We have our usual three Monday polls today:

The weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 27%(-6), CON 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 6%(nc). The drop in Conservative support looks striking, but is probably largely a reversion to the mean after the unusual neck-and-neck Ashcroft poll last week. Tabs are here.

The twice-weekly Populus poll meanwhile has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs are here.

Finally the daily YouGov poll for the Sun tonight has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%.

704 Responses to “Latest YouGov, Populus and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. @Bill P

    “Interesting how the Tories seem to be doing better in both Scotland and Wales than in England, relative to 2010”

    Scotland and Wales, via devolution, are spared the full effect of some of their policies. Seems the obvious explanation.

  2. RAF,

    The problem is the limited nature of the Good Job/Bad Job question. People might think Ed’s a bit on the rubbish side, but think Cameron, Clegg and Farage are irredeemably monstrous, but it’s all weighted the same.

    In my experience people who actually hate Ed Miliband are pretty limited. There are quite a few who hate the others (rightly or wrongly).

  3. Oh dear, it would appear that doing away completely with notes and autocue is not always a good idea! I understand that the extempore style of public speaking suits Miliband best but the potential pitfalls with this approach were starkly exposed yesterday. It’s an incredible feat of memory to remember the total content of an hour long speech and I would have thought, with this being his last before the General Election, Miliband wouldn’t have taken the risk. As it is, he’s got the headlines he least wanted, giving his political opponents an open goal.

    I would have thought this will be filed under “short term embarrassment” rather than “long term damage” but Miliband needs to learn from it and learn fast. It is likely to be a highly personalised election campaign with enemy guns trained on Miliband’s personal qualities and his suitability to be Prime Minister. That’s going to be tough for him and the last thing you want to do in those circumstances is gift your opponents sticks with which to beat you.

    Recoverable, but not an auspicious sign as Miliband heads into the crucible of public scrutiny. A very bad mistake, and an easily avoidable one too.

  4. @Neil A

    now you are asking technical questions above my level

    here is the link though


    select the option for only seats in Wales

  5. @FloatingVoter

    Of course to the millions flooding in here those jobs are golden, especially when the English taxpayer tops them up.

  6. The Welsh poll is more meaningful compared to the GE 2010 rather than the previous poll from the (now notoriously volatile) ICM;

    Con 23 (-3)
    Lab 38 (+2)
    LD 7 (-13)
    Plaid 13 (+2)
    UKIP 14 (+12)

    There’s a great deal of churn going on there, since it’s not plausible that most of UKIP’s support is coming directly from LDs.

  7. @ Bill,

    I do think that they could have done better if they had a very clear alternative at this point.

    You’re assuming that they have a clear alternative they just haven’t told us about yet.

    On the evidence of this conference, I suspect that assumption is unfounded. This incrementalist austerity-lite stuff is their alternative- either they’re frit or they’re too centrist to be radical or both.

    How Miliband thinks this is going to get the job done even on a ten-year timetable is a total mystery, but I guess that’s a problem for once they’re in power. Although it might help them get there if they gave people a reason to vote for them other than ABT.

  8. And another thing,

    On the Yougov website BTL yesterday a poster made this strange comment, is it true?


    “there are probably 20 different “polling groups” that they target once a month and that 2 of them are more likely to vote Tory than the others and they deliver polls like this and indeed in last 3 months have given = or 1 point Tory leads with weighting like this.

    There are equally 2-3 groups who give big Labour leads (5-7%) despite big anti Labour weighting.”

    End of quote

    I mean is it true that Yougov puts people into permanent groups and polls each group in turn?

    From his other postings I am not sure of his reliability

  9. Crossbat

    I tend to agree with that. Perhaps removing the cheesy “I met so-and-so…” might have helped to reduce the memory load. Cameron has already jumped the shark with that rhetorical trick.

    A silver lining might make him seem a bit more human to forget things. We have all done that in job interviews. If you have to release the text beforehand it is a big risk as you can’t pretend it wasn’t a mistake.

  10. PHIL

    I think he heeded all those Labour folk who said -slower.


  11. CB!!

    “A very bad mistake, and an easily avoidable one too.”

    Who in the electorate gives a monkey’s about the deficit – his opponents aren’t interviewing him for the job.
    And wasn’t this the Two Eds Show? Ed B did the deficit bit and rather than promises promises at Conference, subjection of spending plans to the OBR may impress anyone who cares about it.

  12. “”If I did the speech again today I’d do it differently”

    EM-BBC interview.

    Really looking forward to the GE Campaign :-)

  13. Phil Haines

    From my experience of politics in West Yorkshire (a while ago now admittedly) you should not assume that all Lib Dem voters are lentil weavers. A lot will have been attracted by their perceived strength in local issues, which could make a parochial party like UKIP attractive.

  14. What do leaders need to do?

    Present well and look good on Telly and appear ‘Statespersonlike’

    DC – good, EM – bad.

    Keep party united, think long term, get big calls correct.

    DC – bad, EM good.

    Despite the ‘all the same’ people there are plenty of pollicy differences for those who care about these things and the impplied manifesto are clearly different.

  15. Perhaps Liverpool’s performance yesterday is an augury… not playing very well but ahead for most of the match… a gaffe by their star performer near the end…. Liverpool win 14-13 on penalties

  16. Guymonde – Think the 2 Blue teams will be first and second next year though with the dark blues looking best at the moment.

    Followed by 3 shades of Red in which order???

  17. Guymonde,

    I can almost work out your party position from that comment. Almost.


    Maybe, but if so I think that they would be better off embracing moderation head on.

  18. I actually dislike the whole “speaking without notes” fad, for several reasons-

    (1) It reveals a preference for image (looking like you know all this stuff off the topic of your head) rather than efficiency (there are more useful purposes for which party leaders could use their memories).

    (2) It is about as blatant an attempt to be charismatic as you can get, and charisma is fundamentally opposed to the liberal democratic ideal. (You can see why I like Gordon Brown as a persona!)

    (3) It means that, at a time when presumably a significant people who don’t pay attention to politics do so, precious news space is spent discussing the style of the speech either positively or (as in this case) negatively.

    Ban it, or at least tax it at >86%.

  19. @mrnameless

    “Is it possible, if the Glorious Martyrs of The 45% continue their rebellion, that Labour might get a higher vote share in rUK than Scotland?”

    How about the SNP to be 3rd largest party in UK in 2015, and with a hung parliament, the Scots get the last laugh. :))


    Today’s poll shows seats:

    SNP 35 (+29)
    Lab 19 (-22)
    Con 3 (+2)
    Lib 2 (-9)

    The 2 LD seats being the O&S Islands and Ross, Skye & Lochaber (Charles Kennedy), per someone’s post yesterday. Ming’s seat in Fife has flipped to the SNP.

    I’m not convinced that throwing VI at these sites is remotely accurate. Take Danny Alexander’s seat in 2010:

    LD: 19.172
    Lab: 10.407
    SNP: 8,803

    I’m not inclined to believe that folk in the more remote areas of the UK are more inclined to change their vote based on London media. They probably look to their own lives and how things are doing and vote accordingly.

    I would be amazed if the SNP took that seat, even if the polls were repeated in the election. It is fun to imagine the politicians’ pale faces if he polls are suddenly against them. :))

  20. Jim Jam,

    You forgot “eat a bacon sandwich well”. Why can’t today’s leaders have the adroit eating skills of Attlee or Macmillan, who were forever receiving praise for how they ate? Indeed, it is said that Anthony Eden was so skilled at this art that he could eat a Lidl doughnut and not even get a single grain of sugar on his lips.

  21. Statgeek,

    “How about the SNP to be 3rd largest party in UK in 2015, and with a hung parliament, the Scots get the last laugh”

    Actually it’s spelt n-a-t-i-o-n-a-l-i-s-t-s, not “Scots”. A confusion that a lot of people make.

  22. Old Nat @ C Lane 47

    ‘That is an unnecessarily sarcastic comment’
    That’s a bit rich :-)

  23. @Bill

    Actually it’s spelt k-i-n-g-m-a-k-e-r-s. :-p

  24. JJ

    I fear you’re right, but as a Red there is at least the slight consolation that another bunch of reds will not be at the top.

    Bill P

    You’re in a witty mood this morning. Michael Foot could of course tackle a Cornish Pastie without spilling ketchup on his donkey jacket.

  25. @ Colin

    From the Daily Telegraph (at the time of the budget):

    “Mr Osborne hasn’t only missed his own target on the deficit. It’s also significantly higher than under the Alistair Darling plan that Mr Osborne denounced as a “reckless gamble”. The Chancellor wanted the deficit down to £60 billion by 2013-14; Mr Darling’s timid plan only reduced it to £85 billion by 2014 – or £23 billion less than it actually is”

    It is funny how both politics and markets move on and ignore things that were absolutely vital at the time. I find it extremely worrying that with growth predicted as high as 3% this year (ie we cannot expect growth to necessarily contribute to a reduction in the deficit any more even if we accept some sort of time lag on tax receipts, uptick on employment and wages etc).

    Of course we have no way of knowing whether the Darling plan, given the same world economic conditions, would have been any more successful nor do we have any way of knowing if a TOH plan to really cut back on public services would have worked any better either. However I think the idea that it is just Labour who have deficit issues (which you seem to be suggesting) is a bit wide of the mark.

  26. I did see a Blair stump speech in 1997 which was fluent and confident (but done for the umpteenth time which helps).

    However, the only two really good live political orators I have heard are George Galloway (who I would never vote for) and Barbara Castle (who obviously I cannot vote for sadly). This was all the remarkable for being shortly before she died…she was still full of p!ss and vinegar. I think people are right when they say political speeches were better in the old days. The main reason is that good live rhetoric can look like ranting on TV.

  27. I watched most of the EM speech. I watched last year’s and the year before. I saw him recently speak in July. He is not an orator -platform or pulpit – Cameron is that – EM is rather serious in demeanour – I assume deliberately – he can’t easily do self-deprecating and he isn’t preachy like Mrs T or emotional like Kinnock or high octane like Blair or gatling gun statistical quick fire like Brown. I suppose its a rather conversational in style – and it’s not nervous at all like say IDS.

    To be frank I never think it is particularly good but thus far the public reaction has always been warmer. He does an awful lot of this style of meeting and when he does it he certainly does not come over as contrived. He doesn’t talk down to people. My gut feeling is it plays better in TV debate format than anything else.

    The sins of omission – deficit and immigration – matter only in the sense that the Media have fed this as the story. That does matter and how Labour responds to it will matter since this is the stuff that makes election campaigns fizz and froth. The public I suspect have made up their mind on Labour and EM’s omissions and commissions will probably not move many votes either way.

    The BBC was determined – as they were on local election night – to run with the speech as one to the Labour heartlands and to the core vote. Given Labour’s core vote at 2010 was 29% I think that is a very shallow take on the strategy.

    I’d say this – they believe the LibDems who pealed off from Labour in 2010 – maybe 6-7%. of the vote – will decide the election and the policies are peculiarly attuned to them and to their concerns. They do therefore resonate more widely. EM also does convey his sense that there’s something wrong with the whole business of politics – if not clear what his single answer to the problem is – perhaps he’s right on this – there’s no single answer or panacea. Maybe he thinks pretending there are a string of easy answers will only further alienate the electorate. Maybe he is right – maybe he is plain wrong.

    As I am in the minority of those who see all these problems as hugely complex I am not the best person to judge. I think the wider public perceives things just don’t work and blames politicians of all parties and hues who they see as big heads; show offs and in it for themselves.

    Clearly the Media politicos also think Labour are to loose judging by their gratuitous rudeness when interviewing Labour spokesmen – Andrew Neil was particularly rude to Chukka and again Eddie Mayer was rude to Burnham. I have no particular gripe about this – politics is today and always has been a blood sport and the Media are no worse behaved than any bunch of hungry blood hounds baying at what they believe to be a wounded prey.

    EM’s proposals – promises – if you will – have as far as one can tell been carefully tried and tested in the famous focus groups beloved of modern politics.

    What ever the omissions and commissions of EM this will have been carefully thought through. One may not like his thinking; one may not be convinced by anything he says; one may believe the Conservatives will bounce back on the back of this and run away with the election. It is possible.

    This just does not feel like 1983 – or 1997 to be balanced. I can’t recall the 1920’s so I’m stuck with the early 1970’s. One thing I will say – I think turnout might be much higher than is expected. sometimes when people are really fed up they actually do vote.

    I am more inclined to think if the two by elections fall to UKIP on the same night EM may look more sage than the business as usual brigade.

    In all this we must consider whether the electorate thinks more of the Conservatives than in 2010 and less of Labour. On balance I think the answer is no. They certainly think more of UKIP and the SNP and less of the LibDems. Chronic uncertainty chokes politics and politicians and makes for strange inexplicable political deaths of parties – ask the Liberals.

    The relative closeness of the Scots referendum is another straw in the wind – it puts the Union on a precarious footing. The political reforms of this Parliament; to term and election conventions; to composition of the Commons; the AV referendum; the proposed reforms to the Lords; Police commissioners and now English laws for English MP’s (which I take to be MP’s elected in English constituencies) hardly adds up to the sort of scale of change now needed to reinforce the Union. They are all party driven fudging passing itself off as root and branch reform. in that they’re reminiscent of the reforms of the ancien regime in France before the Estates General was summoned – tinkering too little real effect – and in that they will only serve to make voters more disengaged and more angry.

    The undertow beneath all of all this froth is the nature of the last recession and its causes – the institutions we were told we could depend upon have catastrophically failed – internationally it has included political parties both of left and right – and the nature of the recovery which seems to hardly able to trickle down let alone percolate through the thick cream of privilege. It could be DC is Baldwin and a landslide is on the way. It could be DC is Hoover and well meaning austerity will be judged not to be enough. There are darker parallels lurking in the shadows.

    When electorates become this disenchanted anything can happen – or nothing – or a messy combination of the two. Frankly, I think last May may be a better guide than any of us believed likely at the time.

  28. @AW – Have I said something untoward – if so apologies – John

  29. All the new Welsh poll does in seat terms is move two from Lib Dem to Labour (actually they take Cardiff C from them and the Tories gain Brecon off them but lose Cardiff N. All those changes really do is replace lots of wasted Lib Dem votes with lots of wasted UKIP ones.

    Roger Scully’s got more coverage on his blog with a list of what Welsh polls we’ve had this year


  30. @Colin,

    Agreed. I think it’s fair to say the speech was pretty uninspiring. Seems it’s the 35% strategy then. Bit of an irony after all the years complaining about Thatcher only getting 42-44%. In fact, I remember an article last year by Ken Livingstone in the Guardian where he said something like, ‘Thatcher’s (Govt) never commanded anything close to a majority in a general election. The Tories’ biggest share of the vote under her was less than 44% in 1979’…..

  31. Kinnock can still give a good’un when he wants to, and Gordon Brown when he’s on form (Citizens UK, his last BT speech).

  32. To leave both immigration AND the deficit out of the speech seems a bit more than carelessness. Seems a good way of getting the press to highlight the deficit though. Then again, there are downsides to that. If the level of the deficit becomes a campaign theme, it may not be good for Labour in the sense of perceptions re: spending, but then it is not ideal for the current govt. either.

    This is where we could do with a polling question which, highlighting the continuing high deficit, tries to tease out what the VI impact is. To what extent does knowledge of the continuing deficit mean voters would lose faith with Tories, or worry about Labour taking over?…

  33. Rich,

    Yes, but SDP and Liberal voters were just confused Labour voters. The Greens and the nationalist parties are also obviously dependent on Labour voters who get the party names mixed up. Kippers are the same, since UKIP is basically a more old-fashioned version of Labour, so really a 35% strategy is more like a >50% strategy.

  34. @Lurker
    When all that most voters will see of a speech is a selection (by journos with their own narrative to sell) of short clips there hardly seems any point in rhetoric and no point in dialectic; so that’s the end of classical oratory.

    What seems to be important is to put together usable soundbites – which makes modern speeches into lists of bullet points – and to avoid saying anything that could be deliberately misrepresented – which makes modern speechmakers very cautious.

    As we move from the 20 second clip to the 140 character tweet, this tendency can only get more pronounced.

    Since I learned to recognise oratorical trickery I’ve not cared much for orators. But I do like a reasoned argument, and we’ve lost that baby along with the rhetorical bathwater.

  35. postageincluded

    I completely agree with all that.

  36. John Murphy

    Thanks for that very thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

    FWIW I too heard the EM speeches at the last 3 party conferences but my take on 2012 was ‘very good’, 2013 ‘really inspiring’ and 2014 ‘underwhelming’ – even before I was aware of the gaffe.

    Much of it was troops-oriented and predictable, though as Matthew(?) pointed out the green bit was surprisingly strong and perhaps aimed at a specific target.

    Last year I thought the rhetorical style and the lack of notes really came off: this year it certainly didn’t – not helped by the TV cameras not being able to find ‘Elizabeth’, which smacked of incompetence amongst the party managers.

    I think unprompted was shown to be a risk not worth taking: if you want to use the EM style without a lectern etc, have an autocue with bullet points to keep you on track.

    Actually it’s spelt k-i-n-g-m-a-k-e-r-s. :-p

    I love it when STATGEEK bitch slaps. ;-)

  38. “Is it possible, if the Glorious Martyrs of The 45% continue their rebellion, that Labour might get a higher vote share in rUK than Scotland?”

    But they’ve just had their Culloden. It’ll only be recriminations and misplaced nostalgia from now on.

    @Neil A
    according to electoral calculus
    that poll would give in Wales
    Lab 35 seats (+9)
    PCY 2 seats (-1)
    LD 2 seats (-1)
    Cons 1 seat (-7)
    even though Lab is losing vote share, UKIP is playing havoc with the other parties

    And I think Cameron needs to get that message out before 2015 that a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour.

  40. ROGERH
    “Is it possible, if the Glorious Martyrs of The 45% continue their rebellion, that Labour might get a higher vote share in rUK than Scotland?”
    But they’ve just had their Culloden. It’ll only be recriminations and misplaced nostalgia from now on

    I’m not sure why that would be the case if Cameron delivers proper powers to Scotland with all the Scottish parties supporting it.

    Far from being a Culloden the difference this time is the loser has the means to come back and win but like most other people who voted YES I accept the result but waiting to see if anything tangible comes out of a No vote with regards to the Scottish parliament.

  41. SHEVII

    No-I wasn’t suggesting that.

    The numbers show clearly that both this & the previous administration have/had “deficit issues”.

    We would probably not agree on what those were/are , or indeed the significance of either to today’s debt problem ( in my view a much greater risk than the Deficit now)

    I share your concern about Deficit management , given the recovering economy.

    My concerns would probably be different to yours-they centre on Public Expenditure levels.
    I have just finished an article about the growth of Health & Welfare costs as a % of State spending. It is frightening & I don’t think either party has an answer. I think Labour’s will be tax rises-I see no alternative. Recycling a many times spent Mansion Tax on a few London houses doesn’t begin to come near understanding the problem of Universal Health Care in an ageing society.

  42. Historical polling question for you all. My records, sadly, only reach back to November 2011. This was after the Scottish elections, so it might be difficult to tell…

    I currently have the SNP polling on the calendar monthly average for September (so far) at 32.3%. Labour’s average is 31.5%.

    This is the first time I have seen the SNP lead Labour on a calendar month (leaving aside one poll at the start of a month). The 2nd most favourable average to the SNP is minus 4.3% in November 2011 :))

    So what happened in the 12 months prior? I assume that prior to 2011, Labour’s lead was secure. Westminster, mind.

    I think (four more polls for September) that we are seeing Labour’s grip on Scottish VI going bye bye (it might last just a month, but who knows?).

  43. @Allan

    Mea Culpa

    I am a wrong with that analysis, please see Roger Mexico at 10.37, for the correct seat change

    He was just too polite to point out my error

    in fact Lab gain 2 Cons stay the same, LD lose 2

    But UKIP are playing havoc with all parties vote share

  44. @John Murphy

    A good and thoughtful post, much of which I agree with. My point about Miliband’s speech wasn’t so much about its style and content but more about the hostage to fortune it has offered his legion of detractors. Of course Ed Balls covered the deficit issue the day before, and I’m not sure what purpose a long passage on immigration would have served anyway, but that’s not really the point. The narrative is of a hapless Miliband forgetting chunks of his speech, Cue the predictable “would you trust a man who can’t remember a speech to run the country” headlines. Facile, yes, and coming from sources that would write negatively about Miliband no matter what he said, but perception is important, especially when so much of your enemy’s fire is directed at your personal qualities.

    Look, I don’t think it will do him long term damage, and his rather impressive passage on the NHS got plenty of positive airplay yesterday, but I come back to the politics of it all. Don’t do your enemy’s work for them. Miliband’s detractors should have to work a lot harder to skewer him than they’re having to do today. Bigger and more damaging elephant traps await and he’s going to have to be more adroit in avoiding them as the fire intensifies.

  45. @Statgeek

    “How about the SNP to be 3rd largest party in UK in 2015, and with a hung parliament, the Scots get the last laugh”

    That might be exaggerating it a bit although they’ve got fair prospects of getting into double figures now. After 2011 I’ve never doubted that they would pick up seats, and managed a while back to get bets on at evens that they would pick up at least one.

    I’m looking forward to the SNP negotiating stance in the event of a hung parliament. Could the SNP really credibly threaten to withhold support from a Labour government in order to force a general election in which the Conservatives might get back in? I know they did so in 1979, but even so they have just spent the last three years campaigning for a constitutional change which the justified on the grounds that it would make a future Conservative government impossible near impossible for Scotland.

  46. What’s happened to the Lib/Dem Conference? Don’t they usually go first before Labour and then the Cons?
    Or was it so under-whelming that I’ve missed it?


    @”I’d say this – they believe the LibDems who pealed off from Labour in 2010 – maybe 6-7%. of the vote – will decide the election”

    I disagree. I think these people have decided-Ed has them now & Clegg has lost them.

    I think the deciders are UKIP 2010 Cons -and a late comer-Scottish Labour voters.

    @”As I am in the minority of those who see all these problems as hugely complex I am not the best person to judge”

    There are at least two of us.

    I think it is probably impossible for the State to magic “Higher Wages”, ,” x thousand Houses”, and Ever increasing State Funding & Provision of Healthcare etc etc. And phrases like ” A new Economy which works for us all” etc etc don’t explain the methodology.

    I don’t know if EM really believes that he has the leavers to produce these things. If he does he is certainly not levelling with the public on the sort of policies he will have to implement. And all of this against the current Public Finances background.

    But I don’t think any of this matters really-as I’m sure Howard would say-it is what the voters believe which gets politicians elected-not the facts.

    The paucity of honest , objective , strategic thinking & dialogue in UK political life is manifest.

  48. I don’t think EM’s speech will make a jot of difference in how people vote.

    Polling repeatedly tells us that the public don’t notice these things & one-off incidents like this are not influential in any case.

    @AW how long am I in pre-mod for ?

  49. Oh, it’s gone.

    @AW thank you & please accept my apologies for overstepping the mark in the face of huge provocation – I won’t do it again !

  50. @Valerie – the LD one got moved because of the referendum.

    Both the LDs & the Cons will have more energetic conferences because they have had a rest between the referendum campaign & their party conferences – a point either missed or ignored by the media when they report the tiredness of Labours.

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