Sunday, June 04, 2017

Opinion Polls Show Labour Support Increasing But...

The latest batch of opinion polls released on the 3rd June show that the Conservative lead has narrowed further. Overall they show that Labour support has risen since the campaign started whereas Conservative support increased initially but has fallen since the launch of their manifesto and their social care proposals. However, their support since the start of the campaign has not dropped below 40%.

The six opinion polls published on 3rd June have the Conservative led between 1% and 12%. However, all of them have the Tories polling at 40% or above. Equally all the polls have Labour below 40%.

ComRes -     CON 47%(+1), LAB 35(+1), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 4%(nc)
ICM -           CON 45%(nc), LAB 34%(+1), LDEM 9%(+1), UKIP 5%(nc)
ORB -          CON 45%(+1), LAB 36%(-2), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 4%(-1)
Opinium -    CON 43%(-2), LAB 37%(+2), LDEM 6%(-1), UKIP 5%(nc)
YouGov -     CON 42%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 4%
Survation -   CON 40%(-6), LAB 39%(+5), LDEM 8%(nc), UKIP 5%(+2).

Whilst you could argue a random number generator may be as good as the polls in predicting the Conservative lead there are some clear consistencies:

  • Conservative support has always been above 40% (Cameron won in 2015 with 36.9% of the vote)
  • Labour support has increased during the campaign but remains below 40%
  • Smaller parties have been squeezed, UKIP support has fallen to 4-5% and Lib Dem support has failed to recover since their disastrous election in 2015
  • Young people 18-24 year olds appear to be very strongly in support of Jeremy Corbyn

However, the big unknown is whether younger people will turn out to vote in significant numbers to support Labour. At the last election just 45% of them voted. The difference in the polling estimates is in large part due to assumptions about the turnout of 18-24 year olds.

Will more young people vote this time? Official figures suggest that 1.05m 18-24 year olds registered to vote since the election was called in April 2017. Even if most do vote will they change the result? At the last election the Conservatives were 2m votes ahead of Labour, so young people alone are unlikely to be enough to propel Labour to victory, particularly as they also tend to be concentrated in areas where Labour won last time.

Based on poll averages everything points to an increased Conservative majority. Electoral Calculus currently predict a majority of around 70.