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. Hat tip to Donald and RAF too

  2. Hawthorn – “Burnham wood” have made a difference!

  3. @ RAF

    A good point. We could yet see some unwind, particularly as the Tory VI is still holding pretty firm in high figures.

  4. Can I point out to those people still trying to guess the Shakespeare play I have already given the answer – in Geordie nae less !! – up-fred [so to speak, no offence to any Freds intended].

    Actually I don’t know any Freds these days.Like Norman and Albert it seems to have gone out of fashion.

  5. @Paul Croft – lovely to have you back again.

  6. Corbyn could be the UK’s Trump, winner by complete surprise

    May could be the UK’s Hillary Clinton, loses due to a poor campaign with people assuming win and not voting.

    Is this at all possible ?

    Two weeks ago, i would have said never, but actually i think it is possible that people will start to think positively towards having a Labour Government led by Corbyn. The problem for Labour is that they will have enough difficulty holding on to seats with UKIP voters backing the Tories to deliver Brexit. To actually win target seats would require something extraordinary happening.

  7. Alec: Thanks very much. Feels like I’ve never been away, what with all this drama and jollity.

  8. stephen Wheeler

    Were you born in 2015?Night after night neck and neck. One pollster never showed a labour lead of less that 2% throughout the campaign. If you gov are wrong about the labour % and it is 34 then ther ehas been no momentum to labour since the last poll and it has indeed stalled.

    I know that i am sounding like General Custer tonight but the noises from the the constituencies do not cry out “labour Spring” I also look forward to the first sightings of the postal votes which labour uncut will bring us.

  9. Cleggmania dissipated due to a combination of the novelty wearing off, a typically unscrupulous set of headlines together with a decidedly lacklustre performance in the second leadership debate.

    None of those can really apply this time round. COrbyn is not new, he’s been bashed in the press repeatedly, and May chickened out of debates. The key things for Corbyn are tomorrow’s interview and Monday’s QT.

    As for what might happen in a Corbyn-led government, I would expect all but the most Blairite to happily rejoin the fold. Much of the issue was not with content but rank incompetence in presentational terms. With the apparatus of the state behind him, a Corbyn government might turn out to be a very different proposition.

  10. S THOMAS

    You know the polling companies have changed their methodology since 2015? Their headline voting numbers suppress LAB and increase CON support to compensate.

  11. Also Miliband’s LAB never scored anywhere near 38. His highest VI was 36 and they were outliers – on the 2015 methodology which inflated LAB VI.

  12. On the Tories going back to Brexit as a strategy, it might be just this poll or something I’ve missed but Yougov has remain voters substantially more likely to vote than leave.

    That’s unlikely to be the elderly so we could be looking at whether the working class labour vote stays faithful, switches or stays at home.

    If May has been chasing the Brexit Labour vote and the Middle Class Remainers are planning their revenge it could be interesting.


  13. To add to my point about herd instinct in voting, there’s probably nothing more likely to get young Corbynites out to vote than the possibility that they could feel for that one moment “part” of a Corbyn victory.

    And let’s not forget that Corbyn has a very different definition of victory for us mere mortals.

  14. May appears to be coming out of her honeymoon at the best/worst [delete as appropriate] time.

    Still taking it all with a hefty pinch of salt, but she and the Conservatives do increasingly have a ‘Mourinho season 3 Chelsea’ feel about them

  15. @ Hawthorn

    The Labour manifesto and programme is the one they should have had to balls to go for in 2015. It is not exact extreme compared to the European norm.
    Actually, it was having Balls that was the problem…

  16. This campaign just became interesting… and it might be about to get dirty.

    Corbyn is going to be playing a very dangerous game with his speech tomorrow – it will polarise and will either make or break him.

    TM is going to have to pull out an absolute ace card to make up on this, but it seems that JC “buying” the votes of the younger audience who wouldn’t normally vote is paying off (as opposed to trying to take the older vote).

    That said, UKIP’s tanks are now on Labours lawns with similar policies being promised, so if TM can stand back and let them 2 fight it out, that might help her out.. Her policies seem to not go into direct conflict with the other 2, so it may end up that the headline policies will be competing for voters and dilute the vote between the 2.

    If UKIP can just secure 2 or 3% of Labours current vote then the Con VI % will work out just fine for their majority… But.. if Labours speech tomorrow goes well, it may be the knock-out punch needed.

    TM’s best hope is that UKIP go for the jugular of Labour..

    Unless of course…. once again the polls are wrong…

    Either way, I’m booking the 9th June off work as I can see it will be an all nighter..

  17. “I think there tends to be a lag with the polls.”

    Isn’t the main reason for lag the fact that polls tend to have fieldwork that ended a couple of days before they were published? Today’s YouGov is up to date, but most polls we see aren’t.

    Or do you also think it takes a while for events to sink in and get a reaction from the electorate?

  18. To put it mildly I have not been a Corbyn fan but the excerpts from his speech which is to be delivered tomorrow, and which I have just read on the Guardian site, seem quite brilliant to me – and very difficult to argue against

  19. David you posted, inter alia
    ‘ I think also one or two on this site have referred to the 1987 election when, late in the day, there were polls showing Thatcher with 3% and 5% leads and eventually she got a landslide’

    Yes I am one of them; a somewhat pessimistic Labour Party Member, although I think we are heading for less than 100 seat majority which was my initial guesscast.

    I thought throughout the 2010-15 parliament that whilst another hung parliament was most likely there was a chance of a Tory Victory and took much flak on here from other Lefties. (I was taken in by the polls and forecast a hung parliament on here in the end but was not as surprised as some at the outcome).

    For me if Labour can keep net seat losses to 35 or less it would have been a successful GE campaign and more than 45 would be unsuccessful but I hope I am wrong of course and that the losses are less.

  20. AW’s write up on the party/leader favourability ratings is quite interesting, suggesting Labour/Corbyn were starting to move ahead until Monday’s atrocities. TM thus may be pulling things back together.

  21. Would seem from a Facebook Post from the Conservatives that’s JUST popped up, that their attack is Brexit and who’s best placed to negotiate..

  22. How can the You Gov Poll show a fall in the Tory Vote of 1% and a combined rise for the other four parties of 5%?

    Shome Mishtake Shurely.

    Also being elderly, I remember in the 1987 election campaign, a week before the election, a poll appeared in the Daily Telegraph, showing the Tory lead down to 4%. And there were rumours of another one showing the lead down to 2%.

    Margaret Thatcher nearly had to be confined to a straightjacket.

    One week later she was returned at the polls with majority of 102.

    Theresa May of course, is not Margaret Thatcher. But neither is Corbyn, Neil Kinnock.

    One thing about Mrs May that isn’t much commented upon however, is the fact that until now she has never played a significant part in any General Election either on the inside or fronting it.

    She was invisible in 2010 and in 2015, and was in hiding in the EU Referendum.

    Cameron however, was very photogenic, voter friendly, and kept good order. And Osborne was a great tactician.

    ‘Oh Superman where are you now’?

  23. @S Thomas
    It wasn’t so much the prediction of 100 seats I was objecting to. It was the fact that you shifted your seat prediction upwards after hearing the latest poll. So what will happen to your prediction if Labour take the lead?

  24. Running the new data through my region model, this is the output:

    Con – 347
    Lab – 225
    SNP – 48
    Lib Dem – 6
    PC – 3
    Grn – 1

    Con Majority – 44

  25. The leadership rating conundrum I was having is solved by AW’s explantion

    May’s rating DID plummet after Monday night’s train wreck, but has gained some back in this poll as part of the fallout from Manchester

    Nicely graphed in the article.

  26. A lot of excitement here about tonight’s polls, but are they really that surprising or representative of a sea change in opinion?

    Labour’s manifesto launch clearly gave them a bounce, and the Conservative’s weak manifesto has probably lost them a couple of points, but 42 is still a comfortable majority on uniform swing. What is key for the Conservative majority is how and where UKIP voters turn to them. A UKIP nightmare is a 2nd referendum/soft Brexit scenario which would play out under a Corbyn/Sturgeon coalition. The thought of this will give the Conservatives a significant boost from UKIP in close seats where they are standing.

    Secondly people are talking about momentum with Corbyn now, but the counter to that is the next 2 weeks there will be a wave coming against him….Andrew Neil interview tomorrow will likely provide some Tory attack fodder, Brexit will come back into the campaign towards the end – after all that is what the election is meant to be about. The right wing press will be going hard against him particularly on terrorist support etc., Tories have been saving up their huge election war chest for last 2 weeks campaigning (marginal seats and social media spend etc) and the single biggest reason people will choose their candidate on June 8th is who would they prefer as PM: TM or JC.
    For these reasons, I find it extremely hard to believe it will get much better than this in the polls for Labour though anywhere near mid 30s and Corbyn may well be able to survive as leader, which would be interesting to say the least.

  27. David you posted, inter alia
    ‘ I think also one or two on this site have referred to the 1987 election when, late in the day, there were polls showing Thatcher with 3% and 5% leads and eventually she got a landslide’

    Yes I am one of them;, although I think we are heading for less than 100 seat majority which was my initial guesscast.

    I thought throughout the 2010-15 parliament that whilst another hung parliament was most likely there was a chance of a Tory Victory and took much flak on here from others of my pursuassion. (I was taken in by the polls and forecast a hung parliament on here in the end but was not as surprised as some at the outcome).

    For me if Labour can keep net seat losses to 35 or less it would have been a successful GE campaign and more than 45 would be unsuccessful but I hope I am wrong of course and that the losses are less.

  28. Sygyzy

    Re Balls. Indeed.

  29. Here is the vote share by region:


    Lab 44.6
    Con 36.0
    LD 12.2
    UKIP 3.9

    Rest Of South

    Con 52.4
    Lab 26.1
    LD 12.4
    UKIP 5.0

    Midlands Wales

    Con 45.0
    Lab 37.5
    LD 7.6
    UKIP 5.6


    Con 36.4
    Lab 48.1
    LD 6.8
    UKIP 5.9


    SNP 43.3
    Con 27.8
    Lab 21.5
    LD 6.0

  30. The Conservative’s attempts to paint Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser will not be helped by the memory of the similar campaign against Sadiq Khan. It should not help the credibility of their accusations in the eyes of the general public.

  31. Hi Richard!

    I’ve been absent for a bit for various professional and personal reasons but I like to drop in occasionally.

    I’m now living in Hallam but for various reasons haven’t taken much of a role in the campaign and have been canvassing elsewhere in the city.

    The three key questions with Hallam are 1) how damaged is Clegg’s brand now as opposed to 2015, 2) how many of his tactical Tory voters will go home now a coalition isn’t on the cards, and 3) how well will the Labour vote hold up?

    It’s not inconceivable that with the wrong combination of answers Clegg could lose by dropping back while Labour stay still. Tory prospects look slim, the chair of the local Conservative Future tells me there’s no money going into it and they start 26% back – though there are a fair few Ian Walker signs about, probably more than last time.

  32. @Mr Nameless

    My analysis turns Sheffield Hallam red.

  33. Conservatives have had a negative response to their manifesto so far, Labour have a very positive response and it appears that Labour have gained momentum…

    One thing that I am not sure about is what the business world is thinking because the polls do not seem to take this into hoping its equally positive towards the Labour manifesto because if its not everything else could go up in a puff of smoke….

  34. R.Huckle: “Two weeks ago, i would have said never, but actually i think it is possible that people will start to think positively towards having a Labour Government led by Corbyn.”

    Well, for 18 months the vast majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party has not had that view, and his support amongst longer term Labour members was minor. Nor (see Robin, above) is it that the disagreement was just presentation not content. The whole reason why many centrist Labour MPs nominated Corbyn was so that a particular wing of the Labour party wouldn’t be left out.

    Whatever the reasons for the swing to Labour it is not that people have appreciated Corbyn’s inner moderate. All stuff about the IRA is true enough for those of us with long memories – but rather besides the point when TM delivered a tribute to Martin McGuiness a couple of months ago!! And it is not that the young are going to come out and vote – because a quick calculation will show that an extra 20% of 18-24’s voting will only add 2% to Labour.

    We can try to rationalise it in terms of responses to particular policies, but I think a large number of old Labour people who last year voted for Brexit are going to vote for a massively pro-immigration multiculturalist because they think he cares and reminds them of a more socialist Labour.

    Also, the Tories have barely run their campaign against the idea of a Labour government. They have run a campaign on why they should have a 150 majority rather than a 100. And it is a bit late to put that right.

  35. @Mr Nameless

    Thanks, good to get some local info. Hopefully all your hard work building up your base last time bears fruit this time round.

  36. @Mr Nameless

    Current projection for Sheffield Hallam:

    Lab 40.8
    LD 40.1
    Con 19.3

  37. Paradoxically the hope of a strong Labour showing may encourage Lab voters to vote Lib Dem in seats where Labour have no chance and LDs are the challenger/incumbent.

    The Dems are certainly not going into coalition with the Tories again.

    This is a GE that is ore complex than most and that’s for sure.

  38. If Corbyn is saying that the likes of Iraq have made a terror attack more likely, then as I recall from some YouGov polling a while back, so do a clear majority of the British public.

    Good Campaigning is often telling people what they already believe and that makes it both effective and hard to counter.


  39. what is the gap needed to produce a hung parliament?

  40. Current YouGov under some calculations would give Tory majority of just 2.

  41. I still think the Tories will win with around a 100 seat majority.

    If by chance Labour did win, the only thing I can think of is a lot of people think they’ve sod all to lose. I mean if you’ve got nothing anyway, then why not gamble?

  42. Well, well, well. Have I timed by UKPR return just as this thing is getting interesting. Deep down, I suspect not and harbour doubts about Team Corbyn’s ability to both seize and capitalise on momentum, but we’ve had a clutch of polls now that suggest something may just be happening out there.

    Possibly only a minor part in the opinion shift, but was I the only one who thought that May’s interview with Neil on Monday was an utter car crash, witnessed as it was by quite a few million voters?

  43. Aaron
    Re: UKIP parking its tanks on Labour’s lawn

    I’m not so sure UKIP will appeal to many Labour voters. I think they are pitching for working class leave voters who, up until the last couple of weeks at least, were firmly in the Con column. I can see UKIPs position as taking more from the Cons than Lab.

  44. Uniform National Swing with the Tories leading by 5% may well give them an overall majority of just 2, but given that polling in Scotland all seems to point to Con gains from the SNP, I’d expect the actual result to be a very similar majority to 2015’s.

    A Tory lead of 3% probably would result in a hung parliament, albeit one where they could probably rule with ‘confidence and supply’ from the DUP.

  45. @Crossbat, no, it wasn’t the interview – I along with the rest of the population didn’t watch that – it was the 10pm BBC news that we all did watch following the interview…I agree, complete car crash.

    Jeremy should just cancel the interview, he has more to lose by doing it in my opinion.

  46. JIM JAM

    Thanks – yes I thought hung parliament last time round but was always puzzled by the polls which had Tories ahead both on the key issues of leadership and trust on the economy. It’s the same here again, and still by some margin. So your assessment could be near the mark – but May doesn’t look the part so much and Cameron I suppose had the advantage of knowing it could be close and keeping him and his party on their toes.

  47. @ Crossbat11

    At least one well established RoC denizens of this place had a similar view on TM’s Andrew Neil interview.

    The interview along with the Welsh Manifesto “nothing has changed” launch did not come over well IMO.

    I am beginning to wonder whether the hiatus in the campaign, rather than hurt Lab by stalling their momentum, might actually be working for them by baking in the negatives of the U-turn (and TM’s denial thereof).

    Time will tell.

  48. For what it’s worth, I’m still expecting the Tories to win comfortably in the end – perhaps 45/33/10 for Con/Lab/LD.

    And a majority of about 80.

  49. David West:

    I think it’s also worth recalling that the 2015 Tory campaign heavily involved the suggestion of “vote Labour, get the SNP in government” which I believe to have been a key factor that led to the Conservatives winning. We’re not seeing much of that this time around, especially since there’s little talk of an SNP landslide now.

  50. I think we are all surprised to see this shift post bombing. Perhaps AW is right that it’s more to do with the manifesto, but I’m not convinced – at the time of the fieldwork the news was totally dominated by the bombing.

    Here’s my theory – perhaps rather than being a perfectly timed distraction from May’s woes, the bombing may actually have compounded them. With apologies for the armchair psychology, the country has been hit where it hurts precisely at the moment when people were having doubts about the the competence and caring of May’s conservatives – perhaps, consciously or subconsciously, the two are now linked in some voters minds?

    One other thought. As the campaign has played out, it seems that Corbyn’s judgement of the public mood has been excellent. Not only has he produced a manifesto of policies that are almost all popular, but – against the wisdom of even his own party – he has correctly judged that people are no longer in the mood to argue about Brexit, and that a renewed focus on domestic issues could bear fruit. May and Farron’s narrow focus on Brexit now seems silly and out-of-touch.

    Is JC a genius? I would submit not. I think the key to his mysterious prescience may be that, unlike most politicians sitting in party HQ poring over polls, Corbyn has actually spent an awful lot of time talking to actual breathing voters…

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