We have three new polls so far today. TNS have put out a new GB poll, which has topline figures of CON 33%(nc), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 16%(-1), GRN 5%(+1) – clearly no significant change since their previous poll (tabs are here).

ComRes have a new poll of the 40 Labour held constituencies in Scotland (that is excluding Falkirk, where Eric Joyce sat out his term as an independent). In 2010 the share of vote in these seats was CON 14%, LAB 51%, SNP 19%, LDEM 14%. The new ComRes poll found support standing at CON 13%(-1), LAB 37%(-14), SNP 43%(+24), LDEM 2%(-12). The seven point SNP lead represents a swing of 19 points from Lab to SNP, the equivalent of a sixteen point SNP lead in a national Scottish poll (tabs are here).

Finally YouGov have a new London poll for the Evening Standard, which has topline figures of CON 34%(+2), LAB 45%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 8%(-2), GRN 4%(-1) – changes are from YouGov’s previous London poll a month ago. The eleven point Labour lead represents a swing of 4.5 points from Con to Lab since the general election, the equivalent of a two point Labour lead in a national GB poll (tabs are here).

444 Responses to “ComRes in Scotland, YouGov in London and latest TNS poll”

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  1. The interesting thing about the Newsnight projection last night (31/3) was that it gave Labour +2 seats in 24 hours.

    Meanwhile the shocking revelations in today’s Telegraph that TURKEYS ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT VOTE FOR CHRISTMAS may see a further bump tonight IF Labour have any ability whatsoever to smash it to pieces.

  2. A few posters here (eg Colin) have been interested in UK/GB productivity figures, so they may well be aware that the ONS has announced that it is now the weakest since WW2.

    Whoever is in power post GE 2015 will find I think a serious deterioration in the UK economy will occur with a resulting increase in unemployment.

  3. Actually I don’t think it matters very much whether the LDs are on 8% or 12% over the country as a whole. They are going to hang on in seats where their MP is a well-known local personality, e.g. Bob Russell in Colchester, and lose where they haven’t really established themselves. What their national percentage is I think has very little bearing unless it gets back up to the c.20% sort of area.

  4. “TURKEYS ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT VOTE FOR CHRISTMAS may see a further bump tonight IF Labour have any ability whatsoever to smash it to pieces.”

    I agree the telegraph letter won’t change anything. My point is that a first rate labour party would actually turn the thing into an advantage…

    These guys an average of £450k a year (or whatever it is….the levels of remuneration of most of the signatories will be in the public domain, as they are ceos of public companies)…we are on the side of the “many” not the “few”. Alistair Campbell would have aggressively personalised this to get his key messages across.

    This current labour party is not so smart and aggressive. They will simply ignore it. The letter in reality is a gift to labour, if they knew how to respond effectively to it.

  5. Rather belated comment on the YouGov London poll and the associated commentary in the ES (partly as there was some query as to a lack of discussion on here).

    One factor in London polling is the consistent re-weighting of the BME community. If you look at the proportion of BME participants in the unweighted sample, they account for 17.6%, this is uplifted to 39.4% in the weighted sample to reflect the demography of the electorate.

    The position with Bangladeshi / Pakistani and ‘Black’ groups is more acute, being upweighted by a factor of three between the raw data and the final sample.

    This is of course right and proper to deliver a weighted sample that truly reflects the electorate. However, there would seem to be an effect on potential accuracy and volatility on VI with such heavy re-weighting.

    In all-GB polls where BME populations make up a small minority of the whole then effects are likely to be small, but in the capital where the BME population is so significant, potential distortions could also be significant. Further, as these groups traditionally have a strong propensity towards voting Labour (outside of parts of the ever-changing Tower Hamlets) then the effect on Labour VI is likely to be where any volatility is most marked.

    Government, using larger scale samples than polling, has experienced problems accurately capturing the views of BME communities on a range of issues, so I’d be interested to know how / if pollsters can be certain or even confident that they’ve ironed out such problems especially when variability in propensity to vote at all between different communities in different areas is taken into account.

    Second interesting factor in the sample re-weighting is the heavy weighting down of Guard / Indy readership. I wonder if this is to reflect national readership patterns, rather than the fact that these newspapers (especially the former) have very heavy circulation concentrations within the M25, consistent with a younger and more urban demographic.

    So, some questions as to how these London polls are constructed and whether they can adequately capture a ‘city of villages’ / ‘the world in one city’ as the capital is sometimes referred to.

    The ethnicity question seems to be of particular importance as there is evidence of both ethnically-based affiliation with party and the ability of parties fielding candidate lists in local elections that better reflect the diverse local population to outperform others.

    It’s noticeable that Labour are making continuing efforts in the selection of PPCs in the capital this time (building on an historic trend and local authority elections) towards a diverse candidate list.

    I am not suggesting that we are moving towards the racially defined voting patterns of the US, but in places such as Harrow East where the election is likely to be close, Brent Central where the seat should be for the taking and Hampstead and Kilburn, where Labour are defending the slimmest of margins, candidates who have strong community identification and can mobilise key sections of the population and the core vote will play an important role.

    Overall, the ES commentary is reasonably balanced – though concentrating on Libdem rather than Conservative losses does seem to be motivated by the political stance of the paper rather than the facts alone.

    However, my sense is that on current polling places like Croydon Central are certain Labour wins and that the likely minimum overall Labour gains are 8.

    There is a chance that Simon Hughes will lose in Bermondsey, Harrow East will fall to Labour and there could be surprises in other Con/Lab marginals if UKIP and the Greens are squeezed further and the UKIP vote falls more equally between the big two parties.

    One caveat on the above is that Labour could lose some marginals like Hampstead and Kilburn itself if the core vote stays at home. A second factor to be borne in mind is that quite a few Conservatives in the capital have ploughed a fairly independent furrow – Zac Goldsmith, Mark Field – and so are pretty well insulated to a capital-wide swing, especially if the LibDems were their previous challengers.


    Alistair Campbell’s tweet this morning: “T’ph Headlines this big normally reserved for nuclear war and Monarch deaths. ‘Tory Tax Dodgers Panic’ more accurate.”

  7. I think the productivity figures are highly misleading, and related to the restructuring of the labour force (and also the reduction in the weight of the financial sector). So, the base changed, and it’s not surprising that the ratio changed too.

    The notion that simply dividing the GDP with the number of people (even with the number of hours worked) has always been problematic. There are a number of sectors that contribute to the GDP only in accounting terms, but in reality don’t (redistribution of productive resources from other sectors) – like education. It doesn’t mean that these sectors are not needed.

    If some of these sectors increased their employment above the growth of the GDP, it means that productivity in the wealth-creating sectors actually increased faster than the GDP.

    There you are, this is what happens if we follow economic conventions (national accounts) whose principles were developed almost a hundred years ago).

  8. John Curtice gives a more pessimistic view of the Scottish ComRes poll for Labour. He reckons it means they would hold only 5 seats.


    “In any event if we take account of ComRes’ breakdown it implies the SNP would capture no less than 36 of the seats Labour won in 2010 (including Falkirk), leaving Labour itself with just five.”

    What he means by the “breakdown” is that ComRes broke the poll down into three segments: Labour leading by less than 30% in 2010, leading by more than 40% in 2010, or somewhere in between. The swing was much greater in the group with bigger leads (26.5%) than the other two groups (16.5% and 17.5%), averaging out at 19%.

    As it stands, that is worse for Labour because the swings are just about big enough for the SNP to win almost anywhere. On the assumption that Labour can’t change the pattern of swings, they need to reduce the swings by a bit everywhere, which would give them a fighting chance in a large number of seats.

    It could end up being a weird situation where some of the seats with the biggest swings fall, but some “easier” gains don’t materialise for the SNP.

  9. “Alistair Campbell’s tweet this morning: “T’ph Headlines this big normally reserved for nuclear war and Monarch deaths. ‘Tory Tax Dodgers Panic’ more accurate.””

    Exactly…he would have got an intern to spend a morning working out their average pay and then done some personal stuff. He was brilliant at that kind of thing. By the end of the day, the tories would have been bleating about “how they weren’t the party of the rich”…

    say what you like about new labour, they were brilliant at attack and smearing by innuendo…hence his “tax dodging” line.

  10. Millie

    Totally agree with you about the LD prospects, for all the very salient points you made.

    I also sympathise as another voter for whom it matters not whether I bother to vote or otherwise. Perhaps comfort yourself with the knowledge that there are many tens of millions of us.

    Oh, to be the politically disinterested voter who does not perhaps know how to spell ‘Miliband’ or ‘Osborne’ (not everyone who corresponds here manages those two) but who will help decide the outcome of a marginal seat.

    The problem is, they have so little interest, those few thousands of voters won’t even know or care that they were so thus relevant in their decision.

    I have thanked such voters in the past for their support, only to be confronted with their blank indifference, or even lack of recognition, even after weI had dragged them to the polling station a few weeks previously!

  11. @unicorn

    I think EF are holding back their daily update until its broadcast on Newsnight now. i.e. they do the update earlier in the day (before that night’s YG becomes available) and have it ready for a Newsnight “exclusive” at 10:30.

    The site was updated earlier in the day before the official campaign period started. I guess this is because Newsnight were not particularly bothered about exclusivity about a forecast months in advance (i.e. it wouldn’t be newsworthy in itself).

  12. @LASZLO

    Thank you LASZLO, you explained it better than I could. In France their productivity is apparently much higher than ours and rising, but GDP is static and unemployment is high and getting higher. Even the French don’t pretend that this is a good thing.

    Given that UKIP is now a major Party for duration of election period, it will be interesting to see if additional coverage pushes UKIP value up again.

    It’s worth noting that OfCom have only designated UKIP a “major” party in E & W, so they won’t get additional coverage outwith those nations, except for the kingdom-wide news bulletins where some is bound to creep in.

    I suspect that in Scotland, UKIP are unlikely to get a bounce, especially after Coburn’s “joke” re an SG minister which can only help the Cons [who joined with all the other parties in condemning Coburn] and wondered whether the apparent slight Con bounce in YouGov cross-breaks may have been a consequence.

    Some ITV regions may have difficulty in following OfCom guidance because their broadcasts are either officially cross-border or at least can be received in some Scottish homes. STV should have no difficulty in compliance.

    BBC should find it less difficult but perhaps more important after the controversy over their coverage of UKIP on BBC Scotland during the European election, which was argued to have helped UKIP to gain Coburn as their first elected politician in Scotland.

  14. As ever, it’s not The Telegraph headline itself that matters, individual papers, especially ones such as the Telegraph who have very partisan readerships, cannot by definition shift VI alone as they preach to the converted.

    The question is whether the story ‘has legs’ and is picked up by the rest of the media, becomes an election theme and in so doing whether it retains the original pro-Conservative tone or changes.

    I’ve been surprised that some broadcasters have led on the story, as editorial policy used to err on the side of a major policy announcement – such as Labour’s on effectively ending zero hours contracts – taking precedence during an official election campaign period.

    Now that the story is front and centre – for how long we don’t know – it’s how others can take command of the narrative that may influence VI.

    No point re-rehearsing the discussion on here during the HSBC headlines earlier in the year, but the polls don’t suggest that the chiefs of big business are viewed terribly positively by the public at large. There was, however, the faintest suggestion of a short-lived Labour up-tick at the time when Miliband was seen to ‘take on the bankers’. As such there could be scope for popular messaging here.

    Equally, ‘business back the Conservatives’ plays into the ‘competence vs chaos’ theme, that is the bedrock of their campaign, so long as it is not de-railed.

    I wonder if this is the first mini-test of how fleet-of-foot both campaign teams are dealing with the daily cut and thrust likely to characterise the weeks ahead.

  15. James Peel

    I think the “tax dodger fat cat” line is pretty well established in the public consciousness. Perhaps Labour are going for the “tomorrow’s chip paper” defence rather than prolonging this one.

  16. Left Unity have launched their manifesto: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/03/manifesto-launch-difference-left-unity-attacks-labour-soho-squat

    Labour are quaking in their boots.

  17. Amusing moment for me.

    Ed Miliband is talking at David Brown’s, which I used to walk past on my way home from my zero-hours student job 15 years ago!


    I am not sure that Labour’s announcement actually does effectively end zero hours contracts. It only seems to cover the situation where regular hours are being worked anyway. Devil, as always, in the detail.

  19. BBC constituency quiz

    I got 5 out of 10

  20. JAMES
    John Curtice gives a more pessimistic view of the Scottish ComRes poll for Labour. He reckons it means they would hold only 5 seats.

    Thanks for the heads-up. I was mildly surprised that Prof. C didn’t blog on it last night and saw nothing there first thing this morning. Presumably he slept on it before writing and will no doubt be asked to comment on it by the BBC. Didn’t hear him on Today programme – was he on GMS?

  21. 8/10 for me.

  22. @Hawthorn

    You may be right that the ‘fat cat tax dodger’ line is established in some people’s minds, but if (emphasis on if, the evidence is inconclusive) the message is effective then it bears repeating.

    Especially, from a Labour party perspective, on a day like today when the Conservative message as expressed by the business leaders’ letter to The Telegraph is holding the media centre stage and obscuring the Labour message on zero hours contracts.

    In a closely fought election such as this one, the battle for those few VI points that may decide the election will be a battle to be heard as much as anything else. A day on which either side sighs and allows the other teams message to prevail is a day lost to their campaign.

  23. They’re Lib Dems seats: “Coming up… my latest polling in eight competitive seats on the Liberal Democrat battleground.”

  24. @Barbazenzero

    Prof C blogs on polls quicker if he is given the inside track on them before publication. This would happen if he is asked to provide analysis for the piece that goes with publication. The ICM / Guardian polls reference him, for example. Presumably ComRes didn’t give him any advance notice or info as ITV have their own expert (Prof. Rallings).

  25. I might add that I worked for an office cleaning company at weekends and sometimes overnight, some 50 years ago. No fixed hours but very lucrative for me. I suppose this was a zero hours contract but as a student, I just thought it was brilliant.

  26. 8/10 too.

  27. @RMJ1

    Agreed. I should have said that Labour were ending zero hours contracts for regular work after a 12 week period. A substantive policy announcement, though one that does beg as many questions as it seeks to answer (however, as ever, this is not the forum for them).

    My point was that this is a new policy announcement, whereas the business leaders letter is not particularly new nor is it related to policy or a manifesto.


    I think the problem is that it is a reactive approach.

    Miliband wants to talk about zero-hours contracts today rather than be getting into some fat cat tit-for-tat. Going on about the letter just extends that story for longer in the news, so would bury any zero-hours coverage even more.

    This can then be tied up in a contrast-and-compare. Hard workers” vs “at cats”.

    If the zero-hours stuff is being hidden right now, it does not matter. It is the evening news bulletins that matter.

  29. JAMES
    Presumably ComRes didn’t give him any advance notice or info as ITV have their own expert (Prof. Rallings).

    Yes. That probably explains the delay in his post.

  30. 6/10.

    Hamstrung by not having watched many 80s sitcoms.

  31. @James

    Much of the talk on Scotland is focused on the huge LiS to SNP swing often with an unspoken inference that a current LiS seat will either stay Lab or go to SNP.

    As ever not everything is so simple. In Dumfries and Galloway a swing of less than 14% sees a hold, but SNP need a swing of 20% to win. If it is somewhere in between which is quite likely the seat becomes a conservative win.

    I haven’t gone through all the seats but there are probably others where Con have a chance of coming through the middle to win – even in ABT Scotland.

  32. I’m trying to remember the last election where 100 of this or that sort of person publishes an open letter criticizing this or that party. I don’t think this sort of appeal to authority type of argument holds that much sway as it might have done 50 years ago. People don’t take the utterings of those in power so seriously as once they did.

    As for current predictions, I make it:

    Con 280-285
    Lab 277-282
    LD 25-27
    SNP 38-42
    UKIP 2-3

    Everyone else more or less as they were last time.

    Two main parties creeping upwards, Labour creeping upward a little more in the last 7 days. Conservatives to win the popular vote and probably slightly more seats, but Labour more likely to find willing and suitable coalition partners. Some people will no doubt be very unhappy at that result.

  33. The 100 Business Leaders letter in the Telegraph today is unlikely to shift opinion too much because, as opposed to when New Labour unveiled their various endorsements from leading business people in 1997, it has no capacity to shock and surprise. It does the Tories no harm but it’s a little like a headline saying “Liverpool fans want Liverpool to win the Cup”. File away in the “Yes, I know, they would say that, wouldn’t they” drawer is my view of it and Miliband’s announcements on business rates and zero hours contract are not a bad political counter-narrative.

    One thing that did strike me about it all though, and let’s leave aside the party donation and tax angles referred to by others, is the number of people these business leaders employ. Over half a million, apparently. I wonder how many of them have been consulted about how happy they would be to see the business that they work for signed up to support a particular political party? It’s not as if the 100 signatories claimed that they were talking entirely as individual citizens because they were all very keen to ascribe their various businesses to the cause. In fact, they seemed very keen to emphasise the amount of employees they had.

    My question, in an open democracy and in the era of employee consultation and involvement. would be to ask in whose name were these business leaders talking? To enter, so nakedly, into party politics at election time should open these individual up to robust challenge, in my view, not least from their employees.



  35. http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2015/04/the-liberal-democrat-battleground/#more-11146

    It looks as though the Conservatives are doing well in a number of Lib Dem seats and may gain more than 10 by my reckoning.

    Mixed bag for the two Labour/Lib Dem marginals. Big LD improvement in Cambridge but Nick Clegg still in trouble. I had those both down as “maybes” for Labour gains.

  36. The other notable thing is that if the Constituency-based question is flawed, then the Lib Dems are completely stuffed.

  37. @Hawthorn

    Both approaches have validity and are not mutually exclusive.

    Sometimes it is useful to quash an opponent’s arguments to make room for one’s own to be heard, especially if the messages you have to give out have an appeal of their own.

    It is also a good way of demonstrating toughness. Not for me to judge, but this too might be advantageous to Labour.

    The Conservatives seem to have struggled to get their key messages to the fore to date as a result of days spent talking about other things – Shapps, DC’s announcement’, the not-debate.. so the same applies to them.

    My central point remains. In a tight election, who gets heard may be who wins. Sometimes you have to engage with and silence or stymie the opponent’s message to get your own one through.

    Days written off to ‘tomorrow’s chip paper’ maybe days regretted at leisure on the opposition benches.

  38. ‘KEITHP
    I’m trying to remember the last election where 100 of this or that sort of person publishes an open letter criticizing this or that party.’

    Not a 100 but 23 here in 2010, that’s inflation for you

    ‘In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, 23 of the country’s most senior businessmen have endorsed George Osborne’s pledge to halt the increase for those earning less than £45,000 if the Conservatives win the election.
    The 1p in the pound rise on both staff and employers’ NI contributions – due to be introduced next April under Labour – could threaten jobs and put the economic recovery at risk, they said.’

  39. “I think the “tax dodger fat cat” line is pretty well established in the public consciousness. Perhaps Labour are going for the “tomorrow’s chip paper” defence rather than prolonging this one.”

    There is no right or wrong answer. New Labour were aggressive and rebuttal was something they were good out. They, under Campbell’s guidance, would have hammered the tories on this. They would have been quite happy for the story to escalate.

    Campbell was like Thatcher in that he liked sharp dividing lines. They were both highly aggressive individuals who loved conflict.

    Miliband is obviously totally different in temperament and style.

    As i said, i don’t think the letter will make any difference. A Campbell would have seen attack as the best form of defence. Thatcher was also like this.

  40. @Hawthorn

    Interesting poll of Camborne & Redruth. A year ago it looked like a possible UKIP gain, but they have since had a candidate disaster (the guy was convicted of animal cruelty) and have fallen well back.

    Labour have chucked a lot of money at the seat (coming from the candidate’s own pocket). This doesn’t seem to have had any effect – still on 24%. The seat now looks safe Tory with the opposition split many different ways.

  41. Politics Home reporting latest Ashcroft poll give Labour Hallam by 36/34.

  42. @KeithP

    There was a lot of this kind of stuff in the run up to the referendum from the No Campaign


    130 business leaders.

    As well as companies writting to workers telling them to vote No.


  43. @Couper2802

    Yes. I seemed to recall the letters to the press and some very high profile public statements by individual business people – accusations of intimidation (never substantiated) – counter-accusations.

    It seems that in the referendum context, this almost became an issue in and of itself and perhaps was of negligible influence on the final result.

    Was this the experience on the ground?

  44. How apt the daily telegraph/business leaders back tories headline should appear on the morning of April 1st…. ;-)

  45. NeilJ
    I laughed when I read this bit:

    “could threaten jobs and put the economic recovery at risk”

    That would seem agreement by the Cons that economic recovery was under way before GE 2010!

  46. Looks like a sizeable fraction of Tories are rallying behind Clegg in Sheffield Hallam

  47. I’m interested by Lord Ashcroft’s choice of constituencies – he seems to have a fondness for LibDem seats and vulnerable LiS constituencies lately.

    As its likely we will get more information on the picture in Scotland via Scottish polls over the weeks ahead, I’m hoping he will turn his attention more to the Conservative / Labour marginals in England and Wales, which, as many on here point out over and again, seem more likely to determine who will actually form the next government.

  48. Actually the latest Ashcroft polling is rather good news for the Lib Dems. Like Ashcroft’s last batch, these were the constituencies that were too close to call, so to have most of them in the yellow column may be a relief.

    Cambridge is interesting in that most of the forecaster would have given it to Labour, but this shows a 9 point lead for Huppert changed from a one point Labour one in early September. Huppert has been campaigning hard, but he’s also been one of the most rebellious of Lib Dem MPs and it may be Lib Dems find it easier to hang on if they are less closely identified with the government.

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