With a huge quantity of elections on Thursday, we also have a huge amount of opinion polling ahead of it. Here is a summary of the polling on this week’s elections and what we can predict about this week’s results from it.


The Scottish election race has been heavily polled and with fairly consistent results across polling companies. Everyone has the SNP clearly ahead in both votes, and we can be confident as confident can be that the SNP will win. The broad questions are:

a) How close the SNP will get to an overall majority in their own right, rather than with the Greens
b) Whether Labour or the Conservatives will be in second place
c) Whether Alex Salmond’s Alba party will win any seats

At least six companies have released Scottish polls in the last week or so (and we may well get more tomorrow). Most have shown the SNP around 50% in the constituency vote (SavantaComRes in the Scotsman were lower at 45%, but was conducted a week ago now, so I don’t know if they have another to come). In the regional vote most companies tend to show the SNP at around 36%-41%, with everyone showing the Conservatives in second place on around 22% and Labour third.

It is hard to translate votes into seats with confidence between so many of the final regional seats end up being won by extremely small margins, but it is probably the best way of understanding the interaction between the two votes. The most recent projections have tended to suggest that the SNP may just scrape a majority.

Sky projects 67 seats for the SNP based on the Opinium poll, John Curtice in the Times suggests 68 SNP seats based on the YouGov data. Panelbase in the Sunday Times at the weekend was projected to deliver them 65 seats by Curtice. The Herald’s BMG poll was projected to deliver 68 SNP seats. If the SNP do fall short then they will easily have a pro-independence majority with the Greens anyway, but an outright majority may give them a stronger moral case in the inevitable argument with the UK government over a referendum.

Finally, there is Alba – Alex Salmond’s new party. There has been some difference between polling companies on their projected level of support. For a while Panelbase were giving them around 6% while other companies were giving them derisory support. The final YouGov & Opinium polls did at least see them climbing to 3% (possibly enough to get a seat somewhere depending how unevenly their vote is distributed), while the most recent Panelbase poll had them dropping to 4%.


In the past Wales has not tended to attract much polling – there have been elections when it was YouGov and no one else. This year has been more interesting, with polls from SavantaComRes, Opinium and ICM. There are final Welsh polls from YouGov and Survation due out out tomorrow (and possibly SavantaComRes too) so we’re not done here yet.

The polling show far has also shown Labour ahead, but by differing amounts. Back in February and March YouGov produced a couple of polls showing the Conservatives within touching distance of Labour. Since then Labour have pulled back ahead, with a lead of 9-11 points on the constituency vote, 7-10 points on the list vote. We will see what the final polls show tomorrow.


Perhaps the most foregone conclusion that we have polling for – there has never really been the slightest doubt that Sadiq Khan was going to be re-elected as London mayor once Rory Stewart dropped out (even when Stewart was in the race polling showed an easy win for Khan, but at least Stewart had the potential to shake things). Given the race hasn’t been competitive there hasn’t been nearly as much polling as in past years, but we have had two final calls today (and perhaps more to come tomorrow). Both show Khan winning easily.

Opinium’s final call has Khan winning the first round by 48% to Bailey’s 29%, with Porrit in third on 8% and Berry on 7%. Khan wins easily on round two.
YouGov’s final call has Khan slightly lower on the first round, winning by 43% to Bailey’s 31%, with Berry on 10% and Porrit on 5%. Again, Khan wins easily on round two.


As well as London, there are elections for seven combined authority mayors (Cambridgeshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England, West Yorkshire). We have polling for two of those, and in the case of the more recent polls, both show incumbents who were initially elected on a knife-edge now cruising to re-election.

The West Midlands mayoralty is being defended by the Conservative Andy Street. We have two decent sized polls there. Redfield & Wilton polled about a fortnight ago and found a 9 point lead for Street on the first round, but only a 2 point lead once second preferences were redistributed. Opinium released a more recent poll on Tuesday morning, commissioned by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership which projected a clearer win for Street – a 17 point lead and victory on the first round.

The only other poll I’m aware of is for the Tees Valley race. This was won by the Conservative incumbent Ben Houchen by an extremely narrow margin in 2017. The only poll is by Opinium. It has a sample size of only 387 (243 once you take out don’t knows and won’t votes) and the size was such that Opinium didn’t have the space to filter for likelihood to vote. For what it’s worth though, the shares were CON 63%, LAB 37% – suggesting a very easy hold for the Conservatives.


Survation have produced two opinion polls of Hartlepool. The first for the CWU early in the campaign, the second for Good Morning Britain, conducted at the end of April. Constituency polling is a difficult challenge that has a somewhat patchy record, and small sample sizes mean they are large margins of error. That said Survation’s latest poll showed a very solid 17 point lead for the Conservatives, well outside the margin of error. The poll would have to be very wrong indeed for this not to be a Conservative gain.


Local elections rarely get much polling because of the nature of the contest. There is very uneven pattern of contestation, so many people don’t get a choice between all parties. In many places people get more than one vote so can vote for different parties. From a pollsters point of view, it’s also difficult to know what you are measuring – the “Projected National Share” that the BBC calculate on election night is not the actual shares of the vote – its a projection based on the votes in some key wards – so even if pollsters did ask about local elections, the numbers wouldn’t match the numbers the BBC announced on the night!

Normally the only attempt we get to predict likely gains and losses in local elections is therefore the Rallings & Thrasher modelling based on how people have voted in local council by-elections. This time round the coronavirus lockdown means we’ve had hardly any local council by-elections, so even the Rallings & Thrasher model lies dormant.

Unusually though we have got a couple of predictions using polling data. YouGov released a poll last week of councils that cover Northern & Midlands seats that the Tories won at the last elections (the so-called “Red wall” seats) that was used to project gains and losses here – that predicted Tory councillor gains in those areas.

Meanwhile Electoral Calculus have make predictions of district and unitary councillor gains and losses based on data from newcomers “Find Out Now” (a company that polls people visiting the PickMyPostcode website). Not sure why the county elections were excluded, but there goes. That predicts gains of about 300 seats for both Labour and Conservative, at the expense of Lib Dems and Others (note the overall number of seats rises because council changes). Note that the YouGov fieldwork was mid-April, the Electoral Calculus data last week, so quite possible that it pre-empted some of the recent poor coverage for the Government.


The final set of elections on Thursday, and very much the poor relation, are the Police Commissioner elections. Given the lack of public profile these – rather unsurprisingly – don’t appear to have been polled at all (indeed, given the uneven pattern of contestation and the fact I expect many people have no idea they are happening and won’t make their mind up how they’ll vote before being presented with a surprise additional ballot paper on Thursday, they would probably be rather hard to poll if we tried).

1,755 Responses to “Polling ahead of Thursday’s Elections”

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  1. UK jobs first recovery, official ONS update:

    “The latest figures suggest that the jobs market has been broadly stable in recent months, with some early signs of recovery.”


    So, opposite of the doom ‘predictions’ then ;)

    With the economy reopening then the large number of folks (mostly young) still on furlough will hopefully be working again soon (and with loads of hours if you believe the ‘revisionist’ new version of Brexit Project Farce saying we won’t have enough workers)

    Anyway, the Happy Management Team (HMT) led by Saint Rishi of Furlough will be pleased to see all the city economist types revise their ‘predictions’ for post C19 unemployment (down), GDP (up), budget deficit (down) ;)

    The good news just keeps on coming ;)

  2. TOH: We are talking about really core beliefs now,

    I think that takes us back to my original political point: for all the talk of ‘levelling up’, that’s really not going to happen in major policy areas like health and education unless the Tories abandon those core beliefs of yours. Which, in my judgement, isn’t going to happen.

    New Model Tories? Err…no.

  3. @ LEWBLEW – the question is how do LAB become more popular and start winning more seats and hence be in a position to form a govt one day.

    ‘Vote Stacking’ is a broad term for only appealing to a narrow group of voters (in specific ‘type’ of seat) whilst the other party (CON in this case) swoop in and take the voters that LAB (in this case) have abandoned.

    Perhaps CON’s broad church is becoming too broad but I don’t see any signs of internal division yet – housing+planning reform might expose some (and they can’t kick the can on Social Care (divisive solution as May learned the hard way) for ever)

    CON currently ‘own’ the RoC side having eliminated UKIP, BXP, RUK (and Abolish didn’t get going in Wales)

    CON also have fair dibs on LoC side having ripped up the ‘Old Model Tory’ of EU-Centric ne0liberalism

    CON also have fair dibs on ‘Midlands-North-Wales’ having ripped up the ‘Old Model Tory’ of London-Centric ne0liberalism

    LAB ‘own’ the renters, unemployed, BAME segments (highly concentrated in specific seats)

    The ‘lefty-liberal-metro’ segment is under attack from Greens (and defended by the Islington elite internally within LAB) so LAB have to be careful not to lose that (although they have massive majorities in most of those seats then we saw what SNP did to LAB in Scotland (very different, France and the collapse of the Socialist Party possibly a better example))

  4. edge of reason,
    “The accusation is that the central authority has advised the states to count as COVID deaths only those that deaths that have no comorbidities, and that this is resulting in under-counting of up to 90-95%. ”

    Its plain people in the Uk have been written up as covid deaths despite not being covid deaths. I know of a local case, where the family were furious someone dying of cancer had on his death certificate ‘covid’.

    So whether there might be undercounting in India, there is certainly over counting in the UK.

    ” With the very high levels of vaccinations in the U.K. another countrywide lockdown seems quite remote.”

    When you say another..this one has now been going on for 5 minths and there is no intention to fully end it that I know of. Barking. It has just become an excuse to smother Brexit bad news.

    “All have reported a more positive response to the actions of the government unique to that polity than to that in the others.”

    Which is quite an interesting finding, because they have all done much the same thing bar a few tweaks and timings.

    It looks much more like the natonal regions prefer to side with their leader than the westminster one.

    “In other news, Lord Frost has said that the UK Government is to hire an external adviser to identify potential benefits of Brexit.”

    is that maybe 10 years too late?

  5. A thread from Peter Foster on the Whitehall fight over the Australia trade deal:


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