A quick round of today’s polls. There were two voting intention polls out today, both of which I expect were slight outliers from the norm… but in opposite directions.
Both Populus and YouGov have been showing average Labour leads of around 3-4 points this month. YouGov’s poll this morning had topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% – a seven point Labour lead (tabs here). Populus’s poll had topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14% – both parties equal (tabs here.) In both cases, I suspect we’re just seeing normal sample variation.
The other “new” poll out today was the latest TNS Scottish referendum poll. As usual the face-to-face methodology means the poll is actually pretty old – it was conducted between the 25th June and 9th July, so the start of the fieldwork was three weeks ago. Topline referendum voting intention is YES 32%(nc), NO 41%(-5). Without don’t knows, that translates to YES 44%, NO 56%… TNS has typically been showing yes support at 40-42% once you exclude don’t knows, so this is a good YES poll by TNS standards.
This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs are here.
YouGov also asked specifically about the reshuffle for the Times. Usually reshuffles are essentially a lot of people the public have never heard of being replaced by a group of other people the public have never heard of. This reshuffle was at least unusual in that it involves some ministers – like Michael Gove and William Hague – who the majority of respondents will actually recognise and have an opinion about. YouGov found that the majority of people thought that Hague had done a good job as Foreign Secretary… and that Gove had done a bad one as Education Secretary. 63% of people, including a majority of Conservative voters, thought it was right to remove him from the Education role.
Asked about how well represented women are at the top of the Conservative party, 36% now say they are very or fairly well represented. That’s up from 29% at the start of the week, but is still well below the 48% who think women are well represented in the Labour party. Will it make any immediate difference? Probably not – in the months and years to come being less male-dominated will probably improve the Conservative party’s image a bit, but it’s certainly no magic bullet. You can see at the top of this post that today’s voting intention figures are wholly in line with those from before the reshuffle.
Ipsos MORI’s monthly political monitor for the Standard is out this lunchtime, with topline figures of CON 32%(+1), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 12%(-2), GRN 8%(nc). No significant change on a month ago, though the UKIP decline from their immediate post-European election bounce is in line with other companies. Full details here.
The vast majority of the poll was conducted prior to the reshuffle, so please don’t read any “reshuffle effect” or lack of one. I wouldn’t expect any reshuffle to have much immediate effect on the polls anyway, but they certainly don’t show up in polls conducted before it happened.
MORI also asked about whether people liked or disliked various high profile politicians and their policies. The figures are not good for the former Education Secretary! Only 22% of people like Gove, 54% dislike him – a net rating of minus 32. This was the worst of those MORI asked about – for comparison the net ratings for the others were Osborne minus 24, Miliband minus 22, Farage minus 16, Clegg minus 11, Cameron minus 6, Theresa May plus 5 and, of course, Boris plus 35.
Likeability of course is not the same as being suitable Prime Ministerial material. There are lots of people I like, but wouldn’t want as PM! Asked if they had what it took to be PM Boris scores much less well. 46% thinks Cameron has what it takes (but then, he is PM), 32% think Boris has, 30% think Theresa May has, 22% Ed Miliband, 18% George Osborne, 11% Michael Gove.
A week ago co-incidence spat out three polls with seven point Labour leads within 2 days. This weeks little clump of Monday polls has produced rather more typical polls from Ashcroft and Populus, and a more unusual one from ICM.
Lord Ashcroft‘s weekly telephone poll has topline figures of CON 32%(+5), LAB 36%(+2), LDEM 7%(-4), UKIP 14%(-1). The Conservatives are up five, but it looks like something of a reversion to the mean after last week’s unusual poll that had that the Tories down 6. Full tabs are here.
Secondly is the twice-weekly Populus poll, which has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs for that are here.
Finally there is the monthly ICM poll for the Guardian here, which has topline figures of CON 34%(+3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 12%(+2), UKIP 9%(-7!). The narrow Conservative lead looks unusual, but is actually pretty typical of ICM’s recent polls – their last three monthly polls have now shown the Conservatives and Labour effectively neck and neck (a two point Tory lead, a point point Lab lead, now a one point Tory lead). More startling is that sharp drop in UKIP support, down 7 points and into single figures.
The drop in this particular poll is unusually large but it does fit into a broader trend. The expected pattern of UKIP polling around the European elections was for their support to peak after the inevitable burst of publicity following the European elections and then decline again. That’s pretty much happened. Lord Ashcroft’s polls had them peak at 19% just after the Euros, and they’ve now drifted down to 15%. YouGov had them peaking at 17%, now they’ve fallen back to 12%. ICM had them up to 16% after the Euros, now down to 9%. Populus they didn’t really have much of a post-Euro boost for UKIP anyway, only going to up 15%, but in their last couple have had them at 12%. ComRes, Survation and MORI haven’t shown UKIP coming down from their post Euro high yet, but none have polled in July yet… time will tell if they follow the trend.
This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.
The biggest chunk of the rest of the survey covered the ongoing historical child abuse story. Three-quarters of the public think that it’s probably true that some senior political figures were involved in child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s, and that there was a deliberate cover up. They are more divided over how well the current government have responded to the allegations – 34% think they’ve handled it well, 41% badly. 44% of people say they have at least some confidence in the inquiries under Baroness Butler-Sloss and Peter Wanless to fully investigate the matter, 44% do not. 56% would rather see a full public inquiry.
More generally 46% think questions about historical child abuse are being asked in a proportionate and measured way and there a genuine questions to be asked, 29% think it risks becoming a rumour-led witch hunt of retired politicians.
Interestingly, and perhaps reflecting their general suspicion towards the establishment, UKIP supporters are by far the most likely to believe there was a cover up (90%) and have by far the least confidence that the inquiries will get to the bottom of them (26% – compared to 67% of Conservatives and 65% of Lib Dems).
The other new poll is today is a Scottish ICM poll in the Scotland on Sunday. Topline figures with changes from last month are YES 34%(-2), NO 45%(+2). Excluding don’t knows it works out at YES 43%(-2), NO 57%(+2). The movement is towards NO, but it’s within normal margins of error and appears in line with ICM’s longer term trends. Looking back the YES score (excluding don’t knows) in ICM’s monthly Scottish polls this year have been 46%, 43%, 46%, 48%, 43%, 46% and now 43%. That looks to me like just random variation.