Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


Why the GRN voters might not swing back to LAB at GE15 even in the marginals

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

When pressed on constituency question just 10% switch to red

Today’s YouGov of CON 31, LAB 34, LD 6, UKIP 17, GRN 7 highlights the need to analyse what is happening to the GRN vote and what might happen in the key battlegrounds that will decide GE15.

As ever the main source of published data is from Lord Ashcroft. The aggregation of a series of constituency polls means that sub-samples can be large enough to draw conclusions with a reasonable degree of confidence. Also, of course, Lord A is the only one asking the two stage voting question.

The chart above is based on the aggregate data from his October round of LAB-CON battlegrounds polling with the two voting questions. After the standard one those sampled are asked to think specifically about their own constituency and in many cases there is quite a difference. It is the change that can be illuminating.

The big picture on the first question is that getting on for half of current GRN support is coming from people who voted LAB or LD in 2010. But look what happens when the second stage question, that relating to the specific seat is asked.

As can be seen above just under three-quarters of those saying Green to the first question still say they will vote for the party on the second. To me what is interesting is what happens to the rest. Yes LAB does best taking a 10% slice but that’s nothing like as large as the red team might hope. A total of 4% say CON and 6% say LD. UKIP at 2% in included amongst others.

Given rising GRN shares generally I plan to keep a close eye on what is happening and will be returning to this in due case.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Concerns about health and immigration rise as the economy drops to six year low in the Ipsos-MORI issues index

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014


After a series of polls showing the main parties level-pegging today’s YouGov has LAB creeping back into the lead

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Now a 1% margin is something for the red team to cheer

For whatever reason things have not been going well for LAB in the polls over the past week. Only the Populus online poll on Monday showed a lead while Opinium, Ashcroft, ComRes and three successive YouGovs had LAB and CON level-pegging.

Of course edging up to a 1% lead, as today, is statistically irrelevant – but this is not about statistics but party morale and pressure, perhaps, on the leadership.

When things haven’t been going well then any sign that the worst might just be over is to be welcomed and no doubt EdM’s tightly knit team will be breathing a sigh of relief.

    There’s little doubt that what started the erosion of Labour’s position was Ed Miliband’s lacklustre conference speech in September. The leader’s performance at his final conference before a general election is crucial and Miliband blew it.

Today Ed faces Dave once again at PMQs. He’s got a great issue – the reports that Britain will not support future efforts to prevent migrants and refugees drowning in the Med.

This is precisely the sort of of thing that should play well with his side and the key swing voting group of LD to LAB switchers. He needs to exploit it well.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


The battle does seem to be getting tighter: Both tonight’s online panel polls have CON & LAB on 33% each

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

But the big political news..


The Westminster Big Three: zen-like serenity or zombies in action?

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

How come poor CON/LAB/LD polls are being accepted so readily?

Time was when you could be reasonably sure that a party struggling in the polls would lead inevitably to speculation about its leader’s position.  The media would talk about it, backbench MPs would talk about it and cabinet or shadow cabinet members would let their friends talk about it.  What is remarkable about the last few years is that despite unprecedented combined unpopularity of both leaders and parties, there has been so little such talk never mind action.

Of course, the fact that all three main Westminster parties are so unpopular simultaneously may have something to do with that: it’s easy to console yourself that you stand a decent chance of recovery when your opponents are doing badly too.

Even so, this is very far from a zero-sum game.  All three parties face an existential threat.  UKIP has the potential to replace either the Tories or Labour (but not both) after the next election as the main party in their part of the spectrum if the cards fall well for it.  Neither has a right to exist, never mind to success, and both parties’ former core vote is disillusioned.  At the moment, Farage’s party’s mid- to upper-teens score would probably see them pick up only a handful of seats but were that to be upped to the mid-twenties that would do real damage.

The prospect of such a step-change in UKIP’s polling is far from inconceivable: they have polled up there on occasion, by-election victories between now and April would reinforce their current momentum and the debates – if they happen – provide a further opportunity to advance.

Strangely, a half-reasonable performance may be worse in the long run than a bad one as it’s far harder to fight off the threat while in government.  Clacton has already demonstrated the risks to the Conservatives and Rochester may reinforce that message.  Should Labour regain government, the danger may be even worse, polling as it is in the low thirties with the support of a great many 2010 Lib Dem defectors.  A majority Ed Miliband-led government could easily leak that support straight back on one wing while being assailed by UKIP on the other.  Gordon Brown’s Labour government bottomed out at 18% in the polls; an Ed Miliband one could go further still – and that might drop it to fourth place by vote share.

For the Lib Dems the threat is greater still and more immediate: their party has lost more than two-thirds of their 2010 vote, a level meaning it’s dicing with oblivion.  True, local strongholds appear firm for now but results from the constituency polls sit uneasily with the national ones: my guess is that it’s the national ones and we’ll see Lib Dem support edge up as May approaches and people think more about their local situation.  But it may not and didn’t in Scotland in 2011, where the Yellows lost all but two of their constituency seats (and Orkney & Shetland is just one seat for Westminster).

    With threats to their existence such as the parties have not faced in many decades, if ever, what’s remarkable is how calm the leaderships and parliamentary parties are. 

There is grumbling about Miliband but no serious threat this side of the election.  Cameron has suffered two defections – one reinforced by a by-election defeat – but despite their reputation for deposing leaders, Tory backbenchers have remained unusually quiet on the subject.  Even quieter have been Lib Dems, who are polling worst of all and perhaps have most opportunity for change (their leader has the worst ratings, plausible alternatives are available and one of the causes of their woes – being in government – could be resolved by a well-timed withdrawal).

Will one or more of the parties brake out of their zen-like calm – or zombie-like sleepwalking if you prefer – before the election?  I doubt it.  It’s almost too late now to change strategy or leader and will be by the New Year.  These things need pressure to build and that rarely happens quickly.  It also needs anger, focus and division, and such factors simply aren’t present in sufficient quantity, particularly when there’s the belief that the other side(s) might hand you victory by default.  It is somewhat ironic that the biggest upheaval in the political system since at least the early 1980s has produced so little reaction.  But then maybe that’s the point: the changes are so far outside their experience, they can’t reach for a stock response and like rabbits in Farage’s headlights, produce none.

David herdson


Generally the oldies are the key group for UKIP yet in the ComRes Rochester poll they give Reckless a lead of just 1%

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Looking more closely at the numbers

Let there be no doubt – the UKIP donor funded ComRes Rochester poll was terrible news for the Tories coming as it has just before the party announces the result of its all-postal primary on who should be the candidate.

Looking closely at the ComRes data two demographic segments stand out. Firstly there are the oldies, those of 65 and above, who normally are the biggest supporters of all for Farage’s party. In this poll however, as the extract from the dataset above shows, it is nothing like as clear cut with Mark Reckless just 1% ahead.

As I’ve said many times on PB in a vast range of elections the oldies are crucial. They are most likely to be on the electoral register, most likely to actually vote and least likely to change their mind.

The second positive figure for the Tories from the demographic splits is how well the blues are doing with the AB groups showing a clear cut lead.

The big feature from the poll is how reliant in the ComRes poll UKIP are on non-voters from 2010. This is what the leading political scientist and UKIP expert, Rob Ford, Tweeted last night:-

I’m told that we should be getting the results from the CON Rochester postal primary this evening. The number to look out for is the turnout.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


On the eve of the CON primary result a UKIP donor funded ComRes Rochester poll has the purples 13% ahead

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

UKIP 43: CON 30: LAB 21: LD 3: GRN 2

Th big by-election news tonight which has already been anticipated by the betting markets is a new UKIP donor funded poll of Rochester & Strood in the Daily Express.

The news is not good for the Tories and very good for the purples. The poll has Farage’s party in a better position than it was in the Mail/Survation poll two weeks ago when UKIP had a 9% lead.

Amongst 2010 CON voters ComRes found 57% supporting the blues and 40% Reckless – almost exactly the same proportion as in the earlier Survation poll. Reckless is relying for his support on ex-LAB & LD voters. But the biggest source of new support for UKIP are those who didn’t vote at the last general election with 28% of the UKIP share coming from them.

Some other pollsters would mark the views of this group down sharply because non-voting support from the previous general election is the most flakey of all.

This is how the non-2010 voters split.

Clearly this puts the purples in a strong position just four weeks from polling day and there’ll be a huge amount of pressure on whoever wins the primary to claw some of this back.

With four weeks to go I’m expecting a lot of polling. Eagerly awaited is a survey from Lord Ashcroft.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


As UKIP surges Ipsos-MORI finds that support for wanting to stay in the EU is at a 23 year high

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Could the Kippers be giving the BOOers a bad name?

As I often say one of the great things about Ipsos-MORI is that it has been carrying out political polls in the UK for 40 years and is has a vast amount of historical data on which we can make comparisons.

Today the pollsters has issued its latest findings on whether we should leave/remain in the EU. The figures and trends in the chart above come as something as a shock given the current UKIP narrative.

Maybe there’s something of a reaction to the Scottish referendum outcome here. Fewer of us are attracted by the prospect of change. But I wonder whether the way UKIP is dominating the headlines is having an impact and is polarising opinion?

  • Date for your diary. There’ll be a post Rochester PB gathering at Dirty Dicks, near Liverpool Street in London, from 1830 on Friday November 21 – the day after the by-election.
  • Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter