The YouGov/Telegraph poll I expected last week is in Monday’s Telegraph. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, are CON 39%(nc), LAB 22%(-1), LDEM 18%(-1).
Evidently there is no major change here from YouGov’s last poll a fortnight ago. More interesting will be European voting intentions (if they were asked) as we head into the final days before voting.
UPDATE: The European voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, are CON 27%(+1), LAB 17%(-4), LDEM 15%(+1), UKIP 16%(nc), Green 9%(nc), BNP 7%(nc), SNP & PC 4%, Others 6%. This suggests a further weakening of the Labour vote. It’s worth noting that the poll had an unusually large sample size – 5000 – so has a lower margin of error than usual (though given that these figures are only based on those saying they are certain to vote, it isn’t that low), but even so, with Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP within a point of two of one another, the battle for second place really could go any way. I’ll do a round of all the European polls in the next day or two.
The Sunday Times today carries the first poll for the forthcoming Glasgow North East by-election. It is carried out by Scottish Opinion and shows vote shares of CON 6%, LAB 51%, LDEM 3%, SNP 33%.
The Sunday Times report concludes from this that “The SNP would struggle to win a snap by-election in Michael Martin’s Glasgow North East constituency”. I wouldn’t be so sure – Scottish Opinion also polled for the Glasgow East by-election, and a week before polling day were showing a 17% Labour lead…
I’ve been speculating about it for a couple of months, but in the Sunday Telegraph tomorrow we finally see a poll (as suspected from ICM, who tend to give the Liberal Democrats their highest levels of support) putting Labout in third place. The topline figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll, of CON 40%(+1), LAB 22%(-6), LDEM 25%(+5). The Lib Dems caught Labour as recently as 2003, after the Brent East by-election, but as far I can see one has to go back to 1987 to find them ahead of Labour.
The Lib Dem score contrasts wildly with Populus’s yesterday – the two companies use very similar methodology. Populus’s fieldwork is conducted by ICM, their weighting figures are very close, they carry out almost the same re-allocation of don’t knows by past vote, the fieldwork dates for the two polls were the same. Possible differing approaches to polling the European election shouldn’t make a difference, since Westminster voting intentions were asked first. There is a slight difference in the question that is asked, but my guess is that most of the difference between these polls must be down to sample error.
ICM also asked about European voting intention. Topline figures, with changes from ICM’s last poll a week ago, are CON 29%(-1), LAB 17%(-7), LDEM 20%(+2), UKIP 10%(nc), Green 11%(+1), BNP 5%(+4). Again, we have a sharp contrast with Populus, who put UKIP second and the Lib Dems fourth. Mike Smithson is speculating that the difference might be down to ICM not prompting using the names of the minor parties, that would explain the difference in UKIP support – but ICM and Populus are showing broadly similar Green and BNP support. I guess we’ll have to wait for the tables to see.
UPDATE: Darrell in my comments has looked through past polls more carefully than I – there was a single poll in 2004 that had Labour in third place too.
No proper figures yet, but Matthew D’Ancona’s column in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph is already up and reveals ICM have a new poll including European election voting intentions, and that it shows Labour in third place with less than 20%. I’ll do a full report when the figures appear.
As well as the voting intention Populus also asked about various Parliamentary reforms. 74% said they supported fixed-term Parliaments, 73% more free votes, 66% that the number of MPs should be reduced, 56% that MPs should not have second jobs and 51% supported a fully elected House of Lords. 56% said they supported proportional representation.
In the comments to the last post someone posed the question that these are all things the Liberal Democrats have supported for many years, so why aren’t they doing better. The simple answer is that Parliamentary reform normally has a very low salience. People might agree with it, but when it comes to voting they see things like schools, hospitals, crime, taxes and so on far more important. Where it would be important of course was if there was a referendum upon changes to the electoral system at some point.
For now however, before specific proposals are decided, pros and cons explained, arguments made and battlelines drawn (people don’t vote in referendums on a detached judgement of the issue – it matters who is campaigning for each side). It probably gives us very little indication of how people would vote in a referendum on a new electoral system.
On the subject of Populus polls, I’ve just noticed that the tables from the previous Times Populus poll at the beginning of March also included a hypothetical question of how people would vote with Alan Johnson as Labour leader, which didn’t seem to get much attention. Voting intention with Johnson was CON 42%, LAB 25%, LDEM 22% – a 17 point Tory lead, compared to 13 points in the normal voting intention question in the same Populus poll. As I wrote earlier this month polls like this probably don’t tell us much, but I suspect they are going to start getting a lot of attention in the days following the June 4th elections.