There are four polls in the Sunday papers – Lord Ashcroft, Opinium, Survation and YouGov.

The majority of the fieldwork for the YouGov/Sunday Times and Opinium/Observer polls was conducted before the results of the Clacton by-election were known. Opinium have topline figures of CON 28%(-4), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(n/c). YouGov have topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%. Lord Ashcroft didn’t put voting intention figures in the headline results but they were asked and are in the tables themselves, results were CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 18% – note that the poll was conducted online, whereas Ashcroft’s regular VI polls are done by phone.

Survation’s poll in the Mail on Sunday was conducted wholly on Friday – in the full glare of the post-Clacton by-election media coverage, and it shows the big boost for UKIP that we expected. Topline figures of CON 31%(nc), LAB 31%(-4), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 25%(+6). 25% is the highest that UKIP have ever hit in a poll. To put that in context Survation do tend to show the highest levels of support for UKIP anyway, but their previous highest was 22% and their average this year for UKIP has been 19%, so this is a significant boost anyway.

Lord Ashcroft’s poll was largely a repeat of some pre-conference questions to see if there was any impact. The survey included an opened ended question asking if people had noticed the Conservatives and Labour saying or doing anything over the last few weeks – for both parties 20% of people said that there had been a conference, the most recalled specifics were 15% remembering proposed tax cuts from the Tories, and 15% remembering that Ed Miliband forgot part of his speech. Changes in other questions were largely just a reinforcement of the existing pattern – so Labour increased their lead on “being on the side of people like me”, the Conservatives increased their lead on things like “being clear what they stand for”, “cutting the deficit” and “reforming welfare”.

Ashcroft did ask one interesting new question – a forced choice asking if people wanted Labour & Miliband to win, Labour despite Miliband, Miliband despite Labour, and the equivalent options for the Conservatives. The balance of opinion was 54% Conservative/Cameron and 46% Labour/Miliband, but the splits were interesting. Amongst Tory voters 75% wanted to see Cameron & the Conservatives win the election. Amongst Labour voters only 37% were happy with Labour and Miliband, 47% said they wanted Labour in government, even if it meant Miliband as PM. Amongst Liberal Democrat voters 66% opted for the Conservatives/Cameron, but mostly because they’d rather Cameron remained PM even if it meant the Conservatives in power. Amongst UKIP voters 66% opted for Conservatives/Cameron, 30% saying they’d want to keep Cameron even if meant the Tories, 26% because they’d rather keep the Tories even if meant Cameron.

Both YouGov and Ashcroft asked about likelihood to change at the next election. YouGov found the UKIP vote was a little softer than the Conservative and Labour parties’ – 58% of Conservatives say they are certain to vote that way, 59% of Labour voters, but only 46% of UKIP voters. Looking at potential changes, 24% of current Conservative voters said they’d consider voting UKIP at the general election, as would 11% of current Labour voters. Looking at possible movement in the opposite direction, 27% of current UKIP voters say they’d consider voting Conservative come the election, 9% would consider Labour. If the UKIP vote does get squeezed closer to the election it will benefit the Tories… but if they don’t, if the rollercoaster keeps going, there is more risk for the Tories too. Ashcroft asked the question slightly differently, only targeting those who said they might change and asking a “tick all that apply”, but the pattern of support was exactly the same.

YouGov also asked people how they might vote if their own seat looked like it would be a race between certain parties – the aim was to try and see how UKIP voters might be squeezed in marginals, but of course it also gives us some interesting pointers of possible tactical behaviour in other seats. In Conservative/Labour marginals 34% of UKIP voters say they would vote for the Conservative party, in Conservative/Liberal Democrat marginals 30% of Ukippers would vote Conservative. Imagining themselves in a Con/Lab marginal the remaining Lib Dems voters are as likely to vote tactically for the Conservatives as for Labour. 39% of Conservative voters say they’d vote tactically for the Lib Dems in Lab/LD seats, 36% of Lab voters would still be prepared to hold their nose and vote tactically for the Lib Dems in Con/LD marginals.

Tabs are here: YouGov, Survation, Ashcroft.


Populus and Lord Ashcroft have both published new polls today. Lord Ashcroft’s poll echoes YouGov’s post conference polls in showing a small Tory lead – CON 32%, LAB 30%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 7% (tabs here). In contrast today’s Populus poll still shows a robust Labour lead, as did their Friday poll – CON 31%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15% (tabs here).

Lord Ashcroft also conducted A poll on the forthcoming Heywood and Middleton by-election. Topline figures there are CON 16%(-11), LAB 47%(+7), LDEM 5%(-18), UKIP 28%(+25). While Labour and UKIP are both a little lower than in the previous Survation poll the nineteen point lead is exactly the same, and it looks like we can expect a comfortable Labour hold.


Two polls in the Sunday papers. The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%. That means both the YouGov polls since Cameron’s conference speech have shown a small Tory lead, though it’s worth noting that that the Populus poll on Friday did not show any movement to the Conservatives so the trend is not all one way. The more important caveat is that the polls were taken in the context of very good publicity for the Conservatives from their conference – we don’t know if it will last once the agenda moves on to, say, the expected UKIP by-election win on Thursday.

On that subject the Sunday papers also have the first poll of the Rochester and Strood by-election, conducted by Survation for the Mail on Sunday. Topline figures there are CON 31%(-18), LAB 25%(-3), LDEM 2%(-14), UKIP 40%(n/a), Other 1%(-5). UKIP start out with a lead, but it’s clearly not the complete walk in the park that polling for the Clacton by-election has shown. As commentators have suggested, this one looks like it will be a more competitive fight.


The Sun has two interesting polls tonight. Firstly the daily YouGov poll tonight has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%. The fieldwork was conducted between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon, so was entirely after David Cameron speech, but largely before this morning’s newspaper coverage of it. Other companies like Ashcroft, ICM and MORI have popped out the occasional small Tory lead over the last year, but this is the first one that YouGov have shown since before the Omnishambles budget in 2012. Usual caveats apply, it is just one poll and conducted when David Cameron was getting some very good publicity, time will tell if it sticks.

Secondly the Sun have a Survation by-election poll in Heywood and Middleton. Voting intentions with changes from the 2010 result are CON 13%(-14), LAB 50%(+10), LDEM 4%(-19), UKIP 31%(+28) – it suggests a huge surge for UKIP into second place, but with a nineteen percent lead for Labour they should still hold the seat comfortably.


As part of his speech today Nigel Farage showed off polling for various target seats. A couple of the polls were just the figures from previous Ashcroft polls that showed UKIP doing well, but three are Survation polls for UKIP that we haven’t seen before. They show UKIP well ahead in Boston & Skegness – on 46% to the Conservatives 26%, one point behind in Thanet North and on 37% to Labour’s 48% in Rotherham. Of course, polling conducted for political parties should be treated with a medium sized ocean of salt until you’ve see the tables with your own eyes (I’ll put up a link once Survation put the tabs up (UPDATE: here)), but the previous Survation polls for UKIP donor Alan Bown have used their standard methodology.

The polls got very brief attention as they were rapidly followed by Mark Reckless defecting to UKIP and precipitating a by-election in Rochester and Strood. Rochester and Strood probably won’t be the complete walk in the park for UKIP that polls have suggested in Clacton (Clacton’s demographics are absolutely perfect for UKIP and Carswell particularly well thought of). UKIP came top in Medway in the European elections, but that was hardly unusual and as an all-out unitary authority we have no recent local elections in Medway to judge from. The seat does not appear in Rob Ford and Matt Goodwin’s list of the most UKIP friendly Con seats. The unusual circumstances of a by-election though mean anything is possible – and from a national polling point of view, it keeps the UKIP bandwagon rolling, keeps them in the public eye, keeps the publicity coming, keeps them looking like a viable choice.