ORB’s weekly poll in the Sunday Telegraph has topline figures of CON 46%(nc), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 7%(-1). The changes since last week are by themselves insignificant, though it’s worth noting that the Labour share of 32% is the highest they’ve managed in any poll so far in the campaign. Precise fieldwork dates are not available yet, but the Telegraph’s write up says it was at least partially before the Labour manifesto leak.

Opinium in the Observer have topline figures of CON 47%(+1), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 8%(-1), UKIP 5%(-2), GRN 2%(nc). Again, the changes are small, but reflect a narrowing of the lead and the highest Labour score of the campaign so far. The Tory lead is still extremely large, but it appears to be getting a little smaller. Once again, fieldwork for this poll started on Tuesday, so would have been mostly before the Labour manifesto leak. Tabs for that are here.

A third poll from ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and Independent has topline figures of CON 48%(-2), LAB 30%(+5), LDEM 10%(-2), UKIP 5%(-2). The narrowing is much sharper here, but that’s because it’s a different time scale: ComRes’s previous poll was conducted straight after the election was called when most polls were giving the Tories a twenty-plus point lead, so the changes here are echoing the decline from twenty-point leads to leads in the mid-to-high teens that we’ve already seen from other companies. Fieldwork here was Wednesday to Friday.

Overall the pattern seems to be a slight narrowing of the Tory lead, but it’s a case of a truly humongous lead becoming merely a towering one: a lead of fourteen to eighteen points will still deliver a very hefty majority. The election also seems to be becoming more and more of a two horse race. UKIP’s support fell sharply at the start of the campaign and only seems to have gotten worse since then and while many (including me!) expected the Liberal Democrats to increase their support during the campaign, it has yet to happen. If anything, Lib Dem support seems to be being further squeezed.

Still to come tonight we have the YouGov/Sunday Times poll. We’ve also had an ICM poll every weekend of the campaign so far (either for Robert Peston’s show or the Sun on Sunday), but I’ve no idea whether we will have one this week or not. I’m not around tonight, so will update on any other polls that emerge tomorrow morning.


Yesterday I wrote about how manifesto policies don’t really have much effect on voting intentions. Today’s ComRes poll for the Daily Mirror neatly illustrates it.

The poll asked about the individual policies in Labour’s leaked manifesto and found strong support for almost all of them. Banning zero hours contracts, renationalising railways, building more council homes, keeping the pension age at 66, increasing tax on those earning over £80,000, bringing back train conductors were all backed by a majority of respondents (and most of the other policies they asked about received more support than opposition).

After all those questions on Labour’s policies ComRes went onto ask which party people thought had more realistic and well-thought through policies. After having approved of nearly all of Labour’s policies, respondents went onto say that the Tories had the more realistic and thought through, by 51% to Labour’s 31%. Asked if they would be more or less likely to vote Labour having heard about all these new policies 34% said more likely, 47% said less likely. Asked who was running the better election campaign, 42% said the Conservatives compared to 20% for Labour.

One can perhaps rationalise this as people liking Labour’s policies but not thinking they are realistic or thought-through (supporting something is, after all, not necessarily the same as thinking it’s realistic), but it does underline that what makes a party attractive or not to voters is about an awful lot more than a shopping list of policies that meet with public approval.

ComRes also asked the “like the party/like the leader” question (getting people to say if they like both the party and its leader, just one or the other, or neither). While the results don’t come as a great surprise, it nicely illustrates exactly why the Conservative campaign is focusing on their leader rather than their party and the Labour campaign really isn’t: 49% of people said they liked Theresa May, 11 points ahead of the Conservative party on 38%. In contrast only 27% of people said they liked Jeremy Corbyn compared to 46% who like Labour, a nineteen point deficit compared to his party.

Full tabs are here


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Last night we got a leaked version of the Labour manifesto. Over the next week it will be joined by the manifestos from all the other parties too. Lots of people will write articles about their impact. We will see polls asking about those policies and whether people approve of them. Lots of people will ask what impact they will have on voting intention or the result. The answer is probably not much. Specific policies make very little difference to voting intention.

This is counter-intuitive to many. Surely in an election on who is going to run the country, what they’ll say they’ll do will matter? One might very well well think it is what elections SHOULD be about. The thing is, it’s not really how people work.

First, most people don’t know what the policies are, so they can’t be influenced by them. One of the most difficult things for people who follow politics closely (which probably includes most people reading this) to grasp is how different they are from the vast majority who don’t pay much attention to politics. For example, in the first few weeks of the campaign Theresa May was the subject of mockery from people who follow politics for continually using the soundbite “strong and stable leadership”. While it sounded absurd to those of us who heard it a thousand times, when YouGov asked a representative sample of the public if they could recall any slogans or messages she had said only 15% remembered it. Most policies make no difference because most people have no knowledge of them.

Even if people were more aware of policies, it’s not really the sort of thing they vote upon. There is a huge body of academic research around elections and voter choice, and the general consensus is that the important factors in deciding how people vote are which party they normally identify with, what their perceptions are of the leaders are and which party they think would most competently handle the big issues of the day.

As human beings we don’t tend to be particularly good judges of what leads to our decisions (we all tend to overestimate how thoughtful and rational we are, when in reality our decisions are normally based on a jumble of bias, instinct and rules-of-thumb, which we rationalise afterwards). However, if you ask voters directly we don’t even think that policies are why we vote the way we do – most people say that it’s the broad values and priorities of a party that matter, or how good their leader is, not the specific policies they offer.

Of course that doesn’t mean policies aren’t part of the mix. When it comes to whether the public think that a party is competent, whether or not they have policies that seem sensible and well-thought through is probably a factor. What sort of policies a party puts forward will make a contribution to what people make of a party’s values and principles. They are not irrelevant, but they are only a small part of a much bigger mix. What this all means is that one can’t look at the popularity of individual policies and conclude a party will gain support. Any party can put together a shopping list of superficially attractive sounding policies – it’s whether collectively those policies, the people putting them forward, the values they represent, how competently they come across, how all these things come together to create a party that people identify with and think would offer a competent government.

In short, in the absence of other other big events in the coming week, don’t be surprised if the polls carried out after the manifestos appear are much the same as the polls carried out before they were published.


The Evening Standard has a new YouGov poll of voting intentions in London, the first London poll we’ve seen since the election was called. Topline voting intention figures are CON 36%(+2), LAB 41%(+4), LDEM 14%(nc), UKIP 6%(-3). Changes are from the last YouGov London poll, conducted back in March.

Compared to the general election this represents an increase of one for the Conservatives, a decrease of three for Labour and an increase of six points for the Lib Dems. A two point swing from Lab to Con is significantly less than polls are indicating for Britain as a whole (currently around about a six point swing). This difference is mostly because the Tories are doing worse in London than elsewhere and the Liberal Democrats are doing better; Labour’s drop in support in London isn’t that different to their drop elsewhere in the country.

On a uniform swing, the Conservatives would looking at taking Ealing Central & Acton, Brentford & Isleworth, Ilford North, Hampstead & Kilburn amd Enfield North. It would be enough for the Lib Dems to reclaim Twickenham, and to put Kingston & Surbiton and Bermondsey & Old Southwark in contention.

Earlier today we also had a new Panelbase GB poll. Topline figures there are CON 48%(+1), LAB 31%(+1), LDEM 8%(-2), UKIP 5%(nc), GRN 2%(nc). Full Panelbase tabs are here


There have been two new voting intention polls today. A new Kantar poll has topline figures of CON 44%(-4), LAB 28%(+4), LDEM 11%(nc), UKIP 8%(+1). The Tory lead has narrowed significantly since their previous poll a week ago, but this is likely to something of a reversion to the mean after very large 24 point lead in their previous poll. Full tabs are here.

There was also a Survation poll for Good Morning Britain. This had topline voting intentions of CON 47%, LAB 30%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 4%, GRN 3%. The Tory lead is in line with other companies, but the Lib Dems on just seven is lower than we’ve seen in other recent polls. Note that the poll was conducted by telephone, meaning there are now phone polls from Survation and Ipsos MORI, with all the other companies polling this election using online methodologies. That said there don’t seem to be any obvious difference between the Tory leads in telephone and online polls (though the two phone companies are showing the lowest UKIP figures). Tabs for Survation are here.