Just the two regular polls in Sunday’s papers. The weekly Opinium poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6% (tabs), the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs). Both very much in line with the broader picture of Lab & Con almost neck and neck, Labour just a touch ahead.

YouGov asked whether people would consider voting for each of the main GB parties and their awareness of their policies. Of the two main parties, 40% would consider voting Conservative, 42% Labour – a slightly bigger pool for Labour but only just. The pool of potential voters for the other three substantial parties is pretty similar – 23% for the Lib Dems, 26% for UKIP, 25% for the Greens.

Asked about how aware of are of each party’s policies, 63% say they know a lot or a fair amount about Tory policies, compared to 59% for Labour, 45% for UKIP and 37% for the Lib Dems, 27% the Greens. Note how more people think they know about UKIP policies than those of the Lib Dems – a sign of how the Lib Dems have struggled to get a clear message out from within coalition.

YouGov also reasked the “protest party” question they asked about UKIP last year about the Greens. They found 15% of people think that the Greens are a serious party with workable policies, 56% a protest party for those unhappy with the main parties. These are very similar to the figures for UKIP, with UKIP 17% thought they were serious, 62% a protest party.

Moving onto other issues, 51% of people would support a ban on MPs having second jobs, but only 25% would support it were it to be offset by a higher salary. Asked about the current £67,000 salary for MPs and the appropriate level or reward for the sort of people they’d like to be MPs, 32% think the current salary is too much, 16% too little, 46% about right.

Finally there were some questions on defence and what sort of threats Britain should be prioritising. 16% of people think that Britain spends too much on defence, 49% too little, 20% about the right amount. By 52% to 18% people think we should be focusing resources on defending against threats from Islamist terrorism and insurgents, like Islamic State, rather than potential threats from states like Russia. 50% of people think that the West’s sanctions against Russia haven’t been strong enough, but on balance people are opposed to even the sending of British troops to help train and advise the Ukrainian army – 43% are opposed with only 36% support.


376 Responses to “Sunday polling round up”

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  1. ” Con stands to win Renfrew East…but the Nats can decide to back Jim”

    Ashcroft National Poll, 2 Feb-1 March: CON 34%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%.

    Monday blues for………………….the reds?

  2. @ Colin

    I find the whole issue of public perception concerning Miliband being PM very odd.

    I’ve several times told people (mainly Lab voters or ABT) that the very likely outcome on current polling, current forecasts and any current stat you could name is that Ed Miliband is will be PM after May 7th and they look at me like I’ve said the sun is green! I’m not seeing any academic model when combined with the Maths of a hung parliament (40 plus SNP seats) doesn’t lead me to that conclusion.

    I’m not sure if this is just polling ignorance, some 1992 perception that polls were close and look what happened then or something a bit deeper and they have some grasp on the mood of the nation which somehow isn’t reflected in polling.

  3. Smithson saying telephone polls producing tory leads,internet giving labour leads ,he doesnt know why.

    Also latest ashcroft tories ahead becos they are more likely to vote.

  4. Ah Thank goodness for that. I am so glad we have this single poll. All is now rosy in the garden. I know you all pooh pooh using one poll in isolation. So to avoid allegations of doing that, I shall extrapolate from the last two Ashworth Polls, so I cannot be accused of taking a simplistic approach.

    Tories are up 2 points on the week, so with another 10 weeks to go we can extrapolate and say they will be up a further 20 points to over 50%.

    Labour on the other hand are down 5 points on the week so they wont even get as far as the GE before they are obliterated.

    Can I have a job as “Poll Interpreter” for one of the Red Tops now?

  5. @OldNat

    But what if the govt decided not to bother with a Queen’s speech. As far as I know there is no requirement to hold one…

    I read somewhere that Cameron and Osborne thought that Blair had made a mistake with his softly-softly don’t scare the horses approach to govt and that he wasted all the goodwill and opportunity of his first term. Their aim was to do the opposite and push through as much as they could because they might never get another chance.

    In this last year, the govt’s legislative program has been thin – they’ve already done what they wanted to. It’s quite likely that if they form a minority govt in the next parliament, they won’t be phased at all at not having a majority because they can work within the legislation they themselves already put in place in the current term.

  6. 07052015

    Since there is no obvious reason why the polling method should show any systematic design effect to benefit either party, I am going to conclude that the correlation shown by Smithson is spurious.

    Or rather, I would but Ipsos Mori are showing Labour leads, and for the last 6 months, ICM have shown a Labour lead for 5 of them. So there is not even a correlation!

    Still, it creates a few threads for his herd to comment on. Fair play to him I suppose.

  7. “I find the whole issue of public perception concerning Miliband being PM very odd.”

    The truth is that Miliband is the biggest obstacle to Labour getting into government. I think he probably will be PM, but there’s something people feel deep down about his suitability. It’s quite odd.

    His wonkish, nerdy image is a turn off to a lot people. [snip] Despite labour’s slim leads, the miliband issue simply won’t go away. It must be very difficult for him.

  8. Candy

    The convention is that the government lays out its programme for governance in the Queen’s Speech.

    If he refused to do so, then the Queen could exercise her prerogative. It is, after all, her government.

  9. @Peter Crawford

    there has to be quite dramatic swingback or the polls are wrong…
    it’s that binary.

    Maybe not. Perhaps the constituency polls and the national polls are both broadly right. This could happen if Labour were stacking up its VIs outside the battleground seats, and performing a little worse than average in a few dozen marginal constituencies. The critical seats are those currently held by Tories and with lowish majorities. Several of these were Tory GAINS in 2010. Peter Kellner and others argue that such seats show an incumbency bonus. Suppose that the Ashcroft CVI figures are picking this up and that there are small compensating differences in the hundreds of less critical seats. Under these assumptions the national polls would be accurate on overall average. The models then use these broader figured to make their projections but end up overstating LAB > CON margins because they don’t ‘know’ thwt battleground seats are behaving differently.

    In his commentary on one of the polling batches, I seem to remember Lord Ashcroft saying that the swing in these seats was comparable with the national swing. However, if I remember correctly this was a batch of seats that were marginal in 2010 and so fairly comfortable Labour holds right now. If this is correct then the size of the swing may not be representative of current battleground seats.

  10. Aberdeen Angus

    “Can I have a job as “Poll Interpreter” for one of the Red Tops now?”

    No chance at the Record, I’m afraid. You included a fact in your analysis.

  11. PETER CRAWFORD

    “His wonkish, nerdy image is a turn off to a lot people. I know labour supporters on ukpr hate it when people bring this up, but it’s a real problem”
    _____

    We are all neutral on UKPR so I can’t say I have ever witnessed any Labour supporters on UKPR …period!!

  12. Peter Crawford

    I met on Saturday a relation of mine, aged 66, university academic. Whole of his life been labour voter – Wilson, Callaghan, Foot, Kinnock, Blair, Brown (may have missed one). Sort of person who even if Labour were to reintroduce fox hunting, or totally privatise the NHS, or cut higher rate tax whilst increasing basic rate tax, would still, out of principle vote labour. Policies are irrelevant – it is just ingrained that he votes labour…… We all know the type.

    However, even he cannot bring himself to vote for Mr Miliband, and will instead be voting green.

  13. @Lazlo
    @WB

    But the budget falls the government goes to confidence and wins. Because for example the SNP won’t bring down a Labour government.

  14. OldNat – “The convention is that the government lays out its programme for governance in the Queen’s Speech.
    If he refused to do so, then the Queen could exercise her prerogative. It is, after all, her government.”

    Queen could turn up to Parliament and simply say “My government has no legislative program for the coming parliamentary session”.

    She does have the prerogative to dismiss him – but would do so only if she thought he was creating instability. If he has the most seats in Parliament and can work within the existing legislative framework, then allowing him to continue produces less instabilty than triggering a general election. It would be easier for her to just leave things and force the opposition to try to bring down the govt (using an opposition day).

  15. Candy

    Brenda can, of course, do as she likes, but what she likes is determined by convention. :-)

  16. @OLDNAT

    And that, rather neatly, summarises the UK Constitution

  17. Candy

    “Queen could turn up to Parliament and simply say “My government has no legislative program for the coming parliamentary session”.”

    Indeed she could, and an opposition motion to amend the speech would be tabled and etc etc …..

  18. Last week when the Ashcroft gave Lab a 4% lead I was not alone among Lab supporters on here (I recall CB agreed) in saying that I took no encouragement from that poll and would not be dispondant about any subsequent Ashcroft polls with a simlar Con lead.

    Lo and behold we get one a week later.

    I believe most of our Tory posters will view this poll the same as I viewed last weeks but will the meejah?

  19. Unicorn – there’s a reply about methodology on the previous page, but it went to mod with a G link.

  20. On the raw numbers nearly one in five of Ashcroft’s respondents either “refused” to say how they would vote or “didn’t know” and then you have to add in another 9% who stated they would not vote. So nearly one in three of Ashcroft’s respondents did not say how they would vote. Finally if you believe on the Scottish crossbreak that Conservatives have overtaken Labour in Scotland, I’d like to show you the “faeries” at the bottom of my garden.

    Finally the gap between firm Conservative and firm Labour supporters is 68% to 61%, but tell me statisticians is that enough to move Labour and Conservative from tied at 33% to 34% to 31% in favour of the Conservatives. Methinks the good “Lord” is showing his colours.

  21. @ Peter Crawford

    I wouldn’t deny that any of those attributes you mention aren’t the perception of a significant number of voters. What I’m puzzled by is that 2 months from the GE election with polls more or less static for 4 months between the two main parties that very significant numbers of people (judging by the poll Colin linked to) have this perception that something is almost guaranteed to change.

    AberdeenAngus’s relative may well be voting Green having voted Labour all his life and there is almost certainly a sub sample of similar people but that is reflected in the polls already and they are still saying Ed Miliband will be PM with quite a bit of swing still needed before that scenario is off the agenda.

  22. @Jim Jam

    The only polls I believe are YouGov, which I have almost total confidence in. The others are interesting but I don’t really take them seriously.

  23. Simon Heffer gameplays scenarios under the Fixed-Term Parliament Act in the New Statesman and concludes that it could cause a constitutional crisis.

    Brenda getting her hands politically dirty in her role of monarch would be one such crisis.

  24. I support nor vote for neither Labour or Conservative, so am not biased, but I increasingly see support for a small Conservative lead increasing. It is only 5 weeks until the postal votes go out, so the election(well half of it) is much closer than we think.

    Still looking like hung parliament, and Greens UKIP and SNP keeping gains.

  25. Unicorn – the cons may hold 2 or 3 of the top 20 lab targets and may lose 2 or 3 beyond target seat 60 but as you suggest the battleground is Lab targets 20-60 off the Tories.

    Labour need to take half of these to end up being the largest party given probable losses to the SNP.

    In addition to the incumbancy bonus (which in some cases is a double as the former Lab MP had some and their successor PPC does not) there is a convincing analysis which shows less red dems than elsewhere are available to Lab in such seats as the LDs are already squeezed. (Sorry to the poster who did this work a few months back for not crediting)

    The main counter factor imo is that the impact of Ashcrofts millions in such seats is probably a one-off; and, he says so himself.

    Net effect probably a slightly smaller swing in Lab/Con marginals than Nationwide (E&W as Scotland so hard to calculate nowadays).

    Means a 3% GB swing not enough as a cushion needed of perhaps a further 1%.

    Without the Scottish changes 3% GB and 2% in Con/Lab marginals would have been enough.

    Hence my view that Con most seats is the most likley outcome but enough for Cons+LDs to operate C&S and more than Lab+SNP, those are the big questions on GE night?

  26. “Jim Jam
    The only polls I believe are YouGov, which I have almost total confidence in. The others are interesting but I don’t really take them seriously.”
    Me too, others are too irregular, and irratic. I also think we need regional polls, and realistic re-weighting based on a new paradigm, ie the rise of the small parties.

  27. @Allan

    It just occurred to me. “Vote SNP get Tory” actually applies to Jim’s seat, if he’s talking to the Lab/SNP leaning voters in his constituency.

    @Oldnat

    The Record had a fact recently…sown on the bottom of page 2. ;)

  28. Well I can easily out-perform AberdeenAngus, whose relative is apparently voting Green because of Ed Miliband with my own anecdote.

    I know of several people who voted LD last time to keep the Tories out but who will all be voting Labour this time round.

    Polls, pah – do away with them. Let’s all rely on anecdotes instead. 100% reliable – until they aren’t…..

  29. @ JimJam

    You may be right.

    So the DUP get to decide who runs the country. Now, remind me, with whom do they sit in the European parliament?

    Ain’t democracy grand?

  30. Bramley

    I didn’t cite the example of my relative as a counter to opinion polls. I cited the example as confirmation of what Peter Crawford had earlier referred to as the Miliband issue that wont go away.

  31. @YL

    If this is the case, then it’s going to interact with Ashcroft’s selection of seats to poll to cause a potential bias to the Tories. This is because Ashcroft hasn’t polled any seats in the Con/Lab battleground which stay Con under ST, so there are no seats it can change from Con to Lab when the Ashcroft polls are added.

    You raise a subtle point. But I don’t think that biased seat selection can play an important role in explaining the observation that Ashcroft polling consistently pushes the VIs in a Tory-favouring direction. You suggest that Ashcroft hasn’t polled any seats that stay Con under Strong Transition calculations. How do you know? Presumably these would be found in seats where the Tory 2010 margin was a little over 8%. This might place them in the HOLD category for ST purposes whilst still including them in the battleground. It turns out the he has, indeed, polled at least a few seats with 2010 margins between 8%-15%. These include Crewe & Nantwich (11.8%), Great Yarmouth (9.9%), South Basildon (12.9%), Elmet & Rothwell (8.1%), Carmarthen West (8.5%). As it happens none of these have produced a shift in which the poll suggests a Labour gain when ST suggests the opposite.

    So while the opportunity to find unexpected Labour strongholds has been reduced by Ashcroft’s choice of seats to poll, it is not as if he has completely avoiding looking in this area. And there is no counterswing to be seen so far.

    Apart from this, a critical element of my argument is that the models have been overstating the size of Labour’s margin in the batch I looked at. While complete CON/LAB switches might be affected by where you probe, the overestimation of margins shouldn’t be fragile in the same sort of way.

  32. John
    It seems that even when one has managed to get a unique name, posters still misattribute one’s quotes.

    It was Couper 2802 who had only confidence in YG polls, not JimJam, although the same may apply to him,for all I know.

    The earlier expressed lack of confidence in Ashcroft (who’s ‘Ashworth’?) is not substantiated. 34 against 31 could easily by 32 against 33 without being an invalid polling result.

  33. BH,

    Re Ashcroft, I never disparaged the results but cautioned against reading too much in to any one poll showing a 4% Lab lead like last week or a 3% Con lead like this.

    As always the trend is what matters with each pollster.

  34. Unicorn

    Please don’t lower the content of your writing on my account! You are obviously understood by a large proportion of the readership, and it is up to me to try and ‘up my game’. The alternative is, of course, for me to remain in wondering ignorance……. But don’t change anything on my account!

  35. Vote for Jim or for a Tory…….. hmmmm……. ahhhh…….

    and the difference is…………..?

  36. At the 2014 European election YouGov was one of the best in predicting the major parties getting 23% on May 19-20th and 22% for the Conservatives on May 20th/21st when they got 23.5%.

    There last two polls also correctly predicted that UKIP would get 27%, who ended up with 27.5%, and YouGov also predicted Labour at 26% and 27% when they actually got 25.4%

    But it is precisely on LD that YuoGov got it totally wrong at 9% and 10%, whereas TNS, Comres and even ICM were all on 6%, 7% and 7% respectively when Ld got 6.9%

    YouGov were also slightly off on the Green Party at a final figure of 10%, but more accurate at 8% on the 19th-20th.

    As for ICM being the “Gold Standard” they were off totally.

  37. STATGEEK
    @Allan
    It just occurred to me. “Vote SNP get Tory” actually applies to Jim’s seat, if he’s talking to the Lab/SNP leaning voters in his constituency.
    ______

    Vote SNP get Tory! Hmm Best of both Worlds. ;-)

  38. @VON

    I did read the first line of your post. I thought it was pretty clear that I was expanding on it. Perhaps not clear enough for you.

  39. Poll Troll

    50% majorities for the Tories just don’t exist – isn’t it more efficient to win a greater number of seats on smaller majorities?

    I’m not sure if you meant seats where the Conservative have more than 50% of the vote but there were 126 of them in 2010, ranging from Richmond (Yorks) at 62.8% to Hemel Hempsted (50%). Labour only had 77 ranging from Liverpool Walton (72%) to Lanark (50%). So while Labour’s safest seats may be safer (they had 16 over 60% compared to only 6 for the Tories), there are fewer of them. So the Conservatives have more places to pile up unnecessary votes – and more ‘wasted’ votes in each because such seats have higher turnouts than their Labour equivalents.

  40. JOHN B

    “Vote for Jim or for a Tory…….. hmmmm……. ahhhh…….
    and the difference is…………..?”
    _______

    That’s a damn fine question.

  41. PI

    Many would say that my posts are expansive enough without further enhancement. :-)

  42. SHEVII

    “I’m not sure if this is just polling ignorance, some 1992 perception that polls were close and look what happened then or something a bit deeper and they have some grasp on the mood of the nation which somehow isn’t reflected in polling.”

    I agree it does seem a puzzle unless, “who is most likely to achieve good growth of the economy” is what will sway voters on polling day. Looking at recent polling they think that is a “no brainer”.

  43. A couple of people on twitter still posting the Barrheed News poll but I still can’t find the source of the poll and when it was carried out.

    traquir [email protected] 4 mins4 minutes ago
    Interesting polling @jimmurphymp constituency
    #RedTories 33% SNP 31% BlueTories 27%
    #YES Vote was 37%

  44. LITTLE RED ROCK

    “So the DUP get to decide who runs the country. Now, remind me, with whom do they sit in the European parliament?”

    The DUP are very keen not to “decide” who runs the country. They have been clear they will support either Labour or Conservatives. I think they would not want to be seen as being king makers, as they would get the blame for anything that is not good in the new government. Rather the DUP take a highly pragmatic approach and are interested in for example things like devolution of Air Passenger Duty and such like, which helps NI but does not cost a lot to GB. They are not interested in “determining” whether Labour or Conservatives are in power but will form confidence and supply agreements (if needed) whichever the GB public have supported.

    As to which EU group the DUP are in : they are not in any. They are “Non-Inscrits”.

  45. In an interview with Holyrood Magazine, Jim Murphy says “I am not a Westminster politician”.

    That can be understood in so many ways. :-)

  46. Shevii,

    I agree. I think the tories, and the anti-labour vote, still doesn’t really believe that Ed Miliband has a decent shot at being PM, despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I think people will vote for labour in spite of Miliband. I know that because very few local labour candidates use Miliband in their literature. He is seen, instinctively, as a drag on the party’s brand.

    That’s why the tories and their press harp on about Miliband constantly, and Balls to a lesser extent. They think their best hope is a highly personal, quasi-presidential campaign. “Can you imagine his finger over the nuclear button?” that kind of thing.

    Not sure it will work, but the scary EdM factor is a big part of the tories’ armory…

    Unicorn,

    I don’t see any evidence to suggest that labour is polling better outside the battleground than in the marginals. Most of the data in the last 18 months has suggested the opposite, until recently.

    I think there is a “disconnect” between actual numbers and the sentiment, as expressed on betting markets. If labour are ahead by 1% on polling day, as they roughly are now in most averages, the tories will not be the largest party, no matter how you slice and dice the electorate.

    I know clever people like you can come up with scenarios where a 1% labour lead translates into some kind of tory landslide, but this is n’t going to happen.

  47. Prof Howard

    All the talk of “coalitions” is, I think, the creation of unimaginative journalists within the Westminster Bubble.

    Other than SDLP, who will probably take the Labour whip, and the LDs, I think every other party has virtually ruled out coalition.

    A minority government, supported by C&S agreement(s) seems by far the most likely outcome – and probably a vey good thing too.

  48. SHEVII

    Thanks.

    Well whatever the reason it seems implicit in that Poll-though I’m not convinced by the author’s view that this confirms the likelihood of a last minute vote against EM.

    I do think there will be some element of ballot box epiphany in that way-but not sure how significant it will be.

  49. @Unicorn

    But I don’t think that biased seat selection can play an important role in explaining the observation that Ashcroft polling consistently pushes the VIs in a Tory-favouring direction.

    I’m not suggesting it does, though I think it’s worth checking the earlier batches of Ashcroft polls, as I don’t recall suggestions that their results gave better figures for the Tories than the national situation did at the time.

    What I do think is that, even if there were no different swing in the marginals, and no Ashcroft house effect, then the effect I’m talking about would affect the May2015 model, because seats on the Tory side of the current tipping point are so much less likely than those on the Labour side to have Ashcroft polls. (Of the five you mentioned, there isn’t actually an Ashcroft poll in Crewe & Nantwich, and two are actually on the Labour side of the current tipping point in May2015 if the Ashcroft polls are excluded. Only the two UKIP targets, which I’d forgotten about when thinking about the Lab/Con battleground, are on the Tory side.)

  50. I dislike Ashcroft polls because he doesn’t state which firm did the polling for him. Does anybody even know for sure who did the Scottish constituency polling for him?

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