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. Catsowyn

    Loads of orange and a fair bit of blue in Cheltenham. Even one red. I can’t recall seeing so many posters as this time around.

  2. Cloudspotter @ 18.24

    “Try unclicking the ‘include Ashcroft polling’ box on the May 2015 website and see what happens to Labours seat numbers.”

    Hadn’t seen that before, yes big difference. Extra 21 seats. Just splitting the difference could be crucial.

  3. Have just watched the BBC News (channel 130) roundup of today’s campaign – and most importantly for us here their “analysis” of the polls. A really hevy point being made was that of the common habit of “late swing” to the Conservatives “averaging 2% usually” – is this factored into the projections perhaps? Is there any historical evidence of late swing in Labour’s direction – or is it always (when it happens) in the Conservatives direction?

  4. Tony Dean

    I think most of the models are using something approaching that. They are projecting Cons c.2% ahead even though the poll of polls currently almost tied

  5. @Catoswyn, RayfromtheNorth etc

    Re: Election posters

    There’s only one in my street (in my window), and as it’s a UKIP one and it is a ‘diverse’ neighbourhood, it feels a bit like the tatttered Union flag over Rorke’s Drift!

  6. Tony

    This late swing certainly didn’t happen in 2010. So I don’t think its by any means certain to happen.

    Re Miliband’s speech today wasn’t Howard critical of Blair in the run up to the 2005 election over Iraq? Surely alls fair in love and war.

  7. MIKEY

    Re: posters.

    Gosh. So very different in different places then.

  8. Talking of posters and things that have gone out of fashion, I distinctly remember about 20-30 years ago a Labour party constituency that for some historic reason didn’t use traditional red colours… please enlighten my sadly diminished memory….

  9. No subliminal TND tweets yet – I say labour lead at 2 – lab 35, con 33, LD 9, UKIP 14

  10. PeteB

    What sort of constituency you in?

  11. PETE B


  12. Mikey

    Indeed. Lots of fake outrage on all sides in election campaigns. Fairly standard.

  13. Tony Dean

    If the models are already factoring swingback, the Tories need it to happen just to make the current projections happen. If it doesn’t come……?

  14. Mikey

    In 2005 I believe Howard went heavily on immigration as well and Lab were ‘outraged’ at the time. Which in the end backfired a bit as people queried why you couldn’t discuss immigration.

  15. Mikey

    Very few window or garden signs (apart from my own front garden!) here in Reading West. I was wondering if this reflects a lack of engagement? The national campaigns have been depressingly negative IMO maybe this has been a turn off? I have been wondering about likely turnout, personally would think that given the closeness of the election you might expect somthing approaching 1992 levels. On the other hand there seems to be a marked lack of enthusiasm for both the major parties from the electorate in general (hence lack of posters).

    What do people think? Low or high turnout and how will this effect the translation of polling levels to the final result?

  16. @Crossbat11, Amber

    The problem with Iraq, Libya, Syria and probably many other countries in that part of the world, is that they don’t do democracy. No democratic solution is available because nobody is interested. The best we can hope for is a benign dictatorship but the west are unable to accept that. In short, no amount of planning for the peace will work. The most westernized Arab country, Egypt, has tried and given up. Unfortunately dictators don’t often stay benign and end up having to be dealt with to maintain Western security. Result chaos. Of course Western governments, including the coalition, do their best but their success is bound to be limited.

    Miliband is just showing his lack of Foreign policy experience in bringing this up. If he ever gets into power it will come back to bite him. In the mean time he should be supporting the rest of the international community for at least trying to deal with the tragic consequences of these countries instability.

  17. @RAy
    My constituency is rock-solid Labour but UKIP will probably come 2nd this time. Tory and Liberal remnants were virtually wiped out in last year’s council elections. UKIP came 1st or 2nd in every ward they contested.

  18. PeteB

    Sounds very similar to mine


    Re: swingback. I think the idea is based on patterns that have been observed in past elections in that a governing party will reach a low point in the polls at about midway through their term. After that they will rise and as it comes close to an election gain from the incumbency factor and garner a ‘swing’ towards them. This could therefore apply to any party in government. We haven’t seen what happens when there is a fixed term before.

    The most famous example and the one most often quoted by the Conservatives is of course 1992. In that election Labour looked as if they were ahead by 7% or so but on the day the Conservative won by about 7%. This is often considered as a prime example of ‘late swing’ (very late swing!) by some. I’ve seen some Conservatives quoting 1992 this time around as an example of what will happen this time. However further research did seem to de-bunk the idea that ‘swing’ as such occurred and it seems the Conservatives may have been ahead all the time and the polls got it wrong. Since that time pollsters have corrected for this failure with various methods.

  20. DanB

    My view is moderate turnout and higher better for Lab, lower better for Tory


  21. RMJ1,
    When the news first broke EM was I believe the first to say that these people
    Must be helped.

  22. On the polls and predictions etc, I think that UKIP’s support will be very patchy because they are so new at the game. Some branches will be very efficient, others not. This suggests to me that even on support of 12-13% they might pick up a few more seats than expected, because they will have perhaps 2 or 3 % in some places and over 20% in others. Possibly even into double figures in seats?

    LibDems could possibly end up being the fifth party in Westminster! Highly unlikely, but you never know.

  23. Dan B

    I would hope for a relatively high turnout as it appears there was a significant surge in people registering to vote. Plus the election is close so I would hope folks would want to go out and vote.

  24. @ DanB

    Individual registration could knock a few percent off turnout.

  25. Tony Dean

    Out of interest there was an interesting post this morning that suggested that the whole ‘incumbency’ factor is just a myth. Also others have suggested that what appears to be support for the governing party occurs because up until this election they were able to call the election when they wished and therefore when they felt things were most positive for themselves.

  26. Virtually no window/garden posters in the whole of West Sussex.

  27. swingback but this election is not like any other. we don’t have a government of 1 party we have 2. how does that affect swingback theory?

  28. @balbs I seem to recall that some nw England constituencies used gold or orange. Or was it that the Libs there used red?!

  29. @ RMJ1

    I really doubt that it is genetically defined which nations can have democracy. And if not nature defines it, the societal factors. These can be changed and they actually change. So the rest of your argument is the fallacy of argument from vacuum.

  30. Catoswyn

    FWIW my own view of first-term incumbency is that it is real, and it occurs because these first timers realise what a damn good job it is they’ve landed themselves, and they work chuffin hard at trying to keep it!

  31. @ Paul M

    At no stage did the Cons become hugely unpopular like many governments do – the LDs took the hit – I’ve no idea if that makes a difference to swingback.

  32. @ MartinW

    “Individual registration could knock a few percent off turnout.”

    I know what you mean, but it won’t look like that because turnout is declared as a paercentage of those registered to vote – thus individual registration is likely to increase “official” turnout figures. However, I agree it may diminish “real” turnout of the population at large.

    @ Catoswyn

    Thanks for your useful post re-late swing

  33. Thanks, Tony Dean. I hadn’t thought if it like that!!

  34. @ RayfromtheNorth

    “If the models are already factoring swingback, the Tories need it to happen just to make the current projections happen. If it doesn’t come……?”

    Quite so!

  35. LASZLO

    I agree that the factors affecting whether ‘democracy’ is adopted or not is due to societal factors/traditions and these can change. However having lived in Saudi Arabia I was challenged to re-think my Western assumptions on ‘what was best..’ on all sorts of issues including democracy as a system during innumerable ‘coffee mornings’ with Arab ladies. I can’t say I changed my own opinions in the end but it certainly gave me an understanding of some of the complexities and issues.

  36. Does anyone remember the two Davids on Spitting Image waiting for “the surge”

  37. RayfromtheNorth
    “If the models are already factoring swingback, the Tories need it to happen just to make the current projections happen. If it doesn’t come……?”


  38. Re-posters. We haven’t got many up in Clacton, those there are mostly UKIP. (Though that might change after i go round giving out Labour posters to people who’ve asked for them over the weekend!)

    I have to go into Colchester once a week and the place is stuffed full of LibDem posters to the exclusion of all else in the parts I’ve seen. My confident prediction is at least one LibDem to be returned – Bob Russell.

  39. Swingback

    Another way of looking at it is that most govts (particularly first term) invariably revert back to pretty close to their previous level of support at the subsequent election, eg Cons last time 37%, the Fisher/swingback models are projecting around 36% this time. From memory I think Maggie went 44,43,42% at her elections. The major exception is of course the last term of a multi term govt, Major in ’97 and Brown ’10 when they crash out of power.


    I’ve never had a MP who seemed to make a blind bit of difference at constituency level or managed to communicate well about what they were doing in London and I’ve lived and voted in five different parts of the UK. That includes my current MP who is a ‘first time incumbent’. I know there are MP’s who buck that and are ‘beloved’ just haven’t come across one myself so find it harder to imagine the effect they have.

  41. My own constituency of Pendle has a fair number of posters, although nowhere near as many as in past elections where they have always featured extremely prominently. I’d say split roughly 50/50 between Labour and Conservatives although the Tory posters are noticeably larger. Quite strange to see (reused?) posters of a baby faced clean shaven Andrew Stephenson looking about 18 years old from 5 years ago contrasting with the mountain goat man look he currently sports. 5 years is a long time in politics and it hasn”t been too kind at all.

    Maybe the lack of posters in other areas is to do with the fact that there are so many other places people can express their preferences especially Facebook and other social media. The increase in the use of social media has resulted in a drastic reduction of the sales of christmas and birthday cards as people simply message each other online. Maybe the reduction in posters is a similar phenomenon?

  42. “From memory I think Maggie went 44,43,42% at her elections”

    43.9%, 42.4%, 42.2%….remarkable consistency.

  43. Catoswyn – Incumbency

    I totally agree actually. The concept seems alien to me, I’ve hardly ever met anyone except saddos like us who could even name ANY MP let alone their own.

    But…the figures (not just here-US,Australia) suggest it’s real, and it’s the only reason I can come up with.


    Actually I realise its my own outlook that’s at fault. I tend not to think about the person being elected but the party they represent and my attention is on the national picture not the local. You’re right that many people do like their incumbent MP… hence Bob Russell in the post above in Colchester bucking the trend for the Lib Dems or David Laws in the next constituency.

  45. @ Hireton

    “I seem to recall that some nw England constituencies used gold or orange. Or was it that the Libs there used red?!”

    I remember elections from the 1960s & 70s when “I were a lad”. Parties had different colours in different regions despite their supposed national colours. Many of these were quite ancient in origin. In the 19th century the Liberals were either buff or tawny or red except for in Northumberland where they fought in blue. The Tories were mostly blue, but in Lancashire red, and occasionally here and there green. Moving on to my era, I know that the Liberals in parts of Lancashire wore red (e.g. Rochdale), so presumably the Labour colour there wasn’t red. In other parts of Lancashire the Tories wore red!! Up in Berwick-on-Tweed the Liberals fought in blue, and the Tories red. In North Devon the Liberal colours were purple and primrose despite the nationwide colours being orange after 1958, which had black added to it in areas that considered themselves on the Left of the party. This ended when the SDP/Liberal Alliance adopted “Golden Yellow” in 1986, which the LibDems inherited.

    Theories like local family coats-of-arms colours, political clubs etc. have been put forward for the variance in regional colours, but in truth most origins seem to have been whimsical until the standardization of the last 30 years.

  46. @ CATOSWYN

    I can see that. Last Saturday (after an exhausting three-day work) I was asked if I can see a radical change in Saudi and what would be the consequences.

    I made it very clear that I can’t give a timeframe, but the royal house has given in on a lot of points, and the red lines are very unclear. So I see the possibility of a radical change and the West has put these in their calculations.

    But Arabia is very different from North Africa and from Levent.

    RAF had an interesting point in the morning about the role of elites in some Muslim countries in SE Asia with democracy. Well, the cleptocracy in Malaysia is not different from the one in Hungary (a member of the EU). So it’s perhaps really deep societal structures that drive it. So what can change it? (For here only the question that is necessary).

    One of the key points is the huge proportion of youth – they have to be employed. It’s manufacturing that create this. For that you need education (literacy and basic numeracy).

    Well, we sorted it (a rather bitter smile).

  47. James Peel

    That even MT herself could not increase her support at subsequent elections was a reason I never thought DC could get an OM this time, as basically that’s what he needs to do.


    Incumbency posts:

    Now that’s crossover in action!

  49. Dr Mibbles

    ‘ but there is no polling evidence at all which suggests anything other than a significant Con -> Lab swing where it matters,

    But there is…

    ‘The incumbency effect is not a vague theory, the evidence for it happening at past elections is pretty damn solid.’ Anthony Wells, November 2013.

    If you wish to ignore the evidence, well, that’s up to you.

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