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

Projections

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. Opinium

    http://ourinsight.opinium.co.uk/survey-results/political-polling-10th-march-2015

    Labour retakes first place with a 2-point lead over the Conservatives.

    Labour gain a point, and the Conservative lose a point, to give Labour a 2-point lead, the first for x weeks.

    UKIP are once again unchanged on 14% while the Lib Dems have dropped one point to put them level with the Greens on 7%.

  2. From the pollster with idiotic weightings

    Opinium/Observer:

    CON 35 (+1)
    LAB 33 (-1)
    LIB 7 (-1)
    UKIP 14 (=)
    GRN 7 (=)

  3. @Oldnat, Lab and Con wrong way round on your figures?

  4. @OldNat/Richard

    Sort it out, Gents. Labour ahead or the Tories in Opinium?

  5. @Richard

    Yep, Labour 2% ahead on Opinium.

  6. @Crossbat XI

    Thought you would still be celebrating Sunderland’s implosion this afternoon.

  7. Maybe Opinium have made a “minor adjustment” to their weightings – SNP now only downweighted from 71 to 50

    Scottish crossbreak SNP 41% : Lab 28% : Con 18% : LD 6% : Grn 5% : UKIP 1%

    looks more in line with other pollsters.

  8. Ed’s approval soars

    “With a new poll lead, Ed Miliband has also seen an improvement in his ratings, rising seven points to -24%. David Cameron, on the other hand, has seen his net ratings drop slightly by two points to -6%.”

  9. I blame Number Cruncher! I copied & pasted his tweet. :-)

  10. @OldNat

    That’s taking swingback too far!

    Poor @NC. He so rarely gets his figures wrong. First time, I think.

  11. RAF

    I’m sure NC isn’t infallible – but it’s nice to know he’s human. :-)

  12. England try….or is it?

  13. England crossbreak Lab 35% : Con 35% : UKIP 15% : LD 7% : Grn 7%

  14. @Anthony

    Your conclusion that the Tories are now ahead is essentially based on the revised rolling average which, in turn, is very heavily influenced by those four Tory-leading YouGovs last week, two of which had Labour on a decidedly dodgy 31%; a figure that seems an outlier when set in the context of the other polls.

    YouGov polls outnumber most others by about five to one in terms of their frequency and volume and obviously greatly influence the overall UKPR rolling average. Accordingly, to say that the Tories are now ahead is to invest an awful lot of faith in YouGov polls as opposed to others like Populus, Opinium, TNS/BRMB and Ipsos/Mori. If all other pollsters were aligning with this recent splurt of YouGovs, then I’d be more convinced. As it is, I’m much less sure when, including today’s Opinium, Labour have led in four of the last five published polls.

    I wonder what a rolling average would look like based purely on the twice-weekly Populus polls?

  15. @OldNat

    I thought he was a robot ;)

    No Try. Eng 20 Scotland 13 (18 mins left).

  16. @Raf

    We doubled our away goal tally for the entire season in 45 minutes at Sunderland this afternoon!

    There’s only one Timmy Sherwood, one Timmy Sher…………….

  17. Don’t Con need a lead in England to have a chance of being largest party?

  18. @OldNat

    The Tories have to win more seats than Lab in England to be largest party. That’s for sure. And if we factor in a small boundary advantage for Labour and that fewer people actually vote in Labour seats overall than in Conservative seats, then yes, the Tories do have to have a VI lead in England.

  19. OLDNAT
    “England crossbreak Lab 35% : Con 35% : UKIP 15% : LD 7% : Grn 7%”

    So, 35% overall and 35% in England. You can’t say Labour’s 35% policy isn’t working!

  20. How we love our leaders

    From Opinium, results over 25%

    Cameron
    Out of touch 38%, Arrogant 36%, Smug 36%, Elitist 34%, Untrustworthy 29%

    Miliband
    Weak 32%, Boring 31%, Clueless 26%

    Clegg
    Weak 29%, Out of touch 25%

    Farage
    Arrogant 35%, Racist 32%, Smug 32%, Untrustworthy 30%

    Perhaps that may help explain why the Tory VI not increasing despite the apparent unpopularity of Miliband – Cameron also has many negatives.

  21. @ Roger Mexico

    Except what I said wasn’t “silly”. Not supporting the Tories is a “core value position” (as opposed to a core value; I chose the terminology specifically for that reason; I guess you were too busy [not] sneering to actually ‘get’ the point I was making).

    Furthermore, I was referring to the 31% of SNP supporters who would rather have: “A Labour led government in Westminster and only a small number of SNP MPs.”

    The 31% will probably be somewhat surprised to find that they are outnumbered by the 46%[1] who think a Conservative government is a price worth paying to put SNP MPs in Westminster.

    And those 31% could well be voters who will listen to the message ‘vote SNP get Tory’ and consider changing which Party they will vote for, despite your assertion that polls show it isn’t effective (they don’t show that; you’re assuming the election campaign is over when it’s barely begun).

    [1] So your reference to the 48% may be a separate point with which to counter my point – but it doesn’t make my point “silly”.

  22. @Richard

    Lol! We don’t like any of them :)

  23. @Richard

    Interesting that Miliband’s minuses are smaller than Cameron’s.

  24. @Norbold

    Maybe it evidence of Labour throwing the kitchen sinks at the Tories ;)

  25. Richard

    Clegg must be delighted – less weak than Miliband, and less out of touch than Cameron.

    Clearly a Lib Dem revival is on its way – when sinners will come down to the front, confess their many weaknesses, and be welcomed back into the fold.(before being taken round backstage and fleeced of their cash). :-)

  26. @Richard

    “Perhaps that may help explain why the Tory VI not increasing despite the apparent unpopularity of Miliband – Cameron also has many negatives.”

    A point one or two of us on UKPR have been making for some considerable time.

  27. Comres should be with us soon. It usually appears at around 7.30pm.

  28. @Norbold

    “England crossbreak Lab 35% : Con 35% : UKIP 15% : LD 7% : Grn 7%”

    So, 35% overall and 35% in England. You can’t say Labour’s 35% policy isn’t working!

    AND losing 35 seats in Scotland too!

    The plan is certainly working all round…..;-)

  29. Lots of slightly exaggerated facts and photos as #kickcameronout trends on Twitter.

    Would be higher on the list if it wasn’t for George Boyd!

  30. @AW

    Is there any polling on whether @Roger Mexico or @Amber has been “silly”?

  31. Good Evening all, after a lovely day here, with a Welsh win as well.

    BRIAN NICHOLSON and NORBOLD.
    One poll does not make a victory; many twists and turns ahead.

  32. OLDNAT

    I’ve asked a similar thing before on a couple of occasions but without any response. But it’s something I’d really like to know. I’m not a big follower of these issues so I’m aware my question might be a bit simplistic. But here goes!

    As far as I can see from Googling (so I’m aware this may be wrong!), at the 2005 election Labour got 35.4% of the vote in England and the Tories got 35.7% – but Labour won 286 English seats and the Tories won 194. Will we see a similar disparity in seats if the vote share in England is roughly equal again? Or have there been changes which mean it would be a lot more even this time e.g have there been boundary changes since 2005 which have made a big difference?

  33. AMBER STAR
    The 31% will probably be somewhat surprised to find that they are outnumbered by the 46%[1] who think a Conservative government is a price worth paying to put SNP MPs in Westminster.

    The point was made on the last thread, but it’s worth mentioning that the question was a forced choice between those 2 options and “Don’t know” if p12 of the YouGov tables are correct.

    With no option for “A Labour led government in Westminster and a large number of SNP MPs” it’s unsurprising there were 24% don’t knows among the SNP voters and 21% overall.

  34. OLDNAT

    I’ve asked a similar thing before on a couple of occasions but without any response. But it’s something I’d really like to know. I’m not a big follower of these issues so I’m aware my question might be a bit simplistic. But here goes!

    As far as I can see from Googling (so I’m aware this may be wrong!), at the 2005 election Labour got 35.4% of the vote in England and the Tories got 35.7% – but Labour won 286 English seats and the Tories won 194. Will we see a similar disparity in seats if the vote share in England is roughly equal again? Or have there been changes which mean it would be a lot more even this time e.g have there been boundary changes since 2005 which have made a big difference?

  35. Martin W

    No boundary changes since 2005.

    England 2010 seats/vote share (from BBC)

    Con 298/39.6%
    Lab 191/28.1%

    but that had LD at 24.2% & UKIP at 3.5% so I have no idea how people are calculating the likely effects in England of current polling.

    Presumably ElectionForecast have it worked out, but I can’t see that simple relationship on their site.

    Unicorn et al might help us out.

  36. @martinw

    It’s looking like it will be more even this time. That is partly because of population growth in the past few years. The lion’s share of population growth has been in safe Labour areas (such as London), which means Labour will get more “wasted” votes. Traditionally the Conservatives have had this problem of far more “wasted” votes because of the higher turnout in their rural constituencies compared to low-turnout urban constituencies.

    The Economist has a decent article and charts on the subject:

    http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21643144-one-eternal-facts-british-politics-no-longer-true-labour-surge

  37. Lab retain 2pt lead with Comres.

  38. MartinW

    Will we see a similar disparity in seats if the vote share in England is roughly equal again? Or have there been changes which mean it would be a lot more even this time e.g have there been boundary changes since 2005 which have made a big difference?

    There indeed were boundary changes introduced between the 2005 and 2010 elections in England that will have evened things out quite a bit. It’s also possible that population increases since then have been more concentrated in the cities than in the past so the discrepancy from that will be less as well.

    The other reasons that cause the differences will still be there of course – Labour voters being less bothered to vote in safe Labour seats than their Conservative equivalents, but the worst of the boundary problems will have gone.

  39. http://comres.co.uk/polls/comres-sunday-mirror-independent-on-sunday-political-poll/

    Con 33% (+1)
    Lab 35% (+1)
    LD 7% (NC)
    UKIP 16% (NC)
    Greens 4% (NC)
    Others 5% (-2)

  40. Com Res

    Con 33% (+1)
    Lab 35% (+1)
    LD 7% (NC)
    UKIP 16% (NC)
    Greens 4% (NC)

  41. Comres (Isle of Skye/Sunday Mirror)

    Con 33 (+1)
    Lab 35 (+1)
    LD 7 (-)
    Ukip 16 (-)
    Green 4 (-).

  42. @ Richard,

    Ed’s approval soars

    Crisis for Cameron! :p

    @ Amber,

    I’d argue that outside of government no party’s ideological credentials can be tested, only spun and argued about. And unfortunately for Scottish Labour, who wins a spin war ultimately comes down to credibility, and in Scotland right now the party that is most trusted is the SNP.

    Given the Scottish polling, I think we have to accept that Labour’s strategy simply isn’t working. Shouting “Vote SNP get Tory!” louder is not going to help. It may be true, but the truth doesn’t matter in politics, only what people believe to be true, and the Labour -> SNP defectors don’t believe Labour’s rhetoric on this.

  43. AS & RM:

    I believe the 31% of SNP voters who would prefer (out of two choices) a small number of SNP MPs and a Labour UK government over a large number of SNP MPs and a Tory government, are aware not only of the likely hung situation but are also being pragmatic.

    They are concerned about what damage a Tory government could do to most people in Scotland up to 2020, and they realise that 25 SNP MPs will deliver more for Scotland from the consequential Labour government than would 45 SNP MPs from the consequential Tory government.

    I rate many of the 69% of SNP voters who did not have this view as being unaware of what an SNP landslide will do. So it makes good sense for LiS to keep making this clear.

    I also believe a substantial proportion of the Scots who have moved to the SNP since the referendum have done so because the SNP leaders and other top politicians are the most articulate at keeping Scotland`s needs high on the UK government`s agenda. They are not bitterly fighting Labour in the way some messagers here are doing.

  44. OldNat

    Just because there weren’t any changes in Scotland, you mustn’t assume that the rest of the UK has to follow suit. ;)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boundary_Commissions_(United_Kingdom)#Previous_reviews_of_UK_Parliament_constituencies

  45. OLDNAT, Omnishambles, Roger Mexico.

    Thank you for your replies. That’s just what I wanted to know and explains what was confusing me. And the Economist article was extremely useful.

  46. Com Res – E&W

    Con 35% : Lab 36% : UKIP 17% : LD 7% : Grn 4% : PC 1%

    Wee Scots (Jeez! Did you see the size of some of the English team!) sample

    SNP 45% : Lab 22% : Con 16% : UKIP 8% : LD 6% : Grn 3%

  47. Roger Mexico

    Mea culpa. :-(

  48. England crossbreak Lab 35% : Con 35% : UKIP 15% : LD 7% : Grn 7%

    this is equivalent to a 5.5% swing from C to Labour in England, as Mike Smithson keeps pointing out…

    295 of the Conservatives 302 seats are in England, so the swing in England there is hugely significant…none of the polling data shows less then a 3% swing from C to labour in England; some show 4%, 4.5%, and 5% and more

    the betting markets and the data are in mismatch mode…the market is clearly factoring considerable swing back; I’d say at least a 2% swing back to the tories in the next 7 and a bit weeks.

    Time is running out…it was interesting the fisher’s model showed the tories lead in seats over labour fall, unlike the other models…his model is at least sensitive to the time element in factoring in swingback.

  49. To those who have commented that the YG Scotland poll should have given a third preference choice to SNP voters, of having in May a large number of SNP MPs together with a Labour government, there was no point in YG asking about an impossible situation.

    YG have to be sparing in their questions, and also have a duty not to steer the public away from reality.

  50. The Lib Dems are ridiculously low and I am with Andy Shadrack on this. I cannot see how the Lib Dems are going to win more that a few seats on that VI. Assuming Lib Dems win their 5 safest – who gets the other seats?

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