After almost a fortnight without any voting intention polls there is a new poll from YouGov in the Sunday Times. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll back in January, are CON 41%(nc), LAB 32%(-1), LDEM 16%(nc). The poll was conducted between the 14th and 15th of February and clearly shows no significant change in party support over the past two weeks.

The Sunday Times often commission questions on a wide grab bag of issues, so I expect I’ll be posting again tomorrow on other bits and bobs in the poll, but the Sunday Times are highlighting the economic questions. They found David Cameron and George Osborne have a 6 point lead over Labour on who people would most trust to run the economy. There’s a lot of different ways of asking which party people trust most on the economy, and no doubt they produce different figures, but I think this is the largest lead the Conservatives have managed to pull out in one of them under David Cameron. Answers to economic optimism questions remained grim – 50% expected their household finances to get worse in the next, with only 12% expecting them to get better.

44% of respondents wanted to see Alistair Darling removed as Chancellor, with only 27% thinking he should stay in the job. Those answers will probably be largely partisan – but with only 27% backing him I expect even a fair proportion of Labour supporters want him out.

The Sunday Times normally put the full tables of their YouGov polls up on their website, so check there later for more details.

63 Responses to “Parties steady in latest YouGov poll”

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  1. Cameron sounds over-excited and over the top about Northern Rock. Ridiculous to ask for the Chancellor’s dismissal – and way over the top to describe the situation as a “catastrophic”. The Conservative’s solution was not so very different to “nationalisation”, and would have involved a sharp hasty death (with possibly dire effects on the employees and mortgage holders), rather than what he calls a “slow and lingering” death. More thoughtful and less biased commentators are not as rash or hasty in their judgment.

    He is determined to keep repeating the “dithering Brown” charge until either it sticks, or we all get fed up with hearing it. It may be what oppositions do, but does this sort of instant shrill reaction do Cameron any good?

  2. JohnH

    With regret I agree with your first sentence.I was equally disappointed by Osborne in the debate.

    The two people who impressed me most were Vince Cable & Ken Clarke.

    Cable was his usual logical self-and of course was able to say ” I told you this is what you would have to do”

    Clarke hit the nail on the head though ( whilst Osborne was politicking)-Does “Business as usual” from Darling mean continuing to write new mortgages? I believe-with Ken Clarke & Anatole Kaletski ( The Times) that new business should now cease & the mortgage book be run down/sold off to repay the taxpayer.If the FSA is correct about the quality of the assets, the taxpayer will not lose.

    The government should not be running an active mortgage business.I await Ron Sandler’s business plan with interest.

  3. Colin,

    Totally agree with you about NR. They should be winding the bank down gradually and not writing any more business.

    Actually I’m in Financial Services myself and I can tell you NR’s mortgage rates are so high at the moment that they wouldn’t be writing any new business anyway.

    NR does have a quality mortgage book ie. no sub prime but much of it’s mortgage business is 100% and more mortgages. They lend people more than the value of their properties. If there was to be a serious downturn in the property market then some of their mortgage holders could find them selves in very serious negative equity, with say a 150,000 mortgage on a 100,000 property and could decide to simply hand back the keys.I don’t say this scenrio is likely but it is possible.

  4. The word “dithering” seems to have replaced the rather ineffective “spin” in the political lexicon of pejoratives. Still nowhere near the power of the word “sleaze”, though. For me it’s not too difficult to counter it with “knee-jerk”, “shallow”, or “opportunistic”, but it would be interesting to see a poll which included “dithering” in its multiple-choice section on “How would you describe Gordon Brown/David Cameron…”

  5. The Conservatives might take control of Penwith in May (they would need just one more councillor for a majority and there are five ‘other councillors’ from which they made gains from last year).

    They may also seize Elmbridge from NOC. They may also take control of Maidstone which would then give them control of all district and borough councils in Kent.

  6. KTL

    Thanks-interesting comments. Robert Peston on BBC News this evening claimed that the Business Plan is already drafted-to shrink the business 50% by increasing mortgage rates & getting borrowers to switch.

    Cameron and Osborne failed on this one.Majoring on “economic competence” on NR was stretching a point too far-anyway as we have seen from the latest Polls that horse is already on it’s last legs. It doesn’t need much more flogging.

    They should have questioned forensically on Taxpayer repayment-there are no credible answers to that yet.

  7. Philip M – assuming they don’t lose Swale, where they seem to being torn assunder by resignations, deselections, independent protest candidates and so on.

  8. Philip M , the Penwith council website says the next elections will not be until 2009 ( I think they planned to change to full council elections ) but these will not take place either if the new Cornwall Unitary comes about . Maidstone would go Conservative based on 2006 results but not on 2007 when the Conservatives lost out to the LibDems in marginal wards the Conservatives had won in 2006 .

  9. Back in the mists-of-time there once was a blog about the economy….

    In it one contributor (no guesses who) said that a recession was currently unlikely, but beware forecasts of a growth-rate of 1.6% for 2008. It appears that the Bank of England is now forecasting such!

    Will the economy follow America into recession? With excessive public-spending, the government has failed to save for the possibility of such a rainy day.

    2008 should be a bad year for nEU-Labour. Their only hope: an election system that does not meet European standards…!


  10. Anthony. Thanks.
    I might have a look back.

  11. A growth figure of 1.6% (or even 0.016%) would not be a recession. Is it just a “fluffy thought” that we are heading for a recession – or a definite prediction, based on facts that are not available to the B of E?

    If even half of the greatly exaggerated doom and gloom predictions don’t materialise by the end of the year (including Osbourn’s absurd over-the-top reaction to Northern Rock), it might – just might – look like You-know-who’s “dithering” turns out to be careful, thoughtful management of the British economy in difficult world-wide conditions.

    There is little sign of substantial alternative policies being offered by the opposition – but mainly abuse and scare stories. Admittedly any opposition would do their best to capitalise on a government problems. But they need to be careful that, in the longer term, they are seen to have something to back up their claim to greater competence… Just in case the British economy should turn out to have performed well, compared with our friends and neighbours in the US and Euro-zone.

  12. New ICM/Guardian poll Con 37 Lab 34 LibDem 21 Others 9 . Ready for all the Conservatives to scream rogue poll .

  13. Hi JohnH,

    Sorry, been busy. This is taken from last weeks “The Economist”. Not my words, but those who probably have more time and insight to comment. Thanks.

    Economic woes
    Fighting on two fronts

    Feb 14th 2008
    From The Economist print edition

    Britain’s central bank gets gloomier about growth and inflation

    THREE months ago the Bank of England unveiled a grisly set of forecasts for 2008, predicting a sharp downturn in growth and a troubling pick-up in inflation. This week it published new projections, in its quarterly Inflation Report, that are grislier still.

    The central bank now thinks that the slowdown will be deeper and more protracted than it anticipated in November. The pace of economic growth, which was over 3% last year, will decelerate to 1.6% by late 2008. Worryingly, the risks to this central projection, which is based on the further interest-rate cuts assumed by the markets, “lie to the downside”. The wrenching slowdown could well encompass a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters in which GDP falls.

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