It’s Monday, so we have the weekly Ashcroft poll and the first of Populus’s two weekly polls

Populus‘s topline figures are CON 33%(-2), LAB 37%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 12%(+3) (tabs here)
Ashcroft‘s topline figures are CON 32%(+5), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 14%(-3) (tabs here)

Populus shows slight movement away from the Conservatives, Ashcroft a movement towards the Conservatives… but one that is probably just a reversion to the mean after an unusually low score last week. I suspect all we are seeing here is normal sample variation around an average Labour lead of 3 or 4 points.

We are now heading towards the silly season, so big, unexpected events aside, don’t expect much in the way of poll shifts in the month ahead. It’s an election year so it may not be as quiet as usual – the parties will be trying to make the most of that empty news agenda with announcements… but equally, I doubt they’ll want to waste any major announcements in the Summer. Unless any events come along to change things Westminster politics will have a bit of a quite period until conference season – punctuated, of course, by the extremely major event of the Scottish referendum in seven weeks time….


This morning’s Populus poll had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. The five point Labour lead is up from Friday’s poll which had the two parties equal on 35%… but both polls are inline with the average lead of 3 points or so which Populus have been showing lately.

I’ve seen it suggested lately that there’s a pattern of Populus producing better figures for Labour in their Monday polls, better figures for the Conservatives in Friday polls. Such a pattern is possible in theory – one can imagine that you might get slightly different respondents from weekend fieldwork than weekday fieldwork – and on the face of it looks like there could have been a bit of a pattern last month. Crunching the data properly though any difference appears to be minimal – the average figures this year for Populus’s Friday polls are CON 33.4%, LAB 36.5%; for Monday polls they are CON 33.1%, LAB 36.9%. Populus’s Monday polls give a Labour lead that’s 0.7% bigger than Friday polls, less than a percentage point.

Meanwhile Lord Ashcroft’s poll shows another big change in Tory support from last week. Toplines are CON 27%(-5), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 7%(+1). I wrote about the volatility in Lord Ashcroft’s polling a couple of weeks ago here: essentially, there’s no methodological reason for it, nor are the figures actually particularly volatile given the standard levels of variation you’d expect to find. As ever, it’s the underlying trend that counts rather than the individual bits of data that make it up.


Friday round-up

A quick round of today’s polls. There were two voting intention polls out today, both of which I expect were slight outliers from the norm… but in opposite directions.

Both Populus and YouGov have been showing average Labour leads of around 3-4 points this month. YouGov’s poll this morning had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% – a seven point Labour lead (tabs here). Populus’s poll had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14% – both parties equal (tabs here.) In both cases, I suspect we’re just seeing normal sample variation.

The other “new” poll out today was the latest TNS Scottish referendum poll. As usual the face-to-face methodology means the poll is actually pretty old – it was conducted between the 25th June and 9th July, so the start of the fieldwork was three weeks ago. Topline referendum voting intention is YES 32%(nc), NO 41%(-5). Without don’t knows, that translates to YES 44%, NO 56%… TNS has typically been showing yes support at 40-42% once you exclude don’t knows, so this is a good YES poll by TNS standards.


A week ago co-incidence spat out three polls with seven point Labour leads within 2 days. This weeks little clump of Monday polls has produced rather more typical polls from Ashcroft and Populus, and a more unusual one from ICM.

Lord Ashcroft‘s weekly telephone poll has topline figures of CON 32%(+5), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 7%(-4), UKIP 14%(-1). The Conservatives are up five, but it looks like something of a reversion to the mean after last week’s unusual poll that had that the Tories down 6. Full tabs are here.

Secondly is the twice-weekly Populus poll, which has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs for that are here.

Finally there is the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian here, which has topline figures of CON 34%(+3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 12%(+2), UKIP 9%(-7!). The narrow Conservative lead looks unusual, but is actually pretty typical of ICM’s recent polls – their last three monthly polls have now shown the Conservatives and Labour effectively neck and neck (a two point Tory lead, a point point Lab lead, now a one point Tory lead). More startling is that sharp drop in UKIP support, down 7 points and into single figures.

The drop in this particular poll is unusually large but it does fit into a broader trend. The expected pattern of UKIP polling around the European elections was for their support to peak after the inevitable burst of publicity following the European elections and then decline again. That’s pretty much happened. Lord Ashcroft’s polls had them peak at 19% just after the Euros, and they’ve now drifted down to 15%. YouGov had them peaking at 17%, now they’ve fallen back to 12%. ICM had them up to 16% after the Euros, now down to 9%. Populus they didn’t really have much of a post-Euro boost for UKIP anyway, only going to up 15%, but in their last couple have had them at 12%. ComRes, Survation and MORI haven’t shown UKIP coming down from their post Euro high yet, but none have polled in July yet… time will tell if they follow the trend.


We had a glut of seven point leads at the start of the week – from Ashcroft and Populus on Monday and YouGov on Tuesday. At the end of the week things look like they are back to normal again – we won’t get Ashcroft till Monday, but Populus’s second poll of the week has more typical figures of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12% (tabs here) and YouGov had a Labour lead of four on Wednesday and three this morning – CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12% (tabs here).

There was also a new Survation Scottish poll for the Daily Record. Like the recent TNS poll, the main movement was actually from don’t knows towards the two campaigns, with the lead once don’t knows were removed remaining the same. Topline figures are YES 41%(+2), NO 46%(+2), without don’t knows that works out at Yes 47%(nc), No 53%(nc) (Tabs here.)