Just a quick post on Monday’s regular polls from Lord Ashcroft and Populus. The twice-weekly online poll from Populus has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%, GRN 3%. Tabs here.

Lord Ashcroft’s weekly telephone poll has topline figures of CON 28%(-1), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 17%(+2), GRN 7% (tabs here).

In my post yesterday I touched on issues of party image – of how the Conservatives lead on competence, but Labour are more likely to be seen as having it’s heart in the right place. Today’s Ashcroft poll has a much bigger section on party image but you can see the same pattern. The Conservative party are more likely to be seen as being “competent and capable”, “having clear ideas to deal with Britain’s problems” and being “willing to take tough decisions for the long term”. However Labour lead on perceptions that are more about values – so they are ahead on “shares my values”, “on the side of people like me” and have big leads on having its “heart in the right place” and “stands for fairness”.

As a general view, I’d say that gap there is what prevents the Conservatives doing much better. The Tories have a leader who rates far more positively than the opposition leader; they now have a consistent lead on the economy, the big issue facing the country. The thing that holds them back is that people do still see them as a party of the rich (and a party of the white) and don’t trust their motives, whereas whatever Labour’s other failings are (and they have their own image problems), the public do at least still see them as having their heart in the right place and caring about fairness.

496 Responses to “Latest Populus and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. @maura you made me laugh.. And I needed it!

  2. Maura

    “he was a bit of dope ”

    Your post was very droll.

    You say “was”: is he much improved? Often age helps** but sometimes there is no hope.

  3. CL1945 to CB11 [sounds like a secret 7 code… or famous 5]

    “Same age we are.”

    Chris, that is dreadful sentence construction for a teacher.

    I can see why you are trying to chum up with ole Batty – he can’t spell in TWO languages.

    We may need to sit you apart.

  4. Angela Merkel has told the German parliament that the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker does not require unanimity. In the event of a vote, there would be “no drama” if he was chosen by a majority (according to the Beeb).

    On the subject of the “L-bomb”, my first thought was that this might be a smokescreen thrown up for the benefit of the UK media (as was the resurrection of speculation from earlier in the year that Christine Lagarde could be considered a realistic candidate).

    The Guardian reports that “the option was sent to the attorney general for legal review. Senior officials and diplomats in Brussels said resorting to the so-called ‘Luxembourg compromise’ would not pass legal muster.”

    The attorney general hasn’t been immune to criticism for advice he’s given to the PM so far this week. Let’s hope the ducks are in a row for Ypres.

  5. R&D

    We set very low standards in our house – our main aim was that our kids would grow up and leave home (preferably, but not necessarily, after they left school) and, in that, we were 100% successful.

  6. @MSmithsonPB: Another day closer to GE15 & LAB moves to 5% lead in tonight’s YouGov/Sun poll
    CON 32
    LAB 37
    LD 7
    UKIP 14

  7. @ Catmanjeff,

    Many will may not be interested in the debate, therefore haven’t contributed.

    Some of us are just staying out of it because it has no bearing on polling and it devolved instantly into a flamewar.

    Still, I suppose it leavens up the polldrums.

  8. One of the things which seems to be different in the polling this time (compared to previous GE campaigns) is how steady things seem – what we this site terms ‘polldrums’ – a great coinage.
    It seems that we’re often looking for a sudden change – Labour to pull ahead, the Tories to surge forward and, on this basis, we keep discussing what usually happens in the last few months/weeks/days of a GE campaign but it may be that, actually, the electorate are remarkably settled and will continue so.

  9. Spearmint
    I like my Polldrums unleavened.

  10. Spearmint

    Flamewar ? Are you sure it’s not a Sh*tstorm?

  11. Maura

    Its been my thought for a long time that little will change by May 2015 – perhaps Lab and Cons both up very slightly at the expenxe of minor parties.

    The campaign will be nasty but I don’t think the electorate will be thinking:

    “Oooooooooo, I hadn’t thunk of it like that before. I shall definitely vote Tory now you’ve pointed that out Cobber.”

  12. Quite interesting to read this – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28014230

    I’ve felt for some time that Carney seems to be somewhat out of his depth at present, providing forward guidance that then is re written very rapidly, and now giving a hint one way one week, and another the next once he’s seen the impact of his previous musings on the forex markets.

    I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, as if this was some cunning plan to pacify the markets, but from what Peston is saying, it’s actually getting to the point that Carney’s behaviour is actually risking higher rates for everyone.

    Given that weak sterling is a stated aim of the government, last weeks intervention by carney that sent sterling shooting upwards can’t have been welcome. Carney isn’t a political post, but it’s a fascinating one to watch with potentially big political consequences.

  13. Maura – modesty prevents Amber from telling you herself that we have her to thank for the ‘Polldrums’ label.

  14. I wonder if Cameron has had a worse day than this in his political life? It’s a good job for him that Juncker wasn’t confirmed as European Commission President today; at least that humiliation is postponed for another day or two. Political careers start to slide for all sorts of reasons, but the first sign of the downward slopes is when your luck starts to run out; unfortunate coincidences of events conspiring against you. Major and Brown both reached points when it appeared that whatever they touched turned to stone in their hands and there then comes a perception of an unstoppable downward momentum where one calamity follows another.

    We’re not quite there yet, but I wonder how long it may be before Cameron reaches that terrible and lonely place where he gets little or no credit for what goes right and blame for everything that goes wrong? By the look of today’s Daily Mail headline, he’s flirting with this territory already and, when and if he gets there, it could be taxi for 10, Downing Street.

  15. “We’re not quite there yet, but I wonder how long it may be before Cameron reaches that terrible and lonely place where he gets little or no credit for what goes right and blame for everything that goes wrong?”


    The good news for Cammers is that Clegg has already occupied that role…

  16. @Crossbath

    It’s a matter of opinion whether this is a humiliation, better to stand up for principle with your back to the wall than kowtowing as some other EU leaders are now alleged to be prepared to do. It’s reported he’s refused sweeteners to avoid the embarrassment of a forced vote which suggests it really is a principled stand he’s making. At the end of the day I really don’t want an old f**t from the EU OB’s club prescribing an “as you were” dictat for the next 5 years!

  17. Thanks for that link @ROGERH

    Pretty much my view.

  18. I’ve not followed most of this thread, due to work, so I am not quite sure exactly what RogerH and David Englehart were referring to re: the police, but I will respond briefly anyway (you know I can’t resist!).


    It depends what you mean by the police always believing a “defendant” is guilty. For someone to be a defendant, they must have already been charged or summoned. For that to have happened (for all but very trivial cases) a CPS reviewing lawyer must have already reviewed the evidence and decided there is a realistic chance of conviction (“realistic” being quantified as the lawyer believing there is a 70% or greater chance of jury convicting). So, assuming you actually meant “defendant” and not “person accused of a crime” (a common misuse) then it would be a little surprising, unsettling even, if the police thought the defendant was innocent. In an ideal world, a police officer withholds judgement on who is guilty or innocent – it’s not our job to decide. Where I can I adhere to that principle, but it’s pretty much against human nature. It is a little easier in cases where all of the evidence comes from human witnesses (including most child abuse cases) but rather difficult in something like a drugs conspiracy where you have 2kg of cocaine in someone’s boot and a series of text messages on their phone that are blatantly drug related.

    I do accept that there can be a tendency for police officers to filter new information through a presumption of guilt, and to downplay material that doesn’t appear to fit their case theory. Again, human nature at its best (you don’t have to lurk on these boards for long to see the world and his wife are at it), but I think the modern police are far less likely to fall into this trap than those of the “good old days”.

    @David Englhart,

    I’m not quite sure where you get your extremely jaded view. Have you had a bad personal experience? Or just been caught up in the wave of police-hating that has swept the media in the past couple of years? Either way, I absolutely cannot recognise what you are saying. The idea that the police random pick innocent members of the public and fit them up as some sort of sulky reflex action to not being able to catch the “real criminals” is very insulting, completely illogical (for a start, if we were going to fit anyone up why wouldn’t we pick the “real criminals” we’d just failed to catch?), and the sort of thing I expected to hear from a red-faced belligerent drunk having a rant at the bar.

  19. Mark Carney is perfectly stable, it is the markets which are volatile.

    Peston mentions ‘people in charge of squillions of pounds’ who seem quite happy to admit they know absolutely bugger all & therefore follow Carney’s every utterance like hypnotised sheep! I think it’s them that we need to be concerned about, not Mark Carney.

  20. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/25/barclays-new-york-attorney-general-dark-pool-alternative-trading

    And right on cue, a story about those chaps who are in charge of ‘squillions of pounds’. I have reservations about Carney but not half as many as I have about some of his critics.

  21. @ Maura

    V. Funny. When my daughter was a mid-teenager she always took the first train to arrive & then sweet talked her way round the system till she finally got there.
    The other day I took a train on the right route that did not actually stop at my destination & then found I had lost my ticket. The Inspector concluded I was too stupid to be a criminal & let me off.

  22. martyn

    “He went into a room to convince 27 other people that he was right…he seems to have convinced just one”

    Our bid to host the World Cup?


    @”Mark Carney is perfectly stable, it is the markets which are volatile.”

    I agree-with one caveat.

    Carney has failed to understand the volatility of markets here. It isn’t the same as Canada. The Treasury Select Committee gave him a roasting over his tendency to change emphasis , in public speeches, outside the MPC announcement ring fence.

  24. Roger,

    Th Guardian equivocating at last perhaps?

    I agree with,

    ”David, would have escaped similar ridicule as an out-of-touch geek if he had won the leadership can’t be taken seriously, quite apart from his links to some of the most discredited parts of New Labour’s record

  25. @Amberstar – “Mark Carney is perfectly stable, it is the markets which are volatile. ”

    While I agree with your general sentiments about the money men, no one could really logically agree with this. He hasn’t offered any stable advice or views that have lasted unadjusted for more than a few weeks.

    It’s worth remembering that his original forward guidance was that rates would start to rise when unemployment hit 7%. He then rapidly withdrew from that, suggesting the BoE was taken aback by the speed on employment growth but that the economy was still weak, so now he is suggesting 5% or thereabouts as a new target.

    This cannot, in any way, be described as stable. His entire concept of forward guidance (which I criticised at the time) has fallen apart entirely. What is the point of forward guidance if the metrics you announce you then reject as wrong a few weeks later?

    The BoE under independence quickly established a formidable reputation and as a result it was able to shift markets by extremely small rate moves. I think Carney is currently thrashing about, trying to understand where we are, and unable to clearly select a path through this and communicate this in a way that will help markets act rationally. I don’t believe he is anywhere near as good as his price tag suggests – not for the first time.

  26. @Jim Jam

    Not sure that the best answer to an ad hominem against Ed always has to be an ad hominem against his brother.

  27. I think the need is to concentrate on getting the kippers back to the Tory fold. If Cameron gets less than 35% he is toast.

  28. BB – fair point.

    I think my view is that whoever was Labour leader would be the subject to an attempt to undermine by now.

    Ed not doing great but OK and no-one else imo from those available would have faired any better.

  29. Bad set of headlines for DC. I think it’s a little unfair that the media piled in on the judges criticism of him yesterday as if he was the only offender – I can’t quite see why Ed’s name wasn’t also in the headlines, but that what you get if you are the PM and having a bad week.

    I think also it’s difficult to gauge the question of poll impacts. Even with a conviction, I’m unsure that the whole NI story is really a vote shifter, but here we have the issues of bringing advisors into No 10, the pointless stand against Juncker, and nearly collapsing judicial cases by inopportune public statements (for the second time).

    A couple of days ago Anthony gave us the evidence on polling, with the Lab nice/Tories competent summary, but here we have three issues in the space of a few days that some would suggest undercuts the Tory competence notion.

    Personally, I don’t think these issues – even collectively – will amount to more than a few days bad headlines. I doubt the poll impacts will be significant long term, although they might take another week out of the 40 or so left for the Tories to build the 5% lead that they need to win, so it isn’t a great week for them I suggest.

    As ever, the critical factor will be the economy, so there really would need to be a big ‘bad news’ story on this front to make these other low salience issues really fire up and mean something. Having said that, for the last couple of months the household finance index has been slipping, with householders becoming significantly more gloomy about prospects for their prospects for the year ahead.

    As I said at the time, Labour’s lead on empathy is unlikely to be challenged – who you are doesn’t change much in voters minds. The Tory lead on competence is much more temporary, and could change really rather rapidly with events, although to be fair, Labour also need to rebuild their own image still, so there are many complications here.

  30. ALEC

    Of course he added a number of other criteria to that 7%, but the Press insisted on focusing on that one parameter.

    I think BoE were taken by surprise by the speed of employment growth-but this is but one element in their central conundrum-the Productivity Gap.

    BoE is not the only body which has expressed puzzlement over this factor, and given Carney made it clear that he wanted to see “escape velocity” before normalising interest rates, it is not surprising that uncertainty prevails.

    At least BoE has attempted some quantification of the alleged gap-identifying the elements which are known. But there still is a gap-largely unexplained. And since Carney wishes to preside over a sustainable recovery, his change of emphasis & timescales in to be understood.

    If you saw his Select Committee appearance you will see that there was some understanding of this.

    What they did not understand was the Governor making Market Moving statements at public functions. He cannot speak -at least in this country-without markets analysising every syllable. He was roundly ticked of for this, and I expect to see him staying well within the ringfence of MPC official announcements in future.

    This apart, I think the caution & thoughtfulness being displayed by MPC over the timing of Monetary tightening is encouraging & to be commended.

    I am less certain how the new FPC is going to address a house price spike restricted to one part of the country-we will see soon.

  31. LD do seem to be settling at a new low around 7%. Not sure why and I would be interested to hear other views and theories.

  32. The field work for that latest YouGov poll showing a 4 pt lead of Labour was in the middle of the ‘Ed is carp’ media storm of last week.
    For DC to win in 2015, he needs to reduce the number of Lab voters AND move some of the current UKIP VI (with some DKs) to CONs.
    It doesn’t seem that the “Ed is carp” attacks will shift the people who make up Labour VI. Fears about Ed in No. 10 may help in the second group, but this isn’t enough with Lab in the high 30s.

  33. Carney’s getting leaned on by a lot of people who want him to make mutually incompatible decisions for political or financial advantage at a time when economic indicators are changing rapidly.

    We’re in a recovery, yes, but a lot of people are very unsure about how stable, widespread or sustainable it is, especially with the housing market as it is.

    But Carney and the folks at the BoE know that it’s not strong enough to withstand some forms of event. The most obvious would be a bursting of the housing bubble – hence the nervousness about interest rates.

    I think Carney’s main weakness so far has been to underestimate the voraciousness of the Press for his views. He’s probably wiser to keep his mouth shut a little more – advice his predecessor also ought to have heeded.

  34. Nick

    I think that the material made from papyrus followed by a male child is not acceptable on here.


    I agree with your comments about the “Ed is carp” agenda. That is already factored into the polls. What will move things the Tories way is continuing improvement in the economy and the fact that Labour are not offering any clear alternate strategy, at least at the moment.

  36. Greens on 5 again in today’s YouGov.

  37. I think the Jury is still out on Carney, although apparently that no longer stops you commenting!

    I always though those that pointed to his success in Canada didn’t pay enough attention to the fact that like Australia and Russia, Canada had benefitted from the two decade long boom in raw material exports and prices created by China’s 10%+ annual growth.

    With that kind of money rolling into the country it would be hard not to balance the books!

    Right now we have a recovering but unbalanced economy. We want growth and have it but is is lending and property driven which is what caused the problem in the first place.

    Despite pretty much every politician saying “Never Again” after excessive speculative lending on property nearly broke us, new growth is being driven by property prices in The capital rising by ten times inflation.

    His only power to curb London property prices lies in interest rates but that would hurt everywhere else particularly the areas struggling. When and if London gets a chill the rest of the countries get pneumonia.

    So he is stuck where he is.

    The proper solution lies with Osborne, a hike in Stamp duty for properties at our above the average London price with proceeds ring fenced for Councils to spend on housing or housing enabling projects.

    That is basic Cap and Tap, the extra stamp duty cools the market where it is hottest….Cap and the funds go to address a lack on supply in pressured areas….Tap.


  38. @colin – “What they did not understand was the Governor making Market Moving statements at public functions. He cannot speak -at least in this country-without markets analysising every syllable. He was roundly ticked of for this, and I expect to see him staying well within the ringfence of MPC official announcements in future.”

    Well that’s just what he has done again last week, leading to a sharp spike in sterling. He had to undo that mistake this week.

    I actually think the MPC is doing a decent job in a complex situation, but the point is exactly the opposite of what you say – Carney hasn’t learned the lesson over his public utterances.

    Also, on the point of the forward guidance, yes he did also throw in other metrics, but the market settled on one, which turned out to be incorrect anyway.

    That can’t be viewed as anything other than Carney’s error – his job is to manage rates and communicate BoE sentiment – if the message is misunderstood, it’s the messengers fault I’m afraid.

  39. @Neil A

    “and the sort of thing I expected to hear from a red-faced belligerent drunk having a rant at the bar.”

    You’ve met my old friend Reg from the Skinners Arms then, although he tends to think that the boys in blue are part of the solution, not the problem. :-)


    “The field work for that latest YouGov poll showing a 4 pt lead of Labour was in the middle of the ‘Ed is carp’ media storm of last week.”

    My sense about all this, and the polling evidence suggests it too, is that Miliband’s shortcomings, perceived or real, have little or no capacity now to deter those currently supporting Labour from continuing to do so. I think the psephological term is that the Miliband factor has already been “priced in”. It could be that he is suppressing the potential Labour vote and that his prime ministerial capabilities, or otherwise, might grow in salience nearer the date of the election, but I think this “drag” is counterbalanced by the considerable “drag” factors that apply to the Tory and Lib Dem vote.

    If you take these structural weaknesses of his main opponents and combine them with the voting system we have, and the current constituency boundaries, then Miliband may be one of those rare specimens; a very lucky politician!

  40. As usual we disagree, reading the papers this morning I do not see what you see. There seems to be some agreement that Cameron has suffered very little damage except for P Oborne in the Telegraph who seems to be the Tories equivalent of Dan Hodges.
    On the European issue I think his stand against Juncker is far from pointless and I suspect that the public will agree with him, they like prime Ministers who stand up for British interests even if the argument is lost in the short term. I am sure he believes that his fighting the appointment to the bitter end will have a very negative effect on Juncker’s abiliuty to push the federalist agenda,
    All in all I suspect very little effect on Cameron’s rating or even some small gains.

  41. Not sure it did Canute any good

  42. Nice to agree with you CB re ‘priced in’ etc.
    Also as per a thread last week the 2010 LDs now Lab seem to like Ed more than most.

  43. Can I add my comment to Neil A

    In all of Cases where I have directly witnessed an offence I didn’t just think someone was guilty I knew they were guilty. A little galling to see a small proportion of these individuals get off at court.

    Where evidence short of the above was available but sufficient to justify charge I was quite content to let the Court make it’s mind up based on the principles of beyond reasonable doubt.

  44. I think the Juncker battle is a double-edged sword. I don’t think it will do any harm for a British PM to be stubbornly resisting the imposition of the will of continental Europeans, especially in relation to someone who shares a name with a brand of WW2 bomber. The game is clearly lost with Juncker now a shoe-in.

    The difficulty will come with calibrating the Tory approach to the EU and the referendum in the run up to the GE. The siren-voices of the UKIP tendency will be arguing that with Juncker at the helm there’s not much point in a renegotiation and that the Tories should switch to straight support for “Out”. That’s unlikely to happen, but Cameron may be a bit in thrall to his own logic on that point and find it hard to make an argument that the negotiation process is worthwhile.

    There is a better narrative for the Tories, which is to portray the stubbornness of the EU not as a disinterest in whether the UK stays or goes, but as a gamble that the next UK government will be Labour-led and therefore a ‘patsy’ to EU interests. He could perhaps do a bit of a flag waving underdog routine, along the “Juncker wants you to vote for Miliband so he can press on towards a European Superstate. Don’t let him get his way. Only the Tories will fight for a better deal for the UK” line. Images of Brown’s ninja-like signing of the Lisbon Treaty would no doubt be pressed into service by Pressman and his buddies.

    There are obvious risks with this. It could invigorate UKIP by increasing the salience of Europe. It could smack a bit of Hague’s “Last Chance to Save the Pound” (although I have always thought it wasn’t that campaign specifically that was the Tories’ problem in 2005, rather the general political landscape). It could unsettle the markets and endanger trade and growth (which is probably the Tories’ #1 plus-point for 2015). But if the pieces fell into place it could be a hard trap for Labour to avoid.

    And given that a 2015-2020 Miliband government would almost certainly face at least one incident of further integration with Europe, with Juncker in the driving seat, even if it didn’t help Cameron stay in No 10 it might provide his replacement with a stick to beat Miliband with in 2020.

  45. @NEIL A

    You could be right about the polling impact. [Snip]

  46. I don’t understand what powers an EU president has: can they really steer things in a different direction to that wanted by the majority of the individual countries directly elected ministers?

    Sounds a bit barmy if so.

    As far as our govt and the EU is concerned I guess they don’t expect DC to be around in 11 months’ time so they are just going through the motions of listening to him, on a personal level anyway.

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