ComRes have a new battleground poll out, results here, this time looking at 10 Conservative held UKIP target seats. The poll covered some seats that UKIP announced as targets last year but taking out some that no longer seem realistic, like Aylesbury, and adding some obvious ommissions like Castle Point. The overall shares of the vote with changes since 2010 were CON 39%(-7), LAB 28%(+2), UKIP 21%(+15), LDEM 5%(-10), GRN 4%(+4). UKIP have obviously advanced strongly since 2010, but remain in quite a distant third place.

It’s quite hard to know what to make of this poll. For a start, with UKIP coming from a very low base it’s quite hard to accurately predict what their best chances of a gain are – so some seats here like East Worthing and Shoreham probably aren’t in the top rank of UKIP targets. More importantly, with a poll of a group of marginal seats like this we can’t tell what the distribution of the vote is between these different seats. Most estimates are for UKIP to pick up only a couple of seats beyond their two by-election gains (which are not included in this sample), so from this poll we can’t tell whether UKIP have about 21% in all these seats (and hence wouldn’t win any of them), or are doing much better in the more promising seats like South Thanet and Thurrock and less well in the others, meaning they could win some.

I suppose all we can reasonably conclude is that UKIP don’t look like they are about to sweep the board across these seats, it’s impossible to tell from this poll whether or not they are in a stronger position in a minority of them.

484 Responses to “ComRes poll of UKIP target seats”

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  1. Below is my rolling average for the twelve polls since the five way debate, as compared to the week before the debate:

    Conservative 33.4% -.6%
    Labour 33% -.5%
    UKIP 14.3% +1.8%
    Liberal Democrat 8.3% +.2%
    Other (SNP/PC) 6.6% +.4%
    Green Party 4.4% -1.3%

    @BarnabyMarder and Catmanjeff ask how I get there. It is very simply, I treat YouGov as one poll and average the polling data for YouGov, otherwise the impact of YouGov drowns out all the other pollsters by sheer volume of the number of polls YouGov does.

    I also average any other pollsters for the period I am studying data for again because I do not want that pollster to drown out the other pollsters either.

    That way my rolling polling average is a mean of all the pollsters and not a mean of all the polls.

    So for the second week in a row I have Conservative ahead of Labour, but with the arrival of the Pannelbase poll their lead is now down to .4%.

    Finally, I am not sure whether I believe these polling numbers for all the reasons I have stated previously.

  2. neilj

    Ashman 1.12pm
    I had composed a long post about how for many people ZHC are crippling them. Unable to get a mortgage, enjoy a social or family life or have stability in their life but decided against it as it was not in line with the comments section.
    All I would say is that Political parties certainly need to look after the business community but that needs to be balanced with ensuring those at the bottom are not unfairly treated. Once a political party gives the impression (may not even be the reality) it is looking after one section and not the other it has limited the numbers who will vote for it.

    I concur.

    Both are relevant to have a sound economy.

    Saying that the bashing of business, without any sound economic foundation, it the basis of an inept economic policy.

    All you are doing is, making it even harder for business to take risk.

    Remember HMV, Woolworths etc, in an debt fuelled economy, these business could borrow, lending to these business was considered low risk, by the banks, as there was abundant supply of money, due to the deregulation of the banking system, lower thresholds, business consumed money like no yesterdays. When liquidity dried up, these business crumbled.

    Had we not had the securitisation of debt, one of the prime factors which led to banks lending more money, we would not have experienced the so called Blair-Brown economic boom period, up to the financial crises.

    People have to grow up and understand, economic landscape has changed, and adapt to that environment.

    By attacking the very entity that creates employment, is sign of a misguided economic policy, just to win votes. No different to the populist Latin American governments of the 1970s, which then led to the economic collapse of these Latin American countries.

  3. Gary O

    Etienne / Ashman

    Probably best to not delve too deep into that particular topic given yesterdays moderation of AR558 and myself over a similar theme.

    Best to agree to disagree and move on. And oh look – there’s a poll!

    What bets that the Survation shows a Tie and YG a 1 point Con lead.


    Wise counsel :-)

  4. Barbazenzero/Unicorn

    All is not lost (yet!)

    I’ll have a dig around Rselenium, which if I can get to work, should be able to automate everything and drag out the appropriate elements.

    No promises as I haven’t used this package before and I have other stuff that needs finishing this week, as well as a test match to enjoy.

    If anyone else wants to have a go at extracting Yougov constituency level predictions:

    If not, I’ll see what I can do with it later.

  5. @Andy Shadrack
    You are throwing away information by that method. Perhaps better to do as AW does and build in a decay feature for multiple pollsters or else take into account the more precise estimates from means..

  6. Ashman. Best to avoid partisan posts. But here’s some facts. The economy was growing at trend, inflation was at trend. Banks blew up, starting in U.S., spreading to world. Recovery on track until 2010, then worst on record.

  7. @ Couper 2802

    No it is just that there is No Trust, It is likely that the IFS report is fair but the way it is being used is totally counter-productive.

    It may be counter-productive to the SNP campaign & may reduce trust in the IFS amongst SNP supporters who do not want to believe the IFS conclusion.

    I am fine with it, of course, because it’s exactly what I said: SNP manifesto is a photocopy of Labour’s.

    Had Nicola (SNP) simply responded to Kezia (LiS) by saying that SNP plans were the same as Labour’s, then trust in the IFS would have been maintained. It was the SNP who chose the anti-austerity narrative as an SNP v Labour attack line for this campaign rather than simply saying there was no difference between the two.

  8. @Andy Shadrack

    I think your method is best. It is accepted that their are house effects amongst pollsters so why let one pollster’s house effect drown out the others?

  9. “there” not “their”

  10. Amber and Couper

    I fear you are whistling in the wind here.

  11. Systematic biases in predicting last week’s A-polls.

    Each of the models showed reliable biases. In the case of EF (the most accurate model for this batch) the bias was restricted to consistently understating the level of SNP support (underestimating SNP VIs by 4.7% on average). With this bath, This model showed no reliable bias for any of the other parties.

    YouGov and EC were also ‘guilty’ of understating SNP support (by 8.5% and 2.5%, respectively, with only the former being reliable). The models are clearly encountering considerable difficulties in tracking SNP fortunes.

    YGN also reliable understated Tory support. EC contrived to overstate Tory, Ukip and Green support and underestimate LibDem support (all reliably so) and is duly awarded the wooden spoon for its projections for this batch.

    Verdict: take EC (and May2015) projections with a pinch of salt. Treat YouGov projections with caution and – if you are trying to predict Ashcroft polls – use The ElectionForecast model as your oracle.

  12. @Amber Star

    So you are reduced to pretending there is no difference between SNP & Labour, yet your bosses in London have made it clear there is.

    I note that the IFS seems to have redefined Austerity to mean ‘period when the country is in deficit’ which is another piece of mendacious nonsense.

  13. @ James

    The problem with the IFS narrative for Labour is that there is a big element of “jam tomorrow”, i.e. the increased spending (as compared to SNP) all comes in the latter part of the parliament. Whereas people who are opposed to cuts / austerity want a change of course now.

    The BBC have a published an IFS graph showing that your assertion isn’t correct. There is no difference, in the initial stages, between Labour & SNP.

  14. If there’s no game changer in the next 7 days (long time in politics) will young Mr Grace shift his NI papers’ focus away from attacking the probable winner ? And if so, big if, will it be a shift towards promoting Boris? Unlikely I know, but I just can’t believe he’d explicitly back a loser.

  15. @Unicorn

    I get your point but I though MOE didn’t change much with more respondents so 14k or 1k MOE is much the same

  16. Lynton Crosby has something known as a “Wedge Stragegy”. Roughly this strategy is to find a weakness in your opponent and go for it ad nauseum.

    This latest poll is further evidence the Lynton Crosby’s latest application of this strategy, i.e. *Operation McWedge*, is not yet showing through in VI.

  17. (To be fair he has achieved the “ad nauseum” part.)

  18. The new Panelbase poll is now on their website.


  19. @ Couper 2802

    So you are reduced to pretending there is no difference between SNP & Labour, yet your bosses in London have made it clear there is.

    I see you’re getting personal now. FYI: I don’t have a “boss”, so you are wrong about that too.

  20. Lutfur Rahman unseated as mayor of Tower Hamlets

    Given the damning electoral court judgement, is it not a surprise that the Borough council elections have not been voided as well?

  21. @Amber Star

    IFS have had to make quite big assumptions about Labour’s plans, due to lack of detail in their manifesto. This has been discussed before on here.

    The big uncertainty about Labour’s plans is how quickly they intend to make the current budget come into balance. If you take the path indicated by their voting for the budget responsibility charter in Parliament, they would have to cut more deeply in the first 2-3 years than the SNP, although Labour have not confirmed this subsequently.

    The IFS have therefore assumed that they won’t cut so deeply in the initial period, meaning that they will meet that target a year later. If you accept this assumption, then their spending plans are very similar to the SNP in the first 3-4 years.

    Jim Murphy made this point in one of the Scottish debates – he said that the IFS says there isn’t much difference between us and SNP, or words to that effect. The problem for him was that this line – that the deficit would not come down so quickly and there wouldn’t be cuts post 2015/16 – was contradicted by Balls.

  22. Amber Star

    Does the SNP plan – that is said to be longer austerity than Labour’s – include the full fiscal autonomy idea? I thought that led to major deficit problems and a requirement for more borrowing to be paid off by future generations of Scots? So surely, in that sense, the two plans are different?

  23. The IFS reports are welcome and may add a little substance to media appearance by spokespeople for a day or.

    The Average voter, though, cares little for such things and it is the implied approach on Economic matters that is important.

    Tories – Deficit down quick, welfare cuts and tax cuts when we can later in the parliament, trust us.

    Labour – Slower deficit reductions, less welfare cuts and spending before tax cuts if we can, also we might borrow more for investment.

    LDs – between the cons and Labour.

    SNP – a bit longer than labour to bring deficit down due to a bit more spending.

    Now these might not be exactly accurate but shifting these perception will be mighty tough and the IFS reports won’t make much difference in the voter sphere.

  24. Panelbase fieldwork is 21 April – 23 April 2015 per the PDF

  25. @Alan (and @Barbazenzero)

    Thanks for your continuing efforts to extract these projections. None of the code I have seen (Firefox and IE10) does anything more than call the remote database and I have no idea how to follow it through that wormhole.

    It’s frustrating because the browser code obviously deals with the problem of extracting the VI range data and you’d think it would be easy enough to do that in other ways.

  26. ProfH.

    Perhaps John Major has been wheeled out so that his boxer shorts can be used as part of Lynton’s Wedgey Strategy?

  27. So who benefits from Lutfur Rahman being unseated as Tower Hamlets mayour, Labour?

  28. @profhoward

    SNP have kicked FFA into the long grass, saying it would take years to implement – the existing tax devolution of the 2012 Scotland Act is not fully active until next year, for example.

    The IFS responded by publishing a forecast of the relative fiscal positions of Scotland and UK five years ahead, suggesting that the fiscal gap would widen (presumably due to assumed low oil price and production). Therefore indicating that it would still be difficult to implement FFA, even 5 years hence.

  29. @Unicorn

    Of course, it may be that some (or all) of the Ashcroft polls are wrong.

    That’s something that has worried me from time to time, especially since so many forecasting methods (including my own) use them as part of their calculations and/or to compare against.

    Also, there are so few in each batch – and often particularly “interesting” seats, that local factors can make a significant difference.

  30. @Prof H

    (To be fair he has achieved the “ad nauseum” part.)

    AC (Audible chuckle)

  31. I hope the BBC is working on a better swingometer – might need to be a 3D quad-ometer in some seats.

    Just thought I would throw that out there.

    Best thing about election night are the random naff graphics that the BBC / Sky or ITV come up with. (Yes, I’ll be watching all 3!)

  32. Ed Balls re: IFS

    “[The] IFS’ numbers wrongly assume that Labour will get the current budget only into balance. Our manifesto pledge is to get the current budget not only into balance but into surplus as soon as possible in the next Parliament. How big that surplus will be, and how quickly we can achieve that in the next Parliament, will depend on what happens to wages and the economy.”

    So he’s saying that they wouldn’t loosen fiscal policy after reaching current balance, as the IFS graph implies.

  33. @Couper2802

    Not sure I agree with what the polling average says is happening.

    I think there will be some very real surprises on E-Day night in England, but I am not out and about enough to predict accurately what they will be.

    UKIP is clearly going to establish itself as the third largest party by vote in England, but I think Plaid Cymru might still beat them in Wales.

    And given how SNP support appears to be overestimated by pollsters over a number of elections I am wondering what will happen in Scotland, though I would hold my breath for LD to make a comeback there or in Wales.

  34. @Andy

    So who benefits from Lutfur Rahman being unseated as Tower Hamlets mayor?________________________________

    Democracy, having read some of the findings.

  35. “SNP have kicked FFA into the long grass, saying it would take years to implement …”

    Isn’t that funny!

    Complete independence would take just 18 months, yet full fiscal autonomy is sooooo difficult to organise.

    Hint; Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that is would make Scotland a lot poorer?

  36. Gary O @ 15.51

    Naff election graphics – spot on, couldn’t agree more. They get worse each cycle for me.

  37. Prof H

    Very good. :-)

    This SNP scare strategy might continue yet for the remaining campaign days. Unless they have any rabbits to pull out of the hat. Would have thought they would have pulled them out by now if they did.

    In terms of the news agenda though we are going to have the Royal Baby and then the Leaders Debate thats not a debate. Think those will dominate the last 2 weeks of the campaign and likely change nothing.

  38. Well it’s nice to see a poll that has one or other main party more than 1% ahead, perhaps we will get more tonight in the same vein, and then I won’t have to mention (cough) horses again.

    The overall impression I get from the last week or so is that Labour are very solidly on 34%, but the Conservatives doing a little more wobbling around that figure, up to about 34.5% at the start, then back down to 34% (trend? What trend?) So it’s still a close race between two four-legged animals that go “neigh”.

    As far as predictions go: I more or less ignore one of them, it’s a bit “fishy”. But the ElectionForecast one is quite good, although I am not convinced by the continued insistence on a Conservative lead of 1.5% or more. The consistent immobility in the polls indicates to me that their lead isn’t likely to be more than 1%, and more likely to be around 0.5%.

  39. @ Andy Shadrack; I think the point about PC and UKIP is certainly possible; PC are edging up and UKIP appear to be becalmed – although ironically a strong UKIP vote in their Welsh leader’s home patch on Anglesey might just give PC another seat. Also PC’s profile has risen much faster than UKIP’s during the campaign and only one of them has any “foot soldiers”; however it’s still bald men and comb time as it will be Labour by a distance to the Tories and then a 10pt gap to whoever comes third.

  40. @Alec

    Even if this is true, having a weak economy is not a reason to remain as we are. The SNP are looking for substantial new powers in Holyrood in order to improve our economy, remaining in a weak economic position is not an option for Scotland.

  41. @Couper

    I get your point but I though MOE didn’t change much with more respondents so 14k or 1k MOE is much the same

    The confidence interval is roughly = 1/{square root(N)}, where N is the number of respondents in the survey. So, using an N of 14K would reduce the MoE by a factor or root (14) of 3.74.

    So, over a week the YouGov average would have an Moe of less than 1%, whereas the Panelbase poll just reported would have an MoE of around 3%.
    It is clearly a mistake to treat them equally.

    On the other hand if you give YouGov full credit for its large sample sizes then – as @andy S fears – the poll of polls will be dominated by YG methods and biases (online; labour-favouring etc.). Not sure how best to deal with this.

  42. @Gary O

    Being as 3-D glasses haven’t been sent to all households by the BBC, I think we can take it some form of 3-D presentation isn’t going to happen.

    It’ll have to be a mess-ometer.

  43. Rayfromthenorth

    JeremyVines cowboy piece from 2008 has got to be an all time low!:-) (look it up on youtube if you haven’t seen it)

    The paving stones and the falling domino’s at the last GE were really poor as well.

    People behind the scenes must work really hard to produce graphics that represent no useful information whatsoever.

  44. @Unicorn

    Thanks I suppose you could do some weighting based on MOE.

  45. KeithP

    Fair point.

    I remember Pete Snow doing a three way Lib Dem / Tory / Lab swingometer though.

    Good luck to them factoring in UKIP / Greens / SNP and Plaid into something like that now.

  46. @ Couper 2802

    Even if this is true, having a weak economy is not a reason to remain as we are. The SNP are looking for substantial new powers in Holyrood in order to improve our economy, remaining in a weak economic position is not an option for Scotland.

    It may not be an “option” but it’s certainly a possibility.

    The SNP’s previous plan appeared to be competing with England to have lower tax rates. The SNP have realised that didn’t appeal to the voters which they are trying to keep post-referendum so are changing horses. The form of their new horse is not yet evident.

  47. Good Afternoon All from a very hot Bournemouth seaside house.

    Have I read Panel Base to say that Labour are in the lead by 3%?


  48. Am I correct in understanding that the Progressive Bloc (does that include SDLP, by the way?) Have indicated that they wish to act as a single unit in post election negotiations?

    I don’t see how that benefits the Greens, Plaid and SDLP.

    In view of McWedge Ed will likely want to engage as little as possible with the SNP and if SDLP (3), Greens (1 or 2), Plaid, (3 or 4) were enough to push Lab + LDP beyond 323* then would they not be better able to extract concessions if they were able to act independently?

    *That would require Labour to get about 290, which I do not expect.

  49. The IFS story seems the dominant issue today, and it present problems for all the parties.

    The Lib Dems will be happiest I suspect, and the Tories will see this as a mixed bag I think. They won’t like the ‘massive cuts required’ message for swing voters, although they will like the idea that they are reducing the deficit fastest. However, I suspect they have queered their own pitch on this one by claiming lots of new spending, undercutting their own fiscal rectitude message.

    I think it’s unrelentingly poor for the SNP. Their message has been trashed, and by a completely neutral source, but it won’t affect many believers I suspect. NS is right now in a ding dong with the IFS, disputing figures etc, and so far the SNP have come out decidedly second best.

    However, objectively Labour faces the bigger problem, although it could perversely work for them. The IFS analysis should play well for them in Scotland, but badly in England. However, I wonder whether they have thrown enough doubt with their fiscal responsibility stuff, and declining to match unfunded Tory promises on the NHS etc, to ride over the numerous anomalies that the IFS point out, while still picking apart SNP economics in Scotland on a completely different basis.

    This requires facing both ways simultaneously, which is extremely difficult to pull off, but given the different jurisdictions it’s something they are having a go at already, by the look of it.

    Harking back to an earlier poll finding that people thought Labour meant what they said about fiscal responsibility but that they probably wouldn’t meet their aims, it looks a littel like a segment of voters are prepared to forgive Labour the odd ten billion of debt over and above other options, so I do wonder whether the IFS analysis has given them some decent ammunition against both Tory and SNP, albeit both completely different.

  50. RayfromtheNorth

    Lutfur Rahman unseated as mayor of Tower Hamlets

    Given the damning electoral court judgement, is it not a surprise that the Borough council elections have not been voided as well?

    I suspect that you’d have to prove that each particular ward election was corrupt and, if you wanted to disqualify councillors, be able to link them with the accusations personally. In any case it’s academic because the petition seems to only be about the Mayor elections according to Ted Jeory:

    The remaining Tower Hamlets First councillors remain in office. Mr Mawrey said their elections had also been corrupt but they weren’t named in the petition, so they can’t be removed. The council’s legal chief told me that would now be a matter for the police, should they want to take a case up.

    he also has the link to the full judgment.

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