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. @Hireton

    Did you read the “McYoda” tweet in that thread?

    I was helpless with laughter. :D

  2. @ COLIN – Starmer was discussed at length in last thread. Is he currently “all things to all people” (ie some see him as an electable version of Corbynism whilst others see his as Blair2.0 without Iraq baggage – projecting their own view of what they want him to be) or are a lot of xLAB who voted CON in GE’19 “wait and see”?

    Too early to tell. Starmer is certainly avoiding mistakes and picking his internal[1] and external battles carefully – with 4yrs to a GE then he’s a sharp lad for sure. Rentoul (Independent) has written several good articles on Starmer. Latest:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/keir-starmer-boris-johnson-quarantine-channel-crossing-a-level-exam-grades-a9672036.html

    A strong and sensible LOO is IMO good for the country. It will certainly make Boris+co raise their game. I’m very surprised CON VI is holding in as high as it is, even “normal” post honeymoon/mid-term blues would have seen the party in power typically drop by now yet LAB’s only gains have come from snaffling some LDEM VI.

    If Starmer can kill off the Loony Left and maintains his view that the EU debate is over then if he becomes PM in GE’24 then “i’M Tory Plan B” 2.0 ? ;)

    PS If Williamson goes after the GCSE results (might as well for than fiasco) then I’d take that as good news. I’ll avoid further comment on the specifics beyond restating the view that once you close schools and scrap exams then any outcome would be “bad” – unclear if any better solution would be “less bad” than another. In any “no exam” scenario you’d have winners and losers and IMO the Unis could have sorted out the issues for most people (as per Times piece from a few days ago)

    We agree he’s useless and he’s dragging the “brand” down with him.

    As for PHE being the “fall guy” for C19 then I’m surprised by both the timing and the main person (Duncan Selbie)? Someone had take a bullet but now and him?!? Hancock has IMO raised his game significantly in recent months but he was chairing COBRA back in Jan-Feb and going after Selbie/PHE about their fight against obesity seems counter productive?!?

    [1] The internal issue might come to a head at some point. Being “all things to all people” can’t last forever and Momentum don’t seem to want to take the hint or “go quietly”..

    https://news.sky.com/story/labour-accused-of-trying-to-destroy-its-left-wing-elements-by-corbyn-backing-momentum-12049975

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

    Alternatively, there could be a strategic decision to focus as much as possible on establishing their leader’s credibility and position as the polar opposite of Johnson in terms of character, preparation and consistency.

    We have an increasingly leader-focused political system; perhaps even presidential in all but name. With probably four years till the next GE, it surely makes sense to focus on an aspect of Labour that has clearly changed fundamentally – its leader – rather than on the party as a whole, whose identity is fairly dimly perceived by most, and will take time to change.

    Were I a Labour supporter, I would be intensely relaxed about the party’s appeal lagging behind its leader’s at this stage in the electoral cycle. And were I a Tory supporter, I would be rather concerned at so many eggs residing in the Boris basket, and so many chickens looking for somewhere to roost.

  4. @Danny

    “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.”

    On that basis, you can’t claim Sweden or any nation’s performance to be good Danny. There’s you own logic back at you. Good day.

  5. OLDNAT

    The reader is left in the dark about Mr Darcy’s parents but I doubt his father would have been the equivalent of a toolmaker, or his mother a nurse.

    And Starmer’s childhood home, a council house, is hardly the modern-day equivalent of Pemberley.

  6. Somerjohn.

    Yes. Could be.

    Don,t disagree with that really.

    TW.

    I was really thinking about the L.P. rather than KS.

  7. Vine (Gove’s wife) piece from the Wail (follow-up to her LBC interview)

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8629107/SARAH-VINE-says-chaos-incompetence-weeks-level-results-final-betrayal.html

    Williamson gone next weekend? Jenrick my other “bet” in a reshuffle (for very different reasons)

    Also a hotpotch (bias alert) piece on “how others did it” – missing Sweden obviously as they never closed schools and I hope folks don’t simply take a ne0liberal view on the “Swedish” approach to C19, the exams fiasco just one reason why their “long view” was taken (as per UK plan from 3Mar, scrapped mid-Mar)

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/aug/12/school-exams-covid-what-could-uk-have-learned-from-eu

    I’m against the “all must have prizes”[1] approach and sadly don’t own a time machine to ensure that GCSE and A level students did at least do exams.

    [1] Book (Melanie Phillips) from way back in 1998. A good read then and the problem has got worse since.

  8. @Statgeek – “On that basis, you can’t claim Sweden or any nation’s performance to be good Danny. There’s you own logic back at you. Good day.”

    I had to smile at that one.

    That’s the trouble with dismissing data that is contrary to your biases.

    You can’t then use the same data as a crutch when you’re looking for support.

  9. TOH, PETEB

    We, LoC Ladies, are looking forward to Wednesday lunchtimes when Parliament returns.

    The withering glance that Starmer gives Johnson, as the latter fumbles and blusters, as he tries to concoct a reply, was one of the highlight of Lockdown.

  10. There is more than a passing resemblance between the Colin Firth portrayal of Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones and then human rights lawyer Kier Starmer.
    This resemblance is by some accounts not remotely coincidental.

    He is by any standards considerably more attractive than either his predecessor or human barrage balloon Johnson.

    Both the misses and daughter have both taken a bit of a shine to him.

  11. Lady Valerie: Starmer’s childhood home, a council house, is hardly the modern-day equivalent of Pemberley.

    When I were a young lad, my best friend lived in the village of Crapstone. In my innocence, I was unaware of any scatalogical connection.

    In the village was a big old pile called, Crapstone House. I was recently back in the area visiting my sister, who shared the information that the house has changed hands and acquired some grandiloquent black-and-gold iron gates and a new name: Pemberley Hall.

  12. @rosieanddasie

    Douglas Ross has now issued a formal apology admitting an error of judgement in choosing to continue with his linesman engagement rather than attending a VJ service. You may not know that his constituency contains two large military bases and he has a 514 majority to bequeath to the next Tory candidate. So arguably an error on many levels.

  13. Lady Valerie

    Having no experience of female sexual desire from the distaff point of view, and very limited experience from the spear side, makes me (on this site) an expert on the subject!

    An inherited title and mansion, without the financial resources to provide for her offspring would be of little genetic interest to other than the stereotypical American heiress in a Wodehouse novel.

    A man on his rise up the social ladder would be a much better candidate to be the putative father and provider, though the under footman might have the better genes to participate in the process of production.

    :-)

  14. STEVE

    Of course, Corbyn has been married 3 times, Johnson hasn’t managed that, yet.

    Married twice? Fine. 3 times? Something about commitment or perseverance??

  15. Although Corbyn is pig-headed, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

  16. Alec,
    “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. ”

    In what respect?

    Evidence is:
    High infecting dose causes more severe case.

    More severe case causes greater development of antibody.

    No evidence that anyone getting a mild case with symptoms or even an asymptomatic case where there is evidence of virus growth in that person, will not be fully immune thereafter. In general, they will have a stronger t cell permanent immunity than antibody immunity, but the milder the case the less antibody and most people will not develop this measurably.(might be a technological limitation on detection)

    A sufficiently low infecting dose does not create an active infection. Analogy with other related virus suggest this will however create low level immunity sufficient to cause any future full infection to be milder.

    1/3 of people have cross immunity to some degree before ever covid arrived.

    The most likely outcome for the great majority of fit humans with no prior immunity is they do not require medical intervention. Prognosis worsens with age.

    “you reject outright any and every bit of evidence that fails to fit that picture.”

    On the contrary, I try to incorporate every piece of evidence into the model. You yourself have been very helpfull in pointing out apparently contradictory information which has to be fitted in. For example, how can this be an illness which in some circumstances leads to deaths, and in others does not. So an answer would seem to be, low level infection creates milder outcomes, and at very low doses might indeed be protective. So the way in which people are infected is all important in the development of an epidemic, and whether it becomes mild or severe.

    All sorts of things will contribute. Humans have a natural tendency to space themselves apart. This must be hereditary and must also be a complimentary part of the immune process. It goes wrong where society forces us to be closer. People walking around a supermarket will naturally space safely, based upon generations of ancestors who didnt and died as a result. Whereas squeezed into an overcrowded train or bar…maybe they wont.

  17. Statgeek,
    ” “@Danny
    “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.” ”

    On that basis, you can’t claim Sweden or any nation’s performance to be good Danny. There’s you own logic back at you. Good day.”

    I have never argued any nation’s official case numbers have much meaning. In Sweden the three measures we have are deaths and hospitalisations, the degree to which society has been closed down, and the hit to the economy. On all three it is doing better than the UK.

    I recall the days when Sweden was criticised by people here for having higher deaths than the UK. That didnt last.

  18. @Danny – “No evidence that anyone getting a mild case with symptoms or even an asymptomatic case where there is evidence of virus growth in that person, will not be fully immune thereafter.”

    I’ll play the @Statgeek Gambit here, and say that equally, there is no evidence that anyone getting a mild case where antibodies are not developed is then immune to a higher dose.

    See how it works?

  19. Steve

    “ Both the misses ”

    Blimey, one’s enough for me Steve.

  20. Hireton

    I’m sure that it was an apology of convenience.

    It just seems ludicrous to me that one should spend the whole day commemorating VJ Day when millions of other people are at work or out socialising – perhaps even, bizarrely, watching Scottish footy**.

    (** A joak…)

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

    I think that Labour has been drifting away from its roots in the traditional working class for many years, partly because traditional factory jobs have been in decline which means that that class is not as homogeneous as it once was. Blair was wise enough to have John Prescott as a token WWC representative, but if there’s one in the current shadow cabinet I don’t know who it is.

    If you look at where their strongest seats are now, many of them are in high ethnic minority areas and university towns. Until ethnic minorities are over 50% (around 2050 by my calculations), Labour will struggle. They might struggle even then because those voters may have started their own successful parties.

  22. 5% of the world’s population 25% of the confirmed covid cases and over 1200 deaths a day.
    15 times the deaths in the EU + Brexitania.

    It takes heroic spinning to interpret those figures in any way other than catastrophic.

  23. [email protected]
    Just the one missis ,she who must be obeyed wouldn’t accept a companion.

  24. R&D

    “footy”

    T-shirts seen at Celtic v some US outfit game in Philadelphia many years ago

    “It’s fitba not soccer”

  25. PETEB

    I think you are right about the drift. And I think it was complacency .Certain towns & areas were seen as Labour Heartlands
    .In the Bag-forever & ever.
    But that was because of Industrial History. The mistake they made was not understanding what was happening to the people & the local economies
    .I remember seeing a tv documentary about the ethnic vote up north too. The younger generation not the same at all as their parents. No question of family & “community leaders” dictating their vote. Thinking for themselves. Again complacency to miss that.

    We know that the Corbyn project was centred around the middle class/academic/intellectual/metropolitan group too. Very London orientated. People who are idealists because they can afford to be & like pontificating about it.

    Double whammy of mistakes.

    I feel sure Starmer is onto this.

    Actually I think thats a good thing. If centre right conservatives are again confronted with a Conservative Party in a shambles at GE time ,a sensible ,moderate, business friendly Labour option is better than having to choose between a bunch of Tory Clowns & a Superannuated Marxist .

    So hopefully Starmer will cause Boris to up his game-or be replaced.

  26. Dissent in Belarus seems to be building into something significant.

    https://twitter.com/franakviacorka/status/1294974663697870849

  27. Lady V
    “We, LoC Ladies, are looking forward to Wednesday lunchtimes when Parliament returns.”

    I wondered who still watched it.

  28. On exam results issue, the Irish Times has an interesting perspective.

    https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/exam-results-show-governments-failing-post-pandemic-test-1.4331436

    If you can make a mess of exam results I wouldn’t hold out much hope of policy competence elsewhere.

    Performative governments are failing their people. The debate in the UK over exam results does not bode well for the necessary decisions that are coming down the track.

    Was it by accident or design that we decided that the predictive Leaving Certificate algorithm could wait to be run until well after the UK’s experiment?

    That decision to wait until September 7th always looked odd. But it could have been inspired. Learning from the mistakes of others is a mark of intelligence. How smart are our leaders?

    There is an opportunity now to do something right. Lay down a marker about how the future doesn’t have to be like the past and that things can be made better by intelligent policy design. Let’s hope that isn’t an oxymoron. Get this year’s Leaving Cert right and then think about the future of education more broadly.

  29. LADYVALERIE

    “We, LoC Ladies, are looking forward to Wednesday lunchtimes when Parliament returns.”

    We Tory married couples enjoy Wednesday lunchtimes as well, although it appears that the Tory numbers are little changed since November 20189 as I posted so that event probably has little or no effect.

    I don’t know why you included Pete B in your post he is not a Tory and didn’t vote Tory at the election in 2019 if my memory serves me correctly.

  30. Lady V

    2019, not 20189 which is alittle too far into the future. Will mankind still even be around then?

    :-)

    COLIN & PeteB

    Excellent posts both,

    “So hopefully Starmer will cause Boris to up his game-or be replaced.”

    You know my view on that.

  31. @colin

    “You might want to listen to your Police.”

    Oh dear.

    Of course, you can’t be expected to follow policy in Scotland in depth but if you are going to cut and paste with intent it is often helpful to know a little bit about what you are cutting and pasting.

    To help out, you will find it informative to read the summary report of the independent review into hate crimes undertaken by the Rt Hon Lord Bracadale of the Inner House on which the draft bill is based ( the review was itself a response to an independent advisory group which advised the Scottish Government to undertake such a review):

    https://www.gov.scot/publications/independent-review-hate-crime-legislation-scotland-final-report/

    It is to a large extent a consolidation and rationalisation of existing legislation but does propose to extend the offence of “stirring up hatred” on racial grounds to other protected groups such as disabled people (the existing offence has been part of Scots Law since it was placed on the statute book by the Tory Government in IIRC 1987).

    You can also read the policy memorandum published alongside the Bill:

    https://beta.parliament.scot/-/media/files/legislation/bills/current-bills/hate-crime-and-public-order-scotland-bill/introduced/policy-memorandum-hate-crime-and-public-order-scotland-bill.pdf

    As you will see the Bill explicitly protects freedom of expression in relation to matters of religion, sexual orientation etc so the Catholic Church should have no problem continuing its bigotry against gay people on religious grounds for example although it is proposed to remove the offence of blasphemy so the rest of the population can now legally say that sky fairies don’t exist.

    As for listening to “your police”, the consultation period on the Bill has just ended and it will be for the Scottish Parliament Committee to consider the responses and make recommendations to Parliament on whether the Bill should proceed, in what form etc before detailed scrutiny takes place. The SPF are, of course, a trade union and will quite probably have valuable comments to make but they are not “the police”. Police Scotland are and as you will see from the explanatory memorandum have been involved.

    You will note that the Murdoch press made a point of trying to make the Bill a particular project of a prominent Muslim minister rather than the culmination of a long process of advice and consultation by the Scottish Government. There are obvious reasons why they would seek to do so none of them reputable.

  32. TOH
    Thanks.
    Just to clear it up for everyone – I’m not a member of any party, and have voted for most of them in my time, except Labour. I’ve probably voted Tory more than anything else over my lifetime, but not the last two GEs at least, and not for at least 20 years in EU elections. I have stood for the local council a couple of times, but not as a Tory. I was pleased to knock them down to 3rd place in this heavily-Labour area on one occasion.

    Also, for those who seem to think I’m extreme right-wing, I did the Political Compass test again the other day (it’s been updated). As usual I’m very near the centre, though very slightly on the socially authoritarian and economically liberal sides of the axes.

  33. Hireton.

    It isn’t me you need to persuade.The Scottish Legal Profession thinks the proposal vague & it’s Police Federation think they will have to police what people think of feel.

    Fortunately I don,t love there.

  34. SOMERJOHN

    ” Were I a Labour supporter, I would be intensely relaxed about the party’s appeal lagging behind its leader’s at this stage in the electoral cycle.

    Were I a Labour supporter I would not be intensely relaxed about the party’s appeal. Labour have improved but mainly by picking up votes from minor parties. They show no signs of cutting the Tory numbers which have remained strong since before the GE. I think Pete B explains part of the reason for that in his post at 1.47pm. Having said that I agree that Starmer has made a good impression and not just with Labour voters.

    “And were I a Tory supporter, I would be rather concerned at so many eggs residing in the Boris basket, ………….”

    Actually I don’t think that there are that many eggs residing in BJ’s basket as you suggest, he can and will be replaced if necessary and probably by somebody who also has more charisma than Starmer.

    “………and so many chickens looking for somewhere to roost.”

    Obviously I agree that these are difficult times for a Government to be in power so your final comment has merit. However no signs yet that Labour stand much chance at a GE looking at the polling about Labours fitness to govern. Those numbers remain awful for them.

  35. @colin

    Well no doubt it will be “tightened up” if necessary during parliamentary scrutiny but the view of a former archaeologist that it signals the end ot free speech is just hysteria.

  36. “ People who are idealists because they can afford to be & like pontificating about it.”

    What a weird and arrogant point of view. Impossible for some to imagine people can be idealistic without caveats it seems.

  37. Westminster voting intention from the You Gov Scottish poll.

    https://twitter.com/ElectionMapsUK/status/1294977562289016834?s=09

    Good for the SNP (up 3 points to 54 since April) , bad for the Tories ( down 5 points to 20) and no real change for Labour in third place.

  38. Hireton.

    You evidently believe that Archaeologist Scots are not entitled to voice opinions on SNP proposals.

    Which really makes the point that the archaeologist in question was voicing.

  39. PETEB

    Thanks,

    Out of interest I just took the Political Compass test, I came out Economic Left/Right: 1.75
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.56

    I came out very similar, second square from the centre in the first blue line. It’s not changed significantly for years now.

  40. I have a genuine question. The answer may be obvious, but I can’t see it. It came to mind because of the mad rush of British tourists getting out of France.

    My question is why do so many illegal immigrants try to get here by dinghy or stowing away in lorries, when there are so many legal ways? I can only think it’s because they don’t have passports, but that begs the question, why not? They obviously have funds to pay criminal gangs, so why don’t they get passports and just buy a ticket instead?

    I can see that might be difficult for genuine refugees from war-torn countries with no functioning government, but supposedly many of them are not from such countries. I expect I’m being naive, so try not to be too patronising in any reply. Thanks.

  41. PETEB?

    You never watched it during Lockdown?

    I thought this site was a home for political geeks.

    My mistake.

  42. @TOH

    I was responding, primarily, to Pete B’s comment about Starmer having “the charisma of a wooden box”. After which you had chipped in with your fourpenneth.

    It’s not always about you, you know.

  43. TOH
    I don’t have my exact figures on Political compass to hand, but I think they were pretty similar to yours.

  44. @colin

    Absolute nonsense. A former archaeologist can say whatever he likes about a Scottish Government proposal and I have every right to point out that it is misinformed, partisan drivel.

  45. HIRETON

    You spoiled that with ” partisan”. Which is what I would have be expected.

  46. In any polity, legislation in the area of “hate” and which actions are to be illegal is a difficult process to get right.

    At one extreme, there are those that the right to “free speech” gives them total freedom to say anything they like, to whomsoever they like and in any forum.

    At the other, there are those who wish no one ever to be exposed to ideas that they find offensive and that causing offence should be considered criminal behaviour.

    Where the appropriate point for legislation should lie is a matter of political belief, and these change with time. The debates of the 1960s on the Race Relations Act are not relevant to the detail of the Bill, but the attitudes involved are not dissimilar. As an example, Hansard from May 1966 is worth a look (if only for Joan Lestor’s maiden speech) and the “partisan drivel” (if I may so call it) of Ronald Bell the MP for Buckinghamshire South.

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1966-05-27/debates/39bb316d-ee3d-4186-8e85-eefc1ce40cf2/RaceRelationsAct

    Most importantly, if the purpose of the Bill is agreed, the drafting of it becomes supremely important, so I take the comments of Thomas Ross QC seriously, as should the members of the Justice Committee from all parties.

    Sadly, the months leading to an election are seldom the best for preventing all parties, and their partisan friends (such as Oliver) from closing their minds and opening their mouths.

  47. TOH
    Remarkable we are almost identical on political compass.

    Hardly any difference between my -7.5/- 6.56 and your rating.

    We could be twins!

  48. Test

  49. Weird. I had several innocuous posts just disappear into the ether over the last couple of hours. Anyone else having problems?

  50. @stategeek

    Read and bookmarked the mcyoda tweet!

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