Quick off the mark following Douglas Carswell’s defection on Thusday Survation have a poll of Clacton in the Mail on Sunday that apparently shows a cracking great UKIP lead.

From the details that have been tweeted out so far the topline figures are CON 20%(-33), LAB 13%(-12), LDEM 2%(-11), UKIP 64%(+64%). We don’t have dates, sample size, questions and so on yet but prima facie it’s pretty unambiguous: Carswell will romp home with ease. If it does happen so convincingly expect a big impact in the national polls too from the publicity and the impact of people seeing a UKIP vote can return a UKIP MP (not to mention whatever temptations it would throw to any other potential Conservative defectors…)

UPDATE: Tabs are here, sample size 700, done on Thurs-Fri.


Survation have a new Scottish referendum poll in tomorrow’s Daily Mail. Topline figures are YES 42%(+5), NO 48%(-2), Don’t knows 11%(-2) (excluding don’t knows it is YES 47%, up 4). This is the first poll since the second Salmond-Darling debate, and on the face of it shows a significant movement to yes since before the debate.

Remember, however, that the previous Survation poll showed a sharp movement to NO. Putting that one aside, this poll is actually very similar to Survation’s longer term trend – their polls in June, July and at the start of August all had YES on 47%, before a sharp drop to 43% in their poll following the first debate. There are two ways you can interpret that – one is that Scottish opinion swung towards NO following the first debate that Darling was deemed to have “won”, and swung back following the second debate that Salmond “won”. The alternative explantion is that the previous Survation poll was just a bit of an outlier and nothing has really changed at all. Anyway, no doubt we will have some more post-debate polls along soon – tabs for the Survation poll are already up here, polls so far are here.


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.)