We have our usual three Monday polls today:

The weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 27%(-6), CON 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 6%(nc). The drop in Conservative support looks striking, but is probably largely a reversion to the mean after the unusual neck-and-neck Ashcroft poll last week. Tabs are here.

The twice-weekly Populus poll meanwhile has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. Tabs are here.

Finally the daily YouGov poll for the Sun tonight has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%.

704 Responses to “Latest YouGov, Populus and Ashcroft polls”

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  1. Quite enjoyed the shocked faces at the Lab conference during Balls’ speech. lol!

  2. Good late evening everyone.

    Nick Robinson has given Labour a good airing on BBC news; so the publicity for Ed M may help Labour. It is going to be quite a race to the GE.

  3. Misprint in the Ashcroft details needs amending.

    Thanks all the same for all your excellent and informative posts.

  4. “We have our usual three Monday polls today:

    “The weekly Lord Ashcroft poll has topline figures of CON 27%(-6), CON 33%(nc), LDEM 9%(nc), UKIP 17%(+3), GRN 6%(nc). The drop in Conservative support looks striking, but is probably largely a reversion to the mean after the unusual neck-and-neck Ashcroft poll last week. Tabs are here.”

    It’s been said before that there are two Conservative parties these days, but . . .

  5. (fpt)
    RogerH: “I imagine they’d just introduce a guillotine on debate.”

    They could timetable the committee stage; but the principle of line-by-line scrutiny is a limit on how severe the timetabling can be, and would hand the SNP another propaganda tool presented as Westminster overriding “Scotland’s will”. Major constitutional Bills also have a whole-House committee stage, which raises the profile of the process.

  6. Are the Ashcroft polls worth bothering with? The variation from poll to poll and the variation from other polling companies suggest that either the sample size or the methodology is suspect. Would he be better to spend his money on fewer polls with more thorough sampling?

  7. The news today that SNP membership has surged by 17,000 in the last four days is a clear testament to the leadership of Alex Salmond.

    Perhaps he should have resigned months ago?

  8. I’m still impressed by how strongly the Green polling numbers have held up all summer. Will be fascinating to see if they can break out beyond Brighton at the general election.

  9. @Various fpt

    I remain very doubtful that EVfEL will have much salience, but it may catch some, particularly if the likes of Ben Bradshaw continue saying it’s the ‘elephant in the room’ – more like a mouse behind the skirting board IMO.

    As to the evolution of the UKIP vote – it could go in any direction – up, down or static – but I doubt it will collapse. My guess is that it will go from about 14% to about 10% with a couple of points to Con, half a point to Lab and most of the rest to WNV.

    We shouldn’t forget there’s about 5% of Greens, too and I think that IS likely to collapse, not least because of lack of candidates. Perhaps down to 2 with 1.5 to Lab, 1 to LD and a bit to WNV.

    What happens in Scotland is very hard to predict: if the SNP membership surge is meaningful that could provide quite a bit of hurt to Lab (particularly if these become active members who canvass a GTVO, though it will not benefit Con.

    All in all, despite the apparent polldrums and Lab’s ‘unfair advantage’ I think it remains too close to call but if I was a betting man I would put my money on a small OM for Lab.

  10. alec


    But I have been very grateful to all our neutral posters for regular updates on the SNP membership surge.

    It is nice that they take the trouble to keep us all informed.

  11. I’m not normally one to follow the moves of Tommy Sheridan in any detail. However I have been fascinated to see a Facebook post of his gaining traction amongst Yes voting friends who I would not associate with his end of the political spectrum.

    It basically advocates Yes voters from across the political spectrum whether Labour, Green, Solidarity or other Socialists supporting the SNP as a one off at the 2015 Westminster election.

    The suggestion is that no other Yes parties should run in 2015 and people should vote SNP to send a message to Westminster by returning a block of pro Independence MPs in 2015. Given the divides between the 3 Unionist parties, if something like this gained traction amongst the non SNP members of the “45” (as they are becoming known on social media), this could inflict a serious blow on Labour in Scotland.

    Like I say Tommy himself is a marginal figure these days but the people sharing it are more soft left / Green so it will be interesting to see if it’s taken up by the wider 45 movement.

  12. @alec

    Scottish Greens and SSP have seen proportionately greater increases in membership since the referendum. How are you going to dismiss that in a condescending way?

  13. @Alec / R&D

    It’s an interesting situation, isn’t it? It was all about him, and now he’s resigning, what is it all about?

    As someone who has never, and will never be a party member, I probably can’t relate to the point (in a person’s mind) that people decided to join parties.


  14. Be interesting to see the turnout in Scotland next May. I suspect that it’ll be not that different from 2010’s.

  15. Statgeek

    “As someone who has never, and will never be a party member, I probably can’t relate to the point (in a person’s mind) that people decided to join parties.”

    Some people are natural “joiners” – hence I’ve joined all 3 parties that I’ve supported at various points in my life.

    Others aren’t. What I’ve found surprising is the number of people who aren’t normally “joiners” who are signing up to a pro-indy party (including my daughter who, as far as I know, has never even voted SNP, but is becoming a member).

    It seems clear that this isn’t just the normal process of people joining a political party, but signing up to a movement.

    If other parties in Scotland, don’t even understand the political process at work (as speeches at the Lab Conference would suggest) and folk elsewhere sneer at a staggering level of political commitment here, then this is a very disunited kingdom.

  16. Populus maybe a little larger than usual, YG a little smaller? Only by the odd %age point or two of course, but a tad strange.

    Interesting to see how the Conference goes, and if the usual bounce can occur.

    Any betting on Ed-isms from this year? Any Predators? I suppose we are still ‘One Nation’.

  17. RogerH

    Your suspicions may be correct – or they could be wildly inaccurate.

    That’s the thing about suspicions. They aren’t based on things like evidence.

  18. @Hireton – “Scottish Greens and SSP have seen proportionately greater increases in membership since the referendum. How are you going to dismiss that in a condescending way?”

    In Scotland, we have this thing called ‘humour’. When I get time, I’ll try to explain it to you – or perhaps @R&D might like to try?

  19. @Oldnat

    “It seems clear that this isn’t just the normal process of people joining a political party, but signing up to a movement.”

    Indeed. I just hope the people joining up realise that 500 miles away, the folk with the powers are looking at other things. To many, Scotland was nothing more than a distraction before the big scrap. Personally, I think a re-jig of political party strengths across the UK can’t hurt anyone but the parties.

  20. So the conservatives are currently a whopping six points behind the conservatives, according to Ashcroft! How on earth they managed that I don’t know

  21. Jack R,

    Expecting that to be built on with a lot of togetherness, unity, shared interests talk after the Indy Ref. Possibly leading into uniting principles and organisations like the NHS.

    It’s been pretty quiet on the policy front for a bit. I suspect they might unveil something big tomorrow.

  22. AU,

    The Tory party can be a bit of an Ouroboros at times.

  23. (Or, for those without a funny bone, I think you’ve made an error Anthony)

  24. @Mrnameless

    Ha, ha. Perhaps they’re just going after the coalition vote.

  25. @Alec

    I think Oldnat was highlighting that some can’t discuss anything Scots / SNP / Salmond without attempting to poke fun at one (or more) of the above.

    Humour is a different thing entirely. :-p

  26. @Oldnat – I would agree. There really does seem to be a failure to comprehend what has just happened.

    For me, Cameron’s pitiable attempts to gain political advantage by linking the issue of devolved powers with English reform, within hours of the poll result, demonstrated just how much he misunderstood why Scots (and many others) despise Westminster. Other parties seem similarly disabled, albeit perhaps not as laughably so.

    I think there are problems stirring, not specifically in Scotland either. The referendum has shown the way, and I suspect we may start to see more of a radicalization of politics coming through – all entirely outside Westminster.

  27. alec

    Are yooze condescending wuh bonny lad?

  28. @rogerH

    I don’t think you need a hugely higher turnout in Scotland to see some dramatic vote changes.

    If just a chunk of Labour Yes voters switch to SNP you could see big changes.

    Alternatively we might see very few. Even a 10% Lab – SNP swing only loses Labour around 4 seats (Probably net -3 as they’d likely still gain East Dunbartonshire from Lib Dems).

    However if you get slightly beyond that mark and especially if that swing is concentrated in strong Yes areas like Glasgow / North Lanarkshire then SNP could make dramatic gains without even needing to increase turnout.

  29. @Alec: “There really does seem to be a failure to comprehend what has just happened. ”

    There’s an interesting article in the online Graun now (“Politics as usual deflates Labour activists…”) about the impact which campaigning in Scotland has had on Lab activists at the conference, and at least some sense that this was something different.

  30. There’s a big mountain for any party in unseating a SLAB MP. The SLAB vote is not only well-concentrated in seats such that their votes go a long way, but it’s also so piled up in most of those seats that it would take a huge swing to unseat most of them.

    Furthermore, many of the SLAB seats that are vaguely marginal (like Stirling, Dumfries & Galloway, and East Renfrewshire) are SLAB-Tory seats, and so there’s not much prospect of a bad swing for them. The only SLAB seats I can see the SNP winning are Ochil & South Perthshire and Falkirk. Falkirk itself would be a huge achievement, since its components have been in SLAB constituencies since at least the 1940s.

    A more realistic area of progress for the SNP is in being the party benefit most in Scotland from the collapse of the LD vote. I do think that the SNP and LDs tend to be substitutes (they’re generally the rural Scottish “Not Tory” vote) and aside from the Lowland LD seats, North East Fife, and Orkney & Shetland, I can definitely see the SNP winning all of the LD seats in Scotland. That means six seats up for grabs. They could even win East Dunbartonshire if the vote is split three-ways; the SNP won a very different seat of the same name in Dunbartonshire back in October 1974 when the seat could have gone to the Tories, SLAB or the SNP depending on swings of just a few hundred votes.

  31. (There are also two SLAB-LD marginals in Edinburgh, but I don’t see SLAB losing them in the next election…)

  32. Bill Patrick

    “There’s a big mountain for any party in unseating a SLAB MP. The SLAB vote is not only well-concentrated in seats such that their votes go a long way, but it’s also so piled up in most of those seats that it would take a huge swing to unseat most of them.”

    The only problem with that argument, is that you could reasonably have said exactly that about the constituency seats occupied by SLAB MSPs before the 2011 election.

  33. @northumbrianscot

    SNP polled 45.3% at Holyrood 2011.
    YES polled 44.7% last week
    It would seem independence is a vote loser

  34. Statto

    Or you could be comparing blaeberries and grapes.

  35. @Bill

    As the polls stand (25-poll weighted MAD), using Scotland Votes; Westminster:

    Lab 32.2
    SNP 31.2
    Con 20.0
    Lib 6.9
    Green 4.0
    UKIP 3.7


    Lab 37 (-4)
    SNP 13 (+7)
    Con 5 (+4)
    Lib 4 (-7)

    If we saw another Lab -4% / SNP +4% (possible, if Miliband doesn’t inspire), we get:

    Lab 28.2
    SNP 35.2
    Con 20.0
    Lib 6.9
    Green 4.0
    UKIP 3.7


    SNP 28 (+22)
    Lab 22 (-19)
    Con 5 (+4)
    Lib 4 (-7)

    In short, while I doubt we would see such a swing approaching a Westminster election, with SLAB doing the ‘keep out the Tories’ as they always do…the SNP might easily play a ‘keep out the Tories and Miliband’ or something that plays on the recent negatives of SLAB over the referendum.

    The Conservatives would have to be very unfortunate to not pick up seats, but their Holyrood VI has dropped, so their’s might be most interesting. Wipe out? Lib Dems…Orkney and North East Fife are secure, and I assume one Highland seat.

  36. @Statto

    0.6% drop over three years? Would Cameron like to be on 35.5% right now? :))

  37. Statgeek

    Orkney & Shetland is secure LD. Charlie Kennedy will also get elected. NE Fife is far from secure.

  38. @Statto

    You’ve spotted that there is a core pro SNP, anti Independence vote.

    That this exists is no mystery. The SNP administrations at Holyrood built their support with a reputation for competence and standing up for Scotland while keeping independence in the background. When we look at the referendum result in traditional SNP strongholds like Moray, Angus and Perthshire this becomes obvious that there is a core rural anti Tory vote that supports SNP but not independence.

    However the question is will these voters abandon the SNP post a no vote? This seems unlikely as they voted SNP despite the risk of their vote leading to independence that they didn’t want. Now another referendum is off the cards for 10-15 years anti independence voters who like domestic SNP policy can safely vote SNP without worrying about the consequences.

    Will these voters switch at Westminster election time though? I suspect they will back SNP for Holyrood in 2016 but next year is more up in the air.

    If you can combine the pro SNP anti independence vote with the previously pro Labour, recently pro Independence vote then you can end up with a lot of SNP MPs. Now this may well not happen and we could equally see a very similar result to 2010 with SNP picking off a few Lib Dems and Ochil but it’s certainly a possibility they could make big gains in places like Glasgow and North Lanarkshire.

  39. In fact, independence supporting parties gained.over 50% of the vote in the Holyrood regional vote.

    YES polled 44.7% last week.

    An even bigger vote loser than I first appreciated.

  40. Statto

    Now you want to compare tomatoes with pomegranates.

    I do hope that “Statto” isn’t meant to suggest any facility with statistics! :-)

  41. OldNat,

    Mountains do get climbed sometimes, you know!


    I do think that there will be a swing back to SLAB, albeit not as much as there was in 2010. I don’t see the “Tories and Miliband” line getting much traction; the issue will be the Tories, and the challenge for the SNP will be making a case to vote SNP at Westminster in a post-indyref Scotland.

    I suspect that the Scottish Tories won’t pick up any seats, actually, due to tactical voting and a surge for UKIP. Also, even in their most promising marginals their vote is so low that an extreme three/four way split is needed for them to win, unless the well-ingrained belief that they’re an anti-Scottish party could somehow be changed (and it’s in the interests of all the other parties to ensure that it never changes).

  42. “However the question is will these voters abandon the SNP post a no vote?”

    Depends on whether Tommy or Sillars turns it into a proxy for another referendum.

  43. @Oldnat

    It will depend on the candidate that is selected to replace Ming. Although the LDs are down nationally, NE Fife is pretty much Lib / Con territory usually. The SNP might get a slice, or even Labour in unusual conditions.

    I think many in NE Fife will hold their nose and vote to get Lib or Con, rather than either of the other two (in my humble opinion). However, perhaps it has been SNP’d over the past 2-3 years. Who knows?

  44. I suspect John Thurso also pretty safe for Lib Dems in Caithness as well as Charlie Kennedy and Orkney / Shetland.

    Apart from those 3 all Lib Dem seats are in play. I wonder if Danny Alexander will hang on doing better than national average through that tendency for Constituencies to quite enjoy having a high profile “Celebrity” MP even if they are not especially popular nationally.

  45. Statgeek,

    I would be surprised if either SLAB or the Tories won North East Fife. I would even be a bit surprised if the SNP won it, but still much less surprised by a SLAB/Tory win.

  46. * than by a SLAB/Tory win.

  47. @Bill

    Well given the SNP took it in 2011 at the HR level, it’s a possibility. If you look at previous WM elections, the losing three have been fairly close, and if we take three things into account:

    1. Lib Dems support massively dropping

    2. Ming retiring

    3. SNP seat in Holyrood

    All that points to LD losses in NE Fife. Most likely SNP gains, but who knows…it might end up becoming a two, three or even four-way marginal, if the LDs have dropped to the 10K levels. It all depends on the LD core support, and the whether Ming was a factor.

  48. In fact, if you compare the 2011 and 2007 HR results then look at the 2010 results…anything might happen.


    h ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_East_Fife_%28UK_Parliament_constituency%29#Elections_in_the_2010s

  49. Bill Patrick/Statgeek

    While individual seats are always going to be a matter of speculation, rather than informed comment, the only recent evidence relates to the 2011 election (9% SNP lead over LD in the nearest equivalent seat) and the referendum results in that part of Fife (which I don’t know).

    Suggesting an LD win there seems somewhat premature.

  50. Ladies and gentlemen, if you can tear your eyes away for a moment from the West Lothian Question and the riveting display of political talent that is the Labour Conference, I have something that may be of interest.

    Pre-Conference YouGov Churn Analysis

    After a rather dull July, we’ve had an exciting month of polling in which Labour and the Lib Dems have plumbed to hitherto unexplored depths and the Tories have lost any progress they made toward climbing out of the low 30s. Douglas Carswell’s defection led to a jump in the Ukip vote that was probably compounded by Westminster’s flailing Indyshambles, with the result that all three main parties are in grim shape.


    The Conservatives

    The Tories are still marooned in the low 30s. In July and the first part of August they almost achieved the giddy heights of a 34% average, but Douglas Carswell put paid to that ambition when he announced he was jumping ship. They fell all the way back down to 32%, and while there are some signs of nascent recovery, with the Clacton by-election looming it may be a fleeting comfort.


    There are, as Norman Lamont would say, some green shoots. Lab -> Con and LD -> Con churn are both up fractionally, which may be a sign that the recovery is finally beginning to trickle down to Conservative VI. The problem for the Tories is that the change is so minute that it’s gained them at most 1% of the electorate over the past year, and they need to gain about 1% of the vote per month from now until May to stand a chance of winning a majority.

    And meanwhile thanks to Mr. Carswell they are still haemorrhaging voters to Ukip. They’re doing better than they were in the nadir of May 2013, but they need to be winning back Kippers and instead they are losing them.



    The Labour vote share is a grisly sight redeemed only by the horrific scenes of electoral carnage on everyone else’s graph. They coasted through the summer on a miserable 37%, but since Carswell and the Indyshambles they’ve plummeted to below 36%. Unlike the Tories, they show no sign of rallying.

    Well, not to worry, I’m sure Ed Balls’ promise of austerity-but-with-Gove-jokes will be a big vote winner.


    Labour’s problem is all with retention. They’ll be reassured to know that their LD -> Lab churn is holding rock steady after a wobble earlier in the year- get their own formers voters back from Ukip and the Greens and they’ll be home and dry. Unfortunately there is no evidence they have the faintest idea how to go about doing this.


    The Liberal Democrats

    Nick Clegg has answered the prayers of his party and worked a miracle. Sadly, it’s not the miracle they were hoping for- this miracle was getting the Lib Dem vote share even lower than it was after their crushing defeat in May.

    Most of us didn’t believe he could pull it off, but Chris Lane kept the faith, and he was right: the Lib Dems were too high.


    How did the Lib Dems achieve this amazing 7%? They couldn’t do it alone- it took an effort from all the parties: the Tories, taking slightly more of their vote, Labour clinging on tenaciously to their LD -> Lab defectors, the Greens, who aren’t on this graph but who are hoovering up a good 10% of the 2010 Lib Dem vote, and last but not least Ukip, who saw a jump in LD -> Ukip churn on the back of Carswell’s announcement.

    One consequence of the rise in LD -> Ukip movement is that the number of Liberal Democrats who have switched to Labour is now consistently above the number who have remained loyal to their party.



    At least there is one party leader who has reason to smile (indeed, he never seems to stop). Ole Nigel is having a jolly time with his soon-to-be-MP and his 15% vote share. The party conferences may knock a few points off, but with the media storm of Clacton on the horizon Ukip are likely to get them back soon.


    Ukip are still drawing primarily from the Tories, although there are a fair few former Lib Dems in there and since May there’s been a jump in Labour defectors.


    Don’t Knows and Not Voting

    Not much to see here. NVs continue their slow decline as the general election draws near. Lib Dem and Tory DKs dropped in the spring and have remained at their new, lower levels. Labour DKs dropped but bounced back up again in July and they’ve been holding steady ever since.


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