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. By Friday afternoon I will be in East Preston, West Sussex and better able to start understanding the current UK GE first hand, while talking to my own immediate family who are apparently considering four parties between them: UKIP, Conservative, LD and Green.

    That said I was looking at the latest Comres and ICM London polls last night in which I found it intriguing that both pollsters had congruency with Conservative at 32%, UKIP at 9% and near agreement on LD at 8% and 9% respectively.

    But it is around Labour and Green that Comres and ICM had a major disagreement in that their polling taken between March 20-24 and March 20-26 shows Labour at 42% and 46% and Green at 8% and 4%.

    And this is the dilemna, at least for me in this election as to who to believe Comres or ICM. And so as suggested I went back and looked at the pre-EU 2014 polling for Comres and ICM, May 16-18th for Comres and May 14-15th for ICM, where I cannot find access to their Green values but note that their Labour ones were 27% and 29% respectively, when in fact Labour achieved 25.4% GB wide.

    In addition to the London polls I then consider the latest March 13 to 19 ICM Scotland and March 24 to 27 Wales YouGov polls in which LD values are 6% and 5% respectively, as compared to 7.1% and 3.95% at the EU election.

    And then I go back and consider that LD at 8% or 9% in the polls in London was in the exact same place with a YouGov poll in London on May 6-8, prior to the EU election 9%, except that on election day they attained only 6.9% in London.

    Both Comres and ICM were spot on with their GB wide prediction for LD at 7%, where LD achieved 6.9%.

    So is Labour really biting that hard into Green support as You Gov, TNS, Comres and Populos say with their finding that Green is at 4% to 5% or are Ashcroft, Panlebase and Opinium the more accurate ones with a 6% to 7% view so far?

    That can all change within the twinkle of an eye in an election period and I have seen a Green Party lose 25% plus of it’s support in a pre-election period and stay there for the rest of the election right up to E-Day. Go even lower too.

    The dilemna for me is that I have never seen that happen with a Green Party so active and with as many candidates running as the E & W Party has, especially when that party is included the tv leaders debates.

    In 2008 in Canada we had a five way tv leaders debate in two languages (which was brutal for the Quebecois, as I do not think that they had ever realized how badly political leaders could slaughter their language in public debate), but at the end of the campaign the Green emerged with 6.8% of the vote as compared to 4.5% in 2006.

    In contrast in 2011 in a brutal campaign in which social democrats rose from 18.2% in 2008 to 30.6% in 2011 the Green Party was squeezed back to 3.9%, but it was in a situation where total emphasis was focused on electing the leader in her seat of Saanich-Gulf Islands, in British Columbia.

    Not only did the leader not appear in the tv debates but she barely left her seat during the whole campaign. In efffect the Green Party was almost invisible in the 2011 election as compared to 2008, something I think the Green Party in the UK can circumvents through effective use of social media, if the mainstream UK media decides to lower the coverage level after the April 16 debate.

    That said one does wonder whether one of the oldest Green parties in the industrialized part of Europe will make a breakthrough in 2015, noting that because of FPTP it has not made the same gains as other Green parties in continental Europe, Australia or New Zealand – but it does seem odd that in Canada under the same FPTP electoral system Greens appear to be slightly ahead of the UK in countrywide, but not local elections.

    ITV/ComRes poll out tonight of the 40 LiS seats

    Pedantically speaking, there are precisely ZERO LiS seats today, because there are no MPs. Even the PM is not an MP any more. Of course there are no SNP, Con, LD, PC et al seats, either and nor will there be before VE Day, barring the odd early declaration.

  3. I was wondering how partisan this place gets during the election itself. Had a look in the archives – Anthony locks the comments section during the count. I’m relieved and disappointed in equal measure.


    Thanks for that London poll. That’s roughly where the Conservatives were in 2010, and another *big* improvement for Labour. All main parties gaining.

  4. @Roger M

    In my defence, that assumes one trusts the swingometer and stuff…

  5. Any one know why Lord Ashcroft is stepping down as a peer

  6. Maybe he wants to be an MP!!

  7. @neilj

    He explains why here

    Basically he doesn’t have the time to do House of Lords stuff, in addition to his other activities.

  8. @neilj
    He explains why here
    Basically he doesn’t have the time to do House of Lords stuff, in addition to his other activities.
    March 31st, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks, a principaled decision, good on him

  9. “I was wondering how partisan this place gets during the election itself. Had a look in the archives – Anthony locks the comments section during the count. I’m relieved and disappointed in equal measure.”


    I dunno, it was very civilised during the Indy ref. The Natterz said goodnight and went to bed early, which was a bit different, ‘cos every other night of the year there are Scots peeps on the board all night.

    [I only locked it because the server couldn’t cope with the traffic – I got half a million page views that single day alone. I set up a blogspot blog as a backup that had comments open. The blog is more robust these days, so hopefully the same thing won’t be necessary, but time will tell – AW]

  10. Ladbrokes Politics says “Micky Ashcroft is 100/1 to be next Tory Leader”

    They don’t say whether it’s the Belize Tory Party or not.

  11. The London polls are looking healthy for Labour, although my memory tells me that it doesn’t necessarily translate into that many seat gains.

    However, seeing some posters suggest that an average 19% swing against Labour in Scotland is an improvement just shows how huge the changes up their have been.

  12. Coming back to turnout, I can see some comments on twitter that LiS think turnout will save them in Scotland, as they think turnout will be a lot lower than that seen in the Independence referendum.

    The SNP seems to have the same problem Labour have in England, their demographic is the one that doesn’t typically turn out in elections.(the referendum being the obvious exception)

    How sensitive are the Scotland projections to differential turnout – eg do we have a seat estimate that is very different if turnout is 80% vs 70% vs 60%?

  13. @carfrew

    Interesting. Fair enough, then. Referendum night was good – I stayed up the entire night with Huw Edwards, managed to last until David Cameron’s morning speech then fell asleep.

  14. I did a quick calculation.

    The 19% Lab to SNP swing in tonights ITV poll of Labour seats in Scotland is about the same as the Lab to SNP swing found in last weeks ICM poll, which was done for Scotland as a whole.

    (Swing compared to the 2010 GE in Scotland).

    Does this swing

  15. Yougov London Evening Standard Poll taken between the 26th & 30th March shows:

    Lab 45
    Con 34
    LD 8
    UKIP 8
    Green 4
    Other 1

  16. @Omni

    It was even more civilised during the EU elections. Basically, AW should only open the board for comments during elections, and he’d never have any modding to do…

  17. @omnishambles

    ”Interesting. Fair enough, then. Referendum night was good – I stayed up the entire night with Huw Edwards, managed to last until David Cameron’s morning speech then fell asleep.”

    I stayed up through the night and was too wired to sleep at all in the morning – it wasn’t until I was having my evening meal on the Friday when I fell asleep in my dining chair, spoon in hand…!

  18. Richard

    I haven’t seen any such turnout projections.

    In any case, I’m not sure that in the current political climate that the traditional patterns of turnout will automatically still apply.

  19. Sorry I posted prematurely.

    The 19% Lab to SNP swing in tonights ITV poll of Labour seats in Scotland is about the same as the Lab to SNP swing found in last weeks ICM poll, which was done for Scotland as a whole.

    This strikes me as strange, as the swing should probably be greater in Labour seats than on average.

  20. @Richard 4.29

    While I wouldn’t dispute your point on SNP support base demographic usual turnout behaviour, I strongly suspect that new SNP supporters whatever their demographic profile are much more engaged and more likely to vote than is usual for their group. All the growth in SNP membership points towards this. Not only that, but it should give SNP a huge amount of workers to help mobilise the rest of their vote.


  21. @profhoward

    That assumes that the swing will be broadly similar in the other 19 seats. If anything, it might be a bit lower. The swings in the Ashcroft polls tended to be a bit lower in places where there is a significant Tory presence.

    It won’t be massively different, because there is also a LD -> SNP swing and the LD are defending 11 seats. Plus one of the 19 “others” was in fact won by Labour in 2010 (Falkirk).

    The trouble is that ComRes haven’t done any Scottish polling before so there isn’t anything to compare it with.

  22. The Standard has some analysis of the London poll here, includes discussion of marginal seats

  23. To be more concrete:

    ICM (last week) “full Scottish” had LAB 27 SNP 43
    General Election (scotland) was LAB 42 SNP 20

    So that’s a swing of 19% from the last GE.

    I would expect a larger swing in areas where Labour is strong – the seats labour won last time. But ITV give a swing of 19% from Lab to SNP in these seats.

    So that *could* indicate an improvement for Labour?

    I am just trying to interpret ITV’s poll as best as possible.

  24. @James

    As I recall, the non-Labour Scottish seats Ashcroft polled were only a few points below the swing in Labour-held seats though. The difference was pretty minor. I remember being surprised at how small the difference was.

  25. James – thanks.

  26. @J. R. Tomlin / @profhoward

    For comparison, the Lab -> SNP swings in the non-Labour seats Ashcroft poll were as follows:

    Aberdeenshire W 13.5%
    Dumfries-shire 17%
    Gordon 13.5%
    Inverness 20%
    Ross, Skye 15.5%

    The swings are lower in the non-Labour seats, but are still pretty big. This is despite Labour not having much to lose in some of them.

  27. Thanks, James. I plead guilty to being too lazy to check whether my memory was correct.

  28. James

    Someone (you perhaps) posted the Ashcroft Lab to SNP swings (on the last page of this thread) in labour seats, they seemed to be a good bit higher than those ones you posted.

    So I think since the ITV/Comres swings seem to be lower than Ashcrofts, the ITV/Comres result could be presented as a modest improvement for Labour?

  29. James

    I just looked back and I see that you concluded 19% seems to be an improvement for Labour.

    So I am just “catching up” with your thinking!

  30. Of course before the House of Lords Reform Act of 2014:

    it wasn’t actually possible to resign from the House of Lords. At most you had to ask for leave of absence, so that you could, for example, stay an MEP when the rules against double-jobbing came in.

    The same Act also brought in a rule that members could be suspended if they failed to attend at least once per session. Most of those who have since resigned (about a dozen) seem to be Lords who are too elderly or unwell to be able to fulfil this commitment or possibly elected hereditary peers who felt that they should vacate their slot to someone who could play a more active part in the House.

    Lord Ashcroft certainly seems to be hale and hearty enough to continue and was receiving answers to written questions as recently as two weeks ago, so it can’t be for the same sort of reasons as the others. I can’t help wondering if his residency and tax status have got more to do with this and he thinks that a future government might be more rigorous in enforcing or extending the conditions it places on members of the House.

  31. Comparing swings determined by different pollsters using different methodologies is a rather unproductive activity.

    One thing I’ll be looking for in the ComRes data is whether there is any sign of Tories in seats like Eastwood, Stirling or D&G holding their noses (and any other appropriate parts of their anatomy) to vote Labour.

  32. OLDNAT

    Looking at the Scottish YouGov crossbreak trends, it struck me that there had been a slight rise in Labour, without a fall in SNP in the last couple of weeks (I was looking at the Statgeek site). Have you noticed that? Or am I just seeing things that are not there?

  33. My lighter moment of the day – PJ O’Rourke this morning on the Today programme saying he was down in Thanet the other day and was shown the ‘rough area’ …. compared to Baltimore??


    “I hope the Progressive Alliance including the SNP can and do prevent some of the austerity-light ideas Lab seem to be promising and if I have given the impression I did not, then it was entirely accidental and I apologise.”


    But now you are shifting to specific policies, whereas my original point and our initial exchange was about whether SNP taking votes off Labour, could hamper Labour’s ability to form a government, or hamper them in government. Or equally, assist the Tories by hampering Labour.

    You may be quite happy with the policy implications of this, but it doesn’t alter the fact that there are more ways SNP can hamper Labour than you originally contended, and indeed ways for SNP to assist Tories by hampering Labour.

    You are making a different case now: that it would be cool as far as you are concerned because you would like the policy outcomes you hope would result.

  35. @Barba

    “I still have no idea what my “error” is! I have no recollection of suggesting that a Lab minority government would be better for the Lab high command than their having an overall majority.”

    The error – which I suspect you are aware of – was to contend that the ONLY way SNP taking votes off Labour would be helpful for Tories and bad for Labour’s electoral prospects would be if Tories were to “sell” that SNP would have influence. I pointed out that there were additional ways you had omitted.

    Oh, and to throw in the partisan thing, that may have felt smart at the time but it really wasn’t.

  36. So does he keep his honorific, or will he have to get a new website name?

  37. just had a look at wikipedia polls 2015 averages… I know people have commented on this stuff but it is interesting

    Con Lab Lib Dem Ukip Green
    Jan 2015 ave 31.8% 33.2% 7.4% 15.2% 6.7%
    Feb 2015 ave 32.5% 33.5% 7.6% 14.4% 6.4%
    Mar 2015 ave 33.5% 33.5% 7.6% 14.1% 5.7%

    The tories are the only party who have noticeably picked up support….labour have stayed still as have the lib dems, ukip and the greens have fallen back.

    as someone else commented there are some green to tory switchers in the last month….

    The rate at which the tories are picking up support should mean that they finish ahead on the popular vote, given the trend of about 0.85% a month, I would expect them to be ahead of labour on polling day, by 1%, but any more needs a game changing event. If the trends instensify, you might expect

    con 35%
    lab 33.6%
    lib dem 7.6%
    ukip 13%
    green 5%

    But then labour could get a bounce from more exposure, so it could end up at 34.2% or something for both main parties… I expect both the tories and labour to be in the 33.5%-34.5% range, but think the tories could outperform this a touch; looking at the numbers i don’t expect labour to get more than 34.5%.

    These numbers essentially equate to a soft left bloc controlling the house of commons, comprised of labour, the snp and various nationalist parties.

  38. @Barba

    “Of course not, but I can predict with a fair degree of confidence that they’ll do nothing to bring a Lab government down.”


    Labour will be relieved to learn of this. They would be able to do what they like without regard to SNP wishes.

  39. @Barba

    “Yes. I have been hoping for more than half a century that the UK would eventually become a democracy but to date that particular Lab/Con alliance has thwarted all attempts to make it one.”


    Well, the electoral system is a favourite topic of many on here. They just don’t shoehorn it into every debate as a distraction…

  40. Can someone please help me an explain what the terms Labour Loyal and Labour Disloyal in the YouGov London poll today means and how they are applied in weighting?

    “Political Party Identification
    Labour Loyal 205 277
    Labour Disloyal 114 128
    Conservative 278 298
    Liberal Democrat 158 117
    Others 60 32
    None / Don’t know 250 213”

  41. @OldNat

    I was thinking about the strange YouGov crossbreaks of last week and I have a theory.

    The party identifiers %ages are fixed at 2010. People are asked when they join the panel which party they identify with. Now as long as all your respondents joined by 2010 you are OK.

    But later joiners may have changed ID from 2010 Lab to SNP so there will be more SNP Ids in that sample. Therefore if you ask too many people that joined in the last 2-3 years your weighting will be completely wrong,. This would explain the high number of identifiers that have to be weighted down..

    I wonder if YouGov have figured this out and done some subtle adjustment somewhere. I don’t necessary expect AW to confirm probably YouGov secret but it would be nice to know if my theory is correct.

  42. Prof Howard

    The dip in the SNP VI Mon-Thu last week was obvious – though the beneficiaries seemed to vary –

    Lab on Mon/Tue : UKIP – Wed : LD – Thu

    Last two SNP VI have been 45.

    With YG’s methodology, adjusting for Scottish voting patterns seems fairly secure for the SNP (because of the contiguity of the geographic region and Scottish political activity) but I’m less convinced that it measures distribution of non-SNP votes as well.

    It might do, but Anthony has never been wholly clear on which changes were introduced on 5 Jan and exactly how they work.

  43. @hawthorn

    He keeps his honorific. Lord Ashcroft remains Lord Ashcroft.

  44. So if the Conservatives manage to cobble together some sort of government after the election, however temporary, maybe their first electoral reform will not be AV/PR etc given their aversion to it but rather the introduction of EVEL asap. For them this would ensure that they neutralise the SNP, grab back control of English matters and, in effect, become the most powerful party again.

  45. omnishambles
    “I was wondering how partisan this place gets during the election itself.”

    Well, I recall in the run up to at the 2010 GE that AW would open special threads that had no monitoring so that participants could strongly criticise others and politicians. I doubt we’ll have these threads this time – and no bad thing I think.

  46. The tables for the YouGov Evening Standard poll are here:

    they’re fairly basic (there are probably more questions to come) but at least we have the weighting data for this one.

    The headline VI figures imply Labour gaining five seats off the Conservatives, though this includes Harrow East which Ashcroft found to be a Con hold in December[1] and three off the Lib Dems[2]. They also imply the Lib Dems losing the three SW seats (Kingston, Carshalton and Sutton) to the Tories, but this seems much less certain as all three show healthy Lib Dem leads in Ashcroft and last year’s local elections weren’t too bad, they could well hang on to all three.

    The ES commentary suggests that the decline in UKIP may help the Conservatives, but this may be a bit simplistic. Comparing the tables with the previous ones suggests that if anything the movement may have been more complex with Lab to Con and vice versa both on the rise.

    [1] The other seats: Hendon, Enfield North, Brentford and Isleworth, Croydon Central, and Ealing Central and Acton have all shown healthy leads in Ashcroft.

    [2] Brent Central is a cert and Hornsey and Wood Green should be too, though the internal poll Mark Pack released suggested it might be a bit closer than Ashcroft found. Bermondsey is generally agreed to be too close to call.

  47. What do the more statistically engaged ukpr posters think of monthly averages?

    I have to say looking at the wiki polls averages with practically zero up lift for labour this year, I am beginning to revise down my estimate of their seats. I though 290 was possible for labour, but i would revise them down to 275-80 or so. the tories could end up with this range too…what a mess..

  48. @carfrew

    “Labour will be relieved to learn of this. They would be able to do what they like without regard to SNP wishes.”

    No because most issues are not confidence ones especially with the FTPA.

  49. @Hireton

    Yes, focusing on the confidence aspect underplays the power SNP would wield. Which is prolly why Barba chose to focus on that…

  50. @Peter

    Fine as a general guide for historical proof of change. No more a tool for prediction than tea leaves.

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