12 weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls

YouGov/S Times (6/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%
Opinium/Observer (6/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%
Ashcroft (8/2/15) – CON 34%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
Populus (8/2/15) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4%
YouGov/Sun (9/2/15) – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (10/2/15) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 8%
Ipsos MORI/Standard (10/2/15) – CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 9%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (11/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (12/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
Populus (12/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%

The big picture remains stable, with Labour and Conservatives very close. There were a couple of Conservative leads at the start of the week, but a couple of three point Labour leads at the end of the week mean the UKPR polling average continues to show a two point Labour lead – CON 32%(+1), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 14%(-1), GRN 7%(+1). Whether those two larger leads at the end of the week are anything more than normal sample noise remains to be seen. The MORI poll showing UKIP on just nine percent was their lowest since last September – I wrote on Thursday about the difficulties of actually telling what’s happening to UKIP support given changes in methodology, it looks like they might be declining slightly, but it’s hard to be sure.

Scottish and marginal polls

There were two other voting intention polls this week, a Scottish poll from TNS and a marginals poll from ComRes. The TNS poll showed a significantly smaller SNP lead than other recent Scottish polls. Survation, MORI and YouGov are all showing the SNP twenty points or more ahead; TNS produced an SNP lead of only ten points. This is presumably something to do with the methodology (TNS is a traditional face-to-face poll, rather than an online or telephone poll) as the long fieldwork for the TNS poll actually overlapped with all three of the other polls, meaning it can’t have been that opinion has changed. Meanwhile the ComRes poll showed a 4.5% swing from Con to Lab in the 40 most marginal Conservative vs Labour marginals – the equivalent of a two point lead in national polls… exactly what the national polls are currently showing!

Week 6

  • The sixth week of the long campaign started with Tristam Hunt defending comments he had made about nuns, then went through whether Labour’s women’s campaign was right to have a pink van, before settling on the rather more serious matter of tax evasion, the role of HSBC and an abortive legal threat against Ed Miliband by Lord Fink, a Tory donor with a swiss bank account. I expect we shall see some polling about tax evasion and party donors come the weekend, though possibly not about nuns.
  • UKIP launched their election campaign in the seat of Castle Point on the south coast of Essex, a potential target seat that may or may not have had UKIP’s first MP (it was never quite clear whether the defector Bob Spink formally joined UKIP or not) and where the party have formed an alliance with the Canvey Island Independents.
  • The Lib Dems launched the front page of their manifesto, showing us their main points (and their presumed demands in any coalition negotiations) will be promising to increase the personal allowance to £12,500, balance the budget fairly, invest £8bn in the NHS and provide equal mental health care, guarantee education funding and provide qualified teachers and pass “five Green Laws”.


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015 and Elections Etc are below. The long promised seat model from the Polling Observatory team (Rob Ford, Will Jennings, Chris Wlezien and Mark Pickup) finally made its debut this week too. I don’t think it’s up on a website yet, but they put it out at the NCRM’s conference on election forecasting and tweeted it, so I’ve included it below.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 281(-1), LAB 281(+2), LD 23(nc), SNP 41(nc), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 280(-2), LAB 283(nc), LD 27(+3), SNP 37(nc), UKIP 2(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 269(-1), LAB 274(+2), LD 24(-1), SNP 56(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
Polling Observatory – Hung Parliament, CON 269, LAB 293, LD 21, SNP 37, UKIP 1

209 Responses to “12 weeks to go”

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  1. @Leftyhampton

    Fisher’s model is based on historical evidence that says that the Tories and the governing party OFTEN get a swing back. History suggests that ON AVERAGE their should be swing back.

    Yes – all correct. And the model posits that the current election will track that historical average. So, according to the model the VI – I repeat – “should” by now be moving to the Tories. There is nothing at sll wrong with his terminology.

  2. “In response David Cameron said it was the previous Labour government which had been “the friend of the tax dodger”.

    Yeah yeah-but who got the headline?

    EM on a roll.

  3. ooops!

    talking to myself :-) [Indeed, I don’t think you need to make the point seven or eight times – AW]

  4. @Colin

    In a non-partisan spirit, I wonder what is happening with the Conservative campaign?

    It’s deathly silent. Perhaps they one or two big surprises planned.

    I really am baffled.

  5. @Catman Jeff

    What’s happened with the Conservative Campaign is that they announced all their major policies last year. Something that I recall people were demanding that Ed M should also have done…

  6. MikeN – “I also note that mentions of immigration have sort of been dropped by the Cons in the last month or so. This has coincided it seems with a decline in UKIP support. I’m sure mentions of immigration will resume, so it will be interesting to watch the effect on VI.”

    This is the big risk in mentioning certain policies – it benefits the Brand Leaders for that policy. If a particular policy is important to a voter, why should they vote for the pale copy when they can have the real thing?

    IMO the parties are brand leaders on the following:

    UKIP – immigration
    Con – business
    Lab – NHS
    SNP – Scottish independence
    Green – environment
    LibDem – electoral reform

    The Libs are suffering because no-one is interested in their signature policy – especially as they themselves abandoned it to go for AV and then got defeated in a referendum. It’s hard to know what exactly they stand for that couldn’t be delivered better by another party.

  7. Question:

    In relation to this swing back what was trhe combined vote percentage of the two major parties?

    Incidentally in Canada in 2011 in a five Party race with 39.7% of the vote the Conservatives won a majority of seats, with all five parties gettiung into Parliament.

    In 2008 same five parties with 37.7% they could not get a majority, and only four got into Parliament.

    Seems to me, that excluding NI but includING Scotland and Wales, this is a seven party race and neither Con nor Labour are approaching majority territory yet,

  8. Candy,

    Being vigorously pro-EU is also in their favour for some people. In fact, if you’re in favour of joining the Euro someday, they’re your best bet.

  9. “They are already throwing the kitchen sink at the opposition, rolled out their business chums to bash them, arranged Obama stardust to out wow them, announced big vote catching policies to out buy them …and the VI has barely moved, let alone creating any momentum.”

    Oh, I wouldn’t say that – Labour appear to be up a little bit ;)

  10. I agree with Paul Bristol. UKIP tend to get all the headlines on the EU so there is an incorrect presumption that being pro-EU is not a good idea. However, over the last 20 years or so, support for the EU has always been greater than opposition to to the EU. Currently it is anti EU but only just. Business likes the EU, as do the TUC. I think that UKIP and the Tory’s under-estimate the value to both LibDems and Labour for being openly supportive of EU membership, especially among the under 40s. As this GE is likely to be won on the Economy as much as public services, Labour’s support for the EU supports their claim to be ‘business friendly’.

    The SNP have played their pro EU credentials very well, presenting a good case for a Scotland free of Whitehall, but still in touch with their export markets.

    I suspect that DC will want to play down both the EU and immigration from now on

  11. sorry I meant Bill Patrick – brain storm

  12. Can I point everyone in the direction of the comments policy again. There are some really good comments lately that are actually about polling and using polls for predictions and measuring public opinion, polluted by those who aren’t making the effort. Hence, I’m putting in an effort on the moderation to encourage those who are making an effort.

    As ever, this is NOT a site for political or policy debate (plenty of other places for that), and is a site for comments in the spirit of non-partisanship. That means leave your own political opinions at the door as post as if you are a neutral, even if you aren’t. Please no comments that are thinly veiled versions of “Hoorah, hoorah, party I like is doing well!”. It adds nothing to the conversation, encourages partisanship and makes the site unwelcoming for people with other political views. Even the most benign and pleasant comment along those lines (“Oh, good, the party I like is up in this poll”) leads us in that direction – please post as a neutral, and treat everyone else as a neutral too. If others don’t keep to those rules as well as you, set an example and ignore them.

  13. Another interesting project from that crowdfunding site


    It sounds like Fast fact are upping their game for this election, so politicians better make sure they have their facts right!

    “Expert Volunteers

    The Office for National Statistics and Ipsos Mori are sending some of their statisticians and researchers to volunteer in the hub, and we’re working with the Royal Statistical Society and others to recruit more individual experts. These people have good knowledge of the topics that will come up, and the sources of information we’ll use to check them – so we’ll be able to factcheck more claims, faster”

    Perhaps they need to get Anthony on board to be the ‘crap reporting on polls’ expert.

    “This includes supporting volunteers and transporting our experts to and from SKY, BBC and ITV so they can tell us the real story! Factchecking for 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 6 weeks”

  14. Richard – they have been known to ring me up for an opinion, always happy to help ;)

  15. @ Anthony Wells

    You gave your concise opinion in today’s FT. Opinion is a commodity after all.

  16. Laszlo – I doubt I did give a concise opinion. George Parker probably distilled my very long, waffley and woolly opinion into something concise and sensible sounding.

  17. It was roughly: nothing is moving. About two lines (FT columns). Somebody else was similarly destilled, but my daughter borrowed (took) the paper so I can’t check it.

  18. RAF
    At least three GB VI polls tonight per Mike Smithson:
    1. Comres (Indy on Sunday/Sunday Mirror);
    2. Opinium (Observer); and
    3. YouGov (Sunday Times)

    Should be interesting to see if any of them will continue with the recent increase in the Labour VI.

  19. “How close do we need to get to the election before swingback proponents accept that they are wrong?”

    Just a litte bit after.

  20. Mike Smithson:

    LAB retains 2% lead in latest Opinium poll for the Observer

    LAB 35+1
    CON 33+1
    LD 8+1
    UKIP 14-1
    GRN 6-2

  21. Opinium

    Con 33 (+1) Lab 35 (+1) LD 8 (+1) UKIP 14 (-1) Greens 6 (-2)

  22. Eric Goodyer,

    Yes. It’s been noted in the past that even many people who are eurosceptical don’t vote on the basis of their euroscepticism, and I imagine there are at least some europhiles who vote on the basis of their europhilia.

    There is a big danger with treating large groups as uniform. Some people wouldn’t have been so surprised at how UKIP made gains in 2014 in Scotland and NOT from the Tories, if they had noticed that while Scotland is genuinely more pro-European on average than England, it still has a significant number of eurosceptics willing to express that preference in European Parliament elections. And the same goes the other way: there are plenty of pro-EU voters in England, and even if strongly favouring it is a niche position, I don’t think that the Lib Dems are in a position to turn down niches right now.

  23. There does seem to be a bit of a shift towards the main two parties recently.

  24. 1 down two to go….Labour for the hat trick?

    I really think there has been a genuine shift in the polls this week towards Labour. I don’t think all the HSBC stuff has helped the Tories and tonight’s polls will probably pick up on this.

  25. If Lab can claw back some Scottish support (biggish if, I suppose) then 40% plus is going to be gettable.

  26. Mike Smithson pointing out that at the same time in 2010, betting markets were predicting a Con majority of 36. ‘grossly overoptimistic’ is the term he uses.

    As I posted near the top of the thread, the general tone that Tories will win, isn’t yet matched by the polls, yet people still persist in these assumptions.

  27. There is plenty of scope for movement upwards and downwards before the GE.

    I think what will matter is who has the momentum at the critical time, ie be on an upswing in the last week and days before the GE.

  28. A useful input on Scotland from Lewis Baston (thanks for the link on Twitter, Anthony).


    This bit was especially welcome!

    “I have recently spent a few days in Scotland, talking to knowledgeable people from various points on the political spectrum and return, in the words of Reggie Maudling, none the wiser but considerably better informed.”

    I can confidently state that, on the basis of my Twitter timeline, Labour and SNP are both getting fabulous responses on the doorstep and the smiling canvassers in those photos will all be rewarded by winning every seat!

  29. Dare I take us away from partisan discussion of UK Election policies, and into the dark and frightening realms of Scottish politics:


  30. @Oldnat


    I got to about three posts from yours and posted it…sigh!

  31. Statgeek

    I know how you feel. Bramley outdid me on the Opinium poll.

  32. I can’t believe bespite austerity and the rise in ukip,, the Conservatives are around 32%. Without the rise of ukip, the Conservatives could be in the high 30’s and heading for power again, possibly with an OM. Can’t wait for the polls tonight.

  33. A question I’ve asked before, I know, but are the Greens putting up candidates in every constituency in May?

    Is there anybody out there who knows?

    The reason I ask is that there may be Green voters declaring their support in the current opinion polls but who won’t actually have an opportunity to cast a Green vote in May.

  34. on


    I know how you feel. Bramley outdid me on the Opinium poll!”

    I think you are both being really, really brave: this is dramatic stuff to have to live through..

  35. @John J

    I can’t believe bespite austerity and the rise in ukip,, the Conservatives are around 32%. Without the rise of ukip, the Conservatives could be in the high 30’s and heading for power again, possibly with an OM. Can’t wait for the polls tonight.

    You cannot assume how people who support UKIP now would vote in the event of UKIP not existing.

    Things are not that simple.

  36. Alec – actually in the second week of February 2010 there was a run of polls giving the Tories double point leads, with several showing 13 point and 14 point leads (mostly Angus Reid polls for Political Betting), so if the money had been following the polls that week it wouldn’t have been that overoptimistic!

    I have no idea how liquid the markets were though, and whether they were showing Conservative majorities at other times that month. I am not one of those who gives much credence to ideas about betting markets being wonderful predictors of elections, they are often just echo chambers of the polls with a bit of extra bias shoved on.

  37. Crossbat – I’ve got details of 444 Green party candidates so far, and rising fast, so the majority of seats they will contest… but probably not all (for example, they’ve said they are not standing in Bolton West – the Bolton party are spending the money on the other two seats instead)

  38. @R&D

    I won’t print my thoughts in English.

    Bark, bark,… grrrrr. Arf bark whine grr grr wuff bark arf.

    So there!

  39. @Anthony

    If bookies react to polling, and people react to bookies’ odds (and are polled), aren’t we just seeing some self-serving attempt at making a buck, which happens to fix elections as a side effect?

  40. Comres / ITV


    Anyone got tabs for this poll?

  41. Statgeek – linked to them in the previous post

  42. YG due at around 9.30pm tonight…allegedly.

  43. “@R&D

    I won’t print my thoughts in English.

    Bark, bark,… grrrrr. Arf bark whine grr grr wuff bark arf.

    So there!

    Ooo, ta very much Statty. I expect the girls will be chuffed but I’ll see if I can get someone who can translate Scottish before I let them know.

  44. Comres due at 7.30pm

  45. @Crossbat11

    Last time I checked posts about the SGP it was being stated they were only running 20 to 30 out of 58 in Scoltand, so that would mean they are at 71% in England and Wales having seen no nominations for Wales at all.

    A check on the southwest indicates they have candidates nominated for 87% of seats, 92% in the southeast and one assumes it will be 100% in London as in 2010.

    The last numbers I saw for UKIP were 74% and the LDs were at 60.6%. LD only managed 64% in last years local government elections.

  46. Comres

    Con 32
    Lab 34
    LD 7
    Ukip 16
    Green 4

  47. Con -1
    Ukip -2
    Green +1

  48. OLDNAT

    Thanks for the Lewis Baston link – well worth a read.

    Given that he’s a self-confessed member of the Labour party I thought his closing sentence very candid:

    It would be an irony not lost on either man if Jim Murphy holds the Labour line in Scotland and thereby puts Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

  49. Is there anyone doing the kind of sub-regional analysis in England that Lewis Bastion did for Scotland?

    If the Conservatives stick at around 32% are there UKIP stronholds along the East and South Coast where Conservatives are vulnerable or does one simply get out a demographic map of the UK and go from there?

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