Recent voting intention figures continue to show a moderate Conservative lead of between 6 and 9 points. Voting intention polls published so far this month are:

YouGov/Times (5th Aug) – CON 42, LAB 36, LD 8
Redfield & Wilton (12th Aug) – CON 43, LAB 36, LD 9
Ipsos MORI/Standard (4th Aug) – CON 45, LAB 37, LD 6
Survation (3rd Aug) – CON 44, LAB 35, LD 8

While the media narrative around the government’s handling of the Corona outbreak has turned far more negative, the polling suggests the public are still quite evenly split. So in the latest Ipsos MORI monitor 42% think the government have handled the outbreak well, 40% badly.

Keir Starmer continues to poll positively. His satisfaction rating from MORI is plus 22, by 38% to 24% people think he has what it takes to be a good PM. In YouGov’s regular “best PM” question Starmer led Johnson by 34 to 32% last week – the first time the Labour leader has been in the lead since a single poll straight after the 2017 election. Starmer apparently polling more positively than Labour is an interesting dynamic. MORI have (or used to have) a nice tracker question asking if people like the leader, like the party, both or neither. Over the last couple of decades people have consistently liked the Labour party more than they’ve liked its leaders. I don’t think they’ve asked it yet of Starmer, but all other other polling suggests we may find ourselves in the unusual position of having a Labour leader who is more popular than their party. A different question is to what extent this is because Starmer appeals to the public more than his predecessors, and to what extent it’s a sign that the Labour party’s own brand has been tarnished.

Immigration has started to sneak up the political agenda again, presumably on the back of coverage of migrant boats in the English Channel. YouGov’s weekly tracker on the most important issue facing the country has immigration spiking up 9 points to 29%, though health, the economy and Brexit remain the dominant issues. The Ipsos MORI issues index shows it significantly lower – up 3 points to only 9% – but the fieldwork for that is a little older (conducted 31st Jul-5th Aug), so may have concluded before the story really hit headlines.

The week there was also a new YouGov poll of Scotland. Voting intentions for the Scottish Parliament election next year were SNP 57%, CON 20%, LAB 14%, LDEM 8% for the constituency vote, SNP 47%, CON 21%, LAB 14%, LD 7%, GRN 6%. Translated into seats this would likely give the SNP a solid overall majority despite the Scottish Parliament’s electoral system.

That would increase the chances of another independence referendum in the near future. The same poll found that by 44% to 41% people thought there should be a referendum in the event the SNP win a majority, and that as things stand people would vote yes. 45% of people they would vote yes, 40% no. Removing won’t votes and don’t knows, that translates to Yes 53%, No 47%. Tabs for the Scottish polling are here.

4,856 Responses to “Polling round up – August 2020”

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    ‘Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, is now taking advice on a legal challenge to Ofqal and its A level methodology.’

    On the face of it he has a good case. It can’t be just that an Individual’s exam grade is downgraded on the basis of their school’s past results. Human Rights and all that?

  2. So great to have something from you again AS after so long.


  3. AW. sorry.

  4. My understanding is that last Labour leader to be rather more popular than his party was Uncle Jim. It didn’t do him or labour much good, though if he had called the election in October ’78 as everyone wanted him, to rather than be forced into one during the following spring then his history and that indeed of Britain might hv been rather different.

  5. Manchester Calling! Manchester Calling!

    To all cricket fans. I can report that the weather, I live near the Old Trafford Grounds, has been perfect for the last 3 days & continues to be so.

    The clock on Guildord Town Hall is 5 minutes fast or whatever Lord H H used to say to prove his authenticity.

  6. YG daily also have an article with polling on:

    “Do Brits support using the military to patrol the English Channel?”

    Short answer: Yes.

  7. “Do Brits support using the military to patrol the English Channel?”

    Damn right. The returning Brit tourists should be handcuffed & taken straight to internment camps & kept there for 2 weeks’ quarantine. Women & kids should be separated from the men etc.

    & on a much more interesting & potentially influential development:

    “An Oxford college (Worcester) said it will accept all students with offers regardless of their A-level results, as thousands of Oxbridge alumni call on others to show equal “kindness and generosity” to downgraded pupils.”

  8. SNP and Indy polling above 50% increases the chances of SNP (Holyrood) asking for “another independence referendum in the near future” but is a separate issue to holding Indyref2.

    Process AW.. process…

    Boris, CON+U party (HoC) are not going to offer IndyRef2 just coz SNP are doing well in the polls. It would be the end of SCON (see the SCON x-breaks) and open up the huge can of worms of EURef2.

    Now a divorce… Boris can do divorces.

    So SNP.. get the “ask” out of the way asap and then we can move on to the Tartan divorce with H’21 as the mandate (or at least ensure H’21 manifesto has divorce as Plan B after Boris says “No”)

    Let’s Get Indy Done so Scotland can take back control.

    PS Don’t think dragging it out until GE’24 and LAB needing SNP will “help”. I’ve been through the Starmer paradox before. If he needs SNP to get into #10 then if he offers IndyRef2 as condition for SNP support (and Yes win) then he would then be kicked out of #10 once SNP MPs have left. If No won then SCON will say “cheers Sir Keir” and then we’ll never split. Tick Tock..

    If Sturgeon is all bluff and bluster then pop the Cherry on the cake ;)

  9. SCON x-breaks from the Scottish poll:

    “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

    Yes 1%
    No 98%
    DK/refused 1%

    Net No 97%
    (by comparison SLIB = net 66% NO, SLAB = net 30% NO)

    Indyref2 if.. (SCON net % “should not – should”)

    SNP win majority: 90%
    Holyrood support (no SNP majority): 95%
    In next 5yrs: 87%

    A non-binding ref: 94% against

    Hence as per my 2:18pm. If Boris “allows” (ie grants S30 permission) for IndyRef2 then that is the of SCON whose sole “raison d’etre” is keeping Scotland in the Precarious Union.

  10. From previous thread (and pertinent to AW’s post):

    Update of most recent five Scottish polls, with eye candy:

    HR Constituency
    HR Regional List
    HR Seat Predictions
    WM VI
    WM Seat Predictions

    The weighted average weightings for the last five polls:

    I hemmed and hawed about making it more realistic (read, complicated), and decided that over five months, a lot can change, and the differences between the simple and weighted polls are ultimately very small.

    Also, the most recent indy polling chart:

  11. Re my thoughts on Starmer, which I didn’t get a chance to offer, given the brevity of the last thread.

    I would give give him about 7/10 more than the previous “leader” – so far.

    So, once you do the sums, that comes to 7/10 exactly.

  12. TW,

    “ Now a divorce… Boris can do divorces.”

    Fantasy Politics…you don’t really get it do you, still seeing everything in top down terms not bottom up!

    Boris’s permission is a technicality!
    The Scottish People’s permission is a necessity!


  13. @ Peter

    You filling in for Batty whilst he’s on a Swiss cheese and Yorkshire Curd Tart secondment?

    I suspect you’ll be shouting “bottoms up” from the rooftops with a glass of fine malt in your mitts if Indy ever does happen :|)

  14. Barcelona/Bayern was exciting last night but nothing compared with today’s three Scotch Prem matches.

    Hamilton and Ross County, both playing at home, look particularly dramatic at the moment.

  15. @ R&D

    Ever since you started a conversation about teams with interesting names and I proposed Hamilton Academical they seem to have been mentioned in despatches several times since. Have you adopted them because they play in the same colours as Arsenal? :|}

  16. Heart of Midlothian:

    “It out dazzles the New York Yankees, the Boston Braves, and even Queen of the South” (Albert Mackie – The Story of the Hearts – 1959)

  17. @ PETER (SNP) – ?!?!

    Errr… it appears you still don’t get it do you.

    “Boris’s permission is a technicality!’

    Yeah, no sh!t Sherlock. Quite an important technicality (ie process) if you want a ref that is legally binding. I doubt we’d throw Sturgeon in jail for sedition if she held a ref without Section 30[1] permission – we’re not the Spanish[2]

    “The Scottish People’s permission is a necessity!

    Really, you don’t say. Which bit of (my 2:18pm) “at least ensure H’21 manifesto has divorce as Plan B after Boris says “No” (to a IndyRef2)” are you struggling you understand?!!?

    You need a mandate from the Scottish people so ensure you get one when you next hold a vote in Scotland.. like… err… Holyrood’21
    (ie “Get Indy Done” as per GE’19 and CON thumping majority that ensured we Got Brexit Done)

    The “fantasy politics” is thinking that 50%+ in a poll means you’ll get a ref (and win it). So some basic questions for you:

    Do you (or other SNP types) think Boris or any CON PM (within a generation, say 30yrs) will agree to another section 30 to hold a ref (ie offer Scots IndyRef2). Yes/NO

    Now if you put Cherry in charge, of at least the process issues, rather than the blustering bluffer Sturgeon, and Cherry sorts out the legal issues to ensure a ref without section30 permission is legally binding then fair play. Unclear you’d win that legal case but FFS get on with the process, especially Plan B, issues rather than think a few polls in the 50%+ will magically just make Indy happen.

    [1] Since it appears your ignorant of the process then give you the link to Section 30, Scottish Act 1998:


  18. R&D
    You are far to generous in relation to your grading for magic grandpa.

  19. Too!
    Postings created by the kindle spell checker.

  20. 2nd question is

    Do you (PETER SNP or other SNP) think Sir Keir will give Scots a section30 (ie Indyref2) after GE’24 if he needs SNP MPs to get into #10? Yes/NO

    That question is open to LAB VI as well. Make sure to consider the consequences and then consider why you’d rather the issue is sorted before GE’24. If still in any doubt consider what Foster did for the Maybot – do you want that for Sir Keir? Sturgeon is IMO “sharper” than Foster but let’s not get into tails and dogs.

    Example maths, HoC seats: LAB 276 + SNP 55 = 331 out of 650 but then only 275/591 once MPs from Scotland no longer sit at Westminster – I’ll assume SLAB keep 1 seat in Scotland in GE’24 but it makes v.litle difference

    Of course if Sir Keir can get into #10 without needing SNP then maybe he’ll be keen to get rid of Scotland anyway? The maths for that is more challenging as LDEM are v.unlikely to support Sir Keir if he wants rid of Scotland so LAB would need to be into Outright Majority seat levels.

  21. Interesting.
    Now that the UKG has come in line with Scotland and most European countries criteia covid mortality has plummeted.
    Today’s figure (for a friday) 3 .

    Needless to say covid hysteria from our media fixated on the number of reported cases not the frankly blindingly obvious feature that probably because those most at risk of dying have either died or are still protected. That the chances of dying of infected has substantially reduced
    It’s a point that’s being made in Spain with 2500+ cases daily death rates earlier n the year were around 350 a day currently it’s around 10-15

  22. Patients in hospital (with C19) below 1,000 [1] but the breakdown continues to be curious, total (per million)

    Wales: 70 (22.2)
    Scotland: 253 (46.3)
    England: 588 (10.4)

    Admissions data still seem “dodgy” for some nations. I can’t believe Wales are seeing 50ish per day with only 70 in hospital. England numbers (60-70ish) seem about right with 588 in hospital and admissions and people in hospital with C19 are both still coming down.

    Admissions and then patients in hospital with C19 are the least lagging “hard” data and both are still coming down 6weeks after pubs etc opened then.. well.. good news


  23. Trevor
    England admissions yesterday 31 the figures for Wales don’t seem to change in line with admissions elsewhere which seems highly unlikely.

  24. Bantams

    No, not really. More the exciting brand of footy that they’re associated with.

  25. Bantams

    I know that they’ve lost all their matches and haven’t scored any goals yet but, with being at school still I expect they have halftime homework – and their goalie (I assume they have one?) maybe gets caught out if he’s doing a bit of studying when they score.

  26. TW – you are Lushenko and I claim my 5 quid :-)

  27. @ STEVE – I wouldn’t trust the most recent days on English admissions, they tend to revise them up (I assume it is still taking time to amalgamate data from all NHS England trusts). My 60-70ish is rough average of last week or so ignoring last few days.

    If most recent days are correct then even better. Check again tomorrow and see if last few days have been revised up as some laggard trusts data comes in.

    I also wouldn’t trust Spanish deaths data. Not going through that again (CBX1985 has also gone through it). See 5:47pm for “excess deaths” charts and maps from different sources. Spain’s “problem” is still way below earlier in the year but they are back into +ve excess deaths

    Also in excess deaths then note Sweden, other Scandis and the Swiss have less excess deaths than C19 related deaths! Quite amazing. RTAs down etc but to be net -ve is still amazing. I guess they didn’t scare the pants of folks with heart issues etc going into hospital and instead dying at own home/care home when they might have lived had they gone into hospital (an “indirect” issue in England/UK as per SAGE report)

    Mid season league tables might change by end of season but excess deaths is a “better” measure than “direct” reported deaths (altho still note the caveats)

  28. As I only look in occasionally I’m late to the party, but hooray for a new thread! Tory lead holding pretty steady. I think the public realise that they’re doing about as well as most governments in an ever-changing situation where the scientific advice evolves over time.

  29. The Trevors,
    “Also in excess deaths then note Sweden, other Scandis and the Swiss have less excess deaths than C19 related deaths! Quite amazing. ”

    Thanks for pointing that out. Looking further, I see Sweden has had fewer deaths per million than the UK. More than the US, but they are still busily adding to their total. Looking at excess deaths the differnce is more striking, with Sweden on about 60% of the UK total.

    People have criticised the approach taken by Sweden in not locking down. But in terms of deaths it rather seems to have worked.

  30. Good Evening all from way down south.

    Anthony: Thank you very much for the polls and your analysis.

    It has been a solid start for Starmer but there are few signs that Labour are catching up with the Tories at the moment.

  31. @Pete B

    ”I once worked out that the record was (I think) 9 teams. It was in the early 1980s and Notts County was one of them. Let’s hope they get back into the league soon. Who is now the oldest league club I wonder? Sheffield Wednesday possibly? Too late to look it up. ‘Night all.”


    According to wiki, Stoke were first, though this seems to be under some contention by Forest…

    …with Wednesday third.

    Villans were 5th, Blues 7th, Wolves 13th, Baggies 18th, and Sky Blues 30th (founded as Singers in 1883) ahead of relative novices Rams and Foxes. (Admittedly they were only a year behind, but still…)

  32. . Thanks AW

    So, positive polling for Starmer. His satisfaction rating from MORI is plus 22 and last week YouGov had him leading Johnson by 34 to 32%. The first time the Labour leader has been in the lead since a single poll straight after the 2017 election.

    A ray of hope for Labour but clearly the Party has a mountain to climb to become electable again. AW talks about the Labour brand being tarnished and the shine also appears to be coming off the Tory brand after a calamitous 2020. There are suggestions that Johnson won’t be in post at the next GE. I wonder who would take over?

    Sunak seems to be the front-runner. He is personable, confident and articulate when he is splashing the cash. It will be interesting to see what happens to his demeanour when the splurge is over and the bills have to be paid.

    And as Chancellor, at some point, he is going to have to come clean with the country about the immediate consequences for the Economy of a no-deal Brexit; that would wipe the smile off anyone’s face

  33. Not sure if this has been posted yet, seems to be the latest poll

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 42% (+1)
    LAB: 39% (+1)
    LDEM: 5% (-1)


  34. @Trevs – “I can’t believe Wales are seeing 50ish per day with only 70 in hospital.”

    You can’t compare the Welsh admissions data as they count all suspect CV19 admissions whereas England only count confirmed cases. This is presumably why the Welsh figures comes out straight away while it takes a day or two for the English figures, as they need to test and confirm before reporting.

  35. Carfrew
    That’s an interesting list. I’ve forgotten who you support, but basically any club founded after the Football League started is a Johnny-come-lately trying to hop on the bandwagon. Liverpool for instance.

  36. Lady V
    “There are suggestions that Johnson won’t be in post at the next GE.”

    The only ones I’ve seen are from wishful thinkers on this site. The Tories are ruthless, but also very pragmatic. If a leader wins a GE he’s usually given another go. I’m sure there must be examples but I’m not going to do any research tonight.

  37. I’d forgotten what a new thread was!

  38. Lady V
    Maggie of course! Just remembered.

  39. @Steve – I would be very careful in making too many assumptions about lower deaths from comparable case numbers now and earlier in the pandemic.

    I think it is reasonable to assume the case fatality rate has genuinely dropped, because there are now a couple of treatments used as standard that are known to help serious cases recover, so hopefully we won’t get back to the same rate of deaths per case. From memory, better treatments were said to reduce deaths by around 15% I think?

    There may also be a benefit now in enhanced hospital services, so more critical facilities are available for each admitted case because there are fewer cases. If the number of admissions climbs again, the NHS will become stretched again, so this might not hold in a second wave.

    There is also good evidence emerging that the current increase in cases is concentrated on younger people, so we would expect case numbers to decouple from hospital admissions, until such time as it leaks across into vulnerable groups again, and then we would see the hospital stats again start to follow case numbers. Worth noting that in the latest surveillance report, the testing positivity among the over 85’s was starting to rise, as were the outbreaks in care home settings. That’s slightly worrying.

    Finally, this is summer, when people are outdoors in strong UV light and warmer temperatures, or indoors with the windows open and much better ventilation. It would be a reasonable postulation that viral loads when first exposed in such circumstances will, in many cases, be consequently much lower that in the initial wave back in March, so even for more vulnerable people, catching this now might not be so dangerous. Again, if true, this wouldn’t hold for the winter.

    With such low antibody rates, and around two thirds of care homes managing to keep CV19 out, I don’t personally think it’s viable to argue that death rates are currently low compared to cases because those at risk have dying of this have already died.

    It’s much more likely to be because they haven’t caught it yet, and if they are catching it now, summer circumstances make it easier to treat. many of these possibilities won’t hold for the autumn/winter, which is why I think we should be getting a good deal more worried about the cases.

  40. Pete B,
    “The only ones I’ve seen are from wishful thinkers on this site. The Tories are ruthless, but also very pragmatic.”

    That is, of course, why he might be gone.

    There is enormous political risk. Situation now is rather akin to Johnson’s hero Churchill having decided to fight Germany. If it transpires covid is essentially over and has been pretty much since lockdown began, save for mismanagement….

    Or it can be finessed as a great victory?

  41. Alec,
    “There is also good evidence emerging that the current increase in cases is concentrated on younger people,”

    No, there is not. There isnt GOOD evidence for anything. However, all the infection profiles I have seen, both recent from testing and earlier from the German carnival outbreak look pretty similar. Highest in the lower half of working adults, tapering a bit to older adults. Less at the extremes young and old.

    This pattern may be what the testing is showing now, but that is because we are only now measuring the community epidemic. Early testing concentrated solely on hospital cases, which have an enormously different age profile.

    In fact this difference seems to be at the heart of why this epidemic has been handled so badly, because most of it has been completely hidden from authorities.

    While I suspect we have both significant herd immunity, slowing spread, and boosted low level immunity, cutting severity, the actual measured parameters are so imprecise it is hard to tell anything from testing. With actual cases now maybe around x100 less than at peak, so one might expect would be hospital cases. Whether they are more or less than this expectation, cannot be ascertained from the data.

    “Worth noting that in the latest surveillance report, the testing positivity among the over 85’s was starting to rise, as were the outbreaks in care home settings.”

    what would be really good news would be rising over 85 cases but not leading to hospitalisation. Unfortunately here too we dont know how many cases were from care homes or people in hospitals for other reasons…so they were both more susceptible and more exposed than the general community. So it may also be that we get more very old cases now from the community, but their risk has always been far less than the particular groups we managed to expose by mismanagement.

    “With such low antibody rates,”

    Read up a bit. People use t cells not antibodies to fight covid. Might as well ask how many have revolvers.

    An interesting question would be the relative proportins of asymptomatic and symptomatic cases being measured now and previously. My expectation would be that asymptomatic have rocketed.

  42. Danny (re Boris defenestration)
    “If it transpires covid is essentially over and has been pretty much since lockdown began, save for mismanagement….”

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and mistakes will have been made. However I think most voters will be aware that other countries have followed more or less the same path, and hence will not blame the government.

    I could of course be wrong, but I would have thought that if mismanagement was perceived to be a problem, it would already be showing in the polls.

  43. The question of party leadership as a factor in VI is always interesting.

    I’d suggest that parties who choose a leader who resonates with the public mood at the time of the election are likely to see advantage from that. The same leader who has done that at one election may not match the mood at the next one. There is no “ideal” kind of leader who will bring success all the time.

    Changing the leader may be a useful tactic, but also either ineffective or disastrous. While authoritarian partisan followers will faithfully (at least on the surface) support the leader, that doesn’t really matter as elections are won by parties who capture most of those who are not committed to a particular party as well as holding on to enough of their “base”.

  44. PETE B

    I hope Johnson does hang on until 2024. The longer, the better.

    Give him enough rope….

  45. “Thanks for pointing that out. Looking further, I see Sweden has had fewer deaths per million than the UK.”

    Apples and Oranges.

    Comparing Sweden with one of the worst nations in the world for deaths per million (UK), and one of the worst for cases per million (USA), and claiming Sweden as ‘good’ is quite rich.

    Try other world nations of similar population to Sweden, or to other Nordic nations:

  46. Lady V
    “I hope Johnson does hang on until 2024. The longer, the better.
    Give him enough rope….”

    It will be interesting if he does. Of course there may be many events between now and then which could affect VI, but I sense that there is a streak in the voting population (in England anyway) that enjoys having a bit of a maverick in charge. He used to be known as the Tory who could reach the parts other Tories couldn’t – hence two terms as Mayor of London for instance.

    By contrast, Unclear Keir, though obviously a huge improvement on his predecessor, has about as much charisma as a wooden box. Perhaps it shouldn’t, but charisma plays a big part in this stuff. I know Boris isn’t your cup of tea (or mine, particularly), but he has charisma and poor old Keir doesn’t.

  47. In difficult political situations, a perception of incompetence caused by constant minor repositioning is probably unwise.

    Whether ScotGov was right or wrong to decide to abandon the attempt to “maintain national standards” in exams this year is a matter of opinion – and only relevant if it has a VI consequence.

    I’m unclear as to how successful UKGE’s strategy of distancing itself from decisions by blaming its distanced agencies has been. Reasonably effective judging by VI in England.

    Whether that will work with the latest shift in response to the exam results shambles in England will be interesting to see,

    While a last minute announcement to allow the results of mock exams there was somewhat criticised, it may be that Ofqual now withdrawing their appeals policy, on the day it was announced, may intensify questions of competence.

    “Earlier today we published information about mock exam results in appeals. This policy is being reviewed by the Ofqual Board and further information will be published in due course.” (Ofqual)

    Is Ofqual seen as a separate agency from UKGE (of which it is an agency) and can UKGE distance itself from the problem?

  48. According to the Sunday Telegraph, UKGE is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

    Public Health England will be scrapped and replaced by a new body to protect country against a pandemic next month.
    Matt Hancock to merge Covid-19 work of PHE with NHS Test and Trace to create National Institute for Health Protection.

    Apparently the previous deckchair arrangement unaccountably failed to stop the fire in the coal bunker, the weakening of the partitions or hitting an iceberg.

  49. PETEB

    Johnson? Charisma??

    A short, fat shambolic clown, more Like.

    Starmer, back in the day was really handsome.

    He’s like Mr Darcy. Strong and caring and decent. :-)

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