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. If Populus was anywhere near right the voting intention in Newark would have Con up approaching 50% and UKIP behind Lab.

  2. @ Nick P,

    What? It’s a by-election, it’s not going to mirror the national swing.

    I mean, anything following the phrase “if Populus was anywhere near right” can probably be assumed to be untrue anyway, but this wouldn’t be true even if their methodology was perfect.

  3. Missis Minty

    “@ Colin,

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

    “This” week ?!? LOL………………

    [Actually, I’ve gotta bad knee but I don’t like to mention it.]

  4. I think Labour voters in Newark are going to be tempted to vote tactically for UKIP, in the hope that UKIP wins, making the Tories very nervous in their safe seats.


    I like to respond in kind to the usual suspects. You may call it “tetchy” if you wish- I think of it as fun..

    Knees?-they are so passé -don’t ya think ?


  6. @ShevII – You’re assuming that Labour can’t take votes from UKIP – or the Conservatives, for that matter. It’s a dangerous fallacy to assume that switch dynamics are unidirectional.

  7. @ R Huckle

    I think your post may be based on a rather optimistic assumption about the political strategic skills of the average voter!


    lol !

    I can hear Alec now

    -These optimistic Drugs sector PMI’s are always a false high. Downers are the inevitable outcome every time.

    There is something very worrying about productivity trends in the Prostitution Sector-it is beginning to look distinctly flabby,-and I blame George Osborne for his failure to invest in this vital activity for far too long.

  9. @ John Pilgrim

    Thanks for your response to Statgeek on immigration with which I largely agreed. However, I think the following sentence makes more sense with the addition of a ‘not’. Sorry, though, if I have misunderstood you.

    ‘Labour’s thinking on the matter is that immigration should be checked (only?) to the degree that it is *not* 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.’

  10. Interesting tidbit from Michael Smithson:

    “In every by-election since 2010 where there’s been polling UKIP has exceeded its best rating – CON has done worse.”

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be so confident about that Tory hold!

    @ Colin,

    I like to respond in kind to the usual suspects.

    Well, precisely. That’s what made your response to Tony Dean so out of character.

  11. “Knees?-they are so passé ”

    I wish the bleedin’ pain would passé.

    [Not that I like to talk about it.]


    Oh-I thought you were refering to Mr Mehico.

    If I was tetchy with Tony Dean, I apologise to him.

    After his cathartic soul bearing of a political life’s failure , I feel very sorry for him. ……I did wish hime well in his Labour sanctuary though :-)

  13. spearmint

    I’ve already said it could go any of three ways as the tactical vote is not clear – unlike Eastleigh for example.

    I certainly wouldn’t place my own money on a Tory hold.

    By the way, I always thought the “usual suspects” were anybody but Rich and TOH: even Neil A is a bit too M.O.R. to be trusted with a proper understanding of how things really is.

    Actually, so’s Rich.

  14. @ Colin,

    Well, I meant both really, but Roger did have a go at you first. Although it’s unlike him to snipe about anything but faulty psephology, so I suspect that goes back to you being so unpleasant to Tony, who is always thoughtful and civil to everyone and really doesn’t deserve to have his posts dismissed as carp even if you disagree with his analysis.

    Still, an apology goes a long way.

    @ R&D,

    I think “the usual suspects” means you three. ;)

  15. This is the dog watch of UKPR so I will concentrate on ‘the lads’. It’s just about the only occasion I watch TV now (sport) and that’s only because Springwatch is not on tonight.

  16. Ashcroft Newark poll coming on Monday, 4PM.

  17. I suspect that Populus, like some other pollsters are factoring in the swing back they expect to benefit the Tories over the course of the next 12 months. It’s a fair call based on recently GE precedents. But if – and I repeat – if – YouGov starts to show an expanding Labour lead, Populus will have to recalibrate or be damned!

  18. The Tories will be hoping the Ashcroft poll doesn’t have figures something like Con 35%, UKIP 30%, Lab 26%. Such a result would encourage traditional Labour voters to vote tactically for UKIP to give the Tories a bloody nose.

  19. After more than a dozen by elections in Labour seats (+ one LD) this parliament, we’re to see the second in a Tory held seat.

    There was a 15% Con to Ukip swing at Corby. (November 2012 saw Ukip polling at around 8% with YouGov.) Before that we had seen a 12% swing in Bradford W, and later that year a 14% in Rotherham.

    2013 saw the 19% Con to Ukip swing at Eastleigh, followed by a 17% at S Shields.

    Ukip would need a 25% swing in Newark.

  20. Looking forward to Nick Robinson on Newsnight.
    Dog watch ? You bettcha !

  21. Well the footy was no great shakes.

    If I was the Labour tactician in Newark, I would be tempted to put the quiet message out to members to get their voters to vote UKIP. I would sound out the LD factotum to encourage the same. Trouble is, the reaction on this site alone suggests it would not work as they simply don’t have the ability to see the advantages.

    Good old Ashcroft, my new hero. I may revise my opinion when i see his results.

  22. @R&D,

    Am I M.O.R? I always thought of myself as a little bit hard rock and a little bit folk, with occasional reggae moments.


    Well since it is important enough for you still , after some time, to be concerned about it-it is important enough for me to correct you -and hopefully assuage your concern too.

    Go back to the exchange & see what I said-which was that it didn’t get past Tony’s first paras -in which he described “Tories” as still being “nasty” and added a couple of unpleasant characteristics of his own choice.

    My “carp” remark related to that-& since , as I pointed out to him, I hadn’t read the rest of his post, it couldn’t have related to them.

  24. neil a

    Well, I was thinking of M.O.R. hard-metal-reggae-rock, so on le button je pense.

  25. How many times has Populus recorded a Con lead this year. Anyone have that to hand?

  26. @HOWARD: “If I was the Labour tactician in Newark, I would be tempted to put the quiet message out to members to get their voters to vote UKIP. I would sound out the LD factotum to encourage the same.”

    Imagine the effect if (when, more likely) it was revealed that Labour was urging people to support UKIP. It would damage the party far more that the questionable benefit of having UKIP beat the Tories in a by-election.

  27. Populus: Con 35%, Lab 34% on 18th May; tied on 35% in April.

  28. Can anyone tell me out of interest whether a study has ever been done about how the parrotting of political opinion polls actually influences the way people vote?. I think we’ve come to a crossroads when this sort of knowledge is quite important.

  29. Labour used to be the party of the working man. Over the last 30 years or so, it has moved away from that image. There are many working-class voters who are disillusioned with the Labour party and are attracted to UKIP because they are perceived to offer solutions to their problems. e.g. Reduce immigration and you reduce the housing and unemployment problems because there is less competition for houses and jobs. I have seen a poll that showed that UKIP is now the most working-class party.

    I don’t know much about Newark, but any town will have a significant working-class vote. There will not necessarily be much tactical voting as such, but people who have not voted for a long time (or ever), may come out to support UKIP, and this is one of the biggest unknowns, and perhaps UKIP’s secret weapon.

    I can’t wait for the poll on Monday!

  30. @Ashley

    There doesn’t seem to be much agreement about the bandwagon effect or the underdog effect, whether they exist, and if so which is stronger.

    More agreement for strategic voting/third party squeeze being affected by opinion polls. In the case of more proportional voting systems, the wasted vote phenomenon (not getting representation), and coalition insurance strategy (voting for coalition partner party):


  31. Interesting. May be it’s time for a fresh look given the way the media today manifests itself in such extreme hyperbole.

  32. If Ashcroft has Lab second in Newark could be interesting. If UKIP 2nd by more than a couple of points over Lab, expect to see some anti-Con switching to UKIP.

  33. Telegraph front page — ComRes find 86% of people who voted UKIP in Euro election intending to support the party in the general election.

  34. There’s a ComRes poll mentioned in the Telegraph which talks of the people who voted UKIP last week: apparently 37% are certain to vote that way next year, and another 49% likely to do so.

    To me it seems a bit early to be drawing conclusions from this sort of polling: there’s nearly a year till polling day.

  35. Howard

    “If I was the Labour tactician in Newark, I would be tempted to put the quiet message out to members to get their voters to vote UKIP. ”

    And I’d make sure you were expelled from the party.

  36. @Andy JS @KeithP

    Even if they all do, because the GE is likely to be on double the turnout they may still not win a single seat.

  37. KeithP

    The poll is just doing what every poll does – recording how people currently think about how they might behave in future.

    That yet another “political journalist” publicly demonstrates his total incompetence for that title by writing “a new poll predicts today” will surprise no one on UKPR.

    If (doubtless, by accident) Richard Kirkup were to stray onto here, he might find a less credulous readership than he is used to.

  38. @ Norbold

    And I’d make sure you were expelled from the party.

  39. RAF: yes, with a general election turnout it would mean UKIP receiving about 12.5% of the vote which probably wouldn’t be enough to win a seat as you say.

  40. With party members like those in Progress, Ed Miliband really doesn’t need enemies.

    Progress is the blairite or New Labour rump who, like John Rentoul in the Independent, would really rather see David Cameron re-elected than Ed Miliband as PM. There is a lot of criticism of this group acting both as ‘a party within a party’ and being funded by big corporations/PR companies such as Pfizer, Bell-Pottinger and Lord Sainsbury.

    Frankly, given all the briefing against Ed Miliband, it is surprising that action has not been taken against them.. a sort of Militant-type purge. However, the PLP was largely hand-picked by Blair and Mandelson and it is generally understood that Labour MPs are collectively much further to the right than the LP grassroots. It may be that EM fears a SDP-type walk-out…. and such a walk-out would certainly reproduce another 1983 crash for the Labour vote.

  41. @Syzygy

    An SDP style walk out? To who? The LDs or the Tories?

    There is nowhere for the ultra Blairites to go. They must feel bitter and frustrated that their darling at the head of the LDs has been crushed and humiliated.

  42. Howard,

    I know your remark wasn’t entirely serious but it hits upon an attitude I’ve long thought is damaging political engagement in this country.

    There is a view among some deeply involved with the party machines (ie to the degree of running for internal positions etc.) that elections are part of some “Great Game” of making sure the main enemy is beaten and humiliated. To these people (and it’s one of the reasons I find Marxism so unappealing as well) voters and constituents are ammunition to be hurled at opponents, and therefore to be manipulated through subtle tactical voting strategies etc.

    That’s why I have no time for boring debates over things like the Labour Students internal structure when we could be out on the doorstep, engaging with voters like they’re human beings and helping elect representatives who can help them with their concerns.

    Labour members trying to get Labour voters to turn out and vote UKIP is like bringing in a hungry bear to fight off a hungry dog. Maybe the dog problem goes away but at the end of the day the bear’s still hungry and you’re now the only meat around.

    I think Orwell summed it up perfectly (and substitute socialism for any other ideology and stereotype here): It is fatal to let the ordinary inquirer get away with the idea that being a Socialist means wearing sandals and burbling about dialectical materialism. You have got to make it clear that there is room in the Socialist movement for human beings, or the game is up.

    It wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing if it was illegal to refer to your opponents on election literature, and candidates had simply to print their ideas. The problem is that for a lot of candidates, printers won’t go that small.

    Every time I see a think tank publish a controversial report about some minute policy detail or factions of parties arguing over constitutional matters, or Labour Students members squabbling over procedural rules for meetings, I want to shake them by the lapels, and say: “What is it we’re here for? Sorry if I’m wrong but I thought it was to represent people’s needs – real people, not faction members – and obtain the highest possible sustainable standard of living for as many people as possible as quickly as possible. Now get your boots on, we’re going out door knocking”.

  43. @RAF

    Tribune’s Mark Seddon reported at the time of the 2010GE that Mandelson and Adonis were actively seeking to form a new centre party by merging with the LDs. Mandelson is said to have called it a ‘party of permanent majority’ which echoed Karl Rove’s ambitions for the Republicans.

    Central to the project was breaking the links with the Trade Unions, and continuing to exclude the left-wingers in the hope that they would remove themselves.

    There was even a suggestion that Brown’s election campaign was slightly sabotaged but perhaps there was no need for sabotage.

    The story had some credibility for me given the level of dismay and disbelief that Mandelson and Adonis appeared to feel when Nick Clegg went into coalition with the Tories.

  44. RAF

    Harry Lauder had good advice for the Blairites –

    “Keep right on to the end of the road
    Keep right on to the end
    Tho’ the way be long, let your heart be strong
    Keep right on to the end
    Tho’ you’re tired and weary still journey on,
    Till you come to your happy abode
    Where all you love, you’ve been dreaming of
    Will be there, at the end of the road”

    Does it matter which of the UK parties is their happy abode? I doubt it does to them.

  45. @Old Nat

    LOL Spot on IMO.


    ‘obtain the highest possible sustainable standard of living for as many people as possible as quickly as possible.’

    Is that everyone in the constituency, everyone in the country, everyone in Europe or everyone in the world?

  47. @Syzygy, RAF

    I’m no fan of Progress but I think you’re wrong to accuse Adonis and Mandelson of plotting against the Labour Party. Lord Monkeyhanger is a terrible sentimentalist about Labour (it takes one to know one!). And there’ was bad blood between Adonis and the LDs well before 2010. Mark Seddon’s story doesn’t ring true here, as usual.

    No doubt both Adonis and Mandelson read the runes, were expecting that a LibLab coalition was the best they could hope for, and had their negotiating positions thought out well in advance. That would certainly be in character for dear Peter. But it’s not the same thing as sabotage or collusion, or treachery.

    “‘Labour’s thinking on the matter is that immigration should be checked (only?) to the degree that it is *not* 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.’

    You’re probably right. Anyway, you understood me. I just wonder whether that shouldn’t read: “Treasury thinking on the matter………….”

    Pete B
    Labour was always the part of the thinking working man. In its relationship to organised labour, it has also, quite rightly, supported the UK labour force against foreign competition, including foreign workers. That’s not to stop the adoption of an immigration policy which absorbs a workforce from overseas with skills and civic qualities which add to prosperity and thus to the capacities and wellbeing of the existing working population. It’s just possible that the working voters of Newark will see such a policy as different and more in their interests than that of UKIP.

  49. Good Morning All.

    IMO, those are wonderful words.
    However, IMO, the Blair singers only belong to Labour; helping Her to win: once, twice, three times a winner.

  50. @Syzygy – “Labour MPs are collectively much further to the right than the LP grassroots.”

    “Blairites” are the swivel-eyed loons in this case?

    In the through-the-looking-glass world of the Conservative Party, grassroots members have a viable option in Ukip. Will there be a defection to TUSC if Ed doesn’t prove to be left-wing enough in government?

    The other perspective would be that left-wingers have always clung to the Labour party (it’s a lonely task trying to sell the Morning Star outside factory gates), and in every generation complained about leaders moving to the right/betraying them.

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