There is also a new ICM poll for the Sun on Sunday. Topline figures there are CON 47%(-1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 9%(-1), UKIP 8%(+1), GRN 4%(+1), conducted “at the end of the week”. Changes are from the ICM poll at the start of the week. While the Tories are down one and Labour up one (and the Conservative lead therefore dips below the twenty point mark), it’s a far smaller drop than we’ve seen in the YouGov polling this week.

YouGov’s weekly poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 44%, LAB 31%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 6%, GRN 2%, down to a thirteen point Conservative lead compared to sixteen points in the week (and twenty-point-plus leads when the election was first called). It suggests that the mid-week YouGov/Times poll was picking up the start of a trend, rather than just a blip (though given that ORB hadn’t done a recent poll and Panelbase changed methods, we haven’t really seen confirmation from other companies yet).

If the Tory lead really has fallen, the next question is why. As ever, it’s impossible to know for sure (though I will make my usual warning about assuming causality from petty campaign events – a few events like budgets, leaders speeches at conferences and so on can have an measurable impact on national polls. Calling someone a mugwump does not).

One thing that is interesting is Labour don’t knows. Looking at the entrails of the YouGov polls, it looks as if some 2015 Labour voters who were saying “don’t know” a week ago are now saying Labour. When YouGov were showing those twenty-point leads around 20-25% of people who voted Labour in 2015 were saying they didn’t know what they would do at the election, in the last couple of polls that has dropped to 11%. The other thing worth considering is whether those twenty-point leads were real at all, or just the result of temporary enthusiasm? Were Tories all cock-a-hoop and itching to take part in polls last week, Labour voters too despondent to bother? Political weighting of samples should go a long way to counter-act any such biases, but it may not do so entirely.


Opinium’s latest poll has topline figures of CON 47%(+2), LAB 30%(+4), LDEM 8%(-3), UKIP 7%(-2) (tables here). The changes are from last weekend, though should be taken with a slight caveat – Opinium have added recalled 2015 vote to their weighting scheme. That changes means it’s hard to tell whether the four point increase in Labour’s support here is in line with the intriguing YouGov poll in the week, or just a result of methodology change. We’ll have another YouGov poll for the Sunday Times later tonight which may shed some light.

UPDATE: There is also an ORB poll in the Sunday Telegraph. Topline figures there are CON 42%, LAB 31%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 8% – a Conservative lead of eleven points. No changes, as I think this is first proper ORB poll of the campaign, but it is clearly a lower lead than other companies are showing. The Sunday Telegraph themselves have gone rather over the top in their write up of the piece, focusing on the individual regional crossbreaks in what I assume is a normal sized GB poll and saying how remarkable it is that the Conservatives have a bigger lead in Wales than the South-East. This is not remarkable at all: it is because in a GB poll of a thousand people there will only be about 40 respondents in Wales, far too small to get meaningful figures from. A sample of 40 people would have a margin of error of +/- 15 points.

I don’t think we’ve had any GB polls today (not doubt there will be the usual flurry for the Sunday papers tomorrow), but we did get a YouGov Scottish poll for the Times, their first of the campaign.

Topline voting intentions were SNP 41%, CON 28%, LAB 18%, LDEM 7%. At only 41% the SNP are lower than in the Survation and Panelbase polls last weekend, but YouGov also show the Conservatives doing significantly less well than that Panelbase poll that had them on 33%. If these figures were repeated at the general election then the Conservatives would take seven seats from the SNP, the Liberal Democrats would take two.

Voting intention on Scottish independence stands at YES 45%(+2), NO 55%(-2) (and that’s without 16 and 17 year olds, so reality might be slightly more pro). Asked about a second Indyref, YouGov asked both about the principle of it and the specific timing – on principle, 42% of Scots want a referendum in the next five years, 51% do not. Asked about specific timing, a referendum before Britain leaves the EU is marginally more popular than one afterwards: 37% would support a referendum once negotiations are complete but before Britain actually goes, 35% would support one after Brexit.

Full tabs are here.

Some Bregrets?

The tables for last night’s YouGov/Times poll are now up here.

The result that has got the most attention is the question on if people think Britain was right or wrong to vote to leave the EU. 43% said right, 45% said wrong. YouGov ask that question most weeks and almost invariably it shows people either think Britain made the right decision, or are evenly split. As a result, a lot of people have got rather excited about today’s figure, when they really shouldn’t.

As regular readers will know, all polls have a margin of error. I try not to fixate upon the specifics because the margin you always seen quoted (plus or minus 3% for a 1000 sample) is based on a pure random sample with no accounting for weighting or design effects. However, it is a good rough guide – polls are not precise, there is some degree of random variation from poll to poll.

So far this year YouGov have asked the right or wrong to Leave question fifteen times. On average the result has been Right 45%, Wrong 43%, a two point lead for “right”. As with all polls, it varies from week to week, so sometimes it has spat out a lead of four points, sometimes it has been neck-and-neck, and how it’s produced one finding with wrong ahead.

Looking at the figure over time I can’t really be confident in any trend. The gap is smaller than in January, but it’s not as if there’s a steady decline there, it looks more like noise:

  • Jan the average was Right 46%, Wrong 42%
  • February the average was Right 45%, Wrong 44%
  • March the average was Right 44%, Wrong 43%
  • April the average was Right 45%, Wrong 43%

My expectation is, as I’ve said before, the people will probably more towards “Bregret” to some degree, simply because Brexit will require some compromises and some people’s high hopes will be disappointed. However, there’s scant sign of it yet and people’s opinions are often much harder to shift than you’d think.

As ever, YouGov will ask the same question next week, and the week after than and so on. If that too shows people think it’s wrong to leave (and other polls start showing the same thing too) then we can start taking about a cross-over in opinion. As things stand, I really wouldn’t get too excited/worried yet.