Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 40%(nc), LAB 30%(-1), LDEM 20%(+2). The Conservatives end the week with the same lead they went into it with, and still on the 40% figure.

While it is not confirmed yet, there is also supposed to be a Harris poll in the Daily Mail tomorrow that also shows a 10 point lead, with topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 22%(+2). We’ve already had one Harris poll today in the Metro, but it’s fieldwork was three days old – presumably the new one will turn out to have been done more recently.

UPDATE: The Harris poll is confirmed here – the fieldwork was done on Wednesday and Thursday.

There are two new polls this morning. Harris in the Metro have topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 20%(+1). Others are on 15%. The fieldwork was conducted between the 31st March and 6th April, the day the election was called, so compared to the YouGov, Populus and Angus Reid polls this is rather out of date already.

The University of East Anglia’s student union also seems to have commissioned the first constituency poll of the general election campaign, specifically of Norwich South – with some rather strange results. The poll from MORI has topline figures (with changes from the notional 2005 result) of LAB 39%(+2), CON 20%(-2), LDEM 19%(-11), Green 19%(+12).

Clearly it shows Charles Clarke holding on very easily indeed, with the Liberal Democrats collapsing into third place as their support shifts to the Greens, who were in fourth place in 2005 with 7%. The figures do seem somewhat dubious though. Some MPs do buck the national trend to some extent, but with polls showing national swings ranging between 3.5% and 7% from Labour to the Conservatives, any English seat displaying a 2% swing from Conservative to Labour would be a very unusual creature indeed. Charles Clarke may be a high profile figure, but he doesn’t seem an obvious candidate to buck Labour’s trend quite so dramatically.

In terms of the voting intention question, it appears to have been prompted with the names and parties of the Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP candidates. Including minor parties in the prompt does run the risk of overestimating their support, but you can see by the contrast between Green support and UKIP support (just 2%) that the comparatively high level of support for the Greens in this poll is not all down to prompting.


Wednesday night polls

There are three new polls tonight. YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%(nc), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 19%(nc). Labour are up one point, but there is no significant change. Last week the Conservatives had a lead over Labour of about 4 points with YouGov, this week it seems to be consolidating around 6% or 7%.

Secondly we have a new poll from Angus Reid. They have topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 28%, LDEM 22%. I have not put changes since their last poll since Angus Reid seem to have made a significant change to their weighting, essentially using micro-geographical weighting. Most pollsters weight their sample by region – Angus Reid’s new weighting uses about 140 geographical units based on similar Parliamentary constituencies. Clearly this poll shows a smaller Conservative lead than their previous poll, but at present we can’t tell if that is due to a change in sentiment, or the change in weighting.

Finally there is a new Harris poll for the Metro. This has topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 19%(+2) – implying a significant drop in their strangely high figure for others. The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 29th – so most, but not all, of it was conducted after the Budget.

New Harris/Metro poll

There is a new Harris poll in this morning’s Metro. The topline figures are CON 35%(-1), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 17%(-1). Others are up to 20%. Changes are from Harris’s previous poll and are well within the margin of error.

The Metro, for some unknown reason, have chosen to draw comparisons from the poll before that – perhaps because it makes it look more dramatic. They claim this poll shows support for the main parties being hit by the fuss over the fake lobbyist sting, which is rather tenuous given that the fieldwork was conducted between last Wednesday and this Monday (so two thirds was before the story broke) and that it doesn’t actually show any notable movement from the previous poll.

Anyway, I have also had a look at the tables for the poll, so have some more details of Harris’ method. Unlike most other UK pollsters, they do start out by asking people whether they are registered to vote and excluding the 4% who say no and 3% who are not sure. They also use a squeeze question on people who say they are undecided, and while they ask likelihood to vote using a verbal scale, I don’t think they actually filter or weight by it.

On weighting, Harris use age, gender, education, region and internet usage (obviously all users are online, but some people are more online than others – this is their way of controlling differences between “fast responders” and “slow responders”). Education is unusual, as is the absence of social class as a weighting variable. Finally Harris weight by their own “propensity scoring” – a figure they have calculated themselves to deal with the differences between people who join online panels and take surveys, and the majority of people who do not. It is based on attitudinal, behavoural and demographic characteristics and calculated by comparing the online sample to a representative face-to-face sample, and weighting as appropriate.

Metro have a new poll from Harris. The topline figures with changes from their poll a week ago are CON 36%(-1), LAB 28%(-1), LDEM 18%(nc). Others are at 18%, continuing the tendency for the newer online companies to show very high figures for others. The poll was conducted between the 10th and 16th of March, making rather a mockery of Metro’s conclusions that the poll shows the “row over Labour’s links to the union Unite do not appear to have significantly damaged its support”. That’ll be because most of the fieldwork predated it.

On the subject of Unite, YouGov’s poll for the Sun on Wednesday had some British Airways questions. 23% of respondents thought that the BA strike was justified, with 59% thinking it was unjustified. On the other political argument to hit Labour this week, 61% told YouGov that they though Gordon Brown had knowingly misled the Chilcot inquiry over defence spending, with only 21% thinking it was an innocent mistake. Despite this, yesterday’s poll didn’t show any damage to Labour.

Of course, it might be a delay, but as I said yesterday I expect it’s partially because most stories don’t have any impact (the public pay far less attention to politics than we tend to imagine), and partially because you’d probably get a similar negative response if you asked about any politician – just because people think Gordon Brown dissembles, it doesn’t mean they don’t think all other politicians aren’t just as bad.