Polling in the weekend papers is dominated by the Conservative leadership race. The Mail on Sunday has a Survation poll, or more to the point, two Survation polls. A full one conducted on Wednesday and Thursday and then a second one conducted on Saturday after the news story of the police being called to Boris Johnson’s flat had broken.

I would always urge some caution with “Has X made you more or less likely to support Y” questions. Some people answer them in a way to register their approval or disapprove of the event or the candidate, rather than whether it has really changed their mind. Hence lots of people who really loathed Boris Johnson anyway will have said it has made their opinion worse, when actually they would probably never have supported him anyway. It also explain the rather perverse finding that 9% of people say the story makes them them more likely to support Boris Johnson – I expect those are actually just people trying to express their pro-Boris Johnson opinion, rather than it actually having improved their opinion.

The much more better way of measuring change is to compare before and after preferences. On Wed/Thurs Survation asked who would make the better Prime Minister, finding the public preferred Johnson to Hunt by 36% to 28%. They polled the same question again on Saturday and found the balance had shifted, with Johnson on 29%, Hunt 32%. Among Conservative voters Johnson continued to lead, but by a smaller margin – the break was Johnson 55%, Hunt 28% on Wed/Thurs, Johnson 45%, Hunt 34% on Saturday.

This gives an early indication that the story has shifted public opinion against Johnson a bit – though as ever, I would urge some caution. It was taken just as a story was breaking when it was all over the news. Whether it has any impact in a few weeks time is a completely different question. It is also important to remember that the views of Conservative voters are not necessarily a good guide to the views of Conservative party members.. Full tables for the Survation polls are here and here.

(A quick note for methodology geeks. On their main poll Survation are now including the Brexit party in the main prompt alongside the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats. Green party, UKIP and ChangeUK are in the secondary prompt. More interestingly, the Wed/Thurs poll was also weighted by recalled 2019 European election vote, which appears from the weighted/unweighted numbers to downweight 2019 Labour voters quite substantially and bump up the Lib Dems and Greens. I don’t know if that’s a permanent change they are adopting.)

There is also a ComRes poll in the Telegraph – it is headlined as a poll of “grass-roots Tories”, but it is in fact a poll of Conservative councillors, not of ordinary Conservative party members. The two things are really not interchangeable. For what it’s worth though, among Tory councillors Johnson leads Hunt by 61% to 39%. It was carried out on Friday and Saturday, so would have straddled the Johnson domestic row story. It not clear how much of the fieldwork was before and after the story breaking.

Finally we come to the people who actually do have a vote in this election. YouGov had a new poll of Conservative party members in yesterday’s Times. The fieldwork for this was between Wednesday and Friday, so was before the story about the police visiting Johnson’s flat had broken. However, it underlines the huge lead that Johnson had among members – he led Hunt by 68% to 23% (74% to 26% once don’t knows are excluded), with 80% of members saying they were already fairly certain who they would vote for. Johnson would really need to make a mess of things to throw away a lead that large. The other interesting pickings from that poll where that while Tory members were voting for Boris, many didn’t actually trust him – only 47% thought he could be trusted to tell the truth, 40% did not.

So, all in all, the Survation poll raises the possibility that the Johnson domestic had some impact, but it’s only one poll, done in the immediate aftermath. I’d wait to see if it lasts once the story is off the front pages. In the meantime, polling of the people who can actually vote in this contest suggest Johnson has such a large lead that it would take something major to throw it away.


There are two polls in this morning’s papers – Survation in the Mail and YouGov in the Times.

Survation have topline figures of CON 35%(-5), LAB 39%(+3), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 5%(nc). Fieldwork was on Friday, and changes are from mkid-February.
YouGov have topline figures of CON 35%(-5), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 12%(+1), UKIP 6%(+3). Fieldwork was Thursday to Friday, and changes are from the start of March.

The overall leads are different, but that’s to be expected (Survation tend to produce figures that are better for Labour than most pollsters, YouGov tend to produce figures that are better for the Conservatives). The more interesting thing is what they have in common – both are showing a significant drop in Conservative support. As ever, it is worth waiting for other polls to show a similar trend before putting too much weight on it, but on first impressions it looks as though the ongoing chaos over Brexit may be starting to eat into Tory support.


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Today we’ve had the first two polls asking people about whether they’d support The Independent Group were they to stand candidates.

Survation in the Daily Mail asked how people would vote if there was “a new centrist party opposed to Brexit”, producing voting intention figures of CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 6%, “New centrist party” 8%, UKIP 5%. In comparison, the normal voting intention figures in the poll were CON 40%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 5%, suggesting the new party could take support from both Labour and Conservative, though it would largely take votes from the Liberal Democrats. Tables are here.

SkyData, who do not typically publish voting intention figures, asked how people would vote if the “new Independent Group of former Labour MPs” were standing, and found voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 26%, TIG 10%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 6%. We don’t have standard voting intention figures to compare here, but on the face of it, it also looks as if support is coming from both Labour and Conservative, though the level of Lib Dem support appears to be holding up better than in the Survation poll. Note that the lower figures overall appear to be because of an unusually high figure for “others” (possibly because SkyData do not offer respondents the ability to answer don’t know). Tables are here.

These polls are, of course, still rather hypothetical. “The Independent Group” is not a political party yet (assuming, that it ever becomes one). It doesn’t formally have a leader yet, or any policies. We don’t yet know how it will co-exist with the Liberal Democrats. As of Tuesday night it only has former Labour MPs, though the rumourmill expects some Conservative MPs to join sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, it is more “real” than the typical hypothetical polls asking about imaginary centrist parties. Respondents do at least have some names, faces and context to base it upon, and it gives us a baseline of support. We won’t really know for sure until (and unless) the Independent Group transform into a proper party and is just another option in standard voting intention polls.


The weekend papers have the first two polls with fieldwork conducted after the New Year – BMG in the Independent and Survation for yesterday’s Mail. Voting intention in the two polls is:

Survation: CON 38%(-1), LAB 41%(+1), LDEM 10%(+2), UKIP 4%(nc)
BMG: CON 36%(-1), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 6%(+2)

Survation’s poll was conducted on Thursday and Friday, changes are from their big Channel4 poll at the end of October. BMG was conducted between Tuesday and Friday and changes are from last month. Neither poll shows any real significant movement. As you would probably expect, the bulk of both polls focused on the looming issue of Brexit.

On the Brexit deal itself BMG found that 29% of people think MPs should approve the deal (up 3 points from December), 37% think it should be rejected (down 6 points). Survation found 36% of people wanted MPs to approve the deal (up 5), 40% wanted it rejected (down 6). Both polls show some movement in favour of passing the deal, but still more opposition than support.

BMG asked whether people would support or oppose various alternative Brexit options. By 46% to 28% people would support a second referendum. By 45% to 39% people would support reversing Brexit and just remaining. Further negotiations were supported by 45% to 34%. A “Norway-style deal” was supported by 40% to 36%. Leaving without a deal was opposed by 45% to 35%.

Survation’s poll included questions on how people would vote in various referendum scenarios – in a deal vs no deal referendum, 41% would prefer the deal, 32% no deal. In a referendum between no deal Brexit and remain, people prefer remain by 46% to 41%. A deal vs referendum vote would be neck-and-neck: 40% deal, 40% remain.

Tabs for Survation are here, BMG aren’t up yet.


A brief note about the Survation poll in today’s Mail. A lot of responses to this have really got the wrong end of the stick – the Daily Mail have, quite obviously, written it up with a very pro-deal slant and have not focused upon elements of the poll showing support for no-deal or for a fresh referendum. Nevertheless, the core of the story – that more people said they wanted MPs to vote to support the deal than wanted MPs to reject it – is quite correct.

Firstly, lets us address social media claims that the poll actually showed opposition to the deal and that the Mail has lied about it. This is untrue. What actually happened is that when the Daily Mail front page was published yesterday Survation has not yet put up the full tables, so people looking for the full results on Survation’s website stumbled upon their previous poll for the Daily Mail, which had shown people opposed the deal. Today’s poll is different – and that’s the point of the Mail’s splash – the poll suggests public opinion has changed.

The two polls asked identical questions about support for the deal (so there’s no jiggery-pokery, so changing the wording – it’s a straight comparison).

Survation’s poll conducted on November 15th found that 61% of people had heard about the deal and of those people 27% supported it, 49% opposed it. The full tables for that poll are here (the chart that lots of people were posting on social media this morning was from this poll)

Survation’s new poll conducted on November 27th asked the same questions, and found 72% had now heard about the deal. Of those people 37% supported the deal (up 10), 35% opposed the deal (down 14). The full tables for that poll are here (Wednesday’s Daily Mail story is about this poll)

In the next question Survation asked how people wanted MPs to vote on the deal. 41% said they would like MPs to vote for the deal, 38% would like MPs to vote against the deal.

So far, so good. The poll shows a sharp increase in support for the deal since it was first announced – a fortnight ago the public were opposed by nearly 2-to-1, now it is pretty much neck-and-neck. While this is only a single poll and one shouldn’t read too much into it until there is other polling evidence to back it up, it does appear to be a very clear shift.

However, before one concludes that the public are now leaning in favour of the deal, it’s also worth looking at the other questions in the poll. The poll also repeated questions asking how people would vote in some hypothetical referendums. These suggests that people continue to prefer remaining in the EU to the deal (Remain 46%(+3), Leave with the deal 37%(+3)) and that in a choice between the deal or leaving without one, they’d go for no deal (No deal 41%(+7), deal 35%(+3)).

This leaves us in a bit of a quandary. People narrowly approve of the deal and think MPs should approve it… but they also prefer both of the two obvious alternatives to the deal. For the record, the poll also finds people in favour of a new referendum on the deal by 48% to 34%. It is hard to resist the conclusion that the public are as unclear as the political classes about their preferred way forward.