Three new polls today – two GB polls and one Scottish one (and YouGov to come later).

A week ago we had sharply contrasting polls from Lord Ashcroft and Populus – one showing a chunky Conservative lead, one showing a chunky Labour lead, both probably outliers. Today’s Ashcroft and Populus polls are far more normal, both showing a tight race between Conservative and Labour.

Topline figures from Populus are CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%. (tabs). Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 29%(-5), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 15%(-1), GRN 11%(+3) (tabs). While Ashcroft’s gap between Labour and Conservatives looks a little more normal, the poll has an eye-catching Green score – up to 11%. This is the highest the Greens have scored in any poll since their initial but short-lived breakthrough back in 1989.

As ever, be wary of giving too much attention to the poll that looks interesting and exciting and ignoring the dull ones. The Greens certainly are increasing their support, but there is much variation between pollsters. Below are the latest levels of Green support from those companies who have polled so far in 2015:


Support varies between 11 percent from Ashcroft and just 3 percent from Populus. For the very low scores from Populus and ComRes there are at least clear methodological reasons: Populus downweight voters who identify as Green supporters quite heavily, while in ComRes’s online polls they appear to have added a much stricter turnout filter to Green and UKIP voters since they started prompting for UKIP. At the other end of the scale Lord Ashcroft’s polls have consistently tended to show a higher level of support for parties outside the traditional big three, but the reasons for this are unclear.

Meanwhile there was a new Scottish poll from Survation from the Daily Record. Topline Westminster voting intentions with changes from Survation’s previous poll are CON 14%(-2), LAB 26%(+2), LDEM 7%(+2), SNP 46%(-2), GRN 3%(+2), UKIP 4%(nc). (tabs). It shows a small narrowing in the SNP lead, but it was from an extremely large lead last time, so it still leaves them with a huge twenty point lead.

112 Responses to “Latest Populus and Ashcroft, Green polling and Survation Scotland”

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  1. Interesting discussion between Alan Johnson & a bloke from PC.

    My take on the verbal semantics-PC/Green/SNP will demand No Trident replacement for a Coalition deal.
    Labour will not now ditch Trident, despite their history & some of their backbenchers.

    Therefore no Coalition is possible between PV/SNP/Green & Labour.

    However-S&C is given “issue by issue”-so they will prop a Labour government up on non-Trident issues.

  2. Peter Crawford,

    Firstly local election results especially by elections are a notoriously unreliable indicator of general election outcomes, but specifically.

    Many of the Scottish results have been in rural areas which might not be a particularly reliable indicator of how the whole country would vote.

    More importantly comparing the SNP with UKIP is probably flawed anyway.

    Two of the largest areas of Local Government control are housing and Schools. In Scotland there tends to be a strong consensus supporting Local Authority Education and Council Housing compared to England but more importantly and particularly in rural Scotland the issue of immigration and “Foreigners” getting Council Houses and “bursting schools at the seems” just aren’t there.

    Therefore the local element of and prominence of immigration that has boosted UKIP in England just isn’t a factor in Scotland as in part testified to by UKIP performance in Scotland in general and in Scottish local government in particular.

    In the Euros UKIP won the election in England, they just scraped the last seat in Scotland.

    Far from questioning the SNP’s current popularity I think it is more a case of measuring two different things on different sides of the border.


  3. Wouldn’t a Cameron government’s Queen’s Speech have to include an EU referendum bill?

    If so, wouldn’t he need comfortably more than 300 seats, assuming that such a QS would have the support of 8 or 9 DUP and a handful of UKIP MPs?

    Or is there another party who would support such a legislative programme?

  4. I keep having to say this…

    Northern Ireland Unionists in coalition government belongs to the past. Doing it now would destabilise Northern Ireland and undo all the progress made on power sharing there.

    UKIP are unlikely to get enough seats to be in a coalition, they’re going to struggle to hold their by-election gains.

    You can invent as many fantasy scenarios as you want to put Cameron back as PM, but they’re all still fantasy scenarios.

    The only viable path for Cameron back to No.10 is an outright majority or LibDem coalition/C&S. And those are both quite unlikely right now.

    And Cameron’s promise of a referendum, as with all his recent promises for the next parliament, have been on the basis of “As a majority government.”

  5. Regarding the pride thing – humans are intensely social animals (there are very few true hermits on the planet) so of course we like belonging and feel pride in our particular nation.

    But in England, how you express that pride depends on your class.

    There’s a 1930’s novel called “Five Red Herrings” by Dorothy Sayers set in Scotland, and this Englishman is in a pub listening to a Scot bang on about how wonderful Scotland is and he starts to fidget: “To boast loudly of one’s own country seemed to him indecent – like enlarging on the physical perfections of one’s own wife in a smoking room”.

    That middle class strain of thinking is still around now. It’s ok to take pride in private, but as soon as someone makes it overt, suspicion arises about their agenda. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” sort of thing. So nothing much has changed from Samuel Johnson in 1775 to the 1930’s to 2015.

    And from time to time that low-key culture clashes with the flag-waving groups who think if you arn’t overt you must “hate your country” – not realising that the reticence to flag-wave is a very particular old middle class tradition.

  6. The new reality that is emerging through all of these polls is that the two major parties are unlikely to achieve much more than a third of the popular vote UK wide. The concern must be that such figures demonstrate a significant disjunct between the policies that are being espoused and the concerns of the electorate.
    However a different hypotheses might be that both the major parties have, by use of the “politics of fear” approach to policy making, created the conditions for an electorate that responds only to such fear. In relation to the economy the difficulty being that the only fear that can be engendered is that the other party will, in some unspecified way, cause a catastrophe. It is a rational conclusion that this only works for that core of their vote at about 33%.
    The problem this creates in a FTTP system is that we are now floundering to understand what policies are actually popular, and perhaps more tellingly whether they are the same policies that will be popular on the day of the GE. This is because there is no coherence in the opposition position: e.g. the Tories will not be able to glean from the variety of policies espoused by LD, Lab, Ukip which might be suitable to adopt or adapt.
    The fact of the matter is that, generally, the UK politicians currently in Parliament appear to have given up on following any Ideology that would work as a guiding principle upon which to base policy and instead say we are the best managers and the others are not very good managers and will ruin everything.
    This has worked since 1992 but I see the coming GE as a watershed. However what will follow is anybody’s guess.
    The one thing I will say is that IMO the country needs a quality of individual far above those currently seeking office to save us from disaster.

  7. ICM (The unnameable paper has details)

    Lab 33% : Con 30% : LD 11% : UKIP 11% : Grn 9% : Others (“most importantly the Scottish National party”) 7%

  8. Candy

    Nice piece on pride, your quote from Dorothy Sayers is very apt. I would go a little further, that “middle class strain of thinking is indeed still around and I think is particularly English.


    “The only viable path for Cameron back to No.10 is an outright majority or LibDem coalition/C&S. And those are both quite unlikely right now.”

    I disagree, I think that is the most likely scenario looking forward.


    Thanks for the heads up. Liked the quote from Martin Boon of ICM:

    The parties we used to relegate to the margins with the term ‘others’ are now moving centre stage, the combined forces of all those outside the old LibLabCon triopoly has never been stronger during three decades of Gxxxxxxn/ICM polling.

  10. The DUP in a coalition government is certainly off the table, but DUP support on confidence motions is not, anymore than SDLP support for Labour on confidence motions is off the table.

  11. candy

    ” reticence to flag-wave is a very particular old middle class tradition.”

    …….and, ironically and paradoxically is something that actually DOES make us proud to be English: we don’t really like to, or need to, bang on about it.

  12. @Oldnat

    Very small sample in that poll’s CB, so not much to go on. In addition, about 40% of the Scottish sample is made up of WNV, DK, Refused. The CB comes in at:

    SNP 52%
    Lab 24%
    Con 13%
    Lib 11%

    UKIP 0%
    Green 0%
    Others 0%


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