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. RogerH ,Tony Dean

    Yes, and yes.

    And certainly a lot of four-year parliaments since WW2 -51-55, 55-59, 66-70, 70-74, 79-83, 83-87, 97-2001,
    2001-2005…almost seemed that if a government went the full five-year term you felt they thought they were going to lose. 1970 was the big surprise, when Labour seemed to be “the natural party of government” already referred to on this board.

  2. Bill P
    “Their lead over Labour in 2010 was the same as in 1979, which reflects how things have changed in Labour’s favour.”

    And in both cases, we ended up with a Parliamentary majority of 40-odd who were supportive of the Tory economic plans of pro-cyclical fiscal policy.

    Maybe not that much difference after all…

  3. rogerh

    Also [the ComRes poll] was commissioned by UKIP backer Paul Sykes so qualifies as one of AW’s ‘voodoo polls’.

    I didn’t see your comment before posting, but I think that’s unfair. There’s nothing to say that this poll is any more unreliable than any other ComRes poll (yes, yes, I know) and it does ask some interesting questions. These post-election analyses are always valuable because they give us a rare chance to see why people voted rather than just how they think they will.

    And normally by ‘voodoo polls’, Anthony means the sort with a self-selecting and unbalanced sample, such as those run by newspapers.

    Or is the rule now that we’re only allowed to take a poll seriously if it’s been commissioned by a member of the House of Lords? :-)

  4. @Craig

    Not sure one can use the word “overwhelming” about one poll (an eve-of-Tory-conference poll). One can imagine that a similar poll showing different results would have been as welcome to the Tory leadership as Oakeshott’s recent poll was to Clegg.

    Nevertheless, the poll only asked about a Con/Ukip Alliance (as if the parties were already on the road to merger) not about other forms of pact.

    The Con/Ukip Alliance question acted as a squeeze question for Labour and LD voters, with effectively none of them saying “don’t know” (this accounts for most of the rise in Lab VI) whereas 10% of Con and Ukip voters were still in the dark about the Alliance.

    Even going by the results of this this one poll, VI for Con/Ukip Alliance is higher than for Con alone, so with a more realistic distribution of don’t knows it could be argued that losses for Con would be mitigated under FPTP with a pact of some kind with Ukip.

    Of course Con will be hoping to pick up half of Ukip’s current VI anyway at a general election, but too early to make any definitive prediction.

    It’s even possible that YouGov’s poll didn’t help the Conservative leadership… a chance of suing for peace with Farage and thereby subsuming/killing off the threat from Ukip was missed back in 2013.

  5. Roger Mexico

    “Or is the rule now that we’re only allowed to take a poll seriously if it’s been commissioned by a member of the House of Lords? :-)”

    Quite possibly! The BBC’s referendum poll tracker omits any poll commissioned by a political party (and no doubt by a complete oversight, any poll commissioned by a Yes supporting website).

    They seem to share RogerH’s definition of a voodoo poll, but enhanced by the concept that any poll commissioned by those supporting the status quo is positively CoE in its propriety.

  6. @ MrNameless

    If they had 500 canvassers they ought to have covered the whole constituency in a couple of hours and headed for the pub! I always wonder what everyone does in such high profile elections with tons of canvassers.

    Maybe as an outsider they gave you the worst possible areas to canvass?

  7. Shevii

    Just how many times have you gone out canvassing?

  8. ShevII
    I suppose it depends how you canvass! I would be astonished if one’s own party activists could give any reliable indication of a likely VI split. Just ask our expert in this area Tony Dean (and I know a thing or two as well).

  9. @LEFTYLAMPTON: “And in both cases, we ended up with a Parliamentary majority of 40-odd who were supportive of the Tory economic plans of pro-cyclical fiscal policy”

    I’m not sure the Tories had any consistent policy in that parliament and the Cabinet was split between the ‘wets’ and the ‘drys’.

  10. I went to my local in a village near Newark last night and the by-election did feature in the conversation. The pub incidentally is one where accompanied women are permitted but not encouraged and is the most popular of the three.

    It was the overwhelming opinion that the calibre of the main party candidates [ all non-local] was extremely poor and that Newark deserved better. No one was intending to vote tactically even though the Sun poll was common knowledge.

    Three either current or recent C members were not voting C

    Currently I have received 3 C leaflets and one each from LD, Ind and Patriotic Socialist. No canvassers. It is of course possible that others went straight into the recycling bin.

    With regard to the Survation poll I assume that the MOE is greater than 3%.

    The candidates who I am fairly sure will lose their deposit will probably get between 1% and 2% in total.

    Of those endeavouring to save their deposit it is possible that Paul Baggaley [ well known campaigner for Newark Hospital] and the Green will save theirs. LD looks increasingly like they will be squeezed even further.

    Whilst the base Lab vote is probably secure they may lose some that have switched since 2010 if UKIP are seen as the main challengers.

    Few people put up posters and most that do, do so in the final few days.

    That Helmer is the UKIP candidate does not appear to be having an unduly negative or positive impact.

    As matters stand it is probably still a narrow C win but the momentum appears to be with UKIP. I would expect a higher than normal turnout for a by-election.

  11. Looks from the Sunday Times Cover that the YG poll isn’t good for the Lib Dems…


    You have the benefit of some background info. on the poll. On the information provided in the Telegraph story it looked distinctly underwhelming. I’m not sure it’s any more deserving of the Telegraph’s spin even with the additional data, though.

  13. @Shevii,

    Nope, I’m actually a bit known to some of them through Twitter and we were out in the only Labour-held ward in the constituency.

    The UKIP numbers were a show of force for the media we think, and it doesn’t help that they have no electoral data because they’ve not had time to do lots of voter ID. As such they were basically canvassing at random.

    Funny you mention heading to a pub – there seems to be a special UKIP pub in the town centre covered in banners and posters and at which you could usually find four or five dozen party members.

    I actually had a rather nice conversation with a woman (former Labour voter) who has just joined UKIP, and after asking me what motivated me and my beliefs about things she said “If they were all like you I’d still be in the party” – so that was gratifying.

    It reinforces what I think is responsible for the rise of UKIP. God help me, I agree with Lynne Featherstone – we don’t give the impression there’s room for humans any more.

  14. From the political ed: “YouGov poll for Sunday Times reveals Nick Clegg now the least popular political elder in modern British history. Approval rating of minus 65”

  15. Farage effect here :-

    This will be interesting to watch :-)

  16. I picked out a few items from Sykes’ poll.

    Amongst UKIP voters, 70% of DE want to leave EU, 78% of Londoners want to leave EU, 83% of DE are comcerned about immigration, 85% of Londoners are concerned about immigration.

    Amongst all respondents, Labour got 21% of the White vote, and 36% of the ‘BME’ vote, so this suggests that their commitment to controlling immigration might be less than wholehearted.

    Also, to all those saying that UKIP only got 9% of the electorate, let’s not forget that that is more than any other party. It’s likely that they will lose some for the GE, but if Newark is either very close or a win, the bandwagon effect might start to take hold.

    P.S. Well done Carl Froch!

  17. The Anyone But Miliband Guardian rolling on with musings by the usual suspects.

    It’s extraordinary that they’re using an anti immigration message to beat Miliband. And what did they think of the issue when their darling Blair was in charge? Miliband has genuine working class solution policies. Farage does not have that. There’s only so much traction you can gain by blaming immigrants and the EU. UKIP doesn’t have anything else. And in the past their domestic policies were very right wing, which would be extraordinary unpopular in Labour headlands.

  18. Of course if UKIP win Newark Helmer will have to resign as an MEP in order to spend eleven months at Westminster.


    Is that worse than Mrs Thatcher, who I recall was for a time the most unpopular PM since records began?

  20. RAF

    No one could ever accuse the Grauniad of self-awareness (though self-importance is quite normal).

    The almost total lack of understanding of the rlationship between past and present (not to mention the possible futures) in this editorial are quite astounding.

    “At this time in Britain’s history, above all, there is a compelling and pressing case for English pupils to face more classic and contemporary Scottish, Welsh and Irish literature in the mix.”

  21. Totally agree RAF

    ‘The Anyone But Miliband Guardian rolling on with musings by the usual suspects.’

  22. Fear not, my avid readers and loyal followers, I’m back and ready to enunciate on a whole range of polling related matters. Suitably refreshed from a truly wonderful and cathartic week in the Scottish Highlands, I’m ready to resume my duty to spread truth, insight and illumination wherever I can. It is a heavy cross to bear, I know, but it’s a responsibility I willingly assume; the bearer of light in an often dark and humourless political world.

    Such is my zeal for conformity, however, and my urge to obey the site’s Comments policy at all times, I will stick to the subject of the thread and talk about the Survation poll on the impending Newark by-election. What a fascinating one it is too. Like many others, I thought this by-election would be a bit of a non-event; a reasonably comfortable Tory hold in one of their rock solid seats. Apparently not on the evidence of this poll and I’d say a meagre 8% Tory lead over two neck-and-neck chasing parties suggests that there is still all to play for here. The power of this poll is that it signals an open contest, both to the voters and to the competing parties. A gargantuan Tory lead would have meant game set and match and the other parties would have scaled down their campaigns accordingly and many voters would have disengaged. Not so now, and you watch Labour and UKIP throw the kitchen sink at this and, intriguingly, how thoughts of tactical voting will be triggered in the minds of anti-Tory voters (of whom there are quite a few, I’m told!( :-)).

    For the first time in this Parliament we now have a by-election where the focus is almost entirely on the Tory performance. No distraction alibis available here, I don’t think; the major governing party is on trial with nowhere to hide. Rock solid seat, 16,000 majority, narrowing national opinion polls, recovering economy, weak opposition with an unpopular leader, mid-term blues now ancient history and only 11 months to go to the big one.

    If the Tories really are recovering, then Newark will provide all the evidence we need.

    P.S. Amber S/OldNat/Allen C and any other regular Scottish posters: We stayed in Fort William, at the foot of the glowering, moody and magnificent Ben Nevis. An impossibly beautiful landscape and some wonderfully friendly people too. Joined an impromptu end of season barbecue at the nearby Lochaber Rugby Club (where Danny Alexander played as a lad). We were wandering back from our local, The Lochy, and saw the smoke rising from the Rugby Club barbecue. Tentatively wandered over and within minutes were drinking some beer in the clubhouse, eating some local cooked venison and sampling the odd dram. The President, Ally Muck (from the Isle of Muck) wouldn’t let us pay for a drink or leave until the place shut in the early hours. As friendly, warm and welcoming bunch of people as I’ve ever met. A glorious and drunken three hours in truly delightful company. Please don’t go in September! Don’t you dare leave this great Union! :-)

  23. RogerH
    Try this link

    The worst construction I can put on that is that at one time her policies were at -43%, and her personal popularity was at -21% at its worst. This might not agree with the myths about her, but that’s what one polling company thought anyway.

  24. Crossbat11

    You would have been as welcome had you been from foreign parts like Eire, or the Isle of Man!

    You’ll still be welcome once we’re independent.

    Glad you enjoyed the stay.

  25. Pete B

    -56% approval rating at the height of the Poll Tax debacle.

    She really WAS that hated, despite the revisionism.

  26. crossbatty

    Its been quiet without you.

    Glad you had a good time.

  27. @PETE B

    -56, apparently – still the record for a PM.

  28. Lefty,
    Ah yes, it looks as though the two sources from the same company disagree, unless I’ve understood it wrongly. Still better than Clegg though, which was the original point.

  29. And to RogerH (we posted at the same time)

  30. I actually wasn’t intending to make any point, just to report the news item. But given that everyone in the world is going to buy the Times tomorrow, maybe I shouldn’t have bothered!

  31. Two thoughts:
    (1) On the point of an “unelectable” party being rendered electable by virtue of the incumbent major party collapsing, I can provide a good hypothetical scenario or two. Basically, however, if an incumbent party is sufficiently wrought by scandal, mismanagement, or bad fortune then /somebody/ else is going to win. In fairness, you might get a situation like Alberta in the 30s (where the Social Credit Party came out of nowhere and upended the existing parties) or at present (with Wildrose…Alberta is far enough off the spectrum in Canada that it seems to need a second right-wing party to supplement the “main” Conservatives/PCs), or like Canada in 1993 (where Mulroney’s coalition ultimately tore apart on geographic lines, with the Liberals basically limping into office because neither the Bloc, NDP, or Reform were doing much in Ontario or the Maritimes at the moment). You might also get a “chaos” scenario akin to Japan in the 1990s (where you had utter chaos for several years as parties and coalitions shifted around). The point is that even the “unelectable” can be rendered electable with a sufficient upheaval.

    (2) I’m holding onto my seat with Newark. I expect the Tories to win…but arguments about “a win is a win” notwithstanding, if UKIP knocks Labour into third by a sizable margin and is also chasing the Tories the impact will be interesting. If they win…expect for /somebody/ to call for Cameron’s head.

  32. Yougov: Lab 36%, Con 33%, LD 7%, UKIP 15%

  33. RAF

    @” Miliband has genuine working class solution policies”

    The letter writers think that -on immigration-your are quite wrong :-

    “In one section of the letter they write: “Whilst the benefits of mass migration have been served in abundance to many wealthy people, who are in a position to take advantage of cheap labour, we believe that the lack of affordable housing, school places, hospital capacity and transport infrastructure to accommodate this influx of people means that poorer people’s living standards have been squeezed.”


    You can agree or disagree with their conclusions, but they do not believe that current Labour Party policy is a “working class solution”-quite the reverse in fact.

  34. RAF

    Is John Mann a “Blairite”?

    Labour’s factions & cabals are confusing to me-John Mann is my idea of a Working Class Champion.



    Not where I live. In leafy Surrey we think she was the greatest peacetime Prime Minister of the 20th Centuary, something i certainly agree with.

  36. Morning everyone,

    Reading some of the comments above it sounds like we are either in a new ‘class war’ or about to head into one – I thought we had left all that destructive language behind in the 1970s and 80s ?

  37. TOH,

    “In leafy Surrey we think she was the greatest…”

    In one sentence, you are committing the usual twin sins of generalisation and exaggeration.

    Could her ‘greatness’ have some link to the fact that the Tories haven’t won an overall majority in the HoC for 22 years despite the fact that the party itself was solely responsible for throwing her, unceremoniously, on the scrap heap all those years ago?

  38. I live in leafy Surrey and nobody in my household thinks Thatcher was great at anything worth doing.

    But there are a lot of Tories around here!

  39. @NEWHOUSET – I’m a committed Conservative but you do indeed make a relevant point.
    I thought she was a great PM – most of the time, that doesn’t mean she was right every single time.
    I still believe there is good and bad in every party.
    I even admired Blair at times even though I didn’t/couldn’t vote for him.

  40. TOH

    I’d hardly call the deliberately provoked Falklands War ‘peacetime’!

    Three thoughts on Thatcher:
    1. She had absolutely no understanding of the industrial metropolitan cities and north of England industrial towns and their immense sense of civic pride – which led to the Conservatives losing virtually all representation of those cities in Westminster;

    2. She wrecked British industry’s competitivity in 1979-81 by imposing high energy costs overnight when other countries, which had agreed to implement the same policy, only did so over a much longer timescale;

    3. She completely messed up local government policy by imposing her government’s wishes on everyone, instead of allowing local authorities to spend money in accordance with local wishes. She ought to have given free reign to local authorities – but on the basis that they were responsible for raising their own money.

    I would say more, but AW would not approve of the sentiments.

  41. @John B – “I’d hardly call the deliberately provoked Falklands War ‘peacetime’!”

    That’s extremely partisan, I would say, and something that I personally can’t agree with. It was a cockup, with John Knott imposing the largest ever spending cuts on the navy just at the point that the Argentinian junta needed a distraction, and the FO once again failed to spot the issue as it bubbled up.

    It wasn’t deliberate.

    I think it’s easy for posters on places like this to accuse former PMs of deliberate warmongering. Two former PMs from each of the main parties now falls into that category, but personally I find it extremely hard to believe that these people deliberately took us to war for their own ends.

    Making war is a huge, high, high cost decision, which gets in the way of many policies PMs might want to initiate and runs the risks of catastrophic defeat, not to mention deaths.

    I don’t think anyone takes these matters lightly.

  42. Alec

    FA with you on war. Tony Blair doesn’t deserve all the hard time he gets on this.

    I mean, like Bush, Blair, Thatcher, and more recently Hollande in Africa, do these things for fun because they’re psychopathic monsters underneath their veneer, is just sick or, at best, naïve and lazy / thoughtless posturing. I say this well aware of how much the norm this has become in our generally pacifist society.

    It’s dangerous too, esp with Hitler Mark II on the loose in Russia.

  43. anyone got the ST/YG poll details please?

  44. Fareastener is outed as HRH.

    Can’t agree that Putin is Hitler but agree re the rest.

  45. @MSmithsonPB: Today’s S Times YouGov poll sees LDs once again down at lowest level ever with the pollster
    CON 33
    LAB 36
    LD 7
    UKIP 15

  46. While broadly agreeing with ToH that Mrs T was the greatest peacetime Prime Minister since 1900, she was not without fault, in particular:

    a) the poll tax was ill-thought out, in part for the simple reason that people move but houses don’t;
    b) the shake up of British industry in 1979-81 probably destroyed certain elements that could have been rescued and has caused an on-going weak industrial base. However, the power of the unelected union bullies had to be broken, and that is what the country has to fear again if EM ever became PM.

    On another note, the current iron lady of Europe is determined to press ahead with ever closer union by backing Herr Juncker (former PM of Lëtzebuerg) to be the next president of the EU. This needs to be highlighted, in particular to the electorate in Newark. The idea that there can be any meaningful renegotiation of the UK’s (or rUK’s) relationship with Brussels/Straßburg is baloney.

  47. Hope the reports that Meriam Ibrahim will be freed are true.
    If so it shows the power of determined international revulsion.

    ST has gone bananas over it’s Qatar / FIFA corruption discovery-pages of it-a re-bid must be on the cards.

    DC reported as saying a Juncker appointment would lead to an early referendum in UK & a probable vote to leave!-high stakes.

  48. JIM JAM details are on the YG website.

    That 7 lead looks like top end of MOE

  49. Good Morning All, on this beautiful June morning.
    The ST poll looks very interesting; thank you COUPER2802.

    I fear for Simon Hughes with these LD figures, which in any case seem to be a little high.

  50. Think the 7 was last Fridays Colin and today’s 3 (thanks Couper) seems more accurate.

    App -23 as well seem permanent move to better than -20 not possible.

    Of course could be Tory 2010-the UKIP vacillating back to disapproval again which is not significant imo as these waverers will back Tory for the GE anyhow.

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