Two polls are out tonight. A Kantar poll conducted between last Thursday and Sunday (so before the bombing) has topline figures of CON 42%(-5), LAB 34%(+5), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 4%(-2). TNS has a turnout model based partially on age, so has tended to show larger Tory leads… but this poll has it dropping ten points and falling into single figures. Tabs are here.

YouGov’s weekly poll for the Times meanwhile has topline figures of CON 43%(-1), LAB 38%(+3), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 4%(+1) – a Tory lead of just five points. Fieldwork for this poll was conducted on Wednesday night and Thursday daytime, so is the first conducted entirely after the Manchester bombing. Tabs are here.

The Tory lead is clearly continuing to fall away at a rapid rate. On the face of it one might be tempted to conclude that the actual impact of the bombing was to help the Labour party, but I think it more likely that it’s to do with the disastrous Tory manifesto launch. I posted earlier about the negative impact of the Tory manifesto. In contrast the Tories still seem to have a good lead on security and terrorism – in today’s YouGov survey people say they trust Theresa May far more than Jeremy Corbyn to make the right decisions on terrorism (55% trust May, only 33% trust Corbyn) and the Tories have a strong lead on the issue of Defence and Security. That suggests to me the cause of the narrowing is far more likely to be the manifesto, row and u-turn.

As ever, all the usual caveats about one poll apply. Before one gets too excited wait and see if other polls show such a tight race, and whether or not other polls show any more impact from the bombing. As things stand though the election suddenly seems a little less of a foregone conclusion than it appeared at the beginning of the race.

915 Responses to “Kantar and YouGov show the race narrowing…”

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  1. The papers are snookered.

    If you want to frighten people about the idea that terrorists would go on the loose if the other lot get in, when er, there may be terrorists on the loose right now? That only works as a line if the currently security situation is okay.

    On the other hand, it raises the salience of an issue that traditionally benefits the government.

    I would hope that the terrorist attack will be a net neutral in the election campaign. The idea that such a monstrous attack might subvert an election is disturbing to say the least.

  2. My last post got slightly garbled as I wrote it, hopefully the sense is clear!

  3. Good Morning to all at UK Polling.

    What a lovely morning.

    Whatever your stripe, with two weeks to go, go forth and engage with the great British public.

    Put your arguments forward – and be ready for some robust debate !

    We are lucky we can

  4. If security becomes a key issue in the GE, it looks like its all over! 43 point lead for May vs Corbyn

    Matthew Goodwin [email protected]

    “Will keep Britain safe from terrorism”
    % Net trust

    Theresa May +25
    Amber Rudd -16
    Jeremy Corbyn -18
    Diane Abbott -53

    Latest YouGov


    The press have been in full on attack mode for weeks, what’s changed is that they are no longer confident it won’t backfire. The Mail has essentially no election coverage at the moment, I assume they think any escalation is risky at this point.

    MARTINW: It’s very hard to find – I saw a screenshot of it on reddit, took ages to navigate to the actual yougov page! Here it is

    It’s one of those live surveys for yougov members so not a “proper” poll, but it’s striking that a plurality of every party’s voters agree with Corbyn, as well as a pluarlity of every single demographic.

  6. porrohman

    Anecdote time:

    My daughter is at Reading Uni and at last election time was the lone Red amongst a sea of Blues – they had to agree to not talk politics as got heated especially after booze

    Now? True blue is (almost) universally Corbyn – and that change predated the recent promise to scrap fees this year.

    Losing the EU Referendum has concentrated some minds too. The big, big questions are

    Can Corbyn actually get 18-24s into the voting booths?

    Can he get enough of the grey vote?

    Traditional (rational?) answers to both are ‘NO” – but

    Something Is In The Air.

  7. DANNY
    ” Much of our long term immigration has been a legacy of empire and it continues.”

    Most of it, however, is a post-colonial legacy in the development of domestic and international labour markets and in the strengthening of secondary and tertiary education in the former colonies, particularly from the 1950’s, when W.A.C. Mathieson headed the headed the Department of Technical Cooperation in the Colonial Office by putting the bulk of overseas aid into educational development (and then became the Minister of Education in Government of Kenya). The growth of populations and disproportionate urban growth, still continuing, has meant almost universally in sub-Saharan and N. Africa 60% unemployment of educated youth, much of which acts rationally in looking to migration as a means of supporting their families and a future for themselves. Similar development has taken place in Asia and the Near East. Germany, with no extant colonial territories, has three times the net migration of the UK.
    This,, however, also reflects that migrants are recognised, officially in German government policy, and in independent research institutions in the UK, as needed to correct the demography of an ageing population, and the sress and eventual impoverishment which this will cause in the imbalance of an aged dependent population with the active work force. Industry, of course, both in the UK and in the rest of the EU, recognises the need and reality of the contribution which migrants make to their operations and to the economy.

  8. Cripes! Haven’t looked into the Pooliverse that is UKPR since 2015. Nice to see that most of the old codgers are still around. Watch out for the ‘Eyeballs in the sky ‘ you lot.
    Just one comment: Is Wales different to the rest of south Britain? Or was the resurgence of the Labour vote a harbinger, if the other Labour heartlands south of Hadrian’s Wall firm up as well then the bricks of a Tory majority disappear.

  9. WELLYTAB – No pluratiy at all. The majority of women who completed the self subscribed online poll did not agree (neither did voters from 2 of the 5 political parties listed or those in C2DE demographic). Early on the “live result” was a strong lead for “agree” (maybe when you looked at it?). Maybe AW can comment on how these “live polls” are weighted and how much trust we should put in them, but there was certainly not “plurality of every party’s voters agree(ing) with Corbyn, as well as a pluarlity of every single demographic” – far from it!

    Also Guardian, Telegraph and FT all mention Corbyn’s speech and May’s response.

    Let’s try to keep this commentary section partisan free and factual – plenty of newspaper comment sections if you want to express a partisan view!

  10. Theresa May +25
    Amber Rudd -16

    I must say that’s a hard contrast to comprehend. Has May undetaken some particular policies distinct from Rudd’s, or got some particular style that impresses people, or is it just the fact of being the incumbent prime minister that gives her a massive advantage, one which being incumbent home secretary can’t? Or is it because Rudd is remembered a strong Remain, and some voters are tying the EU to immigration and immigration to security?

  11. RP
    Difference is similar on the red side:

    Jeremy Corbyn -18
    Diane Abbott -53

    It could just be that Rudd and Abbott aren’t as well known to the general public and therefore not trusted as yet. However looking at May vs Corbyn, or Rudd vs Abbott – the differences are similar 43 points or 35 which tells a story about relative trust of the parties on security matters

  12. @Trevor Warne,
    Are you talking about the same poll as Wallytab?
    …because it says 48% of women agree (23% disagreeing, the rest not knowing).

    That’s a plurality. Plurality is an American word meaning the largest single share but not an absolute majority. In this case it’s not over 50%, but it would be if you excluded don’t knows, and it’s also larger than the proportion of don’t knows.

  13. DANNY
    “If the conservatives believed that hard Brexit will be OK economically, they did not need an election. Just get on with it.”

    But Mays current majority is not enough to be sure to see off soft-brexit opposition from within the ranks. And there is still the one key reason she gave for the GE which I think does hold true – that the culmination of the A50 process should not get caught up in our electoral cycle. They did not want the EU to be able to manipulate/pressurise the UK govt by way of their knowledge of a GE that would have come in 2020.

    Mind you I think the biggest reason for the GE now was pure opportunism on May’s part and its looking increasingly like she might have blown it. Such a disaster over the manifesto and senior Tories right now – if you can find them anywhere in the media – seem like headless chickens. And unfortunately for May the Manchester atrocity has greatly complicated any plan they may have had to try to destroy Corbyn by way of his alleged past IRA sympathies. Panic stations in CCHQ.

  14. @danny I cannot believe that the conservatives want to lose the election. Apart from that I am convinced by your analysis.

    This, for me, is bad news all round! I think that TM will win but by nothing like the amount that she expected. She may therefore think that politically (which is they way she generally seems to think) she has to go for a hard Brexit and has been closing down the hatches in preparation for an economic blizzard. We get Brexit bur on the worst of all possible terms.

    On the actual economic consequences I am prepared to believe ToH and think that in the longer term there may be a viable future striking our own deals with the rest of the world and generally showing the buccaneering spirit so characteristic of Drake and co when England similarly faced problems over trading its wool etc with Europe.

    There are, however three reasons I don’t like this. First, I don’t like the kind of things we might have to do in order to accomplish this long-term future. Second, I think that the immediate economic consequences may be so dire that we are too debiltated to seize our chances and Trumps lot will buy up all our good industries at bargain prices anyway. Third, I am of an age (79) when my chances of living to see this golden age are zero (ToH is more altruistic and consciously voted for his grandchildren).

    One of the ironies of this situation is that my contemporaries seem to be the ones who have voted against their immediate interests (as witness TM’s preemptive strike). Moreover the nobler among them have been doing so for the sake of their grandchildren who by and large are either too young to have thought about the matter or don’t want Brexit at all. There’s nowt so strange as folk.

  15. Anybody care to guess on tonight’s YouGov? I think we have a few polls tonight.

  16. Please could someone tell me whether the leadership polling questions have the same rate of response as the voting intention questions?

    I realise they are done at the same time but I was wondering whether some respondents answer the initial voting questions and then skip the remaining questons. If enough people did this it could perhaps partly explain why Labour are doing better in the polls than Corbyn (and previously Miliband’s) leadership figures suggest?

    Perhaps people who only answer the first few questions are also less politically engaged and therefore less likely to vote? That could also explain why Miliband’s leadership figures ended up being a better guide than Labour’s Voting Intention figures in 2015.

  17. Steven Wheeler – Same people respond to both. If people drop out of a survey half way through they aren’t normally counted (otherwise the sample for later questions wouldn’t be representative!)

  18. Charles

    “the buccaneering spirit so characteristic of Drake and co”

    Sounds like you’re being ironic, but are you suggesting post-Brexit Britain will ‘return’ to the good old ways of piracy that enriched Elizabethan sailors?

    Though actually I think we are now as far off from the Elizabethans as, say, modern Italians are from Rome, or Norwegians are from Vikings. Nostalgia for a misty past (even a more recent one like the 50s) is a poor guide to future prospects in a rapidly changing country in a rapidly changing world.

  19. Re Corbyn foreign policy link to terrorism. It seems to me that many including Corbyn have wondered why on earth would anyone do a thing like that? They then try to fit into their belief system a possible rationale for why a human would act in that way. Surely it’s something we have done to provoke this extreme inhuman reaction? So past interventions in “moslem lands” become not the justification, but rather the explanation for deeds we just cannot comprehend.

    All fine except that the people doing this do not themselves offer up the same explanation. Given that the claim of isil that they were responsible mentioned a shameful gathering but not foreign policy I think you can apply Occam’s razor. They want to create an ever expanding hard line (in our mind) caliphate and will kill to achieve this.

    Where foreign policy is involved it is that they would prefer to be left to overcome moslem populations in their current target countries without interference. So when we make the link (for them)
    between blowing up concert goers and foreign policy we very likely give them credit for something they did not not intend but are happy to accept.

    Given Corbyn’s anti imperialist guilt for the past and “it’s about the oil” convictions it is this belief system he fits terrorism into whereas he only has to listen to isil for the more obvious answer. It’s about the caliphate.

  20. I think there is a distinct possibility that Labour will get a higher vote share than any election since 2005 (personally doubt they will exceed) but lose perhaps 30-50 seats.

    Is this a success? I guess it may depend on if you are a JC supporter or not?

    I ask as I thought that the last GE whilst not being a good result was imo not as bad as many made out.
    It was the loss of seats in Scotland that meant less Labour MPs with a higher UK vote share; and, the LD collapse to the Tories that enabled a Tory OM.

    Neither of these could be attributed much to Ed Milliband; the Scotland debacle to an extent but not the Tory taking LD seats phenomenon which is what enabled the OM.

    So for 2 GEs in a row Labour could increase it’s vote share and lose seats, could happen in 2022 as well due to boundary changes!

  21. Thanks Anthony. That destroys my wild hypothesis this then.

  22. @GB

    I think Corbyn’s argument is that destabilising Middle-Eastern countries provides a breeding ground for terrorists, not that it is their chief motivation. That’s why Andrew Neil’s question about why on Earth would Sweden be attacked didn’t make any sense. Everybody agrees that ISIS has a monstrous ideology based on hate – the dispute is whether intervening militarily increases or decreases the threat of terrorist attacks.

  23. @ RP – noted. @ WELLYTAB – apologies.

  24. @GB

    I think you’re spot on. What slightly surprises me is that Corbyn made his speech on terrorism and repeated his views on the supposed foreign policy linkage as it seems such a risky strategy. AN repeatedly asked him what the foreign policy linkage was and imho he struggled. May needs to credibly dispute his claims with the reality of what isis etc is about, which will leave some concluding he was just seeking political gain on the back of a tragedy. And it gives the Tories carte blanche to attack him on his other comments relating to terrorism in the last couple of years.

  25. Morning all from a now the rain has gone it looks like its going to be a bright sunny day P(S)RL

    A couple of days ago I posted that I thought the risk for Corbyn was that despite his ability to make a clear and logical position on terrorism his opponents would be able to extract certain comments and use them out of context. I still think that risk is there – but will have to see how the polls go over the weekend.

    Having watched both May and Corbyn’s interviews with Andrew Neil, I don’t think either performed particularly well or came across as likeable – which is a key decider in ‘presidential elections’. I think most people would’t want to have a pint with either of them. May looked a bit robotic and did nothing to allay growing concerns around trust (given the number of u-turns possibly undermining her brexit image). whilst Corbyn came across as defensive and lost his cool a bit.

    For Corbyn I think the interview was a lost opportunity, I don’t think it lost him any votes but also doubt it will have persuaded many to change their minds to vote for him. For some time I have thought the Tories are there for taking, and that all it needed was for the opposition to have credible leader. In many ways Corbyn is credible, people trust that what he says he believes and he is consistent, and I don’t think they see his comments on terrorism’s cause as cynical (even if hey disagree with him). However, I think what he(and May) lack is charisma of the type that tends to win presidential campaigns. Without that edge it comes down to who is the lesser of two evils – and I think May still has the edge here to give herself at least a working majority

  26. Personally I think turning all fire upon Corbyn regarding national security is a risky strategy.

    People know there is a link between western intervention and increased terrorism. The risk is once again making JC look like the lone right man being attacked by a self serving establishment

  27. @john pilgrim:

    Analysed in terms of the reproduction of the means of production, the low European birth rate necessitates immigration.

    But this means bringing in people from high birth rate cultures. The cultural impact is left of account by industry as it is not something that concerns the capital interest.

    Some European countries are 40% shy of birth rates necessary to maintain population. It does ‘t take a genius to work out that making up the shortfall with though migration creates a problem radically different country, particularly if you practice multiculturalism.

    Of course, for most the real debate on immigration is in this cultural area, and economics is just a proxy war. It ranges between outright racists to those who want to drive diversity to ever higher levels. But there is a pretence it is about economics.

  28. I think Corbyn’s views on the causes of terror have been misrepresented to a certain extent. First of all, I don’t think he was suggesting there was a sole cause, much less a justification.

    Secondly, there are two distinct ways in which UK or Western actions abroad could be a contributory factor – (1) in prompting retaliatory action, and/or assisting recruitment in the West and elsewhere, and (2) in destabilising those territories, creating the space in which extremism can grow and flourish.

    I believe JC was primarily making argument (2) but seemed to get misinterpreted as putting argument (1).

    Of course, this is not the forum in which to debate these arguments.

  29. Patrick Brian

    I was being half ironic. ‘Buccaneering’ is sometimes used in a good sense to imply boldness, self-assertion and a willingness to take risks I think that one should concede these qualities to ToH and those whom he represents and also that they have, in his words, a certain nobility.

    On the other hand ‘buccaneering’ can also be used in a bad way to imply ‘foolhardy’, criminal, willingness to ignore the rights of others. I think that if one actually came to think through how we are most likely to survive in this new hard world this meaning could also apply. I am not saying that ToH would want to do this or even that TM wants it (her new ‘industrial strategy’ may be a way of trying to avoid it).

    However, I think it likely that survival may force us to adopt many strategies that I don’t like. Away from the regulatory straightjacket of the EU the city of London may try to keep its position as a world trader by adopting practices that are risky and/or (in my view) dubiously ethical. Faced with the need to strike deals with America we may open our NHS to cherry picking by firms that will sue us if we protest. Without the protective shield of the EU we may have to accept imports that are the products of sweat shops or drive down our own wages in an effort to compete. Away from all this pesky regulation we may be tempted to make our cities even more polluted and our workshops more unsafe in an effort to keep down costs. Obviously we will want to outcompete Ireland (and Scotland if they are no longer with us) in driving down corporate taxes. And with or against our will we may be forced into competitive devaluations that hit the poort and render our industries even more likely to be gobbled up by such outsiders as may want them.

    Obviously not all of this is likely and obviously TM is taking some actions to try and prevent it (on workers rights, for example). But some of it may occur against our will. I don’t like it and I don’t think it has been thought through.

    And on the history – I obviously agree with you. Drake is from long ago. The only force in the analogy is that around that time we also had problems in trading with Europe (or so I am told – I am not a historian). And we responded with boldness and determination but also, in my view, with behaviour which we would now regard as criminal, racist and wrong.

  30. AR558

    “such a large proportion of the electorate are prepared to vote for such a hard left manifesto from LAB.”

    Public opinion doesn’t consider those points (nationalisation of utilities, progressive taxation, higher spending on public services, etc) hard left. They may consider the current labour leadership hard left (I doubt it), but it’s not the same thing.

    There are some surprising overlaps between the philosophies of the Labour and Conservative manifestos, which means that the voter’s choice on those questions is not if buying orange juice or wine, but which brand of baked beans.

  31. @RP If that is what Corbyn meant then that should have been what he said, but it isn’t.

    A lot of people on here trying to justify his stance and quite frequently projecting their own thoughts, beliefs and opinions onto him. It’s understandable if you like the bloke.

    Corbyn likes to avoid using declarative statements, making implications instead, so that when he does the opposite of those implications he can say well I didn’t say that.

    This may work well to bring sympathetic voters on board but it just amps up the distrust in those unsure of him.

  32. Joseph1832

    Agree completely. The economic necessity/population shortfall argument for immigration is strong but, as you say, the cultural argument is a different one. In my opinion this discussion tends to be shut down by extreme views from both ends of the spectrum.

    From a corporate point of view, the business of business is business.

  33. LASZLO

    Is nationalisation alone not seen as Hard left? especially on such a large scale? Do we have any data to backup that? I would be surprised at that considering no Labour Manifesto has proposed it before since 83 (which is commonly considered the most left wing manifesto of the last half century) if it isn’t?

  34. Nationalization is a tool used for varied reasons by various govs of all shades.

    See uk list.

  35. Planning a trip to Kew Gardens – just said to the wife “I’ll check weather forecast – it’s not supposed to rain”

    She replied “it’s like those opinion polls – they’re lying to you”

    (she knows I spend far too long on this site and always end up depressed when Lab lose in the end)

  36. Woah! Woah! Long experience has taught me that arguing about whether a manifesto or a party is far-left, hard left, hard right, far-right or whatnot is really not conducive to non-partisan discussion. One of the few subjects (along with “who won at this week’s PMQs… why, it was the leader of the party I support!” and “is the BNP more left wing or right wing”) that is just a complete no-go.

  37. RP
    ” there are two distinct ways in which UK or Western actions abroad could be a contributory factor – (1) in prompting retaliatory action, and/or assisting recruitment in the West and elsewhere, and (2) in destabilising those territories, creating the space in which extremism can grow and flourish…I believe JC was primarily making argument (2) but seemed to get misinterpreted as putting argument (1)….
    Of course, this is not the forum in which to debate these arguments”
    Yes, that was his argument, and the reason why it is correct to debate it here is that we are concerned with identifying factors which are salient in polling on VI – which this is, since it provides an insight into why Corbyn has, over the years, engaged with people associated with terrorism as a political weapon. Without an attempt to understand their motives or goals, it would be difficult to engage in a dialogue leading to any means available to a democratic state, or to political activities operating legitimately within it, to achieve a bridge to reconciliation and inclusion.
    An ability and the courage to do that might be an important attribute in a governing party or prime minister.

  38. I think nationalisation of essential natural monopolies is consistent with the principles of Adam Smith. There is a good capitalist argument that natural monopolies should be in public hands or at the very least strictly controlled.

  39. @ RP

    Exactly. Failed states that have been bombed to bits create a space for terrorist groups to take hold and recruit people in desperate circumstances.

    And with modern internet technology these terrorists can have videos online being viewed by impressional brains anywhere in the world.

    Of course if western forces are involved, these terrorists groups will blame them, even if they had nothing to do with civilian deaths.

    In regard to politics and votes, i am not sure it is possible for Corbyn to win a majority of opinion to his point of view, but it does not mean he does not have a point.

    I am concerned by a weakness in Corbyn in believing that behind the evil hatred of terrorists, that there is a potential democratic rational discussion to be had. If you are trying to deal with ISIL, they don’t have any politcal issue they are fighing for. It is simply an extreme ideology where they want to eradicate non believers. There is really only one way to deal with that and Corbyn as PM would have to face up to it.


    Sorry I wan’t meaning to take things in partisan direction. I was trying to be as impartial as I could (note. I didn’t state whether I thought this was good/bad or whether I supported/opposed it). Surely the perceived political position on the spectrum of any policy/manifesto has any impact on it’s perception and therefore how if effects a party’s VI?

  41. AW- please let me out of moderation hell !!

    Can anyone tell me why Lord Ashcroft is STILL showing a Tory majority of over 140?

  42. It’s often been noted that UKIP supporters are more in favour of renationalision of the railways than supporters of other parties

  43. Publicly owned water, energy, and transport infrastructure is considered perfectly normal in most civilised countries. It is the UK which is the odd-one-out here.

    We have solid polling evidence which shows that LAB policies are popular with the majority of the public. This at the very least makes them ‘mainstream’ in relation to public opinion, even if they break away from current UK political orthodoxy.

    I see Corbyn today is offering more free goodies. This time to football fans to coincide with the FA cup final.

    I don’t think we should underestimate the allure of free stuff that ‘someone else’ pays for. Compared to the torture chamber that is the CON manifesto (in the national interest of course).

    The question is, in the privacy of the polling booth, do people vote I the national or their own interest? 1992 suggests the latter, as polling at the time showed most people thought a Labour government would be good for the country, but bad for their pocket.

    Now the Tories are not promising tax cuts or any goodies at all. They wanted to make this the Brexit election but LAB are controlling the narrative.

    Prediction for yougov tonight:

    CON 44
    LAB 36
    LD 7
    UKIP 5

  44. The polls today will be among the most keenly anticipated for a while.

    If they continue to show a movement towards Labour, by which I mean a mirroring or narrowing of the recent YouGov findings (which would be my guess) then the Conservatives are going to have to change their tactics. They might need to do a “we are listening to you and were wrong” broadcast and statement to make any significant impact.

    If the polls increase the lead for the Conservatives from 5 – especially if they can get anything like close to 10 again – then I think their campaign will continue as it is now.

  45. @AR588
    Anthony didn’t actually remove your question. I expect his intervention was more because any attempt to answer it would almost certainly have to be.

  46. R HUCKLE
    “There is really only one way to deal with that and Corbyn as PM would have to face up to it.”
    If you mean armed intervention, such as in Libya, Iraq or Syria, then you have not been listening.
    On all three he has recognized, including in the AN interview, when he could get a word in edgeways, that armed intervention might be justifiable if it had a clear justification and a clear goal leading to lasting peace, conducted by the UN or NATO with UN and Security Council backing, and if it included long-term measures to achieve stability and the restoration of good governance and economic development.
    He has correctly, however, pointed out that ISIS does not survive in isolation, and that a means of defeating them which he would advocate is that of cutting off their money supply and armament in negotiated agreement with Iran and other ME states.

  47. Nick, no the Polls and the Weather are both always correct.
    It is just the way we interpret them , that may be wrong.

  48. Thanks for the prediction Dr M, anyone else for tonight?

  49. The terror threat level is reduced to severe.

  50. JOSEPH1832
    “the real debate on immigration is in this cultural area, and economics is just a proxy war. ”
    We do have data on this, notably for the UK the 2016 UK Commission for Employment and Skills – Working Futures
    This demostrates the opposite of what you argue: both motives in migration and economic justification in official statements and the views of industry are basically economic, and – in such provisions as Labour’s proposals for a Migration Fund – related measures for cultural integration are intended to deal with the social stresses which ensue.

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