STV has a new poll of Scottish voting intentions in the European elections by Progresssive. Scottish voting intention for the June elections stands at CON 13%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, SNP 30%.

This compares to a YouGov poll which had figures of CON 18% LAB 36% LDEM 11% SNP 29% – so somewhat higher Labour and lower Conservatives. It doesn’t make much difference, both polls would result in Labour returning 3 MEPs in Scotland, the SNP two and the Conservatives one. To change things the Liberal Democrats would need to overtake the Conservatives to take the last seat, or Labour would have to fall below three times the Liberal Democrat share.


I’ve had a busy couple of days so have only just caught up with the Populus poll of the Unite trade union members in the Sunday Times. I had assumed the poll was Populus trying out polling Union members ready for a future Labour leadership contest, but actually it was commissioned by the Conservative party, for reasons presumably best known to themselves.

Of course, one should also give polls commissioned by political parties proper scrutiny – they aren’t commissioning them out of the goodness of their hearts because they want you better informed. The full tables though are on Populus’s website and all seems above board.

The poll showed that amongst Unite members voting intentions were CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 19%. The newspaper article compares this with respondents recollection of how they voted at the last election, which suggested a Labour lead then amongst Unite members of 48% to the Conservatives 22% – though as regular readers know, people aren’t actually very good at reporting their past vote accurately and it normally overestimates Labour’s support, so the swing to the Conservatives amongst Unite members probably isn’t quite as large as these figures suggest.

Voting intentions of Unite members are, of course, no more interesting than voting intentions of any other group. The bit I expect the Conservatives were interested in when they commissioned the poll was that 49% of Unite members said they were opposed to the donations Unite gave to the Labour party in 2008, and 54% said they were opposed to future large donations.


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ComRes tonight

John Rentoul tells us there is a ComRes poll on its way tonight. I’m off out, so won’t be updating till later, but feel free to discuss it here when it arrives.

UPDATE: the topline figures, with changes from the last ComRes poll, are CON 41%(-3), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 17%(nc).

The poll shows a shift back towards Labour from the Conservatives – but this isn’t necessarily significant: the weighting in the poll was more pro Labour. This poll was weighted to to targets of Con 18%, Lab 23%, Ldem 11%, the previous one was weighted to Con 19%, Lab 21%, Ldem 13%.

That aside, this poll really does bring all five of the regular pollsters into line with each other, with the Conservatives on 41-42% and Labour on 30%-32%. Only the reported level of support for the Liberal Democrats varies between the companies.

On other questions, 39% of people were optimistic about the economy. 39% agreed with the statement that “I expect the economy will start showing signs of improvement soon”. 48% agreed that “David Cameron has what it takes to be a good prime minister”.

There was also a “are you a selfish bastard question?” Unsurprisingly, 83% people didn’t say they were selfish bastards and claimed that they would “make significant changes to the way I live to help prevent global warming or climate change”. Doing things to help the environment (and giving to charity) are both areas where people tend to give what they perceive as the answer they “should” give, rather than the truth. Populus gave some good examples back in November 2006 when the percentages of people who told them they recycled all their stuff and only bought low energy lightbulbs were flatly contradicted by the actual figures.


The second new poll of the day is ICM’s monthly tracker for the Guardian. This is has topline figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 42%(nc), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 20%(+2).

Clearly, as with the YouGov poll at the weekend, there is very little change indeed here. If one assumes this mornings MORI poll is something of a return to normalcy after some outlying figures, we really do have a very static and very uniform picture across the pollsters, with the Tories in the low 40s and Labour at or just above 30. The variation, as usual, is in the level of Lib Dem support, which differs for various reasons (not least, 13% of ICM’s sample was made up of people who claim they voted Lib Dem in 2005, while only 9.3% of MORI’s was – there are 40% more Lib Dems in the sample to begin with).

Putting the voting intention question aside though, there is a possibly more important finding – ICM’s semi-regular “time for change” question. As I’ve said here before, that’s a powerful message, the sort of narrative that sweeps governments from office (ICM’s Nick Sparrow once wrote that there were only really four really powerful messages in politics and all election campaigns boiled down to them – “Let us finish the job”, “Their policies won’t work”, “Don’t let them ruin it” and “Time for a change”).

Back in September 2006 70% of people thought it was time for a change. After the handover to Gordon Brown ICM asked the same question in August 2007 and found 55% thought it was time for a change, still high, but a significant drop: clearly some people’s desire for change had been met. In November 2008 the question was asked again during the “second Brown bounce” and 58% thought it was time for a change. Today the figure stands at 69% – pretty much back where it was before Tony Blair’s resignation.


MORI’s monthly political monitor has topline figures, with changes from last month, of CON 42%(-6), LAB 32%(+4), LDEM 14%(-3).

On the surface of it, a huge swing back towards Labour. As a caveat though, the previous MORI poll seemed rather out of line with others – showing the Conservatives way up on 48% when other companies had them in the low 40s – while in terms of the Conservative and Labour position this one is very much in line with other companies figures.

(Incidentally, I don’t think the tables for this are up on MORI’s website yet, but there is an interesting presentation on voting in the London mayoral election last year, suggesting that voting behaviour correlated more strongly with race than it did social class). I expect this is actually a correction after an outlier, but we shall see – as readers will know, I do always urge caution with any poll showing a large shift of support.

UPDATE: Full results here. Mike Smithson over at politicalbetting argues that the difference is probably largely down to likelihood to vote. MORI’s figures without any filtering for likelihood to vote show a much smaller change: CON 39% (nc): LAB 33% (+2): LD 17% (-2). He’s probably right. Unlike Populus, ICM and ComRes who weight by people’s turnout to vote, so people who say they are 9/10 likely to vote count slightly less than people who are 10/10, but slightly more than people who are 8/10, MORI apply a harsh filter entirely exclusing everyone who doesn’t say 10/10. A small firming a party’s vote could therefore have a sharp effect on the topline figures – there’s a much more detailled explanation of how pollsters take account of likelihood to vote here.

Also interesting is that, like the Sunday Times YouGov poll at the weekend, David Cameron’s ratings have shop upwards, giving him a net approval rating of plus 22, equalling the highest MORI have ever found for him. As I said in reference to the YouGov poll, some of this will probably be an expression of sympathy given his recent family tragedy.

Finally, the proportion of people who are optimistic about the economy improving in the next 12 months has also gone back up again. To some extent I suppose it matches up with the post I made at the end of last year about Labour’s fortunes being linked with economic confidence (for the record, the TNS data I used in that post also showed people a little more optimistic last month, though not nearly to the extent MORI found). To be honest, I didn’t actually expect the correlation to persist, I expected Labour support to drop with economic confidence, but not that it would necessarily rise if confidence returned – government’s don’t always get credit for these things, and recovery can even make people less risk adverse and more open to alternative government. Still, worth keeping an eye on it.