The voting intention figures for YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph have finally surfaced. The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s previous poll in mid-August, are CON 42%(nc), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 18%(nc).

Once again, not much change in the figures. It puts the end to a month of largely static GB polls, all painting pretty much the same picture. All the pollsters have the Conservatives between 41%-43%, everyone has Labour in the mid 20s and the Lib Dems 17%-19%.

The Telegraph’s report highlights the economic confidence figures – they are sharply rising in the polls, with net economic optimism now at minus 14 (compared to minus 67 last year). We’ve seen a similar turnaround in economic optimism from Ipsos MORI, but neither company has shown this translating into a boost in the number of people backing Labour.

Sunday polls

At least two new polls in the Sunday papers. Firstly, the Observer has Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor which has topline figures (with changes from MORI’s last poll in mid-July) of CON 43%(+3), LAB 26%(+2), LDEM 17%(-1).

The Conservative lead remains pretty steady, with both Labour and the Conservatives benefiting from the continuing decline in the support for others.

Secondly there is yet another Scottish poll, this time from Yougov in the Mail on Sunday’s Scottish edition. The poll was conducted between the 26th and 28th August, so hot on the heels of the last YouGov Scotland poll, which was done between the 24th and 26th. The voting intention figures, each with changes from the previous poll 2 days before, are as follows:

Westminster: CON 20%(+1), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 18%(+2), SNP 26%(+1)
Holyrood Constituency: CON 16%(nc), LAB 27%(-4), LDEM 16%(nc), SNP 34%(+1)
Holyrood Regional: CON 16%(-1), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 16%(+1), SNP 30%(+3)

It’s a very short time span since the previous poll, but then, it’s also a fast moving story. It’s perfectly possible that all these differences are just variations within the margin of error. Alternatively, it could be a bit of a shift back towards the SNP as debate over the al-Megrahi release continues.


And so do Ipsos MORI!

Scottish polls by YouGov and ICM are now joined by Ipsos MORI, who have carried out a poll of 534 people in Scotland on behalf of Reuters. Again, we have a slightly different result, but with the balance of Scottish opinion still opposed to the decision.

47% of the Scots MORI interviewed disagreed with the decision, with 40% agreeing. Unlike Yougov and ICM who gave people a straight choice between right and wrong, MORI offered a more nuanced scale, so 37% strongly disagreed with the decision, 10% tended to disagree, 21% tended to agree and 19% strongly agreed.

No tables yet, so we can’t see exactly what wording MORI’s question used.

UPDATE: On unconnected things, YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph appears to be on the front page of the paper in the Sky news paper review, but it’s headlining on attitudes to Afghanistan, so no voting intention figures just yet.

And another – ICM have also carried out a poll on al-Megrahi, a specific Scottish poll, this time for the BBC.

32% of Scots told ICM they thought the decision was right, with 60% saying it was wrong. This is slightly less supportive than in the YouGov poll, but still shows a majority of Scots disapproved of the descision, but with a large minority in support (the difference is likely to be the question wording, which with a question like this that needs some introductory blurb is inevitably different. YouGov, for example, included the fact that al-Megrahi had advanced prostate cancer in their question, ICM didn’t. YouGov asked whether it was the right decision, ICM asked if the Scottish government was right to do it).

Other questions in the poll included whether people thought Kenny MacAskill was right to visit al-Megrahi in gaol before making his decision (52% thought it was wrong), whether the decision was taken on legal grounds alone or was influenced by other factors (68% thought there were other factors). As with YouGov’s poll, despite disagreeing with his decision only around a third (36%) thought MacAskill should resign.

52% of people thought it was right that the UK government did not get involved in the decision, nevertheless 68% thought that Gordon Brown’s reputation had been damaged (though I expect we’ve reached the point that a lot of people just give a negative answer to any question about Gordon Brown).

(A side note about methodology – I’ve already seen some criticism of this poll on the basis that it probably wasn’t past vote weighted. I’m a supporter of past vote weighting, but it really doesn’t make a huge difference in questions like this. In a poll about voting intention it really matters if Conservatives are on 38% or 40% and how a pollster weights it politically is critical. If a question is strongly correlated to voting intention, like which party is best on the economy then it makes a difference and it matters, since the Conservatives being 2 points ahead gives a different story to Labour being 2 points head.

In the context of this poll however, answers aren’t that strongly correlated to voting intention, so past vote weighting would probably only have shifted answers by a couple of points at most…and whether 31% or 35% of people supported the decision doesn’t really matter a huge amount in terms of what it tells us about public reaction. Either way around about a third of Scots supported the decision. In a perfect world I’d still say it’s always better to have a politically weighted sample for any political questions, but it would be wrong to obsess about it on questions where it wouldn’t really change the conclusions we draw from it.)

Full tables are here

Today’s Times has a snap poll of 500 people conducted on Wednesday by Populus (meaning the sample was too small to include voting intention questions). 27% of people agreed with the decision to send al-Megrahi back to Libya on compassionate grounds, with 61% disagreeing. We can’t precisely compare this to Scottish YouGov poll yesterday, since the methodology and wording of the questions will be different, but it does mean the early suggestions are that the Scottish public are more sympathetic to al-Megrahi’s release than Great Britain as a whole.

Populus asked whether a series of people or governments had handled the affair well – the US government, the SNP administration, Kenny MacAskill, Brown, Cameron, Ghaddifi and so on. The full figures are not in their report, but from the information there it appears that the public thought everyone handled it badly, though Brown and Ghaddifi came off worst, with Cameron and the US government coming off best.