Saturday night polls

We should have a truckload of polls tonight. There is a new Opinium, a new ComRes for the Indy & Sunday Mirror, YouGov for the Sunday Times, probably an ORB and perhaps an ICM for the Sun on Sunday. I’ve seen rumours of Survation too (they normally poll for the Mail on Sunday) and we’re overdue a Panelbase poll. The thing to look for is whether polls continue to show a narrowing of the Conservative lead – keep an eye on the fieldwork dates, more recent polls could be showing an impact from reactions to the bombing (or, indeed, the effects of the dementia tax row fading). Also remember the house effects I wrote about earlier – ICM and ComRes tend to show larger Tory leads anyway, so even if they show a significant movement towards Labour it may still leave the Tories with a good lead.

The first poll we actually have figures for is Opinium, who have topline figures of CON 45%(-1), LAB 35%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 5%(nc). Changes are from the previous week and fieldwork was on Tuesday and Wednesday, so just after the Manchester bombing but before political campaigning had resumed. We have movement towards Labour, but the Conservatives still managing to cling onto a double-digit lead. Tabs are here.

ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and Independent have topline figures of CON 46%(-2), LAB 34%(+4), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 5%(nc). Changes are from a fortnight ago, and fieldwork was between Wednesday and Friday. The Tory lead has dropped by six points, but ComRes tends to give the Conservatives some of their better figures, so this still leaves them with a twelve point lead. Tabs are here.

I’ll update this post through the evening as other polls appear.


ORB’s weekly poll in the Sunday Telegraph has topline figures of CON 46%(nc), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 7%(-1). The changes since last week are by themselves insignificant, though it’s worth noting that the Labour share of 32% is the highest they’ve managed in any poll so far in the campaign. Precise fieldwork dates are not available yet, but the Telegraph’s write up says it was at least partially before the Labour manifesto leak.

Opinium in the Observer have topline figures of CON 47%(+1), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 5%(-2), GRN 2%(nc). Again, the changes are small, but reflect a narrowing of the lead and the highest Labour score of the campaign so far. The Tory lead is still extremely large, but it appears to be getting a little smaller. Once again, fieldwork for this poll started on Tuesday, so would have been mostly before the Labour manifesto leak. Tabs for that are here.

A third poll from ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and Independent has topline figures of CON 48%(-2), LAB 30%(+5), LDEM 10%(-2), UKIP 5%(-2). The narrowing is much sharper here, but that’s because it’s a different time scale: ComRes’s previous poll was conducted straight after the election was called when most polls were giving the Tories a twenty-plus point lead, so the changes here are echoing the decline from twenty-point leads to leads in the mid-to-high teens that we’ve already seen from other companies. Fieldwork here was Wednesday to Friday.

Overall the pattern seems to be a slight narrowing of the Tory lead, but it’s a case of a truly humongous lead becoming merely a towering one: a lead of fourteen to eighteen points will still deliver a very hefty majority. The election also seems to be becoming more and more of a two horse race. UKIP’s support fell sharply at the start of the campaign and only seems to have gotten worse since then and while many (including me!) expected the Liberal Democrats to increase their support during the campaign, it has yet to happen. If anything, Lib Dem support seems to be being further squeezed.

Still to come tonight we have the YouGov/Sunday Times poll. We’ve also had an ICM poll every weekend of the campaign so far (either for Robert Peston’s show or the Sun on Sunday), but I’ve no idea whether we will have one this week or not. I’m not around tonight, so will update on any other polls that emerge tomorrow morning.


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Yesterday I wrote about how manifesto policies don’t really have much effect on voting intentions. Today’s ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror neatly illustrates it.

The poll asked about the individual policies in Labour’s leaked manifesto and found strong support for almost all of them. Banning zero hours contracts, renationalising railways, building more council homes, keeping the pension age at 66, increasing tax on those earning over £80,000, bringing back train conductors were all backed by a majority of respondents (and most of the other policies they asked about received more support than opposition).

After all those questions on Labour’s policies ComRes went onto ask which party people thought had more realistic and well-thought through policies. After having approved of nearly all of Labour’s policies, respondents went onto say that the Tories had the more realistic and thought through, by 51% to Labour’s 31%. Asked if they would be more or less likely to vote Labour having heard about all these new policies 34% said more likely, 47% said less likely. Asked who was running the better election campaign, 42% said the Conservatives compared to 20% for Labour.

One can perhaps rationalise this as people liking Labour’s policies but not thinking they are realistic or thought-through (supporting something is, after all, not necessarily the same as thinking it’s realistic), but it does underline that what makes a party attractive or not to voters is about an awful lot more than a shopping list of policies that meet with public approval.

ComRes also asked the “like the party/like the leader” question (getting people to say if they like both the party and its leader, just one or the other, or neither). While the results don’t come as a great surprise, it nicely illustrates exactly why the Conservative campaign is focusing on their leader rather than their party and the Labour campaign really isn’t: 49% of people said they liked Theresa May, 11 points ahead of the Conservative party on 38%. In contrast only 27% of people said they liked Jeremy Corbyn compared to 46% who like Labour, a nineteen point deficit compared to his party.

Full tabs are here


As well as the Opinium poll I’ve already written about, there is also a ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror and a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times tonight. In addition there’s a Panelbase poll of Scotland for the Sunday Times.

The ComRes poll has topline figures of CON 50%(+4), LAB 25%(nc), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 7%(-2), GRN 3%(-1). It echoes the same pattern we’ve seen in every other poll conducted since the general election was announced – UKIP dropping, the Conservatives increasing, and a huge lead for the Tories. The fifty point share for the Conservatives is apprently the highest ComRes have ever shown for anyone, though the last time any poll showed it was, I think, MORI giving the Conservatives 52% in 2008. Full tabs are here.

UPDATE: YouGov‘s Sunday Times poll has topline figures for Great Britain of CON 48%(nc), LAB 25%(+1), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 5%(-2) – changes are from the YouGov/Times poll in the week. UKIP are continuing to fall, 5% is the lowest YouGov have shown them for five years. According to Tim Shipman the Panelbase/Sunday Times Scottish survey is also very strong for the Tories, I’ll update when it appears.

UPDATE2: There is also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday. Survation topline figures are CON 40%, LAB 29%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11%. Changes from the last Survation poll in January are Conservatives up two, Labour unchanged, the Lib Dems up one and UKIP down two. The hyperbolic Mail on Sunday headline about the Tory lead being halved appears to be based on comparing it to the ICM poll conducted straight after the election was called. As ever one should only compare polls from the same company conducted using the same methodology – otherwise it’s just as likely that any difference is down to different methodological approaches (there are significant differences between how ICM and Survation weight their data, model turnout and deal with don’t knows).

However, ignoring the Mail’s write up and taking the Survation poll on its own merits, it is showing a tighter race than the other polls – Labour and UKIP are a couple of points higher than other companies’ figures, the Conservatives lower. The fieldwork was a little later (conducted on Friday and Saturday), but time will tell if it’s because the Tory lead has peaked and dropped or just because of methodological differences. Tabs for the Survation poll are here.

Meanwhile the Survation/Sunday Post poll of Scotland has topline figures of SNP 43%(-7), CON 28%(+13), LAB 18%(-6), LDEM 9%(+1). Changes are from the 2015 general election – if repeated they would reflect a drop in the SNP lead and a very significant advance for the Scottish Tories, making them the clear second party in Scotland. A Panelbase/Sunday Times poll of Scotland is also due out overnight – I’ll update on that tomorrow.


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.