Monday round-up

There are four new polls tonight – YouGov in the Sun, Opinium in the Express and ICM in the Guardian. ComRes is not officially out yet, but the Guardian are reporting it here. That gives us:

YouGov/Sun CON 33%(-1), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 29%(-1)
Opinium/Express CON 34%(+2), LAB 25%(-1), LDEM 28%(-1)
ICM/Guardian CON 33%(-2), LAB 28%(+2), LDEM 30%(-1)
ComRes/ITV/Independent CON 32%(-2), LAB 28%(nc), LDEM 31%(+2)

Opinium show a slight movement towards the Conservatives since their last poll, but without any political weighting I would expect them to be rather more erratic anyway. The other three polls all show the Conservatives falling. Again it is just one day’s polls, and the movements are within the margin of error, but it does create the impression that the slight Tory recovery towards the end of last week is fading.

Tonight’s polls

I am in a meeting tonight, so may not be back in time to put up tonight’s figures. We should be expecting YouGov, ComRes, and probably ICM and Opinium. Please use this thread to discuss them, and I’ll update on my return.


PoliticsHome have YouGov’s regional figures for the past week here. These are the first properly weighted regional breaks from YouGov on data entirely after the first debate (the data release last week straddled it) and they seem to suggest that the Lib Dem boost is stronger in the North.

The swing from Labour to the Lib Dems in the North-East is 13%, in Yorkshire 11.5% and the North West 9.5. Compare this to the swing in the South East (5%) and London (7%). In Scotland there is very little sign of a Lib Dem advance, with the party on 25% compared to 23% at the last election (though this is still much better than the Liberals were polling in Scotland a few months back).

In the South West, the swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrat is 5.5% in this poll, suggesting around 9 Conservative losses to the Lib Dems, rather than the other way around.

On a uniform national swing, the data behind these figures would produce a seat distribution of CON 245, LAB 273, LD 100 – a hung Parliament with Labour the largest party. However, if we do regional swings based on this data, it produces a projection of CON 262, LAB 245, LD 111 – the Conservatives the largest party and an extra 11 Lib Dem seats. The difference is down to the Liberal Democrats gaining more Northern seats (most notably 6 extra in the North east, including all three Newcastle seats) and two extra in the South-West. The Conservatives would gain an extra 20 seats, partially offset by larger losses to the Lib Dems.

Of course, the normal caveats about sample size apply to the regional breaks – with 1000 or so respondents in each region the differences are not necessarily significant. There does seem to be a north-south divide in evidence though.

YouGov’s daily poll has topline figures of CON 34%(-1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 30%(+2). No significant change from yesterday’s figures, but the Lib Dems at are 30%, so the Lib Dem surge remaining healthy here. I wasn’t expecting any other polls tonight (last Sunday night YouGov was the only one), but Kay Burley on Sky earlier was saying there were other polls to come, so we shall see. I’ll update at the end of the night if there are.

Not connected to this poll, but I’ve seen various comments asking about measuring how people with postal votes are voting. Postal ballots will have started going out now in some areas, and the BPIX poll this weekend asked how people with postal votes were going to vote. That should be the last question along those lines we see till the election though, unless the pollsters feel like getting their collars felt, since from here on in they are illegal.

It is against the law to publish any poll based on people saying how they have already voted until the polling stations close on May 6th, and this includes people who have cast postal votes. In the European elections in 2004 Populus and the Times were investigated by the police over this for publishing voting figures for regions where there were all-postal ballots, which were hence effectively exit polls. No action was taken since it was not clear beforehand that this was against the law, but guidelines on how the law would apply to such things were subsequently drawn up. The result was that pollsters can include people who have already cast postal votes in their figures, but it is illegal to seperately report figures for just those who have already cast postal votes.

There aren’t normally many polls on Sunday night – YouGov’s Sun poll will be out later – but I’ve had chance to look at more of the YouGov/Sunday Times data from yesterday/this morning, including that article from Peter Kellner on marginal data.

Looking at the rest of the YouGov/Sunday Times results, Nick Clegg continues to enjoy his “Churchillian” approval ratings – 77% think he is doing a good job as Lib Dem leader, 14% a bad job. Asked which party poses the bigger risk to the recovery, respondents were evenly split – 34% thought Conservative spending cuts were the biggest risk, 35% thought Labour’s National Insurance rise posed the bigger threat.

There were a series of questions about hung Parliaments – 37% thought a hung Parliament with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power would be a good thing, 41% disagreed. As you might expect, Lib Dem voters overwhelmingly thought it would be good, and not particularly surprisingly Tory voters overwhelmingly thought it would be bad. Interestingly a substantial minor of Labour voters (36%) thought it would be a good thing (presumably part of that will be people considering it the alternative to a Tory majority!). People were evenly split when asked whether they believed a hung Parliament could result in Britain turning to the IMF – 32% agreed and 33% disagreed.

Asked whether they thought Conservative claims that voting for Nick Clegg could result in Gordon Brown remaining Prime Minister were true, 40% thought they were true, with 30% disagreeing. Most of that 40% said it made no difference to how they would vote (they would either vote Lib Dem anyway, or weren’t going to anyhow) – however, 14% of Lib Dem voters said they it might effect their vote, and they would not want to risk keeping Gordon Brown in power.

YouGov also asked if various election results would delight or dismay respondents. 24% would be delighted by a Cameron majority government, the highest figure, but 47% would be dismayed. As you might expect, most Conservatives would be delighted, most Labour and a significant majority of Lib Dem supporters would be dismayed. Asked about a Brown majority goverment 17% would be delighted (since almost a third of Labour supporters said only they wouldn’t mind), 50% would be dismayed.

Now it gets interesting – asked about a Cameron led Con/LD coalition, it is less popular than a Conservative majority. Only 8% would be delighted, and 52% would be dismayed (the highest figure). The reason is 53% of Lib Dem supporters would still be dismayed by such a result, and only 6% delighted, while 33% of Conservative supporters would be dismayed by such a result. What about a Gordon Brown led Lab/LD coalition? This is slightly more popular, 10% would be delighted and 49% dismayed, but still less popular than a Labour majority. Contrast this with a Lab/LD coalition under a different Labour leader – 11% would be delighted (including 24% of Lib Dem voters), and only 43% dismayed.

Finally 21% would be delighted at a majority Lib Dem coalition, with just 32% dismayed (since 31% of Tories and 40% of Labour wouldn’t mind). 8% would be delighted at a grand coalition, 45% dismayed.

In the Times Peter Kellner also has an article based on the aggregated YouGov data, broken down to look at marginal seats. There the Conservatives have a swing of only 4%, compared to a national swing of 4% across the same period – so this poll shows the Lib Dem bounce cancelling out the Conservatives previous outpermance in marginal seats. Two caveats need adding to this – firstly it’s just one poll, and we’ve had a MORI marginals poll in the same period showing the Conservatives continuing to do better in marginals. Secondly, my understanding is that the aggregated data is all of YouGov’s polling between the first and second debate, so it’s during the peak of the Clegg boost, rather than the modest Conservative recovery we’ve seen since then.

Finally, I’ve had little chance to keep track of Scottish voting intention polls during the election, but there was also a YouGov poll of Scottish voting intentions this morning. Topline figures were CON 15%, LAB 36%, LDEM 24%, SNP 22%. What strikes me the most there is how close it is to the 2005 election result compared to GB figures – the Conservatives are down 1 since 2005, Labour down 3, the Liberal Democrats up 1, the SNP up 4. If the general election result is anything like that, I would not expect many Scottish seats to change hands.