Ten weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls.

YouGov/S Times (20/2) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
Opinium/Observer (20/2) – CON 35%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%
Populus (22/2) – CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
Ashcroft (22/2) – CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 8%
Survation/Mirror(23/2) – CON 28%, LAB 34%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 19%, GRN 4%
ComRes/Mail (23/2) – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 8%
YouGov/Sun (23/2) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (24/2) – CON 35%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Sun (25/2) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (26/2) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
Populus (27/2) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%

The voting intention polls are continuing to show the same stasis we’ve had for the whole of the year so far, Con and Lab almost neck and neck, Labour just a smidgin ahead. Of this week’s polls five showed Labour leads, three Tory leads, three with a draw. The UKPR polling average is wholly unchanged from last week, remaining on CON 32%(nc), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 15%(nc), GRN 6%(nc). Perhaps the most notable change among some very unnotable polls was a change in who commissioned them – ComRes had been the pollsters for the Independent since 2006, but this week switched their monthly telephone poll over to the Daily Mail (they will continue to carry out online polls for the Independent’s Sunday stablemate).

Scottish, London and Constituency polls

TNS put out a new Scottish poll this morning with topline figures for Westminster voting intention of CON 14%(-2), LAB 30%(-1), LDEM 3%(-1), SNP 46%(+5), UKIP 3%(+1) (tabs). The previous TNS poll had shown an SNP lead of only ten points, this TNS poll is far more similar to the Scottish figures being shown by other companies.

YouGov put out a new London poll earlier in the week for the Times with topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 9%, GRN 6%. This gives Labour an eight point lead in the London, but given they won the vote in London at the 2010 electon is actually a slightly smaller Con>Lab swing that in the country as a whole. I wrote more about the poll here.

Finally there was a new Survation poll of Thanet South for UKIP donor Alan Bown, showing Nigel Farage with an eleven point lead. This compares with the Lord Ashcroft poll of Thanet South last November that had, once corrected, shown Farage one point behind the Conservatives. It may be that UKIP have managed to open up a lead in Thanet South since November, but there were also substantial methodological differences between the two polls – the new Survation poll prompted using the candidates names, which may well have helped Nigel Farage as the most well known of the candidates. There were also differences in weighting – Lord Ashcroft weights by recalled vote and by social class, whereas Survation don’t; Survation weight by council wards within the constituency whereas Ashcroft doesn’t. Finally there were don’t knows – Survation exclude them, Ashcroft assumes some vote for the party they did last time. And of course, this is a poll commissioned by a party – that should make no difference to how the poll is done (apart from adding candidate names this is Survation’s regular methodology), but it brings with it publication bias: if parties commission polls and don’t like the results, they don’t publish them.

Week 8

  • Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind were caught in a newspaper sting on MPs taking second jobs. Rifkind stepped down, Ed Miliband promised a ban on second jobs. YouGov polling found only 26% thought that MPs having second jobs helped keep them in touch and was better than full time politicians, 60% thought they should concentrate on their main job and second jobs risked corruption. 54% would support a ban on MPs having second jobs.
  • Immigration figures came out showing net immigration way above David Cameron’s stated ambition to reduce it to “tens of thousands”. I suspect the Conservatives failure to meet the target has long been accepted by the public and priced into their opinion though – early last year the proportion of people thinking it was likely the government would hit their target had already fallen to just 9%. Still, coverage of immigration will likely keep UKIP’s strongest issue high on the agenda.
  • Labour announced their policy on tuition fees. On the principle of who should pay for higher education the public are actually quite evenly split – 43% think it should be paid from general taxation, 42% that students should pay it through tuition fees or a graduate tax. For a reduction in the level of tuition fees though I expect Labour will get the thumbs up – in December YouGov found people were in favour of a reduction in tuition fees by 54% to 21%, even if it meant less funding for universities
  • And the debate debate struggled onwards. At the weekend the papers quietly suggested that the debates may now be dead, on Monday the broadcasters announced the order of the debates (the two big ones first, followed by the Cameron-v-Miliband head to head). For the moment though, it seems to have gone quiet.


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015 and Elections Etc are below, along with the Guardian’s new election projection. As usual, everyone is projecting an extremely hung Parliament, with the two main parties close together in seat numbers.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 279(-2), LAB 283(+1), LD 23(nc), SNP 40(nc), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 285(+3), LAB 276(-4), LD 27(+2), SNP 39(-1), UKIP 1(-1)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 270(+4), LAB 271(-4), LD 26(nc), SNP 56(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 275, LAB 271, LD 27, SNP 51, UKIP 4

375 Responses to “Ten weeks to go”

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  1. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/01/another-tory-mp-could-defect-to-ukip-nigel-farage-suggests

    Any suggestions on who this might be? In fact, do we even believe dear Nigel that this ‘conversation’ is even taking place? Even Farage himself concedes that a possible defection is not really ‘relevant’ at this point. Begs the question as to why he is bringing up (feeling the pressure I think).

  2. @ (Prof) Howard

    The Scottish situation seems rather important…

    I think we can all agree about the importance of any battleground in which there are tens of seats in play.

    However, fluidity must surely also be a factor. Developments are worth watching closely when we see changes from week to week that might affect the outcome of the election. But on my own calculations all the Scottish VIs have been statistically flat for at least ten weeks (picked as it is the time left before the election). If anyone can present any evidence to the contrary then I’d be keen to look at what they have to offer.

    Given the current Scottish polldrums, I can’t see much case for anticipating any further change of fortunes (beyond the radical upsets brought about by the referendum). If Scottish voters have made up their minds, then to my mind this particular sub-drama moves away from centre stage.

    I am aware the some see May 7 as a milestone on the way to the 2016 Holyrood election and that will move debates in different directions. But isn’t it true that we already more or less know how scotland will vote in the General Election?

  3. Prof Howard here.

    Does anyone know why the NI seats have not been opened for discussion this time round on UK Polling Report? I have an interest in them and would like to be able to discuss. Last election(s) it was possible to comment on them.

    It is the anniversary of the 1979 Referenda in Scotland and Wales.

    Northern Ireland may prove to be key to power in the House of Commons.

  5. @ John B

    More locally I find my own occasional conversations with Amber run along similar lines – and I am probably more guilty than she in this matter…..

    The ‘is’ after she is optional, so this version is grammatically correct & more elegant prose, in my opinion anyway. And thank you for a very gracious comment, it’s appreciated.

  6. Howard

    Does anyone know why the NI seats have not been opened for discussion this time round on UK Polling Report?

    I suspect it’s no more than that Anthony hasn’t had the time to do it. It’s probably that he needs to set up the seats, including all the information from the NI Census maybe in a differing format.

    It might be worth pointing out to the monstrous regiment of Howards that you can change how your name appears on UKPR, so as to prevent all the explanatory notes. Just go to your profile, amend your Nickname and then select the revised form from the drop-down list below. Obviously you need to be logged in for this.

  7. @ Roger Mexico

    It might be worth pointing out to the monstrous regiment of Howards…

    As far as I’m aware, none of UKPR’s many Howards are women. Or are you attempting to ‘reclaim’ the term “monstrous regiment”?

  8. Tristan he is clearly in full wind up mode -there wouldnt be a mention of something was really going on.

  9. @Roll a hard six

    SNP have never described themselves and do not pretend to be socialists. They describe themselves as Social Democrats.

    So I again refer you to Barney’s posts regarding online behaviour.

  10. @Unicorn

    I hope you are right

  11. Couper,

    Social democracy is a major part of the socialist tradition. Plenty of people describe themselves as both.

  12. Looking at the Scottish polls and the relative positioning of the parties on the left-right spectrum. There is a possibility that over the next few elections (GE, Hollywood, Council) that the Tory’s will replace Labour as the main opposition in Scotland.

  13. @Mr Nameless

    Yes social democracy is socialism without the revolution. I probably would describe myself as both, but the SNP never say they are socialists, just a point to counter the ‘national socialist’ description

  14. Just to note that I am the one that many of you remember when colours were allowed. My thanks to Roger Mexico for his suggestion.

    May I suggest to my namesake that he does what TOH I and I (just) did. It only takes a few seconds and will solve the issue if we get a fourth Howard joining us.

    I must admit I am astonished that the system allows more than one user to have the same username.

    .. .

    When Herbert Morrison was asked to define socialism, he replied: Socialism is whatever a Labour Government does.

  16. @MrNameless

    “Social democracy is a major part of the socialist tradition. Plenty of people describe themselves as both.”

    I think you’re right and while there was an attempt by the Gang of Four to fracture the broad Labour church in the early 80s by creating an avowedly Social Democratic Party (Owen’s SDP), many who remained and toughed it out in Labour, people like Healey, Hattersley, Cunningham, Hewitt and Gould, to name but a few, were broadly social democrats rather than socialists in the Marxist sense.

    Ironically, Owen’s SDP contained a variety of political characters, some of whom returned to the Blairite Labour Party many years later, some who went on to found the Liberal Democrat party and others who drifted into Tory politics like Grayling and Lansley. If ever there was a party made up of an exotic pot-pourri of political views, it was the SDP! Their common ground was disillusionment with Michael Foots Labour Party.

    Up to the 70s, countries like France and Italy had separate Socialist and Communist parties who fought each other in national elections. The British Communist Party was electorally insignificant at the time and, accordingly, the Labour Party, certainly up the 80s, contained just about every left-wing strand from a very centrist version of social democracy to Marxism.

    What’s in a name, really? Crosland’s “Future of Socialism”, written in the 50s, is a treatise on social democracy in essence.

  17. http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/homepage.html

    Electoral calculus gives some food for thought this month.

    It is often dismissed, because of swingback, but we only have two months left. There will only be 2 more electoral calculus “current predictions”, as the website calls them.

    Currently, it is predicting

    Lab 301
    Con 265
    LD 15
    UKIP 1
    Green 1
    SNP 46
    PC 3
    NI 18

    Obviously, most projections have labour lower and conservative higher, and lib dem higher…but the electoral calculus prediction does highlight the problem the tories are in, given how little time there is left.

  18. How does EC get the Tories so low and Labour so high?

    If the SNP are on 46 it’s predicting ~30 Scottish Labour losses, and if the Lib Dems are on 15 it’s predicting ~20 Tory gains from them in England and Wales.

    So Labour must be gaining, what, 60 Tory seats in England and Wales? Is that actually what UNS predicts on the current swing?

  19. Nevermind, Anthony’s advanced swing calculator says it is.

    Welp. That is quite an English mountain for the Tories to climb.

  20. Prof Howard here. Will change username shortly.

    When does swingback usually start? Maybe we can soon see if it is happening to the extent expected.

  21. Test Message,

  22. Amber Star

    As far as I’m aware, none of UKPR’s many Howards are women. Or are you attempting to ‘reclaim’ the term “monstrous regiment”?

    Did I say they were? #EverydaySexism

    (Though trying to reclaim things from John Knox is probably always a good idea).

  23. @ Roger


  24. New Thread.

  25. Labour MP suggests grand coalition: http://labourlist.org/2015/03/labour-mp-says-party-shouldnt-rule-out-a-grand-coalition-with-the-tories/
    Well, why not? Many would consider that they have already converged in their general policies on austerity and the economy. In Lambeth the Labour council is behaving just like a Tory one, for a start.

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