you think he gets all that from?”

    ——-

    Dunno, but it’s cropped up here quite a bit before now. Maybe they read UKPR!!

  42. @ToH

    posted a reply to you on previous fred.

  43. Mr Beeswax

    My hunch like yours is that Ukip’s former conservatives are more capable of being lured back than new converts from Labour.

    Do you have any evidence to back this up?

  44. @Mr Beeswax ” it is usual to extrapolate trends rather than assume a reversion to means” . I agree that a shift in polled VI may be evidence of a long-term trend, but in a single poll that interpretation is only justifiable if the shift is greater than the sampling error in the measurement. If it is smaller you must wait to see if it is sustained over enough polls for the averaging process to bring down the sampling error below the sustained shift. (eg two polls not enough, for there may still be a large enough chance of two successive outliers in the same direction.

  45. The “Budget boost” isn’t solely evident in VI-it is even more evident in GO’s ratings in the” Approval” questions.

    PK points this out :-

    http://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/03/24/budget-boost-tories/

    Bricks in the wall.
    No bricks-no wall.

  46. Further to CROSSBAT11’s comments on the Survation poll – I posted these comments at the end of an earlier thread but no one offered an explanation.
    “I am having difficulty understanding where the increase in the Tory vote has come from. In the YouGOv poll there seems to be an universal gain across the regional cross breaks that may be explained by DKs firming up for the Tories, but in the Survation poll it seems to be the cross break for the North VI where the huge difference appears. I realise that we should not attach too much importance to cross breaks but can someone explain why the Survation poll for the North is so different to other polls? Is this because their definition of North is different or has there really been a seismic shift in North VI after the budget?”

  47. Carfrew

    Saw it and replied briefly thank you.

    Dave

    I agree it’s hard to come to any conclusions yet even though we have had three different polls with the lead at only 1. I think we need a week at least of more polling. Obviously though the recent polls have made those on the right smile.

  48. Going backto an early post @ drmibbles:
    1. Most existing pensioners with a private pension will have it as the result of a final salary scheme, which does not involve buying an annuity.
    2. In other cases, it may not be necessary to buy an annuity at age 65, and slow drawdown between 65 and 75 is already possible.
    So I agree existing pensioners may not be much affected by the budget changes.
    However, as these come into effect in 2014 and 2015, the reason for voting Tory in 2015 is not to get them, but to guard against the possibility of a future Labour government taking them away. As Labour seems minded to support them, I can’t see why these changes should encourage either existing or soon-to-be pensioners to vote Conservative, apart from perhaps raising some belief that they are showing some sense at last.

  49. Dave

    If the last three polls are reinforced by other polling it could just be that voters think the budget was fair and in some cases that it helps them. If that is so it could reinforce the idea that the Government is competent or at least more competent than the alternative. Not saying that is the case but it is a possible explanation.

  50. Hm, another narrow Populus poll.

    Labour on 35/36/68/35 does seem to mark a downward trend with them (34% is a standard Tory VI for Populus; they don’t seem to have moved), but we’ll have to wait to see if YouGov picks it up as well.

    @ Toonie,

    I did say earlier there’s been no significant movement in the DKs from YouGov. (At least, not among the 2010 Tory DKs. Something may be happening with the 2010 small party voters or non-voters; YouGov doesn’t publish that crossbreak so we can’t tell.)

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