Monday’s polls

We have three polls today, the daily YouGov poll, the weekly Ashcroft poll and the twice-weekly Populus poll. Topline figures are:

Populus – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6% (tabs)
Ashcroft – CON 34%, LAB 30%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8% (tabs)
YouGov – CON 35%, LAB 31%, LD 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%

Lord Ashcroft’s poll repeats the Tory lead it showed a week ago, YouGov produce a four point Tory lead, their largest since January 2012. Populus continue to show a one point Labour lead.

All the usual caveats apply, we need to be careful not to overreact to polls that could just be a couple of outliers in the same direction – that said, in YouGov’s daily poll we’ve reached the point that Conservative leads are a little more common than Labour ones. Of the last ten YouGov polls there have been four Tory leads and two Labour ones. I don’t think we can confidently say the Tories are ahead… but I’m certainly no longer confident in saying that the underlying average is a small Labour lead either. I think we can fairly say that the Conservatives don’t seem to have suffered any short term damage from the debate debate last week.

340 Responses to “Monday’s polls”

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  1. @Unicorn

    Running T Tests:

    A vs B – p = 0.014
    B vs C – p = 0.012
    A vs C – p = <0.001

    All significantly different.

    I’m afraid your group selection process seems too intuitive for me to have any real confidence in this process.

    I’m not sure in what context you use statistics outside this p[lace, but from my years of experience in industry many applications rely on selecting the data to test , partially through experience, and often limited by the actual data available. It’s a thoroughly hands-on experience. It’s often not as perfect as you like, but decisions still have to be made despite that.

    CUSUM is part of the a family of SPC tools. These are not poor tools, but used in the manufacturing of part that keep planes up in the sky and cars on the road at 80 mph. All applications that matter. Quite frankly whether Labour are ahead or behind anyone else in the polls is insignificant chicken feed by comparison.

    I use these tools working for a T2 Automotive supplier. If our parts fail:

    a) We could stop the lines in a GM factory in the US. The downtime costs would bankrupt us.

    b) Thousands of vehicles could be recalled. The costs would bankrupt us.

    c) Our parts could fail, and cause a fatal car crash. The costs would bankrupt us.

    Therefore, if using these tools picks something up in VI data, I am very confident they are telling us something. Many decades of the use of these techniques in the real, harsh world demands that confidence.

  2. @David in France

    The Conservatives wants to stay in a reformed EU. Only UKIP wants to actually leave the EU. Some Tories want to leave, but not the leadership.

  3. @Syzygy
    Eloquently put – thank you!

    Please, no apology necessary. It is so easy to miss posts when quickly scrolling through hundreds of them.

    FWIW Ed’s secular nature (should it matter?) matters not a jot to those hearing the dog whistle. If he were spotted tucking into a bacon cheeseburger on a Friday night it would make no difference.

    Ed is good at spotting an issue – utility prices, phone hacking, now the debates. Labour should go full throttle on Cameron’s refusal to debate. It emphasises his aloofness, and even if people don’t all watch the debates, bring denied the opportunity is something else and could feed the idea, already out there, that Cameron doesn’t care about ordinary people.

  4. TARK
    Good Evening to you.
    I offer another point of view, from a fairly ‘devout’ Catholic.

    The fairly aggressive secularising agenda has, I think, influenced people to be suspicious of those of us who have ‘otherness’ about us.
    Professor Dawkins and Hilary Mantel, for example have described those people like me as not holding respectable beliefs.
    The word ‘but’ is a give away.. He is nice but… He is a good teacher but..
    It was the same in Ireland decades ago about Protestants.

    The number of attacks on Jews is rising in the UK.

    I suspect that Ed M is falling foul of secular atheism in some quarters.

  5. TARK

    I don’t know whether you have come across it, but many years ago I read an article in a NY? paper about Jewish humour by a psychologist,

    The idea was that Jews (and I think this can apply to other minority communities as well) developed a strongly self-deprecating humour to demonstrate to the host community that they weren’t really a threat.

    Not that this post has anything to do with Miliband or current politics, but solely with your professional interests.

  6. Hi,

    Being reading comments for a while, first post….

    I keep seeing VI posted. Can someone enlighten me. All I’m thinking is it’s Roman Numerals?!

    [Voting intention :) – AW]

  7. @ Tark and Raf


  8. @omnishambles

    ”I’m not a fan of some other political parties either, but the SNP is different, they are committed to ending the UK so I regard them as a bigger threat than any other party.

    To be honest this is no joking matter, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in England or any of the Home Nations in being worried about the SNP having influence over the UK government. I expect this possible Lab/SNP collaboration to have some effect on VI because unlike the debate debate, this is very emotive and personal for many people across the UK.”

    You are not alone.

  9. ChrisLane,

    “I suspect that Ed M is falling foul of secular atheism in some quarters.”

    I don’t really see how that makes sense. Ed Miliband has said that he is an atheist (or, at least, that he has no belief in any gods), hasn’t he?

  10. @CMJ

    okay. I accept that the group means are different. I am still suspicious of permitting user intervention in setting the group boundaries. If you generated random numbers with the specified MoE and applied the same approach as you have described for this analysis, I wonder what rate of false-positives you would generate.

    Incidentally the contrast approach I was suggesting differs from using t-tests (as you did) merely in the fact that the estimate of error variation comes from all three groups and not just the two being compared in any given t-test. There are pros and cons of each approach.

    It is interesting to hear about the environment in which you normally use these tests. This seems to underline my earlier comment in this context, the overwhelming costs are associated with allowing flawed products to leave the factory gate. Presumably false alarms are much less damaging: production line downtime, inspection costs etc. In such a situation I can certainly see a case for developing procedures for sounding the alarm at the smallest of wobbles.

    I remain to be persuaded that similar criteris are needed for UKPR though I suspect that most contributors rather like the quick verdicts offered by your methods.

    Incidentally, if I recall correctly just before Christmas based on your CUSUM analysis you stated that the Labour VI was then on the rise. In retrospect, would you classify that as a false positive or a sensitive detection of a rather short-lived rally?

    Hello to you.
    I think it does not quite work like that.
    I am not aware of Ed M giving an account of his beliefs, except he spoke movingly about how his Mother was rescued by Polish nuns when she was hiding; hiding because she was Jewish.

    Neil Kinnock called it right when he said the paper’s attack on Ralph Miliband as an enemy of the country was anti semitic

  12. Roll A Hard Six

    Maintaining the UK is a perfectly reasonable political stance, just as the stance taken by the SNP is.

    However, when the SNP can have only a maximum of 59 seats in the 650 member UK Commons (and none in the Lords), I’m puzzled as to why you should see the results of the election in Scotland as so threatening.

    Just as with Trident, the Tories would seem to be Labour’s natural allies on this particular axis of political discussion, so that natural majority should calm your fears.

  13. @ChrisLane
    It would be the height of irony if Ed, who is an atheist, fell foul of other atheists because of his background :) I have fond memories of my childhood in South America, going to Mass at school every Wednesday. To this day I know the liturgy in Spanish. I’m not Catholic, but it’s a comfortable setting for me.

    Yes, I’m aware of that theory, and it makes a lot of sense. Watching it in real life is a hoot. Many years ago I was with my daughter in LA and an elderly Jewish gentleman struck up conversation with us. His patter was so deadpan hilarious I honestly thought I was on candid camera.

  14. Chris,

    Hello to you, too! A search with the terms “miliband atheist” brings links to articles reporting his claim to be an atheist.

    “Neil Kinnock called it right when he said the paper’s attack on Ralph Miliband as an enemy of the country was anti semitic”

    Not disputing that at all.

  15. @Oldnat
    “However, when the SNP can have only a maximum of 59 seats in the 650 member UK Commons (and none in the Lords), I’m puzzled as to why you should see the results of the election in Scotland as so threatening.”

    Because 50-odd seats are enough to make the SNP kingmakers to a Labour plurality which hasn’t ruled out collaboration with them. The Lib Dems won 57 seats in 2010, this was enough to make them kingmakers.

    Therefore the SNP winning something like 50 seats, becoming the clear 3rd party, very possibly the only party able to get Labour’s stuff through the Commons, is a *very* clear threat to anyone who values the cohesiveness of the UK.

    I should make it clear I’m not very partisan, I look at policies rather than parties (and I voted Labour in 2010), I’m just someone who wants the UK to stay in one piece.

  16. Omnishambles

    Sorry, I’m still puzzled.

    Are you suggesting that a UK Labour government would force through a Bill giving Scotland independence?

  17. Sorry my comments got referred.
    This campaign is going to get very, very, nasty.
    Justine stuck her head above the parapet today. Possible mistake?
    Cons on 38.5 on May 7th.

  18. R Mexico
    Salmond hasn’t spoken about calling the tune for years? Fraid not. Try for example the STV news on 6 March. He was also quoted very recently in the P and J here in Aberdeen. In addition he says that “Labour is not fit to govern”

  19. @oldnat

    My fears rest not with 50 or even 59 SNP members. They rest with a deal done (lets be blunt, a deal by Labour specifically) that includes said 50 or even 59 members in some way shape or form in the Government of the UK.

    That is where the ”threat” that omnishambles described lies in my view. I don’t believe that SNP policy will be directed by anything other than a desire to, in their words, ultimately achieve Scottish independence or, in my words, destroy my country. Any concessions they can gain from EM as the price for C&S for a Labour led administration will be concessions that will further that objective.

    I am not afraid of the SNP. Disagree with them I do yes, but their objective is clear and I agree with you that it is politically as legitimate a stance as my unionist stance is.

    I am afraid of what EM and Labour might agree to in order to gain SNP support. I am completely comfortable with there being nationalist MPs in parliament. I am not, however, comfortable at all with nationalist MPs being involved in the UK government. I don’t believe they can act in the best interests of the country that they seek to end. In fact I think that they will actively act against its interests.

    I know that is largely partisan so my apologies to the spirit and rules of this site, it is just my attempt to answer the question.

  20. What the hell does “falling foul of secular athiesm” mean.

    As I understand, it a secular athiest is simply one who doesn’t believe in god and doesn’t believe there should be a connection between state and church.

    I can assure anyone who wants to try and link that to me not liking Mr. Miliband they are barking up the wrong end of the straw.

    It’s not like we hang about in dark alleys threatening to have a rational debate about the role of the church in society with unsuspecting passers by is it?

    If there is a dark secretive network of athiests, I wish they’d let me know about it, the only secretive network I know of actively rejects atheists and I kinda like the idea of being in a secret club.

  21. @Unicorn

    I think Labour did rise a bit, but then fell back. A sensitive detection of a rather short-lived rally.

    I am still suspicious of permitting user intervention in setting the group boundaries.

    How else would you set boundaries? All boundaries are arbitary really. If a analysis os done by day, week or month, that is an arbitary decision. I think I cleary demonstrated why I chose the groups. It for others to consider if they were fair or just me trying to fix the data (something I never do).

    You are right about the it being better to stop bad things getting out. However, relying on perfect data and methods of analysis is a luxury.

    When bad stuff happens, you get all the data you can in the few hours (never enough), plus a team of experience engineers, and use the shared experience to work through the issue and come up with a plan. You don’t get days but literally hours.

    In truth, I haven’t come across a statistical exercise in industry where the data boundaries are not set by the user. There are no magic formulas or books that tell you the answer without user intervention.

    Your comments would suggest that if you think the standard industry 95% CI produce false alarms, you seem to be insinuating polling type testing should use a higher CI (99% perhaps?).

    This would reduce type 1 errors, and increase type 2 errors.

    To lower the CI to 90% from 95% would increase type 1 errors but reduce type 2 errors.

  22. Roll A Hard Six

    Since the SNP have said it “is most unlikely” that they would form a coalition with Labour, then your fears about SNP MPs”being involved in the UK government” seem strange.

  23. There is, what one calls, a new thread :)

  24. @Oldnat

    I am suggesting that a UK Labour government would be reliant on the SNP to get its bills through the Commons. I.e., a Labour government would be reliant on a party that wants to break up the UK in order to do anything. Do you think the SNP plan to make themselves subservient to Labour? Of course not. The SNP, like any party, will have their demands. This is worrying because it’s obvious that SNP demands would be tailored to hurting and disrupting the cohesiveness of the UK.

    Clearly there are many ways to disrupt the UK’s unity – demanding independence or another referendum is not all the SNP can do. Just the idea that government could rely on a party that exists to dismantle my country is a horrible thought.

  25. @oldnat

    ”Since the SNP have said it “is most unlikely” that they would form a coalition with Labour, then your fears about SNP MPs”being involved in the UK government” seem strange.”

    Not really. The SNP have themeselves talked a lot, a huge amount actually, about what the prices for supporting a Labour administration would be. I wrote in my previous post about C&S, not a formal coalition.

    If Labour is in office because of SNP support it means the SNP is still part of government because it means they will be getting something back. What that ‘something’ is is the problem. Whatever it is it will be calculated to advance the cause of Scottish indepencence.

    The SNP won’t simply vote to keep Labour in power for nothing.

  26. YouGov out shortly which I reckon will show a Con lead of 2%. We shall see.

  27. Roll A Hard Six and Omnishambles

    Ah well. Some folk are just terrified that something, somehow will change. :-)

    I’m off to the new thread

  28. @roll a hard six
    “What that ‘something’ is is the problem. Whatever it is it will be calculated to advance the cause of Scottish indepencence.”

    Exactly what I was trying to say.

    I can deal with the DUP demanding some more cash for NI.
    I can deal with the Lib Dems doing their thing.
    I can deal with a Con-Lab grand coalition, to be honest

    But not nationalists holding the government to ransom unless the union is damaged some more. I’d feel the same if it was English nationalists, Welsh nationalists or whatever

  29. Would a Con Govt be preferable for the SNP?. Another five years of Tory rule and talk of the further disenfranchisement of the Scots might give rise to talk of another independence referendum ten years down the line.

  30. William Hill, today’s odds have 11/4 SNP & Labour Coalition, 9/2 Con majority and 12/1 Labour majority, bookies are seldom wrong! Seems like they are predicting a bit of a crisis!

  31. Sun Politics [email protected] 3s3 seconds ago
    YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Tories ahead by two: CON 33%, LAB 31%, LD 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%


    Your views about the potential influence that SNP could have over a Lab government desperate to stay in office are understandable and, I would have thought widely held in England. (I hope I have not misrepresented your views)

    SNP are bound to extract what ever they can towards their aim of separation. I would have thought you would welcome that. (I hope I haven’t misunderstood your views)

  33. Aha thought the lead would be two points. Neck and neck by tomorrow night.

  34. You guys will know but is that 4 out of six or 5. MOE has to be considered but more stained underware in Labour HQ, I suspect. This is beginning to roll for DC.

  35. I don’t think there is any doubt that there is a covert anti-semitic element is some of the attacks on Miliband. How directly effective it is is another matter – it clearly goes past many people, perhaps because anti-semitism is fairly rare in Britain and has been for decades[1]. Where it does seem to exist , it seems mainly to be among the upper middle classes – and even then sporadically and mildly. Given that this is the sort of background most of those in the political media now come from, the form of the attacks may say more about those making them.

    Of course a lot of the messages also play into other English prejudices – anti-intellectualism for example. But in truth the real reason for Miliband’s unpopularity may be more simple. Despite the mutterings of fratricide and rootless cosmopolitanism, there simply isn’t one. Miliband is unpopular because Miliband is unpopular. People have been told this endlessly over the last four and a half years and believe it because they believe. If you ask why people don’t like Miliband or don’t think he will make a good PM, you’re likely to get triviality (“He looks funny”), usually ascribed to other people or circular arguments or bald assertion (“He just is”).

    It’s like asking children why this one is popular but that one despised in the playground. There’s no reason, just repeating received opinion, which, in as rigid and conventional a society as the playground or the parliamentary media, is all that matters.

    [1] Despite the best efforts of the Israeli government’s “Move to Israel, no one ever attacks Jews there” campaign, a recent Survation poll (for the JC) found 75% of Jews saying they felt ‘quite’ or ‘very’ safe in Britain and 89% said they had not considered leaving Britain – despite this being the week after the Paris attacks.

  36. The bookies have no more idea than the rest of us as to what will happen.


    Let’s see what YouGov brings over the next two nights. Based upon recent weeks I reckon neck and neck tomorrow night with a Lab lead by Thursday night.

  38. I think a bet at 9/2 might be rather good odds at the moment.

  39. Mikey
    There may be a few blips, but it is steadily turning to CON. I am no great fan of DC, he is extremely pompous, but when it comes to putting your cross on the paper, even my old Grandma, staunch Labour through and through, would not vote for this shambolic alternative offer. There is a lot of nastiness yet to come which might turn a lot of voters off.

  40. @ ALAN

    What IS your problem with secular atheists? It’s perfectly obvious that the term describes those atheists who are not religious, as opposed to…

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