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. Peter Crawford, Unicorn et al.

    Sorry, I meant Labour lead over Con, which I think has decreased by 2% (not 3, agreed) since October, in contrast to the 2% boost in Lab lead over conservatives suggested in these polls.

  2. LLR

    Looks like a negotiated agreement about the debates. Ultimately all parties (including broadcasters) have to agree to a schedule, it’s not just about the broadcasters turning the election into an X factor style game show complete with telephone voting.

    Leaving it to the last second to start negotiating probably left the broadcasters making the best of a bad lot for them, they would probably have been better of with a full set of debates before the election period but they are left with what they are left with. Still programmes that will attract audiences, but not as many “good telly” moments.


    Reading your summary of the agreement, where are the Lib Dems? Not in the Sky TV show or in the Challengers debates? I suppose they get a Nick’s half hour which is possibly the optimum amount of airtime for him, as far as LDs are concerned?

  3. It’s a bit different from a normal Question Time in that they won’t all be sitting round a desk answering the same questions. It’s really three different shows bolted onto each other.

    I wonder if the worse-than-expected Ashcroft polls influenced Tory thinking…

  4. SAMT

    My point still stands I think. Fall in Labour lead in October due to SNP surge, then stable. Ashcroft within MoE.

  5. James

    I wondered the same thing.

    They are also still trying the ridiculous spin by claiming that Labour are trying to block it. Yeah, right, and ITV were going to break away from the other broadcasters – oh the real reason for insisting on the Greens was to boost them by promoting Natalie Bennett. And I’m Clement Attlee.

  6. @ Hireton,

    It has. But it also has very high costs. The population is relatively old (higher health and social care costs) and in many area thinly scattered (higher costs for essential infrastructure like roads and schools). Scotland is a net beneficiary from the Treasury, not a net contributor, and to whatever extent the funding settlement shifts towards Scotland paying its own way, it’s going to lose money.

  7. @Hawthorn. Thanks.

  8. @Alan

    What Clegg gets is that he is treated as being one of the “big three” for the last debate, whereas Farage is shunted off to the earlier “challengers” debate along with SNP, Plaid and Greens.

    I think the most interesting debate will be the one next week with Paxman interviewing Cameron and Miliband.

  9. @alan

    It’s a tough one for the LDs. Clegg is the most unpopular leader and they want to concentrate on the local MPs thing, however, they do need someone up there to remind the public of the popular stuff they did and it can only be Clegg.

  10. Wait a minute… sounds like other folk are still expecting the other two all-in debates to go ahead as scheduled.

    This may be just another way of the Tories scuppering the whole schedule. The suggestions of other formats on those dates (i.e. as outlined by the Spectator) are coming from them.

  11. @Omnishambles

    BBC Politics page v Scotland main page – A non-story outside of Scotland apparently.

    Grauniad Politics page v Scotland main page- A non-story outside of Scotland apparently.

    Independent – Had it three days ago on main politics page. Old news.

    Telegraph – Least said.

    It’s something we got used to during the referendum. It’s a looking-glass moment if you’re on the receiving end of it.

  12. 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

    Isn’t this just… slightly embarrassing? They can be in the same studio and the same time, but they’re not allowed to talk to each other? It seems impossible to come up with a scenario that makes Cameron look more frit, unless Paxman does the interview while wearing a chicken costume.

    You can see why the Conservatives want it- Miliband interviews badly under the best of circumstances, and Paxo can probably be relied on to give Miliband a pummeling and Cameron a “Please tell us why you’ve been such a fantastic Prime Minister” soft soap- but doing the interviews back-to-back like this really seems like an unforced error.

  13. James

    The suggestions of other formats on those dates (i.e. as outlined by the Spectator) are coming from them.

    Yep, that’s what it looks like. I believe the spin as I have just performed a lobotomy on myself.

  14. Paxo should be able to stuff it to the Chicken

    Bumbledee – oh dear he not retired yet?

  15. From the BBC ticker:

    “Format of general election debates not yet agreed, sources close to the broadcasters say, after PM accepts “offer” of seven-leader debate”

  16. @statgeek

    I don’t understand what you’re complaining about. There have been so many stories about UKIP MEPs saying something ridiculous that it’s not exactly headline news when it happens. Moreover, you shouldn’t expect regional news (in Scotland or anywhere) to be treated with equal importance as UK-wide news on the front page

    Compared to the debate story, minimum wage, police abuses thing, tax changes etc… compared to those stories, yet another UKIP MEP being offensive is indeed a non-story.

  17. James

    I agree, which is why the LDs might feel a bit miffed at missing that one.

    Yeah they get a question time show, but those tend to be a bit more informal (which might suit NC, but I think he’d rather be treated like a grown-up by Paxman)

    I can’t see any of the other parties dragging their heels, although UKIP will be hacked off at the missed chance, the original proposal was for 1 debate they still get 1 1/2.

    The challengers debate might work very well for him if he can face up to the inevitable ganging up he’ll face. Considering that PC, SNP and the Greens aren’t really competing anywhere it seems it’s have a very weird dynamic.

    Then again who knows if the Paxman thing will get off the ground? Ed seems to have other dates in his diary. Can’t see him vetoing it and insisting on the first revision to the schedule though.

  18. Interesting poster development here in SW Surrey, Jeremy Hunt’s seat. Overnight, there’ve sprung up a host of estate agency style posters, with a twist:

    “”Cameron & Hunt: Stop the Sale”
    I first assumed these were specific to this area, being Jeremy’s stomping ground, but I see from a Google search that they’re all over the country. In my own street, which I’d assumed (and confirmed from LG results) was pretty solidly Tory, the posters are strongly in evidence. I’d planned on taking some pics to share, but there’s no need – these give a flavour of how they’re doing elsewhere:

  19. Hopefully Bradbury not involved, in over 30 years following politics I have never seen a worse political correspondent.

    Adam Boulton comes close mind!

  20. ALAN

    It is the Tories that are claiming that the Broadcasters made the offer involving Paxman and the QT style show.

    It’s all spin! They tried a similar trick when they briefed that ITV were going to break away from the other broadcasters.

    I’ll wait for the broadcaster’s response to see if they fold.

  21. @Omnishambles

    “I don’t understand what you’re complaining about.”

    Overt racism from an elected politician.

  22. Saffer,

    Yeah they’ve been putting them up in Hallam as well. I suspect they’re choosing quite high profile seats (Hunt’s seat and Hallam definitely qualify).

  23. Hawthorn

    Yeah, Seems to be a premature report from the Spectator of “This was something mooted but not yet agreed upon”. The fact that the broadcasters admit “The discussions are still in flux and haven’t been fully nailed down.” seems to suggest they are trying to salvage something from the mire. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an actual format that was raised at one of the various meetings going on. To suggest it’s laid in stone would seem to be a bit early.

    I suspect more negotiations to follow.

  24. Personally I don’t get the poster – is someone saying that when Norman Lamb ordered a load of Mercedes ambulances for the NHS they were not being sold to make Mercedes a profit? Or that drug companies aren’t maximising their profit on drugs sold to the NHS? Or that doctors are working for free?

  25. Alan

    Number 10 are just trying to bounce the broadcasters.

  26. @statgeek

    In fact, the UKIP MEP story actually is in the UK politics section of the Guardian in the screenshot. So I’m even more puzzled as to why you’re so aggrieved.

    “Overt racism from an elected politician.”

    Yes, racism is bad. But why on Earth should this news have precedence over stuff like the breaking police scandal, breaking TV debate story etc? It’s simply *not* news that some UKIP politicians/activists have racist views. There have been so many high profile news stories about this subject.

    Besides, it’s a Scottish MEP and prominent in the Scotland section of the news. Yet you’re still complaining.

    If *this* is all you’ve got then the media are doing a pretty good job

  27. Wolf, I presume it’s all to do with the myth about the NHS being ‘sold off’, which conveniently ignores the fact that vast swathes of it (e.g. GPs, pharmacists, opticians, dentists) have never even been in public ownership.

  28. JOHN 150

    It’s impossible to take your GE seat predictions seriously when you show the SNP as finishing with 50 MP’s.
    I doubt that even Alex Salmond dreams of that many MP’s.

  29. Crick seems wary of the supposed new plan & the broadcasters are still yet to comment on it, very odd.

    If Number 10 have just made this up that seems a pretty risky strategy, no?

  30. Labour collapse in TNS:

    LAB 32%
    Con 33%
    LD 7%
    UKIP 17%
    GREEN 4%
    OTHER 7%

    Pre-Budget bounce? ;)

  31. @ Pete B,

    vast swathes of it (e.g. GPs, pharmacists, opticians, dentists) have never even been in public ownership.

    Well, of course they weren’t- they’re people. Nye Bevan was all for nationalisation but he never advocated slavery!

    Campaigning against Hunt seems like a big waste of resources, though.


    Crick is usually correct about these things.

    I think the idea is to brief the Spectator their own proposal as the broadcaster’s proposal, in an attempt to bounce them into agreeing to it.

    Presumably the broadcasters are on the phone working out a response.

  33. If that weird “same audience but not on stage at the same time” idea goes ahead I can honestly see it being worse for Cameron. Milliband will be able to slip in a few remarks about how Cameron needs an interviewer to defend the governments record, how despite being in the same building at the same time Cameron is still scared to go near him etc etc all pushing the “Cameron is a coward line”

    Which will in turn likely be more effective than it is at present cos while at the moment the public likely see the “debate debate” as an annoyance, when they tune in to watch “the leaders interviews” they’ll probably be thinking “what the bloody hell is this why doesn’t the PM just get on stage with Milliband” thus Labours message falls on very willing ears.

    I could be totally wrong but if Cameron’s insisting on not doing a head to head debate its probably better if he lets the broadcasters empty chair him.

  34. Regarding the debate, are we assuming the DUP case will fail? If it succeeds (and the inclusion of PC but exclusion of DUP is hard to defend) then will this debate occur at all? I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist but might DC have legal advice suggesting the DUP has a strong case in which case he could safely sign up to a debate that might not happen? Probably not true, but fun to speculate.

  35. @spearmint

    It’s Tuesday (:

  36. Reposting with changes for clarity:

    TNS (via @tmlbk):

    CON 33 (+5)
    LAB 32 (-3)
    LIB 7 (+1)
    UKIP 17 (-1)
    GRN 4 (-3)

    Source: @NCPoliticsUK

  37. Thomas

    It might put an end to “The other lot” debate as well. (Assuming this was a formal offer and goes ahead as the proposal suggests).

    Considering SNP, PC and Greens are hardly competing with each other, seems no harm to throw another party which isn’t competing into the mix.

  38. Alan,

    “seems no harm to throw another party which isn’t competing into the mix”

    The UUP, the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party might beg to differ.

  39. @ Thomas,

    Regarding the debate, are we assuming the DUP case will fail?

    The broadcasters seemed convinced it will. I’m not a legal expert, but from the lay perspective their case seemed pretty weak to me- they don’t compete with any of the parties in the main debate except possibly Ukip, and they’ll have their own Northern Ireland debate running concurrently with the parties they do compete with.

    Whereas Plaid Cymru will be standing against Labour, Conservative, Ukip, Lib Dem and Green candidates, and the SNP will be standing against everyone but the E&W Greens. There are arguments both for and against including the Nats, but I really can’t see any argument for including the DUP beyond “They got a biscuit, I want one tooooo!”

  40. Thomas
    Regarding the debate, are we assuming the DUP case will fail? If it succeeds (and the inclusion of PC but exclusion of DUP is hard to defend) then will this debate occur at all?
    I think the general consensus is that legally speaking they don’t have a leg to stand on – the broadcasters aren’t obliged to offer them anything as OfCom doesn’t consider them a major party.

  41. Michael Elliot

    Seems like a reason to include those too, not a reason to exclude DUP.

  42. Spearmint
    As you well know, GPs etc are private businesses.

  43. Further reflections on the 8 Ashcroft Conservative-Labour marginals:

    1. Despite likely intense pressure of FPTP some 30% to 20% of voters are still intending to vote for a party other than Conservative or Labour in these 8 marginals.

    2. UKIP who were not running in at least one of the seats last time have completely replaced LD as the third largest party in all 8 seats.

    3. Yes Green do see voting intention drop off when thinking about the constituency, but not in Nuneaton and Worcester where they have their highest voter intention and constituency support. Why is that? Well in both constituencies Green have elected councillors since 2010, and I believe that at least one of them is now running to be the MP.

    4. Ashcroft may be percieved to have a bias towards the Green, as his last two weekly polls have had Green on 9% in England ahead of LD.

    5. I checked to see if all the parties were running candidates in all 8 seats and found remarkably that Green had no candidate in Wirral West but still retained 5% of the constituency vote possibly because again they have an elected a councillor since 2010.

    6. In contrast LD have not yet to nominated candidates in Nuneaton and Worcester which might help explain why they are at 4% in voting intention and constituency intention.

  44. I cant wait to hear the dup sales pitch ,I really cant.

  45. @Omnishambles

    Last post on the matter from me. The fact that you suggest Cameron’s debate is ahead of a politician making statements that could stir up racial hatred in the country is enough for me. You’re the only one that debated the issue and you don’t think it’s an issue. No further discussion with you is necessary.

  46. From the Telegraph: Apparently UKIP are ducking the challenger debate. Seems like they at least admit there is an offer on the table, even if they don’t like what they got offered.

    So SNP, PC and Greens all get to cuddle up with one another saying how wonderful they all are?

  47. Is this a methodology change by TNS?

    If there is no candidate for UKIP/BNP/Green/”Other” standing in their constituency, their vote in the headline table is reallocated to their 2nd choice.

  48. Election Forecast has just been updated. It has Labour gaining 5 from SNP and 1 from Tory compared to yesterday.

    Main parties now:
    Con 285
    Lab 280
    SNP 37
    LIB 25

    The fact that you suggest Cameron’s debate is ahead of a politician making statements that could stir up racial hatred in the country is enough for me. You’re the only one that debated the issue and you don’t think it’s an issue..
    This is nonsense. Omnishambles is saying that a (minor) politician’s racist statements three days ago are less newsworthy than a breaking story about whether the Prime Minister will take part in a debate which potentially has big VI implications. I’m sure omnishambles and myself are not the only people to hold that opinion, but I imagine you won’t be convinced that the SNP aren’t the victims of a media conspiracy that also glorifies UKIP.

  50. Pete B

    Seems they took a while to put out the new figures as it says was updated around 2pm. So TNS not taking effect until tomorrows update I presume.

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