YouGov have a new Scottish poll out tonight, done jointly for the Sun and the Times and YouGov’s first since the second debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling. YouGov’s previous poll showed a significant four point shift towards YES, narrowing the NO lead from 22 points to 14. Today’s poll doesn’t just confirm that, it goes further – topline figures are now YES 42%(+4), NO 48%(-3), Don’t know or won’t vote 10%(-1). Excluding don’t knows this is YES 47%(+4), NO 53%(-4).
This means that over a month YouGov have shown the referendum race coming right in from a pretty consistent NO lead of around twenty points right down to just six points. The sharp narrowing of the gap echoes the Survation poll after the second debate which had looked as if it was just a reversion to the mean. This suggests something more is afoot.
As ever, we should be careful of reading too much into a single poll – it’s the wider trend that counts – but it looks like this may go right down to the wire (and considering that YouGov tend to show some of the less favourable results to YES, does make one wonder what the next poll from a company like Panelbase might show).
UPDATE: Also out tonight is the monthly ComRes/Indy telephone poll which has topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 35%(+2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 17%(nc) and the daily YouGov/Sun poll which has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%
The monthly ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight. Topline figures with changes from their previous online poll are CON 32%(+1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 18%(+1): no significant change from a month ago.
ComRes also did a batch of favourable or unfavourable questions. As usual no one actually got a positive rating – the least unfavourable was David Cameron (minus 18), followed by Nigel Farage (minus 21), Ed Miliband (minus 34) and Nick Clegg (minus 43). For the political parties the Conservatives and Labour were both on minus 16, UKIP were on minus 19, the Liberal Democrats on minus 40.
Having the Conservative party and Labour party viewed equally unfavourably is unusual. Whatever the ups and downs of day-to-day politics, the Labour party is normally seen more positively than the Conservative people (people see Labour as having it’s heart in the right place in a way the Tory party doesn’t). As ever, it’s just one poll so unless other polls start showing the same I wouldn’t get too excited.
Following on from the two point and four point leads in the Ashcroft and Populus polls today the other two voting intention polls tonight both have six point Labour leads.
ComRes‘s telephone poll for the Indy has topline figures of CON 27%(-3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 17%(-1)
Meanwhile YouGov‘s daily poll for the Sun has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%
The monthly online ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 31%(-1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(-1), GRN 4%. Changes are from ComRes’s last poll a month ago, and don’t show any significant movement.
I sometimes see people asking if asking “if there was an election tomorrow” produces different results from “the next election in May 2015″. ComRes did a split sample this month asking and asked the two halves with the two different wordings: there was no significant difference. Asking about next May produced a Tory score one point higher, UKIP two points lower… but these differences could easily be normal sample error (especially given they were only to half sized samples).
If you really wanted to test if the different wordings had any effect you’d need to test on a much bigger scale to differentiate any effect from normal sample error, especially since any difference is likely to be small. Personally I doubt it does make any difference, but would always ask “tomorrow” on principle, just to emphasize that a poll really is a snapshot of opinion NOW, not a prediction of opinion next year.
Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer is also out tonight, and they have toplines of CON 30%(+1), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(-1).
This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs are here.
YouGov also asked specifically about the reshuffle for the Times. Usually reshuffles are essentially a lot of people the public have never heard of being replaced by a group of other people the public have never heard of. This reshuffle was at least unusual in that it involves some ministers – like Michael Gove and William Hague – who the majority of respondents will actually recognise and have an opinion about. YouGov found that the majority of people thought that Hague had done a good job as Foreign Secretary… and that Gove had done a bad one as Education Secretary. 63% of people, including a majority of Conservative voters, thought it was right to remove him from the Education role.
Asked about how well represented women are at the top of the Conservative party, 36% now say they are very or fairly well represented. That’s up from 29% at the start of the week, but is still well below the 48% who think women are well represented in the Labour party. Will it make any immediate difference? Probably not – in the months and years to come being less male-dominated will probably improve the Conservative party’s image a bit, but it’s certainly no magic bullet. You can see at the top of this post that today’s voting intention figures are wholly in line with those from before the reshuffle.