Who is going to win the general election, now only eight days away? A new first-time poll, published exclusively on May2015, suggests the Tories are now three points ahead of Labour.
The online poll, fieldwork for which mainly took place over the weekend and concluded on Monday, puts the Tories on 35 per cent and Labour on 32 per cent. It was carried out by BMG Research, a long-time social research company who are now moving into political polling.
The poll chimes with a number of recent surveys which have put the Tories in the lead. On Monday ICM/Guardian put the Tories ahead by 3 points (and also showed a 35/32 race), while Survation put the Tories ahead by 3 and 4 points last week in separate polls for the Mail on Sunday and Mirror. ComRes also put Cameron’s party in front by 4 points a week ago, while Ashcroft’s most recent polls have put them ahead by 4 and 6 points.
Other polls have suggested a closer race. In the past week Panelbase and Populus have both put Labour ahead by 3, while YouGov’s, Opinium’s and TNS’ recent polls suggest an effective tie between the two main parties.
This poll chimes with a number of recent surveys, but they are inconclusive as a group.
The polls are inconclusive. There is some evidence that phone pollsters are tending to put the Tories ahead while online pollsters aren’t, but this case seems to be overstretched at present (Survation, for example, are an online pollster, and margin of error commands that we shouldn’t over-interpret so few polls).
BMG’s poll is their first in this election cycle. We will be publishing another early next week. As for other parties, their poll shows the Lib Dems are inching up – they polled 11 per cent – and put Ukip on 14 per cent.
The Lib Dems have polled 9 per cent in seven of the past ten national polls, and two polls put them on 10 per cent ten days ago. They seem to have escaped the nadir of 7 per cent that they slipped to earlier this year, but BMG’s higher Lib Dem result is partly due to the way they chose to weight their survey.
If this poll were to happen next Thursday, the Tories would win 279 seats, with Labour on 262, the SNP on 54 and Lib Dems on 29 seats; Ukip would win 2 seats (our model counts the Speaker, who is an independent, as a Conservative).
But that would still leave a Tory-led bloc, of Tories, Lib Dems, the DUP and Ukip, on 319 seats. An ‘anti-Tory’ bloc of Labour, the SNP and minor MPs – mainly from the SDLP, Plaid, Greens – would have 325 MPs and would be able to ‘lock Cameron out’ of Downing Street.
In other words, even if Cameron wins by 3 points next Thursday, he could fall just short of keeping power. This is why we have recently been confident about Ed Miliband chances of dethroning him next month.
Here are the tables for the poll. We’ve taken some pics if you would rather not click through.
BMG are not yet members of the British Polling Council but are in the process of applying to become members, and abided by BPC rules in carrying out their poll.