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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  1. Lady Valerie

    Didn’t you miss out the bit where Starmer is also like Mr Darcy? The bit where he is wealthy and owns significant property?

    Easy to see the Selfish Gene argument that such a male would be sexually attractive to a female whose offspring will benefit from the resources available to it.

    Of course, there’s always the risk that there are bugger all resources as, Johnson like, he spreads his genes somewhat randomly.

  2. @Pete B

    “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.”

    ———

    And Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham, Charlton, Crystal Palace. Accrington Stanley…

    (My team is the Sky Blues)

  3. Carfrew

    “My team is the Sky Blues”

    Murdoch Tories?

  4. @oldnat

    Do they have their own ground?

  5. Carfrew

    Yep. Westminster.

  6. @Oldnat

    Well they have an unfair advantage then, unlike my team.

    PUSB!

  7. ON
    I think some of you are or have been teachers. I did a bit of adult education back in the day myself. I think trying to allocate exam grades in the absence of exam results is a thankless task unlikely to satisfy anyone. It’s obviously wrong to just take teachers’ assessments because some will give the best grade they can imagine for a candidate in order to help them, and others will do so to show what a good teacher they are. Mock exams apparently vary a lot in how they are organised, and course work will generally benefit those who get most help at home, so basically any arrangement will be unfair to some. And yet some method has to be used.

    Lady V
    “Johnson? Charisma??
    A short, fat shambolic clown, more Like.”

    I know what you mean. I remember when he was running for leader saying to a friend that he couldn’t possibly win because could you imagine a big conference of heads of state where they line up for a photo and they’re all there in their sharp suits (or dresses) and neat haircuts, and our bloke has his hair all over the place and looking like he’d slept in his suit? However, he does have a quality that endears him to a lot of voters. I call it charisma.

  8. Carfrew

    I hadn’t seen that acronym for your team – “Positively Unionist Sectarian Bigots” before, and I’m a little surprised to see you supporting Glasgow Rangers. :-)

  9. Carfrew
    OK, the modern Accrington Stanley aren’t the original club, but their antecedents were original members of the Football League. By the way, there are only 5 clubs I think who were founder members of both the Football League and the Premier League. Mighty Villa is one.

  10. @Oldnat

    NUAOUKPR

  11. @Pete B

    “Mighty Villa is one.”

    Yes, but were they in a Monty Python joke?

  12. Carfrew
    Have you a link?

  13. Amusing clip, but it didn’t mention Villa, just Coventry.

  14. @Pete B

    They originally asked “Coventry City last won the FA cup in what year?”

    But winning it in ‘87 meant Pythons had to change the wording a bit.

  15. Pete B

    “I think trying to allocate exam grades in the absence of exam results”

    Actually, none of the many governments who were using statistical moderation to award “qualifications” in the absence of exam results were trying to award “exam grades”. They were all (in and outwith the UK) trying to maintain the validity of the grades in their qualifications systems.

    As with many other systems, the only real “validity” exists if people accept that the system is reasonably accurate. That doesn’t seem to have been accepted anywhere (though I have no knowledge of the French response to that process in the Baccalaureate, or in other polities outwith These Islands).

    My point was on the politics of response. I think it likely that continuous shifting of position is likely to be seen as governmental weakness, while decisive actions (one way or another) may be seen as responsive to the people (or not!)

    Only polling might provide evidence one way or the other – depending on whether the questions are asked, and if they are useful questions anyway!

    I have little faith that the pollsters have sufficient understanding of the issues to ask the intelligent questions required (or to direct them appropriately to people in different polities), so a generalised VI or “confidence in X” seem likely to be the nearest we’ll get to comprehending any political effects.

  16. @Pete B

    “Amusing clip, but it didn’t mention Villa, just Coventry.”

    ———

    Ah well, the question was rhetorical.

  17. Carfrew

    “NUAOUKPR”

    No Unionists Anywhere On United Kingdom Polling Report – seems a rather extravagant claim.

  18. Carfrew
    Sorry, I get it. The point was that they weren’t in it. It’s late. G’night all.

  19. @Oldnat

    It was supposed to be Never Use Acronyms on UKPR.

    (Unless maybe it’s ZZKVBLOEIUADEWQHHGVMMLPHGFTYDTRSEWALLLMLLLLLMMMMMCXCXZDFTE)

  20. @PETE B

    “Sorry, I get it. The point was that they weren’t in it. It’s late. G’night all”

    ———-

    No probs Pete, sleep well!

  21. Carfrew

    “ZZKVBLOEIUADEWQHHGVMMLPHGFTYDTRSEWALLLMLLLLLMMMMMCXCXZDFTE”

    Oh, that tired old Basque acronym (which you have misspelt).

  22. @oldnat

    “Matt Hancock to merge Covid-19 work of PHE with NHS Test and Trace to create National Institute for Health Protection.”

    You missed out that it is being reported that Dido Harding will be appointed to run it.

  23. I’m not sure how fair it was of the Sunday Mail to put its criticism of the Scottish Conservative leader on the front page for officiating at a football match on VJ Day but it would certainly not be publicity he wanted:

    https://twitter.com/Sunday_Mail/status/1294747772172853255?s=19

  24. PeteB

    “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.”

    Very true, I find Starmer very wooden. No doubt he is a Very good lawyer and certainly he is an improvement on Corbyn but I don’t see him as at all charismatic, nor do the poles that have asked that question.

  25. Election Maps UK
    @ElectionMapsUK
    Westminster Voting Intention:
    CON: 42% (+1)
    LAB: 39% (+1)
    LDM: 5% (-1)
    Via
    @OpiniumResearch, 13-14 Aug.
    Changes w/ 30-31 Jul.

    Polldrums, Opinium numbers very predictable with lead the same as last time. Tories will be happy with their number at 42% solidly above 40% which it has been since Nov 2019. August average 43%

  26. or even the polls :-)

  27. I did say i found him very wooden.

  28. I was discussing which would be better at a supermarket wearing just a mask or visor the mask has the advantage that it might provide better protection but it’s easier to wear it incorrectly , the visor might allow more air flow but clearly covers the eyes and is easier to retain in place.
    In this instance I decided just to go for the mask.
    At Aldi I decided to have a quick look at the centre aisle when I realised my mistake.

    Every one else was wearing clothes.

  29. Pete B,
    “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. ”

    The SAGE papers suggest their advice to government was that the Uk population needs to achieve herd immunity to stop the epidemic. To this aim we embarked on a policy of ‘flattening the peak’, and politicians are on record explaining this.

    I have not seen any sage papers indicating change of advice, but we departed this policy a few weeks after lockdown, when what ought to have been happening was releasing measures to allow cases to build again.

    At the time politicians explained this by saying they could not release measures until the other two essentially independent epidemics – in care homes and in hospitals – were under control, which evidently they were not. They were not for quite some time and accounted for most of the deaths.

    The obvious explanation is that they provided ideal conditions for the spread of covid. They brought together very weak people, together with other highly infected people in enclosed conditions of regular personal contact. Critical to outcome is infecting dose on one hand, and immune capability on the other. Modern hospitals have had a problem with cross infection for decades, and this disease was excellent at exploiting it. This was a disease which exploded in care settings.

    It seems likely the community epidemic had little to do with how many people were catching it and dying in hospital or care home, and indeed that relaxing measures in the community would have made little difference to final outcome in terms of deaths and new cases in hospitals. So not doing so was a mistake.

    Somewhere in this a decision was made to maintain community lockdown beyond the time it was needed. There is little evidence so far this was a SAGE decision but was a political decision. The real risk for government is if this was the wrong decision, and they might have safely released earlier but did not do so for fear of backlash against rising death toll. There has been little discussion so far about the trillion or two pounds spent on lockdown, but as we do finally come out of this, then we will find out if the public thinks it was worth it.

    It is perhaps relevant that Brexit is precisely the same. It was a choice to go for popularity now, and never mind what the future brings. Those making the choices this time may have been influenced by their experience that they have essentially been running a ten year successful policy of offering Brexit without the condequences ever arriving. Thats a respectable length of political success, retribution avoided.

    Conservatives policy has been all about pushing forward in time the point of collapse and loss of power. It isnt so different from the policy under Thatcher, which also created many problems we face now, such as the housing shortage and price bubble. It is now effectively impossible for government to solve the housing shortage because to do so will create an economic collapse led by house price collapse and loss of political power. The proper solution for the populace is not politicaly acceptable.

    This will become a situation in which either politicians are ruined, or the members of Sage will be ruined. Someone made very bad choices. Throughout there has been talk about antibody levels telling us who has had the disease. They dont. There was already evdience in medical research why this is, well before covid, yet the orthodox explantion ruled. WHO have been seriously+ remiss in this, but Sage as an expert panel ought to have known better. It didnt. Why?

    Perhaps the reason lies in the interplay between government and advisors. That advisors might think a different epidemic plan should have been created long since, but they had no power to do so. So when an epidemic arrived the only detailed planning which might be implemented in time was not suitable, but was all there was. Sending sick people to care homes would have been standard policy. Standard policy did not allow for a disease so infectious as covid at close quarters. The NHS has structurally failed to control infection for decades. That will come down to money.

  30. @Danny – “Read up a bit.”

    I don’t wish this to sound like a personal attack, but to be honest, I am disinclined to take lessons from you with regards seeking evidence.

    You do a lot of reading and research, and nearly all the time with CV19 you have misrepresented what you read and/or failed to understand it.

    The immunity without antibodies issue is interesting, but not unique to CV19, nor is the asymptomatic spread. In fact, asymptomatic spread appears to be much less with CV19 than with normal flu.

    For now, I’ll stick with the weight of scientific evidence that immunity levels to this disease are pretty low, albeit with the expected differential susceptibility from individual to individual that you would expect from any pathogen.

    I’ll also stick with the weight of scientific evidence that suggests a big second wave is highly possible, regardless as to whether we have had a big or small first wave.

    If the evidence shifts, then I’ll shift, which is rather what the point of evidence is. I have a feeling you approach evidence with a slightly different mindset.

  31. @AW-“. 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.”

    This puzzles me.

    If the Labour Party “has been tarnished” by the Corbyn Leadership then Starmer’s “appeal to the public more than his predecessor ” should be accompanied by improved support for the Party.

    If not then what is the nature of the alleged “tarnish” ?

    Put another way-if replacing Corbyn with Starmer doesn’t get Labour into the lead & No. 10-what does ?

  32. Looks like the English school results story is descending from disaster to total fiasco this morning. Ofqual have retracted their guidance for appeals only a matter of hours after posting them.

    Gavin ‘D-‘ Williamson is going to have to face another worse round of this when the GCSE results come out, this time with an estimated 80% of results smooth out by the magic algorithm.

    ‘Gavin has some hidden talents but he must apply himself with more rigour’

    ?

  33. There has been an improvement support for Labour under Starmer in terms of the opinion polls. Yes, that improvement has not (yet) meant they have over taken the Conservatives, but there can be no doubt there has been an improvement

    I think changing peoples minds about how they voted is a little like stopping an oil tanker,it can’t be done immediately and takes time. Many people may not be that happy with how the Government are doing, but they are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt… for now at least .

  34. @ Colin

    Labour still have a long slog. I suspect a lot of people don’t trust that the hands of the Corbynite faction have been wrenched from control of the party.

    The policy proposals – I doubt many could name any.

    Tories still have to deliver the Brexit deal, and a no deal outcome would be extremely risky. They so have to deal with the fallout of the Corona depression. Borrowing flex probably gone on furlough and then social security.

    Interesting times. This Government does not seem to be coming through any crises particularly smoothly at the moment.

  35. Statgeek,
    “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.”

    There is no credible evidence the US has more cases than anywhere else. Because there is little credible evidence in most countries about the real numbers of cases. It is not possible to make such conclusions based upon testing taking place as part of treatment or chasing hotspots.

    We will not know how well Sweden has done in an absolute sense untill everything is over. But as things stand now, the Swedish policy of no lockdown and minimal measures has done better then the UK policy, which started similar but changed course. The US epidemic is currently in full swing, with lots more deaths expected, so it looks likely to end up worse than either.

    Alec,
    “For now, I’ll stick with the weight of scientific evidence that immunity levels to this disease are pretty low,”

    In the same post you accept that people do not generate antibodies to covid, but then claim scientific evidence of immunity is low. That evidence is based upon testing for antibody levels. Your post is self contradictory.

    “I’ll also stick with the weight of scientific evidence that suggests a big second wave is highly possible, regardless as to whether we have had a big or small first wave. “`

    What weight of evidence? There might (or might not) be a weight of numbers based upon the same orthodoxy you are supporting, that the determinant is numbers with protective antibodies. Difficult to tell if this is even a weight of scientific numbers, because the media hugely gives exposure to just a few and to the offical government line in particular.

    The likelihood of a second wave is entirely dependent on current levels of immunity. Which makes this the same problem as the first, turning on the same problem of how we create immunity and whether this has actually been measured at all in the general population.

    “If the evidence shifts, then I’ll shift,”

    You havnt yet…

  36. As usual my Sunday Times provides a nice piece piece of serendipity this morning.

    It is do do with Scotland.

    In advance of a Scottish parliamentary enquiry on the handling of complaints about AS prior to his court case, Dave Penman , leader of the FDA Union is quoted as saying that there had been 30 complaints from senior civil servants in five ministerial departments in Holyrood over the last 10 years.-” Over the same period only a handful of issues have been raised with other government departments across our entire membership .It is quite extraordinary that there are more complaints about the Scottish Government than all other UK government Departments put together”.

    and

    Neil Oliver writes about the impending Hate Crime and Public Order ( Scotland) Bill , the consultation period for which has closed.
    Oliver believes that its provision to introduce a new offence of “stirring up hatred based on religion or in the case of social or cultural groups , perceived religious affiliation” is a “sinister threat to free speech”. This proposed law, a “passion” of SNP’s Justice Secretary, Humzah Yousaf, is criticised by others in Scotland, uniting the Catholic Church & National Secular Society. The Law Society and the Faculty of Advocates say it is “vague and likely to create difficulty.
    Perhaps most significant of all is the view of the Scottish Police Federation which said officers will be left with no option but to “police what people think or feel”.

    Oliver muses that Scots used to tell the old joke about Calvinists telling one & all ” Your not here to enjoy yourself” He says “every day that joke seems far from funny anymore”.

    Perhaps the most telling of Oliver’s fears about Scotland is expressed as follows:-

    ” I am writing this to the sound of a ticking clock, counting down the hours when it is still safe -or safe enough to air an opinion here”.

    Dave Penman might perhaps suggest that that particular countdown ended some years ago in Scotland ?

  37. ALEC

    @”‘Gavin has some hidden talents”

    Oh no he doesn’t.

  38. @Danny

    “We will not know how well Sweden has done in an absolute sense untill everything is over. But as things stand now, the Swedish policy of no lockdown and minimal measures has done better then the UK policy, which started similar but changed course. The US epidemic is currently in full swing, with lots more deaths expected, so it looks likely to end up worse than either.”

    The Swedish model relied on voluntary measures and it is true that it is was more effective than the UK model.

    Do you believe that the average Brit has the same level of social responsibility as a Swede? Therein lies the problem, plus national administrations unwilling to trust the public to take voluntary measures.

    The UK lockdown was draconian, and some of the measures such as limiting outdoor exercise, closing garden centres etc completely ridiculous.

  39. Useful article on Sweden here
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2251615-is-swedens-coronavirus-strategy-a-cautionary-tale-or-a-success-story/
    So there was a substantial voluntary lockdown in Sweden – yet it wasn’t nearly as effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus as the compulsory lockdowns in neighbouring Denmark and Norway. Cases and deaths rose faster in Sweden and have been slower to decline.

    Sweden has about 8200 confirmed cases per million people as of 12 August, compared with 1780 in Norway and 2560 in Denmark. (For the UK it is 4600 and the US 15,400.)

    Sweden has had 57 deaths per 100,000, compared with five in Norway and 11 in Denmark. (For the UK it is 70 and the US 50.)’

    It goes on to talk about the economy and there is little evidence that Sweden are doing much better than it’s neighbours and also it does not even seem to achieve achieved any better ‘herd immunity’ than countries that did do a lock down

    As the report makes clear we wont know the final outcome until a year or two down the road, but at the moment there is no evidence that the Swedish approach has been more successful than others, indeed the reverse is the case

  40. Alec,
    “Looks like the English school results story is descending from disaster to total fiasco this morning. Ofqual have retracted their guidance for appeals only a matter of hours after posting them. ”

    A friend of mine who works in a private school observed that it doesnt matter to them what is decided. On teacher grades they are fine. On past work they are fine. If they held the exams now, they would be fine.

    Other schools have run into trouble because there is essentially a discrepancy between these different methods of estimating. Sometimes a massive discrepancy.

    The root problem here is that certain schools performance is poor and systematically this cannot be admitted. Either by politicians or staff in those schools whose jobs depend on performance. Being unable to hold exams has simply highlighted this problem.

  41. Neil J,
    “As the report makes clear we wont know the final outcome until a year or two down the road, but at the moment there is no evidence that the Swedish approach has been more successful than others, indeed the reverse is the case”

    The final line of the article is: “antibody surveys suggest only about 20 per cent of people in Stockholm have been infected, similar to levels in London and New York. That is far short of near the 70 per cent level estimated to be needed.”

    Which is entirely the heart of the matter, whether immunity has been achieved or not. If antibody levels are only a small part of immunity this tells us little. The article does rather confirm this is the only measure being considered in reaching this conclusion.

    What we might conclude is that a similar epidemic has taken place in London, Stockholm and New York, so their outcomes are likely to be similar in terms of total immunity – based upon the proportion of this due to antibody likely to be consistent amongst humans in similar situations.

    There remains a debate whether it might have been possible to keep covid out and therefore largely avoid all deaths. But once it had arrived, the article confirms:

    “Tegnell, meanwhile, says the high death rate in Sweden was related to the failure to prevent infections in care homes. Matters have now been improved, he says. Half of Sweden’s deaths were in care homes up to mid-May.”

    Which is the same across most of Europe. It is arguable lockdown of the general population was never the issue with covid and was largely irrelevant to most of the deaths, but it was accompanied by a failure to lock down care situations, both hospital and residential.

  42. @colin

    You might want to read the legal academic Andrew Tickell on the so called “Hate Crimes Bill” which gives a rather more professional,informed and nuanced view than the former archaeologist Neil Oliver.

  43. @alec

    Robert Halfon, Tory chair of the HoC Education Select Committee, was interviewed on the BBC this morning.

    Two points struck me:

    1. While supporting a moderation system and expressing disquiet about Ofqal reviewing its appeal system so soon, he said that if the GCSE results three up similar problems there might not be any other choice but to revert to teacher assessments.

    2. When given the direct opportunity to support Williamson, he didn’t do so.

  44. @Danny – “In the same post you accept that people do not generate antibodies to covid,,,”

    That’s a particularly good example of what I was talking about.

    You have oversimplified and drawn a misleading conclusion.
    You failed to distinguish between heavy viral load responses and light viral load responses, which may well have something to do with whether the immune response can overcome the attack without recourse to antibodies, which then leads into the point about this being summer etc.

    You have a desire to grossly over simplify the whole pandemic issue, and you reject outright any and every bit of evidence that fails to fit that picture. You alone seem to claim certainty in these matters, even as the data moves against you.

    It’s rather strange, if I’m being honest.

  45. Hireton

    That attack re footy was rather pathetic and manufactured.

  46. Hireton.

    You might want to listen to your Police.

  47. @Colin – “Oh no he doesn’t.”

    I was attempting to offer a kind hearted teachers assessment of a struggling boy.

    Perhaps I should have said –

    “While Gavin will undoubtedly have some well hidden talents, he must apply himself with more rigour so we can finally see what these are’

  48. JIB.

    I,m not convinced that the average voter considers the risk of Corbynite inyervention.

    If Starmer doesn’t drag Party up there would seem to be more systemic doubt at play.

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