Two polls tonight – Opinium in the Observer have topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7% (tabs). All par for the course, and fieldwork was on the 24th and 25th March, so prior to the Paxman interviews on Thursday.

More intriguing is YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times. Fieldwork for this was done on Friday and Saturday, so was wholly after the Paxman interviews. Topline figures there are CON 32%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%. A four point Labour lead. I’ll write more tomorrow, but I’ll leave you with the usual caveats, it’s just one poll, it could be boost for Labour from the interviews or it could just be normal random variation, only time (and subsequent polling) will tell…

On Friday we had YouGov and Populus polls taken after the budget. YouGov showed a slight movement to the Tories, putting them back ahead; Populus showed a shift to Labour. Neither was anything that couldn’t just be normal random variation. Today we have three more polls too see if there is any sign of a consistent budget effect.

Opinium in the Observer have topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6% (tabs) – a three point Tory lead compared to a two point Labour lead a week ago. Opinium also found 43% thought Osborne had been a good Chancellor, 24% a poor one, and on economic trust Cameron & Osborne now have a 21 point lead over Miliband & Balls. Taken in isolation this poll would suggest a budget boost for the Conservatives, which is how the Observer have reported it

But of course, we don’t have to take the poll in isolation. The second poll of day is from Survation for the Mail on Sunday. They have topline figures of CON 30%(+2), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 17%(-2), GRN 4%(nc) (tabs) – changes are from the most recent Survation poll, conducted a month ago for the Mirror. Here we have a slight shift towards the Conservatives – but thats over a month that has seen Labour’s lead fall slightly anyway, and it’s not enough to stop Labour having a clear lead.

Finally there is the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times. Topline figures there are CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs) – so back to a Labour lead with YouGov. YouGov’s regular economic trackers on whether people think the economy is in a good state and whether their own finances will get better over the next year also look pretty much unchanged since before the budget.

Putting all the five post-budget polls together, I can see no sign of any significant budget boost. If other polls had echoed Opinium’s finding then it would be fair to conclude that the budget had moved votes to the Tories, but so far they haven’t – Survation have shown only a twitch in the Conservative direction, YouGov looks stable, Populus’s Friday poll showed movement to Labour. This all looks to me like normal random variation. I may be wrong, perhaps when we’ve a week of post-budget polls we’ll be able to detect some more subtle movement, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’s been some great game changer.


I know of three polls in the Sunday papers tomorrow – the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times and Opinium/Observer polls and the monthly online ComRes poll for the Sunday Indy and Sunday Mirror. ComRes and Opinium are already out, YouGov usually turns up later and I’ll update tomorrow.

  • Opinium in the Observer has topline figures of CON 33%(-1), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 7%(nc) (full details here).
  • ComRes have topline figures of CON 33%(+1), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 16%(nc), GRN 4%(nc), changes are from their previous online poll a month ago (full details here)

Neither poll shows any significant change from last time. The bigger picture appears to be that Labour and Conservative are still pretty much neck-and-neck. We’ve been seeing an increasing number of Tory leads over the last couple of weeks, but as with today’s polls there are still plenty of Labour leads too.

Two polls in the Sunday papers. Opinium in the Observer have Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck, with topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7% (tabs). Fieldwork was between Tuesday and Friday, so was largely before the debate debate flared up again. YouGov in the Sunday Times had fieldwork conducted on Thursday evening and on Friday, so was conducted when the media fuss over the debates was in full flow. It had no obvious effect upon the results – topline figures were CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5% (tabs).

The YouGov poll contained several questions about the debates – people support the principle of leaders debates by 69% to 19% and by 57% to 8% think they are good for democracy. The 7-7-2 format of debates is supported by 45% of people. 21% would prefer a different format, 14% would prefer no debates at all. The idea of just a straight debate between Cameron and Miliband is supported by 42% of people, opposed by 42% of people (the result here makes me think that many respondents interpreted the question as meaning the two way debate as the ONLY debate, as opposed to supporting that as one of three debates).

If David Cameron doesn’t agree to take part in the debates 55% think the debates in general should go ahead without him, but they are more evenly split on whether the head-to-head debate with Miliband should go ahead without Cameron – 39% think it should, 41% think it should not. 38% blame Cameron for the breakdown in the debate negotiations, 13% the broadcasters, 23% both equally, 26% say neither or don’t know. Despite this there is no obvious damage to David Cameron’s own ratings – 44% think he is doing a good job, 50% a bad job, completely unchanged from a week ago, voting intention is similarly unchanged. I expect it’s an instance where people would like the debates to go ahead and blame Cameron for blocking them… but really don’t care enough for it to change their opinion of him. If there is any impact from this, I expect it would be when (or if) the actual debates happen.

YouGov also asked some questions about Russia, immigration and tuition fees. 72% of people think that Russia under Putin poses a threat to the West (22% a serious threat, 50% some threat). The West’s current regime is seen as being not tough enough by 46%, compared to 23% who think it is about right and 11% who think it is too tough and counterproductive. Despite this there is limited support for tougher action in Ukraine – only 27% would support supplying arms to Ukraine, only 18% would support stationing troops there. People are more supportive about posting British troops to NATO states bordering Russia like Estonia and Latvia – 44% would support stationing British troops there, 34% would be opposed.

76% of people think that the government should be trying to reduce immigration and almost as many (72%) think the government should try to put a cap on the maximum amount of immigration allowed each year. Asked about the principle of an specific figure 52% of people would prefer an annual cap or limit, 36% think a limit isn’t practical and governments should not try to set a specific figure. Despite Nigel Farage’s recent rejection of the idea of a specific cap, the idea is most popular amongst UKIP voters – 72% of Ukippers think governments should be setting a specific cap on immigration.

Labour’s proposal to cut tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 meets with majority support, with 54% supporting and 27% opposed. Asked who it would benefit, 37% think all students, 28% students who earn low or average wages. Only 20% of people believe that the policy would mostly benefit students who go on to earn high wages – the main criticism that’s been thrown at the policy. Asked about the abolition of pension tax breaks that Labour are using to fund tuition fee cuts and that the Conservative party may be using to fund a national insurance cut, 24% would rather see it spent on a tuition fee cut, 32% would rather see it spent on a national insurance cut.

Just the two regular polls in Sunday’s papers. The weekly Opinium poll for the Observer has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6% (tabs), the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has figures of CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5% (tabs). Both very much in line with the broader picture of Lab & Con almost neck and neck, Labour just a touch ahead.

YouGov asked whether people would consider voting for each of the main GB parties and their awareness of their policies. Of the two main parties, 40% would consider voting Conservative, 42% Labour – a slightly bigger pool for Labour but only just. The pool of potential voters for the other three substantial parties is pretty similar – 23% for the Lib Dems, 26% for UKIP, 25% for the Greens.

Asked about how aware of are of each party’s policies, 63% say they know a lot or a fair amount about Tory policies, compared to 59% for Labour, 45% for UKIP and 37% for the Lib Dems, 27% the Greens. Note how more people think they know about UKIP policies than those of the Lib Dems – a sign of how the Lib Dems have struggled to get a clear message out from within coalition.

YouGov also reasked the “protest party” question they asked about UKIP last year about the Greens. They found 15% of people think that the Greens are a serious party with workable policies, 56% a protest party for those unhappy with the main parties. These are very similar to the figures for UKIP, with UKIP 17% thought they were serious, 62% a protest party.

Moving onto other issues, 51% of people would support a ban on MPs having second jobs, but only 25% would support it were it to be offset by a higher salary. Asked about the current £67,000 salary for MPs and the appropriate level or reward for the sort of people they’d like to be MPs, 32% think the current salary is too much, 16% too little, 46% about right.

Finally there were some questions on defence and what sort of threats Britain should be prioritising. 16% of people think that Britain spends too much on defence, 49% too little, 20% about the right amount. By 52% to 18% people think we should be focusing resources on defending against threats from Islamist terrorism and insurgents, like Islamic State, rather than potential threats from states like Russia. 50% of people think that the West’s sanctions against Russia haven’t been strong enough, but on balance people are opposed to even the sending of British troops to help train and advise the Ukrainian army – 43% are opposed with only 36% support.