Populus has the gap down to just three points

Populus has the gap down to just three points

Poll/Publication Date CON % LAB % LD %
Populus/Times 06/02/11 36 39 11
Populus/Times 24/10/10 37 38 15
Populus/Times 12/09/10 39 37 14
Populus/Times 23/06/10 39 33 18

A second traditional phone pollsters shows a very different picture

We’ve now had the first Populus national voting intention poll since October and the picture it paints is broadly the same as with last week’s Guardian ICM poll. Both Populus and ICM operate in a very similar manner so it’s no surprise that they are quite close.

This is down party, I suggest, to the very high numbers of people simply responding don’t know. All the firms apart from these two don’t have a compensating mechanism – ICM and Populus both do. Essentially they allocate part of the don’t knows who will be voting in accordance with what they said they did at the last election. ICM make it half across the board – Populus do the same with Labour and the Tories and have a smaller proportion for the Lib Dems.

Not only can this boost one or two of the parties it also increases the overall numbers thus, often dilluting the share for the most popular party.

This adjustment made the two firm more accurate at the last general election and the process also worked well again in last month’s OES polling.

Mike Smithson

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