Just a quick post on Monday’s regular polls from Lord Ashcroft and Populus. The twice-weekly online poll from Populus has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. Tabs here.

Lord Ashcroft’s weekly telephone poll has topline figures of CON 28%(-1), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 17%(+2), GRN 7% (tabs here).

In my post yesterday I touched on issues of party image – of how the Conservatives lead on competence, but Labour are more likely to be seen as having it’s heart in the right place. Today’s Ashcroft poll has a much bigger section on party image but you can see the same pattern. The Conservative party are more likely to be seen as being “competent and capable”, “having clear ideas to deal with Britain’s problems” and being “willing to take tough decisions for the long term”. However Labour lead on perceptions that are more about values – so they are ahead on “shares my values”, “on the side of people like me” and have big leads on having its “heart in the right place” and “stands for fairness”.

As a general view, I’d say that gap there is what prevents the Conservatives doing much better. The Tories have a leader who rates far more positively than the opposition leader; they now have a consistent lead on the economy, the big issue facing the country. The thing that holds them back is that people do still see them as a party of the rich (and a party of the white) and don’t trust their motives, whereas whatever Labour’s other failings are (and they have their own image problems), the public do at least still see them as having their heart in the right place and caring about fairness.

496 Responses to “Latest Populus and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. dao

    “@ R&D

    All chazerai, along with the butty that EM shouldn’t have been seen eating. ”

    Are yooze disrespecting me pizza recipe bonny lad?

  2. Postage Included
    “As for Jews having a gag reflex when confronted with pork – well that seems to me to be an anti-semitic comment to me. Pretty poor stuff.”

    This is an example of right-on thinking being at divergence with reality. My best friend at school was Jewish, and we were both members of a boy scout troop. When we went away to camp one year, I went to great length to get beef sausages instead of the usual pork ones. When they were being cooked, I proudly told him that they were special beef sausages for him. Then he asked what they had been cooked in, and I said lard. I hadn’t realised that that would be a problem ( I probably didn’t even know that lard was pork fat). My friend gagged, and I have felt guilty ever since.

  3. Dunno if anyone’s mentioned this but over at the Beeb it says UKip want to see more direct democracy…

    “He said giving people the power to block housing, environmental or transport schemes would be one of UKIP’s priorities if it does well in next year’s general election.”

    “National referendums would be a “safety net” when the political class are out of touch with the public, he said.”

    “Mr Farage told the Institute for Government that there were grounds for greater “direct democracy”, including referendums on major issues and a system for voters to recall corrupt MPs between elections.”

  4. MAURA

    @”The Polish Prime Minister has a good grasp of the Anglo Saxon”

    He has.
    And it was so reassuring to see one of the newer members expressing , in such a moving & succinct way, the noble ideals laid down by the founding fathers of the European Union.

    ” “no Polish government could agree” to Cameron’s renegotiation proposals, “except in return for a mountain of gold”.

  5. Colin

    Oh do ………………. oh hang on……..I’ve done that one.

  6. An interesting take on that IPPR Report in the last three paragraphs of this article :-


  7. R&D

    You’ve had less than 7 hours sleep.

    As my good friend John Bercow would shout.

    “It impairs your judgment man”

  8. Colin

    “” “no Polish government could agree” to Cameron’s renegotiation proposals, “except in return for a mountain of gold”.

    Your bang on again, says all there is to say about European attitudes. The sooner we get out the better.

  9. TOH

    I don’t know how the Juncker appointment is going to play out, but reports today of DC digging deep into EU procedure seem to indicate he intends to stay on his high wire.

    He is right to warn the other leaders that EU membership has a paper thin approval in UK. They all look at their domestic politics first-no reason for Cameron to do otherwise.

    Interesting times.

    Hope you are well ?

  10. I was going to add a comment about this extraordinary story that is starting to break involving the Polish Foreign Minister’s private thoughts on Cameron’s diplomatic skills, or conspicuous lack of them, but then I saw the advertisement at the top of the thread asking me if I fancied a “Sizzling Brazilian”. I must admit that I’d never really thought about it before, and the prospect seems a painful one, but the more I think about it the more distracted I become.

    What with these Mature Dating ads, UKPR is starting to lead me astray! :-)

  11. Colin

    Totally agree, as you say they all look after their domestic agendas, IMO the main reason why the EU will eventually fall aprt, possibly bloodily.

    I’m very well at the moment and very busy with the allotments and walking in the fine weather we have been having. Not posting much for those reasons, all a bit polldrums anyway.

  12. Colin

    Thanks for asking, hope all is well with you and yours.


  13. @CB11: “What with these Mature Dating ads, UKPR is starting to lead me astray! :-)”

    I think we all see different adverts based on our personal interests and browsing history.

    Just sayin’.

  14. Rightly or wrongly, Cameron’s counterparts in the EU appear to be working on the assumption that his term as PM is rapidly running down.

  15. @The Other Howard – Labour lead increasing counts as “polldrums”?

  16. @EWEN LIGHTFOOT: “Did anyone else notice how Cammo referred to D Day as “a great achievement of our Grandfathers’ generation ” ? This was factually wrong as far as he is concerned, and quite slick , cos Ed M’s dad was in the invasion fleet.”

    Actually it was factually correct for him as his maternal grandfather was at Normandy:


  17. TOH

    Yes-OK thanks.

  18. ‘He is right to warn the other leaders that EU membership has a paper thin approval in UK. They all look at their domestic politics first-no reason for Cameron to do otherwise.’

    Of course the other members of the EU may also have decided that the UK is irrelevant to the EU’s future – why pander to DC if all you can see is the Uk going anyway. Why not just ignore the UK? Seriously, what does the UK add to the EU? Not much.

  19. @Billy Bob

    It’s not neg. otiating by DC, but grandstanding. There won’t be a vote. Not even DC wants to look that isolated.

    The better approach would have been to tell the other Council members some time before the EP elections, when it was very clear that Juncker would be the EPP’s candidate for the Presidency, that the UK had strong objections to his candidacy. An even better approach would be to sound out the EPP for a top three and point out which he preferred. It wouldn’t have guaranteed success but would have made him look more constructive in his approach.

  20. “I think the impact on VI or image will be a big fat zero.”

    But Labour still have to ketchup in the PR game.

  21. Terribly sorry.

    I’ll away and shoot myself.

  22. Of course, this all has it’s root in Cameron’s initial decision to take the Conservative Party out of the EPP. It can now be firmly seen as one of the early indications of Cameron’s My-Way-Or-The-Highway foreign policy.

  23. Allan

    My sleep is always intermittent ‘cos of pain.

    Last time I got seven hours’ sleep was in 1981.

    However, my judgement is as sharp as a very sharp thing wot’s just been sharpened by a champion sharperner.

  24. Survation has just done an interesting marginal poll:


  25. A belated acknowledgement from Nick Robinson this morning that there was no “veto” in 2011. UK only managed to exclude itself from fiscal pact negotiations among the other 27 member states.

  26. @ Spearmint

    Very interesting poll there. I’m never quite sure how to read marginals polling but if I read it right Lab has an average 4 point lead in 4 constituencies ranked 50-100 on their target list. All of them semi commuter distance from London or at least influenced by any pick up in the London economy.

    Also interesting was the 2% LD share of vote. Again adds to the narrative of a LD wipe out in seats that they have no hope in. Obviously not necessarily bad news for them- 2% in those seats means that they will perform above their UNS in the seats they need to hold.

    Also very high UKIP vote which could change and could give the Tories a drift back that they need.

    To be honest, although a narrow set of seats with similar attributes, I found this a bit more helpful than the Ashcroft polling as he has taken marginals at the lower end of the seats Lab would need to win a majority whereas this one is at the higher end and straying into comfortable majority if they win them.

  27. RogerH
    Thanks for the link re Cammo’s Grandad, I had already apologised for my error last night.

  28. I don’t actually think any of the key political players in Europe or the US think Cammo will be around post- May 2015…a friend of mine in the British Home Office says the Civil Service is counting down the days for this government….maybe they’re wrong, but i think there’s a feeling that the coalition is drawing to its end.

  29. The Telegraph is claiming that none of Miliband’s advisors think they have a chance of winning the election. Given the polls, it’s hard to know whether the fault is with the advisors (do they really believe that?) or the pressmen (are they reporting accurately?).

  30. @Peter Crawford – My friends in the Home Office say that they don’t much care what happens at the election, so long as they don’t have to put up with Theresa May any more.

  31. @Chris Green

    Journalist cites unverifiable un-named source that supports their editorial position, film at 11.

  32. @Spearmint

    Crawley (CON), Stevenage (CON), Reading West (CON) and Milton Keynes South (CON)

    ‘Currently Labour have a lead of 4 points across the four seats polled. Were the election tomorrow, this would be enough to probably win some, but not all, of the four’ seats’

    from survation

    I put those scores into Electoral Calculus

    and got 2 gains for Lab – Stevenage and Milton Keynes South, but not the other 2, they stay Con

  33. @ Shev II,

    Obviously not necessarily bad news for them- 2% in those seats means that they will perform above their UNS in the seats they need to hold.

    It’s actually roughly in line with the national figures. They’ve suffered a swing of about 15% from their 2010 vote share of 17% in these marginals. And nationally, 23% – 15% = 8%.

    I’m intrigued by how little Labour seem to be gaining from the Lib Dem collapse- most of it seems to have gone to Ukip (or the Greens, I suppose). Of course, people who voted Lib Dem in Con/Lab marginals in 2010 were obviously not persuaded by tactical voting considerations back then, so it makes sense they wouldn’t cast an ABT vote this time either. But it may mean Labour can’t squeeze the Lib Dem vote in the marginals as profitably as they might like. Then again, they might come back at the election if Labour promise to make the trains run on time.

  34. @JayBlanc – Well, precisely. But these are the same people who will then complain about Leveson.

  35. @ Floating Voter,

    Crawley’s a big ask. They barely held it in 2005 even with an incumbent.

  36. Crawley & Stevenage both returned majority Lab councillors last month while MK South went from Con to NOC.

  37. @Bramley – Winning majorities in target marginals? But how can that be? We were assured by the media that the local elections were a resignation-worthy disaster for Labour. You must be mistaken.

  38. spearmint,

    this is easy to explain. the more tory the seat the less labour friendly is the lib dem vote….

    the killer for the tories is what happens to the lib dem vote in the ultra marginals in the midlands and the north like Bury North, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Stockton South, Warrington South, Wirral West etc.

    In these more southern and less marginal seats, the lib dem vote won’t break to labour as decisively as in other areas.

    The fact that these marginals are in the 50-100 bracket on the labour target list should be a cause for concern for Tories less than a year out from a general election.

    A fortiori, so to speak, if labour is leading in these seats, one could conclude that the leads in more marginal seats must be higher. This is in fact borne out by Ashcroft’s polling.

  39. Only 5.5% of people polled said they voted LD at the last election in that poll. Some people are telling porkies.

  40. @Peter Crawford – It does look as though Labour can hope to gain about 80 seats at the general, giving a majority of about 20.

    It’s worth re-emphasising that this would be a very rare feat for a recently-defeated party.

  41. I can see what the RMT are angling for in this poll and it seems to have got the result they wanted. Can’t discuss merits or otherwise of the policy but it would be electoral dynamite for Labour to nationalise the railways.

  42. @MrNameless – Not necessarily: many respondents honestly remember voting for the “winner” even when they voted for the loser. It’s an example of social desirability bias. That is one reason why the previous voting adjustments made by pollsters are somewhat dubious.

  43. @MrNameless – The polling concern for Labour on nationalisation is that though that one nationalisation would be popular, it would raise wider questions about the radicalism of their economic policy. Radicalism rarely goes down well among the mainstream.

  44. @ Spearmint

    But isn’t there some trade off in share of vote compared to UNS when it reaches certain levels? As Anthony has said you can’t have negative votes so if the LD vote at the last election was 14% they can’t go to minus 1. But I also wonder whether this doesn’t also apply to lower falls in the share of the vote where they didn’t have a big vote to start with.

    To be fair I think mostly the LD vote was over 15% everywhere last time but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bottom line well above zero. The surprise in these ones was how low the bottom line was.

    @ Floating voter

    This is where I struggle with marginals polling! Are you sure about your figures though?

    If you take a 4% Lab lead overall in those 4 marginals and say they only win two (which was more or less what Survation were saying) that means the margin in the other two must be 8% and then the headline would read that Labour has a massive lead in the seats they need to win the next election (with the proviso that these 4 seats do not represent the country as a whole).

    That’s why I am querying your figures as that sort of lead doesn’t seem right.

    Plus of course we have MOE and outlier potential from one single poll.

  45. Chris Green,

    I don’t think labour will win 80 seats. I think 55 to 65 is feasible, and possibly a touch more, but any labour majority, if there is one, will be slim indeed. I just don’t think Miliband is strong enough to win a majority.

    The circumstances of this parliament have been exceptional. We have 1) the collapse of the lib dems to potentially a 45 year low at a general election. The liberals got 13.9% at the 1979 general election, it seems highly likely they will struggle to get this…and 2) the rise of a fourth party, UKIP,…3) We have the first coalition since the 1940s (labour weren’t defeated in 2010 as comprehensively as they were in the 80s, or as badly as the tories were in ’97, ’01 and ’05….this makes 2015 exceptional.

    We may also heading back to a period like the 60s and 70s where 1 term governments were the norm.

  46. @shevii : they were actually only ahead in 2 of the survation marginals. One behind, one level. Also very low numbers. AW can this be statistically relevant?

  47. @ Chris Green

    I tend to agree with you but we have a much lower “mainstream” now. UKIP on 15%, Green on 5% plus, SNP doing well, Respect with an MP.

    I agree elections are mainly decided by swing voters in the middle and probably still are but clearly a high percentage of the electorate does want something radical otherwise they would still be voting labour and Tory in bigger numbers than they are. A very large proportion of the electorate are not happy and this makes things unpredictable. The problem is that half of the unhappy ones have gone one way (UKIP) and half the other way (SNP, Respect, Green, not voting) so working out what the unhappy ones want is quite tricky!

  48. @shevii

    I am no expert, you know mch more than me, i just put the figures into the Electoral Calculus prediction model



    and just asked to display only the GB seats in the

    South for Reading West
    Essex for Stevenage and Milton Keynes South
    South East for Crawley

    the results fitted in with Survation’s comment about winning some but not all the seats

    I am happy to be corrected

  49. @ShevII – The SNP have extremely mainstream policies. Rupert Murdoch wouldn’t be sending so much money and influence Alex Salmond’s way if they didn’t.

    UKIP are successful despite their radical policies – polling indicates that most voters don’t realise that UKIP have such radical libertarian policies as flat taxes and so on. Explicitly libertarian or nationalist parties flop because there is not a popular demand for radical policies presented as radical policies.

    Similar goes for the Greens – their manifestoes have traditionally been indistinguishable from Respect’s, except that they are even more militant on environmental issues – but most voters see them as just being on the friendly centre-left, not realising that they have a radical platform.

    And Respect only get elected by Muslim electorates who see them as a sectional party (which, since the hard left abandoned the project, they are). Left Unity, Socialist Alliance, TUSC, and so on, are nowhere, because there is not a popular demand for radical policies presented as radical policies.

    And even then, these parties only get about 20% of the vote between them, on a 60% turnout, i.e. they only represent about 12% of the electorate. And I don’t think that you can say that all on-voters are unhappy with the mainstream – many could be quite happy but not feel they need to go to the voting booth because their preferred mainstream candidate will either win easily or lose easily in their seat.

  50. Essex for Stevenage and Milton Keynes?

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