Another busy day for polling. We have only one GB voting intention poll today, but from a brand new pollster (later on we’ll have the regular daily poll from YouGov and the ComRes/Mail/ITV poll). However we also have a new Scottish poll from Ipsos MORI, three new constituency polls from Lord Ashcroft and a new poll of Con-Lab marginals from ComRes.

The new GB voting intention poll is from BMG Research for May 2015. It’s an online poll, using the sort of weightings and adjustments ICM use – so weighted by past vote, weighted by likelihood to vote with people who didn’t vote weighted down, and with 50% of people who say don’t know assumed to vote for the party they did last time. This has produced topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 32%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 14%, GRN 3% – full tabs are here.

MORI’s Scottish poll shows, as ever, a huge SNP lead. Topline figures are CON 17%, LAB 20%, LDEM 5%, SNP 54% (tabs). This would be enough for the SNP to win just about everywhere. A measure of just how vast the change has been in Scotland is that we are no longer surprised by polls showing the SNP with huge landslide leads in Scotland – we should be. A thirty-four point lead for the SNP in an area that Labour has consistently won since the 1960s is astounding and appears to be a true realignment in Scottish politics. We end up paying to the rest of the country because England and Wales are on a knife-edge while the outcome of Scotland appears settled, it’s just a question of how colossal the SNP landslide is, but it’s good to sit back occasionally and gawp at the scale of the turnaround in Scottish politics since a year ago.

Lord Ashcroft released three new constituency polls. The first was of South Swindon – a typical Con-Lab marginal seat, but not of any great importance beyond that. At the last election Robert Buckland had a majority of 7.5%, so with the national polls level we’d expect to find Conservative and Labour pretty much neck-and-neck here. That’s what Ashcroft found in his last two polls of the seat, it’s still the case now – a Conservative lead of just one point.

The other two seats are far more unusual affairs. The first is Sheffield Hallam, Nick Clegg’s own constituency. Ashcroft’s previous polling of the constituency has consistently found a very tight race between Labour and the Liberal Democrats (despite the fact that it used to the Tories who were main alternative to the Liberals here). Ashcroft’s poll today shows a Labour lead of one point, so far too close to call. Interestingly comparing the standard voting intention question and the constituency question a quarter of Conservative voters say they will actually vote Lib Dem in Hallam, suggesting significant Tory tactical voting propping up Nick Clegg.

The last of Ashcroft’s polls was in Thanet South, the seat being contested by Nigel Farage. There has been substantial polling in this seat, with recent Survation polls commissioned by UKIP donor Alan Bown showing a solid lead for Nigel Farage and other polling by ComRes showing a tight three way race between Conservative, Labour and UKIP. Ashcroft found a tight race between Conservative and UKIP, with the Tories just three points ahead, but Labour now clearly back in third place – CON 34%, UKIP 32%, LAB 26%. Tables for all three polls are here.

Finally there was a new ComRes poll of battleground Con-Lab marginals. As I’ve written before, the key to understanding marginal polls is to look at how those seats voted last time, what they change is, and how that compares to the national picture. This poll isn’t the 40 closest Lab-Con marginals that ComRes usually poll in their marginals omnibus, but a different bespoke sample of the fifty most marginal Con held marginals with Labour in second place. In 2010 there was an average Conservative lead of 4 points across these seats, while in today’s poll ComRes found a 3 point Labour lead. This is a 3.5 swing from Conservative to Labour, or the equivalent of a national poll showing Labour and Conservative neck-and-neck. Full tables are here

The 3.5 swing is in line with the national swing across all the polls (though a little bigger than the swing in ComRes’s telephone polls). However, I’m not sure that national polls are the right comparison – almost all Lab-Con marginals are in England, and because Labour have collapsed in Scotland the swing to Labour is actually bigger in England & Wales than the national polls imply. I’m going to try write at more length about the different battlegrounds at the weekend, but at first glance it looks to me as if the Conservatives may be doing a little better in the key marginals than across England and Wales as a whole… but Labour are doing a little better in England and Wales as a whole than in GB, so the two factors cancel each other out and the marginals swing is about the same as the national GB swing.

UPDATE: The voting intention figures for ComRes and YouGov are now both out. ComRes’s telephone poll for the Mail & ITV has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 6%. YouGov for the Sun have topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4%.

925 Responses to “BMG, MORI Scotland, Ashcroft constituencies and ComRes marginals”

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  1. @MBruno

    With respect, not going down that road with you, as I agreed with previous posters. Basically, it ain’t easy, but it can be done. And wouldn’t the Tories want an election after six months in opposition?


    You may well be right – it might need to go on until the Spring, but I see hazards for both parties in trying to hold it together for that long


    Although there was a ‘vow’ the SNP are highly suspicious that they are not going to get DevoMax, so this is surely a big plus.
    I don’t think many would agree that DevoMax ‘undermines’ independence. If so why do the SNP want it?

    With that, I’m off to the pub, and after a few pints I sleep well, so will not be posting until the morning. So failure to respond is not a fit of pique.

    We will have an informed and erudite conversation at the Who’d Have Thought it, and I will report back everything you need to know…


  2. Adge3
    Dimbleby a Bullingdon club member? Never have guessed it.

    My breakdown earlier of PR result was designed to make folk ponder about a Con Lab coalition. That’s what happened in Germany an that’s what they have here in the Netherlands.

  3. Watching QT I have to say Cameron is handling himself fairly well but struggling nontheless a good chunk of the audience are clearly out for blood :)

  4. Cameron is confident and got the lines and indeed the props – not sure he’s answering the questions though

  5. Rivers10

    He is certainly in a very different frame of mind from the detached man we saw at the debate.

  6. BristolianHoward: the adversarial nature of British politics means that a German-style “grand coalition” would be impossible here, except in times of war or when national survival is under threat. I agree though that, f Nate Silver’s forecast turns out to be correct, a grand coalition or an early summer election would be the most responsible things to do. All other alternatives look reckless to me.

  7. BristolianHoward

    Perhaps if we were a PR-country with experience of coalitions, but in the current climate can’t see it.

    Does the NL have as strong a right-wing media/Rupertariat?

  8. Some cracking Yorkshire accents on show tonight.

  9. God’s country Jack

  10. Interesting Cameron has decided to make his one declared red line for coalition – there must be an EU Ref.

  11. Indeed. Crowd seem riled to politicians rubbish they sprout out, and I’m pleased they’re making the point that questions really aren’t been answered. Not enough broadcasters do this.

  12. Exile: that is his play to attract the wavering, soft UKIP vote (“the Conservatives are the only party that can deliver an EU referendum”).

  13. MBRUNO

    Obviously. What is interesting is that he sees this rather than something that appeals to the centre as the more important play at this stage of the campaign.

  14. @Lazlo – thanks – I am sure that the soap suds Party will win through. Also surely if there is a vote of no confidence then the 5 year fixed term rule simply dies. It is a simple law that can be just as easilly dumped

    By the way is they a debate tonight that I should be listening to? Passed me by

    Any I am sure I am one of many in Berwick wishing the SNP had stood here and made a claim for Northern England. If nothing else the rise of the SNP has raised the game for English devolution

  15. I want it on record that Ed saying the previous Labour government didn’t overspend was the moment the election was lost.


    With respect, electoral systems on the continent — particularly in Germany — are designed to constrain the governing capacity of a single party, for obvious historical reasons.

    JACK R


    AS was the Holyrood electoral system. :-))

  18. MBRUNO

    Yes, I understand all that and it is certainly the message that has been getting through to people. I was just musing I suppose that if the polls start being reported as ‘Conservatives in lead’ whether many people, who do not neccesarily follow all the details, will start to think that that means ‘Conservatives will win’…. ie. pressure off. Depends how detailed the poll reporting is to the general public.


    Point very well taken.

    Tangentially, I’ve been looking at polling for the Alberta provincial election, which also takes place on May 7th, and there’s a possibility that the PCs will lose for the first time in 44 years. (They’ve usually held over 60% of the seats, sometimes close to 80%.)

    The interesting gap in polls there is between VI and “who do you think will win?” Most voters can’t imagine somebody else in charge.

  20. Both DC and EM will have done enough to please the home fans, but my opinion is DC did better in the not answering the question stakes.

    I think DC will come out ahead among those saying they are not Con or Lab VI.

  21. New thread

  22. Ed Milliband is still odds on with all bookies so far as I can see.

  23. Does anyone think QT has any impact in the real world?

  24. Whether the previous Labour Government overspent or not depends on your perspective and what sort of society you want. Life is all about choice isn’t it. One person’s priority is totally different to another’s. If we are talking about spending then look no further than the quantative easing ‘solution’, or good old fashioned printing money, enthusiastically embraced by this government. It has clearly been shown that this has resulted in a massive wealth redistribution from the poor to the wealthy. That is why the richest in our society have made enormous gains thanks to the present government. This has also had the knock on effect of depriving the thrifty honest savers from receiving all but peanuts in interest payments.
    So yes it was a joke that the money had all gone (albeit a rather stupid one making the last Labour government a hostage to fortune as DC constantly reminds us) but clearly governments are not in any way constrained in the same way as our domestic finances, and it is simply disingenuous to suggest they are. Clearly the last Governments spending priorities were different to the present Government, but memories are short as in 1997 when the Blair administration had to pump billions into the NHS which was on its knees after years of neglect, not to mention schools with leaking roofs not fit for purpose.
    Even the former Governor of the Bank of England, who I suspect is no Labour supporter admitted or confirmed that the recession had nothing whatsoever to do with the Labour Government any more than George Osborne’s cheap oil bonus had anything to do with the current Government.

  25. As for the polls, yes Con largest party by 20 seats with SNP as ‘spoilers’ for Lab. As many have already noted on the forum, the whole election is effectively being skewed by the Scottish dimension. It’s incredible to think that Labour’s heartland constituencies, where votes for them were weighed rather than counted, are about to be swept away in one fell swoop. There is hardly a general election parallel I can think of other than the demise of the pre-war Liberal party at the hands of Labour. If Labour could have repeated their 2010 result in Scotland, Ed M would be measuring the curtains for No 10. So I guess we have Scotland soon to be a one party ‘state’ and all the other parties fighting for predominantly English and Welsh seats, with Northern Ireland doing its own thing. (Odd that Sinn Fein’s manifesto says “It is our vow to continue to resist the disastrous agenda of Tory austerity in Ireland” and yet they refuse to take their seats in Parliament (abstentionism), their 5 MPs could actually prove decisive in a tight hung parliament)

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