A round up of various polling bits and bobs from the last few days, starting with a couple of Scottish polls. TNS released their latest figures yesterday, as usual there’s quite a gap between fieldwork and release – it was conduced between 23rd July and the 7th August, so overlapping with the Commonwealth games and almost wholly before the Salmond-Darling debate. Topline figures were YES 32%(nc), 45%(+4), DK 23%(-4), or without don’t knows YES 42%(-2), NO 58%(+2). It’s a shift towards NO, but it may be largely a reversion to the mean – TNS’s previous poll had NO dropping five points, so this is monstly just a reversal of that.

This week’s we’ve also seen the latest data from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey. This is an academic project, so by the standards of media polling the figures are very old – the fieldwork was between the 12th May and 17th July – but they are worth noting because of the quality of the fieldwork. This was a proper probability sample, something extremely expensive you only normally see for academic and government work. Standard face-to-face polls aren’t really random, they use demographic quotas and cluster sampling (interviewers get sent to a place and door knock to five 3 male pensioners, 2 women under 30, etc); telephone polls are quasi-random – they ring randomised telephone numbers, but not every house has a phone and the overwhelming majority of calls don’t result in an interview; internet polls normally draw a sample from a panel. The Scottish Social Attitudes survey draws a genuine random selection of Scottish addresses and then sends a face-to-face interviewer to call at that address until they make contact and can arrange an interview, the response rate is 57% (phone polls these days are under 10%). The SSA survey found referendum voting intentions in the May-July period were YES 25%, NO 43%, Don’t know 32%, a squeeze question pushed those don’t knows to YES 33%, NO 51%, DK 15%. Excluding don’t knows that the equivalent of YES 39%, NO 61%.

Moving on, there have been a couple of polls on attitudes towards British participation in air srikes in Iraq. YouGov for the Times found 40% of people approved of the RAF taking part in airstrikes against ISIS, 36% were opposed (tabs here). ComRes for ITV found 45% of people supporting British fighter planes conducting airstrikes against Islamic State, 37% were opposed. Unsurprisingly there was strong opposition to British ground troops being sent back into Iraq – only 18% supported it in the ComRes poll. (tabs here)

Finally we have another academic election prediction site, joining Steve Fisher’s projection here and Rob Ford, Will Jennings et al’s projection here. The latest addition is from Nick Vivyan, Chris Hanretty & Ben Lauderdale at ElectionForecast.co.uk. As I write Steve is predicting a Conservative lead of 4 points at the next election, producing a hung Parliament with the Conservatives the largest party; Rob and colleagues are predicting a 0.7% Labour lead at the next election; Nick, Ben and Chris are predicting a 1.2% Conservative lead, producing a hung Parliament with Labour the largest party.

236 Responses to “Round Up – Scotland, Iraq and a new projection”

1 2 3 5
  1. get yer skates on!

  2. Hmm. The SSA suggests that the pollsters are over emphasising the Yes vote. A quick average of the opinion polls over the same period gives 44:56.

  3. Something for everyone in the various predictions (except no Blue OM)

  4. Fisher’s model currently predicts Labour getting only 32.1% in the GE…

  5. Well, well, well, all the projection experts in agreement then.

    Plus or minus 8% of course.


  6. Excluding don’t knows that the equivalent of YES 39%, NO 61%.
    I’m going to go out on a limb here & say that the social attitudes survey is the best predictor for this referendum because the turnout is likely to be very different from the 2011 SP elections.

    And I’m sticking to my now ancient prediction, namely 2:1 for No.

  7. amber

    My prediction is for some very sore losers and some bitter complaints about how hopeless a task they had against “the establishment” etc etc etc.

    Which, if it happens, would be a bit of an insult to the voters in Scotland.

  8. Predictions:
    55/45 for no in sept 14
    36/33 and a small majority for labour in 2015

  9. I’ve said 60/40 all along but it could go over 60.

    Small Lab maj in votes and seats or my name’s not Gunga Din.

    I think more people will be scared of 5 more years of Tory rule on their own than will feel the same fear re Labour.

    I realise its easy to make the opposite argument but the diff is that I shall be proved right.

  10. I think Fisher is likely to be very close with that Labour share.

    Away from politics, the genius that is Pulis is leaving Crystal Place. You can still get 11/4 on them being relegated. Take it now.

  11. ROSIE and DAISIE.
    Good Evening to you.
    After the 1975 EEC Referendum the Left in GB argued the same way against the Establishment winning the vote to stay in EEC.
    Tony Benn and his representatives on earth such as Mr Meacher, Mr Heffer and Ms Jackson-Beckett took that line, as did Mr Kinnock in his left wing phase.

  12. @R&D

    I think the leadership of the Yes side is cleverer than that. But I expect “We wez robbed!” or variants to echo through the internet for decades, and the SNP cannot entirely disown its membership.

    Never an attractive position to take, and harmful to their case.

  13. 36/33 and a small majority for Labour..
    Only 36/33 in 15 gives a huge majority for Labour. Close to unchanged from current

  14. I don’t mean to criticise but…..

    Has anyone seen the output of ‘The Point’ on Facebook?

    Does it/do they live in a parallel universe regarding the referendum?


    I don’t wish to accuse anyone of plagiarism but how many of those prediction models predate my own scholarly effort? As you can see from this link, mine dates backs to November 2012:


  16. @FP

    Re: tax credits: if you only work a few hours on zero hours contracts though, and some weeks get no hours at all…? And then have issues claiming benefits and wind up back in the hole, perhaps borrowing at injurious rates. And isn’t there something where if you work more than a certain number of hours you start losing out again? Also, there’s housing benefit to consider as well as jobseekers… dunno how that changes as one gets more hours.

    Re: reversing the position… create more jobs that pay a decent wage, pulling the others up in competition…

  17. @Jay Wiser

    Agree on the Indy Referendum. I’ve believed for some months it would end with a 10pt victory for No.

    Just a few months after the 2010 GE, I predicted Lab 37 Con 33 in 2015, and I haven’t changed my mind since. Current polls certainly endorse my view, although there is a long way to go.

  18. @Pressman

    Your prior argument is based on the idea that Labour have a 30% core vote, and ukippers don’t want to let Miliband in.

    Labour polled 29% even under Brown which, given Brown’s unpopularity and the biggest economic crash since the depression might conventionally be reasonably considered a core vote. But since then, Lib Dems have fled to Lab, and these are not necessarily easily-shiftable floating voters. Labour were at the time too centrist for some of them. They wanted Labourish policies without the games of Brown and Blair and the Iraq stuff etc. They wanted the LD manifesto and having seen that trashed would naturally prefer Lab to Tories. They might reasonably be considered part of a new core vote.

    As for ukip, a healthy chunk came via Labour, and looking at the polling are pro-nationalisation and stuff, so may not ba as keen to see Cameron in place of Miliband as you might hope…

    As for Tories holding at 37%… well you have to consider that this is all they got despite BROWN leading Labour and following the biggest Crash since etc. etc… and I do not recall the press giving Brown an easy ride…

  19. What happens to a dream deferred?
    Langston Hughes

  20. The projections come close to Rosie’s Dead Heat.

  21. Sorry
    I thought the 36/33 prediction was for Labour Snp in Scotland

  22. @Robin Hood

    Taking the average movement to/from the main parties historically and applying that to this Parliament is not a moment of genius.

    It’s a back of a fag packet calculation that I did months ago on a spread sheet myself, and based on the assumption that this Parliament will pan out like the average of the others in the past.

    Given the whole different dynamics of this Parliament (the Coalition, the Conservative – UKIP fracture and the partial unifying of the left under Labour) that is one massive assumption.


    “I don’t wish to accuse anyone of plagiarism but how many of those prediction models predate my own scholarly effort?”


    Don’t worry, we’ll be sure to blame you not them if the models fail…

  24. Historically, the idea was you had two major parties, and a clump of floating voters on the cusp, more easily persuaded to shift between the two of them. Thus it’s relatively easy to get a swing your way.

    But one cannot so easily consider the fleeing LibDems in this way, and there’s a bit of a vague as to how sticky the Ukippers are, given the salience of immigration now, and also how many would break for Lab rather than conservatives, given approaching half are pro-nationalisation…

  25. chris

    “ROSIE and DAISIE.
    Good Evening to you.”

    Bit rude only saying hello to the girls and not to anyone else.

    Bon soir on their behalf anyway.

    [I am teaching them to wuff in French and tres bien they are doing I am proud to say. Daisie can even do a petit shrug.]

  26. 35/35/8/12


  27. Dead Heat R and D

  28. Having read news on “Sir” Cliff it occurred to me that if Elvis were alive and British he’d be called Sir Elvis.

    Wish we had a more sensible way of recognising people’s achievements. Not really sure why there’s perceived to be a need when they’re famous and rich anyway.

  29. Given that the polling evidence has always suggested a No win. those of you playing the prediction game might like to predict what the constitutional structure of the UK would look like following your 2:1, 60/40 etc predictions.

    Also whether you think that any Westminster legislation will take account of the preferences that SSAS reports those in Scotland have (changes since 2013 in brackets)

    Scottish Parliament should make all decisions for Scotland (policy of SNP/Green/SSP) : 41% (+10%)

    UK Parliament should make decisions about defence & foreign policy, Scottish Parliament on everything else (policy of nobody) : 29% (-3%)

    UK Parliament should make decisions about taxes, benefits, defence & foreign policy, Scottish Parliament on everything else (policy of nobody, but somewhere around the proposals of the 3 Unionist parties) : 22%% (-3%)
    UK Parliament make all decisions for Scotland (policy of nobody) : 6% (-2%)

  30. @ CARFREW

    But you forget that Brown ran Cameron much closer in terms of leadership qualities than Miliband is doing: Cameron’s lead over Brown was consistently down to single digits during the weeks leading up to polling day – and very much mirrored the relative strengths of their respective parties.

    In contrast, their perceived leadership strengths do not correlate so strongly with party support any more: today there are significant numbers of Labour supporters who think Cameron is a better PM.

  31. Jay Wiser,

    I roughly agree, except that I expect the referendum result to be a few points above that and the Labour win to be more like 34-31.

  32. @ Postageincluded,

    I think the leadership of the Yes side is cleverer than that.

    I thought that too, but then the leader of the Yes side decided to make aliens the central plank of his debating strategy. It really does seem like they’ve lost the plot.

    They may calm down a bit after they’ve lost the referendum, but I think this may be too emotive an issue for the SNP leadership ever to be sensible about it.

  33. “Given that the polling evidence has always suggested a No win. those of you playing the prediction game might like to predict what the constitutional structure of the UK would look like following your 2:1, 60/40 etc predictions.”

    No it hasn’t and no I can’t be bothered ta very much.

    Actually not very interested or concerned whereas I was/is/am about independence.

  34. I’ve met a few UKIP folk who are working door to door – the sort who talk about UKIP making wholesale gains in 2015. They expect their votes to come from Labour.

  35. R&D

    Wot? No love bombing?

  36. Did Steve Fisher do a prediction prior to the 2010 and 2005 elections, and if he did, how did it compare to the actual outcome?

  37. ole nat

    Bombing…….. there’s a thought.

    I expect the midgies would survive.

  38. YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour and Tories neck-and-neck: CON 35%, LAB 35%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%

  39. @Robin Hood

    No, I haven’t forgotten, it’s just that approval figures are bunk. Cameron’s figures, for example, are currently boosted by rump LDs, who approve ‘cos they are in coalition with them. But… those LDs are unlikely to vote for Cameron, so their validation is useless, save to give false hope to some…

  40. “I’ve met a few UKIP folk who are working door to door”

    I s’pose they have to make a living somehow.

    I just tell the pups to stop wuffing and pretend we’re all out.

  41. @ Candy,

    He only started blogging in 2012, so it looks like the answer is no. At least, any predictions he made don’t seem to be available to the public.

  42. Has DC been on telly a bit recently re IS etc?

  43. @Spearmint – Thanks.

    I guess they’re all trying to be the British Nate Silver :-)

    Will be fun to see if their models hold up or not.

  44. I do like the descriptive style of ElectionForecast’s summary, based on the shipping forecast.

    Conservative: southeast veering south 3, clear, icing.
    Labour: north, backing west 4 -5, good becoming marginally less moderate
    LibDem: southwest 2 – 3, wet, poor, becoming much poorer
    UKIP: windy….


  45. @Postageincluded – well you might like this then – the UKIP shipping forecast – https://soundcloud.com/nicholas-pegg/ukip-shipping-forecast

    “Warning of gays in Viking, Cromarty, Forties…..the general synopsis at midday – low intelligence expected, becoming little England by midnight tonight…..”

  46. @Spearmint

    I didn’t watch more of the Debate of the Century than Smithson’s “important” 10 minutes. Both of them make me spit, so that was enough, frankly, but I’m into SciFi if there are aliens and death rays so I seem to have missed the best bit.

  47. @Alec

    Many,many thanks for that. I love the idea that they need to be warned when I’m heading their way…

  48. CMJ
    Does” the point” live in a different universe?
    One interesting factor in the referendum “debate” has been the degradation of much of the far left. The leaflets being handed out outside G Galloway’s talk in Aberdeen by his left opponents was headlined “England is for the Rich”
    A leftist No supporter is on facebook tonight distraught at the hate directed towards her from ex-comrades comparing the abuse to her previous experience with Combat 18.

  49. Events in the EZ won’t help the UK economy. With a BoE MPC member suggesting exports to the EZ are ‘dead in the water’, having our largest trading partner slipping back into recession really isn’t the kind of news a government seeking re election really wants to hear.

    I suspect come May 2015, the key decision voters will be making will probably not be one of whether they should be thanking the government for making them better off, but more a choice of which of the two parties presents the biggest risk of going backwards.

    In this, Labour are still behind. However, judgements on economic competence do vary with judgements on how well the economy is perceived to be performing, and so anything that dents confidence between now and May will potentially help Labour close this gap.

    Yesterday’s wages data was really poor, and this is bound to help the ‘cost of living crisis’ approach. @Chrislane1945 said he expects better macro economic news between now and the GE – but it’s also perfectly possible that we see further declines in household income and weakness in Europe further infecting the UK economy. I wouldn’t be so sure the macro data will continue looking so positive, and I suspect all parties are planning for an election where economic confidence is in short supply.

  50. @Barney

    Thank you

    I watched the debate as a neutral, and The Point’s verdict was bizarre. It bore no relation to my experience as a neutral.

1 2 3 5