A quick update on some polling figures from the last few days.

ComRes released a new telephone poll for the Daily Mail on Friday. Topline voting intention figures were CON 37%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4% (tabs are here.) On the EU referendum ComRes had voting intentions of REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 36%, DK 10%.

YouGov also released new figures on voting intention and the EU referendum on their website. Their lastest topline VI figures are CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3% (tabs are here). On the EU referendum they have Leave slightly ahead – REMAIN 38%, LEAVE 42%, DK/WNV 20%.

Finally Ipsos MORI also released EU referendum figures (part of the monthly Political Monitor survey I wrote about earlier in the week). Their latest figures are REMAIN 50%, LEAVE 38%, DK 12%.

There continues to be a big contrast between EU referendum figures in polls conducted by telephone, and conducted online. The telephone polls from ComRes and Ipsos MORI both have very solid leads for remain, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, Survation and others all tend to have the race very close. In one sense the contrast seems to be in line with the contrast we saw in pre-election polls – while there was little consistent difference between online and telephone polls in terms of the position of Labour and the Conservatives (particularly in the final polls), there was a great big gulf in terms of the levels of UKIP support they recorded – in the early part of 2015 there was a spread of about ten points between those (telephone) pollsters showing the lowest levels of UKIP support and those (online) pollsters showing the highest levels of UKIP support. It doesn’t seem particularly surprising that this online/telephone gap in terms of UKIP support also translates into an online/telephone gap in terms of support for leaving the EU. In terms of which is the better predictor it doesn’t give us much in the way of clues though – the 13% UKIP ended up getting was bang in the middle of that range.

The other interesting thing about the telephone/online contrast in EU referendum polling is the don’t knows. Telephone polls are producing polls that have far fewer people saying they don’t know how they’ll vote (you can see it clearly in the polls in this post – the two telephone polls have don’t knows of 10% and 12%, the online poll has 20% don’t knows, the last couple of weekly ICM online polls have had don’t knows of 17-18%). This could have something to do with the respective levels of people who are interested in politics and the EU that the different sampling approaches are picking up, or perhaps something to do with people’s willingness to give their EU voting intention to a human interviewer. The surprising thing is that this is not a typical difference – in polls on how people would vote in a general election the difference is, if anything, in the other direction – telephone polls find more don’t knows and refusals than online polls do. Why it’s the other way round on the EU referendum is an (intriguing) mystery.

The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 35%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 10%, GRN 3%. The full details are on ICM’s website here and again come with some pretty candid and downbeat commentary from Martin Boon, who writes that the raw data is still heavily skewed towards Labour and that – to his mind – the existing data correction at the analysis stage isn’t succeeding in correcting it (Martin was also interviewed in Radio 4’s interesting programme this week on why the polls went wrong, as was Joe Tywman of YouGov, Damian Lyons Lowe of Survation, James Morris of GQRR and Pat Sturgis – the Chair of tomorrow’s inquiry into the polling failure).

There were three other GB voting intention polls in the weekend papers. ComRes for the Indy on Sunday had figures of CON 40%, LAB 29%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 3%, Panelbase in the Sunday Times had toplines of CON 39%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14% and Survation in the Mail on Sunday had CON 37%, LAB 30%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 3%.


Opinium have a new poll in today’s Observer – topline figures are CON 38%, LAB 30%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%. Tabs are here. The rest of the poll largely concentrated on leadership questions. Cameron’s approval rating stands at minus 6, Corbyn at minus 25, Farage minus 18, Farron minus 22 (though over half of respondents said don’t know on Farron). Net favourable vs unfavourable ratings were similar to job approval – Cameron -5, Corbyn -28, Farage -21, Farron -19.

Asked about the specific qualities of the leaders David Cameron’s strongest ratings were on being decisive (+5), having the nation’s interests at heart (+3), being a strong leader (+8), getting things done (+11) and standing up for Britain abroad (+4). His biggest weakness, as you will almost certainly have guessed, was being in touch with ordinary people (-34). After five years as Prime Minister, a decade as Tory leader, we know how Cameron is perceived by the public: an effective national leader, but posh and out of touch.

Asked to rate Jeremy Corbyn on the same measures his top ratings come on sticking to his principles (+32) and being in touch with ordinary people (-2). His ratings elsewhere are negative, particularly on being a strong leader, getting things done and standing up for Britain abroad (though the last two are a little unfortunately worded – one could have answered them in the context of Corbyn not being able to get things done because he’s not in government).

Best Prime Minister David Cameron leads by 41% to Corbyn’s 20%. With Cameron stepping down before the general election this match up is never going to happen though – when Opinium asked the same question with David Cameron’s potential successors the figures were far closer: 27% Osborne, 24% Corbyn; May 29%, Corbyn 23%; Boris 34%, Corbyn 23%. The Tory party don’t love David Cameron, but electorally they may miss him when he’s gone.

Earlier in the week there was also the monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Daily Mail. Topline figures there were CON 37%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 5%. These are good figures for Labour by the standards of ComRes, who since introducing their new socio-economic turnout model have shown the largest Conservative leads, typically around eleven points. Of course, it is just one poll, so all the usual caveats apply… it may herald a narrowing of the polls, or may just be random sample variation and go back to more typical figures next month. Full tabs are here.

Yesterday there were two EU referendum polls showing the race essentially neck-and-neck. Today there are two more EU referendum polls, but both of these have REMAIN with a solid looking twenty-plus point lead. ComRes for OpenEurope have topline EU voting intention figures of REMAIN 56%, LEAVE 35% (tabs are here). Ipsos MORI for the Standard have topline figures of REMAIN 58%, LEAVE 32% (full tabs are here)

Note that MORI asked the referendum question as a split-sample. Half the sample were asked how they would vote in a referendum, stay in or get out (MORI’s long term tracker question), the other half were asked the actual referendum question. The stay in or get out question had a split of 53%-36%, the actual referendum question question produced a bigger lead for staying in 58%-32%. Wherever possible, I am using questions that use the actual referendum wording, so those are the figures that have gone in my EU referendum tracking data here.

The difference between EU referendum voting intentions appears to be a gap between online polling and telephone polling. It’s always difficult to be certain of course – there are many differences between different companies’ approaches and there haven’t been that many telephone polls – but the phone polls from ComRes and MORI are averaging around REMAIN 55%, LEAVE 35%, DON’T KNOW 10%, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, ComRes and Survation are averaging around REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 40%, DON’T KNOW 18%. The telephone polls have “remain” substantially higher and, intriguingly, “don’t know” substantially lower. As ever, it’s difficult to be confident what the reasons are – it could be a difference in sampling (if for some reason online or telephone samples reach respondents who are substantially more or less pro-European) or it could be an interviewer effect (if people are less willing to tell a human interviewer they would vote to leave or they haven’t yet decided).

Meanwhile the monthly MORI voting intention figures were CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%.

The monthly ComRes online poll for the Indy on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out today and has topline figures of CON 40%(-2), LAB 29%(+2), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 16%(+1), GRN 3%(nc). The changes since last month are likely just a reversion to the mean – the previous poll was the one giving the Conservatives a fifteen point lead that got lots of people rather overexcited. Full tabs are here.

If that was last month’s Twitter overexcitement, this month everyone is getting too excited about the Scottish crossbreak in the ComRes poll which has the Conservative party ahead of Labour. Don’t read anything into this: regional crossbreaks in voting intention polls are best ignored. With a sample size of 156 people the margin of error of each figure is about 8 points. On top of that GB polls are generally sampled and weighted to GB targets, so the figures within crossbreaks may be a bit off.

There aren’t many recent polls of Westminster voting intention in Scotland – at the current stage in the electoral cycle most Scottish polls are asking exclusively about the Holyrood elections. Looking at those figures there are some showing Labour and the Conservatives quite close in support (the latest MORI and YouGov polls had them within two points of each other), there are other companies (like TNS) showing a bigger gap. There haven’t been any proper Scottish polls showing the Conservatives ahead of Labour in Holyrood intentions.

Of course, it’s possible that the Conservatives are doing better than Labour in Westminster voting intentions in Scotland – we haven’t had a recent poll – but I expect this one is just a case of random noise from small sample sizes. Looking at other recent GB polls YouGov had Labour ahead of the Conservatives in Scotland, so did ICM. MORI had the Conservatives ahead. I expect the true position is that they have quite similar support, meaning that in small crossbreaks random chance will spit out some with more Tories than Labour, some with more Labour than Tories.