Latest opinion polls

Here is a table showing the latest opinion polls. If these are to be believed then it is a decent set of numbers for the Conservatives, and a reasonable showing for UKIP. The Liberal Democrats and the Greens are showing no progress, which can also be said for Labour whose numbers remain unchanged from the General Election,. Jeremy Corbyn is doing no worse than Ed Miliband, but no better either – at the moment.

Lab Con LD UKIP Grn
28 December 2015 ICM 34 39 7 10 3
20 December 2015 Opinium 30 38 5 16 5
20 December 2015 ComRes 33 37 7 11 5
18 December 2015 ComRes 29 40 7 16 3
averages 31.5 38.5 6.5 13.25 4


Recent polls, and what they are saying (if they can be believed)

Those of us who voraciously devour opinion polls were somewhat shocked and disappointed by just how wrong they were on May 7th. Whilst we all accept that polling was not foolproof, we can become used to the idea that they are pretty accurate, certainly when you take an average across the various polls.

It will be recalled that in the run-in to May 7th it was agreed by every pollster that we were in hung Parliament territory, that the Tories were probably going to have a few more MPs than Labour, but that Labour was likely to be able to attract more friendly faces from other parties and therefore form a minority administration. I certainly recall debates with colleagues as to the timing of the next General Election, with either autumn 2015 or spring 2016 as the likeliest of dates. How wrong we all were.

There has been polling since, but what confidence can we have in it? I cannot answer that, except to say that in the absence of anything better then what we have is what we have to go on.

So, bearing in mind that your own prejudices can have free reign when deciding to accept or reject these numbers, here is a summary of recent polls.

Lab Con LDem UKIP Grn
31 July 2015 ComRes 28 40 7 10 5
24 July 2015 Ipsos MORI 31 37 10 9
13 July 2015 ICM 34 38 6 13 4
18 June 2015 Ipsos MORI 30 39 9 8 6
15 June 2015 ICM 31 37 8 13 5
04 June 2015 ComRes 29 41 8 10 5
Average 30 39 9 10 5
GE result 30.5 36.8 7.9 12.7 3.8

What do these tell us? Within the accepted margin of error it can plausibly be argued that there has been no change since May 7th, which I find surprising.

I have found, in the few doorstep conversations I am having, that support for the Conservatives has firmed up. I also suspect that our leadership contest whilst igniting debate and making for many column inches, is portraying us as divided and flirting with a lurch leftwards. That none of this has affected polling is extraordinary.

If the averages are accurate (yes, a big IF), then we are seeing Tory support moving up a little, as are the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. Losing out are Labour and UKIP.

A mere twitch, the barest movement in the polls

July last year I did a round-up of the opinion polls.

The averages then showed the following:

35.3% Labour
31.8% Conservative
15.4% UKIP
7.9% Liberal Democrat

Given the margin of error for all polls is +/-3% you could argue that ten months on nothing has changed,

Lab Con LDem UKIP Grn
18 April 2015 YouGov 36 33 8 13 5
18 April 2015 Opinium 32 36 8 13 5
20 April 2015 Populus 34 32 9 15 4
20 April 2015 ICM 32 34 10 11 5
20 April 2015 Ashcroft 30 34 10 13 4
20 April 2015 YouGov 35 34 7 13 5
22 April 2015 YouGov 34 35 7 13 5
23 April 2015 Panelbase 34 31 7 17 4
23 April 2015 Survation 29 33 10 18 4
23 April 2015 ComRes 32 36 8 10 5
23 April 2015 YouGov 35 33 8 13 5
Averages 33.0 33.7 8.4 13.5 4.6
Avgs Feb 25th 33.1 31.4 7.9 16 5.6
Movement -0.1 2.3 0.5 -2.5 -1.0

In ten months Labour have dropped 2.3%, the Conservatives have gained 1.9%, UKIP has fallen 1.9%. and the Liberal Democrats 0.5% up. Given that all movements are less than 3%, and therefore within the accepted margin of error, it looks pretty steady.

With a mere thirteen days left then, the question remains: will anything change? If not then we are clearly in hung Parliament territory. However, with still quite a number declaring as undecided there is still everything to play for.

If the numbers are accurate then there is perceptible squeeze on UKIP and the Greens going on.

You pay your money and you take your choice


Con Lab LDem UKIP Grn
25/03/2015 ComRes 35 35 8 10 7
25/03/2015 YouGov 35 35 8 12 6
23/03/2015 Populus 31 33 9 16 5
23/03/2015 Ashcroft 33 33 8 12 5
22/03/2015 Opinium 36 33 7 14 6
22/03/2015 Survation 30 34 10 17 4
22/03/2015 YouGov 33 35 8 14 5
averages 33.3 34.0 8.3 13.6 5.4

Here is a summary of the recent opinion polls. To my inexpert eye it looks like there is almost no post-budget bounce for the Tories. There is some movement towards the two main parties, and that this appears to be coming from UKIP. It also looks like there is some movement from the Greens to the Liberal Democrats.

There is still much to play for. There are many yet to make up their minds, and it is reported that up to half of those able to suggest how they vote are also saying that they may change their minds.

The latest polls: think what you like of Labour and the Conservatives, you know what you get with them

Here is a summary of some of the latest opinion polls, a timely remember with ten weeks to go of where we are.

The headlines are that little has changed. But, there are some small movements, and the table below shows both the recent polls, and the averages when I last looked [] at this.

Con Lab LD UKIP Grn
14 February 2015 Populus 31 33 10 15 5
15 February 2015 Ashcroft 30 31 9 16 8
15 February 2015 ICM 36 32 10 9 7
16 February 2015 TNX BMRB 28 35 6 18 7
19 February 2015 Populus 31 32 9 17 6
21 February 2015 Opinium 35 33 6 15 7
21 February 2015 YouGov 33 34 8 13 6
23 February 2015 Populus 32 32 9 15 6
23 February 2015 Ashcroft 32 36 7 11 8
23 February 2015 ComRes 34 32 8 13 8
24 February 2015 Survation 28 34 10 19 4
24 February 2015 YouGov 35 33 6 14 7
average 32.1 33.1 8.2 14.6 6.6
averages at 17 December 2014 31.4 33.1 7.9 16.0 5.6

It is a story of no change for Labour. There have been slight improvements for the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and the Greens. UKIP support is weakening.

What does this all mean for the next seventy days? Judging by the trends it looks like a tightening race between the top two. UKIP are falling back a bit, which will be cause for some relief in Tory HQ. As for the battle for fourth (in terms of votes rather than seats) the gap is narrowing, but the increasing scrutiny placed on the Green Party will certainly test the resolve of those pledging allegiance.

At the moment, judging from my personal experience, I think that there are still many voters who have yet to make up their minds – enough in my opinion to potentially change the outcome.

Prediction? I have been thinking that we are in hung parliament territory for some time. However, I am beginning to think that a majority government is becoming a stronger possibility – and I put this down to the increased scrutiny being directed at the alternatives. I am going for a narrow Labour majority for the moment, but I know that this could all change in the days and weeks ahead.

Few voters use a General Election as a time to cast a protest vote. As we near the first Thursday in May, voters will think on their jobs, their mortgages, the pensions, their prosperity, their children’s future. Think what you like of Labour and the Conservatives, you know what you get with them – the alternatives are just too big a gamble.

The certainty of uncertainty (a second General Election in 2015 anyone?)

With a mere fourteen weeks of campaigning to go the one thing that is abundantly clear is that there is no-one racing ahead. Whilst I have no doubt that it will be either David Cameron or Ed Miliband who occupies Number Ten after May 7th, it is far too close to call at the moment.

This is going to be a close election, and it has looked this way long enough for me to believe that it will remain close for the remainder of the campaign. The two main parties really are neck-and-neck, and a hung Parliament is definitely on the cards.

However, our First Past The Post system allows for majorities that defy low vote shares, and so whilst Labour and the Conservatives see their vote shares at under a third of the electorate they are still likely to hoover up the overwhelming majority of seats. This is bad news for UKIP and the Greens for whom a significant breakthrough is still very unlikely.

Looking at the opinion polls for the last week we arrive at the following averages:

32.2% Labour
31.7% Conservative
15.9% UKIP
7.6% Liberal Democrat
6.9% Green

Plugging these numbers into Electoral Calculus we end up with the following prediction for seats

324 Labour
278 Conservative
18 Liberal Democrat
1 Green
28 others

This puts Labour within a single seat of an overall majority, and would probably mean a minority administration with informal agreements in place. It does, however, suggest a second General Election at some point, if only through the natural course of MP attrition.

December’s opinion polls

The table below shows the state of the opinion for the first half of December.

Lab Con LD UKIP Grn
15/12/2014 Populus 36 34 10 12 5
15/12/2014 YouGov 34 32 6 14 8
15/12/2014 ComRes 32 29 12 16 5
14/12/2014 YouGov 32 32 7 16 7
14/12/2014 ComRes 34 33 8 18 2
08/12/2014 Populus 36 33 8 15 4
08/12/2014 Ashcroft 31 30 8 19 5
08/12/2014 YouGov 33 34 6 15 6
07/12/2014 YouGov 32 32 6 17 7
07/12/2014 Opinium 34 29 6 19 6
01/12/2014 Populus 35 32 9 14 5
01/12/2014 Ashcroft 32 30 7 16 6
01/12/2014 YouGov 32 32 8 15 5
01/12/2014 ComRes 31 28 9 18 7
average 33.1 31.4 7.9 16.0 5.6

It is a dangerous thing to assume that these numbers will mirror the outcome come May’s likely General Election, but whilst some movement is to be expected these at least give us an idea of the mood in the country at present.

These polls show a small Labour lead, a lead that has gradually shrunk throughout this year. The occasional poll shows the Conservatives just ahead, and I imagine they will be reasonably content with this. As the election draws nearer it is the norm to see polling numbers improve for governing parties, which suggests that we could see a small lead for the Tories come May.

The polls also show significant numbers for UKIP, though not as high as some of the chatter would suggest. They are registering at around half of what the two main parties are getting, although some way ahead of the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems are engaged in a battle to stay ahead of the Green Party, which they are just about managing. One would not bet, though, that this will remain so, although equally the Lib Dems could benefit from improved numbers as the election draws nearer.

It is obvious I guess that these number represents the views of the mainland as a whole, and that there is much regional variation. For instance Labour are struggling In Scotland, which suggests that they are doing better in England. UKIP’s polling appears to be much better in the south and east of England than elsewhere. The Lib Dems vote seems to be holding up in some areas, whilst being decimated in others.

If these numbers are repeated in the General Election then we would see a governing party with the lowest vote share in modern times (I have checked back to 1935 and the lowest percentage for a winning party in a general election was Labour’s 35.2% in 2005). It would be miraculous for either Labour or the Conservatives to hit 40%, which was the norm up to 2001 (the two 1974 elections excepted). The rise of the Liberal vote put paid to both main parties going over 40%, and their collapse (they are back to 1950s vote share levels) has merely seen the votes redistributed all over the place rather than moving straight to Lab and Con.

Does UKIP’s presence signal a new, four-party, politics? Maybe, but it could also signal the replacement of the third party. It is difficult to judge based just on vote share – I expect to see the Lib Dems still managing to win more MPs than UKIP, despite polling around half of what UKIP look set to get. This goes to the our heart of our old-fashioned electoral system, which favours efficient tactical voting patterns.

This is all guesswork. What this means for Essex is another matter. My home county remains far more Conservative than the country as a whole, and whilst UKIP will be eyeing the coastal constituencies I still expect most of Essex’s MPs come May will remain Tory. Of course, ultimately this will be decided by the voters, who may decide to wholesale change – we shall see.

Poll musing

psephology The study of trends in voting.

I am an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to analysing opinion polls. Nonetheless I am a fan of UKPollingReport (for whom I have borrowed the data herein on recent opinion polls).

A week and a half on from the Clacton by-election it is worth a peek at what the opinion polls are showing.

Lab Con LD UKIP Grn
19 October 2014 YouGov 35 32 7 16 5
18 October 2014 ComRes 34 31 7 19 4
17 October 2014 Populus 35 33 10 14 4
17 October 2014 YouGov 32 31 8 18 7
15 October 2014 Ipsos MORI 33 30 8 16
15 October 2014 YouGov 34 30 8 18
13 October 2014 Populus 36 35 9 13 3
13 October 2014 Ashcroft 32 28 8 19 5
13 October 2014 ICM 35 31 11 14 4
12 October 2014 Opinium 35 28 9 17
12 October 2014 YouGov 34 32 9 16
12 October 2014 Survation 31 31 7 25
12 October 2014 Ashcroft 34 31 8 18

I feel obliged to say that I still think that the Clacton by-election does not tell us much about how well UKIP will do next May, except that their best chances of representation in Parliament appear to rest with Conservative ship-jumpers. The imminent Rochester and Strood contest will not tell us much either, other than at an average of £239,000 per by-election these new UKIP converts do like to waste tax-payers money on what is effectively a publicity campaign for their new party.

Heywood and Middleton did provide a surprise. Whilst Labour’s vote held up (and actually registered a modest increase), the opposition coalesced around UKIP to give them a very respectable second-place. Of course, Labour had no incumbency to fall back on, unlike the new/old MP for Clacton.

I think that some Tories will be wondering about their decision to oppose AV, particularly as even their safe seats are beginning to look marginal and the prospect of transferred second preferences would likely calm some nerves. There is speculation that another Tory MP is about the succumb to a loss of nerve (possibly someone else in Essex), and the thought of chunks of their vote going towards the EU-opposing anti-immigration party clearly focuses their minds on the potential for a foreshortened political career.

The averages for the opinion polls over the last week indicate the following levels of support:

33.8% Labour
31.0% Conservative
17.2% UKIP
8.4% Liberal Democrat
4.6% Green

Whilst being in the lead is obviously good news for Labour, the narrowness of the lead (and narrowing from 6% leads regularly seen not that many months ago) will give pause for thought. Comfort will be derived from an electoral system that would still deliver a Labour majority, although there will be noises made about mandate if that victory is gained from barely over a third of the votes cast.

Although many commentators believe Labour has a Miliband problem, I think our failure to defend our record in dealing with the crisis at the end of the Brown Government has led to continuing problems as regards to Labour’s economic credibility. The economy, in the view of this blogger, is still the primary driver for voter intentions.

Steady as she goes, a peek at the polls since May’s elections

The BBC’s projected national vote after May’s elections showed : 31% Labour, 29% Conservative, 17% UKIP, and 13% Liberal Democrat. That was almost six weeks ago – what has happened since?

I have looked at 31 pools taken since (I am grateful to UK Polling Report where I extracted the data) and it is a rather boring picture. Broadly speaking nothing has changed. The individual polls do dance around a bit, but the general trend persists.

The averages across the polls are

35.3% Labour
31.8% Conservative
15.4% UKIP
7.9% Liberal Democrat

We are ten months from the next General Election and anything can happen between now and then. But if these numbers were to persist (admittedly an unlikely scenario) then we would see a Labour majority of 36. The actual numbers given by Electoral Calculus shows Labour with 343 seats, Conservatives 261, Liberal Democrats 18, and UKIP with no seats.

It is the UKIP numbers that will be worth watching. As it stands they are unlikely to win many, if any seats in Parliament. Their voters may not care, being content to see a good vote share and their protest registered. I do think, though, that many will want a say in who runs the country, and therefore many will peel off and vote for either Miliband or Cameron. Cameron will certainly be hoping for this, especially as the UKIP vote generally seems to damage the Tories the most.

There is not much good news for Nick Clegg in these numbers. Whilst decimation is far from likely, they are bound to lose MPs.

Polling since May 22

Polling since May 22

April’s poll averages this far

Looking at sixteen polls so far in April produces the following averages:

36% Labour
30% Conservative
16.9% UKIP
9% Liberal Democrat

Averages are a much better indicator than taking an individual poll, and these sixteen cover a sixteen day period. There is variety of methodologies, as you would imagine with different pollsters, and a couple were European elections based (which explains the high UKIP number).

In every poll Labour were first. In every one the Liberal Democrats were fourth. The Conservatives were mostly second, although UKIP managed a joint first in one and a second place in another.

The European polling interests me most. In five weeks we have two sets of elections on the same day, and I think the European elections will have a big influence on what happens in the many local authority elections.

If Southend-on-Sea is at all typical, UKIP will be poorly organised on the ground but will pick up votes almost despite themselves. For many, UKIP is the basket labelled ‘none of the above’ – the current protest party of choice. The Conservatives appear demoralised and seemingly resigned to losing in many places. The Liberal Democrats are rather like the band on the Titanic – publicly chirpy despite knowing that they have hit an iceberg and are soon to sink. And my party? I think we would describe ourselves as quietly determined.

As for those Independents – they are predicting great things for themselves come May 22nd – their expectations do not tally with what I am finding on the doorstep. Publicly counting chickens is calling for an egg-on-face moment, in this correspondent’s opinion.