More Brexit polling

A year on from the EU referendum there was some new YouGov polling for the Times this morning. The country remain quite evenly split over whether Brexit is right or wrong, 44% think leaving was the right decision, 45% the wrong decision. There is not much optimism about negotiations – only 26% expect the government to achieve a deal that is good for Britain, 31% expect a poor deal, 15% expect no deal at all (that said, most don’t think Labour would be doing any better – 24% think they’d get a better deal, 34% a worse deal, 20% that it would end up much the same).

Asked to choose between Britain having full control over immigration from Europe or British businesses having free access to trade with the EU people preferred trade by 58% to 42%. As I wrote in my last post, there’s a lot of variation in questions like this depending on the specific wording, but the overall picture suggests that when people are pushed to choose they do think trade is more important than control of immigration (though among Conservative voters the balance is the other way round).

On other matters, on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn now leads Theresa May by a single point – 35% to 34%. This is the first time that Corbyn has led in the question – this is partially because of a sharp drop in Theresa May’s ratings (before the snap election she was consistently in the high 40s), but is also due to a significant increase in Jeremy Corbyn’s ratings. Again, if you look at the longer term ratings he used to be consistenty down in the teens.

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I should also add an update on polling about the second referendum. In my last post I mentioned the Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday which found that the balance of opinion was in favour of having a second referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal. This was the first time any poll had shown this, and I said it was worth looking to see if other polls found the same. Well, so far they haven’t – Survation also had a poll for Good Morning Britain on Monday, that also had a question on a second referendum, and it found 38% of people supported it and 57% were opposed. Tabs for that are here.


We have two new GB polls today, plus YouGov polls for London & Wales.

Firstly, the weekly YouGov poll for the Times has topline figures of CON 42%(-1), LAB 39%(+3), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 4%(nc). Fieldwork was Tuesday and Wednesday and changes are from the YouGov/Sunday Times poll at the weekend. The trend continues to be towards Labour and, given YouGov tend to show the most favourable figures for Labour, that’s now heading into hung Parliament territory. Tabs are here. YouGov also have a new election model on their site here, providing a seat estimate – currently that is also showing a hung parliament, with the Conservatives on 317 seats.

Secondly we have this week’s Panelbase poll. Topline figures there are CON 44%(-4), LAB 36%(+3), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 5%(+1). Fieldwork was conducted between Friday and today, and changes are from their poll conducted at the start of last week. A sharp narrowing of the Tory lead here, and Panelbase now weight their voting intention figures to the age profile of 2015 voters, not the whole adult population, so they are using a method that we’d expect to show a big Tory lead. When they changed their method last week it increased the Tory lead by seven points, so without the change they’d presumably have been showing a very close race indeed.

YouGov’s London poll for Phil Cowley at Queen Mary University London has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 50%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 3%. In 2015 Labour had a nine point lead in London, so this would reflect a swing of four points from Conservative to Labour, and would likely produce several Labour gains. That’s better for Labour than even the most favourable GB polls, but isn’t necessarily unfeasible. Given the different demographics in the capital the swing in London is increasingly divorced from the rest of Britain – there was also a sizable shift towards towards Labour in London in 2015, despite there being relatively little movement in England as a whole. It is also younger than the rest of England, and more anti-Brexit than the rest of England. Tabs are here. (For what it’s worth, there are actually two YouGov/QMUL London polls today – there was a YouGov London poll coming out of field at the time of the Manchester bombing, which given the timing was held back to release both together today. Not that there has been any real movement between them… the Conservatives are down one compared to last week. That does, at least mean we can be confident that the big shift towards Labour in London happened around the time of the manifestos, rather than in the last week).

Just out, there is also new YouGov poll of Wales, which has topline figures of CON 35%(+1), LAB 46%(+2), LDEM 5%(-1), Plaid 8%(-1), UKIP 5%(nc). I’ll update with Roger Scully’s commentary and the tables when they appear.

Finally, I have a longer piece over on the YouGov website about the differences between the polls, implied turnout figures, what is likely to happen at the election.


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Saturday night polls

We should have a truckload of polls tonight. There is a new Opinium, a new ComRes for the Indy & Sunday Mirror, YouGov for the Sunday Times, probably an ORB and perhaps an ICM for the Sun on Sunday. I’ve seen rumours of Survation too (they normally poll for the Mail on Sunday) and we’re overdue a Panelbase poll. The thing to look for is whether polls continue to show a narrowing of the Conservative lead – keep an eye on the fieldwork dates, more recent polls could be showing an impact from reactions to the bombing (or, indeed, the effects of the dementia tax row fading). Also remember the house effects I wrote about earlier – ICM and ComRes tend to show larger Tory leads anyway, so even if they show a significant movement towards Labour it may still leave the Tories with a good lead.

The first poll we actually have figures for is Opinium, who have topline figures of CON 45%(-1), LAB 35%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 5%(nc). Changes are from the previous week and fieldwork was on Tuesday and Wednesday, so just after the Manchester bombing but before political campaigning had resumed. We have movement towards Labour, but the Conservatives still managing to cling onto a double-digit lead. Tabs are here.

ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and Independent have topline figures of CON 46%(-2), LAB 34%(+4), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 5%(nc). Changes are from a fortnight ago, and fieldwork was between Wednesday and Friday. The Tory lead has dropped by six points, but ComRes tends to give the Conservatives some of their better figures, so this still leaves them with a twelve point lead. Tabs are here.

ORB for the Telegraph have topline figures of CON 44%(-2), LAB 38%(+4), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 5%(-2). Changes are from a week ago and fieldwork was Wednesday to Thursday. Once again, we have a narrowing of the Tory lead, in this case down to six points.

YouGov for the Sunday Times have topline figures of CON 43%(nc), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 4%(nc). Changes are from the Times poll earlier in the week and fieldwork was Thursday to Friday. This is the most recent of the polls we’ve seen so far tonight, and it has Labour falling back a bit from the YouGov poll in the week. That said, it is only one poll, so don’t read too much into that unless we see other polls showing a similar pattern.

ICM for the Sun on Sunday has toplines of CON 46%(-1), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 5%(+1). Fieldwork was on Wednesday to Friday, and changes are since the ICM/Guardian poll conducted over last weekend. Changes here seem quite steady (ICM’s previous poll already showed a sharp narrowing of the lead). As I said earlier, ICM and ComRes tend to show the largest Tory leads because of their demographic based turnout model.

I’ll update this post through the evening as other polls appear.


Two polls are out tonight. A Kantar poll conducted between last Thursday and Sunday (so before the bombing) has topline figures of CON 42%(-5), LAB 34%(+5), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 4%(-2). TNS has a turnout model based partially on age, so has tended to show larger Tory leads… but this poll has it dropping ten points and falling into single figures. Tabs are here.

YouGov’s weekly poll for the Times meanwhile has topline figures of CON 43%(-1), LAB 38%(+3), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 4%(+1) – a Tory lead of just five points. Fieldwork for this poll was conducted on Wednesday night and Thursday daytime, so is the first conducted entirely after the Manchester bombing. Tabs are here.

The Tory lead is clearly continuing to fall away at a rapid rate. On the face of it one might be tempted to conclude that the actual impact of the bombing was to help the Labour party, but I think it more likely that it’s to do with the disastrous Tory manifesto launch. I posted earlier about the negative impact of the Tory manifesto. In contrast the Tories still seem to have a good lead on security and terrorism – in today’s YouGov survey people say they trust Theresa May far more than Jeremy Corbyn to make the right decisions on terrorism (55% trust May, only 33% trust Corbyn) and the Tories have a strong lead on the issue of Defence and Security. That suggests to me the cause of the narrowing is far more likely to be the manifesto, row and u-turn.

As ever, all the usual caveats about one poll apply. Before one gets too excited wait and see if other polls show such a tight race, and whether or not other polls show any more impact from the bombing. As things stand though the election suddenly seems a little less of a foregone conclusion than it appeared at the beginning of the race.


Over on the YouGov website I’ve an article about what people recall from the Conservative and Labour manifestos. One of the reasons manifestos don’t usually matter is, put simply, that most people don’t read them. The reason policies don’t really matter is that most people are largely unaware of them. The way to judge a manifesto is not whether people approve of the policies in them, but whether people approve of the policies that they actually noticed.

At the start of the week YouGov asked people an open ended question, asking without any prompting if they could remember any of the promises that Labour or the Conservatives had made in their election manifestos

For Labour there were clear cut throughs by positive policies: 32% of people recalled the promise to axe tuition fees, 21% remembered promises to increase NHS funding, 20% recalled promises to nationalise the railways, Royal Mail or National Grid. All of these are policies which polling has found the public generally support, and which are relatively clear and easy to understand.

For the Conservative party only one policy was recalled by more than one in five people – the changes to care funding (which was often described as dementia tax, or taking old peoples homes, or similarly negative terms). In contrast to the simple and popular policies that people recalled from Labour, the one cut-through policy from the Tory manifesto was both unpopular and complicated. The next most recalled policies were going ahead with Brexit (recalled by 12%) and means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance (10%).

Of course even when people do recall policies, that’s not really what they vote on – voting behaviour is much more about the broad perceptions of the parties, what they stand for, their leaders and their perceived competence. There are clear signs that the poor Conservative manifesto launch fed through into that.

Before the manifesto launches 35% of people thought the Conservative party’s policies seemed well thought-through, 38% did not. A week later only 19% think their policies are well thought-through, 54% do not. Contrast this with the positive impact of Labour’s manifesto. Before their launch only 25% of people thought they had well-thought through policies, now 31% of people do.

When a key plank of the Conservative party’s offering to the country has been the claim that they are the strong and steady party of competence, the drop in the proportion of people thinking they’ve well thought-through policies for the country should be worrying for them.

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