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. @ STUTTER et al

    Being part of a ‘species’ is a bit like the collection of supporters of a political party. At what point does the divergence between the two ends of the spectrum become sufficient for the individuals to be separated into two groupings?

    The traditional feature of a species used to be that individuals were able to reproduce … but DNA has rather queered the pitch. Essentially, it is like the political spectrum – there are lumpers and splitters. There is no fixed species – those individuals that are more pre-adapted to the prevailing context tend to survive and have greater reproductive potential.

  2. Davis?
    It wasn’t Cameron’s performance which won him the leadership but the car-crash presentation by Davis which to any Tory watching ie all of them, presaged media humiliation on a regular basis. That is the fact of life in modern politics.
    The relevance is clear in Scotland in that Labour leaders are given and must expect a monstering by the nationalists with, after Dewer, low political life expectations. The next incumbent will be the 6th since Dewer For comparison with UK Labour that would I think take us back to Wilson.

  3. Some leaders considered successful at the time go down in history as the wrong choice later. Tony Blair is one (Beckett would have done better things for the party and possibly the country) – David Cameron may be another.

  4. Cameron’s done a pretty decent job as PM – I certainly didn’t expect the Tories to have any chance of re-election after a government of permanent austerity and little money for any goodies.

    The Tories in general have consistently gone for the ‘wrong’ leader since John Major though in my opinion. I think they’d have a far broader appeal right now if they’d gone with Clarke, Portillo (or Clarke) and David Davis as opposed to Hague, IDS, and Cameron.

  5. I remember a friend who worked in Recruitment telling me he was at a dinner once with the head of a multi billion dollar company who openly confessed that over 30 years they had probably used every recruitment technique available and recommended for senior appointments and in the end the result was 50/50 getting a good appointment.

    I am not saying it’s pot luck when choosing a leader, but thinking you could have made a better choice after the fact doesn’t mean the other option would have been that much if any better.

    Obviously there will be exceptions where you feel almost anything would be better, like;

    “You know I think this time I’ll change my vote and give young Hitler and the Nazi’s a chance”

    but as I said earlier we just can’t tell!


  6. Added Rochester & Strood by-election review, with a hint of a prediction for 2015. I hope it’s a fair assessment:


    Charts updated as ever, and also updated the by-election list page:

    h ttp://www.statgeek.co.uk/elections/by-elections/

    Also updated the South East 2010 GE map page to reflect the by-election:

    h ttp://www.statgeek.co.uk/elections/general-election-2010-uk/general-election-2010-south-east/


    @”It wasn’t Cameron’s performance which won him the leadership but the car-crash presentation by Davis which to any Tory watching ie all of them, presaged media humiliation on a regular basis. That is the fact of life in modern politics.”

    Well remembered & exactly right.

    I was a Davies fan-his background & plain speaking was just right for me.

    But he is a very poor communicator on a public platform-and a poor speaker too-he swallows words & doesn’t finish sentences.

    Subsequently of course is the suspicion that he is not a team player.

    Shame-but DC was the right choice

  8. Adrian H,

    Clarke or Hague? Clarke certainly.

    Portillo or IDS? A lump of slag burns better than a lump of ice.

    Davis or Cameron? David maybe; hard to call.

  9. @Statgeek

    Thanks for that – thorough and superbly presented as ever.
    Plus it agrees with my gut feel :-)

  10. As I recall Thatcher only one on the Not Heath vote and even then most wanted to wound him into stepping aside rather than have Thatcher replace him.

    Most Tories didn’t want Maggie but she delivered for the Party, most Labour voters didn’t trust Blair but he won three elections!

    In both cases they brought about change that much of the core of the old party they took over (One Nation Tories, Pro Nationalisation Socialists) didn’t like but the country backed, at least until Iraq.

    Funny Old World!

    Maybe we should just announce the results in reverse order if we want succes!


  11. That should be “won” not “one”, she may have acted like it but she wasn’t the Queen!


  12. Hello everyone,

    What are the YouGov VI for 26th November 2014?



  13. Statgeek
    Very thorough and unbiased amalysis as usual – thanks.


    @”Maybe we should just announce the results in reverse order if we want succes!”

    It’s easier than that-discount candidates praised by Labour.

    Hence-no Heath & no Clarke.

  15. Peter Cairns,

    Good points on Blair and Thatcher. And in both cases, their premierships started hit the rocks once they began to believe that they could take the country with them anywhere they wanted, i.e. on the Poll Tax and the Iraq War.

  16. @Peter Cairns

    “Most Tories didn’t want Maggie but she delivered for the Party, most Labour voters didn’t trust Blair but he won three elections!”

    Evidence for either of those assertions?

  17. Colin
    How to choose? Seems like a good method for all parties.

  18. AdrianH

    How can the Tories be re-elected if they weren’t elected in the first place? This is a coalition government.

  19. BARNEY

    I was contemplating Peter Cairns’ comment that Maggie defeated “One Nation Tories”.
    Having read Sandbrooke’s trilogy of the Wilson to Maggie years , I think it was more a question of overcoming the Landed Gentry-all of whom could afford to be “One Nation” of course. And most of whom thought women should stay in the kitchen.

  20. I know that comment on a regular Wednesday event in HoC is verboten here.

    But I have to say that the cleverest riposte from Labour to the defence of White Van Man by Cons , following Thornberry’s tweet came from a Labour MP.

    He said something like ” When I think of White Van Man, I think- is it my father or my brother driving it”.

    Very funny.

  21. Re Davis and Cameron – Cameron really began to take pole position when he gave a ‘cast iron’ pledge on Lisbon. This swung the anti EU wing in his favour.

    At the time, I suggested it was a strategic error, which indeed it turned out to be. The uncontrolled rise of the internal critics and eventual defections really stem from the failure to honour that promise – a promise he knew at the time he wouldn’t be able to honour.

    But I think it was a tough choice for Tories. At the time, Davis was more traditionally in the mould of Conservative philosophy. Cameron felt the need to detoxify, and used his undoubted communication skills to portray a pro NHS, pro government spending, pro environment agenda.

    As it happens, the long game favoured Davis’ platform. He was talking about shrinking the state, not sharing the proceeds of growth. While I think it’s obvious to say now that philosophically the Tories would have been far better placed to adjust to the 2008 crash if they had voted for him, I’m doubtful that he would have been able to position the party effectively in the voters eyes, even if that positioning was largely meaningless and devoid of any actual belief.

    On balance, Cameron probably was the best choice, unless we unfairly apply retrospective wisdom.

  22. Colin
    Yes the hostility to M Thatcher was not in my memory Cons members or voters but the majority of the leadership group. I also don’t remember any suspicion of T Blair on the part of Lab voters until very late in the day.

  23. I am always sorry for Tony Blair. If he hadn’t went with the US into Iraq he would have a good reputation now. Remember Bosnia, Northern Ireland he was doing really well, until he made that fatal mistake.

    I liked Blair a lot but many left wingers especially in Scotland were very suspicious of him from the start of his New Labour project.

  24. AdrianH
    How can the Tories be re-elected if they weren’t elected in the first place? This is a coalition government.


    Replace ‘re-elected’ with ‘continue in government’ – either way, Cameron has a reasonable chance of remaining as PM in 2015.

    You can attribute that to his leadership, poor Labour Party opposition or general voter anger towards Westminster politics (probably a combination of all 3)

  25. @Peter Cairns – Hitler was indeed relatively young when he became Chancellor – only 43, the same age at which David Cameron and Tony Blair became famously youthful Prime Ministers.

  26. Couper

    I would never have guessed.
    Always good to come across female posters. The more the merrier.

  27. @Valerie

    You’ve “outed” Couper now! Who’s next? OldNat, perhaps?

    I shall shortly reveal that I am in fact a female Tory voter from the Home Counties.

    All the details will be contained in my suicide note.


  28. BARNEY

    I agree.

    Before Maggie, the typical Conservative leader was a Patrician Landowning Aristocrat whose patronising espousal of the Working Man was somehow seen as “One Nation”.-easy when you own most of it.

    Maggie marked the transition from those dinosaurs to the professional / aspiring middle classes who pulled themselves out of the begging bowl classes after going to a Grammar School.

    She went on too long though-they always do.

    On TB, I can’t speak for Labour voters -but I think one probably has to define which sect we are talking about before we can say why/if/when they lost faith.

    My guess would be that a lot of them were just grateful to see the back of Tory Governments ( Some Tories were too in 97 !).

    Once in power, the old schisms start to appear. It will be the same for EM I expect if he walks into No. 10.

  29. Couper

    You can change your posting name if you wish.

    Its interesting that you say respondents to your posts think you are a man. What makes you think that ?

    An uncomfortable thought actually-do I think of a gender when it isn’t explicit-and if so is it “male”?

    Hmmmm. !

  30. Colin,

    From 1957-1975, there were less than two years in which the leader of the Tories was a member of the landed aristocracy.

  31. BILL

    OK-loose use of language.

    Mac counts as good as for me.
    Heath, I grant you avoids the appellation-but was he a Conservative?

  32. Colin,

    We shouldn’t let Macmillan’s pretensions to gentryhood confuse us. He was part of the dynamic business-made urban upper middle class.

    Heath’s reputation as a leftie has been largely built by Thatcherites and Thatcher’s left-wing critics: two camps eager to exaggerate the discontinuity between Thatcher and previous Tory prime minsters!

  33. Statgeek

    Re: r&S

    In a by.election both ukip and Tory can throw everything at it.
    In a GE, surely the Tories that are spread thin, not ukip, who can target say 10 seats. The Tories must have to deploy themselves over vast areas, defending 100 from Labour, 20 from ukip and targeting 20/LD seats. ie they can’t afford to throw the kitchen sink at R&S, lest lose more seats elsewhere.

  34. BILL


    Didn’t want to dive into Sandbrook for the references I had in mind.

    So will settle for a discontinuity whose significance you question :-)

  35. hoof hearted

    I agree with you re. R & S. the tories have 302 seats, about 60 of which are vulnerable to labour, ukip have 2 seats, one of which is vulnerable to the tories. Clacton is safe for 2015. so a higher proportion of ukip’s total resources will be applied to R &S than the tories’

  36. Thanks to those of you who responded to my questions last night after I had found the brain had switched off and I had to do likewise to the computer!

    As for Couper, she revealed that she is a woman a week or two back when I mistakenly referred to her as ‘Sir’.

    Hoofhearted: are you suggesting that the Tories are so thin on the ground that they won’t be able to match UKIP in their (UKIP’s) target seats?
    Previous by-election winners may have tended to lose their seats because the ‘national’ debate has taken precedence over local issues. You seem to be asking: “But what happens if UKIP is central to the ‘national’ debate?”
    A good question, methinks.

  37. Interesting YouGov poll on;

    “What Would Jesus Do”


    Broadly the results add up to; The same as me!

    There seems a clear link between the support for various policies and what people see as the God option.

    UKIP supporters feel he’d be tougher on immigration and more likely to support the death penalty than LibDems and old people think he’d be more likely to be against Gay marriage than young people.

    Seems Jesus rather than setting a code for us all can be whatever people want.

    Rather apt for Christmas; The Season of Good Marketting to All!


  38. re R&S in May 2015. I would have thought that the Labour vote might recover a fair bit given the focus on national issues and the fact that the party was very competitive there in recent years.In the byelection doubtless many of their voters stayed at home whilst others voted tactically for UKIP or the Tories. Who would lose most from Labour voters returning home? Not sure – perhaps UKIP on balance.


    Jesus, He knows me
    And He knows I’m right
    I’ve been talkin’ to Jesus, all my life…

  40. Lurker,

    You say it lights every pathway
    Shows me how to live life
    For the rest of my days
    For the rest of my days
    (But I can’t)
    But I can’t put my faith in
    (Your words)
    Your words and demands
    (I believe)
    I believe in God alright
    It’s folk like you I just can’t stand



    As a committed agnostic, that is the only time you’ll hear me quote Genesis.

  42. Away back in the thread Candy mentioned, as an example of a Scottish “lag” the lower life expectancies in West Central Scotland compared with the rest of the UK and other European countries.

    Although I have no specialist knowledge of the subject I have been reading a little of the recent research. According to this recent Scottish research, the fundamental drivers of health inequalities are inequalities in power, income and wealth. A similar picture emerges with Marmot’s work for the Westminster government, “Fair Society, Healthy Lives”.

    To do anything useful about health inequalities both the Scottish and Westminster governments would have to re-distribute wealth. It would be costly, too.

    I cannot see sufficient control over economic and welfare policies being devolved to Scotland to let health inequalities be tackled by addressing the inequalities that exist in power, income and wealth. Nor can I see a Westminster government do anything meaningful with Marmot.


    By the way, I did not understand the references to sectarianism/voting? Enlightenment,please?

  43. Lurker,

    I don’t trust you, they’ll be a trick in that tale!


  44. @Statgeek 12:50

    Thanks. Very clear as usual

  45. “A new poll conducted by ComRes for ITV News reveals that Labour retains its lead over the Conservatives in the forty most marginal seats£


  46. @OldNat – “A new poll conducted by ComRes for ITV News reveals that Labour retains its lead over the Conservatives in the forty most marginal seats”

    It’s a grim day …

    Oh wait, that’s someone else’s line.

  47. Colin

    Talking as an old unrepentent left winger in 1997, I think you are right that Labour Party members on all wings of the Party were just so grateful to end 18 years of Tory rule that, even knowing Tony Blair was on the right of the Party, we were all behind him and his gang of spin doctors. In the early days of his leadrship and then his PMship he was a very charismatic figure.

    As far as I was concerned, that Government did a lot of good things – mimimum wage, reduce waiting hospital waiting times etc – though not as much as I and many other members would have liked. But it was definitely Iraq that eventually did for him and his reputation as well as removing his almost hypnotic charismatic effect on many people.

  48. Oh the fun there would have been if Clarke had been elected Tory leader in 1997!

    They were never going to get anything less than a hammering in 2001. Hague knew that, and he played to the core, in order to keep the party together through the wilderness years.

    Picture the scene if Clarke had preached a EU/Euro-phile message in the late 90s and the Tories lost the 2001 election by 180 seats. There’d have been carnage in the party – probably leading to the rise of UKIP a decade earlier.

  49. @Statgeek
    I think you should look again at R&S concentrating not on %s but on actual numbers of voters. That makes you think about what blocks of several thousand voters have actually done differently in 2014, and avoids the possibility of confusion due to %s being %s of very different total amounts.
    Some points to consider:
    Opinions seem to differ on whether Reckless had a personal following (or a Eurosceptic Tory following – not necessarily the same thing)
    UKIP did not stand in 2010 (Reckless a Eurosceptic) but presumably some of their voters in 2014 would have voted UKIP in 2010. The English Democrats got 2000 votes in 2010, but did not stand in 2014.
    LibDems ‘squeezed by tactical voting’ but Tim Farron said on Radio 4 news that his (own, or LD?) doorstep canvassing indicated that they were voting Conservative to keep UKIP out, as were some (many I think he said) Labour supporters.
    The Greens “more than doubled their votes” but that is only 1000 more.
    A motley collection of ‘independents’ got 500 votes.
    Turnout was down 8000 on 2010. Given that UKIP claim to gain voters from those who ‘have not voted for years’, whose voters and how many of them didn’t bother in 2014?
    Given the early polls pointing to a big UKIP majority, it seems to me quite possible that the Conservative vote might well contain quite a high proportion of tactical voters who might return to their own parties in a general election, rather than risk returning a Conservative. Putting a Conservative in last week would have made no difference to the ‘big party’ Westminster line-up. In 2015 it might determine which is the party with most seats.
    I think Farage has it right again with “All bets are off. 2015 unpredictable.”

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