ComRes have a poll of marginal seats out tonight covering the forty most marginal seats with Labour and Conservative in first and second place (so 25 with Tory incumbents, 15 with Labour incumbents). Collectively the vote in these seats was CON 37%, LAB 37%, LDEM 18%, UKIP 3% at the last general election. In today’s poll ComRes found current support of CON 33%(-4), LAB 35%(-2), LDEM 8%(-10), UKIP 17%(+14). That’s a swing from Conservative to Labour of just one point, far lower than the swing shown in ComRes’s GB polls (it would be the equivalent of a national poll showing a Conservative lead of five points) suggesting Labour are doing worse in key marginals than in the country as a whole.

ComRes also break down the figures for the Conservative held and Labour held seats (though given the sample was only 1000 to begin with, caveats about sample size obviously kick in here). In the Tory held seats the Conservatives have a lead of 2 points (no change since the election), in the Labour held seats Labour have an 8 point lead (up 6 since the election). What that means is if these figures were repeated at the general election none of these Con/Lab seats would change hands at all – the Tories would hold theirs, Labour would hold theirs. In practice it wouldn’t work like that of course, there isn’t a uniform swing and some seats would probably switch in both directions, but it’s a suggestion that there isn’t really a swing to either Lab or Con in the key marginals.

A word about polls of marginal seats. I’m always a bit wary of reading too much into them. In theory they *should* be far more useful in predicting elections, in practice… perhaps not, probably because of how uncommon they are. They tend to be rare one-offs and show contradictory things: the last Ashcroft poll of marginals showed Labour doing better in marginals, the previous Ashcroft marginal poll has show the Tories doing a tiny bit better, this one shows the Tories doing much better. That might be different methods, or change over time (there are years between those polls!) or just normal margin of error. With so few such polls it’s impossible to tell – yet because they are so rare there’s a temptation to read a lot into them. You shouldn’t. Rarity of a poll doesn’t decrease its confidence interval. The good news is that this ComRes poll is apparently the start of a series, so assuming they are relatively frequent we will have a better chance to at least be able to look at trends and averages over time and how they relate to ComRes’s national figures.

204 Responses to “ComRes poll of marginal seats”

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  1. @TOH

    think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the NHS.If people want more than basic care they’re going to have to pay for it themselves or the UK Government will have to nationalise all private wealth.

  2. I think Marie Antoinette was referring to brioche. Cake is far more socially acceptable amongst us plebs (police or otherwise).

  3. Turnout in my flat tomorrow will be 50% and the result will be CON 60%, UKIP 20%, LAB 20%. Not what we might call a representative sample.

    Bit down about that actually, since my flatmates actually laughed and found it incredibly weird when I asked them if they were voting.

    “Everything’s been basically fine in my life so far” was one quote, which I won’t need to explain my response to.

    “We haven’t had enough information about it” was another, to which the response is “Well it’s out there, and what do you think those colourful leaflets have all been about?”

  4. I think we know that whatever the political development, there are those here who knew it all along and equally know full well that none of us is going to check (oh please don’t anyone).

    I am totally confident that Con will sweep the board in 2025.

  5. Turnout in my house is 66% with a clean sweep for the Tories.

    Although if I hadn’t postal voted, Mrs May might just have persuaded to make a last minute switch. Although not to LibDem, as in my ward in Plymouth they don’t have a candidate..

  6. In my University there seems to be a strong showing for the Conservatives, most of my friends aren’t voting, but the few who are are voting Conservative.

    (We have never discussed politics before so I don’t think the rule counts about how you stick around with people with similar views)

    I am personally still unsure how I am going to vote tomorrow.

  7. 50% turnout in my household with a clean sweep for Labour. Mrs H doing her duty for her town and country with one son abstaining (a former Lib Dem now a non-voter) and the other exiled in Sheffield plotting Nick Clegg’s demise. He follows his Dad’s politics, though, and sent me the YouTube clip of James O’Brian’s dismantling of Nigel Farage the other day. Should have got him a postal vote really, and if we go down by one vote in our council ward then I’ll be castigated by the local activists around here!

    Our Labour candidate in the council elections is a Consultant Anaesthetist at the local NHS hospital. Lovely bloke facing a bit of an uphill battle in our ward, but he’s been getting some doorstep conversions by dint of who he is and what he does. He has a nice motivational technique too. He’s promised me a pint of the local real ale, Purity Gold (from Spernall Ash) for every 200 leaflets I deliver. I’m up to half a gallon, with maybe another pint to come.

    Busy day tomorrow.

  8. Crossbat,

    You’d better not deprive us in Sheffield of any votes. We lost Stannington by five in 2011!

  9. 100% turnout in my flat, with 100% voting for the same party, and he’s someone whose opinion I really respect (I agree with him literally all the time).

    I decided to go yellow this time, not entirely because I’ve had a taste for custard recently.

  10. CB11
    Leaving aside the possibly dubious practices of your local candidate, reminiscent of a pocket borough, I doubt whether a single vote will make the difference as nearly all elections, even local ones, are won by at least dozens, and vanishingly few decided by a toss of the coin.

    I was rung by a party HQ bod wanting to know whether I would deliver a few hundred leaflets today. I’ll say this for that party; they don’t give in easily.

  11. This could all be so much simpler if only we adopted Asmov’s approach in his story ‘Franchise’. Find read and enjoy while you await the results everyone!

  12. @rosieanddaisie

    I’ve had two DVTs and both times they tried to fob me off as some kind of hypochondriac. First it was the GP, and the second time it was a walk-in centre nurse (or whatever). She neglected to give me an extra point for having a previous DVT but fortunately another person randomly walked in an noticed the error. I’m not sure I like the idea of being diagnosed on a points system either.

    Though our experience concerning medication is the same. The injections are pretty much the same as the tablets so a few days wait for an ultrasound is almost a non-issue.

    Anyway, I mainly point this out because DVTs happens to a lot of people and you need to be forceful if you feel your symptoms aren’t being taken seriously.

  13. RMJI,
    Well of course they eat at banquets and garden parties ,I think you know what I
    Meant.They do not walk along the street licking an ice cream for example.

  14. Bill Patrick
    “(I agree with him literally all the time)”

    Perhaps your flatmate is a ‘literal democrat’.

  15. To me, it seems pretty obvious from news reports and internet postings that UKIP have been losing some of their voters over the immigration obsession. Perhaps even before the huge media attention. I started noticing the odd deserter right after the poster campaign so I would guess that people were already turned off before that point. The less clear thing is how many votes were brought by the switch to focusing on immigration all day every day.

    The only prediction I’m prepared to makes is that either Labour or UKIP will win, the Tories may give someone a scare, and the Lib Dems will sneak fourth place.

  16. R Huckle,

    29.5% for UKIP?! Rather than 29.6%?! I find that very implausible. 29.55% is the MINIMUM reasonable figure for UKIP.

  17. Howard,

    He’s a literate democrat, on his good days.

  18. Turnout in my house for the Euros – 100% Green, notwithstanding the fact that there’s a card carrying union affiliated Labour member in the house.

    The Council votes are a bit trickier to determine as there is only one Green candidate in the ward whereas Con, Lab and LD are putting up a full slate.

  19. rmj1

    “…… the royal family eat in public all the time. At garden parties people sit in rows to watch her eating cakes.”

    What this has to do with polling I am unable to fathom…. [as you might say.]

  20. Balbs,
    Just read it.Not sure whether it would be funny or terrifying,but Anthony.would be out of a job for sure!

  21. I’m surprised how many people posting on this site still think that UKIP will top the Euro poll, or tie with Lab for first place. UKIP are likely to have lost significant support in the last few days due to their candidates’ continuing gaffes and verbal attacks by the media and political opponents.

    My thoughts on the results were posted at 0659 today (and are similar to those of couper2802, posted at 1133 today).

  22. Daodao

    “UKIP are likely to have lost significant support in the last few days due to their candidates’ continuing gaffes and verbal attacks by the media and political opponents.”

    You may well be right. However, I’ve seen a number of campaigns in which “attacks by the media and political opponents” have had exactly the opposite effect to that intended.

    How much faith does the average voter in either media or politicians?

  23. 100% here (two), with 100% undisclosed (we never ask or tell, and that’s the way we like it).

  24. I predict that, by an amazing coincidence, nobody will vote.

    The winner will be the

    “I used to be apathetic but now I can’t be arsed party”

    avec nil points.

  25. @Statgeek

    It is a secret ballot after all.

  26. @R&D

    And what will the size of the abstention be? 65% for the Euros?

  27. @RAF

    To be honest I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’ll probably take an hour or two tomorrow to flick through some of the leaflets and see which party is fibbing to me the least.

  28. 100% turnout, 100% green in our house.

  29. Our turnout will be 100%. Our lodger will vote LD in both elections (well, someone has to, I suppose). My son will do a personal vote for his daddy & vote for 2 Tories apart from that, & I think Conservative in the Euro elections as well. My wife & I will vote Labour across the board, including for me as Labour candidate for North Richmond ward in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. I will probably get quite a few personal votes from my little street of 18 townhouses.

  30. RAF

    I am reliably informed that the abstention rate for local elections in Scotland will be 100%.

  31. The days of 70% of the population voting are gone as are the days of the winning party getting 40%.

    That means that probably less than a quarter of us have voted for a party, which is itself a coalition led by a small cabal, which can wield enormous power for four [now five] years.

    Added to this, our adversarial system means that the governing party is actively despised, probably by a larger proportion than those who voted the buggers in.

    The coalition doesn’t seem to have worked well as an idea and has possibly destroyed the LDs.

    What seems left – to me – is a genuine PR system whereby there is no expectation that any single party can govern alone but, instead, works with others at the top of a pyramid, the base of which is the choices made by the UK public, and who are therefore fully represented.

    It has to be better than this nonsense. Any system which positively encourages tactical voting is bonkers.

  32. BP

    “100% turnout in my flat, with 100% voting for the same party, and he’s someone whose opinion I really respect (I agree with him literally all the time).”

    My condolences Bill – your flatmate sounds like a really dull man.

    I would LOL my leg off if Anthony banned everybody who has openly declared a party preference.

  33. May I wish all poster who are standing tomorrow the best of luck.

    No matter which party you are standing for, I respect anyone having the bottle to do it. It’s tough and mostly thankless, but we local candidates are vital part of the democratic process.

    Enjoy a glass of something while soaking those blistered feet, and I hope your ‘letter box’ fingers heal soon.

  34. @ Bill Patrick

    I took your post to mean that you live alone.

  35. Very disappointing for me that my daughter who was 18 in April will probably not vote.

    I will try to encourage her in the morning but point chastising her for not being engaged by the chance to vote in a large opinion poll.

    Pretty she will vote in the GE

  36. Sun promising a YouGov “Bombshell”… Hmmm

  37. Kitsune @ Bill Patrick

    “I took your post to mean that you live alone.”

    Yes – that’s why mine was funny.

  38. More than a few people I know who are vaguely aware of plitics aren’t voting. Labour has won the seat for 50 years straight and the gist is what’s the point? Even the Labour supporters wont bother as it achieves nowt – their guys will get in again.

    Can’t blame ’em. FPTP has utterly failed this area. There’s never a realistic choice.

  39. @DaoDao

    I hope you’re right as I have £6 on Labour to come top – £3 each on seats and votes.

  40. Hell of a bombshell!

    UKIP one point ahead of Lab and 5 ahead of the Tories in their final Euro poll. Who would have believed that!!!!

  41. YouGov [email protected] 1m

    European seat projection: Con 14-17, Lab 21-25, LD 2-3, UKIP 21-23, Green 3-6

    YouGov [email protected] 1m

    European Election Final Call – 21st May: Con 22%, Lab 26%, LD 9%, UKIP 27%, Green 10%

  42. Sam Coates Times [email protected] 3m

    YouGov European Election poll: Ukip 27%, Labour 26%, Tories 22%, Greens 10%, LD 9% << a huge (6,000) sample used for this poll.

    So what's the moe calculation again? How much less with 6,000 than 1,000?

  43. Not exactly a surprising poll from The Sun:

    UKIP 27%
    LAB 26%
    CON 22%
    GRN 9%
    LDEM 9%
    OTH 6%

  44. Sun promising a YouGov “Bombshell”… Hmmm
    If it’s the YG eve of euros poll, it’s not even a hand grenade.

  45. @OldNat

    rule of thumb says a fraction over 1% moe

  46. Not sure if it AW’s analysis but Sun has a seat prediction of UKIP and Lab 22 Con 16 Green 4 and LD 3.

    I think possibly right on those polling numbers but mainly because the top percentage (UKIP) is a lot lower than many of the polls.

  47. 100% in this house: 50% Labour, 50% Green.

  48. I suppose the bombshell could be Greens doing better than LDs…

  49. Sorry R&D. I just keep getting sucked in. Thankfully I am not standing anywhere for anything. 20 years is enough for anyone. No locals in my area so I would just wish our Euro candidates well. I am a bit concerned for them though as their personal attributes and abilities will have almost no influence on the result. I know nobody will agree but I expect something like Con 26 Lab 27 UKIP 28 with nobody else above 7.

  50. In the last fortnight, UKIP have dropped something like 2 points in the national polls. If we assume (as many of us have) that the recent rise in UKIP VI has been bleedthrough from the Euros, then the opposite also applies. It is quite plausible that they have lost up to 5 points (mainly to the ‘other’ party of protest, the Greens) following the Romania gaff and today’s twitter trends.

    If YouGov’s Euro poll is an aggregate over the last week, and UKIP are still on the way down, then it may understate how much VI they have lost. I’m going to predict a narrow Labour win on both VI and seats.

    Is there a national poll from YouGov tonight?

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