Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


A week goes by and the main polling news is that Remain voters are much more relaxed about gay sex than Brexiters

Sunday, July 30th, 2017


Am I the only person who yearns for the YouGov daily poll?

Given the precariousness of the government’s parliamentary situation and the massive challenge of Brexit we’ve just gone through a whole week without a single published voting poll.

    Just about the only survey that’s been published was the YouGov poll for Pink News on attitudes to gay sex with the cross tabs broken down by voting intention. Not surprisingly Remain voters (64%) were much more likely to agree that “gay sex is natural” compared with 21% of Leave voters sharing that view.

That’s as maybe but we are in an incredibly important political period and regular voting intention and leader rating numbers enable us to to monitor better the political weather. I’d love to know, for instance, if TMay gets a polling boost when she’s on holiday and the main news about her is how much her dress cost.

Also we haven’t got any new information attitudes to Brexit and the associated issues. Is that changing or remaining static?

Part of this on course is the surprise general election which took its toll on the media budgets.

Compare this dearth of polling with what we saw in the 2010-2015 period. Just about every weekday and Sunday we got a new YouGov poll as well as a host of other regular surveys.

Mike Smithson


The Tories needs to resolve divisions soon because divided parties struggle at election time

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

One of the things that we know from previous elections is that parties that are seen to be divided can get punished by the voters. That was John Major’s fate at GE1997 after five difficult years of one split after another.

The current situation, as seen in the recent YouGov polling illustrated in the chart and touched on in this week’s podcast, looks challenging and could be hugely problematical if there is the need for an early election. This, of course, is something that’s made more likely with the current Commons arithmetic. That just 8% of the sample and only 15% of CON voters felt able to describe the the party as “united” is extraordinary.

What’s really striking about the poll is that when this was asked two weeks before GE17 43% said the thought to Tories were united with just 29% against. That’s a whopping turnaround.

Public splits are going to be magnified simply because of the threat to the government’s position.

Labour, as we’ve seen in the reaction within the movement to Corbyn’s weekend comments on BREXIT on the Marr show, is nearly as bad but interestingly there’s been a huge effort in the past few days to create a semblance of a unified position. I put that down to the Corbyn’s comment being poorly prepared for the Marr interview.

There’s a great article by Marie Le Conte on Vice news about the current state of thinking within the blue team and how a before the recess senior Tory figures were briefing against TMay only a few yards away from where the PM was standing at some events. It is here under the provocative heading “An Insider’s Guide to Tory In-Fighting”.

My view is that the Tory splits will continue as long as the leadership position remains uncertain.

Mike Smithson


NEW PB/Polling Matters podcast: Jeremy Corbyn is Britain’s most popular politician – but there’s a catch LISTEN

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

On this week’s PB/Polling Matters podcast, Keiran Pedley and Leo Barasi discuss exclusive polling from Opinium that looks at how popular a series of frontline British politicians are.

The poll asked a nationally representative sample of UK adults to rate the following politicians on a scale of 0 to 10 on the basis of how favourable they were to them:

  • Jeremy Corbyn
  • Sadiq Khan
  • Yvette Cooper
  • Keir Starmer
  • Emily Thornberry
  • Diane Abbott
  • Ed Miliband
  • Theresa May
  • Boris Johnson
  • David Davis
  • Phillip Hammond
  • Ruth Davidson
  • Michael Gove
  • Amber Rudd
  • Vince Cable
  • Nicola Sturgeon
  • Arlene Foster

Jeremy Corbyn was the winner – but there’s a catch. Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Keiran and Leo also discuss Tony Blair’s recent Brexit intervention and ask whether he is a help or a hindrance to his cause. You can listen to the show below:

Follow this week’s guests:




Some numbers that could help TMay’s survival. Another poll, YouGov, has her & the Tories edging back a touch

Monday, July 17th, 2017

But still LAB leads

Given how close it is to the last election it is hardly surprsisng that there are so few voting intention polls coming out. Today’s from YouGov is only the second since Mrs. May lost her majority on June 8th and has the gap down just a touch.

CON 40 +2
LAB 45 -1
LD 7 =
UKIP 2-2

This follows the weekend’s Survation online poll which had the LAB lead down to 2% from 6% on the weekend after the election.

TMay is also seeing her “best PM” numbers edging back up a notch. With YouGov she is now back in the lead.

Best PM in latest YouGov
TMay 38%+4
Corbyn 33% -2

Give the fractious state of her party these numbers should ease the jitters just a touch but, of course, the moves are small. TMay has successfuly negotiated the first six and a half weeks since the disastrous result and now she must be looking to get through the summer and conference season.

But she cannot airbrush out of history the fact that she called the election to increase her majority and ended without one at all. In earlier times she would have been toppled within days.

Mike Smithson


EXCLUSIVE Support for a second Brexit vote is growing and Leavers should be nervous

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Keiran Pedley looks at some exclusive polling from Opinium and asks whether Britain really could remain in the EU after all?

As Tony Blair gave one of his characteristically unwelcome interventions in British politics last week many were asking why he bothers. With parties supporting Brexit winning more than 8 in 10 votes at the recent General Election you could be forgiven for assuming that the former PM’s calls for Brexit to be stopped will fall on deaf ears and the issue is settled.

But is it settled? As I wrote immediately after the election the political circumstances have changed since Brits went to the polls. Public opinion is volatile and with a Labour government now a realistic possibility again there is a path – however small – for Remainers to end up in government. For that to happen, Jeremy Corbyn would either have to change his tune on Brexit or be replaced by someone else. One imagines that only a significant shift in public opinion could make either of those things take place. With the former more likely than the latter.

Increased support for another vote

However, there are some signs that public opinion is shifting, albeit gradually. The PB/Polling Matters podcast has been given access to some exclusive polling from Opinium that has tracked support for a second referendum on EU membership once the terms are known since December 2016.

Once we know what terms the government has negotiated, should there be a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, where voters can choose between leaving under the terms negotiated or remaining in the EU after all?


There is something for everyone here. On the one hand public opinion is still against the concept of another vote on Brexit. However, the gap is now 7 points as opposed to 19 in December. The trend is clear – support for another vote is growing. The cause? Remain voters are increasingly likely to support another vote – as the chart below demonstrates.

However, none of this puts Brexit in immediate danger. The above chart shows that Leave voters are resolute in their opposition to another vote and there is no major political figure (presumably it would have to be a Labour one…) prepared to break ranks and demand one. To suggest that Britain remaining in the E.U. after all is anything more than a long shot would be dishonest.

Yet if I was a Leave supporter I would be nervous.

One aspect the above poll question does not capture is the strength of feeling on the issue. Another question asked by Opinium last weekend attempts to do just that. The public were asked how committed they were to Remain or Leave. The results are below.

Which of the following statements best describes your view on Brexit?

  1. I strongly feel that the UK should remain in the E.U. 34%
  2. I think the UK should remain in the E.U. but don’t feel that strongly about it 12%
  3. I am open minded on whether Britain remains in the E.U. or leaves 8%
  4. I think the UK should leave the E.U. but don’t feel that strongly about it 8%
  5. I strongly feel that the UK should leave the E.U. 33%
  6. Don’t know 6%

What we can see here is that the public appear to be split into thirds. 34% strongly feel that the UK should remain in the E.U., 33% strongly feel the UK should leave and the rest are either lukewarm in their commitment to either side, don’t know or are open minded. Far from there being a ‘52%’ and a ‘48%’, there is in fact a large chunk of people in the middle waiting to see what will happen.

It should be said that right now the strength of feeling is actually on the Leave side. 72% of Leave voters strongly feel that the UK should leave the E.U. whereas 65% of Remain voters strongly feel we should remain. This means that 30% of Remain voters are in this ‘middle third’ on the issue compared to just 22% of Leave voters. If exit negotiations go well then support for Brexit ought to consolidate rather than fall away.

So why did I say I would be nervous if I was a Leave supporter? Well, in the face of growing support for another vote among Remainers, Theresa May’s government is weak. It is not clear that the Conservatives will control the timing of the next General Election and that makes events unpredictable. Meanwhile, we haven’t truly entered the period of ‘Brexit negotiations proper’ yet, we don’t know how they will go and how public opinion will react. Jeremy Corbyn managed to turn Labour’s poll rating round in a matter of weeks during the General Election. Is it so implausible that a similar shift against Brexit could happen in the next two years?

Of course it isn’t. It isn’t difficult to foresee circumstances where Brexit goes badly and a ‘perfect storm’ of support for another referendum and opposition to Brexit itself creeps up on a weak Conservative government. Just as ‘the 48%’ doesn’t exist, neither does ‘the 52%’. A large body of UK public opinion sits in shades of grey on Brexit and events can shift them one way or the other on the issue.

Brexit seems secure – for now

However, I still agree with those that say Brexit being stopped altogether is very unlikely. Such a specific set of events need to take place that it is almost unimaginable. Yet the unimaginable has been so consistently delivered in the past few years I feel we can rule nothing out. The government would be wise to seek some sort of comprehensive transitional arrangement with the E.U. and agree it as soon as possible. Therein lies stability. Without that stability we are the fall of one weak and divided Conservative government away from all bets being off.

Keiran Pedley

Keiran Pedley presents the PB/Polling Matters podcast. You can listen to the latest episode below. He tweets about politics and public opinion at @keiranpedley

Note on the poll: Opinium surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,005 UK UK adults between the 7th and 11th July. Full tables will appear on their website in due course.



The chart that shows general election campaigns don’t matter (usually)

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

One of the axioms of British politics is that general election campaigns don’t matter, and the stats in the above chart by Ben Page of Ipsos MORI does back that up, with sub margin of error changes during past campaigns but the 2017 general election campaign really didn’t stick to past conventions.

The question was 2017 an outlier or the beginning of a trend? My instinct is that at the next general election campaign the Tories couldn’t run a worse campaign than 2017 even if they tried, so 2017 was an outlier of a campaign in my view, though I’m assuming neither Theresa May nor the gruesome twosome Nick Timothy & Fiona Hill will be involved in the next Tory general election campaign.



Why people voted Labour or Tory at the general election

Sunday, July 16th, 2017


YouGov have released some findings on why people voted Tory or Labour at the general election. After the Tory manifesto that was designed to annoy and upset every voter in the country it’s not surprising that Labour’s policies/manifestos scores higher than the Tories.

What I find intriguing is how many people voted against Corbyn (both in absolute numbers and relative to Theresa May) which should alarm the Tories. If Labour are led by someone who isn’t quite so polarising as Corbyn (or without the interesting backstory) then if all things are equal then Labour should end up as the largest party, maybe even with a majority, at the next general election, that is something David Davis (and anyone else who is trying to topple Mrs May) should be spending time focusing on.



Two thirds of Britons want other parties included in the Brexit negotiations

Friday, July 14th, 2017

YouGov has published some polling on whether other parties should be involved in the Brexit negotiations, they found

Following the results of last month’s general election the prospect of Labour negotiating Brexit has become much more realistic, and not just because the Conservatives may lose power before long. Having campaigned on the basis that a large majority would strengthen Britain’s negotiating position, the Tories’ failure to win a Commons majority prompted call from within the party to bring other parties into negotiations.

In research conducted late last month, YouGov discovered that more than two thirds (68%) of Britons want to see opposition parties included in Brexit negotiations. Opinion was split almost evenly between those who want them included on an equal basis to the Conservatives (35%), and those who think they should only be consulted (33%).

Labour voters were among the most likely to believe opposing parties should be included in the negotiations on an equal basis to the Conservatives (64%) but it was also the favoured position of almost half (48%) of Liberal Democrat voters.

The majority of Conservative voters (54%) want to see other parties included, but on a consultation basis only. Such a move would also be supported by over a third (37%) of Lib Dem voters and one in five (20%) Labour voters.

All told, only 14% of the population as a whole don’t think opposition parties should not be consulted at all (rising to 26% among Conservative voters).

I suspect some will argue this is a damning indictment on Mrs May and her team’s handling of the Brexit talks but I think it may more be due to voters wanting to appear to be bipartisan when it comes to the near Herculean task of Brexit.

I hope YouGov make this a regular tracker question so we can see any trends, if that 35% increases substantially it will be a sign negotiations aren’t going well and the converse if that 35% decreases substantially.

YouGov also asked which other parties should be included, and the results are below.