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. OLDNAT

    @”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..””

    Indeed so-and so the most important thing is the one you mention-
    ” the drafting “.

    It would follow from the concern about ” vagueness”, expressed by Scotland’s Legal Professional bodies , that the concern of Scotland’s Police about “policing speech” would be well placed , with all the serious consequences they envisage.

    It takes extraordinary care & sensitivity in the drafting to address those concerns and still produce desirable legal remedies in this most contentious of areas of the Law.

    It might be suggested that Politicians do not always achieve precision & effectiveness in their law making.

    No doubt Scotland’s SNP lawmakers will wish to ensure that those concerns currently being dismissed as “partisan” can never be seen to have been well founded.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-53567229

  2. Just completed Political Compass.

    I got -3.0/-2.41

    I thought the questions a bit odd.

    I seem to remember we discussed this stuff before on UKPR. Didn’t someone say Political Compass is a US produced thing-so “Left” in USA could be CEntre in UK terms ?

  3. @colin

    Oh dear, still going down the misrepresentation line.

    This is what you gleefully quoted this moning as being Oliver’s most telling point:

    ” 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”.

    That is clearly silly partisan nonsense given what you now know about the origins and drafting of this Bill and how it will now be considered in Parliament.

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

    What? With your posts disappearing??

    Not really Pete…

  5. America seems more bizarre with every new thing I discover.

    How they’re think it makes sense to have a national election for President of the country, but with different rules about how you can actually cast your vote, is utterly absurd.

    Good ole Mississippi won’t allow any postal votes.

    Naturally they also have a high number of covid cases.

  6. Yes, US voting is even more stuck in the past than our own rubbish archaic system.

    It’s up to each state how it selects it’s delegates. As far as I’m aware, there’s no obligation for a state to hold a vote for this at all. Also, strictly speaking, selected delegates are in no way bound to vote in a manner that reflects the popular vote in a state.

  7. Colin

    I trust that all the lawmakers from all parties at Holyrood will do their best to get the wording in the Bill right before deciding to make it law.

    Your concern that this stricture only applies to SNP MSPs may reflect an ignorance of how Holyrood works – especially with a minority government.

    Margaret Mitchell, SCon MSP, who is Convenor of the Justice Committee will have a particularly important role, but so will the other 8 members. As is appropriate, given the membership of the Parliament, there are 5 opposition MSPs to the governing party’s 4.

    The list of witnesses from whom they will hear evidence is not yet known, but Neil Oliver is unlikely to be considered as having any constructive role to play.

    You continue to confuse the Police Federation with Police Scotland, although you have already been informed by Hireton that your terminology is inaccurate.

    Indeed, the need for accuracy in the wording of the legislation should be reflected in commentary about the Bill and the processes of legislating, by yourself as well as everyone else.

    Otherwise you will fall into the category of mouthing nonsense, and suspected of it being partisan nonsense at that.

  8. Lady Valerie

    “It’s not always about you, you know.”

    Never thought it was,
    It’s been quite normal practice to chip in to others conversations for as long as i have used this site. I am interested in Starmers positioning with the voters.

    Whilst as i posted I think he has made a good start he does have aproblem with a perceived lack of charisma as polls have shown if you care to check back on the polling with charisma as a question.

  9. STEVE

    “We could be twins!”

    Now there’s a thought!

  10. For devotees of Political Compass, here’s another silly political poll – “Which government most closely matches your political views?”

    https://www.quotev.com/quiz/8888999/t

    I’m matched with the Danish Government.

  11. Oldnat
    Oh Canada!
    Apparently.

  12. ON

    Denmark for me, too.

  13. This is getting bizarre. From 1 September, it seems we can all play spot the missing Tory MP:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/aug/16/labour-insists-tory-mp-accused-of-should-not-return-to-commons

    There is a list of about 20 or so Tory MPs who fit the criteria so presumably wll that needs to be done is to check which ones don’t vote on 3 line votes.

  14. Norway. !

  15. Iceland :-)

  16. Another Dane here
    And economics -7.88, libertarian -6.97.

    So obviously I’m a centrist in Corbynsta terms.

  17. Russia…

    (Are we playing naming countries? I know a few more.)

  18. Canada

  19. Eswatini………………………..what’s going on? I like living by the sea!

  20. Canada

  21. I did the political canvas just for fun too.

    -7.38 (economy), -5.28 (social), so just a liberal centrist :-)

  22. Malta.

  23. On Political Compass, I’m perfectly centred – in the middle of the left/Libertarian quadrant,

    -5.5 / -5.54

  24. Zimbabwe!

    Maybe it was my innate pessimism?

  25. So, BoJo the Great Communicator is about to jet off to Scotland for a holiday, safe in the knowledge that he has united the nation. (England, before anyone gets aerated).

    This exams fiasco is a most wonderful achievement. Disparate groups of voters as diverse as urban ethnic groups, home counties ‘common sense’ Conservatives, occupants of former Red Wall northern towns, and anxious middle class liberals everywhere, are united in common cause: never before has a government policy been so widely trashed by every sector of society. [Save the 7% who can afford private education…93 to 7 is a bad ratio though].

    It’s a total mess, and is yet another example of how this government simply lacks any kind of competence. They really couldn’t run a whelk stall, as we used to say in southern parts.

    They will back down, because they have to, and because their backbenchers will be furious if they don’t. Odd, for a government with an 80 plus majority, to be so buffeted by public opinion, but that’s what you get for being a bit useless.

    This is also what you get for believing you know best and that you should never apologise.

    Brexit next, and then four more years of the least competence bunch of ministers since Lord North.

    “Lovely to watch”, as Sid Waddel once said.

  26. Alec,
    “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. ”

    Yes, there is. People have recovered from mild cases of covid without generating antibodies (in fact, that seems the most likely outcome). That they recovered means they were immune at that moment via t cell, and t cell immunity is long term. (although they may also have some antibody immunity below the detection level of testing)

  27. Back in 1980 at Hendon Met Police training centre as a newly arrived recruit we completed an exercise very similar to political compass.
    Needless to say out of a class of around 30 we had 25 authoritarian right wingers around 4 centrists

    And me!

  28. @Danny – that doesn’t mean that they are immune to higher doses.

    You just don’t know that – and nor do I. Just because an individuals innate immune response has terminated an infection, that doesn’t necessarily mean that have full immunity to that pathogen.

    Probably best to leave it there for now. There isn’t much point taking this any further.

  29. Poland

  30. Uruguay

  31. An interesting anecdote from today.

    People will recall that my local town of Hastings seems to have had an outbreak of covid last december. Today I happened to be speaking to a pensioner couple who recounted that shortly before lockdown they went to London to a dinner out with various friends living in London. After this everyone else at the dinner came down with some flu like illness, which was consistent with covid. Except for the two pensioners from hastings. Who also recounted they too last winter had a flu like illness, complete with loss of taste. Something we didnt associate with covid until some time after lockdown when the Kings phone app identified it as the most characterisitc of all covid symptoms.

    The most likely explanation for low case numbers in Hastings seems to be there was an outbreak here last winter, so locally many are immune. But since there was no outbreak of unexplained pneumonias last winter, this took place without the death toll now being associated with the disease.

    It seems likely that the exact circumstances of a case dictate the final severity, and low dose infections end as milder cases. In a small provincial town the virus never gets seriously going and never reaches the peak intensity likely to cause deaths. Analogy with low case severity in the cornwall/somerset/devon penisnular.

    While I first suggested this might be all about the way this is caught in the community, its seems that in particular, circumstances in hospitals and care homes are especially bad in terms of the likelihood of receiving a high initial dose. All those very sick covid patients already there.

    It seems likely how such places isolate sick people is very important in determining final death toll, and there were major failings in this respect. This could indeed have been the biggest determinant in the final death toll.

  32. EOR

    I see we’ve now had the first poll on Kamala Harris – seems to have been a good call by Biden.

  33. Mind boggling array of different voting arrangements in the Presidential election summarised on the Nate Silver site

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-were-planning-for-an-election-day-that-could-last-months/

  34. Uruguay

    But – interestingly – specifically, the 1950s iteration.

    I might investigate what that indicates.

    Then again I might not.

  35. @OLDNAT

    I see we’ve now had the first poll on Kamala Harris – seems to have been a good call by Biden.

    Care to expand on that? :-)

  36. @OLDNAT

    Thanks for that link.

    Not sure that poll tells us much meaningful – she’s got essentially the same approval (albeit with higher DKs ) that Sarah Palin had at this stage in 2008. Only 14% of Democrats aren’t supportive of his choice, which could have been much worse, but how unsupportive they are is going to be is important to know – will they grit their teeth and vote for the ticket anyway or stay home?

    Whether this will cut into VI at all remains to be seen.

  37. EOR

    It’s early days but the 52-29% positivity among independents looks encouraging for the Democratic ticket. What were Palin’s numbers with them at this point?

  38. DENMARK!

    The only question that threw me was ‘should woman soldiers be allowed to serve in combat zones’. I said yes (though really unsure on that one).

    So went back. Changed the answer to no (keeping all other answers the same and got…CANADA!

  39. @OLDNAT

    I don’t know to be honest, I was just going on what was in the article – but either way you’ve still got that split level of “what do they think?” and “how much do they care about that?”. There are always ministers who are more or less popular than the PM, but not much evidence that changing who they are will change the PM’s ratings?

    The same source you cited did partially attribute an initial boost to McCain’s VI to his choice of Palin, and her appeal in various groups;

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110521103232/http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?id=6377234&section=news%2Fpolitics

    but they were comparing polls before and after the Conventions and so there had been many high profile speeches, endorsements (or lack of) and so on to factor in too. Crediting a VI improvement to Palin’s selection was probably fitting the data to the narrative more than the other way around.

    All that said, my prediction on here before Biden’s selection was that if it were Kamala Harris it’d likely make no odds to VI, so I at least have a +/- to be judged by :-)

  40. Danish / Norwegian, so dual nationality.

    Compass: -5.13 -5.13 (as lefty as I am liberal apparently, despite answering many questions to the contrary of left/liberal held beliefs)

    Hope LeftyLiberal sees that one. :D

    I’d probably chop 2-3 off both to be honest. Centrist with a view to regulating businesses properly, and not being nasty to the least advantaged. You know…human. ;)

  41. @R&D

    You know some countries, do you? Try this:

    https://www.gamedesign.jp/flash/worldmap/worldmap.html

    Click it if you know it. You’re on timer, and if you click the wrong place, the timer drops a little. My best is 97%. ;)

  42. Mercia.

  43. From the Telegraph, re: the US election…

    “Everyone thinks Trump will lose – except the stock market”

    The S&P 500 has a remarkable ability to predict the winner of US elections

    MATTHEW LYNN
    15 August 2020 • 5:00am

    “Inept, chaotic, confused and possibly corrupt. With the most infections in the world, and with little sign of a coherent plan for bringing it under control, US president Donald Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis is widely assumed to have condemned him to defeat in November’s election. He is behind in the polls, against a popular opponent who has now added an astute choice of running mate to the ticket.

    But hold on. There is one exception to that consensus. The stock market. The record shows that if the bull market stays as strong as it has been, Trump will pull off an unexpected victory. People might or might not like that – but there is no point in ignoring it. With the Covid-19 crisis getting worse and worse, with economies plunging into deep recessions, and with a wave of job losses on the horizon, the markets have not focused on November’s presidential election as much as they usually would. There is simply too much other stuff to worry about.

    That said, as Nov 3 draws closer investors will start to focus on the contest for the White House and its likely impact on the global economy.”

    “The polls suggest that is what the electorate want right now. The latest trackers put the Democrat on 50pc against 41pc for the Republican, with significant leads for Biden in key battleground states such as coronavirus-ravaged Florida.

    It is rare that a lead that strong is thrown away in 10 weeks, and with the economy crashing, and the virus still rampant, there is not going to be much good news for the president. The smart money says Biden can start preparing his victory speech.

    There is one problem, however. The stock market is predicting a Trump victory. Before rushing to any conclusions, stop and look at this statistic. In 20 out of the last 23 presidential elections, and in every one since 1984, if stocks are up in the three months before the election, the incumbent party wins. If they are down, it loses.

    In reality, the market is a better indicator than the polls. In 2016, for example, just about everyone thought Hillary Clinton would win. But in the three months up to the election, the S&P 500 was down by 2.3pc.

    What happened next? The incumbent party lost. When Obama was re-elected, stocks had been rising, but when he took the White House from the Republicans in 2008 they had crashed in the three months before the election. In fact, the last time the S&P 500 didn’t call the result correctly was in 1980, when Ronald Reagan won against Jimmy Carter even though equities were up by 7pc in the preceding months.

    Before that, the rule didn’t work for Richard Nixon’s victory in 1968, and Dwight Eisenhower’s re-election in 1956. But that’s it. For every other contest since Herbert Hoover’s victory in 1928 (after a 13.6pc rise in the index, in case your memory doesn’t stretch back quite that far) it has held good.

    That, of course, is telling us something about the 2020 race. Week after week, the market keeps hitting record highs. The S&P 500 is within a whisker of a fresh record, and is already up significantly since the start of August. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is on a rampant bull run.”

  44. Alec

    “Brexit next, and then four more years of the least competence bunch of ministers since Lord North.”

    Just your opinion Alec, you forgot the IMO again.

  45. Denmark and Libertarian left: economic -8.75; social -5.49

    don’t know what that says about me

  46. Carfew.
    Hillary Clinton did win.
    By nearly three million votes.

  47. TOH
    Can he remove the imo when brexit turns out to be the utter [email protected]@k those not of the delusional persuasion anticipate?

  48. That is just Y.O. Steve, (IMO)

  49. oldnat,
    “For devotees of Political Compass, here’s another silly political poll – “Which government most closely matches your political views?””

    I got uruguay, with a very close second of the czech republic. Who?

    They say most people scored Denmark, with Uruguay second.

    Alec,
    “@Danny – that doesn’t mean that they are immune to higher doses. ”

    Yes, it does.If they had any kind of establised infection then they had internally waaay more virus than they are likely to be infected with. Yet they beat it.

    What is your definition of immune? It doesnt mean you get a force field around you. It means that if you get virus entering your system it will be eradicated before you get ill. It doesnt mean within ten seconds. It doesnt mean the virus fails to do anything. Start to think about these things and they all get much more wooly than we have been led to believe. In all circumstances immune people still get re-infected.

    The phenomenon that immunity stays high in people after an infection for longer if they continue to live in an area where the epidemic is still active has been reported before. I dont see how you can explain that except that whatever agent is still infecting them, they react by keeping high immunity or continuing to build it. The situation where we continually build immunity if exposed to doses too low to cause an active or lasting infection is not unusual.

    What is unusual about this epidemic is just how much testing is being carried out, which must be a world record high never seen before. We are uncovering facts about infection which could never have been detected before, such as the asymptomatic cases. These could never have been identified in such numbers previously. It brings deeply into queston just what you mean by being immune. It does not mean you never have that infectious agent active in your body ever again.

    Found a guardian article talking about testing. It says the government has reduced its numbers for the total of tests made available by 1.3 million and discontinued publication of this number. Thats about 10% fewer. These have come from pillar 2 community testing totals, though the article says pillar 1 totals (hospitals) have been raised. Sounds as though the number is therefore a net figure. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/14/government-quietly-drops-13m-covid-tests-from-england-tally

    ‘More or Less’ reported on double counting of test kits months ago, but not till now has there been a correction, it seems. I expect they will mention it on the program this week. They first mentioned this in connection with government claiming to have hit its 100,000 test target and that it was double counting kits sent out plus the actual test being done.

    The Guardian also reports on 750,00 test kits being withdrawn after being sent out because of a problem with contamination.

    More murkiness in statistics relating to testing. Does this mean early on positivity would also take a big jump what with there having been fewer tests in total? Though it has long been just as unclear how many unique people have been tested,compromising positivity measurements and comparisons over time.

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