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. RAF

    Thanks

    I replied with a few thoughts-which were moderated for some reason.

    Best of luck with it all.

  2. @ RAF

    My comment is not about your post, but you bring out the key issues. So, it’s not about you, but it would be nice if …

    a number of those inspired by Blair believe that Blair became successful by trashing everything Labour did previously, when in fact it was far more nuanced than that.

    Indeed, whatever one’s opinion is about AC, his diaries show these nuances, doubts and deliberations. Should be a compulsory reading for any elected person in the LP

    A lot of the spending she criticises came under Blair.

    I genuinely don’t think it holds any water, even if it’s true. Labour has a big problem with this, and it has to take it on, while they can’t defend their own record (which is not bad, even though I think they were reckless). For example, here is the budget – and delegate it to constituency or council levels. It is risky, but if it is framed well, it would remove the problems of competence. Obviously all councils have their problems, but many Labour councils showed competence in the last two decades. If the decision is delegated to them, they would soon recognise that they would have to collaborate on these issues, thus you would have the national result, but with fully signed up constituencies.

    Burnham is ahead not because he’s a lefty but because he has the political experience to understand the importance of nuance.

    I don#’t know if he’s ahead (he is probably in the PLP). It’s irrelevant for Liz K. because she just wants to rerun the general election in the LP, which is nonsense. Burnham is certainly experienced.

  3. @ RAF

    Apologies.

    It didn’t come out as well as I wanted (would have required a lot more words), and I don’t think that it is worth it. I just wanted to give a narrative to your conclusions, with which I agree.

  4. Well, you could be forgiven for believing anything I say is designed to hurt the Labour party. At this time it is not. Go with Burnham if you must, but I genuinely think you are wrong, to much loser baggage.
    What ever you do, do not listen to Miliband.

  5. I suspect the battle for the Labour leadership right now is a battle to give the leader that comes after the chance to win. The big swing required, plus the likely electoral boundaries in 2020, means a Labour win in 2020 look tough.

    Losing now, but being known and more prominent for next time, looks a good way to go.

    I suspect the leader in the next contest after the 2020 GE will have no baggage from Labour’s time in Government.

    I suspect Chukka will find he can handle the pressure then ;-)

  6. I gather that my favourite Gloria is involved in this Labour leader business. Possible deputy to Burnham? Two ‘lookers’ – they will just need a message to bring over and then ‘point them and shoot’ could be a good tactic. .

    Give EM his due – he has at least learned that Labour failed to energise their voters to turn out sufficiently, rather than anything else. Having written that, I await the pearls from Anthony’s club, as there may be more to it than that and I am confident they will find the answer?

  7. There should be no ? at the end of that last sentence. I have supreme confidence in our host and his chums to deliver the goods..

  8. @Millie – agree on HS2. Information and goods need to be moved – people don’t. Build more slow freight lines to open new slots on existing railways, and link northern cities, as you say, along with more investment in broadband and digital.

    Train every business in the UK to manage meetings properly, and you’ll see a sharp reduction in the number of suits rushing around with ‘full’ diaries. They might even get some work done.

  9. As ever, can we please not get into discussing if policies are any good or not.

  10. @ CMJ

    You could be right :-)

    But people can change a lot during so many years …

  11. BristolianHoward
    “Give EM his due – he has at least learned that Labour failed to energise their voters to turn out sufficiently, rather than anything else. ”

    Isn’t it conventional wisdom that Tory voters are more likely to turn out than Labour? I don’t know if polls have been done on this recently, but they should have been.

    I think that there is a section of the population who will say that they support Labour if asked (perhaps because they consider themselves to be working class, or their Dad voted Labour) as a kind of tribal identifier, but it doesn’t mean that they will actually turn out and vote. A bit like people who say they support a particular football team (West Ham anyone?) but raely if ever actually go to see them play.

  12. @Raf

    I would not have been able to identify Liz Kendall before she put her name forward for the Labour leadership, such was her lack of prominence. So I’m judging her on what she’s said since.

    Now I know that she was basically agreeing with the Conservatives in opposing many of the more popular policies on which Labour fought the election – the 50p tax rate, mansion tax, opposition to free schools, cuts in tuition fees and so on. I know also now that while she thinks that Labour overspent in government, she would have liked more spending on defence. And I know that she’s being backed by the likes of Mandelson, who gives the impression that any day now he will be retracting his retraction of being “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich.”

    What I am yet to discover is whether there are any Conservative policies that Liz Kendall disagrees with.

  13. Rigth now, I think the majority of the public just plain don’t care whether Labour has either Andy Burnham or a beach donkey in charge of their party; and the election form 2 weeks ago is an unequivocal indictment of that. QUite clearly, most people in the UK are glad to see Labour as far away from No.10 Downing Street as possible.

    It is no accident that we have a Conservative government….no matter how much partisan navel gazing is going on in the predominantly left-wing MSM right now.

    And a quick reminder of the tiny proportion of people who ACTUALLY voted for the Labour party back in 2010; only it is extraordinary how many people whinge about the identical stats being thrown about the current government just elected….don’r you think?

    Why don’t people get it??!!!!

    Either way, it is an imperative to get poling right, from now on in.

  14. Right now, I think the majority of the public just plain don’t care whether Labour has either Andy Burnham or a beach donkey in charge of their party; and the election form 2 weeks ago is an unequivocal indictment of that. QUite clearly, most people in the UK are glad to see Labour as far away from No.10 Downing Street as possible.

    It is no accident that we have a Conservative government….no matter how much partisan navel gazing is going on in the predominantly left-wing MSM right now.

    And a quick reminder of the tiny proportion of people who ACTUALLY voted for the Labour party back in 2010; only it is extraordinary how many people whinge about the identical stats being thrown about the current government just elected….don’r you think?

    Why don’t people get it??!!!!

    Either way, it is an imperative to get poling right, from now on in.

  15. @Laszlo

    In a desperate attempt not to have bots and non-interested parties having at my site bandwidth…it’s the same path as the scotland and wales files but is called:

    england-data.zip

    Feel free to look at as much of them as you please. It might be more sensible to just post about errors found, rather than every ten or so. Like I said before, if a few folk can take a few from each region, it ought to throw up most issues.

    Cheers in advance!

  16. Those wishing to hear John Curtice’s lecture can access it via this –

    http://www.ncl.ac.uk/events/public-lectures/item.php?john-curtice

  17. As far as I am aware the 2015 election results on my UK-Elect site are correct. Certainly they have been checked against multiple sources, including BBC, Wikipedia, the BES data, various council sites, and others. (I think that all of those data sources originally included some errors, although many of these have now been corrected.)

    As well as the maps, the result pages include tables showing the top 5 for every party in every constituency, and the main party percentages for every constituencies.

    The results are at:2015 General Election Results.

    I can easily add extra data tables if required.

  18. I’ve just realised I actually got one prediction almost dead on at this election a few months ago.

    Using national polling figures, applying UNS to 2010 results and then distributing “overswing” from those seats where the UNS was higher than 2010 vote share to all the other seats, I calculated the Lib Dems would lose 330 deposits.

    In the end they lost 334.

    Three constituencies where they got under 1% of the vote.
    38 where they got under 2% of the vote.
    163 where they got under 3% of the vote.
    264 where they got under 4% of the vote.

    Then obviously 334 where they got under the 5% threshold. The first seat in which they held their deposit was Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

    There were 508 seats – 80.3% of Parliament – where the Lib Dems scored under 10%. I find it difficult to call them a national party any more on that basis, particularly since many of their former held seats like Burnley, Twickenham, Thornbury and Yate, RSL have lost their popular incumbents and they may well continue to lose votes in those places next time.

  19. @Phil Haines

    If the Tories veer somewhat to the right, then by adopting many of their current positions, Liz Kendall would place Labour perfectly in the middle ground just to the left of the Tories.

    I’m pulling your leg somewhat, but I recall that Blair and Brown did something very similar in 1997.

    It may not please you, but it makes perfect electoral sense.

    Perhaps the modern role of the Labour Party is simply to represent the acceptable face of Conservatism…

    Apologies, Phil, for the undoubted provocation, and to AW for my earlier policy reference.

  20. BRISTOLIAN HOWARD

    @”Labour failed to energise their voters to turn out sufficiently, rather than anything else. ”

    Do you mean these “voters”?

    “Labour Increased its share of the vote in the NW more than any other region than London-whilst having as many MPs in Sheffield as it does in Bedford, Cambs. Herts. Norfolk & Suffolk combined-and more MPs in Liverpool than in all of Berks. Bucks. E & W Sussex , Hants. Kent. Oxon & Surrey-and more in Manchester than all of Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset , Gloucs. Somerset & Wilts-and winning a seat less in East Midlands than it did in 2010, and gaining just one seat in West Midlands-from the LDs”………?

    Courtesy Philip Collins.
    The Times.

  21. But Millie that then exposes labours left flank yet again -politics and vacuums etc,greens,snp even farrons libdems fill the gap.And it also encourages some to vote ukip.

    Burnham in the centre ground will maximise the labour vote.

  22. @Mr Nameless

    Further to my post above, I agree that the collapse of the LibDems may well continue. They have lost any incumbency factor, and have a very reduced Council presence.

    Without their restraining influence, the Government will surely show a drift to the right.

    Into this hollowed-out centre, Liz Kendall’s pitch makes complete sense, at least in purely electoral terms.

    The trick is to hang on to the core vote, but Labour can afford to lose some of those, as I presume they are concentrated in their heartlands. Although that is quite a presumption.

  23. I am currently in the process of completing UK-Elect v10.0 which contains the full 2015 General Election Results, and am playing with the automatic spreadsheet generation at the moment. It occurs to me that some of you might find this spreadsheet useful:

    UKElect2015ResultsExample.xls

    It contains lots of data, broken down in various ways. If anyone can spot anything wrong, in the data or the calculations, please let me know!

  24. Actually, I think DC might struggle to cope with a positive , chippy woman like LK , constantly telling him that “what works” is OK so long as it is “fair”, and reminding him day after day which policies aren’t.

    Whereas I think he will deal with AB’s relentlessly grim Public Sector Union viewpoint with little difficulty by putting the Consumers’ point of view.

  25. 07052015

    I think you are completely right, which is why I think Burnham will win.

    It is not just the policies, it is who expresses them. If Burnham espouses centrist policy, then he is probably Labour’s best chance.

    Liz K is most unlikely to win: for her it is all about getting a big job, I suspect. And even the next leadership election.

  26. “He often complained about the ‘low aspirations’ of ‘people.
    In schools a key issue really is appalling standards of behaviour.”

    —————

    K, so what do you think we should do about teachers’ aspirations and behaviour?…

  27. Reports -Cameron to involve Salmond in EU renegotiations.?

    Windup ?

  28. “What I am yet to discover is whether there are any Conservative policies that Liz Kendall disagrees with.”

    ————-

    It’s possible there may be an issue with the policy to reduce the number of seats in parliament if her seat is one of those for the chop.

    Of course, the more important thing is whether she agrees with the policy on storage, taxation thereof.

  29. @07052015

    re: Salmond in EU negotiations

    Is that from Martin Kettle in the Guardian, or is someone else running it too?

  30. Exile yes from kettle -interesting article but it would go into the automod blackbole.

  31. PHILHAINES

    @”What I am yet to discover is whether there are any Conservative policies that Liz Kendall disagrees with.”

    I obviously hope there are many people like you in the LP.

    If , at some point in the future, the LP realises that since the voting public have grudgingly endorsed Cons’ Public Finances policy , but think it “unfair” in application; it might be a good idea to simply add perceived “fairness” to Conservative policy , then I would start to worry.

    But there are no signs at all that this might happen.

  32. @Colin

    Any update on how our GDP is doing compared to France these days? There’s a rather disturbing headline on the beeb that says our output’s lower than Italy’s at the moment.

    Meanwhile, rents are up 4.6% in the year to April. Nice to have some good news for hard-pressed buy-to-letters…

  33. “If , at some point in the future, the LP realises that since the voting public have grudgingly endorsed Cons’ Public Finances policy , but think it “unfair” in application; it might be a good idea to simply add perceived “fairness” to Conservative policy , then I would start to worry.
    But there are no signs at all that this might happen.”

    ———–

    Well, if this is the case, Tories could always shoot Labour’s fox by adding the fairness thing themselves.

  34. CARGREW

    France had a good Q1-twice as good as reported UK growthI think.

    UK Q2 should be better according to reports.

    Productivity is a major UK problem just now-GO’s Budget will be concentrating on it.

  35. CARFREW

    @ 9.36 am

    What a great idea !-wonder why they didn’t think of it ?

    lol.

  36. “Productivity is a major UK problem just now-GO’s Budget will be concentrating on it.”

    —————–

    What’s French productivity like? Maybe he could copy them…

  37. “What a great idea !-wonder why they didn’t think of it ?
    lol.”

    —————

    I thought they did think of it. “All in it together” etc.

    (We don’t hear that so much these days. No one knows why…)

  38. @Colin

    “…..gaining just one seat in West Midlands-from the LDs”

    You and he have overlooked that Labour did gain one seat in the West Midlands from the Conservatives, even though it lost another.

    I was very heavily involved in direction of the local campaign in the seat that Labour did win under local circumstances that made it a tougher nut to crack than it looked on paper. The emphasis of the campaign literature here differed significantly from the national campaign. In particular we gave emphasis locally to how Labour’s fiscal approach could draw a line under further austerity (in contrast to the emphasis in the national campaign) and to ensuring that policies on the 50p rate and mansion tax were given high prominence, not least to reassure those on middle incomes that they would NOT be clobbered by new spending commitments. That is very different from the direction in which Kendall would have gone and so I’m not going to accept any advice from Conservatives such as yourself as to what works and what doesn’t.

    Any Labour leader in 2020 is going to face the prospect of once again being heavily outspent by the Conservatives in marginal seats, facing an extremely hostile press, face accusations that Labour would hike taxes to pay for its policies, and a replay of the SNP tail wagging the dog card that Labour faced in 2015.

    Kendall would make Labour more vulnerable than Miliband on the tax hike question (since she seems to be in favour of taxing across the board rather than at the very top end) and nor do I think that an alternative programme of cuts would appeal after 10 years of austerity. She would make it harder for Labour to revive in Scotland so she would only enhance the prospects of the Conservatives being able to play the SNP tail card again in England. Nor would an image of a renewed embrace of big business and the agenda of the CBI in general do anything to appeal to the disaffected UKIP supporter who wants a party that stands up for the “little man” in an increasingly corporate world. So I don’t think her agenda would play to the self employed and small traders at all.

    A move by a Kendall-led Labour Party to embrace Conservatism would also lead to serious losses of votes from Labour to its left flank. I could see Plaid winning seats in a number of former South Wales Labour strongholds, and further progress by the Greens sufficient to further dilute the necessary concentration of votes against the Conservatives, while the Greens started to challenge Labour in a few more seats. And UKIP is also capable of appealing further to working class voters disillusioned that they “don’t know what Labour stands for anymore”, a reasonable claim if a Kendall-led Labour Party doesn’t either.

  39. Kezia Dugdale has announced that she is standing for the leadership of LiS (or perhaps Scottish Labour Party? – who knows what constitutional format Lab will have here in a wee while).

    According to the Scotsman – She is expected to signal a radical approach to the party’s future, saying: “Our values are what we will carry forward with us – all the rest is baggage.”

    and, although Ken McIntosh has expressed interest, he previously said he wouldn’t stand against Kez.

    Labour sources have said they do not expect anyone else to enter the race.

    So, if things turn out as anticipated, all we need to find out is which “values” Kez is including, and which will be dumped.

  40. @ Statgeek

    Yorkshire East: OK
    York Outer: OK
    York Central: OK
    Wentworth: OK
    Wakefield: OK
    Thirsk: OK (but the Liberal Party got more than a 1,000 votes)
    Skipton: OK
    Shipley: OK
    Sheffield SE: OK
    Sheffield Heeley: OK

  41. @Phil Haines

    From the perspective of someone who considered voting Labour in a marginal Lab/Con seat (but didn’t), I think you make some excellent points. I agree with all of that, so you must be right!

  42. The 2015 results emphasise that the England and Wales are divided into a Metropolitan left and a non- Metropolitan right.

    As there are more non metropolitan seats than metropolitan seats,

    in order to win an election Labour must reflect non-Metropolitan thinking.

    I am fairly sure, though am willing to be corrected that the majority of public sector jobs are in the metropolitan areas. Public sector workers tend to be left leaning

    In order to win an election Labour must attract the voters in the non-Metropolitan areas.

    Therefore a non-Metropolitan individual who can easily relate to the private sector (particularly small businesses) would be a candidate who could relate to these areas. Who in the Labour party is there who fulfils this criteria? Most of the left elite seem to live or have a background in the metropolitan bubble.

    The traditional Labour vote in the ex-mining areas and amongst farm workers is shrinking fast. This further emphasises the divide between Metropolitan and non-Metropolitan areas.

    As for their difficulties in Scotland, the Labour brand has been toxified as the Conservative brand was in the 1980s and 1990s. It is difficult to know when either party will recover.

    On another issue, I am not so pessimistic regarding the future of the Lib Dems, particularly in the seats lost to the Tories. There by-election strategy will become ” look how the Tories are messing up – vote for us and we know how to do it right.

  43. @ Statgeek
    Sheffield Hallam: OK
    Sheffield Cenrtral: OK
    Sheffield B&H: OK
    Selby: OK
    Scunthorpe: OK (Independent >1,000 votes)
    Scarborough: OK
    Rotherham: OK
    Rother Valley: OK
    Richmond: OK
    Pudsey: OK

  44. Chris Malthouse

    Your binary classification of Metropolitan left and a non- Metropolitan right is over simplified.

    Large swathes of the North East, Yorkshire, South Wales are neither metropolitan nor right. The same was true of most of the seats Labour lost in Scotland. Labour cannot take this vote for granted or what happened in Scotland could be repeated in another form in England and Wales. Labour need to broaden the tent not move it arbitrarily left or right – easy to say not so easy to do.

  45. PHIL HAINES

    Thanks

    I’m sure your view will prevail in the shape of Mr. Burnham.

    You will know in five years if you were right-or wrong again……….maybe sooner if the Polls are fixed.

  46. @Laszlo

    Have changed it that unless party gets 5% or more in any seat they are classed as ‘Others’. Respect kept one deposit, so retain party status in that sense. It keeps the charts a lot more sensible and tidy.

  47. I am not following the Labour leadership election at all closely, but thought I would have a quick look (as a floating voter) to see if any of the candidates appeal to me.

    What immediately strikes me is that the leading contenders don’t seem to have done a real non-political job. To an uninformed semi-neutral like me, they seem to be yet more professional politicians, of the same dispiriting type. Does nobody seek to gain any experience of the real world before going into politics any more?

  48. Newzoids has improved I particularly like alex and nicolas karaoke and prince george .Also I have to admit Ed Milibands plaintive “At least I tried ” as he falls over his feet again is very funny.

    Glad he did try -his legacy ?Blair,brown and balls ignoring tax evasion and avoidance .Never again eh liz,yvette ,andy ?

    And now a new movie heres the trailer .

    https://vimeo.com/103132639

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