We have our usual rush of Monday polls today, all showing a slightly healthier Labour lead than of late.

The first of Populus‘s two twice weekly polls had topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs). Populus’s average so far this month has been CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, so this has the Conservatives a little lower than usual, UKIP a little higher than usual.

Lord Ashcroft‘s weekly poll had topline figures of CON 27%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 7% (tabs). Compared to his recent polls this has the Conservatives down a tad, Labour and UKIP both up a tad.

The daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%. YouGov’s average figures so far this month have been CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16% – so again, the Conservatives lower than usual, UKIP higher than usual.

None of the figures are different enough from recent polls to be sure the difference isn’t just normal sample variation, but the fact all three are showing a shift in the same direction (Conservatives down, UKIP up) means it’s possible we are seeing a bit of a publicity boost for UKIP following Rochester & Strood last week. Time will tell. Note also what it doesn’t show – any decrease in Labour’s support following several days of fussing about White Vans and Emily Thornberry.


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

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  1. “…and I think Northumbrian has an ‘m’…”

    ————-

    Thorium has an ‘m’…

    (no ‘m’ in Storage, tho’…)

  2. @Unicorn

    Thanks for the great work.

    You are using linear regression aren’t you?

    I must admit to being a touch sceptical about linear regression in this context.

    Does the response (VI) increase at a fixed rate as the predictor (date) increases?

    I think the answer is probably no, as each party has a VI that has two limits. One is the minimum floor, the die-hards who support party x regardless. I also believe that each party has a ceiling, where the pool of people willing to vote for it has been exhausted.

    I think each party can grow support, but the curve will flatten off. Given recent polling I think UKIP’s ceiling is under 20% in a full GE, whereas Labour and the Conservatives could maybe get to the low 40s. Where is this point? Extrapolating a linear regression is potentially hazardous in this regard, as you really tell until you get there.

    I’d be interested in your views on this matter :-)

  3. Correction

    @Unicorn

    Thanks for the great work.

    You are using linear regression aren’t you?

    I must admit to being a touch sceptical about linear regression in this context.

    Does the response (VI) increase at a fixed rate as the predictor (date) increases?

    I think the answer is probably no, as each party has a VI that has two limits. One is the minimum floor, the die-hards who support party x regardless. I also believe that each party has a ceiling, where the pool of people willing to vote for it has been exhausted.

    I think each party can grow support, but the curve will flatten off. Given recent polling I think UKIP’s ceiling is under 20% in a full GE, whereas Labour and the Conservatives could maybe get to the low 40s. Where is this point? Extrapolating a linear regression is potentially hazardous in this regard, as you can’t really tell until you get there.

    I’d be interested in your views on this matter :-)

  4. @Unicorn

    The interplay between Labour and the LDs in your calculations is what makes your post so particularly interesting. My guess is that similar approaches are going to be needed in the future.
    Gone are the days when it was possible to know the result of the GE once Preston N&S and Bolton E&W had declared.

    Someone a while back today used the term ‘Balcanisation’ to describe what was happening in GB politics. I tend to agree. People in one part of GB now seem to have much less feel for how another part is thinking than used to be the case. The split began IMO in the late 1980s, but became much more marked in the 90s. Blair covered over the cracks for a while, but the lack of a Tory victory since 1992 shows how the assumptions of that predominantly South of England/Midlands suburban/rural party has lost touch with much of the rest of GB. We live in different worlds….

    IMO (and humble at that!)

  5. @JohnB I knew there had to be a Strathallan link! Proves the Scotland “small world” hypothesis though.

    Re Danny Alexander I believe Alex Salmond has ruled out contesting any seat out with Aberdeenshire.

    Paradoxically I think Salmond running against Danny would have helped Danny by squeezing Unionist voters (especially Tories) to back Danny to inflict a blow on Salmond.

    Highland seats also have a tradition of large personal votes and a dislike of outside carpetbaggers that might not have helped AS (even if he were deliberately choosing a “harder” seat.

    Alexander might be a “insert expletive here” but he’s their “expletive” and an outsider coming along in a “decapitation” strategy might not go down well there. Better a local fresh faced Yes activist (anyone know if P Cairns has thrown his hat in the ring? ;-) )

    As it is the mood music on where AS will run seems to be moving against Aberdeen North and towards Gordon. Again it could be said that there is a potential Unionist squeeze there for Lib Dem’s but with no incumbent and a larger Labour/Yes vote for AS to tap into I can’t see it as anything other than an easy Salmond victory should he choose to contest it.

  6. @Carfrew

    I’ve always avoided participation in the discussion about Thorium – and I must look up something on the subject so as to understand what is being said. My limited understanding (all of it the product of posts on this site) is that it would be good for nuclear fission – or fusion, one or the other. I can never remember which of the two is the more environmentally friendly – relatively speaking!

  7. @ John B
    In Inverness at the 2005 general election the LibDems jumped from 22% to 40% as a result of a big swing from SNP and a smaller swing from Labour. There must be a good chance that the SNP to LibDem swing will be reversed in 2015. However, given the national polls why would the LibDems be likely to receive more than the 22% obtained in 2001? If Labour recovers strongly in Scotland by May 2015 the contest could yet become SNP v Labour here.

  8. Some possible clues to Labour’s improving poll position (in no particular order):

    1) Myleene Klass is probably not the best person to critique the Mansion Tax.

    2) EM acting decisively on Emily Thornberry.

    3) Today’s announcement on private education and tax relief will no doubt bolster the core vote.

    4) Government’s admission on missing immigration targets.

    5) More critical analysis as to why borrowing is on the increase fits the long-held suspicion that many of these new jobs are low paid/part time/self employed and so tax receipts are down as a result. Goes some way to justifying Labour’s ‘zero hours’ and living wage policies.

    6) The suspicion from many voters that the Government can’t preach austerity and then promise tax cuts, even if they are apparently years away.

    7) A number of recent surveys suggest the population aren’t nearly as Eurosceptic as certain elements of the media and UKIP would suggest, thus at least partly-neutralising Labour’s stance on automatically granting a referendum on the EU.

  9. While we’re on the topic of seats the SNP will probably gain in 2015, does anyone want to guesstimate on some of these? Falkirk and Ochil & South Perthshire maybe?

  10. @Northumbrian Scot

    Yes, in the Gaedhealtachd they vote for their own. Far more clannish than the rest of us!

    The future of the LDs in Scotland will depend on a variety of factors – the personal vote being one, geographical and cultural links being another, and the third may well be how they come out of the Smith Commission.

    Interesting that the LDs were the first to jump this week, followed (kicking and screaming?) by Jim Murphy (who hasn’t even been elected yet, of course – and according to one website I was looking at earlier has yet to make any definite statement on the matter at all….)

    I think the LDs will hold onto two of their Highland Region seats, possibly all three – maybe losing Argyll to the SNP and Roxburgh etc. to the Tories, thus bringing a sad end to a great Liberal story in those parts, at least for the time being. Gordon and Aberdeen West may well go SNP. Fife North East is an interesting unknown.

  11. @Graham

    Danny Alexander has a strong personal vote. Labour supporters are not going to risk an SNP victory IMO – and the seat has changed a fair bit since Labour represented the area back in the Blair honeymoon years.

    @Bill Patrick

    I sometimes wonder if the two Falkirk seats are vulnerable. Linlithgow and Falkirk East is Labour, but West Lothian is 50-50 (SNP have the Linlithgow seat in Holyrood with Fiona Hyslop, and Falkirk is not the Labour bastion it once was. The Labour run local authority are not doing well in the opinion of some. How strong is Michael Connarty’s personal vote? I don’t know.
    Falkirk (represented with great flair and imagination by Major (Rtd) Eric Joyce) is no longer a Labour seat in ant case. If neighbouring Ochils is vulnerable, what about Falkirk?

  12. ‘in any case’

  13. And what news from inside the Labour Party in Scotland? Has our previously reliable confidant gone into purdah until the leadership election is over? How do things stand? Please, Amber,if you are reading this, give us some clue…..

  14. Jim Murphy’s sent his goons round.

  15. So what this basically tells us is…the more the media bashes any one party, whether it be UKIP or Labour or even the Green Party, this means more people will support them just to screw with all the pundits who think they can predict human behavior? Makes sense to me!

  16. @Bill Patrick.

    A week ago I’d have said SNP wouldn’t gain Kirkcaldy or Orkney & Shetland but all bets were off on the rest.

    Now it’s just Orkney & Shetland!

    If you want a nailed on SNP gain I’d say Dundee West.

    East Renfrewshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath and West Dunbartonshire (in that order) are probably Labour’s safest holds.

    I’d reckon Glasgow South would be the bellwether I’d be watching. If SNP can’t take that in current / historic Nicola / Margo territory then Labour will be having a good night. If the SNP take it by miles then it’s game on.

    However Glasgow are usually rubbish at counting quickly so on election night we probably all need to keep an eye on Inverclyde. The council area voted No by a whisker, there’s plenty of deprivation and RIC friendly territory there and with only 1 seat to count for the council it could be a fairly early declaration.

  17. @Mr.Nameless

    I’d laugh….. except…….. you never know do you…..?

    Just looked at Jim Murphy on Wikepedia. It’s concluding section, entitled ‘controversy’ reads as follows:

    ‘Jim Murphy was at the centre of an expenses row in 2012 when it emerged he was among 27 MPs who were letting out London homes at the same time as claiming public money to rent in the city. Although the practice did not break rules, it has been characterised as a “loophole” that allows politicians to profit from Commons allowances.Murphy had previously apologised “on behalf of all politicians” for the expenses scandal in 2009.’

    Not sure that’s relevant for this site, though……

  18. Sun Politics [email protected]_Politics · 27s27 seconds ago
    YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead drops to one point: CON 32%, LAB 33%, LD 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%

  19. YouGov:

    LAB – 33% (-1)
    CON – 32% (+2)
    UKIP – 16% (-2)
    LDEM – 7% (+1)
    GRN – 6% (-)

  20. @Syzygz

    “Fascinating analysis. My question is why should there be such a linear relationship between support for a particular party and time?

    Do you think R reflects the osmosis of political attitudes, as they spread person to person? In other words, the momentum of the political narrative which forms in the absence of specific events such as the omnishamble budget.”

    I haven’t made myself clear. Firstly, there seems to be a confusion between two recent posts of mine: one yesterday and the other earlier today. Both used regression analyses but with completely different variables and also with different aims in mind.

    Yesterday, I was asking where different VIs would be if trends continued as they have done over the last year. For these analyses, date-of-poll (i.e., time) was the independent variable and VI was the dependent variable. Earlier today, I was trying to tackle a different problem: namely how best to convert polling figures into seat projections.

    Your question about developments over time seem to refer to yesterday’s post. Use of linear regression does not show that there is a linear relationship between one variable (e.g., VI) and another (time). What it does is to provide the intercept and slope of the straight line providing the best available description of the data. In other words, what we are saying is that if we RESTRICT ourselves to straight-line description which precise straight line would sit best with the data.

    Given this, I am not in a position to tackle the questions your raise in the second paragraph of your post. Sorry…

  21. John B @ 10.05 pm:

    If by Aberdeen West you mean West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine as a seat likely to go SNP, I have to tell you there is not a chance. I live in the middle of the constituency and see little sign of life in the SNP

    The referendum result should have told you.

    There is a greater likelihood of an SNP gain in Gordon, which is maybe why Alex Salmond is thinking about tanding there..

  22. @Richard

    Detailed results?

  23. Or even @SYZYGY, to say nothing of the autocorrect glitches that crept into that post…

  24. RICHARD
    Sun Politics [email protected]_Politics · 27s27 seconds ago
    YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour lead drops to one point: CON 32%, LAB 33%, LD 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%
    ______

    Aye just what I was saying the other day on the back of 3 Labour leads…Wait until the end of the week to see if the lead holds up before going on a victory parade.

    Never thought Labour would flunk their lead so early in the week so the next few days will be interesting to see if it’s a blue or red nose out in front.

  25. @John B

    That’s all the Sun give us the night before….the tables go up on the Yougov site in the morning.

    But I will stick my neck out and say it looks like yesterday’s Yougov was just an outlier, the sample size was only 1641, the C2DE’s had to be weighted up from 466 to 706, and the London crossbreak was at the extremes of its recent range.

    Tonight’s results go back to the recent trend so it looks like the Rochester earthquake/ “white-man-in-a-van gate” had absolutely no impact.

  26. @ Unicorn

    You are quite right .. my mistake. I was conflating the two posts. Apologies.

  27. Hi everyone, wonderful day down here in Marbs., and good to see the Tory pressure working. I’m a bit of a PRESSMAN fan me self, looking forward to the New Year and some proper polling. Why do people speculate on polls so far out from an election ? I just love the craic, as my Irish friends, ( well it’s best not to have Irish enemies ) would say, all to play for, as ever.
    A special mention for my Midlands colleague, CROSSBAT11, supportive as ever of my efforts to be totally non-partisan, I think !
    Chelsea 5-0 tonight, yet another drubbing of those Europeans, why do we need to pay attention to their dribbling inanities? :-)

  28. @CMJ

    There are downsides in any simplification and linear regression is certainly not an exception to this generalisation.

    There is no presupposition that there is a steady change with time. If you cranked through the calculations LR would still give you the best-fitting parameters if Labour’s VI decline this year had taken the form of (say) a step function (with no decline for the first few months followed by a sudden drop between one poll and the next and then no further change after that.)

    In principle you could use other kinds of equation to model ceiling and floor effects of the kind you describe. But the raw material would have to come from polling series and I don’t see how this could provide any information about the possible upper and lower limits of support.

  29. @John B

    Thorium uses nuclear fission: the splitting of atoms to release the energy held within. Fission is easy to achieve, in fact it can happen spontaneously if you have enough of the material: the critical mass. Hence fission is commonplace in nuclear reactors.

    Fusion is the opposite: instead of splitting atoms, you fuse them together. It’s the process that powers the Sun, and is very difficult to achieve as it needs ridiculously high temperatures. Hence it is not in commercial use, and is the object of research.

    Thorium is a much better way to do everyday fission, and is achievable with current technology. Fusion is in turn potentially better than fission, as it gives more energy, less radioactivity, is more efficient and the fuel is abundant.

    Exploring how these things work is useful because they are great examples of how to solve difficult problems, of how to optimise complex systems, and turn weaknesses into strengths. (Radioactive waste a problem? Fine, then use a nuclear process that minimises harmful waste and produces instead the medically useful).

    It’s also a great example of knock-on effects and obviation. People debate whether to have wind turbines or fracking… Thorium renders both rather moot.

    People may talk about dealing with the population explosion: again, Thorium can solve that problem too. Because the number of births is linked to prosperity, and prosperity is linked to the abundance of cheap energy.

    In the context of this site, it intrigues as to what people find salient and why. Energy is a meta-issue, in practice. It’s huge in impact. But it’s not really on the radar in comparison with many other things…

  30. CARFREW………..Thorium, in Linekers Bar, Puerto Banus, they speak of little else, keep up the good work. :-)

  31. @Carfew

    And we will have to find another planet to live on one day – Fusion is a good way to power our space craft – not to mention the density of fusion can slow time so we could live long enough to reach there. :-)

    I often think space exploration is the ‘selfish gene’ because we know our sun will die one day so we will need a new planet.

  32. ken what tory pressure working? after the tory media attacking labour its had no effect. hardly working. []

  33. PAUL M……..You’re right, but at least they do have a game to, up ! I’m struggling to find a Labour game changer.

  34. @KEN

    “CARFREW………..Thorium, in Linekers Bar, Puerto Banus, they speak of little else, keep up the good work. :-)”

    ———–

    I’ve been avoiding bars somewhat lately. Peeps have a habit of trying to get in my bubble sans invitation. Been more into going to gigs. Saw Georgie Fame recently… a blast from your past… enjoyable gig, once one avoided all the pushy boomers!!

    p.s. talking of stirling work, have you seen the stirling work of the bankers in the latest episode of Panorama?

  35. @Unicorn

    Thanks for that.

    I’ve used regression on applications with a floor and ceiling as I described, and a line based on a cubic model worked a treat.

  36. @couper

    “I often think space exploration is the ‘selfish gene’ because we know our sun will die one day so we will need a new planet.”

    ————–

    Or indeed we may wreck this one much before then, or maybe a neutron star will come hurtling our way, tearing apart the Solar System.

    And I quite like the idea of a storage unit by Alpha Centauri, for when I run outta space here on earth.

  37. CARFREW………The only Panorama I have viewed of late is the one from the Balcon de Mijas, a glorious vista of the Med and Africa, and as for gigs, I recently had the privilege of watching, ‘ EVOID ‘ in Putney, their first gig for a long time, even as an ex-banker, I was near to tears at the quality of their music. Check ’em out, EVOID, probably the most influential Southa African band in a generation. I am not their manager, but I am a friend. :-)

  38. CARFREW……..I am a retired banker, but I still pop in to the business that I sold, from time to time. Guess what I see there ? I’ll tell you, top quality, hard working, individuals, making money for Britain and paying their taxes, what a surprise, and there’s me thinking they were all pariahs.

  39. I know how fascinated you all are with Scottish Politics and in particular the Scottish Labour election. So it is now a two horse race, the establishment and media darling is Murphy (arch-Blairite and canny politician), Neil Findlay is the very ‘Old Labour’ candidate supported by the UK Labour Left. Sarah is being squeezed out by these two.

    Findlay is not happy because of 1. In the voting pack it lists the MP/MSPs that support each candidate – most support Murphy, but does not list the socialist societies, trade unions or CLPs which support the other candidates. So it looks like Murphy has over-whelming support.

    It is very much a Left V Right battle. And the results will tell us how many socialists are left in Scottish Labour. Murphy said tonight ‘There are not enough Labour voters for us to win’ I.e the powers that be don’t believe it is possible for Labour to win from the left.

    So, Labour elect Murphy, who is the most able politician but may lose the last remaining socialists from the party and concede the left to the SNP. The danger for the SNP is the get pushed too far left – they have to stay in the center, Because Murphy will be very keen to paint the SNP into a Michael Foot donkey jacket (to mix metaphors) before 2016.

    Or Labour elects Findlay which will keep the members happy and help retain some Glasgow seats in May but if Jim is right – longer term there is not enough votes out on the left scrabbling around with the Scottish Socialists and Tommy Sheridan.

    Another funny point from Murphy tonight was him trying to pretend he really didn’t know anything about ‘working with the Tories’ strategy because he was out on his Irn Bru crate – Aye Right

  40. @ Carfrew

    “have you seen the stirling work of the bankers in the latest episode of Panorama?”

    I did think they were particularly loveable, especially the Lloyds chap.

  41. @Couper

    “we know our sun will die one day so we will need a new planet.”

    There are lots of things to worry about, but this ain’t one of ’em.

    The sun has about 8 billion years to go before it runs out of hydrogen and goes white dwarf in a very large, hot, puff of smoke. Life on earth has been around for about 4 billion; multicellular life for about 550 million; hominids for about 3 billion; and hom. sap. for between 80,00 and 200,000 years (depending on interpretation).

    Species generally last only a few million years. (http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_extinction_rate).

    Don’t worry; be happy.

  42. Correction… hominids for about 3 Million;

  43. Couper 2802,

    Who is the Owl Labour candidate?

  44. Jim Murphy another making a lot of money out of the dysfunctional housing market and 100 year lows in housebuilding? Who would have thought this disease infests the core of Labour like it does all other parties…

  45. @ John B, Mr Nameless

    Jim hasn’t sent anybody round – although I have been giving him a hard time lately. ;-)

    I have been very busy with the leadership contest & a few other Labour Party things. Sarah Boyack is doing very well indeed at hustings & TV debates etc. but, as Couper 2802 observed, this seems to have ‘spooked’ Jim’s team & Neil’s supporters. They are working very hard (& it’s to Sarah’s credit that they need to work hard) to stop Sarah from causing an ‘upset’.

  46. @Amber Star

    I hope Sarah wins, next Findlay, then Murphy. It is hard to tell, how things are really going, because the media are obsessed with Jim Murphy. He is even on the front of the National – the independence paper.

  47. I have no favourite in the contest, but I would like to see a fair battle, rather than a media-driven one.

  48. @CMJ

    “I’ve used regression on applications with a floor and ceiling as I described, and a line based on a cubic model worked a treat.”

    Hmmm…This is at risk of taking us off topic, but I would have thought that the reliability of the quadratic coefficients would be more informative in addressing your original question – namely whether a party’s VIs were bumping up against either upper or lower limits of their support. If you used a quadratic model and found that there was a reliable second order coefficient, then this would establish that there was a departure from linearity (i.e., a measurable “bend” in the data series). Although such departures from linearity could be explained in other ways, I imagine they could at least be *interpreted* as evidence that there is a boundary being tested. For a party nudging against its upper limit this would show up as a quadratic trend with a decelerating positive slope. I have to say that I am surprised to hear that the double inflection of the cubic model did the job. In the real world over any modest period, a party’s support is either likely to be prevent from rising higher OR reaching its bedrock of support (but not BOTH in the same data series). So, I can’t see the case for looking at anything beyond second order parameters.

    Anyway, all of this is likely to test the patience of those who want to discuss polling news.

  49. @Unicorn

    “In the real world over any modest period, a party’s support is either likely to be prevent from rising higher OR reaching its bedrock of support (but not BOTH in the same data series).”

    ——-

    But surely Labour have come pretty close to testing the upper and lower bounds in this parliament, and possibly Tories too, so a cubic model with a double inflexion might be more appropriate?

    Good work, by the way, wouldn’t have thought you need to worry about testing patience: you’re firmly on the topic of polling analysis and surely the board is ready to progress beyond… margin of error!! Besides, you’ve a long way to go to catch up with Scotsland posts (not that they bother me personally, unless they start quibbling and stuff…)

  50. “The sun has about 8 billion years to go before it runs out of hydrogen”

    ———-

    But many things could get us long before then… asteroids, neutron stars, before we get to the self-inflicted stuff: apocalyptic threats to civilisation which we are reliably informed include things like… Public Sector employment, Monsieur Hollande, SSM, the BBC etc. etc.

    On the subject of species lasting 3 million years, well, we used to die much earlier, but we’ve been fixing that… one is quite keen on the idea of extending things instead of just accepting one’s grim fate. Boomers, being older, can get a bit “what’s the point??” about it all tho’…

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