YouGov poll’s hidden details

YouGov have also published a general poll today, carried out on Wednesday and Thursday. The results are fairly unremarkable and the topline figures (Con 40 Lab 32 LD 17 Oth 11 – no breakdown on others) are being debated over at LabourHome.

Brown is five points behind Cameron on the “best PM” question but YouGov had a similar “forced choice” question in their August tracker, which gave Cameron a 7-point lead.

Buried in the detail, however, are some stats that are of particular interest given recent events and what is to come next year. The regional breakdown (health warning: these are TV regions, not official regions) shows that Brown has a thumping 21-point lead over Cameron in Scotland. Even more important is the contrast with Blair, who manages only a 2-point lead north of the border.

In the Midlands & Wales region, Brown has a narrower 4-point lead – but, crucially, Blair is a full seven points behind Cameron.

These two regions are the only two where the difference between the Brown-Cameron lead and the Blair-Cameron lead is more than the margin of error. In other words, the two regions where Labour will get the biggest boost if Blair leaves and Brown takes over are the two that go to the polls next May.

This may go some way to explain why Welsh and Scottish MPs are so keen for a change before then.

One other thing is worth noting, however, which is that Scotland is the one region where more voters believe that Brown will take the government in a different direction to Blair. That may be why he’s more popular there, which is a potential pitfall if he fights a leadership campaign saying that he will be more of the same.

8 Responses to YouGov poll’s hidden details

  1. Andrea says:

    The London voting breakdown is disastrous for Labour!

  2. Yes – though it is actually an improvement on the equivalent figures from the August YouGov-Telegraph tracker – since then the Tories have gone up 2 points to hit 50% (for the first time in what I imagine is many years) but Labour have actually risen 3 points, from an August low of 24% – the Lib Dems are down 3 points to 13% and others down from a peak of 13% to “only” 11%.

    Breakdown of others from the August tracker was the Greens and BNP both on 5%, with Respect at 2%.

    However, I would just add a big rider to all this – this is the London TV region, NOT London on its political boundaries. Because it includes a portion of the Home counties, that is bound to make it look considerably worse than it is.

  3. Andrea says:

    I forgot that they use the London TV region and not the “political” London.
    Yougov had a poll of London last week and it looked more realistic.

    Other regional samples in that poll are a bit suspicious (tories at 29% in Scotland, for ex). It’s probably due to the small sample

  4. The Scottish TV region includes a bit of north eastern England which obviously means that those figures are warped slightly in favour of the English parties; plus obviously it will be a sub-set of the total sample and liable to consequent outlying results.

    Compare to the August tracker: Lab 43 Con 22 LD 20 SNP 15 Green 4.

    I suspect that YouGov have a general tendency to under-estimate the Nationalists, looking back over their polls; also this is a Westminster voting intention question, and I think the SNP tend to do better at Holyrood.

  5. Andrea says:

    Thanks…where can I find what areas TV regions include?

  6. Good question, and I have to admit that I’m temporarily stumped!

  7. Ok, got some answers for you on this one. Apparently there is a considerable degree of overlap, and the regions don’t match county boundaries, which makes it all rather difficult, but there is a map here:
    http://www.itvregions.com/

    To get an idea of where is counted as Scotland, this is the Border TV region:
    http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/en/where/border.html

    We think that the breaks given by YouGov are which TV stations people say they receive if asked, so there will be some blurring at the edges.

    Though the TV regions are given in the breaks, YouGov doesn’t construct samples using TV regions. YouGov collect postcodes and collate them on their database, so they can work out the actual government regions that people live in, but a proper regional breakdown is not included in the standard published tables. They usually issue these only in their aggregate data.

    Hope that helps!

  8. Andrea says:

    Many thanks, politicalcorrespondent!

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