We’re clearly heading towards the Christmas polling break – we’ve still got the usual Populus poll this morning and YouGov poll tonight, but the weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has shut up shop for the year.

All the regular polls tend to stop over Christmas – ostensibly because it’s difficult to get a reliable sample over holiday periods when people have better things to do than answer polls, but I expect there’s a touch of us pollsters needing to have a holiday sometimes too. Last year Populus’s last poll was on the 22nd, so we should have a couple more from them and YouGov normally stop just before Christmas so there are few more from that front too. We also still have the monthly ICM and Ipsos MORI polls to come. ComRes’s monthly telephone poll has been right at the end of each month lately, so we might see that brought forward, or saved until after Christmas. Scratch that last bit – it’s being brought forward to before Christmas, out later tonight.

Anyway, our one poll so far this Monday is Populus’s, with topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%. Tabs are here.

UPDATE: The daily YouGov/Sun poll today has toplines of CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 8%. YouGov have had the Greens sneaking ahead of the Lib Dems quite a few times lately, but until today it’s only been by a single point.

Meanwhile the monthly ComRes/Indy telephone poll has topline figures of CON 29%(+1), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 12%(+3), UKIP 16%(-2), GRN 5%(-2). A much better score for the Lib Dems there, the highest that ComRes have shown for over a year.


274 Responses to “Latest Populus poll and a word about the Christmas break”

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  1. 07052015
    What improvement for Labour? Me thinks you are living in Cumulous
    Cuculus canorus land.

  2. Of course any party wishing to support ‘fair votes’ could get behind the the fairest system of all – PR.

    I expect those wishing to resolve the anomolies of FPTP will be 100% be behind this

    ;-)

  3. @Guymonde, Mike N

    Maybe you’re right. All I remember is the hug a huskie stuff.and them standing around with silly “hope & change” placards.

    Minus the “hope” of course – which was prophetic i guess.

  4. ROLY

    :-)

    I’m just wondering whether the species might be C. poliocephalus rather than C. canorus?

    Just a thought.

  5. @Dave

    “ANY government expenditure above government income requires borrowing, increases the debt and makes us vulnerable to increases in interest charges. Some government expenditure may lead to growth, which leads to higher tax returns and so increases government income, but clearly if such expenditure is to generate growth, it must precede that growth and in the meantime increase the debt..”

    ——-

    Not necessarily, or not necessarily that much.

    Because a big part of the point of government investment, is to encourage the private sector to invest more.

    Thus, relatively small amounts of government spending can give a significantly greater return.

    Do this right, and sipoly announce your plans, and you may even get the private sector investing in advance of the government, if the plans are sufficiently credible. Thus you get a return even before you invest.

    Indeed it is possible to create a stimulus getting the private sector to invest without ever spending much money at all: e.g. the Tory wheeze of Help-to-Buy, where rather than spending, the government provided guarantees for business. to benefit from. (This could have left the govt. liable if it had gone wrong, but it didn’t…)

    This is the Keynesian point. Govt. investment isn’t just about getting a return in the way business might. Government can benefit additionally by stoking demand and hence private sector investment. The economy is not like a household budget, and there are other differences, e.g. being the issuer of its own currency, which as numerous impacts, as Syzygy has explained above…

  6. CHRIS

    Thanks

    I don’t really understand what you mean in that last para.

  7. new icm poll:

    Lab 33 (+1)
    Con 28 (-3)
    LD 14 (+3)
    UKIP 14 (-)

    swingback starts here!

  8. @ROLANDGATINOISE

    “@DRMIBBLES I might equally say, with his personal ratings, Miliband is heading for oblivion. But, what is the point of either comment?”

    ——————

    Well, such comments have the advantage of letting the rest of us begin to get our heads around how the species “politicus activus”* think.

    Which is usually summat a bit different…

  9. @COLIN
    Every chance I should think.

  10. @Peter Crawford

    Re the ICM poll, Lib Dems on 14% seems bizarre to me.

    I now tend to take most polls other than Yougov with a pinch of salt. Yougov is the only one that doesn’t throw up frequent strange results.

  11. @Dave

    The BoE has injected hundreds of billions into the banks via QE, a fair amount of which has leaked into the wider economy. The BoE has studied the effects of this, and it basically boils down over the last few years to a few percent growth for just a few percent inflation.

    There has been no inflationary disaster, because as Syzygy says, we were not near the point of full productive capacity. Nor was our economic credibility wrecked in the markets…

  12. That poll looks off. No way are the Lib Dems on 14%, nor are the Cons so low as 28%.

  13. That poll looks off. I reckon half that LD support to the other 4 parties.

  14. “That poll looks off. No way are the Lib Dems on 14%”

    Following 10% from Populus and 12% from ComRes, it looks like it might be part of a trend.

    While you can quibble with one poll, three polls showing a move in the same direction suggest you may be wrong.

  15. 3% swing from CON to LIB is outside the MoE, but out of line with what other polls have been showing… Too bad ICM only polls monthly, because I’d quite like to see the next one already!

    So the Lib Dems are somewhere between 6% and 14%… Here’s a reminder of why their polls vary so much http://t.co/Ia2JNQXO3D

  16. @Colin

    A lot of these firms have been targetting graduates for their hard-to-fill jobs but are not willing or able to offer wages and/or career opportunities sufficient to attract graduates to stay for anything other than the short term.

    They need people with lower skills/aspirations who are content to stay in these roles. That’s what many apprenticeships are designed to address, I am afraid.

  17. LEFTY

    @”It’s the figures on tax and spend that justify my claim that the UK doesn’t want to be a Govt Spending/GDP=35% country. ”

    I don’t see that in the Economy Graph in the BSA survey.

    Indeed one wonders whether these surveys are any use at all when you compare their declared attitudes to “Tax & Spend” with their voting habits:-

    The Survey indicates that in 2001 59% of people wanted more tax & spend -just when they voted back in, a Government which had spent four years reducing Government Spend as %GDP. to below 35%.

    Then in 2005 they re-elected the same party, who had spent the previous four years increasing that % just when the BSA survey indicates that they began to change their minds on increasing State spending-the proportion wanting this fell steadily to 31% in 2010 from 63% in 2002.

    I almost become a convert to Howard’s view of the UK Electorate :-)

  18. CHRIS

    Could you let me have a link to your source for that please.

    Thanks

  19. @Norbold

    Which 12 though?

    They are currently favorite to win in 1 seat, and 2nd favorite in one other (in contention but at an outside 5/1). The other 10 will in practice be about positioning for subsequent elections.

  20. @Number Cruncher

    “So the Lib Dems are somewhere between 6% and 14%”

    By my reckoning about 6.9%, +/- 0.2% (depends on the method used).

  21. A comment on a paper (G) that shall not be named:

    “The LibDem vote is always inflated in ICM as don’t knows are allocated to the party they voted for last time around. That means for example a student who voted LibDem last time after the infamous pledge and now hated Clegg and co with a passion but has yet to decide between say The Greens and Labour will be allocated to the LibDem pile.”

    True?

  22. Phil Haines

    Which 12 though?

    According to an article on the Website That Must Not Be linked To from October headed “Confident Greens eye 12 seats in England”:

    Top of the target list will be Norwich South, currently held by the Lib Dems with a wafer-thin majority over Labour, but where the Greens took 14.9% in 2010. A recent poll by Lord Ashcroft put the Greens on 20% in the constituency.

    Another possibility is Bristol West, where the Lib Dem incumbent, Stephen Williams, is likely to struggle because of the fall-off in the student vote. Then there is St Ives. “Cornwall is very interesting because there is basically no Labour party there, only Tory and Lib Dem, yet it is a place with incredibly low wages and seasonal casual employment so, in the county elections, we got an average of 18% of the vote,” says Bennett.

    Others on the target list are Sheffield Central (Labour), Liverpool Riverside (Labour), Oxford East (Labour), Solihull (Lib Dem), Reading East (Tory), York Central (Labour), Holborn and St Pancras (Labour) – where Bennett is standing as the candidate – and Cambridge (Lib Dem).

  23. I am not sure if there is a point in monthly polls because it is impossible to tell whether it is MOE or some genuine movement we always have to crosscheck with other polls.

  24. Alec

    I wonder if it’s got a bit more complex than you suggest. Somehow, Labour have got (or been helpfully placed into) a position where people are hearing they will tackle the deficit, where they are voting to back government plans, but doing this more fairly. They also hear Labour will ‘borrow to invest’, while the Tories will drive spending cuts further and further towards the 1930’s because they want a surplus.

    I’d agree with some of that, but Labour have been saying that sort of thing “We’d be like the Tories but nicer” for four years now and people haven’t really been convinced. Those who support the deficit narrative believe that cutting should be done properly and those who don’t are hardly given any more reason to vote Labour. And most people don’t support it. If you look at the latest ComRes:

    http://comres.co.uk/polls/Independent_Political_Poll_16th_December_2014.pdf

    given the statement There should be a legal requirement to balance the nation’s books by a specific date even if it means sharp spending cuts and tax increases to achieve this 36% agreed but 59% disagreed. To Government spending should be reduced faster until the deficit is cleared and the budget is in surplus, even if this means severe cuts to public services 30% agreed but 66% disagreed.

    This may be why the change in attitude we saw in the cuts questions aren’t really helping Labour, even the lead in today’s ICM seems more from a drop in Conservative support. UKIP and Greens may be more likely to benefit – UKIP voters look more like Labour voters than coalition backers on this issue.

    The ‘Back to the 30s” line clearly does worry a lot of people, but if Labour appear to be quibbling over whether it should be 1931 or 1935, they are unlikely to see much enthusiastic return from the voters they have lost to UKIP, Greens and SNP over the last two years.

  25. Statgeek – almost true. They would be weighted to 50% and allocated to the Lib Dem pile (though the same would also happen when someone who was going to vote Lib Dem again, but was embarrassed to tell the interviewer – the commenter clearly doesn’t like the method and is describing in a not altogether fair way)

    Anyway – this is indeed part of the reason ICM always tend to show the highest level of support for the Lib Dems.

  26. @Carfrew,

    Agree with you there. Private sector investment is all about confidence of getting a return. Government investment can be seen as “artificial confidence” to get a stuck market moving and get people interested.

    And sneakily, the government can tax the result somewhere else (from someone else).

  27. I live in Norwich North – just over the boundary from the South constituency. The Greens really have little chance next May and have lost ground here in recent years. Their new PPC has a much lower profile compared with her predecessor . I will be surprised if the Greens manage second place.

  28. Don’t like the look of that ICM Poll.

    That’s a big change. Will YouGov this evening confirm it ?

  29. Thanks Anthony.

    Yes the commenter added more on the end of that, and it wasn’t complimentary to the Lib Dems.

  30. Graham

    I live in Norwich North – just over the boundary from the South constituency. The Greens really have little chance next May and have lost ground here in recent years. Their new PPC has a much lower profile compared with her predecessor . I will be surprised if the Greens manage second place.

    That may well be true, but the point about Norwich North is that it is a four-way marginal (five if you include the Lib Dems even though they currently hold the seat). So it’s quite possible to win the seat on a percentage of the vote in the upper 20s (as indeed the Lib Dems did with 29% in 2010)

    Lord Ashcroft polled in mid-June:

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Norwich-South-June-2014-Full-tables.pdf#page=6

    and got percentages of:

    Con 18%

    Lab 33%

    Lib Dem 11%

    UKIP 16%

    Green 21%

    (constituency question (Q3) before reallocation)

    Since then Labour has lost support to the Greens and the date of the poll suggests that at least some of the student vote may not have been in residence (not that a landline survey will pick up many anyway), they could well be in contention, though Labour would still be favourites.

  31. I know it depends how these questions are asked, and who is bein asked.

    And you can get seemingly different answers to the same/similar question.

    But the difference between these two seems a bit extreme :-

    https://twitter.com/HarryAEvans/status/545186799333941249/photo/1

    http://www.markiteconomics.com/Survey/PressRelease.mvc/424b2ed080f4403282ded0622d047a19

  32. Roger Mexico

    The Green target is Norwich South – I live in North! It is really a fourway marginal and should be a clear Labour gain next May. I believe Ashcroft’s poll actually flattered the Greens.

  33. Correction – is not really a fourway marginal.

  34. Sorry Graham – it should have been ‘South’ rather than ‘North’ in my first line and of course the Ashcroft poll was also South. As I said Labour should be favourite but it’s still one of the best Green hopes.

    North should also be a Labour target. it’s only 68 on Anthony’s target list, but there may have been a by-election effect there that boosted the Conservative vote. We may get Ashcroft polling if he decides to go for the next tranche out from the last, which should include it.

  35. Speaking of which:

    @LordAshcroft 9 hours ago

    My next set of marginal seats poll will be released later this week….looks…well…wait and see!

    Don’t know if this is more Con-Lab marginals, Scottish seats or what.

  36. Roger Mexico
    There was much hype re-Green prospects in Norwich South prior to 2010 based on local election/euro results. There was much disbelief in their ranks when they came 4th. That hype is now absent , and it is significant that their former high profile candidate – Adrian Ramsey- has moved to Oxford. If they fancied their chances I am sure he would be standing again.

  37. @Peter Crawford

    Lab 33 (+1)
    Con 28 (-3)
    LD 14 (+3)
    UKIP 14 (-)

    swingback starts here!

    For a Conservative sympathiser, I quite like the cut of your gib! :-)

    ICM tend to be quite kind to the Tories and I’m wondering if 28% might be an all time low for them with ICM. That’s 30 polls now since 27/11/14 and only two Tory leads amongst them. At a time when we should be seeing some sort of pre-election recovery, this is not a great time to see your VI heading south. That’s two sub 30s for them now in the last five or 6 polls.

    Still, it’ll all be alright on the night, I suppose.

    :-)

    I’d say all the polling evidence suggests that Labour are now back ahead and something rather worrying has started to happen to the Tory vote again

  38. batty

    Yes it’s hard to take – like watching Man U and Spurs in the relegation spots.

  39. roland

    “I might equally say, with his personal ratings, Miliband is heading for oblivion.
    But, what is the point of either comment?”

    sigh…………………………………..

  40. hold on folks….just because you don’t LIKE the fact the Lib Dems are showing an increase in 3 polls doesn’t mean there isn’t something happening. And You Gov could be the one that’s out of synch. I do know one thing though, this Lib Dem rise is sure NOT to be parrotted constantly in the media. I rest my case

  41. For a Conservative sympathiser, I quite like the cut of your gib! :-)

    I try and be a realist about these things…I can’t bear the myopic optimism and self-delusion of all parties. Let’s just look at the numbers and analyse them.

    in terms of outcomes, i have thought the tories will be kicked out of government in 2015 since the summer of 2012 and the aftermath of the omnishambles budget…nothing, absolutely nothing that has happened since has changed my view.

    I have thought that the rise of ukip would devastate the tories in England since the eastleigh by-election in February 2013, making it hard for them to win the most seats. Again when people on this site thought ukip would be limited to 6% at the next general election, i thought it might be 10%. I notice that very few think ukip will poll much less than 10% next May

    the list goes on. … i didn’t see the extent of the labour decline in scotland, but i think the snp is being overhyped.

  42. Colin –

    One is optimism about their own personal finances, one about the state of the country’s finances. Not the same thing, by any means.

    From a lot of questions, optimism about the state of the economy seems to have started headed down again since the summer. However, optimism about people’s own household finances seems to be a bit less clear – looks fairly steady.

    That seems to be the picture in the YouGov data, and the contrast in those two graphs (the Markit data appears to be from MORI too) suggests that MORI are getting the same contrast. Strange… but consistent.

  43. PETER CRAWFORD
    Agree with CB11, you handled the matter like a sportsman and a gent. I would have said, ICM huh xx+$£^**| idiots.

  44. @GRAHAM 16.18
    There was much hype re-Green prospects in Norwich South prior to 2010 based on local election/euro results. There was much disbelief in their ranks when they came 4th. That hype is now absent , and …their former high profile candidate… has moved to Oxford.
    Alternative explanation? five years ago, there was a team that put a lot of effort into hyping, the result brought about disbelief that caused disillusionment with that team among members, who therefore looked in a different direction, and now the new team are putting effort into convincing voters on the ground within the constituency, rather than hyping.

  45. COLIN
    It seem as if either one is concerned for the nations future financial strength, or, I want it and I want it now. Perhaps we spend more time concerned about our grandkids in 20 years time, than the average voter. Furthermore, we are probably less challenged by the price of chips than many, however I am sure Georgie is “all over it”.

  46. Colin

    Simple logic from me.

    Tax receipts and cyclically adjusted public spending was falling or stable at very low levels from the early-80s through to 2001. During that time, the proportion of people in the BSA data saying that taxes and spending should be increased went up dramatically and stayed at well over 50% for a long time. After public spending (but not taxes, mores the pity) did start to increase after 2001, the proportion wanting higher taxes and spending fell sharply. But it did not mean a commensurate increase in the proportion wanting LESS. Instead, more people were happy that the balance was about right.

  47. Colin

    Point 2: as for why Labour were voted back in in 2001 after presiding over such a sharp drop in public spending, I guess it’s a question of what the alternative was.

  48. CROSSBAT11…………I’m sure you meant the cut of PETER CRAWFORD’s, ‘jib’ not , of course, his, ‘gib’, a gib, as any engineer will tell you, is a bolt. :-)

  49. @PAUL
    I, like everyone else wished I had a crystal ball, but none of us have.
    Therefore these people who say ridiculous things, (given the very tight situation that exists,) need reminding that saying “Nick Cleggs gonna walk it” doesn’t make it happen.

  50. Final observation.

    I’m sure Osborne is aware of these BSA data. Why else would he have agreed in 2006 to match Labour’s tax and spend policies? And why would he insist that deficit reduction at his chosen pace is a TINA issue because of the claimed existential threat to the economy if we didn’t do it? He’s never openly argued for a smaller state as a matter if philosophical principle. It’s all been cleverly couched in Deficit terms.

    But, as that Peston article throws light on, the existential threat no longer exists if it ever did. And the issue for the next Parliament is back to the philosophical question of how big you want the state to be. The BSA data suggests that only a tiny proportion of the public want it to be smaller than it has been over the past 30 years.

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