The tabs for the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are now up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%. The poll was conducted on Friday and Saturday, and the four point Labour lead equals the highest this year, so it looks like it could be an impact from the Paxman interviews. Then again, YouGov spat out a single four point Labour lead in one of their daily polls earlier this month that turned out to be just random noise, so this is nothing that couldn’t just be random error. To have any confidence about whether anything actually has changed in terms of voting intention, we need more polling.

In the meantime, what does the rest of the poll show? Well, leadership ratings do also suggest an improvement for Miliband. Asked if they are doing well or badly David Cameron’s net rating is up from minus 5 last week to minus 2 this week. Ed Miliband though is up from minus 39 to minus 29, so a solid jump (that said, Nick Clegg is up from minus 47 to minus 40 without being in the interviews at all…). Miliband also rose in the Best PM question – up four points since YouGov last asked this version of the question in November last year, but still 12 points behind Cameron (when YouGov ask the question for the Sun it’s Cameron v Miliband v Clegg, for the Sunday Times Farage is also an option – don’t compare the two, they give different results).

On the debate question itself, amongst people who watched the debates 49% of people thought Miliband came across better, 34% thought David Cameron did. This is of course very much in line with a movement to Labour in the headline voting intention figures… but why so different from the ICM poll after the debate? Part of the answer may well be that people have had longer to digest it, think about it and be influenced by discussing it with other people. First reactions are extremely important, but they aren’t everything.

Another factor though is who watched the debate – the ICM poll was weighted to be politically representative (though even weighted, the poll still ended with a sample showing an 11 point Labour lead rather than Con and Lab neck and neck), but a debate doesn’t necessarily get watched by a representative sample of the public. People from one party maybe more likely than another to watch it. Looking at the YouGov data, 31% of people who voted Labour in 2010 watched the debate, only 15% of people who voted Tory…so the sub-sample of people who watched the debate was actually a very Laboury group of people to begin with. This highlights a methodological challenge for pollsters in doing things like debate polls, how do you weight the sample? Do you try to make it politically and/or demographically representative of the country as a whole, regardless of who is actually watching? Or do you try to make it representative of the people who are actually watching, regardless of the political skews that brings? The second is probably more methodologically purer – all you can *really* measure is what people who watch think, but given what the media want is just a crude “who won” verdict, would it be fair to start out with a sample that was stronger biased one way or another?

Anyway, time will tell if the Paxman interviews actually did or did not make any difference. On other matters, YouGov found 11% of people said they were voting tactically at the election. Amongst that (obviously very small) sample people were pretty evenly split between voting tactically against the Tories (40%) and voting tactically against Labour (37%).

In my weekly round up I mentioned some YouGov polling about which taxes would rise under a Labour or Conservative government, conducted before Prime Minister’s Question time, Cameron ruling out a VAT rise and Ed Balls ruling out an NI rise. YouGov repeated those questions in this poll to see if they had changed. At the start of the week, 31% of people thought VAT would rise if the Conservatives won. Following David Cameron ruling out a rise in VAT, this is now…32%. At the start of the week 39% of people expected national insurance to rise if Labour won, but since Ed Balls ruled it out, that has changed to… 40%. A lovely illustration of how much of the politicians’ arguments, exchanges and pledges make not the slightest difference to public opinion.


303 Responses to “More from today’s Sunday Times poll”

1 2 3 4 5 7
  1. Hal

    Thanks. It may be different in England.

    Here, the council voting papers would still have to go through the initial verification count before they were locked away, and the Parliamentary votes count started.

    That was the delay, I was thinking of.

  2. OK, Milimania it is (although I preferred Edmania). Alliteracy wins every time, so good for the tabloids, I admit.

    Richard
    “also by starting to talk like human beings – Northern powerhouse, etc”

    Human beings say these things?

  3. Surely Milibandwagon would be the best term?

  4. Interesting that IDS in an interview this morning said Cameron would have to stand down at some point before the end of the next Parliament to allow a leadership contest. After the interview Downing Street have said Cameron will serve the full five years.
    May not matter in the big scheme of things but does not bode well for their communication strategy, which I assume at the very least would include everyone giving the same message..

  5. LASZLO

    Better write to ONS then-they need to know why. :-)

  6. HOWARD

    Presumably you mean ” Alliteration”.

    Not sure what “Alliteracy” is -but it doesn’t sound like something the tabloids would feature :-)

  7. “As I have been the chief exponent of ‘media exposure milibonce theory’ for several years, I feel vindicated.”

    I subscribe to a weak version of this theory. the tory press have shot themselves in the foot. By creating a bogeyman hopeless, king of the nerds character who couldn’t tie up his shoe-laces, they have set expectation so low for Miliband that he can only improve his ratings when he gets more exposure….

    it’s sad for the tories, as I don’t think he is really a good front man for a national party, but the vilification of Mili may well backfire.

    I actually think, and I have said this elsewhere, that the tories could just as easily end up with about 258 seats as opposed to the 270-80 range which is commonly believed and touted

  8. @ Colin

    [snip – can we not have argument over who can pick stats to make the economy look good or bad – AW]

  9. @candy
    Your post of today 29 March, 13.57 or 1.57 p.m. was interesting. I think that the poster David inFrance has posted similar views to yours.

    You say that we need experts in parliament, not the ordinary man or woman in the street who does n’t have the expert knowledge.

    There was a well-known MP and writer and minister who had views along these lines. He was MP for Bristol and his name was Edmund Burke.

    In his speech to the Electors at Bristol, he set out his views, that the MP depends on his own judgement, that he is not a delegate of the people who vote for him. He does n’t vote as the voters want him to do.. He, Burke, thought that a representative of the people must possess a breadth of knowledge rarely found in the common people.

    However, the voters voted him out and he lost his seat at the next election in 1780.

    However he soon found another seat in a pocket borough under the control of the Marquess of Rockingham, according to wilkipedia.

  10. Anyway, the per capita GDP figure is still only at about the level of 2005.

    So everybody can create his/her narrative.

    My preferred one: it shows the scale of the destruction of the Great Recession (there goes the labour blaming argument), there has been a modest readjustment in the last 3 years or so (there goes Osborn’s recent boasting), but it’s better than expected (there goes EB)

  11. Colin

    Yes of course thanks. I knew it looked wrong – but then one had pressed send!

  12. @ Anthony Wells

    Sorry.

  13. Oldnat – actually there was a change in the electoral regulations a few weeks back allowing returning officers to start counting the votes from verified ballot boxes before the whole constituency has been verified and, more importantly, before local election votes have been verified. (Intended to speed up counts, so if all the counters are waiting for a couple of last boxes to be verified they can get on with counting verified boxes rather than sit around twiddling their thumbs).

    Individual returning officers may still want to do it the way they are used to and verify everything first of course, but it’s no longer a legal requirement to do so.

  14. Mr N

    Milibandwagon, good one and an Edifying attempt..

  15. @ Colin

    As Anthony prefers us not to discuss datum-picking, let’s leave it.

  16. Interesting tactic from IDS – details about where their £12bn cuts in welfare spending is ‘not relevant’ and will be worked out after the election.

    I would imagine that they will now be bombarded with questions about wether the are going to cut specific benefits (winter fuel, pensions, carers allowance etc etc etc) and be forced to either pledge to ring fence them or refuse to answer – setting multiple hares running.

    Cant see this doing much to counter the ‘nasty party’ tag either.

    Tim Montgommery has already questioned this approach.

  17. “On the debate question itself, amongst people who watched the debates 49% of people thought Miliband came across better, 34% thought David Cameron did. This is of course very much in line with a movement to Labour in the headline voting intention figures… but why so different from the ICM poll after the debate? Part of the answer may well be that people have had longer to digest it, think about it and be influenced by discussing it with other people. First reactions are extremely important, but they aren’t everything.

    Another factor though is who watched the debate – the ICM poll was weighted to be politically representative (though even weighted, the poll still ended with a sample showing an 11 point Labour lead rather than Con and Lab neck and neck), but a debate doesn’t necessarily get watched by a representative sample of the public. People from one party maybe more likely than another to watch it. Looking at the YouGov data, 31% of people who voted Labour in 2010 watched the debate, only 15% of people who voted Tory…so the sub-sample of people who watched the debate was actually a very Laboury group of people to begin with. This highlights a methodological challenge for pollsters in doing things like debate polls, how do you weight the sample? Do you try to make it politically and/or demographically representative of the country as a whole, regardless of who is actually watching? Or do you try to make it representative of the people who are actually watching, regardless of the political skews that brings? The second is probably more methodologically purer – all you can *really* measure is what people who watch think, but given what the media want is just a crude “who won” verdict, would it be fair to start out with a sample that was stronger biased one way or another?”

    The other aspect is that an instant poll will consist overwhelmingly of those who watched it live on the television whereas a proportion of people may also have watched it later on 4OD. It may be the case that there are important demographic differences between those groups of people.

  18. Anthony

    Thanks for the update.

  19. @Anthony

    Can I commend you personally, not just for your superb commentaries, that always seem to “cut through the guff”, but also for the excellent way you appear to be moderating the various posts.

    I salute you, sir!

    :-)

  20. So some of you may remember the tv program “Steptoe and Son”. I had to chuckle this morning when I discovered that the UKIP candidate for Leicester East is Sussana Steptoe :)

    And then there is this wonderful statement on a website:

    “Lauren Keith (LD Brent Central) – previously Barking” :)

    That all said the Green Party in England and Wales have now exceeded their previously stated objective of 90% of seats being run in, up from 54% in 2010.

    England 49 seats short, 90.8%, Wales 5 seats short, 87.2%, SGP 52.5% and NIG 27.8%. UK wide that is 85.2%.
    Green like UKIP are running against the Speaker.

    LD are currently still 5 five seats short in Scotland, 91.5%, and 52 seats short in England on 90.2%. LD have fewer candidates than either UKIP and Green in England.

    UKIP are still 28 seats short in Scotland, 52.5%, and 38 seats short in England, 94.7%. UK wide UKIP are on 88.5%. – with 9 candidates in NI.

    The Conservatives have a full slate and UK wide are on 98% – with 6 candidates in NI.

    Labour are still two candidates short in Beaconsfield and Coventry North West. One hopes that Miliband will not be sent to “Coventry” during the election period :)

  21. @ Peter Crawford

    “Whenever DC leaves No 10, I confidently predict he will very rapidly get a far better paid job than PM.”

    One of the funniest recent comments I heard from a commentator (Fraser Nelson I think) was that the ideal job David Cameron has always wanted is that of being an ex-Prime Minister – so he can jetset and hobnob with the elite to his hearts content without having to do any of the hard work.

  22. @peter crawford
    “I actually think, and I have said this elsewhere, that the tories could just as easily end up with about 258 seats as opposed to the 270-80 range which is commonly believed and touted”

    I am making a note of this prediction

  23. I simply don’t understand why MEDIA bias in the UK isn’t factored in. I mean, an alien monkey could arrive from outer space and figure out the bias is so blatant. How do I know? My wife has come over more permanently from Latin America now that she speaks fluent English also and spotted it straight away; so respect would heed her observation. Suffice to say, I doubt I need to elucidate. No….she cannot vote and has little interest in doing so. Last February, the boot was on the other foot as I observed an Election in Costa Rica. Some telling and eyebrow raising statistics were revealed including the ‘profession’ and ‘class grouping’ distribution of prospective voters. Hmmm….can’t see that being exposed any time soon over here! I concluded that ALL statistics should be made a available, and naturally the other channel complained bitterly about it over there. It is refreshing to enjoy two opposing channels which are left of centre and right of centre respectively. It truly revealed to me that MEDIA bias plays almost as big a part as the very best spiel of our very best politicians.

    For me, all that remains is to see whether UKIP voters are panicked into voting Conservative. At this stage I suspect we will see UKIP draw below 10%.

  24. Barbazenzero “A sound choice [for holiday round election day], although probably best to avoid Dresden. I expect to be in Switzerland on the day. Remagen on the Rhine is usually pleasant at that time of year.”

    That could be a bridge too far.

  25. @Omni

    “I am making a note of this prediction”

    As I am yours. Rest assured!

  26. ‘ALISTER1948
    Remagen on the Rhine is usually pleasant at that time of year.”
    That could be a bridge too far.
    March 29th, 2015 at 3:29 pm’

    Of course this was the bridge that wasn’t too far :-)

  27. Question for folk. If a politician or party makes a statement that another politician or party is going to do ‘x’ or ‘y’ when it is not the case, why is not considered electoral fraud?

  28. Unicorn -yes quite right for voters who dont identify with a party its how the economy impacts on familly/personal finances thats the key in VI.

    For example voters will have noticed the cost of a tank of fuel falling and food prices not rising.

    As its a coalition budget the tories couldnt go for the big giveaway which they surely would have done given a free hand.

  29. @ Statgeek

    It can come under the Representation of the People Act, but a lot depends on the wording, and somebody has to report it (there is no ex-ante monitoring power).

  30. @crossbat

    Have I ever made a proper prediction aside from vague promises of swingback? Well I’ll make one now for the Conservatives like Peter Crawford

    300 seats (+/- 10)

  31. More Peter Kellner analysis

    http://t.co/loHfkZZtXd

    – Yougov going to 7 day a week polling after Easter
    – He thinks something has moved in the polls based on the supplementary questions about leadership in this poll above.

  32. 070152015,
    Presumably they might have also noticed that this is due to the fall in Oil prices.Which may be only temporary.

  33. Bit shocked to read the BBC citing scores from an individual sub-sample in a report.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32105091

    “A Scottish snapshot from the same poll* put the SNP on 46% and Labour on 33% among the 159 voters in Scotland.

    A separate survey of 1,300 Scottish voters by the British Election Study (BES) from 6-13 March, also published on Sunday, put Labour 17 points behind the SNP. ”

    * the YouGov poll for the Sunday Times, of course.

    Now, as it happens, the numbers aren’t ridiculously far out from what Scottish polling has been saying, but that’s just by sheer fluke. It could just as easily been a sub-sample that showed SNP 2% ahead (earlier this week) or SNP 20+% in front (quite often before this week). I think the BBC, of all outlets, really shouldn’t be doing this.

  34. Remagen Bridge too far? – it is now. It’s gone.

  35. NeilJ
    Exactly right. I will refrain from saying “not many people know that”.

    Personally I will not be going away on 7 May. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  36. ‘ALISTER1948
    NeilJ
    Exactly right. I will refrain from saying “not many people know that”.
    Personally I will not be going away on 7 May. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.’

    I’m working in the UAE at the moment so will miss the direct experience but am greedily eating up all the information I can get. It is one of the most fascinating elections I can remember.

  37. @Statgeek – “Question for folk. If a politician or party makes a statement that another politician or party is going to do ‘x’ or ‘y’ when it is not the case, why is not considered electoral fraud?”

    Because of the twin issues that it’s a belief and you can’t prove a negative.

    ‘I believe party X will commence eating babies if they secure a majority in May’

    ‘We won’t – we have never eaten babies and will give a cast iron pledge not do so for the duration of the next parliament’

    ‘Ah yes, but you promised not to pull the legs off frogs in your 2010 manifesto, and no sooner were you in No 10……’

    It would make for a hilariously entertaining legal proceeding, I’m sure, but no – absolutely no chance of any charges arising, which is just as well, as I’m not sure we have the prison capacity for 651 MPs.

  38. @ Alec

    I’m quite sure somebody was fined for things stated on election leaflets in a local election under the 1983 Act.

    Your suggestion is not good enough. Considering the difference between the donations to charities for children and for animals, it should have been: using baby seals to reduce the overpopulation of kittens and pups by instigating high speed and power collision between them and the baby seals.

  39. Omnishambles,

    258 is not a prediction it’s a lower range. I have said the Tories should get 270 or thereabouts for a while. Whereas I see 258 as being as likely as 280… As for 295 that’s pie in the sky for reasons I have rehearsed ad nauseam…Dave is not coming back to number 10 and that’s been my view for 3 years now

  40. @Laszlo

    Phil Woolas got in trouble at a General Election due to comments about a rival in GE leaflet a few years ago.

  41. @ RAF

    Thanks, this was the one that came to my mind.

  42. JAMES

    ” I think the BBC, of all outlets, really shouldn’t be doing this.”

    ———-

    I agree. One of my strong opinions is that we need more statistical education in this country. So many arguments are based on statistical evidence, and so much reporting of it is very poor, just as this.

  43. @peter crawford

    Sorry, you confused me when you said ” about 258 seats *as opposed* to the 270-80 range”.

    But fair enough, I’ll take your prediction to be 270 (+-12)

  44. Yougov certainly makes the political weather.

    Scotland to vote yes and now I agree with ed.

    7 day polling will certainly test the scot crossbreak to breaking point.

  45. 07052015

    “7 day polling will certainly test the scot crossbreak to breaking point.”

    Have YG decided to do weekly “Full Scottish” polls?

  46. @Peter Crawford

    Judging by the tables on this site the Tories will lose about 50 seats to Labour on a 5% swing If money and motivation count Labour might do better Sturgeon certainly makes Miliband look moderate and sensible

  47. As far as the law is concerned, you have to be very careful that what you say about another person (and especially a candidate) is truthful, and that you can prove it.

    However as I remember, there are no constraints about what you can say about parties. (Anyone with specialist knowledge please elaborate.)

  48. So I am looking at Politics In Canada: Culture, Institutions, Behaviour and Public Policy, by Jackson and Jackson, 1994 edition, this morning.

    Just around the time of the dropping of the writ, on September 8, 1993, the federal Liberals were on 38% and the Conservatives were on 35%, while the NDP (Labour), Reform (UKIP) and Bloc Quebecois parties were all bunched together at around 10% each.

    It looked, from the Angus Reid polls, like we were about to start a normal election between Conservative and Liberal in which the newly selected Conservative, Kim Campbell, our first woman Prime Minsiter, had a fighting chance to become the first elected female PM.

    Boy did we all get that one wrong. Forty seven days later, our campaigns were longer then and have been shortened to 35 days, the Liberals had nudged it up to 41.3%, while the Conservatives had plummetted to 16%.

    First governing party in Canada to achieve gender parity, one man and one women elected, and be able to meet in a telephone kiosk at the same time :)

    Reform climbed to 18.7% and just missed being the official opposition by 2 seats, and much to the chagrin of many in English Canada, a seperatist party “dedicated to breaking the country up”, the Bloc Quebecois became Her Majesty’s official opposition.

    And the third party in Canada, NDP (Labour), went from 10% to 6.9%, while other parties climbed from 3% to 3.6% during the election.

    The subsequent Parliament was dubbed the “Pizza Parliament” and there was much speculation as to how long this anomaly of having five elected parties would last.

    Fast forward 22 years later and we still have five elected Parties in the Canadian HoC, except one of them was an unknown fringe group back in 1993 – the Green Party.

    In 2003 the same wily politician elected as PM in 1993, Jean Chretien, decided to transform Canadian politics for ever.

    He introduced legislation restricting funding by corporations, trade unions and community organizations to 533 Pounds to a national party and 533 Pounds cumulatively to a constituency association, nomination contenstant and candidate.

    In subsequent elections every political party achieving 2% of the vote was to recieve 5.33 Pounds per vote, indexed to inflation, which was abolished by the Conservatives when they achieved majority status at the 2011 election.

    But as of Janaury 1st, 2015, an individual voter/Canadian Citizen, may only give 799.5 Pounds per year to a political party and only 799.5 Pounds cumulatively to a constituency association, nomination contestant and candidate.

    What a novel concept only those who vote for a political party and candidate get to fund them, and that within strict donor limits.

    In 2014 the Green Party of Canada raised 1.599 million Pounds from individual donations, as compared to 10,660 Pounds in 2003.

    One wonders who will be entering the UK HoC in 40 days time and what reforms of the UK and it’s electoral system will be ushered in by a majority of MPs. And who will be sent out into the wilderness forever.

    I still speculate that the pollsters may not have the polls quite right and wonder what the polls on the eve of May 7th in the UK will actually look like.

    At the beginning of the 1993 election a lot of people were making fun of the Leader of the socially conservative and starkly neo-liberal Reform Party, Preston Manning.

    He had a high pitched squeaky voice and his ears stuck out, but did he ever knock the grin of some Canadians faces on election night in 1993.

    And then there was the Conservatives decision to make fun of Jean Chretien’s facial features, because he spoke out the side of his mouth like a gangster and used some the worst English you can ever imagine.

    But turns out his speech impediment was a leftover from a childhood illness, and boy did the Conservatives plummet in the polls after that one was revealed.

    So I do not set much store by all this talk of Ed Miliband’s “goofyness” and “gawkishness”, because in Canada at least, beyond the “hype and spin of it all”, I still think voters are looking for the substantive issues underneath it all.

  49. ALISTER1948
    That could be a bridge too far.

    Alas, the Ludendorff bridge only survived 10 days after it was captured and has never been rebuilt, but the tower on the left [town] bank survives and has quite an interesting museum and some memorials to those who fell capturing it.

  50. So in comparison to the BES study:

    http://www.britishelectionstudy.com/bes-impact/the-ongoing-independence-referendum-in-scotland-implications-for-7th-may-2015/#.VRgg5OGgyB5

    …what would party standings be if Yes and No proclivities were combined:

    SNP
    Labour
    Conservative
    UKIP
    LD
    Green

1 2 3 4 5 7