Tonight we have the new monthly ICM poll for the Guardian. Topline figures are CON 32%(-3), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 11%(+2).

More intriguing are the European voting intentions in the same poll – other recent European polls have been showing Labour and UKIP in a battle for first place and the Conservatives off in third place. In contrast ICM are still showing UKIP third, and the Lib Dems now equal with the Greens on a measly 6 percent – CON 25%(nc), LAB 36%(+1), LDEM 6%(-3), UKIP 20%(nc), GREEN 6%(-1).

Why ICM are showing a lower level of European support for UKIP than other pollsters is unclear – there is no obvious methodological reason. ICM weight their European voting intention by likelihood to vote which tends to help UKIP and they include UKIP and the Greens in their European election prompt, so it shouldn’t be a question wording issue. I can only assume it is something to do with the ongoing contrast between the levels of UKIP support recorded in telephone and online polls.

As well as the monthly ICM poll, we also had a YouGov London poll in today’s Evening Standard – tabs here. London voting intentions at a general election stand at CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%, a swing of three points from Con to Lab, so actually marginally better for the Tories than in GB polls. In European voting intentions the figures are CON 25%, LAB 33%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 24% – so UKIP and the Conservatives fighting for second place behind Labour, a good performance for UKIP in what tends to be a weaker area for them. Finally in Borough elections voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9% – this reflects a swing of 2.5% from Con to Lab since 2010, so would probably be seen as a fairly good performance for the Tories if it was repeated in May. Note the interesting patterns of split votes – there are a lot (18%) of current Conservative voters who would give UKIP their vote in the European elections, but there are also a chunk (12%) of current UKIP voters who would give the Conservatives their vote in the local elections.

Meanwhile the twice-weekly Populus poll had voting intentions of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 13%. Tabs here.

UPDATE: The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Indy is also out tonight. Topline figures there are CON 30%(-1), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 12%(+1).


YouGov London poll

Yesterday there was also a new YouGov London poll for the Evening Standard (full tables are up on the YouGov website here).

The topline voting intention figures are CON 32%, LAB 45%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 9% – this reflects a swing of 5.5% from Con to Lab since the general election, pretty much in line with that YouGov’s current GB polls are showing.

Boris Johnson continues to enjoy positive ratings – 64% think he is doing his job of Mayor well, only 27% badly. Looking to his future, 43% think it would be reasonable for him to stand for Parliament at the next election, 39% think it would not be reasonable for him to stand until after his term as mayor expires in 2016. A majority (52%) think it would not be acceptable for him to be an MP and mayor at the same time.

Looking towards the Labour contest, YouGov asked who people would be the best Labour candidate for mayor in 2016. At this stage this is probably largely a name recognition exercise and the there was a sizeable chunk of don’t knows, but Eddie Izzard came top amongst Londoners (which at least shows people think he would be a serious contender, not a joke candidate) and joint top with Tessa Jowell amongst Labour voters.


Most of the time on UK Polling Report I write about what the polls tell us about public opinion. Only when elections come along do we get to do it the other way around, and see what public opinion tells us about the accuracy of the polls.

As regular readers will know I have deep reservations about naive comparisons of eve-of-election polls and results and pollster “league tables”. They are often used in an extremely simplicistic fashion, with people balancing absurd conclusions upon one pollster being one point closer in a poll with a three point margin of error. One can get a slightly better idea in a well polled election race when consistent trends can be identified (as Rob Ford, Will Jennings et al did at the last election, producing a very different league table) but ultimately all a pollster can really hope for is to be within the margin of error of the result. All else is luck.

Five companies produced polls for the London mayoral election (TNS-BMRB also did one poll, but it was early in the campaign so can’t really be compared). Their final results are below.


First round . Second Round
Pollster Johnson Livingstone Jones Paddick Benita Webb Cortiglia Johnson Livingstone
ACTUAL 44 40 4 4 4 2 1 52 48
YouGov (30th Apr-2nd May) 43 38 3 7 4 4 1 53 47
Opinium (24th-30th Apr) 43 37 6 7 3 3 1 52 48
ComRes (23rd-25th Apr) 44 37 5 6 3 3 1 54 46
Populus (27th-29th Apr) 46 34 6 5 5 3 1 56 44
Survation (18th-24th Apr) 42 31 4 10 3 5 4 55 45

YouGov, Opinium and ComRes were all within 3% of all the candidates’ actual support, with YouGov slightly overestimating Brian Paddick’s support, and Opinium and ComRes slightly underestimating Ken’s. On the final round Opinium got the 52-48 split right, with YouGov calling 53-47 and ComRes 54-46. Well done to all three of them.

I’m unsure why Populus – who are normally one of the most accurate and reliable pollsters – ended up so out, showing a 12 point lead in the second round and significantly underestimating Livingstone in the first round. One thing that springs to mind is ethnicity. Since 2008 YouGov have weighted by ethnicity in London polls and it does makes a significant difference to results (Labour support ends up too low without it). There is no mention of ethnicity on Populus’s tables… but then again, neither is there on ComRes’s tabs. Perhaps Populus were just unlucky enough to get a dud sample. They also finished their fieldwork 4 days before the election, so perhaps there was movement towards Ken in those final days (the same applies even more to Survation, whose fieldwork ended 10 days before the election, so there was plenty of time for a swing).

Note that everyone overestimated UKIP’s support… although part of that could be their decision not to put UKIP in their description on the ballot paper (though they still used the UKIP logo, which says UKIP in it.)

Survation and YouGov also produced figures for the London Assembly, figures below.

London Assembly List vote
Pollster LAB CON Green LDEM UKIP BNP Others
ACTUAL 41 32 9 7 5 2 5
YouGov (30th Apr-2nd May) 42 32 7 9 8 1 2
Survation (18th-24th Apr) 33 28 8 10 7 3 11

YouGov’s final poll for the London mayoral election gives Boris a six point lead over Ken Livingstone. Full tabs are here. On the first round voting intention stands at JOHNSON 43%, LIVINGSTONE 38%, PADDICK 7%, WEBB 4%, BENITA 4%, JONES 3%, CORTIGLIA 1%. Once second preferences are reallocated we have JOHNSON 53%, LIVINGSTONE 47% in the final round, the same lead as Boris won upon back in 2008. Note that the lead is mostly down to higher turnout amongst Boris supporters, prior to filtering by likelihood to vote the two candidates are neck and neck.

The poll also has voting intention for the London Assembly, which stands at CON 33%, LAB 44%, LDEM 9%, Others 14% in the constituency vote and CON 32%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 8%, GRN 7%, BNP 1% in the list vote. This would translate into 11 seats for Labour, 8 for the Conservatives, 2 for the Lib Dems, 2 UKIP and 2 Greens.

There is also a first and final Opinium poll on the London contest here – they have first round preferences at JOHNSON 43%, LIVINGSTONE 37%, PADDICK 7%, JONES 6%, WEBB 3%, BENITA 3%, CORTIGLIA 1%. Once second preferences are reallocated it becomes JOHNSON 52%, LIVINGSTONE 48%.

I am not aware of any other final polls for the London mayoral election. The full list of polls conducted in the campaign are here. The only other polls conducted in the final week of the campaign were the previous poll for YouGov, and a Populus/Times poll which had a substantially larger lead for Boris.

There is no new polling for other elections today – YouGov carried out a poll on the Welsh local elections last month (report here) suggesting a good advance for Labour, Survation published a poll on all the locals here. For Scotland there is a distinct shortage of any polling whatsoever in recent months.

I previewed all of today’s polls at the weekend here, looking at exactly what was up for grabs in each contest. For those watching the results tonight, the English locals should start coming in around midnight, Welsh results also start coming in overnight but will be slower. The Scottish counts start on Friday, while the London results will start coming in Friday afternoon, with the mayoral result hopefully being announced late afternoon or evening.

UPDATE: One more prediction, Roger Mortimore of MORI has adapted his famous Sweet FA election prediction model to predict a Boris win (yes, it’s tongue in cheek, but it has an important lesson as Roger mentions in the footnote. There are a relatively small number of elections since the war, so it is very easy to come up with rules that fit the pattern and give them undue importance. It was logic along those lines that led a few unfortunate pundicts to predict a hung Parliament in 1997, as past history suggested a swing big enough for Labour to win overall was impossible)


The Times has a new Populus poll of the London mayoral election, which gives Boris Johnson his biggest lead so far. The first round figures are JOHNSON 46%, LIVINGSTONE 34%, JONES 6%, PADDICK 5%, BENITA 5%, WEBB 3%, CORTIGLIA 1%. With second preferences reallocated the final figures become JOHNSON 56%, LIVINGSTONE 44% – a very solid 12 point lead for Boris Johnson, twice his winning margin in 2008.

The poll also has Westminster voting intentions for London, which stand at CON 33%, LAB 44%, LDEM 11%, Others 13%, so again Boris is outperforming the Conservatives, Ken underperforming Labour. The eleven point lead for Labour in the capital represents a swing of 4.5 points to Labour since the election, suggesting a smaller swing to Labour than in the country as a whole (it would be the equivalent of a 2 point national Labour lead), and significantly less than YouGov’s recent London polls.