The monthly Ipsos MORI poll for the Standard is out and has topline figures of CON 34%(+1), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 6%(-2), UKIP 9%(-2), GRN 7%(-1). MORI tend to give UKIP some of their lower figures anyway, but this is the first poll from any company to put UKIP down in single figures since September last year. This is only one poll though, as ever, it’s important to look at the wider picture.
Watching the trend is UKIP support is difficult because of the big contrasts between pollsters and the way they have had to adapt their methods to account for the new kid on the block. So for example, Opinium’s latest poll had UKIP on 15%, their lowest level since August… but they had introduced new political weighting that reduced UKIP support, so this wasn’t necessarily a “real” fall. Populus too have had UKIP at around 15% so far this month, but for them that’s higher than in previous months. That isn’t necessary a “real” increase either though, as they’ve changed their weighting in a way that increases UKIP support.
Chopping and changing and contrasting methods makes it very difficult to see the underlying trend. Given the way that many companies (YouGov, Ashcroft, ComRes and Populus) have switched to including UKIP in their main prompt in recent months, MORI, ICM and Survation are actually the only companies NOT to have some sort of change to how they measure UKIP support. Looking at them, MORI now have UKIP at 9%, compared to 11% last month, 13% in Dec, 14% in Nov and 16% in October. ICM’s poll last month had UKIP at 11%, compared to 14-15% between October and December, but only 9-10% last Summer. Survation still had them at 23% last month, but they had them as high as 25% earlier last year.
Accepting all the methodological changes (which apart from Opinium have been changes likely to help, rather than hinder UKIP) and just taking monthly averages of all polls suggests a slight drop in UKIP support since their peak in the Autumn. Their highest monthly average so far was 16.1% in October, following the Clacton by-election and Mark Reckless’s defection, in November it was 16%, in December 15.5%, in January 15.2%. A slight trend, but certainly nothing to get too excited or distraught about, and given the changes in methodology it’s difficult to know how meaningful it is.