Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor poll is now out in the Evening Standard (which seems to have become its new home after living at Reuters for 18 months or so). Topline figures, with changes from last month, are CON 33%(-2), LAB 43%(+5), LDEM 9%(-3).

It’s a big shift towards Labour, but this is probably something of a reversion to the mean after a bit of an outlier last month when MORI showed a much smaller Labour lead than most other companies. The 9 points for the Lib Dems is the lowest that MORI have shown for a year.

I’d have several comments here (and seen countless similar comments on Twitter) asking why, if the Lib Dems got 16% in the local elections this month none of the polls show them with that level of support. They normally proceed to conclude that the polls are wrong.

As I’d said several times here before, people vote differently in local elections than they do in general elections, so polls asking how people would vote in a general election are not a good guide to how they would vote in a local election (and conversely, how people vote in a local election is not necessarily a good guide to how they would vote in a general election).

Anyway to try and finally nail down this nonsense, below is a graph comparing what the Liberal Democrats got in local elections since 1992, and what opinion polls of general election voting intention were showing. Local election figures are the Rallings and Thrasher National Equivalent Vote for each year (you’ll note that 1997 and 2001 are missing, since as far as I can tell R&T did not produce a NEV figure for those years. I have not yet seen the R&T figures for 2012), polling figures are the average Lib Dem score in polls from all companies in the first four months of each year.

As you can see, the contrast between what the Liberal Democrats manage in general election voting intention polls and what the Liberal Democrats achieve in local elections is not new – it has been consistent for the last twenty years. While the gap has gotten bigger and smaller over the years, peaking during the 90s and at its smallest during Cleggmania, on average Liberal Democrat support has been seven points higher in local elections than what they were polling at the time. Over the same period, polls have been largely accurate in predicting Liberal Democrat support at general elections, with the exception of 2010 when they over-estimated Lib Dem support.

In short, the difference between Lib Dem support at local elections and national polls is normal, and Lib Dem performance at the 2012 local elections is wholly consistent with their current ratings in general election polls.


Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 45%, UKIP 8%, LDEM 7%. The 14 point lead is the biggest Labour lead YouGov has ever shown since starting regular polling in 2002 (though other companies showed a lead of that size back in 2003).

While the size of the lead is notable, it’s not entirely surprising. Since the local election results YouGov have been showing an average Labour lead of 12 points or so… hence a 14 point lead is just as much in line with that as the 10 point lead last Thursday was.

Full tables for the YouGov poll for the Sunday Times are now up here, mostly covering attitudes towards the coalition.

On the regular leader ratings David Cameron has a net approval rating of minus 29 (up from minus 31 last week), Nick Clegg is on minus 54 (from minus 57 last week). Ed Miliband is on minus 23, this is up from minus 33 last week (conducted mostly before the local election results), suggesting Labour’s gains at the local elections have resulted in a big boost to the proportion of people who think that Miliband is doing a good job. If you leave aside his brief honeymoon period after first being elected Labour leader, this is only the second time that the net proportion of people thinking Ed Miliband is doing well has been higher than David Cameron in YouGov’s weekly ratings (the previous time was after hackgate broke in July 2011).

(I was going to write a longe piece on polling on leaders today, but time has rather run away with me – hence the rather short and belated summary today!)

Turning to the rest of the poll 25% of people think the coalition is good for the country, 64% bad for the country (which, as you’d expect, closely echoes normal government approval figures). YouGov also asked if the coalition is good or bad for the two parties involved. 38% think it is good for the Conservatives, 50% bad. 22% think it is good for the Lib Dems, 66% bad.

Looking at party supporters themselves. 62% of Conservatives think the coalition is good for the country, but they are pretty evenly split over whether it is good for the Tory party – 49% think it is, 47% think it isn’t. Contrast this with the attitude of Liberal Democrat supporters: again, the majority (57%) think it is good for the country but they think is it bad for the Liberal Democrats by 59% to 37%.

Asked about the future of the coalition, the majority (62%) of people now expect it to last either up to the election (34%) or until just before it (28%). Asked how long they would like it to last there is a different pattern. Unsurprisingly most Labour supporters would like it to end immediately, however, there are also substantial minorities of Conservative supporters (26%) and Lib Dem supporters (18%) who would like the coalition to end now.

Asked what they think the result of the next election will be, we find a delightful (albeit, unsurprising) display of cognitive bias. People who would like the Conservatives to win largely think they will; people who would like the Labour party to win overwhelmingly think they will. Even for the Liberal Democrats, a loyal quarter of their supporters think the party will retain or even increase their current number of seats.

Tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figure of CON 31%, LAB 43%, LDEM 10%, Others 17%. The twelve point Labour lead is broadly typical of what YouGov have been showing since the local elections and the seven pointer for the Lib Dems yesterday does indeed look as though it was a blip.

As usual, I will update properly tomorrow. So far I am not aware of any other polls in tomorrow’s papers.