Monday polls

It’s Monday, so we have the usual rush of polls – the daily YouGov, twice-weekly Populus, weekly Ashcroft and monthly ICM. I’ll update this post as they come in, and do a round up at the end of the day.

Populus have topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%. Tables are here.

ICM for the Guardian have figures of CON 36%(+6), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 10%(-1), UKIP 9%(-2), GRN 7%(-2). The six point jump for the Conservatives looks particularly sharp but usual caveats apply. While it tends to be the polls that show unusual results or big changes that get all the attention, they are actually the ones we should be most dubious about. If there has been a genuine surge in Conservative support, then we’ll see it across all the pollsters, and other polls so far this month have shown things pretty stable.

The weekly Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 30%(-4), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 16%(+2), GRN 8%(+2) (full details here). A one point Labour lead, and changes in the opposite direction to those in the ICM poll – I think we can be fairly confident that what we are seeing with these two is just random noise, the back and forth of normal sample error.

UPDATE: The last of today’s four polls, YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 32%, LD 6%, UKIP 16%, GRN 8%. After a couple of three point leads at the tail end of last week, it’s back to neck-and-neck from YouGov. Putting all four polls together I think it’s pretty much business as usual. One neck-and-neck, one Tory lead, two Labour leads. There is nothing here that’s incompatible with the steady picture we’ve had for the last six weeks: an extremely close race between Labour and Conservative, with Labour holding onto a tiny lead.


552 Responses to “Monday polls”

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  1. @Couper

    Thank goodness for social media and the internet.

    You have to hand it to Tony Blair. He got out just as Facebook and Twitter were coming of age. Perhaps Blair recognised that Social Media and ergo the political agenda cannot be controlled as it once could.

    Then again, maybe it’s all just a coincidence.

  2. Lib + SNP + PC + Green = 50-80 seats depending on how the votes fall. Not a bad block to be allied to (although I suppose it’s just Miliband that gets the option).

    It does strike me as something strange that these left-leaning parties’ supporters think that a natural alliance is with Labour (the party that some must have left to get green / SNP etc on the rise).

    Personally, I could care less which large party gets the keys to Number 10. A minority government with C&S is probably in my own (and others imho) best interests. Every politician on their toes and not making too many friends or allies in other parties. It’s never a good thing for the constituents.

  3. @Richard / Couper

    Frankly, I believe that Cable et al are moving in the direction of the upwardly mobile SNP for personal reasons. Not missing a trick, are they?

  4. Old Nat

    My Welsh wife and I saw the same documentary about Westminster and reached exactly the opposite conclusion – I’m astonished that someone with your knowledge of history could reach such a prejudiced and angry judgement about the Mother of Parliaments. You seem to regard its traditions and the creation of finely balanced systems to allow our elected representatives and executive government to function for over 350 years without a single break in a gradually widening democracy as something to be derided. I have experienced it directly in my career, and it is an amazingly subtle and effective institution. The way Westminster empowers backbenchers in their scrutiny role certainly beats the Senedd by a long chalk, and if there is similarly excellent work going on in Edinburgh to keep the SNP government honest, the media seem slow to report it. Maybe the prospect of a Parliament utterly dominated by its Executive is one of the reasons why some folk voted No … Democracy cannot be built in a day. Look at Germany. Intermittent democracy with a long absolutist history whose Finance Minister sends shudders down our spines by proudly proclaiming that “elections change nothing”…

  5. @OldNat and others

    I agree that the Telegraph article by Martin Baxter is a little quixotic in its labelling of the options but I think the actual swingometer is quite useful and demonstrates graphically what we’ve been discussing recently about the limited scenarios for SNP gains potentially harming the chances of a Labour majority.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11415768/Campaign-Calculus-SNP-surge-means-time-is-running-out-for-Ed-Miliband.html

    The Con Majority and Con Choice sections of his swingometer represent outcomes where Labour have done so badly in England that even if they had gained every SNP seat the Cons could still form a government with Lib Dems.

    The Lab Majority, Lab Choice, Lab + Nat and Nat Choice sections represent outcomes where a Labour government of some sort can be formed with SNP C&S.

    Finally the section he calls Con + Nat should really be called Lib Dem choice as it represents the narrow section where Lab + SNP does not equal a majority but nor does Lib Dem + Con.

    Essentially the Lib Dems have to choose here whether to back the larger party (Conservatives) or the only party alliance with the potential for a stable majority (Lab + Lib Dem + SNP).

    It’s interesting that this Lib Dem choice band is a narrow section where the Conservatives lead Labour by 3.5 – 5.5 points.

    This outcome is far from what polling currently predicts. It does seem to interest journalists and commentators though. Interestingly an outcome in this band (5% Con lead) was also what Peter Kellner predicted in the Sunday Times.

  6. Today’s YG Scottish crossbreak

    SNP 35% : Lab 29% : Con 21% : LD 6% : UKIP 7% : Grn 2%

    Mean of last 20 YG Scottish crossbreaks

    SNP 42% : Lab 26% : Con 19% : LD 5% : UKIP 4% : Grn 3%

  7. @NorthumbrianScot

    It does seem from what you and others say that many pollsters did not countenance (and have yet to accept) the prospect of any results other than a Conservative majority, coalition or minority government. Those possibilities still exist of course, bit there are others, including the one the actual polling trends suggest the most likely – a Labour minority government with SNP/Celtic C&S support.

    You really only have Mike Smithson arguing this, or at least against the conventional wisdom; and Anthony just reporting the polls and trends without making an argument at all.

  8. @ Statgeek

    I don’t know, North Korea still does a pretty good job of controlling its own agenda.

  9. Good Morning All. Sunny here on the beach.
    RAF:
    I agree that at the moment the polls suggest that Labour are in the lead, that they will gain about 40 seats from the Tories, which puts the Tories on 267 and Labour on 298.

    The fate of the Lib Dem seats seems to be the key to the outcome.
    If the SNP gain thirty seats from Labour, then Labour will still be ahead of the Tories.

  10. RAF

    It does seem from what you and others say that many pollsters did not countenance (and have yet to accept) the prospect of any results other than a Conservative majority, coalition or minority government. Those possibilities still exist of course, bit there are others, including the one the actual polling trends suggest the most likely – a Labour minority government with SNP/Celtic C&S support.

    You really only have Mike Smithson arguing this, or at least against the conventional wisdom; and Anthony just reporting the polls and trends without making an argument at all.

    I think the right wing press is definitely ramping up the outcome they want, ie. some form of Cameron continuity government.

    The numbers, as you say, point to a different outcome….

    Smithson is head and shoulders above every other commentator. He spots things very early and has a much better sense of numbers than most. Many commentators, esp. journos who are data blind, often

  11. James Peel; Good Morning to you.
    [email protected] · 9h9 hours ago: Latest You Gov represents a 4.2% CON to LAB swing which on US would easily make it the largest party even with Scots losses.

    Much to my surprise, the swing to Labour in key E and W marginal seats looks to be enough to put Ed M in the lead.

    Mike Smithson’s article on ICM is quite intriguing; and he links Lynton Crosby to their poll.

  12. @ Chris Lane

    Good Morning.

    I agree that the LDs performance against the Conservatives on the South coast and in the South West will certainly be significant to the outcome of the election.

  13. @ Welsh Borderer – agree with your comments about the Senedd and its very limited scrutiny role (they seem to be finally waking up with the new Wellbeing Bill and they are of course very new still); this however is the reason why many professional political observers have always asked for a larger Assembly – but of course few people want more professional politicians but as a result they probably get worse politics…..

  14. RAF.
    Yes, and if the Conservatives pick up thirty Lib Dem seats and the Labour Party pick up ten Lib Dem seats, then we are looking at Labour being slightly ahead of the Conservatives, if the ‘Smithson swing’ to Labour from the Conservatives is accurate, and maintained in eleven weeks time.
    Then eyes on Scotland!

  15. Andy Shadrack

    It’s been interesting getting an international viewpoint, and a comparison with polling/election experiences elsewhere.

    Have fun in your campaign.

    When you succeed in abandoning Canada running its own affairs, do you hope to give the power to Washington or London? :-)

  16. @Northumbrian Scot
    “I agree that the Telegraph article by Martin Baxter is a little quixotic in its labelling of the options…..”

    As do I, at least on the right. The failure to give any consideration to the potential of a Con/UKIP or Con/UKIP/DUP coalition or C&S version of that arrangement is a glaring omission while there is little credibility in the idea of a Con/SNP coalition or C&S.

    Also, it’s quite conceivable that the Conservatives could end up with around 310 seats given a poll result something along the lines of 36% Con to 31% Lab allied to reasonable performance in newly won English marginals. In those circumstances, the problem is one for the opposition, which would somehow have to unite a multiplicity of other parties from across the political spectrum to vote against the Conservatives on a vote of confidence (rather than just abstaining or absenting themselves). And if somehow they managed it, the Conservatives would have a two week window to win a new vote at the second (or third etc) attempt and carry on. So the bar is quite low for C&S to work in practice.

  17. As I mentioned before, ICM has a margin of error of +/- 5 which makes an individual poll useless in such a close race. If the Tories are on a stable 32 in reality, neither the 28 nor 36 are outliers beyond MoE.

    As for ramping polls, I keep thinking of the ramping of Mitt Romney back in 2012.

  18. BARNEY CROCKETT
    “There is less chance of Switzerland adopting the Euro than hell freezing over. ”

    Or, as a spoof Eurovision Song Contest on the Beeb had it for the Swiss entry: “Neutral with Attitude, Neutral with Attitude.”r

    Or was it, “Neutral with Altitude”?

  19. [email protected] · New TNS poll LAB 35% (+2), CON 28% (+1), UKIP 18% (0), LIB DEM 6% (0), GREEN 7%

    An outlier, perhaps, with some figures looking high here, I think.

  20. Chrislane1945

    The Tories must be disappointed with that GB figure, when TNS have them in 1st place in Scotland! -)

    (N=59 : Con 34% : SNP 24% : Lab 23% : and UKIP more popular than LD)

    It seems we have a replacement for Angus Reid in the pollster race.

  21. WELSH BORDERER
    You probably did not see the programme, which was not about the outcomes or effectiveness of Partliament, but about how it., particularly the HOC, is organised and run; which as ON said is a shambles and in some respects oppressively archaic, repressive and nasty.

    ANDY SHADRACK
    Well spoken and I personally enjoyed your being aboard. Good luck with your campaign. Ah 1963, I remember it well.

  22. On these figures, I take it there’s a another hung parliament right?

    So many wildcards in this election. I mean, I don’t think UKIP is going to get just a handful of seats if they get 15% of the vote. I just don’t see that happenning. If the Greens are now polling ahead of the Lib Dems, might they gain a number of Lib Dem seats. If not, do they have the effect of taking away seats and giving them to Tories in Lib-Con marginals? And then there’s the issue of the SNP. What Labour would normally get on these figures nationally might not reflect as many seats as they’d normally get. Labour has not improved much (in these national polls) from what they received in 2010, which was a near 1983 lowpoint. The Tories have not gained any converts since 2010 (or they’ve gained fewer than they’ve lost overall).

    So many interesting international elections this year. Yours in the UK, the Israeli Election, the Canadian Election, even the now past Greek election.

    But the most interesting election anywhere in 2015, of course, remains West Hollywood.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-weho-aide-suspended–20150217-story.html

    You couldn’t make this s**t up if you tried.

  23. WELSH BORDERER

    I have watched all of the brilliant series you refer to.

    I agree with your comments. My reaction is the same as yours.

    I was particularly struck by the army of HoC staff beavering away on behalf of MPs-not Government, but MPs.

  24. Domino polls

    Polls which are controversial and probably outliers which are hoped to cause a domino effect upsetting the settled narrative and generating headlines inferring that all of the other surveys are wrong and that the domino poll is picking up something that no other pollster is seeing.

    Discuss!

  25. SoCalLiberal

    As one North American leaves – another returns! Welcome back.

    Fabulous report from West Holywood, that makes Holyrood seem boringly banal.

  26. Not altogether surprised at what Oborne is saying about the DT. I was astonished to see the lack of coverage over the HSBC scandal, and mentioned it here.

    I need to be careful, as this is the issue that put me into pre mod some days ago, but I believe he affair is a very big story and will exert a continued influence on the GE as researchers dig out more examples of wrongdoing. It’s very alarming that the DT seems inclined to ignore the biggest financial scandal of our time.

  27. There’s a wonderful example of the data blindness of journalists in the write up of the ICM poll by Tom Clark. Having been obliged to recognise that other polls tell a different story from ICM, he takes refuge in the assertion that “many within the nervous Labour ranks will fear that this poll has a ring of truth about it” Or, I know what I believe, don’t confuse me with the facts. There seems to be a narrative that even left of centre journalists buy into the view that a Tory lead is somehow inevitable.

    Meanwhile in the real world, today’s YouGov plus the average Scottish crossbreak gives Lab 306, Con 265, LD 15, SNP 43, others 21. Not really close?

  28. @Socal Liberal

    Current odds:

    UKIP 4/1 to win 50 or more seats (Hills).

    Greens 4/1 to win 2 or more seats (SkyBet), 16/1 to win 6 or more, and 2/1 to win none. They are expected to win 1.

    I think that’s quite telling, as 4/1 is long odds but not quite long enough to rule out any chance of winning without a huge change of circumstances. Greens are in contention in just two or three seats nationally, whereas UKIP are in contention in perhaps around 50 of them.

  29. Good morning all from a damp grey breezy miserable cold Mount Florida.
    Third time this week I’ve taken the train into work and 3 times I have sat opposite the same person. A wee bit of a cringe factor.

    Looking at the Scottish cross breaks I’m guessing that the Wee Free’s have spoken out against the Scottish governments Sunday sailing plans? .

    The UK election is going to be turned on its head by Frees Bishops and Anglicans.

  30. OLDNAT
    The Tories must be disappointed with that GB figure, when TNS have them in 1st place in Scotland!

    Play fair. P48 of the tables has them equal with SNP on 23 votes with LiS a respectable 3rd on 19!

  31. Barbazenzero

    You got as far as p48 and Number Cruncher journeyed to p59 –

    TNS as usual showing a big Labour lead. Reason is on page 59 of the tabs: 26% of their “likely” voters (split 2:1 LAB) didn’t vote last time

    I salute your indefatigability!

  32. Hardly surprising DT ignores tax evasion/aggressive tax avoidance when the proprieters the Barclay Bros indulge themselves larking about on their little island off the coast of Sark.

    Ditto Richard Desmond proprieter of the Express and Murdoch of course .Both the Guardian and the Mail also indulge but know their readership and are thick skinned to cover the issue properly.

  33. I took a quick look at the google headlines, expecting to see stories about a Labour lead with the game changer TNS poll out today.

    Nothing. Not a thing. So I searched for ‘poll’ on news stories. Nothing. Just lots of headlines about an ICM poll showing Tories 4 points in the lead.

    The evidence does point to only outlier polls getting any coverage, and only those that show a Tory lead.

    Does a perception that a particular party is winning help or hinder that party?

    One theory we explored last night was that it would make UKIP ers more likely to stay with UKIP if they thought the Tories were leading. Or is there a ‘follow the crowd’ instinct where people will back whoever they think is winning?

  34. Greens to win none looks a fair bet-as the full council is up for election on general election day.

    Council is unpopular and green group is split on cuts and council tax.Caroline Lucas is very popular but with swings to labour and she only has 1000ish majority.

    Recount

  35. 07052015

    “Recount”

    If polling continues as it is, I’d envisage a lot of potential recounts in Scotland.

    Could well be 9 May before parties can start to work out how to play the hand that parliamentary arithmetic has dealt them.

  36. Oldnat,

    Actually, I wouldn’t discount the possibility of UKIP being ahead of the Lib Dems in Scotland in the GE. They were well ahead in the European elections and there’s not much between them in most Scottish polls IIRC.

  37. The Tories winning 34% in Scotland is somewhat less likely.

  38. “It’s very alarming that the DT seems inclined to ignore the biggest financial scandal of our time.”

    Some newspapers exist it seems only as vehicles for wealthy owners to propound their own particular views to their benefit. Some might think, what’s new?

    The ghastly thing is that the Beeb pathetically ‘follows’ what the newspapers say.

  39. Unemployment down again.

    Earnings up 1.7% pa excl bonuses.

    The narrative opened up by this accelerating trend is very positive for Cons’ campaigning.

    Is it impacting voters experience & perceptions though with so little time left before the ballot box ?

  40. Bill Patrick

    UKIP/LD

    Could well be.

  41. Is it just me , possibly because of the different dynamic in Scotland, or is this about the flattest election campaign anyone can remember.

    It feels less like two circling young boxers being cautious in the opening rounds looking to get a KO punch than two old tired boxes holding on to each other in the last round neither able to swing a punch and both hoping they have already done enough to win.

    Peter.

  42. RICHARD

    Does a perception that a particular party is winning help or hinder that party?

    The non-election of Mitt Romney in the USA would suggest that poll ramping is pointless.

    You need to bear in mind that the political journalists are not political analysts but are fed lines by friendly politicians.

  43. @Mike N – “The ghastly thing is that the Beeb pathetically ‘follows’ what the newspapers say.”

    To be fair, on this occasion, BBC was one of the news organisations actually breaking the story.

    @Colin – I agree – the inflation and earnings data is combining to really create some good news for voters for the first time in many years. I think it’s touch and go whether this is sufficiently in time to have a major poll effect.

    For Labour, the galling factor is that the root cause of the good news has absolutely nothing to do with any government policy decisions. Having a global oil and commodities price collapse 6 months out from a UK GE is pure luck. That people in the oil industry are now talking of $150 – $200 a barrel in 12 – 18 months, once the supply shake out has bottomed out doesn’t help now – it only means that if Labour does win this time round, they will inherent the crunch that comes after to boom.

    Your question as to whether there will be enough time for this to work through is one of the key questions. I think there is enough time, especially as we consider that this has already been happening for a few months.

    I think the other key question is whether voters give credit to the government or not. This could end up being the more important of the two questions.

    I think Ed has been clever enough to attempt to frame the debate in terms of the kind of recovery we want and who benefits. They have moved on from the simple ‘too far and too fast’ and ‘cost of living crisis’ messages, which is why I still believe the HSBC story to be potentially toxic for Tories if the revelations continue.

    The positive economic news is pushing everyone to look ahead, at at present the Tory message is solid, but stuck on the notion of moving from deficit to debt repayment, alongside extended austerity, while Labour appears more focused on asking questions about where the benefits of growth should be targeted.

    It’s a fascinating battle for the agenda, with risks on both sides.

  44. @Richard:

    I think the general opinion is that TNS polls don’t have much credibility so they don’t get much coverage outside the Twitterverse.

  45. Peter Cairns

    Could it be partly that this is the first lection (other than the Euros) that the London party HQs have known long in advance the date of the election?

  46. Re the TNS poll. While Lab on 35% feels a touch high, but within moe, I don’t really think anyone can reasonably argue than Con on 28% is valid.

    While there has been some comment about the apparent softening of the UKIP poll ratings, I’m also interested in the Green scores. They are still coming in with scores in the 6-9% range, which I believe to be far too high for a final GE prediction. Even with these Green scores, Lab is maintaining a small lead.

    Assuming the Greens doubled their 2010 result due to having more candidates, that would give them 2% national vote share. If we then assume they double this due to a huge uplift in support, we would be looking at 4% vote share.

    Personally, I would be highly surprised if they achieved this, but even if they did, it would still leave 2-5% of current Green VI to find a new home.

    I think there has been polling evidence that Tories shouldn’t expect to get much of this, while Labour can, and Lib Dems to a lesser extent. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to anticipate Labour garnering a further 2 or 3% from Greens as we get to election day, but I would similarly expect to see Cons doing similar from UKIP.

    As others have said, I suspect the result in still going to be largely defined by what happens to those 2010 Lib Dem voters.

  47. JP @Richard:

    I don’t think TNS were commissioned to do this poll. It seems to have only been released this morning, when press agendas had already been set.

    If an essentially consumer based pollster (hat tip Candy) is using a political poll for publicity purposes, then they may be relatively relaxed about technical details, such as NC identified, in the hope of attracting more publicity due to an “unusual” result.

  48. @Aberdaberdoo

    (That’s a magical moniker you’ve got, by the way!)

    “Polls which are controversial and probably outliers which are hoped to cause a domino effect upsetting the settled narrative and generating headlines inferring that all of the other surveys are wrong and that the domino poll is picking up something that no other pollster is seeing.
    Discuss!”

    I’m not sure independent and reputable pollsters would indulge in such Machiavellian behaviour, at least I hope not, but the polls that fly under the description of “private polling conducted by the Tory/Labour/Lib Dem etc party” are always highly suspicious to me and I think they serve the purposes you refer to in your post. What better way to wrong-foot and destabilise your opponents, and to bolster the morale of your own side, than to claim that “private polling” disputes the conventional and prevailing polling wisdom?

    We had a classic case of this a couple of weeks ago when the Conservative commentator, Isobel Hardman, claimed that Lynton Crosby’s private polling had revealed that many Tory MPs with small majorities were likely to “hang on”. True? Who knows but the beauty of it is that it can’t be disproved and, if you’ve got sympathetic commentators keen to give it a spin, then you’ve got the possibility of changing the narrative.

    You also hear similar stories about “the mood on the ground being buoyant” and “I don’t recognise these polls when I go canvassing” and it’s all part of the same game of bluff and counter-bluff. Pinches of salt required, methinks.

    As for my favourite pollster, TNS/BMRB, I won’t stand for their latest offering being traduced in this disgraceful way. I’d heard they were the Gold Standard!

    :-)

  49. Crossbat,

    True, I always love the “Well that’s not what I am hear on the doorsteps”

    Apart from the obvious fact that if a poll says the Tories are ahead and your knocking doors in Govan, that won’t be what you hear on the doorsteps….you probably can’t repeat hear what you here on the doorsteps!

    Activists tend generally to report better than it actually is and are reluctant to speak when it’s poor and too eager to do when it’s not but more importantly party supporters will always try to paint it as going their way.

    Best to mostly ignore them.

    For my part I do try to accurately put across the feeling on the ground, but I am probably as guilty of miss reading it as anybody!

    Peter.

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