Monday polls

It’s Monday, so we have the usual rush of polls – the daily YouGov, twice-weekly Populus, weekly Ashcroft and monthly ICM. I’ll update this post as they come in, and do a round up at the end of the day.

Populus have topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 33%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%. Tables are here.

ICM for the Guardian have figures of CON 36%(+6), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 10%(-1), UKIP 9%(-2), GRN 7%(-2). The six point jump for the Conservatives looks particularly sharp but usual caveats apply. While it tends to be the polls that show unusual results or big changes that get all the attention, they are actually the ones we should be most dubious about. If there has been a genuine surge in Conservative support, then we’ll see it across all the pollsters, and other polls so far this month have shown things pretty stable.

The weekly Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 30%(-4), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 16%(+2), GRN 8%(+2) (full details here). A one point Labour lead, and changes in the opposite direction to those in the ICM poll – I think we can be fairly confident that what we are seeing with these two is just random noise, the back and forth of normal sample error.

UPDATE: The last of today’s four polls, YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 32%, LD 6%, UKIP 16%, GRN 8%. After a couple of three point leads at the tail end of last week, it’s back to neck-and-neck from YouGov. Putting all four polls together I think it’s pretty much business as usual. One neck-and-neck, one Tory lead, two Labour leads. There is nothing here that’s incompatible with the steady picture we’ve had for the last six weeks: an extremely close race between Labour and Conservative, with Labour holding onto a tiny lead.


This week’s YouGov results for the Sunday Times are here. Topline voting intention figures are CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%. This is a second YouGov poll in a row showing a three point lead. That could possibly be an impact from a week spent on the topic of tax avoidance, but equally it could easily just normal random error spitting out a couple of polls with above average leads in a row.

Most of the rest of the YouGov poll concentrates on that issue: HSBC, tax avoidance and evasion and party funding. Public opinion is predictably hostile towards HSBC – 80% think it’s unacceptable for banks to actively help their clients avoid tax, 75% unacceptable for them to turn a blind eye to clients doing things to avoid tax. By 71% to 15% people think that HSBC should face criminal investigation.

Blame for allowing banks to assist clients with avoiding tax is fairly evenly spread between Labour and the Conservatives. 21% think the last Labour government was more to blame, 14% that the current coalition government is more to blame, but 44% think both equally. Looking forwards, Labour have a lead on which party would do the most to tackle tax avoidance and evasion – 23% to the Conservatives’ 16%, though 50% of people said none or don’t know, suggesting little real faith in any of the parties to address the issue (compare and contrast this to the ComRes poll yesterday that showed Miliband and Cameron equal on 31% on the issue – that may be the effect of asking about leaders rather than parties, or perhaps it was because YouGov made it easier for people to say neither).

Moving onto party funding the public are critical of both the Conservative’s reliance on business funding and Labour’s reliance on Union funding. By 48% to 30% people think Labour should try and reduce Union funding, by 52% to 25% people think the Conservatives should try and reduce their business funding. More broadly only 24% of people think that donors give money purely to support a party, 68% think they do so also (19%) or mainly (49%) in the hope of getting something in return like honours or influence. Around two thirds of people would support a cap on business and trade union donations, 51% would support a cap on individual donations to political parties. There is little support though for state funding – only 19% would support taxpayer funding with 59% opposed. Even a forced choice between the current situation of a labour party getting trade union funds & a Conservative party getting business funds or a system of state funding, people would prefer the status quo by 63% to 37%.


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The regular YouGov/Sun poll tonight has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7% – YouGov continue to show the two main parties extremely close, normally within a point of each other.

Earlier on today we also had a new poll of student voters by Youthsight here. Unlike the voodoo student poll that got some pickup last month, Youthsight polls do seem to be kosher – they are recruited through UCAS, validated by ac.uk addresses and weighted by type of university, gender and year of study. Topline figures for voting intention amongst students are CON 23%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 2%, GRN 28% – so the Greens in a strong second place behind Labour. The poll also asked if students were actually registered to vote – 78% said they were (thought most said they were registered or would vote at home, rather than university), 22% said there were not or did not know.


This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. The rest of the poll included questions on Labour and business and on intervention in Iraq.

The Conservatives are seen as having the best policies towards British business by 33% to Labour’s 19%, exactly the same split as on the economy in general. A Conservative victory at the next election is seen as being a good thing for British businesses by 44% of people, a bad thing by 23%. In contrast 43% think a Labour victory would be bad for British business, just 19% think it would be good. These questions don’t, of course, tell us whether people want a government to be good for business – when YouGov asked what the government’s attitude should be towards big business only 38% think government should primarily be supporting and helping big businesses in Britain, 49% think government should be doing more to stand up to them.

Turning to those business leaders who have criticised Ed Miliband this week, 45% of people think that the bosses of large companies should remain politically neutral, compared to 38% who think they have every right to comment on politics. There is sharp political divide on the question – Tory voters think by 59% to 31% that company bosses should intervene in politics, Labour voters think by 59% to 26% that they should keep out of politics. The idea of a CEO living in Monaco and not paying British taxes commenting on British politics goes down particularly badly, with 73% saying the intervention of Stefano Pessina is not acceptable. Nevertheless, people tend to think the criticism from business leaders is genuinely felt – 54% think business leaders are criticising Labour because they think their policies are genuinely bad for British business, 48% think they are doing do for political reasons (these includes 22% who think they are doing so for both reasons equally). 52% think that the Labour party is damaged by the comments.

YouGov also asked about intervention against Islamic State/ISIS. British air strikes against ISIS are now supported by 63% of people. YouGov asked this question very regularly last year when Britain began air strikes against ISIS, back in October 59% supported it, this is now up to 63%. 56% of people would support increasing the level of British air strikes against ISIS, but people remain opposed to putting US and British ground troops back into Iraq. 32% would support sending group troops back into Iraq, the same as when YouGov asked in October.


Today’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 13%, GRN 7%. This is the first Tory lead from YouGov this week – their underlying average has the two main parties very close to each other, so we should expect normal random sample error to regularly produce both Labour and Conservative leads until and unless one party opens up a proper lead.

Also out in the early hours of this morning was a new TNS poll which has topline figures of CON 27%, LAB 33%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 18%, GRN 8%. It looks as if I may have rather jumped the gun when I said the methodology change in TNS’s last poll had brought their figures more in line with other companies, as this one seems to be back to their traditional pattern of showing a significantly larger Labour lead than other companies.