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”

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  1. Both ukip and the tories go up ,its swingback to the right.

    Poor old political commentators trying to make sense of it all.

  2. Well, I think that confirms the “debates” produced a 4-point lead. ;)

  3. Just goes to show it’s no good fixating on individual polls… The averages aren’t moving much and the picture will only become clearer at the end of the week. Fundamentals are key, that s why betting is less volatile than polls

  4. That’s an average of 34% a piece not weighted of course.

  5. Looking forward to the Full Welsh tomorrow.

  6. Now that’s what I call a poll!
    Seriously though it shows that Moe is alive and well and everything is still to play for.

  7. Very odd how different ComRes and today’s Yougov are. Could just be MoE but a 8 point difference is big and again makes one wonder if these pollsters really know what’s happening. Lib Dems seem to be enjoying some kind of mini recovery.

    Thanks for the answers about the YouGov panel etc – makes some sense.

  8. The idea that YouGov are deliberately manipulating polls for political reasons is, I firmly believe is nonsense. They have a reputation to maintain.

    Incidentally they will have me as a UKIP person as I voted UKIP for last three GEs.

    Conspiracy theories are fun but not to be taken seriously.

  9. Unicorn,
    Thanks for the detailed critique which makes a lot of sense. There’s one part of my method that I don’t think I explained very well. I used the ratio of SD to Mean in 2010 as part of the calculation. The figures were all remarkably similar apart from Greens.

    Con was Mean 16963, SD 8183 – ratio .48
    Lab ratio .48
    Lib ratio .51
    UKIP .52
    Green 1.17

    I would take a high ratio to mean that there was a very high variability between seats, and this is borne out by Greens getting 1 seat even though they had very low votes in most places. The other striking thing was that LibDems, despite their reputation of being very strong in a relatively few places (which would give them a ratio similar to Greens) are actually very little different to the ‘big two’.

    Anyway, thanks again. I don’t think we ought to try Anthony’s patience any more by delving further into the details. I just thought it gave an interesting result about the LibDems and helps support my idea that they will do worse than nearly everybody expects.

  10. Will sleep better after that Com res poll, what on earth is going on.

  11. What do UKPR folk make of the claims by the company TheySay that they are able to provide an instant Twitter-based verdict on the outcome of the debates?

    They say their result show that Miliband ‘won’.

  12. Still neck and neck, unsurprisingly.

  13. The ComRes poll and the YouGov poll, taken together, cancel each other out. We are back at level-pegging.

  14. Comers stopped its conspiracy and gradually let UKIP (and Cons voters to express their voting intentions). In the meantime There is an increased flow of discussion on website among Labour voters about a potential conspiracy against them. Some are willing to go on other massage boards to write about it.

  15. I reckon we’re in for a string of Con leads for the week. This poll result is bound to make headlines

  16. Come on lads (and girls,) just trust Anthony. He says at the start of this thread, all the things that need to be said. If you say that quickly, it sounds like the UKPR rap. One poll, does not a government make.

  17. Comers = ComRes

  18. 4% Tory lead tonight…


  19. Blue bob

    Perhaps things will be clarified this time tomorrow, when we have an Ashcroft, a Populus, and a YouGov, according to MS.

  20. @07052015

    “Both ukip and the tories go up ,its swingback to the right.”

    Don’t forget the Lib Dems!

  21. @ Unicorn

    It’s based on pro/against.

    The algorithm was developed for commercial products, but as far as I know (I could be very wrong) it’s still at the stage of proof of concept, so the elections are important for the, if they want to commercialise it.

  22. Anyone who makes aspersions about Kellner or his company’s complete professional honesty, needs banning from this site permanently.

  23. In an article I read the DUP had three basic demands before supporting anyone. I can’t remember where I read the article or the complete list of three but one of them was that any party they were supporting must agree to get rid of the bedroom tax. That seems to be Labour to me.

  24. Its obvious innit,swing voters only read the sunday times and got spooked and changed their minds over a good lunch down the dog and duck all.washed down with a large bottle of MOE (not pink) -geddit?

  25. While simplistic, Paul Mason has an interesting analysis in the G paper –

    “Three new tribes of voters will dominate this election”

    IF there is anything in it, perhaps it demonstrates why UNS no longer describes changing patterns of voting behaviour.

  26. @catoswyn

    Bedroom tax, securing UK borders and 2% GDP on defence

  27. Catoswyn

    Parties have complex aims and strategies. That’s especially true for those whose main centre of activity lies elsewhere than Westminster.

    I think it’s unwise to try to shoehorn their choices into a Westminster-centric way of thinking.

  28. it’s been corrected now – the figures are con 36 lab 33. so a 3 point lead not 4 apparently.

  29. @Richard

    Thanks for providing the link for the YouGov leadership graph. I listened again to the Sunday Politics clip and Peter Kellner definitely said that there was a statistically significant improvement in Miliband’s scores. I really don know what methods he was using. What I see in the Tweeted graph is Miliband bobbing around about 40 points lower than Cameron until a couple of days ago when the gap was reduced to 27 points.

    Presumably PK knows the MoE for these figures (not necessarily 3%) and can report that the 13-point jump is outside that range. But if so this seems a rather insecure basis for the radical shift in his projections.

  30. I have been consistent in my view of Comres phone polls. They have been, are, and will always be ComedyResults.

    I guess we have to wait for other polls to confirm this, but I don’t think it will take very long.

  31. @Omnishambles.

    Thanks, thats the one.

  32. Statgeek

    The Scotland cross breaks on an individual poll aren’t useful. Sample size too small. Suggest you aggreate several and publish them, as OLDNAT does.


    Is it the Comres Poll that has been corrected? What is your source for that?

  34. Rolandgatinoise, if you’re referring to me, I was doing nothing of the sort. I merely stumbled upon these kippers’ comments on another website this morning and in light of yesterday’s discussion was curious to know what people thought. I certainly was not saying for one moment that I myself thought Kellner or Yougov were distorting data. As I’ve already said, I’ve always thought that is unlikely because of the damage to their reputation. However, the range of UKIP vote shares does need explaining. They were on 17.25% unweighted in Yougov this morning but reduced to 13%, even though the original sample was more female than normal which usually works against them. I know relatively little about polling so certainly wasn’t offering any opinions of my own but I apologise if anyone took my post as an accusation – it wasn’t!

  35. Was the Comres polling all subsequent to Thursday night.

  36. Rolly, calling for permanent exclusions from UKPR.

    Well I never!

  37. @Barnaby

    No sign of a correction on their own site

  38. @Unicorn

    I would say that is very slightly more useful than a Daily mirror online poll or a poll based on Daily mail comments.

    Why? See here for example how easy it is to get a twitter storm going. One activist with lots of party supporters tweets something, all their supporters are activists, they tweet, etc, etc and in a few minutes you can get hundreds of thousands of tweets upvoting in one direction.

  39. Swing back …. Starts now! Lol

  40. ComRes Scottish crossbreak showing Tories 3% ahead of Labour in Scotland on 24% and projected to win 7 seats instead of the 1 at present really do look extremely strange. Perhaps pointing towards an over-Blue sample. If the full Welsh tomorrow suggests Cons are going to gain 6 seats in Wales then EM really can get seriously/terminally worried … ;- )

  41. @Peter Crawford
    Let’s see if it lasts more than one poll! Remember Budget bounce?

    What these two diametrically opposed polls probably show is that the event on Thursday didn’t really have much effect.

  42. France moves rightward by some margin in their departemental elections. 64 to 30 in terms of control. As expected, everyone ganged up to keep out the Front National and they won far fewer seats than their vote would indicate and control no departements. They were however, second in many places and have a toe hold in many departements which makes it far easier for Marine le Pen to gain her presidential nomination.

  43. So I had Labour canvassers at the door today.

    Told them I wanted to know what Jim’s 2016 Holyrood career plans were before I’d consider voting for him. If there’s going to be a byelection in 12 months time why should I bother?

    The prepared line was Alex Salmond double jobbed after 2007 so why not Jim?

    I asked will he be taking the East Renfrewshire seat from Ken MacIntosh either via Ken’s retirement or a straight swap?

    The bit of useful gossip I got was they thought this unlikely as Ken likes being an MSP and wouldn’t want to go to London.

    As I pointed out though if Jim doesn’t intend to represent East Renfrewshire at Holyrood it would be an even less legitimate double jobbing situation as he’d be representing 2 different areas.

    In the end we ran out of time before I could begin quizzing them on their views of Baldwin vs MacDonald in 1923.

    Suspect they were pleased to get away from me. Possibly put me down as a maybe.

  44. New thread

  45. @Welsh Borderer
    Comres have had problems with their sample (particularly for phone polls) for some time. We laugh at TNS’s difficulties, but Comres phone polls have the opposite problem.

  46. @AC

    Or Comres could be wrong? Hmm…let me see…which is more likely?

  47. @ Politicianado: “Very odd how different ComRes and today’s Yougov are. Could just be MoE but a 8 point difference is big and again makes one wonder if these pollsters really know what’s happening.”

    No-one knows what is happening, at least not with the precision required to make meaningful judgements – there is too much uncertainty. But people are paid to know and we want them to know, so they pretend. It is the same in business decision-making, project management and especially economic forecasting, where being wrong 1000 times in a row is no barrier to being taken seriously (as long as you are conventionally wrong).

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