There are three voting intention polls in the Sunday papers. The regular YouGov/Sunday Times poll has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13% – we’ve had a week of YouGov poll with quite low Labour leads, including a couple with leads of just one point. This seven point lead suggests they were just co-incidence and what we’re actually seeing is normal random variation around an underlying lead of 3 or 4 points (tabs are here.
Meanwhile Opinium in the Observer has topline figures of CON 29%(-3), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 20%(+2). Opinion tend to give UKIP some of their highest scores but even by those standards its a high score – the highest Opinium have shown since last summer’s 21%. We are overdue an Opinium European poll too – they said they’d be releasing one last weekend, then mid-week, but nothing yet.
Finally Survation for the Mail on Sunday have topline figures of CON 28%, LAB 34%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 20%. Survation are the other company that tends to give UKIP their highest scores but again the 20% is the highest since last summer. They also have European election voting intentions which stand at CON 21%, LAB 28%, LD 9%, UKIP 32%, GRN 5%. This seems to be becoming the broad picture of European election support (tabs here.
The rest of the YouGov and Survation polls had lots of questions about perceptions of the leaders (both found that people thought David Cameron was more “intellectually confident” than Ed Miliband. I expect it reflects general positive and negative perceptions of the two men rather than any specifics). I’m not going to drag myself over the issue with Ed Miliband’s poor ratings yet again – other than the observation that not much has changed since I last wrote about the contrast between Miliband’s ratings and Labour’s ratings.
YouGov also had some questions about rent control (people still support it) and nationalising railways (people also support it). This is one of those poll findings that are pretty consistent (I’ve seen various questions about rail nationalisation over the years and the public always seem to be supportive) yet often seem to come as a bit of a surprise to people. I suspect it’s because its one of those areas where public opinion is at odds to mainstream political debate. Outside of things like the bankers bailout nationalisation, the mainstream political debate seems to treat nationalisation as something wildly left-wing that is outside the main debate and would indicate a massive swing left, yet the public seem broadly positive towards it. Before one takes away the conclusion the public are all very left wing, one could make a similar observation about law and order, immigration or human rights policies and come to the conclusion that the public are wildly right wing – it’s more than the debate inside the party-Parliament-media sort of political universe often operates within different boundaries of what are “normal political views” from what the public actually think.
(A brief note about the differences in UKIP support between pollsters. I wrote about this last year and should probably do an updated post at some point, but the sheer quantity of ignorance and tinfoil-hattery it produces on Twitter means I should occasionally knock down some of the nonsense written. Essentially there appears to be a substantial difference between the levels of UKIP support recorded by telephone pollsters and online pollsters. Polls conducted by telephone produce lower UKIP scores, polls conducted online higher ones. We don’t know why – it could be because of an interviewer effect, or because one mode is producing more accurate samples. Differences in weighting may also be a factor – Opinium show some of the highest figures and put it down to their lack of political weighting, YouGov and Populus show lower UKIP scores than other online companies and also weight by party ID rather than past vote. What is certainly untrue is the perception that weighting by past vote automatically leads to lower UKIP scores – the method is shared by both ICM and Survation, who tend to give UKIP some of their lowest and highest scores respectively. Prompting is often cited as another cause of the gap, and it does make a difference…but Survation are the only pollster who include UKIP in their main prompt, while Opinium and ComRes online also show very high UKIP scores so this is clearly not the major factor at play. Whatever the reasons for the differences in UKIP support, they are not simple.)