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YouGov – “Tories 5% ahead”

March 29th, 2004

The latest YouGov poll, published this morning in the Daily Telegraph, shows almost no change in March and would produce a hung parliament. The following is the split together with a projection from Financialcalculus of the distribution of seats at a General Election assuming a universal swing across the whole of the UK.

Con 39 – 271 seats
Lab 34 – 300 seats
LD 20 – 46 seats

Thus Labour would be 23 seats short of a Commons majority.

YouGov is the only major pollster to carry out all its surveys online (see previous posting) and is the only one to be showing a Tory lead. The other three polls this month – MORI, ICM and Populus – all showed almost no change.

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In an interesting move a few weeks ago Michael Howard ended YouGov’s contract as the Tory party’s private pollster. This was in the Guardian on February 26 –

Michael Howard is distancing himself from an important legacy of Iain Duncan Smith by refusing to renew the Tories’ contract with a polling organisation criticised for providing rosy results….
The decision was welcomed by senior party figures, dismayed by YouGov’s positive results, used by Mr Duncan Smith to show his success. The low point came in the run-up to last year’s conference when he told anxious donors that his speech would give him a five-point bounce in the polls – the exact figure in YouGov’s first post-conference survey.
YouGov has also come in for criticisms because it polls over the internet. Other polling organisations say that the best results come from interviewing face-to-face, or by telephone.”

Given that YouGov was the only polling organisation to accurately predict the 2001 General Election this was probably unfair. My guess is that Howard does not want YouGov’s generally favourably polls being undermined by the company being seen as the party’s tame in-house pollster.






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