Rather than their usual poll for the Times, this week YouGov have a full MRP model of voting intention (that is, the same method that YouGov used for their seat projection at the general election). Topline voting intention figures from the YouGov MRP model are CON 39%, LAB 34%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 5%. The fieldwork was Sun-Thursday last week, with just over 40,000 respondents.

The aim of an MRP model is not really the vote shares though, the whole point of the technique is project shares down to seat level, and project who would win each seat. The model currently has the Conservatives winning 321 seats, Labour 250, the Liberal Democrats 16 and the SNP 39. Compared to the 2017 election the Conservatives would make a net gain of just 4 seats, Labour would lose 12 seats, the Liberal Democrats would gain 4 and the SNP would gain 4. It would leave the Conservatives just shy of an overall majority (though in practice, given Sinn Fein do not take their seats and the Speaker and Deputies don’t vote, they would have a majority of MPs who actually vote in the Commons). Whether an extra four seats would really help that much is a different question.

The five point lead it shows for the Conservatives is a swing of 1.4% to the Conservatives – very small, but on a pure uniform swing it would be enough for the Tories to get a proper overall majority. The reason they don’t here is largely because the model shows Labour outperforming in the ultra-marginal seats they won off the Conservatives at the last election (a well known phenomenon – they gain the personal vote of the new Labour MP, lose any incumbency bonus from the former Tory MP. It is the same reason the Conservatives failed to gain a meaningful number of seats in 2001, despite a small swing in their favour).

For those interested in what MRP actually is, YouGov’s detailed explanation from the 2017 election is here (Ben Lauderdale & Jack Blumenau, who created the model for the 2017 election, also carried out this one). The short version is that it is a technique designed to allow projection of results at smaller geographical levels (in this case, individual constituencies). It works by modelling respondents’ voting intention based on their demographics and the political circumstances in each seat, and then applying the model to the demographics of each of the 632 seats in Great Britain. Crucially, of course, it also called the 2017 election correctly, when most of the traditional polls ended up getting it wrong.

Compared to more conventional polling the Conservative lead is similar to that in YouGov’s recent traditional polls (which have shown Tory leads of between 5-7 points of late), but has both main parties at a lower level. Partly this is because it’s modelling UKIP & Green support in all seats, rather than in just the constituencies they contested in 2017 (when the MRP was done at the last election it was after nominations had closed, so it only modelled the actual parties standing in each seat) – in practice their total level of support would likely be lower.

The Times’s write up of the poll is here, details from YouGov are here and technical details are here


There are two new voting intention polls out today – YouGov for the Times, and Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor in the Evening Standard.

Ipsos MORI‘s topline figures are CON 38%(nc), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 10%(+1), UKIP 4%(nc). Fieldwork was between Friday and Tuesday (1st-5th), and changes are from MORI’s last poll back in December.

YouGov‘s topline figures are CON 41%(+2), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 10(-1), UKIP 4%(-2). Fieldwork was on Sunday and Monday, and changes are from YouGov’s last poll in mid-January.

This does not, of course, offer us much insight on what is really happening. At the weekend a lot of attention was paid to a poll by Opinium showing a big shift towards the Conservatives and a 7 point Tory lead. Earlier in the week Opinium also published a previously unreleased poll conducted for the People’s Vote campaign the previous week, which showed a four point Tory lead, suggesting their Observer poll was more than just an isolated blip. Today’s polls do little to clatify matters – MORI show no change, with the parties still neck-and-neck. YouGov show the Tories moving to a seven point lead, the same as Opinium, but YouGov has typically shown larger Tory leads anyway of late so it doesn’t reflect quite as large a movement.

I know people look at polls hoping to find some firm evidence – the reality is they cannot always provide it. They are volatile, they have margins of error. Only time will tell for sure whether Labour’s support is dropping as events force them to take a clearer stance on Brexit, or whether we’re just reading too much into noise. As ever, the wisest advice I can give is to resist the natural temptation to assume that the polls you’d like to be accurate are the ones that are correct, and that the others must be wrong.

Ipsos MORI tables are up here, YouGov tables are here.


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Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer today has topline voting intention figures of CON 41%(+4), LAB 34%(-6), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 7%(nc). Fieldwork was between Wednesday and Friday, and changes are from Opinium’s previous poll in mid-January, conducted straight after May lost her vote on the deal, but won her no confidence vote.

A seven point Conservative lead is the largest since the election. While it is not significantly larger than the 5 or 6 point leads YouGov have been showing this month, it’s a noticable change to Opinium’s previous recent polls, which have tended to show Labour and Conservative roughly neck-and-neck.

As ever, one should be a little cautious about reading too much into a single poll. Survation’s poll for Thursday’s Daily Mail had fieldwork conducted on Wednesday, so actually overlaps the fieldwork period for this poll and showed a one point Labour lead with no meaningful swing from Labour to Conservative. It would be wise to wait and see if subsequent polls confirm whether public opinion has shifted against Labour, or whether this is just an outlier.

Also, be cautious about reading too much into what has caused the change. We really don’t know if there has been a change yet, let alone exactly where it has come from and why (not that it will stop people assuming things). It has been two weeks since Opinium’s last poll, and an awful lot has happened – so one cannot pin the change on any one specific event. Neither can cross-breaks really give much guidance (as Michael Savage notes in the Observer, Labour are down among both remainers and leavers… though discerning any signal from the noise of crossbreaks would be difficult even if the change was all on one side).

The full tables from Opinium are here.