A quick update on some polling figures from the last few days.

ComRes released a new telephone poll for the Daily Mail on Friday. Topline voting intention figures were CON 37%, LAB 32%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4% (tabs are here.) On the EU referendum ComRes had voting intentions of REMAIN 54%, LEAVE 36%, DK 10%.

YouGov also released new figures on voting intention and the EU referendum on their website. Their lastest topline VI figures are CON 39%, LAB 30%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 17%, GRN 3% (tabs are here). On the EU referendum they have Leave slightly ahead – REMAIN 38%, LEAVE 42%, DK/WNV 20%.

Finally Ipsos MORI also released EU referendum figures (part of the monthly Political Monitor survey I wrote about earlier in the week). Their latest figures are REMAIN 50%, LEAVE 38%, DK 12%.

There continues to be a big contrast between EU referendum figures in polls conducted by telephone, and conducted online. The telephone polls from ComRes and Ipsos MORI both have very solid leads for remain, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, Survation and others all tend to have the race very close. In one sense the contrast seems to be in line with the contrast we saw in pre-election polls – while there was little consistent difference between online and telephone polls in terms of the position of Labour and the Conservatives (particularly in the final polls), there was a great big gulf in terms of the levels of UKIP support they recorded – in the early part of 2015 there was a spread of about ten points between those (telephone) pollsters showing the lowest levels of UKIP support and those (online) pollsters showing the highest levels of UKIP support. It doesn’t seem particularly surprising that this online/telephone gap in terms of UKIP support also translates into an online/telephone gap in terms of support for leaving the EU. In terms of which is the better predictor it doesn’t give us much in the way of clues though – the 13% UKIP ended up getting was bang in the middle of that range.

The other interesting thing about the telephone/online contrast in EU referendum polling is the don’t knows. Telephone polls are producing polls that have far fewer people saying they don’t know how they’ll vote (you can see it clearly in the polls in this post – the two telephone polls have don’t knows of 10% and 12%, the online poll has 20% don’t knows, the last couple of weekly ICM online polls have had don’t knows of 17-18%). This could have something to do with the respective levels of people who are interested in politics and the EU that the different sampling approaches are picking up, or perhaps something to do with people’s willingness to give their EU voting intention to a human interviewer. The surprising thing is that this is not a typical difference – in polls on how people would vote in a general election the difference is, if anything, in the other direction – telephone polls find more don’t knows and refusals than online polls do. Why it’s the other way round on the EU referendum is an (intriguing) mystery.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor is out today, with topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 11%, GRN 4%. Full details and tables are here.

MORI also asked respondents to choose between the parties on various more specific measures – a bank of questions with back data going back to 1989:

  • On having the “best policies for the country as a whole” the Conservatives now lead by ten points (compared to a two point Tory lead in 2010 and 2014, and a Labour lead from 1992 to 2005).
  • On being the most clear and united about its policies the Conservatives lead by twenty points (compared to ten points in 2014, five points in 2010. The last time there was a lead this big was a 31 point lead for Labour in 2001.)
  • On having the best “team of leaders” the Conservatives lead by twenty-seven points (compared to eleven points in 2014 and five points in 2010 – again you need to go back to Labour in 2001 to find a larger lead)
  • The only measure where Labour haven’t collapsed is “looking after the interests of people like yourself” – here the Conservatives have a narrow lead of four points, compared to a two point Labour lead in 2014 and a four point Tory lead in 2010.

The poll also had questions about two policy issues facing Labour. One was Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that companies should be barred from paying dividends if they don’t pay the living wage. In principle this idea seems popular – 66% of people say they would support it, 17% of people would be opposed. In the survey MORI did a split sample experiment and asked the other half of the sample about the policy without any attribution, and half about it having explained it was Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion. When the policy was identified as coming from Corbyn support was lower – 60% support, 24% opposed.

The obvious conclusion is that identifying a policy as coming from Jeremy Corbyn makes it less popular. This is probably true… but I wouldn’t get too excited about it. Conservative party modernisers used to make their case using similar data showing policies were less popular when associated with the Conservative party. I think the reality is that strong partisan supporters of other political parties will almost always be turned off a policy when it is associated with an opponent, so yes, putting Jeremy Corbyn’s name to a policy would make it less popular, but so would putting the Labour party’s name to the policy, or the Conservative party’s name, or Osborne or Cameron’s name.

The other policy MORI asked about was Trident. 58% of people opposed Britain getting rid of nuclear weapons, rising to 70% when it was asked specifically about unilateral disarmament… a similar figure to when MORI asked the same question in the 1980s.


Support or opposition to strike action is often largely influenced by people’s attitudes to the people going on strike and the inconvenience it causes them. If it’s a profession that people admire and think is generally hard done by they’ll sympathise, if it’s a profession that people don’t think much of they won’t. If the inconvenience it causes people is relatively minor, people will understand; if it really puts out large numbers of people, like school or tube closures, then sympathy is less forthcoming. The specific ins-and-outs of the dispute are often impenetrable or irrelevant. It’s who we trust, who is the good guy.

The public hold doctors in extremely high regard and unless they happen to have had a hospital appointment today it’s unlikely to cause most people any direct noticable inconvenience, so you’d expect fairly high support. That’s what the polls show. Ipsos MORI had a new poll for yesterday’s Newsnight which found the public supported strike action emphatically (66% to 16%) when junior doctors would still provide emergency care, and much more narrowly (44% to 39%) if junior doctors would not provide emergency care either. Full tabs are here.

Late last year before the intitial round of strikes were postponed YouGov found a similar pattern – people clearly supported strike action by 51% to 32% when junior doctors would still cover emergency treatment, when strike action would also cover emergency care people were more evenly divided (45% to 37%). Tabs are here.

At present this breaks the way you would expect in an argument between politicians on one side, and trustworthy and overworked people who come to your rescue when you’re ill on the other. If strike action that also involves emergency care goes ahead though public opinion may become more finely balanced.

Yesterday there were two EU referendum polls showing the race essentially neck-and-neck. Today there are two more EU referendum polls, but both of these have REMAIN with a solid looking twenty-plus point lead. ComRes for OpenEurope have topline EU voting intention figures of REMAIN 56%, LEAVE 35% (tabs are here). Ipsos MORI for the Standard have topline figures of REMAIN 58%, LEAVE 32% (full tabs are here)

Note that MORI asked the referendum question as a split-sample. Half the sample were asked how they would vote in a referendum, stay in or get out (MORI’s long term tracker question), the other half were asked the actual referendum question. The stay in or get out question had a split of 53%-36%, the actual referendum question question produced a bigger lead for staying in 58%-32%. Wherever possible, I am using questions that use the actual referendum wording, so those are the figures that have gone in my EU referendum tracking data here.

The difference between EU referendum voting intentions appears to be a gap between online polling and telephone polling. It’s always difficult to be certain of course – there are many differences between different companies’ approaches and there haven’t been that many telephone polls – but the phone polls from ComRes and MORI are averaging around REMAIN 55%, LEAVE 35%, DON’T KNOW 10%, the online polls from ICM, YouGov, ComRes and Survation are averaging around REMAIN 43%, LEAVE 40%, DON’T KNOW 18%. The telephone polls have “remain” substantially higher and, intriguingly, “don’t know” substantially lower. As ever, it’s difficult to be confident what the reasons are – it could be a difference in sampling (if for some reason online or telephone samples reach respondents who are substantially more or less pro-European) or it could be an interviewer effect (if people are less willing to tell a human interviewer they would vote to leave or they haven’t yet decided).

Meanwhile the monthly MORI voting intention figures were CON 38%, LAB 31%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 9%.

Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor for the Standard is out today – topline figures with changes from last month are CON 41%(+5), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 7%(-3), UKIP 7%(-5), GRN 4%(+1). The big drop in UKIP support is probably nothing, last month’s poll had them jumping up five points, this month has them dropping the same amount, both the up and the down are likely normal sample variation.

The rest of the poll included some interesting questions on spending and the deficit ahead of next week’s autumn statement. During the last Parliament the government’s cuts were often unpopular, but the public consistently regarded them as being necessary. MORI’s poll suggests potential trouble for the government there – two-thirds of people still think the cuts in the last Parliament were necessary, but support for further cuts is far lower. 34% think that it is still necessary to make more cuts, 32% think cuts in the last Parliament were necessary, but it’s not necessary any more, 27% think cuts were never necessary in the first place.

Asked where any cuts should and shouldn’t fall international aid, as usual, comes top on the things people would like to see cut (59%), followed by benefit payments (36%), then defence (19%). On things they’d like to see protected from cuts the NHS, as usual, comes top (73%), followed by schools (39%) and care for the elderly (28%). Full tabs for the MORI poll are here.

ComRes also have new polling for the Daily Mail today (full tabs here). Support for British airstrikes against ISIS in Syria was similar to YouGov’s poll yesterday (60% support, 24% opposition), support for intervention on the ground was higher than YouGov’s poll – in a generic question people supported British troops getting involved in a ground war against ISIS by 50% to 31%, when asked if they’d support British grounds getting involved alongside the US or France support rose to 59%.