The second of Populus’s two twice-weekly polls is out this morning and has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. The Conservatives and Labour are neck and neck on 35% a piece. Tabs are here.

The last time we saw a poll without a Labour lead was MORI’s October poll last year. That one didn’t herald a great crossover, it was just a blip. You probably shouldn’t get excited about this one yet either – it could be a further narrowing of the polls, or could just be normal variation within the margin of error. Populus tend to show some of the smaller Labour leads anyway, probably as a result of their weighting scheme (Populus weight by party ID, in a similar way to YouGov, but weight Labour to a lower level of identification).

Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14% (tabs here). As ever, look at the polls as a whole, don’t make the error of looking more at the ones that give more unusual or exciting results.

On unrelated matters, nominations for the European elections closed yesterday and candidate lists were published, so I’ve updated the election guide part of the site with the full candidates: Scotland, North East, North West, Yorkshire, West Midlands, East Midlands, Wales, East of England, South West, South East and London.

269 Responses to “Populus – CON 35, LAB 35, LDEM 9, UKIP 13”

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  1. @Pressman: “…there is a real believe that it can be done again.”

    Again? You (They) didn’t do it last time. Labour’s support went up during the 1992 campaign.

  2. [Snip]

    the fact is the hurdle for miliband is incredibly low. he’ll pick up 8 seats of the Libs and 25 off the tories without breaking a sweat. 33 + 257 = 290, which is all he needs to be the largest party. that’s the real world when you actually examine seats.

    looking at poll numbers as though they were stock prices, going up and down in a kind of vacuum, is silly without actually asking how those poll numbers relate to the main point of UK elections, namely winning real seats in the house of commons.

  3. I don’t think Miliband needs to worry too much about Pressman’s predicted assault by NI Group Newspapers – Pressman may well be right about their planned behaviour – but the election will probably be won and lost on 1st TV – 2nd Social Media – and only 3rd Press. The stand NI Group take might shift at most a fraction of a percent if they are lucky IMO – they are plain “Old Hat” as far as moving public opinion is concerned IMO.

    Much more important will be Leaders Debates if Cameron agrees to have them. I think Tory strategy might be NOT to have them in the hope that their friends in Murdochland can hope to have more traction. However, the Clegg-Farage contests prove that many voters like TV Debates. So, if Cameron takes his ball away Miliband, Clegg and perhaps Farage could agree to go ahead and leave an empty chair on-set, to which all 3 could refer to as the “chicken seat” – it could be devastating to Cameron’s prospects – and knowing they might do this in advance might bounce him into agreeing to proper TV debates like last time?

  4. @ Mike,

    The short answer is that no one, possibly not even the people at Populus, understands the reasoning behind Populus’s weighing scheme.

    The long answer is that Ukip voters seem to be disproportionately enthusiastic about responding to online polls. We don’t yet know if this is because people really do love Ukip that much but feel shy about telling a phone pollster (the shy Kipper effect, akin to the shy Tory effect of the 90s), or because online panels for some reason attract a disproportionate number of people who plan to vote Ukip (maybe Kippers are more vocal about their opinions, or they’re all retired so they have spare time to sign up for polling panels).

    Since we can’t know for sure until we have some national election results to compare to the polls, different pollsters have tried to deal with this situation in different ways. Populus seems to be weighing to party identification data from before the big Ukip surge, which tends to downweigh thier Ukip voters (although not by as much as it did prior to February.)

  5. Tony – I agree Cameron would do a debate. The question is are all four major leaders there (especially if UKIP is polling at the same levels or higher than the Lib Dems) or is it just Milliband and Cameron?
    Milliband wouldn`t be keen to debate Farage since he is easily skewered as an out of touch, liberal Londoner.

  6. My views on debate representation are well known, so I won’t reiterate them, but they would include Farage.

    As for Miliband vs. Farage I don’t think he’d come off particularly worse than the other two. Plus, there are a fair few people in Britain who are liberal and Londoners.

  7. Cameron will take part in debates but is not willing for garage to take part, it’s important that they remain a minor party. IMHO debating with Clegg will be difficult for him too given that they have been in coalition.

  8. Agreed there are a quite a few Londoners and liberals. They already vote Labour. But in the key marginal seats in the midlands Farage would come out well. He did well, according to polling, in both recent debates with Clegg. Since Cameron, Clegg and Milliband all come across as southern and metropolitan then the same affect would apply to Milliband. As for Cameron, he already has priced into his ratings the “toff, southern gentleman” image. Milliband would get the worst of it I think.

  9. Typo I’m on my phone !

  10. @Mike
    “Milliband would get the worst of it I think”

    Do you mean with Farage there or anyway just with the other two?

  11. @Pressman re-Cameron “….debating with Clegg will be difficult for him too given that they have been in coalition.”

    Yes, I agree. I think it will be tricky for both of them. I wonder how they each are going to play it? I think the plan is that they will both still be in HM Government together until GE polling day, which probably means they will both have to “play it straight on nuanced differences on issues and remain gentlemanly”

  12. Time for a By-Election Report, I think.

    Caerphilly BC, Blackwood
    April 25, 2014

    Labour 620 (41.0%; +6.1%)
    Independent 477 (31.5%; +5.5%)
    Plaid Cymru 349 (23.1%; +12.1%)
    Conservative 68 (4.5%; -1.2%)

    Majority 143

    Labour hold.

    I’m guessing the increase in most parties’ vote is due to the Lib Dems not standing, but Labour can be basically pleased with this result. Wonder if that Independent is left wing or right wing? A seat with a combined Lab/PC vote of 64% is pretty left, we must assume.

    North Kesteven DC, Osbournby
    April 24, 2014

    Conservative 312 (49.7%; +19.3%)
    Lincolnshire Independent 269 (42.8%; -27.1%)
    Labour 38 (6.1%; +6.1%)
    LD Tony Richardson 9 (1.4%; +1.4%)

    Majority 43
    Turnout 33.8%

    Conservative gain from Independents.

    While it’s not a result for the LIs or Labour to grin about, nine votes is painfully bad for the Lib Dems. Consider for a moment that they needed ten nominations to get themselves on the ballot paper. Still, they can be consoled by…

    East Cambridgeshire DC, Sutton
    April 24, 2014

    LD Lorna Dupre 523 (50.9%; +27%)
    Conservative 280 (27.2%; -19.2%)
    UKIP 162 (15.8%; +15.8%)
    Labour 63 (6.1%; -23.6%)

    Majority 243
    Turnout 33.1%

    Liberal Democrat gain from Conservatives.

    As usual, the Lib Dem Voice people are crowing about this one, and they’ve probably got some justification for doing so. Presumably local factors are involved here, since something funny appears to have happened to the Labour and Tory votes. We keep seeing these isolated and amazing Lib Dem gains, which I guess is probably down to the ‘community politics’ stuff they like.

    I’ve seen pointed out that the Lib Dems used to run East Cambridgeshire council, and that the Labour vote here in 2011 may have been erroneously high to the degree that this result, somewhat a reversion to the mean, comes out as a huge swing. YMMV.

    East Lindsey DC, Horncastle
    April 24, 2014

    Conservative 432 (38.4%; +10.3%)
    Independent 353 (31.4%; +13.1%)
    UKIP 339 (30.2%; +30.2%)
    [Liberal Democrat 0.0; -26.7%]
    [Labour 0.0; -9.2%]

    Majority 79
    Turnout 20.8%

    Conservative hold.

    No Liberal or Labour candidate probably contributed to the strong Independent and UKIP vote here, although it’s concerning for the Tories that it was so relatively tight even without them. The fact that this is a Tory hold when they previously had 28% of the vote implies this is quite a badly split seat.

  13. @MrNameless

    Thanks for the Local By-Election results. However, they are all so bizarre and the water so muddied by Independents in 3 of the 4 that I’m scratching my head to see that they tell us anything about what is going on in the real world of politics. The LD gain is freakish – but I know from personal experience long ago that LDs can achieve these sort of results against almsot any national tide the other way!

  14. almost – NOT almsot – typo alert!

  15. We will be pushing for it to be just miliband v cameron on the grounds that nobody else can feasibly become PM. The more people involved the harder it will be for Cameron to present clear blue water and Miliband’s perceived weaknesses are less likely to be exposed in a 4 runner shouting match.

  16. Mr Beeswax,
    The hapless bumbler?Did you really say that?Perhaps irony has passed you by.

  17. Pressman,
    If you are not a journalist what’s with all this,we ,stuff.

  18. Ann, if you work for a racing stable, you don’t necessarily ride the horses.

  19. @Pressman

    “We will be pushing for it to be just miliband v cameron on the grounds that nobody else can feasibly become PM.”

    That was the case in 2010. However, Clegg was included? I don’t think the rules for broadcasters would allow for him not to be included – especially as precedent was set in 2010 when he was.

  20. @PRESSMAN: “We will be pushing for it to be just miliband v cameron on the grounds that nobody else can feasibly become PM.”

    You’d be wasting your time since any such debate which excluded a ‘major’ party (in this case the LibDems) would be unlikely to comply with OfCOM’s guidelines on campaign coverage.

  21. Pressman,
    Oh I see.So you sort of clean them out or something?Smiley thing.

  22. @SoCalLiberal

    Thanks for the NYT link.

    As far as political sloganeering goes, Marianne Williamson’s
    “I am not a woo-woo silly person” doesn’t seem to be quite in the same league as “Yes We Can”.

    We’ve David Axelrod advising Ed Miliband now… so if Williamson doesn’t make Congress I dare say I could come up with the names of one or two UK politicians if she’s interested.

    Interesting article btw.

  23. “Due weight must be given to major parties. In England, that’s Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat. In addition, there’s the SNP for broadcasts in Scotland; and there’s Plaid Cymru in Wales. The major parties in Northern Ireland are DUP; Sinn Fein; SDLP and UUP.”

  24. I agree it would be hard to play for Clegg and Cameron in the debates since they are in Government together. However they could basically each go after Labour and UKIP. And leave each other alone. Lib Dems will only increase their vote getting ex 2010 Lib Dem voters back who went to Labour. Conservatives will try and peel some Labour and UKIP supporters. No need for Conservative and Lib Dems to go after each other.


    @” the people who are impressed by vague assertions don’t have much short term memory.”

    As long as it gets them to the Polling Station-these are the people who vote Governments in aren’t they?

    ie-all of us. :-)

  26. @ Mike

    Except that the contradiction is that to get Lab voters back the LDs need to be seen to go after the Tories otherwise the Lab defectors will not be back.

  27. The LibDems need to distance themselves from the Tories to have any chance of recovering some of their lost support.

  28. RogerH

    OfCom has introduced new definition for the Euro elections.

    UKIP are to be a major party in England & Wales (and, therefore, as a major party across UK/GB for many programmes).

    And they didn’t even add (Fe) at the end of that statement!

  29. “initials”, not “acronym” – though there are amusing acronyms on social media at the moment.

  30. @ Mr. Nameless and Tony Dean,

    It seems pretty clear the Sutton result has something to do with the disintegration of the local Tory party, but it does prove ABT is still an active force. The Lib Dems can get most of their Labour tactical voters back where they need them.

    Not fantastic news for the Tories in the south, I wouldn’t think. (Or for Labour, if they want an impressive national vote share, but it does help to hand them the keys to Number 10.)

  31. @mrnameless

    RE: the LDs showing…two no shows and nine votes, and a win. With LD voice crowing, it sounds as if they put all their resources in the the winnable one.

  32. @OLDNAT: “OfCom has introduced new definition for the Euro elections.”

    That’s only for the Euros, though. Without any MPs I doubt UKIP will be added in for next year as well.

  33. Drunkenscouser

    What I find most offensive about was has emerged from this bout of self-destruction from CBI/BT isn’t actually the Scottish dimension.

    For years, BBC, ITV, STV (and others) have been presenting CBI’s views as somehow neutral commentators – when they were members of the CBI themselves, and funding it.

    Even worse, in terms of the BBC, is that we have all been helping it to fund the CBI.

  34. @tony dean,

    your earlier comment on tv debates is inaccurate [] It wasn’t Cameron who ‘had to be bounced’ into the last tv debates, it was I believe Lab and Brown who originally were not keen to participate and Cameron who wanted them? Maybe its just riskier and less appealing for the incumbent Govt / PM to do these given there is bound to be mistakes for the would be leader to cherry pick from.

  35. I think the local election results kindly shown by Mr Nameless are quite interesting just because there is no discernible pattern, and Independents played a prominent role.
    I know that these are only local elections, and there might be local factors, low turnout, etc etc, but I wonder if it is another sign that traditional bloc voting for the two or three traditional main parties is on the wane? If so, the European and GE coming up could be very interesting.

  36. @Rich

    Technically, one might consider every error “partisan”. In which case, you’ve made a few yourself, as most all of us have. Many errors are not wilfully partisan… It’s emotive and provocative and unhelpful to keep accusing of the partisan… unless that is what AW wants, in which case, as you were…

  37. Roger H

    Since Ofcom decided to abandon it’s fixed definition of “major parties” in favour of regular reviews for particular elections (of which this is the first), it is certainly possible that they may define things differently next time around.

    However, the lack of current MPs may not be a relevant factor – If you look at their reasoning in 2.63 of the full report linked to above, you’ll note that it says “England : UKIP has
    demonstrated significant previous electoral support at the
    last two sets of European Parliamentary elections in England; and demonstrates significant current support in Great Britain – wide opinion polls”[1}

    “Wales : UKIP has demonstrated significant previous electoral support at the last two sets of European Parliamentary elections in Wales. In the limited
    number of Wales-only opinion polls of which Ofcom is aware, UKIP demonstrates a significant level of current support. On balance, we consider that the
    evidence of UKIP’s past electoral performance in the European Parliamentary elections in Wales means that UKIP should be added to the list of major parties for Wales”

    So, if the pollsters continue to report highish levels of UKIP support after the Euros, it seems likely that ITV will continue to treat UKIP as a major party in 2015 for England (and, therefore, subject those in the South of Scotland to an analysis based on a different political system.

    Of course, the BBC will do that to everyone in Scotland anyway, but they are (literally) a law unto themselves.

    [1] GB polls are a remarkably silly basis for determining English support. If everyone in Scotland and Wales supported the “Klingon Party”, while no one in England did, then the Klingon Party would be registering around 10% in the GB polls. Shame that Ofcom don’t seem able to count. If they could, then looking at the 90% of GB polls who come from England might be a better guide.

  38. @carfrew,

    just setting the record straight, as its not like 95% of the regular posters here would correct something that feeds the narrative so to speak. But yes I have made plenty of errors am sure!

  39. This has been brought up in the constituency guide but the Tories have mysteriously failed to nominate a candidate for two of the five Hallam wards in the upcoming local elections.

    Although they’re the party’s two weakest wards in the seat and the Sheffield Conservatives are in a state anyway, I find it difficult to believe they couldn’t find ten nominations and am drawn to suspect it’s an encouragement of anti-Labour voting.

    I was wondering if anyone else has noticed the Coalition parties failing to stand in wards where they really ought to? My journalist’s intuition is telling me that even if it’s not official, there’s some sort of tacit agreement at play.

  40. The argument over whether or not there will be a TV leaders debate during an election campaign is a hoary old chestnut that goes back many years, almost as long as I can remember. In 2010, we finally had one, but in all the previous elections one of the party leaders, usually the one trailing in the polls, would challenge his or her rival to a live debate, only to be rebuffed by whoever felt they needed it less. If you felt you were coasting an election, like Thatcher and Blair always did, then why the hell would you consider giving your opponent an opportunity to reinvigorate their campaign? Hence Kinnock and Labour in the 80s always pushed for a debate, and singularly failed to get one, and Hague and Howard were allegedly keen too when they were leaders of the opposition but Blair wouldn’t play ball. Likely losers requested, probable winners rebuffed. That was the pattern for decades.

    Brown, the obvious drowning man in 2010 grabbed at a possible lifebelt and agreed, but any incumbent PM who feels confident of victory usually steers well clear, offering up conditions that they know would never be met. Nobody likes to be seen to be frit, but there are always ways and means to wriggle out of it.

    Whether we get a debate in 2015 will depend almost entirely, in my view, on how confident Cameron feels about his chances generally. If he agrees to one it might well suggest he feels he’s in trouble.

  41. @Rich

    Nothing wrong with setting the record straight, pointing out an error. In other news, remember Fever Tree? Well I discovered they do ginger beer this eve, which is also nicer than one might think…

  42. Have we ever had any polling on whether voters feel the press makes a difference in elections, or how much?…

  43. How far would Cameron have to be ahead to feel able to avoid a debate? And given there are three main challengers now, might they see mileage in having a debate without him?

  44. Crossbat11

    I don’t usually write “Completely agree with you” posts, but I completely agree with you!

    Broadcasters want TV debates. They get them when sufficient parties agree to them.

    Even when they’re as meaningless as Clegg/Farage debates, however, the broadcasters will still big them up.

  45. @ROGERH

    “The LibDems need to distance themselves from the Tories to have any chance of recovering some of their lost support.”


    Well I suppose they could pledge to abolish tuition fews…

  46. fees

  47. @Crossbat XI

    The die was cast in 2010. The is now a precedent for UK GE TV debates. I suspect the TV networks believe that a rules precedent was also set in 2010. They would be might annoyed in Cameron stood them up.

    As far Farage, he said a few weeks ago that he expected UKIP to be excluded from the debates due to the small vote share in 2010.

  48. My knee is giving me ole gyp.

    I don’t see how painkillers can get down to your knee: mine certainly don’t.

  49. Carfrew

    Or maybe “feus”?


    It is worth noting that C4 News had a report about how Libdems are contesting fewer seats at the local elections and C4 attributed that to the loss of so many foot soldiers since the GE. I think this may be the case for the Torys too particularly with the loss of activists to UKIP,

    Re: Local elections. the vote in Sutton I think was very much ABT but also the Libdem candidate Lorna Dupre was the only candidate that actually lived there so got the local community vote also.

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