The worst thing you can do in analysing polls of voting intention is to get excited at polls that show something exciting and different and ignore those that show the same old pattern. Occassionally the unusual poll will herald a genuine movement in public opinion – after all, whenever there is a change, one poll has to pick it up first. More often than not, the unusual poll will turn out to be a freak result, the product of unusual sampling or methods. If there is genuinely a change in public opinion, other polls will pick it up sooner or later, so it’s always wise to withhold your judgement.

Today we have one of those unusual polls, and we have the overexcitement you’d expect. ICM’s monthly poll in the Guardian has topline figures of CON 39%(+3), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 7%(-2), GRN 7%(+3) (tabs). This is pretty odd all round – a storming six point lead for the Tories, up on thirty-nine percent; the Greens and UKIP equal on seven percent.

In the Guardian’s write up they are rightly dubious, and include a welcome caveat from ICM’s Martin Boon about the inevitability of random variation and the sample perhaps being a touch too Tory. I’ll just leave it with the usual caveats – it’s one poll, and an odd looking one at that. Sure, it could be the start of some Tory surge, but if it is we will see it echoed in other polls today…and luckily enough we have at least three of them.

Populus this morning had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs). The Conservatives are up two points (possibly helped by an update in weighting targets), but no big tory lead.

Still to come are the weekly Ashcroft poll and the daily YouGov poll. Come the end of the day, the way to judge where we are is too look at all them as a whole – not fixate on the unusual one.

UPDATE: Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll has topline figures of CON 33%(-3), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 9%(+3), UKIP 13%(+3), GRN 6%(-1). Changes are from a fortnight ago – Ashcroft took a week off to avoid bank holiday fieldwork. As with today’s Populus poll, there is nothing here to support the big Tory lead in the ICM poll. Full details are on Lord Ashcroft’s website here.

UPDATE2: Finally the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 34%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6% – a one point Labour lead. Putting all four polls together that ICM poll looks very much like an outlier. Such things are an unavoidable part of polling – and well done to Guardian for reporting it in a heavily caveated way within the context of other polls showing no movement, rather than getting all excited about it.


459 Responses to “Latest ICM, Ashcroft and Populus polls”

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  1. Unusually, Jim Murphy is not going to be on BBC Scotland Radio this morning.

  2. @ Louiswalshvotesgreen

    Feeling a little churlish yestreday were you? Well in this UK election if you wait twenty four hours, even less sometimes, there is a poll for everyone’s fancy.

    You can have UKIP @ 7% but if you do not fancy that 17%, which is only a ten point range over a five day period. Or you can have the Conservatives at 33% to 39%, which is a little boring as there is only a six point range there.

    Labour are really boring at between 33% and 36%, but the one that got my goat was the decision to place two parties in the wrong order prior to the European election.

    And the fact that four pollsters overestimated UKIP by between 3.5% to 5.5% did not help my assessment of the situation.

    So yes I have been banging on about UKIP and LD to the point that one other poster has suggested I do not like the two major parties in this election.

    That is immaterial to the fact that if somone tried to sell you a car or other mechanical item that worked like these polls do you would not like it very much.

    So yesterday I actually said something nice about YouGov and their LD values and note that despite my objections to how ICM weight their voting values that they were spot on with their LD value in the Eurpean election last May.

    So yesterday I found it interesting that ICM had Green on 8% in England and LD on 7%, noting that is the first time since mid-March when Lord A had them in the same order in England.

    So let’s wait until after the April 16th debate and the May 1st interviews and see where the pollsters are at in the lead up to election day.

    I laid out an hypotheis that based on sample size it might be difficult to capture where UKIP and LD are at because of the considerable variation in support they have depending on which region or even constituency one is in.

    The only other election I have seen like this UK one was in 1993 when the Canadian political system went from three parties in the Parliament to five.

    In this Parliament the number of parties has expanded from six to seven on the GB mainland, and actually becomes twelve if you include NI.

    And I wonder when they last had six near full slates in NI, 6 in Wales, five in England and four and two halves in Scotland?

    Under FPTP when you get to six and seven parties it is not beyond the realm of possibility for candidates to start getting elected with less than 33% of the vote and in at least one instance in 1993 in Canada one candidate was elected with 29.3% support.

    So accuracy of regional and sub-regional polling becomes very important in a situation like that otherwise one wakes up with a lot of egg and surprize ones face.

    Have a good day I am off to meet more voters, who if some of them had their way would change the voting system so that an election better reflected their vision and values in the Parliament.

  3. Candy

    You might subscribe to the idea that all council housing (I’m also quite happy to call it that!) is just for the druggies and the mentally ill … as someone whose parents moved from lousy Inner London housing to a rented (curse the thought) house in a new town in the fifties they would be have been thoroughly offended.

    They were proud of a decent rented house, didn’t have much money but never saw themselves as poor or desperate and believed the first priority as somewhere to live a decent life and bring up their kids, not somewhere to make money. Perhaps its more housing like that we need and a bit less worrying about focus groups….

  4. Good Morning All, foggy dew here at the moment, as in the Irish Song.
    OLD NAT.
    Thank you, Sir, for the tip off.

  5. Not sure what happened to “Mondeo man” ? Perhaps he is Now 3 series man now. Either way I suggest that the Tories are not managing to nail the votes of this suburban species. Many have Tory leanings but waded over to Blair’s right of centre Labour mantra. Is Cameron taking their return for granted?

  6. chrislane1945

    I trust that the “foggy dew” reference did not imply that you were taking a Gladstone-esque approach to the saving of young women?

  7. We are reminded that the rule is that if anything the opposition parties gain ground during the short GE campaign.
    I do wonder if this has something to do with the Government struggling to fend of the question of ‘if it was such a good idea h0w come you have not done it whilst in power’
    This may ordinarily dampen any positive impact from policy announcements/manifesto whilst the opposition can say what they would have done.

    In this GE, whether fair or not, the Coalition parties can blame each other for not being able to do something or other.
    It would not surprise me if the Tories got a boost from their manifesto launch at least for a few days; whether it lasts will depend on how the popular proposals will stand up to the scrutiny

  8. OLD NAT.
    Apparently we get arrested for singing such songs now in a part of North Britain.
    Gladstone was such a great man, I think. He would walk all over the present lot.

  9. My dad grew up in council house which was well built. The estate always seemed nice when I visited my gran.

  10. @Oldnat

    He’s going to have to facr it eventually. Does not help his argument they do not need to make further spending cuts comes from the same source he’s using to argue FFA will bring a huge fall in Scottish spending.

    He’s tried to be too clever and ended up looking pretty poorly. If Labour are cutting he has to bite the bullet and campaign on it. Some people are suggesting he’s a fall guy but honestly I think Scottish Labour thought he’d do quite a bit better than this.

  11. Good morning all from a windy Giffnock. Summer!! What summer?

    “BIGD
    Mrs BigD said this morning that Labour are offering the more credible offer. The Tories are just showering money around without saying where it’s coming from. Mrs BigD has been very critical of Ed for years, is Blairite and a couple of days ago wasn’t going to vote. Mrs BigD is now definitely voting Labour!”
    ________

    Mr BigD has a BIG Mouth and shouldn’t be telling people how Mrs BigD is will be voting.

    Please refer yourself to the comments policy please.

    rools R rools ;-)

  12. @Candy

    ” if you want to change how landlords are taxed to taxation on revenue with no allowance for expenses (including loans), you would need to apply this to all other businesses too”

    No you wouldn’t. You could also legislate that gains from trading rental houses should be treated as income and taxed accordingly.
    Plus your views on council housing make all kinds of assumptions which are questionable at best (eg the largely private estate where I live has one block of council flats, which is indistinguishable from the ‘luxury’ flats around it.)
    As someone else pointed out, not all council tenants are druggies, but they are all subject to prejudice from some ill-informed people.

  13. KILLARY45
    Two excellent points from Neil J.
    If this terrible policy has a good side it is that it sets a precedent for the government appropriating property it does not own and selling it off cheap to tenants. Giving private tenants the right to buy would be brilliant.
    April 14th, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Thanks, I am surprised by the policy, I would have thought the effective forced sale at a loss of property belong to a private concern would be something more reminiscent of Soviet Russia than the Conservative Party. I think even Michael Foot would have considered it a step too far in his ‘suicide manifesto of 1983.

  14. OLDNAT
    “Unusually, Jim Murphy is not going to be on BBC Scotland Radio this morning”
    ________

    Could be to do with the more exposure he gets the more the polls run away from him.

  15. Lord Ashcroft Marginals:

    This time he presents marginals that can only be won on a 5% Tory to Lab swing. Labour wins or is tied in most of them so this is good need for the red camp.

  16. @ Alan Christie

    Lol! I think I’ll be in the ????????

    Seriously though, I think a lot of Blairite voters will be impressed with the Lab offer because it is more serious than the R
    Tory one. Lab need some of the 1997-2001 Lab voters to win thus election.

  17. Ashcroft

    I found the Conservatives ahead in five of the ten seats: Cleethorpes (though by only by two points), Dover, Dudley South, Harlow and North East Somerset, where Jacob Rees-Mogg is sixteen points clear of Labour despite the Liberal Democrat vote falling by more than half.

    However, I found ties in Rossendale & Darwen (where the Tory vote was unchanged since 2010 at 42%, but Labour were up ten points) and South Ribble.

    I found Labour leads in three seats, albeit well within the margin of error: Crewe & Nantwich (by three points), Finchley & Golders Green (by two points) and Milton Keynes South (by two points).

  18. Ashcroft:

    Actually, Labour win or are tied in half of them. But still good news for Labour.

  19. The ????? are supposed to be emojis of a dog and a house.

  20. At last we have some serious discussion regarding housing.
    We have a lot of political common ground as far as affordable housing is concerned: everyone chants the mantra of ‘more affordable’. But does this make any sense? My thinking is that we nee more housing, full stop, and the requirement to include affordable is preventing the market from meeting demand. We also need the quality of housing stock to improve, instead of building cheap boxes.
    Removing the affordable requirement will release some of the log-jams and stimulate the construction industry. As long as we build more houses, then they will have to be occupied, and ultimately the first time buyer at the bottom of the ladder will get a house.
    Its called a ‘chain’.
    Yes, we might end up with a few more second homes, but they are a tiny percentage of the whole.
    Instead of the obstructive affordable requirement, we could improve the housing stock and tax development to provide much needed infrastructure, hospitals, schools, etc.
    When will a politician be brave enough to say that the affordable industry has completely failed to deliver what we need?

  21. Has Finchley changed much since the days of Mrs T?

  22. NE Somerset looks a bit like an outlier in favour of cons, though doubtless they would still be ahead, but would be surprised if 16 points. South Ribble and Rossendale scores very positive for Lab, though doubt they will take either. In general more sign that we’re headed for post election stalemate of sorts.

  23. Election Forecasts [email protected] · 8m8 minutes ago
    UK Polling Report forecast of SEATS: OTHERS:72.0, UKIP:0, LIB:18.0, LAB:300.0, CON:260.0 #UK #GE2015 http://www.electionforecasts.com/forecasters#UK-Polling-Report

    Is this accurate? What do experts on here think? Thanks

  24. A quick calculation suggests average swing to Labour in these ten seats polled by Ashcroft of 3.7%. Seems around average?

  25. Those marginal polls are pretty good for Labour I think. I did not have Crewe and Nantwich or Finchley & Golders Green as realistic prospects.

  26. From the latest Ashcroft poll
    ‘As in the previous round, Labour seem to be having the better of the ground war in all ten of these seats. Between 55% and 78% had had literature, letters, visits, phone calls or emails from Labour; between 34% and 62% said they heard from the Tories.’

    Still surprises me the conservatives do not seem to be able to get the troops and or make contact in the same numbers as Labour

  27. That Finchley and GG poll is a bit of a shocker. The Tories performed quite well there last year in the council election – probably saved the council from going Labour – and it had been thought that the Jewish vote and a popular MP (particularly with the Jewish community) would make it quite an easy Tory hold. Clearly not. Makes me a little worried about my own constituency of Chipping Barnet where the council result was a bit of a shocker (most votes for CONs but not most seats!). I suppose what has happened is that the collapse of the LD vote in Barnet (15-20% in 2010) predominantly to LAB has been underestimated. The council have also probably lost a lot of support for the Tories with a series of debacles over library closures and so on.

  28. Sizeable jewish community in Finchley so after Labours policy shifts this was expected to remain a tory seat.

  29. Ashcroft poll looks good for labour in the marginals. Labour regaining Crewe and Nantwich on a 7.5 swing for me stands out

  30. @OldNat

    There have been boundary changes. Mrs T’s seat included a few very affluent wards that are now within Chipping Barnet. I guess the area has also become a little less popular with well-off commuters who now often come from further out.

  31. Did you see Blunkett yesterday saying he felt knocking on doors was overated .

    London labour is said to be very well organised by sadiq khan but it does have much larger constituency memberships and a more receptive audience.

  32. It appears we have had the first red lines from the Libdems as regards to any coalition deal
    Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said he would not enter into another coalition with the Conservatives if they insisted on their proposal of £12bn welfare cuts.
    The deputy prime minister told the BBC the Conservative approach was “downright unfair”.
    ‘ Mr Clegg also said he “could not countenance” recommending to his party they join a coalition with “a Labour Party that’s not serious about balancing the books”.

  33. The new Ashcroft polling looks OK for the Tories. I expect them to hold all 10 seats.

  34. Arent most housing associations in the red ?

    Surely a big bill for the Treasury to make this work.

  35. Sporting Index has changed the spread offered on most seats (they seem to take great store in Ashcroft polls).

    The spreads are:
    CON 280-285
    LAB 272-276
    LD 24.5-26.5
    UKIP 4-6
    SNP 41.5-43.5

    These predictions have narrowed in the past few weeks. Before the Ashcroft Poll, the implied CON lead was 11, a week or so ago it was 18. Now it’s 8.

  36. @TheOtherHoward

    Yep. Not out of these by any means. Though with the possible exception of Crewe/Nantwich (by-election gain with first time incumbency in 2010) these are all pretty much must wins if the CONs are to finish with most seats.

  37. Jack Sheldon

    Thanks for the information.

  38. @ Bramley

    Thank you. :-)

    Gosh, some folks do get nippy about a simple question. Nicola Sturgeon said during the debates/ interviews that the SNP would be releasing their manifesto for Westminster in the next few days. I was just wondering when it would be released because it wasn’t clear from what she’d said.

  39. Ronnie Carroll, former UK Eurovision contestant, has died. He was due to stand in Hampstead and Kilburn as an Independent. This means the election in this marginal seat will be postponed as happened in Thirsk & Malton in 2010.

  40. I was on electoral calculus earlier, and they seem way behind on their modelling. They don’t seem to take account of constituency polls. They have LD on 17!

  41. Ashcroft again finding higher Labour contact rates (between 55% and 78%) than for the Tories (between 34% and 62%). That’s despite the fact that some of these seats are more difficult / less plausible targets for Labour.

  42. Long time reader first time poster but TOH – not sure how these could be defined as good for the Tories – certainty ends any sensible expectation of majority that you’ve predicted before.

  43. BigD

    In an election as tight as this one might be, that could be fun!

  44. It’s not correct. If an independent candidate dies then the election continues as normal.

    p.25 on this link:

    http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/175379/Part-C-Administering-the-poll.pdf

  45. @Jack Sheldon

    Labour probably doesn’t need a swing of 5% Tory-Lab to have most seats, around 4% should be sufficient. What most of these polls show is significant movement to Lab in seats (England and Wales) where the general swing to Labour (as per UK polling crossbreaks) has been below 5%.

  46. Assume my comments are in moderation as new user?

  47. Considering what the Ashcroft Polls says about both Crewe&N and Finchley&GG, what are the chances about Ilford North going? I’ve seen a few things implying a bigger swing in London, and Ilford North is slightly more marginal than either of these two project gains!

  48. @Neilj

    “Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said he would not enter into another coalition with the Conservatives if they insisted on their proposal of £12bn welfare cuts.”

    In April 2010 I recall that of the three main parties, the LDs were the ones who advocated most caution in cutting spending/raising taxes lest the tentative recovery then underway be choked off by excessive austerity. By the end of May 2010 they were signed up in coalition to something very different.

    What Clegg says he will do is not a guide to what Clegg would actually do given the chance.

  49. @PHIL HAINES 6.52am

    You maybe right, but I suspect he will have learned a lot of hard lessons from his experience last time and will be much more demanding about what he wants in return for support.

  50. Interesting Ashcroft polls. Having fun comparing them with my “every seat” prediction Predictions for top 3 places although NE Somerset could cause quite a headache!

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