As usual for a Monday we have three GB polls today – Populus, Ashcroft and YouGov. In a election campaign that has so far seen polls that are virtually static these were awaited in the hope they’d shed some light on the impact of the Paxman interviews last week. In the two post-Paxman polls at the weekend YouGov had shown a larger Labour lead than usual, but ComRes had shown a larger Conservative lead than usual. The question was whether today’s polls would shed any light on whether there was any movement, or just normal sampling error.

Populus’s twice-weekly poll has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4% (tabs). Populus have typically been showing a small Labour lead in their polls over the last few weeks, so this is more Tory than their average poll, but well within the normal margin of error.

Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 10%, GRN 7% (tabs). This is a small shift towards the Conservatives since Ashcroft’s poll last week, but a two point lead is very much in line with the average of his recent polls, so is nothing to suggest any real movement.

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5% – back to more typical figures of neck-and-neck.

Looking at the five polls conducted since the Paxman debate, things are starting to look much more like “no change” that a Labour or Conservative boost – there is a bit of movement in either direction, but no clear consistent trend. The seven way debate this week may have more impact, if it’s not just a complete mess.

Note however, that a lack of change in voting intention figures doesn’t necessarily means the interviews last week had no impact at all. YouGov’s weekend poll also saw a significant improvement in Ed Miliband’s ratings and this was echoed in Lord Ashcroft’s poll today. While David Cameron still led on most measures, his lead over Miliband had dropped across the board since Ashcroft last asked in February: Cameron’s lead on representing Britain abroad was down 8 points to 28, on making the right decisions when they are unpopular down 6 points to 23, on having a clear idea of what he wants to acheive down 8 to 19, on leading a team down 6 to 30, on doing the job of Prime Minister down 5 to 26. Miliband’s lead on understanding ordinary people rose 8 points to 12. Of course it would be wrong to necessarily put this down to the interviews, there were signs of improvements in Miliband’s ratings in polls before last week, but it does look as if he’s narrowing Cameron’s advantage.

Meanwhile there were also Wales and London polls out today. The latest Welsh YouGov poll for ITV and Cardiff University has topline figures of CON 25%(nc), LAB 40%(+1), LDEM 5%(nc), Plaid 11%(+1) UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(-1) – Roger Scully’s analysis here. A new ComRes London poll for ITV London has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 46%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 9%, GRN 4% (tabs).

Note that despite what you may be seeing on Twitter, there is NOT a new ComRes Scottish poll – it’s just people getting excited over a small sub-sample of 70 spitting out the sort of strange and outlandish results that are inevitable with small sub-samples of 70 people.

369 Responses to “Monday polling round-up”

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  1. Neck and neck with the squeeze impacting increasing Lab+Cons but the 7 way debate may reverse some of this at least temporarily.

  2. Still neck and neck then?

  3. Looks pretty clear now that the ST YG was an outlier.

    It was very interesting to see how rapidly it sparked bouts of edginess within some Con ranks and plenty of comment elsewhere, but it is also interesting that Ed’s ratings changes don’t appear to be entirely based on one outlier.

  4. Anthony

    I note Peter Kellner said YG would move to polling every day after Easter.

    Can you confirm that the extra first weekend polls will be conducted on 10/11 and 11/12 April?

  5. Am I right in thinking this can be counted the last poll of March (as tomorrow’s YG will be listed as 1 April)?

    If so, the average share through March of Con and Lab is eye-wateringly close. Labour are still ahead but there’s something like 0.2 in it.

  6. Yep for VI looks like the same themes as yesterday. Big 2 on 70% which I suppose is quite significant. When is the last time they scored higher than 70? I can’t find that happening in the recent past. We could see that happen soon.

    Also that Conservative average will be ticking up to 34 soon. UKIP still ticking down on most polls. If they do get a debate bounce, I doubt it will last. It’s significant that the final TV “event” features the leaders of the 3 main parties. I read somewhere that Cameron is preparing for this one intensely, and not focusing as much on the others.

  7. To clarify, Cameron is preparing for the final TV event intensely. Not the 7-way debate.

  8. The one region that intrigues me is the Midlands -the home of working class tories.

    Are there any plans for polling there as the wales/midlands combo is not very helpful and the crossbreak bounces around all over the place.

  9. Hhmmm. A 70% aggregate Tory and Labour VI and even Populus has got it to 66%.

    I may have to eat some JimJam humble pie!


    P.S. Still no correlation apparent in Tory/Labour VI movement. While that situation continues, then advantage Labour is the way I read it. Zero sum game for the Tories to win.

  10. @ Simon K,

    It’s probably more correct to group the polls by fieldwork date, so tomorrow night’s YouGov would be the last March poll.

  11. Two outliers ComRes and YouGov.

    Two dead heats and an Ashcroft poll in line with ‘house effects’.

    ‘Big two edging up’.

    As you were.

    Let’s see whether the campaign proper can move any of these figures.

  12. @crossbat

    Hasn’t the Labour skew been pretty much neutralised? As I understand it, Labour/Tories on 34/34 would give them a very similar number of seats. If they’re both edging up it’s good for both of them.

  13. Omni
    For information – the last time Con+Lab got 70% or more in an actual GE was 2001 with 72%.

    It would be interesting. I think a lot of those working class Tories will go to UKIP, as will a good few Labour voters. There might be a few surprise results.

  14. Meanwhile, in “Ukip candidates dropping like flies” news, this just happened:

  15. FPT – re turnout

    We can look back at turnout in 2010 by demographic

    18-24 44%
    25-34 55%
    35-44 66%
    45-54 69%
    55-64 73%
    65+ 76%

    Social Class
    AB 76%
    C1 66%
    C2 58%
    DE 57%

    Owned 74%
    Mortgage 66%
    Social renter 55%
    Private renter 55%

    Ethnic group
    White 67%
    Non white 51%

    Now compare the voting intention statistics for those demographic groups. Conservative demographic voters turn out, Labour demographics don’t.

    If the polls are equal with no turnout weighting(Yougov), if you apply those turnout weightings doesn’t that translate into a clear Conservative lead over Labour?

    There is also an interesting parliament briefing paper for the 2010 election. It has turnout by who won the seat in 2010

    Con 68%
    LD 67%
    Lab 61%
    Other 60%

    This is not a new thing, so do the polls already have an inherit turnout weighting, otherwise they would have missed in 2010?

    Some polls do a 1-10 likely to vote, but I don’t see this much of a difference reflected in the results they are showing for Labour vs Conservative VI?

  16. Crossbat

    No correlation between labour and conservatives? I’d be astonished if that were the case.

    Purely on sampling I’d expect a correlation of -0.55. If you’ve measured that as zero then something very odd is going on.

    Can you confirm that is what you measured?

  17. @Pete B

    I too think that working class Midland Tories will be attracted to UKIP. I also think older working class Labour voters will be very tempted.

  18. I think the “Hell Yes” poll was notable in having a low Conservative score. Labour on 36 is only one point ahead of their current 5 poll Yougov score.

  19. @pete b

    Thanks for the info.


    Oh wow, brilliant

  20. @ Richard,

    Some of the pollsters use turnout weighing, some don’t. YouGov doesn’t for most of the election cycle but turns it on near the end (nowish?), so there’s no reason their 2010 prediction should be off.

    Poll respondents are an atypical and self-selecting group, though, so I’m not sure how much of the turnout disparity is already priced in to normal polling VIs. And the strength of the adjustment seems to vary from pollster to pollster. We really need someone to do a house effect graph for it.

  21. @CBat

    Could you explain your thinking on the “zero/non-zero sum” thing? If I’m being dense don’t hesitate to say so!


    It’s odd that for years the Monster Raving Loonies struggled to find candidates and now there are so many people around who are extremely eligible. Where were they when Sutchy needed them?

  22. Summary of tonight’s YouGov


    They have hit a five poll rolling average of 34.4%, for second time in three days, the highest of the year.

    The signs are that their VI is actual flattening off slightly, and their rise is slowing.


    They have had seven polls in a row above their 2015 mean, and a zenith of a 2015 five poll rolling average of 35%.

    Ed has legs at the moment.

    Lib Dem

    Eight of their last nine polls above their last 2015 mean.

    Their five poll rolling average is 7.8%, just below the record for 2015, 8%.


    Twelve consecutive polls below their 2015 mean, and for two days in a row a five poll rolling average of 12.4% (lowest of 2015).


    Twenty three of the last twenty four polls below their 2015 mean.

    A new 2015 low five poll rolling average of 5.6%

  23. @Alan

    Correlations for 2015 You Gov:

    Con Lab 0.13
    Con LD -0.01
    CON UKIP -0.54
    CON Green -0.47
    Lab LD -0.04
    Lab UKIP -0.56
    Lab Grn -0.33
    LD UKIP -0.26
    LD Grn 0.22
    UKIP Grn -0.41

  24. @Richard

    Very interesting re: turnout. I totally agree with the analysis. It is easy to answer a question on a survey for people who may not bother to go out and vote after all on the day. I suppose that is why there is weighting for ‘certainty to vote’ amongst pollsters.

    On the last thread someone asked what we thought the result would actually be in the end. Who really knows. I expect the Green vote to be down because their demographic seems to be very strong among the younger voter and these will be less likely to make it into the booth. Same with Labour. In the end I suppose that it all boils down to whether Labour manage any sort of recovery in Scotland which doesn’t seem likely. If not then I do expect the Conservatives to ‘win’ in terms of seat numbers and then to go on and, by hook or by crook, become the next government.

    This is not a partisan view as to be honest that will break my heart but it seems to me likely.

  25. More Kippers for the Tories to squeeze than Greens for Labour, but Ashcroft’s polling suggests plenty of Kippers aren’t going anywhere.

  26. I’m starting to question my predictions of the Lib Dems reaching the low double figures.. but we’ll see.

  27. @Catoswyn, Pete B

    Worth remembering that the West Midlands used to be Enoch country. His advice to voters to vote Labour in 74 because of Wilson’s referendum pledge lead to a higher swing to Labour there, IIRC.

    East Midlands is a different place again.

  28. @catmanjeff

    That’s interesting too. Maybe I should have more faith in ‘Labour’s legs’.

  29. Coefficient SE 95% CI 99% CI
    Con Lab 0.13 0.13 0.26 0.32
    Con LD -0.01 0.13 0.26 0.32
    CON UKIP -0.54 0.09 0.26 0.32
    CON Green -0.47 0.10 0.26 0.32
    Lab LD -0.04 0.13 0.26 0.32
    Lab UKIP -0.56 0.09 0.26 0.32
    Lab Grn -0.33 0.11 0.26 0.32
    LD UKIP -0.26 0.12 0.26 0.32
    LD Grn 0.22 0.12 0.26 0.32
    UKIP Grn -0.41 0.11 0.26 0.32

  30. @postage included

    True, I was thinking of the West Midlands when I said I could see UKIP being attractive to voters. I have no real understanding of the East Midlands at all.

  31. CMJ

    Thanks, very odd. The number of apparent swings then reversions made me think that it was largely sampling error.

    It does seem the trend of big two up is dominating any movements due to sampling.

    It seems that the big 2 rising at UKIP (sampling correlation -0.31) and Greens (-0.19) expense are the dominant trends.

  32. Postage
    Bang on. There’s a lot of hostility to the EU in the West Midlands, and the East Midlands has been a very strong area for UKIP in European, local, and by-elections.

  33. @Alan

    I have to say I don’t have any great explanations of the correlations myself.

    ‘Very odd’ sums it up !!

  34. @catmanjeff

    Are you saying that the referendum on the EU promised by Cameron might also drive traditional working class West Midland Labour voters into the arms of the Conservatives as well as potentially UKIP?

    Just checking my understanding.

  35. Remembering that London is about the size of Wales and Scotland put together – that ITV poll in London which shows a strong Labour showing in the capital must be good news for them in terms of seats. They are well up on 2010 in London.

  36. @Catoswyn

    Is that question for Pete B?

  37. CMJ

    Well other than Con/Lab a lot makes sense, it does seem as if it’s about big 2 vs the rest and they are moving together a lot more than you might think, even if there were no con/lab trend.

  38. @Catoswyn worth remembering that for most voters who express dislike of the EU it’s a relatively unimportant issue for them

  39. Thanks AW

    This is getting very interesting.

    A quick word on turnout. I agree that on the whole more Tory type voters will turn out than Labour voters. However, does that actually matter in terms of seats? If the Tories pile up millions of voters in the South of England but lose the key battles in the Midlands, London and North West marginals then it’s an empty victory.

  40. @ catmanjeff

    No, I realise it was for @postageincluded, So sorry.

    @chris in cardiff.

    I agree.

  41. 1951 election

    Tories: 302 seats
    Labour: 295 seats
    Combined Liberals: 25 seats


  42. I also think that 35% (and not 3%) is the magic number for Labour. It would be almost impossible for DC to hold onto power if Labour reaches 35%.

  43. @RAF

    Re: turnout

    However if Labour for instance are relying on some ‘squeeze’ from the Greens and the Green demographic is less likely to vote in the end then their opportunties for garnering extra ‘real votes’ is more limited.

  44. BTW… sorry for my excessive number of posts tonight. Usually I can only read and post at about four in the morning when you’ve all gone to bed and so never get any replies. I think I’ve just got over-excited!!!

  45. @Catoswyn

    Labour is already at 35%. It doesn’t need to squeeze any more votes.

  46. @raf
    ” It would be almost impossible for DC to hold onto power if Labour reaches 35%.”

    It plugged this into the May2015 seat calculator

    CON: 35%
    LAB: 35%
    LDEM: 8%
    UKIP: 11.83%
    And I took the SNP down to 40% in Scotland

    I got Tories on 282 seats, Labour on 271 seats.

    Is the calculator missing something – why is 35% the magic number?

  47. @Alan/Postageincluded

    I was speaking more figuratively than statistically when talking about correlations and zero sum games. A zero sum game is defined as a situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss and my use of the word correlation refers to the relationship between the Tory and Labour VIs in the polls.

    In layman’s terms, what I was trying to say that for the Tories to move into a position where they can win the election, they need to put on votes at Labour’s expense. Our old friend Eoin Clarke used to talk about “blues up, reds down” and I think that sort of zero sum game needs to start working for the Tories if they’re to get anywhere close to winning the election. While the decrease in the smaller party votes is splitting fairly evenly between the two main parties, there’s no net advantage to the Tories even as their vote share edges upwards. 35/35 represents an improvement of 6% for Labour over their 2010 performance and a 1% deterioration for the Tories. It doesn’t win it for Labour either, and they’d want to be chipping into the Tory vote too (reds up, blues down), but it seems to me that the VIs of the two main parties continue to behave largely independent of each other.

    While that situation persists, Miliband will be the happier is my overall view. He’ll panic when and if he sees the Labour vote seeping to the Tories. No evidence of that as yet.

  48. @Omni

    How does DC form a government on those numbers?

  49. @Pete B how did that EU comment get through moderation?

  50. @raf

    Sorry! I misread your post.

    DC can still form a government if Labour gets 35%. They need more of the UKIP vote. With CON on 38% (at the expense of UKIP), LAB on 35%, the Tories get 295 and *just* make it with the LD and DUP seats.

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