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. I have met a long time Lab/ New Lab supporter who is thinking that Lib may be better option than EM led Lab.
    How common is this?

  2. @Tony C

    “How common is this?”
    Not one I’ve heard.
    I did get an ‘I made a dreadful mistake last time (voting LD)’ last night.

  3. Con/Greens? I’ve met them. As a typical example, they’re students who grew up in Conservative supporting households (which have a cultural aversion to voting Labour) who aren’t terribly political, and supported the Greens for a bit because they seemed to be the next big thing. Now the hype’s slowed down slightly, they might vote the way they were brought up.

    Lab>Lib switchers this Parliament. Tony, you’re pretty much looking at Glenda Jackson’s son and that person you met. I’ve never met one, nor can I think that many of the (tiny) number of Lab>Lib switchers have done so because of EM’s leadership – though there may well be some who moved from Labour or Lab/Con seats into seats where Labour don’t stand a chance and are now voting LD tactically.

  4. The YG England and Wales crossbreak (Con 37, Lab 36) is approximately a 4.5% Con-Lab swing. That would net Labour 53 Tory seats (up to and including Vale of Glamorgan).

  5. If the Tories are now almost back to their 2010 percentage of the vote and if the Labour vote has increased from its 2010 level to be level pegging with the Tories now, through the switching of the left wing LD’s who were always Labour really but voted tactically to keep out the Tories in seats where Labour could never win, then surely this will swing many Lib held seats to the Tories?

    Or, those 2010 tactical voters will again vote tactically on the day, so pushing up the lib national vote and reducing the labour national vote. At its extreme that could push the labour vote nationally back down to its 2010 level.
    Either way, that is good for the Tories, is it not?
    Or am I missing something?

  6. @RAF though neither the Ashcroft constituency poll nor the specific Welsh polls bring VoG into play for Labour; isn’t the Welsh Con-Lab swing smaller than the England one?

  7. Talking of Greens I was wondering what impact the Greens standing in nearly every seat will have this time around on the Labour vote. The talk on here last year was about an improvement in the Lab vote because Greens wouldn’t stand everywhere I remember saying to a Lab canvasser in 2010 that if there was a Green candidate I’d be voting for them (although probably would have been different in a marginal) and otherwise Labour so that was one extra vote they got in 2010 when the Greens didn’t stand and there must be a fair bit of that went on in 2010.

    I looked at the top 20 Lab targets and it was about 50:50 whether a Green stood last time, so even if they took 1% that could mess up the swing in the marginals.

    I guess though this is already factored into UNS on current polling as anyone saying Green will be recorded whether they have a candidate standing or not but not sure if this still won’t skew some results in the marginals

  8. It is being said that C+L is up, over 70%.
    Someone above said that the last time this happened in a GE was 2001.
    In 2001 the turnout was under 60%. Then 70% of the vote meant 42% of the electorate. If that is repeated in May with C and L equal, the “winner” will have the support of just over 20% of the electorate.
    All the polls express their percentages as % of total voting. ie the figures for the various parties add to 100%.
    Usually in the tabs, the figures for don’t know +won’t vote are about 20-25%, implying turnouts of 75% like last century.
    This century turnout average is about 62%.
    That means that of those expressing a VI to pollsters, something like 15-20% of the total will not vote. The key question is “How are these spread across the parties?” Who will lose vote share on the day by ‘supporters’ not voting? If Council elections are any guide, the answer is ‘the major parties’.
    Another possibility is that last century voters not enamoured of either L or C or perhaps LD just did not vote, or held their noses, with nowhere else to go.
    Early this century fewer voted (especially younger voters?)
    Will this trend continue, or will the unhappy vote for the smaller parties in good numbers, as the polls imply? Do the pollsters really believe that turnouts will go back to the high 70s?
    Another blog suggests: ‘in Guido’s opinion, Nigel Farage is on to something with the vote winning campaign slogan: “Sod the lot. Vote UKIP” ‘

  9. Robert
    Yes, I’ve had the same thought. However the constituency polling doesn’t bear this out.
    I haven’t worked out what the flaw in your logic is, apart from the fact that some of those 2010 LDs did live in Lab-Con marginals, it’s just the evidence doesn’t back it up.

  10. @Chris in Cardiff

    Yes, I don’t actually consider it at all likely that Lab will take VoG. I was merely stating what a uniform 4.5% swing over E&W as a whole could net Labour. VoG requires a Con-Lab swing of just under 4.5%.

    Perhaps as you suggest it would be better to use separate crossbreaks for England and Wales.

  11. oldnat, anyone else..

    I can’t link to the yougov poll — would you tell me the yougov scottish crossbreak please.

  12. Robert

    This is the flaw in your argument: ” the switching of the left wing LD’s who were always Labour really but voted tactically to keep out the Tories in seats where Labour could never win,”

    They were plenty of left wing LDs who voted LD because they thought New Labour was to the right of where they stood. This happened in all constituencies, not just seats where Labour had no chance of winning. These are the LDs that have deserted the LD party for Labour as they cannot stomach the idea that the party they voted for propped up the Tories. In addition they can see that the present Labour Party has moved to the left.

    This will help Labour in all seats, not just seats where they have no chance of winning and will therefore help Labour in marginal Lab/Tory seats to give them an increased vote with the probability that Labour will take a number of Tory marginals on the strength of it.

  13. RAF

    you’re absolutely right. some of us have been pointing out this england & wales swing ad nauseam, but many people still don’t understand this.

    That’s why I think the tories will be very surprised and disappointed on May 7th.

    all the polling suggests a 4-5% swing from Con to Lab in England & Wales. This suggests a large number of seat losses…they won’t all be consistent, in as much as the tories will hold more marginal seats and could lose less marginal ones. I think Vale of Glamorgan is a hold, for example, while Norwich North, High Peak and Dudley South could prove more challenging.

    Robert Newark…

    What about the lib dem to labour switchers in the lab/con marginals….This has always been the tories’ greatest liablity this parliament. Labour won’t win these seats because of tory voters switching to them. There has been very little evidence of that this parliament. What there has been evidence of is liberal to labour switchers…the ” crutch”, mike smithson talks about, for labour this coming election.

    people who are optimistic about the tories’ chances are quite prepared to countenance the convenient collapse of the lib dem vote in con/lib dem marginals, but forget about the far more damaging lib dem collapse in the labour/con marginals. It’s very bizarre.

  14. Norbold,

    you’re right…Robert Newark’s intervention was bizarre, but the tory on 295 seats crowd all think that the lib dem vote will fall precisely in those lib dem/tory marginals while somehow holding firm in lab/con marginals.

    The polling has in fact shown the opposite tendency. the lib dem vote has been quite resilient in actual lib dem held seats while falling away very sharply in seats which they do not hold, with the attendant consequences in the lab/con marginals.

  15. @dave

    Turnout tends to go up in close elections and/or if there is a clear choice between the main parties. Consensus is that both of those conditions apply this time, certainly more so than it has for a while. I think it’s pretty unlikely that turnout would be down in the low 60s like it was in 2001 / 2005. Low 70s is possible.

  16. @andyo

    For the little that its worth, the YG Scottish cross-break today is SNP 45, Lab 25, Con 18.

  17. According to the May15 website the poll of polls shows Con at 34.5 and Lab at 34.1.

    Therefore the big two are not at 70%+ or even close to it and the Conservatives are not yet back to 2010 levels of support or very close to it.(the problem is that polls tend to report GB vote share and election results report UK vote share – so this is an easy trap into which to fall.)

  18. Little Red Rock

    “Therefore the big two are not at 70%+ or even close to it and the Conservatives are not yet back to 2010 levels of support or very close to it.”

    Of course you’re right…there’s all the usual hype about tories getting 37% and all the rest of it. the 2014 budget was the game changer, then it was the euro elections, where labour failed to perform well, autumn statement, then it was the 2015 budget…I am in no way a labour partisan, rather the opposite, but the gloss which the tory press and sympathisers put on polling numbers doesn’t do the tories any good at all.

  19. @ James Peel

    I agree, they should be pushing every vote counts and Vote Nige, Get Ed, not embedding complacency. Curious tactic

  20. @ James

  21. @norbold

    Yes, at one point I thought the LD->Lab switchers would flake back to LD — but it does not seem to have happened (yet).

  22. To call someone else a nimby surely implies that you are yourself not a nimby? This implies that you’d welcome a young offenders rehabilitation centre, ex-sex offender, windfarm, coal mine or waste recycling plant next door to the ivory tower?

  23. @ Norbold

    I agree 100% with your post and that is why I don’t see the LD vote rising to 10%. Of course that is largely academic as the main issue is how the LD’s do in the LD held marginal and that is something of an unknown still.

    Even where the LD’s are in a clear second place last time it ought to be fairly obvious with anyone wanting to register an ABL or ABT that it won’t make any difference to the result given the national LD polling, unless it was ultra marginal. Those people are also unlikely to get many horse leaflets to even suggest it was possible.

  24. @James Peel

    “The usual hype”?

    I think you’re inventing this. I see no “hype”. TOH remains quietly confident, as is his wont. “Small Tory Majority” seems to be an article of faith rather than an opinion from TOH, but we’re used to that.

    Which leaves Robert Newark, who is merely speculating about where tactical Labour to LD switchers of the past may go, and makes no predictions about the election at all.

    I think most knowledgeable RoC contributors are pretty sanguine about Cameron’s chances. He’s still in the fight, yes, with a theoretical possibility that he could top the poll and have enough LD and DUP friends left to form a government. But that is far from the most likely outcome. The (inevitable) peeling away of UKIP support back to where it came from is benefiting both the Tories and Labour, pretty much equally. In the end that should lead to a Labour victory because of the arithmetic.

    However, I do still maintain that the Tories are doing pretty well to have enough got back into the fight. This indeed does go against the “hype” about the election having been in the bag for Labour years ago, the impossibility of swingback and the guaranteed Labour vote of minimum 37% (2010 vote plus 7% from red Dems – remember that calculation?).

    We are in a situation where a 3% further Labour to Tory swing would see Cameron back in Downing Street. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to expect that to happen, but it is well within the realms of what can happen in an election campaign.

  25. *pretty well to have got back. Not sure where that “enough” crept in.

  26. @Roger M

    Thanks for the data on fracking. Thought there might be some of the nimby thing going on, but it is indeed greater than I supposed. The people keenest on fracking, are keenest that it doesn’t happen anywhere near them? Fracktastic. Who knew?

  27. @james peel

    “there’s all the usual hype about tories getting 37%”

    If you’re referring to my example from yesterday, that was just an example to show getting to 295 isn’t exactly impossible. I wouldn’t call it hype – the majority of people on this website disagree with my prediction that the Tories will win ~300 seats.

    Also I never said the budget would change anything, in fact I predicted it would have a negligible effect on VI.

    I agree, they should be pushing every vote counts and Vote Nige, Get Ed, not embedding complacency.

    Isn’t the problem for them that UKIP-tending voters may view both Con & Lab as barely distinguishable in the way that many 2010 LDs seem to have done?

    Absent new Scottish polling, Vote SNP get Con doesn’t seem to have been effective in Scotland, so Vote UKIP get Lab may have as little effect in England, particularly if repeated endlessly in the Con-leaning press.

  29. MrBeeswax

    You ought to qualify that with “if it was the most appropriate site”

  30. @LittleRedRock

    You’re quite right to remind us all of the rolling average of polls and to chide us for becoming pre-occupied with an isolated poll, or clutch of polls. There are some pollsters who have routinely and historically recorded higher vote shares for the two main parties, and those that haven’t, and none of us really know which pollster’s differing methodology is giving us the more accurate picture.

    That said, there is some evidence across all the pollsters that the Tory and Labour VIs are edging upwards, certainly at this juncture in the pre-election campaign., but I still hold to the view that this trend might go steadily into reverse the more voters see of the respective parties. Farage, Sturgeon and Bennett are going to get plenty of free hits over the next few weeks and if yesterday was anything to go by, the Tory/Labour slugfest still has plenty of scope for further voter alienation.

    As for Labour’s overall position, I rather agree with the view of a party insider quoted in the Sunday press. He felt that the polls would continue to be ” all over the place” as the campaign continued, but it was clear that the Crosby predicted post-Budget crossover and Tory lead had failed to materialise in March. Accordingly, and much to the surprise of many inside the party, he thought that Labour were “right in it” and with half a chance.

    Seemed a fair summary to me.


    “Given the evidence yesterday whereby:

    1) Following Mr Cameron’s announcement that he will not increase VAT, the number of people thinking he would increase VAT rose, and
    2) Following Mr Balls’ announcement that he would not increase NICs, the number of people of thinking he would increase NICs rose,

    It strikes me that the party which will do better (out of the two) will be the one which shuts up, makes no comment, and prays that the other side will have a car crash.

    This is of course a largely tongue in cheek comment, but there is an element of concern that the public have become so sceptical about politicians that they assume that when they open their mouths they are lying. “I wont increase VAT” = “I will increase VAT”. “I wont increase NICs” = “I will increase NICs.”


    Problem is, even if they make no announcement, that doesn’t mean you can trust them either. Did anyone say anything about storage taxes before the election? No. They still taxed it though. Whether they rule it out, or say nothing at all, either way, can’t trust the buggers…

  32. Neil and Omni

    The hype is from the elements of the media; i think our community of posters on this site is more temperate and sanguine, as you say Neil…you should have read the headlines after the 2014 budget, and tom newton dunn’s various tweets.

    on the whole, people here think some kind of labour/snp/pc etc. supported govt. is likely. the punters out there are less convinced.

  33. @Neil A – Absolutely. There is the normal to and fro as polls ebb this way and that but on here most people who support Cons aren’t hyping anything – they tend to just contradict some of the more hopeful assertions from the other side.

    I am doubtful that Con can win a majority, but I haven’t yet had the chance to chat to 50 million or so people that will make this decision, so I accept this is still a possibility.

    The Tory campaign messages are hitting the press stands now, and they are quite powerful. While I find the relentless personalised attacks demeaning and distasteful, many others may well respond to them, and I think Labour has a real fight on it’s hands, with the Scottish situation quite possibly terminal to Ed’s ambitions.


    “Absent new Scottish polling, Vote SNP get Con doesn’t seem to have been effective in Scotland, so Vote UKIP get Lab may have as little effect in England, particularly if repeated endlessly in the Con-leaning press.”


    One thing the experience of this parliament has shown, highlighted by the Independence campaign, is that what with the devolved powers and Barnett and what have you, Scots are rather more insulated from the effects of a Conservative government these days than England, so they can vote with less regard as to whether Cons get reelected or not…

  35. Alec,

    good moderate stuff alec. I think the chances of the tories getting a majority are nil, and i haven’t spoken to the 45 or so million that make up the electorate!

  36. TNS poll of GB

    The full voter intention figures are as follows: LAB 32% (0) CON 33% (0) LIB DEM 8% (+1) UKIP 16%(-1) GREEN 5% (+1) Other 7% (0).

  37. Seems reasonable to suppose Cons might win a majority. Few percent swing from a good – or fortuitous – campaign, polls out by a couple of percent, and Cammo gets a few more years of date nights at Number 10.

  38. TNS tables are nonsensical. SNP support seems to be evenly spread across all of GB???

  39. If polls are out by a couple of percent in Tories’ favour, of course…

  40. @carfew

    According to a Number Cruncher analysis I read a while ago, it’s really difficult for the Conservatives to get higher than ~315. You’d need a Tory lead of around 7.5% over Labour for a Tory majority. Similarly, a Labour majority would need a Labour lead of around 7% over the Conservatives.

  41. It still seems perfectly reasonable to me that if the Tories are polling at 35%, which they have at times, then a bit of differential turnout and a quite modest boost from shy Tories, brings them to 37%. This is maybe not enough for them to form a government but it is close and not unrealistic. Still everything to play for in my book and, given the cards that Cameron had to play with in this parliament that is quite an achievement.

  42. @Omni

    Three percent swing, which adds six percent to the lead, polls out by two percent, job done.

  43. @Omni

    Not saying it’s likely, but feasible, that Cammo gets more quality time chillaxing with the vino at Chequers…

  44. @carfrew

    Can’t argue with that

  45. “while someone called @Colin was posting of the Cameron plan to recruit hundreds of thousands of community volunteers under the Big Society initiative as being ‘transformational’ if they could get into No 10”


    Oh to have been there at the time. I miss all the best stuff…

  46. The TNS poll just out supports what all the polls, taken together, are saying: no change over the last week and that the two main parties are neck and neck.

    …. Scots are rather more insulated from the effects of a Conservative government these days than England, so they can vote with less regard as to whether Cons get reelected or not…

    Point taken, but that doesn’t stop the Mirror’s Scottish sister banging away along the vote SNP get Con line, presumably in the hope that it will help LiS. Equally, it doesn’t stop Murdoch’s “Scottish” Sun from effectively endorsing the SNP while its London sister rails against the idea of nasty nats being involved in the governance of England.

    I suspect neither has much effect in changing opinion, but we will have to wait for new Scottish polling to find out.

    I have no evidence, but I can’t help but feel that UKIP voters just re-engaging with politics may have difficulty in believing Vote UKIP get Lab will resonate with 2014 voters who saw UKIP emerge victorious last May as well as the two recent by-elections.

    They would be wrong in expecting UKIP to do as well this time, of course, but unless their attention span is long enough to understand why that is the case then they may well see the Con press as propaganda.

  48. @ XbatXI

    I agree with all of that.

    Lab and especially Con seem to be nudging up over the last month as the smaller parties get squeezed. The debate of seven may halt or reverse that.

  49. JAMES
    TNS tables are nonsensical. SNP support seems to be evenly spread across all of GB???

    Odd, to put it mildly!

    SNP on 2% vs SGP on 5% in Scottish cross-break!

    Could Nicola be ousted as FM before Thursday’s debate?


    “Point taken, but that doesn’t stop the Mirror’s Scottish sister banging away along the vote SNP get Con line, presumably in the hope that it will help LiS.”


    Well, yes, that does indeed seem a futile endeavour if:
    – Scots quite like the idea of getting their own back for the eighties by visiting a Tory government on England now that Scots are more insulated, while getting more bargaining power at the same time
    – LiS doesn’t actually exist, as we have been informed by some of our Scotsly brethren

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