Following the Populus/Times Eastleigh poll that showed the Liberal Democrats five points ahead, there is a new Survation poll of Eastleigh in the Mail on Sunday tomorrow that shows the opposite picture, with the Conservative party four points ahead. Their topline voting intentions for Eastleigh are CON 33%(nc), LAB 13%(nc), LDEM 29%(-7), UKIP 21%(+5) – changes are from the previous Survation poll of Eastleigh a fortnight ago.

Both polls were conducted on the telephone and while I haven’t seen the Survation tables both companies tend to use a similar methodology in terms of weighting and reallocating don’t knows to the parties they supported at the last election. I understand they were carried out at about the same time, so it shouldn’t be a “Rennard effect”. The two polls show UKIP with the same level of support, and no significant difference in Labour support – the only difference is the figures for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

I’ll have a proper look when the Survation tables appear, but at first glance the most likely explanation for the difference between the two polls is just the normal variation within the margin of error… suggesting that the race really could be neck-and-neck.

I don’t know if there are any polls of Eastleigh to come – I’ve heard rumours of a poll in the field over this weekend, but we shall see.

UPDATE: The tables for the Survation poll are up here. There are some minor differences in approach (Survation reallocated don’t knows at a lower rate, and didn’t weight up people who didn’t vote in 2010 to as a high a proportion of the sample as Populus did), but none that would explain the difference. Not that the difference really needs a fancy explanation – once you take into account the high level of don’t knows the difference between the two polls can easily be explained by normal margin of error.

389 Responses to “Survation/Mail on Sunday show Tories 4 points ahead in Eastleigh”

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  1. Taken aback by this poll and somehow would be shocked if its correct on the night

  2. Would have been interesting to see a poll asking a question like “if all parties had an equal chance of winning, who would you vote for” to try and strip out the effects of tactical voting. Sometimes I think there is a press or poll driven narrative that sets the scene right from the beginning. Here the conseensus from the off was that Labour had no chance so Labour supporters have tended to vote tactically squeezing the vote and of course meaning that Labour had no chance

  3. Hmm I suspect that UKIP may have “the big mo'”. We haven’t seen a by election with this sort of intensive polling for a while. In the days when we did, it tended to favour a Lib Dem build-up, so it would be ironic if it proved to be their undoing now.

  4. Mail On Sunday,has the Tories in the lead.Now there is a surprise!

  5. New observer poll out.

  6. “Taken aback by this poll and somehow would be shocked if its correct on the night”

    Why are you taken aback by it? The changes from the previous polls are not especially large.

  7. Of course all we are seeing is the Eastleigh Survation and Populus polls from last time being reversed, giving the underlying picture of the two Parties being fairly close. I pointed out last time, the small effective sample sizes and differing adjustment methods meant that the two polls were really equivalent. I suspect once we see the Survation tables (Damian please make this available on the website rather than just mailing your mates) the same thing will be true.

    UKIP do seem to be creeping up, as in the Populus poll, but will need a low poll to win and I suspect may suffer a bit from ‘support’ from the mildly aggrieved who may not in the end bother to vote. Lib Dems should still hold the seat from better organisation (also useful in a low poll) but if they don’t neither Huhne’s driving skills nor Rennard’s wandering hands should be blamed – the problem lies at the top.

  8. Am looking for a table easel as I have decided to become a great artist as well as a great musician – I already have some pencils and will be getting paper soon.

    Anyway, I googled “artists’ easels” and was asked “Do you mean artists’ weasels??”

    Now I actually didn’t, but it got me wondering: I know people like Alec are pretty expert on badgers but does anyone know if weasels could beuseful to a budding artist? If so I might get one.


    My 30 each for the top three is getting closer.

  9. Just wondering if the Lib Dem happiness I have just been reading about in the
    Other place, might be a little premature.Not over until the fat lady sings.

  10. @Anthony

    What’s the lowest winning vote share ever recorded in a Parliamentary election? I have a feeling it was Chloe Smith in the 2009 Norwich North by-election (39%), but I may be wrong. I wonder if Eastleigh could set the all time record?Looking at these polls I could see either the Tory or Lib Dem winning on Thursday with about 32%, maybe even lower.

    FPTP stretched to its ultimate degree!

  11. @Paul C

    I gather a weasel’s tail, which is reasonably bushy, hard wearing and absorbent, can come in quite handy as a paint brush, especially when still attached to the live animal.

    Congratulations on your narrow win today, by the way. Our habit of conceding late goals will probably relegate us in the end.

  12. Crossbat, Norwich South was won at the last GE with 29% of the vote.

    On the Survation poll, their last effort had a pitifully small sample size, and of course their track record in by-election polling is very mixed. I’ll wait until the tables are available before deciding whether to take this poll seriously or treat it as merely the psephological equivalent of consulting chicken entrails.

  13. Cross Batty [and who can blame you]

    Hope you didn’t bet on six-one. I got each puppy to wuff the scores but now think Daisie just carried on wuffing for joy when I mentioned Arsenal.

    This is clearly not a fool-proof method. [And its bleedin’ noisy.]

    Ta for weasel advice: I’ll wait to see what Alec advises re. Badgers.

    I s’pose I could just let them at it and flog “Weasel-Art”. Certainly unusual and probably better than Tracey Emin’s stuff.

  14. Andy S
    Yes I noticed a few eyebrow-raisers in the Populus one, one of which I mentioned on the last thread.

    On the face of it Eastleigh looks a very ‘normal’ Engllish town, but it seems that polling at a very local level, even with a hefty sample, is less reliable than a national poll.

  15. AinW

    “the fat lady sings”

    That is no way to talk about the tory candidate.

    She’s just a bit plump.

  16. Does anyone know how many people in eastleigh read the mail as opposedto the times? isn’t the mail a eurosceptic paper more likely to be read by ukip leaning folk?

  17. Paul Croft
    I shave with one which I call Bodger. I hope you don’t mind me jumping in ahead of Alec here.

  18. Crossbat 11

    The Labour victor in the 1973 Dundee East by-election won with only 32.7% of the vote.

  19. Ahh – Survation – my favourite polling Company!! BTW aren’t some comments above about the fact that this poll appears in the Mail and therefore must be suspect as its a good poll for the blues rather defamatory and frankly a bit daft.The Mail in common with all the other newspapers prints polls which are sometyimes good for the Tories and others rather bad.Surely nobody is seriously saying that Survation are asked by the Mail to skew their findings in favour of the Tories? A rather slanderous thing to say I would have thought.

  20. Inverness, 1992. Won by the LD with 26%.

    The Tories were fourth with 22.6%

  21. Peter Bell (fpt)

    From a personal perpective, if LD win, should I be pleased or upset. On one hand Clegg et al may realise the importance of keeping the left of centre voters happy and therefore take the more left approach which I would want. On the other hand, he may think that if he can hold Eastleigh he can just carry on as he has for the past couple of years

    I mentioned a couple of times now that I think the latter is a real danger for the Lib Dems. There really does have to be a change in both personnel and policies before the next election. Policy is for a future time because the Populus poll had some interesting polling on the various people involved in the by-election. They asked from everything you’ve seen or heard would you say your view of each of the following is positive, neutral or negative or have you never heard of them until now

    Clegg got 21/37/40/2 generally, but only got 37/38/25/0 among Lib Dem voters who should have been overwhelming pro him. The local candidate, Mike Thornton got similar figures in favour generally (20/31/19/30[1]) but much better figures among Lib Dems (61/28/1/13). Indeed even the now-to-be-despised Chris Huhne got 16% saying they had a positive view of him.

    In contrast not just were Cameron’s general figures better than Clegg’s (34/32/34/0) but his support among his own Party’s voters was very much greater (82/15/3/0).

    There has been a small but definite return to the Lib Dems in the last few months, but it should clearly not be take as support for Clegg or his actions.

    [1] Take heed all you “well-known local councillors” after all those years service on the Council and two weeks intensive local and national campaigning, 30% of the electorate hadn’t heard of him.

  22. Latest Opinium poll for Observer has:

    CON 29(nc): LAB 41 (+2): LD 8 (nc): Ukip 13(-1)

    (Apologies if this has already been put up)

  23. @James.

    You just pipped me to it. I’ll never forget Russell Johnson winning with a “losing” vote.

  24. @paulcroft – “I know people like Alec are pretty expert on badgers but does anyone know if weasels could be useful to a budding artist? ”

    They are not. They stink.

    @Crossbat11 – you really should know better.

  25. Howard

    Bodger the badger d’you mean?

    Re Eastleigh it seems interesting that tory opinion seemed to be that they would lose.

  26. James

    Inverness in 1992 was not a by-election.

  27. Paul,
    Well she does look a teeny bit different to her posters!Actually I rather like her
    Face.Reminds me of my sons ferocious welsh piano teacher.He was terrified
    Of her but now he plays really well.

  28. Neck & Neck looks right.

    Still think Cleggers will sneak it.

  29. Ahh

    Now we know how the tories will play a libdem win, “cleggers sneaks it”, conveniently ignoring that dear old cleggers is the main reason that this bye is in any doubt

  30. Trouble at Mill for the Lib Dems if tomorrow’s papers are anything to go by.

  31. Not sure about weasels, but an artist did once tell me that he couldn’t work without his skunk. Not sure how it helped.

  32. Alec

    Smelly-art? Like smelly-vision I suppose. I think CB is cross about the Arsenal.

    What about badgers? Could they waddle out a decent painting if I got some watercolour on their little feet?

  33. @James2612/AndyS/Marcia

    Thanks for the interesting examples of low winning vote shares from elections past, and I was obviously getting my Norwich North confused with my Norwich South! As for Inverness in 1992, crikey, a winning candidate with barely a quarter of the total votes cast!

    Tonight’s/tomorrow’s YouGov in the Sunday Times will be interesting. Two of the last three YouGovs have recorded 15% and 14% Labour leads and today’s Opinium for the Observer has a 12% Labour lead. Early days, but I wonder if we’re seeing the Labour lead gradually edging up, primarily as a result of the Tory VI melting away rather than Labour surging?

  34. Reynard isn’t exactly Jimmy Saville . The allegations will have as much resonance with 95 % of voters as Credit Rating . They’ll think that’s a scandal at Experian !

  35. Dear Roger Mexico. Sky wanted our poll so we had an earlier embargo and I forgot my wordpress login and had to put my children to bed. Sorry about that. I post tables up right away if I can.

    To those doing the “poll for the MAIL wink wink” thing. If you look at our polling for the Mail, it is hardly pro Cameron. Most of the polling is generally embarrassing for CON. We also poll for the Daily Mirror. And the TUC.. It would be a chaotic life to lead flipping methods around to suit the client’s political allegiance!

  36. @Paul C
    “My 30 each for the top three is getting closer.”

    That might be a bit on the high side.

    Given the issues over sample sizes, perhaps we should just take an (unweighted) average of the two. That and taking an educated guess on the overall impact of unwinding the “don’t know” reallocation gets me to:

    Con 28.5%, Lab 13%, LD 29%, UKIP 24%.

    I suggest that UKIP have at least as good a chance as the Cons and LDs of winning this now, not least because of the belated impact of their being seen to be in contention.

  37. Mr Osborne added the UK was still able to borrow money “very cheaply with very low interest rates” from investors all around the world.
    This was “precisely because people have confidence that we have got a [deficit reduction] plan” (BBC 23 Feb)
    That does not appear to be a view shared by Moody’s, in the light of their stated reasons for the rating downgrade. Rather they think that the underlying economy is strong, but its strength is threatened by the challenges which will be faced, until 2016, by the Government’s management of the economy and too inflexible use of austerity as a method of deficit reduction.

  38. @Alec/Paul C

    I’ve always rather admired weasels. They tend to avoid eye contact and do indeed appear a little shifty at times, but when you get to know them they can prove to be entertaining companions. I had one as a pet many years ago, much to the amusement of my friends, and while you tended not to turn your back on it, the little devil was a tenacious defender of both myself and my property when I occasionally unleashed it from, I’m ashamed to say, its rather squalid living conditions. Of course as is normally the case with these interesting little animals, it did do the dirty on me eventually and disappeared without warning, mortally wounding one of my harmless little hamsters as he took his leave. Rather an ungrateful gesture, I thought, but weasels are weasels, I suppose.

  39. Can we put aside our political differences and all agree that this is good news? i.e. that Lord Ashcroft’s funding for polling has been spared the axe apparently being applied to his funding of future general election campaigns.

  40. CB!!

    “weasels are weasels”

    I dunno how I survived without the internet.

  41. Mike Smithson [email protected]

    Tonight’s YouGov: CON 32: LAB 43: LD 11: Ukip 9

  42. According to today’s Opinium poll, Miliband has taken the lead in the Ugly Contest with Clegg and Cameron. The net approval ratings are as follows: –

    Miliband -15
    Cameron -18
    Clegg – 46

    No wonder Ashcroft’s thrown in the towel!

  43. Now that AW has posted the tables, here’s a proper calculation.

    Aggregating the Populus and Survation samples, weighted for turnout but before the DK/won’t say reallocation, gives totals of:
    Con 204, Lab 83, LD 198, UKIP 162, Other 40

    Con 29.5%, Lab 12%, LD 29%, UKIP 23.5%, Other 6%.

  44. I think the big mo is with UKIP.

    Like it or loath it they could now easily win – a sort of Bermondsey moment or even an Orpington moment….interesting if it happens….certainly might cause a small earthquake in the coalition…enter at a trot a stalking horse….or perhaps I mean pantomime horse…in both parties…or maybe I should not be up so late….my imagination is galloping away from me…

  45. @Phil Haines

    More superficially, looking at the *unweighted* tables gives us this:

    * Survation (C/L/LD/UK/Oth/DK/Tot) 95 53 93 85 16 201 543
    * Populus (C/L/LD/UK/DK/Tot) 128 62 169 108 389 1001

    Lumping the other and don’t know together gives us

    * Survation (C/L/LD/UK/O-DK/Tot) 095 053 093 085 217 0543
    * Populus (C/L/LD/UK/O-DK/Tot) 128 062 169 108 389 1001

    Adding them together gives us

    * Combined (C/L/LD/UK/O-DK/Tot) 223 115 262 193 606 1544

    Note that ~40% (606/1544) are other/don’t knows! So basically…we just don’t know…:-)


  46. PAUL
    “Weasels are weasels” – not necessarily:
    For a full understanding of artists’s weasels, you need to turn to Eugene Parnell’s “Weasels! Cryptozoological Reconstructions,” where he explores, through his display of these “furry, wily creatures — especially variants like the Ravanamangus, or “Flying Death Weasel” – the relationships between how people think of the world, how the world shows itself and how people fit into it. In “Weasels!” he explores that cognitive dissonance even further, emphasizing the links between animal imagery and early childhood experience – tellingly revealed in CROSSBAT11’s post on his young experience of the species. The “Seattle Times” carries a picture of a related member of the mustelid family, the “Great Mormon River Otter”, which stood 7 feet tall and weighed in at 300 pounds, and was renowned for rock carvings which it did with its front incisors, recorded in Parnell’s “Artistic Weasels” (I made the last bit up. It’s a bit boring here in Attapeu on a Sunday morning – no MOD. )

  47. @John Pilgrim

    You missed the bit about the Ravanamangus marching en masse on the bunker whilst firing lasers and being strafed by the Klingons.

    Or that may just be in mi hed.


  48. MARTYN
    Thank you for your as always scholarly reference. This does, of course, point to what some think of as a hiatus in the Parnell opus: the epistemology of weasel thought, in particular their apparently hostile thinking towards humans, and in some cases poltico-display actions, including the slaughter of pet hamsters) later copied by the Mau Mau).

  49. COL;IN
    From the last thread, I think to Lefty:
    “Presumably your prescription is to tell the rest of the world to start growing forthwith-and to instruct the British Public to stop de-leveraging. ?”
    Perhaps more relevantly to the Eastleigh polling and actual voting, what prescription do you see in Moody’s focus on fiscal consolidation? Is this policy-neutral, as it were, allowing on the one hand a mansion tax to raise the costs of any social spending to stimulate growth, or on the other hand, cuts in benefits or overseas aid, no matter what social policy is being followed, and no matter what the impact on jobs creation or unemployment? My interest is in how Eastleigh voters respond to the downgrading of the UK credit rating as a comment on management of the economy.

  50. YouGov Tables are up, and this week with two new sets of subsamples (Although to me, they seem uninteresting).

    Pure Approval –
    Cameron 40 (+2)
    Miliband 32 (+1)
    Clegg 19 (nc)

    Net Approval –
    Cameron -15 (+3)
    Miliband -23 (+2)
    Clegg -53 (nc)

    It’ll be interesting to see next week’s approval figures, if the AAA loss, ‘Clegg cover up story’ and by-election result have any impact.

    Government policies –
    Should stick to deficit reduction – 31 (-5)
    Should focus on growth, even if that makes the deficit worse – 41 (+4)
    Neither – 8 (-2)
    Not sure – 20 (+2)

    Ed Miliband has apologised for the 10p tax, motives?
    Purely political – 54%
    Believes it – 27%
    Not sure – 19%

    Jury systems!
    Which is better?
    Jury system – 62%
    Judge-panel system – 27%

    Should jury trials be used more widely?
    More widely – 24%
    Less widely – 19%
    Balance is right – 48%
    Answers for Con + Lib voters are about the same, but Lab voters want juries to be used much more widely (although there is little difference in support for the jury system generally).

    Most juries are capable of understanding the evidence and reaching a verdict – 58%
    Most are not – 29%
    Although there are no sub-samples for this, I suspect the ‘Capable/Incapable’ correlates heavily with ‘Support/Oppose’ jury systems.

    Should Sir David Nicholson resign? (Colin will appreciate this answer) –
    Should – 66%
    Shouldn’t – 11%
    DKs removed –
    Should – 86%
    Shouldn’t – 14%

    Bunch of Kate Middleton questions, blah blah blah.

    And then a few RSPCA questions.

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