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. “Ah ! The sandwich factor…”

    Crumbs of comfort?

  2. Ewen Lightfoot

    I may have identified a whole new area of psephological research!

  3. My analysis of the situation, influenced by my “crisis of confidence” phonecall to my mum on the eve of the elections, is that a lot of people like what Labour says, don’t mind Ed Miliband and probably don’t have anyone else to vote for, but that they’re still wary of supporting them for reasons of trust.

    This isn’t, though, anything to do with the economy. This demographic (largely occupied by the Red Dems even if many of them were never LD voters) has the view that Gordon Brown did his best in bad circumstances and that banks running riot were to blame. It goes back further, to another leader – one Tony Blair.

    A good deal of people refuse to get enthused about any politician or idea, simply because they’ve stopped believing that any of them can deliver. They like the sound of employment for under 25s, they want the minimum wage raised, they want the wealthy to pay more taxes, but they just don’t quite believe that the Labour Party won’t take them to war, crack down on protestors and build hospitals at vastly inflated prices through PFI.

    They’re not the same kind of anti-establishment voter who supports UKIP – they see through them too – but it does mean they’re a hard demographic to win back. Indeed, it may be a case of convincing enough of them to be ABT voters, then convincing the rest via actions in office.

    An electorate which no longer believes in the power or responsibility of the offices it’s filling is a dangerous thing indeed.

  4. @NickP: “Where’s your editor?”

    To be fair, he just delivers the papers; he doesn’t write them.

  5. “The had flat tax, abolishment of a multitude of worker’s rights etc in their, now-abandoned, manifesto. It was a right-wing laissez-faire manifesto”
    But I don’t think this was driven ideologically by free-market liberalism.

    In my opinion it was driven by an ideology which states, ‘Those at the top of the hierarchy should earn more than those at the bottom”. Which is largely different from “We should have competitive markets, whatever the distributional outcome”.

    While there is *policy* overlap (lower taxes on the rich, limiting workers rights, etc), the ideological motivation is entirely different.

    Which is entirely consistent with the bourgeois conservative restrictions on free movement of Labour – jobs should go to those workers who’re higher on the hierarchy (British), then to those who’re less high up (Germans, etc), then to those lowest down (Romanians, Bulgarians, etc).

    Which is important to understand why the right are split – those who want to restrict immigration do so out of hierarchical ideological motivations and those who want to allow immigration do so out of competitive market motivations (And the EU exists in it’s current form, structurally, to promote competitive market ideology).

  6. ” those who want to restrict immigration do so out of hierarchical ideological motivations and those who want to allow immigration do so out of competitive market motivations”

    If I could edit my post, I would.

    There are also those who wish to restrict immigration for socially conservative reasons (maintaining British traditions), but those aren’t left/right arguments.

  7. It’s probable that Labour did well in London because the Party campaign team is strongest there.

    Labour also did well in Scotland; they came an unexpected 1st in Edinburgh, again because there’s a pretty good campaign team here. (As an aside from the main point of my comment, the SNP’s assertion that: “SNP won on 29% which is an achievement since they have been in power for 7 years” is interesting because, via the Yes campaign, they usually aver that they are in government but not in power).

    Back to the point: In the other regions where Labour have strong campaign teams, they also did well. However (as Tony Dean & I discussed the other day) there are significant gaps outside of Labour’s urban strongholds upon which PR shines a disappointing spotlight.

  8. @muddy waters

    “They beat the Tories by less than 1%”

    According to the BBC totals it’s 1.5 percentage points.

    OK, to put it in to perspective, the Tories were a massive 12 percentage points ahead of Labour in 2009.

    Labour in the following four years have picked up just 10% on a 35% turnout from an historical low of base of 15%. That, in my view, is a disaster for the main opposition party looking to form a government in just 12 months time.

  9. Indeed, Alan. I just thought it made sense to use the real figure rather than an inaccurate soundbite.

  10. Alan

    Correct, I think we can now forget about Labour polling the 36 points upwards that the polls were going for just a few months ago.

    For me it is a question how far the shift can occur the other way. The Tories are edging up to the 35% mark while the thinking is that if we put the frightening prospect of Miliband to No.10 to the floating voters and the Kippers, then Labour can end up down towards the 31% figure.

  11. By the way, Labour’s margin of ‘victory’ over the Tories was just 0.8% (according to Sky).

  12. According to PB, the national Euro vote share (before Western Isles which is too small to matter) was Con 23.9%, Lab 25.4%, LD 6.8%, UKIP 27.5% and by extension Others 16.4% (inc Greens 7.8%).

    Now Lord Ashcroft in his exit poll asked each of these groups of voters to state which party it was most likely they would vote for at the GE (see final table on Page 3).

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/LORD-ASHCROFT-POLLS-Post-Euro-Election-Poll-Summary-May-2014.pdf

    If those answers are applied to each of the shares above, then those voting in the Euros say they would vote as follows at the GE, after excluding don’t knows:

    Con 32.2%
    Lab 34.3%
    LD 7.1%
    UKIP 16.4%
    Others 8.8%

    Some caveats:
    1. Differential turnout due to the local elections in London and the mets will have boosted the Labour share.
    2. On the other hand, any election conducted in a context where there is a focus very specifically on Europe will help the Conservatives more than Labour.
    3. What we still don’t know is how those who didn’t vote on Thursday would vote at a GE, when turnout will be higher. However, I think it reasonable to assume that UKIP supporters will have been most motivated to vote on Thursday and thus that fewer of those who didn’t vote would support UKIP.

    Alloowing for all this, I’d guess that the Euro poll would be consistent with a Labour lead of about 2% in a GE context with a slightly higher share of the vote for the main parties than above.

  13. @Alan: “That, in my view, is a disaster for the main opposition party looking to form a government in just 12 months time”

    It might be if there was evidence of any link between EU elections and Westminster elections. But there isn’t.

  14. “By the way, Labour’s margin of ‘victory’ over the Tories was just 0.8% (according to Sky).”

    1.47 according to the BBC, which now includes the Scotland vote.

  15. Muddy, Sky’s table says Labour got 25.4%, the Tories 24.6%. Now I’m not a mathematical genius, but I make that a difference of 0.8%. Not a sound bite, a fact.

  16. @Alan

    I don’t think arguing over 1% or 1.5% is going to help Ed. A poor second, nearly third and so no celebratory bacon butties Today or in 2015 !

  17. And UKIP’s victory was just over 2% (2.09), again according to the BBC.

  18. PS. The above figures don’t quite add to 100% but should, so I’ll check and get back.

  19. “Labour’s margin of ‘victory’ over the Tories was just 0.8% (according to Sky)”

    Yes. I do beg your pardon. Sky’s figures are different from the BBC’s.

  20. “What we still don’t know is how those who didn’t vote on Thursday would vote at a GE, when turnout will be higher.”

    Well, quite. Almost half of the electorate didn’t vote and of those that did a disproportionate number are likely to have been wanting to record an anti-EU opinion. No one was electing a government (or even a local council).

    There’s little doubt that Ashcroft’s marginals’ poll is a far better guide to current Westminster voting intentions.

  21. @Alan

    Miliband he believes his on his way to Downing Street by increasing his party’s share of the vote by 10%.

    If that happens in the General Election, Labour will get 40%.

    We can all play the statistics game.

  22. Where’s Wally? I mean Clegg! He’s disappeared….

  23. @RogerH

    @Alan: “That, in my view, is a disaster for the main opposition party looking to form a government in just 12 months time”

    “It might be if there was evidence of any link between EU elections and Westminster elections. But there isn’t.”

    It hasn’t stopped all of the Labour supporters spinning the council results that way, though, has it? I agree with you to an extent, however, it is interesting that Labour are spinning this as some kind of victory (0.8%, 1% or 1.5%) is terrible at this stage of the electoral cycle for the main opposition party.

  24. Is Clegg about to resign?

  25. Has no one congratulated AW on YG’s EP poll? Then I will, not bad at all, compared with previous rounds.

    I did wonder one thing: How many of the online ‘panel’ voted? The reason for asking is that we have had miserable turnouts for the elections (both local and EP) and if nearly all the panel voted in them, then it would seem to be a reason for greater accuracy achieved. however it would also mean that the elections were absolutely useless guide to national trends, other than by sheer coincidence. How will the two thirds of electors who did not vote, vote in a GE? We know that half of them won’t vote, so that leaves us with the remaining third. It would be interesting to carry out a poll of those who did not vote on Thursday but did vote in 2010.

  26. RAF,

    Maybe he’s finally shrunk away to nothing? There are now twice as many Labour councillors in Sheffield Hallam as there are Lib Dem MEPs.

  27. PHIL HAINES
    That’s roughly in line with national polling, except for the low LibDem figure. Which may be due to turn-out/difference in election type.

    Marco
    “I don’t think arguing over 1% or 1.5%.. A poor second, nearly third”
    If Labour came in poor second, nearly third – then UKIP must have come in a poor first, nearly second.
    Narratives for the win!

    Clearly UKIP did extremely well, nobody can argue with that – and Labour should probably have done better under normal circumstances. But if 1.5% is a tiny gap, so is 2%.

  28. @ Amber
    Labour did well in London because it is the immigrant capital of the world, not just England. The fear of UKIP drove the people from Jamaica to Sophia and Durban to Cairo to vote for the immigrants party. In the rest of England the Tories were ahead, just. Labour has traded the loyalty of the White working class in the Midlands and North, for ultra cosmopolitan London. As for Edinburgh, I have no idea, I have never understood the Scots. Sadly for Labour, Ed Miliband is still trying to sound as if his party did a good job. Quite ridiculous. We Tories have a problem, but at least we know it.

  29. “Is Clegg about to resign?”
    Probably not – I suspect that he’d have to be pushed and that’d take more than just a few upset MPs.

  30. Let me see if I can get this right.

    Sky TV say that UKIP has won a great victory on 28 per cent topping the poll in England but that the SNP have suffered a great reverse by topping the poll on 29 per cent in Scotland!

    The SNP are the first party in these islands to top a Euro poll when in office and they have done it not once but TWICE on almost exactly the same % of the vote.

  31. @RAF, come on, there’s no way you can extrapolate that percentage increase into a Westminster election, not a 35% turn out, and not on a European election.

    Just looked at the updated figures, now changed to a labour 1.5% ‘victory’. Oh well, let’s all blame the BBC and Sky!

  32. NICKP
    “We know now that YouGov is probably the best pollster”

    Probably right, but I actually did better than YouGov with my forcast of UKIP 28, Labour 26 Tory 25 and error of 0.5% UKIP, 0,6% Labour and 1.1% Labour on the actual result.

    None of the pollsters did as well as me. Roll on 2015.

  33. (The differences in my earlier post were due to some of Lord Ashcroft’s tables not summing to 100%)

    Allowing for that by just scaling up, the restated vote shares of those voting yesterday in line with their intentions at a GE would be:
    Con 32.6%
    Lab 34.7%
    LD 7.2%
    UKIP 16.6%
    Others 8.9%

    Conclusions as before.

  34. @TOH

    Well done, Sir!

  35. As a Labour sympathiser I am concerned about Milliband’s impact on the GE result. There is time for him to raise his game but he really needs to. In the current climate I reckon that a leader like Alan Johnson would win very comfortably.

    The sabre rattling from Pressman IMO, is nothing more than the death rattle of the print media. Everyone knows that come a GE the Tory press will throw everything they can at the Labour & Lib Dem leaders. Nobody will be surprised or influenced. The influence wielded by the geriatric old neo-con in the USA is nothing like what it was.

    At the moment I am not seeing any party with a majority in 2015 but the Tories with most votes and Labour with the most seats (based on a strong GOTV operation in the seats that matter).

  36. “@ alan

    @muddy waters

    Labour in the following four years have picked up just 10% on a 35% turnout from an historical low of base of 15%. That, in my view, is a disaster for the main opposition party looking to form a government in just 12 months time.”

    Not really a disaster, because Labour had a very bad period 2008 to 2010, with the financial crash and Brown being unpopular. In 2010 Labour recorded their second worst general election result in their history. Labour have made an OK recovery since 2010.

    We are in very uncertain times, with most of Europe still being in a financial mess. The UK had a flat economy for 3 years under this coalition and it was only fairly recently that the economy recovered to the same level as it was in 2007. With the parliament fixed to 2015 and a Con/Lib coalition it has been difficult for Labour to put forward an alternative economic plan. Difficult because it is only recently that the world economy has started to recover and business has started to make investment decisions again.

    We then have UKIP taking votes off all the main parties, due to concerns about pressures of increasing population and people not happy with the state of Europe.

    You cannot therefore judge whether Labour have made a recovery of their vote, based on previous polling history, because times now are very different. According to Lord Ashcrofts polling and these EU/local election results, Labour are doing very well in the marginals they need to win. This would indicate Labour are on course to be the largest party after 7th May 2015.

  37. So YouGov had (with difference to actual result) –
    UKIP 27 (0), Lab 26 (+1), Con 22 (-2), Green 10 (+2), Lib 9 (+2)
    So it overestimated all parties, but Con and UKIP.

    And had UKIP gained the ‘Independence from Europe’ vote (pushing UKIP up to 28.98), it would have underestimated UKIP by 2.

    I suspect UKIP are going to be having words with the electoral commission over that..

  38. Ladbrokes is claiming to have beaten all the pollsters including YouGov.

  39. Those who try to make out that the local and EU elections are a better guide than Lord Ashcroft’s marginals poll are deluding themselves (IMO).

  40. > In the current climate I reckon that a leader like Alan Johnson would win very comfortably.

    Apart from ID cards what does he believe in, though?

  41. @Couper

    “We will have to see how this plays out in the upcomong referendum polls as the fear of a Tory/UKIP coalition win in GE15 plays into the Yes campaigns hands.”

    I can’t wait to see the next five Scotland polling data to see if there’s a shift in the trends, either towards the SNP, or towards Labour or UKIP.

  42. I’m not a fan of UKIP by any stretch, but I think with the inevitable poll surge they’re about to get, they really should be on the graph for VI since 2010.

  43. @Alan – “OK, to put it in to perspective, the Tories were a massive 12 percentage points ahead of Labour in 2009.”

    That’s an interesting observation. One point you might be forgetting is that they failed to win a majority in 2010, but as you’ve helpfully pointed out, these results suggest something like a 6 – 7% swing from Con to Lab.

    Put in those terms, a Lab lead of 0.8% or 1.5% is a big swing – more than enough for a GE victory were is to be replicated in 2015.

    On the Sky/BBC differences, I noted that in the local elections, Sky had markedly different gains for Labour and losses for Tories (both much lower). I couldn’t work out why, unless they have a different way of allocating seats with altered boundaries or some such. Either way, they seem to be consistently erring in favour of Tories.

  44. Ollyt,

    But would Alan Johnson be as successful at winning over Red Dems?

    Tingedfringe,

    “those who want to allow immigration do so out of competitive market motivations ”

    One could add egalitarian motivations, i.e. if you’re compared about inequality (and not just statistical inequality within a country) then immigration is a great thing, because it reduces a purely legal privilege possessed by some people by birth and opens up opportunities to people in poorer countries. One may justifiably object to a global economy where capital is free to chase profit, but labour isn’t free to chase wages.

  45. @Alan

    An I saying Labour will poll 40%? No. I am criticising your use of statistics.

    But both the council and EP elections showed substantial increases in the Labour share of the vote. You can bury your head in the sand if you like but that is what happened.

    And it is legitimate to compare Labour’s EP performance in 2009, with the GE in 2010. Because in both instances Labour was at a very low point. If Labour is showing a substantial increase from 2009 in 2014, why do you not expect Labour to show a commensurate increase from 2010 to 2015?

    It doesn’t take a genius to extrapolate from the above that Labour is on course to poll at least 35% in 2015.

    And yes, I can extrapolate from a 35% turnout, as UKIP does better and Labour worse on lower turnouts.

  46. @Neil A

    “The Labour pitch is essentially “we will try to reform the EU and if we can’t we’ll stay in it anyway””

    No, that’s the Tory representation of Labour’s position.

    Last time I heard anyone ask (which was a while ago), Labour’s position was that there was no objection to a referendum in principle, but it was absurd to set an arbitrary time limit for a referendum before treaty renegotiations had even started.

  47. @R Huckle

    Yes, I don’t really dissent from any of that. I got caught up in this strand of the discussion only to take issue (unfairly as it turned out) with Alan’s data. I was happy to leave it to others to point out the weakness of his narrative – which you and others have duly done.

  48. BILL PATRICK
    “One could add egalitarian motivation”,
    Oh, I was only commenting from a right-wing perspective.

    You could defend free movement of people on bodily/intellectual autonomy grounds (the state exists for one group to oppress another, closed borders are oppression), cultural grounds (without cultural diversity you end up with stagnation and decline), egalitarian grounds (all people are born free), welfare grounds (because it improves the lives of immigrant populations).
    But Autonomy+Cultural Change are Libertarian the libertarian ideology and Egalitarian+Welfare are the left ideology.

    But from a right-wing perspective, there’s only the ideology of competitive markets (competition should be sans rules (except to protect competition) and those who are objectively the best will rise to the top – closed labour markets limit competition). So it’s on it’s own, on the right.

  49. @L Hamilton

    “Sky TV say that UKIP has won a great victory on 28 per cent topping the poll in England but that the SNP have suffered a great reverse by topping the poll on 29 per cent in Scotland!”

    Union media at its best. :-p

  50. @Howard

    The marginals poll is more significant, but it’s important for Oppositions to show momentum – an upward trend – and this what we are seeing. Every election shows Labour making steady progress.

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