I’ve only had a couple of hours sleep so this is a very short comment on lessons from the polls at the election. The two best performing traditional polls seem to be those from Survation and Surveymonkey. Survation had a one point Con lead in their final GB poll, Surveymonkey had a four point lead in their final UK poll. The actual lead is 2 or 3 points depending on if you look at UK or GB figures. Congratulations to both of them. While it wasn’t a traditional poll, YouGov’s MRP model also came very close – it’s final GB figures were a four point lead (and some of the individual seat estimates that looked frankly outlandish, like Canterbury leaning Labour and Kensington being a tossup, actually turned out to be correct).

Looking across the board the other companies all overstated the Tory lead to one degree or another. The actual share of the Tory vote was broadly accurate, rather it was that almost everyone understated Labour support. I have a lot of sympathy with Peter Kellner’s article in the Standard earlier – that to some degree it was a case of pollsters “trying too hard”. Companies have all been trying to correct the problems of 2015, and in many cases those changes seem to have gone too far.

A big gulf between pollsters that many commented on during the campaign was the attitude to turnout. The pollsters who were furthest out on the lead, ComRes, ICM and BMG, all used methods that pumped up the Tory lead through demographic based turnout models, rather than basing turnout on how likely respondents said they are to vote. This was in many ways a way of addressing an issue in 2015 polling samples that contained too many of the sort of young people who vote, weighting down young turnout (and turnout among working class respondents, renters, or less well educated – different pollsters used different criteria). This wasn’t necessarily the wrong solution, but it was a risky one – it depends on modelling turnout correctly. What if turnout among young people actually did rise, then pollsters who were replicating 2015 patterns of turnout might miss it. That may be what happened.

That said, one shouldn’t jump to conclusions too quickly. It may be a case of how demographic turnout models were applied (by weighting the whole sample to match 2015 recalled vote and then separately weighting different demographic groups up or down based on likelihood to vote there’s a risk of “double-counting”). Most importantly, the YouGov MRP model and the Surveymonkey survey both based their turnout models on demographics too, and they both got the election right, so clearly it’s an approach that has the potential to work if done correctly.

Personally I’m pleased the YouGov model worked, disappointed the more traditional YouGov poll had too big a lead… but that at least gives us something to learn from (and for most of the campaign the two showed a similar lead, so rolling back some decisions and learning from the model seems a good starting point).

And with that, I’m going to get some sleep.


So, here goes – the eve of the election means we get the final call polls. We already got Opinium’s final poll yesterday and Ipsos MORI won’t be till tomorrow, but everyone else should be reporting today.

ICM have tended to show the strongest leads for the Conservatives during the campaign – their final poll for the Guardian continues that trend with topline figures of CON 46%(+1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 5%(nc), a Tory lead of twelve points. Fieldwork was yesterday and today. Note that these are preliminary figures and that ICM are continuing to collect data through the evening, so they will confirm final results later. The tables for the preliminary results are here.

ComRes for the Independent have final figures of CON 44%(-3), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 5%(+1). Fieldwork was between Monday and today. Along with ICM ComRes tend to show the largest leads for the Conservatives, and the ten point lead is actually their lowest of the campaign. Tables are here.

Surveymonkey for the Sun report just a four point lead for the Conservatives: CON 42%(-2), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 6%(nc), UKIP 4%(nc). Fieldwork was Sunday to Tuesday and changes are from a week ago. Surveymonkey aren’t a BPC member so I don’t have more details, though we should be getting some later. Regular readers will remember that Surveymonkey polled at the last general election and got the Conservative lead right, albeit getting both main parties too low. There are more details of Surveymonkey’s approach here.

Panelbase have final figures of CON 44%(nc), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 5%(nc), GRN 2%(-1). Fieldwork was between Friday and today, and obviously shows no substantial change from their previous poll.

Kantar‘s final poll has topline figures of CON 43%(nc), LAB 38%(+5), LDEM 7%(-4), UKIP 4%(nc). Fieldwork was between Thursday and today and shows a narrowing of the Tory lead to just five points – Kantar have previously tended to show larger leads. Note that there is a very minor methodology change here, Kantar have fixed the share of the 2017 vote coming from 2015 Conservative and Labour voters at 61% – I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it has only a minor effect anyway, increasing the Tory lead by one point. Tables are here.

YouGov‘s final poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 42%, LAB 35%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%, GRN 2%. Fieldwork was Monday to today. Minor method change here too – adding candidate names to the voting question, and reallocating don’t knows using past vote (which knocked down Labour support by just over a point). Full details here.

Survation‘s final poll (using their phone methodology, rather than their online one) has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 40%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 2%, GRN 2% – the one point Tory lead is the closest we’ve seen, though effectively the same as Survation’s last poll. Fieldwork was Monday and Tuesday and tables are here.

BMG, who haven’t polled since back in 2016, have also put out a final poll. Their topline figures are CON 46%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 5%.


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Last night we got a leaked version of the Labour manifesto. Over the next week it will be joined by the manifestos from all the other parties too. Lots of people will write articles about their impact. We will see polls asking about those policies and whether people approve of them. Lots of people will ask what impact they will have on voting intention or the result. The answer is probably not much. Specific policies make very little difference to voting intention.

This is counter-intuitive to many. Surely in an election on who is going to run the country, what they’ll say they’ll do will matter? One might very well well think it is what elections SHOULD be about. The thing is, it’s not really how people work.

First, most people don’t know what the policies are, so they can’t be influenced by them. One of the most difficult things for people who follow politics closely (which probably includes most people reading this) to grasp is how different they are from the vast majority who don’t pay much attention to politics. For example, in the first few weeks of the campaign Theresa May was the subject of mockery from people who follow politics for continually using the soundbite “strong and stable leadership”. While it sounded absurd to those of us who heard it a thousand times, when YouGov asked a representative sample of the public if they could recall any slogans or messages she had said only 15% remembered it. Most policies make no difference because most people have no knowledge of them.

Even if people were more aware of policies, it’s not really the sort of thing they vote upon. There is a huge body of academic research around elections and voter choice, and the general consensus is that the important factors in deciding how people vote are which party they normally identify with, what their perceptions are of the leaders are and which party they think would most competently handle the big issues of the day.

As human beings we don’t tend to be particularly good judges of what leads to our decisions (we all tend to overestimate how thoughtful and rational we are, when in reality our decisions are normally based on a jumble of bias, instinct and rules-of-thumb, which we rationalise afterwards). However, if you ask voters directly we don’t even think that policies are why we vote the way we do – most people say that it’s the broad values and priorities of a party that matter, or how good their leader is, not the specific policies they offer.

Of course that doesn’t mean policies aren’t part of the mix. When it comes to whether the public think that a party is competent, whether or not they have policies that seem sensible and well-thought through is probably a factor. What sort of policies a party puts forward will make a contribution to what people make of a party’s values and principles. They are not irrelevant, but they are only a small part of a much bigger mix. What this all means is that one can’t look at the popularity of individual policies and conclude a party will gain support. Any party can put together a shopping list of superficially attractive sounding policies – it’s whether collectively those policies, the people putting them forward, the values they represent, how competently they come across, how all these things come together to create a party that people identify with and think would offer a competent government.

In short, in the absence of other other big events in the coming week, don’t be surprised if the polls carried out after the manifestos appear are much the same as the polls carried out before they were published.


YouGov have put out their first Welsh poll of the campaign, conducted for ITV Wales and Cardiff University. Topline figures, with changes from the previous YouGov Wales poll in January, are CON 40%(+12), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 8%(-1), Plaid 13%(nc), UKIP 6%(-7). Fieldwork was Wednesday to Friday last week.

These are, it’s fair to say, fairly startling figures. A twelve point increase for a party over a relatively short length of time is extremely unusual, but the direction of travel is the same as Britain as a whole. GB polls had the Tories around forty percent at the start of the year, and have them pushing towards fifty percent now. As in Britain as a whole, the reason seems to be largely the UKIP vote collapsing decisely towards the Tories.

The result is remarkable though because of Wales’ history – it is a Labour heartland, even more so than Scotland was before the SNP landslide. Wales has been consistently won by Labour since the 1930s. The only time the Tories have won Wales in modern political times is the 2009 European elections.

If these shares are repeated at a general election then on a uniform swing the Conservatives would gain 10 seats (taking them to 21, an overall majority of the seats in Wales), Labour would lose 10, there would be no change for the Lib Dems or Plaid. The Tory gains would be much of North East Wales, including Wrexham, both the Newport seats and two Cardiff seats, pushing Labour back to little more than the South Wales valleys.

Roger Scully’s write up is here.

There was also a new ICM poll for the Guardian out earlier today, with fieldwork conducted between Friday-Monday. Topline figures are CON 48%, LAB 27%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7%, GRN 3% – 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.