Wednesday night polls

There are three new polls tonight. YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 38%(nc), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 19%(nc). Labour are up one point, but there is no significant change. Last week the Conservatives had a lead over Labour of about 4 points with YouGov, this week it seems to be consolidating around 6% or 7%.

Secondly we have a new poll from Angus Reid. They have topline figures of CON 37%, LAB 28%, LDEM 22%. I have not put changes since their last poll since Angus Reid seem to have made a significant change to their weighting, essentially using micro-geographical weighting. Most pollsters weight their sample by region – Angus Reid’s new weighting uses about 140 geographical units based on similar Parliamentary constituencies. Clearly this poll shows a smaller Conservative lead than their previous poll, but at present we can’t tell if that is due to a change in sentiment, or the change in weighting.

Finally there is a new Harris poll for the Metro. This has topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 27%(-1), LDEM 19%(+2) – implying a significant drop in their strangely high figure for others. The poll was conducted between the 23rd and 29th – so most, but not all, of it was conducted after the Budget.

Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 38%(-1), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 19%(+1). The lead remains at seven points and there is clearly no significant change from yesterday. The increased Tory lead post budget does seem to be genuine, though as I said yesterday, we can’t tell if it will last.

While they are up one there is no vast Lib Dem boost from the Chancellors’ debate, though I as I said yesterday, it wouldn’t necessarily show up until tomorrow. Personally I doubt there will be – the media coverage this morning wasn’t particularly substantial and already seems to have moved on to Tony Blair’s speech and elderly care. The main leader debates are far more likely to impact the campaign.


There are three new polls tonight, and they all show a post-budget swing towards the Conservatives.

YouGov/Sun: CON 39%(+2), LAB 32%(nc), LDEM 18%(-1)
ComRes/Independent: CON 37%(nc), LAB 30%(-2), LDEM 20%(+1)
Opinium/Express: CON 38%(+1), LAB 28%(-2), LDEM 18%(+3)

YouGov’s daily poll for the Sun has a 7 point lead, up from 5 in their Sunday Times poll and equalling the highest they’ve had the Conservatives this month. ComRes show the Conservatives unchanged, but Labour dropping two since the end of last month. Opinium have a ten point Conservative lead.

The changes themself are not massive, but every poll since the budget has shown a trend back towards the Conservatives. There seems little doubt that the budget has shifted things back towards the Tories a bit. The question now is whether it lasts, or whether it is just a brief downwards blip for Labour that will pass as new events (like the Conservative tax announcement or whatever coverage tonight’s Chancellor’s debate gets) take over the political news agenda.

UPDATE: Lib Dem figure from Opinium corrected (you’ll have to wait till tonight for tonight for it to get corrected in the sidebar)

The full results of YouGov’s poll in the Sunday Times are here.

Notable is the economic optimism question. When YouGov asked the same question for the Sun just before the budget on March 22nd-23rd net economic optimism was minus 10, matching it’s January peak. When YouGov asked the question straight after the budget on Wed-Thurs it had fallen to minus 19. By Thurs-Friday when the fieldwork for the Sunday Times was done it had fallen to minus 24. This is the lowest YouGov have had economic optimism since last April. If Labour’s recovery has been at least partially to do with rising economic optimism, then I’d expect this to result in the lead growing again (assuming, of course, that economic optimism doesn’t recover just as rapidly).

Looking at the rest of the poll, there is a direct Darling vs Osborne question that shows them pretty much neck and neck (33% prefer Osborne, 32% prefer Darling). In the past few days we’ve seen several versions of this question asking the comparison between Osborne, Darling and Cable (for example, see this from YouGov), and they have typically shown Cable ahead and Osborne in a poor third. This suggests people who prefer Cable split disproportionately in Osborne’s favour if they are forced to choose between Osborne and Darling.

On other subjects, rather unsurprisingly the majority of people wanted an inquiry into the former Labour ministers caught in the fake lobbyist sting, and the overwhelming majority supported some form of restriction upon ministers taking up lobbying jobs too soon after leaving office. 39% supported a complete ban on former ministers working as lobbyists. Slightly more interesting was that 38% of people believed that Stephen Byers had successfully influenced government policy, with 29% thinking he was exaggerating. The answers were largely partisan though, with Conservative supporters tending to think he had changed policy and Labour supporters thinking he was boasting.

Asked about the proposed tightening of the drink driving limit there was strong support for a reduction – 50% supported a reduction to 80mg, 21% said they would support an even tighter restriction, 23% opposed a restriction.

Finally YouGov asked about climate change. 30% of people said they had become more sceptical about climate change since the controversies around scientists studying climate change. As well as a change question YouGov re-asked a climate change question originally asked in December 2009 for Left Foot Forward – there was a slight shift towards scepticism, but not a huge one. In December 2009 83% said the planet was warming and human activity was at least partially responsible, 12% said the planet was not warming, or human activity was not responsible. In the latest poll 76% said the planet was warming and human activity was contributing, 16% said the planet wasn’t warming or mankind was not responsible.

Tonight we should have the daily YouGov poll, possibly a Opinium poll in the Express. We are also due Ipsos-MORI and ComRes polls at some point soon.

I’m expecting several polls tonight as the papers commission surveys to test the post-budget mood. First out of the traps is a new ICM poll in the News of the World, topline figures are CON 39%(+1), LAB 31%(-1), LDEM 19%(nc) – so a slight widening of the Conservative lead. More to come later.

UPDATE: Two more polls: YouGov in the Sunday Times have topline figures of CON 37%(nc), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 19%(+1). There is also a BPIX poll in the Mail on Sunday, Sky have only mentioned the Conservative and Labour figures, but they are 37%(+1), LAB 30%(-4). So far all three are showing some degree of increase in the Conservative lead – the budget does appear to be having a negative impact for the government.