The daily YouGov poll for the Sun tonight has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%. Putting them all together today’s four Westminster polls are:

YouGov/Sun – CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%
Populus – CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%
Ashcroft – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%
ICM/Guardian – CON 33%, LAB 31%, LDEM 13%, UKIP 15%

Two very small Labour leads, two very small Conservative leads. Levels of Conservative support are actually pretty similar across these polls, as is the level of UKIP support (though other pollsters show contrasting figures), there’s the usual higher level of Lib Dem support from ICM and there’s significant variation in the level of Labour support shown. What is consistent across all four polls is that Labour and the Conservatives are very close to one another in support. In terms of narrative and political impact a poll showing a one point Labour lead looks very different to one showing a one point Conservative lead. Statistically though really isn’t much difference between them in polls with a margin of error of about three points. On today’s polls the parties are looking neck-and-neck, let’s see if it stays that way…and what political impact those polls showing a Tory lead have…

226 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 35%, LAB 36%, LD 9%, UKIP 14”

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  1. First!

    Thanks for brilliant updates, Anthony.

  2. Does this mean yesterdays 7 point labour lead on yougov was an outlier.

    How times have changed…

  3. That’s it. Tory majority in 2015, seems obvious now.

  4. Thanks Anthony for the summary. Level pegging does look the order of the day now. I think the Labour strategy team need to wake up and smell the coffee if they are level pegging a year out from a GE with an improving economy helping the Blues!!!

  5. The polls at the end of last week were showing an increasing Lab lead. Today, we have a significant reduction/crossover of the lead. What has changed? No explanation comes readily to mind.

  6. Anyone think this may end up having the perverse effect of shoring up some Labour voters? I know as a Labour sympathiser flirting with the Greens, this kind of poll makes me instinctively want to vote Labour because I don’t want 5 more years of this government.

    Looking at the polls from last parliament, Labour’s vote seemed to improve as we came closer to election day, I know nearly everyone puts this down to “natural” narrowing that always seems to happen at the end of parliaments, but is it not the case that some LAB voters saw the alternative and decided “no, not for me”?

    I know CON’s are hoping their vote will harden up when it becomes a choice between Miliband vs Cameron/Labour vs Tory, but is it not possible the reverse is true too? It’s easy to say a year out that you won’t vote for one of the big 2 but, when the choice is staring you in the face, it’ll be interesting.

    Also worth noting that GREEN’s are on 5% in the Ashcroft poll too, (they won 0.9% in 2010) European elections, or something else?

  7. @Peter Bell

    Maybe with the imminent elections on the 22nd May, people are weighing up choices against that deadline.

    If many folk are undecided (or not have a view cast in stone), then it might be an innocuous event or news items that pushes them to a choice.

    I recall when George O offered the announcement about inheritance tax when in opposition. At the time it seemed quite innocuous (to me anyway), but appeared to really trigger the minds of the electorate to reject Labour and Gordon Brown sharply.

  8. Are the local elections having any impact ? Are there more Tory seats up for re-election and therefore more campaigning from them ?

    I think the polls will be all over the place between now and May 2015. Lord Ashcroft is due to release his marginal polling on or around 23rd May, which might be the next most interesting polling.

  9. I agree with that. I think the polls will be all over the place. We just have to see what gives when the dust settles. If Labour emerges about 3% or better ahead after the elections, they will be reasonably happy, less than that will be a worry, if the Tories are ahead they may have to prepare to be in opposition for a long time.

  10. Stec,

    The big two known unknowns for Labour are (i) to what extent will they win over those currently planning to vote Green and (ii) to what extent do Red Kippers go to Labour, especially in a tight election?

    Similarly, we don’t know to what extent the Tories will continue to win over Kippers- or vice versa.

  11. Remember, being ahead is not enough for the Tories: they have to be well ahead of Labour even to be the largest party, let alone get a majority. And a Tory win presents a potential “doomsday scenario” for the Union, even if the Tories don’t get wiped out again in Scotland, because they are very unlikely to be able to staff the Scottish Office with Scottish MPs.

  12. (MPs with seats in Scotland, that is. Even appealing to MPs like Liam Fox and Michael Gove wouldn’t necessarily work, and would present major problems in itself.)

  13. @Bill

    I think for sometime both Labour and the Conservatives have been hanging onto supporters who are on the edge, but managed to find a sufficiently good set of nose-pegs come election day.

    The Euros are obviously good for the small parties, given that with about 10% you can win seats.

    The long term falling share of the big parties hints that they continue to shed votes, and I have seen nothing to suggest they can reverse that trend.

    I will keep saying this – I think we seeing the slow death of FPTP and basically a two horse race.

  14. I am almost speechless. I really didn’t see this coming. I was expecting a drubbing for the Tories next week, leading to a UKIP halo effect in Westminster polls for about a month, then a slow climb of the Tories as they gradually won Kippers over in the run up to the “real” election.

    I can’t see anything in the world of politics, current affairs or anywhere else that explains why UKIP should suddenly be taking support off Labour instead of the Tories. The news agenda hasn’t been particularly good for the Tories, Ed M seems to be treading surefootedly. The UK was humiliated in Eurovision again. The weather’s not especially good. The only thing I can think of is that the UKIP campaign has had quite a “left-ish” feel to it, clearly aimed at “White Van Man” and Working Men’s Club type voters. Perhaps that’s pushed some RoC UKIP supporters back to the Tories and brought in some socially conservative left-voters to replace them?

    Polldrums gone. Now we have Surveyhem…

  15. @Bill Patrick,

    How many MPs does it take to staff the Scottish Office these days? What does it actually do?

    Surely one Tory Scottish MP, a Scots-born English MP and a Lord or two should suffice?

  16. Bill Patrick

    “even if the Tories don’t get wiped out again in Scotland, because they are very unlikely to be able to staff the Scottish Office with Scottish MPs.”

    It’s the “Scotland Office”. Been that since 2000, when it lost virtually all it’s executive powers. Other than a taxpayer-funded propaganda agency in Scotland, it has no purpose. It doesn’t need a Minister of State, much less a Secretary of State. Having both is even more ridiculous.

  17. Neil A,

    Or it could be the “Labour and the LDs won’t, UKIP can’t, the Tories CAN give you a referendum” agendum used by the Tories recently (I noticed in QT and in a few other places) has won over a few eurosceptics who are willing to trust the Tories.

  18. Oldnat,

    I didn’t know about that change. I don’t like it, but I usually don’t like changes that politicians make.

    There was a proposal of replacing the various Celtic Fringe departments with a general “Ministry of Nations”. It would make a lot of sense to couple this with devo-plus for Scotland (in the even of a Naw vote) or in 2016 after an Aye vote.

  19. @Bill,

    Maybe. It’s a good line (although completely predictable – it was the blatant intention of the change of policy from the outset). But I thought the consensus of opinion was that UKIP’s appeal is really about immigration, and social conservativsm, than about the EU?

  20. Neil A,

    “What does it actually do?”

    It justifies having even more MPs on Her Majesty’s payroll and thus weakens the power of Parliament.

  21. “But I thought the consensus of opinion was that UKIP’s appeal is really about immigration, and social conservativsm, than about the EU?”

    I think that it generally is, but there are some Kippers (particularly those most likely to vote Tory) for whom I think that UKIP’s appeal IS primarily about getting out of the EU. Purely hypothetical, of course, but it would make sense of a Kipper-Tory switch when, if anything, conditions are good for voters to go in the opposite direction.

  22. @CatmanJeff (11.09)

    I would not have called Osborne’s Inheritance Tax announcement innocuous. But even if it was I am not even aware of any innocuous announcement over the weekend which could have had such an effect on VI.

    A couple of people have referred to the increase in Green VI and it will be interesting to see the Green% in today’s four polls. A couple of threads ago I referred to an excellent Green PPB and Euro election leaflet which has resulted in me deciding to vote Green in the Euros and perhaps this has resulted in some people moving from Lab to Green.

  23. Apparently it is officially now all over for Labour. On tonight’s BBC News “Papers”, the Guardian poll story was chosen as the lead story and Sophia Cannon announced, “This was Ed’s election to lose and it looks like he’s lost it.”

    So that’s it then.

  24. Bill Patrick

    The name change made sense to distinguish it from the old Scottish Office whose powers were almost entirely transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

    From a Unionist perspective, there should be no need for these Cabinet members anyway – surely all UK Cabinet members seek the best for all parts of the UK at all times?

    Various bits of legislation require some member of Government to have Secretary for State for Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland added to their title, so that they can sign off the odd thing.

    Could be usefully added to the remit of a Minister without Portfolio. Still, it suits UK parties to expand their payroll vote and get the taxpayer to pay for several propaganda posts.

  25. Norbold,

    Good, that will save us a lot of time over the next twelve months that we would have spent speculating. I’m glad we can wrap up elections so efficiently nowdays, what with the U-Tubes and the Amazons and the Web Sites.

  26. Norbold, you’re sarcastic about it but frankly it’s probably right.

  27. Currently watching the Sky News paper review and it has reminded me that there was one issue over the weekend which I thought may have affected VI. However, the issue was the LD attack on Gove and I would have thought that would have strengthened the Lab lead

  28. Mr Nameless,

    You seem unduly perturbed by four polls.

  29. MrNameless

    We’re doomed. We’re all doomed.

  30. @Neil A

    “I can’t see anything in the world of politics, current affairs or anywhere else that explains why UKIP should suddenly be taking support off Labour instead of the Tories.”

    Churn? Lab to DK and DK to UKIP would do it, and look like Lab to UKIP.

    Anyone got data on DKs and WNV over time?

  31. Norbold/Mr Nameless have called the election – the locals, Euro and 2015 GE! For goodness sake….

  32. Courage, Nameless !
    Real votes in real ballot boxes next week, remember the Euros are pretty meaningless,BUT they will provide a bench mark against which to calibrate the relative accuracy of the various polling companies. What more could anybody ask for ?

  33. Well if these polls are right, that “Vote UKIP get Labour” slogan won’t seem grounded in reality come 2015.

    More like “Vote UKIP get Tory”.

    And also (especially relevant to some here) “Vote Green get Tory”.

    BTW has anyone yet seen a Labour mailing for the Euro (as opposed to local) elections? So far we’ve had only Conservative, UKIP and BNP in this part of the West Midlands, with the postal votes already having gone out.

  34. Listen calm down everyone within a little more than a week we will have the most comprehensive verdict from the British electorate for a long time. I confidently predict major gains for Labour in the local elections and probably first place in the Euros. If this is not the fact I shall return and pay penance.

  35. Conservatives still not capable of polling above 35%. The Conservative leads are entirely down to feeble Labour shares.

    Until the Conservatives can score clear above 35% they have no hope of a victory.

  36. @Stephen W

    “Conservatives still not capable of polling above 35%. The Conservative leads are entirely down to feeble Labour shares. ”

    Absolutely. The recent drop in Lab VI is being driven almost entirely by switching to UKIP (maybe also to SNP, Green, Plaid). This is almost certainly a “bleedthrough” from the Euro elections. The question is whether/how fast it will be reversed afterwards.

  37. Is it too late to dump Ed?

    Not quite sure who for, but the general perception amongst the public, is that Ed is not the man for Number 10.

  38. Of course, the above doesn’t matter if the public feel Labour is the party for Number 10. But it definitely hampers them.

  39. “The polls at the end of last week were showing an increasing Lab lead. Today, we have a significant reduction/crossover of the lead. What has changed? No explanation comes readily to mind.”

    Yes it does. The Westminster polls usually tend to be unduly influenced by European election voting intentions in the last 1 to 2 weeks before polling day. I think we saw that happening in 2009 and 2004.

  40. R Huckle,

    Locals this year include all Metropolitan areas plus London, so actually has more Lab strongholds than last year (mainly shire county councils).

    Since these locals were last fought on the same day as the GE, it is more difficult to predict outcomes based on lower turnout. It depends on whether the Euros actually produce a surprise uptick in turnout, compared to the dismal figures in recent years.

    Given that UKIP voters are clearly most motivated for Euros, this could produce some surprise upsets in the local elections. As UKIP are likely to make gains in locals compared to 2010 – certainly in votes, but probably in seats too – the pattern of their support could have a bigger impact than many are expecting.

  41. In some ways this Polling ‘surprise’ could be seen coming for many months. If you use populist bandwagons without joined-up Policies or a logical thought process the Public will quickly see through it and a vacuum is left. UKIP is increasingly attractive to disillusioned labour Voters and once some of the more traditional labour Voters start to seriously look at alternatives it could really quickly alter the political picture. I also think the recent ‘class warfare’ political advertising may have turned quite a few neutrals off.
    I think Labour, as a non-governmental party, will still do pretty well at the Vote but if these recent Polls are right there may need to be some serious changes, like Douglas Alexander.

  42. Stephen

    The Tories can expect to see a bounce from the increasing economic good news. In addition, will all of those saying that they will back UKIP actually go through with it when faced with the stark choice of Miliband or Cameron in No. 10 ? It is these factors that can get the Tories towards that magical 38 %

    I can report much delight at NI yesterday, tinged a little bit when our poll results didn’t quite follow the Ashcroft/ICM numbers.

  43. Don’t forget that aside from the headline figures, the polls have also asked about policies. Labour policies have been well received across the board balanced by Ed Millibands poor image across the board.

    But the big one to pick out is Ashcroft where just 1 in 8 say they are feeling any benefit from economic recovery. So behind the headlines there is nothing to explain or support this abrupt shift. Nor does the -12 for Labour on ICMs Euro poll fill me with confidence about its validity.

    So for me its still all to play for. One swallow does not make a summer even if two come along within hours of each other….

  44. Sleuthing on the part of mrnameless managed to track down some Labour EU election literature hidden on the web.

    Here in the SE the sitting Labour MEP is standing down, so obviously he is not using the resources of his office to get re-elected. The local Labour party seem to be mounting a low key campaign to defend, and possibly improve upon fairly good council results in 2010… but obviously they are not expending any resources on a supportive campaign for prospective MEPs. Hence there is no awareness that Labour even has a candidate.

    I know there is just over a week to go, but it looks like a lack of ambition, and no sign of any momentum… perhaps Labour should have asked Martin Shultz to make the case for a left-wing platform in Europe?

  45. I think it was a tactical error to try to make the European election campaign about A) domestic policy and B) the Liberal Democrats. Would have been better to talk about PES plans for Europe.

  46. So-much nail chewing & wishful thinking until tonight’s message from the Gods at NI & Ashcroft Towers.

    We are fated to eternally await their verdict on our preconceptions & dreams.


  47. Even the ICM/Guardian poll, which is the least favourable to LAB (CON 33%, LAB 31%, LDEM 13%, UKIP 15%), would leave LAB as the largest party, using the Electoral Calculus formula with UNS – the loss of LDEM seats would also mean that a CONDEM coalition could not command a majority.

    While not good for LAB, these polls are in no way reassuring for the CONs, who need to increase their vote share significantly to have a chance of being in government after 2015, now that the reform of unfair HoC constituency sizes was torpedoed by the LDEMs.

  48. Think people will have to wait until June for the polls to settle a little. The EU and local elections are affecting polls at the moment. There will also be the local elections to look at to see how the parties did. The EU vote being more of a protest is not a good guide.

  49. How do we explain the 12% drop in support for Labour in the ICM Euro 2014 poll for the Guardian? That means that, in just one month, they lost one third of their support – from 36% to 24%! Is this change a record? So, what’s the explanation?

  50. These polls tell us what we already know, that neither of the two main parties have the sort of national support that they need to ensure an overall majority let alone a working one. Miliband is obviously a drag on Labour’s fortunes but the Labour Party have never shown the streak of ruthlessness that the Tories have when faced with a failing leader, perhaps its time they did.

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