Daily polling roundup 13th April

Ever since last Thursday I've been imploring people not to get carried away with sudden moves. Today was a pretty good illustration of why I'm habitually inclined to be cautious, even if it means being criticised at the time. Both Populus and Lord Ashcroft found Labour and the Conservatives tied on 33%, YouGov/Sun showed Labour a point ahead, but ICM had the Tories a whopping 6 points ahead on 39%, their highest with any pollster since the Omnishables budget in March 2012 and higher than their 36.9% mainland vote share from 2010:

ICM's poll was treated to the kind of scrutiny that last week's polls should have been. Recall that TNS polled over a bank holiday (known to be risky), Panelbase's poll was only their second of Great Britain, while Survation's poll only showed a 2 point net change. Some of ICM's internals did look rather odd, with strong Conservative scores among blue-collar workers and in Scotland and northern England. The Guardian's writeup quoted ICM chief Martin Boon as saying that the sample chosen looks “demographically sound”, but acknowledging signs in the raw data that this sample “could be a just touch too Tory”. What we’d all love to know (but which can’t be determined) is how much a “touch” is!
Populus’s online poll showed a tie – as they usually show Labour a couple of points ahead, this was an improvement for the Conservatives:

Ashcroft’s national poll also showed a tie – like most phone pollsters he has tended to show Tory leads recently, so this is an improvement for Labour. He found all parties’ votes firming up, with about 70% of Labour, Conservative and UKIP voters saying they’re certain to vote that way. The Lib Dem figure was lower at 59%, but the gap to the other parties has reduced considerably.

Meanwhile his (Wirral West) focus group participants had a positive response towards Nicola Sturgeon in the seven-way leaders’ debate, but took dim view of the format. No-one noticed the nom-dom row. But it seems plenty of people noticed the Greens’ election broadcast – opinon was divided but maybe that’s the reason.
YouGov’s close race looks like a reversion to the mean after yesterday’s 3 point Labour lead. This is the first time they’ve polled Saturday to Sunday in this parliament, which may have something to do with it:

Putting all of this together, there doesn’t seem to have been a Labour surge – last week’s polling didn’t represent a real, sustained move, and there’s every indication that we’re still looking at a close race.
TNS also published a Scottish face-to-face poll. Since the fieldwork is so old (almost entirely before the Scottish leaders’ debates) I’m not sure it tells us much, other than to confirm once again that the SNP has a huge lead:

The Times Redbox team produced a YouGov-based estimate of voting intention among first-time voters. These are notoriously tricky to do, because (by definition) they can’t be past vote-weighted, but they found Labour five points ahead, with the Greens in a strong third place:

Tomorrow Lord Ashcroft is first up with some more CON-LAB marginals polling, released at 8am! We also get The YouGov/Sun daily poll and the Tory Manifesto.

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