The static campaign

The defining feature of voting intention in this election is how little it has moved. The graph below shows the UK Polling Report polling average for each week so far of 2015.

staticgraph

Things haven’t been completely static – at the beginning of 2015 Labour did still have a consistent tiny lead that faded towards a real tie over the first couple of months. There has been a genuine drop in support for UKIP and the Green party, albeit one that is no more than a point or two, rather than a really tight squeeze on their votes.

The broad picture though, especially over the short campaign, is one of no movement. This is not necessarily unusual – the huge ups and downs of “Cleggmania” in the 2010 election were not typical. Most historical election campaigns don’t show lots of movement (and I suspect some of that we did see is just the legacy of campaigns when there were far fewer polls, so a couple of outliers could more easily create the impression of movement when there was none).

Is there still time for a change, or are we doomed to have election result around about where we are, with the Conservatives and Labour pretty much neck-and-neck? Somewhere between one-in-six and in one-in-five people have postal votes, and many will already have voted, so they cannot change their mind any longer. Between 10% and 20% of people depending on the poll say they don’t know how they will vote, though some of this will be people who won’t actually end up voting but don’t want to say, and some of it will be people who don’t want to give their voting intention to an interviewer (“shy voters”). While it varies greatly depending on how you ask the question a further chunk of people who do give a voting intention say they may yet change their mind before they vote.

There are definitely plenty of people who say they may change their mind between now and May 7th… but I suspect this overestimates the volatility of the electorate and that most respondents who say they still might change their minds won’t do so, they just like to think of themselves as fair minded people who will consider all the evidence before making their mind up to vote for the party they were probably going to vote for to begin with.

Polls are, as ever, just snapshots of opinion now. They can only quantify what respondents themselves know – they can’t tell how respondents might react to, say, the party leaders Question Time Special next week, any as yet unknown and unexpected events in the final eleven days, or people genuinely recoiling one-way or the other at the very last minute. Realistically though, nothing has done anything to substantially change the polls in the last seventeen weeks and the parties are starting to run out of time for anything else to come along.


1,017 Responses to “The static campaign”

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  1. MCCLANE
    Nice to see all this Lab supporters here freaking out because the election is heading against them.

    Posting negative personal comments about other users on the thread is not in the spirit of UKPR.

  2. @ Millie
    “What percentage of the overall UK vote would the SNP achieve if they stood in every constituency?”

    A very good point to raise. I have long argued that it is a real pity that the SNP didn’t come to an electoral pact with Plaid Cymru and the English Green Party to fight as a UK wide “Progressive Alliance”. I think it would have polled all the votes the three parties get on 7 May plus many more if it had a single UK leader with candidates in all constituencies.

  3. No doubt this is my failure to understand the tweets re Ashcroft but is he saying Cons are 6 points ahead or 6 points up? I thought it was the first but am now uncertain. No doubt being dim!

  4. Seat calculator on May2015 – EVEN on 36 plays 30 (which seems at the extremes of MOE unless we get more polls to confirm) then the Tories are only on 298. Best they can hope for is a very unstable coalition.

  5. Does anybody know if there are any more polls today apart from YG?

  6. Puzzled because last poll seemed to have Labour ahead and the tweets are talking about ‘catching up’.

  7. The difference between constituency and national polls:

    Divergence can occur because they are snapshots of different things. Forces may affect a marginal that are not affecting everywhere else. So for instance in an area where UKIP is looking likely to win, voters who oppose UKIP may vote tactically to prevent this happening. They will lend their vote to the most likely party to beat them. This may inflate a swing towards that party in the marginal. In other areas such tactical voting may not be occurring.

    Extrapolating from marginal to a national picture is therefore difficult and discrepancies may emerge between the two sets.

  8. Some people are getting very excited about what Mr Clegg has been saying about what he might do.

    I really don’t think it’s necessary.

    1. He may be de-seated
    2. Whatever he wants to do he must sell to his party
    3. His choices will be severely restrained by the arithmetic, over which he has no control.

    The one thing of which I am confident is that he would not want a second election and therefore he will try to avoid that outcome.

    Likewise I doubt that the SNP would want a second election. Some posters here can tell me if that is correct or not.

  9. MAURA
    No doubt this is my failure to understand the tweets re Ashcroft but is he saying Cons are 6 points ahead or 6 points up? I thought it was the first but am now uncertain. No doubt being dim!

    They’re 4 points up and six points ahead as I understand it.

  10. Ashcroft and the difference between national and constituency polls.

    How big a difference is there if one compares the SVI in the Constituency polls with the National polls?

  11. @magpie
    “First the ‘legitimacy’ thing seems aimed at the SNP”

    From the horse’s mouth:
    “I totally rule out any arrangements with the SNP in the same way I rule out any arrangements with Ukip – because there is no meeting point for me with one party that basically wants to pull our country to bits and another party that wants us to pull of of the EU.”

    BTW this is not only the SNP he’s ruling out, his comments apply to any nationalist party. The principle isn’t specific to Scotland, it’s about parties that want to break up the UK (or take it out of the EU). It just so happens that the SNP are by far the biggest nationalist party.

    “it’s kind of irrelevant whether he rules out UKIP since they are so unlikely to be the deciding factor – and I just heard him refuse to rule out being part of a coalition with the DUP, so he isn’t that fussy.”

    It is relevant because it directly contradicts your first point.

    And why would he rule out being with the DUP? The DUP don’t want to break up the UK. The DUP don’t exist to take the UK out of the EU like UKIP, they only want a referendum. The LDs and DUP will disagree on a hell of a lot, but not those fundamental points

  12. Just off to our local Hustings. I’ll let you know if Carswell says anything interesting…..

  13. Little Red Rock,

    I think that the SNP are probably the best placed party to fight a second election, but I have no idea whether or not they want to do so.

  14. GARY O

    I think though that the narrative may now be ‘Conservatives pulling ahead’ in the press and that can add momentum to their campaign.

  15. @CATOSWYN

    Thanks.

  16. Omnishambles

    On the SNP thing, I see it as aimed mainly at them because it is so much more likely to be relevant and because he went out of his way to question the legitimacy of a deal with the party which didn’t have the most seats at the same time. Sure, it could apply to UKIP, but probably won’t.

    I don’t really accept the bit about the SNP wanting to break up the UK either. Of course, they do want that, but they can’t achieve it through the Westminster parliament, so what is the actual democratic problem here. As long as they remain in the UK they have a right to their voice.

    On the DUP I mainly saw that comment as further evidence he has his fingers crossed for a Tory coalition.

  17. TONY DEAN

    Re: progressive alliance.

    It started out a bit like that at the beginning of the campaign when Nicola Sturgeon recommended Plaid and Greens or ‘a progressive Labour candidate’. Its an interesting idea. Not sure that the SNP would be that interested through. They are streets ahead of the other two really.

  18. DUP could support Labour too, along with LD. DUP today stated that “Conservatives were losing DUP support” because of their anti-UK approach to SNP legitimacy.

  19. NS is reported as having said (in relation to C&S) That what Ed says now may not be the same as what he says after the election.

    Is she deliberately trying to hurt Labour’s chances in E&W for that is surely the result of such a comment?

  20. Catoswyn, Tony Dean

    Maybe next time the SNP should put up candidates down as far as (say) the M62. Or would that be a teensy bit like a declaration of war…

  21. Impressions from today’s campaigning;

    Milliband – serene, calm, statesmanlike, looks like the incumbent.

    Cameron: Getting impassioned and agitated, passion, but a bit purple and shouty. Looks like a challenger.

    Sturgeon: Imperious and unflappable. Sails through every challenge with ease.

    Weird, really.

  22. CHRISLANE

    Yep-I have that one scheduled for this evening-plus Nicola vs Evan-that could be fun.

  23. Oh – and Bennet:

    Croaky, like a frog. Very green.

  24. GARY O

    “Seat calculator on May2015 – EVEN on 36 plays 30 (which seems at the extremes of MOE unless we get more polls to confirm) then the Tories are only on 298.”

    That’s with “include Ashcroft” selected; unselect it and you get to 307 plus 15 LD.

    That’s the curious thing about the Ashcroft constituency polls: they reduce the number of L seats with a tie or L lead over the May2015 regional swing projection, but they also reduce the number of C seats with a substantial C lead, partly because they’re showing the Lib Dems holding onto more seats than regional swing alone would suggest.

    In short: Ashcroft constituency polls flatten out the impact of the Ashcroft national poll on projected seat totals.

  25. ProfHoward

    Yes, that DUP statement would be a bit worrying from a Tory point of view. It sounded to me like they might abstain in a confidence vote.

  26. MAGPIE

    Nick Clegg did rule out working with UKIP as well on the grounds that they want to leave the EU.

    I definitely agree his statements lend themselves to being interpreted as being more in favour of the right though he has said that ‘the electorate will in the end dictate what is to happen’. Unfortunately for him it looks from the constituency polling at the moment as if the electorate won’t be sending that many Lib Dems forward anyway.

  27. @Tony Dean @Millie

    Both Survation and YouGov polled this “how would you vote if the SNP put up candidates across GB?” question 2-3 weeks ago. They got 9% with one company and 11% with the other.

  28. @Omnishambles I do hope you’re not as rude in real life…

    Anyway I wasn’t ‘banging’ on about it again, I was simply re-iterating the same point in response to 2 specific people…neither of them you!

  29. MAGPIEMAGPIE
    Maybe next time the SNP should put up candidates down as far as (say) the M62. Or would that be a teensy bit like a declaration of war…

    HeHe…

  30. @magpie

    1. If the CON + LD + DUP total don’t add up to a majority and they’re reliant on a handful on UKIP votes (something that’s VERY possible), UKIP would have a big influence to further their aim of bringing the referendum forward, maybe wording the question in a way that suits them, whatever. Clegg has made it clear the LDs won’t support such a government.

    2. The SNP can get closer to their aim through the Westminster parliament. All they need to do is demand nice but unaffordable things for Scotland, let them be rejected by unionist parties, and they’re strengthening the sense of division between Scotland and the rest.

    “As long as they remain in the UK they have a right to their voice.”

    They DO have a right to a voice, they do NOT have a right to be part of a government. That is up to the other parties.

    Why aren’t you complaining about the SNP promise to “lock the Tories out”? Don’t Conservatives have a right to a voice too? Blatant hypocrisy.

  31. @Mbiri

    No Ashcroft has a swing from Lab to UKIP of 5% but the swing from Con to Lab is 8% in GG

  32. For gawds sake everyone im new to this but the first thing advised in the main posts is not to obsess over single polls! It may be the start of something it probably isnt! There maybe a very slight trend towards the tories getting a small lead but they havent gone 0-6 in one day! I think everyone, left and right, feels starved of action because theres been minimal movement, but actually from a psephology pov this is already the most exciting election ive ever seen because of its ramifications

  33. Good evening all from a cold and YES!!….snowy East Renfrewshire.

    Another astonishing poll for the SNP and now 32% ahead of Westminster Labour in Scotland.

    It’s really grim for Jim.

  34. @ Magpie

    M62 – LOL!

    Seriously though, if “Progressive Alliance” were formed could offer constitutional change from current centralized/devolved UK to United Kingdom of Four Sovereign Nations – plus offer a return to a social democratic Mixed Economy model.

    SNP might fancy leadership role in that?

  35. @ LRR


    Is she deliberately trying to hurt Labour’s chances in E&W for that is surely the result of such a comment?”

    Yes. From the beginning. But it’s up to Labour to do something about it.

  36. @ Alec,

    Very good “leaders presentation” assessment. Can we have one of those every day?

    :-)

  37. HOLGATE
    That’s with “include Ashcroft” selected; unselect it and you get to 307 plus 15 LD.

    Its turning into quite an exciting election in some ways in that it really is all on a knife edge at the moment. We can’t really tell clearly from the polls what is going to happen (except hung parliament). If it continues like this it will be very interesting on election night itself.

  38. Little Red Rock

    “Is [NS] deliberately trying to hurt Labour’s chances in E&W ….”

    NS is trying to ensure that the SNP win as many seats as possible, mostly from Labour. It would be very strange if she were to put the interests of another party, which appears to be very unwilling to accept the SNP as any kind of ally, ahead of those of her own party.

  39. OMNISHAMBLES
    Clegg has made it clear the LDs won’t support such a government.

    Well, we shall see. It might be ‘in the national interest’ to do so. We know he is able to re-cast previous statements if circumstances require it. I distinctly remember getting a Lib Dem leaflet three days before the last election saying that tactical voting was required in order for the LIb Dem candidate to succeed in ousting their rival. A day after the election Clegg said he disagreed with the very principal of tactical voting. Politics is flexible.

  40. Well I was about to get excited about these latest polls until I realised they are wrong.

    I know this due to our very helpful Labour voting posters, I must learn not to take polls at face value in future..The sky isn’t falling after all.

  41. @ UKElect

    I could be wrong but I’m sure I remember Anthony saying some time ago that polling companies did not have to abide by those rules on cold calling. The difference perhaps is that they aren’t selling anything even if they are a nuisance!!!

  42. @ LRR

    I think it would be interesting to watch that interview (on the basis of the excerpt). SNP’s main opposition is Labour – anywhere.

    Labour can’t spend the remaining 9 days to attack SNP, so that one is done.

  43. Omnishambles

    To be fair to Clegg he did add in an important rider to his comments today, as he mentioned that he will also need to consider the stability of any given government.

    “Clegg has made it clear the LDs won’t support such a government.”

    I think it’s a bit bizarre from that angle too – you can’t stop UKIP or the SNP voting for the Tories or Labour – is he seriously ruling out supporting either side if some of their votes sometimes come from those parties?

    “All they need to do is demand nice but unaffordable things for Scotland”

    Well it will be interesting to see whether they choose to be constructive or to play silly buggers. But I think they have a lot to lose from the latter.

    “They DO have a right to a voice, they do NOT have a right to be part of a government. That is up to the other parties.”

    Fine, so why should Clegg rule out supporting a minority government that depends on their votes sometimes?

    “Why aren’t you complaining about the SNP promise to “lock the Tories out”? Don’t Conservatives have a right to a voice too? Blatant hypocrisy.”

    Firstly because I am prone to being partisan Labour (although I hope that’s not biassing me too unreasonably on this point). But secondly because that isn’t comparable – simply saying ‘we won’t work with X or Y’ is one thing. Pre-emptively undermining the legitimacy or birthright (BIRTHRIGHT!!!) of a government involving X or Y seems a bit more problematic to me.

  44. Alec

    I don’t agree with your views on how Cameron and Miliband looked today. Although I’m not a fan of Cameron I thought he looks and sounds like the Prime Minister, I thought Miliband looked slightly detatched as he has done throughout.

    The campaign winner though is undoubtedly Sturgeon and I agree with your assessment

  45. I don’t understand how Ashcroft can have Labour winning Cannock Chase when it’s 51st on their target list but be 6% behind at the national level. They can’t both be right!

  46. Ten more days to go. Four forecasts have changed today, the average now has the Conservatives winning five more seats than Labour (277 to 272), when I started on the 5th April the Conservatives were five seats ahead too (278 to 273). Full details here:

    https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=698F47EA25B48A7A!518997&authkey=!AB3ra0E_2iZPKUk&ithint=file%2cpdf

    @profhoward

    I have tried to make the graph a bit more readable, please let me know what you think?

  47. @catoswyn

    Well, Clegg’s opinion may be different from that of the LDs as a whole – he’s proposed stuff to his party before which they’ve rejected. If the LDs decide to dump Clegg or he loses his seat, his principles on who the LDs should work with won’t apply

    I’m just getting annoyed with people focusing only on Clegg’s comments on the SNP. If the SNP think the Tories can be a legitimate part of government, why do they need to be “locked out”? Because the SNP don’t think they should be there! And that’s fine! So we shouldn’t pick on Clegg for doing the same.

  48. @Mikey

    As has been mentioned before, regional crossbreaks are not reliable or indicative of anything. They have a massive margin of error of about 10%.

  49. BLUEBOB
    Well I was about to get excited about these latest polls until I realised they are wrong.

    LOL. I think you can get a bit excited….. why not indeed. Break open a bottle.

  50. @magpie

    Re: legitimacy see above. The SNP aren’t using that language but they mean essentially the same thing. Legitimate parties don’t need to be locked out of Downing Street!

    “you can’t stop UKIP or the SNP voting for the Tories or Labour – is he seriously ruling out supporting either side if some of their votes sometimes come from those parties?”

    Ok this is a fair point. I’ve done some googling and found this:

    http://news.sky.com/story/1465770/clegg-questions-legitimacy-of-snp-in-government

    “He said he was ruling out a deal with either the SNP or UKIP.

    The Lib Dems later clarified that the comments were made in the context of a formal coalition deal.”

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