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. @Unicorn @Hawthorn

    I think the Morecambe theory is spot on. This new set of Ashcroft polls confirms what I thought. There are two pretty obvious outliers, one each way. The average is a 5% swing which is pretty much spot on the English swing in national polls. So Ashcroft is saying the marginal swing and the national swing is pretty much the same. As he has before except for the funny sample in December 2014.

    Unless anyone can see a pattern of regional or other differences between seats (as obviously you can in Scotland) I think that is all they’re telling us. You have to take an overall average. The constituency polls will spread themselves out either side of the average. Real results will also spread themselves out but differently.

    The other thing of course Ashcroft can tell us is if there is something odd in a particular seat – Sheffield Hallam comes to mind.

    So my conclusion for the state of the game at present using these new Ashcrofts and the national swing is:

    Lab 258 + 60 from Con @5% swing + 10 from LD – 35 to Scots = 293
    Con 306 – 60 to Lab + 12 from LD = 258
    Lib 57 – 10 to Lab – 12 to Con – 9 to SNP = 26
    SNP 6 + 35 from lab + 9 from Lib = 50
    UKIP who knows

  2. @Prof Howard

    Lord Ashcroft says:

    8,002 adults were interviewed by telephone between 26 February and 12 March 2015

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/LORD-ASHCROFT-POLLS-Competitive-Con-Lab-constituencies-March-20151.pdf

  3. From PB – “At the moment this close to an election with the numbers so tight it’s interesting to divide the pollsters by methodology to see if there’s a pattern

    In the chart above showing the Tory lead over LAB there is a clear division between the phone pollsters and the online ones. The former are giving the edge every do slightly to the blues while the latter it is mostly to LAB.

    But there’s another division that might be relevant – the days when when the fieldwork is carried out. With all the pollsters showing CON leads the fieldwork was predominantly at the weekends while those with LAB leads it it was during the week.

    Thus Ipsos-MORI, the only phone survey to have LAB ahead, polls from Sunday to Wednesday.

    Maybe we are over analysing for all the pollsters are within such a very narrow range. “

  4. @MrNameless

    “””
    My mother (English, with Scottish family roots) changed from Green to Labour because she was angry at them endorsing a Yes vote.
    “””

    Interesting! I’m in the SGP and I’ve met people who joined the Greens after the referendum because they were impressed by the party’s other policies and manner of campaigning, even though they were No voters (or neutral).

  5. Odd thing about the poster of Ed in Alex pocket. It seems to have go some people nervous about the SNP holding the balance of power.

    But if someone produced a poster of Dave in Nick Clegg’s pocket would anyone believe it never the less mind.

    Peter.

  6. Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone, I’ll be writing up the second installment of the Dave and ED show tonight it was fascinating looking at the seat numbers for HoC based on current polling trends – not that they are stable or anything.

    As a teaser my next installment will look at the impact of SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green stating they will not support a Conservative and Cameron lead administration

  7. @ Peter Cairns,

    To be fair, the SNP themselves seem to believe they’ll wield a great deal of influence- or at any rate, their leaders like to claim they will.

    I’m not convinced myself (especially in light of the new round of Ashcroft polls), but we’ll see.

  8. If Labour are able to win the election even with little contribution from Scotland, one interesting side-effect would be that it would completely dispel the myth that “the Tories would have a permanent majority” in a UK less Scotland.

  9. Prof Howard

    Ashcroft combined tables give 24th Feb to 12th March as fieldwork dates.. Each table gives fieldwork dates.

    For instance Halesowen and RR is 24th to the 5th. Swindon South is 3rd to 12th March.

    Reasonably up to date.

  10. @spearmint
    “To be fair, the SNP themselves seem to believe they’ll wield a great deal of influence”

    Indeed. To quote Alex Salmond directly, he said the SNP are ready to ‘shake Westminster to its foundations’.

    Source
    http://www.thenational.scot/news/alex-salmond-warns-snp-are-ready-to-shake-westminster-to-its-foundations.1070

  11. Bristolian Howard

    Thanks. I take back the caveat, which *did* apply to his previous batch of polls.

  12. @ Catmanjeff,

    Looking at the Ashcroft data the difference between SVI and CVI is virtually negligable.

    Not in Croydon. But it does seem to show there isn’t a strong incumbency effect for the Tory 2010 intake unless the MP really works for it. I’m quite prepared to believe Gavin Barwell is a better constituency MP than most of his colleagues. (That or his cunning plan of not mentioning David Cameron or the Conservative Party on the doorstep is working, although his constituents are going to be in for a rude shock when they get their ballot papers!)

  13. Greens suffering from Bennett being rubbish?

  14. @spearmint

    I’m not sure that invalidates Peter’s point. Tories in particular would say that Clegg has had excessive influence on the conduct of this government. Salmond (or any other prospective SNP MP) is highly unlikely to have that level of influence, even if there was some form of SNP / Labour pact.

  15. “even if there was some form of SNP / Labour pact.”

    I can’t see Labour entertaining such a pact, as Labour and SNP are major rivals.

  16. Unicorn,

    Not disagreeing with your analysis of the lack of incumbency bonus in the numbers from the Ashcroft CVI polls but wonder if they can pick up the bonus.

    Differential turnout driven by added recognition for example would be hard to pick up in advance.

    Past GEs tells us to expect some but the Lords millions wont have to same impact at this GE as the last according to the man himself.

    As an LP pessimist I reckon 1% lower swing in Labs target marginal off Cons but potentially higher is some seats with high profile MPs.

  17. @oldnat

    (FPT) (sorry AW)
    As I suspect you know, I mean ‘interchangeable’ for the purposes of determining who forms the next government.

    Many thanks also, for all the work you do to produce the Scotland crossbreaks, they are very interesting.

    Best
    Andyo

  18. @ Old Nat,

    If [Scottish goodies] 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.

    Well, it’s going to be powers-for-cash, isn’t it? Any move to give Scotland more tax powers will necessarily result in an alteration to the Barnett formula, which is currently a very good deal for Scotland. So the question is how much cash rUK demands back in exchange for powers.

    Historically Labour have been very reluctant to do this, because apart from their intrinsic centralising/unionist tendencies those are their constituents who would lose out from any adjustment. The Tories are more amenable to a deal because they’d like to claw back the money.

    But if Scotland becomes a Labour-free-zone then it’s the new Cornwall: in dire need of public money but Labour doesn’t give a toss because no one there will vote for them. So powers, possibly, yes- because Labour won’t care if it undermines the union any more than the Tories do now- but for a price.

    @ Allan Christie,

    David Cameron visiting Scotland was not a “cross border raid” because David Cameron was at the time, and still is, the Prime Minister of Scotland.

  19. With respect to the SNP and Plaid leaders calling for the English voters to vote tactically “to keep the Tories out”

    Is there any evidence of tactical voting in Scotland or Wales to hold-up the non-nationalist parties?

    I am thinking of say the Borders constituencies.

  20. Re incumbency bonus: as I have opined before I have little faith in this being a factor this time.
    I believe last time there was a negative incumbency bonus due to expenses which led to many sitting MPs (mine for certain sure) actually shedding votes because, basically, they were incumbent and had bent the rules.
    This time round there are fresh new faces who do not have that taint and will thus be 2% (for argument’s sake) up on their predecessor just because of that. This balances the newly incumbents who will have 2% (for argument’s sake) incumbency bonus.
    There’s nothing I’ve seen in Ashcroft that contradicts that, just as I have seen no evidence for something else that has been widely parrotted on here – that there is less swing in marginals.

  21. What surprises me about the Ashcroft polling is that there is an average Labour improvement of 2% in these seats from October, whilst there has been a ?3% drop in Labour vote over that time in the national polls.

    So did Ashcroft pick seats that underperformed for Labour in Oct, and have now reverted to mean? Or is something else going on?

  22. @Omnishambles

    Well he’s hardly going to say the SNP are going to ‘nudge things along in a slightly progressive way to the best of our ability but in the realisation that we will be a minority partner at best’ now is he?

    A bit like Wenger going into tonight’s game saying that he hopes they can get a goalless draw…

  23. @catmanjeff

    ”Whether the Union survives as is?

    Trivial.”

    I agree, the survival of many trade unions may or may not be of importance in the long run…

    The survival of our country, Britain and it’s people – our greater extended British family – now that does matter. Our identity, prosperity, security and our shared future. That’s everything.

    (Editor’s note: Roll a Hard Six is an unashamed British patriot, you see, and he just can’t help himself ;-) )

  24. @omnishambles

    I see the media generally portray the following:

    UKIP = Good

    SNP = Bad

    Today’s Farage interview is a case in point. They didn’t press him to apologise for Coburn, and there are people on Twitter saying that those offended are too sensitive about non-PC jokes.

    It was likening an elected representative to a terrorist based on the colour of his skin…and the media don’t seem to be all that bothered. Partly because the perp is UKIP, and partly because the target is SNP.

  25. @micromark

    Yes there is an online campaign(s) to coordinate tactical ABSnp voting. One I am familiar with is ”Scotland’s Big Voice”

    Whether it makes any difference or not remains to be seen.

  26. SAMT

    Most of Labour’s fall in October was a large swing to the SNP in Scotland. It would therefore not show up in English seats.

    Since mid-October, Labour’s support has been stable with YouGov. With Populus, the same is true except for a decline in their (and the Conservative’s) vote due to a method change at the start of February.

    The differences in the Ashcroft polls can mostly be explained by margin of error.

  27. Agree with Peter C -the reaction to Ashcroft has been decidely muted -not on the bbc or sky or politics home or even in the guardian (who prefer to pick up some guido story about a labour activist switching to the greens ) let alone the tory press.

    Que ?

    Meanwhile hodges speculates osborne will use oil price etc to row back on the looming austerity cuts -maybe too late and too subtle but we shall see.

  28. “What surprises me about the Ashcroft polling is that there is an average Labour improvement of 2% in these seats from October, whilst there has been a ?3% drop in Labour vote over that time in the national polls.”

    I hate to be pedantic, but labour haven’t dropped 3% since october, have they?

    most of the drop occurred before that. as hawthorn says the labour vi has been stable at 33% with yougov since october as this chart demonstrates…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2015_United_Kingdom_general_election#/media/File:UK_opinion_polling_2010-2015.png

  29. @thesheep

    @petercairns(SNP) at 14:26 was implying that the poster of Alex and Ed is what has people nervous about the SNP.

    My quotation was meant to show that you only need to listen to Alex Salmond himself to have reasons to be nervous. Obviously he’s exaggerating because that’s what the nationalists want to hear, but from my point of view “we’ll shake the foundations of Westminster” from Salmond is more effective at unsettling people than a Tory poster.

    @statgeek
    “I see the media generally portray the following:
    UKIP = Good
    SNP = Bad”

    You can’t be serious.

  30. The interesting thing in these Ashcroft marginal polls is the relatively high UKIP numbers despite these being a ‘2 horse race’ between Labour and Conservatives, and ‘a vote for UKIP is a wasted vote in this constituency.’

    He does ask some squeeze questions – which government would you prefer, and Labour or Conservative one, and which party would you never vote for.

    I looked at the first 3 polls and surprisingly the UKIP vote seemed evenly split between Labour and Conservative on those 2 questions. Considering that we always look at the 2010 defectors, and Cons have more than Labour, I would have expected a squeeze to benefit the Conservatives.

    The difference between SVI and CVI does seem to allow for some of the squeeze that can be expected – eg Greens drop off quite a bit on the second question, so I do think the CVI is the better measure for forecasting.

  31. Croydon Central needs to be looked at carefully because the previous Conservative MP[1] was deselected for 2010 and stood as an Independent then, getting 6.5% of the vote (and he’s now a Labour councillor)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croydon_Central_(UK_Parliament_constituency)

    So the ‘real’ Conservative vote in 2010 was probably higher than it appears and the swing needed for Labour to win greater.

    That said, the +4 change for Barwell between SVI and CVI is good for a non-Lib Dem and he’s clearly been working hard. There is some increase for most of the Conservative candidates which suggests targeted campaigning may be working a little.

    There’s another +4 for the Labour candidate in Southampton Itchen, though this may illustrate a problem with Ashcroft’s polls in not naming candidates, even this near to the election. In his focus group in the constituency a few weeks ago, there were people unaware Denham was stepping down, so some of this may be for the ‘wrong’ candidate and so may not end up on the ballot paper. Though it’s also possible that his stepping down is a reason why the seat is marginal (it’s about the only Labour-held one that still is) as his personal vote goes and there was some controversy over his replacement.

    [1] To complicate matters this was actually a Tory gain in 2005 not 2010. However boundary changes pre-2010 meant that the current seat would probably have remained Labour in 2005.

  32. @ John Smith

    You might want to take a look at the Ashcroft Conservative-Labour marginal polls.

    The Green Party is ahead of the LD in England in these eight marginals on voting intention 6 points to 4 and is tied with LD on constituency voting intention 5 points each.

    According to Ashcroft LD have lost 58.3% of their support since 2010, whereas the GP in England appear to be increasing their support by at least 400%.

    It may be small potatoes to you, but I would say it is quite a seismic shift for LD in England.

    @ et al

    That said I was really fascinated to see that 31% of all voters are satisfied with DC and 30% prefer EM to DC, as that helps me understand why the two parties are both stuck in the low thirties in the polls.

    Neither party is lead by a leader who can command the respect of even 33% of the voters.

    A real problem for Labour is that 27% of their voters are either satisfied with DC or think he is better that EM. That’s over one in four Labour voters!!

    In contrast only 1% of Conservative voters prefer EM to DC, not much swing to Labour there. The next thing to observe is that only 20% of LD voters and 21% of UKIP voters prefer EM to DC, so the swing to Labour could only reach 1:5 UKIP and LD voters.

    Fortunately or unfortunately there are only 5% to 4% LD voters left so that means Labour only get a 1% shift, whereas the Conservatives could get a 4% lift – if one assumes LD voters completely abandon LD in some marginals that is.

    I also think it is significant that 62% of Labour voters think the economy is doing well and 65% think that “me and my family” are doing well, which is higher than UKIP supporters at 55% and 56% respectively.

    I now understand why Lord Ashcroft weights Conservative voters as more likely to vote, as if nearly two thirds of Labour voters feel no sense of urgency around the economy they might be less inclined to vote.

    Next I note that 48% of voters say they have heard from Labour, 44% from Conservative, 13% from UKIP and 10% from LD and 32% from none of them.

    The fact that only I:10 voters has heard from LD tells me their ground strength is weak, but that may be an unfair comment if they are focusing on saving the 50 plus seats they do hold.

    Next, and finally, among all voters 39% would prefer a Conservative and/or Conservative – LD coalition, while only 36% would like a Labour and/or Labour-LD coalition.

    But there is an interesting corollary to this 36% of UKIP voters prefer a Labour and a Labour-LD coalition to 34% favouring Conservative and/or Conservative-LD one, whereas 49% of LD voters prefer a Conservative and/or Conservative – LD coalition to 47% preferring a Labour or Labour LD coalition.

    I chuckle to myself that more UKIP voters prefer a Labour and/or Labour – LD coalition than LD voters, even though I recognize that on a overall percentage basis it is still 36% UKIP and 47% LD lean that way.

    But you do have to remind yourself that in this election three times as many people are planning to vote UKIP than LD and in these 8 Conservative-labour marginals 2.6 times as many intend to vote UKIP as LD.

    That all said I continue to miss not knowing what Green party voters are thinking, especially given that as many people are planning to vote Green as LD, and then I remember the UK is not Canada, Australia or New Zealand – where the Green Party is not seen as so scary or “out-to-lunch”

  33. @spearmint

    Scotland has the third highest GVA per capita excluding oil in the UK after London and SE England. Comparisons with Cornwall are possibly a bit misleading.

  34. @Johnb160

    @Unicorn @Hawthorn

    I think the Morecambe theory is spot on. This new set of Ashcroft polls confirms what I thought. There are two pretty obvious outliers, one each way. The average is a 5% swing which is pretty much spot on the English swing in national polls. So Ashcroft is saying the marginal swing and the national swing is pretty much the same. As he has before except for the funny sample in December 2014.

    Unless anyone can see a pattern of regional or other differences between seats (as obviously you can in Scotland) I think that is all they’re telling us. You have to take an overall average. The constituency polls will spread themselves out either side of the average. Real results will also spread themselves out but differently.

    The other thing of course Ashcroft can tell us is if there is something odd in a particular seat – Sheffield Hallam comes to mind.

    So my conclusion for the state of the game at present using these new Ashcrofts and the national swing is:

    Lab 258 + 60 from Con @5% swing + 10 from LD – 35 to Scots = 293
    Con 306 – 60 to Lab + 12 from LD = 258
    Lib 57 – 10 to Lab – 12 to Con – 9 to SNP = 26
    SNP 6 + 35 from lab + 9 from Lib = 50
    UKIP who knows
    ——————-
    Do the Polls really show Cons picking up more LD seats than Lab? That would surprise me, given how much VI Lab has picked up from the LDs.

    By the way, you are starting from the GE seat distribution, not the current one.

  35. ROGER MEXICO

    Good point about the previous MP in Croydon Central. However, I wonder if this effect might be cancelled out by UKIP polling 13%, which is a higher than normal score for London.

    I expect this seat to be a Labour gain.

  36. Interesting report on the economy and productivity by Peston here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31907597.

    I recall an exchange with Colin on productivity several months ago, so it’s useful to see why the UK’s lamentable performance affects workers’ income and taxation receipts.

    ……………………….

    And on polling…the polls are all over the place. This is one helluva rollercoaster the UK public are on. I try to avoid getting upbeat or downcast when the polls move for or against the party I support.

    I think joe public may be wanting a change in government, but Lab (EM) is not convincing them (yet) to cast their vote for them. If Lab are ‘elected’ it will be an extraordinary turnround since 2010.

  37. @James

    “If Labour are able to win the election even with little contribution from Scotland, one interesting side-effect would be that it would completely dispel the myth that “the Tories would have a permanent majority” in a UK less Scotland.”

    I must admit, I sensed an undercurrent of this during the Referendum campaign. There appeared to be a strand of Tory thinking that wanted to see the back of Scotland for the purely party political reasons you allude to. The view seemed to be that if Scotland rode off into the sunset then what was left of the rest of the UK would then enjoy a never ending Tory hegemony. I always felt that this was a delusion but it was strongly felt in some Tory quarters that those 40 or so Scottish Labour MPs were crucial and that their departure would scupper Labour as a national electoral force. To that end, certainly in the minds of those who held this view, the UK could go hang.

  38. Paul

    I had a look through the Liberal Democrat seats a while ago.

    There is a bit more low-hanging fruit for the Conservatives than Labour. Overall, I would expect the Conservatives to pick up slightly more Liberal Democrat seats than Labour.

    Workings (assuming some anti-Tory tactical voting):

    Likely Conservative gains: Solihull, Mid Dorset, Wells, Somerton & Frome, Chippenham, Taunton Deane, Berwick upon Tweed, Portsmouth South.

    Possible Conservative gains: Torbay, St Austell, Devon North, North Cornwall, Brecon & Radnorshire.

    Like Labour gains: Bradford East, Brent Central, Manchester Withington, Burnley, Redcar, Hornsey & Wood Green, Cardiff Central

    Possible Labour gains: Cambridge, Norwich South, Sheffield Hallam, Bermondsey & Old Southwark.

  39. @Omnishambles

    Very serious. Try checking the MSM.

  40. @crossbat11

    The “permanent Tory majority” myth also influenced left-of-centre thinking. I read loads of articles of the “please don’t leave us, we’d be doomed without you” variety.

  41. No 10 accepts one seven way debate within the campaign period

  42. More info on ‘debates’

    “As well as this one seven-way debate, there would also be several election specials involving the various party leaders under this proposal. On 26 March, Cameron and Miliband would be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman and then questioned by a studio audience in a Sky / Channel 4 special. But crucially, the two leaders would appear separately—never sharing the stage. Then, on 16 April there would be a challengers special involving the SNP, Ukip, Plaid and the Greens. Finally, on 30 April, Cameron, Miliband and Nick Clegg would each have separate half hours in a Question Time-style event with David Dimbleby.”

    Source:
    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/03/exclusive-tories-agree-to-broadcasters-debate-proposal/

  43. If DC is trying to dictate the terms of the whole election coverage (and that is what this looks like) I think he is very poorly advised.

  44. @James

    “The “permanent Tory majority” myth also influenced left-of-centre thinking. I read loads of articles of the “please don’t leave us, we’d be doomed without you” variety.”

    Very true. Too many Labour miserabilists and pessimists around.

    :-)

  45. 07052015
    The original sky news tweet was ambiguously worded:

    Sky News Newsdesk @SkyNewsBreak
    Follow
    Senior Conservative source says prime minister “accepts broadcasters’ offer of one, seven-way debate at the very beginning of April” #GE2015

    Does this mean Cameron has agreed to do the original ITV debate (and will be ignoring the other two) or have the broadcasters offered to drop the extra debates? I’m assuming it’s the former but the wording makes me a bit uneasy.

  46. Omnishambles

    That sounds like even more of a mess than the 3 debates.

  47. Except that was not the broadcaster’s offer.

  48. @funtypippin

    The Spectator article goes into more detail – they’ve apparently agreed a whole series of new debates. Only one all-in debate, but the other shows will have audience and presenters interviewing individual party leaders.

    e.g. the last one, on the BBC, will be a Question Time style thing with Cameron, Miliband and Clegg appearing in 30 minute segments. This is what happened in 2005, IIRC.

  49. The two interviewers named, Jeremy Paxman and David Dimbleby, are shockingly ignorant about Scotland, and seem unsuitable as neutrals for questioning politicians for a UK General Election. They make so many gaffes, as viewers of University Challenge will know about Jeremy in a non-political sphere.

    To obtain balance the Sky studio audience ought to be recruited from somewhere outwith the Home Counties.

  50. James

    If the Question Time thing is true, then it would play to Miliband’s strengths.

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