After the six point lead from Ipsos MORI, we now have a 17 point lead from Angus Reid. The topline figures, as I mentioned in my brief post below, are CON 39%(+1), LAB 22%(-2), LDEM 21%(+1). Others are unchanged on 18%. The poll was conducted over the weekend, so it is the first proper post-Queens speech poll.

The changes from Angus Reid’s last poll are all quite minor, showing a small shift away from Labour but nothing to get excited about. It does, of course, contrast sharply with MORI’s poll, particularly in terms of the level of Labour support.

Angus Reid are just entering UK polling so we don’t have a long track record to judge them by, but looking at their methodology I would expect them to have a tendency to show higher levels of Conservative and Lib Dem support and lower Labour support. I mentioned in my posts on MORI about “false recall”, people’s tendency to inaccurately report how they actually voted in 2005, and that ICM, Populus and ComRes all factor this into their weighting targets. AngusReid do not, implying no false recall at all, and the effect of this is that they weight the Conservatives and Lib Dems slightly higher and Labour slightly lower (though before people get carried away, it is pretty minor). From their three UK polls so far, they also seem to have a tendency to report significantly higher levels of support for minor parties than any of the other pollsters (though ComRes showed a similar figure in their last poll) – I can see no obvious methodological reason to explain the difference.

The bottom line is that on the short track record and methodology details we have I’d expect Angus Reid to show Labour a bit lower than companies like ICM and YouGov, so this poll is pretty much in line with the average Conservative lead still being somewhere around 13 or 14 points.

UPDATE: Forgot to say, we are also due a ComRes poll for the Independent… but not tonight. Presumably we can expect it later in the week.

Mike Smithson has the latest Angus Reid poll for PoliticalBetting, conducted over the weekend just gone. The topline figures are CON 39%(+1) LAB 22%(-2) LDEM 21%(+1). I’m on the way to a meeting, and will post properly on my return – in the meantime feel free to discuss it here.


Just to illustrate a post I made a fortnight or so ago. At the time Jackie Ashley was assuring us that Labour’s private polling “suggests that Labour could return to the Commons with just 120 MPs or thereabouts, taking the party back to 1930s territory.” To reduce Labour to 120 seats the Conservative would have needed a lead of about 28 points.

Today though, James Macintyre assures us that Labour’s private polling shows they are now ahead.

So… Labour have made up a deficit of around 28 points? In a fortnight? Either Labour’s private polling figures are so comically volatile as to be worthless, or one or both of you have been sold a pup, haven’t you?

Once again, please ignore any journalist claiming to have seen parties’ private polling showing X, unless they quote actual figures. If they do quote actual figures, go and contact the pollster responsible and request the release of the tables under the BPC disclosure rules so you can see for yourself what they actually say.

UPDATE: James now says Labour’s private polling doesn’t show them ahead. It shows a trend that he or his source interpret as showing that Labour will be in front by next year. Since there’s still no actual figures or tables for you to draw your own conclusions from, you should still ignore it.

The tables for Ipsos MORI’s poll are now up on their website, so we can dig about and see what’s actually happened.

Regular readers will know that the big difference between MORI and other pollsters is that MORI do not politically weight their sample. All the pollsters including MORI weight their samples by known demographic figures like age, gender, social class and region. All except MORI also use political weighting, normally weighting by how people claim they voted at the last election.

There’s a much longer explanation of why most pollsters do this and MORI do not here, but the very short version is that people aren’t very good at recalling their 2005 vote. ICM, Populus and ComRes take the view that past recall is pretty stable over time and can be estimated well enough to weight by, MORI take the view that it’s too unstable and should not be used for weighting. The result is that MORI’s samples run the risk of varying politically from month to month more than those of other companies (though MORI would claim the opposite – that other companies risk weighting out genuine public volatility). In a case like this, it raises the question of to what extent the shift is down to people changing their minds, and what extent it is just a more Labour sample.

In MORI’s poll last month which showed a 17 point Tory lead, amongst those who voted in 2005 32% said they voted Conservative, 43% Labour and 16% Liberal Democrat. In this month’s poll which shows a 6 point Tory lead the figures of recalled 2005 vote break down as Conservative 29%, Labour 46% and 16% Liberal Democrat – so a 6 point change in the recalled lead from 2005. (For reference, ICM weighted their sample so recalled 2005 vote was Conservative 33%, Labour 38% and Lib Dem 22% – even they don’t weight to the actual figures because of false recall).

So part of the reason for the shift in MORI’s voting intentions since last month is that their sample appears to have had significantly fewer people who voted Tory in 2005 and significantly more people who voted Labour in 2005 (again, from MORI’s point of view at least some of that would be changes in the level of false recall).

However, this does not explain the whole difference. If you look at the rest of the survey’s innards, there is real movement in Labour’s favour too. Likelihood of Labour supporters voting has increased, that of Conservatives deceased – but in both cases the change is too small to be significant. More interestingly there was an increase in the likelihood of people who voted Labour in 2005 to vote Labour now – in October 65% of former Labour voters said they would back the party this time, this month 72% of Labour’s 2005 voters said they would back the party.

In conclusion, while a lot of the massive shift in voting intentions in this poll appeares to be down to sample variation, there’s a modest firming of the Labour vote too. We should still wait for some more polls to see whether that itself is real, and whether other companies also pick up a firming of the Labour vote. I wouldn’t, however, expect any company using political weighting to show quite such a narrowing of the lead.

There is a new(ish) Ipsos MORI poll in the Observer. The topline figures, with changes from MORI’s previous poll in mid-October, are CON 37%(-6), LAB 31%(+5), LDEM 17%(-2).

The poll was actually conducted last weekend at the same time as ICM’s Guardian poll, prior to the Queen’s speech, David Curry’s expenses accusations and the recent floods (before anyone suggests any of them might have contributed to it!). In ICM’s case the lead shrunk, but the Tory vote actually stayed the same, and the effect was to bring ICM in line with the sort of figures all the other pollsters were showing. This poll is clearly very different – it shows a 6 point collapse in Conservative support and represents by far the lowest Conservative lead for almost a year.

As ever, I would urge extreme caution on any poll showing a large shift in voting intention, especially where there is no obvious reason for a large, short term movement. Until we get the tables we can’t dig around to see exactly what is behind the movement, and until we find another poll supporting this shift, I wouldn’t get too excited/paniced (depending on your point of view!)