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. @ChrisLane 1945
    “From a distance, here in Premier League Land of Bournemouth…”

    An achievement on part with that of the SNP. Congratulations.

  2. @CL1945

    On “par”.

  3. I see LiS have started the post-mortem already.

    “One Scottish Labour MP told this newspaper: “Murphy has to go, of course he should go. He should take responsibility, he didn’t manage to turn it around.”

    The MP added: “He does not represent the hopes and aspirations of most Scots and therefore he is, in those circumstances, a bad thing for us.””


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

    I understood that to be go big on Inequality ( or inekwali’ee as Russell would say ) & Redistribution -ie the 35% strategy ( or stra’igee-must stop doing that) .

    That would have done the job given the Labour advantage in efficiently packed voters.
    But the efficiently packed voters decided to vote SNP-so is the Axelrod factor any good now ?

  5. SIMON K and CL45
    ‘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.’

    Yes, that looks about right. 45 seats lost by the coalition parties is another way of looking at it. Labour gaining say 25 Cons and 10 LDs. SNP gaining 10 more LDs.

    It will bring them to 318. They would need the DUP.

  6. COUPER2802
    Nonsense, MPs are supposed to represent their constituents….

    Now that is a huge debate all by itself…. its only one of the potential models of how an MP should operate.

    Not saying you are wrong, just that I personally believe that we have a system that fudges the issues of local ,party and national representation. Personally I wouldn’t miss the personal constituency element at all.

  7. Scottish Sun backs the SNP – was that expected?

  8. Catoswyn

    LiS always had pro and anti devolution wings (while Labour didn’t really give a damn about it).

    Again, I think you have to go back to 2007, when the Unionist parties combined to create the Calman Commission, with a single approach to devolution from Con/Lab/LD.

    The opportunity was there to carve out a distinctively “Devo-Max” approach, but they chose instead to go with what the Tories would agree to – and even all of Calman didn’t get into the Scotland Act 2012.

  9. Sun front pages are carrying their endorsements tomorrow. Endorsements plural, because it’s the Tories in E&W and SNP in Scotland. Cameron mocked up as a royal sprog (“It’s a Tory”) and Sturgeon as Princess Leia from Star Wars (no, I don’t get it either).

  10. If Labour MP’s in yes area should have supported Yes then SNP MP and MSP’S in No area’s (Like Alex Salmond I think) should have supported no then

  11. COLIN

    I think it was someone else that mentioned the Axelrod factor specifically.

    However I did post about the use of crowd funding, grass roots organisation, alternative media and the like.

  12. @Colin
    “That would have done the job given the Labour advantage in efficiently packed voters.
    But the efficiently packed voters decided to vote SNP-so is the Axelrod factor any good now ?”

    I understand that his fame derives more from his success in getting out the vote than policy direction. It is that which could be crucial.

  13. @catoswyn

    Re: polling UKIP

    The other example is overestimation of their performance in the Euros. Final polls from:

    Opinium: 32%
    Survation: 32%
    TNS: 31%
    ComRes: 33%

    Actual result: 27.5%

    For completeness, YouGov had 27% and ICM 25%

  14. JAMES

    What will the editorial line be if the SNP keep Labour in office?

  15. The Prime ministers salary is a ‘mere’ £142 K pa. this kind of income could be realised by an ex PM with just 3 speaking engagements.
    The fortunes made by Ex heads of state is testament to that.
    Suppose that a crafty PM decided that having ‘paid his dues’ he didn’t actually want to serve another term, but to collect his ‘reward’ which could make him very wealthy indeed.

  16. So the Sun are supporting a nationalist party in Scotland and the archetypaul Unionist party in England. Isn’t that a tad hypocritical? They really are desperate to destroy Miliband.

  17. On it’s front page the english sun’s “Reason 2” for voting Tory is “Stop the SNP running the country”


    “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%.”

    Ashcroft hasn’t gone back to a lot of the seats where the summer 2014 polls were showing 8-9% swing. (Wolverhampton South West, Lancaster and Fleetwood.) City of Chester’s in that territory: the gains with a 9% swing are mostly coming from big LD squeezes that aren’t offset by UKIP.

    There’s presumably a UKIP by-election bonus?

    Oh yes,no doubt, but I think the question was why did a constituency poll three days before the election itself not pick this up?

  20. @MartinW

    The Sun always backs the supposedly obvious winning party. Line up all the parties in this elections, and the SNP are arguably the one party that appears to be winning (based on polls and opinions).

    A week to go and that’s a long time in politics.


    “I see LiS have started the post-mortem already.”

    Indeed. I’m waiting for the “the SNP let in the Tories”, if the Conservatives get the most seats in England. Of course, it’s always easier to blame one of your opponents (without giving them the credit for beating you), than taking responsibility for not winning yourself.

    If they do take this approach, it will certainly demonstrate a total disregard for the voters’ aspirations.

  21. @martinw

    Not really. It’s tabloid market positioning – Record backs Labour, Tories aren’t up to much (yet), so who else are they going to back?

    Their headline would work a lot better if the election was on May the 4th (“Star Wars day”).

  22. l do wish people understood that swing is half of the majority, not all of it.

  23. @thoughtful

    It’s about the power not the money

  24. I see no political party doing any good in Scotland ever again, unless the leaders are Scots. It all went mammary glands up, after the demise of Gordon Brown and the Caledonian mafia. Edward Miliband is even less popular than Cameron. Cameron you see is a proper name in Scotland. The level of overboard nationalism now besetting Scotland will of course be their undoing, but not before it is Labours undoing.

  25. @OldNat
    “LiS always had pro and anti devolution wings (while Labour didn’t really give a damn about it”.

    I’m sorry? I voted Labour in 1997 precisely because of their committment to devolution.

  26. If SNP voters really don’t understand the message that they are being played in the game of get Labour after Rupert’s intervention, I guess they never will.

  27. Comres 35-35

  28. @catoswyn

    Labour had become reluctant devolutionists. Their proposals to the Smith Commission were the least devolutionary of all the parties and were simply what they had proposed before the referendum.

  29. The Sun’s backing for the SNP was a given. Support for Murdoch from the SNP is absolute. ….and Murdoch knew from the off that the smart thing to defend his power was to support Cameron in England and the SNP in Scotland.

  30. Hmm thats a good one for Labour.

    Re: polling UKIP
    The other example is overestimation of their performance in the Euros.

    Sure. I think the point I was making is that measuring the UKIP vote has generally been a bit difficult for pollsters to get right. Ashcroft underestimated them by 17% three days before a by-election using a constituency poll. Last election they were overestimated. In the Euro’s overestimated.

    Just a difficult set of voters to get right it seems.

  32. ComRes / Mail:

    Con 35 (-1)
    Lab 35 (+3)
    Ukip 11 (+1)
    LD 7 (-1)
    Green 6 (+1)
    Other 6 (-3)

  33. Barney Crockett

    I know that quite a lot of comments on this site, including my own ones, do reveal something of their authors’ political beliefs, but yours at is the most blatantly partisan comment I have noticed recently.

  34. ALEC

    Quite. The two completely contradictory headlines in Sun and Scottish Sun sumsit all up.

  35. It’s the MiliBrand surge

  36. I knew Comres would be a tie when he said is anyone breaking away? It was a rhetorical question

  37. @Colin

    Yes, I thought that too initially. That Axelrod would have a larger role. For whatever reason it did not pan out that way.

  38. SIMON K
    OMG as they say.

    Thanks, fairy tale land here, sorry for being laddish about it.

  39. Yes. The world revolves around Labour and Murdoch. How could we be so blind.

    Obvious front pages; go in line with editorial for weeks now, should cause no shock.

  40. Suppose that national poll is consistent with their “battleground” poll, at least.

  41. COUPER2802
    Nonsense, MPs are supposed to represent their constituents….

    What about the SNP MP’s in areas that voted ‘No’ ?

  42. @catoswyn

    Yep I know, I was supporting your point that they’re difficult to measure. Although in the Euros they did get Labour and the Conservatives wrong too (by a smaller amount)

  43. @James

    Sturgeon as Leia – the plucky freedom fighter taking on the evil empire?!

  44. @Les

    “but yours at is the most blatantly partisan comment I have noticed recently.”


    Google is your friend.

  45. Com-Res shock!

    The Conservative lead of 4% slashed back to nothing!

    They are doomed!

    (not really, just a reversion to neck and neck)


  46. Comment on comers:

    Two parties neck and neck. More polldrums.

    Neither party moving ahead.

    As throughout the campaign,.

  47. Well that scuppers that emerging narrative! :) Or will YG reignite it!?

  48. @Roland
    “The level of overboard nationalism now besetting Scotland will of course be their undoing, but not before it is Labours undoing.”

    Are you saying they’re all dooooomed? (a la Fraser in Dad’s Army)

  49. Britain Elects Tweets –

    Latest Comes poll (27 – 28):
    CON – 35% (-1)
    LAB – 35 (+3)
    UKIP – 11% (+1)
    LDEM – 7% (-1)
    GRN – 6% (+1)

    Nip and tuck.

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