BludgerTrack UK: CON 45.7, LAB 32.8, LD 7.9

British polls continue to point to a Conservative landslide, while showing signs of life for Labour, and a weakening position for the minor parties (at least in England).

With two-and-a-half weeks to go, I’m going to start posting poll aggregates ahead of the June 8 British general election with a regularity yet to be determined. There’s no clever business going on here in terms of weighting and bias adjustment – the results are simply what SAS/STAT’s LOESS function spits out when I plug in all the polling since the 2015 election as harvested from UK Polling Report, using the optimal smoothing parameters it determines through means beyond my pay grade.

The story of the campaign period specifically is that voters have been returning to the major parties, with UKIP suffering particularly badly, to the extent that they are back to looking as “minor” as the Greens. The Liberal Democrats are by no means exempt, despite seemingly having a monopoly on the pro-Europe market. The first of the charts below covers the full course of the current term, while the second zooms in on the period going back to the start of March. Apparent on the second chart but not the first is that the Conservatives have not maintained their early campaign momentum, whereas Labour is undergoing an impressive recovery, albeit from an abysmally low base.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

52 comments on “BludgerTrack UK: CON 45.7, LAB 32.8, LD 7.9”

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  1. gippslander @ #6 Monday, May 22, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Good old (sorry, young!) Rex, still barracking for a come from behind defeat.

    Corbyn may not get there (thanks to the Blairite treachery) but its heartwarming to see more people warming to his strength and conviction through his policies.

  2. Rex Douglas

    [Corbyn may not get there (thanks to the Blairite treachery)]

    Or perhaps he won’t get there because he’s an unpopular leader running against a party with a leader who isn’t as unpopular and a 13-point lead in the polls?

  3. Rex Douglas

    Corbyn may not get there (thanks to the Blairite treachery)

    Or perhaps he won’t get there because he’s an unpopular leader running against a party with a leader who isn’t as unpopular as he is and a 13-point lead in the polls?

  4. The polls in Blighty are certainly indicating a slight narrowing, albeit from “historic landslide” territory to “thumping loss”. There may be a few reasons for this:
    1. All those reluctant Labour voters (“I’m Labour but can’t stand Corbyn) have come home in the forced decision of an actual election.
    2. Corbyn himself is actually campaigning pretty well.
    3. Minor parties (including the Lib Dems) being squeezed out of the picture.
    4. Theresa May and the Tories running a terrible campaign – it’s like they are daring themselves to see how many voters that they can alienate and still win.
    Apologies to this blog from where I have pinched much of this insight:

    Of course, with over two weeks to go, the polling could yet widen again, and the heavy defeat that looks likely now could yet blow out to a rout. Insofar as polling has been inaccurate in recent elections in the UK, it’s been because the Tory vote has been understated. Equally, while Labour may well match or better the 32% they got in 2015, it could be (a la US Democrats) that these are stockpiled in strongholds like London and Manchester and other big cities. And of course, this is an early summer election in Britain, so let’s not discount the effect of rain on election day.

    Still, for this Labour sympathiser, it’s certainly looking better at the moment than we might have feared a few months ago.

  5. As always, the media underestimating Corbyn. Mostly deliberately, although a few could plead incompetence.

    1) The gap is narrowing considerably.

    2) The conservatives are bleeding votes. Their vote share has done alright until this last week, because UKIP was draining votes to them at about the speed they were draining votes to Labour. UKIP is pretty much out of votes to lose, so the Conservative share will trend down considerably now unless something changes re: Labour campaigning well on their popular policies and May campaigning poorly on unpopular policies.

    3) Labour don’t need to close the gap completely. They will do much better than the Tories in negotiations in a hung parliament.

    4) The polling institutions changed their methodology after the 2015 GE – basically, to say that even if young people claim they will turn up on the day, assume they probably won’t. If old people say they probably won’t vote on the day, assume they probably will. This is to fix what people describe as the shy Tory effect. The pollsters have taken it into account, but they based their fix on the 2015 election, which had an unusually high ‘shy Tory’ effect. Most likely, they overcompensated.

    5) Polls are using the 2015 GE to determine turnout by age bracket, not the more recent Brexit referendum, where youth turnout was massively higher (thanks to a Tory gov led push to register young people). If these young people are now in the habit of voting, youth turnout will surprise to the upside.

    6) Tactical voting between Labour and Lib Dems will be stronger this election. In 2015, the Lib Dems were in coalition with the Tories, now the Lib Dems want no Brexit and the Tories want a hard Brexit.

    May is still in a good position, but the degree to which the media assumes she will win is ludicrous.

  6. I hate to mention the elephant in the room, but the tragic events in Manchester may very well suck away any momentum Labour has gained. Having said that, the tragic shooting pre Brexit didn’t appear to have had much if any impact, so who knows I guess.

  7. Manchester will add five points to the incumbent. Fits in with the ” strong and stable ” line. Wars re- elect Governments.

  8. Interesting to see if this Welsh ITV poll washes through to the Eastern Badlands as well.
    LAB 44%+9
    CON 34%-7
    PC 9%-2
    LD 6%-1
    UKIP 5%+1

  9. The terrorist incident may well suck the energy out of Labour campaign. I wonder if it might help UKIP recover a little as well, which may not be all that bad for Labour.

  10. Section 3 . . .

    The immigration department has declined to investigate how sensitive CCTV footage from Manus Island became known to conservative commentator Andrew Bolt despite the department’s refusal to release it publicly. The shutters went up at Estimates.
    The bill for the Snowy Hydro expansion could be twice the initial estimate, while the project’s delivery time frame has been increased by two years. What a cynical and desperate political announcement this was!
    Trump’s budget will cut deeply into programs for the poor, from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments and lays out an austere vision for reordering the nation’s priorities. Will the House Republicans let it through though?
    Bob Carr writes about what might have happened if the Australian government had taken advice from our own hawks over China just after Trump’s victory. We’d have been hung out to dry he says.
    A corrupt AFP officer busted for passing restricted information to his ex-girlfriend’s alleged pimp was a regular drug user who timed binges to avoid getting caught.
    Michael West looks at whether the federal government will turn to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation to put Aussie taxpayers on the hook for the Adani coal project.
    The SMH editorial throws its support behind the government’s proposal for a Sports Integrity Commission.
    The White House plan to trim the national debt includes selling half of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile and the entire backup gasoline supply, part of a broad series of changes proposed by President Donald Trump to the federal government’s role in energy markets. Unsurprisingly oil prices have slumped overnight. Google.

  11. Section 4 . . . with Cartoon Corner Part 1

    Australian cricketers could soon be travelling the world playing Twenty20 as ‘guns for hire’ if the current pay dispute is not resolved, Bryce McGain and Ian Chappell have warned. They should pull their big heads in I reckon.
    The ACCI chief says that small businesses can’t afford to pay big increases in wages. They are plumping for a 1.2% increase in minimum award rates.
    First it was Centrelink and now it is the Education Department that have not consulted with the government’s digital service agency.

    Ron Tandberg with doubts on Snowy 2.0

    A cutting contribution from Alan Moir over the Manchester atrocity.

  12. Section 5 . . . Cartoon Corner Part 2

    Broelman absolutely NAILS PHON.

    And he has a contribution mourning what happened in Manchester.

    Mark Knight also has one on Manchester.
    David Rowe takes us to th Middle East for Trump’s grand tour.

    Andrew Dyson and what is happening to journalism.
    Cathy Wilcox justifiably gets stuck in to the funeral industry.
    Jon Kudelka’s been in good form lately Here he uses a Tom Roberts painting to get into Pauline Hanson and James Ashby.
    David Pope and the big US-Saudi Arabia arms deal.

  13. Times YouGov poll shows a 5 point lead for the UK Tories! (paywalled)

    Blogpost from YouGov, explaining that although full voting figures are not available for the gap between the lastest & last published YouGov polls, favourability figures suggest this might be a post/during terror atack recovery from a Tory slump after their “dementia tax” debacle.

    Full poll

    Favourability figures

    Usual caveats, its only one pollster, could be noise etc

  14. The regional breakdown is interesting;
    LAB leading in ‘London’ and the ‘North’
    CON leading in ‘Midland/Wales’ and ‘Rest of the South’
    SNP leading in ‘Scotland’
    Not sure how many seats in each region, but it looks like where the votes are is very important.

  15. On the topic of Jeremy Corbyn, whose praises I observe being sung on the Essential 54-46 thread – it wasn’t so long ago that PB was nearly united in their disdain for Mr. Corbyn, sometimes in rather personal terms too. My, what a difference a couple of half-decent polls makes in -some- peoples’ opinions….

  16. matt @ #30 Friday, May 26, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    On the topic of Jeremy Corbyn, whose praises I observe being sung on the Essential 54-46 thread – it wasn’t so long ago that PB was nearly united in their disdain for Mr. Corbyn, sometimes in rather personal terms too. My, what a difference a couple of half-decent polls makes in -some- peoples’ opinions….

    I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I have always had a pro-Corbyn, anti-Blairite stance.

    Labour may not win, however their loss will be a lot smaller than if the Blairites were still in control.

    If the polls are accurate, then Corbyn has taken a 20 point deficit down to just 5 points in the latest poll.

    Whether it’s because of Corbyn running a strong campaign, or May running an absolutely shambolic one is hard to say. Probably both.

  17. Matt – a certain blogger seems to have gone very quiet about Corbyn recently.

    New Statesman is definitely worth following on the election.

    At the start of the campaign, the Conservatives thought that they had two insurance policies: the first was Jeremy Corbyn, and the second was May’s purple firewall: the padding of her lead with voters who backed Ukip in 2015 but supported the Conservatives in the local elections. You wouldn’t bet that the first of those policies hadn’t been mis-sold at this point. Much now hinges on the viability of the second.

  18. There is little doubt that Corbyn has had a good campaign, and it is probably equally true that May has run a dreadful campaign. These two together factors together probably account for the apparent tightening of the polls over the last couple of weeks.

    But it’s worth noting that the head-to-head polling is probably a little misleading. The Conservatives still hold a more than comfortable lead in all published polling. The closest poll puts the gap at 5 %, though the average of recent polls is closer to 8. Furthermore, there is some evidence out there that the Labour vote is being stockpiled in their strongholds of London, Manchester and Wales, and there aren’t that many seats for Labour to pick up in those areas.

    It’s also worth remembering that polling in the UK has always tended to mask a latent Tory vote, and it’s quite likely that the final result will see the Blue team out-rate the polling by a few percent. My guess for the final score is Conservative about 40%, Labour 32%, LibDem 8%, UKIP 3%, which will give the Tories a seat count most likely a fair way north of 400, while Labour will probably lose about 40-50 seats from their 2015 tally.

    I was never on the Corbyn bandwagon, but I will concede that he’s having a good campaign. But it is the measure of just how lowered expectations are for him that presiding over an election loss which gives an increased majority to an ageing and unpopular government is seen as some sort of victory.

  19. May seems to fear that the Lib Dems will form a coalition with Labour. I wonder how likely that is. The Lib Dems ruled it out earlier in the campaign, but with their resurgence in the polls over the last week, one wonders if they could be persuaded to change their minds.

  20. Hugo – really? Who on the Labor side would have done better than Corbyn? He looks like significantly outpolling his predecessor. Corbyn’s biggest problem is that droves of working class voters have deserted the party for UKIP and then gone to the Tories over Brexit. If you can show me how Corbyn could have squared that circle, please do.

  21. Anton – I wasn’t really making a comment about the Labour leadership per se (though for the record, I wouldn’t have voted for him in either ballot, even if just about all of my English friends did, both times). I was noting, though, that a supposed resurgent opposition should be aiming higher than running an ageing government close. Labour really should be in the running to win this election (though obviously if they were, there wouldn’t be an election on).

    My issues with Corbyn are not really on an ideological basis, more that I feel that he can’t win, though I do concede that he’s having a good campaign. I regard myself as a proud member of the Left, but I find the brand of “Left” that Corbyn represents is stuck in the Seventies. I know where he stands on the Miners’ strike or the Iraq war, but where does he stand on the big issues of the future like climate change, the digital economy, and globalism? I haven’t really heard him talk about any of these issues – or indeed much in the way of policy at all (much of the Labour manifesto would have been Labour policy anyway).

    Don’t get me wrong – I would be voting for him in a heartbeat if I were voting next month, but then I’m rusted on. But if the Left is serious about returning a Labour government (and having lived there for a long time, I’m not so sure that “governing” is necessarily a foremost aim of the British Left), then they will have to do better than Jeremy.

  22. There’s a bit of contradiction on this blog, but whether you are pro-Corbyn or not, surely Labour doing well against the Conservatives would be a good thing for the left-leaning among us.

  23. According to Sportsbet, they are paying $7 for a Corbyn win.

    I don’t advocate gambling, however if you have some loose change under the couch, it might be worth having a flutter.

  24. Though a very outside chance, it would be sadly deserving (also a bit delicious) if the demented Scottish Labour helped Tories take seats from the SNP that Labour has no hope of winning and it cost them victory in UK.

    Scottish Labour has only one campaign slogan “stop the SNP”.

  25. With Corbyn being ridiculed in the media over there, couldn’t there also be a “shy Labour” effect in these polls?

  26. Financial Times election analyst explains the difference between the polls as a difference between self-reported turn-out and turn-out from last election. Seems a lot more young people are saying they will front up than fronted up last time.

    Polls, including YouGov, that show narrower Conservative leads are those that assign probabilities of voting based wholly or primarily on a respondent’s self-reported likelihood of casting a ballot, meaning that young people make up a far bigger proportion of the likely vote than they have historically. Those showing wider Conservative leads, such as ComRes and ICM, model turnout based on historical figures for demographic groups. This would have improved accuracy in most previous elections, but risks coming unstuck if behaviour changes markedly. Accordingly, which of the two approaches provides the more accurate picture depends on whether historical patterns hold, or whether Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has succeeded in persuading younger voters and previous non-voters to participate.
    Some have pointed to the surge in applications to register to vote among young people as evidence of increased enthusiasm. This is possible, but the data have only been available for one previous general election, so it is difficult to draw solid conclusions. As things stand, pollsters are as nervous as politicians.

  27. The amount of hate for Laura Tingle is getting ridiculous. She is a credible and award winning journalist. She wrote an article you disagree with. Thats okay. Slandering her for it isnt. Calling her ‘Fruit Tingle’ or ‘Bingle’ or what other name is stupid and crass. It seems not that long ago you were singing her praises over a different article. I get we all think there is some CPG group think going on – I even posted about it myself – but stop with this silly games and insults over an article critical of Labor/Shorten.

  28. @Shiftaling

    I was wondering the same thing. A lot of US conservatives voted for Trump in spite of their contempt for him. I wonder if the ‘hold your nose’ effect will apply equally to Corbyn and UK Labour.

  29. Shiftaling and Blanket Criticism –
    It would be nice to think that that might be the case, but all the evidence to date suggests that it is the conservative votes that get under-reported in polling, while the left parties get exaggerated. This would suggest that Labour support is currently being OVER-sampled, and that the actual gap at the moment is closer to 8-10 points than 5.
    Still, it’s all conjecture at the moment, so we might as well hope!

  30. @Dan

    I suppose I was thinking he’d be on the nose to the centrists and left-leaning who voted for Blair.

    It really is shocking how overwhelmingly the Scottish vote for the SNP. Almost absurd. Unfortunately that leaves the SNP with very little opposition and doesn’t seem like it would exactly give the Scottish a lot of choice. You can really see how strong the Scottish independence movement is when you look at the infographic in the link above.

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