Round up

Welcome back! In the next couple of days I’ll be putting up some articles looking at how the polls have fared for the three main political parties over the last year and what they are indicating for the year ahead. In the meantime, here’s a round up of polls that have crept out over the Christmas period.

Communicate Research’s monthly poll in the Independent has voting intentions (with changes from last month) of CON 36% (+2), LAB 37% (+1), LDEM 14%(-3). The poll was conducted back on the 19th-20th December, so isn’t actually more recent than the pre-Christmas polls. As ever it is worth pointing out that Communicate do not use any political weighting in their polls, so compared to pollsters like ICM and Populus they will tend to produce figures that are more favourable to Labour – hence the Labour party lead in their last two polls.

It isn’t the first time that Communicate have produced such a low level of support for the Liberal Democrats either, but the polls in December have all been poor for the Lib Dems. YouGov’s last poll had them down at 15%, Populus down 1 to 19% and both MORI and ICM (the pollster whose methodology normally produces the strongest Lib Dem figures) down 2 to 18%. I’m always slightly dubious about how much weight to put on polls done in the immediate run up to Christmas, as most of this month’s were – in the same way that bank holiday weekends make it difficult to get a high quality sample, I’m sure that the Christmas shopping rush must have some impact on the quality of samples. The Lib Dems may yet pop back up in next month’s polls. If not it could be worrying trend for them.

Just before Christmas there were also some Christmassy polls from Populus and ICM. Populus found that 47% of people said they would be going to church over Christmas – in what the Times suggests is a cracking example of people not being strictly honest with pollsters – actual head counts at church services suggest that only around 6% of the adult population actually went to a church service last Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (though looking at the Populus question, it doesn’t look as though they specified Christmas Eve/Day, so respondents may well have been thinking of carol services and similar in the run up to Christmas). 81% of people told Populus they thought children should be encouraged to believe in Father Christmas, apparantly up from 70% in 2004.

An ICM poll for the Guardian found 54% of people saying they would attend a religious service at some point over the Christmas period. The survey included some wider questions on religion, reporting that only 33% of people considered themselves to be religious, with 63% saying they were not – including more than half of those describing themselves as Christian.

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