There are new polls by ComRes, Opinium and YouGov in the Sunday papers. Toby Helm at the Observer has tweeted the Opinium results and John Rentoul has just posted up the ComRes results here.

Opinium in the Observer have topline figures of CON 27%(+1), LAB 36%(-1), LDEM 7%(+1), UKIP 20%(-1). Changes are from their poll a fortnight ago, and clearly don’t show any massive change.

ComRes for the Sunday Indy and Sunday Mirror meanwhile have topline figures of CON 26%(-3), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 10%(+2), UKIP 19%(nc). Changes there are from the last online ComRes poll a month ago.

Here we have two online polls that still show UKIP up around 20% in contrast to the ICM and MORI telephone polls earlier this week that both showed UKIP at 12%. As I said when the ICM and MORI polls were published, the lower score for UKIP wasn’t a sign that their support has collapsed again, but the result of methodological differences between telephone and internet polls. For some reason most online polling companies (particularly newer online polls – YouGov tend to show levels of UKIP somewhere in the middle) tend to show higher levels of UKIP support. This could be due to the lack of interviewer effect, or could be a result of sampling problems for one or the other. Either way, its a reminder to take into account the house effects between different pollsters, and not to mistake differences in methodology for changes in support.

Looking at the other findings in the polls, ComRes also asked about whether people had favourable or unfavourable opinions of politicians and parties. They found Cameron was no longer more popular than his party, but neither was he a drag on them – 23% had a favourable view of Cameron, 23% had a favourable view of the Tories. Ed Miliband continues to trail behind Labour – 28% have a favourable view of Labour, compared to 20% for Miliband.

YouGov’s Sunday Times poll will likely surface tomorrow morning.

Friday round up

This morning’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun had topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%. Full tabs are here. YouGov also repeated their own question on who would make the best Chancellor, and found Osborne only narrowly ahead of Ed Balls, 28% for Osborne, 26% for Balls. This, I hasten to add, isn’t really any different from the picture MORI showed earlier in the week. Considering both polls have a margin of error of around about 3 points, the truth is a small lead either way doesn’t matter: both companies show Osborne and Balls pretty evenly matched in terms of public preferences.

YouGov also asked about the proposed cap on benefit spending, and found 57% thought a cap on benefits should NOT include pensions. As one might expect, the group most opposed was over 60s, though technically they are a group that probably be unaffected, given Labour have said they would honour the triple lock on pensions, and any savings there might instead come from changing the retirement age – however, as is so often the case, its not so much the facts of policies that determine people’s opinions as broad impressions, not least because most will be unaware of the facts.

Earlier today Populus also released the results of their weekly open-ended question on what news stories people have spotted. Questions like this are most interesting not when they show people picking up a story, but for the way they underline how few people pay attention to other stories. It’s been a relatively quiet news week, so even what I suppose count as the biggest political stories were hardly noticed at all. The most spotted story was actually the riots in Turkey, which 10% of people mentioned. The story about the NSA accessing data on emails and phone calls was recalled by just 6% of people.

Labour’s cap on the cost of benefits was not in the top ten stories people had noticed, implying less than 2% of people mentioned it. The fieldwork was done at the end of the week, so the weekend announcement was already a few days ago, but it still underlines just why what parties say and do often matters so little in terms of voting intention. Things don’t make much of a difference, because no one is listening. That exaggerates its unimportance a little of course, as the policy foundations that parties sent down now will determine the battlegrounds closer to the election when people are paying at least a little more attention, but never forget that most of what goes on in politics completely bypasses the general public. So yes, people don’t want a benefit cap to include pensions, but do most people know that the parties are proposing a total cap on benefits? Probably not. Did most people realise that Labour were proposing to include pensions in a cap? Probably not.


Ipsos MORI have released their monthly political monitor for the Evening Standard. Topline voting intention figures are CON 31%(nc), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 12%(-1). As you can see, there is no significant change from last month.

However, I suspect that’s not the way some people will interpret it. I’ve already seen some reactions to ICM’s poll yesterday making great play of UKIP dropping by six points to 12%, a change that was probably mostly a reversion to the mean after a strange result last month. MORI’s 12% for UKIP is going to be misinterpreted in some parts as confirming a drop in UKIP support, when in reality it does no such thing. UKIP’s level of support seems broadly unchanged from a month ago.

If you are looking at the changes from poll to poll you need to compare like-to-like. For methodlogical reasons different companies tend to show some consistent patterns in their results. Most notably in the current environment, the newer online companies like Survation, Opinium and TNS-BMRB tend to show much higher levels of support for UKIP than do traditional telephone companies like ICM and MORI (YouGov tend to give UKIP scores somewhere between the extremes). That means it is entirely misleading to look at Survation and Opinium polls from a week or two back with UKIP at 20% plus, compare them to ICM and MORI polls now with UKIP at 12%, and conclude that UKIP support has fallen. It hasn’t necessarily fallen at all, it’s just different pollsters using different methods that produce different results.

UPDATE: Full tabs already up on the Ipsos MORI website here

UPDATE2: Other interesting findings in the poll are that Ed Balls has a slight lead over George Osborne on who people think would be the most capable Chancellor, Balls 38%, Osborne 35%. In terms of party leaders though Cameron continues to have a substantial lead over Miliband on economic trust, 37% Cameron, 25% Miliband. Economic optimism also continues on a positive trend, the proportion of people expecting the economy to get better in the next year (31%) is now the same as the proportion that expect it to get worse.

UPDATE3: The Balls v Osborne result isn’t actually that unusual – MORI have shown much the same before, here’s a graph of past times they’ve asked the question. In fact, they’ve only shown Balls ahead twice before, and only shown Osborne ahead once.

The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out today, with topline figures of CON 29%(+1), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 12%(+1), UKIP 12%(-6). The poll shows a sharp drop in support for UKIP, but this is probably something of a reversion to the mean after last month’s poll.

In May ICM had UKIP all the way up on 18 points, not unusual for companies like TNS-BMRB, Opinium or Survation that tend to show much higher levels of UKIP support for various methodological reasons, but very unusual for ICM who typically show the lowest levels of UKIP support. It looked odd then, and in hindsight it was probably a bit of a rogue poll… though it is worth noting that even 12% is a significant increase on the level of UKIP support ICM were recording before the local elections.

The poll also asked people’s preferred team on the economy, with Cameron & Osborne continuing to lead Miliband and Balls by 28%(-7) to 19%(-5), a drop in support for both teams since ICM last asked in December. There are also signs of Conservative disunity registering with the general public, only 44% of people now think that David Cameron has the backing of his party, compared to 62% at the end of last year.

TNS-BMRB have a new poll out tonight, apparently back on the weekly rota. Topline figures with changes from a week ago are CON 27%(+3), LAB 36%(-1), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 19%(nc). Full tabs are here. We are also due the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian, although Tom Clark tells me it’s more likely to make its appearance tomorrow.

Also out tonight is some YouGov polling for Huffington Post on security services intercepting emails, showing a narrow majority in favour. 38% oppose police and security services being given access to mobile and internet records, 43% support the idea and 8% would go further and allow security services to access the content of emails. There is a commentary on the results by Peter Kellner on the Huffington Post website here.