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. MIBRI

    “Red Ed” has been constantly attacked since the day he became leader of the Labour Party. So what’s new?

  2. re second election – the last time it happened was in 1974, when Harold Wilson managed to get a 2% swing and a small overall majority… But that majority eroded ending in the Lib-Lab pact, the winter of discontent, and Margaret Thatcher.

    So yes, the precedent is that a second election might not resolve the issue, especially now when there are so many more non LAB/CON MP’s.. The 3.8% gap in Oct 1974 might not be enough for a majority

  3. It’s not a normal QT programme though, it’s just the leaders there on their own with DD Chairing isn’t it, each one will have their turn but will be on their own in the studio

  4. “Why are the Tories not ten points ahead?”

  5. FT Endorsement

    “voters must weigh the certainty of economic damage under Labour against the possibility of a costly EU exit under the Tories”

    certainty v. possibility, hmmm……….

  6. Thanks Old Nat for the link

  7. @Norbold,
    I would suggest it will be far worse.

  8. Magpie – sorry, it was yours of 2.57.

    Old Nat – 3.09

    I wouldn’t be so sure that the Scottish figures are having no effect on English marginals. Whether that would be a good or a bad thing is, of course, a matter of personal choice……. :-)

    Mibri – 3.14

    The SNP doesn’t ‘scream’ for anything. It calmly expresses an opinion and waits to see what will happen next…….. If DC remains PM after losing a confidence vote then the real test will be how Labour reacts……

  9. For the record the MORI poll was conducted between the 26th and the 28th; quite a few polls that have been already published were conducted within that timeframe.

  10. Magpie

    “Labour would be able to withstand the whining”

    Anyone whining gets sent to bed without any supper AND NO TV or COMPUTER!

    That’ll solve the problem.

  11. SNP will very well disciplined. Don’t forget Salmond has experience of running a minority government as well – and for a full term. And the SNP will want to win hands down in Holyrood in 2016…

    More fun will be the LDs – new leader? But from the Liberals or the Social Democrats? And the new Tory Leader. Boris (LOL)? May?

  12. LRR

    “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)”

    Do not put any faith in the media pointing out that an EM-led govt could win a confidence vote with the SNP members sitting it out (not that they should or would)

  13. Mike N
    Because the Tories have lost a lot of traditionally minded voters of 50 yrs plus – the section of the population with the highest voting percentage.

  14. @David colby @Omni

    The low ex-Labour % in the Green vote will be because the Greens are highly dependent on 18-24s, who for obvious reasons have never voted before in a GE.

  15. JOhn B

    Good point on the rookies – actually the SNP are probably the ones I’d bet on to maintain discipline the best anyhow, they’ve been extremely on message over recent years at Holyrood and will be too busy rocking other people’s boats to worry about their own.

  16. Good Afternoon everyone; lovely day here, and ROSIE and DASIE; I am glad to see you back. It looks close to a tie, as we were saying but MORI has a different measure.

    Tories heading, I think, for 297-295 seats. Cons and Libs to be about 10 votes short of over all majority, should be fun in May.

  17. Could you let us know what the difference in the seat distribution would be if the constitutional norm had been observed and the boundaries had been redrawn after the last election??


  18. @james

    Yes that’s a good point

  19. @Old NAT

    And no ice cream either! :)

  20. Mibri

    Your 4.23 raises another point which is how this plays out in the medium term. As it happens, both parties may benefit from the other one battling it out – if Cameron goes in an honourable prompt manner, it will make him and the Tories look better (and more had done by) than if they go kicking and screaming or demanding a rematch. On the other side of the coin, if Miliband takes over (and especially if he needs to scream and shout to get his way) then he will be damaged. But on Miliband’s side he will also get punished in the very short term if he doesn’t take that opportunity when it is there, so I don’t think he’ll turn it down on that basis.

    I think it will also be important how big the gap is. 290 vs 265 and the latter becomes PM would look much worse to the public than (eg) 278 vs 275.

    It’s one of those issues that will make sense to people who understand politics (because they will see the impossibility of a party governing without being able to pass laws) but not to people who don’t (how come the loser won!!!!) If it happens I’m expecting at least one newspaper headline to claim it is a ‘COUP!’

  21. I meant ‘hard done by’…

  22. OldNat

    Exactly. Basically anyone who’s had kids will probably be able to tune out the Murdoch press fairly effectively…

  23. Magpie

    “If it happens I’m expecting at least one newspaper headline to claim it is a ‘COUP!’”

    Nailed on, get down the bookies see if they’ll give you odds

  24. @OldNat

    BTW, as an English Briton I find this vilification of the SNP by the English press and party leaders the most disgraceful bit of campaigning since the AV referendum. Good luck to the Scots I say


  25. Mike N – 4.33

    So, this has become a site for theological discussion after all…. !

  26. Andrew 111

    We can arrange political asylum for you (even if only on a temporary basis) if you need it!

  27. And this is, well, judge for yourselves…

  28. Andrew111
    I’m an English Brit too, and I agree totally with your comment.

  29. John B

    Given hat I live on south coast in England, I wish to register my interest in a Scottish home when the rising sea threatens my home here

  30. @ Mike N

    I think that Conservative Party Election Broadcast is ill judged, I really do.


    I agree with Andrew

  31. Gosh three posts in a row – do I win a prize?

  32. @james @omni
    Thanks for that. Interesting.

  33. LRR

  34. Magpie
    Mike N

    Good discussion, which I have ploughed through on my return from work, and where you have reached broad agreement.
    The bottom line is that the scenario you have debated is quite a mess, and will take some sorting out. I doubt that this will be any kind of constitutional crisis – the civil servants will see to that – but there will be obvious tensions.
    This is why I see a Lab/SNP government, especially where the Cons are the biggest single party, as most likely to succeed if a short time limit of six months or so is set in advance. This will placate the Tories and those crying ‘foul’. A lot can be done in six months, which is a very long time in politics.
    That period would have to include a Constitutional Convention, and the delivery of DevoMax.

    It has been suggested that a second election would produce the same result, but I am not sure there is much evidence to support that idea.

    A Lab/SNP ‘pact’ for six months to see us through a difficult period constitutionally is completely different from an attempt by those parties to govern for a full term.

  35. Mike N

    Given hat I live on south coast in England, I wish to register my interest in a Scottish home when the rising sea threatens my home here

    Make sure you can convert your pounds into euros or some other trad able currency, we do not accept English Pounds up here…..;-)

  36. Magpie

    “If it happens I’m expecting at least one newspaper headline to claim it is a ‘COUP!’”

    I can see linguistic problems with a big influx of MPs who are as happy speaking scots as English.

    In Scots, the noun “coup” (pronounced as it is spelt and not in the French fashion) means a rubbish tip.

    The Anglo-French pronunciation of “coup” as “coo” means “cow”.

    The demotic English usage of “cow” as a derogatory term for a woman may well cause diplomatic incidents with the likely increased number of women MPs.

    Perhaps, as the Parliament buildings have to be vacated for repairs anyway, the Commons could use one of the European Parliament buildings with its translation facility?

  37. OldNat

    but they are right, the establishment is having a coo at the moment.

  38. Millie,

    I mentioned this before, but I can’t see how or why Labour and SNP would come to an agreement like that. Labour would have to concede too much,looking weak in the process and confirming everyone’s fears) and the SNP would have to risk losing their marvellous new tally of seats.

    I think a deal-by-deal basis, with a second election only becoming likely if it all falls apart far more likely (in this scenario, that is – I am bearing in mind that the Tories may be in a position to stay in power without any of these shenanigans). All Sturgeon needs to do for that is indicate that she will support a Labour Queens Speech, no other commitments on either side.

  39. OldNat

    And up in Manchester they’ll be heading out to the yard to check their pigeons are still in t’coop. It’s all going to be so confusing…

  40. Chris Lane – if you agree that it’s close to a tie – one would have to say that, on average, the Tories probably are about 1% ahead at the moment – how on earth do you get them at 295-7 seats? They could only achieve that on the basis of almost total LD wipeout, but there is only the thinnest of evidence that the Tories can gain as many seats as that from them. Probably you also have the Tories holding seats where Labour only needs a very small swing to win. Granted, there WILL be the odd Tory hold in some of these cases – Gloucester & Pudsey look the most likely – but almost everyone else is pretty sure that there will be more difficult Labour gains which are near-certain to be achieved to balance that out. Perhaps you could give us a sketch of which seats you expect to change hands? Your figures look extremely optimistic from a Tory point of view, unless you think the Ipsos MORI poll is almost exactly right, which given the very high Green share must surely be highly dubious at best.

  41. I’ve visited this site almost daily for the past couple of years. This is my first post, and a not very interesting one at that…
    Would it be too much to ask if posters could put the time of the other person’s post that they’re replying to?
    So many people are posting on here at the moment that it can take quite some time to scroll back if your short-term memory is poor :)

    By the way, my short moment of fame almost arrived over the weekend with an early morning phone call from MORI (I think).
    The kind man on the phone asked if I would answer a few questions. However, my current medication for a pituitary tumour means that I have difficulty stringing a coherent sentence until my brain awakes.
    ‘Yeaawww’ was my response and he replied:
    ‘No problem mate goodbye’. I’ve waited for that moment to have my say since the 1997 GE!

  42. @Millie

    Why would the SNP in that situation concur that a coalition/other multi-party arrangement makes for a “difficult period” constitutionally?

    Surely in any multi-party pact it is likely that one (major) partner would like to portray it that way, while the other (minor) partner(s) have an interest in portraying it as a constitutional normalcy, however uncommon it may have been until recently?

    The portrayal of anything but a mono-party government as a “constitutional crisis” suits exactly two parties and two parties only! Short of a “Grand Coalition”, someone involved is going to want to portray any arrangement as normal and therefore have an incentive for it *not* to look as though the arrangement somehow needs to be short-lived as a necessity. It’s the situation the Lib Dems were in last time.

  43. I thought a coup was a type of car.

  44. I thought Coop was a shop

    Hello to you where Eddie Howe, manager, might win even Bournemouth East for Labour.
    I think, using the 2010 GE results as a base that Tories will win 20 Lib Dem seats and lose 30 to Labour= 297. UKIP might win one of the GE 2010 seats.
    Labour will, I think, win 10 Lib Dem seats, 30 Tory seats but lose 35 seats to SNP.
    SNP will also, I think gain 10 Lib Dem seats.
    UKPR was projecting 18 Lib Dem seats, which I admit, looked high.

  46. and what about the state of that Jim Murphy’s coupon?

  47. Significant weakness in GBP today on the FX markets,
    it may be some indication that the City is belatedly beginning to
    factor in some uncertainty on next Thursday’s outcome.

    I expected a reaction before today.

  48. thanks for answering Chris. On that basis, even with 297 seats the Tories would only be able to command the very barest commons majority. Personally l think 297 is far too high.

  49. Going back to the Ipsos Mori poll: I’ve seen some puzzled tweets regarding the London polling:

    “Tories ahead 41% to Labour 36% among certain to vote”.

    I’ve not seen the data but assume they are the figures.

    I find that an amazing given that Lab were leading by about 10% last time I remember.


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