Archive for the 'Pollsters/polling' Category


Trump’s net Gallup approval ratings drops 8 points in first week.

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

See full report on the latest ratings here.

The Gallup picture is in broad alignment with a Quinnipiac survey which found 44% disapproving to 36% approving.

These are quite remarkable figures. New Presidents usually enjoy a polling honeymoon.

Mike Smithson


GE 2015 single constituency polling: Remember when 5 consecutive surveys had Clegg being unseated

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

The numbers caused LAB to focus on the DPM when they could have been saving Balls

There’s been a fair bit of discussion about how difficult single seat polling is and I was reminded on Twitter this morning of the polling at GE2015 of Sheffield Hallam. The numbers are above. Five consecutive polls had LAB ahead.

As can be seen there was a pretty consistent picture that the then DPM,, who still arouses excitement amongst red tribalists, was in trouble and no end of activists poured into the seat when they could have served their party far better elsewhere.

I often wonder if other marginals in Yorkshire might have had different outcomes if EdM’s party hadn’t been distracted appeared to be a compulsive need “punish Clegg.” More fool them.

The reason single seat polling is so challenging is that it an be hard finding a sample that is large enough. This can’t really be done online and almost all such polls are by phone.

I don’t expect to see many single seat polls in this parliament.

Mike Smithson


Polling background to the PM’s big BREXIT speech

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017


Corbyn and his party’s biggest challenge is making headway amongst his own age group – the oldies

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

With the youngsters LAB’s just fine: pity they’re less likely to vote

Watching the TV news it’s clear that Corbyn Mark 2 hasn’t quite had the impact that his team would have liked. There’s a terrible lack of consistency and no real clear plan about what the message was going to be.

A problem is that the audience for TV news bulletins tend to be the very people that Corbyn and LAB are most struggling with – the oldies. Today’s less than impactful events are just going to reinforce attitudes rather than change the narrative.

The ICM data above shows the huge age split in views of Labour with very good numbers coming from the young.

I’ve long regarded one quality as being the most important one in resonating with voters and that is the appearance of competence. Corbyn and team have yet to exude that.

Mike Smithson


Britain remains totally split on BREXIT: 44% think it was right and 44% think it was wrong

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017


More wretched leader ratings for Corbyn. LAB voters now rate TMay over him


I’m off to London this evening to take part in a live discussion on BBC2’s Newsnight. We’ll be looking forward to what’s going to happen in 2017.

Mike Smithson


CON slips 3 and LAB drop to 24% in new YouGov Times poll

Monday, January 2nd, 2017


The squeeze on LAB from Yellow and Purple continues

Unlike the last last parliament when there was at least one poll every single day for more than four years surveyd are now few and far between at the moment. The only regular (monthly or more) Westminster voting polls are coming from just four firms – YouGov, ICM, Opinium and Ipsos MORI. At least individual polls are not having a greater impact.

The big picture is the continuation of the sorry state of Labour which is being squeezed by both UKIP and the LDs. Both have very clear visions of Europe which Team Corbyn has been unable to articulate.

We saw at GE2015 in Scotland how a party can totally collapse. At GE2010 LAB has 41 MPs north of the border. Now it has just one and LAB is now in third place in Holyrood surveys.

Mike Smithson


Pre-Christmas voodoo surveys might have had a big move against BREXIT but that’s not been picked in proper polls

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Express & Star Dec 24 2016

The YouGov view of BREXIT tracker


There was a flurry of activity just before Christmas prompted by the publication in the Wolverhampton & Shropshire Express and Star of the “poll” at the top contrasting views on BREXIT now with a similar “poll” carried out in the same manner in March last year. As can be seen it shows a dramatic change in opinion. There are said to have been three other local newspaper polls which have had the same pattern.

    But the problem with these surveys is that they are not and do not seek to be representative of opinion. Anybody can participate online and it does not take a computer genius to find ways of multi-voting.

Thus what we could be seeing is that those feeling most strongly about an issue tend to predominate. So maybe the anti-EU Express and Start readers were most motivated last March – now it is those that don’t want BREXIT.

The most regular proper polling tracker of BREXIT opinion is that from YouGov which features above. As can be seen the numbers haven’t changed very much since the polling started on August 1st. The public is very split and there has been little movement.

The last YouGov polling on this to be published had a fieldwork date of December 4th – so is three weeks old. If there has been any change since then we’ll see in the next YouGov poll most probably in the New Year.

Mike Smithson


POLL ALERT: Polling Matters / Opinium: Voters back ‘soft Brexit’ but reject second referendum – even if the economy worsens

Saturday, December 17th, 2016


The first poll commissioned by the ‘Polling Matters’ podcast, conducted by Opinium, shows little appetite for another referendum but we shouldn’t assume voters want a ‘hard Brexit’ either writes Keiran Pedley

Since the EU referendum result was announced last June, many have sought to explain on behalf of voters why they voted the way they did and therefore surmise what they want from any Brexit deal. To try and understand what is really going on we have commissioned our first poll with pollsters Opinium (and we are delighted to be working with them on this project).

What type of Brexit do voters want?

The poll focused on two subject areas. The first was to explore attitudes to a potential ‘hard’ or ‘soft Brexit’. We put two potential scenarios to respondents and asked them to choose between them. We deliberately did not use the terms ‘hard’ and ‘soft Brexit’ in the survey to try and avoid any bias that may result in using them. Respondents just saw the descriptions below. The results suggest a ‘soft Brexit’ is preferred overall by 6 percentage points with the public divided (as we might expect) by how they voted in the referendum.

Table 1: ‘Hard’ versus ‘Soft Brexit’

  1. You may have heard different descriptions of what sort of deal the UK might receive when it leaves the EU. Assuming that Britain does leave the EU and these were the options available, which scenario would you prefer?


Before we go further we should acknowledge that this is a difficult exercise to undertake in a survey environment. We are not suggesting that Britain’s choice – insofar as it has one – is as binary as described above. Indeed, many Brexiteers will dispute the idea that there is an economic trade-off with a ‘hard Brexit’ at all. However, we still feel that this is a useful exercise. In presenting the choice as we have above we can start to understand what voter’s value most in any Brexit deal and therefore the prism through which they will see what is eventually agreed.

So what to make of these results? The obvious conclusion to draw is that the debate over Britain’s exact future relationship with the EU is not yet settled. One in four polled either offer ‘no preference’ or ‘don’t know’ whether they would prefer a ‘hard’ or ‘soft Brexit’ whilst 15% of Leave voters actually prefer a ‘soft Brexit’.

There is more than enough ammunition here to challenge those that claim it is obvious what Leave voters wanted from Brexit and therefore also challenge the nature of the mandate Theresa May has when negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Also, irrespective of how people voted last June, at the very least the Prime Minister would be wise to keep in mind that a large body of public opinion prioritises Britain’s economic future (and the future of Britain’s public services) over immigration or Britain’s withdrawal from certain EU institutions.

However, those that want Britain to maintain as close a relationship as possible with Europe shouldn’t get too excited. Delving into the numbers further complicates matters in that Theresa May’s base is largely in favour of a ‘hard Brexit’. Conservatives prefer a ‘hard Brexit’ by 13 points and those aged 65+ prefer one by 19 points. In contrast a ‘soft Brexit’ is preferred by Lib Dem voters (72%), Labour voters (58%), Scots (56%) and those aged 18-34 (52%).

Should there be a second referendum on Britain’s EU membership?

The second subject area our poll focused on was the concept of a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. We asked respondents whether they thought there should be a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU once the terms of withdrawal were known and also whether there should be one in the event that the British economy significantly worsens as a direct result of Brexit. The results will make sobering reading for Remainers. Surprisingly, a second referendum is roundly rejected in both circumstances. In fact, the results are identical.

Table 2: Attitudes to a second referendum

  1. 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? 
  1. If the British economy is shown to get significantly worse as a result of Britain leaving the EU do you think there should be a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU?


In any case, right now public opinion is squarely against revisiting Britain’s membership of the EU in a referendum. Of course this could change in the future. If the economy does get worse then the reality of that could change minds.I must confess I was shocked by these results. Not so much the first as I expected a second referendum to be rejected there. Other polls have given similar numbers.

However, I did not expect such a strong rejection of a second referendum in the event that the economy significantly worsens. The scale of the rejection occurs because a significant proportion of the Remain vote (27% and 26% respectively) rejects a second referendum in each instance. Perhaps this is because these people simply consider the matter resolved by the first referendum in June or perhaps they were never that committed to Britain’s EU membership in the first place. We cannot say for certain. The idea of the Remain vote being soft in parts is rarely discussed but seems in evidence here.

Nevertheless, for now the message from the public seems to be that all sides should focus on the type of exit Britain should secure from the EU rather than whether Britain should exit at all. Theresa May’s challenge therefore will be to deliver an exit that satisfies the Brexiteers in her party without being seen to deliver significant harm to Britain’s economy and public services. Whether she can deliver will ultimately determine her legacy and how long she occupies Number 10. Time will tell.

Keiran Pedley

Keiran Pedley is editor and presenter of the Polling Matters podcast and tweets about politics and public opinion at @keiranpedley.

You can listen to the latest Polling Matters ‘Review of 2016’ podcast episode below.

For more information on the above poll (and data tables) contact Keiran at or consult the Opinium website. Opinium interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults between Dec 13-16, 2016.