Monday polls

The usual glut of polls for a Monday. Today we have the weekly Ashcroft poll, the twice weekly Populus poll, the monthly ICM poll and – later on – the daily YouGov.

  • Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 29%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. The Conservatives remain ahead, but not by as much as in the last two Ashcroft polls (full details here)
  • ICM show a similar picture (though, as usual with these two pollsters, there are higher shares for Con and Lab from ICM than from Ashcroft): a Tory lead, but a smaller lead than the unusually large one they recorded last month. Topline voting intention figures with changes from a month ago are CON 36%(nc), LAB 35%(+3), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 9%(nc), GRN 4%(-3).
  • The movement in Populus is in the other direction – their recent polls have been showing a Labour lead, today’s topline figures are neck and neck: CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (full details here)

So, two Tory leads and a dead heat today (so far), two Labour leads and a dead heat yesterday. Realistically I can see nothing that gives me any confidence that either party is sneaking ahead, all suggests they are still neck and neck.

Also today we had a new projection out – the Polling Observatory team’s model here, which unlike the other models I report in my Friday round up is currently projecting Labour to have more seats than the Tories (there’s a full explanation of the method through the link – but put crudely the difference between their model and Steve Fisher’s is that Steve assumes the polls will move slightly back towards the 2010 result (meaning the Tories go up, Labour go down), while the Polling Observatory assume the polls will move slightly back towards their long term average (meaning both the Tories AND Labour go up). They’ll be updating fortnightly, so I’ll add them to the Friday round ups.

452 Responses to “Monday polls”

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  1. @ Old Nat,

    The Conservative and Unionist Party is a GB-wide party and has been since it merged. It holds seats in Holyrood and will continue to do so; it currents holds a Scottish seat in Westminster and may continue to do so. It holds more than one hundred seats on Scottish councils and is part of the governing coalition on several of them.

    You are making a stupid, tedious argument and I suspect you know it is a stupid, tedious argument.

  2. (Admittedly, a stupid, tedious argument with fewer typos.)

    currently holds”.

  3. I think Grant Shapps will hold his seat.

  4. Spearmint
    You are on form tonight. I prefer the jokes though.

  5. Funtypippin (replying to “what happens if NF loses in South Thanet?”

    “Farage quits, Carswell probably becomes leader. Farage likely to stick around for a bit “

    He could “stick around” – but he’s said he won’t. He’s just repeated an earlier statement that if he’s not an MP after May 7th, he’ll quit. That’ll present a major problem for UKIP: apart from their dislike of Europe, he’s about all there is to keep the two diametrically opposed wings together – disaffected Tories who agree with DC / GO that there are too many scroungers, and the former Labourites who are fed up with cuts – and think the modern Labour leadership is out of touch with the working classes.

  6. @Laszlo

    Funnily enough, I was about to contact my conservative MP and suggest his party dump Shapps after his abysmal performance on Newsnight recently.

    He is now a liability in every respect, and the short-term embarrassment of his departure would be more than compensated by his long-term elimination from the wider public stage. A truly terrible interviewee.

  7. @ Bristolian Howard,

    I try, but I’ve realised I can’t compete with Grant Shapps.

  8. It looks like a good week or so for Labour… the Tories were creating clear blue we are.back to where we were…is this the delayed no debate effect…?…or was it just a false Tory lead..? take is that Labour have looked more competent for the past few weeks and particularly Miliband ….although that wasn’t a target overly difficult to achieve.

  9. @Millie

    Was that the Newsnight interview about the ‘debate debate’? If so I completely agree, it was terrible. Time to dump Shapps in a river somewhere.

  10. Spearmint

    Exaggerated, I grant you, but your language seems unusually robust tonight.

    I should have said that Labour (like the Tories) might choose to have minimal Westminster representation outwith England & Wales.

  11. 2 point lead on YG… Hmm…

    I know we’re sometimes quick to ascribe poll movement to specific events, usually the day after. To me this feels like the debate-gate effect. It’s been 10 days now, and it’s a reasonable time to percolate into enough people’s consciousness to perhaps nudge the polls.

    Or it’s just MOE and tomorrow Con will be 1 ahead.

    That said, I can’t wait for the Schapps/Green thing to filter though… In 2001 after Blair’s second landslide a banner was unfurled at the Labour conference saying ‘Congratulations Agent Hague: Mission Accomplished’. Ed must be writing Grant’s cheque as we speak.

  12. Saffer
    Sorry, should have been clearer – I meant that he’d stick around in the public eye for a while rather than hang on as leader. I agree that Carswell (assuming he would be the new leader) or almost any other leadership candidate would be unable to hold the party’s two wings together, but I think that Carswell (and probably Carswell alone) would be capable of putting together a solid support base on the radical right to offset that. The current situation is IMO not maintainable – you can only appeal to disillusioned voters for so long before they get disillusioned with you as well.

    Thanks for that What If Gordon Banks Had Played link on the previous thread, I started reading it tonight and I’m finding it rather enjoyable. I just checked the FAQ and saw this:
    Q: Who are you?
    A: Erm…I’m the bloke who wrote this. For what it’s worth, my name is Anthony Wells and I live in Kent.

    That wouldn’t be the Anthony Wells would it? :o

  13. @ BristolianHoward

    I actually meant my comment with appreciation for the good approach.

    I’m trying to report on and off one election campaign of an uninteresting ward of an uninteresting constituency

    It’s a constituency where the GP (or the LibDems or Tories – no leaflet from them) can’t win (Labour will get 55% +). These activists are decent people who do it as an after office hour job. Yet it was a bit airie (but I only hear the report).

  14. George Osborne has drawn up plans that would allow parents to pass a main property worth up to £1m to their children without paying any inheritance tax, according to Treasury papers leaked ahead of Wednesday’s budget.

  15. YouGov/Sun poll CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRNS 7%

  16. The budget is expected to see the chancellor try to defuse Labour’s chief line of political attack, by saying his plans no longer involve cutting public spending, as a proportion of GDP, to their lowest level since the thirties.

  17. @Millie 11.15

    One of my early recollections of Shapps was a few years ago when he represented the Tories on an election night program (don’t remember which election). The Tories were getting hammered but according to Shapps it was Lab who were in trouble. It was unbelievable and showed him to be incompetent.

  18. @ Mr Nameless

    Good YG for a Monday :-)

  19. @ Northhumbrianscot

    In the 1991 local elections our host asked if we (3 Hungarians) could help BroadLeft. We agreed.

    Pensioners were transported to the voting stations in a large, red Moskvits car with Hungarian registration plate.

    The BroadLeft candidates won.

  20. @amber

    Something on inheritance tax was expected so the leak isn’t that juicy. It will be interesting to see if Osborne finds another ‘rabbit’ to pull out of the proverbial hat, like the pension reforms last year.

  21. Andy Shadrack
    ‘It’s called a pre-election pact and I remember when Harold Wilson had one with Jo Grimmond’

    That is wrong – Wilson never did any such thing. He was always strongly opposed to doing deals with the Liberals – even in the 1964 -66 period when Labour’s majority was very small.

  22. Shapps is Jeffrey Archer in a latex mask. Where is Scooby Doo when you need him?

    Farage is showing the wear and tear a bit. I think he’s wise to say enough is enough if he can’t settled down to being an MP.

    Mondays are still Tory Days. Tonight’s result is within margin of error of a 2 point Tory advantage. Teehee. (What if the recent run has been a coincidence? According to Aleister “Beast” Crowley the Universe itself is just a great big coincidence and some cosmologists seem to agree. So don’t knock it).

  23. @ Tark

    I guess it’s MoE, but it could also be the slow arriving of the spring. Two weeks ago I predicted its arrival, but the data doesn’t support it. It’s also possible that the crossover is waiting for the solar eclipse of Friday.

    I think the electorate is different from the 1987, and the budget won’t have much effect.

  24. @ Old Nat,

    You irritated me into defending the Tories, which then made me more irritated because I found myself defending the Tories. ;) Apologies if I offended.

    On the broader point, I actually agree with you. It might be one way to drive Labour into supporting independence (or at least adopting the position of official-unionism-but-deliberately-running-an-anti-Scottish-campaign that the Tories currently hold). On the other hand, the SNP may have done their work a little too well. The ideal scenario for getting Scottish goodies is a Labour Party that thinks it can win Scottish seats away from the SNP with bribery. A Labour Party that is hopelessly dooooomed in Scotland has no real incentive to haggle.

  25. Carswell as UKIP leader will be interesting. I’ve never lived in a constituency represented by a party leader before.

    There are however two problems with this. The first is he has to win Clacton. At one time I thought he was a dead cert, but the more I talk to people who voted for him in the by-election, the more I’ve come to realise that he is not the shoo in I once thought. There are an awful lot of former Conservative voters who are saying they will return home at the GE because it’s all about voting for a Government not just a protest any more. At the moment I still think Carswell will win, but it’s looking close.

    The second is that his views on immigration are completely out of kilter with that of his party and his supporters. He has made several atatements to the effect that immigration is a good thing for the country. In fact, we have received several Conservative and UKIP leaflets already this year and the Conservative leaflets are more strident on the need to control immigration than Carswell”s.

    One thing I can be fairly sure of and that is that neither Labour nor the Lib Dems nor the Greens will win here!

  26. @ Spearmint

    Of Scotland I know a little bit of Glasgow (and its suburbs) only, but it sounds like a good summary of the trouble of the Labour Party.

  27. @Colin Jackson (previous thread)

    Having read all the “predictions” and The Kellner one in particular is any one able to tell me that Electoral Calculus published today from polls Feb 14 to yesterday is simply to be ignored or not based on reliable evidence compared to what we see elsewhere??? […]
    They claim to be most accurate for 2010. Are there reasons , not opinions, that should mean THEIR figures are wildly wrong.

    As far as I am concerned, the main reason for not taking their projections seriously is that their outcomes, VIs and margins don’t line up well with data that are available from other sources – in particular from Ashcroft constituency polls.

    In the 133 seats polled by Ashcroft since May 2014, they currently assign 35 to the blue column, 84 to the red column, 5 LDs, 8 SNP and one Green. In contrast, the May2015 model effectively copies Ashcroft results (plus a bit of drift) and has figures of Con (41), Lab (58), LDs (17), SNP (15), Greens (1) and Ukip (1). So, across the 133 seats the EC model is projecting 26 more Labour seats than are indicated by the polling results themselves. Similarly, in half the seats Ashcroft called for the SNP the EC model predicts that Labour will be the winner.

    So, the projections of the model are inconsistent with the data we already have to hand.

    Moreover, when you test the projections of the model against the results of a new batch of Ashcroft constituency polls, it is typically less accurate that the Electionforecast model is. For the December batch of Ashcroft polls, its Labour margins were reliably higher than those in the polls, indicating that at least sometimes it shows a systematic Labour-favouring bias.

    However, these inaccuracies are of relatively minor importance compared to the fact that it blithely continues to make its own algorithmic projections in seats for which explicit polling has already revealed a very different pattern of results.

  28. @Andy S

    I saw your Ashcroft benchmarking earlier this evening. Of course, you could extend this exercise to the VIs for the other parties as well and see whether there are systematic differences there as well.

    Obviously, I am not suggesting the Ashcroft figures are the be-all-and-end-all (my CVI scepticism again…). But regular patterns may still give you pause for thought.

  29. Spearmint

    I wasn’t offended – just surprised.

    The “Scottish goodies” is an interesting point.

    If that is meant in terms of additional powers for Scotland, then there is no reason (and I use that term advisedly) why that should disadvantage other parts of the UK.

    If that is meant in terms of cash, then it would seem likely that the more that Labour exaggerate the sums involved, the more resentment that they will build up elsewhere.

  30. The Cambourne and Redruth Polling is very interesting, with 2010 GE results followed by Ashcroft in June and Survation in November:

    UKIP 5.1% – 26% – 33%
    Conservative 37.6% – 29% -30%
    Labour 16.3% – 24% – 22.4%
    Green 1.4% – 5% – 6.9%
    Liberal 37.4% – 14% – 6.3%
    Other 2.2% – 2% – 1.4%

    The LD vote evaporates completely by November, as I suspect it has all over England.

    And here are the seats I think UKIP are in contention for:

    Boston and Skegness
    Cambourne and Redruth
    Cannock Chase
    Dudley North
    Great Grimsby
    Great Yarmouth
    North Devon
    South Basildon & East Thurrock
    Rother Valley
    St Austell and Newquay
    Thanet South

    And there will be others, noting that in 1993 the comments coming out of the mouths of some Reform Party candidates was enough to turn some people stomachs, but 52 of them were still elected.

  31. OOPS…

    May2015 seat calculator has gone loopy!
    Con majority of 304, Lab 6 seats, others 152, etc.

  32. That’s a dreadful collapse for the LibDems. I think Clegg will be gone in two months.
    Anyway I have a sore throat from all the support to my beloved Reading FC. A great night for my club.

  33. Very interesting interview with Douglas Carswell on Hardtalk tonight. He categorically ruled himself out of ever becoming leader of UKIP even if Farage doesn’t become an MP and resigns as leader.

    His disagreements with Farage over immigration and race relations were also well pointed up in the interview. He is almost at total odds with him.

    One curious remark in the interview though when he said that the EU prevented localism and gave the example that EU legislation prevented weekly collection of rubbish by councils….er…we have weekly collections in Clacton.

  34. @Funty

    “That wouldn’t be the Anthony Wells would it? :o”

    That is the question. I didn’t notice myself until after the link was posted. By the way, there’s a cracking link from the FAQ to an archive of lots of alternatives. I’ll be occupied for weeks now.Great!

  35. @Amber

    Have you seen Sturgeon’s LSE speech? She talked of how the UK budget (its traditions) is not serving the nation as well as it could. Its timing is bad, and it is a party political tool, rather than a national one.

  36. Of course if Anthony really did write What If Gordon Banks Had Played, it would be the first and probably only time in his life he had ever been associated with football, no matter how remotely.

  37. Parties still level pegging, perhaps even a very slight Labour Lead. If there was ever a cross over it appears the chicken did not like what he saw when he got tot he other side of the road and has crossed back.
    The conservatives, if they have any hope of winning, need to start winning back voters. They do have a good opportunity with the budget, am sure some rabbits still to be pulled out of the hat.
    Not sure raising inheritance tax is the best thing to do. It is only paid on 3% of estates as it is, okay for the very wealthy it will be nice but how many votes can that get. On the other hand it gives labour a chance to spin the line that in times of cut backs the conservatives are ‘up to their old tricks of helping their rich friends’, or another head line ‘budget for millionaires’
    Not saying that is true but it is a line that does have resonance with a lot of people who are struggling and worse off than they were in 2010. For that reason I do not believe Osbourne would do it and will concentrate more on the low and middle income group.

    ” It might be one way to drive Labour into supporting independence (or at least adopting the position of official-unionism-but-deliberately-running-an-anti-Scottish-campaign that the Tories currently hold)”

    I agree but think this and other analysis understate the distinction between independence/cultural separation (which is an uncontestable and probably the major element in the SNP platform) and public policy – which is virtually identically democratic socialist between Lab and SNP, with the additional factor of an SNP access, not currently permitted to Lab for reasons of international commitments, to the secret CND heart of the Labour movement. From an ideological standpoint there is much to be pined for in a Lab SNP C&S agreement, though it cannot speak its name until the election is done and dusted.

  39. @NeilJ

    “On the other hand it gives labour a chance to spin the line that in times of cut backs the conservatives are ‘up to their old tricks of helping their rich friends’, or another head line ‘budget for millionaires’”

    The difference here is that whilst previous Tory budgets could be spun as for millionaires, this change would be quite literally for their benefit and couldn’t really be spun any other way.

  40. Some Food For Thought:

    You can find a report on seat marginality by the House of Commons Library at:

    On Saturday night, after being later corrected, I determined that the swing from Conservative to Labour since 2010 was:

    Southeast 5.9%
    Midlands 7.3%
    Wales and Southwest 5.6%
    North .5%

    There are according to the Parliamentary report, above, some 52 Conservative seats that could fall with a 5.8% swing or less.

    Of these 9 are in the North and only 2 are at .8% or less.

    A further 7 seats a Con-LD marginals, of which at least one could fall to UKIP.

    That leaves 32 seats that Labour could pick up with a swing of 5.8%, but again of those at least 1 could fall to UKIP.

    There are then 26 LD seats where a swing of less than 10% could cause them to fall, but of these four will probably go to SNP, 16 to Conservative and only 6 to Labour.

    That means Labour could pick up 38 seats, with which to offset losses to SNP.

    Conservatives could lose 32 seats to Labour, but pick up 16 from LD which would give them 286, but by then LD themselves could only offer a coalition 26 seats, for a grand total of 312.

    But there is a problem with this math in that Lord Ashcroft constituency polling gives SNP a further 5 LD seats, so that lowers the overall coalition to 307.

    Labour start out with 256 and add 32 from Conservative and 6 from LD, which gives them a grand total of 294. If SNP obtain 46 seats, they have 6 already and will take 9 from LD, which means Labour lose 31 to SNP and are therefore back down to 263.

    My, my this is more interesting than a game of snakes and ladders. Somewhere in all this there are 7 Conservative seats that will fall with a swing of less than 5.8%, but there will likely not be an LD party to catch them.

    And then there is UKIP, and we have not begun to talk about whether Plaid Cymru, Green could lose or take some seats, and let’s not forget NI and what gains or losses DUP, Sinn Fein and the Alliance might have.

    It’s all very complicated and I think I’ll go to bed now.

  41. The inheritance tax stuff wont be in the budget measures as libdems have blocked it.

    Shame as it would have it would have been easy meat for labour and the progressive alliance.

  42. Guymonde, you of course are right

    On another issue I have just checked the last 17 polls and have conducted a totally pointless check of who was ahead in them. The Conservatives were ahead in 7, Labour 7 and 3 draws. Does not add much to the sum of human knowledge but I was a bit bored

  43. The tactical vote campaign is kicking off

    6000 leaflets delivered to likely Tory voters in Hornsey and Wood Green telling them they should vote Lib Dem to block labour.

    Election forecast currently has this seat at 41% Lab, 33% Lib Dem, 16% Cons – I guess using the Ashcroft polls.

    But we know people vote tactically in marginal seats, so it is very likely a bunch of those Cons voters switch to Lib Dem, and that could very well swing this to Lib Dem.

    That is the danger of relying on the Ashcroft polls for projecting imho. Things change quite a bit in marginal seats once tactical voters understand the lie of the land.

  44. Hornsey must be a lost cause but tv would he their only hope,I suspect there will be a big green vote there.

  45. Nearly choked on my Fairtrade Cuppa Tay this morning as May2015 shows the Tories with over 400 seats and Labour with 6.

  46. Re Hornsey and Wood Green, not sure where the figures comes from, only one I could find was from Ashcroft’s in September 2014
    That has Labour on 43, Liberals 30 and Conservatives on 14.
    I suspect that not all conservatives, not even most, would tactically vote Liberal as I also suspect that many who do tactically vote would have done so at the last election. In addition I would not be surprised if the Liberals have not lost even more support since September – time will tell

  47. Just to clarify above I meant I am not sure how Election Forecast came by these figures, but thinking about it I suspect it is a mixture of factors, including national swing etc

  48. @ neilj

    On the other hand it gives labour a chance to spin the line that in times of cut backs the conservatives are ‘up to their old tricks of helping their rich friends’, or another head line ‘budget for millionaires’


    It was certainly the so-called “Millionaires Budget” that cost CON a good chunk of their support last time. I doubt that that lesson has been forgotten – especially so close to a GE.

  49. Anthony – sorry if you’ve answered this before, but how come you never seem to mention electoral calculus in your polling model roundups?

  50. It looks like they are trailing a reduction in business rates, which should do them a lot of good with small business, and which will be spun as good for customers too as prices will be reduced accordingly. I’m sceptical of the latter, but it’s a sensible strategy.

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