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. FIRST??

  2. Wow! Loads more stuff to wade into! Thanks Anthony!

  3. **FPT **

    IPSOS ‘corker’

    I was reading somewhere else yesterday that we had a run of 5 elections (79-97) in which there was a ‘wow’ rogue poll in the last week eg Maggie’s wobble in ’87. The IPSOS is bang on time.

    We might as well guess, I’ll say Con +8%

  4. God Ray. Ipsos Mori have form here. They described their poll in February as a corker…it was hardly that as it gave Labour a 2 point lead.
    However sad to say I think crossover has occurred as most polls are now showing Tory leads.

    Miliband needs a good night on QT tomorrow night.

  5. So far from Sturgeon propping up Miliband we have Tories propping up Clegg. I wonder whether his stated determination to avoid any coalition that might have to rely on “life support from the SNP” (i.e. a coalition with Labour) means he has signed his own constituency death-warrant.

    The problem for Clegg is that polls like this will super-motivate those who don’t usually vote (and who get weighted down in polls) to get out and be “part of history” to kick him out (like it very nearly happened to Ed Balls last time).

  6. Reposted from last thread.

    ———————

    Oh well, if the topic has turned to predicting the future….

    Let’s play a game – “Predict the Next Seven Days”. This needs to be a quick narrative of what you think is going to happen (which remember folks, isn’t the same as what you want to happen). It can be as serious or frivolous as you want, but we can look back at the serious one’s come next Friday and see who was the best prophet a week out.

    OK then, I’ll start us off.

    Despite the marginals polling etc, on the ground things are starting to just push towards the Tories. A combination of the Scary SNP narrative (working in the right areas, not working / putting people off where it doesn’t matter), people warming to “Hell Yeah, Cameron” in his daily live Q&As and a general “you know what, things aren’t actually that bad” feel means that the Conservatives maintain their poll lead around 1 to 1.5 – not enough on one poll to be a lead greater than the margin of error but when you average it across eight or so national polls it’s clear they’re winning.

    Then, on Bank Holiday Monday the Duchess of Cambridge goes into labour (no pun intended so get that picture of Kate and Ed out of your head), delivers a girl on Tuesday and drives home after the obligatory steps of the Maternity Wing photo-shoot on Wednesday. The electorate wakes up on Thurday morning to not only a whole horde of “Good Morning” GOTV leaflets on their welcome mat, but colour pictures of Baby Cambridge on the front pages and on Breakfast TV. Everyone feels happy, everyone is rejoicing and subconsciously there is a “Isn’t Britain a great place to be” incumbency bounce for Cameron.

    And all this is *just* enough to push the Coalition over the finish line. The results come in and the Tories manage just below 300 seats (yes they lose some to Labour but they pick up handfuls from Clegg), the Lib Dems just scrape into the mid 20s and between the two of them they have around 323 to 325 seats – not enough for an absolute majority but when the 4 Sinn Fein MPs don’t turn up, enough to govern.

    Cameron is PM again by the skin of his teeth.

    Plausible?

    What do you think is going to happen?

  7. I am absolutely amazed at the SNP’s poll lead.

    I do indeed believe their new leader has created a ‘wow ‘factor & like it or not, she is not ‘samey’

    I think that they’ll ‘wipe the board’ & good on the Scots for turning out & not being apathetic

    Polls indicate a Tory landslide in SW England

  8. Poll shows yet again Nick’s in for a close fight. However speaking to chums on his volunteer team they are supremely confident they will win.

    They have a superb team to get the vote out backed up by a very up to date and powerful database to get the potential lib dem voters out on polling day.

    Looks like the organisation of the respective ground teams will win the day…

  9. @Adrian B

    Generally, I would agree with you. However, my understanding of Hallam is that it is at heart a Tory seat. As a result, while there may very well be a student rebellion, by allying himself with Tory voters in the seat Clegg actually stands a better chance of winning than if he had tried to appeal to social democrats.

  10. @AW

    …at first glance it looks to me as if there [??] if the Conservatives may be doing a little better in the key marginals than across England and Wales as a whole…

    And yet in his April 21 update Stephen Fisher wrote:

    .. recent YouGov data suggests Labour doing a bit better than previously calculated in key Con-Lab marginals.

    I haven’t been able to track down a source for this statement but as it’s a reference to YouGov I would have assumed you would know. But your comment above suggests you may take to opposite view.

    Any idea what ‘YouGov data’ SF is talking about?

  11. MIKEY
    However sad to say I think crossover has occurred as most polls are now showing Tory leads.

    We’ll see. I still think that using 2010 voting re-allocation and heavily weighting down those who didn’t previously vote does affect polls by potentially under-rating UKIP for example.

    As for me I’m still a YOUGOV believer so until they show a major shift I’m still considering it a tie.

  12. I grew up in Sheffield Hallam. Incredibly middle class, incredibly “not Labour”. Suspect Tory voters would pile into voting for Clegg if any hint Labour might win.

  13. @Catoswyn
    ‘As for me I’m still a YOUGOV believer so until they show a major shift I’m still considering it a tie.”

    I don’t think this unreasonable at all. YG have a huge panel for their Nowcast and this is still showing labour a few seats ahead.

  14. Cats&RAF

    You may be right but there seem to be a lot of polls heading in the opposite direction and I cannot see how they can all be wrong.

  15. In terms of the Ipsos/Mori Ben Pages tweet suggests the Tories in the lead but does not suggest some huge lead.

    He was asked this question:

    Ben would you think the Tories will be the largest party?

    His answer:

    On the no’s I’m seeing at moment its probable. Doesn’t mean they get to be the government.

    This suggests a lead but doesn’t suggest a lead of more than 4 points.

    Unless theres been some further comments then I don’t see this poll showing a big shock lead for the Tories.

  16. Unicorn

    “recent YouGov data suggests Labour doing a bit better than previously calculated in key Con-Lab marginals. ”

    Some academics have access to YG microdata, which allows respondents to be allocated to constituencies. I’d imagine Fisher is one of these.

  17. At worst (for the Conservatives), there is evidence that the crossover may be happening. At best, it has already.

    Until that next YG poll of course….

  18. When is this Ipsos poll due?

  19. Basically most of the polls – whether constituency or national – are now suggesting that LAB are not going to win the election and, indeed, are likely to end with only around 260 or so seats.

    If that turns out to be the case – especially given that CON are hardly moving mountains when it comes to being popular – then LAB will really have to ask themselves two or three searching questions once the election is over.

    i. Why did we stick with a clearly unpopular leader?
    ii. Why did we join up with CON in the Scottish referendum when, politicially speaking, LAB ought to be much closer to the SNP?
    iii. Why didnt we offer an alternative to the (arguably pointless) austerity being offered by CON?

    They could – and should – have acted differently during the years 2010 to 2015. Their politicking has been naive.

  20. Sheffield Hallam may have no Labour history but it does have many of the sort of demographics which have swung to the centre left in recent years. Lots of public sector middle class – academics, doctors and so on, who would have been Tory in generations past but wouldn’t contemplate it now.

    A Labour win would be remarkable nonetheless and, I suspect, a one-off.

  21. Peter Ould

    In a last desperate attempt to stop the Scottish Crown passing to Princess Anne’s sprogs, William will announce that the new baby will be called “Nicola Sturgeon Strathearn” (even if it’s a boy). :-)

  22. Good evening from the Netherlands (the
    land of PR). If we were the same, none of this conjecture would be needed.

  23. “King Nicky the First”

    Has a ring to it doesn’t it OldNat?

  24. @ David in France

    “Basically most of the polls – whether constituency or national – are now suggesting that LAB are not going to win the election and, indeed, are likely to end with only around 260 or so seats.”

    This simply isn’t true. The constituency polls (including today’s ComRes) have seats like High Peak and Colne Valley as dead heats. These are both above #65 on the Labour target list.

    Obviously Labour won’t be gaining everything at that level but if they are competitive there we can say they have a good chance of making 50 or so gains in Eng/Wal. Even with all their Scottish seats gone (which I still don’t believe, though it is clearly going to be dreadful for them up there) that would put them well above 260.

  25. Newzoids on ITV in a few minutes.

    Just saying….

  26. Peter

    Cameron has generally been lucky with factors outside of his control so far – e.g. the worldwide falling oil prices, which led to many people feeling a bit better off – and he only needs his luck to continue a bit longer to get within a stone’s throw of victory. (And he does have most of the press on his side to favourably interpret almost any event.)

    So, I would expect the slow drift to the Tories to continue, and wouldn’t be at all surprised if he received a tiny but still significant boost from something like the royal birth!

  27. PETER OULD

    Over the next seven days things will play out pretty much as you have said EXCEPT that the ground war is not being won by the Conservatives, underneath the national narrative new forces are emerging that are not spotted by traditional media. New modes of communication and reach, dismissed by the establishment, are actually adding value to the Labour vote. The crowd funding is going to Labour, overlooked meetings in large cities have been taking place and Ed’s drive over five years to create a better grass roots base is bearing fruit.

    The race will come in neck and neck with the old versus the new in balance for this election at least though in future elections it will be the new that will begin to outstrip the old.

    No longer can the establishment rely on a Royal Story to deliver them the election.

  28. David in France

    Scotland has killed Labour and the Tories should be thanking their lucky stars. Taking your figure of say 260 odd Labour MPs which incidentally I agree with having predicted 265 seats a week or so ago they could have had over 300MPs if Scottish seats had been held. They would have been the largest party and close to an overall majority which would have been a perfectly decent result.

    So In short the Scots have done for Labour.

  29. David in France

    LiS needed to have a good look at themselves in 2007. They didn’t

    One journalist (forgotten who) quoted one of his “New Labour chums” who placed the blame on Donald Dewar back in 1998! – “we were finished from the time that we decided Denis Canavan wasn’t good enough to be an MSP”.

  30. I’m hoping this isnt the case but is there a chance that the papers at the weekend will report the Tories being ahead and some voters switching back?

  31. Smithy forecast – labour lead at 2 lab 35, con 33

  32. @Catoswyn

    The Axelrod factor. Whether it works or not could be crucial.

  33. Did Anthony say there was a comres poll tonight?

  34. Smithy just to remind you of the Chairman’s vote of confidence last night.
    Tonight there can be no mistake.

  35. I think it quite likely that several seats will be decided by the final opinion polls (whether they are accurate or not), as some voters will use them to judge whether it is safe to vote for the party they want, or necessary to vote against the party they dislike.

  36. It may be worth remembering amid all the talk of crossover and swingback that 4 pollsters are still showing a Labour lead on VI (OK, one of them is Ipsos which probably won’t be doing so after tomorrow) and there are two others with a Tory lead of 1%.

    I think that the Tories probably are ahead by 1-2% right now but equally there is a lot of froth in the numbers and the likes of Ipsos don’t help themselves by excitably hyping their own polls.

  37. Mikey

    “So In short the Scots have done for Labour.”

    Or Labour did themselves in. As to why? There are competing theories –

    1. LiS were complacent, lazy etc etc and took their voters for granted

    or

    2. LiS made a noble act of self-sacrifice, and knowingly destroyed themselves to save the Union.

    Choose your preference. I couldn’t possibly comment.

  38. Mikey

    I would rephrase that to Labour have done for themselves in Scotland

  39. With regard to my previous comment – that could include me!

  40. Simon K

    Obviously Labour won’t be gaining everything at that level but if they are competitive there we can say they have a good chance of making 50 or so gains in Eng/Wal. Even with all their Scottish seats gone (which I still don’t believe, though it is clearly going to be dreadful for them up there) that would put them well above 260.

    To quote you “This simply isn’t true”.

    LAB are nowhere near winning 50 or so seats in England/Wales. That would require swings in the marginals in the region of 9% to 10%. And that isnt happening.

    The swings are much closer to 7%. And, as the polls are moving in CONs favour at the moment, the likely swing come GE day is probably going to be around 6%.

    That means, for LAB, a net gain of about the same amount of seats that they are going to lose to the SNP.

    Hence they will finish around 260. Give or take 5 seats.

  41. David in France,
    We can all be wise after the event.Few people could have foreseen this huge
    SNP surge.

  42. Just to add that Labour need to learn from the Scottish losses. It could happen in Wales and northern England too. They need to focus far more on their traditional support base rather than fret over middle England.

  43. Mikey

  44. DAVID IN FRANCE
    LAB will really have to ask themselves two or three searching questions once the election is over.
    i. Why did we stick with a clearly unpopular leader?

    Well he’s turned out to be an asset in the campaign pretty much so much less of an urgent question than it once may have seemed.

    ii. Why did we join up with CON in the Scottish referendum when, politicially speaking, LAB ought to be much closer to the SNP?

    Politically speaking not the same. Labour is unionist; SNP are not. However, yes, something went terribly wrong and analysis may help.

    iii. Why didnt we offer an alternative to the (arguably pointless) austerity being offered by CON?

    There was no narrative gap available to do so. Labour have done their best on this one so far.

  45. @OldNat

    Funnily enough the Dennis Canavan story was even fairly big news down here. But Labour DID change. People who were abandoned by them years ago now find the party a much better fit.

    The new Scottish prism is confined to its own facts.

  46. BTW for TND-watchers – no early hyping of YG from him tonight as yet.

  47. Old Nat

    Labour have taken all of their traditional vote forgranted throughout the UK. This is a massive wake up call.

  48. @Ann in Wales

    We can all be wise after the event.Few people could have foreseen this huge SNP surge.

    —-

    True. Up to a point. But surely anyone with any political nous could have forseen that working together with CON in Scotland was likely to prove a bad move?

    And that is my point; LAB (and CON for that matter) have got no-one in charge of the party with any real political nous.

    This is a poor generation of politicians – whichever side of the house you care to talk about.

  49. Yes Smithy?

  50. Whatever you think of Labour in Scotland, the scale of their likely pending destruction should make for an awesome spectacle!

    At the moment most forecasters are struggling to avoid predicting that the SNP will win just about every seat in Scotland. Any Labour survivors should count themselves very lucky indeed!

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