Sunday Polls

I’m expecting at least one new poll in the Sunday papers… but I’m at a friends wedding, so won’t be back to write about it till tomorrow.

Feel free to use this thread to discuss any and all polls that pop up in tomorrow’s papers.

No doubt it will be asked about in some of the GB polls to come in the last week of the month, but in the meantime the Sunday Times last weekend reported a Cello mruk poll of Scottish opinion on Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi last weekend. The poll was actually carried out way back in June, but “could not be reported for legal reasons” (presumably in case it influenced his appeal or any future retrial).

Firstly, 60% of people in Scotland said they thought that Megrahi was guilty, with 9% saying he was innocent and 31% unsure. 51% thought he received a fair trial, 10% thought he didn’t.

Asked what should be done with him, of those who expressed an opinion (meaning we don’t know how many people said they didn’t know), 49% said he should remain in gaol, 40% that he should be transferred to a Libyan gaol and 11% that he should be freed on compassionate grounds. So, releasing him was the preferred option for only a tiny minority of Scots…though a majority of those with an opinion did want him sent back to Libya one way or another.


The tables for ICM’s poll in the Sunday Mirror are now up here, so we can have a proper look at those Mandelson figures that the Sunday Mirror got so excited over.

Firstly, the figures in the Sunday Mirror were repercentaged to exclude don’t knows. Explaining the rather high numbers when normally “who you you like to see as the next leader of the X party” normally gives a thumping victory for “Don’t know”.

Indeed, that was the case here – 55% of people said don’t know. If you include don’t knows in the percentages, the headline figures become David Miliband and Jack Straw on 12%, followed by Mandelson and Johnson on 7%. 4% would like to see Harriet Harman as the next Labour leader, 3% Ed Balls and 1% Jon Cruddas. Amongst Labour voters, the top four candidates are all very even – 13% for Miliband, 12% for Straw, Johnson and Mandelson.

There was also a question asking if people would be more or less likely to vote for Labour were it led by Peter Mandelson instead of Gordon Brown. Regular readers will know that I am not a fan of questions like this – people can use it to indicate support or opposition to a candidate or policy when there is no chance of them actually switching their vote, and you invariably get lots of people saying it would make them more likely to vote X who already vote X, and lots of people saying it would make them less likely to vote Y who wouldn’t vote Y anyway.

For the record though, 7% said they would be more likely to vote Labour with Mandelson in charge, but 20% said they would be less likely. 14% of current Labour voters said it would make them less likely to vote Labour, but 5% of current Conservatives and 8% of current Lib Dems said it would make them more likely.

Two new Sunday polls

We’ve been a fortnight without a poll, but after a bit of a drought we have two tomorrow, ICM in the Sunday Mirror and YouGov in the Sunday Times.

Topline figures for ICM are CON 43%(+2), LAB 26%(-1) LDEM 19%(-1) – changes are from the last ICM poll, conducted all the way back in early/mid July. I think this is the second largest lead ICM have ever recorded for the Conservatives, the highest being 20 points in June 2008.

Topline figures for YouGov, with changes from a week ago, are CON 42%(+1), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 18%(nc). Presumably, with all the main parties up one point, the drop comes purely from the “other” parties continuing to return to normal as the European election effect declines.

Two polls, neither showing much overall change. I haven’t seen the actual dates of the fieldwork confirmed yet, but they were likely both done on or around Thursday and Friday, so in the middle of the “WeLovetheNHS” fuss, suggesting no vast effect.

I would be slightly dubious about any big shift in Summer polls anyway. In theory there is a risk of samples being slightly strange because of people on holiday, although in practice summertime doesn’t normally produce too many wierd and wacky polls. I’ve always believed the summer break has the potential to help out a government in trouble, since the August diet of human interest stories about skateboarding dogs is a break from political bad news, though obviously there isn’t any sign of a summer recovery for Labour yet.

More to come later on, ICM apparently includes questions on Peter Mandleson as Labour leader.

UPDATE: Whoops, the YouGov figure for the Lib Dems should be 18%(nc), not 19%.

Summer polls

It seemed briefly that we would get a new poll this morning, but disappointingly it was just the Independent calculating a poll of polls for last month, and there’s already one of those in the top-right of the screen!

Politics has, of course, stopped for the summer (unless you are deputy leader of the Labour party, in which case now is your hour :) ). We should get most of the normal regular polls this month, but I wouldn’t expect many beyond that. The exception might be Populus, who have sometimes skipped August in the past.

As with polls conducted over bank holiday weekends, polls carried out in the summer holidays are potentially a bit shaky anyway, since people being on holiday may skew samples. In theory pollsters can correct for this (a standard demographic question asked is how many foreign holidays people take each year), and in practice the figures in August polls don’t actually look out of line, but I’m always a bit wary.

In the meantime, later on in the month I’m I hoping to do some nice round ups of the last year, and what lies ahead in the final parliamentary session before the general election.