Sunday polls

No YouGov/Sunday Times poll tomorrow because of the Friday bank holiday, but there is an ICM European election poll in the Sunday Telegraph and a couple of Scottish polls.

The ICM European poll has voting intentions of CON 22%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 27%. Labour first, UKIP a close second, the Conservatives in third is the same sort of pattern that Survation, ComRes, YouGov and TNS have all been showing… but is a contrast to ICM’s European poll for the Guardian earlier this week that had Labour six points higher, UKIP seven points lower. The difference is this one was conducted online, the ICM/Guardian poll by telephone.

The two Scottish polls are a new ICM for the Scotland on Sunday and a new Survation Scottish poll. I haven’t seen figures for either yet, so I’ll update tomorrow.

Survation also have another constituency poll done for Alan Bown, this time for Eastleigh, where UKIP came a close second in the by-election last year. Westminster voting intention in the Eastleigh poll stands at CON 28%, LAB 12%, LDEM 27%, UKIP 32% – which would certainly be a turnup for the books. It also asked about the borough elections in Eastleigh next month, and found local election voting intentions of CON 23%, LAB 9%, LDEM 40%, UKIP 27%.

85 Responses to “Sunday polls”

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  1. ALEC

    The ICM poll for the Sunday Post was an internet one, albeit with changes in weightings according to Prof C who, always one to look on the bright side of life, summarises the 2 polls with:

    “Some of the details too will do little to dispel the impression that the No campaign is a campaign in trouble. But underneath the bonnet there are also signs that the No vote may have become a little more resilient.”


  2. @Alex

    I can’t see in the reporting of the Welsh opinion poll ‘re Scottish independence any reference to currency union. You must have seen the detailed questions to draw the link between that and the swing against Scottish independence in Wales. Could you link to them?

  3. @alec sorry that should be Alec not Alex, damn predictive text!

  4. EWEN

    The Poll is of 1884 adults on 16/17 April.

    Changes in Lab/Con from Oct 13 to April 14 :-
    Which Government do you think would be better at :-
    Providing more jobs .
    33/25 to 30/29
    Keeping Prices down
    28/22 to 25/24
    Improving Standards of living for people like you.
    34/25 to 31/27

    Other findings quoted in an article by PK :-

    84% agree that “in the last few years most peoples incomes have not kept pace with rising prices”
    “Blame for this :-
    21% the Govt./22% the last Govt./ 57% both.

    Tory lead on managing the economy changed from 15% to 21%; and tackling the deficit from 22% to 29%

    Con lead on “helping people get on to the housing ladder” down from 11% to 2%.

    No VI is quoted.

  5. Syzygy,

    “assessment of the full potential of the ‘economy’ is turned on its head, ‘full employment’ is the level at which inflation begins to rise not the numbers of people seeking work”

    Pedantic aside: inflation can rise even if unemployment is well above the NAIRU; to what degree it does depends on the short-run aggregate supply curve. So if there is an increase in aggregate demand and the short-run aggregate supply curve isn’t horizontal (historically it never has been horizontal- even in 1930s America, some of the positive increases in AD were manifested in higher prices rather than output) then you can get rising inflation simply because AD has increased.

    A chart with a long-run aggregate supply curve and a short-run aggregate suppy curve-

    A change in AD moves supply along the SRAS curve.

    “I am very concerned that government policy decisions or announcements are based on such a dubious calculation or indeed concept.”

    I disagree that the NAIRU is a dubious concept; I do agree that it’s not a good basis for policy decisions. Many economists, from the start of the hypothesis’s modern history (Friedman in 1968) have recognised that the natural rate of unemployment/NAIRU (the natural rate of unemployment is a slightly different definition, but the same basic idea) is too hard to predict for it to be a basis of policy.

    For example, in the late 1990s US unemployment fell below its recent historical average, and yet inflation remained very low. Targeting the NAIRU would have involved excessively tight monetary policy during that period. In general, I think that unemployment is a bad target for monetary policy; macroeconomic policy should stabilise aggregate demand growth and leave unemployment to the government through training, work subsidies, better education etc.

  6. @Drunkenscouser

    Yes, Labour were probably averaging less, I didn’t claim otherwise, Yes, the graph shows a drop off in Labour support… but the welfare/immigration campaign could have been the cause of that. Ed could have campaigned more, but wants to keep powder dry, and that was clearly softer support. Given immigration’s salience, and Labour’s stance on it, hard for Labour to campaign on it directly. Tories have the same problem… Campaigning on immigation may hurt Labour somewhat, but Tories don’t benefit much. Given both are implicated in immigration and aren’t about to call a halt to it, Labour and Tories have to campaign more on reducing effects of immigation…

  7. Interesting contrast in viewpoints in today’s ST.

    An article about un-named “senior” Labour Party figures expressing concern about the narrowness & sustainability of the “cost of living crisis” strategy.

    David Axelrod, former Obama election guru, joining Labour for their GE campaign because , according to Boulton, he shares an analysis with EM that “the challenge of the century” is to correct economies in which few are doing better.

    Sounds like a good old fashioned ding dong between the wealth generation agenda & the wealth distribution agenda.

  8. @Syzygy

    Yes, I agree there are concerns on the inflation thing. Especially since it is possible to create jobs that are somewhat counter-inflationary, e.g. Investment that reduces costs and Mitchell’s jobs guarantee. Not sure that the polling on economy reflects a belief in Nairu though… How many voters are aware of Nairu?…

  9. Another way to keep a lid on inflation as full employment threatens, of course, is possibly, erm, to let more workers in from abroad…


    @”I think that unemployment is a bad target for monetary policy; ”

    ie-the prime objective on which monetary policy is focused on both sides of the Atlantic !

    The Fed is still buying gazillions of dollars worth of Mortgage Backed securities. Forbes reported last year that 25% of all the mortgage backed securities not owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are owned by the Fed. Presumably it will continue to do so until your “bad” target is met !

  11. And of course, the cheap, abundant energy of Thorium could be quite counter-inflationary. Worth bearing in mind that it was a bit harder to control inflation in the days of Macmillan and Heath because our currency was pegged. It’s not like inflation was rampant though until the oil crisis hit, and anyway inflation did have the virtue of eroding our post-war debt.

  12. If policy is focused on cutting costs, then inflation is naturally kept in check while having more employment. But inflation has its good side when folk are mired in debt. What you want is to keep a lid on the price of essentials… It doesn’t matter to the economy so much if other things go up in price…

  13. I.e. Inflation is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Jobs are more fundamental…

  14. Colin,

    True, but if you were just looking at inflation figures in the US and UK, in both countries inflation is below target.

  15. Carfrew,

    Inflation was getting pretty rampant prior to the oil crisis: RPI was 9.4% in 1971, 7.1% in 1972, 9.2% in 1973, and had been on an upward trend since 1967. Unemployment rose during the same period, hence stagflation, which actually preceded the oil crisis in late 1973.

  16. “Sounds like a good old fashioned ding dong between the wealth generation agenda & the wealth distribution agenda.”


    Doesn’t have to mean tax and redistribute, Colin. It can mean ensuring more opportunities for others to earn more of the wealth directly…

  17. BILL


    I wasn’t really making an economic point on your analysis-not qualified to do so.

    Merely observing that both the US & UK Central Banks are promulgating Monetary Policy in pursuit of a target you consider “bad” . :-)

  18. @Bill P

    Sure, but as you are aware that was when Heath deregulated banking and stoked the economy. There was no need for that… The Selsdon set had broken with the post war economic consensus..,

  19. @Bill P
    And the currency was pegged, as I said, until Nixon broke with that, but then we had the Barber boom and oil crisis. Heath should have been making counter-inflationary investments, not stoking inflation.

    A failure to diversify energy and keep a lid on energy costs was a failing of the post war period…

  20. @Hireton – I was referring to a YG poll back in February which showed a huge and decisive swing (15%) against currency union in E&W since September. This was the subject of previous discussion on here, and I was linking this to the Welsh poll.

  21. “Merely observing that both the US & UK Central Banks are promulgating Monetary Policy in pursuit of a target you consider “bad” . :-)”


    I doubt unemployment is the only concern Col., they probably like eroding the debt and seeing house prices rise…


    I guess I will take Yellen & Carney at their word.

    As Bill says-inflation is coming down, so debt erosion isn’t a feature.

    I don’t understand why a Central Banker would “like” house prices to rise. Carney has said that BoE will act to curb a rise of “bubble” proportions if/when he sees one.

  23. @Colin
    Well they are not ly-ing are they. They just haven’t mentioned it. Saying you want unemployment to come down is more politically acceptable.
    Inflation on some things is coming down, but we have had debt erosion anyway already. And cost of living is now more of an issue, so forced to pay attention to it. The BoE consider QE inflationary…

  24. @Bill Patrick

    Gratifyingly, we seem to agree on a great deal apart from the legitimacy of the NAIRU either as a real effect or the manner in which it is calculated.

    However, the situation is as Colin writes:

    … both the US & UK Central Banks are promulgating Monetary Policy in pursuit of a target you consider “bad” . :-)

    @Carfew As you suggest, job creation does not have to be inflationary .. and no government investment in jobs would create inflation provided that the investment was not greater than the wealth producing potential of the UK. This is where my concern is that the determination of the potential of the UK, whether the deficit is structural or not, has been made dependent on economist’s assessment of the NAIRU.

    I agree with you about the bogey man of inflation. It is a negative for those with wealth but a positive for the indebted. (Obviously, I am not talking about the very special conditions which result in hyperinflation.)

  25. “I don’t understand why a Central Banker would “like” house prices to rise. Carney has said that BoE will act to curb a rise of “bubble” proportions if/when he sees one.”


    Lol, it is not all about what the appointee wants, is it. But what those who appoint him want. The Treasury wanted to repatriate the interest so they did. You can continue to believe the BoE is completely independent if you want… but inflation it isn’t all about the BoE anyway. Help to Buy was a Government initiative…

  26. @syzygy

    Yep. They don’t necessarily take into account the various ways governments can cut costs and mitigate capacity constraints…

  27. You know what guys, ordinary people don’t make the fine judgements you do. They are not interested, yet it’s they who will select the next government and thus determine financial policy for the next 5 years. Until then it’s likely to be driven by “how to deal with UKIP”. Not what’s best for the Plebs or even business.
    Given your deep concern with the minutia perhaps you should turn your attention to what will happen if we Ukipers get our hands on the levers, now that I promise WILL be interesting. We are plotting even now and just a balance of power will do nicely.
    Have a joyful Easter.

  28. @Icini

    We know that. My initial point was that Immigration is close to becomng the number one concern.

    I also said that most voters are probably not dwelling on things like Nairu.

    However… they may vote on the outcome of such things as monetary and other policy, on how it affects them, even if they are not delving into the details…

  29. No doubt that’s true to an extent. Housing costs, interest rates, inflation/wages balance will all have some influence. Raw emotion is likely to be the biggest driver however. In politics, perception is far more important than fact.
    Since I have no crystal ball I’ve no idea what will happen in 2015. To the economy or in the election. I wish I did, it would help me decide if to stand for Westminster or not. It would take very little change to the so called recovery, driven in my opinion by people’s savings, low interest rates and house prices, to create a perfect storm. All bets would then be off.

  30. @Icini and Carfew

    I think if the electorate understood that government policy is to maintain unemployment at about 5%, regardless of the state of the economy, it would have a considerable impact on the polls… assuming of course that there was a political party advocating full employment.

    A great deal has been written about the dependence of capital on the ‘precariousness’ of the workforce (or the ‘reserve army’ of the unemployed) as a mechanism to restrict wage growth. I assume that this may be part of the rationale behind the linking of inflation with employment.

    Nevertheless to say, restricting employment inevitably works against reducing the deficit which is the professed concern of all the mainstream parties. However, I see little evidence that it can be a real concern to either Osborne or Ed Balls.

  31. SYZYGY

    Where is the evidence that “government policy is to maintain unemployment at about 5%, regardless of the state of the economy” Sue ?

  32. @Colin

    That is a ‘ball-park’ figure for average estimation of NAIRU
    but it varies, usually to track unemployment.

    Btw It is not my opinion, it is a fundamental assumption for the mainstream economists who currently advise governments. They frequently use the term ‘full employment’ when referring to 95% or less employment.

  33. I doubt you’ll find “evidence” of policy to maintain a set level of unemployment. To admit such a thing would be political suicide, that does not mean it’s untrue however. To what extent do open borders influence unemployment ? I would maintain they does so heavily, others will violently disagree.
    This of course is EU policy, not necessarily that of national government, though no doubt it is convenient for capital.
    My party may perhaps be able to stop the flood but it can’t drain the existing pool, we’re stuck with that.
    If the recovery does exist, continue and grow, the level in the pool will drop, so perhaps we’ll see in time.

  34. Presumably, measures to improve education and training, and to reduce welfare dependency, could also reduce the amount of unemployment that is “optimal” by giving employers a larger pond to fish from for staff.

    In a world where everyone finished school with decent qualifications, and everybody desperately wanted to find work, and the economy was humming along at a good pace, the only reason for structural unemployment would be disability, and natural churn (a few weeks between end/start dates for those changing jobs).

    The reality is that we live in a world where there can be 2m unemployed and where companies wanting to hire staff still can’t find anyone to employ.

  35. Sue

    Thanks-I thought you were saying that Government had a deliberate policy to maintain a minimum 5% . There is no such policy that I know of.

    With regard to the precise definition & practicality of “full” aka ZERO unemployment, I imagine their are libraries full of analysis on this point.

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