New YouGov poll shows… well, not a lot, really

by Stephen Tall on October 26, 2007

There’s a new YouGov poll published in today’s Telegraph, and the big news after all the tumult of the past 10 days – there’s been no change in the parties’ standings since last time the company polled: Labour 38% (nc), Tories 41% (nc), Lib Dems 11% (nc).

YouGov has tended to be the most Lib Dem-pessimistic pollster; its last five polls have shown the party to be in the range of 11-15%. It will be interesting to see what ICM, whose last five polls have shown the party ranging significantly higher – between 14-20% – reports in its next survey.

This was the first poll to ask any questions about the Lib Dem leadership race. Note to journalists (who love wilfully to misinterpret polls) – the sample size for this part of the poll will have been extremely small, meaning there is an even larger margin of error than usual. Plus, Lib Dem voters are not the same as Lib Dem members.

With that caveat entered, here’s what was found (courtesy Anthony Wells’ excellent UK Polling Report):

the poll also asked people who out of Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne would do a better job at leading the Lib Dems. The answer only underlines the two men’s current anonimity [sic] – 10% said Clegg to 5% Huhne, with 57% saying don’t know. Amongst Liberal Democrat voters Huhne led Clegg by 16% to 14%.

Which shows, unsurprisingly, the first task of whoever’s elected will be to ensure voters get to know him, and to understand his vision for the Lib Dems.

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As someone whose political mood rises and falls with the opinion polls, I’m more than a little depressed atm. I also don’t think having a new leader will make an massive difference immediately; after all, it was only thanks to the fair broadcasting rules during the 2001 eleciton campaign that the general public became familar with Kennedy.

by James on October 26, 2007 at 10:56 am. Reply #

I am sorry to add to the woes James but I am afraid I do not accept “the sample size was extremely small”. In recent times they have varied between 1000 [extremely small – with no call back ] and 3000 [about the largest – with call back and therefore no “home bias”]. Sorry but like you my moods are poll related and I have morphed into a polls bore examining them for fallibility. This appears to be 2100 – with call back.

by Sal on October 26, 2007 at 11:22 am. Reply #

Sal – I didn’t say the sample size for the full poll was extremely small. As you say, it’s c.2,000, which gives a margin of error of +/-3%.

However, the sub-set of Lib Dem voters *will* be extremely small. Probably c.200 or so. That means there will be a huge margin of error for the leadership questions.

by Stephen Tall on October 26, 2007 at 11:31 am. Reply #

Until we have a new leader, the polls are meaningless as far as the Lib Dems are concerned.
I don’t know why you bothered printing this.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 26, 2007 at 11:35 am. Reply #

Geoffrey – I agree it’s (fairly) meaningless at this stage, but it’s still being widely reported in the media. Which means putting it in some context is no bad thing to do.

by Stephen Tall on October 26, 2007 at 11:39 am. Reply #

If the glass in half full then these 11% to 14% scores are actually pretty standard for mid term polls until 2002 and Iraq. If the glass is half empty then it shows you that well over a third to a half of the partys support is shallow and will evapourate within 4 months if the oxygen tent of publicity is taken away.

I don’t dispair for the party because of the polls. I dispair of an electoral strategy that focuses on milking local grievance rather than builing positive support for polices.

by David Morton on October 26, 2007 at 2:37 pm. Reply #

“anonymity” even…teach me to stay up late blogging about polls 😉

(And to underline what Stephen says – there were only 185 Lib Dem voters in the sample, so the margin of error if you look at Huhne/Clegg preference amongst just Lib Dem voters is huge. It’s something like 26 people saying Clegg and 30 people saying Huhne, so wholly meaningless.)

by Anthony Wells on October 26, 2007 at 4:26 pm. Reply #

Take a look at Voting Intentions Post 2005 pdf document on YouGov’s website.

This document is still identical to the one I saw 2 days ago when I was doing a bit of research for one of my own blog articles.

I just don’t accept this is a new poll. There should be two rows showing, “38%, 41%, 11%” but there’s still just one – implying these result have only appeared in one poll.

Certainly the Torygraph are reporting it as “Tories Up, Labour Down” which would be entirely inaccurate if it was the second poll with the exact same results.

Make of it what you will.

by Charlotte Gore on October 26, 2007 at 6:20 pm. Reply #

For God’s sake, nobody has heard of Nick Huhne or Chris Clegg. Without at least two more candidates this election is, at best, a boring interruption to our campaigning.

by Martin Land on October 26, 2007 at 7:39 pm. Reply #

You say excellent UK POLLING REPORT by Anthony Wells. I disagee. I would like to add that his respondents are about one dozen cronies, who have an opinion on everthing, and each constituency. His postings are heavily censored, with many blocked or rubbed out. It is one of the most heavily doctored Blogs in the Blogosphere and hardly worth reading. It fits low down in rankings in the blogosphere.

by WINKLER on October 28, 2007 at 7:52 pm. Reply #

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