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”

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  1. First?

  2. It’s like Dunkirk.

    The UK has gotten itself – rightly or wrongly – into what has been described as a Tory-inspired mess. (‘A cat fight that got out of hand’). There were many options other than Brexit.

    But now it is a done deal. The thing is happening. So people are standing four square behind the governing party.

    I wonder… will there be an Attlee moment once all the dust has settled? Will the Churchill be kicked out?

    I suspect that that will be the case. But only the future will tell……

  3. Very good impressed by Mr Corbyn’s Easter message.

    We need to work hard for peace and social justice.

    Hope will always triumph over hate.

    Let’s all work for a better world.

  4. Good morning all from a sunny rural Hampshire.

    ” 71% support increasing the minimum wage”

    So almost a 3rd of those questioned don’t want to see an increase in the minimum wage..who are they?

    Over 65’s only 58% support increasing the minimum wage.

    Only 51% of Tory voters support increasing the minimum wage, a full 20% lower than their nearest rival the Lib/ems 71%.

    It’s evident the older Tory voters are less enthusiastic at seeing their younger peers make a decent living for themselves for whatever reason.

    “Very good impressed by Mr Corbyn’s Easter message.”

    Yeah, I particularly liked his closing statement….”The greatest success to Amanda Knox on being treated better by the Italian judicial system than Jesus Christ was” ;-)

  6. @KeithP
    ‘My impression of the current polling numbers is this

    Con 44
    Lab 26
    Lib 10
    UKIP 11’

    I don’t think the Tories are in reality as high as 44%. I would think that Con 42% Lab 28% is nearer to the truth. Even then, if an election were to take place, I doubt that the Tories would win by more than 10 – 12%.

  7. Graham,

    So you think that there would be a swing back to the opposition?

  8. Bill Patrick

    Election campaigns usually do work to the advantage of the Opposition.Since 1951 the only examples of that not happening are 1979- 1992- 1997 – and 2015. In 1992 & 2015 we now know that the polls were almost certainly wrong throughout the campaign due to methodological issues. The elections of 1979 & 1997 were exceptional in that the Opposition had a very big lead at the outset of the campaign so that some rallying of support for the incumbent Government was to be reasonably expected.

  9. @GRAHAM

    Depends what you mean by “the election campaign” but most recent elections would fit the pattern of the government doing better in the election than in their polls in the months leading up to voting let alone their midterm polls. So arguably the situation could also be even worse for Labour than it looks now…

  10. It would be really helpful if you could the Green Party into the summary table and show their numbers in all reports.
    The Greens are the only national party with membership in high tens of thousands not listed. The fact that they are somewhat behind the other parties does not mean people are not interested in their performance, good or bad.
    The Green voice is very distinctive and having it ignored in many reports leads to being ignored by the press which leads to low polling numbers due to lack of exposure.
    Let’s change that and report equally on all national parties, especially with sitting MPs and high membership.
    Thank you in advance

  11. This polls is unclear as to the nature of the question on Brexit and its context.

    The Yougov’s poll tends to have one question that is expressly backwards looking (i.e. was the right decision taken), and others which relate to future decisions (e.g. should there be a second referendum).

    It is unclear where this one sits. If 55% represents the sum of those who positively support Brexit plus those who simple accept the referendum result, then it is not that good for Leave. But then the trend of the poll’s results is apparently upwards.

    The poll from ORB shows a big swing of pensioners worrying more about trade than immigration. This may suggest that fears that the EU is going to give the UK a kicking do not necessarily correspond to deciding that the EU is a good thing. The way potential swing voters view the dynamic of the negotiations should things turn one-sided is not necessarily the same as those who though that it would always be thus (many of whom were hoping for that.)

  12. @ Graham
    The last polls from each of the five main pollsters have shown the Tories as 45,45,43,43 and 43 – that seems a pretty good steer towards the range 43-45%.
    No pollster is polling 42%, so I can’t see how you can sensibly assert this as the right number!

    For Labour the equivalents are 25,25,25, 29 and 30, so at least your 28 is in the range, but it is hard to see why – statistically – that looks the most likely figure on that basis; the average is 27% and three pollsters out of five have arrived at 25%.

    For completeness, LDems are 7,11,11,11 and 13 (average 10.6%)
    UKIP are 6, 9, 11, 11, 14 (average 10.2%)

    So, based on averages across the pollsters we would expect:
    Tories 44%
    Labour 27%
    LDems 11%
    UKIP 10%
    Other 8%

    I guess we will find out a few clues at the locals;
    – if Opinium are right then the Tories will make some small gains from all three other parties over a fairly dull evening
    – if Comres are right then the Tories will take huge gains off everyone, and the LDems a few off Labour and UKIP
    – if MORI are right, the LDems will take some gains off Tories, the Tories a few off Labour, and everyone lots off UKIP
    – if Yougov and ICM are right the Tories will do well off Labour and UKIP, but the LDems might nick a few off all three parties

    Looks like a fun night – lay in the popcorn (or spring rolls in my case…)

  13. Let us think about the homelessness amongst us at this Easter time. I have just returned from a vigil held by all the faiths in our community.
    Quite inspirational.

  14. BFR
    You should know by now that Graham has a unique poll-of-poll weighting system where any poll that shows Labour below 26% is discounted while any poll that gives them over 29% is weighted double!

  15. Peter Cairns SNP

    Very sorry to hear your family news on the previous thread. We have often crossed swords on here but my thoughts are with you and your family.

  16. And the loneliness.
    It is all around us, sadly.

  17. The ORB poll is very encouraging for Brexiters and is in line with what i expected at this stage. As I have said previously many will think TM has played things very well so far.


    I would not have a big argument with your estimate although I think Labour at 28% is a touch high at the moment.

    @ Graham

    I agree with your analysis regarding average VI for the parties but we’ve been here before with GRAHAM and it just keeps going round and round and round in circles.

    However, I’m not quite with you on your analysis regarding the locals. Surely you’re not suggesting the national VI can be used as a barometer for what might happen in the locals? If that’s the case then you must be dumbing down the Lib/Dems chances of making significant gains because the sort of swings we’ve seen towards the LibDems in countless by-elections this year alone would have them gaining a lot more than what their national polling is showing.

    I admit the party are small fry national but I’m expecting big things from them locally and to make a real push for the by-election in Manchester.

    Let us think about the homelessness amongst us at this Easter time. I have just returned from a vigil held by all the faiths in our community.
    Quite inspirational.

    Kind words but we should be thinking about the homeless all year round and not just around the time a big bunny decides to crap out a big easter egg.

  20. Interesting article in “Election Studies”.

    “So who really does the donkey work in ‘multi-speed membership parties’? Comparing the election campaign activity of party members and party supporters”

    Concludes that (simply because there are so many more of them) strong supporters of parties, who aren’t members, do more actual electoral activity than members!

    The study looked at BES data on Con, Lab, LD, UKIP, Green and SNP members and supporters.

    Contains useful tables like
    “Social and political characteristics of British political party members, 2015″”Which of the following things did you do for the party during the 2015 election campaign?.”
    “Estimates of mean number of campaign activities by party members and very strong partisans, 2015”
    “Partisan identification by vote, 2015”
    “Voting preference by party membership and partisan identity, 2015”
    “Number of estimated campaign activities per party”

    The salience of politics itself within a polity might be what explains this –

    All else being equal, models confirms that members and non-members of every party participated in significantly fewer activities than members and supporters of the SNP. The gap with SNP participation is particularly evident for Liberal Democrat and Conservative party supporters, and, to a lesser extent, for Labour and UKIP supporters.

  21. @Bigfatron
    ‘The last polls from each of the five main pollsters have shown the Tories as 45,45,43,43 and 43 – that seems a pretty good steer towards the range 43-45%.
    No pollster is polling 42%, so I can’t see how you can sensibly assert this as the right number!’

    I am sorry but I am afraid that you need to look again!
    The last Yougov poll on 6th April had the Tories on 42%. GfK – formerly NOP – had them on 41%. We now have Opinium giving them 38%.

  22. Ashcroft’s poll also had the Tories on 41%!

  23. TOH
    ‘I would not have a big argument with your estimate although I think Labour at 28% is a touch high at the moment.’

    Well – Gfk has Labour on 28% – as does Ashcroft. Opinium gives them 29% whilst Mori gives a 30% rating. ICM, Yougov and Comres all have Labour on 25%. ICM have historically tended to give Labour lower ratings stretching back to 1997.I have discussed at some length the sudden drop with Yougov last September which was not mirrored elsewhere – but will not go over that ground again. That leaves us with Comres – of which the least said the better!

  24. @ Graham
    NOP have just published their first poll for years – hence I was not including them in the five main pollsters; their methodology looks a bit odd too… Similarly I have’t tried to use Ashcroft
    Yougov on 42% I give you, but my point is that this Opinium at 38% looks like an outlier – the other four main pollsters give (as you corrected me) 42,43,45,45…

    I find it as hard to take seriously as taking the UKIP at 6% or LDem at 7% terribly seriously.

    And if you do include this Opinium in the series you still end up with an average that rounds to 43%!

    However my main point remains – if Opinium are right we should get a strong clue to that effect in the locals… but I’m not holding my breathe too hard.

    No, of course locals are different and you can’t extrapolate directly across. b=But you can take the national polls in May 13, look at the poll movement 2013 – 2017, and then see what that would do to the local election result.

    The wide variation in 2013-17 poll movement company by company gives a chance at least to test the relative accuracy of the various house effects – it’s by no means exact or conclusive but it has to be indicative, surely, given we have nothing else to go on?

    I know some commentators are predicting some big gains for LDems; however I believe Rawlings and Thrasher’s prediction of 100 seat gains for the LDems is based on the last period’s local by-election results rather than opinion polling, and they also have a history of over-stating the LDems by ~3% on average.

    Taking all that into account I think my predictions are fair – I mean if you simply went on current national poll numbers the Tories should be rinsing the LDems (and everyone else) on 4th May!

  25. @Bigfatron

    I don’t think it reasonable to see Opinium as an outlier at all. If we are seeing anything it is a ‘house’ effect. The pollster has tended have the Tories in the late 30s/very early 40s pretty consistently.I would also argue that there is evidence of a ‘house’ effect re ICM and Yougov. Comres I tend to ignore.

  26. I find it mental people don’t want an increase in the minimum wage.
    Having a minimum wage should cut down some of the benefits we pay out.
    How low do some people want others to be paid?

  27. @Allan Christie

    Yes, the LDs are apparently threatening in Manchester Gorton. I expect them to lose to Labour, but run them close.

    They will do well in the locals, and I reckon a gain of 100 seats. I see Labour losing at least 200, maybe 300. My thinking is that traditional Labour voters may turn the locals into a vote on Corbyn.

    UKIP are really struggling and I think they could lose at least 100 seats. I see modest gains for SNP and Plaid, and perhaps some surprising success for the Greens, especially in traditional Labour areas. Tories to gain 150.

  28. @Millie
    ‘My thinking is that traditional Labour voters may turn the locals into a vote on Corbyn.’
    I think that would be a considerable overstatement. From what I’ve seen doorstepping, I think there will be a Corbyn effect but that in the main that will turn Lab voters into WNVs rather than voters for other parties. I have detected zero positive Corbynimpact on VI other than one voter who said he had always voted Tory but was pleased that we now have a proper socialist at the helm so he can vote Labour. It takes all sorts.
    I don’t know whether there will be a Corbyn effect on activism either: round here activists are rather depressed and not doing much. Virtually none of the hundreds of new members lift a finger other than to criticise longer term members and the Labour record. But we don’t have elections here this year and people like @Syzygy (IIRC) have said new members are active elsewhere. How that goes will have an impact on turnout: my reading of the polls suggests that a sizeable proportion of Lab weakness is former Lab voters now in DK/WNV mode

  29. Millie

    “I see modest gains for SNP”

    Maybe – maybe not.

    Our STV system is very different from FPTP when it comes to tactical voting, and the “Vote till ye boak” campaigns from both pro and anti indy supporters could actually result in more Independent councillors being elected in politicised councils, as they may receive more preference transfers from both sides, as they can be seen as less dangerous than “them” (whoever folk think “them” is!)

    I’m making no predictions about Scottish council election results!

  30. Pete
    “I find it mental people don’t want an increase in the minimum wage.”

    I suppose many of them would prefer market forces to be the arbiter of wages rather than the government.

  31. Pete B

    “I suppose many of them would prefer market forces to be the arbiter of wages rather than the government.”

    Or maybe not – if the restrictions on Trade Unions were removed, so that organised labour could play its role in determining the market cost of labour.

    There are other potential market forces than those that are currently in play.

  32. ON
    So are you saying that some Trade Unionists would be amongst those against the minimum wage?

  33. @PeteB they might be if it meant their employer would go out of business (possible for some SMEs)

  34. Bardini
    Thanks. So that’s several reasons. I hope that’s answered Pete’s original question.

  35. lol got my Pete’s mixed up!

    Another reason, though not a pleasant thought , is that some politicians have peddled the line that high wages here are encouraging immigration so raising the national minimum wage would potentially act as a bigger draw to economic migrants. Not sure how much that idea has sunk in…

  36. Allan Christie

    I derect cynicism in your remarks.

    Take care, it can eat away at you.

    I know this from personal experience.

    Hope is the way. In politics as in life.

  37. Pete B

    Nope – just that some of the people you described perhaps prefer a “market” which has been skewed by Government in favour of employers.

    There will also be some, who would see the minimum wage and tax credits, which subsidise employers) as being an incentive to employers to pay no more than that, and would welcome their abolition as a way to force up wages.

    Lots of people, however, would see some role for Government in keeping some balance between the unbridled demands of employers and employees. whether the Government is unfair to either is the political question.

    I actually can’t think of a period in Scottish or English history since the start of the 2nd millennium, when Government hasn’t interfered in the “labour market” to some degree or other.

  38. Rudyard

    I would think that some of those on your vigil are active in helping the homeless all year round – as will others be tho don’t have a religious faith.

    As a cynic about political parties (and organised religions), I share your view that “Hope is the way. In politics as in life.”

    That too, is not restricted to people of faith – which is just as well considering the results of the latest Scottish Church Census!

    only seven per cent of people in Scotland now attend Christian worship

    The comments by the various Kirks on the findings are remarkably similar to those of losing political parties after elections! I suspect that is a characteristic of all organisations representing strands of opinion that are losing ground.

  39. So Erdogan has won his referendum with a massive 51.36 % of vote for yes, and 48.64 % for no……

    Is Turkey’s democracy slipping away?

    I think this is likely to move Turkey further away from EU membership (not that it was even close before).

  40. Interesting suggestion from Matthew Taylor that the minimum wage should be higher for workers on zero hours contracts. Difficult to see an argument against that.

  41. @ Guymonde

    You remember correctly. My CLP has been rejuvenated by new pro-Corbyn members. However, the new does not mean particularly young or inexperienced campaigners and that probably makes a difference. Most of the ‘new’ have been involved in ‘low wage’, refugee, climate change etc single issue campaigns.

    However, I recognise the situation that you describe in your CLP and know of others in the SE, as well as other ones which are like my own.

    My experience of canvassing in the local elections is similar. Everyone wants to talk about transport, and the poor/non-existent bus service in rural areas. Very few mention Corbyn and (to my surprise) no mention of
    Brexit. My impression is that national politics are not really playing a part down here… but then it is very much a Tory area.

  42. Regarding the minimum wage – it depends entirely on the rate at which it is set.

    You need a minimum to prevent people being exploited. Set it too high though, and the jobs get automated away.

    Seattle experimented with increasing their min wage in stages to $15 (about £12). You can see the results in the following article which has graphics for seattle employment:

    Employment was climbing right up to the point where they hiked the minimum wage, and then it started to fall.

    So even in a high tech city like Seattle where high earners don’t mind shelling out money in restaurants etc, and presumably paying a premium to support the min wage hike, the local economy was still sensitive to a min wage that high.

  43. @ Candy

    What a surprise for you to quote the findings of a conservative think tank.
    The Washington Post published a more nuanced view:

    There is clearly a level at which a minimum wage would be counterproductive for workers in general. After all, we know that must be true as the Conservative Party fought tooth and nail to prevent its being implemented, just like the NHS and many other things that they now think they invented.

  44. @Syzygy
    Our local Momentum ‘branch’ is now regularly issuing press releases against the Labour council.
    This is a generally Laboury area and the council is Labour controlled, so our local work is mostly seeking casework for councillors and MP. Well, not exactly – more asking if they have any concerns. The top three concerns in no particular order are potholes, litter and Corbyn, all of which crop up time and again.

  45. @Guymonde

    The article I quoted used stats from the US employment figures – they just commented on them, they didn’t create the stats themselves,

    How typical of you to pretend that the stats are “findings” from a conservative think tank, instead of US govt stats…

    I should have added, there are lots of side benefits to raising the min wage for a city like Seattle.

    It has a housing problem, with soaring house prices, and if you wanted to shrink the size of your city, the surest way is to hike the minimum wage to a point where businesses feel it. That would force businesses to automate jobs. The people who lost their jobs would move out of the city to somewhere else, and your housing problem would then get solved…

  46. Old Nat,

    I agree in general re: the Scottish local elections. I think that the Tories will almost certainly increase their total and the SNP will probably increase their total, but by what margins I do not know at all.

  47. Bill Patrick

    It’ll be fun to see though!

    (That’s the actual results and Transfer reports I’m talking about – not the turgid nonsense being spouted on TV by the politicians)

  48. @Candy – just dropping in briefly, but you may be interested in more recent data from Seattle?

    This one – shows the minor blip shown in your link, and then sees Seattle post really quite a sharp drop in unemployment from March 2016, outstripping both state and US wide data.

    I have no idea as to the causes, but it would be premature to take evidence of a couple of bad months as meaning anything much, if the subsequent eight months then show unemployment tumbling.

  49. Good evening all from rural Hampshire. It’s a bit cold tonight.


    I agree all we have to go on is recent polling but I would ha thought the Lib/Dems local by-election results would have given the Libs greater expectations.

    I’m sure the party will win in excess of 200 gains. That’s my prediction.
    @Allan Christie

    Mostly agree with your analysis but I reckon the Lib/Dems will gain far more than 100 seats and the SNP will make some spectacular gains in Scotland. It is hard to predict a total seat tally due to the STV system but I honestly think the SNP are going to do extremely well and in some areas, tactical voting will be useless due to the overwhelming support for the SNP in former Labour bastions.

  50. PETE B
    “I find it mental people don’t want an increase in the minimum wage.”

    I suppose many of them would prefer market forces to be the arbiter of wages rather than the government.

    If it was left to market forces then half the population would be living in poverty. I do agree that market forces should be the arbiter of wages but there has to be a law on what is an acceptable amount for someone to live on.

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