Most pollsters produced their final polls last night, ready to go in the first edition of whichever paper commissioned them. Today we have the final few companies – Ipsos MORI, who do polling for the Evening Standard so always publish on election day itself, Populus and Ashcroft, who do their polls on their own accord, so didn’t have to finish in time for a print deadline last night. We also have the final figures from ICM, who put out interim figures for the Guardian yesterday, but then continued fieldwork into the evening.

  • Lord Ashcroft’s final poll has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%, GRN 6%. Full tabs are here
  • Ipsos MORI have final figures of CON 36%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 11%, GRN 5%. Full details are here.
  • Populus have final figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%. Tabs are here.
  • Finally ICM have published their final figures for the Guardian. Yesterday’s interim numbers were 35-35, today’s final figures shift only slightly to CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%, GRN 4%. Tabs are here.

I said on Tuesday I’d revisit my final prediction in light of the final polls. My earlier prediction was based on Con and Lab being neck and neck, so no change there. The final few Scottish polls have shown slightly smaller leads for the SNP – between 20% and 23% – so while Labour are still neck-and-neck nationally, perhaps they are doing a little better in Scotland and a little worse in England than I predicted. We shall see.

As was the picture yesterday, all the polls are essentially showing a neck and neck race – they’ll either all be about right, or all be wrong. The only company showing a gap of more than one point between Conservative and Labour is Panelbase, who have a two point Labour lead. Over the past few weeks there has been some comment on the apparent difference between phone polls and internet polls, whether phone polls were showing a Conservative lead and online polls not. If this ever was a pattern, rather than just co-incidence, it’s not present in the final results, the average for the final telephone polls is CON 34.5%, LAB 34.3%; the average for the final online polls if CON 33.0%, LAB 33.0%. You’ll note that online polls have both Lab and Con lower – that’s because there is a significant difference between the pollsters on how well they think UKIP will do – telephone pollsters all have UKIP on 11-12%, but online pollsters vary between 12% from YouGov, Opinium and BMG right up to 16% from Survation and Panelbase.

And, that’s it. The next poll will be the broadcasters/NOP/MORI poll at 10pm. I’ll be working on the BBC election coverage through the night so won’t be posting any analysis here overnight, but feel free to stay and chat in the comments section if you want. In the meantime, good luck to all standing and campaigning. Good luck to all pollsters on getting it right. And good luck to those poor souls who keep or lose their jobs tonight based on a public vote.


2,199 Responses to “The final four polls”

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  1. I am surprised that there is so little discussion among the pundits on how difficult it will be for David Cameron to govern with a 12-seat majority and unruly backbenchers. It seems that they are all dismissing or ignoring the notion that this will be a weak government.

  2. From Numbercruncher’s paper’s conclusion (link above): The models all suggest Conservative leads of over 6 points, pretty much consistent with intelligence from Atul Hatwal and Stephen Bush (close contests in seats that were close last time, when the Conservatives won by 7 points nationally). And while I would urge caution with respect to this analysis, it looks a lot like the Tories are set to outperform the polls once again.

  3. Half baked theory as to why the polls were wrong.

    Two types of ‘shy’ voter

    1. 2010 Labour WWC voters going to UKIP particularly in those south of the North, north of the Midlands Con-Lab marginals. ‘Shy’ because they’re aware that UKIP is deemed unacceptable in leftwing circles. (Should Heywood and Middleton by-election have alerted us to the existence of this group?)

    2. 2010 LD voters breaking for Cons particularly in SW. Generally more affluent voters who may have done quite well economically over the past 5 years (older, existing homeowner, private sector etc) so inclined to vote Con, Unwilling to reveal intention because of lingering ‘nasty’ image of Con.

    Thoughts?

  4. @MBruno

    Maybe the pundits (and ordinary folk like myself and many others I’m sure) are just ‘electioned’ out and cream-crackered.

    Someone’s won, so lets leave at that for the moment.

    I am myself hanging up my spreadsheets and CUSUM charts for the foreseeable future. I need a break.

    I will return to reading some political books first, and see how I feel in the Autumn.

  5. MBRUNO

    I should have added that the very large poll for the Broadcasters atken throughout polling day was very good especially as the caveat “don’t exclude the possibility of a Tory majority” was added when the presentation was done just after 10.00 PM

  6. Charles Clarke suggesting reforming Scottish Labour along the lines of SDLP (and abolishing the Barnett Formula).

    Very interesting though not sure how many in Scotland will be keen on advice from him.

  7. @ CMJ

    I certainly feel sorry for the LD activists who did their honest best and believed that they were being ‘grown-up’ by supporting Nick Clegg’s invented rule of the largest party. Rather than staying on course with their values, they and their MPs, for the most part, have done their best to be loyal to that decision.

    Unfortunately, their naivety has blown up in their faces to their own detriment. Even more unfortunately, it was predictable. Someone above made reference to ‘supping with the devil’ but TBH the Tories never pretended that they would reward the LD’s if the opportunity to remove them became available.

  8. Well, last night was brutal. I just experienced my very own 1992, complete with duff polls and a 21st century Neil Kinnock, only with the SNP and UKIP replacing the LibDems.

    The task now is to get it right for 2020, both the polling and the campaigning. One of the silver linings to this disaster is that a lot of the dead wood parliament has accumulated over three decades has been cleared out, Lab has lost its dinosaurs – but gained a new cohort of post-Blair/Brown MPs in urban affluent former Lib-Dem constituencies.

    The SNP have ushered in an entirely new paradigm in Scotland, and I’m not as angry at them as I was last night. Nicola and the parliamentary cohort of SNP politicians will be a fixture of our general politics as the third largest party – with exposure, fear of them will ebb in England. Nicola did look very dignified at the cenotaph today.

    If Labour picks a leader who can win both the working class vote in Essex and the working class vote in Yorkshire, they will win in 2020. There are two generations of people in work who have never known the pleasure of a job for life, home ownership and ever-rising living standard. Lab need to articulate solutions for them.

    I am fairly sure the LibDems are finished, a few of my contacts in the party are talking about rebuilding – but it’s the five stages of grief. The LibDem brand is as tainted and the party doesn’t even really have a set of core values anymore.

    It is always darkest before the dawn. Onward and upwards. Here’s to 2020 and lessons learnt all round.

    I hope Cameron does reclaim the mantle of one-nation conservatism and alleviates the pressure the union is under. And we stay in the EU. From my perspective, he is not the man we need to lead the country in these times, but he’s the man we have.

    He is not as bad as his party, and with a majority and a double-reinforced mandate I hope his kind of centrist Toryism wins out over the rottweilers and cranks.

    Bantams – I thought of you last night when the results came in from the SW. You are one hell of a cassandra.

  9. drabux why do you keep talking about political bias in the polls? many pollsters are tory supporters yet their polls got it wrong.

  10. TheOtherHward: How come, however, even an exit poll of 22,000 voters didn’t get it quite right ?

  11. @Paul M
    I’m writing about political bias in UKPR posters analysis of the polls, not the polls themselves.

  12. @ToH

    Congratulations again on your prediction and thank you for such a sage elucidation of your reasoning.

    On the accuracy or otherwise of the polls I’d only echo what MrBruno said in that there were ‘on the day polls’ which didn’t pick up discrepancies and / or weren’t published (I took part in an Opinium on line ‘exit poll’ that I’ve not heard of since).

    The other point is to reiterate what has been said up thread by AW and others, which is that boundary change is a process that can’t ‘happen sooner rather than latter’, but works to a schedule set out in pre-existing legislation. The commission will now look at the 2015 election seats and work towards proposals being presented to the HoC for approval and adoption for 2020 (most likely in 2017/18).

    Given the substantial amount of population change since 2010 and the apparent decline in the efficiency of the Labour vote for numerous reasons perhaps best discussed at another time, it could well be that this change is no longer the killer blow to the Labour Party it was once considered to be.

  13. MBRUNO

    The majority is probably more likely to be effectively 23 as the Unionist Parties and UKIP will probably support a lot of legislation that the Tories bring forward, especially if there are some sweeteners for NI. Added to that the Labour party is likely to “at war with itself” for a while, judging by some of the reactions to the result.

  14. its interesting how times have changed,20 or 30 years ago a party winning a small majority would have been seen as problematic for the leader but now its a triumph. if ed had a small lead in seats but no majority ,that also would have been seen as great for labour. looks like the days of governments with thumping majorities are over for now.

  15. @KeithP

    Well yes – that was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek comment.

    @MBruno

    Well, not quite. That’s to make the error of reducing politics to economics. Yes the size of our economy may have something to do with it, but demographically we’re always fighting a losing battle on that and even more so as we’re, apparently, determined to make it easier for immigrants to get to the moon than here. Our political fall happens due to our insular attitude towards foreign policy and, in particular, using the EU as a plaything to drum up internal support. Its isolated us from lots of people – certainly neither America nor France or Germany given one hoot what our opinion on foreign affairs is anymore. I don’t see that being repaired any time soon.

    As for economic growth itself – that’s likely true but Osborne’s plans won’t bring that about. We’re slowly slipping to be a low-skill, low-wage economy (or to use the technical terms, being relegated from the core to the semi-periphery). And that problem lies with the government, which is not doing proper investment. Boosting exports won’t make a difference because our main export market (the EU) is currently cutting back and trying to protect its own industries – they don’t want our stuff. Sure there’s China and India but what we export to them is not very large in absolute terms and that, again, is in part because their focused on developing their own industries not buying our c**p.

    I mean, it could work, in spite of the governments policies we could recover to a good place. But its placing a lot of hope on the financial services and banks not cocking up (which, given that they’re still not regulated properly…), the housing bubble not bursting, and the EU not hitting an iceberg. Our economy is not diversified or secure enough to withstand any one of those hits and there are no plans to broaden it out.

  16. bubhubblebub: I think the LIbDem core values are pretty clear and NC spelled them out very well in his resignation speech. They stand for British liberalism, which, as Clegg said, is more needed now than ever as the politics of fear, nationalism and division is attracting an increasing share of the UK electorate. The LibDems were a positive force in the 2010-15 coalition and did a great service to this country in government. I am personally disappointed they are out of the cabinet now.

  17. @MBruno

    “I am surprised that there is so little discussion among the pundits on how difficult it will be for David Cameron to govern with a 12-seat majority and unruly backbenchers. It seems that they are all dismissing or ignoring the notion that this will be a weak government.”

    The journalists have five years of this theme ahead of them, they don;t want to start wearing out on day one when they already have another perfectly good story ‘Shock Tory Victory’.

  18. The big danger for Labour has been highlighted by already differing views on what went wrong from Lab people coming on the radio, TV etc. There seem to be two schools of thought;

    1) Labour can’t win in England with a left of centre message. History has shown they win from the centre in modern times, and need a Blairite type shift again. Mandelson, Hodges, other Blairites.

    2) Looks at the SNP winning with a left wing anti austerity message in Scotland, we should have been further left. Livingstone, Owen Jones, more left wing party members…

    I think there could be a lot on in fighting in setting the new direction.

    I do think though, with EM specifically, The Unions once again shot themselves in the foot.

  19. I put this on my web page but I did not want anyone to think I was a fair weather friend to this site!!!

    Humble Pie Day:
    One must never be grudging or bitter about being wrong. I have been completely wrong before about election results so being completely wrong again is not a surprise to me. I wrote the paragraph below at 2 am before bed but I did not post it but I think it’s fair enough in the cold light of this coldly disappointing day.
    “As ever the important thing to learn from a political defeat is the right lesson. For all this night may now bring in disappointment to political parties and to individuals – it is very much alike the victories bought with Danegeld which bought time and a sort of peace but left entirely unresolved the problem the of the Danes. The Union which makes the United kingdom had been traded by the Conservative Party for the fools gold of a victory that is only English.The LibDems are completely eviscerated as they had were previously been by their fond embrace of the Conservative Party in the 1930’s.
    Labour has deluded itself for five years that it could eke out a victory by winning in the marginals without winning the bigger argument. and one of the arguments lost decisively was lost shortly after 2010 when the coalition pinned the responsibility for the financial crash on Labour ably assisted by Liam Byrne’s foolish letter – meant as a joke – which always sounded to the wider electorate as a confession of guilt.
    Finally, for those on the progressive and Union side of UK politics this not a time for mutual recriminations. We must start from where we are and learn from what went before.”
    I’ve not seen the actual voting % yet as I went to bed around 2 not long after Putney but I will make some observations – first, the LibDem % below 10% would previously have led to to the conclusion that alike UKIP they would end up with only a handful of seats. Secondly, to be fair to the pollsters the Labour vote I’m guessing will be around 30% which would have been at the lower end of their + or – 3% rule. Thirdly, it seems the Murdoch press has what it wanted – the SNP in Scotland and the conservatives in England. Prepare for the Europe referendum and for the SNP demanding another Referendum as part of their Holyrood campaign next year.
    But one should not deny the Conservatives their due – once again they played a blinder with the vote SNP get Labour mantra which clearly had traction. This strategy started on the morning of the Referendum result when Cameron cited English votes for English Laws as a consequence of the Scots decision to remain in the Union. As in 2010 the Conservative leadership has played its hand with a ruthless flair and you cannot learn the lessons of a defeat unless you embrace the reality of its cause.
    I’m glad to have quoted Teddy Kennedy’s speech previously – it was written by Ted Sorensen who crafted all of JFK’s great speeches and Bobby Kennedy’s too. Great causes need great words but they also need guile of great men or women – we need to find them in the rubble of this defeat….and one of them will not be Mr Balls!

  20. The big danger for Labour has been highlighted by already differing views on what went wrong from Lab people coming on the radio, TV etc. There seem to be two schools of thought;

    1) Labour can’t win in England with a left of centre message. History has shown they win from the centre in modern times, and need a Blairite type shift again. Mandelson, Hodges, other Blairites.

    2) Looks at the SNP winning with a left wing anti austerity message in Scotland, we should have been further left. Livingstone, Owen Jones, more left wing party members…

    I think there could be a lot on in fighting in setting the new direction.

    Thoughts?

  21. ASSIDUOSITY

    I would not argue with your point on the boundary changes very strongly, you could well be right about that.

    and MRBRUNO

    On the pollsters you seem to be forgetting the degree of error which applies to all the figures. I think the forecasters have more to apologise for as DRABAX pointed out in his post to me above.

  22. The big danger for Labour has been highlighted by already differing views on what went wrong from Lab people coming on the radio, TV etc. There seem to be two schools of thought;

    1) Labour can’t win in England with a left of centre message. History has shown they win from the centre in modern times, and need a Blairite type shift again. Mandelson, Hodges, other Blairites.

    2) Looks at the SNP winning with a strong anti austerity message in Scotland, we should have been further left. Livingstone, Owen Jones, more left wing party members…

    I think there could be a lot on in fighting in setting the new direction.

    Thoughts?

  23. The big danger for Labour has been highlighted by already differing views on what went wrong from Lab people coming on the radio, TV etc. There seem to be two schools of thought;

    1) Labour can’t win in England with a left of centre message. History has shown they win from the centre in modern times, and need a Blairite type shift again. Mandelson, Hodges, other Blairites.

    2) Looks at the SNP winning with a strong anti austerity message in Scotland, we should have been further left. Livingstone, Owen Jones, Skinner etc

    I think there could be a lot on in fighting in setting the new direction.
    Thoughts?

  24. Keep going in moderation and have an important point to make! Agh!

  25. @Drabux

    Well given that we all swallowed all of the polls over all of the Parliament, we were obviously poorer for not having your guidance until after the election.

    Hindsight is wonderful, but few predicted today’s result and none with any non-partisan substantiation. Swingback was predicted, based on past results, but not until the exit poll was it seen.

    So I reiterate. The herd will follow the polls. The polls were wrong.

  26. The problwm for Labour has been highlighted by already differing views on what went wrong from Lab people coming on the radio, TV etc. There seem to be two schools of thought;
    1) Labour can’t win in England with a left of centre message. History has shown they win from the centre in modern times, and need a New Labour type shift again.

    2) Looks at the SNP winning with a strong anti austerity message in Scotland, we should have been even further that way.

    I think there could be a lot on in fighting in setting the new direction.

    Thoughts?

  27. @Assiduosity, @Robert & @Anthony re Boundary Changes.

    To be fair to Grant Shapps maybe he read on Wikipedia that the new boundaries would be automatically used… ;-)

  28. ‘NORTHUMBRIANSCOT
    @Assiduosity, @Robert & @Anthony re Boundary Changes.
    To be fair to Grant Shapps maybe he read on Wikipedia that the new boundaries would be automatically used… ;-)
    May 8th, 2015 at 4:11 pm’

    Almost right, maybe he changed on Wikipedia that the new boundaries would be automatically used:-)

  29. That was kind of the point of my joke.

  30. NORTHUMBRIANSCOT

    Sorry bit slow today

  31. Tristram Hunt also talking about need for more Englishness. Wonder if LiS Bavarianisation is something that will be seriously contemplated by Labour now?

  32. Bruno – Social liberalism is catered for in other parties better, economic liberalism in the Conservative. I’ve always joked that Cameron is secretly a Liberal (of the oldschool) and I think it bares out.

    Marrying economic and social liberalism as a sort of compassionate libertarianism is something all the major british parties are for to a greater or lesser extent, the problem is that now the Tories appear to be thoroughly detoxified with the sort of Liberal voters who like old school liberalism, there’s no niche for the LibDems to exploit.

    I’m not saying that the Liberals don’t have high principles, just that they don’t have a a set of values to wrap them around anymore. Any party that goes into an election with several arbitrary technocratic ‘red lines’ and a campaign message of “That guy’s terrible, that guy’s terrible, those people are terrible, but we’ll work with any of them” doesn’t have a real core.

    If it weren’t for intransigence in the party I figure the best thing for liberal values would be for what’s left of it to merge with either of the larger parties and work from inside their respective tents.

    I can’t see how the Liberals come back from this. 4th party, same seats as the DUP, tainted beyond belief. With the loss of 48 (?) MPs they will lose a lot of money, influence and clout in parliament.

    Can you see OfCom ruling them as a major party in 2020? Especially as I think they’ve still got a way to fall, they’ll most likely lose byelections down the line and dwindle further in parliament, and on a local level there are less compromised parties that will be more attractive for local elections etc.

    They’re in a worse position than the 1950s – at least then they had the great Liberal tradition to fall back on, people with a living memory of Liberal majorities and a viable role as a third party in parliament.

    I think they’re going to go the way of Woolworths.

  33. @Catmanjeff

    Re. loss of Lib Dems as the only torchbearers of the ideals of freedom and liberty.

    Does that depend to some extent on what happens to UKIP? If, as has been suggested, there is some sort of post-Farage bloodletting, will it depend on which UKIP ethos comes out on top? If Carswell ends up as leader (being the only MP!), do we get UKIP leadership reduced to it’s idealistic, libertarian wing (at reduced electoral support) with the populist wing disenfranchised?

    Would that mean anything anyway?

  34. You could fit the new Lid Dem parliamentary party in a small mini bus. Incredible.

  35. Isn’t the problem with the polling an underconsideration of the undecideds and those who decline to respond?
    I can’t imagine that enough people would lie to researchers or in on-line polls – except to claim undecided status when they’re actually not wanting to answer but don’t wish to appear rude.
    We were told there was as many as 40% undecideds. Was this true?

    If an undecided group that large contained 45% Tory support on a poll where the declared support was 35% (the shy conservatives we also hear about), the total Tory support would have been 39%, pretty close to their actual figure.

    Or is this a bit simplistic?

  36. @John Murphy

    I agree with your sentiment. I think last night was necessary and Labour need to wake up.

    I was angry at Scotland last night, I am not this morning. We will find a way forward, and Labour will win in England again. But not by looking back to Blair, or back to the 1970s, or back to the 1920s.

    When Labour can own the future as it did in 1997 it will win.

  37. Steve – my theory is some UKIP that said ‘UKIP’ wanted to vote Nige, but voted for the Tories instead, while Lab-inclined UKIP stuck with Lab.

    I think most liberals broke for the Tories, and the SDP element of the Liberal party stayed home and didn’t vote for any of them, or voted green.

    I think a lot of ‘undecideds’ in marginals liked Lab as a vague concept, but when it came to it either voted Con or abstained.

    I will be interested in churn analysis.

  38. I notice a couple of the regulars have disappeared!!!

  39. I do wonder if Lib Dems might defect to the Tories; not sure what else there is to do.

  40. Rich I’ve noticed that too.

    some of the frequent people who like to spin everything into a labour triumph and conservsative disaster seem to be absent of late, maybe it’s taking them slightly longer to spin this one???

  41. new thread

  42. @Swampmongrel 3.51

    I am surprised at the “shy voter” phenomenom. Can anyone explain why there are shy voters prior to the election and yet in the exit poll they are prepared to admit they voted Con or UKIP.

  43. @Peter Bell
    I think exit polls use previous exit poll results to help deal with refusals i.e. measure the exit poll refusal political affiliation bias in the last national election/local election and infer this to the current exit poll. See here:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/staff/academic-research/firth/exit-poll-explainer/

  44. drabux

    PS I’m now GBP140 richer than yesterday :)

    =============================================
    Congratulations on your winnings.

    I actually feel sorry for the surge in Labour bets that were being made between 4-8pm. Some one in the Labour Party, must have been saying lots of porkies.

  45. Sorry if this has been posted already – I’ve missed pages and pages of posts.

    Votes cast per seat won:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CEgyPxfWoAA8kVR.png

  46. Left-to-right the bars are:
    SNP, Con, Lab, Plaid, LDem, Green, UKIP.

  47. In my opinion many voters decided to vote Tory at the last minute based on fear of the SNP having influence on Labour in a hung parliament situation.
    The opinion polls were fairly accurate in Scotland and London because this fear of outside influence is not as great in these places as it is in the rest of England.
    This fear is also what drives voters to support UKIP again less in Scotland and London.
    Sturgeon had been repeating for 2 weeks how a hung parliament gave the SNP enormous power to wield – that they would push Labour to the left – that they would lock the Tories out of government. This was used in Cameron’s speeches, canvassers on the doorstep and headlines in the Sun over and over because they knew it was having the effect they wanted.
    As Nigel Farage said Londoners are too well educated for ukip to have much resonance there.
    The same was true of the scare story that SNP would run the country.But it worked outside London and Scotland. It prevented many from voting both Labour and LibDem.
    Miliband tried to difuse it by saying he would have nothing to do with the SNP but he did not convince

  48. @Magpie
    The results seemed so “out of line” with all the polling conducted by ourselves and our peers – what poll commentators would term an “outlier” – that I “chickened out” of publishing the figures – something I’m sure I’ll always regret.”

    Of all the polling companies, Survation will regret this as they appeared the least worried with diverging with the pack in their polls over the latter part of the campaign.

    It’s also odd as Survation used innovative real life approaches to trying to discern the right result – including online ballot papers with the panellist’s precise range of candidates. Unfortunately these also understated the Tory vote (although not the Labour vote).

    Ashcroft and Ipsos Mori got the winning margin almost spot on – a week before the election. Also ICM consistently had the Tories ahead by around 3-4% until their final polls. So it’s probably not quite true that all pollsters failed.

  49. Anthony, how many millions were spent by polling companies to produce an estimate so far from reality to be a joke?
    Am now on the other side of the globe, catching up on the day’s events, but in T4 yesterday morning, when Balls lost his seat, people were clapping. speaks volumes as to how this was misread. what odds would Paddy Power have given on 331? To all my Lab fellow posters, sympathy, to Old Nat, stop insulting people because perhaps the events in Glasgow last week turned this election, but your party won, and the UK voted for Federalism, which is exactly what NS and AS want, as do we.

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