ComRes have released what they say is their final poll before the European elections on Thursday. Topline figures are CON 20%, LAB 27%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 33%, GRN 6%. The lead for UKIP is far more modest than the eleven points in their weekend poll, but is still pretty robust. The Conservatives remain in third place, the Lib Dems and Greens continue to battle for fourth place. Tabs here.

A lot of the apparent difference between different European polls is down to different treatment of turnout. ComRes have a very stark turnout filter, taking only those people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote. YouGov have a very liberal approach, including everyone who gives a voting intention (though they often tighten it up for final call polls); ICM weight by turnout, the effect of which is sort of a mid-way between the two extremes.

If you look at the tables, we can work out what the polls would have shown using different methods, letting us compare like-to-like. So, if all three pollsters who’ve reported in the last couple of days only took those respondents who said they were 10/10 certain to vote the figures would be:

ComRes – CON 20%, LAB 27%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 33%, GRN 6%
ICM – CON 21%, LAB 30%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 29%, OTH 14%
YouGov – CON 21%, LAB 26%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 29%, GRN 10%

But if all three respondents included the answers of all respondents giving an intention to vote the figures would be:

ComRes – CON 21%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 27%, GRN 7%
ICM – CON 26%, LAB 29%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 24%, GRN 6%
YouGov – CON 23%, LAB 27%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 26%, GRN 9%

As you can see, it doesn’t explain all the difference (ICM. for example, would have Labour leading even with a strict turnout filter), but it does reduce the contrasts a bit. A softer turnout filter tends to help Labour, a strict one tends to help UKIP.

UPDATE: Two more Westminster voting intention polls tonight – the monthly telephone ComRes poll for the Indy has topline figures of CON 30%(nc), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 14%(+2). The daily YouGov poll for the Sun meanwhile has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 11%. YouGov’s Sun poll also asked European voting intention, with topline European figures of CON 21%, LAB 28%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 24%, GRN 12%.

As well as the ComRes European poll and the Populus and Ashcroft GB polls, there were also two polls of European voting intention in Scotland this morning. These are both the remainder of Scottish polls whose main referendum findings we saw in the Sunday papers.

ICM in the Scotsman found people in Scotland would vote CON 13%, LAB 27%, LDEM 7%, SNP 36%, UKIP 9%, GRN 7%. That would give the SNP three MEPs, Labour two, the Conservatives one. The Lib Dems would lose their Scottish MEP and UKIP fail to gain one.

Survation in the Daily Record had figures of CON 13%, LAB 26%, LDEM 6%, SNP 37%, UKIP 10%, GRN 6% – producing the same seat distrbution.

Still to come tonight we have the monthly ComRes telephone poll and the daily YouGov poll for the Sun. Anyone would think there’s an election this week.


This morning’s online Populus poll was the third to show a Tory lead after the Ashcroft and ICM polls last week. Topline figures were LAB 34%, CON 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%. Tabs are here

Ashcroft’s own poll – the second of his new weekly series – shows Labour back in front. His topline figures are CON 29%, LAB 35%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%. Until we get some more of Ashcroft’s polls under our belt it’s hard to judge the trend – was last week’s just a rogue, this a return to normality, or vice-versa, or a shift to Labour. I don’t know, we need to give it some time and see how it compares to figures produced by other companies. Tabs are here.

Latest Scottish polls

There are two Scottish polls in today’s papers. Panelbase in the Sunday Times has topline figures of YES 40%(nc), NO 47%(+2). In an increase for NO after three Panelbase polls in a row showing a lead of 5 points, but nothing beyond the normal margin of error.

ICM in the Scotland on Sunday have figures of YES 34%(-5), NO 46%(+4). This looks like a sudden big shift to NO, but I suspect a lot of that is a reversion to the mean. ICM’s last Scottish poll was the one showing the NO lead shrinking to just 3 points… I suspect that one was just a bit of an outlier and this is a return to normality. Even so, in John Curtice’s analysis he suggests that ICM have changed their approach to turnout in this poll, and that it would have been even worse for YES on their old method.

There is a big contrast between what different pollsters in Scotland are showing, and many people trying to read narratives and trends into the polls that aren’t really there. Even attempts at “polls of polls” are tricky because of the difference between pollsters and their uneven pattern of publication (so you can either have an average that leans towards polls that are better for YES or better for NO, or have an average than includes all pollsters but has polls that are way out of day). My view is that the best way of seeing what is happening is still the rather laborious and imprecise process of looking at trends in individual pollsters:

Taking them one at a time, and excluding don’t knows so they are comparable, ICM had YES on 40% last September, then 46% in January, then 43% in February, 46% in March, 48% in April… now 43%. ICM have been more erratic than other companies (and have messed about with their methods more) so it’s quite difficult to differentiate trend from volatility or method change.

Ipsos MORI we had YES on 34% last September, 37% in December, 36% in February. We haven’t had anything since.

Survation we had YES on 38% in January, then after a methodological change they’ve been extremely steady showing YES on a consistent 44% or 45%.

TNS-BMRB had YES on 36% in October, 38% in November, 40% in December and January, 41% in February, 40% in March, 41% in April, 42% now.

YouGov appears to show a similar steady but slow trend – 38% in September, 39% in December and January, 40% in February, 42% in March and April.

Panelbase have consistently shown better scores for YES than other companies. 44% in September, 45% in October and November, 43% and 44% in February. 47% in polls in March and April, 46% today.

My perception is still that there was a tightening in the polls at the tail end of last year after the white paper, and a very slow trend towards YES since then. The trend may well have slowed or stopped completely in recent weeks, but the single ICM poll or the normal variation in Panelbase is not enough to conclude it has reversed.

This week’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times is here. Topline Westminster voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Net doing well/badly figures for the main party leaders are minus 7 for David Cameron, minus 42 for Ed Miliband, minus 55 for Nick Clegg. David Cameron’s figure is his best since March 2012 (before the Omnishambles budget), Ed Miliband’s his worst since last September. There’s also some notable landmarks in the economic trackers – 45% now think the government are managing the economy well, 45% badly, you have to go all the way back to December 2010 to find the last time those there equal. Asked about the current state of the economy only 36% now think it is in a bad way, the lowest since YouGov started asking this question in 2010. Underneath the distorting effect of the European elections on voting intention economic perceptions do seem to be continuing to shift.

For the European elections voting intention figures are CON 23%, LAB 27%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 26%, GRN 9%. This seems to be where YouGov’s European polling has settled down at over the last week or two – Labour and UKIP in a very tight race for first place, the Conservatives in third, the Greens and Lib Dems in a very tight race for fourth place. UKIP could still come top – their voters say they are more likely to actually come out and vote on the day and if you take only those people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote UKIP would be narrowly ahead (YouGov don’t usually filter or weight by likelihood to vote away from general election campaign polls or final call polls).

Comparing voting intentions in the European Parliament and for a general election, just under a quarter of current Conservative voters and one in ten Labour voters say they are backing UKIP in the European election. Or looking at it from the opposite angle, of those people saying they’ll vote UKIP in the European election, only around half would vote UKIP in a general election tomorrow, just under a third would vote Tory (and that’s the mythical general election “tomorrow”, as opposed to how people’s opinions will actually evolve over the next year.)

Europe and immigration are the only issues where people know what UKIP stand for. 42% say they know what UKIP’s policy is on immigration and Europe (and a majority have at least some sort of idea of their direction), for other issues the figure is 7-8%. Even most UKIP voters don’t claim to know what the party’s policy is on things like education and the NHS… but then, those are the sort of things that drive UKIP support. For people voting UKIP in the European election, 39% say it is because they are unhappy with Britain’s membership of the EU. 22% say is it because of immigration. 14% because they are unhappy with the main parties and 14% say it is to send a message or put pressure on the main parties.

People are now split down the middle over whether UKIP are racist or not – 41% think they are, 40% think they are not. On balance people do, however, think UKIP are deliberately trying to appeal to racist voters – 46% say they are, 30% don’t agree. UKIP’s supporters themselves overwhelmingly reject the charge – 93% of UKIP voters think the party are not racist, presumably explaining why the attacks aren’t damaging UKIP more: the people being convinced that UKIP are racist aren’t the sort of people who were voting for them anyway.

50% of people think the coalition have run out of ideas and things to do, 22% think they’ve still got enough ideas for the last year of Parliament. 44% of people would like a general election this year (including the majority of Labour supporters) 44% would like an election in May 2015 as planned (including the majority of Lib Dems and Conservatives).

Asked generally 30% of people think Nick Clegg should continue as Lib Dem leader, 43% think he should be replaced. However, these are largely people opposed to the Lib Dems anyway – amongst their own voters (a small sample size, given the depths they’ve reached!) 62% think he should stay, 25% he should go. In the event the Lib Dems finish behind the Greens then only 46% of Lib Dem voters would want him to stay, 37% would want him to go. In terms of successors, 20% think Vince Cable would be better, 25% think he would be worse. For Danny Alexander and Tim Farron most of the public say they don’t really know enough about them to have an opinion.

There were also two Scottish referendum polls in this morning’s papers. I’ll post separately on them later.