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. I have to disagree with you there Tony.

    I don’t like the broadcast media regulations. I believe in a free economy, you should have the BBC as “supposedly unbiased” although everyone agrees that the BBC is biased to whichever side they don’t support, and then allow all the other tv channels to be as biased as they wish.

    I’ve never understood why the TV had to be regulated so that all channels had to be even?

    Surely the left have missed a trick here, while most of the print press in the UK is right wing, most people on tv, comedians, presenters etc, anyone in the entertainment industry is much more to the left, so surely labour would benefit from removing this rule more than the tories would?

  2. @ Maninthemiddle

    I understand your point but is a “free economy” compatible with “informed democratic choice” when the power of money in the media is allowed to skew or time the impact of “stories” either to left or right? I think Anthony would argue that most people’s opinions are pretty pre-set, and news stories simply confirm their prejudices. However quite a few voters are interested only “en passant” and the “mood music” either negative or postive, has a huge influence on the genuine Don’t Knows I would suspect? If the power of money inwhat you call a “free economy” is allowed to do this, do we not live in a defective democracy?

  3. @Tony Dean

    Shock, horror! Right wing newspapers employ dirty tricks campaign to assist the Conservative Party during by-election campaign. Where have you been these last 50 years, my good man?

    Why do you think Cameron and Crosby are so keen to keep their journalistic rottweillers on board in May 2015? Might explain their reaction to Leveson, methinks

    On another subject, I’m looking forward to Virgilio’s early updates from the Italian elections later today.

  4. @crossbat11

    “Where have you been these last 50 years, my good man?”

    My dear Fellow, for the last 23 years digging my vegetable patch, in order to get over the previous bruising 22 years in front line politics!!!!! That’s 45 years! The previous 5 I was in short trousers!

  5. “@ richard in norway

    Wow, seems like no one watched the video i posted!”

    Thanks for posting. Very interesting and totally the opposite to what this coalition have been saying on economics.

    I think it is correct that if businesss paid people more money, then there would be more money being spent in the economy, more savings, more jobs created and more tax being collected, so everyone would be better off. It is doing nobody any favours for large corporations to be sat on a huge amount of money and for it to be doing nothing.

  6. Hey, hey, hold onto your tin foil hats. The story was broken by Channel 4 News.

    However suspicious the timing and however much the actual Conservative leaning press may have gone gung ho on it because of the by-election, it is quite a stretch to describe Channel 4 News as part of the Tory press.

  7. NEIL A
    Is there any empirical evidence that moving children from a dilapidated temporary classroom to a shiny new building increases their academic performance?


    Well, hasn’t there been a fair amount if research into the effects of ambient temperature and lighting and stuff on employee performance and concentration in the world if business? Don’t see why that wouldn’t help educationally too.

    But it’s not all about the quality if the environment but about resourcing. More storage to house resources conveniently. Old classrooms may only have a couple of power points which is hopeless these days. You can add purpose-built language labs and stuff.

    (This us before we get to less tangible effects of more pride in the school etc.)

  8. That said, it is also true that some of these shiny new academies haven’t all been doing wonderfully well. ..

  9. Tonight, for a change, I am here to announce a victory of center-right. The almost final results of the runoff of Presidential Election in Cyprus give 58% to N. Anastasiades and 42% to S. Malas. The PE in Cyprus is the important election, there is no PM and the President must not necessarily have a parliamentary majority, the GE is like the mid-term elections in the USA. Anastasiades was endorsed by center-right DISY (Democratic Rally, member of EPP), center-left DIKO (Democratic Party, caucusing with PES in EP) and centrist EUROKO (European Party, ALDE). Malas, a moderate liberal, was endorsed by Radical Left AKEL and the Party of European Socialists, but not by the Cypriot Social Democrats of EDEK. At the first round, Anastasiades had 46 (DISY in GE 2011 had 34, DIKO 15 and EUROKO 4, so he polled -7 in comparison to the total of the parties that supported him), Malas 27 (AKEL 32, so -5) and the independent leftist (ex-AKEL) Lilikas, endorsed by EDEK (9%) and the Greens (2) received 25 (so, +14). It is clear that a small but crucial part of AKEL and a very important part of DIKO (nearly half of its electorate) voted Lilikas at first round. Most of you should think that I supported Lilikas, but it is not true. In fact, I was horrified by the prospect that in a EU country, even the second smallest one, there could be such a government. Lilikas and the motley crew that supported him (may far rightists among them) are the most anti-European, pro-Russian mafia and opposite to any agreement with Turkey over the Cyprus issue coalition that could ever exist. So, if I voted there, I would support Malas, mainly to avert the presence of Lilikas in the runoff (Anastasiades was certain to be 1st). The victory of Anastasiades does not displease me at all, he is a moderate politician, much vilified by the extreme nationalists (even in his own party, there was a split back then) over his moderate stance favoring the Anan Plan for the Cyprus issue back in 2004. Moreover, he will not govern only with DISY, but also with DIKO, which is now a progressive party under its new leader M. Karoyan (its former leader, the late Papadopoulos, ex-President of Cyprus, was the head of the nationalists and russophiles, and this is why the faction still loyal to him, under his own son, backed Lilikas against party line). With Anastassiades, Cyprus chose to stick with EU and accept European rules for the control of its banking system, which almost collapsed because of its uncontrollable ties with black money from Russian (and in earlier years, under Papadopoulos, Serbian) mafia-activities. In a broader European perspective, after the victory of social-democrat Zeman in the Czech Republic (replacing outgoing Europhobic Klaus) and now of Anastasiades in Cyprus, the “non-mainstream” (and mainstream in EU are the EPP, the PES, the ALDE liberals and the Greens) leaders are only two: Cameron and Czech conservative PM Necas, whose party is now 3d or even 4th in all VI polls for 2014 GE (which may take place earlier).

  10. @ Neil A

    Were you educated in portacabins? I think not. How about your kids? Would it be what you’d aspire to for your grandchildren? Maybe a polling firm could ask such questions, if anybody with enough money cared to ask.

    And before anybody says: It’s the quality of the teaching which counts; in the medium to long-term, only teachers with particular political or socio-economic points of view are willing to teach their pupils in substandard accommodation. Even in ‘darkest Africa’, excellent teachers are attracted by decent facilities & fight like terriers to secure a good learning environment for the children!

  11. Amber – why do you ask it as if its extremely unlikely Neil was educated in a temporary classroom? Depending on where his education fell in the ups and downs of population booms its fairly likely.

    When I was at primary school there were still temporary classrooms in the playground (not used), when I was at secondary school some of the lessons were still in temporary classrooms (they built a new block while I was there and took them away). My son goes to a school that’s got two temporary classrooms and will inevitably have more in coming years as they move to two form entry, though no doubt they’ll be replaced by new buildings at some point.

    Nowt wrong with a temporary classroom. Now, ancient school buildings with rooms that aren’t big enough, poor disabled access, no power points and full of damp, that may very well be a different matter!

  12. @Anthony

    “The story was broken by Channel 4 News.”

    Quite so. I had forgotten that in my annoyance at the headlines this morning. However, the timing is bizarre whatever the source – why now?

    I wonder if the LD staff member is now a “Blue” supporter, and has been privately “advised” when to drop the bombshell?

    I smell a rat……

    ….And I once knew Chris R very well indeed, he was a very close colleague, and I don’t believe a word of it – unless he has had a brain transplant since we last met in 1990!!!!

  13. It must’ve said, he may be onto something. Think how much money we could save as a nation if we all lived and worked in portacabins. Being as there’s little difference. It’ll be great!! Good argument for setting the mansion tax at about £50 thou. …

    Living in dorms like the Chinese would be even cheaper though. Hell, we had to live in dorms at my school… why not?

    MitM could share a cabin with Paul and his puppies. ..

  14. Now, ancient school buildings with rooms that aren’t big enough, poor disabled access, no power points and full of damp, that may very well be a different matter!”


    And cold. .. esp. first thing in the morning in winter. …

    Portacabins can also make life awkward for transferring IT and other resources around, and safeguarding and stuff…

    Things have changed a bit since we went to school. ..

  15. @Anthony W

    “Nowt wrong with a temporary classroom. Now, ancient school buildings with rooms that aren’t big enough, poor disabled access, no power points and full of damp, that may very well be a different matter!”

    Very true. When my oldest son started at his Junior School in 1994, the temporary buildings were in a better state than the permanent ones! It was under LEA control at the time but was trying, unsuccessfully as it turned out, to obtain Grant Maintained status. It’s incredible to look back at those days and remember that, as parents, we had a whip round to fund the provision of some additional books and to repair a leak in the old classroom roof. The LEA had more or less run out of money during the 94/95 academic year. Extraordinary, benighted days.

  16. @ Anthony,

    I know Neil A was a scholarship pupil at a boarding school which is why I think not. Neil can always reply that he was entirely educated in portacabins at his boarding school, if that’s the truth of the matter.

    “… though no doubt they’ll be replaced by new buildings at some point.” & “Now, ancient school buildings with rooms that aren’t big enough, poor disabled access, no power points and full of damp, that may very well be a different matter!” are precisely the points which I, myself, was making.

    Therefore, I think we agree: ‘Any fool know’ that parents, teachers & pupils will not suffer greatly from temporary accommodation for a short period of time but all aspire to having fit for purpose, well designed schools. Maybe somebody will do a poll about it. :-)

  17. God, the difference between state school and boarding school was just huge not only in terms of resources but also purpose-built buildings.

    I mean, if you specialized in Latin and humanities and stuff, then yeah, resources etc. make rather less difference. But if it is something like science, or music, then the difference is mind-boggling. ..

  18. Big story that even a few of the non politically interested are talking about is if Berlusconi or “that italian guy who had the sex parties with underage girls” as he is more commonly known amongst them, will get back into power.

    I can’t see it happening myself, as he has no other parties willing to support him but it would certainly be a turn up for the books.

  19. Tony Dean
    Have you considered that the source may have been one of Clegg’s party rivals? Someone who would hold a grudge over leadership vote counts but now lacking loyalty to the party and may want to ruin their chances in Eastleigh?

    Atlernatively, the Saville allegations has opened up many inquiries in to various scandals of this nature (not always true) and perhaps people felt this gave them the confidence to come forward?

    I very much doubt a Tory plot (why not leak it in 2010?) and any other explanation, at this point, seems more plausible to me.

    Any idea how the Italian elections progress so far? Polling indicates a centre-left coalition win but I lack knowledge of the politics involved.

  20. Portacabins ??? luxury !!!

    We were educated in an underwater coal-mine after we’d swum down there in our long-johns and done a days graft bagging up sea coal and talking in a daft Yortkshire dialect about butties thah nahs.

    Plus !! ……,….. o soddit, carry on yourseves.

  21. Tinged Fringe

    To be honest, the actual numbers don’t matter. There is no way Berlusconi will score over 50% of the seats, and as all the other parties, even Lega Nord, say they won’t join him in a coalition, even if he tops the vote he won’t become PM.

    Most likely what will happen is the Italy for Monti Party will back up Mr Bersani of the centre left no matter what percentage of the vote they will receive. As one is polling around the low 30’s and other low 20’s they will likely account for more than 50% of the vote, and so because of the system, where even a marginal win guarantees you 55% of the seats, will be even more than 50% of the seats

  22. Colin

    Claiming that Redwood and Portes came to “a large measure of agreement” is stretching credulity towards breaking point.

    Portes is one if the loudest critics of “premature fiscal contraction”.

    Redwood believes we are still in the middle if a rip-roaring Keynesian stimulus.

    The “agreement” was Portes accepting some factual figures that Redeood posted and Redwood (as a politician) giving a partisan blog posting that have the impression that Portes had conceded on every point whilst entirely ignoring the nub of the disagreement.

    To claim that there is agreement between them is akin to saying that because Christians and Muslims both believe that Abraham and Moses were prophets, their disagreements are secondary.

  23. Awaiting Clegg’s statement.

    Sky trailing it as that well known chess move , The BBC Defence:-

    I was told of rumours……but nothing specific.

  24. LEFTY

    As you wish.

    Matter of interpretation & inclination-as ever.

  25. Oooh

    This ( from the C4 website piece ) begs a lot of questions :-

    “As she explained to me this morning: “At the end of 2012, Lord Rennard started making a conspicuous comeback, which was entirely contrary to assurances that complainants had been given by senior figures in the party. Worst of all, he started attending gender balance events.””

  26. Colin

    It is. I’m merely giving an alternative take to yours.

    Here’s an example of why I draw my own conclusion.

    Redwood posted: “I agree with his conclusion that “I do think it is important not to exaggerate either the magnitude or the impact of the austerity in the UK”.”

    Portes had actually posted: “I do think it is important not to exaggerate either the magnitude or the impact of austerity in the UK. It explains part, but not all, of our dismal economic performance over the last few years: eurozone austerity, commodity prices, and other factors like the long-term decline in oil production all matter too. Nor are we Greece or Spain, where tax rises and spending cuts have been far sharper and the consequences, predictably, far worse. But any credible analysis suggests that pretending that there has not in fact been a sharp fiscal consolidation in the UK, with predictably adverse consequences, is equally mistaken. ”

    That is one of several examples of selective quoting by Redwood, which gives the impression that one of the leading proponents of Keynesian stimulus pretty much agreed with Redwood’s take. I have a really strong dislike of selective quotes designed to give a misleading and partisan impression. So I’m just giving readers here an alternative take on your conclusion.

  27. LEFTY

    Feel free.

    The actual text of both blogs ( which were by the way well worth reading) are on the record for anyone who is sufficiently interested.

  28. Colin

    On that, I agree wholeheartedly. The exchange is highly illuminating.

    Italian GE, which of course I follow very closely, is still under way and will continue tomorrow till 15.00 (14.00 UK hour). VI polls are officially forbidden 2 weeks before election day. The last official VI polls (average of 16 institutes!!) had the following results: Center-left coalition (IBC=Italia Bene Commune / Italy Common Good), headed by P-L. Bersani) 34.5%. Right-wing coalition headed by S. Berlusconi 29.5%. 5-star movement (populist, anti-party), headed by comic actor B. Grillo, 14.5. Centrist coalition (IPM – Italia Per Monti / Italy For Monti) headed by actual PM M. Monti 13.5. Civic Revolution (Radical left + greens + others) 4.5. On the basis of these results, IBC has OM in Lower House (Camera), because the 1st coalition gets 54% of seats regardless of its score. The problem is with the Upper House (Senato), where the bonus is attributed region by region, so in some regions the IBC may not get it, and thus have a simple, and not overall majority, in which case an IBC-IPM post-electoral alliance is the most reasonable outcome. Yet in the past 2 weeks there have been many VI polls whose results have been published in specialized websites as results of “horse-races” or “trends for papal election”! Decoding these “races” gives the following results: IBC 34, Right 28, Five Stars 19, IPM 10, RC 3.5. So the order of arrival does not change, but the surprising factor is the rise of 5-stars and the fall of IPM (the “incumbency” factor). It appears that voters from all other parties of coalitions switch to 5-stars, and moreover some voters of IPM switch to IBC not to see Berlusconi re-elected. It remains to be seen if this Grillo-mania (an equivalent of 2010 pre-electoral Clegg-mania) will be verified in the real results tomorrow. Note also that 3.5 for RC means exclusion from the Lower House, whereas 9.9 for IPM would mean the same, since for coalitions the threshold is 10%. (RC runs as a single list, despite the fact that it is composed of various parties). In the Senate, the threshold is 8% for single lists (so probably RC don’t get any seats there, there is no region where it could get over 8%) and 20% for coalitions. Nevertheless in the Senate the IPM runs as a single list, so 8% in a region is enough to grant it seats. It might finally get around 20 seats in the Senate and so, with the 140-150 probably won by the IBC they will have an OM between them (magic number: 158). I know, this system is a real headache!!!

  30. Re:All this talk about Portacabins in the old days etc.

    In primary school we had 3 portacabins, 2 of which were demolished about 10 years ago, 1 of which still stands today.

    Then at my secondary school, in the first year in English we were taught in a portacabin but it was demolished in the summer before i started my 2nd year at secondary school.

  31. @LeftyLampton

    “To claim that there is agreement between them is akin to saying that because Christians and Muslims both believe that Abraham and Moses were prophets, their disagreements are secondary. ”

    Not the best analogy to support your argument. There is actually a large level of agreement between Christians and Muslims on matters of faith.

  32. Virgillio

    Can you just confirm, that’s its extremely unlikely Berlusconi will be PM?

  33. @Virgilio

    Whilst your analysis of overseas elections is great, is there any chance you could break it up into paragraphs? It’s just that your comments are a big wall of text, that makes them difficult to read.

  34. MinM

    You seem to have caused a ot of damage in cabins given their history after you were there.

    LD story neatly fitting into UKIP’s “they are all rubbish” standpoint. Its close enough to make a difference.

    Re-count[s] ??

  35. RAF

    Yes. But not on the really important central tenets.

    That was my point.

  36. @Maninthemiddle
    There is not a single institute among the 16 that do VI polls, either before the official interdiction (8 February) or after it (clandestine “horse races” of “papal trends”) that gives the first place to the right-wing alliance headed by Berlusconi, so if this happens it will be a total and unprecedented surprise in the recent history of VI polling. The variations between them are only about the lead of Bersani on Berlusconi, but this is irrelevant, because the 1st coalition gets automatically OM in the Lower House (Camera) regardless of score or of lead over the 2nd one. Things are more complicated in the Upper House (Senato), as I explained. For instance, who gets Lombardy, the biggest Italian region, gets 54% of its Senate seats, and all VI polls give this region (formerly the absolute stronghold of the Right) as an absolute tossup. Actually the two “swing regions” are Lombardy and Sicily. If the Bersani coalition gets both, it has OM also in Senate. If it loses both to Berlusconi, it still has simple majority (all other regions except of Veneto are secure or leaning center-left), and has to collaborate with Monti centrists after election. If it gets only Lombardy, it may have OM, but a very tight one.

  37. Virgilio

    Many thanks for your fascinating posts.

    I really ought to know this, given my family links to Italy but I have taken my eye off the ball, so I will ask you: What has happened to the northern secessionists in Italy? I’d have thought that the economic crisis would have given them a very strong platform, but they appear to have vanished.

  38. @GreenChristian
    I will try in my next post!

  39. Yes,but very important news for the Lib Dems in Eastleigh,The Naked Rambler
    Is on their side .That should swing it!

  40. “Matter of interpretation & inclination-as ever.”


    As ever, it isn’t just one opinion against another. This idea that borrowing is automagically a stimulus is transparently borked.

    Lets just clear this up rather than let the likes of Redwood try and muddy the waters.

    If you have the money and buy a computer that lets you earn more while cutting costs, that’s a stimulus. You are better off.

    If you borrow the money to buy a computer and your situation improves over all, that is also a stimulus.

    If you borrow money to cover a reckless gambling debt, that is not a stimulus. You are worse off overall.

    Ever since expansionary contraction failed the line amongst some in government has been that because they are borrowing nearly as much as Labour, why therefore they must be giving the same amount of stimulus.

    But that isn’t the case. How you spend the money matters. Not simply whether you borrowed it.

    The last government spent more of it on growth which improves our situation. Increases our tax take and lowers welfare costs and builds us more assets and preserves more business and encourages investment.

    This government is spending borrowed money to cover the costs of rising welfare and lowered tax take. To cover the costs of a failing plan.

    If year-on-year there was still no growth, we would increase our debt without gains in other areas and much of the deficit borrowing would be interest payments, very little of which might go into the economy at all. But you’d still have a few trying to claim this was a “stimulus”.

    Just because it was borrowing.

    But it wouldn’t be, not in any beneficial sense if the word.

  41. @Virgilio

    Thanks :)

  42. Clearly the ladies (lady?) involved in ‘Rennard’ are at the very least, not particularly concerned with the result of the Eastleigh by-election!

    I don’t imagine Vicky Pryce is all that fussed either.

    My grammar school was built as a temporary set of buildings in 1928 IIRC. It was actually rather attractive with a sort of clapper board creosoted wood slats as exterior and what always reminded me of cardboard for the interior walls. It was still extant when i began in 1956, awaiting the replacement building which I think arrived in the 70s after the last of more than one fire did for it. My first years were all in portakabin type rooms latched on. This was of course because we were the baby boomers that sent the school population from 300 pre war to 750 and rising.

    There was a model experiment in the physics lab set up by Sir Bernard Lovell (as a pupil). Prof Colin Pillinger (Beagle crash) was a pupil too. Starry eyed we were.

  43. @LeftyLampton
    The Northern League (Lega Nord) is still part of the Berlusconi alliance and in all VI polls has 4-6% (8.5 in 2008). The crisis could have indeed given it a stronger platform, but it was marred by serious financial scandals revealing even ties with the Southern Italy Mafia (!!!) and the subsequent resignation of its founder and ex-leader Umberto Bossi. Also, a number of its supporters now despise Berlusconi and will not vote for the Right-wing alliance for this reason (it is already known that abstention is higher in the northern regions), preferring either to abstain from voting or to vote for Grillo instead.

  44. @Colin

    Interesting article by Cathy Newman. But I would like to ask her

    WHY NOW?

    Why not six weeks ago – why not in a week’s time?

    Not to be aware that in running the story about an alleged sex scandal just now it may “interfere” with public opinion in an otherwise good clean fight about “real politics” in a by-election upon which the future of this country’s political direction goes, is either malevolent, or naive in the extreme.

    Answer that please Cathy Newman!

  45. And, to add a little note of humor in this thrilling electoral night (I hate the part where Italian GE lasts till Monday afternoon, it’s excruciating!!), here is the code for translating “papal voting trends” :
    Cardinale di Piacenza = Bersani
    Cardinale di Monza e Brianza = Berlusconi
    Camerlengo di Genova = Grillo
    Cardinale di Milano = Monti
    Inquisitore di Palermo = Ingroia (leader of the radical-left alliance).
    So, the phrase “The Cardinal of Piacenza gets 35 cardinal votes, 30 directly for himself and 5 for his allied bishops” means that the center-left coalition headed by Bersani has 35%, i.e. 30 for the Democratic Party and 5 for the minor allies (the most important of them is Left, Ecology and Freedom, my favorite Italian party), and so on for the other coalitions or single parties!!!

  46. Tony Dean,there is no such thing as a good clean fight in politics.Not now nor
    going back to the Athenian republic where politics where first invented.Sad but

  47. Ann in Wales
    yes but it could hang them out to dry!

  48. Virgilio
    Did you catch the Berlusconi headline that he considers Italian judges ‘worse than the mafia’ (with reference to his local difficulties) This was during the supposed legal purdah before the election.

  49. @ Ann in Wales and Howard

    Hmm….got me thinking….I wonder what Cathy Newman’s politics are?

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