Three weeks to go

Here are this week’s GB polls:

Opinium/Observer (9/4) – CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (10/4) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/S Times (11/4) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
YouGov/Sun (12/4) – CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
Ashcroft (12/4) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
ICM/Guardian (12/4) – CON 39%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 7%, GRN 7%
Populus (12/4) – CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (13/4) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
TNS (13/4) – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (14/4) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (15/4) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
Ipsos MORI/Standard (15/4) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 10%, GRN 8%
Panelbase (16/4) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 16%, GRN 4%
YouGov/Sun (16/4) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
Populus (16/4) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 4%
Survation/Mirror (17/4) – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3%

Voting intention continues to be pretty much static, with levels of Conservative and Labour support extremely close. There were sixteen polls published in the last week, nine had the two parties within a point of each other. The UKPR polling average is back to showing a tie – CON 34%(+1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 14%(-1), GRN 5%(nc). It is hardly been an exciting election campaign anyway, but certainly nothing seems to have made any significant impact upon voting intention and we are running out of time for anything to do so. The first postal ballots will have gone out this week.

Other polls

This week we’ve also had ComRes polling of Lib Dem seats in the South West and Ashcroft polling of some seats in Scotland. I’ve written about both of them at length already – Ashcroft here and ComRes here.

Week fifteen

This week was manifesto week – the five main GB parties all published their manifestos, though the SNP are saving theirs for later in the campaign. YouGov have done two bits of polling on the manifesto for the Times and the Sun.

The most widely supported policy in the Labour manifesto was to reduce the deficit every year (76% support – largely because it got the backing of Tory voters too), followed by the promise to raise the minimum wage to £8 (71% support), freezing utility bills (65%) and the mansion tax (61%) – none of their main policy announcements got a thumbs down.

Looking at the Conservative manifesto the most popular policy was linking the personal tax allowance to the minimum wage (supported by 80%, again because it got wide cross party support), followed by stopping above inflation rail fare rises (67%) and lowering the benefit cap to £23k (65%). Unlike Labour some of the main Conservative policies got a thumbs down – opening 500 new Free Schools only got 26% support, the flagship announcement of extending right to buy to housing associations only got 28% support.

I shall make my usual caveats about overestimating the importance of individual policies. Despite Labour’s individual policies polling better, in the same poll the Conservatives had a narrow lead on having the best policies and ideas for the country (29% Conservative, 26% Labour). Neither do people pay much attention to these announcements – a separate YouGov poll for the Sun found that the right to buy policy was the only one of the manifesto policy announcements tested that a majority of people could correctly link to the right party – in most cases less than a third of people were able to say which party had proposed it.


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc, the Guardian and YouGov are below, as well as the less regular prediction from the Polling Observatory team who released some new numbers today. As ever, all show a hung Parliament, but most are now showing Labour with more seats in a hung Parliament – with the notable exception of Steve Fisher’s model, which has the Tories with about 30 more seats than Labour. On the subject of the differences between the models, Chris Hanretty of the Election Forecast team wrote a blog post earlier this week.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 292(+3), LAB 260(-6), LD 22(nc), SNP 51(+2), UKIP 4(-1)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 280(-2), LAB 277(+2), LD 27(-1), SNP 42(+1), UKIP 1(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 268(+3), LAB 276(-3), LD 26(nc), SNP 54(nc), UKIP 3(nc)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 269(-2), LAB 271(nc), LD 29(nc), SNP 55(+2), UKIP 4(nc)
YouGov Nowcast – Hung Parliament, CON 266(+2), LAB 279(+2), LD 27(-1), SNP 50(-5), UKIP 5(+1)
Polling Observatory – Hung Parliament, CON 268, LAB 278, LD 28, SNP 49, UKIP 3

670 Responses to “Three weeks to go”

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  1. Andy Shadrack

    In many ways the UK electoral system and parliamentary system is very clearly bizarre and outdated.

    The problem is that noone can agree on the best way to change it. So Con and Lab like FPTP as it benefits them – cue arguments about ‘strong government’.

    It is sometime easier to get a better system if you are later into the game (the US Constitution is a lot clearer than our unwritten one). Even then though the alternative can seem scary. So for example in Australia there is some reluctance to replace the Queen as Head of State as the alternative would seem to be to have a politician in the role. And not many places are fond of politicians.

    Congrats on the good campaigning work, and on simply encouraging people to register and (hopefully) vote. I guess your bag will be a little lighter after voter registration ends on Monday.

  2. Huh… Looks like Opinium and YouGov are having a no holds barred fight to the death over the election result if they keep having this divergence in polls. Could make for an interesting subplot

  3. RAF
    Oh no. Please don’t apologise for posting THAT poll

    I don’t think I have posted one before as I’m not a twitterer, which is seemingly where they are generally first spotted.

    Seemed to get a cached copy of the pages, so probably my VPN is overloaded with other expats glued to the snooker.

    Does seem like numbers appositely countering the previous one, though. Sort of polldrums+ I suppose, with a smidgeon for everyone.

  4. @ Blue Bob

    “Swingba… Oh wait”

    It should be: Swin + g/2


    Opinium and YouGov agree that the Con and Lab are within the margin of error of Con 34 Lab 34. They agree on Lib Dem at 8 and UKIP at 13.

  6. Anarchists Unite

    “Looks like Opinium and YouGov are having a no holds barred fight to the death over the election result if they keep having this divergence in polls.”

    Now, if Anthony was a Polish prince, he could solve this quite easily by challenging his Opinium rival to a duel.

  7. @BZ

    It was my way of saying posting polls others have posted already is totally fine with me…provided that it isn’t bad news!

  8. The YouGov was conducted entirely after the debate it could be a Mili debate bounce.

    I think I may have suggested that the Lib Dems have been heading for some trouble ahead,

    Do you think that the 8% figure is too high; and will it produce many MP’s do you think.

    Just thinking.

  10. @ Pete B

    I have probably talked to about 1,000 people on the election since I landed Good Friday.

    My experience is that a large number of women are carefully weighing which “progressive” option they want to support, which rules out UKIP, Conservative and LD.

    Older men (50+), though not all, appear to me to be the most locked into traditional pollitcs of Labour vs Conservative and/or are the most likely to consider switching to UKIP.

    Many women, including Conservative voting females, are often repelled by UKIP and the message from Farage.

    I could say a lot more, but that would probably break the non-partisan rules on this site. I, for example, spent two hours last night discussing with someone who has been in Norwich and the Southwest.

    I am now even more firmly convinced from my own conversations on the doorstep, and in talking to others from around the UK that the pollsters will all have egg over their faces if they continue to show LD with the kind of polling numbers they are currently reporting.

  11. @ CASCLC

    “the US Constitution is a lot clearer than our unwritten one”

    Are you sure? Cf the number of amendments, interpretations and the presidential staffing of the Supreme Court.

  12. OldNat

    That could become a theme. We already have Populus accusing Survation of bias Perhaps it could be a full-on knockout competion. Do we have 8 so we can start with the quarter finals?

  13. The magic money tree and RTB didn’t seem to work so now its cut price Lloyds shares offered as an election privaisation bribe.

    It really is a ‘back to the 80’s’ election for the Tories.

  14. @ CASCLC
    “the US Constitution is a lot clearer than our unwritten one”

    Maybe. However they’re still passing parts of the thing!

  15. Laszlo – I think it provides a clearer starting point, but yes, all such things are open to amendment, argument, interpretation and abuse.

  16. @ Eddie,

    The Redkippers want to renationalise all the railways and utilities, they hate bankers, and they hate the EU, so they’re a bit more Tony Benn than Ted Heath.

    The London Review of Books had a brilliant longread article about Grimsby which captured them quite well, I thought:

  17. The more important finding from YG is that Ed M’s approval ratings are up to -18. While objectively still poor, these are higher numbers than he has been getting for most of the 2010-15 parliament and particularly for the last 18 months or so (when at times he has skirted with Clegg levels of unpopularity). The five way debate appears also to have given him a further bounce upwards.

    This was the key negative Labour had to neutralise in the campaign and they appear to be doing it.

  18. Casclc

    A polling Match of the Day – or maybe we could restore gladiatorial combat/

  19. Regarding the polls just seems its back to deadlock.

    Conservatives announcing they will be selling off Lloyds shares in a retail offer if they win. RTB. Seems such an old fashioned sort of campaign in some ways.

  20. Technically, we should say that the UK has a Constitution which is uncodified, and it has written parts of it such as Statute Law and unwritten conventions such as Common Law, including Royal Prerogative.

    Vernon Bogdanor says the UK Constitution is becoming more codified with the HRA, EU Law and Devolution.

    The TB administrations (Labour used to win Elections) did a lot of codification.


    Are you saying that you think the Lib Dems will be much more succesful in the South West than the poll numbers appear to indicate?

  22. @ Profhoward,

    Is it a good use of scarce resources in academia to develop methods to forecast an election?

    Yes. Because:

    a) Modeling things like elections makes us better at modeling, full stop. If we can predict human behaviour in elections we may be able to better predict it for things like emergency evacuations.

    b) Politics is in itself quite an important thing to study- it determines how we govern our society, after all- and psephology is frankly the least bogus part of political science. The rest of it consists mainly of the kind of unfalsifiable-pet-theories-that-support-my-preexisting-views we all like to air around here.

    c) You should see the stuff academics spend resources on when they’re not modeling elections.

    @ Andy Shadrack,

    I would gently suggest that canvassing returns from someone who has been in the country for a month is a less reliable guide to the election than demographically balanced national polling.

  23. @UKELECT
    “I’m interested in how well former incumbents are doing in their attempt to regain their seats. That could be one local factor that it is possible to take account of correctly in seat projects.”

    You may also want to consider seats that apparently switched because of a single issue in the past. For example, Anne Campbell (Lab), a 3-term and hitherto popular incumbent, lost her seat to David Haworth (LD), probably because of her support for top-up fees (student town). One might have expected the single-term incumbent, Julian Huppert (LD), to lose his seat to Labour in the wake of the strength of feeling on the tuition fee issue but it looks like he might survive according to the March Ashcroft poll. Would one expect that his personal vote against the tuition fee rise and being a local lad be enough to save his seat?

    I suppose Manchester Withington, Bristol West, Cardiff Central should fall under the same category as Labour->LD wins on the top-up fees issue in 2005.

    While researching this, I came across this interesting read:-

    I’m no electoral expert, it’s just that I worked in Cambridge in 2005 and became very aware of the strength of feeling on the top-up fee issue.

  24. @ Eddie,
    The Redkippers want to renationalise all the railways and utilities, they hate bankers, and they hate the EU, so they’re a bit more Tony Benn than Ted Heath.

    Well, in essence they are National Socialists, hence their ability to reach out for working class blue collar votes!

  25. Clegg has to the Sunday Times said he won’t do a deal with Labour unless they change their economic policy and that a deal with the second largest party would lack legitimacy. It is of course constitutional nonsense to claim in a hung parliament the largest party must be in government. Only a party leader that can command a majority gets to be PM – largest party or not! It seems to me Clegg is signally his desire to be in coalition with the Tories. But how does this benefit him or his party?

  26. I should have proof read that last post!


    I’m aware of this – I was making a humorous comment on how they always seem to diverge.


    “Now, if Anthony was a Polish prince, he could solve this quite easily by challenging his Opinium rival to a duel.”

    Frankly I think trial by combat is how all political decisions should be settled. It’d make PMQs a heck of a lot more entertaining.

  28. Catoswyn
    “Well, in essence they are National Socialists”

    I think you should withdraw that, or the site will degenerate into a slanging match.

  29. The Opinium looks a bit Conservativey to me.

    Or should that be Toryish?

    The YouGov, on the other hand, looks spot on!


    P.S. Anecdotal Election Report Part 5. Did a little leafleting today in a part of town that usually votes Tory in local elections, and national ones too, presumably. In the Blairite glory/Major calamity days (1995-97) it did return some Labour councillors, but it’s Tory territory by and large. Owner occupied, detached houses in the main, a fairly leafy and affluent area. It was almost impossible to tell that an election was on. The odd sign in a house window and the occasional estate agent for sale type sign in a front garden. No hoardings anywhere, no party committee rooms, hardly any leafleting, zero canvassers. An eerie and strange atmosphere, I have to say. No real sign of the Tories working on the ground in an area where a lot of their natural supporters reside.

    There are 6 local candidates in our constituency but I’ve only personally received literature for two of them so far; the Labour and Tory candidates, although I’ve had far more Labour freeposts than Tory. What’s surprising me about this is that this is a reasonably marginal constituency that the Tories gained from Labour in 2010 after losing it in 1997.

    This is anecdotal, I accept, but there’s far more effort going on in Labour areas of the town, with party activists campaigning hard to get the Labour vote out on May 7th. I don’t see a similar Tory effort in their key wards, not yet anyway. They’re leaving it late or maybe they know something we don’t.

    It’s all somewhat strange though.


    I’m aware of this – I was making a humorous comment on how they always seem to diverge.


    “Now, if Anthony was a Polish prince, he could solve this quite easily by challenging his Opinium rival to a duel.”

    Frankly I think trial by combat is how all political decisions should be settled. It’d make PMQs a lot more entertaining.

  31. BIGD

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Good chance Clegg won’t even be there to make any decisions if he loses Sheffield.

  32. FEWMET
    You may also want to consider seats that apparently switched because of a single issue in the past.

    Good point. Our seat here switched mainly due to an expenses scandal. That scandal did affect a fair few seats. Personally I think that many areas will be reverting to their position in the 2005 election ie Redcar will return to Labour, my area to Conservative etc. This is why I think the polls are making a mistake when they allocate voters back to their 2010 votes. Last time was an unusual election in itself and many of the issues present then have unravelled since.

  33. Spearmint

    From my experience of a few years as a part-time researcher in academia – your description is spot on!

    (I did enjoy the international education conferences that you all paid for me to go to, though.)

  34. I live in a constituency that has been Labour since Adam’s father was a boy, as my late father used to say.
    So far I’ve had three pamphlets from SNP and one from Conservatives delivered by the parties, the only Labour pamphlet I’ve received was delivered by Royal Mail and scarily had my name and address on it, same same my next door neighbour
    I can only imagine the Labour party got our details from the Electoral Roll because my neighbour has/had no involvement whatever with any political party.

  35. BigD: “But how does this benefit him or his party?”

    His party, not sure. Him? Con voter support in Sheffield Hallam? I find it difficult to see LDs being led by Clegg working with Labour, neither side would want it. But post-election, who knows?

  36. RAF

    I should have been less opaque. Thought the polldrums+ would suffice. :>)}

  37. PETE B

    Well I withdraw any implications people draw from it that are negative. I just meant that they have many elements of a socialist based economic policy, though Nigel Farage himself is more of a Conservative free marketeer, and that they are nationalist in approach. Its just true.

  38. PETE B

    But you’re right. Not the place or thread to even debate the issue. My apologies.

  39. @ Ashman

    “this is Conservative so called trump card”

    How many trump cards have they had now??

  40. @ Spearmint

    In a way I agree with you on academics modelling elections. They have the resources and skills.

    However, quantitative methodologies used in social science won’t help us in this, because they are driven by publication targets. when yor find that in one of leading economics journals (that meant to inform policy making), over 60% of the articles are flawed for practical purposes ….

    And in social psychology journals the situation is worse (including fraud).


    How does is this scary? All political parties/candidates have always had access to the electoral roll. I think anyone can look at it as well.


    I can see it helps him in Sheffield Hallam but doesn’t this help Labour in Scotland – Clegg says Lib Dems won’t put Lab in power unless we have the most votes and seats, if you want a Lab Government you need to vote Lab.

  42. Crossbat

    I am in a safe Tory seat (Croydon South) and have received 3 leaflets (one direct mail). All are from Labour.


  43. Former Labour Person – more importantly, every person standing at a general election gets one free Royal Mail delivery to every person on the electoral register, so you and your neighbour will be getting the same from other candidates too (not necessarily named – candidates can choose whether to actually address their election mailing, or just have an unaddressed leaflet sent to every address)

  44. Thanks Spearmint, I’ll give it a read.
    I don’t think wanting to renationalise rail means you have to think of yourself as left-wing. It’s a pretty common position, but more to the point anyone old enough to remember the difference between British Rail and the current “service” probably thinks it a self-evident point rather than one of ideology.
    I think the Thatcher/Keith Joseph direction gradually lost working class Tory support. The privatisation of national organisations in which people took some patriotic pride was part of that. I even think it was Macmillan, not Labour, who talked about the “family silver”(?). UKIP is partly filling the demand for conservatives who actually conserve something.

  45. @ Crossbat11

    ‘What’s surprising me about this is that this is a reasonably marginal constituency that the Tories gained from Labour in 2010 after losing it in 1997.’

    Wasn’t there an academic report suggesting that the Tories were pouring their funds into their ‘safe’ seats rather than as expected into the marginals? I’m afraid that I can’t find the reference but I have a feeling that it was the LSE.

  46. SYZYGY

    @” David Cameron attending religious ceremonies. This strategy seems reminiscent of the Republicans courting the ‘moral majority’ through the churches.”

    And what was your opinion of Ed Miliband visiting a Gudwara in the Midlands?

    Perhaps you didn’t read of it-it was after all done withe Press excluded., unlike Cameron’s visit today.

  47. BigD

    So how much influence do you think some comment from Clegg is going to have in Scotland – especially in formerly Lab held seats?

  48. COUPER2802
    The YouGov was conducted entirely after the debate it could be a Mili debate bounce.

    It certainly could. Bounces don’t last though so we probably won’t know because it will disappear again. I really don;t know if their is any ‘stickability’ in any movement for the two main parties right now. Maybe the electorate will rouse itself and begin slowly lumbering in one direction or another shortly.

  49. @ Colin

    For some “incomprehensible” reasons I find myself agreeing with you much more frequently than any other time over almost six years.

    So, you are right.

  50. @Penfold – Thanks for the explanation about landline usage by age. Thought I had read somewhere that to get around the ‘age’ usage of land/mobile phone usage telephone polsters now also included mobile phone users, but of course also weighted by age as well so that they got a representative sample.
    The reason I am puzzled on this topic is that having done 3 surveys for YouGov in as many weeks it seems my input (which has not changed at all in voter preference) has an undue weighting. I have also seen on another site several other posters also they have done numerous election surveys for YouGov. It would therefore seem that asking the same base would produce essentially the same results – as appears to be happening with YouGov.

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