In the latest informal leadership survey carried out by Guy Benson (@GuyBenson96 on Twitter) and me, Layla Moran has inched ahead of Ed Davey, as the race begins to narrow.
Headline figures are:
LAYLA MORAN 51% (+5%)
SIR ED DAVEY 49% (-5%)
Fieldwork was carried out between 11-19 July 2020. 825 respondents. Margin of error is 3%. Full tables are available here.
During the fieldwork for this poll, we received some criticism from some quarters. I’d like to make crystal clear that this is just an informal poll, and we have never claimed that it will be as accurate as a full, professionally produced poll. Sampling took place on Twitter and Facebook, so there is bias towards those who use social media which we can’t correct with weighting. However, this information is just collected for fun – Guy and I are just amateur psephologists who find this kind of thing interesting and enjoyable. And this poll does contain results from a reasonably representative group of people when considering age, gender, past vote and region. It is a snapshot, and shouldn’t be taken as being more than that. As ever, it would be unwise to rely on it while campaigning.
The biggest changes are amongst 65+ voters, and amongst undecided voters. In the former category, while they were Ed Davey’s strongest group last time, they have moved towards Layla Moran this time round in a decisive fashion. It should be noted that this poll had a significantly larger sample of over-65s (more than double the previous poll), so this could simply be reverting to the true trend after a sampling problem last time.
But arguably the more significant change is what is happening amongst undecided voters. Last time, 13% were undecided, compared to around 9% this time. This means around a quarter of undecideds have now chosen a candidate. And analysing the data, the results are significant: of those who have gone from undecided to ‘decided’, 57% now voting for Layla Moran, while 43% are voting for Ed Davey.
Furthermore, there has been a significant amount of churn within each camp as well. 8% of those who said they were originally Layla voters have switched to Ed; 13% of original Ed voters have switched to Layla. This means that for every Moran to Davey switcher, Layla Moran is getting 1.7 Davey to Moran switchers. This is a significant trend.
POLL WARNING: Discussion of subsamples below!
In terms of gender, the counterintuitive pattern of 2019 has been restored: more men (55% vs 45%) are voting for Moran, while more women (57% vs 43%) are voting for Davey. It is unclear to us why precisely this is.
While these are small subsamples, and so we should be at pains not to read too much into them on their own, the results appear to fly against the conventional wisdom about the regional strengths and appeals of each campaign. Moran appears to be doing better than some had expected in parts of the North and in Scotland and Wales, while Davey is winning strong support in Yorkshire and Devon and Cornwall.
The sample was more representative this time than last time, with considerably more older voters. The same age trend as in the first poll was present, with young voters going for Moran, and older voters going for Davey. The one exception to this was a pretty pronounced swing amongst over-65s from Davey to Moran. This could be a sampling error, or it could be that the previous poll was a sampling error. Be careful about this figure.
Moran appears to be gaining in terms of Swinson voters from 2019. As this was by far the biggest group, this could help to explain why she has pulled ahead in the overall voting intention figure. There has also been a smaller swing (well within the margin of error) of 2019 Davey voters to Moran.
With 9-10% of voters still undecided, this election still has an absolutely enormous amount to play for. Everything currently hangs in the balance, and things are the closest of any leadership election either of us have seen. As the hustings continue, more members will make up their minds – and with a significant smattering of each side’s voters not entirely enthusiastic or sure about their choice (more on this later…) there is everything still to play for.