The Parties | 2nd October 2014

September polls: Labour still on course for a majority

Yesterday’s speech by David Cameron capped a busy month in politics, from the drama of Scotland […]

Photo: Getty


Yesterday’s speech by David Cameron capped a busy month in politics, from the drama of Scotland and spectacular return of Gordon Brown, to the disappointment of Labour’s conference and return of British forces to Iraq.

So much happened. Except… the polls suggest we just lulled through a news-barren August. We are tracking every poll being published by the UK’s nine major polling companies, and their latest round of polls shows how little effect dramatic events have on the way we might vote (click through to explore).

So who is ahead? The graphic below shows Labour with a 37-32 lead, but the headline result given here just measures the most recent day of polling. That was 25 September, when two polls put Labour ahead 37-31 and 37-33, giving the overall 37-32 lead.

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But taking into account all the polls published over the month and averaging the results (in other words, smoothing all the individual polls to iron out the noise) shows even less movement across the month, and a consistent 3-point Labour lead, 35 to 32.

40 polls have been published since 1 September. YouGov publish five times a week for News UK, Populus polls twice a week, Ashcroft polls weekly, Opinium (for the Observer) publishes fortnightly, and ICM (Guardian), Ipsos MORI (Evening Standard) and ComRes (Independent) publish monthly.

This is how all those individual polls have measured Labour’s lead:

Different polls tell different stories, but together they show the same thing: Labour is ahead by a few points.

This, matched with the 35-40 seat advantage our electoral system hands them, is why our models suggest Labour would win a majority government in an election tomorrow.

Will they hold on and win in May 2015? Despite all the gloom of this month’s conference, the polls are scarcely changing. One Labour pollster we spoke to thinks the polls are unlikely to shift until the spring.

Tories are hopeful the economy will continue to pick up and narrow Labour’s lead. But after the drama of this month dies down, many commentators may start to focus on Labour’s stubbornly favourable position.