Welcome to my first post tracking what the opinion polls are saying in the UK. I will be updating this every month with my comments.
The first chart shows the monthly trends since May 2010. The lines are the opinion polls which are based on centred 9-poll rolling averages. For each month a vertical bar shows by how much the 9-poll average has varied in that month. The square blocks are the vote shares seen in General Elections, the circles are projected national shares from local elections. All data comes from UK Polling Report and Mark Pack’s database.
The most notable thing about this chart is how well placed the Conservatives are nearly two years into this parliament. This is in contrast to the same point after the 2010 election when they were behind Labour. The other notable point is that Labour’s decline has been more or less continuous since their high point in May 2012 when their 9-poll average was 43.8%. Currently their 9-poll average is 26.4% which is a fall of 17.2%.
The next block of charts provide more detail on the changes in party fortunes since the 2015 general election. Most of these charts are based on YouGov polls only since they are published weekly which allows me to aggregate the regional & party breakdowns over a 5 week period.
My comments on each chart are:
- This is based on the data in the first chart in this post i.e. the 9-poll rolling average.
- This is based on YouGov polls only who use this regional breakdown to weight their sample.
- The lack of any significant change in the South is noticeable. This means if an election was held now, we would see very little change in this region in terms of seats.
- Outside of the South, Labour is doing extremely badly. They are losing votes to the Lib Dems in London, Midlands & Wales and to the Conservatives in Scotland.
- In their heartlands in the North, Labour are losing votes to the Conservatives, Lib Dems and UKIP. In some ways, it better for Labour lost votes to be split but the swings seen in the Copeland by-election were completely in line with what is shown in this chart for the North.
- The Conservatives have made significant gains in Scotland and are well placed for the forthcoming local council elections in May.
- Again this based on YouGov polls only who weight their sample by how respondents in 2015.
- The chart shows the current vote shares broken down by how people voted in 2015. This allows you to see where the parties today are picking their votes up from.
- It is noticeable how a majority of Lib Dem voters did not vote for the party in 2015. This suggests the party has been picking up new voters especially since the EU referendum last year.
- This turns the data in chart 3 the other way round. This time, I look at the breakdown of the 2015 voters and see who they intend to vote for today.
- For example we can see quite a few 2015 UKIP voters now intend to vote Conservative.
- This takes the gross changes seen in charts 3 and 4 and nets the changes out so that we can see the flow between parties.
- The columns represent today’s voting intentions and the rows the 2015 votes.
- We know that the Conservatives are up on the 2015 General and we can see there has been a net movement from Labour, UKIP and Others to the Conservatives. At the same time, there has been a net movement away from the Conservatives to the Lib Dems.
- Labour are losing to all parties with the Lib Dems the biggest net beneficiary.
- UKIP is making net gains from Labour but these are being cancelled out by net losses to the Conservatives.
Using the regional swings as indicated in chart 2, I have predicted the number of seats each party would gain or lose if a general election were held today assuming uniform swing within each region. The current polls suggest that the Conservatives would increase their working majority from 17 seats to 97 seats. The biggest gains would come in the North, Midlands and London.