Opinion polls

The silly season: a slight return

Back in July, I made a forecast for what the YouGov opinion poll would be on the day the House of Commons returned from its summer recess.

In seeking to argue that polls register barely any kind of change while MPs are on vacation, I suggested that the figures for 1 September would be something like Labour 37%, Conservative 34%, Lib Dems 9% and Ukip 12%.

I was taking my cue from YouGov’s poll on the day the Commons began its summer recess, which put Labour on 38%, the Tories on 34%, the Lib Dems on 9% and Ukip on 11%.

Well, 1 September has come and gone – and perhaps inevitably, my prediction proved inaccurate.

YouGov’s poll turned out to be Labour 35%, Conservative 34% (I got that right at least), Lib Dems 7% and Ukip 14%.

The trend suggested by the narrowing of Labour’s lead from four percentage points on 22 July to one percentage point on 1 September would, if taken in isolation, imply the Tories are on course for a landslide win in May.

In truth the polls have spent the summer bouncing about the place on a daily basis, evening out at a three-point Labour lead. Two other polls released on 1 September gave Labour leads of four points (Populus) and seven points (ComRes).

YouGov’s poll on the day I began this blog, 7 May 2014, put Labour on 37%, the Tories on 34%, the Lib Dems on 8% and Ukip on 13%.

I’m now almost a third of the way through the blog’s lifespan, and those are still on average what the parties are scoring.

Might there come a point where the polls have been so consistent for so long that we can start talking with confidence about what the election result will be?


One response to “The silly season: a slight return

  1. Events, dear boy, events!

    Perhaps UKIP will win Clacton, perhaps the Eurosceptic Conservatives will leave the party en mass, perhaps will war will break out in Ukraine, perhaps there will be a terrorist event in the UK (god forbid). Perhaps, perhaps.

    I doubt we will be able to say much with any certainty until Parliament is dissolved.

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