This morning’s Scottish Daily Mail has a new Survation poll of Scotland. Referendum voting intention figures with changes from last week are YES 37%(-3), NO 50%(+4), Don’t know 13%(-1). Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 43%(-4), NO 57%(+4). Tabs are here.

Survation are one of the companies that have tended to produce some of the better figures for YES. Their last three Scottish polls have shown figures of YES 47%, NO 53%. 43% is the YES campaign’s lowest score in a Survation poll since January, before Survation switched their weighting scheme to Holyrood recalled vote.

Normal caveats about any sharp movement in the polls apply, but this the first full natrep Scottish poll since the Salmond-v-Darling debate, so obviously people will look at that four point swing and conclude that the debate has indeed moved public opinion towards NO. I’d urge a little caution – as ever, it is just one poll, all polls have a margin of error, and when other post-debate polls come along they may or may not paint the same picture. This first bit of evidence though suggests the first debate has helped NO.


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.


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).