It’s Monday, so we have the weekly Ashcroft poll and the first of Populus’s two weekly polls

Populus‘s topline figures are CON 33%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 12%(+3) (tabs here)
Ashcroft‘s topline figures are CON 32%(+5), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 14%(-3) (tabs here)

Populus shows slight movement away from the Conservatives, Ashcroft a movement towards the Conservatives… but one that is probably just a reversion to the mean after an unusually low score last week. I suspect all we are seeing here is normal sample variation around an average Labour lead of 3 or 4 points.

We are now heading towards the silly season, so big, unexpected events aside, don’t expect much in the way of poll shifts in the month ahead. It’s an election year so it may not be as quiet as usual – the parties will be trying to make the most of that empty news agenda with announcements… but equally, I doubt they’ll want to waste any major announcements in the Summer. Unless any events come along to change things Westminster politics will have a bit of a quite period until conference season – punctuated, of course, by the extremely major event of the Scottish referendum in seven weeks time….


40 Responses to “Latest Populus and Ashcroft polls”

  1. Ashcroft’s swings undermine his methodology, surely. I would imagine they can be ignored?

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  2. Damn, I should have taken those Cardiff North odds yesterday!

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  3. We will sit through August and listen through September & October buy fireworks set off fireworks buy Christmas presents and open Christmas presents before we get a clear picture of what is happening in the political world.

    If by then in the hangover of the New Year’s honours list the Conservatives need to have broken free…..the pollsters questions are seem to indicate there is a change to the mood music but the question really is what are the electorate in the mood for…the answer does increasingly look like 4 party politics. If the election campaign is like one of those interminable struggles on the Western Front in 1915-1917 I would not worry to much is UKIP’s poll numbers ebb for in the oxygen of the election Mr Farage will surely flow. In the meantime the Conservatives need to have and hold those voters who come home for they may be tempted back by the sirens of Nigel’s charms. The LibDems similarly need to pull up by three or four points to hold a substantial chunk of what they have. The problem is the more they and UKIP pull the less push the conservatives and Labour have to play with. I still see more 1974 and 2010 than 1992 or 1970 or 2005….but that’s me blind to argument…

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  4. A quite period? I have a few of those from time to time, when I find politics quite annoying, quite frustrating and quite pointless..

    [Oh buggery, I spotted that and thought I’d corrected it! – AW]

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  5. Clearly the deciding factors in the GE are
    Will the UKIP vote hold, deminish or increase?
    Where will the dissillusioned Libdems turn too?
    Either one will make or break the Labour or Tories hearts.

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  6. @jamesbarn
    Doncaster council by-election, UKIP take seat with 40.8% of a 27.5% turnout.
    Vote share up 4% from their win in May.
    Adjust to a 65% GE turnout and 60% of UKIP voters staying with them gives UKIP 10%. Adjust to a 60% turnout with 80% staying with UKIP gives them 15%.
    Their candidate was ex-LibDem.

    Straws in the wind?

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  7. @Dave
    Doncaster council by-election: Lab up 13.6% since 2010.

    Straws in the wind?

    (IMO, no)

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  8. Ashcroft volatility?

    Er, what were we concluding the other week?

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  9. I dont think its a matter of UKIP or Libdems winning seats , its a matter of which of the Tories or Labour lose the most votes to or gain from UKIP or Libdems. This is the election conundrum which makes it so interesting

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  10. Ashcroft’s polls are relatively small samples, so each individual poll should be disregarded… *But* taking them on average over time would show useful if time-blurred data. So including them in an aggregate, as Anthony does, is quite correct and useful.

    It would only be incorrect if there was some systemic flaw in the polling method that either produced overwhelming randomness, or produced a noticeable strong bias. (*cough*AngusReid*cough*)

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  11. John Murphy

    ‘would not worry to much is UKIP’s poll numbers ebb for in the oxygen of the election Mr Farage will surely flow’

    ———————

    I think you have identified a crucial point. we keep looking at the polls for any movement….how long have we had a Lab 2-4 point lead?…..but UKIP do not get the coverage of other parties until the election campaign actually starts. Therefore should UKIPr poll ratings be regarded as an absolute minimum with a likely 3 to 5 point bounce as the GE campaign progresses?

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  12. jamesbarn says…
    ”Where will the disillusioned Libdems turn too?”

    I often wonder why they should be disillusioned. They have been in government and in a coalition, something they have presumably wanted and ‘coalition’ was their USP. So for the last few years they have been having an input into govt, how bad is that instead of being a piddling party of no account?
    The say they want PR – something that would lead to permanent coalitions, presumably sometimes with the conservatives. Why can’t they live by their principles? After all a coalition means no one getting what they want. As it is they have spent too long rubbishing their own government.

    I think your question rather begs another question. Who… what are the LDs ? What do they want? If they are so left wing they do not want the Conservatives then they should up and join Labour.

    In truth I wonder how many real liberal democrats there are. No matter… if they are disillusioned then they are also very confused.

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  13. dave says the UKIP candidate in the Doncaster election as an ex libdem.

    In fact he was also an ex labour polititian. I believe he switched to Labour from the LDs as recently as 2010. He then failed as a lab canidate in local elections.
    Leaving aside what this says about the candidate, what does it say to right wing anti socialist kippers when the party starts accomodating socialist tendencies?

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  14. @Hookeslaw

    I think one should remember how few people actually want to be candidates. When it looked as though I was dead keen to become our local councillor, I was approached by the opposing incumbent party to ask if i would stand for them instead. It would have been much easier, as they had a substantial historical majority.

    Being a rural district councillor is essentially for bored retired people or rich layabouts. Both descriptions could apply to me, I suspect. It’s probably a bit more fanatical in the urban districts, but not much, going by the photos I see in local papers.

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  15. @Tom Chadwick

    ‘but UKIP do not get the coverage of other parties until the election campaign actually starts. ‘

    I think that is a mistaken perception. Unlike the Euroelections UKIP will not be seen as a major player in the general election campaign and coverage is likely to match the Greens rather than the bigger parties.

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  16. Hookeslaw,
    There are several factors that may well affect the LDs, they have suffered lots of bad press for alledged inapropreate behaviour recently and the tuision fee saga. Not to mention the Clegg debate with Farge debacle. These issues it would seem have signaled a significant drop in support. However the unremitting national smear campaign agains UKIP seems to have had the opposite affect and gained UKIP support. A clear demonstration of the concern suffered by the Tories was shown at Newark where Every Tory MP was ordered to canvas a seat that had a 15000 majority, something I have never seen in by election before. Even so the 15000 was halved by a relativly newcommer political party.
    So the point I am trying to make is this. Neither Labour or the Tories will be in a position to expend that amount of MPs time or recorces on all the seats up for grabs in 2015 and if even with the efforts in Newark a 15000 majority can be halved any MP from Labour or Tories with a majority of 5000 or less could be vunarable.
    We realy are taking a leap in the dark

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  17. @Hookeslaw
    ‘If they are so left wing they do not want the Conservatives then they should up and join Labour.’

    Surely that is precisely what many LibDems have done? Also I am not sure that one has to be left wing ‘not to want the Conservatives’!. Many people in the centre find them utterly repellent.

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  18. @JAYBLANC

    I wonder if combining a succession of small samples taken at different times produces much of use. For one thing you lose the benefit of any observable trend but also you’re relying on polls which individually aren’t very reliable.

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  19. So the point I am trying to make is this. Neither Labour or the Tories will be in a position to expend that amount of MPs time or recorces on all the seats up for grabs in 2015 and if even with the efforts in Newark a 15000 majority can be halved any MP from Labour or Tories with a majority of 5000 or less could be vunarable.
    That does not mean that UKIP will win such seats but that the loss of support to UKIP or for that matter may well be the catalist for incumbant MPs to be ousted by their main opposition

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  20. @ HookesLaw,

    Who… what are the LDs ? What do they want?

    Liberalism, which is a different axis entirely from the socialism/unfettered capitalism axis that the Tories and Labour move along. In theory they are leftwing but anti-authoritarian, so they wouldn’t support Labour’s statist solutions to social problems like inequality.

    (In practice they seem quite happy with authoritarian solutions to problems like greenhouse gas emissions or monopolistic media ownership or adults smoking in cars around children, so their liberalism really seems to boil down to caring more about civil liberties than New Labour does.)

    I don’t think we can take their disillusionment with the current coalition as proof of a fundamental inconsistency in their thinking, though. A perfectly sensible approach for a coalition would be to only implement policies both parties supported. Nick Clegg, for reasons known only to himself, decided to implement policies only the Conservatives supported, or in some cases like the VAT rise and the NHS reorganisation, policies neither party supported. This is evidence that Clegg is bad at coalitions, not evidence that coalitions are bad.

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  21. “Real” Lib Dems will be as upbeat about how many Lib Dem policies this government has actually implemented, as they are dismayed by how painful the compromises they made were. It’s one thing to not do what you wanted, quite another to do the opposite.

    On balance, despite the slump in membership, I don’t see where else these voters would go, except in seats where the old Liberals still stand. But to expand on Hookeslaw’s point, I’d say that the current polling average of 8% probably accurately reflects the proportion of “real” Lib Dems among the electorate.

    The vast majority of “soft” Lib Dem voters will leave because they thought they were voting either for an economically competent version of Old Labour, or for the “neither of the above” option with the best chance of worrying the bigger parties. The former category will go primarily to Labour, to a lesser extent the Greens; the latter will scatter across all sorts of parties, big and small.

    “Tactical” Lib Dems, even those outraged by decisions taken in this parliament, will generally stay if they still perceive the Lib Dems as being the best hope of keeping their least favoured party out.

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  22. @JAYBLANC

    I wonder if combining a succession of small samples taken at different times produces much of use. For one thing you lose the benefit of any observable trend but also you’re relying on polls which individually aren’t very reliable.

    I share this view myself.

    Sample size and frequency are part of my daily professional life. If I observe a tiny number of measurements of some process this week, and repeat it next week, it tell me zilch about the true performance over time.

    A small sample size should only be considered if the frequency is increased.

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  23. It’s tempting to engage in the debate ‘what motivates the LD rump’ but I’m not going to do so. I am always surprised at why Labour supporters particularly, although Hookeslaw’s interest is noted, are so fascinated with the motives of true LD voters. One could always go and ask one, or indeed run a poll.

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  24. @Phil Haines
    “Doncaster council by-election: Lab up 13.6% since 2010.”
    Where does that % come from? The by-election was in the Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall and Barnby Dun Ward, in which votes for Labour were
    2010 1632; 2012 1409; 2014 1267; 2014 by-election 1109
    UKIP 2010 n/a; 2012 n/a; 2014 1304; 2014 by-election 1203

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  25. Howard,

    I really hope the Lib Dems do well and get over their troubles.

    All parties have had their crises, and have needed to go back to the drawing board and regroup from time to time.

    Liberalism has a long and noble tradition, and UK politics without a strong voice from this quarter would very much a dull two sided affair (Oldnat – in England anyway).

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  26. @Dave

    You figures don’t mention the turnout?

    Phil could be correct if the turnouts varied (which is very likely).

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  27. May i say how useful and well-informed and interesting this site is.
    I usually find that the contributors here can say things much better than i can.
    Here is my comment. Two or three threads ago, a comment by Hookeslaw said “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. That is not an original thought of course. It has been expressed before. It means as I understand it that you can’t get something for nothing.
    This idea is on the line of the law of physics (which I’ve looked up) which is the law of conservation of energy, which says that total energy of an isolated system is constant. Energy can be transferred from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. Expressing this in terms of economics it would mean that for one person to become richer, another person or people must become poorer.
    This may not seem realistic to people. What is the difference between physics and economics?
    Well, we on this planet are supplied by a energy from a source which is effectively infinite and inexhaustible. It is the sun, and it causes plants to grow, animals to survive, the tides and the winds, the formation of coal and oil etc. No matter how many stocks and shares, or nuclear weapons you have, they are nothing compared to the sun.
    The sun really is something, Without it life on the planet does not continue. Furthermore no one owns the sun. It is free.
    Therefore we do get something for nothing.
    Probably everyone knows this anyway.

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  28. Without wishing to suck you into it personally Howard, I think in relation to the polls the LD motives debate is well worth having. Exit pollsters will need to figure it out, otherwise they are almost certainly in for a mistake of 1992 proportions.

    UKIP are by far the biggest unknown in terms of share of the vote, but even factoring in that UKIP will impact more results than the number of seats they win, the uncertainty about the Lib Dem share will IMO impact a far larger number of seats (including Con-Lab marginals where the Lib Dems were previously a distant yet comfortable third).

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  29. @ ADGE3

    The sun really is something, Without it life on the planet does not continue. Furthermore no one owns the sun. It is free.
    Therefore we do get something for nothing.
    Probably everyone knows this anyway.
    —————-
    Your comment made me :-)

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  30. amber

    “The sun really is something, Without it life on the planet does not continue. Furthermore no one owns the sun. It is free.
    Therefore we do get something for nothing.
    Probably everyone knows this anyway.
    —————-
    Your comment made me :-) ”

    Its a jolly good reason for taxing sunny countries a bit more.

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  31. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead by six points: CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%

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  32. I think that the problem that the LibDems have is that it’s practically impossible know what they stand for. Having stood on a manifesto to the left of Labour at the last election, they then basically signed up to a right wing Conservative manifesto in the space of 48 hours. As the 2015 election approaches they are hedging their bets by ‘calling for’ (but not voting for) the bedroom tax to be repealed. In the event of the Conservatives being the largest party after the next election if UKIP win a couple of seats I could see Nick Clegg (if he hasn’t lost his seat) arguing for the UK to pull out of the EU in return for a post in the cabinet. Simon Hughes recently summed it up when he implied that the LibDems will confirm their principles and policies after the next election.

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  33. Yes, when our Sun inevitably burns out, Labour and the left will be irrelevant and forgotten for ever (as will centre right and Tory politics too).

    Unless of course we have populated other planets, which will mean exploiting their resources, so probably some movement required in terms of what might have traditionally been considers ethical by some political parties (would the greens oppose whatever?) Interesting thoughts…

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  34. The Lib Dems can be roughly evenly divided between the ‘Orange Bookers’ who are economically right-wing and socially liberal, and the SDP-wing who are on the soft left, with added civil liberties.

    Jeremy Browne is a good example of a very Thatcherite Lib Dem, Simon Hughes a good example of someone on the soft left.

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  35. Incidentally I am one of the ex-LD’s who voted for them in 2010, but have now defected to Labour, mainly because of the Orange Bookers. I won’t be going back.

    In that sense I guess I’m a fairly coveted voter – seeing as how the consensus seems to be that ex-LD’s are going to decide 2015.

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  36. @ Rosie&Daisie

    Its a jolly good reason for taxing sunny countries a bit more.
    ————–
    It’s boiling up here in here in Edinburgh so I’ll expect a bill. ;-)

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  37. Amber

    I was in Scotland once for Summer Day.

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  38. As usual some poet said it all first

    ‘The play seems set for an almost infinite run
    Don’t mind a little thing like the actors fighting
    The only thing I worry about is the sun
    We’ll be alright as long as nothing goes wrong with the lighting’

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  39. “The Lib Dems can be roughly evenly divided…”

    Yes but you’re talking about the politicians – it’s the voters who matter. There will be all sorts of reasons why voters vote LibDem. Most of them may have never heard of ‘orange bookers’ or know where there own candidate fits or ever looked at a party manifesto.

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  40. ‘their’, not ‘there’.

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