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. @james

    Assuming the Green vote is soft, where would they go if not to Labour? It seems the most similar party – closer to the Greens than the LDs are anyway.

  2. Mibri
    I may be wrong but I think what you have outlined is possible.

    The problem however for DC and the Cons is that they may have insufficient support to pass legislation.

  3. I would assume that the Greens are soft in marginals but not in safe seat (see vote swapping apps) but the Com Res marginal poll had the Greens and UKIP on the same as the Com Res national poll.

  4. Mibri,

    I think what the cabinet manual means by ‘the PM is expected to…’ is ‘the PM will be forced to…’ The only conceivable way it would make sense for the PM to seek a 2nd confidence vote would be if there was no-one else who could get a Queens Speech through AND if there was a reasonable prospect of winning that 2nd confidence vote – it’s not been put there as a device for the PM to call an election by the back door, but to cover the civil service in some bizarro situation where the PM could reasonably expect find an alternative bloc of votes in that time.

    I seriously don’t think this question will even come up as various commenters have previously recognised. It’s very unlikely to even go to a vote because both Miliband and Sturgeon will have indicated they would vote the Tories down and that should be all he needs to go. I would be very surprised if there is an actual confidence vote if the anti-Tory bloc has >322 seats.

    (And why anyone imagines the Lib Dems and DUP would allow him to implicate them in this kind of unconstitutional silly buggers is beyond me.)

  5. BBC reporting

    Ipsos Mori’s head of political research, Gideon Skinner had to say about (todays poll

    “The Conservatives will clearly be pleased with their first poll lead this year in this series, and confirmation that they have the edge on being seen as the most capable leaders. But this is still just one poll, and they will want the reassurance of this pattern being maintained in upcoming polls – and regardless, the political situation remains on a knife-edge.”

  6. dont know why but I just posted a quote from Ipsos_Mori’s Gideon Skinner from BBC election live and its gone into moderation

    here is the link
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/election-2015-32519586

    look at 14.59

  7. For the Green vote, might it be more appropriate to categorise it in terms of shade rather than hard/soft?

    What proportion are Pistachio compared to the Jungle Greens?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Shades_of_green

  8. two attempts to make a link to BBC election live straight to moderation don’t know why

    but look at 14.59

  9. Someone asked earlier if AV would have made a difference
    The BBC have a an article on that

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/election-2015-32519586

  10. @WB

    You mean this?

    As you’ll be aware by now we reported earlier that the Conservatives had taken a five point lead over Labour in the latest Ipsos Mori opinion poll.

    But this is what Ipsos Mori’s head of political research, Gideon Skinner had to say about that:

    The Conservatives will clearly be pleased with their first poll lead this year in this series, and confirmation that they have the edge on being seen as the most capable leaders. But this is still just one poll, and they will want the reassurance of this pattern being maintained in upcoming polls – and regardless, the political situation remains on a knife-edge.

  11. James

    YouGov have only ~300 members in the Western Isles. Probably explains the bigger than normal ranges offered.

    Oh that can’t be helping. It has the smallest electorate of any seat of course, 23K or so. Though the panel numbers seem slightly low for Scotland which generally has very high numbers of YouGov panelists[1]. Perhaps they’ve been sending surveys out on a Sunday.

    [1] The highest I’ve seem is for Edinburgh North with over 2000 on the panel, though it’s possible that say 1500 of them are sock-puppets for Amber (well she has been quiet recently, she must be doing something). In comparison even maybe the most politicised English seat (City of Westminster) only has 1500-ish and many traditionally working class Midlands seats maybe only 500.

  12. @WB

    Curiously, the BBC makes no mention of what I suspect would have been the biggest effect of AV: it would have somewhat reduced the potential for an SNP landslide.

    The SNP would have needed closer to 50% on first preferences to win seats, whereas they will probably win a fair number of seats with shares of 40% or below under FPTP.

  13. Big Fat Ron,
    What I meant was,on their previous track record,if they go into coalition again
    with the Tories it is highly likely that they would support plans the Tories wished
    to pass.As for example with tuition fees and the bedroom tax.

  14. @ WB

    There are a number of websites that could cause such a problem, hence my reference to the video channel instead of naming it.

    If you put a space somewhere in the beginning of the address, it should work.

    I think it is a good measure by AW to avoid cherry picking of bits of information for a point.

  15. WB

    Tried to post the text but I am in auto mod too

  16. Voting green is insane (unless perhaps you’re a TORY who REALLY cares about the evnironment)

  17. @ David Colby.

    No it isn’t. Don’t be silly.

  18. David colby
    Why is voting green insane and voting for UKIP not? In both cases you will give your vote away in 99 percent of constituencies.

  19. This pdf from @oldnat’s link is well worth a look. Lots of nice charts with long timescales

    https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/polmon_april15_vi_charts2.pdf

  20. Magpie
    Completely agree with yr post…but the Tory press will be going berserk that Lab with fewer MPs and possibly fewer votes than Cons can become the govt simply because of the ‘support’ of the SNP (plus others).

  21. @magpie
    “I would be very surprised if there is an actual confidence vote if the anti-Tory bloc has >322 seats.”

    agreed,thanks for the information.
    So 270 I suppose is the Labour red line in terms of seats.I think if the tories get 295 + DC will hang on,.that would leave Labour with too much to do.
    Going to be a challenge in itself gettinfg 270 IMO ,doing the maths and with Tories appearing to better in the polls and with a week to go,I think it is too close to call now.

  22. @Mike N
    agreed,I think it could get very unpleasant,particularly in much of England.Would put an awful lot of pressure on EM

  23. I’m not sure why people think that because the Green vote in a poll looks high it means that their proportion should be allocated to a similar party. Surely it is a sampling difference (ie – by chance we polled too many Greens) and the ‘excess’ (if indeed that is what it is) should be allocated to everyone else in proportion?

  24. If the green vote fell to zero, milliband would definitely become prime minister, if it were to rise to 10% or so, cameron would win hands down, so in what way does it make sense to vote green? It’s almost a vote FOR fracking!
    :)

  25. And just how would this “pressure? work? What practically will the papers, “England” and “Wales” actually do? Armed insurrection? Stories in the Sun perhaps that Ed is not legitimate? And then what?

  26. @Oldnat,Omni. Agreed on the pdf – thanks for the link. Despite the ghastly layout of their website, there’s an awful lot of well-presented information there.

    So to tonight’s QT. Does anyone know how open the questioning will be? Will it be like the usual QT format, i.e. will follow-up questions and comments from the audience be allowed? The “baying mob” aspect of these programmes is about the only thing that makes them interesting! Will the questions to each leader be the same and have they been pre-moderated?

    In the spirit of UKPR and primarily for my own fun, I put together a set of trivia questions that in my view, every prospective PM should be able to answer. In my spare time, I compile and host pub quizzes, and therefore, I put forward a challenge to the party leaders, and of course, to the UKPR readership, to give the quiz a go (without cheating!). There are 21 questions in total, which correspond more or less to the Cabinet positions. Some are to be taken more seriously than others! I reckon 11 is a pass mark.

    1. DPM: How many members are there in the House of Lords?
    2. Leader of the House: Who is the present Father of the House?
    3. Chancellor: To the nearest £5bn, what was the government expenditure for 2014-15?
    4. Home Secretary: What is the UK’s largest prison?
    5. Foreign: Who is the Prime Minister of India?
    6. Justice: Who is the President of the UK Supreme Court?
    7. Defence: What is the name of the submarine fleet which holds the Trident missile system?
    8. President of the Board of Trade: Which country is the UK’s largest trading partner?
    9. Work and Pensions: What is the minimum wage?
    10. Health: What does MRSA stand for?
    11. Local Government: In which year was the Community Charge introduced?
    12. Education: What is the technical term for the study and analysis of elections? Spell it.
    13. International Development: Which country is the largest recipient of the foreign aid budget?
    14. Energy: Where is the UK’s largest wind farm?
    15. Transport: In terms of numbers of daily passengers, which is the UK’s busiest train station?
    16. Scotland: What is the largest-selling brand of Scotch?
    17. Northern Ireland: Belfast is situated on which river?
    18. Wales: Translate the phrase ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’.
    19. Sport & Culture: Which football team does David Cameron support?
    20. DEFRA: What is a male badger called?
    21. Treasury: Which children’s television character does Danny Alexander most resemble?

    Good luck!

  27. The Green vote can be very interesting (if we consider the high figure). Apart fro Brighton and some other places, I expect them to be higher than the national average in safe Labour seats (like Riverside, where I now expect them to overtake the Conservatives). Thus they will have less influence in the Con-Lab marginals. And then in the marginals… No doubt there will be committed voters, but also tactical ones, and most will go for Non-Conservative.

    And, of course, the same applies for UKIP, but to the opposite direction.

    Living in the NW and visiting only large towns outside the region doesn’t help to form an opinion. I keep on relying on YouGov’s NowCast for seats (percentages are a different matter).

  28. Another way to look at those English MORI VI numbers is to compare them with English vote share in 2010.

    Differences are

    Con -1% : Lab +2.5% : LD -15.5% : Grn +7.5% : UKIP +7.8% : Other -1.7%

    Of course (even if MORI is correct) there would be a lot of churn in there!

  29. Ok guys maybe I was wrong in assuming a high Green vote might be squeezed by Labour. I’ve been looking at the tables. 11% of the Green VI were 2010 Labour voters. That is lower than I expected.

    I made the assumption because, apart from a focus on the environment, the Green party’s main “thing” is the importance of protecting public services from cuts and giving this a higher priority than the deficit etc. Aside from the various nationalists, the party closest to this view is Labour.

  30. Mike N, Mibri,

    There will certainly be a kerfuffle. But there’s not much point in DC staying on if, as Mike mentioned, he isn’t in a position to pass legislation. That’s the whole point of confidence votes.

    In the end I think Labour would be able to withstand the whining and EM would have to try to demonstrate he was governing from a relatively centrist position to calm the mob down – then the real juggling act would be seeing how long it took for things to start getting sticky in terms of passing bills, budgets etc. It still might end up in some kind of scenario where either the Tories come back or a second election is required. But I don’t think it would come to that before 2016 Holyrood elections, realistically.

  31. With regard to Question Time tonight,I suppose they drew lots for the order of
    appearance,but will they be able to hear what the predecessors have said,
    because it does give them quite an advantage if they do.

  32. I’d be amazed if the Greens final vote was anymore than 3%

    As for the Mori poll, a claim on Twitter that this poll was un-adjusted and only count those who have said they are 10/10 going to vote

  33. @AnninWales

    What is the running order for tonight’s QT?

  34. I definitely think we should be able to see them in little glass booths with headphones on, like in Mr & Mrs.

    That is what the licence fee is for IMO.

  35. Shelts

    Have a look at the tables (link on the MORI page I posted above).

    They also include the percentages for all respondents, if you want to remove the certainty to vote filter.

  36. @Ann in Wales
    it is just QT for the leaders,it is the same format as normal,I suspect the leaders will take turns a going first to answer the questions.

  37. Despite Statgeek’s fairly recent assurances that Vote SNP, get Tory was not a possibility, it now appears that this is exactly where we are heading.

    The recent small but consistent shift towards the Tories in polling, and the trend amongst forecasters, suggest that they are approaching the 285 -290 mark in terms of number of seats and with the Libdem and DUP in some combination of coalition and c and S, they could continue to govern.

    The shared SNP/Lab, which Statgeek, unaccountably and unreasonably, assumes to be one progressive bloc looks at being around 315 -320.

    Were this 300 – 305 Lab and 15 – 20 SNP, then a Lab government would be a formaiity, the fact that it looks like 265 – 270 Lab 50 -55 SNP renders a Labour minority government highly improbable, and politically, almost impossible to sell.

    The SNP surge will thus have transformed a narrow, but significant Labour lead into a similar Tory one, and the perception of a government and Cameron defeat, will have been replaced with the perception of a government and Cameron victory.

    In the aftermath of such an outcome, far from negotiating some kind of minority administration from second place, Miliband would probably resign and Labour face an election for a new leader.

    The SNP have been, and still remain, the Tories last great hope of snatching victory in this election, hence the Sun dichotomy today is in reality a ploy, vote Tory in England and Wales, and vote SNP in Scotland, as it is the last means by which the Tories can hang on.

  38. OMNISHSMBLES
    That is amazingly low. Who are the Greens? Did Not Vote? LibDem?

  39. A propos of nothing, there’s frequent talk on here of a second election in the autumn, or one swiftly called or triggered by default when no one can form a stable majority in parliament.

    Wouldn’t this be a rather pointless exercise since it presumes the population acting en mass with a collective intelligence and will to change their previous vote in the right numbers, places and “right” direction. As this is unlikely – most people would think let others change their vote to agree with me, not the other way round – you would go through the rigmarole of a second election process with no great likelihood of a significantly different outcome.

  40. The Economist has made its endorsement. Probably comes as no surprise to most on here, but then again they did endorse Labour in 01 and 05

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21650113-despite-risk-europe-coalition-led-david-cameron-should-have-second-term-who

  41. Crossbat,Mibri,
    The order is Cameron,Milliband ,Clegg.But I thought that they were not going to be in the Studio at the same time.

  42. @ Magpie
    “In the end I think Labour would be able to withstand the whining ”
    I realize this is your wish,but I think you underestimate the people of England and the Tory press,they will make it hell for him if it is the SNP he needs to back him.
    Personally,he may as you say battle through it,but he may be so damaged from the constant attacks (ok he survived a few digs in the campaign),but that will seem like chicken feed.
    He will after all be the loser of the election and backed by party who wish to break up the UK.if you think it will be just whining,you may be underestimating the reaction somewhat to say the least.

  43. @Magpie 2.57

    On the whole, it’s not the rookies who cause the trouble! In any case, I would expect the SNP MPs to be fairly well disciplined. The problem for whoever is PM will be how much he can keep his ‘allies’ in other parties on message.

    I think we’re in for a rough ride over the next couple of years…….

  44. The economist is excellent, but not likely to move the polls much.

  45. Mibri,
    So your advice to Ed is that he should just pack up and go home.Do a David
    Plunkett in fact.

  46. 1. DPM: How many members are there in the House of Lords? Too Many
    2. Leader of the House: Who is the present Father of the House? Cromwell
    3. Chancellor: To the nearest £5bn, what was the government expenditure for 2014-15? Too Much
    4. Home Secretary: What is the UK’s largest prison? Westminster
    5. Foreign: Who is the Prime Minister of India? the one with the most votes
    6. Justice: Who is the President of the UK Supreme Court? No such animal exists… just a sad dream
    7. Defence: What is the name of the submarine fleet which holds the Trident missile system? US NAVY Branch office
    8. President of the Board of Trade: Which country is the UK’s largest trading partner? Scotland
    9. Work and Pensions: What is the minimum wage? Too Little
    10. Health: What does MRSA stand for? Must Remember Send ALL my money
    11. Local Government: In which year was the Community Charge introduced? Sometime in the dark ages….1970s
    12. Education: What is the technical term for the study and analysis of elections? Spell it. BBC election swingometer
    13. International Development: Which country is the largest recipient of the foreign aid budget? England
    14. Energy: Where is the UK’s largest wind farm? House of Lords
    15. Transport: In terms of numbers of daily passengers, which is the UK’s busiest train station? the one nearest to Wembley
    16. Scotland: What is the largest-selling brand of Scotch? doesn’t matter, my mates buy mine
    17. Northern Ireland: Belfast is situated on which river? De Nial
    18. Wales: Translate the phrase ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’. Did you really see a LibDem?
    19. Sport & Culture: Which football team does David Cameron support? What day is it?
    20. DEFRA: What is a male badger called? Jim Murphy
    21. Treasury: Which children’s television character does Danny Alexander most resemble? Beaker from Sesame Street

    How did I do? The only won I am totally convinced of is Number 21.

  47. @david colby

    16% are 2010 LDs
    11% are 2010 Lab
    1% are 2010 Con

    However we should probably compare with what the other pollsters find before drawing final conclusions. That’s one poll and small samples.

  48. The FT have made their endorsement too. Again, not too sure there would be many “undecideds” among FT readers who would change their mind based on that endorsement.

  49. These hypotheticals are why I think it is important whether Lab + LDP > Con. If they are then a Lab/LDP Coalition can outvote the Tories and would not need the support of the SNP (Just the absence of opposition)

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