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 think the Conservatives will relish a Labour/SNP link up even if, in the short term, it knocks them out of government. It will enable the EVEL narrative to be developed fully. For them EVEL is the end game that solves a whole set of their problems. Guaranteed long term power in England.

  2. “No more a tool for prediction than tea leaves.”


    Has anyone tried tea leaves, just to make sure? I mean, it can’t be worse than this regression to the mean thingy that needs constant massaging can it?

  3. @peter crawford

    I’m not one of the posters you refer to but I’ll answer anyway

    It’s a good indication that swingback has been happening. But we don’t know how long it will continue. If it will stop and start again. There are a *lot* of people who haven’t made up their minds.

    This is even more useful than looking at the monthly averages

  4. Guymonde

    It might be better than having no CVI question, but having CVI alone might be better than SVI + CVI. However there are good reasons for keeping both in there for the long term usefulness of the question.

    I guess we’ll only really know come the election and if the differences between the two answers over predicted the effect, they might need to dampen down the effect. Ask both, then correct in the methodology. That way you keep a track of how people respond to the questions and keep correcting when the results lie in between the two.

    Maybe people who say they will vote tactically are less likely to go out and cast a vote for their 2nd, 3rd or second from last favourite candidate? By measuring both you at least can get a measure whether this is true or not.

    It’ll be interesting if The Good Lord gives us an analysis of how the CVI questions worked compared to reality.

    Good Evening from a sunny Bournemouth.

    I think that the graph on your link shows Labour’s vote hardening up a touch, and a small gap with the Cons.

    Who is the Good Lord, of whom you speak? Maundy Thursday the day after tomorrow.

    “Has anyone tried tea leaves, just to make sure?”

    If someone does introduce tea leaves as a VI predictive methodology, it will be administered by women called something like Spearmint or Unicorn.

  7. Chrislane

    The Good Lord who nourishes us with regular constituency polls.

    I have no idea what he’s doing on Thursday, maybe watching ITV.

  8. Chrislane

    I always envy you when you report in with sunny Bournemouth weather.

  9. @chrisline1945

    Good evening from a windy London

    Yes – Labour and Conservatives both improving lately

  10. It seems as though Lynton Crosby has planned “crossover” to happen quite late, in order to increase the sense of tension, suspense, and ultimate resolution.

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

    I think it’s more useful than that. it frames the discussion. when people start talking about labour sinking to 30% or the tories reaching 37%…the historical movement can provide a sense check. Of course it cannot “prove”or “disprove” anything.

    I tend to rely on it.

    There clearly has been some degree of swingback, largely from ukip to tory, and some, surprisingly to me, it would appear, from green to tory.

    The pace of it hasn’t been as glacial as many believed.

    Similarly one hears the labour vote is “firming”. This makes sense only in the meaning that the labour vi is not declining. There isn’t much evidence that it’s improving significantly.


    I always envy you when you report in with sunny Bournemouth weather.”


    My partner envies him when he reports about how close he is to retirement…

  13. ITV Scottish poll showing:

    SNP 43% (+24)
    Labour 37% (-14)
    Conservatives 13% (-1)
    Greens 2% (+1)
    UKIP 2% (+1)
    Liberal Democrats 2% (-12)


    “If someone does introduce tea leaves as a VI predictive methodology, it will be administered by women called something like Spearmint or Unicorn.”


    Oh, is Unicorn another one of the gals? That’s good to know, saves the embarrassment of getting it wrong, like I did with Candy…

  15. Just to be clear, these are based only on Labour held seats, Labour will lose 28 seats and keep 12.

  16. @peter crawford

    With Labour it looks like they dipped and recovered their previous position. They fell to the low 30s just before the Tory swingback started. Also, Labour must be benefiting at the expense of UKIP and the Greens.

  17. “Just to be clear, these are based only on Labour held seats, Labour will lose 28 seats and keep 12.”

    That is interesting. I saw it on smithson. I have thought the snp will get 25 seats off labour, so this is in the same ballpark.

  18. @Omnishambles

    I think Election Forecast UK will turn out to be the most accurate seats predictor. At present they have 285/279 (Con/Lab) on their nowcast and 287/275 on their predictor.

    For those who care the nowcast Con/LD total is 311, and the Lab/SNP total is 316.


    I suspect EVEL might be the last nail in the coffin for the Union. Even more to unionist Scots than independence supporters (who are often of the opinion that Scots shouldn’t vote on English matters), I can’t imagine that it would be anything other than a slap in the face. There is already seems to be a very strong narrative in Scotland that there are attempts to exclude them from taking a full part in Westminster.

    Anyone know when the ITV/ComRes tables will be available? As usual, the media coverage pretty much tells you nothing.

  20. “Also, Labour must be benefiting at the expense of UKIP and the Greens.”

    The numbers, admittedly crude wiki averages, don’t really suggest this has been happening in the last 3 months. labour have had some pick up from the greens, about 0.3%, but not much from ukip, I would suggest.

  21. “I think Election Forecast UK will turn out to be the most accurate seats predictor. At present they have 285/279 (Con/Lab) on their nowcast and 287/275 on their predictor. ”

    Yes their numbers look sensible…Fisher blotted his copy book by constantly tweaking his model…like a bad mathematician constantly revising his calculations, and crossing things out …he should have just stuck to his old model, and seen where that took him.

    Electoral calculus, though not a predictor, is also sensible. the individual constituency betting markets are also very good….

    There is a consensus developing, if you look at electoral calculus, electionforecast, and, to a lesser degree, may 2015.

    They all have both Conservative and labour between 270 and 285, there is more debate about lib dems and snp.

  22. @bantams

    Interesting that the Con share is almost unchanged. I think this means there is little evidence of tactical voting by Tories against SNP in Labour seats. It’s far more likely to happen in Lib Dem seats (e.g. against Salmond).

  23. CARFREW.
    Apologies for any jealousy engendered. Tis Beautiful here, however, and My Boss- my Wife will make final decision about retirement; two ‘children’ at University!

    ALAN. LOL as they say these days about laughing and Labour leads.
    OMNISHAMBLES: How exciting it all is. A twitter person is saying that there are signs of a ‘tick up’ for Labour in the north of Britain- Scotland; maybe the tribe is coming out.

  24. ITV Scottish poll: has anyone run this swing through the Labour seats to see how many are lost?

  25. Okay, as tea leaves have been suggested I thought we could try astrology. The chart for the day of the election in England says:

    1. a period of intense changes in the very fabric of society. Many accepted institutions may pass away or be born anew. The good of the community as a whole will be stressed and individual rights may come under attack. This will possibly be a period of decay that will lead to a new order.

    2. Many people are working together toward common goals. (Definite coalition then)

    3. Disappointment when high expectations in life are not met. (I reckon this one may be for UKIP voters)

    4. The underlying trend is cautious and conservative.

    There we have it. Who needs polls?

  26. @peter crawford

    I disagree and I’ll give you an even more crude justification. Open that ElectionForecast graph I linked above. Ignore the the Conservative line.

    How symmetric do the Labour and UKIP lines look to you? There’s definitely a rough symmetry there.


    I don’t think so – they have the Tories too low. That forecast would only be accurate if the polls stay roughly where they are – they predict the Tories will get 34.6% on May 8th. I expect the Tory voteshare to be a few % higher.

  27. @Bantams

    We need to keep in mind that the ITV poll is just the 40 previously held Labour seats in Scotland ( not including Falkirk).

    The percentage changes are from the 2010 results :

    SNP 43% (+24)
    Labour 37% (-14)
    Conservatives 13% (-1)
    Greens 2% (+1)
    UKIP 2% (+1)
    Liberal Democrats 2% (-12)

    Unfortunately, we do not yet have any breakdown seat by seat but one estimate puts the Labour retentions at between 6 and 12. The SNP projected to win between 28 and 34 of the 40 and also Falkirk.

    Couple this with 10 of previous LD seats, the SNP projects out to between 45 and 52 seats.

  28. And for the astrological Scottish crossbreak:

    the issue of personal freedom is not just an abstract issue that can be discussed and then forgotten. You feel very deeply the loss or threat of loss of your ability to remain unrestricted and independent. And you will react vigorously and vociferously to defend your right of self-expression, no matter what the cost.

  29. @profhoward

    Professor Colin Rallings (as in Rallings & Thrasher) estimates from this poll that of the 40 Labour seats, 12 would be held by Labour and 28 would go to the SNP.

    Presumably Falkirk would also be lost by Labour to the SNP, although Labour does have an outside chance of gaining East Dunbartonshire from the Lib Dems.

    The poll is at the lower end of the normal range of SNP leads (16-21), but it’s not inconsistent with them.

  30. A little more on that fascinating Scottish poll:

    “The poll shows that Scottish voters prefer Miliband to Cameron as PM by 49% to 29%. ”

    That seems like an improvement in Mlibands standing north of the border.


    “I suspect EVEL might be the last nail in the coffin for the Union”

    As a Tory living in Scotland I would not agree. Most of us have consistently argued there should be EVEL in the interests of the stability of the UK and fairness.

    I accept many Labour supporters in Scotland had a different view for UK Labour party reasons but this may change given Labour’s set-back in Scotland

  32. JAMES.
    Thanks very much for the Rallings and Thrasher view; I can use this in my Sixth Form lesson tomorrow.

  33. On ComRes 2010 weighting is used and a strange first question regarding 2010 vote which does not mention the SNP. The SNP voters are down weighted by just over 20%

  34. profhoward

    “The poll shows that Scottish voters prefer Miliband to Cameron as PM by 49% to 29%. ”

    Don’t forget this only applies to seats currently held by Labour.

  35. According to election experts May2015, if the Scottish Poll were to be applied to the rest of Scotland one would have:


    This is similar to recent results for the two parties, but less bad than some Full Scottish polls. We need another Full Scottish before drawing any conclusions about whether Labour is winning any swing back.

  36. @couper2802

    On ComRes 2010 weighting is used and a strange first question regarding 2010 vote which does not mention the SNP. The SNP voters are down weighted by just over 20%.

    I noted that as well. I am having trouble with the polling companies insistence in sticking with 2010 weighting in Scotland. While it may make sense in England to follow the pattern on weighting, using 2010 weighting in Scotland ignores the sea change since 2011 and especially the impact of the 2014 referendum and its results. The companies that have abandoned 2010 weighting or using a combination of weightings including 2011 Scottish election or the European election are showing a larger SNP support.

    That said, it would certainly be interesting if one of our resident experts were to recalculate the numbers without the 2010 weighting or with the more current elections.

    Is anyone up to the job?

    Thanks in advance.

  37. I’m beginning to think Labour might start to regain some ground in Scotland. I note Gordon Brown has been wheeled out. He might just help them recover some lost ground.

  38. @profhoward

    Remember that this is a poll of seats Labour are defending. It’s also a forced choice between them., i.e. you might think Miliband’s XXXX but him leading a government is preferable to a Cameron-led government.

    A lot of the weakness in Miliband’s personal ratings are due to Labour voters not being fully supportive of him. That has improved over the last month or so, but there is still a minority of Labour voters that don’t rate him.


    An interesting thing in the poll is that despite the SNP having a lead in VI in these seats (43-37), Labour are slightly ahead in party identification (33-31). i.e. there are a fair number of people (~4%) who consider themselves Labour but are intending to vote SNP. Not sure if that would encourage me or not if I was Labour.

  39. @Brian Nicholson

    It’s impossible to weigh a Westminster constituency (or group of constituencies) poll by anything other than 2010 results because the boundaries are different.

  40. James

    I accept your points.

    Around the time of the referendum – and more recently – it was widely reported that Scottish people preferred David Cameron to Ed Miliband in opinion polls. So while I accept that the statistic I quoted was only for the Labour seats, it still seems to me to suggest that Ed M’s standing is not as bad in Scotland as people had thought.

    It may be that Scottish people have not really seen the real Ed Miliband until lately? He is said to be more to the left than recent Labour leaders, and it may be argued that some Scottish people (the “I didn’t leave labour , labour left me” people) may like that.

  41. Most useful thing I’ve seen so far in the ITV/ComRes poll is the breakdown by extent of Lab lead over SNP in 2010.

    In the Turnout weighted table, there are 777 respondents –
    48% in seats where the Lab lead was 40%.

    VI for each of these types of seats – in the above order

    SNP – 43% : 39% : 45%
    Lab – 35% : 39% : 39%
    Con – 14% : 13% : 10%
    LD – 3% : 2% : 2%
    Grn – 2% : 7% : 1%
    UKIP 3% : 1% : 2%

    Now I’ll need to go and see which seats fall into which category (unless some nice person does it for me).

    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.

    We’ll obviously have to wait until VE Day to have any real knowledge but the point remains that any LiS “saving” of a seat vs the SNP will have no effect on Lab’s ability to form a government except in the event that enough LDs survive and agree to support a Con minority, and that any LD or Con losses to SNP will improve Lab prospects. Of course SNP would seek concessions in that event.

    I really have no idea why you think I am [or ever have been] trying to dodge your questions in that event.

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

    Sorry to have touched a nerve, but why would anyone but a Lab partisan be concerned at a Lab government being “hampered” by having to do a few “lefty” things in the course of a 5-year term?

  43. Omni and whoever else was interested in correlations

    Yes Lab and UKIP have been measured to have significantly stronger negative correlations than would be expected due to sampling, as has Con and UKIP.

    In addition Lab and Green show the same trend as do Con and Greens!

    Surprisingly Lab and Cons have been weakly positively correlated with each other.

  44. Sorry – I missed a bit!

    In the Turnout weighted table, there are 777 respondents –
    48% in seats where the Lab lead was 40%.: 27% where the Lab lead was 30-40% : 25% in seats where the lead was >40%

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

    That is because this site is probably 80/20 split left/right and many comments reflect this.

    My apologies to you for making what you consider to be a “bizarre intervention” I am not sure why you consider it to be bizarre, or indeed why you felt the need to be so condescending in your tone. anyway.

    If you really want bizarre, how about the Labour Party rejecting a leader in 2005, who would have stormed this election by a country mile, in favour of his brother, who just might ‘win’ with the support of a party whose sole raison d’etre is to break up the United Kingdom.

  46. Is it just me, or does a poll about the LiS/SNP contest that mentions Lab but not SNP in the recalled 2010 vote seem just a little bit lacking in attention to detail.

  47. OLDNAT

    That’s interesting. Does it tell us that the swing is nonuniform in a way that helps one or other of the two parties? Any ideas?


    As far as I can see a lot of people here aren’t particularly partisan, but just enjoy analyzing the polls.

  49. @exileinyorks

    It’s not just you.

    It looks like ComRes have applied their usual GB methodology. I don’t think they’ve done a Scottish-specific poll before (either referendum or party VI).

  50. Lab lead in 2010 (smallest to largest)

    West Dunbartonshire
    Paisley and Renfrewshire South
    East Renfrewshire
    Rutherglen and Hamilton West
    Glasgow South West
    Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill
    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
    Glasgow North East

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