We’ve had a busy day of voting intention polls today, four polls from Populus, Ashcroft, YouGov and ComRes, and three of them showing the same lead. Topline figures are:

Ashcroft: CON 31%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 5% (tabs)
Populus: CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3% (tabs)
YouGov/Sun: CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18%
ComRes/Indy: CON 30%(+1), LAB 30%(-5), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 19%(+4), GRN 4%(nc) (tabs)

Leaving aside the tendency of Populus to show higher support for the Conservatives and Labour and lower support for others, the picture is pretty consistent. Three polls (as well as YouGov and Opinion polls at the weekend) are showing the same story – Labour and Conservative equal, and UKIP still polling very strongly. Whether there is any link there is a different matter – perhaps UKIP’s ongoing rise has attracted people who were previously saying they’d vote Labour (though not necessarily people who voted Labour in 2010) who see UKIP as a better anti-government vote, but there is always churn beneath the topline figures and things may very well be more complicated than a straight transfer between the two.


576 Responses to “Latest Ashcroft, Populus, ComRes and YouGov polls”

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  1. Colin @ 10.01 am:

    There is no possibility that the 9% of Scotland votes in the HoC could impose laws on England unless the 85% of England MPs abstained and allowed this to happen.

    You people who are constantly dredging up the so-unimportant WLQ, seem to be grasping at straws to make quite unrealistic arguments.

    Laws that only have partial impact in the UK, in that some constituencies are unaffected, have been normal in the UK for centuries.

  2. John B

    “Simple. The UK stays in. And long term gives thanks for the sensible approach of the Welsh and the Scots.”

    I really hope your wrong, the EU has been a drag on the UK since people like me were conned by into voting to join what we were told was just a “free trade area”. The only serious regret I have in my life so far, is that I voted to join back then

  3. @ T’Other Howard,

    You should have listened to Tony Benn! :p

  4. @BILL PATRICK

    Talking of St Kilda, would the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands get their own vote under the Sturgeon proposal?

  5. It’s one of the areas I don’t agree with the SNP on and that’s their pro EU approach.

    I would happily vote to leave but I can see a problem if Scotland voted by a large majority to stay in the EU but was forced to leave by the result of a UK referendum which as a result could bring us back to the possibility of Scotland voting on its constitution again!

  6. People often come up to me in the street and say “Hi Robin Hood, when is ‘swing back’ going to happen?”

    Well it’s a good question and one to which I feel duty bound to provide a comprehensive answer.

    Here hoes…

    QUESTION: WHEN WILL ‘SWING BACK’ START?

    The truth is that we have already seen a significant Tory recovery since the mid-point of this parliament but some people have commented that the process seems to have stalled.

    On the face of it this is true: on 7th May 2014 (exactly one year before the 2015 General Election) the Tory lead stood at -3%. It has been stubbornly stuck at around that figure for pretty much all of the time since then.

    To try and examine whether it may yet change it might be useful to take a look at what historical precedent tells us about polling trends in the last year of the previous eight post-war Conservative parliaments. In fact the data does not show a clear trend of Tory recovery between the 12 month and 6 month points before each general election.

    Exactly a year out the average Tory lead stood at -2.46% and from that point actually began to deteriorate before improving. At six months out the figure stood at -3.46% but gradually recovered from then on.

    It should be stressed that there was, as always, a lot of variation in the trend from one parliament to another but here are the average figures for the last twelve months of the previous eight post-war Conservative terms of office:-

    12 months out: Con lead -2.46%
    11 months out: Con lead -3.83%
    10 months out: Con lead -6.76%
    9 months out: Con lead -4.34%
    8 months out: Con lead -5.95%
    7 months out: Con lead -3.0%
    6 months out: Con lead -3.46%
    5 months out: Con lead -1.84%
    4 months out: Con lead -1.84%
    3 months out: Con lead -1.08%
    2 months out: Con lead -0.50%
    1 month out: Con lead +1.27%
    Final eve-of-poll: Con lead +2.99%
    Actual result: Con lead +3.28%

    [NB: no I have not duplicated the 5 & 4 month figures by accident. The averages really are identical for those two months, though there are differences in the data that make up those figures].

    On average, then, the Tories only actually recover to a popular vote lead around seven weeks before polling day. They then tend to build on that slightly during the course of the short campaign.

    It is important to emphasise the term ‘on average’ because in some parliaments the Conservatives had recovered to a popular vote lead during the year before the general election, whereas in others they never regained the lead at all. However, the Labour vs. Tory voting intention trends throughout much of this parliament have actually tended to conform quite closely to the average for the previous eight post war Conservative terms of office.

    That’s the end of my scholarly lecture for today.

  7. DAVID WELCH
    “There is no possibility that the 9% of Scotland votes in the HoC could impose laws on England unless the 85% of England MPs abstained and allowed this to happen.”

    That really is nonesense, at present there are 41 Scottish Labour MP’s in Parliament. If , sometime in future a Labour Government was in office with a tiny majority, due entirely to their Scottish MP’s, they could do just that, and it would be totally undemocratic.

  8. @Richard

    I was less inclined to form direct conclusions, as it wouldn’t be sensible over a year’s data. Yes, the Scottish data is pretty conclusive, as there has been a very quick shift from A to B. With others, it could have been Lab to DK or WNV and DK / WNV to UKIP or Green.

    I do believe there’s a fair amount of direct shifting, but not always, and over larger areas (many constituencies), it’s less likely, unless all of these places are being affected by some national issue.

    @Phil Haines

    “I think it is better to define the position of a political party on the left-right political spectrum in relation to those they are prepared to bring down in government or prevent from forming a government.”

    Personally, I would prefer a more ‘jammy side up’ approach. Regardless, the left / right spectrum of the PC is a fair approach. Others’ beliefs that the spectrum is one dimensional might be easier to imagine, and therefore far easier to pigeon-hole people and parties, but for those same reasons it is limiting. We are not one-dimensional entities, and our political inclinations are rarely one-dimensional either.

    The original PC is now becoming out-dated apparently:

    http://art-blue-liberalism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/political-compass-revised-comparison.html

    I like this one, as it specifically names Scotland apart from the UK:

    h ttp://art-blue-liberalism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/abl-political-spectrum-political.html

    And we have three-dimensional ones for those of us that are starved of spectrum analyses:

    h ttp://art-blue-liberalism.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/three-dimensional-political-spectrum.html

    h ttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/Revised_NPOV_political_chart.jpg

    (links taken from Google searches – I take no responsibility for the sources – they are example images)

  9. Norbold

    Talking of St Kilda, would the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands get their own vote under the Sturgeon proposal?

    No, because we’re not actually part of the EU (we’re covered by something referred to as Protocol 3) and have no representation in the EU Parliament. Gibraltar does though[1], so I suppose you could give them the casting vote.

    [1] One of the few places to vote Lib Dem – though I suspect that was a personal vote for Watson.

  10. OldNat

    Unless, of course, you legislate for a set of powers to be reserved to the whole House, which are common to all of the UK, and leave everything else to the representatives of England.

    It could then be up to the people of England to decide, in a referendum, whether they wanted their MPs to legislate on such issues and to select, from amongst themselves, an Executive to administer them – or to do it sensibly.

    But the legislation part isn’t the problem. you can pass any old laws and they don’t have to make any sense at all[1]. But once you try to operate such laws which in this case dictate how you pass your legislation, then the flaws become apparent.

    Now it will be necessary to reserve some financial powers to the UK part of Westminster (armies and so on have to be paid for). But government finance is all linked together and all legislation has some financial implications, so you can always make a case that any proposal is ‘really’ a UK matter and so should be voted on by the whole House. And if there is a clash of opinion about this, how do you resolve this? By the vote of the whole House is the only possible working solution[2]. So EV4EL only works if the UK agrees with it. Which is the current situation.

    Of course such clashes are still possible under proper devolution with a separate legislature and executive and probably nearly all different people involved. But in reality they happen less often because that Bill on Scottish education or Cornish roads doesn’t go anywhere near Westminster, so the temptation to interfere isn’t there.

    [1] A good example would be ‘Section 28’, which no body was ever prosecuted under. But such gesture legislation is only aimed at sending the message “This is bad and we’re agin it”. The fact that it’s unworkable doesn’t matter because you never intend to work it. (Of course the public may decide they’re not agin it after all – that’s another problem).

    Arguably EV4EL would be similar if, as has happened in most previous elections, the political power balance in England is the same as in the UK as a whole. But even then you risk causing splits, within government and Parties, and restricting yourself on the allocation of jobs.

    [2] You can make it the decision of the Speaker, but as s/he is elected by the whole House and can removed by a vote of it, that’s equivalent. Making the Speaker irremovable, except in special circumstances would politicise the job and would just lead to it being given to a political trustie of the UK majority Party, so again the same result.

    For some external power to make the decision, as the Supreme Court does in the US when adjudicating between State and Federal government, you would need to have an elaborate written constitution to cover the situation and, as in the States, you risk politicising the Courts.

  11. The Lib Dems in the South West always put a Gibraltar candidate on their list, hence their good performance.

  12. Norbold,

    The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK. Nor is St Kilda, or Gibraltar. As far as I know, the only part of the UK outside the British Isles is the Sovereign Base Area on Cyprus.

  13. whether you agree with what Nicola has suggested, which as I pointed out earlier was first put forward by Henry Mcleish, really comes down to whether;

    You think the UK is and should remain a unitary state with the four nations just administrative regions

    or

    You think the UK is or should become a partnership of four equal nations all be it of different sizes.

    How that debate plays and effects the way people will vote will depend on the public reaction based on a number of issues;

    Which of the two do most people in the UK favour?

    Which of the two do English favour?

    Which of the two do Scots favour?

    Which of the two do Tory and UKIP supporters favour?

    Which of the two do Lab and Libdem supporters favour?

    Do Scots think Equal status was what the “Vow” was offering?

    Is Labour in Scotland divided on this issue?
    (It could well come in to play in any Leader debates.)

    Will Scottish Tories and LibDems views differ from Londons?

    I don’t have answers to any of these let alone what impact they have, they are more interesting polling questions to find out.

    I suspect a majority of Scots, Yes voters plus devo-max supporters, will favour the “Partnership of Equals” model, which suits the Sturgeon strategy of build on the Yes vote but reach out beyond it.

    It’s worth noting that although most UK voters seem to want the UK to have a veto over EU decisions the EU mainly has qualified majority voting.

    Nato however, which more in the UK support than do the EU, must have unanimity where any state even Iceland, which doesn’t even have an army, can Veto any proposal.

    Funny old world

    Peter.

  14. My information is that Watson was voted out (essentially replaced by the Greens) in the EU elections.

    Rather surprisingly, his website is still ‘up’ but expires, as it were, in May!

  15. Charts updated folks.

    SNP on 38…first time under forty for 10 polls. A shift?

  16. On EVEL I can’t see the problem. Pass a bill that devolves matters to England and then set aside days where WM becomes the English Parliament – run both the English and UK parliaments at WM simultaneously. It is exactly the same as the Wales, NI, Scotland set up the only difference is England has only one set of MPs for UK and England.

    In future the English parliament can change this elect different MPs or even change location with HS2 they could have the English parliament in Manchester or Leeds

    I have always supported EVEL since the mid-90s and the West Lothian question. I can’t understand why England has not noticed the annomoly up till now.

  17. Couper,

    I think the difference is that English people don’t really think of England as a country, more as some kind of historical remnant. England is the country of tudor houses, Henry VIII and Shakespeare, not something relevant to the modern world outside of sport.

  18. @Statgeek

    And actual YouGov Scottish poll has been carried out. I don’t know when it is going to be released as well as VI it asks questions such as ‘How did you vote in the Referendum’ ‘How would you vote if the Referendum was tomorrow’ etc

    I am going by people online reporting they were polled but I have no reason to doubt them.

    So will be very interesting.

  19. Interesting polling on public perceptions:

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/oct/29/todays-key-fact-you-are-probably-wrong-about-almost-everything

    Unsuprisingly it finds that lots of people are woefully uniformed about the world they live in and hold distorted views about it thus distorting the political salience of these issues.

    Only 13% of the UK population is due to immigration, but on average people think 24% is due to immigration.

    Only 5% of the UK population is Muslim, but on average people think it is 21%.

    Such wide variation between perception and reality is seriously distorting the political process for the worse.

  20. @HAL

    Why does Gibrlatar get a vote in the SW Region for EU elections then?

  21. Norbold and Hal
    It’s all explained on the Graham Watson website!

    I am very surprised he keeps that going with no note to say he is no longer what the title says on it.

  22. @ Couper 2802

    It is exactly the same as the Wales, NI, Scotland set up the only difference is England has only one set of MPs for UK and England.
    —————
    Wouldn’t that be a significant difference to the way other devolved Parliaments work?

    I’d think going down that path would mean that having MSPs etc. would need to end. The existing UK MPs for the devolved areas of Wales, Scotland & NI could sit in ‘their’ parliaments on the same days that Westminster was devoted to England only issues, couldn’t they?

  23. Hal
    “I think the difference is that English people don’t really think of England as a country, more as some kind of historical remnant. England is the country of tudor houses, Henry VIII and Shakespeare, not something relevant to the modern world outside of sport.”

    Do you have polling evidence for that?

  24. @Amber Star

    Yes that would work.
    And abolish the House of Lords. (just added that because I want that to happen)

  25. Norbold,

    A very good question. I think the answer is that Gibraltar is part of the EU and therefore has to be represented in the European parliament somehow. The solution is to tack it onto a UK constituency. That doesn’t make it part of the UK, though. See

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_member_state_territories_and_the_European_Union#Gibraltar

  26. I can see that if EM manages to hold out against EVEL until taking power and then introduces PR for England, those who support that will have two birds with one stone. Got rid of the celtic nations voting on English matters and also finally having PR introduced, without disturbing a feather.

  27. @ Couper 2802

    I too think that it could possibly could work.

    And the House of Lords certainly needs to be greatly reformed or dismantled.

  28. EVEL’s a non-runner. It’s not going to happen. Even a majority Conservative government would have difficulty getting it through Parliament and such a major constitutional change should require a referendum.

  29. Howard,

    Yes: no political party with English nationalism in its programme has ever made any impact in an election.

    I suspect the recent talk about it will vanish without trace. We will see.

  30. @ Hal, Roger H

    I definitely think you are both correct.

    Whether it could, in theory, be made to work or not probably isn’t the main issue. As you both imply, the main issue is: Neither the politicians nor the electorate would be willing to undertake the huge amount of (political) risk, energy & time which would be required to bring it about.

  31. @Amber Star et al

    I agree.

    It was a political ploy by Cameron with no intention of doing anything but wrong foot Labour.

  32. @TOH
    “people like me were conned by into voting to join what we were told was just a “free trade area”.

    You obviously didn’t read the literature then. I did. The EC was never proposed as a ‘free trade area’ it was always road-mapped to federation (the EU). It was discussed at great length at the time.

  33. There’s no good reason for any swingback to be a smooth progression, it’s more likely to go in lumps as things happen. But I imagine there’s an underlying steady making up of minds as the election enters public consciousness, it’s just that events tend to push previous undecideds toward a decision.

    I wonder what people will make of this £1.7 Billion EU payment thing?

  34. @Colin

    It’s interesting that there are now nascent regional political parties in both the North East and Yorkshire which are trying to tap into their regional identities, the latter one doing well from a standing start in the Euro elections. Nonetheless I agree that the regional identities of people in the different parts of England are limited, but that is part of the problem which the regional assembly option would address.

    I think it’s quite apparent that in the last 15 years we’ve seen a greater assertion of the Scots and Welsh identity on the back of the political institutions created back then, and that would also happen in the English regions once the assemblies were created and started to aggressively assert their identity against Whitehall. That is, on the back of disputes with Whitehall and real decisions being taken at a regional level, people would come over time to identify more with their region just as the Scots and Welsh have done to date. So it’s basically chicken and egg.

    Whitehall won’t give up powers except as part of a major constitutional upheaval, and leaving that question unresolved when creating an English-only body will be to just kick it into the long grass, as I’m sure you realise. It’s a straight choice of models between devolution within England and “devolution” to Whitehall in which nothing changes, that has to be made at the outset if we’re changing from the status quo.

    I can see why the Conservatives want to create a FPTP-based English parliament designed to give them political hegemony over England in marked contrast to Labour when it used PR to avoid creating similarly styled institutions in Scotland and Wales that would have done the same to its political benefit in 1999. The idea of fairness and balance doesn’t come into their reasoning though.

    I like the regional assembly approach because its potential is shown clearly enough by the success of the German Laender created in the post 1945 political settlement there. The bigger the scale of the sub-national body, the more there is the potential to devolve from the centre.

    As for City-regions, all that will never be more than a hotch-potch on too inconsistent a framework to systematically secure many devolved powers while remaining remote and unaccountable without direct elections. The practical argument against them is well put in this article:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/28/high-speed-rail-elected-regional-government-transport-for-north

  35. @Academic

    I remember reading the election literature quite clearly when I was 16 years old, and I disagree with you, at least in terms of what was put forward by the Yes side.

  36. Anthony

    I’ve a long post in response to Colin which I’d be grateful if you would release from limbo.

  37. “Perceptions are not reality: Things the world gets wrong”

    e.g ‘we think 24% of the population are immigrants – which is nearly twice the real figure of 13%.’

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3466/Perceptions-are-not-reality-Things-the-world-gets-wrong.aspx

  38. Neil Findlay, has announced his intention to run for leader of the Scottish Labour Party

    “I want to bring the Labour party together to work for progressive change and create a fairer, more equal and prosperous Scotland. If elected Labour leader I will put the issue of social justice at heart of everything we do”

    Sarah Boyack is also standing, another rumoured candidate is Kezia Dugdale

    So that is definitely 2 candidates and possibly 1 more. Aren’t all these candidates on the left of the party?

    Would this mean that the Scottish Labour party is going to fight the SNP from the left?

  39. @Phil Haines, Academic, TOH

    Here you go, here is the Yes pamphlet from 1976

    http://www.harvard-digital.co.uk/euro/pamphlet.htm

    “Another anxiety expressed about Britain’s membership of the Common Market is that Parliament could lose its supremacy, and we would have to obey laws passed by unelected ‘faceless bureaucrats’ sitting in their headquarters in Brussels.”

    Still same arguments nearly 30 years later…

  40. ROGERH

    13% of population immigrants! I would have guessed well under 10%. 13% Nationwide explains why some areas feel “swamped”.

  41. @Phil Haines/Academic

    “You obviously didn’t read the literature then. I did. The EC was never proposed as a ‘free trade area’ it was always road-mapped to federation (the EU). It was discussed at great length at the time.”

    There’s a lot of revisionist history in relation to our application for EU/Common Market membership, but my memory of the days when Heath was on a one-man mission to join was that a lot of the argument in favour of us becoming a member was conflated with security issues and the need for Europe to become a bulwark against Soviet power; a sort of economic adjunct to NATO. That was one of the reasons why the British Right were such vehement advocates for joining and most of the opposition at the time came from the Left. Capitalist clubs and all that.

    In fairness to TOH, though, I think the sort of federalism being advocated and advanced now, and the extension of membership, was barely a glint in anyone’s eye in the 70s. There were economic arguments involved, I accept, but I think a lot of the cheer-leading for membership was based on the need to strengthen Western Europe as an all embracing alliance.

    It’s often worth remembering that we’re talking here about the days when the Cold War was at its zenith and an era that was nearer to the Second World War than it is to the present day. In other words, we need to place the debated that raged then in its proper historical context.

  42. So far the three declared candidates are all of the SLAB left, yes. And rightly so in my view. I am not of the left of the Labour Party and normally don’t advocate what they say but in Scotland it is entirely appropriate to attack the SNP from the left flank, or be doomed to a painful death.

    It’s a semi open secret that SLAB is to the right of the rUK Labour Party, so maybe it’ll be brought into line.

  43. Off topic but quite interesting.

    New Zealand will hold a binding referendum in 2016 on changing the national flag, with the prime minister, John Key, hoping to drop the British union jack design in favour of a silver fern.

    Key announced a schedule on Wednesday for New Zealanders to vote on the contentious issue, saying it was time for the former British colony to adopt a flag that was more recognisably Kiwi after more than a century with the existing banner.

    “Our flag is the most important symbol of our national identity and I believe that this is the right time for New Zealanders to consider changing the design to one that better reflects our status as a modern, independent nation,” he said.

    Key has previously said he would like to see a new flag featuring a silver fern on a black background, similar to the banner already used by many New Zealand teams such as the All Blacks national rugby union side.

    “A TVNZ survey in February this year found 72% were against change, with 28% in favour. Another poll by the New Zealand Herald in March put the figures at 52.6% against and 40.6% in favour, with the rest undecided”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/29/new-zealand-to-hold-2016-referendum-on-scrapping-union-jack-national-flag?CMP=twt_gu

  44. The 13% immigration rate comes from the census and refers to all extant alive immigrants in the UK as of 2011 That’s all the immigrants who have come to this country in the last hundred years. Many long assimilated.

    I don’t think it’s all that much out of the total population of 63,182,000 at the time of the census.

  45. @Colin

    I put forward a polite, reasoned and of course irrefutably convincing* post of some length to counter some of your points of earlier, but for some reason which genuinely baffles me it got censored.

    Oh well, if that’s the way it is there are better things to focus on this afternoon.

    [*IMO]

  46. @Richard

    Many thanks for that. The emphasis on the EEC as a trading bloc stands out, as does the that on retention of parliamentary sovereignty.

  47. If you are interested I found a better site for the 1975 pamphlets that has the Yes, No and government arguments

    http://www.civitas.org.uk/eufacts/1975ref.php

    I found it interesting as it looks like we could repeat the process soon, and the arguments for and against pretty much stand the test of time in my opinion, so are likely to be the same arguments used in the next referendum.

  48. All these right-wingers saying it is undemocratic for a possible swaying of a vote in the House of Commons by MPs from Scotland when it affects England and hence only a minority of the Scotland MPs` constituents, should ponder how they were perfectly happy when Margaret Thatcher imposed the poll tax on Scotland.

    Mine was the first letter in the Daily Telegraph after her announcement that criticised the proposal, and said it would be unpopular. I was told very clearly by writers of rejoinder letters that this was democracy at work, and the elected government had a perfect right to impose laws against the majority opinion of those affected.

    Some Tories may have changed their mind since, but we still had a costly quasi-State funeral for Margaret Thatcher that no doubt was against the views of MPs from Scotland and Wales. But the Tories from England ignored our views.

    In that funeral there was no criticism of Margaret Thatcher as being undemocratic, yet people from Scotland arguing against EVfEL are accused of being undemocratic.

    It`s surely wrong for a party to be so utterly and complacently two-faced.

    Until either the Union breaks up, or all the people who suffered from the poll tax being imposed early in Scotland, “democratically”, are dead, there will be vigorous opposition to EVfEL.

  49. @Mr Nameless
    @Floating Voter

    Kezia isn’t standing – she says she might stand for deputy which is a bit strange as Sarwar says he is staying.

    Sarah isn’t from the trade unions socialist left, she is more Green Labour, environmentalist etc but Amber knows a lot more than I do. But I wouldn’t really have put her down as left.

    Findlay is definitely to the left.

    Regarding where they should fight. There is a thought (John McTernan) that Labour don’t really want to go to the left of the SNP because they would end up scrabling around for votes with the Socialists. Although I don’t like him I get where McTernan is coming from. Labour probably do need to offer a social democratic alternative to the SNP.

    Murphy hasn’t said he will stand and I hope he doesn’t.

  50. PH @ 1.10 pm:

    Is your post in limbo visible to you, but now headed awaiting moderation?

    I have been suffering the same with a selection of posts and cannot understand the reasons.

    I was also uncertain if any one else can see the posts apart from myself, hence my question earlier today.

    This random treatment makes consistent argument difficult.

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