The first of tonight’s three polls has the Tories still ahead but their lead falls from four to one

April 25th, 2015

The fieldwork was Tuesday to Friday inclusive.

Tonight I’m expecting Survation and YouGov polls as well, this thread will be updated as they come in.


Update – Marf’s take on Dave’s West Ham Gaffe



David Herdson asks: Where’s Cleggy?

April 25th, 2015

Solving the riddle of the election’s missing man

Two Kings and a Joker is the hand the media traditionally aims to deal the public in their coverage of general elections. They don’t always manage to do so as it depends on the real-life characters available but the battle for No 10 is usually best told as a contest between two big parties with a wild-card element thrown in.

That wild-card has usually been the Lib Dems, or the Liberal-SDP alliance before them. Would they ‘break the mould’, or at least make substantial gains, and if so, at the expense of who? Several times it looked as if they might; usually they didn’t. Most spectacularly, Nick Clegg’s party led several of the campaign-period polls in 2010 following his success in the first debate only to wind up with fewer seats than they’d started off with once the voting had taken place. But that’s to get ahead of ourselves: the point is that the Lib Dems’ progress was a central part of the coverage of that campaign. By contrast, this year, both Clegg and the wider Lib Dem team are notable only by their absence.

The reason is simple enough: there’s a different Joker. For a long time it looked as if Nigel Farage was being set up for the role. The election of several hundred UKIP councillors in 2013/14, their victory in the European elections and the two MPs defecting to them – consolidated in by-election wins – all pushed UKIP to polling scores regularly in the higher teens and sometimes into the twenties, scores which would have seen them make further Westminster gains if realised on May 7. Since the New Year, however, UKIP has gone backwards and now looks at least as likely to make net losses as net gains. No story there then even if, as is still probable, they finish third in the popular vote.

Instead, of course, it is the SNP which has produced the Joker and to which the media (and rival parties) have turned their attention – with good reason. Virtually every poll since the referendum has pointed to the kind of landslide swing in voting intention for Westminster that the SNP has already achieved at Holyrood. There’s a strong probability that they’ll have the third-most MPs after the election and will not only sweep Scottish Labour from the pre-eminence they’ve enjoyed at UK general elections since the 1960s but reduce them to a taxi-cab of a delegation. It’s the kind of dramatic story that none of the other potential Jokers – nor the Tories or Labour for that matter – have been able to deliver.

Sturgeon gate-crashing the party hasn’t changed the Two Kings and a Joker formula though, with the result that the Lib Dems, UKIP and the Greens have received only perfunctory coverage. Nick Clegg might have been granted the occasional TV appearance but the Lib Dems still have five other cabinet ministers: when was the last time you saw or heard from any one of them?

Does that matter? Apart from the question of lost deposits, you might think not. After all, the seats they’re really interested in are those they hold and those they think they can win; constituencies where they’ll already have a very strong ground game. Considering that Cleggmania didn’t help them particularly in those sort of constituencies in 2010 the reverse ought to hold true this time: a collapse in national support among those who have little direct contact with the party will not necessarily feed through to places where the party is strongly established – or at least, not to the same extent. On the other hand, the lack of any national media presence or policy impact has reduced their candidates to effectively a collective of independents.

A more pertinent effect will be the indirect one on the Con/Lab battles. With no means of attracting them back, the dissipation of the 2010 Lib Dem vote is now hard-wired into the voting patterns in those constituencies. In effect, Sturgeon might be causing Labour havoc north of the border but she’s done them a favour south of it.

David Herdson

p.s. One factor not being sufficiently taken into account in considering what might affect voting during the remainder of the campaign is the royal birth. Reports suggest that this will very probably happen before polling day and if so will be the lead story for two or three days. Obviously campaigning will continue but for those swing voters, particularly those whose involvement in politics extends to casting a vote only once every five years, a lot will have their own attention distracted and all will see far less that might make them change their minds.


Latest wave of Ashcroft seat polling sees UKIP taking Thurrock but losing Rochester

April 25th, 2015

Like in all Ashcroft seat polls the names of candidates were not included in the voting questions.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Marf after a day dominated by Libya

April 24th, 2015


  • If you would like to purchase one of Marf’s prints or originals, please contact her here.
  • Update: The Tory final push


    LAB lead up a notch with Populus and not much change in London

    April 24th, 2015

    The morning’s polling news

    Voters think there’s too much emphasis on Scotland


    The three 4% CON lead polls this week cannot all be dismissed as outliers

    April 24th, 2015

    But only 1 CON lead from YouGov in a fortnight

    The final poll to come out last night, YouGov’s 2% LAB lead, will have eased some nerves amongst the red team. But inevitably they should be worrying about the fact that we have now had 3 surveys in 6 days which have had the Conservatives 4 percent ahead.

    At the same time the blue team must be concerned about the lack of progress with YouGov and some of the other online posters. Of the past 14 polls for YouGov there have been 10 LAB leads, three ties and only one showing the blues ahead and that by the narrowest of margins.

    That is not easy to dismiss and remember that last time out in national elections, the May 2014 Euros, YouGov was the top pollster with ComRes and Survation trailing quite a way behind.

    The two big question marks hanging over this election are whether we are seeing a real CON improvement and how do we work out what national vote shares mean in terms of seats.

    Today the pollercoaster continues with the Friday Populus survey and, most likely, another batch of constituency polling from Lord Ashcroft.

    My own view is that this election remains too close to call but that LAB still have the electoral system on their side. Even with the Scottish disaster LAB will chalk up more seats than CON with the same vote share.

    Mike Smithson

    For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    The Thursday pollercoaster continues

    April 23rd, 2015

    LAB increase lead with YouGov

    New Survation poll boost for Farage in South Thanet

    A second poll today has CON with 4% lead


    A Marf cartoon at the start of what’ll be a busy polling night

    April 23rd, 2015


    UPDATE Survation/Mirror poll has CON 4% ahead

    First up this afternoon was Panelbase

    New ComRes phone poll out at 10pm

    Survation for the Mirror is due.