ICM have again conducted two parallel polls for the Guardian, one online, one by telephone (tabs). The pattern is the same as last month, on Westminster voting intention the two ICM polls show the same two point lead, although the ICM online poll has a higher level of UKIP support:

ICM Online – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%
ICM Phone – CON 36%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%

For the EU referendum ICM have the typical phone vs online contrast. They have a eight point lead for Remain by phone, a four point lead for leave online… a twelve point gap (the average gap between online and telephone polls since the start of April is about 10 points, so ICM is a little larger, but nothing to write home about).

ICM Online – Remain 43%, Leave 47%, Don’t know 10%
ICM Phone – Remain 47%, Leave 39%, Don’t know 14%

Martin Boon’s own take over on the ICM website is, as usual, both honest and somewhat bemused: “The narrative that phone polls are more likely to be right ignores some fundamental flaws in phone methods. Labour supporters are continually oversampled by phone, and that may matter more than those same phone polls missing out on supposedly pro-Remain types, who are disproportionately less likely to turn out to vote. Similarly, what’s lurking under online covers could be equally nasty, and we should not ignore that the fact the UKIP voters are again, as they have long since been, higher in online polls than phone (or indeed at recent elections).”

Incidentally, it’s probably worth flagging up that there are house effects beyond just the phone/online difference. There are differences between different online pollsters too. This is ICM’s sixth online poll in a row to show Leave ahead, and they are clearly showing a small Leave lead. In contrast the majority of online polls conducted by YouGov and TNS over the last six weeks have had Remain very narrowly ahead, it’s not a big gap, but it’s starting to look consistent. When it actually comes to learning lessons from the EU referendum, these smaller differences may end up being the more valuable: without much fuss, pollsters are taking quite different approaches to correcting their methods after last year and the referendum may teach us something useful about what corrections are (or are not) working for online; what corrections are (or are not) working for telephone.

Methodological concerns aside, what does ICM tell us about the state of public opinion? Well both their phone and online polls have the gap between Tory and Labour narrowing, down from five point leads a month ago. In the referendum race the four point leave lead in the online poll is ICM’s largest this year… but that trend isn’t echoed in the phone poll. We shall see if other EU polling this week shows any coherent trend.

There was also a new ComRes online poll at the weekend for the Indy and Sunday Mirror. This had topline figures of CON 36%(+1), LAB 30%(nc), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 17%(+1), GRN 4%(nc). On the face of it this is a stronger poll for the Tories, but this is largely methodological – ComRes’s online polls tend to produce the most positive results for the Tories of any company because of their demographic based turnout model. Full tabs are here.


EU Polling update

I’ve taken the last week off following the 5th May elections, and so have most of the polls. There have, however, been two new EU polls published over the last week, so just to keep everyone up to speed their topline figures were:

YouGov/Good Morning Britain – Remain 42%, Leave 40%, Don’t know/won’t vote 19% (tabs)
ICM – Remain 44%, Leave 46%, Don’t know 11% (tabs)


-->

A brief election post-mortem before I get some rest – hopefully we will have an actual London result by the time I finish writing! It is almost exactly a year since the polling error at the last general election. Yesterday’s elections were the first real test of the polls since then (there was accurate polling for the Labour leadership election, but polling party members really is a completely different exercise).

Scotland

Taking Scotland first, all the polls obviously had the SNP winning, but that was hardly a challenge. Perhaps the bigger challenge was second place. In the event Labour narrowly held onto second place in the constituency vote but were pushed into third in the regional vote – the polls conducted in the last few days of the campaign did get this right, but all the Scottish polls did underestimate the level of Conservative support, and apart from YouGov’s final poll there was an overestimate of SNP support in the regional vote (though many of the polls finished some time before the election – the TNS face-to-face poll in particular – so it may be that SNP regional support dropped in the final week.)

Constituency . Regional
Pollster CON LAB LD SNP CON LAB LD SNP GRN
FINAL RESULT (5th May) 22 23 8 47 23 19 5 42 7
YouGov (2nd-4th May) 19 22 7 48 20 19 6 41 9
Survation (1st-2nd May) 19 21 7 49 20 19 6 44 7
Panelbase (23rd-28th Apr) 17 23 6 49 19 22 4 44 6
Ipsos MORI (18th-25th Apr) 18 19 6 51 19 17 7 45 10
TNS (1st-24th Apr) 17 22 7 52 18 22 5 45 8

Wales

YouGov was the only company to poll in Wales, and thei final poll held up very well, with Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Plaid all well within the margin of error. The only fault was an overstatement of UKIP support.

London

As I write, the mayoral results STILL haven’t been announced, and given how late they were in 2012 I’m not waiting up to write about them. Based on the live count of the first 90% of ballots the polls seem to be roughly in line with the expected result, and projections of the second round score suggest the polls are going to be close to it. You’ll apparently find out around midnight so you can compare to the polls below… but I intend to be asleep.

First round . Second Round
Pollster Goldsmith Khan Pidgeon Whittle Berry Others Goldsmith Khan
YouGov (2nd-4th May) 32 43 6 7 7 5 43 57
ComRes (28th Apr-3rd May) 36 45 6 4 6 3 44 56
TNS (26th Apr-3rd May) 33 45 7 5 4 5 43 57
Opinium (26th Apr-1st May) 35 48 4 5 5 3 43 57
Survation (21st-25th Apr) 34 49 3 5 3 6 40 60

All in all, the performance of the polls was far more credible than last year, though it looks like there may still have been some issues with the Tories in Scotland (and to be fair, most of the polling companies have been very explicit in saying they are still addressing their issues and developing their methods – the problems of last year are not going to be addressed overnight).

On a personal note – I’m most relieved the broad narrative was right. After the general election there were plenty of people saying how they knew the Tories would win, their instincts told them they would, how could those silly pollsters not spot it? Well, many of us silly pollsters thought the Tories would end ahead of Labour too: questions on leadership and the economy favoured them, we expected the polls to move towards the Tories… but the data just kept on showing the parties neck-and-neck, and ultimately a pollster’s job is to measure the answers the public give us, not report what we think they should say. We trusted the data, but it turned out to be wrong.

This time round it was the other way round. I never quite believed that the Conservatives could come second in Scotland. Yes, Scottish Labour was a mess, but Scotland would surely never vote for the hated Tories. My instincts said it wouldn’t happen in the end. A few months ago when YouGov were the only company showing Labour and the Tories neck and neck in Scotland I worried whether we’d get egg on our faces, but the data said it was happening, and I had to have confidence in the methodology corrections we’d made and in what the data was telling me… and this time, the data was telling the right story and the Tories really did come in second. Phew!


Final polls…

TNS and ComRes have released final London polls yesterday, YouGov have released final Scottish and Welsh polls. Here’s a quick run down…

  • TNS in London have Sadiq Khan ahead of Zac Goldsmith in the first round by 45% to 33% (Caroline Pidgeon is third on 7%, followed by Peter Whittle on 5%). Once second preferences are reallocated Khan would win by 57% to 43%. (tabs)
  • ComRes in London have Khan ahead by a similar margin – he leads by 45% to 36% in the first round, with Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry both on 6%. Once second preferences are included Khan wins by 56% to 44%. (tabs)
  • YouGov in Wales have final figures of constituency: CON 21%, LAB 33%, LD 8%, Plaid 19%, UKIP 16%; regional CON 20%, LAB 31%, LD 6%, Plaid 20%, UKIP 16%. (tabs).
  • YouGov in Scotland have final figures of constituency CON 19%, LAB 22%, LDEM 7%, SNP 48%; regional CON 20%, LAB 19%, LD 6%, SNP 41%, GRN 9% (tabs).

UPDATE: And finally, YouGov’s final call London poll for the standard:

  • First round: KHAN 43%, GOLDSMITH 32%, WHITTLE 7%, BERRY 7%, PIDGEON 6%; Second round: KHAN 57%, GOLDSMITH 43% (tabs)

Today there was a new London poll from Opinium and a new Scottish poll from Survation. However with only two days to go before Thursday’s elections I thought I would take a broader look at all the polling so far for this week’s contests.

London

Four companies have produced polls for the London election this year: ComRes, YouGov, Opinium and Survation – their latest figures are below (Opinium publish their first round data without removing don’t knows, so I’ve repercentaged it to make it comparable to other polling). Note that while Opinium described their poll as their final poll for the election, the polls from the other companies are not necessarily the final ones: I’m expecting to see some eve-of-election polls tomorrow.

First round . Second Round
Pollster Goldsmith Khan Pidgeon Whittle Berry Others Goldsmith Khan
Opinium (26th Apr-1st May) 35 48 4 5 5 3 43 57
Survation (21st-25th Apr) 34 49 3 5 3 6 40 60
YouGov (15th-19th Apr) 32 48 5 7 6 2 40 60
ComRes (30th Mar-3rd Apr) 37 44 7 5 4 3 45 55

The recent polls have Sadiq Khan convincingly ahead – the three most recent polls have him just short of winning on the first round, and on the second round he wins comfortably with a lead of 14 to 20 points. The ComRes poll is a little closer, but is a month old now and still had Khan winning by ten points on the second round. Note that only one poll, Opinium’s final call, has been conducted since Labour’s anti-Semitism row. Khan himself has thoroughly distanced himself from Ken Livingstone, but there is always a risk of guilt by association. Opinium’s poll doesn’t suggest it has damaged him (in fact it had Khan extending his lead) and Khan’s lead looks unsurmountable anyway, but we’ll see what the final polls tomorrow show.

Scotland

A broader range of companies have produced polls in Scotland, with figures from six different companies so far. Once again, these are by no means the final polls from each company and I am expecting final eve-of-election polls from some companies tomorrow.

Constituency . Regional
Pollster CON LAB LD SNP CON LAB LD SNP GRN
Survation (1st-2nd May) 19 21 7 49 20 19 6 44 7
Panelbase (23rd-28th Apr) 17 23 6 49 19 22 4 44 6
Ipsos MORI (18th-25th Apr) 18 19 6 51 19 17 7 45 10
TNS (1st-24th Apr) 17 22 7 52 18 22 5 45 8
BMG (11th-15th Apr) 16 21 6 53 16 20 6 46 7
YouGov (7th-11th Apr) 19 21 6 50 18 19 5 45 8

The SNP’s victory in Scotland is a foregone conclusion (hell, if they don’t win this would be the king of all polling errors). The more interesting question is who will come in second place – Scottish Labour’s stock has fallen so low they risk dropping behind the Scottish Conservatives. All recent polls now have Labour ahead of the Tories on the constituency vote, but several have the Conservatives ahead on the regional vote (and given that Labour will struggle to win constituency seats, the regional tally will likely have a greater impact on how many MSPs each party gets). Also keep an eye on the gap between the SNP’s constituency vote and regional vote – in 2007 and 2011 they were within a percentage point or two of each other, but the polls are suggesting the SNP will do between five and seven points worse on the regional vote, largely to the benefit of the Scottish Greens. This seems feasible enough (the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system means that if the SNP clean up on constituency seats they will struggle to win many list seats) but it will be interesting to see to what extent it is reflected in the actual results.

Wales

There is comparatively little polling in Wales and the only regular and recent figures are the YouGov polls for ITV Wales and Cardiff University (ably reported on by Roger Scully at his Elections in Wales blog). The most recent figures there are CON 19%, LAB 33%, LDEM 8%, Plaid 21%, UKIP 15% for the constituency and CON 19%, LAB 29%, LDEM 8%, Plaid 22%, UKIP 15% in the regional vote. There will be a final YouGov Wales poll on ITV news tomorrow night.

Northern Ireland

Despite the name of this blog, it actually tends to be GB Polling Report most of the time – Northern Irish polls are even rarer than Welsh ones. We do have one though! Lucidtalk had a poll of Assembly voting intention figures in the Northern Irish edition of today’s Sun – topline figures are DUP 27%, SF 26%, UUP 16%, SDLP 12%, Alliance 8%, TUV 4%, GRN 3%.

Police and local elections

The other two elections on Thursday are local authority elections – mainly in those districts councils that elect by thirds, including metropolitan councils outside London (just over a third of the country will have local elections) – and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which take place throughout England and Wales with the exceptions of London and Greater Manchester. Neither contest has any published polling.