YouGov’s poll in the Sun today has topline figures of CON 41%, LAB 31%, LDEM 18%, so little change in the Conservative lead as we head towards the election.

This poll has a significant methodological change, albeit one which has made hardly any difference to the topline figures. Unlike nearly all of the other pollsters YouGov do not normally take into account likelihood to vote in their topline figures – based I believe on the theory that away from elections polls are snapshots, rather than predictions.

In 2005 in YouGov’s final pre-election poll they did factor in likelihood to vote, which decreased the Labour lead slightly and made YouGov’s final prediction more accurate. At this election YouGov have decided to factor it in from the start of the campaign, so on the assumption that Brown will call the election tomorrow, they are now in election mode and the figures are weighted by likelihood to vote in the same way that Populus do.

This actually makes very little difference to the figures. Without weighting by likelihood to vote the figures would have been CON 40%(+1), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 18%(-2), so all the likelihood weighting did was push up the Conservatives by one point (which, I should add is pretty typical of the testing we’ve done over the last month. It’s never made more than 1 point difference).

Methodological discussion aside, YouGov’s poll shows Labour rising at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, though obviously the lead has a rather greater contrast! Given the normal doubts about polls over bank holidays, I think the chances are that YouGov or ICM have got a strange bank holiday sample (Opinium don’t have any political weighting, so are likely to be a bit erratic anyway).

With recent polls coming together somewhat around a Conservative lead of around 10 points or just below, it’s probably better to be sceptical of the ICM poll until and unless other pollsters show a similar narrowing of the lead. I expect we’ll have no shortage of polling over the next few days to enlighten us.

528 Responses to “YouGov show 10 point Conservative lead”

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  1. Appears to supports the view that ICM is this week’s rogue.

  2. Why this change in methodology? This methodolgy worked in 2005 and the mayoral elections. Has the pressure placed from Telegraph resulted in this change – would be shocking if that’s the case.

    Does this change null any comparisons to previous polls? For me it sounds like comparing eggs with apples.

  3. I am looking forward to a forthcoming Telegraph article acusing ICM of pro-Labour bias… ;-)

  4. I am pleasently surprised. I expected a reduction to the region of 6-8% lead.

    41% is a very important figure. :-)

  5. Conservatives back in the 40s is news that Labour would have dreaded the day before Brown hands in his notice.

    Labour have no ammunition left and I believe the Conservatives will have a maj of 30 to 40.

  6. And the BBC website has confirmed GB off to see the queen tomorrow.

  7. I shall be interested to hear Bill Roy on this subject (LTV), when he is on the mend of course.

  8. Brown to call an election tomorrow for May 6th according to BBC News.

  9. Hardly seems worth commenting on, at least until we have another ICM poll. Just when we thought there was significant convergence we have a real split.

  10. Don’t you just love Tory Twitterers, the only thing that was missing was Eric Pickles tweetering the wrong results….again.

  11. this appears to be a rogue.

    a poll (in the Sun) showing the Tories above 40% for the first time in ages on the day the GE will be announced…

  12. So we (probably) start with the cons holding a lead big enough to form an overall majority but both a landslide and hung parliament with Labour the largest party in seat but not vote terms still just about possible.
    All to play for.

  13. This is yet another reminder that we should be cautious about Twitter rumours, lol.

  14. An excellent result for the Conservatives, though maintaining the 10 point lead from Saturday’s poll. Slightly disappointing for the Lib Dems perhaps. I guess Labour will be happy with 2 of the days polls being over 30, which is a bit poor really.

    The average of the last 10 polls is 38.4 – 30.2 – 19.8 giving 305 – 263 – 52 seats (uniform swing) seeing Con 21 seats short. Lets see where the campaign proper takes us from here.

  15. Just an extra thought and then enough already. Don’t see any moans yet that field work for YouGov carried out over holiday. I wonder why?

  16. Could someone confirm the Tory figure? There’s a rumour going round that it’s 40%, not 41%.

  17. Chris – read the article.

    YouGov also switched to take account of likelihood to vote in 2005 (though much later in the campaign). This IS the methodology that worked in 2005.

    For comparing to past polls, the difference today (increasing the Conservative vote by 1) is entirely typical, but the figures without likelihood to vote weighting will always be published too anyway.

  18. given that no-one else has the tories even on 40%, this raises some eyebrows…

    labour will be happy to be back in the 30s.

  19. Well it’s clear that YouGov are totally biased towards Labour and can’t be trusted.
    Only kidding folks…….

    At least this new methodology saves Bill Roy a lot of trouble. It seems that only the new methodology has prevented Labour from apparently narrowing the lead by one point, but I

  20. Another methodological change?

    Can’t you just stick to one weighting scheme? It makes comparisons very hard.

  21. Harry – the Tory figure is 40% without likelihood to vote weighting, and 41% with likelihood to vote weighting.

    The latter is what YouGov will regard as their “topline” voting intention figure during the election campaign.

  22. Interesting point on weighting for likelihood to vote. Every day recently we’ve had someone adjusting the Labour figure down for YouGov polls in an untested way for this. Thankfully now this will stop.

  23. WHOOPS – meant to continue, but I for one prefer accuracy in polls rather than seeing what I want to see.

  24. Weighted Moving Average = 39:30:20.

    Nothing much changes from my last post except that we now have a Retrospective on the ICM and it seems indeed to be badly out (4.8) though not as bad as their two previous rogues last year.

    2 week WMA trend has an R2 of 0.75 which is as good as it gets. If it continues the CLead at the GE would be 16, so my handy “predictor” is (16+8)/2=12.

    Whoever is telling Brown that fighting on a platform of “government waste + tax on jobs + fighting every private sector business organisation + denying cancer patients the drugs their doctors think they need” wants him to lose and lose badly.

  25. @AW – From you ignoring the point on Telegraph pressure – I take from lack on an answer this is correct then?

  26. I was intrigued as to how YouGov weight by likeliehood to vote. This is probably a naive question born of ignorance. The act of voting and responding to a pollster a fundamentally different ones, and there is a reality gap down which some things will disappear. Therefore likeliehood to vote depends on a judgement made by the pollster made on some evidence. Furthermore, non-voting and its effect of the electorate between different elections is something very important in determining British elections, and it rarely commented on with the depth it deserves. How does a pollster examine likely non-voting? Does it at all? How does it differentiate between the voters generally disengaged from politics, protesting about politics, or protesting about the party they normally vote for?

  27. Anthony – Thanks for the clarification – the YouGov site seems overwhelmed at the moment.

  28. My guess is that we’re still looking at a 7-9% Tory lead, with momentum still with the Conservatives.

    Tories go into the election confident having overcome their wobble and having scored a direct hit on Labour with their NIC policy.

    Labour approach the election having lost the momentum they had built up from two solid months of pounding the Conservatives. Surely, must now be regretting that Brown did not have the courage to call an earlier election for 25th March, and so start the campaign when the Tories were still in some disarray.

  29. Apart from tonights ICM poll, all the polls for the last 2 weeks have had the Tories on 37% or above and a steaily growing % lead over Labour. I think an impartial judge would have to say this is a solid trend with one rogue result.

  30. Chris – nope, I just considered it beneath my dignity to bother replying to such nonsense.

  31. It is now important that the Tories hold their nerve and behave like a government in waiting. Labour are not dead yet and as posts to this very high grade site show, whatever Labour have done or do, they have support from a “divine wind”. Mandelson dropped the ball last week but never ever discount him. Steady the Blues and concentrate on the asperations of the British people. I hope Gordon Browns frame of mind is suitable for his meeting tomorrow.

  32. So would this mean a hung parliament?
    Whatever the case, this is going to be a fascinating four weeks. I really believe though that, as obvious as it sounds, we’re not going to know the results until the night of the GE. As much as I have faith in the polls, I think this is going to be a somewhat unpredictable election. So of course, that will mean lots of predicting!

  33. Any news from marginal seats especially the supermarginals?

  34. @Antony – just coincidence then? It was a straight question and I don’t think there’s a need for such patronization

  35. Difficult to see how labour in 30s four weeks pre election is positive when cons are 40+

    there is not much now for brown to play with other than a cameron cock-up and the more likely scenario is that more bad things will happen to incumbents than pretenders over the coming month….

  36. John Fletcher

    “Apart from tonights ICM poll, all the polls for the last 2 weeks have had the Tories on 37% or above and a steaily growing % lead over Labour. I think an impartial judge would have to say this is a solid trend with one rogue result.”

    Can’t agree, sorry. The polls do show a slight groth in tory polls since about the 27th. Today’s ICM result is only down 1 point on yesterday’s and is still above their result from the 27th. Such a small change is statistically insignificant and an impartial judge would dismiss it until more data is in. As a general rule, I don’t put much weight on today’s result at all until I can view it in the light of the next result from the same pollster. One reading doesn’t make a trend.

  37. If the Tories are now in majority territory it will make the deabtes a bit easier for Cameron. He does not need to go chasing or to be rash. All that is required is that he plays his cool. In one respect it is good news for labour. Media scrutiny will now almost universally be on the Tory party…. that is unless people seize on teh ICM 4% which we can safely say is a woopsy dooo.

    I await a populus and Ipsos Mori but I have the Tory lead at 8-9%

  38. In the past week the YG poll has suddenly shown a large divergence in share. Previously YG polls were showing small but consistant narrowing of the lead
    with very little day to day variation.

    Are we assume that the Osborne policy of reducing Labours proposed NICs has resulted in this YG Tory lead?

    If this is the case I find it worrying that the electorate (or at least those polled by YG) can look no further than a slight reduction in their outgoings without wondering where the Tory cuts will fall.

    Another worry for me is that although most of the news over the weekend has been negative for both Labour and tory, it is the Lib Dems who have suffered most. Seems to confirm the thought that there is no such thing as bad news.

  39. @NICKOK
    Nick this poll in isolation would give the Tories a majority with their small bonus in the marginals. The only thing to upset that on a poll of polls so to speak over the last few results, is tonights ICM.

  40. @Colin G

    If you go to the list of latest polls on the home page and look at the results since the 24th March I think you will find I am correct with my calculations.

    It is simply a fact that todays ICM poll is going against the trend of all the others, including the other 2 out tonight.

  41. Are people discussing this poll in isolation without regard to the ICM? It was a few days ago considered by many on these threads as being more accurate. So on that basis averaging this and ICM) the Tory lead is not likely to give anywhere near a landslide even if a working majority happens

  42. Oh no – there’s another hmmm here!

    I’m not particularly surprised by the tory figure, as nothing much has happened to change the polls, though I am quite surprised at the libs being down.

    It all gets very exciting from here! :)

  43. The mysterious bank holiday phenomenon doesn’t seem to apply to You Gov now.

  44. Curious that there is a +2% change for Lab on like-for-like comparison.


    So, Labour supporters latch on to tonight’s ICM poll, Tory supporters latch on tonight’s YouGov poll and in the process inevitably make partisan comments. A few people try and see the wood for the trees and make sensible comments which reflect balance and objectivity – and so it will go on until the election. I shall stick with this site as others are even worse. I’d like to see some polling (if it is technically possible to frame questions appropriately) about the sort of choices people will be faced with – for instance it’s almost certain that the Tory’s will increase prescription charges to £10.00 and it would be interesting to know how people would react to a question such as ‘would you be prepared to see prescription charges increased to £10.00 if that would help protect frontline services in the NHS?’.

  46. what is certain from all three polls is that Labour have steadied. Their average is 31% accross all three.

    I wonder why certainty to vote is not deducted from labour but rather added to the Tories.

    why was the poll not 40-30? am i dumb? :)

    Over the last 3 centuries there’s many a Frenchman or German
    who wished they had not met a wild fighting Irish like you or a mild mannered Home counties English like me. But here we are agreeing to the letter. Your last post is spot on.

  48. John Fletcher

    “If you go to the list of latest polls on the home page and look at the results since the 24th March I think you will find I am correct with my calculations.

    It is simply a fact that todays ICM poll is going against the trend of all the others, including the other 2 out tonight.”

    I keep a spreadsheet of all the polls and have analysed the data thoroughly. My point is that today’s ICM poll is well within the margin of error and so cannot be counted as a rogue.

  49. Hi

    I’ve only posted a couple of times here, but aren’t all these polls roughly within the margin of error? So that there is likely to be between a 4% and 10% Tory lead?

    Plus we know from the recent ICM research in today’s Guardian article that Lib Dem support is the most volatile and that there are a significant number of Lib Dem and Conservative voters who may switch to Labour.

    The interesting things for me are will the Lib Dem vote be squeezed and will it go to Labour, plus will the Tories be able to keep on board their potential switchers?

    Suggests to me that it is all to play for. The probability of outcomes on electoral calculus seem about right to me.

    Tory Majority 39%
    Labour Majority 15%
    Con/Lib Dem Coalition 19%
    Lab/Lib Dem Coalition 16%
    Lib Dem choice of Coalition 11%

    They currently predict Tories short a majority by 26.

    Very difficult but not impossible for Labour to get a majority and still a lot of work for the Tories to do as well.

  50. @Eoin

    Presumably because the Tory likelihood to vote was stronger than Lab’s

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