Time for a round up of Sunday’s polls, with new stuff in the Sunday papers from YouGov, Survation, Opinium and ICM.

YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%. The poll also asked a series of questions about how people would vote with different Labour leaders. In a control question asking how people would vote if the leaders remained Cameron, Miliband and Clegg the answers were CON 33%, LAB 31% (so the effect of reminding people of the current party leaders still seems to produce a slight positive Cameron effect or negative Miliband effect). If Yvette Cooper were Labour leader the position would be the same, a two point Conservative lead. If Ed Balls was the leader it would be worse, a three point Conservative lead. In contrast with Alan Johnson as leader Labour would be two points ahead (CON 31%, LAB 33%.

I’ll give my usual caveats about questions like this – people are answering them when on very little information, they don’t know what policies or priorities those alternative leaders would set, how the media would react to them and so on. In the same poll, YouGov found that only 42% of people think they could recognise Yvette Cooper from a photo… if you don’t even know what Yvette Cooper looks like, I’m guessing you don’t have a thorough understanding of what she would prioritise as Labour leader. It’s a response based on a very crude impression of those potential leaders based on what tends to be the very limited public awareness of opposition politicians. Nevertheless, those crude first impressions count, so it’s a good sign for Alan Johnson.

Survation also had a new poll with topline figures of CON 29%(+2), LAB 34%(+3), LDEM 6%(-3), UKIP 23%(-1), and they too asked a series of hypothetical voting intention questions with different Labour leaders. In the Survation poll they displayed a biography and played a video clip of each potential leader and asked people questions about them before the questions. This allowed them to include people with extremely low public awareness like Chuka Umunna, though does of course rely upon the choice of biogs and video clips (given bias is often in the eye of the beholder, choosing clips that even those who don’t like the eventual results think are fair is incredibly tricky). The control question with Ed Miliband had a Labour lead of 4 points. In the Survation poll Yvette Cooper did worse than Miliband (neck and neck with the Tories), Andy Burnham just the same (4 point lead), Alan Johnson and Chuka Umunna did best – both extending Labour’s lead to 8 points. A voting intention question asked after video clips of Labour leaders is obviously skewed towards Labour, but it’s the relative performance between the different leaders that counts, and again it’s good for Alan Johnson, and now also for Chuka Umunna.

Meanwhile the fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 29%(-4), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 9%(+3), UKIP 19%(+1).

Finally there was an ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph. As usual with ICM/Sunday Telegraph polls, this asked the public to predict vote shares rather than ask people how they would vote themselves. The average response now has the Conservatives getting slightly more votes than Labour.

281 Responses to “Sunday polls and alternative Labour leaders”

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    Jay, I am doing exactly what I don’t want to do. Being a barracker for the Tory party. [Snip – well stop, now, or you’ll be on moderation – AW]

  2. @Anthony Wells

    “Obviously, if there was a very hung Parliament, a party wanted an early election and its repeal was the easiest way to achieve that it might get repealed, but if there’s a stable government of some sort formed after the election I’d imagine it will now stay.”

    A much easier way to an early election would be for no potential alternative government to demonstrate that it could win a vote of confidence for 14 days after a prior vote of confidence had been lost. Even a do nothing approach would then trigger automatically a fresh general election.

    As far as I can see, the only substantive difference that I can see under the FTPA is that Jim Callaghan (or Margaret Thatcher) would have had a two week period of grace to win another vote of confidence in 1979 after losing by one vote. If not, we would still see a GE automatically triggered after two weeks rather than immediately.

  3. @Alec

    “My favoured methodology is to proceed with snout down, grubbing around in the dirt for whatever grimness I can find. It keeps me as happy as a pig in sh!t.”

    LoL! Fair play to you. :))

    I was not actually assuming any such thing – but that a Labour Opposition might table a Vote of No Confidence in the minority Tory Govt. To defeat such a motion the Tories would likely need some Opposition votes – or abstentions.I simply asked who they might be.

    My apologies, I made a honest mistake and read your post wrong.

    I’m not sure who they would be because there is so much to play for. If the Tories come good on devo max for Scotland then I can’t see the SNP bringing the Tories down but if the devolution settlement falls short of expectations then it could be a factor what way the SNP might vote in a no confidence vote.

    It is worthy of note that at present Cameron is more devo friendly than Labour.

  5. @TOH/Alec et al

    Let’s face facts: the whole political framework with which we have been working for the past twenty years or more is fragmenting. If a politician says something which one group sees as positive, others will be alienated. So if EM comes out in favour of Europe he strengthens the support coming from some and loses (or fails to gain) the support of others.

    This has, of course, always been the case. But the problem for EM and DC is that their basic support levels (the votes they can count on before entering the fray to gain more) are much reduced. The (apparently) still strong threat of UKIP to both EM and DC makes whatever they say re: Europe either toxic to one group or another, or so banal/insipid as to be derisory, risking loss of support from both sides.

    The big question for the Tories remains, however, whether they can survive any longer as a business-friendly party. What would be the financial consequences to the Conservative Party of a decision to go all out for major EU reforms, in the sure and certain knowledge that such reforms will not happen and that exit from the EU is therefore inevitable – provided the UK voters respond as UKIP wants them to when it comes to a referendum? How would pro-EU British business folk react to that?

  6. ALEC

    I wasn’t singing the praises of the cross breaks but just highlighting the fact they were all showing a consistent trend which was backed up by 3 recent polls.

    Even then I did post about the volatility of subs and was reassured by that volatility by other posters who now appear to have volatility memory loss.
    ” My favoured methodology is to proceed with snout down, grubbing around in the dirt for whatever grimness I can find. It keeps me as happy as a pig in sh!t”

    You being a Green supporter that’s hardly surprising..Keep it organic and all that!!

  7. @Roland

    Instead of playing “Devils Advocate” and putting forward a line you “don’t want to”, why not look at what happened.

    And what happened was the one reporter published a report where they claimed they had a source that said “20 opposition front benchers had declared support to a leadership challenge.” This is on face, absurd, because that wouldn’t be a whisper campaign, that’s *almost the entire opposition front bench*. Either it’s an embarrassing typo they refused to back up on for some reason, or a reporter was fed a line they should have known to be obvious codswallop, or the reporter made it up but used a figure that is plainly absurd. The reporter’s track record is known, and not flattering.

    But instead of dismissing this… The rest of the press started reporting on the report, as if it were credible. And as reporting of the reporting cycles around, it grows and grows. And no one stops to question that it all traces back to this one journalists story, with his single un-named source telling him something that looks absurd on it’s face. I’ve seen better reporting from anonymous blogs.

    Was it true? Almost certainly not. Should the press be ashamed? Yes. Will they ever admit it? No. Has it moved polling? Actually doesn’t appear to.

  8. JOHN B

    “Well, the SNP lead was fun whilst it lasted……. and will continue to be fun as long as it does last……

    A return to previously ‘normal’ Labour VIs in Scotland is yet to occur, however, and there is a lot of rough road yet to travel. As I said above, much will depend on who gets elected and what effect, if any, the new Labour leader in Scotland manages to have…. Nicola, on the other hand, seems to have had a fairly smooth ride so far…..

    And when it comes to the GE which party/ies will have the troops on the ground?”

    I don’t disagree with any of that however when it comes to troops on the ground then surely PRESSMAN leads the way.

    I mean he must have everyone from The Terracotta Army to News Corp’s favored tea lady marching behind him to oust EM.

  9. @Jay
    All that is very interesting and leaves the press smelling of latrines in a hot climate. However, a little company called You Gov, have found that Labour voters view of Milibands suitability as PM, has dropped from 51% to a ridiculous 34% , in one month. These are LABOUR voters.

    As I intimated above, when you get to Tories and Kippers it becomes so bad that one cannot wonder at mutterings in the ranks.

  10. @Roland

    Is there a correlation between Ed M’s personal ratings, and Labour voting intent.

    If there is no correlation, and I suggest there is none, then the significance of personal ratings is questionable, as is motive for constantly referring to those instead of voting intent.

  11. Also, “UKIP and Tories hate Ed M by massive margins. So obviously there must be talk of a coup within the Labour Party.” is not a compelling argument.

  12. The French are talking of a coup d’état within Labour.

    Possibly some sort of grenouille leaping to the fore!!

  13. JAY
    Of course not, if that were true Cameron would be out of office 3 minuets behind Mili. The Kippers (and a lot of Tories) hate both, but Ed more. My point about YOU GOV’s findings must make Labour MP’s and officials very squeaky bottomed indeed.

    Led by a man called Crapard no doubt.

  15. @Roland

    “My point about YOU GOV’s findings must make Labour MP’s and officials very squeaky bottomed indeed.”

    Not sure about that. Perhaps they’re marvelling more at how much Labour VI has held up in the wake of a ferocious and orchestrated press attack on the Labour leader. As no doubt is Pressman.

  16. Also, “Keeping Ed M in place is good for the Conservatives” is pretty debatable. Because of the debate. The press have done a great job of lowering expectations, so Ed M has practically been all but gifted “Wins” at the debates.

    Again, the folly of fighting your election campaign six months before the election. Ed gets to be the Under-Dog candidate now, at the same time as having electoral advantage over the Conservatives. All because so much was expended far far before the election on personal attacks on him.


    “Led by a man called Crapard no doubt”


  18. Crazy Scottish Crossbreaks No 27.

    Ashcroft has the Tories at 27%, twice Labours 12%, with the SNP at 43% and the LibDem’s on 8%, the Greens and UKIP on 4% each.

    Anthony’s advanced calculator has the SNP on 50 seats the Tories on 6 seats and the LibDems ahead of Labour on two seats to their one.

    No wonder Anthony always warns us. If that was the actual result EM wouldn’t be replaced he’d be executed!


  19. @Peter

    It might even be a VI typo mix up. 27% for Lab and 12% for Con might be a believable cross break.

  20. ICM, Guardian:

    Lab 32 (-3)
    Con 31 (nc)
    UKIP 14 (nc)
    LD 11 (nc)
    Greens 6 (+2)



    No wonder Anthony always warns us. If that was the actual result EM wouldn’t be replaced he’d be executed!


  22. Much more interesting is PB’s post on the newly opened election spread betting which has buy and sell for the SNP at between 20 and 22 seats!


  23. Ashcroft has a slight Con lead 30 – 29 and still has LD up on 10%. It doesn’t match with others, does it, but I suppose there is not much difference, overall, with Survation, Opinium and YouGov. If one compare this outcome with 36 for Labour and 34 for Conservatives, from the same polling company today, and their fieldwork both over the weekend, one does raise an eyebrow however.

    I am aware the method of collection of data (and its weighing?) is different. But still.

  24. Latest ICM has the Greens on 6%- a record with ICM I believe?

  25. In the last post I was of course comparing Ashcroft 30 – 29 with Populus 34 – 36.

  26. Hmm. Ashcroft’s polling had been tracking along with regular polling. If this isn’t true anymore, it may well be conforming to the normal expectation of political backed polling and I might want to remove it from my own model’s data feed.

  27. ICM is generally a bad pollster for Labour (due to reallocation of DKs heavily favouring the Tories as they were 7% ahead in 2010), yet even ICM show Labour a smidgeon ahead in 1st place.

    It would be interesting to see the Tory VI prior to reallocation.

  28. @Andy JS

    What’s interesting is the narrative that Lab -3 is due to recent events. Now it may well be, but it could also be that last month’s Lab+4 on ICM was an outlier.

  29. John B – Going off topic for a minute, there was a thread on reddit that confirmed what you said about young Italians moving to the UK. See


    Some of the comments in that thread were very interesting. Here’s one:


    “It’s actually the little things that I notice, the ones that seem so trivial but all add up to make life a bit more difficult.

    “If my wallet is lost here I can make some calls, which won’t take much more than a few minutes, and get my cards blocked and I will get new ones through the post within a few days. In Italy, I have to go to the police station (during working hours), get a report to say I lost the wallet, hand that over to the bank (again, during working hours), sacrifice a lamb to the gods and hope that it will be enough.

    “Customer service! People are actually nice to you and seem to make an effort to help you here, whether you’re in a shop, a bank, a restaurant etc. I never realised how bad it is in Italy, or in Torino anyway, until I moved here. You walk in a shop and the shop assistant will often treat you like she’d rather be anywhere else in the world than there serving you.

    “Or other things like… I run a small business selling handmade things. It took me a few clicks to register as self-employed, I can easily do all the accounting myself as I only deal with pretty basic things, all very easy to do and submit when needed, and you get plenty of time. I send parcels almost daily, quick trip to the post office, I’m usually in and out within 10 mins, it doesn’t cost much and 99% of the time they arrive the day after. All this is virtually impossible back home – I may need a lawyer, quite certainly an accountant and I don’t even want to think about what it’d be like to go to the post office every day, I’d have a heart attack within a month.

    “What’s worse is that people don’t really get it. They don’t understand how in other countries they don’t have to deal with this shit all the time. They don’t know just what a pile of crap Italian TV is compared to the UK, it’s almost embarrassing. They still seem to think that it’s not such a bad place – we have amazing food and weather, right? And the few who do get it just think that nothing can be done so they might as well just deal with it, or they move abroad. Sorry for the long reply!”

    End Quote

    If Britain stays in the EU, we really need to be pro-active about anglicizing their organisational structures. But how to achieve this is the big question.

    I really recommend people reading that thread. There’s a world of despair in Europe at the moment, and all the people contributing seemed to think that Britain functions really well in comparison to pretty much everywhere else.

  30. “@valerie
    Well if you disagree that the left is in the ascension on this board, that is your prerogative.”

    The age of great debating is not over after all.

  31. New thread.

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