Ten days to go to the election and we’ve had interesting day of polls – four new GB polls, some new constituency polling and a new Scottish poll. The four GB polls today are the weekly Ashcroft and ICM telephone polls, the twice weekly Populus poll and, to come later on tonight, the daily YouGov poll for the Sun:

  • Populus had figures of CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs). They continue to produce figures that are more favourable to Labour than many of the other pollsters – you have to go all the way back to August to find a Populus poll with a Conservative lead.
  • In contrast ICM have tended to produce some of the better polls for the Conservatives – their last four polls showed Conservative leads and today’s has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 32%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5% (tabs)
  • Lord Ashcroft’s weekly poll had topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 30%, LDEM 9%, KIP 11%, GRN 7% (tabs) – this is obviously a particularly good poll for the Conservative party, but all the usual caveats apply. No other poll is showing such positive figures for them.

Lord Ashcroft also released four new constituency polls, this time covering four UKIP target seats (or at least, four where he had previously found them doing well, I’m not sure whether Cannock Chase was ever a seat they were targetting – certainly Ashcroft’s poll found respondents reporting a lower level of UKIP activity there). When Ashcroft previously polled these seats he found UKIP in an extremely close second place, this time he found them falling back and seemingly out of serious contention in three of them:

  • Cannock Chase is a seat the Conservatives won on a vast swing last time, but where the new MP has stood down after various gaffes. In October 2014 Ashcroft found UKIP two points behind Labour, 30% to Labour’s 32%. The latest poll still shows Labour ahead, but UKIP now trail in third place on 21%.
  • Great Grimsby is widely regarded as the best opportunity for a UKIP gain from Labour at this election – a Lincolnshire fishing port where the veteran MP Austin Mitchell is standing down. In December Ashcroft found UKIP just a point behind Labour, but they’ve fallen back considerably since then and today’s poll has them 17 points behind Labour
  • Great Yarmouth fits the pattern for a typical UKIP target seat, a seaside town and marginal seat out on England’s east coast. Last July Ashcroft found a tight three way fight – Con 33%, UKIP 31%, Lab 28%. Today’s poll has UKIP falling back to 24%, but Conservative and Labour still in a close battle – Con 36%, Lab 34%
  • Castle Point is the only one of the three where UKIP still seems to be in the race. It’s an unusual seat – the former Conservative MP Bob Spink sort of defected to UKIP in 2008 and contested the seat as an Independent in 2010, coming second with 27%. In February Ashcroft found UKIP just one point behind the Tories, in today’s poll the Conservatives have widened their lead to 5 points.

Finally a new TNS poll of Scotland shows the SNP moving into an even stronger lead. Their topline figures with changes from their last Scottish poll are CON 13%(nc), LAB 22%(-2), LDEM 6%(nc), SNP 54%(+2), UKIP 2%(+1), GRN 2%(-1). Tabs are here.

808 Responses to “A round up of Monday’s polling”

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  1. Paul, I meant the nightly YG guessing game, although I’m not all that keen on GE predictions either!

  2. Nick Shaw

    This is the killing ground – a few days out. Some voters – and I have come across a few this time round – like to back a winner/safe choice when confronted with ludicrous media claims about Ed and Nicola (none of which are remotely matched or balanced by other media). Ashcroft’s firm has got its poll figures wrong before. If they have got them wrong again and apologise a week on Friday, can they sue anyone ;-).

    Remember the old adage – for an untruth to be believed all you have to do is mix a little truth with it …

  3. Neil A

    You can chose to ignore what posters wish to predict. It really is no biggie

  4. RICH
    “Ps: what is happening to Lab in Scotland?”

    It’s tragic what is happening to them. The once mighty Labour bastions of central Scotland are going to be pushed over like dominoes on May 7th.

    As a contest the election is over in Scotland. At best I think Labour will probably hold onto a handful of seats.. Any more than 10 then they can probably claim they had a good night considering the dire polling.

  5. LD’s getting more confident of holding several seats in Scotland with Tory & Labour support.

    East Dumbartonshire
    West Aberdeenshire
    Edinburgh West
    Argyll & Bute
    Orkney & Shetland

  6. Neil, apologies.

    The Yougov one is easy to predict though:.

    Cons 3x
    Lab 3x
    Lib 0y
    Ukip 1x

    where x is a number between 2 and 5 and y is a number between 7 and 9.

  7. ken smith

    Take your pick…

    Tories are going to win, why waste resources
    Labour are miles ahead
    Labour voters like putting posters up, Tories don’t
    There were loads of posters, that naughty other side ripped them down
    Your road has a cabal of 4 Tory haters
    Your road has a lot of shy Tories

    etc etc etc

    Like on here at the moment you could be tempted by the scenario you like by looking at what you see, rather than thinking about what is really going on….:-)

  8. Allan

    Labour have taken forgranted their seats in Scotland. Now its payback time

  9. In reply Coverdrive, there is some interesting research into this. There is the “herd” issue where people like to be seen to back the winner, also this normalizes a choice. It can change a narrative. In terms of turnout I think you’d need to see a bigger lead in terms of complacency and this can also effect the other parties voters if they think its a foregone conclusion.

  10. Bantams

    Mandy Rice-Davies comes to mind.

  11. To be honest I think the campaign has been a waste of money and time, 70% have made up their mind. The other 30% will make up their mind but not based on anything thats happened in the last month.

    I’m sure if I watched the TV news I would get wall to wall coverage, but I haven’t done for some years now because I can find more diverse stories online and read about the news I’m interested in, not what some editor in Broadcasting Towers is interested in.

  12. @bantams

    Based on their own “comfort polling” (c. Lord Ashcroft).

  13. 3-0 to AFCB.

    Going Up.

    We can hear the crowd from our beach house.

    ‘They’ll be singing in the bars of Bournemouth tonight’


    The huge uniform swing to the SNP across Scotland will render any tactical voting useless. I can’t see the Lib/Dems holding onto any mainland seats. Sure there has been some talk of an alliance against the SNP but most pundits in Scotland say it wont change a thing.

    The Lib/Dems are dead.

  15. My YG Guess L 34 CON 33

  16. Allan,

    I also think that the same SNP issue will sink the Libdems across the southwest by lessening support for the Libdems among tory minded voters who won’t want things like Trident abolished.

  17. Grauniad reporter –

    Nick Clegg has said that the Liberal Democrats would not enter into a coalition with a party that refused to implement its education funding policy, setting out the first of a series of “red lines” which he will announce in the days running up to the general election.

    Speaking on the party’s campaign bus on Monday, the deputy prime minister said that the Lib Dem commitment to increase per-pupil spending for two to 19-year-olds in real terms over the next parliament was non-negotiable and would have to be included in any coalition deal.

    Sounds rather like preparing a set of demands, so specific as to allow him to say that, sadly, he can’t support any other party on anything.

    The fate of the Lib Dems was predictable and predicted. It has always happened to centrist parties which have allied with the Tories/Unionists.

    In many ways this is sad, as the Liberals and liberals have provided the main ideas which helped to make the UK civilised, IMO anyway.

  19. Oldnat – Clegg

    Said much the same recently, they want the old days back. Mind you, for giggles the anti-austerity tax-the-rich Clegg 2.0 will be something to see.

  20. Anthony or some other clever person.

    Are you able to tell me what the YouGov polls would have read using the old methodology?

    Probably would have not made much difference but would love to see how much something like that can affect things.

  21. Not sure Nick Clegg and his ‘Education red lines’ is exactly the policy position he should be pushing in the last few days. Tuition Fees?

    The voters might deliver him their own non-negotiable demand on May 8th.

  22. Omnishambles,

    On the previous thread you said that the SNP does not have a right to be part of the government. This is obviously true; if every party had a right to be part of the government, the end result might be a huge coalition and no opposition!

    However, when it is suggested that a government which included the SNP, or relied on the the SNP for support, might not be legitimate, things get more serious. (Nick Clegg may not have said that such a government would be illegitimate, but that idea does seem to be getting tacked onto the reporting of what Clegg did say.)

    An illegitimate government is one which has no right to govern, perhaps because it has come to power through a military coup or held onto power by rigging or cancelling elections. If a UK government was genuinely illegitimate, it would surely be the Queen’s constitutional duty to do whatever she could to replace it with a legitimate one.

    Anyone who says that a Labour government relying on SNP support would be illegitimate could be implying that the Queen should not invite Miliband to form such a government, even if it could command a majority in the Commons for confidence votes. On another site I have seen a comment claiming that some such approach has already been made to the Queen, but rejected. I will not repeat the names of those said to be involved, as I am inclined to doubt the story. However, I believe that any argument that the SNP cannot be part of a government under any circumstances, because the SNP advocates certain constitutional changes, is undemocratic.

  23. They think it is all over. It is now on a balmy spring evening by the sea in the safe seat of Bournemouth East, in the Boscombe Ward.

    No You Gov tweets yet then, but, tonight, who cares here?

    I also think that the same SNP issue will sink the Libdems across the southwest by lessening support for the Libdems among tory minded voters who won’t want things like Trident abolished

    The latest ITN poll suggested the Lib/Dems face a total wipe out across the South West. All 14 seat going to the Tories. Maybe if the Lib/Dems want to change their fortunes around in the SW then they could lobby for Trident to be based at Falmouth. ;-)

  25. I think it is an interesting exercise to ponder what strategies a partial pollster might use.

    I took Ashcroft as an example because to me he seems to be the pollster with the most obvious potential reason to be biased. But equally, you could imagine that there were a long term millionaire Labour member and union officionado who now ran influential polls who, once being a Blairite and New Labour man, claimed impartiality from the current Labour Party (anybody know of one?).

    The reason this is worthwhile is because I think it is naive to assume that polling would be the one area immune to corruption. Skillful manipulation of polls might well give a party it’s needed edge. Where there is a need there is a way. Working out what could be done might lead to it being spotted if ever it arose. What could be more worthwhile than that?

    As I said, what I would do is spend a long time giving honest polls when it didn’t matter to provide me with credibility. I might even do the opposite of what many would expect whilst it didn’t matter…and understate my party’s polling rate….to prove my impartiality.

    I would try to only be dishonest a small percentage of the time, but then do it when it really counts.

    During the last ten days before Election Day I would start pushing my party up in the polls….try to create momentum. People love a winner and often obey the herd instinct.

    Then in the final two days I would leave all those people now determined to vote for my party worried…with a couple of polls that suddenly show it getting closer….just to eliminate any complacency and make sure they all get out and vote.

    Interspersed throughout this I would conduct multiple sub-polls in specific areas and aimed at specific groupings which were more impartial….just to ensure I maintain my credibility levels.

    Immediately before polling day I would attempt to issue an accurate poll….just so that next election I stand a chance that everyone might be quoting how ‘I called the election’ last time around.


  26. The SLD claim that tactical votes are flooding to them does have a little support in the YG Full Scottish poll.

    The LDs are the incumbents in 11 seats, the Tories in 1. Logically, if their claim had validity, a much larger proportion of their vote would be tactical.

    However. 20% of the (larger) Tory vote is tactical, compared to 27% of the (smaller) SLD vote.

    I doubt that the 7% “lead” in tactical voting % is enough to support their claims – though it may have inspired the idea!

  27. @ Old Nat & Allan

    Might be just wishful thinking on my part however it’s a Guardian article tonight.

  28. The TNS poll of Scotland would give SNP 57, LD 1, LAB 1 according to Electoral Calculus. A landslide win to this extent would be similar to that of SF in the 26 counties in 1918, and we know what happened 4 years later (without any plebiscite or referendum. IMO, it’s nonsense to consider any sort of post-GE scenario where any unionist party (i.e. Con/Lab/LD/UKIP/DUP) co-operates with the SNP – like SF, they are beyond the pale from a UK perspective. Therefore, whoever has the larger number of seats out of Lab and Con will have “won”, because the next 2 largest parties (LD. & DUP) have made it clear that they will support the “winner” of this contest.

    Nate Silver’s predictions are very similar to my own, which are Con 285, Lab 273, LD 22, SNP 46, UKIP 2, PC 3, Grn 1 and NI parties 18, with DC remaining as PM, and final GB vote shares of Con 34%, Lab 32%. I think that there is too much over-reliance on the Labour-leaning YouGov polls (possibly because they are daily) on this site.


    I would put money on that poll not name the candidates as there is no way the LD’s will lose all their seats? Do we know what methodology they used

  30. Derek

    It’s a good plan, but where would you find time amongst all that to stroke your white cat?

  31. Dunham111

    Are those Silver predictions from his website?

  32. CHRISLANE1945
    The fate of the Lib Dems was predictable and predicted. It has always happened to centrist parties which have allied with the Tories/Unionists.
    In many ways this is sad, as the Liberals and liberals have provided the main ideas which helped to make the UK civilised, IMO anyway

    The Libs would sell their own granny to the highest bidder in exchange for a little bit of power,

    They sold out on their traditional voters and now they are being punished. People often talk of Liberal values but how can they be delivered by a Eton educated toff?

    Today’s Liberals are nothing like the party of the old days.

  33. Les

    I agree.

    What would really cause a stir would be if the result was that tight that one bloc (say the Con/Lib/DUP coalition) effectively had just 1 seat more than the other bloc. And then someone offers a deal to persuade Sinn Fein to take their seats and vote with the ‘Progressive bloc’ to kick them out.

    That would cause uproar in the press and I can’t imagine the palace being too pleased.

  34. Dunham111

    Your forecast and prediction would require a group of parties who could defeat DC in a confidence vote choosing not to do so.

    ie Lab + SNP + PC + Green + SDLP (326)

  35. @Bantams

    I note they don’t have Gordon on that list and if they can’t get anti-SNP tactical voters to vote against Salmond when an Ashcroft poll put the Lib Dems in second they are not getting them anywhere.

    ‘Once again I believe weighting to 2010 results will make many pollsters come a cropper on election night when the votes start to be counted.’

    I think this may affect things too. However Yougov are weighting with a poll done in early 2015 which will hopefully better reflect the electorate as it stood on the eve of the election rather than the electorate who existed five years ago.

  37. @chrislane

    Sincere congratulations from a Saints (Division 3 (South) in 1953) fan.
    Looking forward to some new south-coast derbies next year!

    Unless Middlesborough win the last game by 20 goals (and you lose).

    Which probably has the same chance as UKIP being the largest party and NF the PM !!!

  38. Congratulation Chris. This is a spectacular promotion for Bournemouth.
    Five years ago the odds on Pompey being in the basement and Bournemouth being in the PL in 2015 would have been huge.

    A truly well deserved for promotion for a team that goes out to play good positive football.

  39. Allan Christie

    “Maybe if the Lib/Dems want to change their fortunes around in the SW then they could lobby for Trident to be based at Falmouth. ;-)”

    I have seen reports of a leak from the MoD that, in the event of indy, they could base Trident in Gibraltar.

    That’s the same Euro constituency as Falmouth! :-)

  40. DUNHAM 111.
    That is close to my view, except I think Tories will win more LD seats than predicted by Nate Silver, and I think UKIP and DUP will work with Tories in the Commons. This alliance of ‘centre-right’ would not have a majority of the House, and perhaps some LD men might switch to Labour

  41. OLDNAT

    There is some tactical voting towards the Lib/Dems but I don’t even think it would secure them St Kilda. :-)

  42. @Dunham111

    So you are saying an SNP landslide inevitably leads to independence.

  43. ChrisLane1945

    Can’t imagine that lasting long – they’d get voted down on just about anything they bring to the house that’s slightly controversial.

  44. @Couper2802

    I imagine that an SNP landslide would inevitably re-open the independence question. I wouldn’t expect a referendum poll in the next Parliament, but one in 2020 – 2025, assuming the SNP maintain their level of support, would be very likely.

    Now, a question to the whole thread. If the SNP do sweep the board at the upcoming elections, what is the probability that a UDI might be issued at some point, if the Tories manage to cling on?

  45. My first time on here but have been reading the blog and comments for a few weeks now. I thought the statements over the weekend were a bit odd.
    Why did Nick Clegg say “no deals with SNP”? when he didn’t have to
    why did Ed Miliband say the same thing a day later when before he said he “wouldn’t talk about hypotheticals”?

    Tony Blair talked to Paddy Ashdown before the 97 election to discuss post election deals – in the event of course Blair didn’t need LibDem support.

    Ashdown and Blair are both still around and both active in the election and in their parties. Why wouldn’t Ed Miliband talk to Clegg before this election to discuss post election deals? It could be argued that it is their duty to do so – the county needs stable gov. etc. a swift resolution after election required.

    In these discussions Clegg says that he cannot support Lab if they are propped up by SNP, it would not look good for him and the consequences could lead to very unstable government. Miliband who wants as stable as possible a government, agrees with Clegg. Both leaders agree to come out over next few days and say explicitly that they will not make formal deals with SNP. These statements clarify their respective positions and show them as strong confident leaders as well as undermining the Tory propaganda.

    Both Miliband and Clegg know the SNP cannot vote down a Lab gov. The SNP cannot vote with tories. If the SNP were seen to be putting the Conservative in government it would decimate their support. So other than voting with Lab, SNPs only option is abstention. This means the worst case for a Lab LD collation is SNP abstentions on votes. Current poll of poll predictions are for Lab to have 272 ish seats and LD 26 ish. Giving a total Lab LD collation of around 298. The SNP are predicted to have 56 ish.

    The commons majority figure is 326, removing 6 for the speaker and SF brings the line down to 323. if worst the SNP can do is abstain this translates their 56 seats into a reduction of 28 off the majority number which now comes down to 295, resulting in a Lab LD coalition majority of 3. Tight but with support of PC, Green and SDLP adding 7 more for most votes it starts to look stable.

    Under this agreement no formal deal with the SNP is required, so why not come out and say so? Miliband could even hope to go it alone as 300 seats for Lab might be attainable but with a LD coalition deal on table how can he loose?

    The Lab LD talks could easily say “if between us we get 5 more than the required total its a deal, if less deal is off” TB and PA talks were obviously couched in similar terms.

    If Lab LD together get over the 298 mark then there is no need for a supply and confidence deal with SNP. the only way a lost vote and subsequent vote of confidence could come about is if the SNP vote with Tories and that has been ruled out. SNP could try pushing it and say “we agreed to support Lab, not a Lab LD coalition” but they would still have to vote with the Tories against Lab and that is not going to look good to their support north of the border.

    Obviously a small “majority” for a coalition could create other internal party problems but these would be there with any small majority.

    Most projections have the LD around half the number of seats as SNP and that is all the maths of this scenario require. From Miliband’s perspective a stable coalition with LD must look more stable than a deal with the SNP and both are equally likely outcomes given the current polls.

    Obviously this is all speculation but if it occurred to me it clearly has occurred to others and it does make sense of those two new “no SNP deal” statements.

    Just wondered if this made sense or if I was missing something obvious? Clegg’s demand today would not be a red line to Lab I guess?

  46. Allan Christie
    Old Nat
    Chris Lane

    The tone of your comments is entirely appropriate – the LibDems are finished, at least temporarily, and Nick Clegg’s comments confirm it.

    They will not get twenty seats, as I have been saying for some weeks.

    As CL says, the overwhelming feeling is one of sadness, especially as I personally feel that they have made a perfectly decent contribution to what will be regarded as a successful government.

    Clegg is obviously finished, and the only hope for the LDs is Farron, who can take them along a different path. Their only electoral hope is to become a small-government, green alternative to statist Labour. There is an enormous constituency for this approach. Not really my cup of tea, but a preferable alternative for many to cloth cap class conscious Labour.

    Before anyone accuses me of a partisan post, this does not represent my personal view. It is just such an obvious and viable destination for the LibDems.

    The legacy of their involvement with Government may prove to be an advantage as it will give them credibility for being sensible with the deficit.

    Farron would not be my choice, but he has the energy and the populist approach that they so desperately need at this point in time.

    He could be the left-of-centre equivalent of Farage, and I suspect he will over time be the more successful of the two.

    This all has great relevance to this election, because the LibDem fallout will be a massive factor in determining how we are governed over the next few years.

  47. Millie

    Farron would be my choice. Not yours. So who would your choice be?

  48. Paul Mid Beds

    It does seem that there is scope for mistakes with postal ballots, and it would be interesting to know what percentage are rejected, compared with the percentage of spoiled polling station votes.

    On a previous thread, someone raised the question of what happens if the signature on the postal voting application form, and the one accompanying the ballot paper, do not appear to match, but I do not recall any answer appearing. This is one thing which puts me off the idea of a postal vote. I bought my first computer nearly thirty years ago, and have never been without one since. This has reduced the amount of handwriting that I have needed to do. Chip and PIN and the near demise of cheques have likewise substantially reduced the frequency with which I have to sign my name. Now I have little confidence in my ability to produce a consistent signature.

    Fortunately, I live only a few minutes walk from the local polling station. A friend who lives in the Orkneys has no such choice, as the local authority no longer provides a polling station for the island where he lives.

  49. Millie

    Depends if you think the Lib Dems are a left of centre party now. I think this election might show they aren’t anymore and the hollowing out of their membership, and soon their MP’s, might just leave the right-wing orange book brigade. Someone like Farron might find he no longer has any allies left and end up jumping ship.

  50. OLDNAT

    “I have seen reports of a leak from the MoD that, in the event of indy, they could base Trident in Gibraltar.
    That’s the same Euro constituency as Falmouth! :-)

    Gibralter I think was the last know habitat for the Neanderthal. A fitting place for what’s going to be left of the Lib/Dems and an excellent base for Trident.

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