Tomorrow’s Sun has a Survation poll of Newark, ahead of the by-election next week. Topline figures with changes since the general election are CON 36%(-18), LAB 27%(+5), LD 5%(-15), UKIP 28%(+24). This is the first poll we’ve had of Newark, and unless Lord Ashcroft also has one in the works it’s probably the only one.

A swing of 21 points from the Conservatives to UKIP would be a storming great swing, but the fact remains that Patrick Mercer had a pretty hefty majority at the last election, so even a swing of that size leaves the Conservatives 8 points ahead. Still a week to go though…

390 Responses to “Survation poll of Newark by-election”

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  1. Bah- ly-ing automod strikes again! Is it really such a bad word that it needs to be modded?

  2. @ Jack Sheldon

    “It seems the LAB supporters have been populating the board overnight”

    (1) There may be an (exaggerated) predominance of Lab supporters on the site (although this imbalance is partly corrected by the fact that some ROC contributors are prolific posters).
    So what. 1st, given the site’s wider influence is zero, what does this matter – except to the users who always have the option of finding something better to do.
    2nd, it is well established that posters’ views reflect the polls; there is no conspiracy: Lab predominance when Lab lead & vice-versa. Likewise, good news for the SNP leads to a flood of SNP posts.
    Ergo, the lurkers – who are ignored in this matter – must consist of reserves of non- & potential posters more “balanced” in their political opinions. This tends to negate the theory that non-Lab posters are driven out by Lab posters; as does the (neglected) evidence of the persistent advertisers on this site, certainly not suggestive of a LOC predominance – if anything the opposite!

    (3) I recommend all posters, particularly those who – bizarrely & needlessly – feel under siege, to read R. Hofstadter’s brief essay, The Paranoid Style in American Politics which has a wider application than the title suggests.

    (4) Finally, your comment: “The real fear was LAB coming through the middle but having gone up only 4% from the GE on . . [not] a real danger any more” does not suggest that you are a fierce exponent of non-partisan polling.

  3. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index has increased three points this month to 0


    ‘Although all the individual elements of the Index rose this month, the real driver of the increase is people’s assessment of the general economic climate. There was a massive eight point jump in the retrospective assessment of the last 12 months and a four point increase in confidence about the next 12 months. Perhaps not surprisingly, given Labour’s campaigning about the decline in real incomes, people’s verdict on their own circumstances were less positive, with each rising by a somewhat anaemic one point.”

    This is a continuation of the split between people’s view of the economy and their own personal finances

  4. @Robbiealive.

    I don’t have a comment on most of your post as, although there is a strong Labour skew on this site, supporters of all parties have access to the Internet.

    However, I found your last point odd.

    Are you saying that because one has an opinion on the results of a poll they want the poll to be biased? I want to base my opinions on impartial non-partisan polls.

  5. @NewForestRadical / Jim Jam / Billy Bob

    Since you’re all agreeing, allow me to ask this.

    If unchecked immigration is something that should be encouraged, but we have to clamp down on gang masters, how to any of you propose to do it?

    Bear in mind, without the former, we wouldn’t have the latter. To me it reads as “let in everyone, but target anyone who wants to make money from it”. Making money from immigration is a natural occurrence, if there’s a labour surplus, employers will look to getting cheaper and cheaper Labour.

    Less immigration, less labour surplus, more wages to the people. I thought that would be Labour’s thinking on the matter.

  6. Floating Voter

    “Perhaps not surprisingly, given Labour’s campaigning about the decline in real incomes, people’s verdict on their own circumstances were less positive, with each rising by a somewhat anaemic one point.” [from GfK]

    Obviously people are able to make an accurate assessment of the state of the economy from their own personal experiences, but, when it comes to looking at their own finances they clearly need to ask the Labour Party.


  7. @Roger Mexico

    Yes, I thought that was a strange comment.


    @”Still I’m sure that we’ve all been enlightened by your belief that the true purpose of all political Parties is not to achieve electoral success by to implement policies that Colin approves of.”

    So often , when you deign to descend from Olympus to cast a few pearls of your well known wisdom in my humble direction, you finish with a non-sequitur like the above.

    You clearly have your own ideas of what the LibDems should & should not do . Pausing only to wonder why mine are so much more objectionable than yours , perhaps we can agree that it is for the Liberal Democrat Party & its leadership to decide what constitutes “electoral success” for them.

  9. Sorry if you’re all aware of this (probably old news here, but just in case):

    51% of UKIP VI is from 2010 Con VI, 18% DNV, 16% Lab, 12% Lib.

    A question for those who might vote Lab (not a partisan point AW, so bear with me). It’s always good to speculate and do all the what-if analysis in by-elections, but if the by-election was held in your own constituency, and it was a Con / UKIP battle, would you (or Lab voters you know) vote tactically for Con or UKIP?

    I wondered if Lab voters might see what was coming and hold their nose and try to block UKIP by voting Con. It’s one of those paradox things that Lab like the idea of UKIP splitting the Con vote, but they don’t want UKIP to do too well. Thoughts?

  10. I’m more of an anyone-but-the-Tories voter but I can’t think of any circumstances where I’d vote Tory or UKIP.

  11. I have only just caught up with the Survation poll although I have been waiting for one.

    I am mildly surprised Labour is so high given the hoopla over the last week which has tended to talk-up UKIP.

    It is safe to say that the voters who used to go to the LibDems to ‘protest’ are now definitely going to UKIP. I think it is safe to say it is very damaging for Labour but still on current form at least if not more damaging for the Conservatives. Will it last to the general election – to honest I am inclined to think it will but not to the same extent. The febrile calculations revolve around Scotland saying no or yes to independence. I have my own views and they’re on my web page if anyone is interested.

    Meanwhile back to Newark – I think the chance of Labour slipping through the middle is slim but I think the chance of disconsolate Conservative voters and Labour voters giving UKIP their first MP is quite high.

    It could be that UKIP romp it with about 35-40% with both Labour and Conservatives dropping back 5 points each. Maybe all the LibDems will vote Labour – you never know!

    All this is based on nothing more scientific than my ill formed opinion…therefore like the prognostications of Oracle at Delphi there’s no need to read too much into so little…

  12. Spearmint wrote

    “Newark will be a solid Tory hold.

    Ukip and Labour are clearly splitting the anti-Tory vote so I don’t think either party has to be too despondent about their impending loss- you can’t win a by-election in another party’s safe seat unless you can consolidate the opposition behind your banner”

    Will we not see this all over the country?

    Instead of Ukip hurting the Tories it actually helps them by splitting the Labour vote.

  13. No, Statty, Labour’s thinking on the matter is that immigration should be checked (only?) to the degree that it is composed of competent English speaking;people who will contribute in a free labour market, to the national skills base, to social and economic progress and good civic order.
    Prevention of the unbridled activities of gang masters is directed to avoidance of low wages, including the avoidance of payment of social benefits, access to acceptable housing, and freedom of movement. It would also require job information in the local UK labour market, avoiding monopolies based on low wage foreign recruitment exercised by gang masters and unscrupulous enterprises.

  14. Slightly Off Topic

    But some might have seen Question time yesterday where the UKIP panellist denied Piers Morgan’s assertion that Nigel Farage favours reversal of Hand Gun Legislation allowing private ownership.

    Mr Morgan was entirely correct.

    This is a subject close to my heart having been shot at Twice Myself in the line of duty and Having my Friend Yvonne Fletcher murdered a few feet from me.

    At a Conservative Estimate Firearms control legislation has reduced the number of gun related homicide and accidental firearms deaths by in excess of 150 a Year for the last 18 Years.

    What Mr Farage actually said just 4 months ago according to the Daily Telegraph was

    “The Ukip leader has said it is party policy for hand guns to be legalised and licensed in the UK despite being banned in the UK for the last 18 years.
    Mr Farage said the current ban on the guns, which were made illegal following the school shooting at Dunblane in 1996, was “ludicrous.”
    Speaking on LBC Radio Mr Farage said that it was Ukip policy to create a “proper licensing policy” and that people who kept hand guns responsibility locked up and had were willing to get an official licence should “absolutely” be allowed them.

    Which seems pretty conclusive and is one of the few policies UKIP appear to have.


    @”Ming Campbell stated 2 as the LD strategy at the weekend, trouble is it will annoy the hell out of activists outwith the chosen citadels.”

    So-like me , he clearly forgot to consult Roger Mexico before suggesting a LD strategy which did not receive the approval of the Labour Party.

    No good will come of it-the word from Olympus is clear on the point.

  16. Statgeek
    There are challenges for the Newark tactical voter, especially if normally Labour, LD or Green. If the result was narrow between Con, UKIP and Labour, it would be more especially so a real challenge in the next by-election in a safe Tory seat.

    Say you are left inclined but want PR (one cannot imagine any knowledgeable Labour voter in Newark (or Sussex, see MIG and Bramley posts last night) not wanting that.

    Such voters (LD and Green too I am sure) in Newark have essentially a no-brainer option and that is to ensure above all that UKIP (pro PR) win.

    If that happened a few times in a row, the great prize of PR awaits as the Cons and Labour panic.

    However, that will not happen because voters are not all canny about their own constituency and are moreover mostly tribal.

    It is this property (see also the Scottish question) that prevents radical constitutional change. At one time, had the LDs tipped over the electoral edge of getting three figure numbers of MPs, I think we would have seen the move to PR in quick time. That chance is buried now.

  17. Anyway here’s Survation’s Newark by-election article:

    with link to the actual tables.

    The percentages of those who said they voted Labour in 2010 is high (31% v 22%) and Lib Dems low. They also found hardly anyone who claims to have voted UKIP which I found surprising.

    The analysis of where the UKIP vote comes from, finds 18% claim they didn’t vote in 2010. This looks high – normally we see nearer 10%, but it may be that phone polls are picking up the sort of people who reply to phone polls but don’t join internet panels. Or it may just be variation given that the relevant sample size is 102.[1]

    [1] The total effective sample size (ie the one the headline percentages are of), is 357. Presumably Danny Alexander will be on soon to denounce the poll as meaningless.

  18. Statgeek,

    It really depends on the individuals standing. If the Labour candidate I could conscience vote for was a bit rubbish, the Tory candidate was a relatively liberal greenish Tory and the UKIP candidate was a blustering paleoconservative who wanted to lock up the gays and reintroduce flogging for littering, I might hold my nose and vote Tory.

    If any of those circumstances were different, conscience vote for me!

  19. @BlueBob

    It almost certainly will split the Labour vote – in ultra safe Tory seats. In marginals Labour will lose some votes to UKIP, and gain many from LibDems. Tories will lose many votes to UKIP and gain a few votes from LibDems…

    I think this poll might actually have a significant impact on voting in Newark – it will focus people’s minds on the relative chances of success of various parties.

  20. MIG should have been MOG in my last post -my apologies to Mr Git.

  21. Find it risible and disingenuous when people “sincerely apologise” for, basically, being caught out.

    For example the Lab MP who now wants to meet Mrs Duffy for being recorded saying she “was” a bigot.

    Best to just say “Its a fair cop” and explain why you think so.

  22. Mr N
    You see, in your last post you demonstrate the point I was making, it’s tactics, above all, you see, that’s required. I am not sure how I feel about flogging for litter louts, by the way. :-)

    (excuse smileys, it seems there is no other way)

  23. Delete one of the you sees. Oh for a correction facility.

  24. “So-like me , he clearly forgot to consult Roger Mexico before suggesting a LD strategy which did not receive the approval of the Labour Party.

    No good will come of it-the word from Olympus is clear on the point. ”

    I thought your own address WAS Mount Olympus, Nr. Hastings, Colin?

  25. I expect the Tories to hold Newark but it’ll be good if Labour can come ahead of UKIP.

  26. ” I am not sure how I feel about flogging for litter louts, by the way ”

    Sounds like yer a bit of softy liberal Howard.

  27. If Labour was actually standing in an election I could personally think of no circumstances where I would vote Conservative or UKIP instead. For me it is a matter of principles rather than tactics, though as a secondary consideration I would not want to depress the overall Labour vote and give the media yet another chance to comment on Labour’s “dismal” performance etc.

  28. I presume we will be doing our bit to help drive the long-awaited economic surge

    Prostitutes and drug dealers are set to give Britain a £10bn boost as the country revamps the way it measures its economy.


    @”I agree that Clegg should boot out Rennard now as well, Our Fat Friend certainly knows how to pick his moment does he not ?”

    I see that David Steel has said ““He’s brought closure to what has been a very unfortunate episode,I think he should come back; he’s made an apology.”

    Steel’s Nelsonian eye , which appears to go back to the days of Cyril Smith, certainly define this appalling man.

    What utterly escapes him is that the abuse was only possible because these senior Liberal Democrats used the position of power , authority & influence over their victims which The LibDem party gave them.

    These are failures of Steel’s party hierarchy & structure-not just the unfortunate foibles of a couple of fat old pervs.

  30. BFIELD

    Looking forward to stats on average pay & productivity in these two new sectors :-)

  31. Norbold
    I see the second consideration readily, as of course a by-election is reported extensively, but kid yourself not, if UKIP win Newark, or come a close second, nobody will be talking about the Labour vote on the News.

    The first consideration is not logical IMO (in GE voting). We who live in marginal constituencies always have to use our common.

    I suppose, were I MOG or Bramley, where they live, I could safely vote for my favourite, knowing full well that it would be an act of principle and will make zero difference to the outcome. A better choice would be to get a postal vote, and on the day take a trip to the nearest marginal to help out there. I imagine that in Sussex, that involves quite a long journey.

  32. The assumption about the Ukip vote is always one way traffic, that their and only their votes are a jumble sale for other parties to root through to pick up bargains.

    The question still remains – how many of those who lent their votes to the other parties in the EU election will remain loyal come the GE?

    I can imagine people giving Labour one last chance to turn their ‘concern’ rhetoric about immigration into hard policy. Now that this has been ruled out expect more loss of support.

    I doubt Ukip will win Newark and look forward to 20% being written off as some kind of failure or high water mark. Whatever the Newark result it will not be the high water mark in a parliamentary constituency as Newark is not particularly fertile ground. There are many many seats where the council elections produced a Ukip majority in the constituency. We’ll see some feathers fly when the fox gets in there.

    YouGov still not prompting for Ukip I see – untenable and laughable.

  33. @COLIN
    Looking forward to your reports of the buoyant prospects for the market as reported by the English Collective of Prostitutes and the Confederation of Narcotics Traders

  34. Statgeek

    Oddly enough I was thinking this morning that if I lived in Newark I might vote Conservative to keep UKIP out….and yes I am a Lib/Lab voter. Probably not a lot like me in Newark though.

  35. Howard

    “The first consideration is not logical IMO (in GE voting). We who live in marginal constituencies always have to use our common”

    Of course it’s logical and it is a sad reflection on society that you think short-term tactics trump principles.

    I would want neither a Tory or a Kipper to think they have my support. The only conceivable time I might vote for a Conservative is if they were the only opposition to the A. Hitler Nazi Party.

  36. Norbold,

    It seems there were a lot like you during the war!,_1940

  37. Statgeek and Howard

    Next week on the Newark byelection page, I shall make my prediction of the result which may be a UKIP win. Even if UKIP do win, it would be a certain Con regain at GE2015.

    I agree PR is not on the agenda at this time but I could see it resurfacing if Lab and Con panic or even if the votes tally at GE2015 makes the seat tally look ridiculous. It is quite possible that Con have a 4 point lead over Lab but Lab have most seats AND that UKIP poll more votes than LD but UKIP have 0-2 MPs but LD have 30-40 MPs!

  38. The BBC has received almost 1,200 complaints about its coverage of the European and local elections, saying it was biased towards Nigel Farage’s Ukip.

    The BBC has received 1,190 complaints accusing it of either having given too much coverage to Ukip, or being biased in favour of Nigel Farage’s party.

    It is thought to be the most complaints the BBC has ever received about its coverage of a party during an election.

    Those of us on here that were complaining at the time were obviously not alone in thinking the way we did.

    Nick Robinson is supposed to be addressing those complaints on BBC Newswatch tonight.

  39. @ Mr Beeswax
    “YouGov still not prompting for Ukip I see”

    I am wary about some aspects of polling and surveys, especially in the areas where ‘judgement’ is applied. So much depends on the questions and their wording.

    IMHO it is the questions which are not asked which can be more important than those included. The stats can be presented as honest in that they have not been tinkered with directly. But the scales have still been tilted. I don’t trust weightings much either for several reasons.

  40. @Guymonde

    “Your discussion stirred up ancient memories in me”

    Thanks for the link: I haven’t enjoyed anything quite so much in a long time (am I entering my second childhood in my dotage perhaps?) – a charming story!

  41. @Bfield

    “Prostitutes and drug dealers are set to give Britain a £10bn boost as the country revamps the way it measures its economy.”

    I can see the Chancellor’s next budget speech now:

    “The deficit is coming down thanks to the hard work, industry and sweat of… eh… that is… Because of people working flat-out, um, getting on, off!, their backs and… um… well… Well you all said Boris never contributed anything to the country well, there you are, you were all wrong.”

  42. @Bramley

    Interesting stuff about AubtyBeeb. This snippet from the Grauniad caught my eye. :-

    “Interviewer Samira Ahmed challenges Robinson that the tone of the BBC’s coverage of Ukip around the local elections was over-egged, pointing out that its claims of a “political earthquake” were exaggerated given the Ukip overall vote went down.”

    Eggzackerly. They had a constant theme of what a disaster it was for Lab, when in fact they mad most gains. An earlier poster picked up on Robinson’s claim that., if you removed London results, then Lab had had a disastrous night. By the same measure if you ignore Arsenal’s two goals then Hull won the FA Cup.

  43. Regarding the Beeb, I heard that there are plans to have a demonstration at BBC Glasgow against the Beeb’s “anti-independence bias”, as they (the demo organisers) put it.

    Had it been Edinburgh, I might have popped along to watch.

  44. The most important thing about the Survation poll of Newark is not the poll itself, but how the parties can make use of it on the ground.

    It is difficult to see how the Conservatives or Labour could make much use of it, however, if the LibDems had a poll like that in a By-election in the “old days” before the coalition one can imagine how they would use it for all it is worth to portray how close their challenge was, and aslo to squeeze the high polling third placed party mercilessly.

    I doubt UKIP’s campaigning techniques are as refined and well honed as the old Lib Dem machine, and so they will probably fail to capitalise on it sufficiently to win IMO.

  45. My Labour colleaugues will probably point out that their support is only 1% behind UKIPs. That fact is easily disguised if one starts the bar chart at 25% instead of zero! (I’ve done that many times – it works a treat!!!!)


    Regarding the Beeb, I heard that there are plans to have a demonstration at BBC Glasgow against the Beeb’s “anti-independence bias”, as they (the demo organisers) put it.

    Had it been Edinburgh, I might have popped along to watch

    Latest pictures from the demo.

    A spokesperson for BBC Scotland said..

    “Things got a little heated when we announced Kirsty Wark as the new neutral face of BBC Scotland”

  47. Re BBC coverage of UKIP, Green Party etc.
    There is a link to the BBC Trust’s electoral standards and guidelines.
    Unfortunately on my screen every word is on a new line, which detracts from its usefulness, but if I have understood the guidelines properly, UKIP claimed after the 2009 EU elections that they should be treated as a major party with air time comparable to the other three.
    If I have understood the response correctly, that claim was considered, rejected in relation to a general election in which UKIP’s vote share was small, but upheld in relation to EU elections where it was significant.

    That of course relates to air time, and possibly only to actual party political broadcasts, and not to support or denigration, which can be overt or near-subliminal. That is affected (effected?!) not only by what is said, but also by what is not reported. The usual crude test of impartiality is equality of complaints from two sides, but then Guardian blogs claim right-wing bias; Telegraph left-wing bias, etc. Also different programmes and their presenters will have different viewpoints and there is always the overriding demand to cover (and even make) a good story.

  48. @ Colin,

    Have you got a bad knee we don’t know about? You’ve been extremely tetchy this week.

    @ Bluebob,

    I don’t think so. By-elections are exceptional circumstances in which people cast protest votes and oppositions (or insurgent third parties like Ukip) have an opportunity to snag safe seats.

    The general election will be decided in the marginals by people who aren’t protest voting, and at that point I suspect the Conservatives need to start worrying about the composition of the Ukip vote (as seen in the Newark poll):

  49. In a by-election in this Parliament I would be quite tempted to vote Ukip in a Con/Ukip contest just to set the cat among the pigeons.

    I wouldn’t in Newark- Helmer is intolerable and the remote chance of Labour winning means I couldn’t afford to waste the vote- but in a Tory-er version of Eastleigh? Sure. Diane James seemed more moderate than the Tory candidate, and a Tory hold is of no benefit whatsoever to Labour whereas a Ukip gain is a wildcard than on balance probably tilts the odds in their favour. It would also make it one vote harder for the Coalition to pass really unpopular legislation while having no effect whatsoever on Parliament’s ability to pass an EU referendum.

    It would depend on the candidates- a Michael Heseltine or Rob Halfon or Zac Goldsmith would have my vote, and like I said I couldn’t in good conscience vote for Helmer. Under a Labour government I’d probably vote Labour to try to keep their vote share up. But in principle a single Ukip MP is no worse than another Tory.

  50. Have we all given up noticing Populus now? (I’ll get my coat if someone has posted it already)

    “New Populus VI: Lab 35 (-1); Cons 34 (=); LD 9 (=); UKIP 14 (=); Oth 8 (=) Tables ”

    My post from this morning is still in mod because of the ly-ing word. Was basically saying if Survation Poll is accurate then Lab do not have a chance in Newark- behind both Tories and UKIP and no-one to take votes off with LD at 5.

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