Look at each pollster on their own and the polls are very consistent

Ignore the apparently regular fluctuations on who is in the lead as opinion polls from different companies come out muddled together. Instead focus in on what each pollster on its own has been saying during March and April.

Five never have Labour in the lead. Three never have the Tories in the lead. One has shown a clear switch from Labour to the Tories. It’s only two pollsters – including the most prolific – who show a lead switching back and forth.

Conservatives ahead

  • ICM (phone): 1-6% lead for Tories, average 3%. As Stephen Tall points out, ICM are the pollster with form
  • Lord Ashcroft (phone): 0-6% lead for Tories, average 2.6%
  • ComRes (phone*): 0-4% lead for Tories, average 2.3%
  • Opinium (internet): 0-4% lead for Tories in seven polls, 2% Labour lead in one, average Tory lead 1.1%

Labour were ahead but now Conservatives ahead

  • Survation (internet): first four polls put Labour ahead, most recent three all put Tories ahead, a switch from an average Labour lead of 2.8% to an average Tory lead of 2.7%

Labour ahead

  • Panelbase (internet): 0-6% lead for Labour, average 2%
  • Populus (internet): 0-3% lead for Labour, average 1.8%
  • MORI (phone): 1-2% lead for Labour, average 1.5%

Mixed picture

Which leaves just two pollsters who have shown a regularly switching lead, one of which is the most prolific of the lot and so has in large part set the impression that the polls are changing rather than that the pollsters are very consistent:

  • TNS-BMRB (internet): 3 polls put Tories ahead, 2 put Labour ahead
  • YouGov (internet): 46 polls (!) of which , 14 put Tories ahead, 8 tied, 24 put Labour ahead

* There has been only one online ComRes poll in this period. It put Labour ahead.

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