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. first?

  2. First!

    So the Thursday poll with the Lab lead was the outlier and not vice versa ?

  3. Looking at all the polls, it does indeed look like level polling with the Tories perhaps a fraction ahead.

  4. Paul H-J

    There is nothing outside MoE if the Tories and Labour are actually on 33-34 each.

  5. agreed..hawthorn, but the frequency of the labour leads has certainly diminished…

  6. I agree Anthony – I think we are now at level pegging or even a small Tory lead rather than the small Labour lead your average has been showing for the past few months. But why? The only explanation I can think of would be if UKIP support was starting to wane but not sure there is any evidence of that, but maybe they have moved down from 15% to 14% and it is just impossible to tell given MOE.

    Budget will help the Tories as will the comparison of Milliband and Cameron as PM so if they are level I think we will move towards 36 for the Tories and 32 for Labour in May: so still hung parliament territory but with Tories as largest party.

  7. Swing back…throw back….hunch back..whatever it’s called it’s happening and the alarm bells are ringing.

    Quasimodo!!…….cover them ears.

  8. ” as will the comparison of Milliband and Cameron as PM”

    This is key. When even Polly Toynbee said Cameron was “a much much better presenter than miliband”, i thought to myself, “labour have a big problem”.

  9. She said this on the politics show on sunday (yesterday).

  10. Comparing the three

    Ashcroft is 2 higher for greens and 3.5 lower for libdems than yougov/populus.Benefits tories ?

    Populus labour lead compared to yougov would then seem to be explained by lower snp lead crossbreak -tbc tomorrow.

  11. The only real surprise is perhaps that CON have edged ahead with 8 weeks still to go. I think many of us expect(ed) them to win share of the vote.

    But who will govern? That is another matter altogether. And it is dependent on how close LAB can keep things. 1 or 2 points and everything is to play for…. a bigger gap and LAB are in trouble.

  12. Still a long way to go. No doubt Con have gained significant ground over the past twelve months but a lot can happen over the next two months. The Budget could still be key in how all of this plays out.

  13. James Peel

    You would expect more frequent Conservative leads if they were actually level than if Labour were ahead by a nose. The size of lead matters too.

    At the moment, the rolling Conservative Yougov lead is around 0.5 – 1.0 pp currently but one poll a few points in Labour’s favour and that evaporates.

    It is still not confirmed by the Populus polling where Labour are ahead by about 1.5pp. The other pollsters are not frequent enough to confirm either way (yet).

  14. Not a great fan of EM but most of the UK still don’t really know him. Given the negative attacks that there have been about him since his appointment we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that if he performs even reasonably he may exceed the low expectations many have of him.

    If as I suspect his leadership ratings are already factored in to the VI.then because he is perceived as poor anything other than the disasterous campaign a lot of people seem to expect might see Labour do better than expected.

    In a way by being relentless in rubbishing him the Tories might actually have handed him an open goal…. Although he might still slice it over the bar!


  15. As all the projections are showing results that would require the Tories to be a few points ahead on GE day, I was expecting this had to happen in the next week or so. Can’t see any reason or possibility for the slow slide to abate either.

  16. V interesting YouGov poll. This is the SNP effect on England…

    In many ways what is happening now is a mirror of what happened in 2014.

    Back then UKIP was running rings round a hapless Cameron wowing to make him dance to their tune. People were muttering about tactical voting to keep them out. Daniel Hannan was writing about pacts with the Kippers and the Conservatives refused to rule them out. Neutral people shook their heads at this – could the Conservatives not see that a coalition with UKIP was electoral suicide? But they were gripped with panic and wondered if they could make concessions in return for support in the House of Commons. A disapproving middle England lined up behind Miliband to stop the menace of a Tory govt being controlled by the evil Farage. YouGov on 2014-03-10 showed Con 32 Lab 39 Lib 8 UKIP 13.

    You can re-write the above paragraph for today but substitute SNP for UKIP and Conservative for Labour.

    Middle England is once again lining up behind those who will stop what they see as extremists. The UKIP menace is fading so this time they lining up behind Cameron because Lab won’t rule out a coalition with the SNP and the evil Salmond…

  17. @ CANDY

    Do you reckon? I’m not sure that many folk have really thought about it that much and don’t realise the possibility of a Lab/SNP coalition.
    Most voters are not political anoraks like those that post on here.

  18. @candy

    Any polling evidence to support your interpretation of these small movements?

  19. ” hapless Cameron” “Evil Farage” “Evil Salmond”

    “Middle England is once again lining up behind those who will stop what they see as extremists”

    I think this post breached the comments policy.

  20. @Hireton

    Lab going from 39 to 31 in the space of a year and Con going from 32 to 35 in a year is not a “small movement”.

    There is no polling evidence for the simple reason that there has been no polling question about whether people like or dislike the SNP in England (there exists polling from Ipsos-Mori about UKIP which shows they are very much disliked by Middle England, but they didn’t include the SNP in their question).

    I’ve no doubt that recent Conservative campaigns – the Salmond picture with Miliband in his pocket, John Major highlighting the risk of an SNP-Lab coalition – is backed by polling evidence…

  21. I think if you build in the swing back in the polling booth, a la 1991, DC has to be fairly confident here of between 36% and 38% which should put the Tories on 295 plus.
    I cannot imagine under any scenario a “grand alliance” seeking to “stop the tories taking power”, and if they did, Ed would be annhialated in England at the next election which could be as son as November
    Interesting times! I still suspect DC may get an overall majority.

  22. @ Candy

    Lab going from 39 to 31 in the space of a year and Con going from 32 to 35 in a year is not a “small movement”.

    Lab have actually gone from 39 to 33. Most of those votes lost to SNP. With some churn and some loss to Con and UKIP too. And maybe a few to Green.

    Con have gone from 31 to 34 (if that). Probably with UKIPpers probably returning to the fold and some folk changing from Dont Know and deciding ‘Better the devil you know’.

  23. Looks like the UKPR polling average will be moving towards 34 34 7 soon.

    Conservatives getting credit (belatedly) for economic upturn – doubts about Miliband and Farage – LD’s getting squeezed by everyone. Still some UKIP votes to be mopped up (or perhaps not) by other parties – most likely Cons and Lab doing this.

    Predictions indicate Conservatives about 5 seats ahead of Labour, instead of basically equal as was a couple of weeks ago. DC needs only a few more to make it worthwhile trying to forge a coalition.

  24. @ David in oxford

    I think if you build in the swing back in the polling booth, a la 1991, DC has to be fairly confident here of between 36% and 38% which should put the Tories on 295 plus.


    I’m not saying that they cannot get 36% or more. Anything may happen. But there is no polling evidence to support that at the moment.

    The polls suggest they will be closer to 33% or perhaps 34%.

  25. @David in Oxford

    You are getting far too excited with reading those tea leaves! ;-)

  26. Catmanjeff has put some very interesting stats analysis at the end of the last thread..worth a look.

  27. FPT

    Regarding Con VI with You Gov in 2015.

    If you take each each data point and plot a two sided CUSUM (sensitive to changes less than 1.5 sd) you get this:

    Three distinct zones are identifiable:

    a – a decline
    b – a variable middle part
    c – a solid rise (up to now)

    If you compare a,b and c to each other (ANOVA) you get the following output:

    This shows the rise in Conservative VI.

  28. @david in France
    You have really hit the nail on the head with “better the devil you know”. Which is why these polls are going to start drifting. Crosby says “wait till after Easter”, I am not sure why? But it will be drip, drip 0.5% each week from now until Con is 37/31 ahead. Iam not a great DC fan either but the alternative scenarios are……..!

  29. If i wanted to mischief make re polling organizations, i would point out that 2 tory leads by Yougov – of which the head, Stephen Shakespere is a former tory candidate and the tory peer Ashcroft may be skewed to a particular party as the election draws close… I agree Milliband is at such a low ebb that any decent performance during the campaign may edge things up… there is always the unknown in campaigns ie Jennifer’s ear in 92 and tory infighting over Europe as in 97 and 01…….

  30. And I will keep reading the tea leaves!
    Just cannot see the British population putting Labour into power with the people they have got. Sorry!

  31. If Labour do lose how will Milliband be able to live with himself? I really do ask that in the most serious human terms. To think that if he had gone last Autumn and handed over to someone else and that as a result his party would have a comfortable lead must surely make him think that he has personal responsibility for the misery and human suffering that would follow from re-electing this government. Faced with that reality many would not cope. I could have made the difference – now so many lives are being blighted because of me.!

  32. @Candy

    The latest Ashcroft polls do precicely that – and Englands response puts the SNP as less favouired than UKIP, level with the DUP and only Sinn Fein is considered worse.

  33. Wonder how long the bookmakers take to update the odds in reaction to polls. Might be worth a quick punt before dawn on Tory OM.

  34. ON (from previous thread)
    You’re just being silly. I wouldn’t disqualify anybody, even if I were in a position to do so. I don’t care which version of the magic goblin in the clouds any of them choose to worship or pretend to worship.

    I was simply pointing out that eminent former politicians such as Mr Blair felt it necessary to disguise their Catholicism, and I’m not aware of any Catholic PM in the past.

    However, I’d forgotten that Brown was a Presbyterian, so perhaps that has set a precedent?

    So, to get back to my original point, if labour lose would Milband resign or be sacked, and if so, who would replace him? I suggested Burnham, Johnson and Umunna. Any other candidates?
    Can you define what you mean by the term “Middle England”? Does it mean “people who agree with me”?

  35. @Darryl Tester

    I think your ‘mischevious’ comments are rather out of place here.

    You Gov and Ashcroft both use a transparent methodology, and have shown Labour and Conservative leads. I can see zero evidence of bias from any main stream pollsters.

  36. @Sarissa

    Thanks for that. It confirms why the Conservatives are going so strongly on a hapless Miliband as Salmond’s puppet.

  37. I have not seen tomorrow’s headlines, but it will not be long before The Sun is proclaiming, “Tories 4% ahead”. Everyone wants to back, or vote for the winner, Labour HQ must be very depressed tonight. Conservative HQ must be absolutely buzzing, budget next week and watch the polls move.

  38. Anthony just for the record it’s not quite correct to say “Populus continue to show a one-point Labour lead” as their three previous polls had Labour leads of two points I believe so today’s is a reduction. So with Populus, YouGov, ComRes, Opinium, ICM and Ashcroft, almost all the pollsters have recently shown narrowing leads and even a crossover in several cases.

  39. Oops before i go and sit on the naughty step, i am just pointing out connections between some pollsters and political parties…. I still cannot see the tories getting 37% as per last time, governing parties rarely increase vote share and the in built bias to labour on existing boundaries also need to be considered… I agree Labour losing 20 seats to the SNP may not help, but I still see them as largest party come may 8th…

  40. It appears the Cameron strategy is to push the anti-Scotland, anti-SNP buttons in Middle and Southern England. If the polls show this gambit to be effective, I would expect Milliband to respond with a much harder line against the SNP in England. I would be surprised if Labour went as far as the Tories demand and reject any deal, but rather would pick a few high profile fights with the SNP over potential demands.

    Of course, if Labour takes this step to protect its English flank, they will be abandoning Scotland and their current MPs to their fates. This is exactly the scenario that the SNP wishes to happen. Labour and Conservatives pandering to the English vote and leaving Scotland to them.

  41. Here’s the Ashcroft stuff regarding UKIP and the SNP:

    Some people think that after the general election next year neither Labour nor the Conservatives will have enough MPs to form a government on their own, and the party with the most seats may need to form a coalition with one or more of the smaller parties. Would you be happy or unhappy to see each of the following parties becoming part of a coalition government after the next election?

    Greens Happy 48% Unhappy 44%
    LibDems Happy 45% unhappy 47%
    UKIP Happy 36% Unhappy 57%
    PC Happy 32% Unhappy 55%
    SNP Happy 31% Unhappy 61%
    SDLP Happy 22% Unhappy 62%
    DUP Happy 19% Unhappy 68%
    Sinn Fein Happy 16% Unhappy 74%

  42. Interesting to return to the UK from a country where democracy (or an imitation thereof) has been suspended indefinitely on the basis of a legal technicality, to find that our pre-election debate is almost as anodyne and content free as the newspapers in a state with a censored media!

    Digressions aside. I wonder if one factor that may be influencing VI and which hasn’t been mentioned much here is the effect of election spending. There was relatively little media coverage of the decision to significantly increase the amount of cash that the parties could flash during the so-called ‘long campaign’.

    As this period draws to a close could it be that the Conservatives’ significant monetary advantage in advertising and other spend over the last couple of months is reaping rewards?

    Living on the boundary of an extremely marginal seat I certainly returned to plenty of ‘literature’ from Conservative HQ and the local party and nothing from any of the other teams.

    I’ve also noticed from a far that there’s a concerted attempt to use social media techniques to set the agenda / manage bad news by the blues. All the parties will be trying to do this, the Tories are doing it better at the moment.

    If this is the case, will this sustain enough momentum to see them through to the budget and a further upturn, or is a temporary effect that will be counter acted when Labour start spending much bigger in the campaign proper and pre-election broadcast rules kick in?

    Just thinking aloud really, but it may offer an explanation for the apparently unexplained upturn in Conservative fortunes.

  43. Do many people in England care much about Scotland? Whether they do or not, I think it would be a lower priority than taxes, jobs, housing, immigration etc. If the big parties make a big thing of Scotland in their English campaigning I think they’ll be wasting their time.

  44. @Candy

    Of course, in Scotland, SNP participation in governments is 70% happy, 30% unhappy.

  45. I wonder how many of the posts above will survive Anthony’s scissors….

  46. @candy

    Except the SNP surge only began 5 months ago so cannot explain changes in middle England`s views over a year.

    By the way your posts might read better without so many adjectives to colour your conjectures.

  47. The term ‘Middle ENgland’ is being thrown around by several posters. I’d appreciate clarification as to what they mean by the term.

    According to Wikipedia (and yes, I know it’s not infallible),’Middle England” is:
    ‘The phrase “Middle England” is a socio-political term which generally refers to middle class or lower-middle class English people who hold traditional or right-wing views.’

    This sounds like UKIP voters to me. but the term seems to have been used in a different context.

  48. @ Candy

    Interesting figures.

    One thing they do show is how divisive the LibDems have become for a traditionally centrist party. About equal numbers happy and unhappy with them being in government.

    It would be enlightening to see any comparable figures from before 2010, as their traditional strategy of ‘all thing to all voters’ certainly doesn’t seem to be as effective with a large share of the electorate any longer. Giving even more of a reason for their current low VI.

  49. Candy

    I am surprised that as many as 31% would be “happy” to see the SNP as part of a coalition government.

    I have voted SNP consistently for 45 years, and I would be in the 61% “unhappy” with sych an arrangement!

  50. @Darryl

    There are no connections between the output of mainstream polling companies and any political parties, or the parties individuals working for pollsters may support privately.

    End of.

    Professional psephologists survive by being objective, neutral and politically non-biased.

    A politically biased pollster would be an unemployed pollster.

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