Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


Pollsters need to wake up to the fact that Cameron has said that he won’t serve a third term

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015


The GE2020 choice won’t be DC or JC

Last night we saw the release of the monthly ComRes phone poll for the Daily Mail showing the CON lead down 5 to 9%. There was much focus on best PM figures showing Cameron 24% ahead of the new LAB leader.

One figure that stood out was that 26% of LAB voters in the survey chose Cameron rather than their new leader.

The only problem here is that as we all know Dave has made clear publicly that he is not going to continue the leadership beyond the general election. The choice will be between Corbyn if he survives till then and Cameron’s successor.

    As I’ve argued here before Cameron enjoys a polling premium attracting support that is greater than his party and we can’t assume that his successor will have the same appeal.

My guess is that a best PM rating where the options are Corbyn and Osborne would see a smaller lead for the former. It would also give us a better pointer to the general election.

In the 2005-2010 parliament when Tony Blair was still at Number 10 there was a lot of polling comparing other prospective LAB leaders, particularly Brown, with Cameron. That was clearly the right thing to do then and should be adopted now.

There’s another reason why the focus should be on measuring views of Corbyn against prospective Tory leaders which is that it deals with the incumbency bias inherent when you compare an Opposition Leader with the sitting PM.

So please let’s see some best PM comparisons between Corbyn and Osborne, Boris, May, Javid etc.

Mike Smithson


We can’t assume that the next CON leader will enjoy the same personal premium that Cameron has had

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

ComRes Indy on Sunday/S Mirror poll Sept 19 2015

This could make GE2020 less of a certainty

The big known unknown of British politics is what is going to happen when David Cameron, as he’s said he will, steps down and won’t pursue a third term.

Quite what the timing will be we don’t know but it is highly likely that a new Tory leader will have emerged by the time of the next election and based on current betting the money is going on the Chancellor George Osborne.

What we know about Cameron, particularly from the regular Ipsos-MORI “like him like his party” polling is that he has been a net asset to the Conservative Party not a negative. Having him as leader has added to the overall appeal of the blue team. That contrasted sharply with Labour at the general election when having a Miliband as leader acted as a negative. Ed was less popular than his party while Dave was more popular.

    This, I would suggest, adds to the risk to the Conservatives of Cameron’s departure. The chances are that his successor will NOT enjoy the same personal premium.

The ComRes survey for the Indy on Sunday featured above highlights an issue in relation to George Osborne. Those net favorability numbers are not good for him. In fact he is only one point better than Jeremy Corbyn who is widely regarded as an electoral negative for Labour.

We do know that the appeal of a party leader is central in an election and why numbers like the ones above can be a better indicator of what will happen than the voting intention surveys.

It might, of course, be that if George gets the job then the aura of being Prime Minister will give him a considerable boost but it might not.

Polls numbers like the ComRes favourability ones will take on a greater significance as we get closer to the changeover.

Mike Smithson


Polling shows the Labour Party brand in big trouble

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

This Thursday’s poll by Ipsos Mori is bad for Jeremy Corbyn but even worse for Labour, says Keiran Pedley.

Today’s poll looked at public perceptions of Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron and the Labour and Conservative Party brands in detail. In addition to voting intention and asking respondents which of Cameron or Corbyn would make the ‘most capable Prime Minister’, the poll also listed a series of statements and asked which of them applied to each party and their leaders. It’s a useful exercise to go beyond simple voting intention which, let’s face it, is suffering from a lack of credibility at the moment anyway – not least given that the next General Election is due in 2020.

Tough start for Corbyn

The headline figure doing the rounds earlier highlighted that Jeremy Corbyn’s initial net satisfaction rating (-3) is the worst of any new leader in my lifetime (I am 31 in November). In addition, Cameron leads Corbyn on who would make the ‘most capable Prime Minister’ by 53% to 27%. Even the most ardent Corbyn supporter must privately concede that this is a difficult start.

Ipsos Mori

The problem Corbyn faces is that despite this poll showing that Cameron is seen as ‘out of touch’ (64%), he is also seen as a ‘capable leader’ (62%), ‘good in a crisis’ (51%) and having a ‘clear vision for Britain’ (56%). He is seen as competent and I suspect that this is why Lord Ashcroft’s recent book won’t hurt him too much. The public know he is posh but they trust him as PM. (Incidentally, I suspect that as long as Labour attack Cameron for being ‘out of touch’ and posh – rather than attack on the substance of his perceived competence – I suspect that they won’t get very far either).

It isn’t all bad for the Labour leader though. 54% agree that Corbyn is ‘more honest than most politicians’ whilst perhaps more importantly some 31% say that they ‘don’t know’ whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with him. In contrast, just 7% say the same about David Cameron who has a net satisfaction rating of minus 10. This means that, theoretically at least, Corbyn has time to improve his standing with the voters. He just doesn’t have much of it. However, as we know, should Corbyn make it to 2020, he won’t be standing against Cameron anyway which is another plus.

Personally, as I wrote on this blog last week, I don’t think Corbyn will make it to 2020. Therefore Labour’s chances in 2020, if you think they have any, largely rest on who replaces him as leader and the state of the Labour Party brand when they do. It is here where today’s poll should be most worrying for Labour.

Labour’s brand is in big trouble

Today’s poll showed that the Conservative Party brand largely mirrors that of its leader. They are seen as ‘fit to govern’ (56%) with a ‘good team of leaders’ (49%). Both measures have improved since April and worrying for Labour there isn’t a great deal of difference between the parties on ‘keeps its promises’ or ‘looks after the interests of people like me’.

Ipsos Mori 2

In contrast, Labour really struggles on those attributes that would show them as a serious alternative party of government – just 35% consider them ‘fit to govern’. However, it is when Labour’s numbers are compared to the same statements asked in April when we really see the trouble the party is in. This summer (and the election of Corbyn) has not been kind to the Labour brand. There has been a 22 point increase in those that consider the party ‘extreme’ whilst 75% say that the party is ‘divided’ (up a whopping 32 points from April).

And then comes the real kicker, Labour is now seen as more ‘out of date’ (55%) than the Conservatives (48%). This is ‘just one poll’ and Jeremy Corbyn remains a relative unknown to the public right now but if Labour’s brand woes stick it is hard to articulate just how much trouble the party is in. Regardless of who leads it, whilst Labour is seen as more ‘extreme’, ‘divided’ and ‘out of date’ than a Conservative Party deemed to be led competently, it is unelectable. Individual policies matter little. Voters vote based on the brand of the parties and their leaders and rarely on individual policies. Right now, the Labour Party brand is in big trouble.

So make no mistake, next week’s Labour Party conference is already make or break. Leaders get a small window in which to define themselves and time is running out for Corbyn already. Meanwhile, there are worrying signs that the Labour Party brand is moving towards a position where it is unelectable.  Things can change quickly in politics but Labour should be under no illusions – things are serious and Labour needs to do something about it fast.

Keiran Pedley is an elections and polling expert at GfK and tweets about polling and politics at @keiranpedley


ICM marginals poll finds the Tories losing their majority

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

house of commons

ICM phone polled in the 20 most marginal Labour target seats  (19 Tory and 1 Lib Dem) on behalf of The Sun on Sunday. This found Labour up 4% since May to 42% and the Tories unchanged on 39%. This represents a Con to Lab swing of 2.1%. This would deprive the Tories of their majority. Though on this swing Labour would only take seventeen target seats at the election, 77 fewer than what they need to have a majority.

The fieldwork for this poll was Tuesday to Friday of this week gone, so not the optimal time for neither Corbyn or Labour. This polling might come as a shock for those who thought the only uncertainty at the next election is the size of the Tory majority.

Martin Boon of ICM said

the small swing could mean Labour retrieving a few Conservative-held seats, including Gower, two seats in Plymouth, and at a push Cardiff North and Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam

But he added: “It’s not good enough – and could even be as good as it gets.”

I have a few caveats on this poll. As usual this is only one poll, the other major caveat is that this polling is in the seats Labour hope to gain in 2020, we need to see some polling in the marginal seats Labour hold as well. Lest we forget that in May 2015 when it came to England & Wales the Tories made nearly as many gains from Labour as they lost to Labour.



ComRes poll finds Corbyn with near identical ratings as Osborne

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

After the poor first week Corbyn has endured, he and Labour will be delighted with the headline voting intention that sees Labour up 1% and not down though the Tories are up 2% as well (though these are the epitome of margin of error changes) in the ComRes online poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror.

The most interesting finding for me was that Mr Corbyn has near identical ratings to George Osborne, the man the bookies make favourite to be Tory leader at the next election. That said it does appear some of the Tory attack lines have cut through to the public.

Right now I’m cautious about reading too much into any polling given the week Corbyn and Labour have had, a better indicator will be after the conference season. For example look at the high Don’t Know figures for John McDonnell or Tom Watson, over time as he and others become more known to the public that should move VI up or down. The other thing that should cheer up Corbyn fans is that more voters agree than disagree that he is making politics interesting and that he offers a positive difference from other politicians.

ComRes interviewed 2,015 GB adults online on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.




Who voted for Corbyn

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

YouGov have analysed Jeremy Corbyn’s victory and they’ve found the following

Around 70,000 people who voted in the leadership election did NOT vote Labour in May’s general election. 40,000 of them voted Green. Fully 92% of these Green voters backed Mr Corbyn. We estimate that the other non-Labour voters were: Liberal Democrats: 10,000; Conservatives: 3,000; Ukip: 3,000; other parties 6,000; did not vote 8,000. It is, of course, a matter of debate how many of these are genuine converts, and how many infiltrated the election for more cynical purposes. But the numbers are far larger than the 4,000 or so whom the party has reported excluding as infiltrators.

However, if we count only the 350,000 who voted Labour in May, Mr Corbyn would still have won 54% of the vote – enough to have given him a big victory on the first count.

The one group noticeably less keen on Mr Corbyn were long-standing Labour Party members. Only 44% of those who have been members since before Ed Miliband became leader in 2010 gave their first preference to Labour’s new leader. Had only they voted in the leadership election, it is touch-and-go whether Mr Corbyn would have won at all. However, pre-2010 party members comprised only one-quarter of the selectorate. 

Looking at this it would appear that under Ed Miliband’s leadership the Labour party membership became more left wing which helped Jeremy Corbyn achieve victory. That may well be Ed Miliband’s greatest legacy to the Labour party and politics in this country.



The pollsters might have to start applying a shy Labour filter

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Whilst Mr Corbyn is leader we might expect to see some shy Labour voters

Judging by the opening attacks from the Conservatives greeting Jeremy Corbyn election as Labour leader you get the feeling Corbyn’s victory was foretold in The Book of Revelation somewhere between The Seven Headed Dragon and The Whore of Babylon.

This is because one of Lynton Crosby’s mantras for winning election being

Frame the choice and set the parameters or your opponent will

A campaign is a choice. You need to be deliberate in the way you define yourself and what you believe in, as well as how you define your competitor or opponent (and have the evidence to back it up).

You need a simple story that explains what you’re trying to achieve in terms that are relevant to people.

Your story needs to be positive and differentiating.

As the above tweet shows coupled with this youtube video released yesterday the Conservatives are going to frame the choice as Corbyn being a risk to the country and the voters whilst they are the safe option, that the voters cannot choose the economic/personal/security apocalypse that Corbyn would bring as Prime Minister.

It might well be that voters find some of Jeremy Corbyn’s past (and maybe his current) pronouncements distasteful but they find overall package appealing, such as re-nationalising the railways. The voters might think for example the benefits of Corbyn and McDonnell’s tax policies outweighs the negatives of their past meetings with Sinn Fein and comments about the IRA.

You can understand why voters might be shy in admitting they are voting for a party led by a man nicknamed “Jezbollah” by his opponents.  So when you next see an opinion poll ask yourself which party will be the voters be most shy about admitting voting for? For the first time in a long time it might just be Labour not the Conservatives.



The voters by some distance say Tony Blair will be remembered as the best modern Labour leader

Monday, September 14th, 2015

The voters say Corbyn will be more like Ed Miliband than Tony Blair