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. Old Nat,
    I love Ray Bradbury .Always used to do a great lesson based on The Sound Of
    Thunder.A short story showing the importance of unintentional actions.Banning
    books in prison is quite despicable.

  2. I have recently purchased a treadmill for my wife.

    After checking with the hospital that I did not in fact have a heart attack when told the price of said treadmill I was then given the cold shoulder from my wife because I obviously think she is fat.

    I do not think I will ever understand the fairer sex

  3. @ Anthony,

    I’d expect it on almost any other political website, but here I’d expect people to follow the comments policy and post in the spirit on non-partisanship.

    Surely you mean “want” rather than “expect”? You’re far too canny a political prognosticator to be so naive. ;)

  4. ComRes poll out tonight, which since it’s ComRes could show anything from a Tory lead to a double digit lead for Labour…

    But I reckon there are quite a few politics wonks anxiously awaiting the results of their random number generator carefully calibrated phone poling.

  5. Ann in Wales

    Thank heavens someone else is a Bradbury fan! I thought the reference was going to pass unnoticed.

    I also see that clothes aren’t allowed in either – which causes a particular problem in English women’s prisons where underwear isn’t supplied by the prison.

    De-humanising prisoners seems a policy unlikely to help them to behave in a more socially aware way in future.

  6. What time will the poll be up Spearmint?

  7. AW

    Please forgive the link :)

    Billy wrote a song about the prison system – Rotting on Remand.

    It sort of links in with the book restrictions.

  8. Oh Lord
    3 polls showing Lab’s lead has shrunk to 1% and we have
    buffers regaling us about “‘er indoors.”
    Honestly chaps, that’s where these tales should remain – indoors, firmly under lock and key.

  9. What about really going blue and getting green here? Wire the contraption up to a dynamo of some sort and generate electricity. No fossil fuels expended or carbon footprint made, a fitter wife and, if you’re lucky, some surplus power to sell back to the grid. What’s not to like about that little lot?

    More money for a little flutter on the Bingo and a pint too, perhaps? lol

  10. Above post refers to Bluebob’s anecdote about buying his wife a treadmill! I left off the @Bluebob and quote!

  11. May the gods of polling send lightning bolts down on the eejits at the Herald!

    Some may remember I linked to a joke poll on indy that they ran.

    They now seem to be taking themselves seriously!

    “More than 8000 readers have now completed the test from across Scotland and elsewhere, making it one of the biggest sampling exercises of the entire referendum campaign.

    And while the survey is primarily for fun and by definition self-selecting, the scale of the response means it can’t be ignored by the leaders of the two sides of the debate. Most conventional polls have a sample of about 1000.”

  12. @CB11

    A penny off the pint means for less treadmill work. Bonus!

  13. BILL

    Could be. :-)

  14. It has been mentioned that the detailed weekend YouGov figures were – Lab 37.49% Con 35.59% – ie an actual Labour led of 1.9%. However, the effect of rounding gave us published figures of Lab 37% Con 36%.. Back in the 60s and 70s pollsters often published their findings to the nearest decimal point – Gallup ,I recall ,to the nearest 0.5%. Would it not have been more accurate for this poll to have been given as Lab 37.5% – Con 35.5%?

  15. @Old Nat

    A few nights ago, I caught myself watching a repeat of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News. Now here’s the thing. They ran a poll on whether Flight MH370 was getting too much news coverage. When the results were shown, below the figures were the following words in block capitals: “THIS IS NOT A SCIENTIFIC POLL”.

  16. Graham,

    It’s customary in mathematics to round up for all numbers, not just VI numbers for Labour.

  17. Blue Bob,,
    A few years ago we were on Anglesey and because of the driving rain were
    Reduced to visiting Beaumaris prison.There to our horror we were introduced
    To the delights of the whipping room ,the longest walk and to the treadmill..It is
    Huge,indescribably awful,you cannot get off without breaking your legs until it
    Stops,every twenty minutes.Not a joking matter at all.

  18. @Old Nat

    Incidentally, on books for prisoners. A friend who works in a London library told me that the main tomes borrowed by prisoners are (a) crime fiction (b) travel books and (c) how to invest in property abroad. Make of that what you will.

  19. @Ann in Wales

    “.There to our horror we were introduced to the delights of the whipping room ”

    I’ve had similar experiences, but not in a prison.

  20. Bill Patrick

    “It’s customary in mathematics to round up for all numbers”.

    Well, in statistics – where it’s appropriate – and even then, only at the end of the calculations – not at numerous intermediate points.

    At least with most pollsters, we can see the weighted numbers (which have been rounded), as well as the rounded percentages, so one can get some kind of handle on comparisons between successive polls.

    Then, there’s YouGov.

  21. RAF,
    Not yet imprisoned,but I have to say that PD James and Ruth Rendell are way
    Up there with my favourite authors as are many travel writers.Make of that what you will!

  22. On Bradbury, I remember a video (from John Green I think) which marked the occasion that Fifty Shades of Gray outsold Fahrenheit 451. Rather depressing.

    Anyway, John Harris (who is rotten at poll reporting but a good feature writer) has done a piece on UKIP voters in Lincolnshire and East Anglia. Worth a read:

  23. @Ann in Wales

    “Even so, methods of keeping criminals in check included chains, whippings and isolation in a dark cell for up to three days.”

    Some folk will pay a fortune for that.

  24. Oldnat,

    I was taking all that as read.

  25. Crossbat,
    Believe me this was not delightful.

  26. Bill Patrick

    But were you counting on it? :-)

  27. @Ann in W

    Believe me this was not delightful.”

    That’s disappointing. The parlour I visited only administered a light, albeit, expensive flagellation, enjoyed not only by me but also a few Tory peers and High Court judges I met when I was there.

    Maybe it was all a bit less forgiving in prisons in the Victorian era.

  28. Oldnat,

    I was assuming that it would all add up in the end.

  29. Oldnat – Oh dear. I may have to get Literary Digest on their ass.

  30. Crossbat11

    I am not going to make any further references to Alan Coren

    ……But my word…

  31. It is good that we can laugh about such matters,now.

  32. Bill Patrick,
    My real point was that adhering to the practice of pollsters in years gone by would have presented a more accurate statement of the findings than the figures actually published.

  33. As far as Ed Milibands response on Budget Day I’d say the reason it came across so poorly was the fact that he hadn’t listened to the budget speech, therefore his response was not connected in any way to the measures the Chancellor set out.

    Whilst I appreciate he wasn’t briefed beforehand, he should at least of taken notes during the speech to which he could refer in his response.

  34. Ann in Wales

    “It is good that we can laugh about such matters, now.”

    True, but the general response of laughter to the current changes in English prisons is a little disturbing.

  35. NickP

    Grayling is the guy responsible for the English prison changes?

  36. With regard to the commentators who say that no incumbent political party has increased it’s share of the vote at subsequent elections, where is the evidence for the UK that this applies to a coalition government?

    I think the term “in uncharted waters” might be relevant.

  37. YouGov/Sun poll tonight- Labour lead shrinks to just two points: CON 36%, LAB 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 10%

  38. I thought it was 1 point yesterday? So the lead has, in fact, doubled.

  39. So it’s increasingly looking like the Tories have achieved a c.1.5% bounce, but not at the expense of Labour support.

    The question then, is where did the bounce come from? DK conversions?

  40. I suspect that the tables will reveal that some of the over 60’s people who would have voted UKIP, are now looking at the Tories following the pension change. That would be my guess.

  41. Ukip looks low at 10 but then LD looks high.
    Oh, am I stealing somebody’s lines?

  42. Comres:

    The first telephone poll taken since the Budget shows that Labour’s eight-point lead has dropped to five points in the past month. Labour is now on 36 per cent (down two points), the Conservatives on 31 per cent (up one point), UKIP on 11 per cent (no change), the Liberal Democrats on 9 per cent (down one point) and other parties on 13 per cent (up two points).

    Asked which of the two biggest parties was most likely to keep the economy growing, 47 per cent name the Tories and 36 per cent Labour. The Tory lead has risen from nine to 11 points on this measure since last September.

    The Conservatives have closed the gap on Ed Miliband’s chosen territory of living standards. Some 43 per cent of people believe Labour is most likely to make their family better off, with 37 per cent naming the Tories. But Labour’s lead has dropped from 10 to six points since last September.

    The Tories (49 per cent) are seen as the party most likely to eliminate the Government’s budget deficit, with Labour named by 33 per cent.

    Labour (48 per cent) is viewed as the party most likely to ensure pensioners have an adequate level of income in retirement, with 34 per cent choosing the Tories. However, George Osborne’s reforms to pensions and savings seem to have appealed to the “grey vote”. Some 49 per cent of those aged 65 and over say the Tories would be more likely to ensure pensioners have an adequate level of income, with only 36 per cent of this group opting for Labour.

  43. “Labour lead shrinks to just two points: CON 36%, LAB 38%, LD 10%, UKIP 10%”

    Perhaps it’s CON 35.51%, LAB 38.49%.

  44. Budget bounce is unusual but imo was always likely this time against favourable macro-economic numbers. Even if we are effectively in plan B or at least A1/2 voters don’t care.

    It may not last long as the Euro Election will see many Tory borrowed votes to UKIP followed by a temporary national poll movement.
    However, it shows the low hanging fruit that the Tories will most likely get at the GE.
    For Labour the fall is actually not much and it maybe due to higher notional turnout with less cons 2010 DKs.

    2 big problems remain for the Tories.

    Will there be net Lab-Tory switchers from 2010 I doubt it.

    Will the LD 2010 switchers to Lab return in any significant numbers – I doubt this too.

    The third thing the cons need – a much lower UKIP score with the split favouring the cons by 3% or so over Lab is much more likely imo.

    Up shot Tory vote at or 1-2% above above 2010 due to some LD-Tory but Lab gains from LDs mean net seat gains for Labour.

    Enough for Lab to overtake Cons seats – dunno?

    Bizarrely it could be LD seats the Tories targeting that determines who has most MPs?

  45. If Carlsberg wrote headlines, this would be the Sun’s front page tomorrow: –

    “Latest YouGov poll sees Labour’s lead double as Tories budget bounce stalls!”


  46. While I am keenly interested in politics and follow the opinion polls each day, I confess to not studying them in great detail.

    It may just be based on my own assumptions, but I have always thought that the over sixties are more likely to vote. If so I therefore guess that the changes to ISAs and loosening of pension regulations will appeal to this age band and will most likely explain the movement in post-budget polls.

    Would any of those who study the polls more closer, or even our fine host himself, be able to answer these questions.

    1. Are the over-sixties more likely to vote?

    2. Are poll samples adjusted to take account of this, or are the opinions of this age group given more weight as a result of other ways of determining who is likely to vote?

    3. Do the cross-breaks? of the recently narrowed polls point to a shift in the VI of this age group?

    Apologies if this is going over old ground, I am an occasional visitor to this forum.

  47. The early evidence of these post budget polls is that the Tories have made little inroads into the Labour vote and have benefited primarily, or so it appears, from a proportion of don’t knows/won’t says/fence-sitters* (* delete as appropriate), deciding to plump for them. Labour, perversely, have held fairly firm and in the one poll where they have dipped significantly (Survation), their vote doesn’t appear to have gone to any of the other parties, rather it has evaporated into the “don’t know” mush. This has become a bit of a trend when Labour have lost VI; there is no corresponding benefit accruing to the other parties. Those comforting days that dear old Eoin so enjoyed where “red was down and yellow up and blue was down when red was up etc” have gone. It’s far muddier waters that churn now; just another feature lending itself to the glorious unpredictability of it all.

    I’m still of the view that this stickability in Labour’s VI, circa 38% come hell or come shine in YouGov, is the cuckoo in the political and electoral nest. Unless the Tories can really hole this vote below the water line, then they simply can’t win, not unless large segments of the UKIP and Lib Dem vote collapse their way and float them well over the 40% mark come May 2015. They simply have to, at some stage, get big chunks of the current Labour vote to come their way.

    They’ll be happy to see that the budget has narrowed the gap between them and Labour, certainly in the short term, but I suspect they’ll be very disappointed to see Labour still on 37-38% in YouGov. Big artillery barrage from Tory guns and Labour still standing with a few shots in their own locker to come, I suspect. Don’t forget possible friendly fire too in the shape of the Euro and local council elections.

    UKIP look to be withstanding the Tory budget barrage pretty well too. Farage and Miliband have donned the hard hats and dug in for now. Under fire but surviving and maybe interesting counter-attacks to come.

    Game on. Both the main parties on manoeuvres now,

  48. Surely come May 2015 UKIP’s vote will slide due to a) greater scrutiny of their policies or lack of them and b) voter knowledge that a vote for UKIP in a Lab/Con marginal will guarantee that they will NOT get a vote on the EU.

    A noticeable change in the state of the economy and in peoples disposable income must impact on Labours vote sometime soon. Plus there’s one more budget to harden or otherwise the voters intentions.

    May 15 looks like it’ll be the most interesting election for a very long time, not least because we are starting from a political position not seen since the last world war.

  49. @Ed from Somewhere

    “Surely come May 2015 UKIP’s vote will slide due to a) greater scrutiny of their policies or lack of them and b) voter knowledge that a vote for UKIP in a Lab/Con marginal will guarantee that they will NOT get a vote on the EU.
    A noticeable change in the state of the economy and in peoples disposable income must impact on Labours vote sometime soon. Plus there’s one more budget to harden or otherwise the voters intentions.”

    You’ve more or less recited the complete Tory wish list in one but, as you are no doubt aware, wishing something to happen doesn’t ensure that it will. Of course, Labourites will have their wish list too, as will the SNP, Lib Dems, Greens and UKIP no doubt, all hanging on to their best case scenarios.

    Of course, come May 2015, somebody is going to be very disappointed to discover that the best case scenario they’d hoped and yearned for hasn’t materialised and very few, if any, of their wishes have come true. All we can do now is make predictions based on likelihoods and probabilities and, as you rightly say, there has hardly even been a time when it has been so hard to speculate with confidence.

    That said, I’m sensing that a lot of the current Tory bravado is predicated on something that sounds a bit like “it’ll be all right on the night” to me.

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