As well as today’s GB voting intention polls Survation have released a new poll of Thanet South commissioned by the UKIP donor Alan Bown. The poll shows Nigel Farage with a nine point lead over the Conservatives in second place, full topline figures are CON 30%, LAB 26%, LDEM 2%, UKIP 39%, GRN 2% (tabs).

The poll is broadly in line with Survation’s previous poll in Thanet South, which was conducted back in February and showed Farage with an eleven point lead. However, it contrasts with the ComRes poll of the same constituency earlier this month which showed the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour all neck-and-neck.

I wrote about the differences between the ComRes and Survation polling in Thanet South earlier this month here. In short there are some obvious contrasts between the two companies approaches – how they deal with don’t knows, for example – but neither are obviously doing anything wrong, so there is no particularly reason to think one or the other is right. I guess in two weeks we will know who is ahead in Thanet South and how tight the race really is (though even then, we’ll never know for sure how tight the race is right now, or how tight it was in early April, or back in February.)


Thursday’s polls

Earlier on today we had a new poll from Panelbase, with topline figures of CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%. Full tables are here. I’m expecting quite a few polls out tonight – Survation’s regular poll for the Mirror is due, we have the daily YouGov poll for the Sun and there may well be others to boot.

I’ll be out this evening, but will do a round up of them all once I return. In the meantime feel free to discuss them here as they appear.

UPDATE: On top of the Panelbase poll we have three other GB voting intention polls, from ComRes, Survation and YouGov:

  • Survation’s latest poll for the Mirror has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 29%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4% (tabs).
  • ComRes’s latest telephone poll for the Mail & ITV has toplines of CON 36%, LAB 32%, LAB 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5% (tabs)
  • YouGov for the Sun have topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%

Looking at reactions on social media there are lots of people getting excited or dismayed by getting two Conservative four point leads in short succession. There is always a temptation to look for movement in the random variation of polls (especially when there has been so little genuine movement to get excited over!). However, there are four polls today – two Conservative leads, two Labour leads. The time to pay attention would be when the balance of the polls consistently starts showed one party or the other ahead, right now they still seem pretty evenly balanced.


-->

ComRes have a new battleground poll out, results here, this time looking at 10 Conservative held UKIP target seats. The poll covered some seats that UKIP announced as targets last year but taking out some that no longer seem realistic, like Aylesbury, and adding some obvious ommissions like Castle Point. The overall shares of the vote with changes since 2010 were CON 39%(-7), LAB 28%(+2), UKIP 21%(+15), LDEM 5%(-10), GRN 4%(+4). UKIP have obviously advanced strongly since 2010, but remain in quite a distant third place.

It’s quite hard to know what to make of this poll. For a start, with UKIP coming from a very low base it’s quite hard to accurately predict what their best chances of a gain are – so some seats here like East Worthing and Shoreham probably aren’t in the top rank of UKIP targets. More importantly, with a poll of a group of marginal seats like this we can’t tell what the distribution of the vote is between these different seats. Most estimates are for UKIP to pick up only a couple of seats beyond their two by-election gains (which are not included in this sample), so from this poll we can’t tell whether UKIP have about 21% in all these seats (and hence wouldn’t win any of them), or are doing much better in the more promising seats like South Thanet and Thurrock and less well in the others, meaning they could win some.

I suppose all we can reasonably conclude is that UKIP don’t look like they are about to sweep the board across these seats, it’s impossible to tell from this poll whether or not they are in a stronger position in a minority of them.


Last night’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline figures of CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%. The one point Tory lead is actually the first for twelve days. Usual caveats apply of course, it’s well within normal sample variation and is a single poll.

The Sun also have some YouGov polling testing out the potential of the Conservative’s attack on the risk of a Labour/SNP deal, which in recent days appears to have become the dominant thrust of their campaign. Results are here. As all my regular readers will know, questions saying “will X make you more likely to vote Y” are essentially rubbish – if they work, you’ll see it in the topline figures. This was an attempt to measure the potential for a message, to gauge how many people might agree with the message itself, as only then can they be persuaded by it. Essentially it went through the various steps and assumptions of the Tory argument, to see how many people were open to it – kicking out those people who actually quite like the idea of an SNP deal, don’t think it would actually happen or would still prefer it to the Tories.

So, about a third of people are already voting Tory, so it doesn’t matter if they buy into the narrative or not, they can only vote Tory once. Next there is whether or not people actually think a Labour and SNP deal is a realistic option – 39% of people, including most Labour voters, think there either won’t be a hung Parliament or that Labour would not enter into any sort of agreement with the SNP. Then there are 8% of people who think that a Labour government with SNP support is likely, and would be a good thing, the Conservative argument will fall flat with them. Finally YouGov asked the remainder if they’d prefer a Conservative government to a Labour-SNP deal and took away those 6% respondents who thought a Labour government reliant on SNP support was a bad thing but would still prefer it to a Tory government.

Take away all those groups and YouGov were left with 8% of the electorate who think a Lab/SNP deal of some sort is likely AND think this would be a bad thing AND think a Tory government would be preferable BUT are not already voting Tory. That’s actually a significant chunk of people and is presumably the voters who the Conservative party are targetting with their current campaign – they are mostly made up of don’t knows, Lib Dems and Ukippers, the message seems to have very little potential to move people directly from Labour to the Tories. The challenge for the Tories is how many (if any) of that 8% of people they can get to go that one step further and vote Tory. The early weeks of the Tory campaign didn’t seem to have any effect on voters at all – this message does at least seem to have potential for them. Whether or not they manage to translate it into votes remains to be seen.


We had a new TNS poll earlier on today with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%, reversing the Conservative lead they had last week. Tabs are here. The only other GB poll I am expecting to see tonight is the regular YouGov poll for the Sun.

There was also a new Scottish poll from YouGov in this morning’s Times which confirmed the 24 point SNP lead from YouGov’s previous poll. Topline figures were CON 17%, LAB 25%, LDEM 5%, SNP 49%, UKIP 3%. Tabs are here. There continues to be no evidence whatever of any weakening or faltering of the huge SNP lead.

YouGov also released some results for Freuds which are quite fun – showing people a selection of photos of Ed Miliband and David Cameron and saying which they found most appealling. For all the cynicism about politicians using their families for photo shoots, in both cases the photo people found most appealing was Cameron & Miliband with their respective families. Yes, it’s a cliche, yes it appears to work.

Finally a couple of people asked me about the contrast between two different polls of students that appeared on Monday and seemed to contradict each other. A new poll by YouthSight found student voting intentions with changes from February of CON 25%(+2), LAB 35%(+2), LDEM 9%(+2), GRN 15%(-13), UKIP 6%(+3). A different poll by High Fliers found student voting intentions of CON 31%, LAB 31%, LDEM 6%, GRN 25%, UKIP 1%.

Both polls appear to be kosher – the differences are down to the make up of the sample and the timing of the fieldwork. YouthSight’s sample is from all British universities and years of study, High Flier’s sample is of just finalists at “high-flying” universities – primarily Russell group. Fieldwork for YouthSight was in April, High Fliers in March and, given the sharp drop in Green party support between YouthSight’s February and April surveys, this probably partly explains the difference between the YouthSight and High Fliers surveys.