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”

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  1. Just missing out the fact that the PLP would now be divided.

    Analysis needs to be done with a sense of perspective I think.

  2. @ChrisLane

    Many Labour voters are deeply uncomfortable about David Miliband’s role in extraordinary renditions, no matter what his new protestations are.

    I do appreciate how tedious it is for political journalists to spend years schmoozing David M’s inner circle assuming he was the Heir Apparent, only to find they’d wasted their time, and how necessary it therefore is for them to throw extended tantrums about it, of course.

  3. Sorry forgot to add

    – as a consequence of David M’s role in Iraq I am not at all sure he’d be polling higher than his brother.

  4. CR

    I there were overt tensions within the Labour Party because DM was leader then they probably wouldn’t be polling too well.

    That’s why I believe it fatuous to take elements in isolation

  5. @ Colin

    “In addition, what the YouGov Polling tables don’t show ( you have to work it out) is the churn in party support amongst those not shown with a 2010 ID.

    In this morning’s poll, this group represents 25% of the total sample”

    An interesting find that one. I guess 25% fits in with turnout at a GE but doesn’t take into account any churn between some who now don’t vote and some who now decide to vote. The tables don’t seem to show any of this effect as they only list 3 parties VI in 2010 (as far as I can see).

    I think, if I have understood your views correctly, that I agree with you on the swingback potentials. It is a different ball game from previous elections.

    The potential swingbacks are Lab to LD and UKIP to Con. The Lab to LD seems unlikely but there may be some tactical voting changes and maybe some can’t be bothered to vote Lab. The UKIP to Con is anyone’s guess but I certainly don’t believe this is an election where you can take for granted any sort of automatic swingback just because previous elections have shown it.



    I wish YG would extend the 2010 voters to include at least UKIP , and have a column showing the VI choices of non 2010ers. The latter are a significant group-which never get mentioned.

    I agree with your last para . Those two big migrations are the key to this GE. It must be frustrating for DC, that despite the LD to Lab cohort ( I agree with you-they are probably sticky) , he would have a slim lead if he hadn’t lost so many to UKIP.

    How many Co to UKIP defectors will return?
    The 64k $ question I think.

  7. Chris Riley

    ‘Many Labour voters are uncomfortable about David Miliband’s role etc…’ – yes but that is what they would remain – Labour voters.

    What is remarkable is how different two brothers can be – one cool, comfortable in all sorts of situations and authoritative, the other awkward, geeky and deeply off putting to people who are open to conversion to his cause. That will make the difference next May.

  8. Sorry have the people who think David is less gawky than his brother been looking at the same Miliband brothers I have? David looks much odder. Not of course that it matters.

    I don’t think they would be Labour voters. They would stay home or vote Green or maybe TUSC or something.

  9. The fact that Progress backed David defines nicely what Mr Nameless has said.

    I left Labour a few years ago, but I stayed a bit see what Ed would do. If David would have won I would have left immediately.

  10. As a slightly ashamed 2010 LD voter and ex-LD member, and a ‘Red Dem’ in the parlance, I much prefer EM to DM and polling suggests I’m not the only one.

    I, like many other ex-LD voters, supported the Lib Dems during the New Labour years because they wisely positioned themselves to the left of Labour.

    DM would have been the New Labour ‘continuation’ option and I would probably now be supporting the Greens if it wasn’t specifically for EM, who comes across as a left-wing individual of honesty and principle. I couldn’t care less what he looks like eating a bacon sandwich.

    I think most people are in agreement that it is 2010 ex-LD voters who hold the keys to Downing Street in 2015, so all of this does matter.

  11. Correction


    I couldn’t care less what he looks like eating a bacon sandwich.

    Gosh, you are so superficial.

    It’s folk like you that don’t look deeply how someone eats a sandwich that might mean such a person might be PM.

    Oh the shame on Britain that would bring.


  12. @Chris Riley
    God forfend I should give advice to any Labour supporter,
    however, I get the feeling that you move in a Labour circle which has the worlds conscience on their shoulders.
    The Labour supporters I speak to in Milton Keynes are perhaps more interested in day to day living. As such, they could not care less about Iraq and that includes some Muslims. The main difference between the brothers, is one is heir to Blair, the other, the incumbent, thinks more like their dad.

  13. @MR N
    Completely agree and for me the difference is EM seems sincere and principled whereas DM seems self-regarding and arrogant (though both these impressions are shallow, based on televisual soundbites – I have met neither man)
    Pressman and his pals would be having a field day with DM – remember that banana?

    Good Morning Sir.
    Your mention of ‘conscience’ reminds me of the Great Ernest Bevin who said of a left wing Labour leader that he was hawking his conscience around asking people to tell him what to do with it.
    I think he also said of a ‘comrade’ that his face bore the imprint of the last man who sat on him.

    What a man he was.

  15. Lord Ashcroft on Boris standing in Uxbridge & South Ruislip


  16. Whst seems clear is that DM is less unacceotable to non-Labour voters who wold never vote Labour than Ed.

    More importantly, he is marginally more appealing to some voters who typically vote Tory but have voted for Blair/Nu Labour.

    Question is after 13 years in power how many of these would seriously considered voting Labour in 2015

    ED is clearly (polls show) more popular among 2010 LDs – Lab and has by all accounts (no polls of course) being able to keep the PLP and more clearly the wider party united.

    I do think on balance we got the right brother and that bigging up David is just a roundabout way of attacking ED and had David been leader the right wrong press would have attempted to do a job on him and as he has more detractors in the party destablisation may have been successful.

  17. @ Roland Haines

    I pretty much agree with your post. Iraq as a single issue is part of the churn, although may possibly be relevant to a key section of the Muslim vote and anti war groupings. The main issue is that EM is more distant from Blair and the Blair regime than DM would have been and a little/lot more left wing which helps with the core vote deserters (like me and others on this site) to return.

    Whether this balances out positively against maybe a poorer presentation is anyone’s guess but as AW has said often enough questions about who you would prefer as leader never tell us who you would actually prefer as leader once it came to them actually being made leader- we need parallel universes for that one. Just as we don’t know if Boris would be more popular as leader once he had exposure. Until Boris actually was leader you just wouldn’t know whether he does better or not.

    I suspect the “got the wrong brother” is just a good tag line for the right wing press and they might well be saying exactly the same thing if it had been DM.

  18. I think there’s going to be considerably less tactical voting in 2015. My thinking goes like this: if you are voting for a party simply as an attempt to keep another party out, and those two parties then form a coalition, then that purpose is defeated. Now the result of 2015 may or may not be the same, but you don’t want to risk that again? Vote for the other main party not in government. It may well result in more seats for your most disliked party. But an individual voter cannot be sure of that.

  19. Postage Included
    I have no idea what I wrote about your typo was wrong yesterday, but please accept my apology for a misplaced comment. I was attempting to quote the USA defence spokesman, who coined that expression, but I see it has been received badly. My apologies.


    A leader can be sincere but with the wrong policies.

  21. The election will be decided by the Worcester woman and Essex man type, not left wing intellectuals on here who prefer EM to DM. If you put the two men before the electorate, DM would win pulling a cart.

    We have of course have the dual focus of persuading both types away from Labour and UKIP. I think the Essex man will be a tougher nut to crack, but this is our area and the consequence of voting UKIP to let Labour in these seats will be hammered home night and day.

  22. Either only left-wing intellectuals like EM over DM or he’s a stooge only voted in by the unions. Those are your two lines, I believe. It’s just you can’t have it both ways.

  23. Yes [they] can Mr Nameless – [News Int] have and will continue to argue that Labour have moved away from the Blairite path that made them electable – and gained [their] crucial support – to a move back to Old Labour, which failed and was soundly rejected by the electorate 4 times.

  24. @Pressman
    “If you put the two men before the electorate, DM would win pulling a cart.”

    If DM had been elected leader you’d be saying the opposite, not least because you would have conjured some banana butty moments to demonstrate what a geek DM is and how ‘unfit for office’.

    Exactly right, Mr Pressman.
    IMHO, as they say here.

    Kick off time now, That reminds me: Morrison always said that Labour needed to appeal to the football crowds in order to win power.

    ‘Socialism’ is whatever a Labour Government does, said Mr Morrison. No ideological purity for him.

  26. David Miliband is the Ken Clarke of the Labour Party-the one liked more by the opposing party supporters than their own.

  27. Guymonde

    I don’t think [News International] would be too hard on DM; it would depend on his stance on press regulation and how he viewed Leveson. Cameron hasn’t exactly done [them] a lot of favours. With Maggie there would have been no Leveson, no Hillsborough dragging on and no extra press regulation.

  28. @Howard
    No need to apologise at all – I misunderstood your joke, but I did know it was a joke. If my response sounded sharp this was not intended. In fact, I thought you were making a smart allusion to a “superinjunction” (which ypu can’t acknowledge exists) concerning “Lord” A. You could call a superinjunction a manufactured unknown unknown in Haig-speak, I suppose, so we were close to understanding each other, but no cigar.

    I am in any case difficult to offend, so don’t hold back.

  29. The other things to mention are that [News International] actually backed David Davis for the leadership and Cameron’s backing of Obama in 2012 didn’t go down too well [with them] either..

    [Again, I don’t expect people to write as party spokesmen here – I think the same should really apply to newspapers, etc. By all means talk about the influence and views of the papers, but can you do it in the third person. It might sound like a petty difference, but it does make an enormous difference to the character of the conversation – AW]

  30. @Pressman

    Ah, so it’s all about Leveson then. [News Int are] upset with EM because he exposed [them] as a bunch of crooks and was insubordinate to RM. DM could be relied upon to toe the line, it seems.

  31. While talk of ‘Essex man’ and ‘Worcester woman’ and dismissal of ‘left wing intellectuals’ is amusing, what is missing in this opinion piece is an incisive analysis of the polls – i.e. actual evidence.

    Lib Dems recieved 23% of the vote in 2010. They will do well do achieve 10-13% in 2015. There is no question that Lib Dem defectors hold the key to Downing Street in 2015.

    No-one seriously doubts this, and if you accept this to be true, then I’m afraid ‘left wing intellectuals’/Red Dems do matter in all of this.

    How many Red Dems Labour can attract will decide if EM is Prime Minister in 9 months time. These are voters who, collectively, are far less likely to read the right-wing press, and are more likely than most to hold a favourable view of EM (or at the very least, are not stupid enough to vote against their principles because someone looks bad eating a sandwich).

    Until these fundamental issues and the evidence from polling is assimilated and addressed, the amusing narrative around Essex Men and Worcester Women is meaningless.

  32. Guymonde

    I think DM understands the need to have influential friends and associates, something that politicians have been aware of for forever and a day.

    I think that EM reasoned that whatever stance he took over Leveson etc.. it’s not going to make RM back him anyway.

  33. chrislane1945

    I think Labour would be doing better than it is doing if David Miliband had become leader.

    Well they certainly wouldn’t be able to attack him for having a Marxist father who hated Britain. And of course no one has ever taken an embarrassing picture of David Miliband.

    If anyone needs any lessons in pointing out how quickly the media can turn on a favourite, they need to remember how quickly Menzies Campbell changed from being the wise safe pair of hands who was clearly the best person to take over from the unreliable Charles Kennedy. As soon as he actually became Lib Dem leader he was a doddery old man, about to die at any minute, who clearly wasn’t up to the job of running a political Party.

    Now part of this was the usual build-em-up-and-knock-em-down which the Press love to apply to any celebrity, providing it doesn’t trigger a complete revolt from their readers. And some the Lobby clearly had a plan to get their chum Clegg as leader, so an interim figure was needed for a couple of years so Clegg could be long enough in the Commons to be credible.

    But the main thing that was going on was that the Lib Dems are a Party that the vast majority of media don’t support and therefore they will nearly all attack whoever is leading it, magnifying their faults and inventing new ones. And the same thing will apply to whomever leads the Labour Party.

    Pressman and his cronies would no doubt be doing many of the same attacks against David Miliband. They may particularly dislike Ed because of his failure to suck up to them in the same way that Blair did, but in the end they already have a PM they either want or will put up with. Those who somehow think that they would do any different if David was in charge are deluding themselves.

  34. @Shevii
    The YG “Not Lib Lab or Con ID” voters have been an interest of mine for some time and I’ve occasionally raised the subject over the last year or so, including a rather long post explaining how to work ot the “missing column” a couple of weeks ago. I think we need to remember them but a caveat is needed.

    They are about 25% of the respondents, but they have a very high DKWNV rate – 50% apx the last time I worked it out. Some of those Don’t Knows will make up their minds and vote but it would be reasonable to assume that overall they are less likely to do so than the LibLabCon IDs. They are a smaller group in the election than they are in the YG poll.

    Nevertheless they will make a difference. Post omnishambles Labour was doing well in this group. The picture now is more like the national figure.

  35. @CHRIS LANE 1945
    Hi Chris, I am not widely known for my respect or love for Labour politicians, however, I am in total agreement about Ernest Bevin. A terrific foreign secretary in very difficult times and a free born Englishman who knew what was right. I have often said on this board, he must turn in his grave very regularly.

  36. With 50.83% of first round vote, Jamieson elected

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