There are two new polls out tonight. Firstly tonight’s voting intention figures in YouGov’s Daily poll for the Sun are CON 37%(+1), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 18%(-2). The lead remains at 4 points, and there is a conspicuous lack of impact from the fake lobbyist sting.

Secondly there is a new Ipsos MORI poll in tomorrow’s Mirror. Their topline figures, with changes from a month ago, are CON 35%(-2), LAB 30%(-2), LDEM 21%(+2). The Conservative lead is unchanged, but both main parties are down and the Lib Dems (and presumably others) are up. I don’t have dates for the MORI poll yet, so I’m not sure how the timing relates to the BA strike or the lobbying row.

The Evening Standard are reporting a new YouGov poll in London for ITV. The topline figures are CON 40%, LAB 31%, LDEM 18%.

This represents a hefty 8 point swing in the capital, significantly more than the figures YouGov have been showing nationally (the poll was conducted between the 19th and 21st, so at the same time as the 7 point national lead; a five point national swing compared to an eight point London swing).

So, good news for the Conservatives here, but of course a given the lower national swing a disproportionately large swing here must be being cancelled out by a poor performance somewhere else.


With the budget tomorrow, I thought I’d update this chart from a year ago. It shows the two YouGov polls preceding each of the last eight budgets, and the two YouGov polls that followed each one, giving us a sign of whether the budget gave the government a boost or not.

As you can see, budgets have generally not given the government much of a boost – the most positive one was 2005, which took Labour from three points behind to two points ahead. I am sure is it no coincidence that it was a pre-election budget!
As someone has pointed out, it was actually 2006, so not a pre-election budget – my earlier cynicism was unwarranted. The actual 2005 budget didn’t have much of an effect at all.

The two most recent budgets have been disastrous in terms of Labour’s position in the polls. In both cases Alistair Darling was forced to deliver news about just how bad the economic situation was, and both turned a Labour deficit of around about 6 points into a Conservative lead in the mid teens. Clearly a similar result from tomorrow’s budget would be disasterous for Labour, but with the country out of recession a more positive message from Darling may be able to avoid a similar result to 2008 and 2009.

Today’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 36%(-2), LAB 32%(+1), LDEM 20%(+1). The Tory lead is back down to four points (in fact the figures are the same as YouGov were showing on Wednesday and Thursday last week) and it looks very likely that the 7 point lead YouGov recorded over the weekend was just a result of sample error. Clearly there is no sign of the current lobbying row having damaged Labour yet.

This poll actually makes rather more sense to me than the YouGov and ICM polls that were showing the same figures over the weekend. For the last month or so ICM have tended to show Conservative leads a couple of points higher than YouGov’s, so while nothing to write home about (after all, all polls are subject to margin of error) it was rather unusual to find ICM showing a 6 point when YouGov were on 7. With ICM on six points, I’d expect to find YouGov on four.

While it’s normally impossible to precisely identify the reasons for differences between polls (there are so many different variables: the mode, the sampling, the wording, the weighting, etc) one obvious explanation is likelihood to vote – ICM weight people by how likely they are to vote, YouGov do not.

There is a new Opinium poll in the Daily Express with topline figures of CON 37%(-2), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 15%(-1). “Others” remain at a very high 18%.

Looking at the back data of Opinium, they have some rather contrarian results – last autumn their polls would have been showing the lowest Conservative leads, in the last few weeks they have been showing some of the larger Conservatives leads. They do not use any political weighting on their polls, and I suspect this contributes to a higher level of volatility.

Later on tonight we should have our usual YouGov poll in the Sun.