Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. A rather more typical six point Labour lead after a three pointer yesterday.


Tonight we have the new monthly ICM poll for the Guardian. Topline figures are CON 32%(-3), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 12%(nc), UKIP 11%(+2).

More intriguing are the European voting intentions in the same poll – other recent European polls have been showing Labour and UKIP in a battle for first place and the Conservatives off in third place. In contrast ICM are still showing UKIP third, and the Lib Dems now equal with the Greens on a measly 6 percent – CON 25%(nc), LAB 36%(+1), LDEM 6%(-3), UKIP 20%(nc), GREEN 6%(-1).

Why ICM are showing a lower level of European support for UKIP than other pollsters is unclear – there is no obvious methodological reason. ICM weight their European voting intention by likelihood to vote which tends to help UKIP and they include UKIP and the Greens in their European election prompt, so it shouldn’t be a question wording issue. I can only assume it is something to do with the ongoing contrast between the levels of UKIP support recorded in telephone and online polls.

As well as the monthly ICM poll, we also had a YouGov London poll in today’s Evening Standard – tabs here. London voting intentions at a general election stand at CON 34%, LAB 42%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%, a swing of three points from Con to Lab, so actually marginally better for the Tories than in GB polls. In European voting intentions the figures are CON 25%, LAB 33%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 24% – so UKIP and the Conservatives fighting for second place behind Labour, a good performance for UKIP in what tends to be a weaker area for them. Finally in Borough elections voting intentions are CON 34%, LAB 40%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9% – this reflects a swing of 2.5% from Con to Lab since 2010, so would probably be seen as a fairly good performance for the Tories if it was repeated in May. Note the interesting patterns of split votes – there are a lot (18%) of current Conservative voters who would give UKIP their vote in the European elections, but there are also a chunk (12%) of current UKIP voters who would give the Conservatives their vote in the local elections.

Meanwhile the twice-weekly Populus poll had voting intentions of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 13%. Tabs here.

UPDATE: The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Indy is also out tonight. Topline figures there are CON 30%(-1), LAB 36%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 12%(+1).


For a Thursday there was rather a lot of polling today which I’m only just getting chance to catch up with.

Firstly we had Ipsos MORI‘s monthly political monitor for the Standard. Topline voting intention figures are CON 31%(-1), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 9%(-4), UKIP 15%(+4) – a good boost for UKIP following the Clegg-Farage debate. The 15% for UKIP matches the highest they’ve ever received from the pollster, last reached in April 2013.

The rest of the MORI poll had some questions on perceptions of the leaders, which showed the familiar comparisons between Ed Miliband and David Cameron: Cameron is seen as a more capable Prime Minister and better in a crisis, Miliband is seen as less out of touch. MORI also found a budget bounce in George Osborne’s reputation, nudging his approval rating into positive territory. 47% are now satisfied with his performance as Chancellor, 44% disatisfied, the best MORI have found for a Chancellor since 2006 (and the best for a Tory Chancellor since 1980). Full details of the MORI polling are here.

The second GB poll of the day was the daily YouGov poll for the Sun. They had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%, but also had some Maria Miller questions here. 83% think she was right to resign, 63% think Cameron should have sacked her immediately rather than standing by her.

Moving on from GB polls, there were also two Scottish referendum polls, one showing a slight but insignificant drop for YES, one showing things static. The first by Survation for the Record had referendum voting intentions of YES 37%(-2), NO 47%(-1). Tabs are here. Interestingly enough Survation also asked Scottish voting intentions for the European elections. Most Scottish voting intention questions at the moment don’t interest me that much given the referendum result will shake things up either way, but the European election obviously comes before the referendum. Survation have figures of CON 13%, LAB 30%, LD 6%, SNP 39%, UKIP 7%. That would give the SNP three MEPs, Labour two and the Conservatives one. The Lib Dems would lose theirs and UKIP would fail to break through in Scotland.

The second poll was a Panelbase one commissioned by the YES campaign, which showed the same five point lead for NO recorded in the previous two Panelbase polls: YES 40%(-1), NO 45%(-1). Tabs are here.


This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%. A Labour lead of four points and UKIP at 13%. UKIP are lower than yesterday, but worth noting that they’ve been averaging at around 13% since the second Clegg-Farage debate, compared to around 11% earlier in March.

YouGov also did a Maria Miller question yesterday, now obviously out of date, but which raised some interesting methodological questions. Asking a fair question is often a matter of giving the minimal amount of information necessary in order to get a response. The more information you give, the more you risk leading respondents, the more you risk essentially creating the perception of a public opinion that isn’t really out there. If pollsters ask the public a question, a fair proportion of people will answer, regardless of whether they actually have any real views at all (The classic example of this is the Public Affairs Act, which doesn’t exist, but which 18% of people are willing to express an opinion about.)

When a politician is in a scrape and pollsters ask if they should resign you normally end up prefacing the question with “Harriet Jones has been accused of killing kittens…”, when the respondent might previously have been unaware of the cat murdering rumours or of Harriet Jones. The very fact you are asking questions about Harriet Jones implies there is a fuss about her, and you can never tell what proportion of people would have said she should resign anyway, probably for the crime of being from the wrong party.

Yesterday YouGov asked about Maria Miller resigning, but in a different way. They didn’t mention expenses at all (if people had seen the story, they’ll have seen the story, if they haven’t, they haven’t) and they hid Maria Miller amongst lots of other politicians and asked, for each one, if they should resign or not. 63% of people said that Maria Miller should resign, only 9% said she should not, which is pretty unambiguous. However, 52% also think Nick Clegg should resign, 47% Michael Gove, 46% Ed Miliband, 37% George Osborne. The lowest was for Theresa May, but 30% of people still think she should resign. It seems whoever you ask about a fair chunk want them to resign, though note that in the case of Maria Miller people from all parties wanted to see the back of her, the other cases were mostly political opponents saying politicians from a party they dislike should go.

Two things to take away from this. One, the Maria Miller story was noticed. People did still think she should resign without any prompting in the question about what she was accused of. It still doesn’t imply it will have any effect on voting intention at all (people view these things through the prism of their pre-existing political support, and as I wrote yesterday, looking back it has been incredibly rare for events like this to have any measurable impact on voting intention) but it did get noticed, or her figures would have been the same as everyone else’s.

Secondly, do be careful about “should X resign” questions when you see them asked in isolation. Lots of people will say a politician from a government they are opposed to should resign anyway, regardless of the scandal de jour. Perhaps it’s worth paying special attention to the answers from supporters of the politician’s own party.


This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 14%. The three point lead for Labour is lower than usual, though nothing to get too excited about as it is well within the normal margin of error for a lead of five points or so. The 14% for UKIP is right at the top end of their their normal range. YouGov have had them at 14% a couple of times this year, but you need to go all the back to November to find them any higher.

I saw a couple of people commenting on this poll and on yesterday’s Populus poll in relation to the ongoing troubles around Maria Miller, asking about whether there would be a Miller effect, or pondering why it hadn’t damaged the Conservatives.

Obviously this is just one poll so one probably should read too much into it. More importantly though, I would not expect to see any impact at all from the Miller scandal anyway. As ever, the vast majority of the Westminster soap opera has no discernable impact upon voting intentions. The majority of people do not follow or watch Westminister events, will not be aware of who the people are or what they are supposed to have done. Those people who are interested in politics will tend to view events and scandals through the prism of their pre-existing political loyalties. For example, if a Labour politician is involved in a scandal, Labour supporters will be more likely to see it as a smear, or at worst one bad apple amongst an otherwise decent party; Conservative supporters will be more likely to see it as some major failing and characteristic of a rotten party… and vice-versa for scandals affecting Conservative politicians). I expect all these things have a drip-drip effect upon party image, but not one that is measurable or quantifiable.

A good reminder is to go back and look at the ups and downs of the polls in the last Parliament, or the Parliament before and see what has changed polls. Most of the time they trundle along larged unaffected by short-term events – leadership changes affect them, budgets sometimes do, recessions and recoveries, wars, mid-term elections, party conferences (for a week). The weekly Westminster stories of speeches, policy announcements and scandals rarely do – the main exceptions of I can think of in recent years are the expenses scandal in 2009 (but that was the whole political class, a huge event); Charles Kennedy’s resignation (but he was a party leader) and I suppose Labour’s black Wednesday in 2006 (when Charles Clarke, John Prescott and Patricia Hewitt all managed to get themselves in a mess in the same week). Perhaps Maria Miller will join that list, but I really wouldn’t count on it.