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.


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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.

Full tabs are here.


YouGov Welsh poll

The latest YouGov Welsh poll for ITV Wales and Cardiff University has topline figures of CON 34%(-7), LAB 44%(+9), LDEM 6%(-1), Plaid 9%(-2), UKIP 5%(+1). Changes are from a fortnight ago. Full tabs are here.

The polls in Wales in the election campaign have been a roller coaster, perhaps exaggerated a little by timing – the first was at the very start of the campaign when there was that burst of Tory enthusiasm that produced twenty-plus point leads in Britain and a ten point Tory lead in Wales. This most recent one was conducted straight after the Conservative manifesto launch, when they were reeling from the badly received policy on social care, and has Labour back to a solid lead. Labour now have a ten point lead, essentially the same as they got at the 2015 general election in Wales.


YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times has topline voting intention figures of CON 44%(-1), LAB 35%(+3), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 3%(-3). Changes are from the YouGov/Times polls in the week. The fieldwork was, as usual, conducted on Thursday afternoon and Friday, so was wholly after the Conservative manifesto launch (though, of course, before much of the media reporting and discussion of it)

The nine point Tory lead is the lowest we’ve seen so far this campaign, the first in single figures. As ever, one should be cautious of unusual polls and wait to see if the trend is backed up by other polls before getting either too excited or too panicked (depending upon one’s point of view!). Perhaps it could be that the Conservative manifesto and the coverage of the changes to care funding has knocked their support. Perhaps it’s just a continuation of the gradual narrowing of the Tory lead that we have been seeing anyway over recent weeks. Perhaps it’s just a bit of a outlier, and the next round of polls will go back to showing a larger Tory lead. Time will tell.

There is also supposedly a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday. No idea yet if that was after the manifesto launches and whether or not it will show a similar tightening.

UPDATE: No figures from the Survation poll yet, but according to the front page of the Mail on Sunday it was done after the manifesto launch and shows a Tory lead of 12 points.

UPDATE 2: The Survation figures are CON 46%, LAB 34%, LD 8%, UKIP 3%. Tabs are here. Changes are complicated – Survation’s previous poll had an 18 point lead, but that was conducted by telephone for Good Morning Britain, while this one is online. Survation’s last online poll using a comparable method was, I think, back in April, and had only an 11 point lead for the Tories.