Eight weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls

YouGov/S Times (6/3) – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%
Opinium/Observer (6/3) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%
Populus (8/3) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
Ashcroft (8/3) – CON 34%, LAB 30%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%
YouGov/Sun (9/3) – CON 35%, LAB 31%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (10/3) – CON 33%, LAB 31%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (11/3) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
Ipsos MORI/Standard (11/3) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (12/3) – CON 33%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 6%
Populus (12/3) – CON 29%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18%, GRN 6%

After two months of very little movement there is finally some sign of a shift. YouGov’s daily poll seems to have flipped over into showing a Tory lead – four of their five polls this week showed a Conservative lead. Populus is still showing a Labour lead, as did the monthly Ipsos MORI poll this week, but it’s the underlying trends that count and, for now at least, the UKPR polling average puts the Tories into a tiny lead – CON 33%(nc), LAB 32%(-2), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 15%(nc), GRN 6%(nc).

Scottish and Welsh polls

YouGov also produced Scottish and Welsh polls this week. The Welsh polling is here, and had topline Westminster figures of CON 25%, LAB 39%, LDEM 5%, Plaid 10%, UKIP 14%.

The Scottish polling is here and has topline figures of CON 18%, LAB 27%, LDEM 4%, SNP 46%, UKIP 2%. The SNP lead is down two points since the previous YouGov Scottish poll at the start of February, but remains at a formidable 19 points.

The Scottish poll also included some questions designed to tease out how effective Labour attempts to fight the SNP with a “vote SNP get Tory” sort of message. The short answer is not very. Essentially, for such an approach to work SNP voters would need to believe that returning SNP MPs really would make a Tory government more likely, would need to think a Conservative government was significantly worse than the alternative and would need to consider avoiding a Tory government as more important to them than the opportunity of returning lots of SNP MPs. All of these requirements are quite weakly represented amongst SNP voters – only 27% of SNP voters buy the argument that more SNP MPs will make a Conservative government more likely and while 38% of SNP voters think a Labour government at Westminster would be better for Scotland than a Tory one, only 15% think there’s “much” difference, and 49% think there’s little difference at all. Finally, even if SNP voters did think that returning SNP MPs would make a Tory government more likely, by 46% to 31% they’d rather have a Tory government and lots of SNP MPs than a Labour government and not many.

Week 10

  • The debate debate was still rolling at the start of the week, but has thankfully now faded out a bit. The rival bid to host the debates online by the Guardian, Telegraph & Youtube have said they they would host a five way debate before the end of March, so meeting David Cameron’s demands on timing. Otherwise there has been no further progress
  • There was debate earlier in the week about whether the government should commit to the NATO target of 2% spending on defence. YouGov asked about Defence spending last month and found 49% think we should spend more on defence, 16% less and 20% about the right amount. Defence spending is an interesting subject as it does at least divide opinion. Most spending issues are really one way streets – the vast majority of the public think spending on things like the NHS, policing and education is a good thing and would like more of it, it’s just a case of what governments can afford and how they fund it. Equally opinion polls asking what should be priority for cuts always find overseas aid top of the list. Defence is one of those few issues where there is both a significant chunk of people who think spending money on it is a bad thing that should be cut, and a significant chunk of people who think it is a good thing that should be protected. Welfare is another.
  • Nigel Farage got into a row over discrimination laws – appearing to say that UKIP would repeal discrimination laws, but later saying he meant only laws on discriminating on the grounds of nationality. When it comes to discrimination on grounds of nationality, I expect we will find most people agreeing with Nigel Farage – there has not been any polling on what he said yet, but looking back YouGov found in 2011 that 51% of people thought companies should prioritise British workers, even if there are better qualified foreign workers. What may be less good for UKIP is if the political row around Farage’s statement damages the party’s already somewhat shakey image on racism – last month ComRes found 44% of people agreed with the statement that UKIP were racist, up from 32% last year.
  • By the end of the week the main political issue appeared to be how many kitchens Ed Miliband has. I think it’s fair to say that’s the sign it hasn’t really been a huge news week. Onwards to…
  • Budget week. The budget is on Wednesday, one of the few big set pieces we’ve got before the election that we can reasonably assume most people really will notice, and which does have the possiblity to actually shift votes. As I say most years, people are often too ready to assume that the budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor, when often it’s a bullet to be dodged – there are plenty of instances of budgets damaging a government and not that many of them providing a real boost. Nevertheless, the timing means this is likely to be an extremely political budget and we shall see if it has any effect


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc and the Guardian are below (the Polling Observatory team’s projection should finally make it’s proper debut this coming week). All predict a hung Parliament, and all continue to predict the Conservatives winning the most seats.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 285(-1), LAB 279(+1), LD 22(nc), SNP 40(nc), UKIP 3(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 288(+2), LAB 271(-9), LD 26(+2), SNP 42(+4), UKIP 1(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 281(+5), LAB 263(-8), LD 24(+1), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 4(+1)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 279(+4), LAB 265(-6), LD 27(+1), SNP 53(+1), UKIP 4(nc)

273 Responses to “Eight weeks to go”

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  1. @Amber

    Ahh, but you replied to me. :))

    If there is a deal (with any party), it will be in Scotland’s interests to see what happens before declaring a result. Of course, it is in party political activists interests to try to pre-empt all this by all these what-if scenarios.

    Not me. I’ll wait and see.

  2. @Roger Mexico

    “I’m well aware that clutching at straws is practically the job description for Labour supporters in Scotland at the moment….”

    Regardless of how you meant that comment to Amber, taking it at face value it doesn’t hold up.

    We have a very recent example of a party that reached the heights of popularity shortly before a general election, still did very well in that general election despite underforming on expectations, yet imploded shortly afterwards after playing its hand very badly.

    Should Labour and the SNP between them get enough seats to form a government, there are two basic scenarios that could play out:
    1. There is a stable, Labour-led government of the left.
    2. There is a second general election in short time, because Labour find that the SNP are sufficiently unreliable coalition or confidence and supply partners to allow the implementation of large chunks of its manifesto. (And I don’t think the FTPA will get in the way of that, other than to make the route from A to B a bit more tortuous.)

    In the 2nd variant, I think we will see a repeat of that lesson from recent history (and the one from 1979 too) which would cheer Labour in Scotland. The 1st would also cheer them even with a Labour Scottish meltdown, just as a Conservative supporter living in say Greater Manchester might similarly have been reasonably upbeat after the May 2010 general election.

    It’s hardly clutching at straws to hold out a reasonable prospect of one or the other happening.

  3. James

    re: UKIP in Scotland, according to a list published last Monday they are only standing in 9 of the 59 constituencies.

    Nine is still what AndyJS’s ever-useful spreadsheet is saying as well:


    Effectively it means that half the seats where UKIP haven’t announced a candidate yet are in Scotland. They managed 34 candidates there in 2010 even[1], so only nine at this stage suggests problems. I get the impression that, not only has Cockburn fallen out with everyone in Scotland who isn’t in UKIP, he’s fallen out with most of those who are as well. Even if they’ve got candidates in the pipeline waiting to be approved, that hints at internal machinations.

    [1] Though they only saved one deposit – in Orkney and Shetland. The same candidate is standing again, so it will be interesting to see how he does.

  4. COLIN
    my post was a commentary on Barbazenzero’s approach to assessing reports in the Mail.

    I fear you may only ever have one datum point to work with. It’s most unlikely to be a trend.

    The political and media class’ rage over stuff like this contrasts with their silence over the rape, torture and forced prostitution of tens of thousands of wwc children.
    It just highlights the double standard.

    I agree and deplore that most of the media operate double standards, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore evidence when it is presented.

  6. Survation replied to my Tweet regarding the Lib Dem poll in Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine:


    h ttp://www.statgeek.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/surv.png

  7. @Graham
    I continue to be surprised that Labour fails to retaliate on the DM by referring to it as ‘Adolf Hitler’s favourite British newspaper’ and by reminding people how it supported Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.”

    There is never a need to sink to their level.

    All and sundry knows how the DM loathes Labour & everything Labour stands for.

    One can only hope that it’s level of journalism will improve when Dacre finally retires.

  8. MiM
    Thanks for that. I did wonder about it. Voters of whatever background are not always rational. It seems to me that if hundreds of young Muslims are leaving England to fight for IS, there must be many more who won’t go that far but would feel antipathy to someone of Jewish background, whether practising or not.

  9. Statgeek

    Thanks for the confirmation that the Lib-Dems are continuing their dodgy polls policy

    No doubt they were reluctant to “intrude into the details” as Danny put it.

  10. Mr Jones

    Could it be that UKIP attracts a specific mentality, and that certain types of comments only motivates them further, or makes them feel good?

  11. @Amber

    With respect, the entire premise of your argument is defeated by the fact that only two options were put to the voters, 1) a Conservative government with a large number of SNP MPs and 2) a Labour government with a small number of SNP MPs. The more realistic option of 3) a Labour government with a large number of SNP MPs was not put, but many would suggest that would be the overwhelming choice of Scots

  12. MS says the following polls are due tonight:

    YG (Sunday Times)
    Opinium (Observer)
    Comres (IoS, Sunday Mirror).

    Why the Isle of Skye has decided to publish a GB VI poll is mystery to all.

  13. Anthony

    Are Huff Post links now treated like Grauniad ones?

  14. RAF

    Following QT’s appalling decision to put CK on screen on Thursday, a poll from the Isle of Skye could be informative.

  15. RAF

    To return to the politics of this incident, one of the Herald political journalists, Gerry Braiden, has tweeted –

    “The thing with UKIP Scotland is, & several ‘kippers’ tell me this, is that Farage doesn’t give a monkeys. It’s the Coburn & Misty [1] show.”

    [1] Arthur Misty Thackery is the Chair of UKIP in Scotland

  16. MiM
    Lol! Very droll. I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think we need to try to use more dispassionate language and try to keep to discussing the polls and voting intentions, which was what my original post was about.

  17. @Pete B

    If there is a small minority of Muslims who do not consider voting to be permissible in Islam how would they vote against EM? They just wouldn’t vote.


    Did you read my post of 2:37?
    Looks like I was overoptimistic in my response to COLIN.

  19. maninthemiddle

    Galloway, he is unique, he is a rebel, locally,
    individuals who resent the local Labour leadership, supported him. When he retires, you will see, the seat going back to Labour.
    Tower Hamlets, is the same thing. This is a Mayoral issues, again you will see, reverting back to Labour.

    In the past these people defected to Lib Dems. Nicked named, the Labour Rejects Party.
    Analyse the number of Muslims, who defected to Lib Dem to get elected (local elections) who could not climb the Labour political ladder. Then Labour had to appoint a Muslim Labour candidates to fight a Muslim Lib Dem, to regain the seat.
    Another term for Tower Hamlets, Labour Rejects.
    Does the religion plays a part. Very Little. at most 10%
    Does the village, of your home country plays a part, yes. 80% plus.

  20. Ashman

    “Does the village, of your home country plays a part, yes. 80% plus.”

    That could also be phrased as “Do family and community attitudes play a part?”

    That would be a fairly accurate representation of the voting attitudes of many places in most countries, regardless of whether their ancestors immigrated here in the Neolithic or some later time.

  21. RAF
    you are right, they can not vote against EM.

    I would not say they are minority, I would say in the region of 30-40% of the Muslim population, does not participate, on religious grounds or using it as an excuse. That is what I have been told by local Muslim Lab/ Lib Dem political activists.

  22. @Ashman

    30-40%? Really? Not in my experience.

    The vast majority of the Muslims I know vote regularly.

    However, even if you are right and 30-40% of Muslims don’t vot, that’s not that dissimilar to the UK population as a whole.

  23. I suppose it’s a sign of progress, of a kind, when people make xenophobic “jokes” about other folks than the Irish.

    Demonstrating that they hate everybody is much more egalitarian.

  24. OLDNAT

    Yes and no.

    Family and community plays a part, only dependent on the village you come from.

    I learned this the hard way, number of years ago, helping a fellow Conservative, in a GE in 2005. He was Muslim. In this particular area within 100 yards you had 5 mosques, where one Mosque was more than enough to cater for the entire Muslim population, all built to represent the respective villages, in this city, there was serious divisions.
    He had to say different things to appeal to each mosque.

    He even had the head Imam, from another City, 100 miles away (from his home town, vouching for him), trying to get local Imams to endorse him, he thought that might help, he could only get endorsement from one mosque.This is how the Mosques went, One Labour, one went Lib Dem, one went Respect and other Independent.

    Remember number of the old towns, extreme village mentality. Large cities like London, Manchester, far more civilised, with the same attitude, but more broader.

  25. @ Brian Nicholson

    With respect, the entire premise of your argument is defeated by the fact that only two options were put to the voters…

    It’s frustrating when polling firms don’t ask the questions which we’d like them to ask & we have to work with what we’re given!

  26. @OldNat

    I’m pretty certain the repertoire doesn’t start and end with a single specific group.

  27. People on this site have said this is going to be a horrible campaign,if the vile
    cartoon in Today’s Times is anything to go by they are dead right.

  28. If you use the 1922 UK election as the statistical model to follow for 2015 you will observe that the Conservatives unlike 1922 are not yet polling in the high 30’s, as they achieved in 2010, and nor do they command the support of the Northern Ireland MPs as they did in 1922.

    UKIP are not on the 18.9% as obtained by Labour in 1922 and neither are LD or Green at the 9.2% level obtained by the National Liberals in 1923. But at a national (sub-regional UK) level in Scotland, for example, SNP are at between 45% to 50% support and may obtain over 40 seats in 2015.

    Similarly UKIP are at or approaching I:5 voter support in the Midlands and South outside London and even if they do not win seats outright are likely to affect the outcome of elections in certain seats.

    Turning to 1923, when the Conservatives did not need to hold an election because they already held a majority, while the outcome clearly left the Conservatives with the largest number of seats by far, the Liberals chose to support Labour and combined the two parties formed a majority in the HoC:


    Clearly Clegg and other LDs contention that they are bound to support the largest party in the House is, to put it mildly, a “crock”. The government that emerges after May 7th 2015 will be lead by the party and leader of the party that commands support from a majority of MPs in the HoC, be that simply for C & S or for an actual coalition.

    If, for example, Labour and SNP can command a majority in the HoC, they and they alone can come to whatever agreement they like without any reference to any other Member of the House or party in the House.

    Given the pact between SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green that is unlikely, but there is absolutely nothing DC and the Conservatives can do if the HoC is called back into session and he cannot command support of a majority of MPs.

    This majority, if they pass a vote of no confidence, then have 14 days to find a majority that can pass a vote of confidence and/or 434 MPs or two thirds of those taking their seats in the HoC can pass a resolution calling for another election.

    As I said several days ago, to the chagrin of some, it is much too early to start popping the champagne corks, since there is no statistical certainty or absolutely clear trends as to which parties will win how many seats.

    On current trends SNP are likely to be the largest party sending MPs from Scotland and the third largest party at Westminster, but as they say in baseball:

    Who’s going to be on first and who is going to be on second base is anyone’s guess.

  29. Ashman

    Since “civilized” originally meant “of a city” your suggestion that places like London have that characteristic is perfectly true – if somewhat tautological. :-)

    If you were implying some value judgment that London has preferable values to Cartmel Fell is something we could agree to disagree on.

  30. RAF

    Because you see Muslims voting, so do I. that does not mean they are all voting.

    Its like me saying I see lots of Anglo Saxons voting, that does not mean they all vote.

    Because you see a large % voting does not mean they all vote.
    One of the arguments many Muslim Lib Dem/ Lab political activist make, if the Muslim vote could come out, it would make a significant difference, making it into a political block.

  31. OldNat

    please accept my apologies, did not mean it like that, meaning the Muslim community, in my experience more civilised, in larger cities, not village based mentality from back home, more integrated, therefore local issue more paramount, than what village your parents were born in.

  32. @Ashman

    I’m not denying a % do not vote. I know that’s true.

    What I am questioning is the % of non-voters that you have suggested. It seems very high to me.

    As for the the power and influence of local Imams/community leaders over sections of the Muslim vote, there are certainly areas where that used to be true – Blackburn for example, but it is far less true now than it used to be. And i dont think it was ever true in most of London or other major cities. Younger people born and brought up here are not interested in what used to happen in their parents villages in Bangladesh or Pakistan. They have been brought up and educated here.

  33. maninthemiddle

    lol . Love your comments

    some Muslim voters manage to over do it. They can get over zealous. xx

  34. Ashman

    I think it’s true of everyone that when they move out of home communities, then they are less subject to family/community pressures.

    In the anonymity of a big city, where you may not even know your neighbour’s name, then they are unlikely to influence your vote.

    I’m not disagreeing with you btw – just suggesting that it’s a universal human tendency, and nothing to do with being Muslim or coming from countries like Pakistan.

    (I still prefer Cartmel Fell to London – unless I want to see theatre! :-) )

  35. RAF

    These are the figures I have been given, by a number of different Muslim communities, over the years. How they come to this conclusion, I do not know.

    I have number of friends in Manchester, at the particular mosques, he attends, Fridays sermon do not vote, the following Friday sermon by a different individual, vote.

  36. @Ann in Wales

    Re Peter Brookes’ Times cartoons:

    The Londoner hears that Park’s team are considering calling in their lawyers to preserve Wallace’s good name. “As a huge Labour supporter Nick hates the way they always depict Miliband disparagingly,” says a pal. “The humour used is more often than not crude, and the main concern for Nick is the damage it is doing to Wallace and Gromit’s image as good, clean family oriented animated characters.”


    Hopefully the obsession with disparaging Miliband as Wallace will ending shortly.

  37. RAF
    I will not name the town.
    Outside voting station, in one particular ward, an elder sitting on a chair.
    Young people going onto the voting station, telling him Lib Dem.
    To me the shock was, this taking place, just outside the polling station.
    I questioned the Labour activist, are you not going to complain. shrugged his shoulder, it happens. Also implying not worth it, we live here.

  38. @ Amber,

    If Scottish Labour are relying on the revelation that the party they’ve been referring to as “Tartan Tories” for decades and which was propped up by Tories as recently as 2011 may in fact contain some people with Tory sympathies, they are likely to be disappointed.

    No one cares who Allan Christie would vote for in a hypothetical presidential election between Cameron and Miliband, they care who Angus Robertson will support in a confidence vote. Nicola Sturgeon has assured them that person will not be David Cameron. If she breaks that promise her party will be in trouble, but not before. The SNP’s Left of Centre credentials can’t be disproven until they are tested.

    @ Ann in Wales,

    People on this site have said this is going to be a horrible campaign, if the vile cartoon in Today’s Times is anything to go by they are dead right.

    Or indeed, if this thread is anything to go by.

  39. Ashman

    From what you have posted, I’m not sure what was most shocking – young people voting, or a polling agent sitting on a chair.

    I presume there was something else?

  40. Amber,

    There is such a thing as “Off the Record” it is when you make it clear at the outset that it is; Off the Record.

    It also helps if you follow up by cutting that Journalist dead or destroying their career if they break it.

    Didn’t you learn anything from Alistair Campbell?


  41. oldnat

    not a polling agent, an elder, sitting on a chair, making sure people going inside, voted his candidate.

  42. @ Statgeek

    Ahh, but you replied to me. :))

    I did :-) But you & I both treat UKPR as an open discussion forum, rather than a place to have a little tete-a-tete about things on which we agree/ disagree.

  43. I read some of the recent comments on here and thought I had mistakenly hit the link to the Daily Mail!!


    @”I fear you may only ever have one datum point to work with. It’s most unlikely to be a trend.”

    But since -as I have already observed, you claimed to speak for everyone in respect of the DM, I only need this one.

  45. The only decent data I am aware of on ethnic minority voting levels is the 2010 Ethnic Minority British Election Study data –

    Validated turnout levels (that is, individual respondents claimed turnout being checked against the marked electoral register) are on slide 20 here:


    It’s by ethnicity of course, not by religion, but for what it’s worth 63% of British people from a Bangladeshi background voted, 65% of people from a Pakistani background.

  46. Ashman

    You seem obsessed with his sitting on a chair! :-)

    Still, if the Lib-Dems had omitted registering him as a polling agent, and he was actively operating within the prescribed limits of the polling place (the polling station is the individual room where votes are cast), then that should not have happened.

    Quite how he was able to make sure that people voted Lib Dem any more effectively than the Duke of Buccleugh ensures that his tenants vote Tory, is something you don’t make clear.

  47. Amber

    I’m not sneering at you at all – merely pointing out you said something silly, which is a behaviour not restricted by gender, nationality or politics. On the contrary the smilie was meant to indicate that my response was not meant that seriously or antagonistically.

    But I thought it was revealing when you said that:

    The SNP’s current ‘core value position’ is that they are a Left of Centre Party which would not support a Tory government. But if the majority of their members/ supporters do not share that ‘core value position’, it becomes unsustainable.

    Not just because by your own admission the figures don’t actually support what you claim (48% of SNP supporters say they only should Labour, only 2% that they should only support the Conservatives), but because of what you consider to be a ‘core value’. Because ‘not support Party X’ is not a value at all. It may well be a very likely consequence of the other values that you hold, but in the end it is a tactic that a Party uses or not to advance the policies and values that it holds. After all Labour is in coalition with the Conservatives on some local authorities in Scotland, presumably to do just that:


    And Labour was happy to collaborate with the Conservatives (and others) in the No campaign and fully entitled to do so[1]

    But Scottish Labour seems to got itself into a position in recent years where it gives the impression its only ‘core value’ is that it’s against the Tories. Hence the endless cries of “Vote SNP, get Tory” and little else. But it’s not effective – the polls tell us that – and it gives the impression that Labour have little else to say in Scotland

    Labour really do seem to have learnt the wrong lesson from the referendum campaign. Rather than realising that the negative campaigning was what caused the polls to narrow and it might be only the Vow and Brown’s intervention that stopped Yes from winning, they think because they did win they should reproduce the tactics that nearly caused failure.

    [1] Obviously the complaints from some on the Yes side that Labour was somehow tainted by this contact were equally silly. But it does make it difficult to then announce “Don’t vote for the SNP – they might collaborate with the Tories” when you’ve done just that the year before.

  48. @ Spearmint

    The SNP’s Left of Centre credentials can’t be disproven until they are tested.

    The SNP have already changed position on several issues which attracted LoC voters e.g. Trident renewal is no longer a ‘red line’; this changed within weeks of Nicola Sturgeon announcing that it was a ‘red line’.

    Their LoC credentials can be tested before the GE. That’s what debates, manifestos, interviews etc. are for. And precedents like the LibDems can be used to illustrate the likelihood of a self-proclaimed LoC Party going into coalition with the Tories.

  49. COLIN
    But since -as I have already observed, you claimed to speak for everyone in respect of the DM, I only need this one.

    I made no such claim but merely suspected that they would be believed on this one particular matter. I have also recognised that I was too optimistic. Until/unless they release the audio of the ‘phone conversation we’ll not know for certain.

  50. @ Peter Cairns

    Didn’t you learn anything from Alistair Campbell?

    Yes, I learned that nowadays you are never ‘off the record’.

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