As well as today’s GB voting intention polls Survation have released a new poll of Thanet South commissioned by the UKIP donor Alan Bown. The poll shows Nigel Farage with a nine point lead over the Conservatives in second place, full topline figures are CON 30%, LAB 26%, LDEM 2%, UKIP 39%, GRN 2% (tabs).

The poll is broadly in line with Survation’s previous poll in Thanet South, which was conducted back in February and showed Farage with an eleven point lead. However, it contrasts with the ComRes poll of the same constituency earlier this month which showed the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour all neck-and-neck.

I wrote about the differences between the ComRes and Survation polling in Thanet South earlier this month here. In short there are some obvious contrasts between the two companies approaches – how they deal with don’t knows, for example – but neither are obviously doing anything wrong, so there is no particularly reason to think one or the other is right. I guess in two weeks we will know who is ahead in Thanet South and how tight the race really is (though even then, we’ll never know for sure how tight the race is right now, or how tight it was in early April, or back in February.)

613 Responses to “Survation poll of Thanet South”

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  1. first

  2. First?

  3. Damn you McClane!

  4. I refer hon members to my post on the last thread.

  5. Apologies for not dealing directly with the Thanet South poll but I am interested in predications as to who will be the most accurate pollster. I have some kind of intuition it may be Populus. In the last few weeks they have avoided the manic depressive fluctuations in support by the likes of Ashcroft and ICM. They always seem to be consistently showing things level or in the vast majority of cases Labour slightly ahead. I may be wrong but they seem most credible due to the consistency.

    What are your thoughts?

  6. @sgthowie

    There some a little discussion of consistency on the last page of the last thread. Basically YouGov, ComRes, Opinium and others have all been consistent for weeks. It isn’t just Populus.

  7. @SGThowie

    Methinks you may wish Labour well?

    We shall see if (as I hope) the polls begin to converge. It would be pretty for all these different methodologies to ultimately come to the same result, like rivers flowing into a stream.

  8. Its impossible to know which pollster has it right. My hunch is that Con have moved a fraction ahead and this will show in the average polling figures. I think they will shift to Con 34 and Lab 33 next week.

  9. sgthowie

    I have absolutely no idea which pollster gets the most accurate results.

    YouGov is one of the most useful because they poll frequently and so are most likely to pick up trends, but there is nothing to prove that they are more accurate than anybody else.

    The pollster who win the prize for being closest when the real votes are tallied is the one for whom the stars align perfectly so that their house bias + random polling error + last minute swing exactly cancel out.

  10. One of the interesting things as someone pointed out on the last thread is that polls are meant to converge the closer we get to an election. They aren’t converging too well right now.

  11. So we’ve got Lord Ashcroft (most recently in December) and ComRes showing it neck and neck, and Survation showing a very clear UKIP lead. Interesting.

  12. *most recently in November

  13. @SGThowie

    IIRC ICM have (perhaps more through luck than skill) had the most accurate last polls recently (although recently is in this context 2010, so read nothing into anything).

  14. I suspect another Ashcroft poll is about to come out on Thanet South… He has redone Con-Lab, CON-LD, and SDP….. so UKIP must be next and his last Thanet South poll was back in Nov 2014

    I will be interested to see if this poll commissioned by a UKIP supporter and naming the candidates comes in for the same criticism as the Lib Dem private polls in places like Hornsey that also name the candidates…

  15. Bristolianhoward
    I refer you to my previous answer. Good luck with finding it! Back in the day, 50 comments was considered top end re number of comments. I love the fact so many new names have come in, with generally a proper regard for the comments policy

  16. @wood

    ICM were pretty accurate in the 2014 European elections as well. They got Labour wrong, but they were the 2nd most accurate polling company at predicting UKIP,_2014_%28United_Kingdom%29#2014

  17. There must be some query over whether Survation’s lack of weighting for anything except age, sex and ward[1] might leave the sample skewed in other ways. The lack of political weighting doesn’t seem to matter much though – as in previous Survations, the recalled vote doesn’t differ greatly from the actual result and what differences there are are predictable (too few Lib Dems, too many UKIP, slightly too many Labour).

    The poll also emphasised the advantages of good old fashioned “meet the people” campaigning. Not only were the percentages of those who claimed to have met each of the three main candidates high, but for each supporters were twice as likely to say they had done so as the average rating. Though disentangling cause and effect may be another matter.

    Polling was all done on 22 April apparently – I’m not sure if spread over more days is more useful for constituencies, but there you go. There is also the problem with all constituency polls that mobile only households tend to be missed.

    [1] Though it’s also possible that Ashcroft’s apparent failure to weight by any geographic split within constituencies may cause problems. He’s also still not using names as well.

  18. ComRes Con +4

    Rallings had 287/274/54/10 seats for Con/Lab/SNP/LD

    I don’t personallly buy 10 LDs (presumably it’s the Ashcroft SW-wipeout), now

    IF LD held an extra ten against Con and IF half a dozen LiS held on by a wafer against SNP

    to give 277/280/48/20

    how close would the straw be to the camels back re FPTP?

  19. @Mikey

    My 7-day rolling average over the last week shows a slight Labour decrease of 0.3% vs a slightly larger decrease for Cons of 0.4% resulting in 3 fewer Conservative seats and 1 extra Labour. But… perversely, my 3 day average shows both going down: Labour down 0.7%, Cons down 0.3%. So perhaps you are right, although I think with UKIP gaining from this slight drop from both main parties, the result hurts the Conservatives a bit more: now my prediction is 275 seats each.

    And overall of course, despite the wobbles that the 3-day average detects and the 7-day version doesn’t, it’s still a hung parliament. That very wobbly 4-party coalition is still 8-10 seats short of SNP+Lab, who are often just about capable of a combined overall majority.

    That’s of course, if they feel like combining, which is a different discussion.

  20. So. Has anyone found any basis for Gordon Brown’s pledge today that 171 food banks in Scotland will get £5,000 each within 24 hours of Labour being elected?

    I only ask because several posters on here were surprised that LiS hadn’t rolled out the big beast.

  21. Roger Mexico

    In constituency polling I suspect naming won’t make much difference unless one of the candidates is well known. However, where there is a high profile candidate like Farage naming is probably the right way to go – the better known a candidate is, the more likely it is that voter will have an opinion on the candidate which may influence their vote.

  22. The differences between Survation and Comres are pretty large. Survation is typically larger by 3 than Comres for UKIP as well as Tories down by about 2 on a national level. If you want to look at it the other way round and say Comres is low by 3 etc…. that’s equally valid.

    Once accounting for that amount of house effect, could be a split the difference in sampling.

    There might be a tight race on, or Farage might be walking it. I can’t see labour being squeezed here by the 9% if that’s to be believed and if it’s neck and neck there’s no reason for them to squeeze.

    Need more polling.

  23. Old Nat

    “So. Has anyone found any basis for Gordon Brown’s pledge today that 171 food banks in Scotland will get £5,000 each within 24 hours of Labour being elected?”

    Personal donation from GB?

  24. Oldnat

    Nothing wrong with a bit of the old pork barrel.

    Seriously, no I don’t see anything thing other than the odd tweet

  25. Exile in Yorks

    The higher profile the name, the more likely they know they are standing in their seat.

    I’m guessing it won’t make much difference in this particular seat.

    Where it might is in lib dem seats, with less high profile names but with some level of local support and recognition once prompted. “Oh yes… I like our local MP”

  26. Just come back from the pub. I’m pissed so I thought I better not comment.

    Goodnight peeps.

  27. Knowing nothing about Scottish politics! – this is my question; is Gordon Brown damaged goods following the promises he made right at the death in the referendum?

  28. Rayfromthenorth

    I wonder whose clever idea it was to turn the beast loose?

  29. Unless my assumptions and calculations (or guesstimates, perhaps) are wrong, I don’t think £5000 worth of food would last all that long. A few weeks, I think.

    It’s sad that these things are necessary, though. And I don’t doubt that the situation will get worse.

  30. Oldnat

    I’m sensing a bit of an ‘edge’ here, no idea why.

    The main man Murphy’s idea you’d have to guess?

  31. Alan

    “The higher profile the name, the more likely they know they are standing in their seat.”

    True, but that still leaves the ones who don’t know who is their MP / candidate who might react to a name.

    “Where it might is in lib dem seats, with less high profile names but with some level of local support and recognition once prompted. “Oh yes…”

    I would be inclined to generalise this point to any incumbent probably scoring a more realistic VI if named. It might make no difference a lot of the time, but for popular or unpopular incumbents it will make a difference in the right direction.

  32. @catoswyn

    “One of the interesting things as someone pointed out on the last thread is that polls are meant to converge the closer we get to an election. They aren’t converging too well right now.”

    They are converging perfectly. All, bar none, are within MoE of a dead heat.

  33. @ExileinYorks/@Alan

    Might the presence or absence of leaflets through the door help with name recognition?

    I’ve had LD and Conservative leaflets so far, no sign of anyone else’s. Perhaps Labour are unlikely to follow suit, being as I live in deepest bluest Bucks. But in places where a party has a chance, I’d expect to get “election communications” from all parties. Whether or not voters read these leaflets is another matter.

  34. Looking at the front page of the Daily Mail, it looks like the immigration card has finally been played by Cameron.

    If anything is going to bring the UKIPpers back to the Tories, that would be it. But will they believe him? And given the UKIP vote is mostly older, and older people are more likely to have postal votes and many would have already voted, has he left it too late?

  35. Although I imagine with some confidence that many voters turn up at the voting booth to be presented with a list of people they’ve never heard of, and vote for a party, or possibly a prime ministerial candidate.


    Survation today for instance?

  37. KeithP

    I’m also in a deep blue constituency with a brand new candidate, but strangely have received nothing yet from the Tories. Only the Tories and the Greens have failed to deliver something so far.

    Not sure what to make of that.

  38. Richard

    It’s unlikely kippers would believe him; after all, he is the man that promised to bring down immigration to the tens of thousands yet the figure is higher now than when he became PM.

    “But will they believe him?”

    Ay, there’s the rub…

  40. Leaflets

    I’m in a rock solid Labour seat; so far Lab x 4, Con x 1, UKIP x1,
    LD zip

  41. @MartinW

    Yes voters really dislike Brown, which is probably why he hasn’t be wheeled out until now, when Labour have decided to give up on Yes voters and concentrate on undecided.

    On the cash for foodbanks I don’t understand where it is coming from it’s not in the UK Labour manifesto & it’s not his personal cash I doubt that would be legal as an election bribe. I just do not understand that pledge.

  42. Richard

    I noticed in the Thanet poll that about 1/5th of both Con and UKIP VI had postal votes.

    I’m not sure how strong the Tories are on immigration vs UKIP. Failure of the Tories to meet their own targets, and no control over EU immigration are the two most obvious lines of attack for UKIP. The UKIP position on immigration it is clear and simple to explain, the Tory one is a lot more complicated.

  43. Couper2802

    When would the 24hrs start?

  44. Perhaps they don’t have to believe him, just believe Miliband will do a worse job? The mail headline is “Miliband will bring back uncontrolled migration”.

    Or is this one of those things they always say, don’t talk about your weak points, because it raises the salience of the issue, so will just pump up UKIP?

    Anyway, if something is going to move polls, immigration is an important enough issue for enough people that they have all been avoiding up until now, so we will hopefully get to see these polls finally move one way or another.

  45. KeithP

    I’d be surprised if enough people considering voting UKIP in South Thanet would be surprised to see Farage on the Ballot Paper to make much difference to polling… Or Al Murray.

    There might be other weighting factors that just about cancel out the lack of naming and so changing one thing might mean lots of fiddling about to get back to the right answer after a few elections of missing by a mile.

    Ultimately pollsters don’t really care about getting things rights from an a priori position. The care about the final result, if they get lots of things wrong but they all reliably cancel out, they won’t change them.

  46. re the immigration article in the Daily Mail, the headline says that it is they who have urged DC to speak on the issue – implying that otherwise he would say nothing?

    Also, I have long and often seen complaints and harsh criticisms of DC in the DM comments sections when this issue is raised. I think it can be reasonably be assumed that such opinions come from quite convinced UKIP voters, and thus his words will sway few of these, especially given the amount of times I have read words to the effect of “he’s had 5 years to do something about it”.

    It’s also possible that some of the UKIPers reading this article might have come from Labour, so these probably won’t be rushing to vote Conservative whatever DC says on any subject.

  47. Richard

    This is definitely one with downside risk for the Tories, especially if nobody other than the Mail takes it up. It can hurt Lab, but will it hurt them more or less than the Tories?

  48. I’ve been looking for the Tory English manifesto, but can’t find it. Has it been published yet?

    Perhaps they don’t have to believe him, just believe Miliband will do a worse job? The mail headline is “Miliband will bring back uncontrolled migration’

    The trouble is that this ‘Labour are worse on immigration’ is an old message for UKIP supporters. Its not like they haven’t thought of it for themselves and long ago. However Nigel has clearly pointed out to them that the Conservatives have failed to meet their immigration targets and that they can’t do so without exit from the EU. They consider both main parties to be as bad as, and as untrustworthy as, the other.

    The fact that they distrust Cameron personally is reason that many UKIP voters have shifted from Conservative to UKIP in the first place. I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me think that disappointment and distrust has altered. Again, neither do they like Ed Milliband, but I am not sure they are willing anymore to be the saviours of the Conservatives because of fear of Labour. They dislike them both.

    In short they now have a distinctive political identity and I am not sure that the people still saying they will vote UKIP will be easily swayed into becoming tactical voters at this point. They know Nigel needs them to maximise the vote share, to come second in as many places as possible and to win as many seats as possible.

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