This morning’s Populus poll had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. The five point Labour lead is up from Friday’s poll which had the two parties equal on 35%… but both polls are inline with the average lead of 3 points or so which Populus have been showing lately.
I’ve seen it suggested lately that there’s a pattern of Populus producing better figures for Labour in their Monday polls, better figures for the Conservatives in Friday polls. Such a pattern is possible in theory – one can imagine that you might get slightly different respondents from weekend fieldwork than weekday fieldwork – and on the face of it looks like there could have been a bit of a pattern last month. Crunching the data properly though any difference appears to be minimal – the average figures this year for Populus’s Friday polls are CON 33.4%, LAB 36.5%; for Monday polls they are CON 33.1%, LAB 36.9%. Populus’s Monday polls give a Labour lead that’s 0.7% bigger than Friday polls, less than a percentage point.
Meanwhile Lord Ashcroft’s poll shows another big change in Tory support from last week. Toplines are CON 27%(-5), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 7%(+1). I wrote about the volatility in Lord Ashcroft’s polling a couple of weeks ago here: essentially, there’s no methodological reason for it, nor are the figures actually particularly volatile given the standard levels of variation you’d expect to find. As ever, it’s the underlying trend that counts rather than the individual bits of data that make it up.
YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times is up here. Topline figures are CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%.
There are some questions on perceptions of Cameron and Miliband, but they don’t show us anything particularly new. Looking beyond the two party leaders themselves the Conservatives also lead on having the stronger team of leaders – 38% think the Tories have the better team, 25% the Labour party. Cameron’s reshuffle itself isn’t seen has having made much difference to this. 13% think his team is now stronger, 16% weaker, 71% no difference or don’t know. 54% of people think that the promotion of more female ministers to the cabinet was mostly because David Cameron wanted more women in the cabinet, rather than because he thought they were the best people for the job.
Michael Gove’s demotion is widely approved of. 55% think it was the right thing to do, 19% think he should have stayed at education. As for his policies – 54% think Nicky Morgan should continue to toughen up exam grading schemes, but 51% think she should cancel Free Schools and by 40% to 32% people think she should end the drive towards more academies.
Support for the bedroom tax has now dropped to 39%, with 48% opposed. This compares to 41% support in January, and 49% support back in March 2013 before it was first implemented. While a substantial minority still support the policy, support for it has been on a gradual decline since it was announced. Nick Clegg’s about turn on the tax is seen positively by 38% who think it’s right to change your mind when a policy doesn’t work, and negatively by 44% who think it’s hypocritical to oppose a policy you introduced.
The monthly online ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 31%(-1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(-1), GRN 4%. Changes are from ComRes’s last poll a month ago, and don’t show any significant movement.
I sometimes see people asking if asking “if there was an election tomorrow” produces different results from “the next election in May 2015″. ComRes did a split sample this month asking and asked the two halves with the two different wordings: there was no significant difference. Asking about next May produced a Tory score one point higher, UKIP two points lower… but these differences could easily be normal sample error (especially given they were only to half sized samples).
If you really wanted to test if the different wordings had any effect you’d need to test on a much bigger scale to differentiate any effect from normal sample error, especially since any difference is likely to be small. Personally I doubt it does make any difference, but would always ask “tomorrow” on principle, just to emphasize that a poll really is a snapshot of opinion NOW, not a prediction of opinion next year.
Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer is also out tonight, and they have toplines of CON 30%(+1), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(-1).
A quick round of today’s polls. There were two voting intention polls out today, both of which I expect were slight outliers from the norm… but in opposite directions.
Both Populus and YouGov have been showing average Labour leads of around 3-4 points this month. YouGov’s poll this morning had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% – a seven point Labour lead (tabs here). Populus’s poll had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14% – both parties equal (tabs here.) In both cases, I suspect we’re just seeing normal sample variation.
The other “new” poll out today was the latest TNS Scottish referendum poll. As usual the face-to-face methodology means the poll is actually pretty old – it was conducted between the 25th June and 9th July, so the start of the fieldwork was three weeks ago. Topline referendum voting intention is YES 32%(nc), NO 41%(-5). Without don’t knows, that translates to YES 44%, NO 56%… TNS has typically been showing yes support at 40-42% once you exclude don’t knows, so this is a good YES poll by TNS standards.
This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs are here.
YouGov also asked specifically about the reshuffle for the Times. Usually reshuffles are essentially a lot of people the public have never heard of being replaced by a group of other people the public have never heard of. This reshuffle was at least unusual in that it involves some ministers – like Michael Gove and William Hague – who the majority of respondents will actually recognise and have an opinion about. YouGov found that the majority of people thought that Hague had done a good job as Foreign Secretary… and that Gove had done a bad one as Education Secretary. 63% of people, including a majority of Conservative voters, thought it was right to remove him from the Education role.
Asked about how well represented women are at the top of the Conservative party, 36% now say they are very or fairly well represented. That’s up from 29% at the start of the week, but is still well below the 48% who think women are well represented in the Labour party. Will it make any immediate difference? Probably not – in the months and years to come being less male-dominated will probably improve the Conservative party’s image a bit, but it’s certainly no magic bullet. You can see at the top of this post that today’s voting intention figures are wholly in line with those from before the reshuffle.