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

    Absolutely. We’ll see.

  2. @ Catoswyn


  3. @Mikey

    I think crossover has occurred as most polls are now showing Tory leads.

    Numerically true. – depending on how far ‘now’ extends back into the past. Over the past week I count nine Labour and 11 Tory leads (including the new one this afternoon). No basis for reaching any conclusion about crossover.

    Also, I have run a EWMA analysis using all polls and pollsters and in this the margin doesn’t move beyond MoE. (A corresponding analysis with YouGov alone still shows a reliable Labour lead, albeit using online methods.)

    Statements of this kind really call for proper statistical support.

    An impression I have (no more than that) is that the last couple of weeks have seen a marked increase in polling variability, with +6 following -4 with remarkable regularity. If it is really true that variance has increased (for whatever reason) then it becomes all the more challenging to demonstrate real VI divergence.

  4. ukelect

    “I think it quite likely that several seats will be decided by the final opinion polls .”

    I agree. While I doubt that it will save her, I can quite see a fair number of folk, happy with an SNP landslide, saying “Ach, I aye liked Katy Clark. I’ll vote for her for old times sake”.

    Indeed in the dentist’s waiting room today I heard a couple of folk discussing the election and one said approvingly “Katy Clark looks she should be in the SNP”.

    I’m sure there are LiS/LD seats where they have had a decent, low-profile, hard-working MP where such attitudes might just save them.

  5. @ David in France

    “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.”

    I assume you mean 4 to 5%. Actually there are plenty of polls suggesting this is happening and, as I said, Ashcroft’s constituency polling is finding Labour competitive in Tory seats at 70-80 on the target list. These were in polls taken this week when the apparent ‘swing’ has been on and today’s ComRes suggests a similar picture.

    IMO Labour are nailed on for at least 8 Lib Dem gains and for about 20 Tory seats where the swings required are likely to be too small for the Tories to resist. That leaves another 22 for 50 gains, and both Ashcroft and Comres suggest this is well within reach.

    Of course, things could change between now and the election. I have my doubts though. I still have my doubts that this pro-Tory movement is real.

  6. @ RAF, you may be right about needing to tack right to get Tory votes, but it is risky with all the students just returning from their Easter breaks. It just needs the Greens and few other trendies to go for it and he’d be gone!

  7. Apologies for the anecdote – for illustrative purposes only.

  8. @ Catoswyn

    My short :-) comment was for your 21:06 comment.

  9. @ catoswyn

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

    Unionism is no reason to side with (for LAB) ‘the enemy’ – least of all ‘the auld enemy’. It was a gaffe of major proportions that any decent politician could have forseen.

    LAB could and should have sat the referendum out.

  10. Reference Labour aligning with the Tories over the referendum I don’t they had much choice. Labour had most to lose from Scotland going independent with the loss of 41 MPs in Westminster. As it happens they will now lose those MPs anyway.

  11. MIKEY
    ‘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.’

    The marginals may not change along with nation polls. The Tories may be piling up votes in safe seats. I can imagine that the SNP narrative could have that effect.

  12. I remember back in the summer predicting that Labour would end up with ‘literally 4 MPs’ and posters especially R&D and I think Amber being really annoyed. Doesn’t sound so silly now. But many a slip twixt cup and lip – so I’ll wait till next Friday before congratulating myself.

  13. @ Simon K

    I assume you mean 4 to 5%. Actually there are plenty of polls suggesting this is happening and, as I said, Ashcroft’s constituency polling is finding Labour competitive in Tory seats at 70-80 on the target list.

    Not really. Ashcroft is finding Lab behind in seats like High Peak and Colne Valley. These are around 50 on the CON/LAB marginal list.

    They are also behind in seats much lower down the list such as Pendle and Blackpool North – these are seats around 35 or 36 in the target list.

    If polls narrow further in CON favour, LAB will do well to win more than 25/30 seats from CON according to Ashcrofts constituency polls. A similar sort of number of seats that they are going to lose to the SNP.

  14. Simon K
    Correct me if I’m wrong however that chap didnt tweet that the Tories were ahead a couple days ago when the put them 1% ahead did they?

  15. Comres VI poll for thd Daily Mail due at 10pm.

    James Chapman of the DM tweets: “Sifting through numbers for our latest from @ComResPolls. With a week to go, is anyone breaking away? Results at 10pm on @MailOnline”.

    Suggests to me (despite their marginals poll) that ComRes will have the Tories around 4% ahead again.

  16. Unicorn

    What surprises me is the surprisingly large Con leads of between 3 to 6 points compared with much smaller Lab leads of 1 to 3 points. From that I feel that Con are moving ahead. Otherwise those pollsters posting large Tory leads are out of kilter.

  17. @David In France

    Labour only became unionist during the referendum campaign prior to that they were the party of devolution.


    I’ve been predicting 261 seats for Labour. However I haven’t got the Conservatives that far ahead, somewhere in the 270’s I suspect, It really does depend for me as to how accurate the UKIP forecasts are and whether they are now sliding down and whether the Lib Dems are to be believed on their private polling. However all this is just conjecture really. I’m currently following YOUGOV and their methodology as maybe being the most appropriate indicator together of course with our own median geometrics calculator – FUNTYPIPPIN.

  19. @OldNat

    Re: YG Microdata

    Thanks. It would be good if someone could elaborate a bit. Not much sign from other sources that Labour is overperforming in E & W marginals.

  20. “Not really. Ashcroft is finding Lab behind in seats like High Peak and Colne Valley. These are around 50 on the CON/LAB marginal list.”

    My 50 includes Lib Dem gains. I would expect around 40 Lab gains from Con. High Peak and Colne Valley are actually 55ish and 65ish respectively so if they are in striking distance in those seats, 40 gains is eminently doable.

  21. @David in France
    “Not really. Ashcroft is finding Lab behind in seats like High Peak and Colne Valley. These are around 50 on the CON/LAB marginal list.”

    No. Targets 77 and 88 I believe.

  22. Newzoids providing some much needed cathartic political satire tonight. The new Spitting Image?

  23. Good Evening All; it was so beautiful on the beach run today.
    SIMON K:
    I agree with you about Labour winning Lib Dem seats. Twenty to Thirty seats from the Tories is a reasonable guess, which will be wiped out by losses to the SNP.
    Lots will depend on how resilient Lib Dems are to Tories.

    Firstly, I think Labour’s rhetoric was negative tory in the Referendum which alienated Labour people.
    Secondly, the ‘unionist’ vote is split, is it not, in the GE race, while the SNP has got at its core people who do want a separate nation ‘once again’ This happened, of course in Ireland 100 years ago next Easter, as the UK lost a member, or most of it anyway.

  24. UKIP candidate for Arlesey ward put out a leaflet.

    Guess which word was misspelt – and how.

  25. @AdamB, no he didn’t which was a surprise and suggests that TND is not always completely predictable. However, earlier in the campaign when YG were showing more frequent Tory leads he did have a consistent habit of tweeting them early or trailing them as “interesting”.

  26. Can anyone answer this question?

    Based on current polling, what difference to the make-up of the next House of Commons would a Yes vote in the AV referendum have made?

  27. Three days before the election, Ashcroft says……

  28. @David in France

    Sorry 69 and 77

  29. Through a quirk of data there is a neat symmetry in the latest May2015 seat forecast for Scotland. Each of the unionist parties have exactly one seat. A Conservative in the south, Labour in the central belt and an LD in the north.

    Something for everyone.

  30. @RAF I disagree. I think that that tweet is a little subdued from Chapman. Suggests to me it will be 2 points either way, more likely in the Tories’ direction.

  31. @oldnat


    “and how”

    Cat jumping on keyboard

  32. Surely this election is about voters that switch from UKIP to Conservative on polling day. if Labour hold sway in the election then UKIP voters will not get a referendum.
    UKIP voters will say that they will/want to vote UKIP to the pollsters but when confronted with no other course than to vote Conservative to get a referendum I would be most surprised if they don’t vote conservative in the voting booth.
    UKIPS 14% in the polls would be a big boost to the Conservatives on election day.

  33. @Killary45

    Probably very little I’d guess. If a party had enough support to win under AV one would assume they’d win under FPTP anyway. The effects of AV would be more long term, probably, allowing the smaller parties to gain momentum over successive elections.

  34. I’m not convinced one way or the other that the Royal Birth will have an impact on the campaign. Yes, there is the feelgood factor, for non-republicans at least, but it also hurts the Coalition by giving them less airtime to change minds, which they desperately need if they are to win.

  35. Unicorn

    Chris Hanratty will have more info on YG microdata. I know Number Cruncher used that info way back to demonstrate that the (then putative) SNP surge was real.

    How much detail can be discussed will doubtless be governed by confidentiality agreements with YG.

    The historical YG data, however, must be a fantastic resource for researchers.

  36. @ Jeff T

    Yes, the difference was only 2%.


  37. @Couper
    “Labour only became unionist during the referendum campaign prior to that they were the party of devolution.”

    Those two positions are perfectly compatible even with DevoMax.

  38. @BarneyCrockett

    Well said, sir!

  39. Gosh, a snooker player (I’m sorry, I remained ignorant of snooker (or cricket) in my 24 years in the UK) came out to support the Labour candidate in Hallam.

    Considering that students play a lot of snooker in my second favourite pub, it may be significant (cough).

    The micro-divergences of the British constituencies are just fascinating.

  40. @RAF

    They are but now Labour, LibDem, Cons are all unionists and the SNP are now the party of both devolution and independence. It is one of LiS’s many tactically mistakes.

  41. @Laszlo

    The World Snooker Championship is taking place in Sheffield, although I would guess the Crucible Theatre is in Sheffield Central rather than Hallam.

  42. JEFF T
    Three days before the election, Ashcroft says……

    It certainly shows there was some difficulty in measuring the extent of the UKIP vote and leads to wondering whether or not that vote is being called correctly this time around.

  43. Decent historical analysis of the indyref will be too far in the future for me to ever see it.

    My only regret is not being able to see how the process of “myth creation” plays out.

    On the one hand, the Yes side made far too much of the effect of the “How now, Brown Vow” – though that does seem to have got traction.

    On the other, there is the “Labour (conveniently forgetting the pro-Yes Labour people) had no choice but nobly to ….”.

    So far, I’ve only seen the latter from a couple of posters on here, but one can see that such a myth could develop into a powerful narrative in the future.

  44. Laszlo – that wouldn’t be the Hallamshire Arms by any chance would it?

  45. I hope that snooker player didn’t get any sausage rolls in exchange for his support.

  46. @Couper

    I agree that Lab should have explicitly proposed DevoMax for Scotland – perhaps as part of a federal UK after a constitutional convention. Having said that, the SNP would still most likely have cleaned up at this election – although maybe not as dramatically.

  47. COUPER2802
    They are but now Labour, LibDem, Cons are all unionists and the SNP are now the party of both devolution and independence. It is one of LiS’s many tactically mistakes.

    Scottish politics recently have been a little opaque to me but surely Labour supported further devolution of powers recently and have no objection to devolution, only to compelete independance.

    I can’t see why devolution and unionism aren’t perfectly compatible and have always understood this to be Labour’s position both now and in the past.

    Maybe this wasn’t so from Scotland’s point of view????

  48. COUPER2802
    From a distance, here in Premier League Land of Bournemouth, I fully agree with you about Labour’s stance in Scotland. Only Gordon Brown spoke like a Labour Man.

  49. @ Geoff

    :-) no, in Manchester the Cornerhouse moved to a new location by 8 minutes on foot, which makes it impracticable to go to before the train to Liverpool, so a different pub was chosen (after considerations). It is full of students (and sometimes academics) as well as snooker tables, and I made the assumption that students (with the exception of Bristol cf. a few days earlier) are similar.


    “It certainly shows there was some difficulty in measuring the extent of the UKIP vote and leads to wondering whether or not that vote is being called correctly this time around.”

    There’s presumably a UKIP by-election bonus? We only have Ashcroft on the constituency level, plus extrapolations from battleground polls, but the implication of those is that UKIP is challenging in general election seats where it has strong candidates, but it doesn’t have a lot of top-tier candidates.

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