Both Mike Smithson and I regularly criticise the BBC’s Daily Politics for commissioning political polls that are not politically weighted. The vast majority of political polls include a voting intention question and (with the exception of MORI, who don’t believe past vote is suitable for weighting in the first place) these are always weighted to be representative politically as well as demographically, normally with reference to how people claim they voted back in 2005.

In contrast, the BBC invariably commission polls without voting intention questions (since their producer guidelines say they need special permission to do so) and these are invariably NOT politically weighted, presumably because past vote weighting requires an extra question and therefore cost more. Does this matter, does it make a difference? Well, for this week’s Daily Politics ComRes asked exactly the same question in their non-politically weighted poll as they did last week in a politically weighted poll for the Indy.

In the ComRes poll for the Independent, which WAS weighted by past vote, Brown & Darling were most trusted by 35%, Cameron & Osborne were most trusted by 33%, Clegg & Cable by 7%.

In the ComRes poll for the BBC’s Daily Politics, which WASN’T weighted by past vote, Brown & Darling were most trusted by 32%, Cameron & Osborne were most trusted by 23%, Clegg & Cable by 4%.

As you can see, while Labour are much the same, there is a huge 10 point difference between the two Conservative scores. It’s possible, of course, that confidence in Cameron & Osborne has massively slumped in the 7 days between the two sets of fieldwork, but this doesn’t seem likely given subsequent national polls haven’t shown this drastic slump. In fact I’m certain it’s because one was politically weighted and one wasn’t. Past vote weighting of phone polls invariably involves making the sample more Conservative and less Labour and the cross-breaks of the ComRes poll for the Indy shows that answers to this question are very closely correlated with voting intention – 72% of Tory voters answer Cameron & Osborne and 80% of Labour voters answer Brown & Darling.

If one believes that political weighting is necessary to get a representative sample for voting intention, then it should also be necessary for other polls where people are asked to compare the political parties or where answers are likely to be aligned to party loyalty.

UPDATE: Andrew Hawkins of ComRes has asked me to link to his comparison a month or two back of a poll he did when political weighting did not make a difference, and I happy to do so here. He has also let me that political weighting made a 2 point difference to the question when it was asked in the Independent (I’m not sure if that is the Conservatives 2 points higher, or the lead 2 points different, or whatever). Presumably recalled past vote was not asked for the BBC version of the question, so we can’t tell how much difference that would have made to the answer.


The full tables for the YouGov/Telegraph are now on YouGov’s website. The other underlying questions show movement against Labour (not unexpectedly, since these are all comparisons to the last YouGov/Telegraph poll in December, not the Sunday Times one in January). Gordon Brown’s net approval rating continues to fall, now down to minus 36. Government approval falls to 22%, a net score of minus 40. Both of these are significantly above the scores in summer 2008, which taking a “glass half full” perspective means things aren’t at bad as they were, and taking a “glass half empty” one means there is potential for ratings to fall still further.

Interestingly, while we’ve seem some measures showing economic confidence falling again, in YouGov’s poll its held up. Last month the net feel good factor (people who thought things would get better for their household in the next 12 months minus those who thought it would get worse) was minus 46, now it is minus 44. Not a significant rise, but clearly not a fall.

On the YouGov/Telegraph tracker the Conservatives kept their lead as the best party on the economy throughout autumn 2008, but Labour did cut it down to 2 points. This poll shows it growing to 8 points. Perhaps more notably, the Conservatives no also lead on being the best party to get Britain out of the present crisis, by 35% to 28%. In previous surveys, while the Conservatives have often managed to maintain a led on the economy per se, Labour have normally lead on handling the present crisis.

In other questions s sizeable majority (64%) of people agree that this is a global crisis and that there was nothing that could have been done to avoid a downturn in Britain. However, this doesn’t mean that Gordon Brown is seen as being blameless – 31% also say that he bears much of the responsibility for allowing lending and borrowing to get out of hand in the first place and a further 48% think he bears some responsibility. It would appear that people recognise that there is a global cause to the problem, but are blaming Gordon Brown to some extent for how it is affecting the UK.

Barack Obama, incidentally, is still the golden boy. 65% of people expect him to handle the economic crisis well…based I expect, on the rather flimsy criteria that he isn’t George W Bush, a qualification that all but one of the world’s population meet.

(People watching closely will have noticed that this post has changed – I originally got my tables mixed up and wrote about some questions in the December YouGov poll. Mea culpa!)


YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph has topline figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll in the middle of January, of CON 43%(-2), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 16%(+2).

I’ll do a full report tomorrow when I’ve seen all the figures (I can find references to on the Telegraph website in Jeff Randall’s column, but not the actual report of the poll!), but after a series of polls showing ever larger Conservative leads, this one shows a slight dropping back. One poll like that isn’t necessarily significant, but a couple more in the same vein and it would look like Labour have at least stopped their decline.


One of the new additions I asked about in my user survey (I’ll give more results soon, at the moment it’s still open for people who haven’t filled it in yet) was whether people wanted to see more foreign polls here to fill the gaps between British polling figures.

Obviously UKPollingReport is always going to be 99% about British polls, but to fill some of those gaps between polls being released I’m going to occassionally look at the polls in upcoming elections in other countries, so looking in the 2009 calender, that means places like Germany, Iceland and, to start off with, Israel.

Israel goes to the polls on the 11th February, an early election called after the failure of the new leader of Kadima, Tzipi Livni, to form a government. The outgoing Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, led a coalition mainly consisting of Kadima, Labor, Shas and – from 2006 to 2008 – the hard right Yisrael Beiteinu.

The polls since the election was called in October are shown below. You’ll probably notice that the figures often sum to more than 100 – Israel has a famously pure version of proportional representation, a nationwide list system with a threshhold for representation of only 2%, and since share of the vote translates directly into seats it is the norm for polls to show projected seats, not percentage vote. There are 120 seats in total.

Kad Lab Likud Shas YB JH Mtz UTJ Arab
Panels 26/01/09 22 15 29 11 16 - 6 6 10
Channel 1 25/01/09 22 17 30 10 16 3 5 5 9
Teleseker 23/01/09 24 16 28 9 16 4 6 6 9
Dahaf 23/01/09 25 17 29 10 14 2 5 6 9
Globes 22/01/09 21 15 32 9 16 4 5 5 10
Panels 22/01/09 24 15 30 10 15 2 6 5 9
Gal Hadash 22/01/09 25 15 35 9 12 2 6 5 9
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 21/01/09 22 14 30 11 16 2 7 5 9
Channel 1 20/01/09 21 15 33 9 13 4 5 7 10
Panels 19/01/09 24 14 30 10 15 2 5 5 9
Survey 10 18/01/09 26 14 29 10 14 2 6 5 8
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 18/01/09 23 15 31 12 13 3 6 5 9
Teleseker 16/01/09 26 17 28 9 14 3 5 5 10
Globes 15/01/09 22 16 33 10 14 3 5 7 10
Panels 15/01/09 27 15 29 8 13 2 5 5 10
Reshet Bet 15/01/09 21 15 28 10 15 3 5 7 10
Dialog 15/01/09 25 16 29 9 12 3 7 6 8
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 14/01/09 26 16 28 10 14 3 6 5 10
Panels 12/01/09 28 13 33 8 13 - 5 5 9
Channel 1 09/01/09 22 16 31 10 14 4 6 7 10
Panels 08/01/09 27 15 31 9 12 2 5 4 9
Gal Hadash 08/01/09 27 15 33 10 10 - 7 5 10
Globes/Radius 07/01/09 27 12 33 7 11 5 6 4 10
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 07/01/09 25 17 32 10 10 4 6 5 9
Survey 10 07/01/09 27 16 31 11 10 2 7 5 10
Panels 05/01/09 28 15 31 9 13 2 5 4 9
Smith/Jerusalem Post 02/01/09 23 15 29 11 12 3 6 6 10
Teleseker 02/01/09 28 16 28 11 12 4 6 5 10
Panels 01/01/09 27 14 30 8 11 3 7 6 10
Globes 01/01/09 22 12 38 8 15 3 6 4 11
Dialog 01/01/09 27 16 32 9 11 3 7 5 10
Panels 29/12/08 29 14 29 8 13 3 7 4 10
Survey 10 28/12/08 28 16 30 10 10 2 7 5 10
Teleseker 26/12/08 30 11 29 10 12 3 7 5 10
Panels 25/12/08 27 11 30 10 10 6 7 4 10
Reshet Bet 25/12/08 23 14 32 12 12 4 6 7 10
Dahaf 25/12/08 26 12 30 10 12 5 7 6 9
Dialog 25/12/08 26 11 30 13 11 6 8 5 8
Globes/Radius 24/12/08 23 9 35.5 8.5 11 5 10 5 10
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 24/12/08 25 11 31 12 13 5 6 5 9
Panels 22/12/08 29 10 28 10 11 5 6 5 10
Teleseker 19/12/08 30 12 30 9 12 5 7 5 10
Panels 18/12/08 30 10 29 10 11 6 6 6 9
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 17/12/08 25 10 29 12 12 4 5 6 9
Channel 1 16/12/08 21 12 39 12 9 4 8 7 9
Panels 15/12/08 27 13 31 11 10 5 6 5 10
Teleseker 11/12/08 28 12 31 9 11 6 5 5 10
Panels 11/12/08 28 12 32 10 10 6 6 6 8
Reshet Bet 11/12/08 21 15 35 12 11 4 6 7 10
Channel 1 10/12/08 23 11 36 12 9 5 7 6 9
Dialog 10/12/08 27 12 36 9 9 4 6 6 11
Dahaf 10/12/08 24 11 31 11 10 6 7 7 10
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 01/12/08 25 6 33 12 11 7 7 5 10
Gal Hadash 01/12/08 26 8 35 10 10 5 7 5 10
Channel 1 25/11/08 25 7 37 11 8 4 8 8 9
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 20/11/08 28 9 33 9 10 7 6 5 10
Reshet Bet 20/11/08 23 8 34 13 10 7 10 5 9
Dialog 20/11/08 28 10 34 10 10 4 7 6 11
Dahaf 20/11/08 26 8 32 11 9 6 7 7 11
Gal Hadash 13/11/08 28 11 33 10 7 6 7 5 10
Smith/Jerusalem Post 31/10/08 27 14 27 11 11 9 5 6 10
Dialog 30/10/08 31 10 31 10 11 3 5 6 11
Gal Hadash 30/10/08 30 13 31 10 8 6 5 5 10
Channel 1 28/10/08 32 10 28 9 9 6 7 7 10
Teleseker 27/10/08 31 11 29 8 11 7 5 4 11
Dahaf 27/10/08 29 11 26 11 9 7 6 7 10
Maagar Mochot/Channel 2 24/10/08 31 12 29 9 11 8 6 4 10

Since early in November Likud have been leading in the polls. The election period has obviously been dominated by the conflict with Hamas in Gaza, but this has not helped Kadima. Instead the parties that have benefitted since Israel began bombing Gaza on January 27th have been Labor, lead by the current Defence minister, Ehud Barak, and the hardline Yisrael Beiteinu.

It looks very likely that Likud will emerge the largest party, a big turnaround from the last election in 2006 when they were pushed into fourth place after the split in the party that formed Kadima. Naturally, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Likud will be able to cobble together a coalition that wields a majority in the Knesset.

(And my apologies for any strange translations of pollsters’ names, since many came via me putting Hewbrew text in the google translator :) )


The full tables from ICM’s monthly poll are now on their website here. There are two questions that I don’t think were in the Guardian (though I think the first was mentioned in their leader): firstly, there is relatively little appetite for an immediate general election. Only 26% of people would like an election now, 24% later on this year, but 45% say leave it until 2010. As ever with questions like this, the people who most want an election are opposition supporters, but even then only 49% of Tories say they would like one now.

Secondly ICM asked whether Ken Clarke’s return to the front bench makes people more or less likely to vote Conservative. As I’ve said a thousand times before, I really don’t like questions like this, since you get lots of people already voting Tory saying it will make them more likely to do so, and lots of people who don’t vote Tory saying it makes them less so. In this case, it’s probably even less useful since if Clarke does have an positive electoral effect, it will be a vague contribution towards making the Conservative party image more experienced and less posh, rather than thousands of Clarke groupies immediately scampering off to vote Tory on the grounds of his frontbench presence. For the record though, ICM certainly didn’t find any significant Clarke effect on voters – 11% said his return made them more likely to vote Tory, but this was balanced by 10% who said it made them less likely to vote Tory.