Sunday Polls

I’m about to head up to Birmingham, so won’t necessarily be around much for the next few days (not least, when Lord Ashcroft releases his latest marginal poll at 2pm today I’ll be on a train!), but here’s a quick summary of today’s other polls.

ComRes in the Independent on Sunday have topline figures of CON 29%(-3), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(-1), UKIP 19%(+1). Changes are from their previous online poll a month ago. Tabs are here.

Opinium for the Observer have toplines of CON 32%(+3), LAB 34%(-3), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 17%(-2). Changes are from a fortnight ago.

Finally the weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has toplines of CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%. While some other pollsters have already shown the Greens in fourth place, this is the first time that YouGov have shown them catching the Liberal Democrats. Tabs are here.

There is no obvious impact in the polls from the Labour party conference – ComRes have their lead up, Opinium down, YouGov not far from their recent average. In YouGov’s survey they asked if Labour’s conference made people more or less positive about Ed Miliband – 13% said more positive, 15% more negative, 54% unchanged.

YouGov also had several questions on Iraq, showing majority support for British airstrikes against ISIS (58% support for attacks in Iraq, 53% for attacks in Syria) but continuing opposition to putting ground troops back into Iraq (26% approve, 53% disapprove). YouGov also asked about whether Britain should co-operate with Assad or Iran in fighting ISIS. People are evenly split over Assad – 36% think we should co-operate with the regime, 34% that we should not. With Iran people are far more supportive of co-operation – 54% of people think that we should co-operate with Iran, 18% are opposed.

857 Responses to “Sunday Polls”

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  1. Mr Nameless,

    The nationalist movement has split in Catalonia across left/right lines, I hear, but I’m not sure I can see this happening in Scotland. There aren’t enough Fergus Ewing-types left in the SNP anymore to form a viable alternative party, and the party abandoned the position of being a centrist coalition rather than a social democratic party a long time ago. Like Old Labour types and One Nation Tories, the Tartan Tories may simply die out slowly and quietly.

    That said, some right-wing/centrist voters may move from the SNP to elsewhere. I notice that Ruth Davidson at the Tory conference has seen an opportunity for the Scottish Tories in claiming the centre-ground in Scotland, as the SNP/SLAB move further to the left and the LDs have collapsed-

    “With all these fired up new members, [Nicola Sturgeon will] be locking horns with Labour, and they’ll be trying to outflank each other to demonstrate a kind of socialist machismo, elbowing each other aside to lay claim to the collectivist crown. This gives us a huge opportunity. An opportunity to concentrate on the majority. A majority that wants sensible, centre ground policies.”

    The SNP’s success in 2011 was partly the result of finding a sweet spot between those lawyers in Edinburgh who wanted a council tax freeze and those students from Glasgow who wanted higher education for free. I don’t know if they can maintain that coalition over time, if their membership becomes increasingly radically left-wing.

    If the SNP move further to the left, and Ed Miliband is taking Labour to the left, and the LDs have collapsed, then the centre-ground is wide open. Ruth Davidson seems to understand that, but I don’t think that most of the rUK Tories get it, which is why they’re trying for the Blue Kippers rather than the Orange Bookers and the Blairite Labour voters.

  2. Just caught the end of Cameron’s speech. I thought the delivery was a bit wooden, commentators thought the speech was excellent. Neither view would shift VI anyway, as it’s down to the content.

    On this, we see why Osborne gave nothing away. The tax threshold rises are eyecatching, and I suspect will be highly popular. @Pressman and his colleagues will have some ammunition. Cameron is clearly trying to get to the point where people see him as offering significant tax cuts, while key services are safe. Welfare and growth pay the bills.

    I think this will have a VI impact, but there are some other factors.

    Firstly, these promises are hugely costly, and appear contingent on balancing the budget. As such, they remain uncertain, but this might not affect them presentationaly.

    Secondly, somewhat unusually, the Opposition has flushed out the government. We haven’t heard about Labour’s sweeteners, and now Cameron has told us there will be upwards of £10B to blow, Labour can digest and respond. If times aren’t quite so tough, Labour can sensibly make it’s own promises.

    Finally, while this looks great, it will come down to credibility. Tories failed in their 2010 aims on the deficit, and are now promising big tax cuts on their 2018 promise. Do voters believe? Labour has poor credibility on such matters, so this might not be an issue.

    I think what happens over the next 6 months in the economy will be important. So far this year, deficit reduction isn’t going very well. If in 6 months time things don’t look so positive, Tory promises might also look a bit grey.

    Overall though, I suspect Tory posters on here will be very happy, and Labour one’s should be worried. This hasn’t yet won anything for anyone, and it could still unravel, but we can now see why Osborne’s speech looked so poor, and Tories have something to fight with now.

  3. Any reactions to DC’s conference speech ? It was a traditional Tory platform (tax cuts and a fight with Europe), but will it persuade voters to give the Tories a second term ?

    On style at least, Cameron looked far more “prime ministerial” than Ed Miliband.

  4. One point of note further;

    The threshold rise for the starting rate is £2,000 over 5 years, so a little under a 4% annual rate – not really worth much in real terms. If inflation is around 3%, it’s worth no more than £80 pa in total by 2020 – very minor indeed.

    The higher rate threshold movement to £50K is slightly more significant, worth another £680 pa over and above expected inflation increases.

    Even so, these rises are not massive, although the headline presentation looks good as all 5 years of threshold increases are rolled up into one big sounding number.

    Quite clever, in practical terms really a rather limited benefit, but as I say, I anticipate some VI improvement as a result.

  5. Did David Cameron remember to speak about the deficit?

  6. Cam’s speech was very Tory…flag, veterans, EV4EL, Repealing Human Rights Act, TAX CUTS. In particular 40% band increased to starting at 50%.

    Obviously figured out that the young and the poor don’t vote Tory anyway so this will appeal to folk that potentially might vote Tory.

    No tax on inherited pensions – Rich pensioners and their families
    Middle class and up – tax cuts

    I think it gives @Pressman a lot to work with.

  7. Deborah

    If the polling (and crossbreaks) of Scotland are to be believed then Labour is down significantly in Scotland.

    But if that is the case and looking at the national polls then surely Labour must be doing better in England than just the national number indicates.

    That is simple maths.


    Oh indeed, but Labour is still in trouble from it. If you put today’s YouGov headline (Con 31, Lab 36, LD 7, Other 27) into this site’s seat calculator:

    and assume polling movement the same all over GB, you get a Labour majority of 58 (Con 248, Lab 354, LD 7, Other 27).

    But put in today’s figures for Scotland (Con 17, Lab 23, LD 5, SNP 43, Other 12) and Labour’s majority is reduced to 4 (Con 233, Lab 327, LD 27, Other 71).

    The difference is that the SNP gain 44 seats. In nett terms these are from Con 15, LD 2, and Lab 27. Actually Lab and LD lose more than that actually in Scotland (35 and 9), but pick up some seats elsewhere because it means they are doing better outside Scotland. Contrariwise the Tories actually gain a seat in Scotland but lose a net 16 elsewhere. So it’s true that doing better elsewhere mitigates Labour’s losses a bit, but it doesn’t stop them.

  8. The two speeches are now seen as they were planned-a linked theme.

    And it isn’t a surprising thing for Conservative supporters. It is what we expect to see:-

    Less emphasis on the State taking high personal taxes whilst giving it back to the same people ; as it deems fit-and greater emphasis on the State taking lower personal taxes; and giving less back to the taxed.

    You either find this attractive as a principle or you don’t.

    Philosophy apart there is a credibility bar to be jumped by Cons. The actual numbers are deliverable after, and contingent upon the Budget being balanced-targeted as 2018.

    Where the balance lies within the floating vote between the prospective philosophical attraction of the direction of travel, and the apolitical attraction to & credibility of less personal tax is anyone’s guess.

    It certainly ought to appeal to the UKIP diaspora-but that tests the strength of their antipathy to DC over other matters.

    The whole thing is a gamble-but its a gamble on Conservative principles , and I for one can ask no more.

    Comment on DC’s delivery is pointless here , so won’t give mine.

  9. @ Statgeek,

    Weirdly, the Scottish Tory line on that graph seems to be dropping at the same rate as the Scottish Labour line. I wouldn’t have thought they had the votes to lose! (Or that many of their voters would be tempted to switch to the SNP, considering how heavily they broke for ‘No’). Curiouser and curiouser.

  10. @MBruno

    Well I am floating voter to the LOC and I didn’t see the speech just the summary online

    I like these policies

    3m apprenticeships
    Full employment
    100,000 new starter home.
    No income tax until you earn £12,500 (Expensive though!)

    and i don’t mind these

    Passing on pension pot tax free
    No 40p tax rate until you earn £50,000

    I was upset by GO’s speech on Monday, though

    “Cameron looked far more “prime ministerial” than Ed Miliband”

    i think he does, but I like Ed M ( I am a Red Dem at the moment).

    I agree with Alec, i think it should put a point or 2 on the Cons score. Dave C is an asset to the Cons, no doubt about it.

  11. Re. Cameron’s speech, it seemed very Tory, and not terribly Cameroon. The environment and the Big Society didn’t come up once, nor did gay marriage in the family section.

    I expect the base will be pleased, but I’m not sure what the offer is to people who didn’t vote Tory in 2010.

  12. Mbruno
    On style, at least, Cameron looked far more prime ministerial than Miliband.

    Well beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and, after all, Cameron is the prime minister.

  13. Spearmint/Statgeek,

    Isn’t it possible that the Tory vote share in Scotland is falling more as a result of increased intended turnout, rather than Tory-SNP switchers?

  14. Spearmint,

    If the Tories could win over those who voted for them in 2010, that would be a notable improvement on their current position.

  15. Bruno

    Cameron looks far more prime ministerial than Miliband.

    Well, after all, he is prime minister. And don’t forget, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

  16. @ Bill Patrick,

    Good point re. Scotland, and lol re. Tories.

    (Although, as far as that goes, it didn’t feel like it had much to woo Ukip either. I don’t think the Kippers are the sort of pensioners who have to worry much about tax on their pension pots.)

  17. Spearmint

    “I expect the base will be pleased, but I’m not sure what the offer is to people who didn’t vote Tory in 2010.”
    It seemed to me he was promising amongst other things the following.
    More spending on NHS.
    Tax cuts for lower and middle earners.
    English votes only for English legislation.
    Negotiation with the EU to enable us to control immigration better
    A British Bill of Rights giving the UK Parliament ascendancy over the EU Court.

    I suspect that is an agenda which will appeal to a lot of voters.

  18. exactly….acc. to ashcroft only 63% of 2010 tory voters will vote for them next year…the blues need to be getting many more of those back…most of those who have abandoned the tories are voting ukip….the blues are clearly getting quite a few lib dems and some labour 2010 voters but not enough.

  19. the fiscal discipline is clearly being chucked over board in an attempt to win the election. tax cuts for everyone and more nhs spending….go figure! unless there are massive more spending cuts, the numbers don’t add up.

  20. I’m at work so I can’t respond to your comments, but looking at the posts I have to comment. Con is losing votes to UKIP in its big heartland, the South-East of England. Lab is losing votes to SNP in its big heartland, Scotland.

    Serious question: can anybody win the next election (i.e. get a majority of seats?).

  21. every few weeks we are told the tories have come up with a great tactic which will dramatically improve their popularity and damage labour but it hasn’t happened yet. only time will tell but time is running out.

  22. Peter Crawford,

    One of the interesting things about deficits is that when things are bad, opinion is often that “It’s wrong to cut the deficit in a crisis”, and when things are good, opinion is often “We don’t need to worry about cutting the deficit right now”. Hence our publics finances have gotten into the state that they are in.

    My prediction now is that unless the next government does a u-turn on austerity in favour of more handouts in spending/tax cuts, the winners of 2015 will be the losers of 2020, just as I predicted would be the case for 2010 and 2015. It’s like we’re back to the 1960s and 1970s- no government can take tough steps and survive to win multiple terms.

  23. Mr Nameless
    “Last three notable defectors are Reckless, Cash and Banks”

    I don’t know if that was intended subtle word association humour, but it raised a smile here.

  24. @ T’Other Howard,

    The NHS spending commitment is the same that he’s had through this Parliament, which is a) agreed by everyone in the NHS to be utterly inadequate to prevent an imminent funding crisis and b) less than Labour have now pledged. The Labour pledges are also universally agreed not to be enough to plug the black hole so I won’t praise them too highly, but if he’s trying to neutralise the issue, Labour have still outbid him.

    The tax cuts will be popular, although if they result in the IFS panning the Conservative’s fiscal credibility I’m not sure it was a price worth paying. And honestly, is there anyone in the world who believes taxes would be lower under Labour? I’d assume that was already priced in to the Tory vote share. Although raising both the no-tax and the 40 p threshold was not entirely predictable and might win a few votes.

    Immigration isn’t worth much to him because the people who really care about it don’t believe his promises.

    EV4EL and the ECHR stuff is too low salience to make any difference.


    I think he is promising massive spending cuts. There has certainly been no reduction in fiscal discipline. I suggest you read Osborne’s speech again if you have doubts about that.

    There are very clear line between Labour and Conservative views of the way forward. It is for the voters to choose in 2015.

  26. Martyn
    “Serious question: can anybody win the next election (i.e. get a majority of seats?).”

    Not so serious answer – yes. (see above right on this page).

  27. Looks like a core vote, 35% strategy from Cameron.

  28. Colin,
    An interesting summary,and I admire your conclusion referring to the gamble on Conservative principles.I wish EM had had the courage to gamble on
    socialist principles but of course he would have been slaughtered by the press
    if he had.One good thing that has come from Eds speech is that the Tories have had to promise to ring fence the NHS.


    Of course I agree about the funding of the NHS, neither party is prepared to tackle that problem. Eventually we will have to move to a system where we all pay an amount for our healthcare through insurance, with additional backing from the state via taxes. Continuing with free at point of use is not a long term option, at least not if we want decent health care.

    On your other points, as I said to Peter Crawford it is for the voters to decide.

  30. The overwhelming impression I get from this conference season is that everyone has stopped trying to come up with new ideas or win a strong mandate and is just going to run as Same Old (New) Labour and Same Old Tories.

    Which may be just adequate for Labour- assuming they can hold onto their lead they could slouch back into government on their current vote share- but the Tories need a gamechanger. Do they really think Ed Miliband will be enough?

  31. @Martyn


    At the moment all the forecasters are saying the result will be very close and that there’s more than a 50% chance of another hung parliament. But it wouldn’t take much to change those forecasts – just an improvement by a couple of points in either Labour or Conservative VI would see the prospect of a hung parliament reduce substantially.

    Or if you like, polldrums could just persist until election day and we’d see Labour in power.

  32. Alec

    Agree with a lot of your post on Cameron’s speech. However I do disagree with “Osborne’s speech looked so poor”. It certainly was not perceived as such by many commentators.

  33. One way of looking at the Conservative plans is that they aim to reduce the deficit by hitting the poor irrespective of whether they are working in the early part of their term. They will then deliver tax cuts to the less well off and the middle classes. These will be worth a lot less than they now appear because of inflation and because they don’t have to be phased in immediately. Nevertheless they look good now and no doubt they will feel good then if they are in a position to deliver them. From their point of view the poor are a lost cause anyway, the appearance of fiscal responsibility is maintained and the middle classes are wooed. I don’t like this strategy but that does not mean it is politically inept.


    “One good thing that has come from Eds speech is that the Tories have had to promise to ring fence the NHS.”

    Agreed but it means nothing as the NHS problem is much bigger than either are prepared to tackle, a 37 billion black hole. Hence my comment to Spearmint about how the NHS will be funded at some point in the future.

  35. ANN


    Won’t respond on EM-we probably wouldn’t agree.

    I think ring fencing the NHS is hardly a surprise to be honest-its just a continuation o existing policy.
    Whether it will be enough to assuage the voracious appetite for money that we all require of this institution is another matter. But then how much credibility is their in the fast unwinding Mansion Tax funding EM’s additional staff promise ?

    The truth is neither party dares address the truth about the NHS. They both think the public doesn’t want to hear it.

  36. The problem for Labour is the campaign. They can easily chug along in the mid-30s with no great enthusiasm till the weeks before the GE.

    Then with a compliant press and plenty of polling to know where the weaknesses are – the Cons can bombard them with negativity and fear, plus sweetners to the target voters – so that enough soft Labs\Libs\Kippers decide to vote Con.

    Labour need to be much further ahead than 4% to be safe.

    The only thing that works against the Cons is the non-boundary changes.

  37. Almost all of the benefit of the announced tax cuts will go to the top 25%. So, we have billions of welfare cuts for the poorest, apparently to pay for billions of tax cuts for the richest.

    I don’t think it’s going to be very difficult for Labour to distinguish themselves very clearly from the Tories. And given that voter apathy (and UKIP voting) appears to be borne out of a view that “they are all the same”, this surely plays right into Labour’s hands.

  38. TOH

    @”Negotiation with the EU to enable us to control immigration better”

    I thought that was an interesting one. After all it is essentially the central reason for much of the hemorrhage to UKIP.

    He was saying to the departed-I will mitigate this from within the EU.
    And actually, if reports be true their is support in Germany for some changes to Free Movement when large disparities in average pay / living standards are the driver.

    But if you believe this can only be solved by leaving, you won’t buy this at all.

    I saw very little-certainly on this front-in his speech which is likely to turn the UKIP tide to any meaningful extent.

    And we know that the mantra ” vote UKIP-vote Labour” doesn’t have any effect on many of them. I was surprised in a way , therefore to hear him repeat it today-but in a sense what more can he say? It was at least a signal that he is nowhere near concessions/pacts/arrangements etc.


    “The overwhelming impression I get from this conference season is that everyone has stopped trying to come up with new ideas or win a strong mandate and is just going to run as Same Old (New) Labour and Same Old Tories.”


    Unless…. they are holding fire so they don’t get gazumped…

  40. @ROBIN

    Yes but as we saw through the 80s the old and the middle class up out-weigh the poor and young. Made worse by the fact the poor and young don’t vote. It seems to me that someone has figured out that to win the Tories can ignore the poor and young and focus on people that might actually vote for them.

  41. “Immigration isn’t worth much to him because the people who really care about it don’t believe his promises.”


    Indeed, the believability factor is an issue with all the parties’ announcements.

  42. Be good to get some polling on believability…

  43. Of course there are ways to address NHS funding over the longer term that will be much better than insurance because they address root causes and mitigate health problems. Eg more investment in preventative stuff, and in outright cures the private sector won’t provide.

    Happily we are doing some of this though: the recently announced genome research to find cures for some diseases, and today a new Centre in Dundee was announced, also specialising in neglected areas.

    “The centre will further develop our already very strong drug discovery programmes in neglected tropical diseases and in other areas of unmet medical need, such as cancer, inflammation and eczema.”

    Which may also interest Syzygy…

  44. Couper2802 – “The reaction of the Yes voters is best summed up as ‘devastated’ – these are not political activist but they have been joining political parties in response. It feels like 1992 only worse. People in tears.”

    Sounds like they are blaming the Labour party for their loss, when it actually came at the hands of their fellow Scots, particularly Scots in so-called SNP heartlands!

    There was no way Labour could have supported independence – they had obligations to Labour voters in England and Wales who clearly wanted the Union to stay intact.

    Also – at some point the tide would have turned against Labour in Scotland anyway, even without the referendum. In genuine democracies no-one stays in power forever – the pendulum always swings.

    I expect Labour will simply accept it and work to turn the pendulum in England – a Labour party not so dominated by Scottish voices might start to sound and look different, as the Scottish contingent shrinks and other contingents expand.

    The SNP won’t be in power forever either – they’re coming up to the danger 8 year point where the office starts to corrupt the individuals who hold it.

  45. @COUPER2802

    “the Tories can ignore the poor and young and focus on people that might actually vote for them”

    I agree that that does seem to be the strategy, but it clearly retoxifies the Tories as the party of the rich. The tax cuts are targeted at those currently paying well above base rate. That’s a really rather small proportion of the electorate.

    There’s also the question as to whether the strategy has any reasonable hope of success. The Thatcherite version of this always had a large number of bones to throw the working poor, ranging from council house giveaways to privatisation giveaways. But I don’t see anything for this group. There’s really little point in the Tories piling up yet more votes in their safe seats.

  46. The SNP are clearly at their VI high watermark, but as the general election approaches, it will focus attention back onto UK politics rather than Scottish politics. As the question “who do you want to be in government in Westminster” comes into clearer and clearer focus, I would expect a steady move back to Labour.

  47. I would think that given the lack of Lab-Con swinging (and vice-versa) some sort of core vote strategy is the best available plan for both parties.

  48. The fiscal drag on the 40p rate has been a bugbear for many middle earner and is not aimed at Red Dems (FV – smiley thing)
    When I read this £50K it reminded me of something and then it dawned on me that it is the CB withdrawal starting point.
    My guess is they plan to freeze this at £50k until the 2 levels coincide as part of the CB spending constraint thus creating an new fiscal drag and the 2 good earners just below getting in full but one just above being hit cliff edge ‘unfairness’ thing..
    Anyone know what the parties are saying about this £50K CB withdrawal starting point?

  49. “Serious question: can anybody win the next election (i.e. get a majority of seats?)”


    You never know when there is an Omnishambles just around the corner. Our politicians tend to be folk who did PPE and stuff, they can’t do the hard stuff like Structural Analysis like Lefty can do. If you can’t visualise difficult problems like the best scientists can, or handle the complexity, snafus will occur.

    Occasionally you get someone gifted at Stats though like Wilson, of which perhaps you might approve, Martyn!!…

  50. If it’s essential to have £25 billion in cuts from 2015, was it wise of Cameron to announce billions in tax cuts from 2018 ?

    The IFS director Paul Johnson has said today:

    We are looking at promises of £7 billion of tax giveaways, in the context of an overall plan to get the deficit down, but even without tax giveaways that requires really pretty extraordinary levels of spending cuts, such that most government departments will have seen their spending cut by a third between 2010 and 2018.

    So how are you going to afford this? Well, even more dramatic spending cuts, or actually what’s happened quite often over parts of this parliament is that we’ve seen other bits and pieces of tax increases to pay for some of the increases in the personal allowance.

    Cuts for the poorest to fund tax cuts for the wealthier – not sure that’s a very good strategy.

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