Is Labour really in the low 20s?

Is Labour really in the low 20s?

OnePoll – The People May 1 Apr 24
LIB DEMS 32% 32%
LABOUR 21% 23%

Which’ll be closest: phone polling or on-line?

Above is the latest from new pollster, OnePoll, for today’s People – the paper that used to commission YouGov until the exclusive deal by that firm with News International in February. We don’t know much about OnePoll but this is their fourth campaign survey for the paper which I think ought to be recorded.

Like the other online pollsters – Harris, Angus Reid and Opinium – the firm is showing very low Labour shares and today’s 21% is the lowest campaign share of all them.

YouGov, with its much-discussed weighting system and new untested invitation methodology has higher numbers for the reds but has still tended to have Labour in third place.

The Labour share and position from the phone firms – ICM, ComRes and Populus – are being boosted by their don’t know allocation system. So if someone says “don’t know” then the firms allocate part or even all of their “vote” on the basis of what they did last time or the party they generally associate themselves with.

Thus today’s ICM marginals poll for the News of the World has C36-L32-LD23 before the “adjustment” and C35-L35-LD22 afterwards.

That’s a totally different outcome and I have questioned before whether this is the right way. The ComRes approach is harder to discern but appears to be on the same scale.

Remember that those shares cannot be compared with normal polls for the survey was confined to seat currently held by Labour where the Conservatives require a swing of between 4% and 10% to win.

Who knows whether online will beat phoning? My guess is that the actual Labour share will be closer to the uncorrected phone figures than the headline figures from those firms.

Mike Smithson

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