13 Weeks to go

It’s been a fairly quiet week for GB voting intention polls, but an interesting one for constituency polling. For GB polls we’ve had just the regular weekly polls (Opinium for the Observer are now every week) and TNS.

Opinium/Observer (30/1/15) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%
YouGov/S Times (30/1/15) – CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
Ashcroft (1/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 31%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 9%
TNS BMRB (2/2/15) – CON 27%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 8%
Populus (2/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (2/2/15) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (3/2/15) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (4/2/15) – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (5/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%
Populus (5/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%

There’s been no great movement in the polls, but a couple of three point Labour leads and a six point lead from TNS (whose methodology change doesn’t seem to have stopped them being the most “pro-Labour” house after all) have moved the UKPR average to CON 31%(-1), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 15%(nc), GRN 6%(nc). This week only one poll showed a Tory lead, so that crossover that looked possible a fortnight ago seems to have faded.

Constituency Polls

Given the large SNP leads in national Scottish polling Lord Ashcroft’s first Scottish constituency polls this week had been long awaited. Rather than a selection of seats from all across Scotland they concentrated on Labour areas that voted YES in the referendum. These showed an even larger swing to the SNP than the national Scottish polls had suggested, which would result in Labour losing some of their safest Scottish seats like Glasgow South West and Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill. Whether the Labour vote is holding up any better in areas that voted NO we can’t yet tell. The details of the Ashcroft polling is here and my analysis of it is here.

On the same day we got a Survation poll of Sheffield Hallam for Unite which showed Labour ten points ahead in Nick Clegg’s own seat, in contrast to a previous Lord Ashcroft poll of the constituency which had shown the Liberal Democrats very narrowly ahead. I wrote about the methodological differences that caused these contrasting polls here, but either way you look at it Nick Clegg should not take his own seat for granted come the general election.

Finally, while this blog is called UKPollingReport, it’s often a bit more GBPollingReport – most polls do not include Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland polls are rare creatures. This week though there was a constituency poll in Northern Ireland, carried out by LucidTalk in Belfast East – the former seat of Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, lost to the Alliance Party in 2010. Topline figures there with changes from the general election are DUP 34%(+1), Alliance 29%(-8), UUP 15%(-6), PUP 7%(n/a), TUV 3%(-2), SF 2%(nc), UKIP 2%(n/a), GRN 1%(n/a), SDLP 1%(nc). Full tabs are here.

Week five

  • Both parties started the week talking about education – the Conservatives academies, and Labour tuition fees. Academies are a flagship policy of the Conservatives, but not necessarily a popular one. When Nicky Morgan was appointed Education Secretary last year YouGov found 40% of people thought she should abandon the policy of turning schools into academies compared to 32% in support.
  • Labour attacked the government’s tuition fees policy. Labour’s own policy has yet to be announced, but there are rumours of a reduction to £6000. University Vice-Chancellors attacked this idea in the papers, warning about the impact on university funding. Public opinion is likely to be on Labour’s side – in December YouGov found people were in favour of a reduction in tuition fees by 54% to 21%, even if it meant less funding for universities
  • On Tuesday MPs voted in favour of allowing Three Parent IVF treatment to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease. At the weekend the YouGov/Sunday Times poll had found 40% of people in favour of the change, 30% opposed and 30% saying don’t know.
  • Labour came under criticism from various business leaders, primarily Stefano Pessina the boss of Boots. Last year YouGov found 27% of people saw Labour as a pro-business party, 21% as anti-business. In comparison 66% saw the Tories as pro-business, 5% anti-business. Whether people necessarily see being pro-business as a good thing is a different matter entirely… more on this on Sunday.


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015 and Elections Etc are below. All have the SNP prediction ticking up a bit (or in May 2015, a lot).

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 282(nc), LAB 279(-1), LD 23(-1), SNP 41(+1), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 282(-1), LAB 283(-2), LD 24(-3), SNP 37(+5), UKIP 2(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 270(-10), LAB 272(-8), LD 25(+1), SNP 56(+18), UKIP 4(-1)

190 Responses to “13 Weeks to go”

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  1. @ oldnat

    No doubt true for the LDs, but which positions of “power” would the SNP get? One of the major offices of state? – rather unlikely. The power to make decisions on English schools? – Why on earth would they want that?

    It would be an interesting one… But I’m sure suitable posts exist or could be created?

    European minister or EU affairs? Maybe a cabinet post would be created for a Minister of Regions? Deputy this or that? Lord Chief Justice? Perhaps not.

    Or even just something like Employment? Why not?

  2. Roger Mexico
    ‘All he has to keep is half the remaining MPs. ‘

    I rather disagree. A good third of his MPs would be likely to simply refuse to go along with such a decision with the result that a subsequent conference held to endorse it would be faced with conflicting advice from different groups of LibDem MPs.

  3. CANDY

    @”As for capital controls – Cyprus is in the euro but has had capital controls since April 2013. In breach of the Maastricht Treaty ”

    ……..following, and as part of, the Troika conditions of its £8 bn Bailout.. The bailout included a draconian haircut for Bank Depositors which would have caused capital flight without the controls.

    The last of the main capital controls in Cyprus were lifted last year-though the doubts about the capital base of Cypriot Banks still remain.

  4. COLIN

    So you are suggesting that a party which gained office on a wave of protest at Debt repayment, with a commitment to abolish that Debt & stay in the EZ, can say to its voters-couldn’t do the debt thing-must leave the euro……and survive ?

  5. SUE

    @” However, I wonder what he says about the rights of women to be two- or even three-timed when pregnant with his child?”

    Beautifully done !

    Bet you are a fearsome opponent down at the Headstrong Club :-)

  6. David in France

    I think SNP would happily settle for the Chair of a couple of HoC Committees, that their likely numbers would entitle them to.

    Apart from the Scottish Affairs Committee, the Defence or Treasury Committees might be appropriate.

  7. Valerie

    I grew up in a world where girly, pansies, poofs, tarts etc etc etc etc were regular terms of abuse.

    Like most people I grew out of it and also grew more sensitive to the damage words can do.

    Some people don’t.

  8. That was for you Candy-not for me…………because I wrote it…….ummmm !

  9. Syzygy

    I think we should all be somewhat suspicious as to whose “benefit” Burns envisaged, when he wrote that poem for Miss Fontanella to deliver. :-)

  10. @ Little Red Rock

    Just a bit of further elaboration to my earlier response to your comment about possible government formation.

    I suggested that Electionforecast may incorporate small biases against the Tories. To check this out a bit I have gone back to the figures for last week’s constituency polls. It turns out that 10 out of the 11 discrepancies between their projections and the actual Ashcroft Tory SVI were in the direction of understating Tory support. To be fair, the absolute discrepancies were incredible small – mostly either 1% or 2% – but the 1/10 imbalance is statistically reliable on a binomial test. The Tory outcomes were more balanced for CVI projections – which is probably the target they are really trying to hit. What this might mean is that Standard polling VI (as used in national polls) slightly overstates Tory support, and that the model is right on target for real voting behaviour.

  11. Since this is a Greek thread, I’d like to point out that the Greeks leaving/being thrown out of the euro would not need a new currency, because they already have one – the euro! Or the “Greek euro” as it would probably be called.

    All they would have to do is stop taking orders from the ECB and allow the Greek central bank to have full control of the currency in Greece. The Greek euro would then float on the currency markets and the eurosystem would be defunct. The Greeks could even pay off all the debts with Greek euros, so not even needing to default! Of course the diplomatic wrangling would be severe, but there would be nothing anyone could do about it, short of sending an army to stop it.

    The key point about all this is made succinctly by Krugman: public opinion will stop the Greek government from leaving the euro voluntarily because of the dislocation caused by the likely collapse of the banks. However if the ECB collapses the banks first, then there is nothing more to lose. Go ECB!

  12. Lord Ashcroft admits the polling company who carried out his Hallam poll got the final numbers wrong. Labour were three points AHEAD not BEHIND of the LDs.

    He has also corrected his previous Thanet South and Doncaster polls. The former should have shown a Ukip lead, the latter Lab +30.

    Ashcroft has hinted these polls were all carried out by a BPS member but he has declined to name them. I suspect he is very annoyed and will not be using them again.


  13. “Unicorn,

    My principle point about the forecasts was not whether or to what extent they included an element of swing back but rather this:

    If any one of them were correct then Cameron could not form a government even with the LibDems and Miliband could form a government without them.

  14. What if we get swing away? ie Conservative share of the vote falls and ukip gains, and Labour rises from the Greens and Lib Dems, who are in terminal decline. The SNP could end up out of government.
    Labour and the Conservatives could be level or slight Labour lead in England and Wales and Labour win a majority

  15. Longtime lurker, but wanted to comment re Hal’s point on the Greeks printing “Greek Euros”. They could of course do so, but they could not pay back their debt in them. It is the holders of the debt, not the party that sold it, which get to decide what is and is not an acceptable medium for repayment. Any effort to repay it with “Greek Euros” would be equivalent to a default.

    At worst, if Greece wanted to claim that these were in fact “Euros”, Athens could engage in currency counterfeiting, which North Korea already does. At most this would mean flooding neighboring EU states with counterfeit currency which would likely result in a physical rather than economic blockade of Greece, in which Greek citizens would be banned from entering any other country on the planet, and Greek assets would become in possible to convert on the international market.

    Also, given that this would effect cash, but not electronic funds, as no one would knowingly accept the “Greek Euros” the Greeks would be directly screwing the ordinary citizens of the EU, while leaving the bankers and wealthy unscathed. That would destroy whatever popular sympathy they might have.

  16. I have plenty of sympathy for Colin’s desire for Premiership football to be run on more socialist and less oligarchic lines.
    I would merely point out that, of the Workers’ English Rugby Squad of 39, 25 were privately educated.

  17. @Colin

    Capital controls are still in place in Cyprus. Here’s their central bank on the subject:


    Money can go into Cyprus, but for money leaving they say this:


    transfer of up to €20,000 per month, per person, per credit institution and/or payment institution, regardless of purpose.

    End Quote

    That’s hell on businesses for a start, especially those who import raw materials or goods to sell on.

    As for the argument of “they needed permanent capital controls because their banks were bailed out” – that’s like us imposing capital controls on the Scots because we bailed out RBS and Halifax Bank of Scotland. Or the Americans imposing capital controls on Florida because their banks were up the creek due to a real estate bust.

    It’s daft. Either you are in a currency union or you are not. And proper currency unions allow for bailouts and transfers without penalising people based on geography. The euro is not a proper currency union if it has to segregate parts of the people using it.

    If you are going to be treated as though you had a separate currency, why not go the whole hog and get your own currency and central bank?

  18. Opinium

    LAB – 34% (+1) CON – 32% (-) UKIP – 15% (-3) GRN – 8% (+2) LD- 7% (+2)

  19. @ unicorn

    Just a bit of further elaboration to my earlier response to your comment about possible government formation.

    I suggested that Electionforecast may incorporate small biases against the Tories….

    A lot/few of us run our own brilliant/in-depth/half-hearted models and some/all do factor in late swings to government &c.

    And my own efforts (which definitely fall in the half-hearted category) show almost exactly the same figures as the others are showing.

    Around 280 or so for each of the main parties. And all that that implies re: forming of next government.

    And that, really, is where things are heading unless things change.

  20. @Oldnat

    That would leave the SNP just under 4%.

  21. Colin

    Does it not occur to you that football clubs are businesses? So if something is wrong with how they operate, it is not the ultimate fault of the football authorities (outstandingly useless though they may be). It is to do with the way in which government regulates (or doesn’t) commercial activities generally. You can’t really complain about the effects in one area of business and support it in others or denounce foreign ownership of a football club but not a pharmaceutical company.

    The only differences between football and most other industries are that many of the big beneficiaries of the free market happen to be:

    [a] the people that actually do the work and provide the goods or services which people are prepared to pay

    [b] professionals who do so in an environment where their contributions can be clearly seen and measured publicly

    [c] in a marketplace where there is greater and more open competition for those high paying positions than any other

    [d] usually of working class origin

    which is it of these you object to? ;)

    I’m not saying you’re wrong about football, though I must point out that most of the extra cash fuelling all this comes not from match tickets but from foreign oligarchs (as you say) and from Mr Murdoch and Sky’s payment for rights. So I assume you’ll be giving up your Times and Sky subscriptions as the main originators of this situation.

  22. Opinium
    LAB – 34% (+1) CON – 32% (-) UKIP – 15% (-3) GRN – 8% (+2) LD- 7% (+2)

    Doesn’t look like a great poll, greens up by 33%, in contrast to other polls, and a 40% Lib Dem rise !

  23. RAF

    Just one word – “rounding”.

  24. @OldNat

    We’ll know when we see the tables, I guess. But yes, it’s possible that with rounding the totals could add up to 101%.

  25. Opinium tables are here:


    Conservative 32% (n/c)

    Labour 34% (+1)

    Liberal Democrats 7% (+2)

    UKIP 15% (-3)

    Green 8% (+2)

    SNP 4% (-1)

    BNP 1% (+1)

    Plaid Cymru 0% (n/c)

    Other 1% (n/c)

    For those who should know better, the Scottish crossbreak (139) is: SNP 38%, Lab 27%, Con 19%, Green 7%, UKIP 5%, Lib Dem 3%. Unicorn and the election forecasters will be pleased to note that the PC percentage in Scotland remains 0%.

    Opinium also say:

    Until the general election, the Opinium / Observer poll will now be published once a week instead of once a fortnight. We have also made some slight changes to our methodology.

    [This includes that] we’re adding some new crossbreaks to our regular tables, how respondents say they voted in the 2010 election and some geographical breaks. In the past we stopped publishing regional crossbreaks because they are too small to be reliable and were easy targets for being taken out of context. However, due to the changes in Scotland since the referendum and the importance of seeing how the constituent nations of the UK compare, we will start including columns for England, Scotland and Wales. While the caveats about smaller base sizes will still apply to Scotland and Wales, there are enough voters from England to make such a comparison worthwhile.

    Hence the above (there are also some other interesting ones I’ll comment on later, if Anthony doesn’t get there first.

  26. PC 0, BNP 1%, more welsh old lady!

  27. Victory for RAF!

    SNP 3.65% in GB! :-)

  28. ” if Anthony doesn’t get there first.”

    You are right as always, Roger.

    New thread.

  29. @OldNat

    Lol :)

  30. I wonder where we would be in a PR seneriao, both Labour and Conservative below 30%, and Greens on 15%, UKIP on 25%, Lib Dems *

  31. @ Oldnat and Colin

    :) to you both

  32. @Usdaniel,

    If the bonds are issued under Greek law, then they can repay them how they like – by changing the law. If they are foreign law, then yes you are right, not paying in ECB euros would be a default.

    But I don’t take your other points. Clearly if the different national euros separate, then they are not 1-1 interchangeable. Banks would establish an exchange rate for conversion. It would not be a case of counterfeiting, since everyone can tell which is which (You can fairly easily tell which country issued a euro banknote, for example.)

    The interesting point about the euro is that it is not one single currency. It is issued by all the eurozone countries national banks (and also the ECB) with an agreement to exchange at 1-1. If that agreement breaks down, the separate currencies could still function.

    I’m assuming this is all part of the Greek plan. Otherwise their brinkmanship makes no sense!

    Very interesting to watch how this all evolves. The public in many countries is (are?) watching to see how the boundaries of the possible are being tested.


    I don’t subscribe to Sky Sports packages.

    The Times loses money-Murdoch subsidises it-I’m very pleased to say.

    Oh-by the way -re “Does it not occur to you that football clubs are businesses? “.

    No it doesn’t.

    If they were most of the EPL ones would be bust.

    Larger football clubs in UK are toys for mega rich people.


    You’re wasting your valuable time mate.

    By & large I don’t care where someone was educated.
    In particular, if I am paying for their services or voting to put them in office, my only criterion is that they are good at their job & give me value for money, or my vote.

  35. CANDY

    You are confusing “currency” -a medium of exchange, with “banking” – a transmission system.

    Scotland within UK is not like Cyprus within EZ. One is a sovereign nation state. One isn’t.

    If you want to squeeze Scotland into your Cyprus metaphor then you need to posit withdrawal of Deposit Protection at all Scottish Banks, and a notice to all depositors in them , that in the event of bank failure they lose most of their deposits.

    The Cypriot Capital Controls ( at least the ones you refer to stopping flight from Cyprus) were to stop Depositors avoiding Deposit losses. It would have been the same in Spain or Italy.

    I can’t be arsed to research why the EZ chose to abandon Depositor Protection in that small island, but memory tells me that it’s government had “attracted” huge chunks of dubious dosh from various rich Russians., who used the place as a money laundering shop come holiday destination.

  36. So 4% gets you 40 plus seats in Scotland but 8% wins you ?? throughout the UK – something not right here.

  37. John

    So 4% gets you 40 plus seats in Scotland but 8% wins you ?? throughout the UK – something not right here.


    so you get 32% across the UK and you get almost 300 seats… YES, something is definitely not right here!

  38. COLIN
    You are having a busy night tonight old chap but as usual you wack em for 6 out of the ground. (Brought in a cricket metaphor as I’m sick of football and the Jessie’s who play it.) I trust that the PC police haven’t banned that word yet.

    I Always enjoy reading your posts.

  39. Hi Robert.

    Thanks :-)

  40. @Claybrol
    “Northern Ireland left the United Kingdom on 1922, ironically the only part of Ireland to get Home Rule after they had resisted so long. The “and Northern Ireland” bit in the name of our country was tagged on so that of NI were to join the Republic it could be quietly dropped off the end.”

    I refer you to the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922. While the Irish Free State did indeed leave the Union on 6/12/1922, the power of the Irish Free State Parliament and Government was “not exercisable” in N.Ireland and in the event that the NI Parliament (brought into being by the 1920 Ireland Act) opted out of the Irish Free State (it had a month to do so) then NI would continue to exist within the Union under the terms of the Ireland Act (remaining “of full force and effect”). NI promptly opted out on the 8/12/1922 thus remaining in the UK. The curiosities of that constitutional choreography have little bearing on the name of the UK which was simply updated to reflect the geographic and political reality of the modified nation state after 8/12/1922. With respects to the election, Long is a pro-Union Protestant so East Belfast is ultimately just a fight between two pro-Union candidates, one a little more agnostic than the other.

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