Sunday Polls

There are several polls in today’s papers. ComRes in the Indy and Sunday Mirror have topline figures of CON 46%(+4), LAB 25%(nc), LDEM 11%(-1), UKIP 9%(-1), GRN 4%(nc). The twenty-one point Conservative lead is the largest anyone has shown for them so far this Parliament (and, hence, the largest since when they were in opposition).

ComRes also did a split sample experiment, asking about some Labour policies. Half the respondents had the policies described as “Jeremy Corbyn policies”, half had them described as “Labour Party policies”. This turned out to make no difference whatsoever, suggesting that association with Jeremy Corbyn is no worse than association with the Labour party… though that could easily be just because the two are now so closely linked. On a broader point, the policies that ComRes asked about all remain popular – 71% support increasing the minimum wage, 62% support increasing the top rate of income tax, 53% support free school meals paid for through VAT on private schools. The importance of shallow approve/disapprove ratings of individual policies on party support are often grossly overstated… but it is worth noting that Labour’s evident problems do not appear to be caused by proposing unpopular policies. Full tabs are here

There was also a voting intention poll from Opinium in the Observer. Topline figures there are CON 38%(-3), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 14%(+1). Tabs for that are here.

The big gap here between ComRes and Opinium will be largely down to methodology. Following the 2015 polling error ComRes switched to a turnout model based upon demographics rather than how likely people say they are to vote. Essentially this downweights younger and poorer respondents on the basis they have historically been less likely to vote. Typically this has produced larger Conservative leads compared to other companies.

In contrast Opinium produce topline figures that consistently show some of the smallest Conservative leads. Crucially they are one of the only companies that don’t weight by past vote (instead weighting by a version of party ID). Looking at the recalled vote in today’s poll as many people claim to have voted Labour in the 2015 election as claim to have voted Conservative, suggesting the poll may well have a sample that’s a bit too Labour.

As ever, if you are trying to work out what the actual state of party support is you should avoid cherry picking the polls you’d like to be true. It’s all too easy to find reasons to convince yourself that the poll showing the results you’d like is the poll that must be the most accurate one. A sensible rule of thumb – especially at this stage of the Parliament – is probably just to follow the broad average of the polls, which suggest a Conservative lead somewhere in the mid-teens.

There were two other polls in the Sunday papers. An ORB poll in the Sunday Telegraph asked about Brexit – 55% thought Brexit should go ahead, 45% did not. 55% also approved of the way Brexit negotiations were going head, 45% disapproved. UPDATE: The reason the two figures were the same is that there was only one question – the Sunday Telegraph just reported it incredibly badly. 55% approve of the way the government are handling negotiations, ORB didn’t ask if people supported Brexit.

Finally the Western Mail had a Welsh poll by Beaufort. From their report there only appears to have been one question: 39% thought the Jerfemy Corbyn should resign, 32% think he should stay.


135 Responses to “Sunday Polls”

1 2 3
  1. To be honest, policies no longer really matter. Labour simply has no credibility.

    There is now an open goal for the Lib Dems with UKIP losing ground as a party of the protest vote, and Labour no longer an effective opposition. If Farron can develop some gravitas, real progress is possible. Great swathes of voters still instinctively don’t like the Tories.

    It is unlikely, but there must be a chance of the LDs overtaking Labour in the polls.

  2. Millie
    The problem is that the LibDems have shown themselves to be very Tory -friendly. Itis a bit like Franz Von Papen seeking left of centre votes in 1950 Germany after having entered a certain Coalition back in January 1933.

  3. @Millie
    LD support is patchy, I think (a good thing for them).
    They have little presence where I am (though they did have a councillor a few years ago) and it’s a real surprise when I find one doorstepping. I have not detected a single Lab voter defecting to LD: the odd one to UKIP or Con, loads to DK/WNV.
    Richmond Park, which is very near, was a completely different story.
    It’s not just that people hate the Tories, many positively like Labour and remember what a difference a Lab government makes to ordinary people. They are depressed at the moment but contrary to CMJ’s suggestion it is not hard canvassing for Labour. Our traditional supporters (and opponents) are generally very respectful. The Lab supporters are just frustrated and waiting for us to wake up from this nightmare.

  4. The Telegraph report claiming that 55% of the UK population now backs Brexit was incorrect, as confirmed today by the research company, Orb International, that carried out the research for them. Our report explains:

    https://www.facebook.com/Reasons2Remain/posts/414100902282618:0

  5. Graham – “The problem is that the LibDems have shown themselves to be very Tory -friendly”

    This is obviously an issue that exercises Labour activists a great deal, but it’s not clear that ordinary voters feel the same way.

    If you have voted for a single party throughout your life, no matter who leads them and no matter what mistakes they made in govt, then you will struggle to understand the mindset of the average floating voter. They’re not really interested in the past, only in the present and the future.

    Similarly some lab activists “hate the tories” with a purple passion – you can feel them trembling with rage behind their keyboards that people from the right actually exist and post on here! :-)

    But voters don’t think like that.

    A feature of the Copeland by-election was Lab claiming that “Tories will kill babies”, and it fell flat. There is a lot of hyperble from die-hard Lab activists who feel that everyone shares their rage which seems to date from the early 1980’s and has been carefully nursed by them for decades – but ordinary voters arn’t into rage at all, let alone nursing rage for decades on end, or indeed getting enraged about stuff that happened before they were born. They hear this hyperbole from Lab and compare it to reality and dismiss it. Which is how the Conservatives went from a minority in 2010 to a majority in 2015 – people were like, “They are nothing like what Lab claimed they were”.

    So the LibDems can definitely come back, because going into govt isn’t a crime in most voters minds. It depends on who they are aiming their efforts at. If they can make a coalition of centrists, floating voters, lab people who don’t like corbyn and the odd tactical vote from Tory voters in lab seats, they can certainly make gains.

  6. @Guymonde

    Where I live there is no significant Labour presence, so it is interesting to receive your comments.

    I think what I was trying to suggest is that Farron must seek to appeal to precisely those former Labour supporters.

    At the moment, they have nowhere to go. So your DK/WNV experience is not a surprise.

  7. P.S. Here is that Copeland by-election leaflet saying “Tories will cost mums their children” aka Tories kill babies:

    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/labour-party/news/83376/labour-tory-win-copeland-will-cost-mums-their

    That was a Lab seat for decades, and Lab voters were rolling their eyes at it, and I would say it helped the Conservatives take the seat.

  8. Candy
    ‘But voters don’t think like that.’

    But if that were true , how was it that Labour manged to make substantial gains at LibDem expense in 2015? Defeating Simon Hughes at Bermondsey and Julian Huppert at Cambridge were both seen as quite a challenge for Labour yet they managed it! The same was true of Hornsey & Wood Green , Cardiff Central and Birmingham Yardley. If ‘voters do not think like that’ why did voters in those seats abandon the LibDems for Labour on such a massive scale?

  9. @GRAHAM

    “But Blair was a centre-right christian democrat and close to being a neoThatcherite. He was well to the right of all Thatcher’s Tory predecessors since World War 2”

    Blair was certainly the most right wing of Labour PMs but you are almost making him sound like Enoch Powell, which is certainly not the case. Whatever his own views might have been he led a party that was in many ways more liberal than socialist.
    How do you define Toryism if not akin to Christian Democracy? Is May not a Christian Democrat?

  10. @GRAHAM

    “Millie
    The problem is that the LibDems have shown themselves to be very Tory -friendly. Itis a bit like Franz Von Papen seeking left of centre votes in 1950 Germany after having entered a certain Coalition back in January 1933.”

    Interesting analogy! Though not quite this extreme, there is some truth in your argument. The problem is that Clegg was so desperate to get into government that he agreed to a very bad deal for the LibDems in which they got very little of what they wanted. Clegg should have insisted on unconditional electoral reform as part of the deal, or else he should have turned to Labour. Instead he agreed to a pathetic referendum on AV that he was never going to win.

  11. @Graham

    If your hypothesis was correct, the LibDem collapse would have gone entirely to Lab and Lab would have won the 2015 general election – but they didn’t. In places like Derby North for example the LibDem vote split evenly between Con, Lab and UKIP, allowing the Conservatives to take the seat off Lab.

    You are also banking on voters holding a grudge against the LibDems for ten years, from 2010 when they went into coalition with the Conservatives, to the 2020 election.

    Like I said, Labour activists are famous for whipping themselves up into a grand rage and holding onto it for decades on end. But normal people don’t. They get annoyed and then they get over with, they don’t act on rage ten years after the fact.

  12. Tancred
    Blair was well to the right of Heath – Macmillan -Iain Macleod – Reggie Maudling – R A Butler et al. Indeed I would argue he was to the right of Baldwin and Chamberlain.

  13. @CANDY

    “So the LibDems can definitely come back, because going into govt isn’t a crime in most voters minds. It depends on who they are aiming their efforts at. If they can make a coalition of centrists, floating voters, lab people who don’t like corbyn and the odd tactical vote from Tory voters in lab seats, they can certainly make gains.”

    Obviously I hope so, but there seems to be a solid core that will not consider voting LibDem. This is Farron’s real obstacle – convincing them.
    Personally, I feel that Labour will recover some support at a GE. simply because many people will hold their noses and vote Labour in order to stop the Tories from having an Erdogan-style dominance of government.

  14. @GRAHAM

    “Tancred
    Blair was well to the right of Heath – Macmillan -Iain Macleod – Reggie Maudling – R A Butler et al. Indeed I would argue he was to the right of Baldwin and Chamberlain.”

    Hmmm. Not sure about that. I would say he was comparable to Heath and Macmillan rather than Wilson, but I think you go a bit too far.

  15. Heath described Blair as being well to his right. Blair’s continued policies of Privatisation and ongoing reductions in Direct Taxation mark him out as being far to the right of the 1951 – 64 Tory Government.

  16. I agree with Graham. Blair was to the right of Heath and SuperMac.

  17. The whole post-coalition argument remains, frankly, a bit of a mystery to me. I still don’t understand why the Tories were rewarded for the coalition and the LDs were chastised. Most people usually explain it by ‘all junior coalition partners suffer electorally’ which may be true but is hardly an explanation.

  18. @Candy
    ‘If your hypothesis was correct, the LibDem collapse would have gone entirely to Lab and Lab would have won the 2015 general election – but they didn’t. In places like Derby North for example the LibDem vote split evenly between Con, Lab and UKIP, allowing the Conservatives to take the seat off Lab.’

    I was not suggesting that only left of centre voters could desert the Libdems. They have always had supporters who are likely to prefer the Tories to Labour, and the Tories mounted a highly successful campaign to scare such voters into voting Tory out of fear of a Labour Government being elected.

    ‘You are also banking on voters holding a grudge against the LibDems for ten years, from 2010 when they went into coalition with the Conservatives, to the 2020 election.’

    The Coalition only ended in 2015 so it would only be five years. Entirely reasonable – and probably more effective in a General Election campaign – to seek to remind people of how they had been the Tories ‘little helpers’ and,therefore, should not be trusted lest they do the same thing again if given the opportunity. It would probably have less impact in a by election.

  19. @GRAHAM

    “Heath described Blair as being well to his right. Blair’s continued policies of Privatisation and ongoing reductions in Direct Taxation mark him out as being far to the right of the 1951 – 64 Tory Government.”

    I understand, but the political climate was very different in the ’50s and ’60s. Blair followed many Tory fiscal policies because he believed he had no choice if he was to beat the conservatives at the ballot box. People had been conditioned to vote against parties with redistributive economic policies.

  20. Graham – “The Coalition only ended in 2015 so it would only be five years”

    The people who were annoyed at the LibDems got annoyed in May 2010 when the coalition formed. Their anger was more about a misleading manifesto than about going into power with Conservatives, as they had always said they were up for coalitions. They held onto their rage for a parliament and then dealt with it in the 2015 election. It’s now over for them.

    You could try the “tories little helpers” line, but it is likely to work only on tribal Lab people who are voting for you anyway. Everyone else will roll their eyes, like they did with the “tories kill babies” line that was tried in Copeland.

  21. @MILLIE

    “The whole post-coalition argument remains, frankly, a bit of a mystery to me. I still don’t understand why the Tories were rewarded for the coalition and the LDs were chastised. Most people usually explain it by ‘all junior coalition partners suffer electorally’ which may be true but is hardly an explanation.”

    Because those who supported the LibDems from the centre-left persuasion felt betrayed by the LibDem coalition with the Tories, especially on the issue of university fees. And those on the centre-right who had backed the LibDems found Cameron to broadly reflect their own views anyway, so they switched back to the conservatives.

  22. Candy
    Those people who became annoyed at the LibDems entry into a Coalition in 2010 did not cease to be annoyed – indeed their numbers increased as time went by. Ironically there are quite a few people who deserted Labour in 2005 & 2010 over Iraq and Blair who have now returned to Labour and become committed Corbynistas! They certainly do not tend to be Blairite types looking for a reason to switch again to the LibDems.

  23. @CANDY

    I’m unconvinced about the ‘misleading manifesto’ argument. How many people sit down and read in detail through every party manifesto before a GE? Not many. besides, politics is the ‘art of the possible’ in which you often have to make unpalatable decisions on the spur of the moment.

  24. @GRAHAM

    This is why I don’t see a massive swing to the LibDems in solid Labour areas. Yorkshire, for example, isn’t exactly fertile ground for centrist liberals – voters there tend to switch between Labour and Conservative. The LibDems do better in areas with a high number of graduates or places with a strong independent minded, non-conformist tradition.

  25. @Tancred

    ‘Because those who supported the LibDems from the centre-left persuasion felt betrayed by the LibDem coalition with the Tories, especially on the issue of university fees. And those on the centre-right who had backed the LibDems found Cameron to broadly reflect their own views anyway, so they switched back to the conservatives’

    Yes, that’s about the long and short of it, I suppose.

    To elaborate slightly, Clegg should have played a bit more hard ball. Instead he seemed too comfortable with his ministerial car. And the AV referendum was a shambles.

    Farron was very lukewarm about the coalition iirc, which will help their rehabilitation.

  26. The pollsters are clueless at the moment. We see leads for the Conservatives ranging from 9-21 points.

  27. MILLIE
    “To be honest, policies no longer really matter. Labour simply has no credibility”
    _________

    You’re spot on. I remember watching the results from Scotland in 2015 and Tom Harris (former Labour MP) when interviewed said “No one was listening to us anymore”

    Both the Scottish and EU referendums for whatever reason have decimated the Labour party. As far as 2020 is concerned, it’s gone for Labour and the party should be looking towards building for 2025.

  28. @Allan C – It took 3 elections to regain power from the 1983 disaster. If Jezza is still there in 2020 it may take until the 2030s for a majority. If Labour can recover to become a governing force again

  29. SEA CHANGE

    “@Allan C – It took 3 elections to regain power from the 1983 disaster. If Jezza is still there in 2020 it may take until the 2030s for a majority. If Labour can recover to become a governing force again”
    __________

    That’s a very reasonable assumption and when you factor in boundary changes and the situation in Scotland for Labour then the 2030s look for more credible for a returning majority Labour party.

    Even Wales looks precarious for Labour …actually the more I think about it Labour might not win an overall majority again for the foreseeable future.

  30. #far more

  31. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    re the cavass returns, given the LD’s massive vested interest in peeling as many Labour voters as possible in Tory council seats next month, I would give their numbers no credence at all, especially when they are being spun into foreshadowing a frankly fantastical outcome.

  32. @Tancred
    ‘ but the political climate was very different in the ’50s and ’60s. Blair followed many Tory fiscal policies because he believed he had no choice if he was to beat the conservatives at the ballot box. People had been conditioned to vote against parties with redistributive economic policies’

    I actually believe that Blair seriously misread the mood of the electorate in 1997 in that people were looking forward to a much greater reversal of Thatcherite policies than he was inclined to offer. A reprise of the 1992 Manifesto would have delivered a Labour victory – albeit well short of the 179 majority outcome. In the intervening five years the mood of the electorate had sharply shifted. His failure to respond to that sufficiently largely explains the resulting disillusionment and the associated. collapse in turnout in 2001

  33. DEFECTIVE METHODOLOGY

    For the reasons stated in this analysis, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to this ‘Opinium’ result.

    If you don’t take account past voting behaviour, the Poll is useless. Previous voting behaviour is all, which is why EXIT Polls work so well The pollsters know how people voted last time at the polling point, and also how they SAID they’d voted when the previous EXIT Poll was conducted.

    ‘Opinium’ finds a much higher UKIP % than the other polls, and a somewhat higher Labour %. These differences are wholly attributable to the lower respective figures for the Tories and the Lib Dems.

    The total of the Tory UKIP percentage, in ‘Opinium’ however, is still only 3% less than in the ‘ComRes’ Poll and the ‘ComRes’ Poll is itself showing a higher Tory lead than recent ones. None of this is bad news for the Tories.

    Someone, for example, might well say they are UKIP, but routinely vote Tory because there’s no point in voting UKIP, and they are more or less content with the Tories as the alternative. Similarly someone might well say they are Labour, but on the day, go back to voting Lib Dem because the Lib Dems, where they live, are the only party with any chance of beating the Tories.

    This phenomenon was at its’ most apparent in the Richmond By Election where Labour received fewer votes than it had Party Members in the constituency. If Labour Party members aren’t voting Labour, how likely is it that people who merely SAY they vote Labour will?

    And no Poll is of any use unless it takes into account the likelihood of the person questioned to actually vote. We know that young people and people of low economic status are far less likely to vote, than are Tory voting pensioners etc. And even when they do, are also much less likely to vote for the Party they say they support.

    I would myself, disregard both these polls and wait for the next conventionally conducted one, and see if the ‘ComRes’ figures are vindicated. It seems likely to me that the real Tory lead is hardening at around 18%.

    One horrific feature of these Polls for Labour however, is that even on the ‘Opinium’ figures the Tories would, under the New Boundaries get 335 seats, and, Labour unless it significantly recovers in Scotland, about 190. Giving the Tories an overall majority of 70. And that’s on a very much the ‘Opinium’ worst case scenario for them. On the ‘ComRes’ numbers it’s Tories 420, Labour 115, and a Tory overall majority of 240.

    Why the Western Mail is wasting its’ money conducting Polls where the only question is whether Welsh People think Jeremy Corbyn should stay or go, is anyone’s guess. They might as well ask something more interesting at the same time.

    I do however expect Corbyn and Co, to start quoting this ‘Opinium’ number for the next few weeks as if its the only Poll that’s ever been conducted.

  34. Until very recent years NO polls took account of the probability of voting !

  35. @Sam

    The decline in pensioner poverty masks the fact that pensioners themselves have a wide range of incomes depending on whether they have private or company pensions in addition to their state pension. It is dangerous to treat them as one homogenous group:

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/15229193.More_than_one_million_single_pensioners_now_wholly_dependent_on_state_pension_for_their_income__analysis_shows/

    It is likely that the single pensioners will be mainly women who were not in the workforce for most of their lives.

1 2 3