YouGov Welsh poll

ITV Wales has a new YouGov poll of Welsh voting intentions out today, summarised by Roger Scully here. The various different VIs, with changes from December’s poll, are as follows:

Westminster VI: CON 22%(+1), LAB 47%(+1), LD 7%(-1), Plaid 11%(-1), UKIP 9%(-1)
Welsh Assembly (Const): CON 21%(+2), LAB 42%(-1), LD 9%(nc), Plaid 19%(-1), UKIP 5%(-2)
Welsh Assembly (Reg): CON 19%(nc), LAB 39%(-1), LD 9%(nc), Plaid 17%(+2), UKIP 10%(nc)
European: CON 17%(-3), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 7%(-1), Plaid 12%(-1), UKIP 18%(+5)

Roger calculates that if repeated at a Welsh Assembly election Labour would retain 30 seats, so still the tinest whisper short of an overall majority, and UKIP would enter the Assembly for the first time with 5 seats. If the European election intentions were repeated in May Labour would return two MEPs, the Conservatives and UKIP one each, meaning Plaid would lose out.

This week’s YouGov/Sunday Times results are here. Topline voting intentions are CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%.

People’s opinion of how Cameron has handled the floods has crept up slightly since last week, but a solid majority still think he hasn’t done well. 29% of people think he’s handled the flooding well (up 4 from a week ago), 60% badly (down 2). The figures for the environment agency are still very similar – 27% say well, 63% badly.

While opinion has moved slightly in Cameron’s favour, on the question of whose fault the flooding is blame is gradually shifting towards the government. Compared to a fortnight ago 27% now blame the government (up 10 points), 23% the environment agency (down 5), 41% say it is just freak weather and nothing could have been done (down 8). Support for more spending on flood defences has also steadily risen – now 50% of people, from 49% a week ago, 38% a fortnight ago. People have also become more likely to think the flooding is connected to climate change – 47% now say the weather causing the floods is likely connected to climate change (up 7), 39% think it is not (down 5).

Looking forward, 57% of people would support a ban on building houses on flood plains, 33% think it is acceptable with appropriate anti-flooding measures. The public are almost evenly divided on whether we should keep on defending the most vulnerable areas – 39% think we should defend all settled areas, whatever the cost, 38% think there are some settled areas that are such a high risk of flooding it is not worth the cost to try and defend them. 47% of people think those people who have bought property in areas of high flood risk and ended up being flooded deserve our sympathy, 22% think they have only themselves to blame.

There was also an Opinium poll in the Observer with topine figures of CON 28%(-1), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 17%(nc). Their flooding questions had very similar results to YouGov – people thought Cameron hasd responded badly to the flood by 51% to 23% thinking he’d done well. 51% think the floods were related to climate change, 24% did not.


The monthly online ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight with topline figures of CON 32%(+2), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 15%(-4).

The Labour lead is unchanged, but UKIP drop four points. ComRes’s online polls typically show some of the highest levels of UKIP support, and this is the lowest figure for UKIP they’ve shown for ten months. As ever though, don’t read too much into a single poll, unless other polls start showing a general decline in UKIP support it’s probably just a blip.

The poll also reasked the favourability question it asked last month. You might remember that last month it came out with the rather surprising finding that UKIP had the highest proportion of people saying they had a favourable view of the party. This month’s figures instead show people have the most favourable view of Labour (31%), followed by the Conservatives (28%), followed by UKIP (24%). As usual with these questions Cameron outpolls his party (31%, so three points higher than the Tories), Miliband underperforms his (22%, so nine points lower than Labour).

Today’s Populus and YouGov polls both have six point leads for Labour. Populus’s topline figures in their twice weekly poll are CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 14% (tabs are here). The daily YouGov poll for the Sun this morning has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12% (tabs are here.)

As you’ll probably know, the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election was also last night, and was a comfortable Labour hold. This means today will be full of people saying what it *means* and trying to draw some wider conclusions based upon it. I’ll only repeat my normal warning about not reading too much into by-elections. They are extremely unusual beasts – an election in just one single seat that won’t be representative of the whole country, intensely fought but often with low turnout, and where who wins does not make any difference to who the government is the next day. Essentially, if a by-election performs in line with the national polls it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, if it performs in some way different to the polls it’s probably because of the unusual circumstances implicit in a by-election.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have a big impact on politics of course. If UKIP had done much better it would have given them a big publicity boost and probably set off a narrative about them threatening Labour seats… but they didn’t.

Churn and gender gaps

Two things worth looking at elsewhere. The first is an article by Peter Kellner on churn. This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for sometime but never got round to, but Peter has now done the hardwork himself! I often see people taking about the next election from the starting assumption that Labour were at their low and so start from at least 30%, and that anyone who was going to vote Tory already did so they can’t get above 37%. Neither of these is true – not least, because current polls show the Conservatives already winning the support of some voters they didn’t have last time, and the Labour party already losing the support of some people who did vote for them last time. That’s not to underplay how difficult it would be for the Conservatives to increase their vote share, or that the partial demise of the Lib Dems has provided Labour with a good boost in support, just that it’s really not as simplistic as assuming Labour cannot lose any votes from last time, or that the Conservatives cannot gain votes… both are already happening to a great degree, it’s just when we look at the headline figures we only see the net effects of Labour up and Conservative down. In both cases there is actually plenty of movement in both directions.

The second, with no modesty whatsoever, is something I have written over on the YouGov website using the same aggregate YouGov data, in this case looking at the Conservative gender gap or, perhaps, its absence. This is something that will not go away, every couple of months a journalist pops up writing a column about how the Conservatives are doing worse amongst women, normally illustrated by ripping one single poll out of context that appears to show a gender gap. Looking at the wider polls, it doesn’t actually seem to exist. The aggregated monthly YouGov data in recent months has had the Conservatives on a solid 33% amongst men, and an equally solid 33% amongst women. No difference. The gap amongst women is bigger, but that appears to be because Labour do better amongst women and UKIP do worse.

At first site all the fuss about the Tory women problem is complete nonsense, but dig a little deeper and the Conservatives do appear to have a problem with some women. Specifically the Conservatives do worse amongst women than men amongst under 40s (and Labour the other way round). The reason the Tories don’t do any worse with women overall is that as you move up the age ranges the pattern reverses, so that amongst over 60s the Conservatives do better amongst women than amongst men. I’m guessing the latter is because of UKIP (who seem to appeal to men more than women, and whose support is heavily skewed towards older people), while the former is presumably because the Tories do have some sort of problem appealing to younger women (or… logically equally likely… Labour have some sort of problem appealing to younger men).