Monday’s polls

We have three GB polls today, from Populus, Ashcroft and YouGov.

  • The twice-weekly Populus poll has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs).
  • The weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7% (tabs). Labour have dropped five points since Ashcroft’s previous poll, but this will be largely a reversion to the mean after they jumped up five points a week ago.
  • Finally the daily YouGov for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%. The three point Tory lead is the largest that YouGov have shown since back in January 2012.

Two three point Tory leads on the same day. All the usual caveats apply – it is only two polls and Populus showed a two point Labour lead. It wouldn’t be the first time that two polls have popped out on the same day showing something unusual, only for it to turn out to be pure co-incidence when polls in the following days showing everything back to normal. Keep an eye on it though…

319 Responses to “Monday’s polls”

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  1. Couper,

    No. A Labour PM can simply resign. It does not need a no-confidence vote. The no confidence vote comes into play when an replacement from another party is appointed.

  2. Some news for the tartan yins. Scotland votes now includes the Greens and UKIP.

    ScotlandVotes [email protected] 34 mins34 minutes ago
    ICYMI: we’ve updating our seat predictor tool ahead of #GE2015. Now includes @scotgp & @UKIP

    I’m away to try it out. :-)

    “For Labour it would be very little other than what’s in the Labour manifesto.”
    And in the devomax vow, set out mainly in Gordon Brown’s declaration. I see no disadvantage for Lab in the SNP tail wagging the Labour dog, with the sole factor of having to act on removing the Trident commitment to the US, which EM must think in the recesses of his democratic socialist mind, we would be well rid of, and would seal his and the party’s credentials with its core vote.

  4. COUPER2802
    But SNP would support Labour in the confidence vote forcing Labour to bring down their own government.

    Thanks for making that point. I somehow can’t see it would be a campaigning advantage anywhere in GB for Lab to vote themselves out of office, especially if PC and the E&W Greens also support Lab in the confidence motion. None of the three parties would want an early election, but even if their campaign funds were a little short they would be fighting the new election on very firm ground.

  5. “Arguably so in E&W but why would standing up for Scotland be unpopular in, er, Scotland?”

    I didn’t say that standing up for Scotland would be unpopular, but voting down Labour budgets would be, especially if that led to Conservative ones.

  6. Using the (NEW) Scotland votes website updates, based on the previous Holyrood poll it gives..

    SNP…66 down 3

    LAB…26 down 11

    TORY..13 down 2

    GREEN…13 up 11

    UKIP..6 up 6

    LIB..6 up 1

    Very interesting. A pan NAT/Green alliance

  7. @HAL

    Where do you read that?

    The information on the government website is

    For new election

    1. 2/3rds majority
    3. No confidence vote then leader of Opposition has 14 days to form a government

    In any case if Miliband either resigns the whole government or the Labour government brings themselves down. The ball is now in the Tories they can try to form a majority or go for an election they would likely win if the Labour government ended in such chaos. Unlikely Miliband would do this

  8. Interesting that SNP have dropped their plan to reduce Corporation Tax in Scotland, suggesting a move to the left. This was a policy that Labour criticised. Dropping it actually does seem to me to be quite a significant change from the SNP and a leftward move under their new leadership.

    Parties in Northern Ireland (now gaining the power) and Republic of Ireland will be happy to hear this, as they are keen to be the low-tax parts of these islands.

  9. Allan Christie

    Thanks for the link to new Scotland votes site. Much improved because it has bigger boxes for us oldie to type in the numbers!

    On latest YG 15 poll mean for Westminster
    SNP 45 : Lab 10 : Con 2 : LD 2

  10. @Allan

    What are you doing with my picture? No you can’t have the red braces.

    Cheers for the Scotland Votes info. 25-poll weighted data:


    Dangly bits? My arms are normal.

  11. @Oldbat

    For future site browsing, try CTRL + or CTRL – (CTRL 0 to reset).

  12. Couper,

    We are talking about the scenario where Lab+SNP is a majority. If Lab can’t get a budget through (because the SNP don’t support it), then there is no point being in government. So the government would resign. This would present the SNP with the dilemma of either supporting the Tories or having a general election.

    This would come about in the following way: the Queen would appoint a new prime minister (presumably a Tory) and then Labour (the opposition) would table a motion of no confidence, thus presenting the SNP with their dilemma.

    I don’t see any other way it could go. A government can’t continue without a budget.

    A similar scenario could happen if the SNP blocked any other legislation, however it would be optional on the part of the (Labour) prime minister, who could resign if feeling sufficiently optimistic about the prospect of a new election.

  13. I noticed, since I started noticing again, that a number of UKPR contributors seem to think it would be a good idea if ‘fixed term’ parliaments legislation could be reversed.

    Apart from the fact that nobody actually explained why this should be so desirable, I haven’t noted any polling on the issue to back up enthusiasm for a policy where the PM can call elections. It’s not even mentioned in questions by pollsters to voters.

    Prior to the enactment of this law, I only remember people on here moaning about the unfairness of PMs being able to take advantage of (perhaps temporary) mid-term popularity. I remember the ‘bottled it’ remarks against Gordon Brown.

    What changed?

    Notice that I put ‘fixed term’ in quotes. If a 5 year term (let’s not argue about 4 years or 5 years) is seen as an eternity by some UKPR polling aficionados, how do they explain that such terms are seen as normal politics by electorates on the mainland with negotiated coalition Agreements, as we have had here since 2010.

    In the transport press, which I read a lot, 5 year governments are seen as ludicrously short term and are seen as bedevilling consistent and measured transport policy.

  14. Statgeek

    It works! God bless your dangly little arms. :-)

  15. Very pleasing to see lots of new posters. So many that I can’t keep track. Welcome to you all.

    The old timers can get wearily familiar I find. None more so than that Alec bloke. Constantly wittering on about PMI surveys and other such nonsense.

    Blessed relief to have some new blood, if you ask me. But it is a shame more of them aren’t Scottish. Seem a tad under represented there.

  16. Very pleasing to see lots of new posters. So many that I can’t keep track. Welcome to you all.

    The old timers can get wearily famil!ar I find. None more so than that Alec bloke. Constantly wittering on about PMI surveys and other such nonsense.

    Blessed relief to have some new blood, if you ask me. But it is a shame more of them aren’t Scottish. Seem a tad under represented there.

  17. I doubt there is very much “swing” going on other than the usual “churn”.

    What is probably more significant is DKs coming off or going onto the DK “fence”.

    Do we have any figures which tell us how many DKs there are as a share of adjusted poll figure AND crucially, what was the past recall voting habit – and thus their likely or potential vote if and when they come off the fence?

  18. @Alan @12:20

    Thank you for that long and detailed post on swingback. I didn’t fully understand the bit about the larger the swing the more the expected swingback until reading that, and that perhaps explains the larger expected increase in LD score by the experts vs the relatively minor increase in the Tory score per that ‘wisdom of the experts’ prediction.

    Very interesting…so will be watching that Lib Dem score….


    Well the SNP prediction IS a bit different by different groups of experts

    Academics – 4.7%
    Pollsters – 3.8%
    Journalists 4%

    So pick your expert! I’d say based on Oldnat’s recent cross breaks the pollsters seem to be the closer, but we will have to wait a few more weeks to see….

    But interesting that the Journalists are predicting only 29 seats for the SNP, but they seem to continue writing articles talking about 50 seats.

  19. @Hal

    Depending on the issue that caused Labour to resign I can imagine the SNP managing to spin it back home. The SNP is clearly not without power in these scenarios thanks to the FTPA.

    Now in this scenario if Labour is likely to win an OM, I imagine the Cons might make the SNP offers they could accept under the circumstances, that Labour had chosen to give up being the government.

    If the Cons are in a strong position they will not form a government and have an election they will win & the SNP ought to do equally well in Scotland because Labour brought it on themselves ‘preferred a Tory government to whatever SNP wanted’.

    The FTPA gives the smaller parties more power because the government can’t attached confidence to unpopular measures to force them through, so theoretically Labour could be in power for 5 years and only get the tax raising bills through.

  20. “Interesting” YG poll to night with “movement” for 2 parties. The Sun building up interest.

    MS asked TN-D why the YG figures during the week were held back beyond the Saturday night release time of 9.30pm. TN-D replied that the weekday polls are released in that way to coincide with the first editions of the Sun. Seems reasonable.

  21. On the basis of that quote, I reckon the Tories will remain on 35 with Lab up to 34 and maybe some move lower down. I don’t expect the Sun would be getting excited if the Tories and Labour were swapping positions.

  22. RAF

    “Interesting” YG poll to night with “movement” for 2 parties

    I suspect an uptick in BNP and Respect to almost 1% each.

  23. I seem to get modded when I type anything critical of the Caledonian Tendency. My screen kind of freezes mid sentence, then it all vanishes.
    So I won’t bother as it only encourages the Myopia. Oh well perhaps just this : Con Government reinstalled by Scottish Nationalist post referendum self-harming initiative looks increasingly likely. Perhaps you are hoping Labour will give up on Scotland after that ? Maybe they should …

  24. Does anyone have any intel on what types of seats are in the next batch of Ashcroft seat polls?

  25. I think we seem to be assured that there will not be a harmonious relationship between Labour and SNP in a hung parliament. Look at the developing situations in Eastern Europe and in Greece and imagine an entirely hamstrung parliament.

  26. Why do YouGov leave it so late in the day to release their results. This movement between two parties concerns me. I hope its not a big Tory lead tonight.

  27. @Mikey

    Explained in my earlier post. YG weekday polls are published by the Sun. The Sun embargoes the release of the poll until the first editions of the print version of the paper have been published.

  28. Just looked at YouGov website and answered my own question in my post of earlier!

    It appears DK account for 13% of total and Will Not Vote 5%. That reduces the headline figures somewhat!

    I see within 13% ex-Con voters account for only less than a quarter of the 13%, and ex-LDs almost a half, and ex-Labour almost a third of the 13% – does this mean that there is a much bigger pool of potential Lab-LD votes in the 13% pool than potential Con votes – or am I barking up the wrong tree?

  29. @Welsh Borderer

    The risk for SNP supporters is that they inadvertently allow DC to remain as PM yet do not get what they want in terms of DevoMax. If they get what they want I don’t think they care too much what happens in the rest of the UK (unless it has a noticeable impact on Scotland).

  30. Roll A Hard Six

    Only that there are both Scottish and English seats involved.

    Populus have been reported as polling in
    East Renfrewshire
    Rutherglen & Hamilton West
    Lanark & Hamilton East
    Edinburgh West
    Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath
    Ross, Skye & Lochaber

    but they are known to have been doing private polling for Labour, so not all these might be in the Ashcroft list.

  31. The interesting YG poll tonight refers to two “different ” parties….I guess movement between green and LD.

  32. @Tony Dean

    I don’t know about YG, but Monday’s Ashcroft Tory lead was the result of “certainty to vote” numbers favouring the Cons by 3% above Labour. Without it there would not have been a Tory lead at all.

    As for the LDs, MS has a theory. That there are a number of Shy Dems. MS believes that the “shyness” of a party’s vote depends not so much whether they are in government (although clearly the LDs are) but on whether they are “under the most pressure”.

  33. @RAF

    The Sun very rarely tweet teasers this is the first time in a long while. It is unlikely to be positive for Labour, because it is the Sun, so my guess is Greens overtake LibDems.

  34. Thanks Oldnat :-)

  35. @Couper

    Indeed. But I would find another Con 35 Lab 32 surprising. So I suspect Lab will be ahead of yesterday but still behind the Tories with another move (maybe for the Greens) further down.

  36. I’m going to guess a UKIP drop – their Barnett announcement seems to have hit them in Scotland on today’s crossbreaks, and of course Wales would also be impacted heavily, so we should be starting to see a similar UKIP collapse in Wales as the word spreads. And they have a lot more support in Wales than they had in Scotland.

  37. Who is MS?

  38. Mike Smithson – Political Betting website

  39. Of course – thanks!

  40. HAL
    If Lab can’t get a budget through (because the SNP don’t support it), then there is no point being in government. So the government would resign.

    That would, of course, hand control over to Brenda for a while. She could first ask one of his colleagues to form a government so he would have to be certain his cabinet was united in wanting a fresh election to deny the SNP any influence at all over spending.

    If all of them continued to sulk then presumably a Con would be asked to take over, but – depending on the issue the SNP demurred over – there would be no guarantee that they could not continue in office until the fixed term expired.

    Would a Lab PM take that risk?

    A government can’t continue without a budget.

    But Lab designed the devolved assemblies to try to prevent majority government. A Lab PM who showed he would not compromise could expect to lose all support outwith England, while the measures preventing SNP support would be almost entirely over issues that “old Labour” want.

    Obviously bringing down his own government in a fit of pique over an issue like the living wage would be a hard sell to his own party, let alone his party’s prospects in Scotland.

    Consider: 1979 (April) Budget (Denis Healey)
    A ‘Caretaker Budget’ introduced after the government had lost a vote of confidence and an election had been called. It merely allowed taxes to continue to be raised until a new government introduced its budget. It was framed with the co-operation of the Conservatives.

    Could Lab 2015 afford to be less consensual?

  41. Good evening all . Thanks for all the welcomes.

    Will be interesting to see what the YG poll brings.

    My prediction Con 36 Lab 33.

  42. @Sorry Graham

    MS – Mike Smithson

    TN-D – Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of the Sun.

  43. Article on the Spectator blog arguing that house price changes in London will make Tory seats more Tory, with changes overall helping Labour.

  44. @BristolianHoward

    Speaking for myself (first used UKPR in 2011), I was in favour of the fixed terms and still am, but I would have set them at 4 years instead of 5 years. Five years gives useless governments an extra year of grace, while four years keep the cycle more fresh (IMHO).

  45. @ Little Red Rock

    May 2015 currently forecasts 25 LibDem seats which is broadly similar to the other forecasters. But, if you remove the Ashcroft polls from the calculation the LibDem seat total falls to 3. Aside from ChrisLane, does anyone think this result feasible?

    This is linked to the potential anti-Tory bias I was commenting on yesterday. In the absence of Ashcroft data, Vi-shifts are calculated using the Strong Transition algorithm borrowed from Electoral Calculus. Mechanical application of this algorithm comes close to anihilating the LibDems. It is only by a quirk of dodgy arithmetic that UNS models avoid doing the same. In the face of evidence that LD VI drops have been proportional, UNS doggedly takes off a fixed 15% in each constituency (preserving most of the strongest LD seats).

    Is it plausible? Almost certainly not. How do we know this? Largely because the Ashcroft polls have provided robust evidence that the LDs are doing a lot better than these calculations allow. That is precisely why the standard version of the model discards ST calculations in favour of new constituency polling data.

  46. @ OLD NAT

    So what is a realistic expectation for SGP in the westminster election 2% or 3% given that they are only running inb 54% of the Scottish seats.

    LD are on 39 candidates so I am pegging them at 4% so far.

  47. @RAF

    Mike Smithson is a gambler why would anyone listen to him? He is always talking about selling this position or that. He can go on his blog an persuade people that the LibDems are doing great and them unload a pile of LibDem ‘positions’.

    I have no idea what I am talking about not being a gambler but it strikes me if I was I would be trying to manipulate opinion so that I could make a profit.

  48. Andy Shadrack

    2-3% seems reasonable for SGP this May. Different kind of election from May 2016, when going from 2 -> 13 seats and matching or exceeding the Tory numbers seems quite feasible.

  49. COUPER:

    I am sure that Mike Smithson is not doing that. That would be inethical and I don’t think he would abuse his position in that way.

  50. @Andy Shadrack

    At 4.32 pm you addressed a comment to me, but I think it must have been intended for another contributor. Your comment was suggesting that swingback was unlikely to be very pronounced in the case of some of the smaller parties: a position with which I am fairly sympathetic. Your wording suggested you were arguing against a position that I have not supported. Perhaps you addressed it wrongly?

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