Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 43%, LDEM 9%. Proper write up to follow tomorrow when the tables go up on the YouGov website.

There is a further exchange between Rob Hayward and Lewis Baston on Conservative Home about what the results of the boundary review may or may not look like. Meanwhile Democratic Audit have put up a lot more detail on their proposals on their website here.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been playing with possible boundaries myself (in my case it’s mainly as a distraction to doing the preparatory work for calculating notional figures when proper proposed boundaries appear) and came up with very different overall figures to Lewis – I haven’t done every region yet, but so far have Labour losing about 18 seats more than the Conservatives (and haven’t done Scotland yet!)*. That’s not to say that my proposals are in any way more likely to reflect what the boundary commissions come up with than Lewis’s are – only that it is possible for different people to come up with what they think are plausible and non-partisan boundary changes…but have significantly different results.

A few further observations though – when I started looking at the detailed differences between my guesses and Lewis’s, they were oten quite minor, counties where we had both come up with the same basic layout in seats, but had put just a couple of wards in different places leading to different notional winners for seats. Those very marginal differences aren’t really important (indeed, as Lewis has said, despite the positive headline figures for Labour in their projection, underlying that there are fewer winnable marginals for Labour making the boundaries worse for them). Of course, there are also some areas were my own ideas of what is likely are very different to Lewis’s.

Rob Hayward makes a couple of criticisms of Lewis’ projections in the article. In terms of split wards, Democratic Audit have used a reasonable amount of them (so have I), Rob suggests there are too many and that the boundary commissions really will avoid them at all costs. He suggests there may end up being virtally none of them. We know from the Commission’s guidance that they will only be splitting wards in exceptional and compelling circumstances, but have no idea how high the Commissions will set that bar in practice.

As far as I can tell splitting wards probably can be avoided in most cases if you work hard enough at it…but that doing so sometimes requires sacrifices in terms of making seats that look rational, that don’t split small towns, that don’t cross too many boundaries and so on. Personally I think it better to split wards sometimes, but the Boundary Commissions don’t make their decisions based on my preferences! Whether these issues count as exceptional and compelling in the eyes of the Commissions remains to be seen – there is some logic in what Rob says… whether or not such arguments are compelling, they are likely to be so common that it’s going to be a push to say they are exceptional.

Rob then picks up a couple of odd-looking constituencies on Lewis’s model – I think that an almost wholly rural North Lancashire isn’t wholly incredible, but agree with Rob that linking Powys in Wales westwards across the mountains rather than northwards looks unlikely (though I’ve not seen a plan for central Wales that doesn’t have to resort to something clumsy). I’ve already said that I think linking Suffolk to Essex is unlikely when you can divide Essex up reasonably enough without the link, leaving minimal change in Suffolk.

The point that Rob ends on is also the thing I think is most unlikely in Lewis’s recommendations – there are some instances where Lewis’s proposals produce seats that cover wards from four or more local authorities, sometimes in different counties. The Bolsover & Ollerton constituency that Rob highlights is indeed a shocker! I think Lewis’s Mid-Kent (the M20 seat!) is pretty horrid too, but then, I’m a Kentishman and I’m sure any plan I came up with for Lewis’s back-yard in Camden would equally ring all sorts of alarm bells for him.

All that aside, the original purpose of Democratic Audit’s paper was to make a plausible projection of what the Boundary Commissions may suggest. There are some odd bits in there, but I expect the Boundary Commission’s actual proposals will have a few odd bits in them too. I’d be very surprised if the Boundary Commissions proposed something like Lewis’s Bolsover & Ollerton, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they came up with something just as odd somewhere else in the country that none of us could possibly have guessed (as Lewis mentions – last time round they suggested a Wallasey & Kirkdale seat that crossed the Mersey Estuary, so they have form for somewhat surprising proposals!).

(*Someone will ask soon if I’m going to release them. I don’t know – I may set up some specific threads for discussing county or regional boundary changes in the constituency guide part of UKPR and stick them up there at some point. I don’t intend to make a big fuss though – if nothing else, I haven’t even started collating data for Scotland and by the time I get round to that we’ll probably be on the final straight to the real provisional recommendations!)


The latest monthly Ipsos MORI political monitor for Reuters is out, and ha topline figures of CON 37%(+2), LAB 39%(-3), LDEM 11(+1). Changes are since the last MORI poll in May.

On leader ratings there is once again a drop for Ed Miliband, following the pattern we’ve seen from other pollsters in the past few weeks. Miliband’s net approval stands at minus 14 (34% satisfied, 48% dissatisfied), down 6 from a month ago (the reason he gets a higher rating here than some other leader trackers is probably because the wording is “satisfied”, rather than “good job” or “doing well”. Only 9% of Conservative voters tell YouGov Miliband is doing well, but 25% of Conservative voters tell MORI they are satisfied with the way Miliband was doing his job. I suspect they don’t all mean that in a complimentary way…)

MORI found people evenly split on whether or not they supported public sector strikes against job cuts, pay levels and pension reductions – 48% said they did, 48% said they did not. they also repeated a question they’ve asked in the past about whether trade unions have too much power – 35% of people agreed, higher than when last asked in 1995 when it was only 24%, but much lower than the 75% who agreed in 1975. 76% agreed that trade unions were essential to protect workers’ interests, little changed from 1995 or 1975.

Full tabs are here.

Tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 36%, LAB 42%, LD 9%: this is pretty much par for the course now, the daily YouGov poll seem to have the Labour lead pretty solid at 5-6 points.

The poll also has the fortnightly best PM question, where David Cameron leads Ed Miliband by 37% to 21%, his biggest lead (and Miliband’s lowest share in the question) this year. Full tabs are here.

A new YouGov London poll has been released here. Westminster voting intention in London, with changes from March, stand at CON 32%(+1), LAB 51%(+3), LDEM 8%(-1), a slightly bigger swing to Labour than the general GB polls are showing.

However, in the Mayoral race Boris continues to lead, with 48% to Ken’s 41%. The diference is because Liberal Democrat voters break in favour of Boris, and about a fifth of Labour’s Westminster voters would vote for Boris in the mayoral elections.

The figures probably flatter the amount of the vote that both Boris and Ken would get given that other candidates remain unannounced, but it does appears that Boris is maintaining a lead independent of his party.