We’ve almost arrived at the Christmas break. Today we have new polls from Opinium (their last of the year) and YouGov (their penultimate of the year – there is one more to come on Monday night). I’m not sure when Populus put out their final poll of the year, and Survation have a Scottish poll being published next week, but that should be it for the year.

Topline figures for today’s two polls are:

Opinium/Observer – CON 29%(nc), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 6%(nc), UKIP 16%(-3), GRN 5% (tabs)
YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8% (tabs)

The Observer write up of the poll, incidentally, is particularly poor, or at least, contains one particularly poor sentence. Toby Helm writes “It is the second poll in a week showing that the Tories have lost ground since chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement earlier this month”. Now, I have long whined about newspapers treating only their own poll as being meaningful and pretending others don’t exist, so well done for putting a poll in context… but it’s a rather extreme case of cherry-picking context to create a narrative that doesn’t exist.

The Opinium poll is the second one this week to show Labour’s lead growing, in fact it’s the third as there was also TNS. But there were also rather a lot of other polls that didn’t… there were another ten polls who the Observer has chosen not to mention. There was an Ipsos MORI poll this week (no change in lead), a ComRes phone poll this week (no change in lead), a ComRes online poll last weekend (shrinking Labour lead), two Populus polls (who have shown smaller Labour leads in their four post-Autumn Statement polls than their four before the statement) and five YouGov polls (whose post-Autumn statement polls have shown essentially the same Labour lead as those before). Lord Ashcroft hasn’t polled this week, he’s already finished for the year, but his post Autumn Statement poll had Labour’s lead down one point. As you can see, there as as many polls showing Labour’s lead falling post Autumn Statement as rising, and overall I expect what we’re seeing is a simple case of normal random sample variation. Taking a crude average of the Labour leads in November would give you an average lead of 1.6 points, take a crude average of the polls in December so far gives you an average Labour lead of 1.6 points.

There’s always a temptation to see narratives in polls, to ignore those showing no movement, latch onto those showing exciting looking changes and build an explanation and a story around them. It’s normally wrong to do so.


159 Responses to “Latest YouGov and Opinium polls”

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  1. Two scenarios:

    1. Lab 315 seats, Con 280, SNP 15, LD 20

    2. Lab 290 seats, Con 280, SNP 40, LD 20

    The SNP will not have any not more bargaining power under the second scenario. Their main bargaining chip is that they’ll bring a minority Labour government down or at least make it impossible for it to govern, if their demands are not met. However, if Labour has lost heavily in Scotland, it’ll relish the prospect of having a second chance in a fresh election held in a context where the SNP has helped participate the fall of a Labour government, as in 1979. I think this latest poll makes it more likely that there are going to be two general elections in 2015.

  2. NeilA – “Perhaps it would have encouraged Britain’s universities to offer more medical and nursing places to UK students? Just a thought. Apparently we have a few young people who are struggling to find work..”

    Clamping down on immigration does nothing to increase the numbers of Brits attending medical school.

    According to UCAS, in 2006 there were 8011 medical degree places (and 74,732 students applied for them) and in 2013 there were 7,515 places (84,393 applicants).

    see

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_school_in_the_United_Kingdom

    7% less places so something is going wrong with university funding.

    The rise in tuition fees doesn’t seem to have deterred applicants (it’s gone up from £3000 p.a. to £9000 p.a. For a five year medical degree this means total cost has jumped from £15,000 to £45,000).

    So the problem is somewhere else. It might be down to the govt clamping down on foreign students.

    A foreign (non-EU) student doing a medical degree at Imperial College will be paying £35,000 p.a. paid up front each year (no loans for non EU students) – so £175,000 over the course of a five year degree. So teh more foreign students, the more cross-subsidy for young British doctors. But there has been a clamp down on these students to fit the govt’s immigration targets.

    If you look at Imperial’s website, they’ve actually reduced the fees to £35,000 from the £39,000 it had been from 2008 to 2013, which suggests that some foreign students had given up trying to navigate the home office and had applied to study elsewhere, probably the United States, and they are cutting fees to try to attract them back.

  3. Can anyone remember what the polls were showing just pre the ’92 election ?

    Labour had a lead I believe , but it disappeared on Election Day.

    In my opinion , for what it’s worth , it was the ‘Kinnock’ factor . The nation didn’t fancy Mr. Kinnock in Number 10.

    Will the same apply to Ed Miliband ?
    His personal ratings are dire !

    When people are polled they just may say they will vote Labour , but on Election day it will be the Labour leader which will turn them off voting for Labour.

    Perhaps that’s why the Greens are on the up ?

  4. Regarding Scotland, I saw a comment somewhere which suggested that Scottish voters confuse Holyrood and Westmister when responding to opinion polls and prior to the 2010 election the SNP were also leading.

    Digging through the meagre Scottish polls, I found this one for Ipsis-Mori from Aug 2009 which gave

    SNP 33%
    Lab 27%

    to the question “How would you vote in a General Election tomorrow”. See

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Scotland/scottish-public-opinion-monitor-charts-september-2009.pdf#page=3

    And in Feb 2010 it had changed to

    Lab 34%
    SNP 32%

    see

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/2555/Scottish-Public-Opinion-Monitor-February-2010.aspx

    The actual Scottish General Election result in May 2010 was

    Lab 42%
    SNP 20%

    Any of the seasoned polling exports care to shed light on what was happening here? And whatever error it was, is it happening again or has it been eliminated?

  5. Candy, I wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility that the swing could have been that great for that individual campaign, and that the underlying ratios of support among the big four parties in Feb 2010 were roughly 1/3 Labour, 1/3 SNP, 1/6 LD and 1/6 Tory.

    The 2010 GE campaign was all about whether Brown was right to throw the full weight of the UK treasury behind trying to shield the country from the worst effects of the financial crisis, or whether he was wrong to allow the deficit to get that high under any circumstances regardless of how unpaletable the necessary decisions might have been.

    Given that the Scottish electorate was more strongly inclined towards the first option than the English, those were decidedly difficult circumstances for a left-leaning nationalist party to campaign against Labour.

  6. CB,

    Gladly not complain if you allow Guymonde’s late entry as genuis should be acknowledge and happy for him (I guess as ‘Guy’) to receive the prize of a life-time.

    Robin – polls before 1992 proved flawed so difficult to draw any firm conclusions are project based on them and the subsequent GE result.

  7. @ Crossbat11 (from over a week ago)

    “So, your man has made it to the top at last! Jim Murphy is now the new leader of the Scottish Labour Party and, all things considered, probably the wise choice. Of course, much will be made of his Blairite and Westminster past (and present) but he’s a politician I’ve always admired and one who defies lazy labelling. He strikes me as someone with an independent mind and who is not afraid to depart from the party line; just the sort of politician, in fact, who can revive Labour’s flagging fortunes north of the border. He campaigned effectively during the Referendum campaign and gained some kudos for doing so and I thought his ridiculing of the SNP defeat celebrations suggested someone with an easy command of political repartee. As Anthony says, he has a big job on his hands but I think he’s got as good a chance of reviving Scottish Labour as anyone else.
    Of course, I now expect a deluge of SNP supporters, and their strange and exotic bunch of fellow travellers, to tell me that I’m talking the purest tosh and that Murphy will be an utterly disastrous leader.
    :-)”

    Sorry to respond to you now. I was meaning to for a while but hadn’t gotten around to it (things have been hectic over at my end).

    I think he’s got great political skills. His leadership will bring some new fire to Scottish Labour. But there’s a lot more that will have to be done for Scottish Labour to revive its fortunes than simply changing leaders. They’ve got to provide a governance alternative to the SNP and offer public policy solutions that are palatable. It’s a big job.

    Murphy is certainly capable. I’m proud of him for winning and for taking on the challenge. This won’t automatically make him First Minister but he may be redefining politics in terms of what it means to be both a Brit and Scot politically.

  8. ChrisHornet

    “it can at times provoke (admittedly mostly junior and mid-ranking) politicians into making statistical claims that they later regret.”

    Perhaps as with Jim Murphy claiming that the SNP won’t take “a single seat” off Labour in May?

  9. SoCalLiberal

    “he may be redefining politics in terms of what it means to be both a Brit and Scot politically.”

    In what way?

  10. Medical and nursing places at university are the only subjects centrally planned in order that theoretical supply meets demand. Discouraging foreign students will not make a jot of difference to home students, who will remain tied to a DoH quota. I understand that the Daily Mail has been disinforming people on nursing students of late – I can assure readers that if you choose to read and believe the Daily Mail on this subject, you will leave less informed than when you began.

    The contentious Home Office proposal will never be enacted. They are merely an example of the remarkable coincidence that rivals to the Chancellor for the Conservative leadership seem to be the subject of unfortunate media stories whenever the Chancellor’s fortunes start to dip. The Chancellor really is a media operator out of the very top drawer – the best the Conservatives have had since Bernard Ingham – and much the most interesting character of this Government.

    There is a good argument that the Conservatives owe their place in Government to him, he is probably the main reason they are still in contention, and that if they lose the next election it will be largely his fault. A fascinating character.

  11. Prof Curtice on the Survation poll.

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2014/12/murphy-proves-magic-bullet-labour/

    “Mr Murphy’s personal success has been met with no more than polite applause. Amongst those currently backing Labour only 29% state that his election has made it more likely that they will actually back the party in May. And while 17% of Conservatives (together with 35% of the very small number of Liberal Democrats identified by the poll), only 7% of SNP supporters do. And it is amongst nationalist supporters that the new Labour leader has to score.”

  12. He actually said that?!?

  13. (in reference to Jim Murphy)

  14. ChrisHornet

    “Murphy said. “I am confident that we will hold all [the Westminster seats] that we have.”

    http://www.latest-news-headlines.eu/article/scottish-labour-s-new-leader-we-won-t-lose-a-single-seat-to-the-snp/440832

  15. Re Jim Murphy, As the late great Mandy Rice-Davies would say……

  16. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d97d49ce-877d-11e4-bc7c-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=uk#axzz3McTbXcY3

    Quite a fair article looking at what Scotland could have been facing had they voted Yes. The numbers are pretty terrifying, but show in stark light the seriousness of the gamble many were prepared to take.

    The OBR were roundly trashed by many Yes supporters as being biased and politically motivated when they published their North Sea oil and gas revenues analysis. At the time, the SNP was using a ‘cautious’ oil price assumption of $110, with their most pessimistic assumptions being at $99.

    The OBR came out with their most pessimistic projection based on $77, and the nats expressed outrage at the political interference of a supposedly neutral civil service body. Oil is now at $62, and is tipped to go lower – some believe we’re in line for $40.

    Under their $77 scenario, the OBR reckoned Scottish government revenues would collapse, leaving them with a deficit of over 6% of GDP at the point of independence. The NIESR believe this would represent an immediate financial crisis for a new nation, with additional borrowing costs and a very sceptical market.

    Of course, as has previously been pointed out on here, some nationalist hide behind the idea that ‘it isn’t 2016 yet, so this wouldn’t have been a problem’. That displays a misunderstanding of how tax works.

    The oil price today will directly affect the tax take in the next 12-18 months, as most corporate taxes lag behind things like VAT and PAYE income tax.

    The additional crisis point is also investment. Below around $70, the North Sea closes up. Investment is being cut now, and Osborne is having to offer tax cuts to keep the industry alive, which all goes to reduce revenues in the years ahead.

    Again, I remain slightly aghast as normally sane Scots believing a complete pile of nonsense on this issue, which has now been thoroughly trashed, not by debate or their opponents, but simply by events. As foretold by many who were angrily denounced as false prophets.

    It’s now abundantly clear that had we had a Yes vote, Scotland’s economy would be tanking as anyone with moveable assets of investments would be heading out to protect themselves from an oil inspired rout. The timing of the oil crash would have been utterly disastrous for iScotland.

    In some ways I now wish there had been a Yes vote, as the SNP would in all likelihood be sinking now. This time, the ‘it’s all Westminster’s fault’ would have been useless, as it wuld very clearly be their own fault for talking nonsense on oil.

    However, the SNP continue to get lucky by never being called out on their failings.

  17. “This time, the ‘it’s all Westminster’s fault’ would have been useless”

    ————

    I think you might be underestimating their determination to blame Westminster, blame you, me, the X-factor judges, blame anyone or anything except calling out those oil price projections that now look rather fanciful.

  18. Scotland votes Holyrood MSP numbers based on the latest Survation poll, in format: Party, Total MSPs, (Constituency MSPs), change from 2011.
    SNP 70, (68), +1
    Labour 29, (0), -8
    Conservative 16, (3), +1
    Lib Dem 5, (2), +0
    Green 8, (0), +6
    UKIP 1, (0), +1

    Note: I used the OldNat method of putting UKIP in the independent column rather than Others as last time I did this people complained they got different results from me and I think this is why it came out differently.

    This poll suggests even Eastwood would be lost by Labour (to the Conservatives) with all other constituency seats in Glasgow and West Scotland going to SNP.

    Personally I’m sure Jim Murphy could hold Eastwood at either a by-election or in 2016 but if I were Jim I’d not be going for a by-election anywhere outside East Renfrewshire in the near future.

    Even in Eastwood there is a risk at a by-election that the ABT vote becomes an ABJ vote. You could have Greens voting tactically for SNP, SNP voting tactically for Con and Con voting tactically for Jim. A right bunfight guarenteed, although I’d expect Jim to win.

  19. @OLDNAT

    “Murphy said. “I am confident that we will hold all [the Westminster seats] that we have.”

    ———

    Got any quotes from Salmond on the oil price thing?

    (Good to see ya back, btw…)

  20. @Norbold

    It’s not quite as far fetched as it sounds. Assuming UNS in Scotland, a tie in Scotland with 35% Lab and 35% SNP would still deliver 38 seats to Labour, down only a net 3.

    However, a further 10% loss of the Labour share to the SNP, giving Lab 25% to SNP 45%, would however reduce that Lab seat total to 6. So Labour loses 32 seats on the basis of what, over the UK, would be a 1% loss of its UK vote share. By contrast, a similar 1% Lab loss of share spread across the whole of the UK under UNS would cause Labour to lose only around 5 seats.

    So there is some justification for the obsession with Scottish polling on this site, because of its critical implications for the UK wide election outcome rather than that for Scotland in isolation.

  21. I was wondering about a possible by-election next year in Eastwood and realised it poses an interesting dilemma for the Tories and Jackson Carlaw in particular.

    Jackson has cultivated the Eastwood seat over a period of 10+ years contesting it in 2003, 2007 and 2011. In 2007 he reduced the Labour majority to less than 1,000 votes.

    However he is of course also a list MSP in the West of Scotland. As I understand election law if he decided to contest the by-election he would have to resign as a list MSP before nominations closed and the 3rd placed Conservative from the 2011 West of Scotland regional list would be elected as an MSP instead.

    By delicious coincidence the person who placed 3rd on the list is Mr Maurice Golden who is also chairman of East Renfrewshire Conservative association that will choose any by-election candidate…

    Interesting times in East Renfrewshire.

  22. At the mid to late part of January, when the credit card bills come in and the early December salary is a distant memory I reckon Lebour’s lead will drop; people will be having their “oh, so we do have to pay back all that spending!” moment.

    Is there a correlation between seasonal events and the polling of particular partys?

  23. Norbold

    “Have you ever thought what state the NHS would be in without immigrant labour, Mr. J.?”

    Yes. Have you ever thought about how importing millions of people *before* building the extra infrastructure needed for those people would *inevitably* lead to the sort of problems the people in the first effected areas have been complaining about for 16 years and which are now spilling out beyond those areas?

    @John Pilgrim

    “Not to mention the empty lands of E.Anglia, where labour is the main constraint on the mass production of green vegetables for UK supermarkets.”

    If an industry is only viable with large amounts of very cheap labour (and to make it worse mostly seasonal) what does that mean in terms of public finances?

  24. It occurs to me that an interesting and I think largely unforeseen effect of the referendum is to have moved Scotland beyond a tipping point, in that politics now seems to be viewed mainly within a Scottish context rather than a UK-wide one. Hence the close alignment of Holyrood and Westminster voting intentions.

    Whether this is an irreversible paradigm shift or a temporary effect that will be eroded by the overwhelmingly UK-wide focus of the media during GE15 remains to be seen. Will media pressure persuade more Scots to see the election as primarily a Cameron vs Miliband contest, or will they stick with Sturgeon vs Murphy? I don’t have much idea of how the balance of media influence will play out in Scotland.

    I wonder if the election of a higher profile Slab leader might serve to shore up the Scottish focus of the campaign, paradoxically to the detriment of the Labour vote share in Scotland. And equally paradoxically, whether the effect of media intervention might be to boost Labour in Scotland and thus deprive Cameron of a majority?

    Any thoughts from those with better knowledge of Scotland than mine?

  25. At the mid to late part of January, when the credit card bills come in and the early December salary is a distant memory I reckon Labour’s lead will drop; people will be having their “oh, so we do have to pay back all that spending!” moment.
    ———
    I think that Labour’s improved position could be due to:
    1. Some ‘red kippers’ have been put off UKIP by their two MPs being ex-Tories.
    2. People have looked at their finances in the run up to Christmas & felt that pay freezes, together with rising prices for necessities, has had an impact on their Christmas.

    That’s what the polls seem to be saying, as far as I’m concerned. Others may beg to differ.

  26. @Amber Star,

    The whole point of Anthony Well’s latest post was that he was trying to dispel the myth that the polls show that Labour’s position has improved a bit in recent days. True, there have been a few polls that have shown an improvement since the Autumn statement, but many have also shown the opposite. In short, Labour still has the same 1.6% lead across all pollsters that it has held over the past couple of months. The rest is probably just a case of MOE.

  27. @ AMBI

    That’s why I said: “Others may beg to differ.” ;-)

  28. MRJONES
    “If an industry is only viable with large amounts of very cheap labour (and to make it worse mostly seasonal) what does that mean in terms of public finances?”
    Actually it is a highly mechanised industry, but still needs manual labour, which both main parties have sought to be on a basis of the minimum wage, plus good working conditions and social costs; Labour to achieve an above living wage.
    There are a number of factors in present working conditions being attractive to immigrant labour, opportunity cost and of course, poverty and lack of emplyment opportunity in the home community being among them. That, I believe, so long as both sides benefit, being the point of a single labour market.

  29. My personal opinion, looking at the polls, is that there has been a slight improvement in the Labour score over the last couple of weeks.

  30. Ambiv – the main point was actually if you are going to back up a conclusion about movements in the polls by looking at other polls showing the same trend, you need to look at ALL the other polls, not just cherry pick the ones that show the same trend and pretend the others don’t exist. I didn’t really mean to have a discussion about what the polls were showing, only to grumble about cherry picking!

    As it happens, I do think the claimed impact of the Autumn statement is bollocks – looking at the polls before and after it’s very difficult to see any difference.

    Amber didn’t say that though, she said UKIP’s support might be waning and there might be an impact from Xmas… and there might be, though I’m not convinced yet. Some of it is polls tending to show bigger leads happening to report at a similar time, but the YouGov polls in the last week had some bigger leads than usual. A lot of that was that unusual five point lead though, get something else like that in the final poll, then perhaps.

    Whether it’s a effect that’ll stick, or the short term impact of Christmas on either (a) opinion or (b) sampling would be a different matter of course, but we shall see.

  31. With the numeric flexibility of the labour market (which declined in the last 10 years or so), you also have structural inflexibility of the labour market. Hence the importance of immigration (and it’s not primarily about cheap labour) in and the UK and the US.

  32. @ SomerJohn

    It occurs to me that an interesting and I think largely unforeseen effect of the referendum is to have moved Scotland beyond a tipping point, in that politics now seems to be viewed mainly within a Scottish context rather than a UK-wide one.
    ——————
    Alex Salmond standing for Westminster will almost certainly shift the media focus from Scotland to the UK. Other than this, I think that it is impossible to forecast what the media narrative will be. It may depend, to some extent, on whether or not Jim Murphy is also standing for Westminster in 2015.

  33. I’ve seen a steady increase in commentators here and elsewhere talking about the possibility of a 2nd election next year. It’s assuming that the result of May 2015 will be pretty messy, with no automatic two-party coalition possible (let alone a majority government) a result which to me seems quite plausible.

    It’s just from the only recent example of such a thing (1974) there was very little change in seat totals: it’s one of the lowest I can find since the war, and excluding those where the incumbent is doing particularly well (2001 and 1987) it looks like the lowest. Really, what is expected to happen in 6 months that can shift enough seats? At best, it would possibly help a major party avoid doing deals with the SNP.
    That’s excluding “events”, which by their nature, makes them inherently unpredictable.

    We need to get May 2015 done first before we start thinking too hard about the next go. Oh, and there’s the little matter of the Fixed Term Parliament act.

  34. Very interesting to see AW’s assertion that there is no consistent polling evidence for any post AS movement. When I raised the possibility, I guess I must have been somewhat influenced by unconscious cherry picking, but I did also look at the UKPR projection, which went from Lab short by 1 to Lab majority of 12, which I don’t think has been updated since the 15th. I may well be wrong, but as I thought some polls had shown Lab further ahead while others had then still behind, but by the same amount, then my assumption was that the next update would show a further increase in the projected Lab seats. As I say, AW knows more about this than I do, so I’m probably wrong.

    Where I would pick up on his description of the AS influence as [email protected], is in the media narrative. I will readily accept his word that the AS hasn’t had a material impact on polls, but I would still argue that it has had an adverse impact on how the media treats Con claims. This in itself, may over time mean something.

    The AS opened up Cons to a much more critical media analysis on the deficit and spending than I think they had expected. Right wingers like Fraser nelson accused Cameron of ly!ng, more left leaning commentators took the Wigan Pier references, and the general impression was of a government that had conceded some important ground on their central area of strength.

    Whether that eventually has a poll impact I don’t know, but there does seem to have been a subtle shift in the terms of the debate within the media.

  35. The election of Jim Murphy as leader of Scottish Labour has to be seen as a positive for Labour as he does appear to be a formidable politician. However whether it will make a difference to those former Labour supporters, who have migrated to the SNP in the wake of the Indy ref, remains to be seen.

  36. [Scrub duplicate posts please]

    Interesting to see Russia is now bailing out banks today. Looks like the real crisis is hitting.

  37. @KeithP

    Like you I think it entirely possible that the May 2015 GE could end messily but I am not sure that 1974 is a useful comparison.

    Both 74s were two horse races with Labour and Conservative sharing 75% of the vote with Jeremy Thorpe’s Liberals mopping up three quarters of what was left. 2015 is likely to see 5 or 6 parties gaining significant shares.

    The movement in a second election, if there were one, is not likely to be between the big two (There has been very little throughout the parliament according to the polls) but to or from the other parties.

    So a stalemate in the spring followed by a big swing from UKIP to Con or SNP to Labour in an autumn election could easily create a majority government without Miliband or Cameron taking a single vote from the other.

    As to the Fixed Term Parliament Act: It could easily be a footnote in history or a pub quiz answer by this time next year.

  38. Meanwhile, may I say thanks to Anthony Wells for this excellent site. I don’t post a comment very often but I enjoy reading your informative posts and everybody’s comments.

    Merry Christmas To Everyone

  39. Mathematically I think that AW, Unicorn and others are right. It is only possible to see a shift to Labour by selecting polls or starting points for a trend. This, however, does not mean that there has not been a shift.

    In terms of gut feeling I think there has been a change with a clearer ideological gulf appearing between the two sides. Credit for this, if is true, would have to go to Osborne since Labour seems to continue to do the things I would like it to do by stealth and as if ashamed of them rather than by trumpeting them as the fairest and best way forward.

    If such a gulf is becoming clearer I would expect it to benefit Labour. This is partly because the right is split and partly because I suspect that the country whatever its view of Labour’s competence prefers on average Labour values to those of the allegedly ‘nasty’ party.

  40. @Amber Star,

    “That’s why I said: “Others may beg to differ.” ;-)”

    Apologies. I blame it on all the mulled wine.

  41. @Amber,

    I thought it was out of character; your posts are generally excellent. It turns out that I was just too caught up in Christmas festivities to read a post properly!

  42. @Anthony W

    “As it happens, I do think the claimed impact of the Autumn statement is bollocks – looking at the polls before and after it’s very difficult to see any difference.”

    Ah yes, that may be right, but that’s an entirely different argument to whether Labour’s lead is widening or not. You may also be ignoring the slow burn possibilities, that you often mention yourself, when it’s wise to look at the effects of an event further down the time line, allowing for issues to resonate and sink in via the media narrative. Immediate conclusions can be misleading. I also wonder whether you’re ignoring the chronology too when you’re calculating your averages. The recent polls showing bigger Labour leads have clustered rather than pop up sporadically. It’s worth looking at the average of all the polls taken since UKPR last updated its average on 15/12/14. I’ve tried to take them in descending chronological order, and these are the 9 polls taken over the last 7 days:-

    Opinium – Labour lead +7
    YouGov – Labour lead +2
    YouGov – Labour lead +5
    Ipsos/Mori – Tory lead +3
    TNS – Labour lead +7
    ICM – Labour lead +5
    You Gov – Labour lead +2
    ComRes – Labour lead +3
    Populus Labor lead +2

    Now, apologies if I’ve missed a poll somewhere, or got one or two a tad out of sequence, but I have taken the 15th December as my start date and gone for the cluster of 9 that I’ve noticed have appeared over the recent week. 7 different pollsters giving an average Labour lead of 3.3% and, if you take out the obvious outlier (Ipsos/Mori), then it’s an average Labour lead of 4.1%.

    Of course, if you throw in all the polls prior to these last nine, and go all the way back to the Autumn statement, the average Labour lead comes down to pre Autumn statement levels, but that’s not the point some of us are making. We’re trying to comment on a recent trend emerging. Seems plausible, if nothing else, and the statistics provide evidence of a shifting position.

    Toby Helm of the Observer was wrong maybe to link it all to an adverse reaction to the Autumn statement but the point about a widening Labour lead over the last 9 polls seems, if nothing else, an entirely reasonable one to make.

  43. I’ve calculated the average lead for all the surveys in the last three weeks, taking the date the survey completed. I get:

    Week to 7/12: Lab lead 1.3 (9 surveys)
    Week to 14/12: Lab lead 0.9 (9 surveys)
    Week to 21/12: Lab lead 2.7 (10 surveys)

    Considering that the 95% CI for Lab or Con VI over 10 surveys is around 1%, the last of the three is looking significant (though it is just on the outer edge of possibility that it is a fairly hefty random fluctuation).

    Looking forward to more data!

  44. @ Amber,

    It may depend, to some extent, on whether or not Jim Murphy is also standing for Westminster in 2015.

    He won’t be, will he? I thought the current plan was to try for Holyrood in a by-election early next year, and he’s not seeking a dual mandate So assuming his plans go not-catastrophically, he won’t be standing for Westminster again.

  45. Populus has come out, screwing up our Labour lead trend:

    Lab 35 (=)
    Con 35 (+1)
    LD 9 (=)
    UKIP 12 (-1)
    Oth 9

    To which I say, “Lol, Populus.”

  46. ChrisHornet

    “Murphy said. “I am confident that we will hold all [the Westminster seats] that we have.”

    Then yes, that looks a prime example.

    It will probably go on to be 2015’s rival to Charles “we all know we’re not going to win” Kennedy at the peak of Lib Dem popularity, and Alex “20 seats” Salmond in 2010.

    As for the discussion about two elections, the only way I see it happening is if the Tories somehow return as the largest party in a hung parliament. In those circumstances the mid-sized parties would be desperate on the one hand not to enter into formal coalition with Labour, and on the other for there not to be a quick second election (for different reasons to one another. The LDs couldn’t afford another campaign, and the last thing the SNP and UKIP would need after smashing their previous seat count records is a snap election in which the public knows, rather than merely suspects as was the case in 2010 and 2015, that a dozen seats either way will decide whether the PM is Conservative or Labour).

  47. @Spearmint,

    I don’t think the polls know what they want to show at the moment!

  48. Interesting to see Russia is now bailing out banks today. Looks like the real crisis is hitting.

    Russia can’t afford not to sell oil and gas. Terrifying.

    #pubgardenpolitics

  49. I agree that the impact of the Autumn Statement is probably minimal (ie AW is right) but still feel Labour’s position is improving modestly. Like Amber, I think this is probably because UKIP’s bubble is beginning to deflate. Most of their adverse and seemingly unending PR mini- catastrophes seem to centre on candidates with views that border on Europhobia, homophobia or misogyny, and whatever the word is for disliking poorer people (plebophobia ?). It is hardly surprising that the immediate impact of that is to encourage some of their former Labour adherents to revert to their original home. If the bubble continues to go down then there may be a similar fillip for the Tories from former Conservatives, who will become increasingly unwilling to back a right wing horse that will come nowhere in the GE race, and revert to the right of centre one with a chance of winning.

    My end of year hunch (and that’s all it is) is that it will actually be very difficult in the end for Labour to drive the Conservative vote down below a repeat of somewhere around its modest 36% of 2010. To be a credible alternative government (as opposed to possible lucky winners under FPTP) Labour have to get close to 38-39%. That target looks very hard (especially in view of the Scottish situation and an improving economy ) but still worth trying for next May. My own view as a Labour sympathiser is that if Labour don’t get an absolute majority they should stay in Opposition, and aim for a decisive majority with new faces and radically new policies in 2020.

    Happy Christmas to all UKPR contributors

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