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. Since Jim Murphy has finally admitted that he is running again, does anyone have a realistic prediction for East Renfrewshire? The Tory vote there, I believe, has been very consistent in the past and I’m not sure that anything has changed that. The SNP showing there in 2010 was dismal. It should be a Labour safe seat, but looking at the indyref results, I’m not sure.

  2. The Sheep

    It’s a Very British thread about the UK Parliament!

    Anyway, that comment is a bit cheeky from someone who has an entire year named after them – celebrated by millions of Chinese Communists.

    We know where your loyalties lie.

  3. @J.R. Tomlin

    It would be amusing if SNP supporters in Murphy’s seat considered voting tactically to keep him elected (and out of Holyrood). Heh!

  4. @ OLD NAT

    Looking at the cross tabs on YouGov this morning I noted that in Scotland “don’t know” plus “will not vote” added up to 10%, whereas the four English regions range from a low of 17% to a high of 23%.

    I still think there will be a higher turnout of youth in Scotland and think that will be good for SNP.

    In England my review of the chatter on the sub-regional and constituency sites tells me that the Green Party will have a more organized ground campaign, and that may blunt the usual post debate decline that the Green Party experiences.

    UKIP may be pumped in some places but their membership still hovers around the same level as trhe LDs. I am not sure what ground campaign LD and UKIP are going to mount outside their “strongholds, but do not forget there are English local government elections on the same day in some places.

    I listened to a very instructive discussion on Wales last night, on PollingMatters from February 17th, which underscores the problem facing Labour not just in Wales, but across the north as well – political fatigue:



    It depends if you count third by percenatge of vote as you have done, or by seat which is how the country is run through Parliament in London.

    If you project Labour with SNP, Green, SDLP and PC, then the winning coalition will have around 45% right now and if you add in LD 52.5%.

    Tories plus UKIP only have 46.3% and the additional LD will not join a Tory/UKIP government.

    So you are right by percentage of the vote, but not by seats.

  5. @ Norbold

    I think (?)_I put the bet before the byelections. But yes, I think the Conservatives will regain it.

    UKIP has a media problem (anything more than 3 minutes and the anti-English (let alone anti-UK values come out glaringly obvious).

  6. Interesting to see that some (not without reason) think Fallon as the new LibDem leader – I think it will depend on his current TB moment of 2093. Even though Russia is a pariah in the current opinion polls, high appraisal of the Azov battalion may ring the alarm bell among the LibDems. Swastika and free birds?

  7. Not a big fan of opinion polls. The pattern is the same in every election, completely distorted until the final ones. This more of a strategy to influence unsure voters. If these are funded by someone, laws of business suggest they are there for a reason and no doubt influenced aimed to change opinion. I’m sure establishment has all the intelligence at their disposal they know the facts for a long time. If it’s genuinely to understand the outcome, why would they be public at all?

  8. 2093 meant to be 2003

  9. @STATGEEL Indeed. That would be amusing.

  10. Top ten most noticed news stories this week


    Girls travelling to Syria 16%
    ISIS 9%
    Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw 9%
    HSBC/tax avoidance 5%

    So 2 political stories making the radar this week

    Surprisingly Madonna taking a tumble did not really feature and must be hidden in that 3% for the Brit awards.

    PS thanks CMJ, Lazlo for your stats lessons in the last thread, I have been out and only read them now.

  11. News from the colonies: Deborah Coyne, mother of current Canadian Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau’s, half sister has defected from the party because she believes the Green Party promotes a “more civil, constructive and collaborative governance…[The] former Liberal leadership candidate and a constitutional lawyer…will serve as senior policy advisor to Leader Elizabeth May”. It’s tough being the leader of a mainstream party these days when even family members do not want to support you.

  12. ANDY
    “support for the three largest parties since 2010 has dropped from 88,1% to 73.65%.”

    Events, dear boy. The one dominating development is that of the post-recession European single labour market, long since written in by treaty, but awaiting the reemergence and strengthening of the comparative advantage of some northern European post-industrial economies, notably the UK, now arrived and active.
    The resulting massive migration of labour to the UK, much of which is either desperately poor and unskilled or is highly skilled (50%+ graduates as against 25%+ graduate in the UK born labour market entrants) isn’t manageble from the traditional arsenal of policies of the main parties or from the UK regulatory array as it stands under EU treaty obligations, or at least not by any credible restriction which will maintain economic prosperity. Ensuing immigration-related social issues, from housing shortages to NHS to employment and to Islamic fundamentalism add to an innate and very understandable element of racial prejudice which means that the main parties no longer offer credible policies, or at least within their likely continuation of remaining in the EU.
    Enter UKIP, and residually enter SNP, offering, if not a plague on, at least escape from both your houses and a new agenda. She’s leaving home.

  13. OLD NAT
    “What Con & Lab need is a jolly good war.”

    The missed opportunity of not providing material support for Jordan’s response to ISIS killing of its citizens seems indicative of a gap in Cameron’s understanding of political interest and tactics, and probably that of the UK FO intelligence establishment. These gallant allies emerged as a military force through decades of UK training and equipping of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force and more recently of the training of the present Jordan office corps at Sandhurst. All it takes, for G-d’s sake, is a couple of hundred Range Rovers, a hundred Warrior armoured troop carriers, 40 military advisers, and a few attack helicopers, and you have the plus of a boost to UK industry and surrogate vengeance for our murdered hostages. Here, hand me that envelope!

  14. Good Morning All; still raining here in Dorset.

    Election Forecasts [email protected] · 37m37 minutes ago
    UK Polling Report forecast of SEATS: OTHERS:71.0, UKIP:0, LIB:21.0, LAB:307.0, CON:251.0 #UK #GE2015

  15. Nick Clegg is apparently ‘close’ to ruling out a coalition with ghe Tories because their policy is EU referendum. Accepting that it is a strange policy to choose – what effect will that have on the VI and post GE governments

    Unless Cons can get a nearly a majority then EM is PM in my view. But will it help LibDems hold seats?

    But if this is true it’s almost certain EM will be PM ?

  16. COUPER2802
    Good Morning to you; Nick Clegg is fighting very hard in Sheffield Hallam, to save his own seat; my instincts are that he will survive there.

    Scotland still looks bad for Labour; if this were not the case, I think we would be confidently forecasting that Ed M is going to Number 10, as PM.

  17. @ Statgeek

    It would be amusing if SNP supporters in Murphy’s seat considered voting tactically to keep him elected (and out of Holyrood). Heh!

    It would be amusing were Jim Murphy to be a Westminster MP & a Holyrood MSP. I think the last person who was both an MP & an MSP was Alex Salmond.

  18. All logic surely points to movement to both main parties as election gets closer with the tories having the added bonus of good economic news.(amazing the way noone is interested these days in the balance of payments deficit which is absolutely ghastly -when I was a boy these figures moved VI overnight ).

    As a country we cant make manufacturing pay -media and city conspiracy of silence or both parties ashamed or the truth of financial sector dominance would be revealed ?

  19. @ J.R.Tomlin

    Since Jim Murphy has finally admitted that he is running again, does anyone have a realistic prediction for East Renfrewshire?

    Jim Murphy announced he was intending to run again weeks ago. It was in the local paper. There was some speculation here on UKPR as to why he’d announced it in the local paper. I explained that it’s usual for Labour incumbents to announce first to their local paper (i.e. their constituency); thereafter the local CLP schedules a reselection meeting & (usually) votes to support the incumbent standing again.

    East Renfrewshire was 63% No 37% Yes in the referendum; & Jim Murphy took 50% of the 2010 vote in his constituency. His profile has been high throughout the referendum & thereafter. He will also have a strategy, a team & lots of activists turning out for him.

  20. I have watched/read the political polling forecasts with amusement and bewilderment. the reason being the published polls do not seem to be a realistic forecast but instead, to my mind at least, is either a broadcast of propaganda in sympathy to the old establishment or wishful thinking of the pollsters.

    I am a retired professional, with a large social circle as I am involved in many social and community events. I also have a very large extended family and friends from all over the country, such being a very diverse employment, financial and social groups. The greater majority say they are voting UKIP; only a very small few say they are voting labour or tory; and none are voting LIbDem. Whats going on Pollsters?

    @J.R. Tomlin
    “It would be amusing if SNP supporters in Murphy’s seat considered voting tactically to keep him elected (and out of Holyrood). Heh!”

    I’m waiting for the Ashcroft polling for East Ren and based on that I will consider my own options.

    On a broader sense depending on what literature the other parties decide to put on their leaflets regarding JM I reckon he will have a lot of explaining to do when he hits the town centers of Giffnock Newtonmearns, Busby, Eaglesham and in particular Barrheed and Neilston where I reckon the Labour vote will tumble.

    East Renfrewshire is a funny ole constituency. The area of Giffnock just behind me is Davieland (I come under posh Whitecraigs) where some of the homes would give Buckingham Palace a run for its money and a few miles away you have Barrheed with its depressing housing schemes and a few miles further up is Uplawmoor famous for its swingers.

    It’s hard to say which way East Ren will swing.

  22. Couper2802

    I don’t think whatever happens it can get much worse for the LD’s: only going into coalition with Labour or better being out of power completely will help their poll ratings climb. Nick Clegg resigning won’t help that much.

    It sure helps EM’s chances of becoming PM, or more properly hindering DC’s. It’s the Conservatives’ biggest problem in a hung parliament: who will ally with them?

    Or else they could rely on Swingback to bridge the gap? The LD’s checking out will cause them to require another 2.5% of swing as far as I can see. That’s looking unlikely at the moment.

  23. AW

    lol :-) :-)

  24. @ Allan Christie

    Going by the referendum result in East Ren, the SNP have a 37% pool of Yes voters to fish in. I’d think Jim Murphy is capable of getting at least 2/3rds of the 63% No vote.

  25. I am pretty sure Murphy is safe in East Renfrewshire…

    He wouldn’t be standing if LiS weren’t sure. I think the hesitation was probably time to do the background checks round the doors to make sure he was safe.

    Losing your Leader in an election is a disaster so you avoid it if you can. I know that the election before he became LibDem leader that people from LibDem HQ were up in force to see how Charles Kennedy was performing locally.

    LiS big problem in’t that Murphy won’t get elected and remain Leader, but what he will lead. The big story after May could well be a far smaller Labour Party profile in Scotland and a higher profile Westminster role for the SNP.

    Murphy might even have to try to set the Agenda when Nicola talks to Ed more than he does!

    It would be an odd dynamic running up to Holyrood 2016 when the PM is coming up to Scotland to back Labour at Holyrood against the SNP and then going down to London to ask the SNP to keep him PM!

    May we live in interesting times!


  26. @ Laszlo

    “@ Norbold

    I think (?)_I put the bet before the byelections. But yes, I think the Conservatives will regain it.”

    As a political activist in the constituency, perhaps we could have a side bet of our own, Laszlo. :)

    @ Allan Christie

    “Going by the referendum result in East Ren, the SNP have a 37% pool of Yes voters to fish in. I’d think Jim Murphy is capable of getting at least 2/3rds of the 63% No vote”

    Come on Amber where in my lovely neutral comment did I mention the SNP? and that 63% no vote will be split between Labour and the Tories.

    JM shouldn’t be looking over his left shoulder at the SNP, he should be looking over his right shoulder at the Tories.

    Now, if JM thinks the SNP are the main threat to him in his seat then he ain’t got the good sense God gave a goose.

  28. @John Nolan
    Very good point. Let’s save all the money we waste on polls – and indeed on elections – and just do what you and your friends want. Democracy is overrated anyway.
    And ignore AW’s slapdown, he’s just part of the duplicitous polling industry.

  29. I was at a 70th birthday party a few weeks ago and a friend of mine, who is famously UKIP, expressed much the same opinion as @ JOHN NOLAN . Knowing everyone in the room, I expressed my doubts and gave the present company as an example. He was astonished that I was not a UKIP supporter but refused to believe that the others in the room were not. Out of politeness his views were not tested but with two Tory and one Lib Dem councillors in the room I know where my money was.


    I commend you post to the good lord himself.

    Spot on.

  31. @ Allan Christie

    I addressed the Tory chances of winning by saying that I think 2/3rds of the No vote will go to Jim Murphy. That leaves the Tories very little room to manoeuvre.

  32. I live in a cave.

    I share it with bats. And none of them are voting.

    I am voting Green as as the Greens have promised to insulate the cave. So, clearly, the Greens will win the next election.

    So much for opinion polls!

  33. DAVID

    Do bats have the franchise in France ?

    I’d think Jim Murphy is capable of getting at least 2/3rds of the 63% No vote.

    That seems likely, as most are saying above. The $64,000 questions are all likely to be about the behaviour of the NO voters:

    Will they be as likely to turn out as the YES voters?

    How many of them were DevoMaxers swayed by the last minute antics of GB and the “vow” but feel let down by Smith?

    How many of the 15,567 Con voters from 2010 will follow the advice just given in the Con conference NOT to vote tactically?

    To some extent, all of those things will be balanced by nearly all the “Scottish” press being pro-Labour.

    Ashford polling may give us some clues but I suspect the result will be relatively close and may even turn into a 3-way marginal if the Cons perform well in the Scottish debates.

    @ Allan Christie
    “I addressed the Tory chances of winning by saying that I think 2/3rds of the No vote will go to Jim Murphy. That leaves the Tories very little room to manoeuvre”

    I agree with Peter Cairns JM will hold the seat but STATGEEK chucks up an interesting question over tactical voting.

    The question is how will the SNP voters behave? Will they back their own candidate of tactically vote Tory to give JM the boot?

    Now if Labour in Midlothian can tell its voters to vote Tory then surely the same formula can be extended over to ole East Ren?

  36. @JOHN NOLAN & RMJs

    I recently had a similar experience to you RMJ. I was at a gathering where someone was telling me that UKIP would win many seats because EVERYONE wanted to leave the EU. I said this is not reflected in the opinion polls. He said much the same as John Nolan with regard to the polls.

    However, It turned out this EVERYONE he was talking about was his mates down at the golf club.

  37. @RMJ1 How many people were in the room?

  38. I’m not so certain Jim Murphy is 100% safe.

    The evidence is that the SNP currently polls around 90% of the Yes vote, and there doesn’t appear to be a Green candidate in East Renfrewshire to dilute the Yes to SNP movement.

    So 90% of 37% is around 33% for SNP.

    Equally Conservatives in East Renfrewshire have a very solid base of 30%.

    If we assume 2% each for UKIP and Lib Dem that only leaves 33% for Labour.

    So I think Jim is the favourite but for a comfortable victory he will need to borrow votes from the Conservatives.

    How East Ren Cons react to this is probably key. The Labour / SNP coalition on the council may not endear Cons to Unionist solidarity as in these parts they tend to view Lab / SNP as a left wing block that gangs up against them.

  39. @ J R Tomlin 12.04am
    The local paper has a poll showing Labour on 33, SNP on 31 and Tories on 27
    I have always thought that a lot of the Labour vote comes from SNP voters voting tactically. Hopefully this will change at this election.

  40. @AC
    “Now if Labour in Midlothian can tell its voters to vote Tory then surely the same formula can be extended over to ole East Ren?”

    Not without the SNP losing its sacred moral high ground. It really therefore depends whether in E Ren the SNP want to be purists or hypocrites. Either way, I’m sure they’ll have a good explanation.

    I don’t know enough about Midlothian to know whether tactically endorsing the Tory candidade is the position of the local Labour party rather than a mere suggestion by an individual member totally rejected by everyone else (I presume the latter).

  41. @AW

    Can you delete my last post?

  42. Murphy standing again for East Ren had to happen, unless he had managed to engineer a by-election for Holyrood – which he hasn’t.

    Not being an MEP, MP or MSP would have automatically meant that he would have forfeited the position of leader of the LiS branch.

  43. Labour fighting on very favourable territory with fees it seems:

    Which party do you think would do the most to protect the interests of Uni Students:

    Lab 30%
    Con 13%
    LD 10%
    Green 6%
    UKIP 2%

    Of course that doesn’t mean they think parties SHOULD protect the interests of uni students.

  44. RAF

    I’m not suggesting the SNP themselves would tell voters to vote tactically, in fact that would be the last thing they would suggest but I was referring to SNP voters who might tactically vote Tory to give Murphy (not the Labour party) the boot.

    I’m sure it was a Labour councilor who told people to vote Tory over the SNP.


    The SNP did win a couple of Edinburgh seats with less than 33% of the vote so there might be hope for them in our patch.

  46. @NS

    It’s likely to be a 3 way marginal, so I can’t see any party endorsing tactical voting. If voters do decide to vote tactically, how do they actually do so to achieve their desired result (both in terms of the constituency result and the GE result). There’s just too much risk.

  47. RAF

    “I can’t see any party endorsing tactical voting.”

    Surely that applies in every constituency for every party, if they are standing a candidate?

    Does any party allow that?

    Of course, individuals can do what they like. Indeed, in East Ren, some of the “Labour” vote will have consisted of tacical voters – as for every party almost everywhere.

  48. @OldNat

    But how does a tactical voter in a 3 way marginal achieve their desired result?

  49. Also @Amber a minor trivia point :

    “It would be amusing were Jim Murphy to be a Westminster MP & a Holyrood MSP. I think the last person who was both an MP & an MSP was Alex Salmond.”

    I believe the last person with such a dual mandate was Cathy Jamieson from 2010 to 2011.

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