Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 11%. The three point Labour lead is typical of this week’s YouGov polls, which have all shown 3-4 point leads.

A couple more things to flag up, earlier in the week YouGov repeated their question asking people to put the parties and their leaders on a left-right spectrum. There isn’t much change since it was last asked. Labour are still seen as more centrist than the Conservatives, Cameron a little more right-wing than Miliband is left-wing. Cameron is seen as marginally to the left of his party, Miliband bang in line with his. In that sense Ed Miliband isn’t seen as some wild left winger (certainly not compared to the right-wingness of the Tories), but note that he is seen as far more left-wing than his predecessors: Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were both seen as significantly more centrist than the party they led. There are some very nice graphs of the data here.

While it’s not really about polls regular readers will know my sideline in boundary changes. While the boundary review for the coming election was cancelled the changes the government made weren’t repealed, just delayed. The process will start again automatically in 2015, so the issue will inevitably raise its head after the next election with either the Boundary Commissions starting a new review under the new rules, or the government legislating to change the rules again. Johnston, Rossiter & Pattie – the foremost scholars of British boundary redistributions – have published a new paper aimed at informing that debate, looking at whether slightly increasing the tolerance from 5% to 8%, encouraging the Boundary Commissions to split more wards, or sticking with 650 seats would reduce the level of disruption (spoilers: the first two would, the latter wouldn’t). It’s summarised here, and the full report is here.


253 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 35, LAB 38, LD 8, UKIP 11”

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  1. MrN – Jamie’s prediction has a 1 point swing from Con to Lab. That’s the sort of thing that gets wiped out by incumbency.

    For comparison, in 2001 there was a Lab => Con swing of 2 points and, as you know, they got all of one seat to show for it!

    (Of course this is a different situation, there are Lib Dem’s to be accounted for – so I’m not commenting on whether’s Jamie’s prediction is a good one or not… just that *small* swings back to a party that lost seats last time don’t *necessarily* result in the seat gains you’d expect)

  2. @MOG

    Your game, so you make the rules, but is there any chance of you offering results based on mean square error as an FYI? That would be my preference as a measure because it punishes bad mistakes more and it’s only one extra column in the spreadsheet. Pleeeze.

    (Expect my prediction at the latest allowable date, or later. Making up my mind isn’t a strong suit for me).

  3. @ MOG

    I’m storing up my prediction excluding the speaker for an appeal after the event :-)

    I guess you should take one of Con as I imagine Labour would keep Bercow as speaker?

    @ Nameless

    Storing up your prediction for when you become Chancellor and I can moan about how I knew him when he was posting on UKPR and he couldn’t even add up!

  4. It’s for that reason that the one political job I’d never want to do over all the others is Chancellor!

  5. @PeterC

    I’m making a note of all the predictions falling within my (admittedly arbitrary) rules. See my post of 3.20pm.

    If you want to set up a rival competition with different rules, I have no problem with that.

  6. @PostageIncluded

    I have no problem with mean square error, and if you remind me nearer the time I’ll calculate it (or, more likely, post the spreadsheet for anyone to play with).

    I’m still judging by absolute difference, however.

  7. I thought this was an intellectual site where we discussed ACTUAL polls. The various predictions , rather foolishly invited in my view are simply guesses and of little point other than to indicate the posters’s political preference . This site and electoral calculus both predict a labour majority and a workable one too, if modest. They have polled vast thousands. They have goodish records so who can show they haveindicated larger Tory votes from polls so far. The fact that Labour will win most seats as the Tories have to do even better than be equal suggests (at present) they come out on top , or there is a hung parliament. I don’t know ! And nor do any of you ! So guessing now is just that-Guessing.

  8. Colin Jackson

    It’s a lot closer to discussing the polls than trying to work out who the bad guys are in the Middle East! ;-)

  9. I agree with CJ

    But it’s fun CJ so welcome the interest that is at the root of it.

  10. @Jamie
    ‘I have the Tories increasing a little, the gap between them and labour I have predicted to narrow, but I think Tory MPs will be saved by the double incumbency effect.’
    Your forecast in essence implies a Con to Lab swing of 1.15%.The potential incumbency effect certainly needs to be considered, but it is worth noting that 2 Tory MPs in ultra marginals will not be defending their seats – Warwickshire North and Cardiff Norh – hence no double incumbency bonus there!. In addition, any incumbency benefits are likely to be limited in several other seats because the former Labour MP is standing again – Hendon – Broxtowe- Waveney – Wolverhampton SW and Stroud. Labour has of course already gained Corby at a by-election and is probably quite well placed to retain it – on the basis of double incumbency!

  11. We did it in 2010 and all took as fun.

    I was well wrong IIRC but by no means the worse.

  12. Anthony Wells

    Jamie’s prediction has a 1 point swing from Con to Lab. That’s the sort of thing that gets wiped out by incumbency.

    For comparison, in 2001 there was a Lab => Con swing of 2 points and, as you know, they got all of one seat to show for it!

    Well they actually got a net gain of four from Labour, gaining five (three of them in Essex[1]) and losing South Dorset to a well organised tactical voting campaign. Of the other two, Newark was a sort of reverse incumbency factor and Norfolk NW had the previous three-term MP standing again.

    All that said I wonder if incumbency will be a strong a factor in 2015. Part of the effect isn’t just about the MP or the work they have done, it is about building an organisation. Having an MP can help this enormously and presumably the effect is particularly dramatic in an area which hasn’t had an MP of that Party for a while (as in 1997). This probably won’t apply as much in 2015 because of the general decline of Conservative organisation and because most of these areas will already have had a reasonable one before 2010, so they couldn’t get the big boost that some Labour ones might have had in 1997.

    Of course having an actual incumbent also helps and the number of one-term Tories standing down is surprising. There’s a bit of a myth that a number of ‘Blair Babes’ stood down in 2001, disillusioned with how Westminster worked. actually I can only find two who didn’t again and only one explicitly for that reason. In contrast three of the Conservative women from the 2010 have already announced they aren’t standing again.

    It may also be that the ‘swing’ in 2001 was not all it appeared. Turnout in 1997 was 71.3%, this dropped to 59.4% in 2001. We know that in safe seats and election Labour voters are less likely to vote than their Conservative equivalents, and much of the ‘swing’ may simply be due to that. Certainly the drop in safe Labour seats was greater than in marginal ones according to Pippa Norris:

    http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Articles/Articles%20published%20in%20journals_files/Apathetic_Landslide_2001.pdf#page=5

    [1] This is what happens if you go after Essex Man. You win seats in (Metropolitan) Essex and er… The perils of populism.

  13. Ok in some seats a single incumbency effect!!! But as AW points out above a 2% swing in 2001 got the Tories one seat. So I guess the single incumbency effect is 1%, which was my prediction!

  14. it ‘s good actually putting some figures on all the punditry that goes on here, and good to see if the reality matches people’s expectations…can’t see any harm in that, to be honest.

    jamie- there will be no incumbency bounce for the tories in cannock chase, erewash, cardiff north, warwickshire north, hove, thanet south simply because the existing MPs are stepping down.

  15. In 1987 Labour received a swing in its favour of just 1.7% but still managed a net gain of 20 seats.

  16. I think I’m right in saying in 1987 the Tory losses were concentrated in Scotland and Wales.

  17. Roger Mexico is exactly right…

    Part of the effect isn’t just about the MP or the work they have done, it is about building an organisation. Having an MP can help this enormously and presumably the effect is particularly dramatic in an area which hasn’t had an MP of that Party for a while (as in 1997). This probably won’t apply as much in 2015 because of the general decline of Conservative organisation…

    According to the Conservative party, it currently has 134,000 members. some think the figure is nearer to 100k

    When Cameron beat Davis to the leadership in 2005, the breakdown in votes was 134,446 votes to 64,398 making a total of nearly 199,000. there were probably 250k+

    The membership of the Conservative Party, by whatever calculation, you choose has approximately halved in 9 years.

    This is a big problem, but people insouciantly think a) “foot soldiers” don’t matter and b) incumbency somehow works by magic like name recognition.

    The reality is very different.

  18. @ColinJackon

    “I thought this was an intellectual site where we discussed ACTUAL polls. The various predictions , rather foolishly invited in my view are simply guesses and of little point other than to indicate the posters’s political preference”

    A little harshly put, and I’ve been lured into the prediction game myself at times, but the essence of what you say is exactly right. It’s essentially the game for people peddling pet theories, sprinkled with just a little dash of wishful thinking. Harmless fun, but best to be avoided, I think!

    Polls aren’t predicting anything, but if they’re saying essentially the same thing over a long period of time, then they may give us a clue about what may happen in 9 months time. That’s a much better basis for making a prediction, in my view, than looking at how an electorate behaved 30 years ago.

  19. @MOG

    Ta!

  20. Good Evening All.
    Why should harmless fun be avoided? Old fashioned theology that is, CROSSBAT11.

    On the prediction front, I think we are in for a very close fight, in terms of seats won. Single figures, almost dead heat.

  21. CB11

    @”Polls aren’t predicting anything, but if they’re saying essentially the same thing over a long period of time, then they may give us a clue about what may happen in 9 months time. ”

    Can’t you see that this is just as replete with the “little dash of wishful thinking. ” that you so object to in others .

    lol

  22. AW: Why the moderation on that? Seems rather relevant to polling.

    [I’ve always repeatedly asked people not to play “bad story for party I don’t like show-and-tell”. There is no one who posts on this site who is incapable of finding the Guardian under their own steam, we really don’t need constant links. Imagine it this way, if someone spent their time trawling the Daily Mail for negative stories about the Labour party and posting them up with a “hey, this looks interesting!” would you regard it as being in the spirit of non-partisanship? – AW]

  23. I too have been modded, can’t see why.

  24. @ Colin Jackson,

    This site and electoral calculus both predict a labour majority and a workable one too, if modest.

    Based on current polling. Those aren’t general election predictions.

    As far as “What’s the point of it all?” is concerned, I think there is some benefit to encouraging people to put some numbers where their mouths are. If nothing else, when you get the results back it tells you whose predictions you can safely ignore in future. (Judging by the last round, Charles Stuart, Richard, Welsh Borderer, TingedFringe and Amber. :p )

    I’ll post a prediction soonish- I want to look at the constituency list first.

  25. @Crissvait11:

    If you are admitting you are not able to understand the point Ben Page eas making it seems a bit odd to criticise him.

    Perhaps you should try to understand the point he was making before criticising.

    Reagan’s “if you explaining you are losing” means that in politics you have to get your point succinctly and clearly the first time. If you have to explain what you meant you’ve missed your chance. Similarly if Miliband feels he has to explain why the public perception of him is wrong it is too late

  26. @ Speramint

    You’re correct, I do not have a track record of being good at guessing what the election results will be. I have never tried to model an election mathematically & forecast the outcome; I might do that at some point.

    However, I actually think that trying to forecast or predict within 0.5% for all the Parties is almost impossible. So everybody who tries is just making a guess – albeit some guesses will be more informed than others.

    I’m not in the current game because I made a broad brush prediction (aka a guess) ages ago: Labour to finish 6 points ahead of Tories. FWIW, I’m sticking with that. :-)

  27. Colin Jackson”I thought this was an intellectual site”

    You’ve probably been reading owr dad’s posts.

    We try to keep it a bit lighter ourselves.

    One thing worth noting is that people posting stuff you don’t like does not inhibit you – or anyone else come to that – from posting your own, more intellectual stuff…. so fire away.

  28. Colin Jackson,
    I think you are right.Why play guessing games if you are tracking polls.
    John P,
    You seem to be suggesting that EM should just roll over and die.The counsel of defeat and despair.Of course he will fight back in view of the public image
    Of him being so negative.Why should he not.

  29. AW,

    I simply wanted to open up a discussion on whether the Tory election strategy will be as personal as the article suggests, and what effect that might have on the polls. Perhaps I should have just raised the point without linking though. It is after all your call.

  30. “On the prediction front, I think we are in for a very close fight, in terms of seats won. Single figures, almost dead heat.”

    Thanks ChrisL; I’ve added that to the diary.

  31. MrNameless

    It seems likely that party strategists will use any tactic (regardless of party – and morality) to advance the chances of their candidate winning power.

    Highly personal attack ads were running regularly on TV in N Carolina when I was there recently – and they were just for Primary elections for single parties!

    (My son noted with amusement that he knew the actress portraying herself as opposed to Obamacare. She is actually a strong supporter of it – but a paying job is a paying job!)

    Received wisdom in US politics is that negative campaigning works, hence they pour millions of dollars into it.

    I can see how it can work, when a negative portrayal resonates with feelings already there among undecided voters. It may be wholly counterproductive when it only resonates with the already fixed opinions of your own supporters.

  32. @John P

    “@Crissvait11:
    If you are admitting you are not able to understand the point Ben Page eas making it seems a bit odd to criticise him.
    Perhaps you should try to understand the point he was making before criticising.”

    Crissvait11?? I think you may be mistaking me for my distant Dutch cousin, Criss Vait Sleven!

    Don’t get me wrong, I understood perfectly the point Page was making, and his interpretation of the Reagan platitude, but like all such empty rhetoric, you can get it to mean whatever you want it to mean. Miliband was employing the high risk tactic, for any politician, of confronting the very issues that invite the most criticism of him. Many politicians have done this; Cameron spoke about his Eton education in one of his “highly personal” Conference speeches. He drew attention to a perceived weakness and tried to make a strength of it. Miliband was doing the same thing about his non-photogenic image. Seemed a reasonable thing to do but whether it’s successful or not remains to be seen.

    What any of this had to do with the trite cliché that Reagan (or his scriptwriter, more likely) trotted out, I do not know.

    “If you’re explaining then you’re losing.” Say to itself and then think long and hard about it. Sounds quite good on first hearing, doesn’t it? Deep political truths are implied. Then think a little longer. It’s meaningless tripe, isn’t it?

    My key point, however, was what on earth was an independent pollster doing making these comments in the first place when he was asked, on a mainstream news bulletin, to comment on Miliband’s polling ratings and what his speech may or may not do to influence them? Instead he offered an entirely personal and tendentious opinion about Miliband. As Norbold mentioned too, his Hague comparison was completely erroneous too. Miliband has been leading a party that has been in the lead in just about every poll for the last 26 months. Hague would have killed for one week in the lead!

    The whole episode was very intriguing and highly revealing, I thought.

  33. Oldnat,

    The differences in the USA are A) vastly increased campaign spending and unrestricted media space, B) The two monolithic blocks of Democrat and Republican support outside tiny areas of Green/Libertarian/Socialist representation, and C) How locked in those blocks are, with hardly any switching and success thereby being dependent on getting one’s own supporters out.

    Making the other side look like rotters may be effective, but it’s no guarantee it will work here. Then again Miliband does have an image problem and an attempt to “Do a Kinnock” might be successful.

  34. Mr Nameless

    You could also have mentioned D) Fixing of electoral boundaries by both major parties to ensure that their successful choice in the Primaries has a career for life. Hence why Primaries are often the real power struggles.

    Nothing makes that clearer than the defeat of House Leader Eric Cantor by an obscure Tea Party candidate who spent less on the whole campaign than Cantor spent in diners. But then that helps to explain your C). Switching is unlikely because the Primary system helps to produce candidates who are acceptable only to the extreme end of their party. That’s especially true of the Republicans, who seem to have abandoned the idea of actually reaching out to the centre.

    However, my point (which I didn’t make very well!) was more about the influence that US political techniques can have on this side of the Pond.

  35. AW

    Didn’t see it as a partisan article but it’s your call.

  36. “Then again Miliband does have an image problem and an attempt to “Do a Kinnock” might be successful.”

    Mr N… d’you mean he should dye his hair ginger, put on a Welsh accent, fall over on a beach – or some sort of combination?

    I think “might” is probably a bit hopeful meself albeit technically correct.

  37. Thanks for that, Paul. The image of a ginger Ed will stay with me till my deathbed I fear.

  38. @Postage

    Well, you could be positive and embrace the gingerness of it all. Failing that, they say if you want to get rid of a troubling thought, you could try displacing it with summat else. Like, a ginger Gove…

  39. Latest YouGov / Sunday Times results 25th July -Lab 36%, Con 35%, UKIP 13%, LD 8%, Green 5%, Nats 3%, Others 1%; APP -19

    Lab have bad cross breaks on this one which gives the low lead – low 2010 retention, low number ex 201 LD and only a 3% lead amongst younger voters

    Cons keeping a higher number of 2010 LD than previously – 3 34% and 2 35% for Cons this week. Could be a trend, more 2010 LD’s switching, losing less to UKIP and even a few more Lab supporters possibly.

    Greens up to 5% mostly 2010 LD,s but a few Lab switchers as well

    All the economic questions flowing towards the coalition this week and to the question

    How do you think the financial situation of your
    household will change over the next 12 months? -12% (better 19%, worse 31%) – a significantly better score than the last 6 months. Cons +24 LD + 24 are very positive, but Lab -36 UKIP -38 very negative

    I wonder if July produced an improvement in wages, some people would have been paid last week.

  40. @” some people would have been paid last week.”

    One of the classics there FV :-) :-) :-)

  41. There is a 6 to 8 pt shift in the economic approvals of the Government in this mornings YouGov.:-

    Good or bad for you +6
    Managing economy well +8
    State of Economy +8
    Your household in 12 mths +8

    If this is a real movement as opposed to some quirk of this poll, that looks significant.

  42. This morning’s YG poll looks interesting. A tight Lab lead with signs of movement for Con, with a potential reason for this as well in those economic questions.

    Only thing to watch is those cross breaks @Floater mentions. If the sampling is not fully reflective of the population as a whole, and favours Con, we would expect to see responses to things like economic questions also favouring Cons.

    Of course, we’ve had some decent retail sales figures and a flurry of publicity over the GDP numbers, so this may well be a genuine shift, but the improvement in economic circumstances question in YG goes against the last three months of surveys and earnings data,so we should await further polls first to see if this might be a sample effect.

    @Rogerh – I’ll back you up here. It’s up to AW as you say, but I viewed the article as being one about electoral strategy, and not partisan. However, I guess AW might have thought it would lead to partisan comments on here, but I did think it was a bit harsh.

  43. Colin – Could be a slight movement exaggerated by the sample

    FV suggests that the cross-breaks are much more favourable to the Cons than normal which could be a big change on recent YGs or more likely just a favourable sample.

    The other numbers would fall in line.

    FWIW – I think wall to wall coverage of the Growth figures are likely too make some people feel more optimistic so some change is accurate even if short-term.
    As we know with 4% growth in population though and GDP/head is still approx 4% down so my guess is that when the figures fade from the news and real life experience kicks in the Lab lead will be bigger again.

    FV reported from the data:-
    ‘Cons keeping a higher number of 2010 LD than previously – 3 34% and 2 35% for Cons this week. Could be a trend, more 2010 LD’s switching, losing less to UKIP and even a few more Lab supporters possibly’

    Looks a lot like my answer to Shevii yesterday, although I do think the 1% lead on YG is at MOE at this time and/or ephemeral.

  44. JIM JAM

    Thanks

    I really don’t understand how “the sample” in an OP can exaggerate anything. I thought weighting dealt with that. But then, I don’t really understand how Polls work & don’t have too much interest in the more esoteric aspects.

    I have a slight feeling that , whilst you are right about GDP per capita, it doesn’t necessarily contain the electoral advantage which EM is effectively banking everything on. We shall see.

    And I do think that his persona ( or whatever the appropriate word is for public image) is a problem for him.

    However , I recognise that this morning’s poll didn’t actually improve Con VI-so remain doubtful about the prospects of a Con government next time.

    The thing which intrigues me is the fine line between a small Lab votes lead-which would justify a LD coalition with them-and a small Con votes lead which would justify a LD coalition with them.

    ( I make no comment on the relative appeal/difficulties within the LD Party of actually deciding & approving which way to jump)

  45. Ed’s proposed a “Public Question Time” where members of the public ask the PM and Ministers direct questions.

    I won’t state my opinion as per the rules but I was reminded of Harry Perkins’ regular appearances before the press!

  46. Colin – perhaps I and FV explained badly.

    What we are suggesting is not that the panel was weighted favourably but that this sample group may have been slightly atypical.

    Not that we will ever know but if real LD-Con should be 2+% of VI it is possible that a disproportionate number of this 2% are in the sample so it looks like 3+% for example in this poll.

    I think the Stat bods call it sample variation.

  47. JIM JAM

    Thanks-but thats mostly over my head :-)

    And I seem to remember being warned repeatedly by AW that crossbreaks are unreliable, because they are not, in themselves, weighted, and their MOEs are very large.

    I see that EM’s tactic of “coming out” on geekiness has received some interesting analysis. It certainly has a veneer of “honesty” about it & I can understand the tactic, given his ratings.
    But I think it is a huge hostage to fortune, and his disavowal of PR & image making will be the benchmark for all his future photo-ops & appearances.
    Also I think it is during the intense personal examination by the press & tv during the GE campaign, that personal traits will be examined-not right now. If he has an public image problem , nothing he has said now will change that-indeed it may make things worse for him.

    I think this was a mistake.

    Mind you-DC has some unfortunate communication tendencies which will also be exposed if he doesn’t watch it.

  48. @ Colin

    I may have misunderstood Jim Jam as well. But if I have understood correctly I think what he is saying that (in a very extreme example) if you had a sample that only contained one Con 2010 voter and they had moved to Lab, however much weighting you did that would create a bad result. A very low sample of any particular 2010 grouping probably makes the result less reliable as you are relying on too small a sample to accurately state how that grouping has moved since 2010.

    Not sure whether this applies to this poll or not and, like you say, other crossbreaks should take care of it. But I’m sure this is one of the big reasons for MOE.

  49. SHEVI

    Thanks. I still don’t understand why that particular crossbreak should be more important than any other.

    Anyway-what do I know?

    These things aren’t destinations-they are parts of a journey.

    On the the next Poll :-)

  50. Yes Shevii this is why we have moe but really need a stat bod to explain properly.

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