As we enter the closing stretch of the campaign, substantial uncertainty remains about the final outcome. Taking out the random noise, the polls are still showing a close race ahead of May 7th. Some have pointed to differences between telephone and internet pollsters, with the former having shown a steady, if slight, Conservative lead all year. Our method allows us to control for systematic differences between polling houses and variation in the ‘poll of polls’ that is due to changes in the mix of pollsters in the field at a given point in time. The final Polling Observatory forecast covers all polls completed up until April 30th, and shows support for the two main parties is still in the balance – with Labour on 33.1% and the Conservatives on 34.2% -- though the confidence intervals are such that we cannot say for certain that the Conservative lead is greater than zero.

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The election campaign is now well underway, with intense activity in the two weeks since our last update, including manifesto launches, party political broadcasts, a widely viewed leaders' debate, and high profile interviews on an almost daily basis. There is evidence this is starting to filter down to the electorate - Populus reported that, for the first time this election cycle, the upcoming general election was the most noticed news story among its poll respondents in the week ending April 10th, and Lord Ashcroft's polls of marginal seats are now showing high rates of contact by the main parties.

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The Polling Observatory seat forecasting model At the time, Labour was marginally ahead in the polls – but there was little to separate them and the Conservatives. Since then, the Conservatives have gained slightly in the polls – and now at 32.7% (as of March 31st, are exactly even with Labour, which also is at 32.7%, in the popular vote.

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This is the forty-first in a series of posts that report on the state of the parties as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in party polling fortunes are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which we are interested and which best assess the parties’ standings – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. If there can ever be a definitive assessment of the parties’ standings, this is it.

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This is a Scottish independence special of our regular series of posts that reports on the state of support for the parties in Westminster as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in the polls are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which we are interested and which best assess the state of public opinion – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. Further details of the method we use to build our estimates of public opinion can be found here.

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This is a Scottish independence special of our regular series of posts that reports on the state of support for the parties in Westminster as measured by opinion polls. By pooling together all the available polling evidence we can reduce the impact of the random variation each individual survey inevitably produces. Most of the short term advances and setbacks in the polls are nothing more than random noise; the underlying trends – in which we are interested and which best assess the state of public opinion – are relatively stable and little influenced by day-to-day events. Further details of the method we use to build our estimates of public opinion can be found here.

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About Us

The purpose of the Polling Observatory is to report on and provide an analysis of the election polls leading into the next Canadian Federal and British General Elections. It also acts to disseminate the latest research on polling accuracy and poll effects on voters.

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Simon Fraser University
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Canada