YouGov poll of London

YouGov have a new poll of London for Queen Mary University of London. Westminster voting intention in London stands are CON 33%, LAB 53%, LDEM 8% – little different from at the general election.

More interesting, given we are only a few months away from the London council elections in May, are local government voting intentions of CON 28%(+2), LAB 54%(+17), LDEM 11%(+1), GRN 4%(-6) UKIP 2%(-10). Changes are since the last London local elections which were back in 2014, on the same day as the European Parliament elections.

If these figures were to be reflected in May’s elections it would be an extremely strong performance for Labour, building upon 2014 results which were already pretty strong. Exactly how good it would be in terms of seats and councils gained depends on how the vote is distributed. The figures suggest a very different picture in inner and outer London. In inner London the poll suggests a swing of 13 points from Conservative to Labour – that would be enough for Labour to win the “flagship” Tory borough of Wandsworth (controlled by the Conservatives since 1978) and Westminster (controlled by the Conservatives since it was created in 1964). However, it wouldn’t necessarily net Labour a huge number of extra councillors since in many inner London boroughs like Islington, Lambeth and Lewisham Labour already hold the overwhelming majority of the councillors anyway.

In outer London, where the Conservatives are likely to be picking up votes that went to UKIP last time, the poll suggests a much smaller swing to Labour – something around four points. That would be enough for Labour to take Barnet, but the Conservatives would probably be able to hold onto other outer London councils where Labour are the main challengers. The battle between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives in South West London is, of course, difficult to discern from a Londonwide poll.

The full tabs for the London poll are here.

There was also a new GB poll out today from ICM for the Guardian. Topline figures there are CON 42%(+1), LAB 43%(+3), LDEM 7%(-1). Tabs are here.


ICM’s regular poll for the Guardian is out today and has topline voting intention figures of CON 41%(nc), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 8%(+1). Fieldwork ws Friday to Sunday and changes are from the large ICM poll in mid-January. Tabs are here.

The latest Survation poll meanwhile has topline figures of CON 40%(+3), LAB 43%(-2), LDEM 8%(+2). Fieldwork was the previous weekend, and changes are since the start of December. While Labour’s lead has fallen away since the previous poll, I suspect this is largely a reversion to the mean after an unusual poll last time. Full tabs are here.

Survation also ask how people would vote in a second referendum on EU membership (and unlike some other polls that ask this question, weight it by likelihood to vote!). In the latest poll the figures are Remain 51%, Leave 49%.


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ICM and Ipsos MORI both published their latest voting intention figures last week. Topline voting intentions were

Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 39%(+2), LAB 42%(+3), LDEM 9%(nc)
ICM/Guardian – CON 41%, LAB 41%, LDEM 7%

Fieldwork for MORI was over last weekend, changes are from November. The ICM poll was part of a larger than usual sample of 5000, conducted between the 10th and 19th of January. I have not included changes since the previous ICM poll, as this one was actually partially conducted before ICM’s last poll. Full tabs are here for MORI, and here for ICM.

ICM also asked some questions about a second EU referendum. Asked how people would vote in a second referendum 45% said they would vote to Remain, 43% to Leave. These figures are broadly typical of most recent polls asking about a second referendum, which tend to show a very small lead for Remain. As in most other cases this is not really due to people changing their minds (the number of Leave voters switching to Remain is pretty much cancelled out by Remain voters switching to Leave), but down to people who did not vote in 2016 disproportionately claiming they would now vote Remain. The referendum question in this poll was not weighted or filtered by likelihood to vote.

ICM found 47% of people agreeing with a a statement that “I think the public should have the chance to take a final decision on whether or not to leave the EU in another referendum when the outcome of the negotiation is known?”. The Guardian have strangely written this up as a rise in Labour support for a second referendum, when ICM don’t appear to have ever asked this question before to compare it to. As all regular readers will know, how you ask a question can produce very different results and questions on a second referendum seem to show particular variation depending on how the question was asked (see an example here from Lord Ashcroft, asking the question in four different ways). In this case the question was asked as an agree/disagree structure (a question format that tends to produce a skew in favour of the statement), and characterised it in terms of “giving the public the chance to take a final decision”. My guess is that the higher support for a second referendum here may well be down to wording rather than a change in support, though as ever, we’ll only really know when we see repeats of questions that have been asked in the past.

Turning to other questions in the MORI poll, they asked a question on whether Donald Trump should be invited to Prince Harry’s wedding. Asked straight, 23% of people thought that he should, 69% that he should not. Half the sample saw an alternate question asking about inviting both Donald Trump *and* Barack Obama – this produced a slightly less negative response with 39% in favour, but still 54% against.


There are two new voting intention polls in Sunday’s papers – ICM for the Sun on Sunday and Opinium for the Observer.

ICM in the Sun on Sunday have topline figures of CON 41%(-1), LAB 42%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 4%(-1). Fieldwork was Tuesday to Thursday, and changes are from the ICM/Guardian poll a few days before. Changes are within the margin of error, but unlike ICM’s last poll it’s now Labour who are marginally ahead. Every single poll ICM have published since the general election has had Labour and the Conservatives within two points of each other.

Amongst other things ICM also asked about the Tory leadership. Only 23% of respondents think Theresa May should step down now, but only 35% think she should fight the next general election. A further 26% think she should go at some later later, either after Brexit (15%) or just before the election (11%). As with other polls, the public don’t seem to have much appetite for any particular successor as Tory lead – Boris Johnson leads, but on only 11%, ahead of Ruth Davidson on 6%. No tabs yet, but the Sun report is here

Secondly there is a new Opinium poll for the Observer. They too have a small Labour lead, with topline figures of CON 39%(-1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 6%(+1). Changes are once again insignificant – the Tory leads in YouGov and ICM straight after the Brexit deal aren’t reflected in the latest polls, and were either just co-incidence, or a brief blip on the back of good publicity. The underlying trend remains one of stability, with Labour a tad ahead of the Conservatives and no obvious movement in support.

The full tabs for the Opinium poll are here and contain a lot of background questions. The Conservative party are seen as the most divided party – 47% think they are divided, 38% united. The Labour party are seen as united by 42% and divided by 40% – so while stories of Labour infighting are no longer constantly in the media in the way they were before the general election, the party are still seen as divided by much of the public (if not as divided as the Tories!). On the Tory leadership Opinium show a similar picture to ICM – 27% think she should go now, 28% think should should fight the next election, 23% think she should go later (either post-Brexit, or pre-election).

On the EU, Opinium found a negative reaction to Theresa May’s negotiations so far (though not as negative as in YouGov’s tracker – possibly because Opinium ask about May personally rather than the government as a whole, possibly because Opinium ask about approval rather than doing well or badly). 30% approve of how May has handled the negotiations so far, 45% of people disapprove. Opinium found 37% support for a second referendum once the terms had been agreed, 49% were opposed. For the type of Brexit, 39% of respondents would rather Britain remained in the single market (even if it meant freedom of movement continued), 33% would rather Britain stopped freedom of movement (even if it meant leaving the single market).

Finally, the Independent reports a BMG poll that has Remain with a ten point lead over Leave in a referendum vote tomorrow. This has, as ever, caused some over-excitement on social media.

My normal caveat on unusual and interesting polls is to wait and see if it is reflected in other polls. In this case we don’t have to wait, the BMG poll was actually conducted over a week ago (5th-8th Dec), meaning that we have already seen the results of other polls conducted after this one, and they don’t show any large movement towards Remain. The ICM/Guardian poll released earlier this week was conducted 8th-10th December, and had results of Remain 46%, Leave 43% – a Remain lead, but a far smaller one. YouGov’s regular tracker on whether people think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave was asked on 10th-11th Dec, and showed 44% think we are right to leave, 45% wrong to leave… again, typical of recent results.

The other caveat to consider is that the poll does not actually show any great shift in opinion directly from Leave to Remain, most of those voters are unchanged. The large Remain lead is almost wholly down to people who did not vote in the 2016 referendum. Many polls show those who did not vote in 2016 now saying they would vote remain, but the divide in this one is extreme. I am somewhat sceptical about leads that rely upon people who didn’t vote last time suddenly turning out to vote one way or another (particularly in polls that aren’t weighted by likelihood to vote!). While I am sure that there are some people who didn’t vote in 2016 who would now (those who have turned 18 and those who didn’t realise how close it would be), I suspect the sort of “non-voters” who turn up in opinion polls are rather more likely to vote than actual non-voters. The full tabs (and a measured write up from BMG) are here.

On any subject you feel strongly about it is easy to convince yourself that the polls showing what you’d like to see are somehow more accurate, and that polls showing less positive things are wrong. That would be an error. As ever, the best way of looking at a finding like this is look at all the polls, and consider the long term trend, rather than get overexcited about individual polls that put out unusual results. My opinion on whether Britain is changing its mind on Brexit is unchanged since I wrote about it here – if you look at the referendum VI questions from Survation and BMG, or the right/wrong decision question from YouGov, there does appear to be a genuine movement towards Remain since last year… but as yet it is only small, and the country remains quite finely divided between Remain and Leave.


Opinium’s regular poll for the Observer suggests party support is still static, despite a difficult few weeks for the government. Topline voting intention figures are CON 40%(nc), LAB 42%(nc), LDEM 6%(+1). Fieldwork was between Tuesday and Thursday and changes are from a month ago. Ahead of the budget Opinium also asked about the most trusted team on the economy. May & Hammond led by 36% to Corbyn & McDonnell on 28% (as with the best PM question, the majority of respondents said either None (24%) or Don’t know (12%). Full tabs are here.

Midweek we also had ICM’s poll for the Guardian – that too showed a pretty much static position, with topline figures of CON 41%(-1), LAB 41%(-1), LDEM 7%(nc). Tabs for that are here.

A budget is, of course, the sort of major event that can sometimes cut through with the public if it contains something particularly compelling or – more likely – something particularly unattractive. As I’ve often written here, it’s very rare for budgets to result in a boost for the government, but there are plenty of examples of budgets going horribly wrong and damaging party support – they are very much a bullet to be dodged, rather than an opportunity to win support. We shall see what happens this week.