The monthly ComRes poll for the Independent is out tonight. Topline figures are CON 34%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 12%(-2). The three point Labour lead is the lowest ComRes have shown since last September, and the 34% for the Conservatives the highest since last November.

The drop in the Labour lead and the fading of UKIP support is very much in line with the pattern we’ve seen in the daily YouGov polls, in ICM’s poll this month and in line with the sort of figures Populus are now showing… though it’s worth noting that MORI and some of the new online companies aren’t yet picking up the same pattern.

As to why the polls are narrowing, the harsh truth is that we really can’t tell. There is always a temptation that I see people falling into to reach for the issue you personally care about and ascribing changes in the polls to that (or “why the change in the polls shows that politicians should do the thing I like”) the reality is we can’t tell*, all we can do is look for rough correlations in timing. Personally my best guess is that’s its the result of the ongoing improvement in economic optimism we have seen over the past few months, a rather more controlled Conservative message and the decreased level of publicity UKIP have been receiving.

(*Whenever I make a point like this someone makes the suggestion of asking people. Oh were it so easy! Firstly, if you ask people who gave a different answer 3 or 4 months ago if they’ve changed their mind many won’t realise they have. If you ask why to those who have consciously changed their mind you get lots of don’t knows, general grumbles and some reasons that may be genuine causes, or may be post-hoc rationalisations for complex decisions we probably don’t even understand ourselves.)

Two new polls yesterday/this morning, the regular YouGov poll for the Sun and Populus’s new regular eekly poll. I was expecting the regular ComRes telephone poll for the Independent as well, but it failed to appear (perhaps it will show up tonight).

In the meantime the YouGov and Populus figures are:

YouGov/Sun – CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%
Populus – CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 8%

YouGov tabs are here, Populus here


A quick round of of today’s polls. The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here, and has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. YouGov’s daily polling appears to be showing an average Labour lead of around about six points.

The rest of the poll deals mainly with the economy and the royals. Economic optimism continues to get slightly less pessimistic, the “feel good factor” (those thinking their economic situation will get better in the next twelve months minus those who expect it to get worse) is minus 27. Asked more specifically about the recent GDP figures, 38% think that it shows the economy is now on the mend and will continue to grow, 49% think it is bouncing along the bottom. Looking at the crossbreaks shows quite how much people’s opinions on the economy are shaped by their pre-existing views of the government and politics: three-quarters of Conservatives think the economy is now on the mend, three-quarters of Labour supporters think it shows things bouncing along the bottom.

George Osborne continues to have a negative rating as Chancellor – only 25% think he is doing a good job, 45% a bad job. However the widespread desire for Cameron to replace him that YouGov found back in March has declined somewhat – back then people wanted Osborne sacked by 51% to 17%, it’s now a less overwhelming 42% to 30%. He also has better ratings than Ed Balls, and people think Osborne would make a matter Chancellor than Balls by 35% to 27%. By 43% to 32% people think the economy would have been worse if Labour had won the last election.

On the monarchy 17% of people think Britain should become a republic, 75% that we should continue to have a monarchy. A new ComRes poll for the Sunday Telegraph found a similar pattern – 66% think Britain is better off as a monarchy, 17% that it would be better off as a republic. The Sunday Telegraph article has a rather overblown headline of “Confidence in British monarchy at all time high, poll shows” which is a bit silly on various grounds (the monarchy predates opinion polling by hundreds of years so we don’t have anything to judge by, and as far as I can tell the survey did not ask questions that have a long train of past tracking data to compare to).

The best long term tracker data on attitudes to the monarchy is probably MORI’s collection here. Even there things are a bit hamstrung by the fact that lots of polling on the royal family started in the early nineties when the monarchy was at a low ebb in the wake of the the failure of the marriages of Charles, Andrew and Princess Anne and the Queen’s annus horribilis – so most current polling does show the royal family being held in higher regard than in the 1990s…but those few trends that stretch back into the 1980s show much more positive ratings. I suspect the reality is “confidence in British monarchy higher than it has been for twenty years or so”… but we don’t have the data to be sure.

Finally the Sunday Times had a new Panelbase poll on the Scottish Independence referendum, which had YES on 37%(+1), NO on 46%(+2). Past polls on the independence referendum are here, and it’s worth noting the consistent differences between pollsters. Panelbase tend to show a relatively tight race, Ipsos MORI and TNS tend to show a much bigger lead for the NO campaign.

The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out and has topline figures of CON 28%(+1), LAB 39%(+1), LDEM 8%(+2), UKIP 16%(-3). Their Labour lead is resolutely unchanged, but like TNS earlier in the week they have UKIP coming down from their post-local election peak of around 20 points. There’s obviously still a big methodological gulf between different pollsters on UKIP scores, but the trend is starting to be a bit more consistent.

Two new polls out this morning – both showing things ticking along pretty much as usual. The daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 11% – the six point lead is pretty representative of the average in YouGov’s polls over the last week or so. Full tabs are here

Meanwhile the latest Populus poll has very similar figures – their topline voting intentions are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 10%. Full tabs are here.