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. Hawthorn

    I’d find that hard to believe too. Since it didn’t happen, we can both be happy in our agnosticism as to that fictional event.

    Can I ask why you post comments on Scottish politics when you appear to have avoided doing even the most basic research?

  2. OLDNAT

    Having late nominations brings its own problems of candidate vetting. How late was the selection in Edinburgh South?

    I only use the term “loose cannon” to remain non-partisan. What I mean is “complete political liability and/or loon”.

  3. I couldn’t care less where people sit-provided the Government & Opposition front benches face off across the despatch box.

    I am concerned with respect for history & tradition at Westminster , which for me derives from the roots of our democracy.

    I suppose if you have no knowledge of that history-and less interest in its significance , then it will all seems like pointless flummery. Which begs the question-why are you there?

  4. Hawthorn

    I think the 20 year old was against Doug Alexander. Unless there is another 20 year old in the Jim Murphy seat.

    I had that thought too: that the 20 year old was a result of a lack of competition for the post.

    The last young woman was Bernadette McAliskey in Mid Ulster, who was also elected in turbulent times. She made quite an impact from being both very young and very eloquent, and indeed, very different.

  5. Colin

    “I suppose if you have no knowledge of that history-and less interest in its significance , then it will all seems like pointless flummery. Which begs the question-why are you there?”

    You might be there to represent the interests of your constituents?

  6. I am with Old Nat I hope all 56 are loose cannons. I imagine that Westminster will be very alien to them.

    I went for a tour of Westminster and felt no connnection with its culture – for a democracy the democrats are very subservient to the Lords and to Royalty. The very bare Commons chamber (even the name ‘commons’ is a bit of a put down’) contrasting with the rest of the palace. All the old conventions just seem ridiculous (dragging the Speaker to the chair). and they probably contribute to the infantile behaviour in the Commons.

    So I hope the SNP MPs do not get to comfy because their goal is to be the last Scottish MPs sent to Westminster.

  7. PROFHOWARD

    Thanks for the correction.

    I am not making a prediction – the over-sensitive Nats should note that I said it was a POTENTIAL problem.

  8. Prof Howard

    “Turbulent times” is a good description.

    Mhairi Black gained a reputation as a doughty, tireless and persuasive activist in the Yes Paisley campaign – which is why she was selected from among a number of applicants.

    In “normal” times, of course, it might have been an unwise move – but in “normal” times, Labour would have won the seat!

  9. @Hawthorn
    @ProfHoward

    The point I was making is that the SNP did see that as a potential problem.

    After the referendum and membership & polling surge, they thought ‘We might win a lot of seats in May and all our best people are in the Scottish Parliament’. where they have 60+ seats. Strangely the pool of people wanting to stand for parliament can be quite small.

    So they openned the selection process up to Independence campaigners and dropped the SNP membership requirement.

  10. If the DT can be believed … The SNP plot to take DS’s (and others’) bench places was foiled by the sniffer dog, and the localised counter-attack by Labour.

    I can’t believe how much partisan stuff can be said about this, and also about the air quality of Westminster, the name of the lower chamber, the traditions (yes, they are strange to a foreigner, but all countries have them), etc.

  11. Enough of the SNP what of the Labour leadership? What is going on?

    I am not sure Burnham is a good choice the Tories are keeping quiet now but they will hit him with Mid-Staffs the minute he is elected.

    It seems that all the best candidates would rather be London Mayor.

  12. COUPER2802

    The lack of a pool of candidates is what I was getting at and the fact that the SNP have tried to address it shows that my point is valid.

    The Tories tried bringing in a wider pool of candidates, which either worked well (as it did with Sarah Wollaston) or very badly (Louise Mensch).

    The chances are that some of those independence campaigners will be very effective and some of them will be complete liabilities.

  13. I’m sure all the ex-labour voters who backed SNP must be enjoying the spectacle of their team flexing their muscles. What a pity 15 Ukip MPs weren’t elected. It would have been a real bun fight.

  14. @Lazlso

    Those benches are for the 3rd largest party that should be respected. But the usual anti-Scots nonsense from the DT and others mean that somehow taking the benches assigned to them is a great offence.

    Still as I always say to my Mum who gets upset by things like this ‘Always think: Does this bring independence closer?’

  15. Hawthorn

    Some “will be very effective and some of them will be complete liabilities.”

    That is also a fair description of the 41 successful LiS candidates in 2010.

  16. @ Cooper2802

    Burnham became Health Secretary in 2009, and ordered an enquiry into Mid Staffs. It was clarified just on the last page. But just go on …

    His main problem would be that he was in the Treasury from this perspective.

    I don’t know if he is a good or bad candidate, by the way.

  17. @couper1982
    i think the tories are rubbing their hands at the thought of Andy Burnham,he really doesn’t seem very strong to me,I have seen in pushed around a lot on Question Time and ,he has a lot of associations with past issues and Labour administrations as has Cooper.
    Labour just does not have a prime minister in any of their candidates,they had one last time and his brother got it.
    Of course Labour voters may think otherwise,but they all seemed to think Ed was a good choice at the time.
    The two best candidates have either withdrawn or didn’t enter.Any of the ones left may struggle against Cameron and then Osborne who will be IMO be the new leader.I think Labour has to accept another period in opposition for a while until another Blair comes along.They cannot win from the left and those whom are on offer currently seem unlikely to do much damage to the tories,they will be more likely do that to themselves

  18. @Hawthorn

    You are right absolutely and one of the problems the SNP might have is that they have brought in campaigners as opposed to politicians and with the incredibly hostile media this could be a problem.

    However, it is how it plays in Scotland that counts as opposed to the pages of the DT. But it is dangerous times for the SNP they will have to carefully navigate the difficult Westminster waters and a anti-SNP/Scots MSM, for example BBC journalists were tweeting misinformation about the seatgate yesterday.

    Although, I did not want a Tory government I can see that it is a bit easier that a Labour Minority for the SNP to cope with.

  19. OLDNAT

    If you bothered to read my post, I mentioned Eric Joyce as a “loose cannon”.

    And it did damage LiS, which is exactly my point.

  20. COUPER2802

    It is no good whinging about the biased media. At least you have Murdoch on your side.

    Eric Joyce was a disaster for Labour because of he was shown in court to be a violent drunk. It is not because he was reported as such.

  21. Hawthorn, Burnham is going to carry the millstone of Mid-staffs around his neck.

    Whether you think he is guilty or innocent of covering up, is irrelevant. In politics just being in the same ballpark as an incident puts you right between the crosshairs of the other parties, which are not easy to shake off. Combine that with our media… I’m sure you can envision the campaign against him.

  22. @MIBRI

    I thought Chuka Umunna would have been the best leader for the voters they needed. But even someone like David Lammy, who instead has gone for London Mayor could have captured the imagination. Lammy is very pro-business but also connects with the working class.

    It is a dull field. I find myself wondering if David Miliband might return in time – is that possible a quick by-election. Although that might be a bit too contrived.

  23. Hawthorn

    However, your starting point dealt only with the SNP, suggesting that they included List D candidates, selected with no hope of winning the seat.

    That was simply wrong, and based (it would seem) on a lack of understanding of the process, and the detail of candidate selection in Scotland.

    Had you simply made the point that, in any new intake, for any party, some of the new MPs would turn out to be extremely effective, while others might be “less so” – and pointed to how that had been the case with Labour in 1997, or the Tories in 2010, then no one would have disagreed with you.

  24. We’ve done with the SNP stuff haven’t we?. They were predicted to get nearly all the seats in Scotland and got them. Unless the Holyrood polls start, that’s the end of it for 5 years isn’t it?

  25. Profhoward
    Bernadette McAllister, ah yes, she may be a great heroine to gentlemen abed in England like you, but to British soldiers who served in the “troubles” would have a different view.

  26. @Hawthorn

    The media is incredible biased but luckily we have social media.

    Take yesterday for example:

    MSM journalists ‘SNP MPs steal Dennis Skinner’s seat’

    Truth:
    The benches are for 3rd largest party.
    Labour refused to agree to a seating plan which recognised the SNP as 3rd largest party
    SNP wanted the 3rd party front bench but in absense of Labour agreement had to organise to hold those seats
    SNP & Labour ended up mixed up in the opposition benches
    Skinner was able to sit in his normal seats on the SNP front bench.

    BUT the press convert that into a SNPBad story. People are so fed up of it they switch off. That is why the SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland despite a hostile media people no longer trust the media because we realise they spread disinformation.

    We know what is happening because SNP MPs are tweeting what is going on. Westminster is going to be very transparent from now on.

  27. @Couper2802
    Re David Lammy,I am a Spurs fan and I can tell you,you do not want David Lammy in charge,he has caused nothing but issues for Spurs of the new stadium,he is no friend of business either .He is very left wing and Labour would get itself a divisive character ,he may do ok in London as mayoral candidate,however ,Lord help London if he takes over.You only have to look at the state of Harringey to get some idea of what will happen,he and the council are a nightmare.
    I don’t see David coming back,I am not even sure how many in the party would support him,.
    Why doesn’t harriot harmen stand ? I don’t like her much,but she has going for her than what is standing up to now.She would certainly shake things up a little.

  28. Surely Skinner vs SNP is so trivial and utterly meaningless, it’s barely worth mentioning.

    There serious issue ahead.Serious reforms by the Government that require a quality and serious opposition.

    I really hope the next five years gets better than this,

  29. Correction

    Surely Skinner vs SNP is so trivial and utterly meaningless, it’s barely worth mentioning.

    There are serious issues ahead.Serious reforms by the Government that require a quality and serious opposition.

    I really hope the next five years gets better than this,

  30. “BUT the press convert that into a SNPBad story. People are so fed up of it they switch off. That is why the SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland despite a hostile media people no longer trust the media because we realise they spread disinformation.

    We know what is happening because SNP MPs are tweeting what is going on. Westminster is going to be very transparent from now on.”

    Yes, because the SNP MPs are going to be far more impartial than the media. Thank god some politicians have discovered Twitter!

  31. Seems Ken McIntosh is the first to enter the lists for the LiS leadership

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/ken-macintosh-enters-scottish-labour-leader-race-1-3776105

    Seems sensible. He won the membership section of LiS when Johann Lamont won in 2011. His Eastwood constituency is even more “Tory” than East Ren – like Edinburgh South without the Lib Dems.

    If LiS are going to continue to prosper in the leafy suburbs, then they need a Blairite leader who can challenge Ruth Davidson’s Tories for the mantle of the centre-right Unionist party.

  32. It will do, plenty of stuff going will be going on of a more substantail election. Should be an exciting couple of years.
    For starters in 5 years time will we be in the E.U. and or will Scotland be in the UK

  33. Sorry should be more substantial matters

  34. @Neil J
    I suspect the answer is yes to both,the EU referendum is more a hesitant yes than the Scotland.
    There will not be a Scotland indy ref in this parlaiment,that is fairly certain IMO.
    Even if there were,I suspect Scotland would still stay in the UK as it appears DC and NS will do business,despite their being polls apart politically.Sometimes opposites attract and it easier to work with people when at least you both know where you stand.

  35. @Jamie

    Exactly we trust our MPs that is why we elected them. Unless they brazenly lie to us we will continue to trust them above the media.

  36. Re. the Labour leadership, what a depressing thing it’s turning into.

    Unlike some, I didn’t rate Umunna, and I’m glad he stepped down so soon. He just struck me as bit too ‘London’, with none of Blair’s charm (1994-2003 vintage). He can also come across as aloof/bored/uninterested. Burnham and Cooper are too connected to the old Labour govt. and neither is an especially good media performer. Cooper especially is a bit robotic, although in private she’s very warm. My personal choice would have been Jarvis. Labour needs a candidate from leftfield, someone without a long history of gaffes, someone who can be a clean slate. Jarvis’s backstory cannot be beat, and at a stroke he’d show up the current front bench on both sides. But since he isn’t standing, I’m going to hope Kendall pulls something out of the hat. Her early appearances have been okay, and it looks like she’s the only one who can claim to be even slightly new and unknown.

    There’s a completely unscientific test I tried on my long-suffering acquaintances re. the Labour leadership. Think if you’ve seen the candidate smile – and rank them accordingly. No-one could recall Umunna smiling …

    And while some people are pining for DM, that boat sailed a long time ago. He was a poor loser and his monumental sulk from 2010 until about now has been immature and unbecoming and did absolutely nothing to support Ed’s leadership. Labour doesn’t do primogeniture, and it was bad form on his part to assume it did.

  37. @Mibri
    I am also fairly confident we will stay in the E.U., but suspect there will be plenty of fireworks along the way.
    Not so confident about Scotland. I suspect the 2016 Scottish election will be fought on an SNP ticket of asking for another referendum. If this is the case and the SNP will decisively, which I think they will. It will be difficult for DC to resist it.
    Having said that I still think the referendum would be a no vote but am less confident than last time.

  38. Neil J

    Scottish political commentators tend to be rather dismissive of the certainty that their London colleagues have that the question of a 2nd referendum will have in the 2016 election.

    Doubtless, that’s because they have an ear to the ground here and don’t rely on the fantasies that circulate in the Westminster bubble.

  39. @NeilJ

    I don’t think the SNP 2016 manifesto will commit to a referendum. More likely, it will have a form of words to the effect ‘we reserve the right to call a referendum if the Tories do something really bad’

    Then sit back and wait till the Tories do something really bad (which won’t be long).

    The point is the SNP will not commit themselves to a referendum unless they are absolutely sure they will win. They might decide that FFA is a necessary staging post and try to get that in place first.

    They will want to keep their options open.

  40. Mary Creagh

    Her kids are called Clement after Clement Atlee and Beatrice after Beatrice Webb so a bit of a Leftie. Any opinion on her chances?

    I saw her on daily politics and she cam across well but I wonder if she is tough enough, her answers seemed very pre-prepared.

  41. @Couper @Jamie

    One of the characteristics of a partisan is that they only listen to media that they agree with.

    This is the very definition of “out of touch”

  42. @Couper2802
    “Exactly we trust our MPs that is why we elected them. Unless they brazenly lie to us we will continue to trust them above the media”

    Again, I say thank god they’ve discovered Twitter, the first politicians in history to do so. Truly, they are the only honest ones there, every other MP is a deceitful part of the ‘blob’, not individuals who may have the best interests of their constituants at heart.
    On behalf of all of England, Wales and Northern Ireland I thank you Scotland for sending god honest politicians to cut through the bull. You are the best of this United Kingdom, as you already know.

  43. Comment aimed at COUPER, not the entirety of Scotland.

  44. Colin – “I thought the SNP Westminster leader’s speech was an interesting contrast to those given by DC & HH. The tone & content was triumphalist, & mocking.”

    And the spectacle will have made millions of voters feel vindicated for rejecting the idea of an SNP-Lab coalition.

    Until Lab elect an assertive leader capable of either winning a majority or facing down the wildlings in the north, I think we’ll see the Conservatives in government for the next decade.

  45. Proposal for the Conservative Party to rename itself to Workers’ Party (going after UKIP?).

    Undercutting Labour’s membership fee?

  46. @Laszlo, as always, you’re being partisian defending the left. You’re ignoring the fact he voted no into an inquiryin 2009 (or 10?), instead chosing to carry out a smaller, more expensive, and less detailed inquiry once the Gov changed.

    There is a lot unclear about the whole situation, and a lot of questions unanswered. I’m not going to hold judgement over him because I do not know all the facts; just like you don’t.

    I am simply pointing out that until those questions are answered (Search for the health election debate), he will continue to have a cloud over him and be firmly in the crosshairs of opposition parties.

    There is nothing partisian about it, that’s just how our media is. Most public aren’t going to do extnesive research into it. I expect it will resurface over the next few weeks in the build up to a Lab. leadership election. Just a prediction! For the record, as someone who has never voted Labour, I quite like AB.

  47. ANARCHISTS UNITE

    Is that last post in the non partisan spirit of this site?

  48. The sophisticated blairite view -good on critique but as always little to chart a way forward.
    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/20/opinion/peter-mandelson-why-labour-lost-the-election.html?referrer=

    I share the view that the EU referendum in england could be closer than many think.Scotland and wales should comfortably vote to stay in,NI will be on a knife edge.

    Requires farage to overcome his current difficulties and rediscover his mojo but there is a big anti immigation vote out there who will be indifferent to threats of economic catastrophe .Big job for the new labour leader tho I suspect not on any joint platforms.

  49. @Lazlo

    The SNP were told about conventions in the HoC and given a seat layout plan.

  50. @ Cooper2808

    There are not enough seats in the chamber for 650 MPs … So much for your seating arrangements … If they were given such a thing, they were conned by the crafty English.

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