Royal baby bounce?

There won’t be one. Stop being silly.

If you’d like a longer answer. The birth of Prince George had no discernible effect upon the polls, the Royal Wedding had no discernible effect. The Diamond Jubilee was followed by a couple of polls with a reduced Labour lead, but nothing that couldn’t have been normal sample variation. Events with direct relevance to the election normally have little or no effect on voting intention; the leaders debates had minimal effect, scandals and policy announcements normally have minimal effect. The idea that something with such a complete disconnect from the things that determine voting intention will have an impact is somewhat fanciful.

The only direct impact it makes is the news agenda. If any of the parties were planning on a big policy announcement over the weekend it will now have to struggle against the royal baby to get in the papers and the news bulletins.

Of course, should the polls move in the next few days I expect history will record that the royal baby won the election for David Cameron, in the same way that we pretend that the bug in Gordon Banks’ tummy lost the 1970 election for Harold Wilson. In reality I expect any change in the polls over coming days will be noting at all to do with royal procreation, and everything to do with the existing drivers of voting intention – people making their minds up or changing their minds based on perceptions of the leaders and parties, of competence in running the economy and public services, and hopes of fears of what sort of government will emerge from a hung Parliament.

So far we’ve had two new GB polls today, both continuing to show the race pretty much neck-and-neck:

  • Populus’s twice-weekly poll has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 33%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4% (tabs). Note that Populus appear to have made a slight methodology change – their tables include a reallocation of don’t knows, which has the effect of slightly increasing Lib Dem support and decreasing Labour support.
  • Meanwhile a new Survation poll for the Mirror had topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 16%, GRN 3% (tabs are here)

Elsewhere Lord Ashcroft released his latest, and final, batch of constituency polls – ten constituency polls in a mix of different types of seat. The full details are here:

  • Four of the polls revisited Con-Lab marginals where Lord Ashcroft’s previous polling had found a tight race. In Norwich North (2 point Labour lead), Pudsey (1 point Tory lead) and Wirral West (3 point Labour lead) he found little difference from his previous polls, in Croydon Central he found better news for the Conservatives, with a four point Tory lead compared to a four point Labour lead in March.
  • Another poll revisted the LD-Con marginal of North Cornwall, finding the same two point Liberal Democrat lead as the previous poll in March.
  • Three of the polls were newly surveyed seats – Battersea had been speculated as a seat where the Tories were in trouble, but Ashcroft’s poll found no swing since the election and a twelve point Tory lead. In Stourbridge he found a 4.5% swing from Con-to-Lab, leaving the Conservatives only 2 points ahead. Best of all for Labour was Peterborough, a seat the Conservatives won in 2005, where Ashcroft found a 6 point swing to Labour, putting them 2 points ahead.
  • Finally Ashcroft repolled two Scottish seats. In Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (currently the only Conservative seat in Scotland) he found the SNP increasing their lead, up to eleven points from two points last month. In East Renfrewshire, Jim Murphy’s seat, he found the tide moving away from the SNP (possibly due to tactical voting by Tory voters) – in April his poll gave the SNP a nine point lead, the latest poll has them leading by only three points.

Weekly Round up

I’m not going through all this week’s polling like I normally do on Friday’s – frankly there has been too much – but just to complete the record set, the UKPR polling average for the final week of the campaign shows figures of CON 34%(+1), LAB 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(nc), pushing the Tories slightly ahead.

The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc, the Guardian and YouGov are below, with the majority of them now suggesting the Conservatives will win slightly more seats than Labour, though only Steve Fisher’s model predicts a Parliament where any sort of Conservative-led government looks feasible.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 290(+4), LAB 258(-5), LD 25(-1), SNP 53(+2), UKIP 3(-1)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 280(-3), LAB 268(-2), LD 27(+3), SNP 49(+1), UKIP 2(+1)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 275(+5), LAB 267(-6), LD 27(+1), SNP 56(+1), UKIP 2(-1)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 276(+3), LAB 267(-1), LD 27(-1), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 3(-1)
YouGov Nowcast – Hung Parliament, CON 272(+2), LAB 276(-1), LD 24(-3), SNP 52(+2), UKIP 3(nc)