How Sun readers vote

In one of the previous threads someone asked how Sun readers actually vote. Well, now I can tell you! MORI have rushed out figures from their aggregated data looking at just that.

MORI’s aggregated data for the last 9 months has voting intentions of CON 41%, LAB 26%, LDEM 19%. Amongst Sun readers though it was CON 42%, LAB 29%, LDEM 12% – so while there isn’t much difference in Conservative support, Sun readers are actually a bit more Labour and a bit less Lib Dem than the population as a whole, meaning the Tories have a lower lead amongst Sun readers than elsewhere in the country.

That said, if you go back and compare this to MORI’s aggregated figures from 2005 (which indeed they have), Sun readers have swung more heavily towards the Tories – a swing of 12.5%, as opposed to 9% in the country as a whole.

The daily figures from YouGov are CON 37%(-3), LAB 30%(+1), LDEM 21%(+3).

Short term changes are slightly surprising – the Lib Dems appear to have gained rather than Labour – but I expect that’s down to sample variation. The bigger picture is that Labour have reached 30% and the Conservative lead is down to 7 points. Obviously we’re down into hung Parliament territory here.

Before people get excited though, this is just the sort of conference boost we’d expect. Even without daily polling, polls that used to crop up on the middle of conference in past years showed the same sort of thing (last year YouGov had the Tories going from a 20 point lead before the Labour conference to a 10 point one straight afterwards). Most of the time they don’t last, and we should expect the Conservatives to benefit next week in exactly the same way that the Lib Dems and Labour have these past two weeks. The interesting thing would be if they didn’t.

Fieldwork for this poll began after Gordon Brown’s speech yesterday, but obviously many people would have answered it before they saw any coverage (and certainly before today’s newpaper coverage) so there might be more to come. On the other hand, for the Lib Dem conference their peak was the day after Nick Clegg’s speech, so this might well turn out to be Labour’s peak too (especially since their coverage now seems to have been swamped by negative stuff about the Sun endorsing the Conservatives). We’ll see tomorrow at 5.05pm.

The survey also repeated questions on Brown’s approval ratings and whether he should step down from earlier Daily surveys. His net approval is at minus 32, up from minus 37 before the speech. 47% of people think he should replaced as Labour leader, down from 50%.

On other questions, 59% thought that a referendum on AV would be a good idea. Asked how they would vote in such a referendum, 26% said they would vote for FPTP, 43% for AV.

The last thread seems to have very little discussion about polls and lots of partisan argument, so I thought it time for an open thread. Normal comment policy is suspending for just this thread, so feel knock yourselves out. Meanwhile, can we try and keep other threads on topic and free from party political bickering.

YouGov have an instant reaction poll to Brown’s speech. This was a survey of 673 people who watched Brown’s speech.

The topline is that they liked it. 33% thought it was an excellent speech, 30% good, 22% fair, 11% poor and 4% bad. Their opinion of Brown has also improved since a few days ago, his net approval rating amongst these people was minus 24 a couple of days ago, now it it zero, so a big jump.

However, it’s important to remember that these are people who watched Brown’s speech, rather than a representative sample. Almost by definition, the majority of an actual representative sample wouldn’t have watched the speech, so wouldn’t be able to give any sort of verdict yet. People who watched his speech are likely to be a lot more politically aware, a lot more well disposed towards Labour to start with (I suspect you’re more likely to watch the speech of a party you like), and hence probably more receptive to Brown’s message.

The real effect of Brown’s speech will what difference it makes to the vast majority of people who see only clips of it on the 10 o’clock news, or hear it only through the prism of the newspapers tomorrow morning. Next voting intention figures will be at 5.05pm tomorrow, so we’ll see then how much of a boost it gives Labour.

YouGov’s daily polling figures are normally going up at 5.05pm each day, but today (and next Thurs) publication is being brought forward to before the leaders’ speeches to leave 5pm free for other things.

Hence we already have today’s figures, which are CON 40%(+1), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 18%(-2). That surprising bump up into the high 20s for Labour yesterday seems to be real, while Lib Dem conference boost looks like it is rapidly fading.

The most interesting other question on the poll was about “that question” by Andrew Marr on Sunday. A large majority of people (73%) thought Marr was wrong to ask Gordon Brown whether he was taking prescription pills and that Brown had a right to privacy. Only 22% said the public had a right to know Brown’s medical details.

I was actually rather surprised by that result – my expectation was that the general public attitude towards politicians is that they should jump through whatever humiliating hoops we demand. Looking at the queston wording, YouGov did specificy that the Prime Minister had a right to privacy on medical matters “that do not materially affect their work” and I suppose Andrew Marr would have said that the rumours, if true, could affect Brown’s work. That said, 73% to 22% is pretty clear opposition to this sort of questioning.

YouGov also asked whether people supported or opposed plans to ban automatic bonuses to bank employees and limit the amount of money banks can spend on bonus. Much less surprisingly, there was overwhelming support for this with 83% approval and 9% opposed.