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. Richard

    [Concerning Cambridge] But it seems Liberal values also rule in these places, with all the academic staff, etc…

    In terms of conforming to stereotype, it’s worth pointing out that Cambridge had the lowest non-Scottish UKIP vote that we have seen (3%) … since Hampstead and Kilburn.

  2. @Carfrew

    Occasionally you do get a gem in the comments section and that is one such, perhaps it could be a coda attached to all the non-partisan discussions that take place in this place?

    @AberdeenAngus

    Peston’s article clearly states that the ‘poll’ wasn’t a BBC initiative but carried out by the Centre for Macroeconomics, a government funded consortium including the Bank of England, universities, the ESRC and others. They selected the academics.

    It’s a regular panel, in the same way as YouGov’s or Opinium’s, just smaller and more elite. Rather than asking their political affiliation and which newspaper they read, the members are actually named and their detailed comments published…

    http://cfmsurvey.org/surveys/importance-elections-uk-economic-activity

    Oh for such transparency in all polling. Please note tongue in cheek.

    I suspect this was a search for balance after ‘Ed Pol’ at the BBC noted the coverage being given to The Telegraph letter, but I thought it was fun to note that ‘polls’ and panels come in all shapes and sizes.

  3. @Omnishambles

    Re Kellner’s new article.

    I agree with the general thrust that campaigns can and do make a difference.

    However, he might have been wise to use a graph other than 2010 to illustrate his point, as if repeated 2015 is likely to be pretty much a dead heat between ‘the big two’, more so than last time.

  4. @Assiduosity

    Thank you for that clarification. I have to confess to being half asleep when I heard Mr Peston on about this, and it did strike me that having lead the 7.00 am news on the business leaders letter, the Beeb was desperate not be thought of as partisan and so had this Economics survey as the balancing act.

    And the poll of economists may have many shortcomings, but it is so much better than the utter drivel the media sell to us in so called news programs when they take a microphone and a camera into a pub, or shopping centre, and ask the public utterly inane questions, and then expect the viewer to be interested by the drivel we are given by way of reply, and then always finish the vox pop with the comment, “This poll was by no means scientific, but it did show that for many we asked, they thought ……..”

    On a serious note, can anyone here explain to me what broadcasters (and I think they are all guilty of it) think we as viewers gain from hearing the opinions of Jo Public as a microphone is shoved in their face and we are subjected to utterly fact free political diatribes based upon prejudice.

    I do sometimes think that voters should take some form of exam before they are given a vote, to prove they are capable of rational thought – and my tongue is only half stuck in my cheek!

  5. @assiduosity

    “However, he might have been wise to use a graph other than 2010 to illustrate his point”

    He has 1997 up there too, because that was the last time a Conservative PM was fighting an election campaign

  6. @ Omnishambles

    As regards yesterday’s London poll, I think it was you who previously suggested to me that demographic changes In London meant it would actually be Labour who would have lots of “wasted votes” this time in London. Would you say this has this been adequately factored in to the predictions which show large Labour seat gains in London?

  7. @martinw

    I’m not sure what you mean – it’s factored in automatically when they poll London. It’s fairly clear that both things are true – Labour will win several seats, and there has been significant population growth in safe Labour London seats (not just from immigration) which means more wasted votes, reducing the Labour voteshare/seat skew.

    However the relative population increase in Labour constituencies is happening across England, not just in London.

  8. According to an academic I saw speak recently, there is an “iron law” in election campaigns that the Lib Dems rise in their VI. Time after time this has happened as far back as the foundation of the Lib Debs in the early 1990s.

  9. profhoward

    According to an academic I saw speak recently, there is an “iron law” in election campaigns that the Lib Dems rise in their VI. Time after time this has happened as far back as the foundation of the Lib Debs in the early 1990s.
    ——————————-
    So 5 times. And in none of those elections were the Lib Dems part of the govt. These are different times.

  10. There’s almost nothing between Con and Lab now (say the MAD calcs):

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/polling/median-absolute-deviation-mad/recent-mad-poll/

  11. @Omni

    Agreed. The 1997 graph makes perfect sense.

    Whilst I can see that PK refers to 2010 in the piece and its relevance, I just thought the graph for 2010 actually seems to counter his argument as it shows the top 2 parties remaining flat and change occurring elsewhere.

    These are minor points, I am firmly with PK and (if I understand your points here correctly) you: everything is to play for at this stage for this GE.

    Though I’m not as clear as you seem to be that a swing to the Conservatives is the most likely outcome.

  12. @ Omnishambles

    I’m not totally sure what I mean either! I’m not an expert like many on here. I think I’m still trying to reconcile that even though it’s predicted there might be a 4% or 5% swing to Labour in London and (maybe the rest of England) they don’t seem to be forecast to pick up very many seats in England.

  13. Since I know I’m not the only one who enjoys a political historical counterfactual on here and I might not be the only one with an interest in Scottish politics: what if the Naws had won the 1979 devolution referendum? They were less than 2% off winning outright.

    Would the SNP have imploded even further in the 1979-1988 period? Would Labour have supported devolution in the 1979 referendum? Would the Alliance have done so well in Scotland as they did in 1983?

  14. The conservatives may have 100 business men supporting them but Labour have Dr Watson and Doctor Who :-)

  15. @Statgeek

    Re the London MAD calc, I assume this is based on YouGov crossbreaks, as there doesn;t seem to have been a YouGov London only poll since the last GE that showed them on less than 41%.

  16. NeilJ

    Last time they had two Doctor Whos and Captain Picard.

    Eat that, Duncan Ballantyne!

    ;)

  17. @Assiduosity

    Yes. All my charts are based on YG daily polls (five a week). All other polls, YG or otherwise are not included.

  18. So Conservatives have some businessmen on their side. That is meant to be news? Surely it’s in the level of ‘Is the Pope a Catholic?’

    I think it will have no impact in the real world as all it will do is support stereotypes…

  19. Bill Patrick,

    We can never know. That’s why all this talk you get of “if Churchill wasn’t PM or if you’d voted Yes with this Oil price” doesn’t mean anything.

    In all these cases we can only say two things with any degree of certainty, the outcome would have been different and that outcome is inherently unpredictable!

    Peter.

  20. @ Hawthorn:

    Elizabeth I (Labour) v Charlie Croker (Tory)

  21. I respectfully disagree with the tacticians on here who think Labour would improve their position by attacking the signatories to the Telegraph letter.

    Spending the election campaign tearing into major business figures, even if (for the sake of argument) the public sided with Miliband on the issue, would still play to more nebulous doubts and fears people have about Labour, just as the Conservatives would be wise not to spend the next few weeks acting the Nasty Party even in areas where the public agrees with them.

    Peter Kellner put this counter-intuitive case rather elegantly a while ago in an article about rail nationalisation, which in public opinion terms should be a slam-dunk no-brainer, or possibly a slam-brain no-dunker (and which, incidentally, I pine for twice every working day, and every time I try to go see a play of an evening).

  22. One ‘certain’ Labour gain from the Lib Dems that I’d put a bit of a question mark over is Bradford East. It’s one the Lib Dems almost won by accident in 2010, is very marginal (0.9%) and Ashcroft’s poll showed a 22 point lead for Labour. So it should be an automatic gain.

    But the poll was back in June. Since then the Labour candidate has been selected as Imran Hussain, the failed candidate in the Bradford West by-election (and it was a considerable failure he only got 25% to Galloway’s 56%). He wanted to stand there again but was thwarted by the selection being made an AWS and so got selected in East.

    Galloway’s success was put down to anger and revulsion at the Baradari system which dominated local Labour politics, meaning that people got selected for political position purely on connections. Hussain’s selection for what should be a certain Labour gain suggests that it is still operating. It’s possible that something similar will happen in East in May, especially as the constituency is not as heavily Asian as West (39% v 55% – all but a few % muslim) – though much of Galloway’s support came from local Asians, especially women, alienated by Baradari. Ward may also be helped by all three other main candidates being Asian, splitting any possible ethnic voting. It’s not certain if Respect will stand or what effect it would have if it did.

  23. @whoever said Labour would have got those letter signatories listed along with their Tory party connections.

    Looks like they have made a start if this tweet is anything to go by:

    https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/583248342009966594

  24. @Statgeek

    Interesting that there’s such a long term variance between London Labour VI in the crossbreak and what YouGov find in their London only polling.

    In the London only polling the YouGove 2015 average for Labour VI is 44.5%, considerably higher.

    Conservatives are on 32.7%, a shade lower.

  25. I guess these business people dictated their letter (surely they didn’t waste their pound-creating activities with the trials of finding letters on their keyboards) because of Labour’s trick (not a very clever one for that) about business men and the EU.

  26. @assiduosity

    “Though I’m not as clear as you seem to be that a swing to the Conservatives is the most likely outcome.”

    For me it’s all about the fundamentals, not just the polls. Economic recovery. Leadership. Government incumbency. The idea of stability in an unstable world… it’s powerful stuff that can sway people when they fully turn their attention to the election. I have to include the fundamentals because the polling up to now has been sampling an electorate who 1) haven’t been thinking about the election very much and 2) include many indecisive people.

    Then you add in how the Tories are traditionally underpolled i.e. ‘shy Tories’, the extra resources, and that kind of thing. All of that together is why I’m fairly confident in my prediction.

    Could be a load of rubbish, but it’s just as valid as believing the polls won’t move much, because that’s making another assumption – that the polls won’t move much. And I don’t see the justification for assuming that.

    @martinw

    Well I’m certainly not an expert either.. I think @unicorn is the poster of choice for getting good answers to questions. Labour *are* currently forecast to pick up a lot of seats in England, it’s just that they’re forecast to lose many in Scotland so it cancels.

  27. Good early evening all. Tis cloudy here at the seaside.

    JACK.
    Many people in the RC Church think the new Pope is, not in fact, Catholic.

    Ashcroft Poll: Has anyone news of this? I heard discussion on Radio on the way home from the smart-board face, formerly the black board face.

  28. @Bill Patrick

    If No had won the 1979 Scotland referendum outright, the SNP obviously wouldn’t have kicked up a stink about the 40% rule and demanded implementation of the devolution bill.

    This would have meant they wouldn’t necessarily have voted against Callaghan in a confidence motion. Indeed, they may not have tabled a motion in the first place. Thatcher placed her own motion (which took precedence over the SNP motion) when she realised the SNP would vote against Labour.

    This would then have had other consequences; e.g.1 the Callaghan government may have survived for longer, with a possible (although not likely) effect on the 1979 GE result; e.g.2 Labour would not have been able to blame the SNP for their demise, with possible consequences in Scotland (i.e. the SNP may not have fallen as much in the early 80s).

    Like any counterfactual though, it’s hard to predict exactly what would have happened beyond the immediate effects.

  29. Laszlo

    According to Sophy Ridge of Sky News, the letter was ‘helped’ by Andrew Feldman & it has been said by others that he (or his office) contacted the signatories and asked if they wanted their names added to it.

    https://twitter.com/SophyRidgeSky/status/583150680292102144

  30. @ABERDEENANGUS

    “I read that earlier. Did I read correctly that of 50 leading economists (defined leading by who and selected by who I do not know) 33 responded and 2/3rds of the respondents said….. etc.
    Now I am not as geeky on numbers as most on this site, but that works out than less than 50% held that view, with no attempt of correction for partisan bias, and if my recollection of A-Level economics is correct, all economics teachers were Trots or even harder left!!!”

    —————

    Interestingly, even the more right-leaning economist don’t seem to be so keen on contesting the impact of cuts on growth. Instead the line is that the cuts were necessary to reassure markets, ‘cos otherwise they say there would have been a worse economic hit from spooked markets.

    Of course, we did lose our triple-A rating following the cuts…

  31. @EDDIE

    What Labour should have done is made sure a big business tax dodging story was given to the press for publication today (they must have some).

    That way they don’t have to directly criticise the signatories but the ‘tax dodging’ story would counteract the letter. Lots of Labour MPS saying – ‘Tax dodgers love the Tories’

  32. For what it’s worth the 25-poll, time-weighted MAD is pretty close too:

    http://www.statgeek.co.uk/2014/09/here/ (set of ten)

    Con a ‘baw hair’ higher than Lab.

  33. @ASSIDUOSITY

    “Occasionally you do get a gem in the comments section and that is one such, perhaps it could be a coda attached to all the non-partisan discussions that take place in this place?”

    ——-

    Yep, personally one learns much from the non-partisan discussions, and I find one can even learn a fair bit from the partisan stuff at times, so long as it doesn’t descend into specious, repetitive bollox.

    Incidentally, a Washington Post article explaining Cohen’s research on the partisan thing…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/10/the-depressing-psychological-theory-that-explains-washington/

  34. ROGER MEXICO

    I know that Laura Kuenssberg had a bit on Newsnight a while ago about Respect in Bradford. It seemed notable for having input mostly from Respect, and not Labour or the Lib Dems if I recall correctly.

    Bradford councillors seem to defect and rejoin Respect at will, which is pretty suspect behaviour. I am not sure that voting Respect is a particularly feminist action either given some of Galloway’s views.

    Overall, I am pretty sceptical about the idea that they might take Bradford East. In fact, if Bethnal Green and Bow is a guide, it could be that Galloway gets his marching orders in Bradford West. I suppose it depends if the Kashmiris see through him like the Bengalis did in the East End.

    Who knows? There is little hard evidence on the seat.

  35. First post after having lurked here for some time.

    I was under the impression that today’s Ashcroft marginals polls were to cover the most marginal Con-Lab seats, not Lib Dem held ones. So was Mike Smithson according to the PB website yesterday. Have I missed something?

  36. @ASSIDUOSITY 4:47

    YouGove poll? Has the Tory chief whip taken up a new occupation since the dissolution of parliament. ;-)

  37. And here’s another Washington Post article on dealing with the bias…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/12/07/how-to-reduce-partisan-gridlock/

    “Social psychological research shows that inviting partisans to affirm their sense of self-worth can help them escape political traps. Defensive partisan reactions, such as blindly opposing the other side’s ideas, are largely driven by the desire to see one’s political group — and, by extension, oneself — as moral, correct, and good. To protect one’s own political identity, people oppose competing ideological perspectives and the people who hold them — a politically destructive defense mechanism. Yet these reactions are not inevitable. When people engage in acts that affirm who they are — as good people, not as good partisans — they become more tolerant of threats to their political identity, and more open to the other side.”

    “We studied this in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election among Democratic and Republican voters who viewed segments from a debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. Predictably, Democrats favored Obama’s policies and performance while Republicans favored McCain. But asking people to write about their core values unrelated to politics — a self-affirming activity — shrunk this partisan divide. Self-affirmed Democrats became less enamored of Barack Obama, and affirmed Republicans became more open to him. Ten days after the election affirmed Republicans even thought Obama would be a better president.”

  38. @carfrew

    We are still rated AAA with Standard & Poors (:

  39. Hawthorn

    Oh I don’t think that Respect would get anywhere near winning the constituency – in fact I doubt that Galloway will retain his seat. But there isn’t a Respect candidate in East at the moment and I wondered if they put one up will it hit the Labour vote further or will it instead split the anti-Labour vote. A candidate does now seem more likely with the independent councillors having just rejoined Respect.

  40. Here’s the best bit of the Post article from our perspective, because specifically relates to polling…

    “People conform to the opinions of their group even in the face of countervailing evidence. Although Democrats and Republicans typically conform to different groups, in recent research led byKevin Binning, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, both Democrats and Republicans conformed to national polling data about Obama. When Obama was described as soaring in the polls, American voters were more supportive of him and his policies than when Obama was described as swooning in the polls.

    Self-affirmation reduced people’s conformity to polls. When participants were affirmed, they were less swayed by polling information and more influenced by evidence about the actual effects of Obama’s policies on the economy. Moreover, these acts of self affirmation had lasting effects on people’s reactions to polls: In one study, partisan Republicans conformed less to the polls and were more influenced by economic evidence four months after they had been affirmed.”

  41. @Omni

    Well that’s summat I suppose. When do we get our triple AAA back with others? Don’t suppose it’ll mean they’ll be ditching the reprehensible storage tax either way…

  42. @carfrew

    One of them, can’t remember which, said something about waiting until our public debt levels start falling to a more sustainable level. So probably in a few years. Both Moody’s and Fitch have already upgraded us to “stable” outlook (as opposed to “negative”).

  43. ROGER MEXICO

    I think the Lib Dems are done for in Bradford East no matter what. I think that some of David Ward’s bizarre outbursts (I say that who generally sympathetic to the Palestinian cause) are a sign of his desperation.

    I think they only won in the first place because of Iraq.

  44. Where can I find the latest polling of individual constituencies?

    Could somebody provide a link, please.

  45. Simon

    Here you are:

    http://lordashcroftpolls.com/

  46. Lol

  47. @Carfrew

    Thanks for the link to the Washington Post article.

    The section on ‘being affirmed’ obviously links to why individuals who closely associate with a particular cause and exclude themselves from other view points through their choices of newspaper, social media, social circle and so on could be immune to the evidence of polling.

    In the British context, might we call this the ‘Kipper-effect’? After those UKIP members who continue to believe that they will win 150+ seats regardless of the polls because the Daily Express and everyone down the golf club says so.

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