Fifteen Weeks to go

Week three of the year and the regular cycle of opinion polling is back to full speed, with the first ComRes and ICM polls of the year. Almost all the regular polling companies have now reported figures from 2015 (we’re only waiting for Survation and ComRes’s telephone series).

ComRes/Independent on Sun. (15/1/15) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 3%
YouGov/Sun on Sun. (15/1/15) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 7%
Populus (15/1/15) – CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
YouGov/S Times (16/1/15) – CON 31%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 18%, GRN 7%
Opinium/Observer (16/1/15) – CON 28%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 20%, GRN 6%
Ashcroft (18/1/15) – CON 29%, LAB 28%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 11%
Populus (18/1/15) – CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%
TNS (19/1/15) – CON 31%, LAB 31%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 16%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (19/1/15) – CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
ICM/Guardian (19/1/15) – CON 30%, LAB 33%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11%, GRN 9%
YouGov/Sun (20/1/15) – CON 32%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 10%
YouGov/Sun (21/1/15) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 8%
YouGov/Sun (22/1/15) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 8%
Populus (22/1/15) – CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%

The horse race remains extremely tight between Labour and the Conservatives, with most polls showing them within a point or two of each other, generally with Labour marginally ahead of the Tories. The UKPR average now stands at CON 32%(-1), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 15%(nc), GRN 7%(nc). The Green party’s rising support got a lot of attention this week because of their double digit figures from Ashcroft and YouGov, but there has not been a sudden step change in their level of support, it’s been on a steady increase since last year.

Scottish polling

This week we also had two Scottish polls from Ipsos MORI and Survation. Both continued to show a solid lead for the SNP in Westminster voting intentions. MORI had SNP on 52%(unchanged) to Labour’s 24%(up one). Survation had the SNP on 46% (down two) and Labour on 26% (up two). Both would still translate into an SNP landslide in Scotland come May.

Week Three

Every general election seems to start with the political parties putting out a flurry of announcements at the start of January, and then running out of steam a bit. This week’s political news has been rather bitty.

  • The reporting of the Chilcot Inquiry has been put back until after the general election, we can expect to see some polling on that at the weekend.
  • Peter Mandleson criticised his own party’s mansion tax proposals. Nationwide the idea of a mansion tax has extremely wide support – in September YouGov found 72% support for a tax on properties over £2million pounds. Criticism of it from within Labour tends to come from London, where it is less overwhelmingly popular, but still gets the thumbs up – YouGov London polling last August found 49% of people in London supported a “mansion tax”, 18% were opposed. Amongst London’s Labour voters 61% supported the idea.
  • The government announced that they would after all introduce legislation on plain packaging for cigarettes before the election, something that has previously been in and out of the long grass, and was seen as one of those policies that the Conservatives had put away as part of “cleaning the barnacles from the boat”. Generally speaking there is public support for the proposal – YouGov polling for the Sunday Times in July in 2013 found 58% of people supported compulsory plain packs, 26% were opposed. YouGov polling for Ash in 2014 that included a picture of an example of a plain pack found 66% of people in support, 10% opposed.
  • Finally the debates debate rumbles on, with the broadcasters making a new proposal to include the Greens in the debates… but also to include the SNP and Plaid, so that the format becomes two debates between seven leaders, and one debate between just Cameron and Miliband. Including all seven leaders was actually the most popular single option in the YouGov/Sun on Sunday polling last weekend, chosen by 35% of people. Between them though 49% of people preferred one or another of the options including fewer leaders.

Projections

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015 and Elections Etc are below. All are still predicting a hung Parliament. Note that Steve Fisher has made some substantial changes to his Elections Etc model in order to treat England and Scotland separately, and hence reflect the increase in SNP support in Scotland

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 283(nc), LAB 278(-3), LD 23(-3), SNP 41(+5), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 278(+1), LAB 286(-3), LD 28(+1), SNP 34(+2), UKIP 3(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 269(-4), LAB 289(+9), LD 27(+3), SNP 38(-8), UKIP 4(nc)


270 Responses to “Fifteen Weeks to go”

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  1. Bring on the debates

  2. … of course now Respect and the DUP want in as well. Will the Monster Raving Loonies get a spot too?

  3. 7 party debates will be an absolute circus. What is the point?

  4. Stephen W

    “7 party debates will be an absolute circus. What is the point?”

    Yes. Much easier just to have one party. It saves all that really difficult stuff like listening.

  5. I wonder if I should publish updates from my prediction model on Wednesdays instead of Mondays to be included in these roundups…

  6. Also, the other shoe has dropped in the Lib Dem camp as they realise they’re in trouble by being rolled in with “the minor parties”. Two how-ever-many-it-ends-up-with battle-royale debates. And then one “serious real debates between the two leaders”, where EM will have very low expectations to meet (and possibly exceed), and DM will have to defend the government’s record.

    This was supposed to be bad for Labour right?

  7. Oldnat

    “Yes. Much easier just to have one party. It saves all that really difficult stuff like listening.”

    Too clever by half? There’s simply not enough time for TV debates to include more than three people – or four, at a pinch – for them to say anything meaningful. Seven people is simply ridiculous.

    Why should broadcasters arrogate themselves the right to boss politicians and the public?

  8. Jayblanc

    Where the Ch4/Sky debate in the series is scheduled may have an effect.

    If those who tune in to the Cameron/Miliband debate are unimpressed with either, then those may be damaged.

    Not a prediction – but a possibility?

  9. @pointer

    Other European countries have debates with several participants so they seem to find it useful.

    If such a debate is not useful the answer is to have no debate at all. Better that than give a handful of Westminster parties a broadcasting advantage over others.

  10. Pointer

    I’ve made the point before that broadcasters laying down the rules is as unacceptable as the biggest parties setting the rules in their own self-interest.

    However, I am constantly amazed by those who consider that the attention span of themselves and/or the UK voters is so limited compared with voters in other countries who have had such numbers in election debates for years.

  11. 7 party debates will be an absolute circus. What is the point?

    The point is a 7 party debate reflects the diverse range of parties that influence our political life today.

    If you want a straight Conservative/Labour fight, I’d catch a bus to the 1950’s.

    It was relevant then.

  12. Including all seven leaders was actually the most popular single option in the YouGov/Sun on Sunday polling last weekend, chosen by 35% of people.

    Opinium on the same day asked the question a different way asking who should take part individually:

    http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/sites/ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/files/vi_13_01_2015.pdf

    The leader of the Conservative Party 74%

    The leader of the Labour Party 75%

    The leader of the Liberal Democrats 66%

    The leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) 61%

    The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) 30%

    The leader of the Plaid Cymru 23%

    The leader of the Green Party 46%

    The leader of the British National Party (BNP) 18%

    Other 1%

    Don’t know 13%

    (This also gets round the problem that you suspect a lot of people don’t know who, say, Leanne Wood is)

    There seem to be about 10-15% generally who are opposed to any debates[1] and another 10% who don’t really care.

    If pushed 20% (including some of the above) seem to believe in a more-the-merrier approach. But the remainder(and you suspect this includes the vast majority of those who actually vote) seem to want UKIP and the Greens included but not the others. I suspect the figure might be even lower for PC and SNP if people realised that there would be an equivalent set of debates in Scotland, Wales and NI whatever the situation with the UK ones.

    [1] Oddly enough Conservatives seem the most reluctant. Whether this is deference or fear that Cameron will do badly (and he normally gets tremendous support from his own supporters) is uncertain.

  13. ole nat

    “Much easier just to have one party. It saves all that really difficult stuff like listening.”

    What would be good TV is to have a prize draw, lib=ve, with all leaders having a go.

    The winner then has the rest of the evening to impress the public and – to make it even more interesting – they have to choose one of two secret compartments which will dictate whether they are required to waffle or rant [see previous thread]

    Maybe the rest of them could be in the front row booing.

    I’d definitely stay up late for that.

    [Well – not much after nine pm of course.]

  14. Labour now complaining about the SNP being included on the debates and saying they are not a national party.

    The waffling over who should and who should not be on the debates is now getting as exciting as someone taking their pet to the vet.

  15. Sinn Féin make the case for equal right “to present and promote our policies and positions in the public arena” – which, to be fair, is what these election debates provide.

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/33049

  16. @ Old Nat,

    It’s a question of attitudes though, isn’t it? In countries with less adversarial politics you might be able to have a constructive seven-way debate, but in Britain it’s likely to result in a stupid battle royale in which everyone just slags the others off in two minute soundbites. The number of participants makes it impossible to both slag people off and talk about policy and we can rely on British politicians to choose the former over the later.

    I’m actually perfectly happy with this proposed format for partisan reasons, but I think it’s more likely to resemble That-Wednesday-Event-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named than a constructive discussion of policy differences.

  17. Pigs will fly before Miliband, Cameron, Clegg or Farage share a platform with Gerry Adams.

  18. I think it’s great for our nation that we will have Nicola Sturgeon. Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett in the debates.

    They are three strong, intelligent women who will stop the debate being a boys only event.

  19. lib=ve means [of bleedin course] LIVE

  20. @Mr Nameless

    If Ian Paisley can work with Sinn Féin, then all parties can.

  21. R&D

    We could also return to the 50s and have Pickles challenging leaders in a quiz show.

    Winners would hear his catch phrase “Give ’em the money, Barney” and Barney Crockett would deliver a tranche of Aberdeen’s oil revenues.

  22. CATMANJEFF

    In the case of Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood I think it’s important that they bring a Welsh and Scottish perspective to the debates and how a UK government will impact on their part of the UK.

    It would be a pointless exercise if we had a plain generic debate between Cameron Miliband and Clegg on issues only concerning England.

    The two main UK parties plus the Lib/Dems don’t enjoy universal support in all parts of the UK so it’s only right they have to debate with (hyperbole) regional parties.

  23. @AW

    I think it is a great idea to include the modelled forecasts in your weekly summary, but I think it would clarify this it you didn’t make it sound as if all three were projections for May 7.

    On theire site the May2015 authors write:

    “Fisher and Election Forecast are predicting what will happen in May. We are avoiding extra assumptions and predicting what would happen in an election held today.”

    So, they are each looking at slightly different questions.

    On another matter, I am still a bit unclear about how individual polls earn their place in your polling average summary. I asked a question about this earlier today when I noticed that some polls had been kicked off while earlier ones were still on your list. I might have caught the list in the process of being updated. Can you confirm that you have a strict time-stamp rule for including individual polls in your weekly summary?

  24. Seems to be a lot of blame shifting as to who ordered half mast flags for the Saudi king joining all of his subjects that the regime killed.

    Order came from UK Government via Department for Culture, Media & Sport. However, they seem to passed the buck (appropriately) to Buck House saying it was requested by the Queen.

    Scottish Government ignored it.
    Ruth Davidson condemned it (good for her)
    Louise Mensch said of HM “F*** Her”.

    Some people seem to have taken this “Democracy Day” thing too far! :-)

  25. @Allan

    I agree.

    Seeing as we still live in the same union as we pre referendum, a debate that captures that breadth of the nation must surely be welcomed by all :-)

    Fuse is lit, move away a safe distance…..

  26. UNICORN

    @” I am still a bit unclear about how individual polls earn their place in your polling average summary.”

    FFS-can’t you read ?

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/uk-polling-report-average-2

  27. @ Roger Mexico

    [1] Oddly enough Conservatives seem the most reluctant. Whether this is deference or fear that Cameron will do badly (and he normally gets tremendous support from his own supporters) is uncertain.

    It doesn’t seem odd to me. They are probably trying to show support for his preference of not having the debates.

  28. CATMANJEFF

    I agree with that.
    ….
    “Fuse is lit, move away a safe distance” LOL

  29. If I was in the DUP/SF i’d be livid. In fact i’d feel I’d been DUPed.

    Either all of the D7 agree not to stand candidates in NI (I believe some do) or no deal.

  30. Catmanjeff

    Absolutely! Though you may alienate the nation that you are describing as “broad”. That term has unfortunate connotations in some usages. :-)

  31. colin @ unicorn

    “FFS-can’t you read ?”

    Bit unnecessarily rude – even for you.

  32. COLIN

    “FFS”

    Farage For Scotland?

    No thanks ;-)

  33. ALLAN

    Fact Finding Service -actually :-)

  34. “Stephen W

    “7 party debates will be an absolute circus. What is the point?”

    I dunno – maybe it’s to reflect the number of parties or something.

  35. ““7 party debates will be an absolute circus.”

    They’re a bunch of clowns anyway.

    http://youtu.be/6zXDo4dL7SU

  36. @ Colin

    I’ll ignore your little indiscretion.

    I have, of course, carefully read AW’s notes about how the lists are compiled. Nowhere there does it say that some polls can pass out of the list while others stay on ther and continue to influence the average.

    Since quite a few people pay attention to these averages (and even base model projections on them) it is worth knowing a bit about Anthony’s ground rules in this particular respect.

    As I said in the original post, it may well have been that I caught the list in a transitional stat. It was a simple request for clarification.

  37. Colin

    Have you and Louise Mensch got something in common?

  38. UNICORN

    Er-yeah-right.

  39. Colin

    FFS can’t you read ?

    LOL.

  40. OLDNAT

    Having read her Wiki-that’s a really difficult one.

    The nearest I can spot is :-

    “Her family moved to the countryside when she was seven. ”

    I was ten-which is close :-)

  41. FPT there was discussion of people living in Attlee St, Bevan Way, Thatcher Gardens, Howard Close etc.
    But some of the poor Dutch have to live in The Hague.

  42. For the debates I think we should have the leader of every House of Commons political party and then put them in the Celebrity Big Brother house to see what people think of them!

    Seven? Seriously it can only be a joke – I can’t vote for two of the parties which will apply to roughly 550 English seats.

  43. I agree 7 is probably too many.

    They should x-factor it – the public need to vote for their favourite, every 10 mins the least popular politician drops out until there are only 2 left.

    At least people may then watch it, and that should ensure the most popular parties get the most airtime.

  44. CHRIS JAMES

    “Seven? Seriously it can only be a joke – I can’t vote for two of the parties which will apply to roughly 550 English seats”
    _____

    It is a joke. I too can’t vote for two of the parties in my constituency of East Renfrew. I don’t think Plaid are standing and the Greens don’t have a candidate.

  45. unicorn
    On theire site the May2015 authors write:
    “Fisher and Election Forecast are predicting what will happen in May. We are avoiding extra assumptions and predicting what would happen in an election held today.”

    http://may2015.com/category/seat-calculator/

    this is definitely a prediction and they say they have a model which implies it is a prediction…not sure of what the difference between a prediction and projection is, but they are definitely using current data to predict the result, hence the difference between their average polling vi and the prediction of vote share in the election.

  46. Allan Christie

    Worse than that – 3 of the parties in the debate will be Labour Party, Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Party.

    None of them stand in East Ren, where your ballot paper will only include the Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

    If they have different names, they must be different parties. Right?

  47. OLDNAT

    That’s true so only two of the parties on the debates are standing in my constituency, the SNP and UKIP.

    FFS

    LOL

  48. 7 is too many, I wonder how ed Miliband will feel, the last party he wanted there was the Greens, but now he has PC and the SNP there as well.

    What criteria was used that allowed PC and not the DUP?

  49. After the reaction to QT. I think it might benefit the SNP not to take part in a debate and just leave the rest of the parties to have a huge bitchfest about them and Scots in general and if we could swing a special guest appearance by R&D – better news for SNP

    If we are having a Big Brother competition then we need some romance And someone has to get their kit off.

  50. @Couper2802

    The best candidates for romance are Nick and Dave (they have history). That romantic, soft focus encounter, Downing Street garden, 2010? Remember?

    Getting kit off?

    Best not go there…..

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