For the run up to the election Opinium have moved from fortnightly to weekly polls for the Observer, and tonight’s figures are CON 32%(nc), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 7%(+2), UKIP 15%(-3), GRN 8%(+2).

A couple of other updates. First, I have updated how the Uniform Swing Projection over on the sidebar is calculated. Up until now it has been a straight Uniform Swing across the whole of Great Britain. This was deliberately crude, a simple and uncontroversial uniform swing for reference, despite its know limitations. With the surge in SNP support through it had really become quite absurd – Scotland has often shown a different swing to the rest of Great Britain, but this is something in a new league. Hence from today I’ve switching to showing a figure based on a combination of a uniform swing across Scotland and a uniform swing across the rest of Great Britain. The Scottish UNS is based on an average of Scottish polls, the rest of GB UNS is based on an average of GB polls, adjusted to account for the absence of Scotland.

Second, I posted earlier in the week about the contrasting Survation/Unite and Ashcroft polls in Sheffield Hallam. One of the things I mentioned was that there was actually a slight error in the Ashcroft poll that had shown the Liberal Democrats ahead. Lord Ashcroft has now corrected the error (which was also repeated in his Thanet South and Doncaster North polls) and put up corrected tables on his website here. On the revised figures Lord Ashcroft’s Sheffield poll would also have shown Labour ahead of the Liberal Democrats, though by only 3 points. In Thanet South he would have shown a one point Tory lead, rather than the five points reported at the time. Ed Miliband would have been as safe as houses in Doncaster North with a thirty percent lead.

Lord Ashcroft doesn’t officially confirm who carries out the polls he commissions, but the reality is that most of his constituency polls are carried out by Populus – not that there are many companies who do constituency polling anyway (it can only be done on the telephone, and Ipsos MORI don’t do it, so that leaves very few options). In this case Populus did NOT carry out the poll, so the errors here shouldn’t be taken as a reflect on Populus or on Ashcroft’s other polls. In Lord Ashcroft’s own commentary he writes “I have not been in the habit of naming the polling companies I use, all of which are members of the British Polling Council, and I will not be naming this one. But I cannot allow this episode to cast doubt on the reliability of my polling more generally. So I must disclose that these three surveys last November are the first and only I have commissioned from a well-known but relatively new polling firm. And no, I won’t be using them again”.

The only other poll I know of in Sunday’s papers is the regular YouGov/Sunday Times polls.

UPDATE: Opinium have also made some changes to their methodology, detailled on their website here. There is a minor change to their age bands in their weighting to make sure they have enough under 25s, but the main change is to switch over to political weighting. Up until now Opinium and Ipsos MORI have been the only companies not to use some form of political weighting in their GB polls, Opinium are now introducing weighting by “Party propensity”, which seems to be similar in principle to the party ID weighting used by Populus and YouGov. Opinium’s weighting targets are based upon a rolling average of their recent polls and the European election result, which in practice means it should make figures less volatile and, according to Opinium, decrease their reported level of UKIP support.

Interestingly YouGov, Populus, ComRes and Lord Ashcroft have all made methodology changes in the last few months to get onto an election footing, and all started prompting for UKIP. Opinium are bucking the trend and look as if they are keeping UKIP in a second question for people who pick “other”.

186 Responses to “Opinium/Observer – CON 32, LAB 34, LD 7, UKIP 15, GRN 8”

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  1. @ Graham and RAF

    The two Goulds – Philip and Bryan – are difficult to confuse apart from their moniker.

    The recent history of the Labour Party would have been radically different if Bryan Gould had become leader, whereas Philip Gould was a prime architect of New Labour and its reliance on focus group findings.

    Bryan Gould’s vision for the LP was to have mounted vigorous opposition to the notion of TINA. Instead New Labour became reactive, offering policies that were perceived to coincide with public opinion rather than attempting to debate or lead opinion.

  2. AW

    Thanks for un-modding that post.

    I wasn’t sure whether the auto-mod had reacted to P*cketty or Enver H*xha…

  3. It seems that a newly found copy of Magna Carta has been found in a sandwich.

  4. Bryan Gould was my favoured choice for Labour leader.

  5. I’ve never seen so much changing of weighting and methodology in the polls before. It’s scandalous, and shows that something’s not quite right and they keep changing the methods until they get the result they want.

  6. Interesting article in the Guardian

    “Many cabinet ministers don’t think the polls will change at all until the last few weeks of the campaign. One says: “We could end up in the same situation as 1992, where Labour were ahead right up to polling day.” Those working on the Labour campaign agree, with one telling me he doesn’t expect to believe the exit polls, let alone the numbers on the day. But I understand that Lynton Crosby has been holding briefings with MPs in which he predicts that the Tories will start to move ahead of Labour either this month or in March. Some say they have seen a graph by the Tory strategist that he claims backs up this prediction.

    Crosby has also been running private polls in marginal seats since the start of the year that apparently suggest the Conservatives will do better than previous surveys have suggested. Indeed, many MPs in those seats are finding a better reception on the doorstep than they’d expected and some who were looking for jobs outside parliament now think they have a chance of holding on after all”

    Of course Ashcroft was quite scathing about the Tory private polls in the past in his ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ report a few years ago.

  7. All charts updated folks.

  8. @Sue

    Thanks. I was aware that the Goulds were very different people with different philosophies but I could not remember which was which.

  9. @ Graham

    My choice too


    A pleasure

  10. re: the debate about whether to be on the right side of business leaders or to punch back.

    I wonder if Labour figures have been looking at the Scottish referendum. It’s possible that they have drawn the conclusion that the aggressive approach that Yes (and, to a much greater extent, its supporters) took towards business figures that were opposed did it less harm than not taking that approach.

    Yes was accused by its opponents of “intimidating” business opposition, but it would potentially have done it more harm if criticism had gone unchallenged: 1. not rebutting a criticism implies that it is valid; 2. it makes others think they are free to come forward and repeat that criticism.

  11. Somebody said”the importance of business in wealth creation”.

    One question here – what is wealth?

    Is this the value of assets in monetary terms?

    One day your house may be worth X. Another day it may be worth Y.

    I did study economics at university., and so did some other posters. The word “wealth” is not an economics word.” Wealth creation” is not an economics expression.

    Is “increasing national income” what is meant here?

  12. Regarding my dispute over the word “wealth”, no doubt someone is going to come back and quote the title of the book the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.

    However, the word wealth does not have a precise meaning. Another famous textbook book on economics was called the Social Framework ( by Sir John Hicks). It is also another expression which is not precise.

    If you talk about National Income that has a precise meaning. How accurately you can measure it is another matter.

  13. Crosby has also been running private polls in marginal seats since the start of the year that apparently suggest the Conservatives will do better than previous surveys have suggested.

    I’m always suspicious when ‘private polls’ say something that mainstream polling doesn’t.

    Either they know some secrets to psephology that You Gov et la doesn’t, or the private polls are BS. In my view these polls are about as reliable as taking the word of partisan canvassers about what they are finding on the door steps.

    I know what my money is on…..

  14. I guess Mandy Rice-Davies would have the most apt response to Vrosby’s private polling claim.

  15. @ Adge3

    The National Income is based on the flawed assumption that total production can be dissolved to incomes. It can’t, so it is not the an exact measure, and it’s not a measurement problem (Keynes knows it, but then he says that we need something so he sticks to it – but chooses arbitrarily between two of his contradictory definitions).

  16. “Crosby has also been running private polls in marginal seats since the start of the year that apparently suggest the Conservatives will do better than previous surveys have suggested.”

    Rather than take too much notice of the current Premiership table my own, completely private polling demonstrates that Arsenal will take the title with a late surge in May.

    And it’s twoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

  17. Actually-it wasn’t a sandwich. It was the Sandwich . doh .

  18. I have never heard of a private poll whose results were leaked publicly which didn’t say the party that commissioned the poll was doing better than anyone expected.

  19. Colin

    Sadly only two-thirds of the Magna Carta – but a Charter of the Forests as well.

    Maybe Subway should check what they have!

  20. Some trendlines which suggest that the Conservatives are unlikely to form an overall majority (Yes, we knew that, but the trendlines emphasize it):

  21. STATGEEK……..As with CROSSBAT11’s assertion that we can read body language, we can also read trends, it’s our interpretation of what we read that makes life interesting, we don’t have to agree with each other.
    I don’t agree with any of the Leftwing posters on here, they don’t agree with me, but we are reading the same stuff, we’ll only know for sure in May. Your graph shows a definite recent upsurge, or perhaps I should have gone to Specsavers ? :-)

  22. Paul,

    My prediction for the GE is that in terms of most seats.


  23. OLDNAT Yes :-)

    Its a great story actually. This is the last copy-issued in 1300 by Edward 1-there having been no less than 8 reissues/reaffirmations by Henry 111 & Edward 1 after John’s 1215 document.

  24. Private polling? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to remain private. So, message to Lynton Crosby: “Let’s see those polls & the supporting data tables!”

  25. OLDNAT

    The best story recently was the change in “dialect” of the Dutch Chimps sent to Edinburgh Zoo.

    “In 2010, nine new arrivals from a Dutch safari park used an excited, high-pitched call for apples – while the locals used a disinterested grunt.
    By 2013, the Dutch chimps had switched to a similar low grunt, despite an undiminished passion for apples.”


    Perhaps Scottish apples are just not very exciting ? lol.

  26. I wonder anyone takes “CROSBY” polls seriously. Not only does he share a surname with a very popular crooner from the 40’s, 50’s and even early 60’s, but his film partner was a guy called No Hope.
    I hope (pun intended) that this evidence will make the gullible realise, he is No Bloody Good. On top of all this, he is working for the Tories.
    Say no more!!!

  27. @COLIN
    It has been my experience, in the pensions business and the British army, that Dutch people speak infinitely better English than 90% of Scots. (The people around Inverness excluded.) Of course the central belt are the worst culprits. The Scots would almost certainly say, “this proves the English are more closely related to chimpanzee’s than Scots are”. They have become so uncouth since that Salmond fellow came on the scene.

  28. @Roland
    “I wonder anyone takes “CROSBY” polls seriously. Not only does he share a surname with a very popular crooner from the 40’s, 50’s and even early 60’s, but his film partner was a guy called No Hope.
    I hope (pun intended) that this evidence will make the gullible realise, he is No Bloody Good. On top of all this, he is working for the Tories.
    Say no more!!!”

    Crosby’s strength is undermining the opposition rather than strengthening his own side. I presume he is exercising these skills to seek to prove that EM and Labour are hopeless and have no chance of winning. Whether it will work we don’t yet know.

  29. @Roland (continued)

    One of Crosby’s best calls so far this parliament was pursuadibg DC to allow AS to hold the referendum just a few months before the GE.

  30. @Ken

    Compare May 2010 with the present day on a given trendline.

    RoS was in the 50% realm and is now 40% ish. London and Mids were both above 40% and are now below 35%. North was 35% and now is high 20s.

    Do you think that the Conservatives will surpass their 2010 polling?

    They will need to if they want an OM.

  31. RAF
    Well there you are, No Bloody Good. As if the people he is trying to nobble would sink to that.

  32. Richard,
    I suppose you also noticed that the article was written by Isabel Hardman,
    deputy editor of the Spectator,that well known left leaning periodical.

  33. New thread

  34. @Ann
    Yes but, Isabel is very very pretty and that does make a difference.
    As a Specky reader I must report that many Kippers on their site, think she is a liberal hussey. Of course, I defend her consistently.

  35. The last outing of private polling was in the referendum, was it not? Salmond’s private polling told him that he was streets ahead.

  36. Does anyone have numbers for candidates nominated by party for Wales?

    In response to comments that Green party support is strongest in the southwest, below are municipal areas where the Green Party did well in the European elections in 2014:

    Brighton and Hove 24.5% ahead of Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrat
    Norwich 23.9% ahead of Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrat
    Oxford 21.1% ahead of Conservative, UKIP, and Liberal Democrat
    Cambridge 19.9% ahead of Conservative and UKIP
    London, Hackney 17.5% ahead of Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrat
    London Islington 15.5% ahead of Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrat
    London, Haringey 15.1% ahead of Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrat
    London, Lambeth 15.1% ahead of Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrat
    Manchester 12.4% ahead of Conservative and Liberal Democrat
    Liverpool 10.3% ahead of Conservative and Liberal Democrat

    Then there are Local Government elections:

    Cambridge 14% 2014
    Lancaster 3rd 15.8% ahead of LD 2011 and they just took two seats off Labour in a byelection in 2014 with 37%
    Liverpool 2nd and official opposition with 4 seats 10.7% 2014
    London, Camden 3rd 15.7%
    London, Hackney 2nd 17.5% Mayor’s race/20.6% council 2014
    London, Islington 20% – only opposition party elected
    London, Lambeth 2nd 16%, 3rd ahead of LD and UKIP seats
    London, Lewisham – only opposition party elected
    Manchester 2nd 12.8% 2014
    Mid-Suffolk 3rd 14.1% 2011
    Norwich 2nd official opposition 30.3%
    Oxford 2nd 20.3%, third behind LD in seats 2014
    Reading 3rd 13.6% ahead of LD and UKIP 2014
    Sheffield 4th 12.2%, but third ahead of UKIP and Conservatives on seats
    Solihul 2nd 14.2% ahead of Labour, LD and UKIP
    Waveney 3rd 14.1% 2011
    York 4th 14.6% 2011

    Will be interesting to see how the Green vote does in these constituencies in 2015

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