Sunday Polls

I’m about to head up to Birmingham, so won’t necessarily be around much for the next few days (not least, when Lord Ashcroft releases his latest marginal poll at 2pm today I’ll be on a train!), but here’s a quick summary of today’s other polls.

ComRes in the Independent on Sunday have topline figures of CON 29%(-3), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 19%(+1). Changes are from their previous online poll a month ago. Tabs are here.

Opinium for the Observer have toplines of CON 32%(+3), LAB 34%(-3), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 17%(-2). Changes are from a fortnight ago.

Finally the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has toplines of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%. While some other pollsters have already shown the Greens in fourth place, this is the first time that YouGov have shown them catching the Liberal Democrats. Tabs are here.

There is no obvious impact in the polls from the Labour party conference – ComRes have their lead up, Opinium down, YouGov not far from their recent average. In YouGov’s survey they asked if Labour’s conference made people more or less positive about Ed Miliband – 13% said more positive, 15% more negative, 54% unchanged.

YouGov also had several questions on Iraq, showing majority support for British airstrikes against ISIS (58% support for attacks in Iraq, 53% for attacks in Syria) but continuing opposition to putting ground troops back into Iraq (26% approve, 53% disapprove). YouGov also asked about whether Britain should co-operate with Assad or Iran in fighting ISIS. People are evenly split over Assad – 36% think we should co-operate with the regime, 34% that we should not. With Iran people are far more supportive of co-operation – 54% of people think that we should co-operate with Iran, 18% are opposed.


Two days to go until the referendum, and we starting to get the final “eve-of-election” polls. Three of them should be out tonight – ICM’s final poll for the Scotsman, Opinium’s final poll for the Telegraph and a Survation poll for the Daily Mail. As at the weekend, I’ll update this post as they come in.

ICM’s poll for the Scotsman shows YES on 41%, NO on 45%, don’t knows on 14%. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 48%, NO 52%. Last week ICM did two Scottish polls – a traditional telephone one for the Guardian which showed a two point lead for NO, and a rather unusual online one for the Sunday Telegraph showing an eight point lead for YES – far and away their best showing in any poll. However, the ICM online poll had a small sample size and seemed to be a Scottish boost to a GB poll rather than a bespoke poll in its own right, so we were a bit dubious about it. Today’s poll suggests we were right to be sceptical – a bespoke, full size ICM online poll is bang in line with the rest of the pack.

UPDATE: Almost as soon as I’d posted Opinium’s Telegraph poll also appeared, with identical headline figures of YES 48%, NO 52%. This is almost the same as their poll for the Observer at the weekend which had a 47/53 split. Tabs for the Opinium poll are online here (I don’t think the ICM ones will be up until the morning).
Survation is the final confirmed poll of the night, and I’m expecting that at 10pm.

UPDATE2: And Survation are also showing YES 48%, NO 52%. Tabs are here. Once again, it very similar to their previous poll which was showing 47/53. Three polls tonight, and all three showing a 48/52 split. The referendum polls really have come into a very tight consensus now, updating my list from the weekend we now have levels of YES support (excluding don’t knows) of:

Panelbase (online) 49%
ICM (phone) 49%
TNS (face to face) 49%
YouGov (online) 48%
ICM (online) 48%
Opinium (online) 48%
Survation (online) 48%
Survation (phone) 46%

The final polls tomorrow (and for MORI Thursday morning) may pick up very late swing, but barring any surprises it looks like the polls are going to be predicting a narrow victory for NO.


It’s the last Sunday before the referendum so we can expect several polls tonight (in fact, the chances are we’ll get lots today, and then comparatively few until Wednesday when there will be a glut of eve-of-referendum polls). I am expecting at least three today – Survation, Panelbase and Opinium – and I’ll update as they appear.

First out is Survation, conducted for the Better Together campaign. Their topline figures are YES 41%, NO 47%, Don’t know or refused 12%. Excluding the don’t knows and won’t says that works out at YES 46%, NO 54%. Full tables are here. I haven’t included any changes since last time as unlike all Survation’s previous Scottish referendum polls this one was conducted by telephone rather than online. It means we couldn’t confidently conclude anything from any change, though for what it’s worth it wouldn’t be showing any significant change anyway, Survation’s last online poll had YES 47%, NO 53%.

Later on we have an Opinium Scottish poll for the Observer, due at 8 o’clock, and a Panelbase for the Sunday Times.

UPDATE: The second Scottish poll of the evening is one we weren’t expecting – an ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph here. The fieldwork was done at pretty much the same time as the telephone ICM poll for the Guardian yesterday, but this one was conducted online and has significantly different figures. Topline figures with changes from ICM’s last online poll are YES 49%(+11), NO 42%(-5), Don’t know 9%. Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 54%(+9), NO 46%(-9). This echoes the large shift towards YES over the last month that YouGov and TNS have shown, but the significant lead for the YES campaign is in contrast to other polls, which are showing a small lead for the NO campaign.

Note that the sample size for the poll was only 705, smaller than usual but not obscenely so (a sample size of 705 increases the margin of error to 3.7%, so less precise than 1000, but not by a vast amount). Update with the Opinium poll coming up very soon….

UPDATE 2: The Opinium poll for the Observer is also out and has figures that are very much in line with the main pack – YES is on 45%, NO is on 49%, 6% say don’t know. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 47%, NO 53%. This is Opinium’s first outing in the Scottish referendum campaign, so no trend data. Full results are here, and Opinium have a note on methodology here – in Opinium’s usual GB polls they do not use any political weighting, but in their Scottish polling they are weighting by both 2011 recalled Holyrood vote AND recalled 2010 Westminster vote.

Still to come tonight we have at least a Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times.

UPDATE 3: What is presumably the final Scottish poll of the night is Panelbase for the Sunday Times, and has a wafer thin NO lead. Topline figures appear to be YES 49%(+1), NO 51%(-1) (they are being widely quoted at 49.4% to 50.6%, but quoting decimal places when you’ve a margin of error of plus or minus 3 whole percentage points always seems downright silly to me!). I’ll update again shortly with a roundup of where we stand.


The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out tonight. Topline figures are CON 30%(+2), LAB 36%(+4), LDEM 7%(-3), UKIP 16%(-5).

The sharp fall in UKIP support probably isn’t meaningful at all, the Opinium poll a fortnight ago had them jumping five points to a rather incongruous 21%, today’s poll is probably just a reversion to the mean. For those looking for a “Carswell effect” don’t look here: the fieldwork for this poll started on Tuesday, so most of the responses probably came before his defection.


There are three polls in the Sunday papers today – GB polls by YouGov and Opinium, and a new Scottish poll by Survation.

YouGov in the Sunday Times have tables here. Topline voting intention is CON 35%, LAB 38%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4%. The main part of the poll deals with Ed Miliband’s image, following his speech at the start of the week. As we know from countless other polls, Miliband’s ratings on best PM, being up to the job being a strong leader and so on are poor. The questions today were prodding at whether that is indeed something to do with “image” or even “looks” (I say “prodding” – I don’t think it’s really possible to answer the question conclusively).

Asked whether each man has the right policies or looks the part of PM Ed Miliband narrowly leads Cameron on policies: 38% think Ed Miliband has the right policies, compared to 32% who think David Cameron has the right policies. On looking and sounding like a Prime Minister 57% think Cameron looks the part, only 13% think Ed Miliband does. Of course, it easier to look like a Prime Minister when you actually ARE Prime Minister, but that doesn’t explain the gulf between the men’s ratings – YouGov also sometimes ask a question about the opposition leader “looking like a PM in waiting”. Ed Miliband tends to score around 20% or so, when Cameron was leader of the opposition he scored up in the forties.

Ed Miliband’s negative rating do not seem to be due to physical attractiveness, it’s not a case of Miliband being “too ugly” as John Humphrys once put it, as quite frankly neither of them are seen as attractive. Only 6% think Ed Miliband is attractive, but only 16% think David Cameron is. However asked if they physically look like a credible national leader Ed Miliband scores only 15%, David Cameron scores 55%. Clearly looking like a credible leader is not the same as looking physically attractive.

Does this matter at all? Well, the large majority of people say it SHOULDN’T matter – 80% said it shouldn’t matter much or shouldn’t matter at all when it comes to how the public vote at a general election. However, in practice people think it DOES – 55% think it actually does matter a lot or a fair amount. I suspect they are correct. I doubt very many people consciously sit down and think “I don’t think they’d make a good Prime Minister because they are funny looking”, but psychologically we all have many prejudices and biases about people based upon what they look and sound like. Unavoidably our views of politicians will be skewed by our gut impressions of their appearance – and the less closely people follow politics the more important those gut instincts and prejudices probably are.

And, my usual caveat about the Ed Miliband paradox: Labour are still in the lead. If people do think Ed Miliband doesn’t look like a leader, he hasn’t suddenly started looking that way; he’s unlikely to start looking less “leadery” as the election approaches. It’s already there in the price and it hasn’t stopped Labour being ahead in the polls. That doesn’t mean his image isn’t a negative for Labour (they could be further ahead without the problem), but it does mean Miliband as leader is not incompatible with Labour winning. The question, which I don’t think is currently answerable (except through wishful thinking one way or the other), is whether or not public perceptions of the opposition leader may become more salient as the election approaches and it becomes not just a judgement on the government, but a choice between two alternative governments.

Moving on, Opinium’s fortnightly poll for the Observer also has a three point Labour lead. Topline figures are CON 32%(+1), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 15%(-2), GRN 5%. Tabs are here.

Finally Survation have a new Scottish poll, which shows very little change on their previous. Topline referendum voting intentions are YES 40%(-1), NO 46%(nc), Don’t knows 14%(+1). Excluding don’t knows it’s YES 47%, NO 53%, the same as Survation’s last poll. Tabs are here

The poll was conducted between Wednesday and Friday so while it isn’t the first “post-Commonwealth Games” poll, it’s the first poll where we can really look for a Commonwealth Games effect. Thus far there’s no obvious sign of one.