There is a YouGov poll in tomorrow’s Sunday Times which, according to Sky, has topline figures of CON 39%(nc), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 17%(-1). Unsurprisingly there is no great change from Friday’s figure, but the lead does still seem to be shrinking and this is the smallest gap from YouGov since 2008.

More to come later when we see what other questions the Sunday Times asked. There is also a rumor about of a second poll showing the Conservatives with a 10 point lead – I have no idea what that is, or if it is true. We shall see.

UPDATE: There are twitters that the 10 point poll is from ComRes. I’ve no confirmation of that, but they did a poll for the Sunday Mirror at about this time last month, so we shall see. If it is them their last poll was an 11 point lead, so 10 points would likely be little change.

Warren in my comments has highlighted a poll by Kindle Research in the Brighton Argus covering the three Brighton and Hove constituencies. The voting intention figures it gives are:

Brighton Pavilion: LAB 26%, CON 16%, GRN 12%, LDEM 5%, WNV 11%, DK 19%, Ref 7%
Brighton Kemptown: LAB 24%, CON 23%, GRN 8%, LDEM 7%, WNV 13%, DK 19%, Ref 4%
Hove: LAB 26%, CON 23%, GRN 7%, LDEM 7%, WNV 12%, DK 15%, Ref 5%

Once it’s repercentaged to exclude don’t knows, refusals and won’t votes, that works out as

Pavilion: LAB 41%(+5), CON 25%(+2), GRN 19%(-3), LDEM 8%(-8)
Kemptown: LAB 38%(-1), CON 36%(+2), GRN 13%(+7), LDEM 11%(-6)
Hove: LAB 38%(+1), CON 34%(-2), GRN 10%(+4), LDEM 10%(-8)

The poll was professionally conducted (ICM’s call centre did the fieldwork) and demographically weighted to each constituency. So why the rather counterintuitive results, especially when set against the ICM poll of Brighton Pavilion at the end of last year?

There are several reasons – firstly, once the don’t knows and won’t votes are taken away there were very small samples sizes of only 200 or so in each seat. Secondly it is implied that the poll didn’t prompt by party, when ICM included the Green party in their party prompt. As I wrote about the ICM poll, this probably helped the Green party and I wouldn’t normally do it, but it was probably justified in the particular circumstances in Brighton. There’s a fair argument against dealing with the unusual situation by not prompting for party at all, but this would have underestimated the level of support for the Lib Dems (and quite possibly the Greens).

Thirdly, unlike ICM the poll does not appear from their presentation and method statement to have factored in likelihood to vote, something which normally favours the Conservatives and penalises Labour. Finally, and most importantly, the poll did not have any political weighting – phone polls without political weighting of some sort will tend to grossly overestimate the Labour party.

With contrasting figures, I would put my faith in ICM rather than Kindle.


YouGov re-asked the other half of their Conservative vs Labour statements from back in 2005 yesterday, and on two of the statements the pattern was much the same. More people thought the statement “It seems rather old and tired” applied to Labour than the Conservatives (by 34% to 15%), compared to 2005 when 44% thought it applied more to the Tories. On the statement “It seems to have succeeded in moving on and left its past behind it”, 29% thought it applied more to the Tories, compared to 17% for Labour. In 2005 the figures were 42% Labour and 17% Tory.

The final two statements though painted a different picture. In 2005 48% of people thought the statement “It seems to appeal to one section of society rather than to the whole country” applied more to the Tories, with only 20% thinking it applied more to Labour. Asked again now the gap has narrowed, but more people (35%) still see the Conservatives that way than Labour (16%). There is a similar situation with the statement “Even if I don’t always agree with it, at least its heart is in the right place” in 2005 Labour lead the Conservatives 40% to 22% and they remain ahead, though with a lower lead (34% to 22%).

The Sun also asked a couple of questions on the Falklands situation. 58% of people thought that the UK should send Royal Navy ships to protect oil drilling in Falklands waters. 45% of people thought that they should have the right to use force against any Argentine navy ships who prevent merchant ships reaching the oil drilling area, 33% disagreed.

Meanwhile, looking at the rest of the Angus Reid data they asked some questions on perceptions of Gordon Brown before and after his interview with Piers Morgan. While their topline voting intention data doesn’t suggest any electoral gain for the Labour party from the interview, these questions do suggest a slight softening of attitudes towards Brown. Compared to a month ago Brown’s rating as compassionate is up four points (to 18%), and the proportions thinking him out of touch (45%, down 3), boring (42%, down 4), weak (34%, down 4), inefficient (35%, down 4), dishonest (23%, down 3) and uncaring (17%, down 3) are all down.

I’m glad I was sceptical about the polls showing any shift back to the Tories in my Angus Reid post earlier, since today’s YouGov poll for the Sun has now emerged, and has topline figures of CON 39%(nc), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 18%(nc).

At some point over the next few days I will do a proper post on how we should look at daily polling figures and what we can learn from them. We do need to adjust the way we interpret polls slightly, unless there have been particular events or news stories, one day movement will more often than not just be normal sample error. It’ll be ever more important to look at the wider trend, though of course, we will also have a much greater volume of data upon which to judge it.

PoliticalBetting have a new AngusReid poll up – their topline figures with changes from their previous poll are CON 40%(+2), LAB 26%(+1), LDEM 18%(-2). This is the highest Labour score that AR have recorded since they began voting intention polls in the UK last October, though it remains significantly lower than the Labour scores reported by other pollsters.

It’s worth noting that this is now three polls in a row showing a slight shift back towards the Conservatives. However, the moves are very small, and if the YouGov polls for the Telegraph and People a fortnight ago had been the other way around their’s would have been no change. I’d need to see more before concluding that there is any significant drift back to the Conservatives.

There should be fresh YouGov figures in the Sun later tonight.