Sunday polls

There were three polls in the Sunday papers today. Opinium in the Observer had topline figures of CON 32%. LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 19%.

The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times also had only a one point lead for the Labour party: CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Tabs here. YouGov also had a couple of tracking questions seeking to measure what effect the heavy criticism of UKIP on things like racism over the last couple of weeks has had. YouGov repeated two questions from earlier in the campaign – a week ago 41% of people thought UKIP were racist, 40% did not. Now 46% think they are racist (up 5), 39% they are not (down 1). A fortnight ago 27% thought Nigel Farage himself was a racist, 50% said he wasn’t. This week that has narrowed to 38% racist (up 9), 43% not racist (down 7).

Together those two make it look pretty conclusive that the attacks on UKIP did damage perceptions of the party. More people think the party and Farage are racist. However, it does NOT necessarily follow that it damaged their vote – it could just have served to further entrench negative views amongst people who didn’t like UKIP anyway. It could even have both helped and harmed them – making their opponents more negative towards them, but also bolstering their anti-establishment credentials amongst their supporters. The results tonight won’t really tell us – if UKIP do well, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t have done better without all the negative coverage. If UKIP do less well than expected, it doesn’t mean they weren’t headed that way anyway.

Finally there was a new Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday. The fieldwork for the Survation poll didn’t start until late on Friday, so unlike the YouGov and Opinium polls most respondents will have had a chance to see the local election results. Topline figures there, with changes since Survations last pre-election poll, are CON 27%(-1), LAB 32%(-3), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 23%(+2). Survation show some of the highest UKIP scores anyway, but the 23% is a record high for UKIP even by their standards – the first in what I’d expect to be many polls showing a post-election boost for UKIP.

While not a poll, the Sunday Times also had the Rallings and Thrasher Equivalent National Vote calculation for the local elections. This is essentially a very similar exercise to the BBC’s projected national share, but calculated by a different team using different key wards – Rallings and Thrasher’s figures are Conservatives 30%, Labour 31%, Lib Dem 11%, UKIP 18%. Slightly different from the BBC’s, but it essentially tells the same story – Labour with only a tiny lead over the Tories, UKIP doing worse than in 2013 when R&T had them on 22%.

1,118 Responses to “Sunday polls”

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  1. @ Catmanjeff

    “Perhaps all parties have creaking campaign teams.”

    I wonder if we had a “broad” representational PR system for local elections (not STV that favours big parties in 3/4 member seats, but perhaps an open list system like local elections in Germany) it would actually encourage a revival of local parties, including Labour and Tory where they are near moribund, as it would stimulate activity because some representation would be near guaranteed at local level.

    Perhaps FPTP in local elections is killing off local membership and activism because it encourages a series of little one party states in localities, even as it applies to Tories and Labour?

  2. @ Barbazenzero (previous thread)

    If you add your predicted Scottish seat distribution post a YES vote to my prediction for rUK the results would change from Lab 281 (not 271 – error on my previous post), Con 277 LD 13 PC 2 NI 18 to:
    Lab 291 Con 277 SNP 48 LD 14 PC 2 NI 18.

    This would also result in a “hung parliament”; I can’t see Lab and SNP co-operating until Scotland became independent in that situation, and no other combination (other than Lab-Con!) gives an OM.

  3. @MrNameless

    I do indeed.

    He got 145 votes – 3%.

    If you think that’s bad, he got 50% more than the Lib Dem.

  4. @NFR

    “Will UKIP fall back and Labour’s lead start to rise again or has the recent trend been about more than just UKIP? If the former, Labour still has a chance of being biggest party in 2015; if the latter, the Tories are heading for biggest party or more.”

    Don’t forget the Greens. They have picked up about 3% in the Euro campaign. overwhelmingly from 2010 LDs with a bit of 2010 Labs. When we’re not in PR, and probably in a constituency with no candidate or no prospect, where does that 3% go?

  5. @R and D

    Orchard Park, Hull.

    Conservative = 9 votes.

  6. CMJ, actually that’s better than I thought for a one man band with no members, money or representation. Certainly better than TUSC did in my ward. The candidate was a student living across the way from me, and his 78 votes add up precisely to the number of people living in his block minus the two showing posters for other parties.

  7. @ Tony Dean,

    The most interesting thing from Ashcroft’s latest marginal poll is that Ukip seem to be having no effect in the marginals at all.

    August 2011, Ukip on 3%: Labour lead in the marginals = national lead + 9%

    May 2014, Ukip on 15%: Labour lead in the marginals = national lead + 9%

  8. @ROGERH:

    Yes, I read that yesterday and must have thought I read it on here. It is a good link.

  9. @ MrNameless

    That said Labour’s membership has atrophied too and I don’t know what the average age is but from personal experience I’d put it about 50.
    But isn’t 50 about right for the average age, now that people are living longer? If you take ages 18 – 84, 50 is right in the middle so it’s the median age; and I’m making an informed guess now, but it’s probably not far off the average registered voter age.

  10. As you can see, in Kirklees the Lib Dems outside the wards they have held for years were pitiful.

    I really feel sorry for them.

  11. the economic questions still heavily negative

    In your opinion how good or bad is the state of Britain’s economy at the moment? -16 (23 to 39) – drop from last week

    How do you think the financial situation of your household will change over the next 12 months -16 (18 to 34) same as last week

    – maybe summer will cheer people up because the new tax allowance has had no effect. i am starting to think that the range -16 to -20 will continue for many many months, perhaps not until the general election.

    oh and these anti Ed M questions is this part of the campaign we are being told wil be unleashed.

    It seems the voters see him as not too left wing and a decent guy with strong moral principles, although not much of a leader.

    IMO This question is a low blow i wonder who asked for it

    ‘He looks and sounds a bit weird’ –

    if opinion polls had been around then, I wonder if Clement Attlee would have failed this question

  12. @Tony Dean

    Not sure: on the one hand, FPTP is nothing new so doesn’t explain any trend in the activity of local parties. However, how parties behave under FPTP may be changing – perhaps they’re just getting more and more targeted in their campaigning.

    On the other hand, any proportional system would surely increase activity because every vote would be worth fighting for. I recently moved from a safe seat to a marginal and it’s incredible how much more politicking goes on here – in the seat I used to be in it was hard to tell that any campaigns existed even in the midst of a general election.

    What I’d love to see is comparative turnout figures for each election separated into marginal, semi-safe and safe seats. It would be fascinating to see precisely to what extent competitiveness has on the electorate bothering to turn up. Someone must have compiled these figures surely?

  13. @ Guy Monde

    Yep, absolutely, the Green vote should also come back to Labour, so if the trend really is all about the disruptive effect of the Euros, Labour should start rising in the polls quite soon and then rise more as the UKIP story dies down a little. It will be very interesting to see.

  14. @ Gordoning

    You are absolutely correct to put me straight about the Guardian myth about London being special. I stand corrected having read RogerH’s link, and looking at some wards in Northern Cities myself! Being a former London and South of England activist I made the mistake of only comparing different types of wards I personally knew something about after so many years in prefessional politics – that wasn’t good enough I accept without checking northern towns and cities. Apologies, and thanks for the correction.

  15. @ Tony Dean

    I wonder if we had a “broad” representational PR system for local elections (not STV that favours big parties in 3/4 member seats, but perhaps an open list system like local elections in Germany) it would actually encourage a revival of local parties
    I doubt it. My experience is that it takes a local, constituency candidate to energize a CLP. Don’t you think the activist – & voter – apathy re. the euros flies in the face of your thoughts on this?

    And Scotland has types of PR for the Scottish Parliament & for local council elections; again both activism & voter turnout is lower than for the FPTP Westminster elections.

  16. jeff

    I meant of the actual voters so that they can be “dissuaded” in future.

  17. @Tony Dean

    You are correct about local feifdoms.

    I think genuine PR would make more seats worth fighting for and encourage participation.

    Perhaps three three member wards could be joined and have nine seats fought under PR?

  18. “‘He looks and sounds a bit weird’ -”

    Sir Alec Douglas-Home ? top of my list
    Michael Howard ?
    Maggie ( weird voice )
    Neil Kinnock ?
    Jeremy Thorpe ?

  19. @R and D


  20. I still love the UKIP explanation for their (perceived) poor showing in London – that they don’t do well with people who are “educated, cultured or young”.

  21. @ TONY DEAN

    You’re welcome, and thanks for such a polite response. (It makes a change from ‘Comment Is Free’, heheh.) As I explained to RogerH, I thought that what I read on that link had actually been posted here, so maybe it wasn’t debunked here quite as thoroughly as I thought it had been.

    BTW is anyone else watching Andrew Neil, I know he is a bit of an eejit, but he just said, and this is a direct quotation:

    “Actually Labour did pretty well on Thursday … but because all these Labour people came out and spoke on programs like this, it made it appear as if Labour had not done well.”

    So not only is he doing a reverse ferret (at least relative to Robinson and the other BBC pundits on Friday – I’m not sure what Neil himself was saying at the time), but he is blaming his need to do a reverse ferret on Labour. Unbelievable! What is going on at the BBC?

  22. Hal
    “Wishful thinking from May et. al. I suspect they are just trying it on, hoping the media won’t notice.”

    And even if they did notice, they would not report it because t doesn’t fit the ‘narrative’

    I was disappointed to see the ‘Is Ed weird’ series of questions in today’s poll.

  23. @ Amber

    You may well be right as ther is nothing like a good keen cnadidate to energise a CLP.

    However, living somewhere like Maidenhead, it is so dispiriting for us to regularly get between 10 and 20% of the vote but never get any represenatation on the council. If we had the same system as my close friend who is SPD mayor of his town in Lower Saxony we would regularly have between 6 and 12 councillors which would do wonders for giving purpose to activism in a seat which for many many years is Tory dominated with occasional LibDem challenges, but with us always third.

  24. Seeing how all the Tory press and MPs so rigorously denounced PR and AV during the AV referendum it will be interesting to see how they u-turn when Lab charge to power on less than 40% of the vote and Con look like never getting in again.

  25. @ Tony Dean

    If this wasn’t a public forum, I’d share some ideas on how to turn that CLP around – the ideas are pretty basic, might have been tried before & not worked but things change… all I can say is that the things we’ve done are really working in our area. Activism is increasing considerably.

  26. Amber Star,

    “And Scotland has types of PR for the Scottish Parliament & for local council elections; again both activism & voter turnout is lower than for the FPTP Westminster elections.”

    That may be due to the relative importance of the respective elected bodies. One may argue that 50% isn’t bad for a legislature with almost no tax powers and limited spending powers, as well as no significant power re: foreign policy.

    Then again, I agree with you. I just don’t think that comparing unequal legislatures helps; international comparisons are more useful.

  27. “‘He looks and sounds a bit weird’ -”

    I think they should ask that question to all the party leaders, in fact all politicians look and sound a bit weird IMO-

    from the strange things they have to do to get on the TV,

    to the odd use of words they have to give so that don’t offend anyone.

    the vast egotism that everyone wants to hear their views

    to the permanent smiles they have to have when canvassing.

  28. NickP,

    40%? It doesn’t look like Labour will win 35%, which will make the case for FPTP even harder on the right.

    Right-wing people may also be more keen on PR if it means a strong tendency towards Con-UKIP coalitions rather than Lab-Lib coalitions, as it presumably would under present conditions…

  29. @Anyone

    Does anyone have the Government Approval data for 21st May poll (field data 20th-21st May) ?

    My version of the 21st poll doesn’t have it, but the 22nd poll clearly mentions a 33/53 (-20) polls from that date, while the 20th was 32/53.

    Where’s it hiding, as I need the regional data.

  30. Re the UKIP doing badly in London theme: I thought the reason was that UKIP put up only a single candidate in many seats that were returning three councillors, or have I got this wrong? If so, it shows poor organisation, but not necessarily lack of popular support.

    It is true that UKIP may not win many seats next time, and I’m very interested in the theory about them mainly doing well in poorer areas on the outskirts of big cities.

    What may well happen is that a lot of these seats may become Labour-UKIP marginals. In my council, which covers three parliamentary seats, UKIP stood in two-thirds of the wards, and won just one, but came second in all the others.

    The racism polling is interesting, in that increased perceptions of UKIP being racist does not seem to have damaged their vote. I think that many voters see through the accusation of racism every time anyone expresses an opinion about people from other countries.

    To me, it is racist if you say that you do not like (say) Americans without ever having met one. If you have met a few Americans and have been able to converse with them and they seem reasonable, but you still dislike them because they are American, that is racist. If however, you have met some Americans who have been unpleasant and difficult to understand, and dislike them, that is not racist, but a perfectly reasonable position based on experience.

  31. BP

    “It doesn’t look like Labour will win 35%, which will make the case for FPTP even harder on the right.”

    Really don’t know how you can quantify at this stage when there are so many variables to settle down over the year to the election.

  32. @Tony Dean

    The SDP seems to be dying in Germany, PR or no PR.

  33. @Bramley
    “I was disappointed to see the ‘Is Ed weird’ series of questions in today’s poll.”
    That puts it politely. Why is a similar question not asked about each leader ? Yougov site also carries a particularly unflattering pic of Ed. I thought for a mo that I was on the Daily Mail site.

  34. Wolf
    Gnomic as ever. Give us a bit more to go on re the German Labour Party.

  35. Too much weight being given to PNS in the local elections. People seem to have forgotten that the Tories won this in 2011 – same day as AV vote.
    Going further back , the Tories only had a modest success at the 1978 locals – but did much better a year later!

  36. Lord Ashdown on the news.
    “Nick Clegg is probably the best prime minister we haven’t got”

    Well he’s probably the worst Deputy prime minster we’ve got if votes are to go by.

  37. Ozwald

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that supporters of team A think the leader of team B is carp.

    It matters what supporters of team A think of the leader of team A I guess but the whole thing is pointless in a non-presidential election.

    All of the party leaders have, what I would call, unflattering characteristics but they were born with them & cannot nor should they change who & what they are.

    To demean others on the basis of their appearance smacks of bullying to me & I had expected better of yougov but nothing the media does surprises me any more.

  38. Re “Ed is weird” – it’s a good job he didn’t eat a bacon and egg butty – I’ve just had one for lunch and can confirm the yoke would certainly have been on him then!

  39. Are voters really going to decide in significant numbers who to vote for based on what party leaders look or sound like? If it was down to ‘looks’ surely NC would have lead the LDs to an OM in 2010? And as things stand it seems unlikely his ‘good looks’ will prevent continuing decimation of the LDs

    Far more important and persuasive is that the party leaders connect and effectively communicate with the voters.

    Unfortunately EM and Lab are not receiving sufficient exposure in the press and on TV to articulate policies etc. I put this down to conspiracy to prevent EM becoming PM. Why? IMO, because he has stood his ground on ‘freedom of the press’ and is seen as not willing to bend to pressure.

  40. Ozwald

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that supporters of team A think the leader of team B is carp.

    It matters what supporters of team A think of the leader of team A I guess but the whole thing is pointless in a non-presidential election.

    All of the party leaders have, what I would call, unflattering characteristics but they were born with them & cannot nor should they change who & what they are.

    To demean others on the basis of their appearance smacks of intimidation to me & I had expected better of yougov but little the media does shocks me any more.

  41. I assume counting for EU election has been done or is underway

    Any leaks about how it is going? I have seen something from Wales but apart from that is the work NC did yesterday

  42. AC
    Miss read you and wondered what Ashcroft wus doin commenting on Clegg. Ashdown bigging up Clegg is to be expected. Did he describe him as “tremendously able”, that’s usually a favourite.

  43. Re Clegg, I have said before that any arguments, however good, in support of the idea that they have acted in the best interests of the country will be too subtle for the electorate to even listen to.

    As a leader and as a party they were destroyed very early on and I just don’t see the damage as being recoverable the way our system works.

  44. My favourite Ashdown quote is that “Nick Clegg is the most gifted politician of his era”… but then Paddy described me as ‘intellectually dishonest’ on a thread for a post that I’d written…….

  45. Gray (fpt 04:42)

    I’d agree with your analysis of the Havering results and add that UKIP also had a good chance in Elm Park (previously a rare three-way split ward), South Hornchurch (where their sole candidate was elected second) and Romford Town, where if they had put up two candidates they might have got elected alongside a popular (deselected Conservative) Independent. Instead they ‘wasted’ paper candidates in wards like Cranham or full slate in safe Tory Squirrels Heath.

    Of course, the problem with not running short slates is that you can’t rely on all your supporters to ‘plump’ for your candidate(s) and not use their other votes for opposing candidates. For example if you look at Mawneys Ward [1], where the sole UKIP candidate was only 19 votes from winning[2], there were about 2900 unused votes. But the UKIP candidate got 1753 votes so at least some of his other votes went elsewhere and some unused votes will also have been due to voters for other parties not using all their three. So there are 600+ ‘UKIP votes’ gone elsewhere and if you take 100 off each of the other main candidates you get at least one UKIP elected, maybe all three if you expand my rather conservative assumptions.

    You’re right about the problems all Parties have in finding candidates but UKIP as a fast-expanding Party full on enthusiastic converts should have less problems than most. Of course they were under pressure not to put up racist nutters, but again that is a matter of organisation.

    The reason why I’m looking at Havering in such detail as it illustrates the problems that UKIP will face with trying to get things into line to win under FPTP and if they can’t work it out with four years in hand (and over two years since their VI rise started after the omnishambles budget) the it will be difficult in the effectively nine months till the General Election. Mind you if they had got a large group elected in Havering it would probably have embarrassingly split into four different groups at war with each other – though even with seven councillors this could still happen. Partly because they’re UKIP, but mainly because it’s Havering. Seriously the place is like the Borgias with an Ian Dury soundtrack (and fewer naked ladies).

    [1] Havering results are available via this summary page:

    and then clicking on the ward name. I chose Mawneys as a rare Havering ward without Residents candidates.

    [2] Incidentally Mawneys provide good examples of the effect where candidates with obviously ‘ethnic’ names do worse that their running mates, even if they are not disadvantaged alphabetically. Havering might be an extreme example of this (it is the London borough with lowest percentage non-UK births) and you need to consider if OEN candidates were also more recently electorally involved and so had less time to build up a personal vote.

  46. Ewen Lightfoot

    .”Ashdown bigging up Clegg is to be expected. Did he describe him as “tremendously able”, that’s usually a favourite”

    Ha! Not only “tremendously able” but he greatly admires him.

  47. Pooches

    I don’t think anyone can argue with you on that comment.

    Unless you’re a Lib/dem of course.

  48. sue

    sadly my favourite ashdown quote is “paddy pantsdown” – but my wife does say I have the humour of a seven year old.

    Re the great UK public, the huge problem is what I like to call “not thinking.”

    They repeat what the press and media tell them is the reality back to the press and media who then report it back again as reality.

    A tiny political example was “not fit for purpose” which was suddenly parroted everywhere, all the time.

    The same happens with the serious stuff about EM. A sensible electorate would be saying:

    “I don’t care what he looks like. If I had wanted a lovely looking bloke I’d have voted for Crofty, just let me know the policies please.”

  49. Been away, but not much change, so it seems. Polls remain deliciously tight, and a solid Labour victory somehow turns into a defeat. Twas ever thus. Labour winning in Cambridge and Crawley sounds like good news, but never underestimate Labour’s ability to shoot themselves in the foot.

    Fallon has called for Lib Dems to ‘stand behind’ Clegg.

    I recall Brutus stood behind Caesar. I’d rather have them in front of me, in clear view. Or in another room.

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