A quick update on the latest voting intention polls. This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 8% (tabs) – more typical figures than YouGov’s Tuesday poll.

There is also a new TNS poll with topline figures of CON 31%(+3), LAB 31%(-4), LDEM 8%(+2), UKIP 16%(-2), GRN 7%(+2) (tabs). Up until now TNS have tended to release their polls incredibly slowly, often a week or more after their fieldwork was finished, rendering them out of date by the time we see them. Fieldwork for this one however finished on Monday so it’s more timely than usual. The last couple of TNS polls showed Labour leads of 7 points, significantly and consistently larger than any other company. Today’s looks more like other polls. (UPDATE – thanks to those in the comments section who missed something obvious in the TNS tabs that I overlooked! TNS have always weighted by 2010 recalled vote, but they are now weighting by 2010 recalled vote AND 2014 European vote – whether or not this is responsible for their figures coming into line with other companies’s is unclear.)

Finally Ipsos MORI put out their latest Scottish poll yesterday. Westminster voting intentions in Scotland were CON 12%(+2), LAB 24%(+1), LDEM 4%(-2), SNP 52%(nc), GRN 4%(-2). We’ve now had three Scottish polls conducted in 2015. The first one from Panelbase showed the SNP dropping four points and raised some speculation about whether their huge post-referendum surge was fading away again. The second from Survation also had the SNP down, but only by two points and this one from MORI has the level of SNP support holding steady. (On top of that, when tables for the Panelbase poll appeared it turned out that the voting intention question wasn’t asked first, it was asked after a question about whether or not falling oil prices damaged the economic case for Scottish independence, so the SNP fall in that first poll may be a question ordering effect rather than a genuine change)


Ipsos MORI’s monthly poll for the Evening Standard came out today. MORI’s last two polls rather stood out from the crowd by showing three point Conservative leads when all others were showing ties or small Labour leads. Today’s poll looks far more like the average Labour lead, with topline figures of CON 33%(+1), LAB 34%(+5), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 11%(-2), GRN 8%(-1) (full tabs are here.)

MORI also asked about which issues would be important to people at the election. Following the earlier polling from ComRes and YouGov that showed health moving sharply up the agenda, this showed healthcare coming top, followed by the economy and immigration. (This isn’t actually MORI’s monthly issues tracker, which is done face-to-face and asks about the most important issues facing the country, but it’s obviously picking up a similar trend)


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ComRes had a poll yesterday which got some attention because it showed the NHS as the issue people thought was most important facing the country, up eleven points since they last asked. This followed a YouGov poll last week which showed the NHS in third place in the list of salient issues, but also increasing by 13 percentage points since December, putting it 6 points behind the economy and immigration.

These look like contrasting findings (first place and third place) but they really aren’t – both show big increases in the salience of the NHS and similar proportions of people picked out the NHS as a major issue (50% in ComRes, 46% in YouGov). There is a significant difference in the proportion of people picking the economy in the two polls, but that’s because of the way the question is asked: YouGov offer a single option for the economy in general (picked by 52%), ComRes offer three or four different economicy sort of options that responses were split between (promoting growth (20%), distributing benefits of growth (20%), reducing the deficit (19%), keeping down costs (25%)).

This highlights one of the challenges of asking “important issues” questions like this – they are really influenced by the options you offer. The other regular important issues tracker by Ipsos MORI doesn’t suffer from this problem as it is asked face-to-face and completely open ended – people are asked to say what issues they think are important in their own words… but Ipsos MORI still have to decide how to code them up. In December MORI found the most important issues were immigration (42%), economy (33%), NHS (33%). We haven’t had their January figures yet and if they pick up the same trend as YouGov and ComRes we should expect to see a big jump for the NHS, but it’s up there in the top three already anyway.

Exactly which issue comes “top” isn’t really that important anyway unless you are a headline writer. It’s not like an election, there is no prize that is won by being considered important by one more person than the next issue, and which issue comes “top” in a poll is largely determined by how pollsters divide up the options or categorise people’s responses. The point is that immigration and the economy have been considered important issues by very large proportions of the British public for a couple of years and, for now at least (for the ComRes and YouGov polls were taken in the immediate aftermath of some very negative headlines about the NHS), the NHS has become an issue of comparable importance.

On that issue, we should have a big lovely lump of Ashcroft polling on the NHS out tomorrow.


Today we’ve the final Ipsos MORI monthly poll of 2014 and the last 2014 batch of Lord Ashcroft’s constituency polling (the keenly awaited Scottish marginals polling is taking place next year).

MORI’s monthly poll has topline figures of CON 32%(nc), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 13%(-1), GRN 9%(+2). The Conservatives are three points ahead, but as ever it’s the trend that counts and there is no difference from last month for the main parties here. Note the Greens though – nine points is another new record high for them. Full tabs are here.

Meanwhile Lord Ashcroft’s final batch of 2014 constituencies polls covers three groups of seats. One is another swathe of Con-held Labour targets, another is a group of those Labour seats who the Fabians have identified as the most vulnerable to UKIP, the final one is the unusual seat of Brighton Pavilion. Full details of all the polls are here.

This batch of Con/Lab seats covers those with Conservative majorities between 7.1% and 8.1% – in other words these are seats that would need a swing of between 3.5% and 4% to fall to Labour, the equivalent of national polls showing a Labour lead between zero and one point. This is in the region of current national polls, and as the swing in individual seats varies from one to the next, Ashcroft found Labour ahead in some of these seats, the Conservatives ahead in others. Across all eight seats polled Ashcroft found an average swing of 3 points in these seats, the equivalent of national polls showing a one point Conservative lead – so in this batch of seats, Labour are actually doing slightly worse than they are in the country as a whole. These might just so-happen to be eight seats where the Tories are doing a bit better of course, so don’t run off with the idea that the Conservatives are out-performing in the marginals just yet. The broader finding in Ashcroft’s Con-v-Lab battleground polls so far is that the marginal swing is pretty similar to the national swing.

The Lab-UKIP part of the polling covered four Labour-held seats (Great Grimsby, Dudley North, Plymouth Moor View and Rother Valley) that the Fabian Society’s paper Revolt on the Left identified as being at critical or high risk from UKIP. The polling found Labour ahead in all four seats, but with UKIP in a close second place in all four of them. Labour have a 1 point lead in Grimsby, 3 points in Dudley North, 5 points in Plymouth Moor View and 6 points in Rother Valley. This appears to confirm the research by Rob Ford and Ian Warren that these would be seats where, based on demographics, UKIP would pose a strong challenge – and suggests that Labour cannot afford to take them for granted. It’s also worth pointing out that using standard “how would you vote tomorrow” UKIP were ahead in three of the seats, Labour only moved ahead on the question asking people to think about their own constituency and candidates.

Finally in Brighton Pavilion, very much a unique seat given its Green incumbency, Ashcroft found latest voting intention figures of CON 21%, LAB 28%, LDEM 5%, UKIP 8%, GRN 38%.


The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian came out today, with topline figures of CON 28%(-3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 14%(+3), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(-1). Tabs are here. There’s a movement from Con to Lab since ICM’s previous poll, but nothing that couldn’t be normal margin of error – the broader picture still suggests a very small Labour lead, with no strong trend (in November the average Labour lead was 1.6%, so far this month it’s 1.3%).

This is the first time since September that any poll hasn’t shown UKIP ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The previous one was also ICM, and apart from one unusual Populus poll in July you have to go right back to March to find polls from other company doing the same. ICM consistently show the highest level of support for the Liberal Democrats for methodological reasons. This is largely because of how they handle don’t knows – when people say they don’t know how they’d vote, ICM look at how they voted at the previous election and assume that 50% of them will end up voting the same way. This is based on recontact surveys of don’t knows after previous elections and has made polls more accurate in the past… but of course, we can’t know until May whether that will still hold true under the sort of political realignment we seem to be seeing this Parliament. Without the reallocation ICM’s figures today would have been LDEM 11%, UKIP 15% – so it would have been quite a high Lib Dem figure anyway even without the adjustment.

Ipsos MORI’s month political monitor is also due. Today’s Evening Standard reported some figures, but I assume they are saving up the voting intention figures for tomorrow. The data so far is here, and shows people’s optimism about the economy in general (as opposed to their personal finances) dropping to its lowest since last year. I wrote about similar findings from YouGov at the start of the month, so this does appear to be more than a single poll; people’s confidence in the economic recovery does seem to be faltering a bit.