Two weeks to go

A brief summary of this week’s polls before I have some downtime:

YouGov/Sun (17/4) – CON 34%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
Opinium/Observer (17/4) – CON 36%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/S Times (18/4) – CON 33%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (19/4) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
Ashcroft (19/4) – CON 34%, LAB 30%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 13%, GRN 4%
Populus (19/4) – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 15%, GRN 4%
ICM/Guardian (19/4) – CON 34%, LAB 32%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%, GRN 5%
TNS (20/4) – CON 32%, LAB 34%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (20/4) – CON 34%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (21/4) – CON 35%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (22/4) – CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
ComRes/ITV/Mail (22/4) – CON 36%, LAB 32%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5%
Populus (23/4) – CON 32%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%
YouGov/Sun (23/4) – CON 33%, LAB 35%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 6%
Panelbase (23/4) – CON 31%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 17%, GRN 4%
Survation/Mirror (23/4) – CON 33%, LAB 29%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 18%, GRN 4%

The UKPR polling average continues to show a tie – CON 33%(-1), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 14%(nc), GRN 5%(nc). Some of the individual pollsters are showing consistent leads for one party or the other (YouGov and Populus, for example, are generally showing small Labour leads, ICM and Ashcroft small Conservative leads) so it’s not the case that all the pollsters are showing an exact tie, more than the average of the different companies’ house effects is neck and neck.

Other polls

There was one Scottish poll this week – a new YouGov poll that confirmed their previous 24 point lead for the SNP (tabs), there was also a new YouGov poll of London for the Evening Standard with topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 44%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 10%, GRN 5% (tabs).

There were three constituency polls. Lord Ashcroft released two extra constituency polls with his weekly GB poll, showing the SNP ahead in Edinburgh North and Leith and Edinburgh South. Meanwhile Survation released a new poll of Thanet South, showing Nigel Farage nine points ahead. We should have some more constituency polls from Lord Ashcroft first thing tomorrow morning, including a poll of Rochester and Strood.


The latest forecasts from Election Forecast, May 2015, Elections Etc, the Guardian and YouGov are below, all continue to show a hung Parliament, but the models disagree on whether the Tories or Labour will be ahead on seats – Elections Etc, Election Forecast and the Guardian all have the Conservatives with more seats, YouGov and the Guardian have Labour slightly ahead.

Elections Etc – Hung Parliament, CON 286(-6), LAB 263(+3), LD 26(+4), SNP 51(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
Election Forecast – Hung Parliament, CON 283(+3), LAB 270(-7), LD 24(-3), SNP 48(+6), UKIP 1(nc)
May 2015 – Hung Parliament, CON 270(+2), LAB 273(-3), LD 26(nc), SNP 55(+1), UKIP 3(nc)
Guardian – Hung Parliament, CON 273(+4), LAB 268(-3), LD 28(-1), SNP 55(nc), UKIP 4(nc)
YouGov Nowcast – Hung Parliament, CON 270(+4), LAB 277(-2), LD 27(nc), SNP 50(nc), UKIP 3(-2)

339 Responses to “Two weeks to go”

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  1. @JohnMo

    May 2015 (New Statesman election site) did a good analysis of this yesterday –

    Sometimes they can be accused of looking at everything through a Labour lens and they do to an extent here. But I think the analysis is perfectly defensible. There is a great graph in there too plotting marginals against Ashcroft and Election Forecast scores.

  2. Smithy

    I thought that was funny too. Doubt it changes anything but probably damages public perception of politicians as not being genuine. Anyone who is a fan does not forget which club they support. Ever.

    Other politicians have pretended to be football fans and got away with it though (TB? Newcastle. Anyone seen him at any games recently?) They all want to be thought to be like their constituents in terms of interests but in reality I think politicians should just be themselves.

  3. Couper – The Con-Lab swing being a bit lower in marginals is nothing knew and can only be disappointing to those Labour supporters expecting Labour to take the number of seats off Cons that a UNS in E&W would generate.

    Of course the result could be more decisive than all the polls and projections suggest but at this time a fair assessment is that the extent of this differential swing will decide if Labour (UNS) or cons emerge with most seats.

    FWIW, I think the Tories will get most seats but with enough to keep them in power? I think that will be a much closer call.

  4. Good morning all.


    Labour held 40 seats in Scotland before parliament was dissolved.
    41 if you count Eric Joyce but he became an independent when he was booted out of the party for being naughty.

    But the answer to your question is…no.

  5. Politicians on all sides should be chary about the tactics they employ in this election over the political legitimacy of potential coalition partners – for they may have effects which are unexpected and potentially irreversible.

    It is becoming less and less clear to me that the Conservatives are any longer minded to continue on with the Union in traditional terms. These tactics were first adopted on the morning of the Referendum result when the PM raised the issue of EVEL in terms which only exacerbate the sense that politics of the Union interest are singularly a matter of party advantage. They are tactics which only make political sense to a party that has had little or no representation in Scotland for 40 years.

    This tactic has now been continued into the election. It may bring some near term advantage in terms of seats in England but may also bring about another Independence Referendum in Scotland. The potential of the EU referendum may also further destabilise Union parties in Scotland. The febrile nature of the politics of devolution in NI rests on the UK and Irish governments as two parties. Were there to be more parties the very forces that have contained aspirations for a United Ireland may be quickly undermined – particularly if Sinn Fein rises in Ireland North and South much as the SNP has risen in Scotland.

    The LiBDems have today – or at least Mr Clegg has – set out terms and for a UK government that may exclude the entire party political interest in Scotland from Union a government in Westminster. The Labour Party has not been far behind but less explicit.

    If as seems likely – there a no Conservative or LibDem MP’s from North of the border and at best a handful of LiS – they are by these actions only making the SNP’s case to pursue independence.

    I’m not sure Union parties who can’t get MP’s elected in Scotland should be wagging their fingers at the party chosen by an entire Nation in the Union and saying – we cannot do business with you.

    Personally, as an Irishman and historian I am well aware that the politics of the Unions was always about low base calculation rather than high principle. That said – that was then – the history of these Islands since 1921 has demonstrated that small independent nations particularly within the EU can prosper – and that the politics of divide and rule tends over time to make divisions ever more unbridgeable.

    The parties of the Union have all failed in Scotland. That is not something for which they’re taking any responsibility but instead they’re demonising their opponent and in doing so making the whole project UK ever more unstable.

    Many contemporary politicians have a very poor grasp on History. If they did they’d really not play party politics with the Union – it had never ended well in the past – in Ireland North and South and elsewhere in GB and it will badly this time as well.

    It is a cliche of every age to say we get the politicians we deserve – but honestly this time we all deserve better of them because something bigger is at stake. If we all value the UK and the Union we should all tell all our party political leaders to drop this language.

    But they won’t and that’s that I guess

  6. re the Ashcroft marginals

    Rob Sheffild (905am) – I guess from that comment you’re a labour supporter and so I politely suggest that you’re trying to draw conclusions which you want to see

    Trying to avoid doing the same myself(!):

    – it looks to me that these provide comfort for the Tories, setting aside that its only 6 seats

    – looking at the 3 Con/Lab marginals, there’s an average swing of a shade over 3%…..which the Tories would probably settle for nationally as it would leave them (relatively comfortably? by 20-30 seats?) the largest party

    – in the 2 three way Con/Lab/UKIP battles, one of them (R&S) labour dont realistically look too far short whilst in neither of them have UKIP built an unassailable position

    – Bristol West is noise for the Tories. Clearly they’d rather Labour dont take it but its not a seat that will decide the election


  7. JohnMo
    I think it would be difficult for Labour to lose 45-50 seats in Scotland as they only hold 41. They may hold onto to a handful of these. So a loss of 35-40 is more likely.

    May 2015 (New Statesman election site) did a good analysis of this yesterday –
    Thanks Jack very informative.

  9. Jim Jam

    I agree with your conclusion. I have thought for a while that Tories would win by around 2% or so and, on a seats basis, by around 20-30 (something like 290-295 plays 265-270). In which case Tories will need (and I expect get) LD and DUP support to, just about, form a government and then, though people have suggested otherwise, bring in an EV4EL rule in order to increase the government’s power. I dont see anything to change that view.



    Absolutely spot on. The attitude of the main parties can only hasten the day Scotland votes for independence.

  11. So in light of the latest Lord A constityency polls for Scotland who thinks that there is a safe seat left in Scotland for Labour, LD and Conservative?

    The more Conservative, LD and Labour bang on about SNP being toxic, the more Scots will be tempted to vote SNP.

    And again this morning I met a young Mom from Newmarket, who thinks that having Nicola Sturgeon as part of a UK government would be fabulous, beacause it would allow $100 billion to be spent on the NHS, social housing, living wages for government workers and socail programs.

    So the question I have is has anyone actually looked at the gender and age of those who favour a Labour/SNP C and S arrangement.

    A fomer LD this women has switched and is extremely angry because she never envisioned that Nick Clegg would join a Conservative government.

    Meanwhile I also met a man yesterday who voted Green in 2010, but because he now lives in Hove will likely vote Labour in 2015. But again he was over 40, so the question that I continue to ask myself is are we facing a generational divide in this election?

    It is all anecdotal stuff, but the question that remains for me:

    Are the pollsters accurately catching this granularity?

    Because some of them ceratianly did not in the 2014 European election, and an MOE of 2% under these current circumstances will be the difference between forming and not forming a minority government.

    I remain absolutely convinced that neither Labour or Conservative will break out of their current 66.3% combined support, which is only 1.2% above 2010 results.

    Adding LD this rose to 88.1% in 2010, but is now down to 74.7% in 2015.

  12. Re Bristol West:

    If that poll occurred in a by-election 2 weeks out I would bet my house on the Greens taking it… Voters love novelty…

    Given that they are the only party that actually has a socialist non-austerity message in this election they would take 10% off Labour… And the rest from the Lib Dems.

    So I would say the question is whether the Greens have the resources to turn it into a by-election.

    So if I was Labour there I would be pretty nervous…

  13. Re Clegg’s redefinition of the constitution, could he be “subtly” supporting Murphy’s “party with most seats gets to form the government” message, in the hope that LiS will have enough survivors to give Lab + LD + SDLP > 323 so that the SNP can be ignored?

    If that is the case, it would also be possible that LiS + LD could agree to recommending voting for the “incumbent” party in the 52 Scottish seats Lab + LiS had in 2010 in order to “save” a few more than Lord A’s polling suggests.

    I’m sceptical that it would have much success and would have to be publicly announced to have any chance of being effective but the “Scottish” press would love it and push for it all they can. It might just help both parties to minimise their losses in Scotland.

  14. Clegg and legitimacy.

    You’d think he might have a graph of LD VI 2010-15 pinned on the wall of his DPM office to give him pause for thought on “legitimacy”.


    Think those conclusions really rather stretching things – or perhaps wishful thinking. It would seem to me that these latest Ashcroft confirm a neck and neck result. I would think – expect – both parties will be something like 270-275.

  16. @Cloudspotter

    “None of today’s 3 Con-Lab marginals show a swing of 5%.”

    Oh, I thought we weren’t supposed to cherry-pick seats :-)
    Of course this may have an effect on the seat calculator – let’s wait and see.

  17. @ sunreada

    But tories ahead in colne valley(labour 76 target-5.3% swing needed) and high peak(labour target 68 ,4.65 swing required) tho too close to call.

    If LAB fail to gain seats like these, then CON will be the largest party. As simple as that.

    And, as things stand, it doesnt look like LAB are going to gain some/all seats in this range.

  18. It seems likely to me that Clegg’s rules are only rules until May 7th. I think they are purely electioneering. Do you think, even if he wins his seat, he will survive the loss of more than half his MPs?
    A new leader wouldn’t need to stick to them.

    If NC is no longer an MP in 2 weeks, will he still be part of the post election negotiations? Do the LDems have a mechanism for a caretaker leader?
    If so they could pick which ever one suits the situation, Farron to support Lab, Laws to support Cons depending upon the numbers.

  19. Forgetting what team he ‘supports’ is not good for Cameron’s image among football supporters and there’s quite a lot of them

  20. Graeme –
    The Ashcroft marginals suggest a Con to Lab swing of just over 3% (albeit based on 3 marginals). Based on whats happening in Scotland and with the LDs, its relatively commonly assumed that Lab need a 4%-5% swing to become the largest party. Hence if those 3 seats were indicative of a national level swing, then the Tories would be ahead.

    I dont have time to look up how many seat change from Con to Lab if there is a 3% swing but I was guessing that it would be 10-15 less than Labour need, hence a 20-30 seat lead


  21. Guymonde
    I didn’t pick them, Lord A did.
    He may, of course, have picked just to prove my point.

  22. Adam,

    Yes a net loss of 15ish based on 25ish losses to Lab and 10 gains off LDs could happen.

    Hence If those losses reach 30 to Labour it is difficult to see Cons forming to Government whatever NC says as more LD seats off Cons is irrelevant.

    Of course if Cons+DUP+LDs can scrape 323 with a tad of change in hand, the balance of power within the PLDP and whether all or enough of their 20-30 MPs (I think nearer 30) will keep the cons in power becomes the key question.

    Con-Labour less than 20 would deliver a Cons led Government imo comfortably.

  23. Mike Smithson:

    “The 6.1% CON to LAB swing in England+Wales in latest YouGov is largest of campaign & would put a lot of CON seats at risk.”

  24. BZ

    Nice flight of fancy.

    Meanwhile, to the rest of us who see the entire UK picture, rather than everything through a Scottish prism, it’s clear that Clegg is targeting LD-marginals in England to shore up his own party.

    Anyway, given Clegg’s pronouncement, the odds on a left-leaning UK Govt just got a good bit longer. Must be devastating for the SNP…

  25. The predictions are interesting when compared to the Sporting Index spread. I say this as of people seem think SI is more accurate than polling, something I disagree with.

    Their spread for Labour seems right. If you sold at 268, only one prediction from five suggests you’d make any money. If you bought at 272, one suggests you’d make a small profit (273), and one a little more (277).

    For the Conservatives, however, selling at 283 would see you winning on 3 of the predictions, and breaking even on one. Only 1 prediction would have you losing. If you bought at 287, every single prediction would have you losing.

    Conclusion? The Sporting Index spread is buoyant for the Conservatives to protect SI from optimistic Tory spread-betting. On these predictions, the only value bet for the two main parties is to Sell Conservatives seats at 268.

    Also, the spread on SNP is 45-47. Every prediction has them above that – so buying SNP at 47 seems to be to top political bet.

  26. Cloudspotter The libdem deputy ,Bruce ,is returing so guess tge mps would have to chose someone -davey or lambe have been mentioned both of whom are prob tory inclined.

    Farron would prob be elected in the summer and is an unknown quantity.

  27. changing from Villa to West Ham is not though a game changer IMHO

  28. Here is this week’s analysis of the seats that are currently marginal according to YG Nowcast classification “too close to call”. I’m assuming that these marginals could change hands but the other results will not.

    The YG Nowcast with (possible range) is:

    Lab 277 (259-304)
    Con 270 (247-284)
    LD 27 (19-30)
    UKIP 3 (1-7)
    PC 3 (3-5)
    SNP 50 (42-58)
    G 1 (1-1)
    plus the speaker and NI 18.

    The best scenario for Cameron is C284+LD28+U4=316, hardly changed from last week. The best scenario for Miliband is L304+LD27=331.

    Commentary on the changes from last week: Whilst the headline figures did not change very much, L-2, C+4, LD=, UK-2, PC=, SNP=, there was considerable change in the marginals. Most obviously, the total number of marginals decreased from 78 to 59, with the result that the seat ranges are narrower. In plain language, the result is more certain than it was last week.

    I will make a guess that what is happening is that as seats become safe one way or another, parties pull their resources out and so these seats never come back into contention.

    In fact only ten seats that weren’t marginal last week have moved into the marginal category. Some drift is to be expected from random sampling error, but in fact seven out of the ten involved nationalist parties (incl UKIP). So the main reason is not sampling error, but probably due to the fact that the campaigning involving the nationalists is more volatile.

    Twenty-nine seats that were marginal last week are not any more this week. The majority of these were Con/Lab marginals where Con was ahead. These are now safe Con seats. The effect of this is that the potential upside for Lab is very much less than it was last week, with a max of 304 instead of 324. However, Lab did make compensating gains from UKIP, with Heywood&M, Cannock Chase, Dudley N and Dagenham now in the safe Lab column. UKIP had a poor week.

    Other points of note: the LibDems did not do so well. Although their total did not change, the seat range has worsened. Last week, the up- and downsides were balanced but this week they have more to lose than gain. PC had a good week, with their potential max now up to 5.

    Takeaway: Cameron still needs a miracle. He needs to make all his marginal gains and get three other parties on board (who need to make all their gains off the remaining parties too) just to scrape over the line. Sounds impossible.

  29. @UKElect

    If anyone wants to compare the existing seat predictions (of what is actually a fairly mainstream forecasting methodology) with the Ashcroft polls they can do so here

    You don’t give your projections as percentages of the total vote, making it awkward to compare with the Ashcroft figures. One could use 2010 total voting figures to convert to % but this would be questionable in constituencies that have grown at different rates or where the new procedures have altered registration rates.

    Do you have alternative suggestions for rendering your figures as percentages?

  30. John Murphy

    While, as a Scottish historian, I come at this from a different angle, we completely agree on the history, and your well argued post rings very true.

    In some respects, I would go further. The rhetoric from all the parties is not, I think, solely concentrated on legitimising/deligitimising potential coalition partners for a few months or years. It is also about the creation of myths that they can use in forthcoming elections.

  31. @Reginmald

    From the clip it looks like it’s a speech writers error. He’s reading from an auto cue and I think he realises as soon as he says West Ham.

    I would like to think it’s a nice touch that he blames himself later, but I suspect that’s the result of a focus group :)

  32. He’s not just a PR man though who will say anything put in front of him?

    Of course it’s a trivial issue but doesn’t image count and there’s millions of football supporter voters

    Meanwhile, to the rest of us who see the entire UK picture, rather than everything through a Scottish prism, it’s clear that Clegg is targeting LD-marginals in England to shore up his own party.

    That’s certainly what’s mooted upthread, and might even sway a few waverers in Hallam.

    However, Clegg can’t be overjoyed at the probability of losing 11 Scottish seats. Agreeing with Jim Murphy – who has to date been the only high profile individual pushing Clegg’s new line – is hardly Clegg’s hobby, so I’m trying to figure out what motive he had in giving a little credibility to the LiS mantra.

    If I understand it correctly, it’s against Lab rules, but they could be suspended at least in Scotland for the duration of the hostilities.

  34. HAL

    Looking at your analysis it appears the election is boing towards the Tories if they have managed to shore up a significant number of seats which only a week ago were Con/Lab marginals.

  35. Mikey,

    The Cons had a moderately good week but only managed to firm up seats already previously counted as theirs. So it did not help towards getting a majority.

  36. New thread

  37. @Couper / Amber / Others

    It occurred to me that the arithmetic is very interesting. If we assume current polling has Labour on 280 and Con on 270. Let’s assume that many Scottish ex-Labour SNP voters shift back to ensure Labour’s election and they get 30 seats.

    What’s the result? Labour on 310. What then happens? Labour will never do a deal with the SNP if they can avoid it. Result?

    Lib / Lab coaltion.

    Vote Labour, get Lib Dem. :)) Heh!


    “am quite concerned about Sturgeon’s efforts to give English newspapers an excuse to keep banging on about fears of the SNP influencing the government.”

    Hang on. Are you saying that Sturgeon being attacked by the English media might let the Tories in, and that’s Sturgeon’s fault? Not the fault of the media? Not the fault of the Tories?

    Oh dear…it’s 1979 all over again.

  38. Are the polls telling us that Scottish Labour voters who voted for Independence have gone over to the SNP in droves? If so they can’t be that bothered if the Con-Lib Dem coalition continues. if this is the case, as a Labour supporter living in Manchester I’ll be happy to see Scotland leave the Uk.

  39. Not bad for Labour.

    Most seats polled would only fall to Labour on a swing greater than Lab need to win the GE. That High Peak and Colne Valley (where Labour lead before turnout weighting) fall into this category. Also, the polls show that Labour have a good shot at Thurrock, which I would not have expected.

    Finally, remember these are phone polls, most of which have Labour 4% down nationally. Online CVI polling would have Labour doing even better. By the way yesterday’s YG found the largest recent swing yet to Lab in E&W – 6.1%.

    Context is everything.

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