We have a bumper crop of opinion polls today – as well as the regular twice-weekly Populus poll, weekly Ashcroft poll there is the first of a series of monthly Survation polls for the Mirror. Still to come tonight is the daily YouGov poll and a ComRes telephone phone for the Indy, both due at 10pm-ish.

The three have been published so far are:

Populus – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6% (tabs)
Ashcroft – CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 9% (tabs)
Survation/Mirror – CON 31%, LAB 30%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 23%, GRN 3% (tabs)

All three polls have Labour and the Conservatives within one point of each other – Populus with Labour one ahead, Survation with the Tories one ahead, Ashcroft with them equal. There is more difference between the reported levels of support for the Greens and UKIP – Survation traditionally give UKIP their highest levels of support and have them up on 23% (this is clearly not just because of prompting, given ComRes, YouGov and Ashcroft also now include UKIP in their main prompt), in contrast Populus have UKIP on 13%. Green support is up at 9% in Ashcroft’s poll, but only at 3% in Survation’s. Unlike ComRes’s online polls (harsh turnout filtering) and Populus’s polls (disadvantageous weighting) there is nothing particularly unusual about Survation’s methods that would explain the low Green vote.

I will update later with the ComRes and YouGov polls.

UPDATE: The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent is out and has topline figures of CON 31%(+2), LAB 30%(-2), LDEM 8%(-4), UKIP 17%(+1), GRN 7%(+2) (tabs). It’s the first time that ComRes have shown a Tory lead in their telephone polls since 2011, and a fourth poll today to show the two main parties within a single point of each other. YouGov is still to come…

UPDATE2: The last of today’s five GB polls, YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 33%, LD 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%. That’s five polls today, all showing Labour and the Conservatives within 1 point of each other. As we hit the hundred days to go mark we have the closest possible race in terms of vote share, if not necessarily in seats.

297 Responses to “Monday polling round-up”

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  1. @John B

    “the Scottish ones vary wildly, with Labour swinging from 25 to 35 and SNP from 40 (or below) to 50”

    Sample sizes have reduced since the New Year. As you might expect, the margin of error has risen (from about 6.5% to about 8%).

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2014/09/here/ (top two images)

    “You won. Get over it.” sums up the constitutional situation well, especially the need for the Unionist parties to move on and accept that if they want Scotland involved they have to accept the consequences.”

    Looking at the ‘unionist’ (I use the term loosely to sum up the anti-SNP, anti-indy minded, but really refer to the political parties) perspective, every point since 1999 has been designed to destroy the SNP / Scottish nationalism. An idea can’t be unthought. A point of view can’t be destroyed, and those that believe it can are ultimately engaged in a futile crusade, when they should be sticking to the simple things, such as putting more food in bairns mouths.

    The use of the term “you won, get over it” was in relation to two people (trolls perhaps) who were battling it out on a newpapers’ comments section. The unionist basically summed everything up in “you lost, get over it”. The strange thing was that the unionist didn’t seem particularly happy or pleased.

    I think that like 1999, some believed that that should be the end of it. Unfortunately, until we get outstanding politicians filling the ranks of the unionist parties, we will have people voting for alternatives.

  2. IG1234,

    I think it was mostly a lack of experience on Bennett’s part. She struggled to stay on topic and didn’t have enough techniques to hand to shut down awkward issues, and lacked some crucial figures. This is generally going to be a problem for the Greens and UKIP, simply due to a lack of opportunities for practice. The experience will actually help her for the debates in all probability, which may have been the reason she accepted the interview despite the fact that it was obviously going to be tough.

  3. “The strange thing was that the unionist didn’t seem particularly happy or pleased.”

    If you undergo painful potentially fatal surgery and survive, you need not be that happy about it, as opposed to just relieved.

  4. @Graham

    The Lib Dems who have deserted for new pastures are likely to be thoise that hold traditional Lib Dem policies close to their heart – electoral reform, a strong anti-nuclear view, environmental issues……

    The Green policy base is much more closely matched than Labour’s to traditional Lib Dem values. I’m sure that one bad interview will not drive them all away to Labour.

    I heard Natalie being interviewed enough times where she has done okay, and Sunday’s blip is most likely an exception and not the rule.

    @Roll a Hard Six

    It would be an interesting chat for sure :-)

  5. @Roger M

    “So, as in previous Welsh polls, the nett effect is that wasted Lib Dem votes have been replaced by wasted UKIP ones.”

    And some wasted Green ones as well, with the Greens on 8% in Wales in that poll.

    If the Greens are taking significant former LD votes in Ceredigion that would otherwise have transferred to Plaid, then that could mean that the LDs hold off the Plaid challenge there and perhaps keep Clegg in a job. (I can’t stand the habit of referring to party leaders by their first name, incidentally.) Thus, a Welsh dimension to the pattern of the Greens fostering a split on the left to keep the coalition parties in office.

    I mention that not least because a few years back, when Plaid won Ceredigion, their candidate stood under a joint Plaid/Green ticket.

  6. On interesting factor will be the tactical voting. To what extent will the SNP, UKIP and the Greens simply pile up votes in safe seats? Will the Labour vote hold up better in Labour-Tory and Labour-Lib Dem marginal?

  7. @Bill

    I agree with your analysis.

    You can bet the lessons will be learned, and she will swotting up on details, as well as the techniques you describe to cope with a difficult debate.

    A Facebook group I am on very quickly found plenty of evidence the counter the image Andrew Neil put across the the Citizens Income is a massive, unfunded black hole. It isn’t.

    Luckily for Natalie Greece stole the headlines, so she has probably got away with it.

  8. @Unicorn

    “To prevent the over-representation of companies which poll with greater frequency (YouGov and Populus), only one weekly poll from each is included.”

    Which one? The most recent would be the most logical, but I suppose the Beeb won’t want to change things every day. They wouldn’t hurt things if they took the average of the five polls in a given Yougov week (in fact, they would have a far more reliable setup if they did).

    Of course the other polls would pull the YG average to bits, but in theory they should all even out over time (if the pollsters are doing things right).

    I’ll wager the Beeb pick the Sunday Times poll every week. That’s the one most people see, and the one that seems to get the politics jumping up and down if there’s a big change.

  9. @Bill

    “If you undergo painful potentially fatal surgery and survive, you need not be that happy about it, as opposed to just relieved.”

    On that analogy, the patient originally didn’t want the surgery, and ergo wasn’t successful anyway as nothing changed, but now the patient is aware there’s a problem and is taking alternative steps to rectify it.


  10. Catmanjeff,

    I would add that a single event would really be problematic for the Greens if it put off a lot of their supporters or potential supporters, and I haven’t seen evidence of that yet. It was just a really bad interview, but if she’d just said something like “benefit scroungers” or “silly middle-class talk about civil liberties”, she might have lost a lot of support, but she didn’t.

  11. Statgeek,

    I don’t think this analogy is going to really work for a sustained period, and I really don’t want this to descend into another debate on the substantive issue. My point was simply to explain why the prevailing emotion among unionists was one of relief rather than joy.

  12. Appealing to both left and right wing voters is a trick that’s hard to pull off. Labour in Scotland picked a notorious ultra-capitalist as interim leader and as a result are seeing its left wing dissolve.

  13. bill patrick

    I thought that Labour had it in the bag, given the rise of UKIP and the fall of the Lib Dems, but the Tory vote has been slightly more resilient than I expected and Labour have failed to capitalise on their advantage in this parliament. (I thought that left-wing voters had nowhere else to go: I was wrong.)

    couldn’t agree with you more. I still expect some kind of left coalition governing Britain post May 2015, but the way in which labour have not managed to head the ball in the net is incredible.

    The tories have been split by ukip, losing 2 sitting MPs to that party, they have been flatlining on 32% for 18 months; the lib dems, their junior government parties, are on single figures, having been on 23% at the general election in 2010.

    Under these circumstances you would expect a labour walkover, as seemed likely until the scottish independence vote and last autumn’s party conference season.

    since then, labour has simply sunk in vi…i imagine labour high command doesn’t think the election can come soon enough…

    Mili I think on the verge of a breakdown; he has been incredibly quiet in the last couple of weeks. The Tories, somewhat unbelievably, are bristling with confidence. They have that public school arrogance. Labour are terrified of the tories’ getting in for another 5 years somehow, not having the same sense of natural superiority and entitlement to office. it’s a very human drama.

    If the tories get in again, i think the labour party will be a busted flush, with UKIP, SNP, and the Greens eating bits of the labour corpse….

  14. @”They have that public school arrogance.”

    Ah-the old ones are the best ones :-)

  15. Shy tories in england ,shy labour in scotland could have the last laugh on everybody.

  16. I am a tory and went to a very minor public school. I know whereof I speak.

    arrogance is maybe too strong a word, but the tories do have a self confidence and level of expectation that labour simply doesn’t have. I think Blair and some of the New Labour team- Campbell, Mandelson, though not Brown- had that level of self-belief and were comfortable with power….the current labour team seem unsure of themselves and at the bottom of it all, i suspect, they don’t really believe they can do it.

    Mili himself seems paralyzed…he hasn’t said anything really substantive since before his fairly disastrous conference speech. the fact that Dave taunted him about forgetting the deficit last week, shows that the speech was a gift to labour’s enemies.

  17. shy tories in england ,shy labour in scotland could have the last laugh on everybody

    how does that work…surely they cancel each other out?

  18. Labour should not be worried yet as they are way ahead in London & the Midlands where most of the marginals are,also i think if Cameron keeps being chicken re the debates it will start to cost him.

  19. @Crawfie

    Mili I think on the verge of a breakdown; he has been incredibly quiet in the last couple of weeks…. Mili himself seems paralyzed…


    Good God! How on earth have you got hold of his medical records?

  20. Peter Crawford,

    I do think it’s the biggest failure to seize an opportunity in British party political history, or at least I can’t think of an example yet. Labour will probably win, but it could have been so much easier for them. I think that the particular failure was not to focus on either (a) a Blairite centrist focus on middle-of-the-road Tories or (b) a focus on being the firmly left-wing party who can actually win. Either approach could have worked, if pursued competently and successfully.

  21. @Peter Crawford

    Re arrogance or self-confidence or whatever, there’s more than a kernel of truth in what you say.

    However, lest this thread turn into one of Miliband-bashing, can I say (as one who’s indulged in quite a bit in the past) that you seem to have missed quite a lot of substantive stuff over the past few months. That is very easy given the way things are reported nowadays. I thought that for once Miliband was in pretty good form this morning, announcing the third of Labour’s pledges:


  22. I think Cammi’s greatest asset is his ability to adapt chameleon like depending on which group he is trying to impress. If there are significant changes in the political landscape following the general election, it will be fascinating to see how adept he is at attempting to broker a deal.

    His main aim in politics is to continue being Prime Minister.

  23. Given Cameron is PM because he lost less badly than the other side, are we not talking that the next PM will again be PM because they lost less badly than the opposition? In other words, the population really does not like either side enough to vote for them. Except, perhaps, the SNP who may well get a very clear mnadate from their electorate…

  24. “His main aim in politics is to continue being Prime Minister”

    No kidding Sherlock.

    Wuff wuff.

  25. Looking at electionforecast’s ‘nowcast’ data, and thumping it into the Electoral Calculus site:


    “Lab 5 short of majority” – With the Lib Dems on 15 seats, and the SNP on 39 seats. Frankly, I thought that was being fairly generous to Labour on 321 seats.

    Short of some sort of Conservative surge (today’s YG suggest a good RoS cross break for them, and that’s not enough), I still have Labour as the party with the most seats, but not with an OM. Both the big two to have less than 300 I think.

  26. Peter Crawford
    “Mili I think on the verge of a breakdown”

    Grow up !

  27. My brother, an arch Euro-sceptic, swears a plum job in Brussels is waiting for Cleggie when he retires from British politics

  28. StatGeek

    I think if you offered that to Ed today he would likely bite off your hand and most of your arm.

  29. Valerie

    in the soft fruit department? Surely he could do better than that.

  30. Little Red Rock
    Do they handle the bendy bananas?

  31. A thought just occurred to me over a lunchtime pint (or 2).

    Do any or all of the polling companies weight for ethnicity? I couldn’t see it on YouGovs weighting criteria.

    This is broad brush stuff but on a 1000 average sample, according to the 2012 census, 14% of Britain is non-white British. therefore should include 140 ethnic voters . On the basis that approximately 60% of these are Labour voters that would mean 8.4% of the poll would be Labour. If only a non-weighted 70 were included in the sample , it would be 4.2% OR an underestimate of 4.2% in the overall Labour vote – the difference between a landslide victory and a hung parliament!

    I’m sure Unicorn or fellow sage will tear this theory apart, but I would be grateful if someone could let me know!

  32. Funtypippin

    That was David Miliband.

  33. I don’t know what the internal dynamics are like inside the Labour Party high command. However, Miliband was probably persuaded at some point that ‘softly softly’ and 35% would give him the win. If he had gone for a clearly left agenda: anti-Austerity, Re-nationalisation, council house building, powers to trade unions, end zero-hour contracts, living wage and so on. I am just making up a few most of which would outrage the press but might have engaged the voters. In effect if he had lived up to his ‘Red Ed’ tag would he be in a better position now?

    Regarding Scotland when I make the argument I am told: to paraphrase ‘We tried that look what happened to Michael Foot’ to which I reply ‘Scotland voted for Michael Foot’. So a left stance wouldn’t have done him any harm in Scotland.

  34. Ciderman
    According to Wikipedia none of the polling companies weight for ethnicity (which I found quite surprising as a non-expert) although Survation weight for religion which you would expect to have some overlap with ethnicity.

  35. WOLF
    Labour in Scotland picked a notorious ultra-capitalist as interim leader and as a result are seeing its left wing dissolve.

    Interim seems a very apposite term, as Murphy still hasn’t confirmed whether he will stand in May and presumably will resign anyway if the physical polls in May are remotely like the opinion polls today.

    Further, he has claimed he’ll be an MSP after the 2016 GE, so does seem to have some medium-term ambition to remain but OTOH he spurned the chance this week to vote in the HoC [or even to whip his 40 LiS minions to do so] to give himself [as next FM] the right to control fracking in Scotland, something he has vowed to have and recommended in the Smith report.

    Could he be losing faith in Smith like everyone else?

  36. @funtypippin

    Thanks- that was quick!

  37. @Couper2802
    “If he had gone for a clearly left agenda: anti-Austerity, Re-nationalisation, council house building, powers to trade unions, end zero-hour contracts, living wage and so on.”

    Miliband’s gone a long way towards most of those positions, even on anti-austerity. It’s more of a left agenda than you give him credit for. The problem is that due to the influence of those who insist that Labour can only win by following the New Labour centrist playbook, who are seemingly running the campaign, radical policies aren’t being presented as such.

    This is worth a read.


    “By promising to introduce new tax rises (a 50p rate, a mansion tax, a bankers’ bonus tax, a steeper bank levy), to leave room to borrow to invest and to only eliminate the current account deficit (rejecting the Tories’ target of an absolute surplus), Ed Balls has avoided the need for cuts on the scale proposed by Osborne. The Resolution Foundation estimates that the post 2015-16 fiscal tightening required under his rules could be as low as £4bn.”

    Ed Balls has avoided sweet Fanny Adams. He has never been Chancellor, his proposals are no more than that.

  39. @ Peter Crawford

    Re: Your comment at 1.30 pm

    I know you are just trying to spin a ‘Labour in tailspin’ yarn, but let’s stick to the evidence shall we?

    You say that Labour was hit by the referendum and “since then, labour has simply sunk in vi…”

    This makes it sound as if things are going from bad to worse and that Labour’s VI fall has accelerated over recent weeks or months. However, as I have pointed out in my regular updates on trends, both Labour and Tory VIs are still almost exactly aligned with the trends established from the beginning of 2014. So, while you are obviously right to note that Labour’s VI is going down, it is not as if anything new is happening. It is just the same, steady drop that we saw throughout last year.

    Critically, if this continues through to May 7 is means that the Tory VI will be about 0.5% above Labour’s on Election Day and – based on most seat conversion models – this would comfortably give Labour the largest number of seats.

    Lots can happen over the next 15 weeks, and the polls since the weekend suggest that something might be afoot. But I think it you want to persuade others thwt Labour is in crisis you need to be a little more careful about marshalling your evidence.

  40. PHIL
    ” I thought that for once Miliband was in pretty good form this morning, announcing the third of Labour’s pledges:”

    I get the sneaking suspicion (linked care and health having been well researched and declared by Andy Burnham over the past four years) that he is expecting the electorate to understand and agree with what he is saying rather than being impressed by the way he says it.

  41. Ciderman

    Anthony responded on ethnic weighting a few weeks ago. Only London polls are weighted for ethnicity, he said it wouldn’t really make a difference at a national level – although in Jan of this year there was a tweak in the algorithms of who gets invited to do Yougov polls to ensure more ethnic representation for London. (presumably if you weight by past vote, that goes some way to fixing missing BME voters already?)

    But personally I think it is becoming more important with the rapidly changing demographics, and the evidence seems to suggest BME voters are having to be significantly upweighted in London at least, so I think that as well as shy Tories, we may also have missing BME voters in polls.

    Perhaps they balanced themselves out in a straight Tory/Labour poll, but with the rise of UKIP it seems to be inflating UKIP a bit now – at least looking at the BME data for London EU elections vs the actual result. But in other regions Labour seemed to be overstated due to shy Tories. So overall Labour is right, UKIP overstated in London, shy Tories understated elsewhere, at least looking at the EU election results vs polls.

  42. @Roland

    I’m having dinner with him on Thursday so I’ll pass on your regards.

  43. @Phil Haines

    That is my hope and I hope once he is PM that the SNP will support most of his policies. I think that Miliband might be happy to scrap Trident and replace the Lords with a fully elected senate which are SNP policies. In return, the SNP will then support Miliband on NHS etc.

    I just hope the Blairites don’t ruin it for him.

    On Murphy — there was talk of him in effect swapping seats with the current MSP, I think that was the original plan. The MSP Ken McIntosh was intending to stand down from the Scottish Parliament and he even appeared to say his goodbyes to Holyrood before Christmas but that hasn’t happened. My theory is that Murphy’s statement that ‘Labour will retain all their seats in Scotland’ is a get out for him. If Labour lose lots of seats my theory is Murphy will resign as LiS leader and continue his career at Westminster, so I think he will stand in May.

  44. @Ciderman

    YouGov ignore it except for in London.

    I’ve made the same point as you to AW in the past – ethnic minorities may be only about 1/7 of the electorate, but ethnicity is such a good predictor of VI (at least for non-whites) that it’s folly to ignore it.

  45. What am I talking about Murphy has to stand in May otherwise he won’t have a seat and can’t be LiS leader. So either he stands for Westminister in May or McIntosh resigns and Murphy stands in a by-election. But time is staring to run out for that scenario.

  46. Ciderman

    Do any or all of the polling companies weight for ethnicity? I couldn’t see it on YouGovs weighting criteria.

    YouGov certainly do for their London polls and from the beginning of the year also for the London sub-sample of their daily polls. I’ve seen other pollsters with ethnicity cross-breaks, so it’s possible that some others do as well (especially in polls where it may be an issue) and most seem to have the relevant details on their panel files.

    You have to be careful with the 2011 Census data because it doesn’t necessarily match the make up of the electorate due to nationality, age and under-registration. Richard’s made some interesting comments on here, based on BES data, about how many people simply don’t register because they don’t realise they are entitled to.

  47. Couper
    “Miliband might be happy to scrap Trident and replace the Lords with a fully elected senate”

    Miliband has already stated they would replace the Lords with an elected senate.

    Nov 1st 2014:

    Labour would replace the House of Lords with an elected senate if the party won next May’s general election, party leader Ed Miliband has said.

    He told a conference in Blackpool on Saturday the current system “fails to represent large parts of the UK”.

    Senators would be elected from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions instead of from constituencies like MPs.


  48. @Phil Haines

    Many thanks.

    I read an article about a year ago about the increasing representation of the ethnic population in the middle classes and the connected spread to the outer suburbs (and marginal seats) from the inner cities. This has the effect of diluting the Labour vote in the latter (with minor electoral effect due to mostly large Lab majorities) and increasing it in the seats that matter.

    Might be significant in a tight election….

  49. @ Statgeek

    Looking at electionforecast’s ‘nowcast’ data, and thumping it into the Electoral Calculus site: […] “Lab 5 short of majority”…

    You know better than that! Suggesting all is playing sailing for Labour is as bad as @PC’s orchestrated pessimism.

    Electoral Forecast makes no adjustments for developments between now and the election and so in effect you are just reporting a (slightly different) Nowcast. No one doubts that Labour would be relatively well-placed if things stay as they are now. But all the old hands (like Kellner, Curtice etc) and most of the models anticipate changes that shift the balance towards the Tories and so I don’t think it clarifies matters to confuse a nowcast with s forecast.

    Heading off on a slightly tangential tack, I have never understood the source of the apparently consistent VI biases in the EF Nowcast. I can’t recall seeing the Tory VI going above 30%, and the LD figure is rarely far below 10%. Both are consistently out of line with polling averages. I suspect that the LD figure is boosted by the model’s strong emphasis on Ashcroft CVI figures. (A rather high proportion of LD seats have been polled). If they let that rise then something else has to go down, but I don’t know why it shoud be the Tory VI that takes the hit.

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