Today’s Populus and YouGov polls both have six point leads for Labour. Populus’s topline figures in their twice weekly poll are CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14% (tabs are here). The daily YouGov poll for the Sun this morning has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12% (tabs are here.)

As you’ll probably know, the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election was also last night, and was a comfortable Labour hold. This means today will be full of people saying what it *means* and trying to draw some wider conclusions based upon it. I’ll only repeat my normal warning about not reading too much into by-elections. They are extremely unusual beasts – an election in just one single seat that won’t be representative of the whole country, intensely fought but often with low turnout, and where who wins does not make any difference to who the government is the next day. Essentially, if a by-election performs in line with the national polls it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, if it performs in some way different to the polls it’s probably because of the unusual circumstances implicit in a by-election.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have a big impact on politics of course. If UKIP had done much better it would have given them a big publicity boost and probably set off a narrative about them threatening Labour seats… but they didn’t.

200 Responses to “Latest Populus and YouGov figures”

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    @” It depends on what they mean by “by default”

    I read the Times leader to mean that what they describe as “disaffected radical Liberals” now “default ” to Labour. The Times leader says that “time is running out ” for this vote to recover to LDs.

    I thought the leader’s simple conclusion to W& SE was incontrovertible -“The political left has been united by default, while the political Right is divided.

    The Times’ comment on the latter feature in this BE should be of concern to DC.

    Describing the W&SE constituency demographics & describing it as offering “something for everyone” it said ” An ambitious , modern Conservative Party should be looking to seats like this to re-build its fortunes in the northern cities. ”

    I hope DC reads that commentary alongside reported remarks by the incoming head of the local Conservative Association , criticising failure to attract blue-collar voters , and indeed the choice of candidate
    ( he says he was “over-ruled” ), and campaign .

    And I hope he does something about it .

  2. Valerie-I don’t recommend The Times because it is “right wing”. I don’t think it is.

    There is a good political mix of opinion in the paper.

    I quote its reportage from time to time.


    SOCAL if they are still reading posts here would be interested in this. The first gay NFL player to come out. It is pretty good 4-5 minutes of comment on ABC that you probably would not see on Fox news.

  4. Vid is actually just over 2 minutes, but worth a look.

  5. “Quite depressing that the party of Macmillan and Right to Buy thinks its failure in Wythenshawe is because of a large council estate.”

    Isabel Hardman.

  6. @ Colin

    Isn’t it funny. That’s how I feel about the Independent. It isn’t left-wing. There is a good mix of political reportage.
    I might even quote it from time to time. lol

  7. @ Colin,

    Yep. Percentage vote shares in the old Wythenshawe constituency (ie. without Tory Sale), starting from the 60s when the second half of the estate was built:

    1964: 39.2 %
    1966: 35.8 %
    1970: 44.8 %
    1974a: 30.0 %
    1974b: 27.4 %
    1979: 32.4 %
    1983: 29.4 %
    1987: 28.6 %
    1992: 28.4 %

    So they’ve gone from getting 35-44% on the estate itself to getting 14.5% even after half of Sale is added to the constituency.

    It’s a by-election under a Tory government so it was always going to be terrible for them, and if Katie is right Ukip’s mediocre performance may bring some of their voters home. But even so, pretty grim stuff.

  8. Now here we have something very interesting indeed:

    YouGov seem to have done some polling on VI predictions by the end of the year. This shows us what supporters of each party predict.

    Obviously, every party plays up their own support, although Labour’s seem least far off the mark, estimating their support in December will be 40% when it currently stands around 38%. This clashes with UKIP supporters, who see their party on 26% by Christmas.

    The Lib Dems predict some upswing in fortunes, although unforutunately we have no reason why they’ve guessed as such.

    One thing I noticed is every party predicts a boost in Lib Dem fortunes, which strikes me as quite odd because there doesn’t seem to be any suggestion that that’s happening – they’ve been at 10% for something like three years.

    Con supporters’ predictions give an outcome of:

    CON 314
    LAB 284
    LIB 24
    UKIP 0

    Lab supporters’ predictions give an outcome of:

    CON 220
    LAB 376
    LIB 28
    UKIP 0

    LD supporters’ predictions give an outcome of:

    CON 262
    LAB 312
    LIB 47
    UKIP 0

    UKIP supporters’ predictions give an outcome of:

    CON 279
    LAB 310
    LIB 30
    UKIP 2

    (Well actually, they don’t – Electoral Calculus won’t let you change the vote shares for minor parties, so won’t compute the UKIPpers predictions. That’s as close as I can get.)

  9. @Colin

    I suggest Socialist Worker for you

    @Valerie (etc)

    I see the Graun as a LOC liberal paper and I’m quite happy with its point of view and its range of columnists (though I find myself incapable of reading Chris Huhne). I confess I almost – but not quite – swallowed the line that the LDs were lefter than Lab in 2010 and it annoys me that they advocated a LD vote.

    I quite like the Indy which I see as determinedly centre (and nothing wrong with that) but I find it a bit thin and I haven’t bought it once since the i appeared – as far as I can see that’s centre as well.

    I stick with the G because like Borderer I like the typeface and format and the content is OK on all subjects. Plus I’m an old git and set in my ways.

  10. @ Mr. Nameless,

    That’s not true- they’ve got a little “Predict Ukip” checkbox at the bottom. If you check it, it will let you enter in a Ukip vote share.

  11. Yes, I can predict UKIP – the problem is that 32+31+12+26 takes me over EC’s limit of 100% vote share because you can’t change, for example, SNP/PC/Green vote share.

  12. Hang on, the UKIP estimated vote share adds up to 101%…

  13. @ Mr. Nameless,

    Oh, I see what you mean now. Sorry.

  14. That could explain a lot about Ukip’s budget plans, come to think of it…

  15. The earlier chat on climate change has a significant relevance for UK politics I believe. Now, there is a highly current and broader campaign strategy for people opposing fracking. They can move from the nimby based arguments, towards an entirely different, global perspective, reminding people of the result of carbon based fuels.

    I think that this will not be decisive, but again it makes the pro shale gas case that bit harder to make.

    On Wythenshaw – despite all the attempts to play the result down, I can’t help feeling this is a top result for Labour.

    I was always highly dubious about the notion that UKIP represent a ‘plague on both your houses’, and most of the hard evidence of numbers really doesn’t seem to back this up.

    Tories are being hurt very badly in their safe areas, they are being hurt very badly in the critical marginal areas, and they are being hurt very badly in their no hope areas.

    Time tick ever by, and the GE draws closer, and it’s getting harder and harder to write off UKIP as a mid term protest event. I think we’re nearly at the point where it’s inconceivable that UKIP will settle back to a ‘normal’ 3 – 4% GE showing.

  16. Alec- you’re right. This is a point i have made on the Richmond Park thread. A UKIP showing of 8-10% could have devastating effects on the Tories in seats which they would expect to hold even with a swing against them. In places like Stourbridge, Burton, Dudley South, across the North West and in places like Colne Valley and Calder Valley, a strong UKIP vote could hand these seats to Labour.

    Now, yes the UKIP vote could shrivel back to 3% in the next 14 or so months, but is this likely? Wythenshawe demonstrated, as even Dan Hodges acknowledged, that UKIP isn’t really a threat to Labour. I would venture to assert that Labour, of the seats they now hold, will not lose a single one in 2015 because of UKIP. No doubt some Labour voters switched to the kippers but it made no difference whatsoever, as Labour’s share of the vote increased by 11% from 2010.


    Thanks-sounds like a fun publication.

  18. @Alec

    “Everything that is happening, is predicted, in general terms”

    If people predict enough doom, they’ll be right occasionally. See Nostradamus.

  19. @Welsh B

    “I only read G nowadays out of ingrained habit and the fact I like its typeface …..”

    I don’t read any papers as a rule. I can’t quite get the idea that people will read a paper because it tells them what they want to hear, in the way they want to hear it, typefaces aside.

  20. @Alec

    “The earlier chat on climate change has a significant relevance for UK politics I believe.”

    Yes, I heard that the Greens want to sack any government advisor or minister that disagrees with climate change. That’s a democratic way to look at things. Why stop there. Sack anyone that disagrees with abortion, vegetarianism, and so on.

    That a political party should even suggest that people be sacked for having a point of view differing to their own is frightening.

  21. Typo: ‘different’ to their own.

  22. Regarding the Guardian, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Guardian switches its support from the Lib-Dems to Labour. I would expect the timing to be carefully chosen in the run-up to the next general election so to have the greatest possible impact.

  23. @SqMid

    “However, once we get months away from a general election and if Labour are still looking like it could achieve a majority gov’t, surely the BBC will soon gain confidence that its future will be more secure should Labour win. If so, we could expect the BBC to go back to scrutinising the gov’t rather than continue to report gov’t spin as fact.”

    Not sure how you arrive at that logic. If anything, that would suggest that the BBC would not scrutinise the party that gives it more security. I don’t remember the BBC being particularly inclined to appropriately scrutinise the Blair government prior to Iraq / Afghanistan, and since then we’ve had never-ending middle east headlines on the BBC front page (not South America, or Far East, or Oceania).

  24. WelshBorderer / Chatterclass / AKMD / Guymonde

    The Graun is the only one that has anything resembling a usable comment system so I confess to hanging out there for most of my reading – Andrew Sparrow’s Politics Live blog is excellent.

    The Indy is much better under Amol Rajan & the website, although vastly improved, still has a way to go to compete.

  25. So, have we finally decided that UKIP draws it vote from the Tories, not from Labour?

    Does that mean we can start adding “Tory + UKIP” to get the “right wing vote” again? And assuming that if UKIP’s vote share declines it will go to the Tories?

    Or do UKIP only take votes from the Tories but give them back equally to Tory and Labour?

  26. @statgeek

    Self-preservation will be in the minds of the BBC. At the moment they will be concerned about the threat of further cuts and there is still plenty of time for the present govt to impose them.

    Once we get close to a general election then those concerns may subside should Labour be ahead in the polls by a good margin. We might then see greater scrutiny of the government in the few months before the general election.

  27. Re Wythenshawe, there’s an interesting article on the lessons that Labour should learn from the successful way it took on UKIP:

    The key paragraph is I think this (which I quote to illustrate the arguments that Labour used against UKIP):

    “UKIP’s idea of fairness is a flat rate of income tax so millionaires pay the same rate as working families. Public service reform means more ‘radical’ cuts and the complete privatisation of “key NHS services”, including GP surgeries, A&Es and cancer wards and allowing GPs to charge you for an appointment. Nigel Farage claims to want to tackle worklessness but pledges to end the requirement for people on benefits to look for work. Their business policy is to abolish workers’ rights.”

    The point is that Labour thinks it has found a successful set of themes to use to counter on UKIP’s competition for its core vote that are based on a broadly left wing perspective. It means shifting the issues away from those that UKIP want to compete on. That could be significant because it’s implicit that those successful themes will now be repeated elsewhere.

    There is a further bonus for Labour in that: emphasising UKIP’s solid right wing credentials is only going to encourage many disaffected Conservatives to continue to vote for them.

  28. Phil

    “There is a further bonus for Labour in that: emphasising UKIP’s solid right wing credentials is only going to encourage many disaffected Conservatives to continue to vote for them.”

    This goes to the heart of the matter. UKIP is a tory killer, and splits the right wing vote. Major’s 14 million votes in 1992 was made up of a very large number of people who now are considering a UKIP vote, regardless of what they did in subsequent elections. The left bloc of labour plus lib dem switchers is enough to hand the keys of no. 10 to Miliband. He knows this. That’s why he won’t even bother promising an EU referendum. He doesn’t need to pander to those guys. It’s a Tory problem.

    UKIP is just the most powerful expression of the fragmentation of the right.

  29. @ Phil Haines
    “I know Wton SW very well indeed! Whilst I agree with your point that there are too many Con held marginals at 1/4 or even lower odds, Wton SW is one that is I think fairly priced and therefore not a good example to cite.”

    Perhaps I did not make myself clear.
    Wolver SW is one of the Tory marginals that, as far as I know, is NOT cited by the bookies. I chose it randomly as one (of a number) which however meets their criteria for inclusion as a Lab gain at odds of 1/4 or lower.
    So we agree rather than disagree.

    My overall point was an obvious one: that Lab has more to gain from this kind of seat than from (the limited no.) of Lib-Dem-Lab marginals.

  30. @guymonde
    I have the ‘I’ delivered so I’m a real dinosaur. One of the pleasures of retirement and a bargain.

  31. @Robbie A

    Wton SW is 1/4 on Lab to win with Ladbrokes.

    But sorry, yes I misunderstood your point.

  32. Robbiealive and Phil.

    Ladbrokes have Wton SW as labour 1/4, conservative 3/1….good chance to quadruple your money, if you think the tories will hold this seat.

    the constituency betting seems to favour a slim labour majority, though the general political betting sites are pointing to labour being the largest party.

    paddy power have labour odds on to win:

    Colne Valley 8/11
    Calder Valley 4/5
    Watford 8/11
    Cardiff Central 4/6

    Let alone the half dozen or so they have on labour 1/4 or shorter

    If these ALL come true, you’re looking at labour majority territory.

    Now I agree things can change, but there is definitely a media class assumption that Miliband is a second Kinnock and that the tories will magically use the press and their powerful influence (what this is seems vague) to snatch an improbable victory.

    The facts- polls/betting (which I know is informed by current polling, but not exclusively so)- by-election and council election results simply aren’t indicating this. All the data is pointing to some kind of Labour victory, with something like 310 to 330 seats. I expect some tightening and the labour seat tally to finish up at the lower end of that range. 310-315 seems most likely to my mind.

  33. @ Colin, J. Pilgrim
    “An ambitious , modern Conservative Party should be looking to seats like this to re-build its fortunes in the northern cities.”

    I live in a mixed/prosperous S. Manchester constituency which was Tory until 1987: the Tory organisation is utterly defunct. (The local Tory club shut last year &is being converted into flats — like everywhere else in Manchester.)
    As @ Valerie points out there has not been a Tory councillor on Mancs City C. in years. There is every possibility that from May 2014 the Council will be 100% Lab. This is not healthy!

    The Times’s leader writer has little understanding of how eroded the Tory base is in Manchester. Perhaps he or she should spend more Time in “the North” & less Time in Knightsbridge restaurants.

  34. @ Valerie

    I’d lurve to have the G delivered but I live in a flock of bats (as we Spoonerists say) and it ain’t practical.

    Instead I use the rather absurd Guardian Subscriber system which means I get a little book of vouchers sent each quarter. These look very high tech with a bar code etc but every shop/supermarket/filling station reacts by scanning the bar code and looking puzzled. They then ask how much the paper costs, write it on the voucher and make the appropriate reduction.

  35. @Peter Crawford

    Mike Smithson made a similar point a while back
    i.e. that given that best odds on Lab to get a majority are (now as I think then) 6/4, the fact that Lab is favorite to win each of the typical Con/Lab marginals that would be needed to deliver such a majority is inconsistent with the national odds of it getting one.

  36. @ Peter Crawford

    Apolgies. Yep, Ladbrokes have Lab in Wolver SW at 1/4. I’m a babe-in-the-woods when it comes to betting. Ain’t been in betting shop since I was 17 when I had to remove my Grammar School blazer to do so.

    Paddy Power have 10-11 other Tory marginals where Lab are 1/3-1/7 on to win: & there are other seats which fit the criteria + the seats you mention at longer odds-on bets.

    I dunno where the bookies get their data. Electoral Calculus?

    @ Phil Haines.
    Ok. I take note of yr local knowledge!
    The national media could not believe that my Manchester constituency had gone Lib-Dem in 2005, on the biggest of the election. Yet I & a number of local friends predicted this. It sounds like anecdotage, but there you go. . .

  37. I live in a very prosperous W. Sheffield constituency which was Tory until 1997: the Tory organisation is utterly defunct. (The local Tory club shut two years ago & God only knows what’s happened to it).

    There has not been a Tory councillor on Sheff. City C. in years. There is every possibility that from May 2014 the Council will be 90% Lab. This is not healthy!

    See, the fact that half this post was written for me rather illustrates the point. It would be mistaken to say the Tories are destroyed in the North, but crawling their way back to competitiveness will take decades in some instances.

    There are no-go areas for Labour too – much of the West country, Highlands and the South East – but with the exception of the SE they tend to be less populous than the industrial cities of the North and – here’s the crucial thing – often won by the Lib Dems or SNP rather than Tories.


    Make sure your letterbox is adequately sized for the paper, easy to open and that it isn’t like a spring-loaded razor blade if it snaps shut in cold weather. My memories of being a paper boy are semi-recent history, and the pain of trying to cram a Sunday Telegraph through a gap the size of a credit card is all too real.

  38. @Robbiealive

    I had to remove my Grammar School blazer

    Show off

  39. @Statgeek – “That a political party should even suggest that people be sacked for having a point of view differing to their own is frightening.”

    Now then – don’t be silly. The entire point of democratic politics is to sack everyone in government who doesn’t agree with you.


    Quite interested in this assessment of UKIP. Nothing much to disagree with here, but it leads me to think on Tory local associations, and the continued haemorrhaging of local members we sometimes get wind of.

    At a time when Labour is seeking to develop circles of supporters, friends and sympathizers of varying degrees of commitment, and is looking to develop a more ground level operation from what I can see, Tories have seen their temporary upward blip crash down again amidst a long, downward spiral of falling membership that continues apace.

    There are increasing areas now where you could translate Tory for UKIP in this article. While they will be very well funded, and be able to direct high level bombardment through the airwaves, as we’ve found in military campaigns of late, money and technology only gets you so far. Boots on the ground are what delivers the ultimate victory.

  41. @ Guymonde
    “I had to remove my Grammar School blazer

    Show off”.

    You were using “show-off” as a noun & hence it should be hyphenated? But not if you used it as a verb — i.e., if you were instructing me to “show off”.
    This is the kind of thing we learned at G. School [like hell we did!!]

    Anyway, the blazer was v. v. bright with yellow piping round the end of the sleeves. I can see now that its design was a form of social control.

  42. @Guymonde
    My bruv is a Telegraph subscriber and keen on their 2 4. 1. Meal deals. Trouble is every time I go with him for a meal, the restaurant will claim no knowledge of the offer, and this after we’ve booked a table quoting the deal.

  43. @MSmithsonPB: First polls of night @OpiniumResearch Observer sees LAB extend lead to 9
    LAB, 37, +1
    CON, 28, -1
    LD, 8, =
    UKIP, 17, =

  44. My grammar school uniform included a red beret. When I was in the first form, the VI formers used to try and conceal their berets under their beehive hair dos.

  45. 29 followed by 28 is not the sort of VI I would want 15 months before an election… On the low end of normal though I suppose, 32/33 seems to still be the average.

  46. @ Neil A

    I can’t speak for everyone else but what I have decided is that UKIP take more votes from Con than they do from any other party. In the Lab areas they don’t seem to have the ability to take seats off Labour and it is doubtful they do off Tory but have a slightly higher chance of an upset. Therefore UKIP not a threat to Labour unless they get some real LD style momentum over several elections.

    Patrick Wintour was saying in the Guardian that Lab were delighted with their first tryout at countering the UKIP threat and focusing on the old UKIP manifesto of NHS privatisation and flat rate income tax whatever your earnings which in all honesty ought to be more than enough to scare any Lab supporter back into their pen.

  47. Valerie

    Watch it, some of the male contributors are getting a bit excited.

    Phil Haines

    Yes I do agree with you in your admiration for Mr Marris. I happened a few years back, to watch a few parliamentary debates on a subject in which I was interested, and Rob Marris excelled in his assiduous attendance and his thoughtful interruptions, shewing a genuine interest in the subject (energy policy).

    It was cruel blow to see him go as a result of the general swing, but that is FPTP and UNS for you as, in their turn, the Con /LD members will discover in 2015 (as it stands).

  48. The problem the Tories have is that voters up here have slowly shifted their view from the idea that the Tories are relatively indifferent to the urban North, to the idea that they’re actively hostile to it.

    As the perceptive Hardman has noticed, if your reaction to not doing well in the region is to insult the voters, as, regrettably, many Tories have done, you are not going to shift their minds.

    The frankly juvenile rhetoric that a lot of the Right have developed that ‘of course Northerners won’t vote Tory because blah blah blah Labour’s ‘client state’ blah blah’ is the problem. Not only is anyone who uses the phrase ‘Labour’s client state’ an irredeemable fathead, but it displays the kind of contempt for perfectly ordinary people that is polling office poison.

    There is a tremendous, and exceptionally difficult, job of work for the Tories to do in the long term here or, as the population gets increasingly urbanised, they will struggle to ever win another majority.

    No matter what your political philosophy, it is extremely unhealthy for the UK to have only one political party that has a reasonable chance of winning a Parliamentary majority and unless the Tories seriously sort out their collective attitude to the great cities of the North, we are moving towards that situation. We may even be there already considering the Tories have only once in 20 years looked remotely like getting a majority. And they didn’t.

  49. Good Evening All.

    Thank you for the poll news.
    Thank you for the news on those Odds.

    Lib Dem figure at 8% apparently.

    The remaking of the Left looks a little like the reversal of what took place when Shirley and Roy and David and Bill left the Labour Party.

    I read the Times because it is right wing, uses an eclectic string of columnists, who can quite otten write, and because it doesn’t embellish views which I already have.
    Also for tribal reasons, from the time when I used to wear a bowler hat and carry a Fox umbrella on the 8.15 Dartford Loop Line to Charing X. I think you still had to go past the ads on p.1 to get to the news pages and editorials and letters from Outraged,Tonbridge Wells.

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