Opinion polls are a little light at the moment, and probably will be for the next few weeks. Even at the best of times there is little polling in the weeks immediately following a general election – we’ve just had an actual general election to judge people’s voting behaviour, attention is elsewhere and newspapers will generally have blown their polling budgets in the campaign. I’d expect even less polling over the next few weeks because of the errors in the polls at the general election. Some of the long running trackers like the ICM/Guardian series and MORI political monitor will likely continue just to avoid a gap in the data series, but generally speaking most of the regular polls will probably pause for a bit while they work out what went wrong and sort out solutions to it.

As it is, the next political events we have too look forward to aren’t about Great Britain anyway, but the Scottish, Welsh and London elections next year – I’m sure polling on them will start firing up in the next few months. The other, more immediate, race is the Labour leadership election.

We have had a little polling on that already – the YouGov/Sunday Times poll at the weekend (results here) asked the general public their preferences for Labour leader. Chuka Umunna came first on 17% (fieldwork was conducted before he withdrew), followed by Andy Burnham on 14%, Yvette Cooper on 8%, Tristram Hunt on 3%, Liz Kendall on 2% and Mary Creagh on 1%. Amongst Labour’s own voters Andy Burnham was ahead on 22%, with Chuka Umunna on 19%.

Obviously the key conclusion here isn’t really who is ahead… it’s how low anyone’s figures are. 55% of the general public said don’t know, 40% of Labour voters said don’t know. YouGov also asked separately about if people thought each of the contenders would make a good or bad leader, and in each case a clear majority of respondents said they didn’t know or didn’t know enough about the person to say. This is a race where the public simply aren’t familiar with the personalities of the candidates to have any clear opinion yet. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the next Labour leader – the public having no clear image of you is better than having negative baggage – it just means they need to be pretty careful to make sure people’s first impressions are good ones, as they are difficult to shift once the public have formed an impression.

On the other outstanding issue – what caused the polling error – I’m beavering away at looking at what caused the errors and how to put them right, as I am sure are the other companies. I’m not planning on giving a running commentary, though I gave some thoughts at the end of last week on Keiran Pedley’s Polling Matter’s podcast here.

463 Responses to “Polling in the coming weeks”

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  1. @ Statgeek

    There is no error in York-Humber.

  2. @StatGeek

    Is that GE2015 data that you are talking about with Lazlo? If so, I can easily check any values with my own values, such as those in the spreadsheet I referenced earlier: UKElect2015ResultsExample.xls

  3. @StatGeek

    Sorry, the link should have been:
    Hopefully this is the correct link

  4. @ukelect

    I did attempt a like for like match up of data, but our rows were out of kilter due to constituency naming reasons:

    North East Bedfordshire v Bedfordshire North East

    I’ve always favoured the latter format, as it groups the constituencies of given areas together. Exhibit A:

    Glasgow Central
    Glasgow East
    Glasgow North
    Glasgow North East
    Glasgow North West
    Glasgow South
    Glasgow South West

    In my experience, putting all the Norths together and so on is slightly confusing. Just my opinion.


    re Metropolitan(Labour) v Non-metropolitan (Conservative)

    I would agree that the division is over-simplified, but the trend is there and is becoming starker. Wales provided the Tories with there best result in years and picking up seats like Gower. In Yorkshire the Conservative wins in Morley & Outwood and the decline in the swings to UKIP in Rotherham illustrate the decline in the Labour vote. In the Potteries the Conservatives were within a whisker of winning Newcastle-Under- Lyne and the Stoke seats seem to also be trending to them.

    On the other hand Labour won Ilford North, and a did remarkably well in other London seats, they also did well in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Sheffield.

    I accept that there are non-Metropolitan areas that Labour still do well but they are getting fewer and smaller. The danger is that politics as a whole will get polarised btween the big cities and elsewhere. Osborne is perceived to encourage Manchester with his Northern Powerhouse initiative – the next Labour leader will have to reach out to “Middle England”

  6. @ExileInYorks

    I think you and Chris Malthouse are both correct!

    It depends upon which left-right spectrum you are considering. While you might be correct that there are large, non-metropolitan areas of the country that are broadly economically left-wing, I think it would be fair to say that those areas (in common with other non-metropolitan areas) tend to be broadly right-wing on the social scale.

    If that is what Chris had in mind, I think he has a point.

  7. @StatGeek

    By default UK-Elect tries to follow the “official” constituency names (which is to say it is inconsistent, like the names!) but it offers various options for sorting the data. For example, it can also sort the names by the constituency IDs (so it ends up in the same order as “official” and semi-official data, such as the BES data). Is your spreadsheet consistent in putting the main part of the constituency names first?

  8. Latest on Labour leadership .

    Labour List survey of their readers reporting that burnham leads kendall with cooper third.

    Deputy too close to call between watson and creasy ,flint third ,eagle and bradshaw trailing.

  9. The elections in Northern Ireland produced some interesting results. I don’t remember the last time the collective Unionists got 11 out of the 18 seats and nor do I recall the last time the percentage of Sinn Fein votes actually went down. I had always supposed that the Catholic birth rate being historically greater than that of the Protestants meant that eventually the Republican camp would gain a majority but with only 7 MP’s that is beginning to look less likely .
    Within the two blocks and despite the defeat of the Alliance MP in Belfast it is possible to detect a trend towards the two main moderate parties being the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP. All of us must hope that is the case.

  10. Bbc2 to broadcast labour party leadership hustings live from nuneaton june 17 .
    Put it in your diary now .

  11. The enquiry report on polling is expected by March 2016. Not in a great hurry.

  12. @ukelect

    Region first where sensible, constituency second if region present.

    I did attempt a like for like match up of data, but our rows were out of kilter due to constituency naming reasons

    That’s why the most reliable ID on the BES data is the PA Number which has all 650 constituencies. They use it to compile the list of expected declaration times, which the schedule I produced for election night included.

    Obviously it could change if the boundary commission get to play with the numbers! I suspect the small Con majority makes that unlikely.

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