Monday tends to be the busiest day of the week for polling (not least because phone polls are mostly conducted across the weekend). We have four polls due today: Populus, Ashcroft, YouGov and ComRes. ComRes’s poll tonight will be in the Daily Mail, who seem to have taken over ComRes’s phone polls from the Independent, their host since 2006.

The twice-weekly poll from Populus has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6% (tabs here). This is their first poll of 2015 not to show a Labour lead.

The weekly poll from Lord Ashcroft meanwhile has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 8% (tabs here). This is his largest Labour lead of 2015 so far, and UKIP are sharply down – 11 points is the lowest UKIP have recorded in an Ashcroft poll. The online/phone poll contrast in terms of UKIP support seems to be alive and well, with the last three phone polls from MORI, ICM and Ashcroft giving UKIP scores of 9, 9 and 11 respectively, but online polls continuing to show them in the teens.

UPDATE: Here are tonight’s other two polls. ComRes in the Daily Mail have figures of CON 34%(+3), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 13%(-4), GRN 8%(+1). The two point Conservative lead is the largest ComRes have shown since 2010, and their UKIP score is the lowest since last Spring. Meanwhile YouGov in the Sun have topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%.

Putting today’s four polls together we have one Labour lead, one Tory lead, and two polls showing the parties neck-and-neck – all perfectly in line with normal sample variation around the parties being pretty much neck-and-neck, probably with Labour just ahead. Note the UKIP picture though – all the regular phone polls have them at their lowest score for some time, and 13 points is equal to YouGov’s lowest score for them this year. The trend is difficult to discern given the wide variations between different pollsters, but looking at the average of the February polls so far UKIP do seem to be down slightly.


364 Responses to “Monday’s polls – UPDATED”

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  1. @ Richard

    If you are talking about (TV-programme-related) drops over the last week then I think they are unlikely to be large enough to be statistically detectable. You could conduct s statistical test to compare the Ukip VIs in all polls conducted over the last week, with those conducted over some prior period. But given the usual MoE issues, the drop would have to be rather substantial and consistent over different polls in order for it to show up as a reliable change. There would also be questions of what length of prior period to use as your ‘before’ sample. If you stuck to using just the data from the preceding week, the small sample size would reduce what is called the ‘statistical power’ of the comparison. Bluntly the test would be unlikely to be sensitive enough to detect the change you are looking for. The problem of lack of power could be addressed in part by increasing the size of the prior sample by going back and using the Ukip VI scores from several earlier weeks. The problem then is how far to go back. If you go back too far you will be including times before Ukip support peaked, thereby reducing your chance of showing a recent drop. If you stop at a point that is optimal for demonstrating the effect, you then stand to be accused of cherry-picking.

    I’ll have a look tomorrow, but I don’t expect to be able to detect any very recent drop in Ukip support.

    @CMJ has a method using CUSUM analysis which is claimed to be particular sensitive at picking up changes of this kind. Using this he may be able to give a more enlightening answer to your question (though I doubt it…).

    Back later…

  2. @CMJ posted while I was typing …making my final observations redundant.

  3. @Unicorn, CMJ, Statgeek

    Thanks for all your responses. I’ll do some reading up about control charts and CUSUM tomorrow.

  4. Peter Crawford is correct – UKIP are very ex-Tory dominated – although perhaps not all their supporters realise the extent? But also a certain kind of Tory (the Conservative party is after all a fairly broad church). The type who are now dominate in ukip are obviously from the eurosceptic side of the Tories, but also tend to be small state, free market, climate change sceptical etc.

    Hence Carswell (recently appointed a vice president of the YBF – Young Britons Foundation) as well as Reckless and Richardson for example all having a YBF background, as does Raheem Kassam, formerly of Breitbart but now a senior advisor to Farage.

    Therefore as Peter Cairns points out, a move in one direction or the other risks alienating a section of supporters – in fact I know of a few who have left the party as a result.

    There are some in UKIP who find the likes of Carswell too moderate on things like immigration (Carswell has written an article for todays Times in which he says Enoch Powell was wrong on immigration – hence attacking someone who has become a bit of a poster boy for some in UKIP and for those outside of ukip and further to the right.

    Farage is speaking at CPAC (the Conservative US conference) this week along with Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and others. The event is sponsored by (amongst others) YAF – the American wing of the YBF, the Heritage Foundation (which UKIP and the Tory right both have links with) the Margaret Thatcher centre, the London Center for Policy Research as well as by the Tea Party and National Rifle Association. Not sure how all that would go down with any Labour voters leaning towards ukip, if the event gets much publicity in the UK?

  5. The ComRes poll for the Mail is, as you might expect, obsessed with trying to push the Evil Ed button Which of the following statements about Ed Miliband and the Labour Party come closest to your opinion?:

    http://comres.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Daily-Mail-Political-Poll_24th-February-2015.pdf#page=42

    and gave the following options:

    [a] I will definitely vote for Labour no matter who the leader is 21%

    [b] I would like to vote for Labour, but Ed Miliband is putting me off 26%

    [c] I would not vote for Labour no matter who the leader is 44%

    [d] Don’t know 9%

    It does indicate the problem that the is with Miliband’s image, but also the potential there may be for expanding Labour’s VI if that is addressed. The percentage who chose [b] was in the mid-20s for nearly all Parties (including Labour itself) and may off course include a lot of people really moving for different reasons but picking the ‘conventional wisdom’ excuse for their action.

    There’s another oddity. Of those who chose [a], no less than 29 people were included by ComRes in the totals for other Parties[1]. So they’re voting for a different Party and ‘definitely’ voting for Labour. Even if you take off the 7 voters who said [c], even though they were assigned to Labour[2], it still indicates an extra 3-4 points that Labour may have hidden away.

    [1] This may be due to the way that ComRes ‘squeeze’ uncertain voters and assign them to a Party

    [2] Possibly they got confused by the double negative of option [c] or they may just as flighty as the rest of them

  6. I’m puzzled as to the absence of DKs from the debate, given that it is this 12% or so who may be likely to be influenced by the campaign, so shifting actual voting on May 7.
    The tabs don’t appear to indicate what proportion are likely to vote, thought this must be known to pollsters, but Ashcroft indicates that out of this 12% only 2% don’t know whether they will be voting.
    Do the figures suggest that all is to play for in winning the DK vote during the campaign, notably among 18 to 24s, and 60+s? Are thay expected to split in accordance with overall VI, or do they constitute a more, say, C2/DE element, and so are possibly more leftist ? Do the stats tell us?

  7. ROGER
    “It does indicate the problem that the is with Miliband’s image, but also the potential there may be for expanding Labour’s VI if that is addressed.”

    Yes, how should they do that? Personally I have always found the effect of putting on a smile particularly gruesome in politicians who are naturally and acceptably serious men, especially Ed M and GB. EM has always done well on Marr, because he remains uncompromisingly serious when he has a serious protagonist.

  8. @Unicorn

    Here is the YG VI by 2010 voter ID, last vs previous week and last week vs first week of 2014.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzTTW1ecy-NDT21ORi1BM3VOd2s/view?usp=sharing

  9. Today’s YG Scottish crossbreak

    SNP 39% : Lab 29% : Con 15% : LD 6% : UKIP 7% : Grn 4%

    Mean of last 20 YG Scottish crossbreaks

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

  10. Can someone please explain the difference between the answers on page 34 and 35 of the Comres poll on whether or not the SNP should join a UK wide government?

    Seems to be some pretty good answers on page 36 as well.

  11. Roger Mexico

    “The ComRes poll for the Mail is, as you might expect, obsessed with trying to push the Evil Ed button”

    It’s also obsessed with the EVEL button (but only, it appears, for SNP MPs) – kind of evil EVEL :-)

    “More than one in three Britons (37 per cent) think that the SNP should not be able to join a UK-wide coalition in the event of a hung parliament. However, 57 per cent think they should be able to.

    The majority of British adults (55 per cent) say that if the SNP joined a coalition government it should not be allowed to make decisions on laws that don’t impact on Scotland.”

    As to coalition, supporters of parties who could benefit from such an arrangement support the idea. LDs are drawn at 49% each, while Tories are the only ones against with only 43% in favour.

    On the “allowed to make decisions on laws that don’t impact on Scotland” question, 55% of Scots agreed as well as 55% of those in E&W.

    It seems likely that few considered the actual question phrasing – If the SNP join a national coalition government they should not be allowed to make decisions on laws that don’t impact on Scotland

    Presumably, it would be fine for SNP MPs to vote on purely English matters if they supported a Lab led government via C&S?

    “Not allowing” coalition SNP MPs to vote on purely English matters, while allowing any Labour or other MPs from Scotland plus any MPs from Wales and Northern Ireland in such a coalition to do so is certainly imaginative.

    Such a constitutional arrangement, however, teeters on the verge of insanity, while actually plunging into inanity.

  12. @Andy Shadrack

    There is a logical inconsistency there, which is that the SNP would have to vote on “English matters” to provide practical support to any lead party in the UK Government. I think the poll result more reflects the support / opposition for English votes for English laws (EVEL).

    My biggest problem with the issue is that nobody has clearly defined what “English matters” means, given that English public spending determines what can be spent in Scotland. This would have to change before EVEL would become practical.

  13. Caught Ed B’s Commons nightmare on Radio 4 this morning and he wasn’t very impressive to be honest.

    Equally Osborne didn’t actually address any of the substance of the questions and the backbenchers on both sides were jeering as usual.

    However the whole thing was rather puerile and the only person who came out of it with any credit was John Bercow who at least tried to make them all behave.

    Having watched Meet the Ukippers last night as well it was enough to thoroughly put anyone off politics completely (as it seemed the poor Press Officer lady with the clowns felt herself at the end of the programme).

    I can sympathise with voters feeling plague on all your houses to the parties at the moment.

  14. @CMJ

    Thanks very much for posting your most recent churn plot. I was fascinated in particular by the one making comparisons with the position a month or so earlier and would recommend those who have been discussing Ukip developments to pore over your figures for a few minutes.

    A couple of observations. One is that for the first time I can remember in your plots, ex-LibDem voters seem to be going back ‘home’ in small numbers. Previous histograms have been notable for the evidence that they seem to have been trying almost any other party for short periods rather thwn declaring for LD Instead. Small numbers but perhaps that is part of the explanation for the firming up of the LD figures in my trend analyses.

    The second point is that the Ukip losses over the last month look very much like the kind of development that @Pressman would have wanted to see, and quite different from the kinds of pattern we were discussing only a few weeks ago. Quite recently we had been talking about the possibility that of respondents who were currently backing Ukip, the ex-Tories might be sticking to their new banner whilst ex-Labour voters seemed to be drifting away elsewhere. Your comparisons with January seem to tell a completely different story. From that chart it looks as if the recent Ukip leavers have been almost exclusively Tories and that the bulk of them have gone back to their original party.

    As I said, close to @Pressman’s prediction of what was likely to happen.

  15. ‘My biggest problem with the issue is that nobody has clearly defined what “English matters” means, given that English public spending determines what can be spent in Scotland. This would have to change before EVEL would become practical.’

    Which then gets to the issue of the EU referendum… Surely all parts of the UK must vote for the referendum as individual countries (like Australian states do) for it to be carried? Otherwise I instantly see a reason for a new Independent Scotland referendum – given Scotland’s support for the EU…

  16. Stonking high dont knows in latest yougov -17 per cent overall,23 percent women ,25 percent 2010 libdems.

    Swingback may or may not happen ,bit like waiting for godot ,but reckon the dont knows have it.

  17. To think that I ever questioned Pressman!

    The latest A-lister to stick the boot into Red Ed in The Sun is ex-Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.

    Red Ed must be reeling. Who next? Herman of the Hermits? Gary Glitter? The ghost of Ian Curtis?

  18. Glen Matlock? Ed is doomed. There are surely people of real influence and clout who could be pulled out to attack Ed, rather than the current collection of Pointless Answers.

  19. @Jack

    That is what Nicola Sturgeon has called for, but it is quite controversial in the UK with its (modern) history of being quite a unitary state.

    The SNP piggy-backed a question onto the Daily Record / Survation poll last week which found cross-party support in Scotland (which is pretty unusual nowadays!) for the idea.

    http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/SNP-Referendum-Table-Feb.pdf

    (still waiting for those Lib Dem constituency polls….)

  20. Yet another example of the way the old political order is changeing :-

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/france-controversy-over-jewish-leaders-marine-le-pen-irreproachable-comment-1489145

  21. @Lefty L

    “Red Ed must be reeling. Who next? Herman of the Hermits? Gary Glitter? The ghost of Ian Curtis?”

    I hear that the former drummer with Paper Lace, Cliff Fish, has come out against Ed too. Apparently, he just wasn’t a hero any more.

    Where’s this all going to end? Jason Orange to declare for the Tories on the eve of polling in May?

    That would swing it probably.

    :-)

  22. The UKIP programme was very strange. The couple with the clown collection (unfortunate metaphor) seemed to be amiably eccentric. The racist woman was a bit mad really and could probably do with some therapy.

  23. As much as I might personally favour a Lab victory, I would be amused if Pressman’s predictions all came to pass.

  24. Crossbat11

    I thought Paper Lace were against heroism?

  25. LEFTYLAMPTON
    To think that I ever questioned Pressman!

    Quite so, but there are some things which even the press can’t control. Presumably the Rifkind/Straw will have some VI impact on both establishment parties, but that may well be forgotten by May.

    OTOH, the trial date was set yesterday re Coulson’s alleged perjury in the Sheridan trial. That commences in Glasgow on 21 April.

    I doubt it will be covered in depth by the Scottish Sun, but suspect the other papers won’t be able to resist covering it in detail, at least in Scotland, and likewise STV & BBC Scotland.

    It certainly won’t be a bad news story for the SNP or SGP but I can imagine [without expecting] an imaginative approach from LiS helping them a little, given their views over Leveson.

  26. I am not making up my mid about Ed Miliband until I know what Showaddywaddy think!

    Peter.

  27. LEFTY

    @”Red Ed must be reeling.”

    Don’t think so-didn’t he say he wanted nothing to do with the “celebrity” culture where “where “things are judged far more on style than substance” ?

    He will be glad to be rid of these C List groupies-so he can concentrate on “substance”.

  28. Anyone heard that Natalie Bennett interview on LBC? Surely a lesson on why you shouldn’t appear in the media unless you’re on top physical form.

    I do seriously wonder whether it might not be better for the Greens not to appear in the debates. That way they can claim to be being shut out of the debate without having to actually risk taking part.

  29. Mr N

    Worth noting the contrast with the Scottish Greens. Pat Harvie got enhanced media coverage during the referendum, and came out of it very well.

    Caroline Lucas came over well on Newsnight, I thought.

    To use broadcast media well you have to have a natural talent, good training, or preferably both.

    Don’t the

  30. LEFTYLAMPTON

    The ghost of Ian Curtis?

    According to Debbie Curtis, he did vote Tory!

  31. Pressed “Submit” too soon!

    Don’t the E&W Greens have professional broadcasters in their ranks who could help?

  32. Funny how these A list celebs and business types get arsy when the proposal is to increase the top rate and bring in the mansion tax .

    Socialisms great as long as it doesnt cost me a penny.

    Come back mr blair he was nice to us.

  33. @Hawthorn

    That racist lady rang into an LBC show yesterday to explain her difficulties.

    She said she couldn’t understand why she didn’t like them & had in fact seen lots of them when she visited the Caribbean & that was ‘ok’

    The Indy has written it up:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/politician-expelled-from-ukip-for-negro-comments-hits-back-at-her-critics-by-saying-she-once-visited-the-caribbean-and-found-it-okay-10064359.html

    So according to Ms Duncan, black faces are fine – just as long as they are not in this country…..

  34. Bramley

    She seemed to be described her problem with black people in the same way that an arachnophobe describes spiders. That is what struck me as being rather unhinged.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am trying to explain not excuse. I find racism bizarre as well as abhorrent.

  35. Rifkind steps down as Chair of the ISC & will stand down at the GE

  36. @ Richard (from the early hours)

    You were asking whether it was currently feasible to detect a Ukip downturn in recent polls. @CMJ may have more sensitive methods but I am unable to detect anything over your period of interest.

    I have compared the very recent Ukip VIs (from Feb 16 to now) with the week before that. Against your hypothesis there has actually been a numerical rise from a mean of 13.8 to a mean of 14.5, which may in itself be sufficient to give you pause for thought.

    This difference is nowhere near being statistically significant – as will often be the case for samples this small. You can calculate the chance of detecting an effect of a given size and this may become relevant when the averages move in the directions you expected. These calculations are based on a feature of statistical tests known as power. In essence, the power of a test is the probability that it will be able to detect an effect of a particular size. (It can broadly be likened to the magnification power of a microscope). In the present Ukip comparison, the power turned out to be just 0.147. This means that the statistical test has just a 14.7% chance of detecting an effect of this size. Rough calculations suggest that the change would have to be three times as large to increase the power to 0.95, and so be fairly confident of picking up the change.

    Assuming that the variability of this particular sample is not unusual, this means that you would have to have an average VI change of about 2.5% from one week to the next in order to be confident of detecting such an effect with a high probability. Others may know better, but personally I doubt whether you ever get such a large average change over a single week.

    So, the conclusion – as ever – is that you have to wait for much longer periods before you can be confident that a genuine VI change has occurred.

  37. Boris must be kicking himself for getting selected for lowly Uxbridge. If only he’d known that lovely K&C was going to come up for grabs….

  38. Mind you K&C seems jinked -scott (fell over drunk),clark (women),portillo (where you up when he didnt become leader),now sir malcolm.

  39. Clark’s very unpleasant demise is probably the jinx. Otherwise, he lived a charmed life.

  40. EVEL. The West Hampstead Question. London MPs to be excluded? After all its claimed its intolerable that the Scots vote on English only issues they have devolved to them in Scotland, so why should London be any different for the issues they have devolved to them in London. EELVEELL.

  41. @Hawthorn

    What worried me was she said that years ago her work concerned supported accomodation and she didn’t want black people there. Why wasn’t she reported? It seemed to me that racism is still accepted which is ridiculous

    Ok maybe she can’t help her feelings because of a ‘bad childhood experience’ but you don’t talk about them as if it’s normal and you don’t act on them.

    I think it will put people of voting UKIP but maybe people that are outraged by her attitude already wouldn’t vote UKIP.

    I did have sympathy for UKIP voters (not that I would vote for them) thinking that they were quite poor and insecure about jobs, homes etc from the polling evidence.

  42. I don’t understand why Rifkind resigned, my feeling was that K&C voters might be quite understanding. ’67K a year my God who could live on that!’

    Maybe it’s because he has lost the whip which might mean he couldn’t stand as a Conservative.

  43. @Jonathan,

    Fair enough, but I think you’ll find the list of areas controlled by the GLA and not the UK government is quite small.

  44. The first poll taken, which presumably will be tonight’s YouGov, after the Rifkind/Straw story broke will be interesting. On the surface, it’s God’s gift to UKIP in England and the nationalists in Scotland, although I wonder if its main effect will be to further alienate people from politics in general.

    Accordingly, while I suspect it will be yet another suppressant on the Tory and Labour vote, it may not manifest itself in a surge for the smaller parties. Sadly, I think it will just swell the already vast number of people who have absolutely no intention of voting in May.

    Who’s going to triumphantly march up Downing Street on May 8th with 34% of the popular vote on a 60% turn-out, I wonder? That will put whoever that person might be in power with the support of barely one in five of the adult population of the UK.

    Now, who doesn’t think that is very scary?

  45. “I’m suspicious of the Ashcroft poll so my sense is that Cons are gaining, possibly nudging ahead.”

    That’s my feeling as well but throughout this year I’ve had feelings week to week, that Tories have closed the gap or Labour has widened the gap and they have all just been random feelings on a series of polls. When you get so much of these week to week minor shifts it does quite some time to see if anything really has changed.

  46. Crossbat
    The last 3 general elections have seen the largest party get less than 25% of the electorate.

    2001 Lab 24.2
    2005 Lab 21.7
    2010 Con 23.4

    Yes – pretty scary.

  47. Couper2802

    He’s 68, which despite the demographics of parliament is still getting on a bit, and he’s probably already peaked in terms of political position, so it’s very possible he was planning to stand down in 2020 anyway. Perhaps he doesn’t think it’s worth holding on for another term if he’s not going to be able to chair the Intelligence & Security Committee. Standing down, taking a few lucrative directorships and awaiting a seat in the Lords doesn’t sound too bad.

  48. @CB11

    For what it’s worth, with this being a closer election, the coalition, and increased voter registration in Scotland, I think it ought to be a higher turnout. Whether the new voting registration system will interfere remains to be seen.

    I’ll go for 68% turnout, which would be 23% for a party on 34% of the votes.

    Ironic factoid – Scotland might be highest turnout, and there’s every chance that regionally, the SNP might be the most popular party, and yet it will be the party that the rest of the UK will claim has no place in a coalition.

  49. @oldnat

    ”Today’s YG Scottish crossbreak

    SNP 39% : Lab 29% : Con 15% : LD 6% : UKIP 7% : Grn 4%

    Mean of last 20 YG Scottish crossbreaks

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

    While I do appreciate that these are Westminster figures which can be very different to Holyrood, it is interesting that UKIP and the Greens – both of which despite their number of votes may make very little impression in terms of seats won in 2015 – may well make more headway in 2016 at Holyrood. Both parties could end up with more elected representatives for Scottish Parliament seats than for post-2015 Westminster seats.

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