Eleven weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls

YouGov/S Times (13/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
Populus (14/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%
ICM/Guardian (15/2/15) – CON 36%, LAB 32%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9%, GRN 7%
Ashcroft (15/2/15) – CON 30%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 8%
TNS BMRB (16/2/15) – CON 28%, LAB 35%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (16/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 16%, GRN 8%
YouGov/Sun (17/2/15) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (18/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (19/2/15) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
Populus (19/2/15) – CON 31%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 17%, GRN 6%

With the exceptions of the rather anomalous looking ICM poll with its four point Tory lead and the TNS poll showing its typically larger Labour lead (two outliers I discussed here), the polls have returned to the same picture we’ve had for the whole year so far – a very close race with Labour just ahead. The UKPR polling average stands at CON 32%(nc), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 15%(+1), GRN 6%(-1) – none of those figures has moved more than one point away from that so far this year. The race is pretty much static.

Scottish and Constituency polls

Survation put out their monthly Scottish poll for the Daily Record this week, giving the SNP a slightly reduced but still very healthy 17 point lead over Labour. Lord Ashcroft released four polls of Conservative held UKIP target seats, showing UKIP just a point behind in Castle Point and only three points behind in Boston and Skegness. I wrote about both here.

Week 7

  • The Conservatives started the week promising to cut sickness benefits for fat people or addicts who refuse treatment. This is an interesting example of policy and how to look at public reaction to them. At one level such policies are popular – by 57% to 28% people support stopping sickness benefits for overweight people who don’t seek weightless treatment, by 64% to 23% people support stopping sickness benefits for addicts who don’t seek treatment. However, the potential downside for such policies, especially for the Conservatives, is if it reinforces the party’s image problems of being seen as heartless or unconcerned for the less well off. The same polling found 40% also thought the policy was uncaring and heartless.
  • Labour started the week talking about economic policy and had their policies endorsed by Lord Mandelson, the former business Secretary. There was a YouGov poll in the week asking if the endorsement of various retired politicians was an asset or a liability – 52% thought Mandelson’s backing a liability, only 7% an asset. Tony Blair’s endorsement was seen as little better – 14% an asset, 61% a liability. The reason for both is the same – most other politicians were seen an asset by supportwes of their own party, a liability by their opponents. Blair and Mandelson (and Michael Howard) were seen as liabilities by both their opponents’ supporters and their own parties’ supporters. According to today’s news Peter Mandelson is now warning Labour against their tuition fees policy, so perhaps his criticism will be an asset!
  • On Thursday party donations for the end of 2014 were announced. The Conservatives received just over £8million, Labour just over £7m, the Liberal Democrats £3m (the party had a record year of donations, despite their precipitous drop in support since 2010), UKIP £1.5m and the Greens a quarter of a million. There was some polling on party donations last weekend, showing people pretty cynical about both main parties – by 48% to 30% people think Labour should try and reduce Union funding, by 52% to 25% people think the Conservatives should try and reduce their business funding. Around two thirds of people would support a cap on business and trade union donations, 51% would support a cap on individual donations to political parties, only 19% would support taxpayer funding.

Projections

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015 and Elections Etc are below. Elections Etc and Election Forecast both have Labour and the Conservatives pretty much equal in predicted seat numbers, May 2015 are projecting Labour to have more seats, but not by very many.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 281(nc), LAB 282(+1), LD 23(nc), SNP 40(-1), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 282(+2), LAB 280(-3), LD 25(-2), SNP 40(+3), UKIP 2(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 266(-3), LAB 275(+1), LD 26(+2), SNP 56(nc), UKIP 4(nc)


159 Responses to “Eleven weeks to go”

1 2 3 4
  1. Good Evening here from a windy beach.
    Thanks Anthony.
    In seventy seven days time I hope to be with some friends watching the results come. It promises to be an exciting but also annoying eleven weeks.

  2. Updated the 25-poll weighted charts (set of ten). Would appreciate input if people disagree with the data…obviously with reasons, so I can take on any critique.

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2014/09/here/

    @Anthony (FPT)

    What kind of programming? Or do you mean coding (which is different) ?

  3. “Interesting” BBC report on the Scottish Tory conference.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-31544480

    All about Davidson on policies for 2016, then the last sentence –

    The conference had earlier heard from Mr Cameron who said it would be a mistake for voters to back Labour and the SNP at the ballot box at 7 May election.

  4. The longer we see no movement the firmer Ed Miliband’s grasp on number 10 becomes.

    What (if anything) might start a movement in the polls now?

    Some fairly positive economic news in recent months doesn’t seem to have helped Conservatives.

    The Budget? Will anyone really buy an Osborne rabbit when we all know more Austerity is ahead.

    The Debates? If they even take place, expectations are so low for Ed I expect him to do a Darling and over perform expectation by merely being OK.

    The SNP? Some people seem to think the English electorate will be so feart at the thought of a woad daubed Sturgeon charging out of the Mountains to hold Ed ransom, everyone will switch to Tories en mass. This seems unlikely to me as well.

    Prediction. The one YouGov poll this week (Tues?) that shows a 1 point Tory lead will be talked about much more than any other one even though it’s just MoE fluctuation…

  5. It would appear that sanity has prevailed in the talks between the EU Finance Ministers and the Greek Government.

    I rather thought it they would.

    As for the last 10 polls conducted between February 13th-19th, it’s interesting to see that despite the closeness in the average gap between the Tories and Labour ( now only 1%), Labour lead in 8 of them, with 1 dead heat and 1 Tory lead (the rather anomalous looking ICM).

    I wonder why we’re not seeing as many Tory leads as Labour ones now, considering the average is more a less a dead heat.

    UKIP and Greens holding pretty steady, and do I see the very merest hint of a Lib Dem revival? Early days, but they’ve gone 6,6,6,8,9,9 over the last three days!

    33 v 32 Labour/Tory. Dear, oh dear, oh dear.

  6. Does anyone know why of the £3.8m donated to political parties in Q4, £3.7m went to Labour? I’ve looked on the Electoral Commission site but haven’t yet found an explanation.

  7. Most noticed stories this week

    https://twitter.com/PopulusPolls/status/568813596748214272/photo/1

    Ukraine – 18%
    ISIS – 10%
    HSBC/Tax avoidance 10%
    Greece 4%
    Racist Chelsea fans 4%
    Copenhagen shootings 3%
    General election 3%

    So tax avoidance/HSBC still one of the most noticed political stories of the year to date, not that it seems to be moving the polls at all.

  8. Pete B

    Vote Labour Get Tory? :-)

    With all these parties urging dire consequences on voting for anyone but them, I’m waiting for “Vote DUP Get Mebyn Kernow”.

  9. Pete B

    Does anyone know why of the £3.8m donated to political parties in Q4, £3.7m went to Labour? I’ve looked on the Electoral Commission site but haven’t yet found an explanation

    It’s because it’s mainly what is known as Short Money. Wikipedia has an explanation here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Money_(Parliament,_U.K.)

    It’s to support the work in Parliament of the Political Parties. Effectively what it does is pay for the researchers and so on that the Opposition Parties need to do their job in scrutinising legislation and so on. It only applies to the Opposition Parties because the Government has civil servants and special advisers (also paid for out of public funds) to this work for them.

  10. @ AW

    What happened to the new BES projection model? You posted a first set of predictions a week ago and now it has disappeared again. During the week there hasn’t been a peep about it on the BES site. Are you sure you weren’t imagining things?…

  11. Statgeek – “Or do you mean coding?” ]

    Probably

    Unicorn – “What happened to the new BES projection model?”

    That wasn’t the BES team’s model, it was the Polling Observatory’s model. They keep promising to launch it on the world and gave out the first predictions at a conference last week – I expected them to rapidly follow it up with something online, but they haven’t yet. I’ll bring them back when they do.

  12. By the way the summary of the Q4 donations Pete B (and Anthony) was referring to, is here:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/182235/Q4-2014-donations-and-loans-summary-document.pdf

  13. @ AW

    Thanks. Looking forward to seeing how it differs from the various competitors.

  14. Northumbrian.

    If the polls are where they are now and even if the tories have improved osborne will have a big give away by outlining tax cuts in years one,two ,three of the next parliament.What else can he do? He isnt an economist.

    So I expect a 1p cut in income tax(but prob not an increase in the starting point for NI).A big increase in the starting point for the 40percent tax rate.All to be paid for by various bash the rich measures -increase in the diverted profits tax,100k to be a non dom,maybe an increase in tax on capital gains and dividends.

    Will it move VI ? yes for a week and then polls will revert to trend.

  15. Roger M
    Thanks for the explanation.

    Oldnat
    ??

  16. FPT Richard:

    “Ashcroft tweeted this yesterday, is it true that there is now effectively no more internal polling allowed due to their cost/spending limits?

    Lord Ashcroft @LordAshcroft · Feb 19
    Treat with caution “internal polling” in marginal seats as any cost now counts towards the constituency limits so none done #comfortpolling”

    I received a phone call from MQR for a constituency poll tonight. MQR being Messina Quantitative Research, who are working for the Tories.

  17. @07052015

    Yes that’s what I reckon plus I was thinking of minimum wage increase.

  18. @Crossbat11

    The mean for the last 10 polls you mentioned are as follows:

    Con – 31.7
    Lab – 33.1

    The reason why there are more Labour leads than Conservatve leads is because Labour are ahead (by a margin).

    Looking at the probabilities that means Labour will lead in about 65% of polls, Conservatives in 21% of polls, and 14% would be tied.

  19. James

    That’s interesting. Which political stripe does your MP wear ? What reason do they have to poll in your constituency – marginal/target ?

  20. @James

    Thanks. I did think it odd that parties would not be able to test how their messages were being received in the most important seats this far away from the election.

    So it sounds like they have a way around reporting that as a constituency expense.

    Sounds like all this spending limit stuff is ignored anyway looking at what was reported to have been spent in the Rochester by election.

    A bit like paying tax. If you have enough money, you find the right advisors and it all becomes more optional!

  21. My seat is a Tory / LD marginal (or at least it was in 2010) – Truro & Falmouth.

    It was clearly a constituency poll because they used the Ashcroft style second question, but unlike Ashcroft the interviewer also named four of them (the Tory MP and the Lib Dem, Labour and UKIP candidates). That was a bit odd because the Labour candidate quit recently.

    http://www.westbriton.co.uk/Labour-Parliamentary-candidate-Truro-Falmouth/story-25997427-detail/story.html

    The only other questions, apart from the how likely to vote and who did you vote for in 2010 & 2014, were who you would prefer in government (Tory or Labour) and who you would prefer as PM (Dave or Ed), if forced to choose.

  22. @ON

    it’s Mebyon Kernow. Or are you still using Kernowek Unys up in Pictland?

  23. Postage Included

    I’m using a tablet. That’s an adequate explanation for most things. :-)

  24. I notice the May2015 seat calculator shows Nick Clegg retaining Sheffield Hallam with a 13.11% majority… but Survation shows Labour ten points ahead of Nick Clegg.

  25. I wonder why we’re not seeing as many Tory leads as Labour ones now, considering the average is more a less a dead heat.

    this statement answers itself…labour are ahead, by a whisker….it isn’t a dead heat. if it were, you would see as many tory leads as labour ones.

  26. James Peel

    The reason why is because Labour’s lead has increased by roughly 1ppt on Yougov since the HSBC scandal broke. This may end up being a blip however.

  27. JAMES PEEL
    “I wonder why we’re not seeing as many Tory leads as Labour ones now, considering the average is more a less a dead heat”
    ………..
    “The Conservatives started the week promising to cut sickness benefits for fat people”
    _____________

    In the UK, 64% of adults are classed as being overweight or obese. That leaves around 36% of us who are not fatty’s and also “slims” down the potential Tory vote because they have alienated a fat chunk of the UK electorate.

  28. @ ChrisLane

    Good morning to you from a Wigan that has a rather unexpected light sprinkling of snow- yay. I suspect it will be gone by 10 O’clock though.

    Being rather partisan about the result I have been in provisional talks about having friends round but these are on hold until polls closer to the time tell me whether it is possible I will just want to go to bed after the exit polls! With no obvious poll movements for nearly 4 months now the situation is not becoming any clearer.

  29. @AW

    It seems to me that your weekly roundup of Projections is a little unbalanced – albeit for very understandable reasons: the public models themselves don’t really cover the range of different possibilities. Two of the models you rely upon (Electionforecast and Electionsetc) are based on swingback/regression-to-mean. The third (May2015) is a projection for a hypothetical election tomorrow and not a projection for May 7 at all. Many of your contributors have strong views on swingback but I don’t think that there is now a strong feeling that this is the best of lodestones to be using to guide our thoughts for this particular election.

    In the interests of balance I would point out that seat predictions change under different projection assumptions. As an illustration I can point to my ‘continuing trends’ projection posted on the previous thread at 2.57pm yesterday (CON 266, LAB 288, SNP 50, LD 19, UKIP 5 and GREENS 2). Contributors should treat this particular projection with all due scepticism, but my point is that there is a gap in the market. None of the currently available models is offering anything other than either a ‘Nowcast’ (to use EF’s now discarded term) or a historically based future-VI-change projections.

    To bolster a trend-based account a bit, I can update the trend summary from your current Polling Average batch. This indicates that the Tories, Labour and Greens are still sticking to their (long-term, pre-Nov 2014) trends: CON (12 polls above trend and 8 below); LAB (14 above, 6 below); GREENS (10 above, 10 below). The LibDems are still running above trends (15 above, 5 below) and UKIP are well below trends (3 above, 17 below).

    The summary for the seven different Polling Average batches this year so far is as follows:

    CON ( = + = = = = =);
    LAB (= = = = = + =);
    LD (= = + + + + +);
    UKIP (- = – – – – -)
    Greens (= = = + = = =)

    [= implies on trend, + above trend and – represents below trend]

    These patterns are equally evident in the graphs and rolling averages posted by other contributors. My main point is that there is no current evidence to support the swingback/regression-to-mean premise that party VIs are heading back in the direction of their prior levels. In light of this it is possible that some of the projections you are posting are a little misleading. I think it is as well for everyone to be aware of this…or else to challenge my arguments if they think my reasoning is suspect or misguided.

  30. RICHARD

    “Sounds like all this spending limit stuff is ignored anyway looking at what was reported to have been spent in the Rochester by election..”
    “A bit like paying tax. If you have enough money, you find the right advisors and it all becomes more optional!”

    Not so, Richard. All spending has to be properly accounted for and provided to the Returning Officer by a given date. See:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/political-parties-campaigning-and-donations/candidate-spending-and-donations-at-elections

  31. John Pilgrim

    That relies on having accurate invoices.

  32. After a lovely week with visiting family members it is great to catch up so easily with your splendid weekly summary Anthony.

    Lab. by a very short head still. Frustrating for DC no doubt after such a good run of economic news :-
    Unemployment at a 6 year low, wages up seven times the rate of inflation, and stonking January tax receipts produce a January surplus not seen since 2008. Public finances back on track. GO must be tearing his hair out at the prospect of EB inheriting a growing economy, low inflation & ultra-low interest rates.

    Why have Cons not been given the “credit” for this ?

    Stephan Shakespeare in today’s Times explains-they have, with a consistent lead on economic competence. But he also points to YouGov’s poll which asked if GO needed to answer Labour’s tax avoidance charge .Answer?-Yes by 3 to 1. So credit for fixing the economy-but not “for me”.

    This too must rankle with a Chancellor who has put so much effort into tackling tax avoidance. Truth is though, that every time an HSBC type revelation is made, Cons are imediately re-confirmed as identified with ” rich people”.

    So how to jettison that sheet anchor? Again my trusty Times provides an answer-this time by Mathew Parris , who so often gets to the nub of things Conservative for me.
    What is Cons’ biggest advantage over Labour?-the leader-David Cameron. So stop with the trivial policy tinkering ( eg fat peoples benefits) & just add ” Family man, decent, unflappable, loving father” to “hard edged competence” , a “good heart & cool head” .

    “Calm down dear” . Good advice I reckon.

    Anecdotal confirmation this week of the dire levels of faith in the two main parties. Son & daughter -in-law-both left leaning, and both “don’t know who to vote for”. I was amused by ” the government is now telling us to get receipts for £10 gardening work”. On tentatively responding -“well that was Ed Balls actually”-I got ” -yes-politicians”. !!
    And a final wry smile was engendered when I was told of their anxiety about an application to a Free School for youngest grandson, for fear of the dire state of other schools in the area.

    Politics out in the real world-a confused mish mash .Is 33/32 really any surprise ?

    Other thoughts-when Putin takes Mariupol , perhaps Merkel, Hollande -and NATO ,will begin to understand what they are really dealing with.

    ECB & EZ put the squeeze on Syritza & kick the can onwards to yet more predictable deadlines :-
    Two weeks ( ECB liguidity support for Greek Banks) . Next Monday( Greece’s list of economic reforms) , end of April ( Troika approval of proposed reforms) , four months ( review of temporarily extended bailout) .

    How will Tsipras sell this to the Greek people ?

    Oh for something to actually happen :-)

  33. @Colin

    Be careful what you wish for.

  34. @Colin
    “” Family man, decent, unflappable, loving father” to “hard edged competence” , a “good heart & cool head” .”
    There’s a problem with that – it’s “cast-iron guaranteed”
    DC does look a better leader than Ed, but is that a high standard?

  35. @Colin
    “” Family man, decent, unflappable, loving father” to “hard edged competence” , a “good heart & cool head” .”
    There’s a problem with that – it’s “cast-iron guaranteed”
    DC does look a better leader than Ed, but is that a high standard? Neither look wonderfully competent to me, nor cool headed with panic over a single Scottish independence poll.

  36. @ Hawthorn

    That relies on having accurate invoices.

    It doesn’t; if a political campaign receives things free, or at a discount, the campaign accountant is supposed to uprate the value to market price. e.g. The electoral commission reviewer can – & will – uprate an invoice of £3,000 for polling to £30,000, if that’s its usual price. The Electoral Commission people (certainly the ones whom I’ve met) take their role very seriously & are extremely good at it.

  37. @Colin

    “When Putin takes Mariupol”

    That is partisan – one could equally write “when Mariupol is liberated from Ukrainian fascist control”.

    What happens in the Ukraine is none of the UK’s business – a neutral approach and neutral language is called for.

    the UK’s meddling in other people’s affairs, particularly in the Middle East over the last 100 years, from the Balfour declaration and Sykes-Picot agreement via Iran/Sudan/Egypt/Aden to Libya/Syria/Iraq/Afghanistan today, has been an unmitigated disaster.

  38. Welcome back Colin,
    A good summary of how things are and I agree, what more can GO do. The blues should be 10 points ahead. You didn’t mention that EB is planning to raid pension schemes to pay for a reduction in tuition fees, which is un needed. Talk about devising a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

    I also read the articles you refer to but not for much longer. The Times are increasing my online subscription from £9 pm to £6 per week. As a pensioner, I can’t afford that, so it’s Telegraph or Independant for me. Given this weeks revalations by Oborne, probably the latter.

  39. Daodao
    “What happens in the Ukraine is none of the UK’s business – a neutral approach and neutral language is called for.”

    What rot. Will you be saying the same when Russian tanks (unmarked of course) are in Calais?
    It very much is European business and therefore, by definition, ours. we ignore Putin at our peril.

  40. Thanks Robert

    Yes, I read about the tax raising proposal for Lab’s tuition fee reduction. Almost everyone seems to be against the reduction-but I suppose they think it will be a headline grabber.

    I buy the paper each day, so I wasn’t aware of the change in those offers. I think I would choose the Indy there if forced to-I have never liked the DT.

    As to GO & DC-I just think they need to be much more up-front about things & talk about the future for ordinary families as they perceive it.

  41. DAODO

    @”one could equally write “when Mariupol is liberated from Ukrainian fascist control”.

    I don’t think that would be “equal”.

    But I remember your allegiances in this issue so we have no need to air our disagreement further.

  42. “Isn’t it appalling that Labour won’t rule out this outcome [minority government supported by the SNP], that they would wrap themselves in the flag one minute and the next be prepared to work with a bunch of people who would rip up that flag given half a chance?” Cameron told delegates.

    Says the man who authorised the referendum & allowed the referendum terms of engagement (question, timing etc.) all to be determined by the SNP.

    This was also the man who, on the day after the referendum, could have spoken of welcoming the result and shown delight at Scotland remaining part of the UK. Instead, he appeared to take it as an opportunity to score cheap political points in the Tory struggle against UKIP!

  43. @Daodao

    The Poles are looking forward to you liberating them from fascism again

  44. Although it’s some time since I’ve been involved with campaigning at Amber’s level, I’m in total agreement with her re their professionalism when it came to ensuring that returns are as accurate as possible – and I doubt that anything has changed.

  45. AMBER

    @” the man who authorised the referendum & allowed the referendum terms of engagement (question, timing etc.) all to be determined by the SNP.”

    …..and urged a NO vote

    @”This was also the man who, on the day after the referendum, could have spoken of welcoming the result and shown delight at Scotland remaining part of the UK”

    “”The people of Scotland have spoken. It is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together. Like millions of other people, I am delighted.

    “As I said during the campaign, it would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end.

    “And I know that sentiment was shared by people, not just across our country, but also around the world…. because of what we’ve achieved together in the past and what we can do together in the future.

    “So now it is time for our United Kingdom to come together, and to move forward.”
    BBC 19/09/2014

  46. @ Colin

    Then shouldn’t David Cameron welcome Scotland’s participation in UK politics rather than saying it is “appalling”?

  47. Colin

    There are (mega) tons of reasons to be careful with Russia, and (mega) tons of reasons for Putin not to overdo it.

  48. Colin,
    Is’almost everyone is against tuition fee reduction’ based on anecdote or a poll?If it is the latter I was not aware of it and so should not question you.
    However,anecdotally having funded my youngest daughter through University,
    plus paying for endless extras such as books,train fares and field trips,I personally would welcome any reduction!

  49. I think he was talking about rUK politics Amber-ie the bit not devolved to Scotland.

  50. ANN

    Thanks- 1 convert then
    .I’m sure it will have appeal-as I said. Universities are speaking against it-but I suppose the reaction will be ” they would say that wouldn’t they” .

1 2 3 4