Just over a year ago, I highlighted how YouGov consistently found the Conservatives relatively more popular amongst women than men compared to other pollsters:
YouGov, MORI and ComRes are the three of the main polling companies who also provide a gender breakdown of party levels of support using the same methodology as for their headline voting question…
Whilst YouGov consistently finds the Conservative party more popular amongst women than men, the other two consistently find the opposite. There is a similar difference amongst the pollsters when it comes to Labour support, though this time the gender pattern is reversed.
With more polling data in since then, what do the polls now say? YouGov and ComRes continue to give conflicting pictures of whether the Conservatives are doing worse or better amongst women compared to men, but MORI has switched sides as you can see from the following table of the gap between female and male support for a party in different polls. A negative means the party was more popular with women than men.
ComRes: Con +1, Lab 0, LibDem -4
MORI: Con +1, Lab 0, LibDem -2
YouGov: Con -3, Lab +1, LibDem -1
ComRes: Con +2, Lab -2, LibDem -2
MORI: Con +1, Lab -1, LibDem -2
YouGov: Con -3, Lab +2 LibDem -1
ComRes: Con +2, Lab -2, LibDem -3
MORI: Con -3, Lab +2, LibDem -2
YouGov: Con -4, Lab +2, LibDem 0
ComRes’s gender breakdowns have been fairly similar across the three years as have YouGov – but they paint different pictures from each other. MORI has switched from being similar to ComRes in 2007 and 2008 to producing a similar picture to YouGov in 2009.
Given the consistently different patterns between ComRes and YouGov across so many polls, there does appear to be a real difference in how their methodologies play out even though, when I’ve asked people at YouGov, they couldn’t highlight any obvious explanation.
Angus Reid is new on the scene in 2009 and also provides gender breakdowns. There has only been a handful of polls so far and the gender breakdowns have varied hugely, but for what it is worth their figures are Con -2, Lab +3, LibDem -1.
All four (albeit only marginally in YouGov’s case) point towards the Liberal Democrats being more popular amongst women than men, a welcome sign given how previous party and external research has shown that the party’s key swing voters are disproportionately female.