The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is out here. Topline voting intentions are CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%.

These would have been perfectly normal a fortnight ago, but contrast with the average Labour leads of two points or so that we’ve had for the last week. All the normal caveats apply – it could be a sign that the post-budget narrowing of the polls is coming to an end and things are headed back to the pre-budget situation, or it could just be random sample error, and next week’s polls will be back to leads of one or two points. Wait and see.

YouGov also asked about European election voting intention, and found figures of CON 24%, LAB 32%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 23%, GRN 5%. Labour remain in the lead (though more convincingly than mid-week), the Conservatives and UKIP remain in a tight race for second place (though this time it’s the Conservatives who are narrowly ahead). Voting intention in a referendum on leaving the EU remains at 42% stay, 36% leave – the same as before the Nick v Nigel debate.

Most of the rest of the poll dealt with comparisons between how Ed Miliband and David Cameron are seen as leaders. The pattern is a familiar one, and one I’ve discussed here many times before – Cameron is seen as stronger, more decisive, clearer about what he stands for and more up to the job of PM; Miliband is seen as more in touch with ordinary people. We can’t easily quantify how much this helps the Tories or damages Labour. Miliband had rubbish ratings last year too and that didn’t stop Labour enjoying 10+ leads in the polls so it is cleary not a complete road block to success… but then, neither is anything else. There is no one, single explanation to voting intention, no one, single thing that leads to failure or success. Parties have won elections with unpopular leaders, they have won elections when behind on the economy – these things do matter, but they are all part of a package and can be outweighted by other things.

The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is now out and shows the same sort of narrowing we’ve seen in other post-budget polls. Topline figures with changes from a fortnight ago are CON 32%(+2), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 10%(nc), UKIP 15%(-1).

The only other poll I’m expecting overnight is the usual YouGov/Sunday Times poll.


This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 36%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11% (tabs here.) Over the last week YouGov’s daily polls have averaged out at a two point Labour lead, compared to five or six before the budget, suggesting there has been a genuine narrowing. Whether it lasts or not is a different matter.

One thing worth noting is that if the average position in the polls settles down to a Labour lead of two points or so, then it is almost inevitable that sooner or later normal random sample variation will spit out some polls with the two parties equal, or the Conservatives ahead. It won’t necessarily be particularly meaningful in terms of the individual poll (as ever, it’s the underlying trends that count) – but politically it may well have an impact in terms of narrative and the morale of the Parliamentary political parties.

YouGov also asked about European voting intention and found topline figures of CON 24%, LAB 28%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 26%, GRN 7%. Labour remain in the lead, but its very close between Labour, UKIP and the Conservatives, with just 4 points separating Labour in first place from the Conservatives in third. Taking just those who say they are 10/10 certain to vote would put UKIP up into first place, on 30% to Labour’s 29%. Note that the fieldwork started before the Nick v Nigel debate, so be carefuly of reading too much of a post-debate effect into the results. Tabs are here.

This morning we also had the second of this week’s Populus polls. Topline figures are CON 35%, LAB 37%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12% (tabs here)

There is a YouGov/Sun instant reaction poll of people who watched the debate (weighting to be a representative sample in terms of party support and attitudes to EU membership). Result was a pretty comfortable win for Farage: 57% think Farage did better, 36% think Clegg did better.

UPDATE: A long day, but a few thoughts about the Nick v Nigel debate. First up, remember that the vast majority of people didn’t watch it – to get 1000 people for our poll of people who were watching it we had to ask tens of thousands of people. Of course, that will be multiplied by people who didn’t watch the debate seeing the subsequent media reporting… but remember, most people didn’t see it.

Secondly, remember that this was not a zero game and in many ways it is not impossible for Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg to both come away with positives. While there is some crossover between UKIP and Lib Dem voters (the Lib Dems used to be the natural recipient of the “plague on both your houses vote” that now more naturally rests with UKIP), this wasn’t really a debate between two politicians seeking to win the favour of the same groups of voters. They had different reasons to be there.

Nigel Farage was there seeking to look like a serious figure leading a party that deserves to be taken seriously and be ranked along the other large parties. He was staking a claim for UKIP’s place at the top table. Clegg meanwhile was tying to put forward a positive reason to vote Lib Dem – Euro-enthusiasm is very much a minority pursuit in the UK, but there are a minority who are positive and enthusiastic about Europe and for a Lib Dem party hovering around the 10% mark in the polls it’s worth trying to appeal to them.

Meanwhile, tonight’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 37%, LD 9%, UKIP 11%

I’ve been entrenched in preparing Nick v Nigel debate polling (more on that later) for the last couple of day, but in the meantime there have been two new Scottish referendum polls.

The new YouGov poll in the Times this morning continues the recent trend of movement towards the YES camp. Topline figures are YES 37%(+2), NO 52%(-1), equating to to 42/58 split once don’t knows and won’t says are removed. YouGov tend to show one of the bigger NO leads, but the trend is there. Looking at the longer term figures from each company, back in September YouGov had YES at 38%, 39% in December and January, 40% in February, now 42% in March. YES have got a lot of catching up, progress is slow and there’s not that long to go, but the movement is there. Tabs for the new YouGov poll are here.

The second poll from TNS BMRB is contrasting, but is actually rather less new – fieldwork finished on the 9th March (I assume the long gap between fieldwork and publication for TNS polls is something to do with their face-to-face fieldwork, but it still seems to take a long time. Even face-to-face fieldwork these days is done on a laptop, so it’s not like lots of data needs to be collated by hand). Topline figures there are YES 28%(-1), NO 42%(nc). No continuation of the trend towards yes there.