Sunday Polls

There are two polls in the Sunday papers. Firstly there is a nat-rep Populus poll for the Sunday Mirror. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from Populus’s last poll, are CON 40%(+1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 19%(+2). The poll was conducted between 16th and 17th of April.

Populus’s last poll showed a significantly smaller Tory lead than polls from other companies and in contrast to the figures from ICM who use almost identical methodology. Now Populus, ICM and YouGov are all showing double point Tory leads. ComRes and Ipsos MORI continue to show tighter figures.

Secondly there is a mruk Cello poll on the London mayoral race, published in the Sunday Times. It shows first round voting intentons of JOHNSON 44%, LIVINGSTONE 45%, PADDICK 9%. With second preferences re-allocated, the second round figures had the two lead candidates equal on 50%.

It is very hard to put this poll into any context: mruk Cello have no track record of voting intention polling outside of Scotland, and up there they overestimated Labour support compared to other pollsters prior to the 2007 election. While, like all polls, the figures were weighted to be representative, we don’t know if that includes any political weighting (without which phone polls given much higher levels of support to Labour) nor how likelihood to vote was taken into account.

UPDATE: the mruk Cello poll was weighted by past vote (though we don’t yet know to what figures so can’t judge the effect). It wasn’t prompted by party name, probably explaining that low figure for Brian Paddick. The turnout filter included all those 8+/10 likely to vote, so rather more generous than MORI’s filter. This covered 75% of respondents. Thanks to Mike Smithson for getting the info.

Over on PoliticsHome there is a daily poll of around 100 ‘political insiders’ – political editors, columnists, MPs, heads of think tanks and so on (there is a list of ‘outed’ members here but lots are anonymous). The theory behind it is not to reflect the opinions of political insiders (because after all, what is the universe of political insiders?), but to pick at their insider knowledge from the ‘Westminster bubble’. The results released today asked the panel to rank a selection of government ministers and government frontbenchers, the start of what will be a regular tracker.

The most highly ranked of them all was Vince Cable at 7.5/10, followed by Michael Gove who was practically workshipped by the panellists on the right and got the second highest rating from those on the left. The striking thing however was the contrast between perceptions of the Conservative top team compared to the Labour one. The only senior Labour minister who was highly rated was David Miliband on 6.1, following by the more junior James Purnell on 5.9 and Alan Johnson 5.8. Jacqui Smith’s average rating was 4.6 and Alistair Darling’s 4.0 – the lowest average rating of all of those tracked. Compare this to the Conservative’s main figures: Hague 6.4, Osborne 6.3 and Davis 6.2. This isn’t just partisan feeling – the Tories were even rated marginally better if you take the responses only of those panellists from the left – Miliband 6.8, Smith 5.3, Darling 4.4 compared to Hague 6.6, Davis 5.6 and Osborne 6.4.

This doesn’t, of course, mean that members of the public feel the same, an MP can be very respected amongst the Westminster commentariat and loathed and detested by the public, but given most of the public only see politics through the prism of the media, through their baises and opinions, in practice their opinions hold great sway with the rest of the electorate.


As usual the YouGov poll in the Sunday Times contained a wonderful grab-bag of issues. One that got some coverage in the papers was a question asking how people would vote if Tony Blair was still Prime Minister – it is of course pure media fluff given that Tony Blair is not about to suddenly return, deux ex machina, and save Labour from electoral doom, but for the record the poll showed a Conservative lead of only 5 points with Blair as Labour leader.

If Brown was replaced, who would people like to see as his replacement? YouGov asked and Jack Straw came out top with 13%, followed by David Miliband on 7%, Harriet Harman on 5% and Alan Johnson on 5%. Straw’s position at the top is almost certainly purely a result of name recognition – no one else managed 5% and a whopping 61% said don’t know. At this stage, with no obvious alternative to Brown who is well known by the public, questions like this really don’t tell us anything.

10p tax rate
52% of people would prefer to have the previous arrangements of 22p basic rate and a 10p starting rate, 20p would rather have the 20p basic rate and no starting rate. 35% of respondents said they now thought the worse of Gordon Brown because of his decision to abolish the 10p rate and cut the basic rate.

Faith schools
Better news for Labour here – asked if Ed Balls was right to criticise faith schools over unfair admission procedures 50% of people agreed with him, compared to 38% who thought he was undermining good faith schools and should leave them be.

Boris Johnson’s lead in the latest YouGov poll for the Evening Standard has halved. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from last week, are JOHNSON 45%(-4), LIVINGSTONE 39%(+3), PADDICK 12%(+2). Re-allocating second preference votes increases Johnson’s lead slightly, putting him 8 points ahead 54% to 46%. The poll was conducted between 9th and 11th April, so was after the Newsnight debate between the mayoral candidates, in which most people seem to feel that Boris did badly. YouGov found 40% of respondents agreeing with the statement “Boris Johnson is not serious enough to be an effective Mayor of London” – this is up from 34% a week ago.

Co-incidentally the lead in first preferences is now the same from YouGov and MORI, though the projections for second preferences are still very different. Perhaps more significantly, so are the trends – MORI’s figures are pretty static, YouGov are showing the race getting much closer…

Conservative Home is reporting that the MORI poll we’d been expecting in tomorrow is, in fact, a London mayoral poll. It apparently shows voting intention with second preferences reallocated as Johnson 51%, Livingstone 49%. It’s the first MORI poll putting Boris ahead, although given that their recent poll for Unison was actually only a fraction of a percentage point away from being 50%-50%, the change from their last poll is actually entirely insignificant.

UPDATE: The full figures are now up on MORI’s website here. First round voting intentions stand at JOHNSON 46%, LIVINGSTONE 40%, PADDICK 11%. With Boris leading by 6 points on the first round, but only 2 points on the second round, second preferences of Brian Paddick and the minor party candidates must have broken largely in favour of Ken Livingstone.

Note that MORI prefaced the question with the wording, “In the next election for Mayor of London, the present Mayor, Ken Livingstone is standing for re-election as the Labour Party candidate. Boris Johnson is standing for the Conservatives, and Brian Paddick is standing for the Liberal Democrats, and there will be other candidates too.” In their last poll Sian Berry was also included in the prompt and recieved 5% of first preferences. In this poll, with no prompt for Sian Berry, she recieved only 2% support.