Six weeks to go

Here are this week’s polls:

Opinium/Observer (19/3) – CON 36%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%
YouGov/S Times (20/2) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
Survation/MoS (21/3) – CON 30%, LAB 34%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%
Populus(22/3) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%
Ashcroft (22/3) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%
ComRes/Mail (22/3) – CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 7%
YouGov/Times (23/3) – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (23/3) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (24/3) – CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%
Survation/Mirror (25/3) – CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4%
YouGov/Sun (25/3) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 6%
Panelbase (26/3) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (26/3) – CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
Populus (26/3) – CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%

It’s been a busy week in terms of voting intention polls – ComRes have now moved to weekly polling for the Daily Mail, Survation did two ones (one for the Mail on Sunday and one for the Mirror) and we got the first UK poll from Panelbase. Five of the polls showed dead heats between Labour and the Conservatives, there were three Tory leads and six Labour leads. The bigger picture remains one of the two main parties being neck-and-neck, but there have been slightly more Labour leads than Tory ones in recent polls, so the UKPR polling average this week has Labour one point ahead – CON 33%(nc), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(-1).

Scottish and London polls

ICM had new Scottish and London polls out this week. In Scotland they found Westminster voting intentions of CON 14%(+1), LAB 27%(+1), LDEM 6%(nc), SNP 43%(nc), UKIP 7%(nc), GRN 3%(-1), changes are from their previous Scottish poll in December. At 16 points ICM show a slightly smaller SNP lead than some other companies, but there is no significant change from their previous poll, suggesting its something methodological rather than a narrowing of the SNP lead.

This morning ICM had a London poll for the Guardian. Voting intentions for that were CON 32%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%, GRN 8%. That represents a four point swing from Conservative to Labour since the general election – the equivalent of a one point Labour lead in national polls – so again suggests that the swing in London is much the same as in the rest of the country.

Week 12

  • David Cameron ruled out standing for a third term as Prime Minister. Unusual not because of the content – if he wins he was widely expected to stand down at some point after the European referendum anyway – but because he said it, out loud, to a journalist. In terms of public opinion 55% of people said Cameron was right to rule out a third term, 18% wrong. A majority of supporters of all parties – including Tory voters – thought it was the right thing to do. 21% of people said it made them think better of Cameron, 9% worse of him, but for the majority of people it made no difference to how they viewed him.
  • The final PMQs of the Parliament was dominated by exchanges on ruling out tax rises. Asked before Cameron ruled out a VAT rise and Ed Balls ruled out a National Insurance rise, at the start of the week YouGov found 43% of people expected tax to go up if Labour won, 29% expect it to go up if the Conservatives win. Under a Labour government, 43% expected income tax to rise, 41% expected fuel duty to rise, 39% expected national insurance to rise… but only 22% expected VAT to go up. Under a Tory government 34% expected fuel duty to rise, 31% expected VAT to rise, 29% expected NI to rise and 25% expected income tax to rise.
  • The debate debate finally came to an end with an agreement to have four events: a Paxman interrogation of Miliband and Cameron; a seven-way debate between Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Uncle Tom Cobley and all; a debate between the five opposition parties and a Question Time special with Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, one after the other. The Paxman interrogation took place last night. An ICM poll straight after the debate found people thought Cameron came out better than Miliband by 54% to 46% – we will have to wait until the weekend to see if it has any impact upon either voting intentions or perceptions of the leaders. Over the last five years Cameron has consistently had better ratings than Miliband, so in many ways a performance that’s pretty even has the potential to help Miliband far more than Cameron. As ever, time will tell.
  • The physical mechanics of the general election have started to kick in. Yesterday Parliament was prorogued, on Monday it will be dissolved and the writ issued and we’ll be off. The start of the formal campaign means various bits of regulation kick in, including the broadcasting restrictions requiring coverage of the main parties and spending limits upon the parties.


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc and the Guardian are below (the Polling Observatory team are doing fortnightly predictions, so nothing new from them this week). Three of the models continue to show the Conservatives with just a few more seats than Labour, but Steve Fisher’s prediction from Elections Etc now has them 35 ahead of Labour. This is due to a methodology change rather than a move in opinion – Steve’s model for predicting the vote shares in England & Wales remains unchanged, but he’s no longer assuming such a big drop in SNP support in Scotland, and has rejigged how he translates projected votes into seats based on Ashcroft and YouGov polling (it’s explained in more detail here.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 296(+12), LAB 261(-17), LD 21(nc), SNP 47(+6), UKIP 5(+2)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 283(-1), LAB 280(+2), LD 26(+1), SNP 38(-2), UKIP 1(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 273(-4), LAB 271(+3), LD 24(nc), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 5(+2)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 277(nc), LAB 269(+1), LD 25(nc), SNP 53(-1), UKIP 4(nc)

367 Responses to “Six weeks to go”

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  1. Omnishambles

    When does YG poll come out tonight?

  2. @ Bramley (6.53) @Anne in Wales (8.01)

    Having just seen his speech on the news I totally agree. Not becoming of a PM and being rattled were my thoughts exactly.

  3. @profhoward


  4. Unpredictable from Sunday Times. Sometimes gets out around midnight. Sometimes in the morning.

    Partly depends if they put it on the front page.

  5. The YG can be quite late – way past the 1030 pm you get midweek.

    MS and others before tweted the size of Labour lead last week, just before midnight.

  6. @ProfHoward

    Whenever The Sunday Times want to publish it. Usually around 9.30pm but sometimes much later.

  7. Thanks for your replies!

  8. @Omnishambles 8.27

    The article only refers to those watching the Q&A. While I accept that not everyone watches the news, Sky in particular were calling it for EM as were to a lesser extent BBC. This should have a slight positive effect for Lab although, as I wrote a few weeks ago, what I see as good news for one of the parties usually has an initial negative VI effect for that party.

  9. @ Peter Crawford

    I’m not saying there won’t be swingback. To be honest this close to the election and with the parties so close almost anything can happen (except probably a majority Tory government) but like you I am surprised at how virtually all the academic models are predicting a similar scenario of Tories a few seats more. That seems no more likely than any of the many other scenarios.

    I actually haven’t got a clue what might happen on polling day and I think the models, while they may be based on a specific methodology are still simply guesswork- my slight favourite scenario is that things remain more or less how they are at the moment but I wouldn’t be putting money on that as a prediction.

  10. @Simon

    Indeed, there has been clear evidence that votes for readers’ comments in MailOnline have sometimes been blatantly fiddled as part of the pro Con anti UKIP agenda.

    Actually it is very easy to rig the votes on DM. Just vote, clear your browser cache and vote again. I’m sure you can write a program to automate it. The daily mail servers are a little slow in updating the results, so it sometimes takes an hour or so for it to show when you do that. Then the conspiracy theories start – but it changed by 300 votes in 1 minute – no, the count was just updated.

    Try it, spend and hour up voting a comment, clear your browser each time or turn off cookies so it sees it as a new vote, the count does not change immediately, but an hour or so later you will see the votes jump by the number of times you pressed the button.

    Same as those Daily Mirror polls that always show UKIP way in the lead..

    The daily mail doesn’t seem to mind, it probably just adds to the hits on their page and increases their ad revenues.

    In other words, those ‘polls’ are meaningless. One person with a little bit of programming knowledge and time on their hands could easily be responsible for it all.

  11. Omnishambles

    With respect, Hanretty is missing the point.

    What matters is not what the people who watched the debate (sic) think. It’s what those who didn’t watch the debate think about what they’ve read and heard about it.

  12. There is a myth on this site that only Conservative seats are vulnerable to UKIP, but let’s look at the current situation in Wallsal North:


    Labour 37%
    Conservative 34.3%
    Liberal 13.1%
    BNP 8.1%
    UKIP 4.8%
    Democratic Labour 3.2%
    Christian .4%

    Nominated candidates so far in 2015


    Dudley North 2010:

    Labour 38.7%
    Conservative 37%
    Liberal 10.5%
    UKIP 7.9%
    BNP 4.9%
    NF .4%

    Nominated candidates so far 2015:


    Thurrock 2010

    Conservative 36.8%
    Labour 36.6%
    LD 10.7%
    BNP 7.9%
    Christain People .6%

    Nominated candidates so far 2015:


    I would urge caution in writing off UKIP at the start of the election period and also wonder how many more seats there are like these three in the Midlands and Southeast?


    Your cited article assumes that the only people that would have watched the debates (which wasn’t actually a debate) would be the TV audience watching live.

    I watched it online, the day after. I think a lot of other people would have watched at least clips in similar ways. The second point in the article was that most people would have had already determined who they support before the programme. This is true, but the candidates were essentially ‘debating’ against public images of themselves. If, say one, candidate had a woefully low public image – then any positive exposure could have a potentially significant impact on the polls.

  14. @Peter Crawford

    As regards your ongoing question as to why many pundits are still predicting the Tories to gain the most seats even if there is a 4-5% swing to Labour in England. Could one of the reasons be that recent demographic changes in England (as suggested to me on this forum) mean Labour no longer benefit as dramatically in terms of the number of seats from an increase in their percentage of the vote in England? Or have you taken that into account already?

  15. @ Andy Shadrack

    Yes, these are constituencies where UKIP don’t have any serious chance (even if they push Thurrock). They can split votes in various ways, and make the outcome complicates, but if they get any of these seats, they can form the government.

  16. Andy S
    I’m not quite sure what point you were making. Is it that these seats had relatively strong BNP votes at the last GE, and you assume that these would largely go to UKIP?

  17. @RMJ1

    No, you are not the only one with such experience and it is certainly not silly. I suggest taking a look at the SNP led minority government between 2007 and 2012 before you say you’re the only one with such experience. I absolutely agree with Spearmint that the only risk would be voting down a Labour government, which they will not do.

  18. Andy S means that UKIP switching could turn Lab seats into Con. (I think).

    He is not postulating a UKIP snatch.

  19. Nobody queried PC’s swing. Where do you get 5,75 from PC?

  20. @RoryHughes

    “If, say one, candidate had a woefully low public image – then any positive exposure could have a potentially significant impact on the polls.”

    I tend to agree with you, but I suppose we must all be careful about rationalising the Channel 4 “debate” through the prism of our own political preferences. Anthony won’t indulge too much of it anyway, and all I’ll say is that if you were someone who was disappointed in how you felt it went for “your man”, then belittling the importance and significance of the event is a pretty standard and predictable reaction.

  21. Rory H
    Re the TV debates
    I’m waiting for someone called cassetteboy to provide their video précis on Youtube :)


    Excellent explanation of the situation.

  23. Andy S

    Labour List confirms what you are saying about Labour / Ukip marginals:
    Ukip are ahead in 6 seats.
    Dudley North 38%, Gt. Grimsby 35%, Rotherham 47%,
    Rother Valley 43%, Plymouth Moor 34%, Pennistone 35%.

  24. @questioners of Hanretty’s wisdom

    Fair point, but the ‘reaction to the media reaction’ doesn’t seem like it would change the voting intention of many people. We’ll see though.

  25. @BristolianHoward

    I think in most seats as mentioned above, the Conservatives will lose more votes than Labour.

    Therefore, given Labour will benefit more from the collapse in the Liberal Democrats, I see few opportunities for the Conservatives to gain seats from Labour.

    The result will mostly be a smaller Labour majorities. Maybe an odd UKIP win. Fewer/no Con gains from Lab.

  26. David.

    Those Labour seats that could fall to UKIP could have a major bearing on the outcome of this election. There has been a lot of talk on here about UKIP are slipping. In truth they may end up causing a number of shocks on election night.

  27. @Statgeek

    Thanks for updating the charts, and to Amber for assistance with that.

    So looking at last week’s Scotland cross breaks

    It does indeed look like more outliers than in prior weeks
    – UKIP high oulier
    – LD high outlier
    – Cons new low outlier
    – 2 recent SNP low outliers

    I guess we just need to watch for a bit longer to see if this sorts itself out or not.

  28. @ David

    I could be wrong, but aren’t some of those figures a year old (or about)?

    If not – apologies.

  29. Rumours abound…..Labour boosted to 37% in latest YouGov poll? Anyone?

  30. For some reason, I am not quite sure what, this list of polls suggests a slight swing towards Labour, small but shown in a number of polls.

    These polls seem not to take into account the leadership “debate”. However, I have a suspicion that these may not change things much, because television may not account for as much as five years ago (particualrly amongst younger voters), because the format of the debate was over-complex and simply because, whoever “won”, there was not much difference in the performance of the two leaders.

    There is one thing I am coming to believe as a result of the debate. Cameron is making a big mistake by gunning for cutting the deficit and balancing the books. Ordinary people are disgusted with cuts that bear unfairly on the lowest paid and, because less knowledgeable voters go for concrete points, in particular the use of any excuse to stop benefits. People think this is immoral and wrong. It could play in 2015 the role that university tuition fees did in 2010.

    Where is Ian Duncan Smith? If I were a Labour spin doctor I would demand time and time again for Ian Duncan Smith to stand up and say what Ian Duncan Smith will do about stopping Welfare Benefits. Is Duncan Smith proud of what he is doing and if not why not?

  31. @David

    Where did you get those numbers please?

    Rother Valley – in Jan Ashcroft got Lab 40%, UKIP 34%.

    What is the 43%?

  32. Frederic Stansfield
    “… in particular the use of any excuse to stop benefits. People think this is immoral and wrong.”

    Some people do. Others think it is a good thing to clamp down on cheats and make it less attractive to have a life without working.

    I am not identifying with either group, just saying that they might cancel each other out.

  33. @Mikey

    “There has been a lot of talk on here about UKIP are slipping. In truth they may end up causing a number of shocks on election night.”

    Sssshhhhh. Don’t let everybody in on our little secret.


  34. YG Result Tonight just out:
    CON 32 (-4)
    LAB 36 (+2)
    LIB 8 (+1)
    UKIP 13 (=)
    GRN 6 (+1)

  35. YouGov/Sunday Times poll
    Fieldwork all carried out after the Paxo primary.
    Lab 36%
    Con 32%
    LD 8%
    Ukip 13%
    Green 6%

  36. YouGov/Times:

    CON 32 (-4)
    LAB 36 (+2)
    LIB 8 (+1)
    UKIP 13 (=)
    GRN 6 (+1)

    I see I’m proved wrong!

  37. Dudley North, Ashcroft Dec 2014

    Lab 37%
    UKIP 34%
    CON 24%

    What’s the 38% please?

  38. These results show little sign of cross over. Labour activists will be relieved that the debate has not dented their VI.

  39. Ed ratings up as well.

    Not reverse swing; a googly- looks like an off break

  40. Important not to read too much into this poll as it could simply be an outlier. We need to see if it is sustained in Monday’s polls. Also will be important to see a Full Scottish.

  41. Laszlo

    You make a fair point, but as I understand it, Ukip are concentrating on geographical ‘clusters’ of marginals based on real polling from the Locals and Ashcroft.

    In Conservative / Ukip marginals they currently have seven 2nd places and one 1st place – Thanet South!!

  42. @ CTM

    I tried to be circumspect, but I think the figures are from the EP elections, this is why I asked David as I did.

  43. Should DC have stayed out of the discussions and debates, interesting to see the next few polls.

  44. @David

    Were those polls fgures based on Local Elections for Dudley North and Rother Valley please?

  45. It may well be an outlier, but will it change the approach and how?

  46. Okay.

    The Euro elections.


  47. I’ll ask again – was the fieldwork for this Yougov done before or after the ‘debate’

    I saw Anthony say the fieldwork runs from 5pm to 3pm the following day, but most responses come in the early evening, so that would be before the ‘debate’ for most of the sample? Or am I wrong?

  48. CMJ
    I think in most seats as mentioned above, the Conservatives will lose more votes than Labour.
    Therefore, given Labour will benefit more from the collapse in the Liberal Democrats, I see few opportunities for the Conservatives to gain seats from Labour.
    The result will mostly be a smaller Labour majorities. Maybe an odd UKIP win. Fewer/no Con gains from Lab.”

    I think, as things stand, you are probably correct CMJ. I was just trying to others who thought that Andy Shadrack was trying to say thses seats were possibly vulnerable to UKIP itself but I was saying that he wasn;t. Mind he has not returned to confirm that. Also, I see there are staunch supporters of that party who really belive this could happen.

    No we don’t. That poll has probably put me off my breakfast.

  50. The debate was Thursday, the poll was Friday.

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