Communicate Research’s latest poll for the Independent has topline voting intention figures (with changes from last month) of CON 34% (-2) LAB 29% (-8) LDEM 21% (+8), a huge reduction in Labour support and surge in the Lib Dem rating.

While ICM and YouGov too have shown increases in the Lib Dem vote this month, I suspect the contrast with Communicate’s last poll is more a result of their methodology. Like MORI Communicate do not perform any political weighting of their samples, which results in far more volatile figures. Political weighting is rejected by some pollsters because of the problems of false recall – it is well known from call back and panel studies that people do not accurately report how they actually voted at the last election, so when pollsters weight according to past vote they need to take this into account and weight to shares of 2005 vote that are adjusted to take account of their estimates for false recall. Phone polls that are not politically weighted tend to be slightly more favourable to Labour, but more importantly tend to be more volatile – differences from one month to the next may be down to there simply being more or less Labour supporters amongst that month’s sample.

There was also a slight change to Communicate’s research this month. The way the question is worded is altered slightly and there is an extra adjustment for the “spiral of silence” – people who say don’t know or refuse to answer even Communicate’s squeeze question are re-allocated based upon their party ID. This month the adjustment seems to have slighted favoured the Conservative party.

ICM have also released their latest poll on voting intentions in Scotland. The topline figures, with changes from their last Scottish poll are, in the constituency section – CON 13% (nc), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 17% (nc), SNP 33% (-1) and, in the regional vote, CON 14%(+2), LAB 27%(+1), LDEM 17%(-2), SNP 33%(+2), GRN 5%(-1)


YouGov January Poll

YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph has topline voting intention figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 38%(+1), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 18%(+3). The poll was conducted between the 22nd and 24th January – that is in the middle of last week, so prior to much of the present deluge of stories about the Home Office.

The changes to Tory and Labour support since last month are insigificant, the Liberal Democrats are up 3 points, a jump similar to their advance in ICM’s last poll. As I suggested back in December I suspect that the apparant drop in Lib Dem last month was really nothing at all, possibly just strange samples popping up because of the Christmas period, and they do indeed seem to have popped back up again this month.

On YouGov’s other trackers, David Cameron remains slightly ahead on the best Prime Minister against either Brown or Blair (though a whopping 37% and 40% of people said don’t know. Asked why 47% of those said they didn’t think much of any of them, 19% said they didn’t think much of politicians per se).

The Conservatives remain very slightly ahead on who would best run the economy. On the forced choice question between a Cameron led Conservative government and a Brown led Labour government, considered a possible clue to the direction that tactical voting will operate in the future, the Conservative/Cameron lead is down to 6 points, compared to 12 points a month ago. Liberal Democrat voters split 45-34 in favour of Brown.


Scottish Swingometer

I’ve had a couple of comments in the past about the lack of a nice online swingometer for the Scottish elections. For those after one Weber Shandwick have launched a rather beautiful guide to the Scottish elections, including a Swingometer, at Scotland Votes.


Gay Adoption

An ICM poll for Friday’s Newsnight showed the majority of people supported gay couples being allowed to adoption children. 64% of people said they thought gay couples should be allowed to adopt, 32% said they shouldn’t.

ICM also asked specifically about male homosexual couples and lesbian couples – 55% of respondents thought that male couples should be able to adopt, 59% of people thought that lesbian couples should be able to adopt (which do appear somewhat strange figures on the surface, perhaps the 64% of people supporting gay adoption thought that homosexual couples should be able to adopt, but not those gays or lesbians! Most of it is probably simply people thinking that only gay couples of one gender should be able to adopt, though there are also small proportions of people in any poll who give logically inconsistent answers).

This doesn’t, however, mean that people are necessary opposed to an exemption for adoption agencies run by the Catholic church. A YouGov poll for the Telegraph on Friday found that support and opposition to an exemption were almost exactly balanced – 42% were in favour of an exemption, 43% were opposed. Clearly there are plenty of people out there who support gay adoption in principle but don’t think that religious organisations should be forced to take part.

YouGov also asked how important an issue respondents considered it to be – 47% of respondents thought it was an important issue of principle that they felt strongly about. Amongst those people, 54% of people thought there should be an exemption, 41% of people did not.

UPDATE: There was also a Populus poll on the subject for the Daily Politics – full results here.


27th January is Holocaust memorial day, and YouGov have conducted a poll for the Jewish Chronicle.

YouGov’s poll found that 60% of people supported the annual commemoration of the Holocaust, though there was some sympathy for the Muslim Council of Britain’s regular suggestion that it be replaced by a ‘Genocide Day’ day and widened to include the commemoration of all victims of genocide – 31% of people supported this as opposed to 35% who thought it was right that the event focused upon Nazi persection.

YouGov then asked about Holocaust denial. As one would hope, the overwhelming majority of people – 79% – think that the Holocaust happened and that around 6 million Jews were murdered. Only 1% of respondents thought that the Holocaust was a myth, while 4% of people thought its scale had been deliberately exaggerated. While a tiny proportion of people can be expected to believe any old rubbish, perhaps more worrying is that 17% of people said they didn’t know.

The breakdown by age was even more worrying – amongst over 50s 86% of people said the Holocaust happened and 6 million Jews were killed. Amongst those under the age of 30 that figure fell to only 64, with 8% thinking that either the Holocaust is untrue or exaggerated and 28% of under 30s saying they didn’t know.

Finally there was vary little support for making Holocaust denial a criminal offence. Only 16% said they would support such a law, with 63% opposed.