ICM have a new poll in the Sun on Sunday with topline figures of CON 39%(+1), LAB 29%(-1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 14%(-1), GRN 4%(nc). This is the first poll conducted since Theresa May became Prime Minister, so may be expected to show a typical “new leader” bounce in government support (when Brown took over in 2007 and Major took over in 1990 the governing party went from being behind to having double-digit leads). The Tory lead is up a little, but not outside the normal margin of error, that said ICM’s previous poll already had an eight point Tory lead, so they were already at a high base.

ICM also did some hypothetical voting intention questions asking about varous leader match-ups. A control question, asking how people would vote if Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn were still leader at the general election has voting intention figures of CON 43%, LAB 28%, suggesting either a significant positive effect from mentioning May or a negative effect from mentioning Corbyn.

Asking how people would vote if Owen Smith or Angela Eagle were Labour leader does not offer any improvement. With Eagle the figures would be CON 43%, LAB 26%. With Smith the figures would be CON 42%, LAB 27%. I should add a heavy caveat here – hypothetical polls like this are popular in advance of leadership elections, but how useful they are is a different question. Respondents don’t necessarily know what the alternative candidates stand for, what they will do or announce, how they may or may not change the party. I add those caveats when the alternative leaders are well known to the public, like Gordon Brown, Boris Johnson and so on. In the case of someone who is as unknown to the general public as Owen Smith, I expect most don’t know who he is or what he even looks like. Nevertheless, the figures will be influential in the debate – rightly or wrongly Corbyn’s supporters within the Labour party will now be able to say there is no polling evidence that his rivals would do any better.

Note that ComRes also have a poll in the Independent/Sunday Mirror, but they are not currently publishing any voting intention figures while they review methods.


Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor has a much closer race than ICM’s last poll. Topline figures are CON 36%, LAB 35%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 8%, GRN 4% (full tabs are here.)

The poll was conducted over the weekend before Theresa May became Prime Minister, though did include a question on whether people thought she had what it took to be a good Prime Minister (55% of people though she did, 27% did not).

Given it is being rampantly misrepresented on social media, I should also explain about MORI’s turnout filter and how they present their figures (and why, therefore, some people are tweeting entirely different MORI figures!). These days the overwhelming majority of opinion polls contain some sort of adjustment for how likely people are to vote. The general pattern is that older people and middle class people are more likely to vote than younger people and working class people; older people and middle class people are also more likely to vote Conservative, younger people and working class people more likely to vote Labour. This means if a poll just included everyone, with no reference to how likely or unlikely they actually are to vote, then it would overstate Labour when compared to actual election results.

Polling companies account for this by weighting by likelihood to vote (the more likely you are to vote, the more your answer is counted) or filtering by likelihood to vote (only taking people who say they are likely to vote), based either on how likely people say they are to vote, or on demographic modelling. In the case of MORI, their topline figures are based only on people who say they are at least 9/10 likely to vote AND that they always, usually or have sometimes voted in the past. This makes a substantial difference to their topline figures – without this adjustment they would have been showing a five point Labour lead.

MORI’s headline figure is the one that is adjusted for turnout – the one point Conservative lead – which they regard as a better indicator of actual voting intention. However, because MORI’s political monitor has been going since the 1970s they still publish the figures without the turnout adjustment to preserve the data trend, even if they don’t feel it paints an accurate picture in an era of lower turnouts.

In short, if you are looking at Ipsos MORI figures with a view to seeing how well the parties might do in a general election tomorrow, you need to look at the figures that account for how likely people actually are to vote, not take false solace from figures that don’t take turnout into account.


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The Conservative leadership election is abruptly over while a Labour leadership election begins. No doubt there will be polling on those over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime ICM put out a new voting intention poll today, with topline figures of CON 38%, LAB 30%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%.

The eight point lead for the Conservatives is a slightly larger Tory lead than at the general election, and was conducted over the weekend so does not yet account for any honeymoon Theresa May may or may not enjoy. During the leadership election May ruled out the opinion of an early general election, so if she keeps her word she’ll resist the temptation of an early election while Labour are at one another’s throats. If not it may be an interesting result.

ICM rolled out a couple of methodology changes for today’s poll. Firstly they’ve dropped weighting turnout based on self-reported likelihood to vote and replaced it with a turnout model based on demographics, secondly they’ve started weighting by level of political interest – the poll was also conducted online rather than by phone, which seems to be increasingly the case for ICM polls. According to ICM the impact of the changes is typically to increase Tory support by about a point and decrease Labour support by about a point. Full tabs are here.


The Times this morning has updated YouGov polling of Conservative party members, now that the final list of candidates is known and ahead of the first MP’s vote today. A week ago YouGov had Theresa May leading on 36% to Boris Johnson on 27% and winning by 55% to Johnson’s 38% in a head-to-head contest. Since then Boris Johnson’s campaign has imploded and he has dropped out the race, so where do we stand now?

Asked their first preference Theresa May has the support of the majority of members, with 54% support compared to 20% for Leadsom, 9% for Gove, 5% for Crabb and 5% for Fox. Note that Michael Gove has gained little of Boris Johnson’s support, rather it is Andrea Leadsom who has taken over as the leading “Leave candidate” (in fact Gove’s behaviour appears to have utterly shattered his popularity among Tory members – a week ago 63% had a positive view of him, now it is down to 32%). In head-to-head contests May beats all comers with ease, but it is again Leadsom who comes closest. In a May-v-Leadsom final round May would win by 32 points, she would beat Liam Fox by 50 points, Gove by 51 and Crabb by 63.

Theresa May leads in every demographic group. Among members who voted to Remain she absolutely dominates, among members who voted to leave she beats Leadsom, but relatively narrowly. If the race becomes tightly focused on whether the candidates voted Remain or Leave, and Leave voters line up more strongly behind Leadsom it could get interesting… but currently Leave voters say they consider competence as PM and ability to unite the party as more important than how the candidates voted in the referendum, and in both areas May has a strong lead.

For the time being May is in a dominant position, but the fact that Leadsom is little known is in some ways an advantage: she doesn’t have negative perceptions to shed and Leave supporters can paint all their hopes onto her. If it’s a race about party unity and leadership, May has a strong advantage – she takes support from both Remain and Leave, and is seen as by far the strongest leader, the most suitable for the job of PM and the best in a crisis. If it boils down to Conservative party members looking for someone who voted Leave…

Full tables are here.


I’ve had a break from the blog over the last few days, so I missed a YouGov poll of Labour members last week which suggested the first cracks in the hitherto solid support for Jeremy Corbyn among Labour members.

Back in May 72% of Labour members thought Corbyn was doing well, 27% badly; 60% wanted him to lead the party into the next election. Now 51% think he’s doing well, 48% badly and only 41% thought he should lead the party into the next election. However, for Labour MPs seeking to unseat him, their success of any leadership election is still questionable. 50% of members say they would probably still vote for Corbyn in a leadership election, 47% that they would probably not, and even that 47% relies upon finding a candidate who all those members unhappy with him could unite behind. Asked how they would vote in head-to-head contests between Corbyn and some potential challengers Corbyn still wins: he is ahead of Tom Watson by 50% to 39%, Angela Eagle by 50% to 40%, Dan Jarvis by 52% to 35%.

These figures are also just for fully paid up party members – an election would also include £3 supporters. Those £3 supporters from the last election would still break heavily for Corbyn, but in the case of an actual leadership election there would obviously be efforts by both sides to recruit new £3 supporters – we cannot tell how successful they’d be.

I can claim no particular insight into the mind of the Parliamentary Labour party, but I suspect one reason that none of Corbyn’s critics has yet triggered a leadership is that (as of last week at least) the polling of Labour party members did not suggest they could be sure of a victory in a leadership contest. Since then, of course, there has been another week of infighting and stand-off, and sooner or later there has to be some sort of resolution…

The tabs for the Labour leadership polling are here.