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.)


The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here. Topline voting intention figures are a very normal CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%. The rest of the poll dealt with Europe, Coulson and Iraq.

Dealing with Europe first, by 40% to 14% people thought Cameron was right to oppose Juncker, 46% of people said don’t know. On the other hand, 36% of people said it has probably damaged Britain’s ability to negotiate in Europe, 7% say it has probably helped. Note the fieldwork was done before the summit.

On Coulson YouGov asked how seriously people took Cameron’s error in appointing Coulson. 34% said it was a very serious error, 36% a fairly serious error, but no worse than many others made by politicians, 21% not seriously at all. Looking at the crossbreaks though is a salient reminder of why things like this don’t really make much difference to voting intentions – people see them through the prism of their pre-existing political views. 59% of Labour voters saw the appointment of Coulson as a very serious error, only 6% dismissed it as not being serious. 48% of Tory voters dismissed it as nothing serious, only 9% thought it was a very serious error. On the wider issues around phone hacking, by 53% to 33% people think the thorough investigation was worthwhile and 69% think the CPS was right to attempt the prosecution of Rebekah Brooks and let the jury decide, despite her ultimate acquittal. People are pretty evenly split over whether the investigations and prosecutions will make journalists behave better in the future – 44% think they will, 47% think they won’t.

Turning to Iraq, public opinion remains extremely negative towards Britain’s role in the Iraq war and its consequences. 59% think Britain and the USA were wrong to take military action against Iraq, 62% think it has increased the risk of terrorist attack against Britain, 48% think it’s made the world less safe and 40% think it has made the ordinary lives of Iraqis worse. 67% of people think that British “jihadists” going to Syria or Iraq to fight do pose a risk when they return to Britain, 17% think the risk has been exaggerated. 63% think Muslim community leaders in Britain should do more to prevent it, 61% think social media sites should do more to remove jihadists recruiting material.

There was also a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday with fieldwork conducted on Friday (tabs here). Topline figures there were CON 27%(nc), LAB 36%(+4), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 22%(-1). The rest of the poll dealt mostly with Juncker, and again opinions are split largely along existing party lines – so 38% saw Cameron’s opposition to Juncker as a sign of strength, 36% as a sign of weakness… but 75% of Tories thought it was a sign of strength, 57% of Labour voters thought it was a sign of weakness.


Two interesting polls last night. The daily YouGov poll for the Sun had topline voting intentions of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%. That’s a couple of lower Labour leads in a row, but as ever, that could easily be margin of error. Worth noting is the 6% for the Lib Dems, that’s the lowest that YouGov have ever shown since they started polling in 2001 (the lowest the Lib Dems have recorded in any GB poll is, so far as I can tell, a 3% in an ICM poll for the Sunday Correspondent in 1989. You occasionally get Lib Dem politicians rolling out the old story of how they remember when the Lib Dems were just an asterisk, which pollsters sometimes use to denote less than 0.5% but not actually zero. As far as I can tell, and I’ve been tracking the mythical beast for years, that never happened in a GB poll, though it could have done in a Scottish or by-election poll. 3% is the lowest to beat!)

Secondly there was a new Survation Scottish poll for the Daily Record. It has referendum topline figures of YES 39%(+2), NO 44%(-2). Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 47%, NO 53%. Looking at Survation’s past Scottish referendum polling they’ve typically been showing YES at 37-39% and NO at 46-48%, so it does suggest movement away from NO… but as ever, it is only one poll and it’s the wider trend that counts. Tabs are here.

There was also a “new” TNS poll out yesterday, though the fieldwork was actually conducted about a fortnight ago, so much older than the Survation poll. That had referendum voting intention figures unchanged from the month before, YES 30%(nc), NO 42%(nc).


Tomorrow’s Sun has a Survation poll of Newark, ahead of the by-election next week. Topline figures with changes since the general election are CON 36%(-18), LAB 27%(+5), LD 5%(-15), UKIP 28%(+24). This is the first poll we’ve had of Newark, and unless Lord Ashcroft also has one in the works it’s probably the only one.

A swing of 21 points from the Conservatives to UKIP would be a storming great swing, but the fact remains that Patrick Mercer had a pretty hefty majority at the last election, so even a swing of that size leaves the Conservatives 8 points ahead. Still a week to go though…


Sunday polls

There were three polls in the Sunday papers today. Opinium in the Observer had topline figures of CON 32%. LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 19%.

The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times also had only a one point lead for the Labour party: CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Tabs here. YouGov also had a couple of tracking questions seeking to measure what effect the heavy criticism of UKIP on things like racism over the last couple of weeks has had. YouGov repeated two questions from earlier in the campaign – a week ago 41% of people thought UKIP were racist, 40% did not. Now 46% think they are racist (up 5), 39% they are not (down 1). A fortnight ago 27% thought Nigel Farage himself was a racist, 50% said he wasn’t. This week that has narrowed to 38% racist (up 9), 43% not racist (down 7).

Together those two make it look pretty conclusive that the attacks on UKIP did damage perceptions of the party. More people think the party and Farage are racist. However, it does NOT necessarily follow that it damaged their vote – it could just have served to further entrench negative views amongst people who didn’t like UKIP anyway. It could even have both helped and harmed them – making their opponents more negative towards them, but also bolstering their anti-establishment credentials amongst their supporters. The results tonight won’t really tell us – if UKIP do well, it doesn’t mean they couldn’t have done better without all the negative coverage. If UKIP do less well than expected, it doesn’t mean they weren’t headed that way anyway.

Finally there was a new Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday. The fieldwork for the Survation poll didn’t start until late on Friday, so unlike the YouGov and Opinium polls most respondents will have had a chance to see the local election results. Topline figures there, with changes since Survations last pre-election poll, are CON 27%(-1), LAB 32%(-3), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 23%(+2). Survation show some of the highest UKIP scores anyway, but the 23% is a record high for UKIP even by their standards – the first in what I’d expect to be many polls showing a post-election boost for UKIP.

While not a poll, the Sunday Times also had the Rallings and Thrasher Equivalent National Vote calculation for the local elections. This is essentially a very similar exercise to the BBC’s projected national share, but calculated by a different team using different key wards – Rallings and Thrasher’s figures are Conservatives 30%, Labour 31%, Lib Dem 11%, UKIP 18%. Slightly different from the BBC’s, but it essentially tells the same story – Labour with only a tiny lead over the Tories, UKIP doing worse than in 2013 when R&T had them on 22%.