State of the Race

Devised and created by Tom Monk & Harry Lambert.

Who is ahead in the polls?

Who is going to win the UK general election? Keeping up with the polls is tiring. Every day creates a new headline. Who’s up and who’s down? Our Poll of Polls, or election poll tracker, keeps track of every poll being published by the UK’s major pollsters – and averages them over time, weighing them by everything from time to track record.

Our data includes nearly 4,500 polls, going all the way back to August 1970. Ted Heath was Prime Minister, the first email hadn't yet been sent and Butler and McKenzie were still manning BBC election nights.

But what is really happening in the polls? Click through to explore 'The Drilldown' – our unique insight into the polls – and break down public opinion over the past five years by age, gender, class and party ID.

If you'd like to know how many seats the parties will win, click here.

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Active pollsters

  • Ashcroft
  • ComRes
  • ICM
  • Ipsos-Mori
  • Opinium
  • Populus
  • Survation
  • YouGov

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Include polls every?

Averaged over?

Angus Reid: 1
Ashcroft: 1
ComRes: 1
Harris: 1
ICM: 1
Ipsos-Mori: 1
Opinium: 1
Populus: 1
Survation: 1
YouGov: 1
May 2015 Twitter

You can zero in on any time since the Coalition was formed. Did media storms like the ‘Cash for Access’ scandal or hacking inquiry make a difference? Did the Great Recession? And has the recent economic upturn helped the government?

You can also choose between picking up all the ‘noise’ in the data, using our day-by-day polls, or look at general trends using our monthly averages.

All our data is provided by UK Polling Report. You can find the original numbers and an explanation of each pollster's approach on the site, as well as regular commentaries from the site's editor, Anthony Wells. You can read about how we constructed our model here.

View our polling database


Explore important moments of the last 45 years

If you take a look at how the polls have changed over that time, the overwhelming impression is of how much and how quickly support for each party can change.

But if you go back to the summer of 1970, you will see a very similar story to the one being played out today, with Labour and the Conservatives exchanging leads and the Liberals languishing below 10 per cent.

In 1974 the major parties fought two elections in one year for only the second time in Parliament's history. In February Ted Heath's Conservatives won a quarter of a million more votes than Labour, overcoming four years of trailing in the polls, but Labour won four more seats under Harold Wilson.

Our Poll of Polls would have predicted those results, as it did in October, when Labour won as voters deserted the polls. Turnout fell six points and the Tories lost by three.

The Liberals had surged in the eighteen months ahead of 1974, eventually winning 19 and 18 per cent in the year's two elections, but never won even 15 seats. They floundered for the rest of the decade as the major parties recovered. Only Wilson's resignation and Callaghan's "Winter of Discontent" had any lasting effect on the polls.

While Thatcher ended up winning three elections, the Conservatives collapsed to third in the polls under her in 1981 – the only such time in our 44 years of data.

The Falklands War made Thatcher (and Thatcherism). The Prime Minister recovered in the polls and Michael Foot, whose Labour Party had surpassed 50 per cent in the polls a year earlier, was hampered by the SDP-Liberal Alliance, who went from polling 10 percent in early 1981 (as the Liberals) to more than 40 per cent a year later.

As they seem to in every decade, Britain's third party soared and fell. Fresh from war, our model correctly suggested Thatcher would win comfortably in '83, as it did again in '87. That year she managed to turn a tied race six months before the vote into a double-digit win on election night. She ended up winning at least 42 per cent in every election she led her party into.

Tony Blair's popularity in the late '90s was so great that our model rescales. His Labour Party led throughout the 1990s, but after faltering in the 1992 election they spend most of the decade in opposition, as they had throughout the '80s.

1992 was the year the pollsters would like to forget. As our model shows, they suggested the Labour Party were a point ahead on election day in April 1992, but John Major ending up winning by more than seven points. They got the Liberals spot on though.

By 1995 only a quarter of voters supported Major, after more had voted for him than any other British political leader three years earlier. Twelve years later support for Labour had collapsed to 30 per cent after a decade of Blair.