Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


YouGov on the Bristol statue downing and the Prince Andrew/Epstein connection

Monday, June 8th, 2020


Why Johnson can take little comfort from the Tory voting intention poll leads

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

He’s being smashed by Starmer in the leader ratings

The latest weekly poll from Opinium the the Observer had the Conservatives with a 4% lead while at the same time the same poll gave Starmer net 30% lead over Johnson in its approval question. On the face of it these two statements about this poll simply don’t make sense. The head of a party in the lead on voting would not, surely, have approval numbers that were so far off.

In the UK the poll numbers that generally receives the most coverage are the voting ones with little attention being paid to the leader ratings if indeed the pollster chooses to have them. Opinium, to its great credit, always have their approval numbers of the PM and other leading figures in its weekly poll.

What happens here is that the main data featured by the media are on voting intention with very little attention being played to the approval numbers. This is the wrong way round and that historically leader ratings have been a far better pointer to electoral outcomes than voting figures.

We only have to go back to the 2015 General Election when it will be recalled, the final polls that Ed Miliband Labour Party running Cameron. pretty close. As it turned out Cameron’s Tories won a majority following the five years in coalition.

This was not surprising if people had bothered to focus on the approval numbers and not the voting intention figures.

If there’s disparity between the two go with the leader ratings.

Mike Smithson


At the start of lockdown Johnson’s Tories had poll leads of upto 26% – now the latest two surveys have that down at 6%

Thursday, May 28th, 2020
Wikipedia chart of polling for next UK GE

At this rate crossover might happen quite soon

On the face of it the polling trends look worrying for the Conservatives and good for LAB which is seeing a lot of progress in getting the gap smaller.

However I don’t think we should read too much into this because, of course, the big difference between start of the lockdown and now is that LAB now has a new leader and not the electorally unpopular Corbyn who led the party to its worst result since 1935 at GE2019. It was almost inevitable that a new person would do better and so it has been.

For LAB the really positive thing has been the improvement in the leader ratings. Starmer has yet to go into net negative territory unlike his predecessor who during his whole four and half years in the job recorded net positive rating just once or twice.

The big question is how will this now go? Can BoJo/Dom stop any further erosion or is Starmer’s big ratings progress going to be translated into even better voting intention numbers? We don’t know which is why the polls are getting so much attention. 

The next general election is not scheduled to take place until May 2nd 2024 so less than four years to go. If Boris had gone for an election in early January the next general election who have been May 2025.  Of course the dates could be adjusted by the likely legislation that will repeal the Fixed-Term Parliament. It should be noted that it would be hard to extend the period beyond that because there are special constitutional arrangements for governments that want to use legislation to prolong their life. 


Mike Smithson


Will Labour lead in a nationwide YouGov poll in 2020?

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

This market by Ladbrokes on Labour leading in a UK wide Westminster voting intention poll is an intriguing one, the most recent YouGov poll had the Conservatives 15% ahead, during the first phase of the pandemic that lead peaked at 24%, prior to the pandemic that lead was around the early 20s, so it is fair to say the Conservatives lead with YouGov has been consistently high.

So what chance of Labour leading in a YouGov poll this year? The odds imply a 55.6% chance, to be honest that would normally seem quite high but given we’re in a global pandemic I can see lots of things happening that normally wouldn’t happen.

We’ve now entered the eleventh year of Conservative or Conservative led governments, at the equivalent point in 1989, ten years into Mrs Thatcher’s government the Labour party led every single opinion poll from the 29th of May 1989 until after Mrs Thatcher announced her resignation in November 1990, so this is around the time governments become consistently unpopular, so history suggests Labour should start leading the polling, but historical precedent doesn’t always mean something will inevitably happen.

What I think will cause Labour to start taking the lead is this accursed pandemic, one of the things I’ve consistently seen banded about is that UK has the second highest number of Covid-19 deaths, now there are mitigating factors for this, such countries do not use the same methodology and it doesn’t take into account other factors, and other metrics (such as deaths per 100,000 population) .

There is an irony in this government, a government led by Boris Johnson, aided & abetted by Dominic Cummings, suffering from a dodgy statistic, but as the old cliche goes, you live by the sword you, die by the sword.

Coupled with the care homes disaster that Boris Johnson ‘bitterly regrets’ you can see how a narrative takes hold, especially with a government that seems to think the messaging of this pandemic was ‘stay elite’.

So yes I can see Labour leading in a YouGov poll this year, even before we might see a second peak, an avoidable second peak which may occur to get the travails of Dominic Cummings off the front pages. But I’d probably want a bit more than 4/5 being offered, I’d probably a lot more comfortable if the bet covered any pollster that was a part of the BPC.




Latest UK and US polling not good for Johnson’s government and Trump

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

For the first time since lockdown Johnson’s government gets negative YouGov approval rating

And in the White House race Trump is struggling against Biden

Mike Smithson


The government’s approval rating falls a massive net 45% since the start of the lockdown

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

Not much detail available yet from the Opinium poll for the Observer but what we do have is pretty devastating for the government.

On March 26th, just after the lockdown came in, the pollster that came out best at GE2019 found a net 43% in the government’s approval rating. Tonight’s poll has that down to a net minus 3. So overall a 45 point drop in seven weeks.

I’ve updated this to include the Opinium chart showing its trend.

Mike Smithson


Why it could be politically challenging prioritising the economy over people’s health

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

New Ipsos MORI poll finds little change during the lockdown

By far the biggest decision ministers will have to take over the coronavirus pandemic is when to ease the restrictions in order to to boost the economy once again. This is becoming increasingly urgent because of the sheer cost of so many being placed effectively on the government payroll

The message coming from government suggests that ministers are becoming more more eager to start to close down some of the controls in order to get things moving on the economy. The only problem is that this could be out of kilter with public opinion.

New polling from Ipsos MORI published overnight finds 53% saying the Government should prioritise peoples’ health, with more restrictions on public events, workplaces and travel. This compares to just 11% who think it should prioritise economic health by having less restrictions.  The rest say it should be both equally.

As can be seen from the chart these numbers are virtually identical to when the same question was asked in mid-March before the lockdown began.

The majority of those polled also think Briton’s economy will recover from the Coronavirus crisis at the same rate or more quickly than other countries.  However, 29%, say they think the British economy will recover more slowly, with 4% saying it will never recover. The detail shows that GE2019 CON voters are significantly more positive about the British economy’s ability to bounce back from this crisis, with 19% saying Britain will recover more quickly and 54% saying we will recover at the same rate as other countries.  This compares to 9% of 2019 LAB voters who think Britain’s economy will recover quicker and 34% who think we will recover at the same pace. 40% of Labour voters from 2019 think the economy will recover more slowly.

The former PBer, Keiran Pedley, who is now the Ipsos MORI research director said: These findings suggest it may be a challenge for the government to take public opinion with it as lockdown restrictions are eased. Despite several weeks of lockdown, a majority of the public still insist the public health should be prioritised over economic health, with more restrictions rather than less if necessary. It is striking that these numbers are virtually unchanged since mid-March. Views may now shift as new rules are better understood but these findings just go to show how cautious the British public is at this stage.”

Mike Smithson


Some points from today’s new polling

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

There’s a huge amount of doubt on whether the 100k a day testing target will be reached

How likely or unlikely do you think it is that the government will hit its target of testing 100,000 people per day for coronavirus by the end of the month? (YouGov)


Only a third intend to wear a face mask

Providing you are able to get one, do you intend on wearing a face mask in public once lockdown is lifted?


Mike Smithson