The YouGov poll in the Telegraph is now up here and the full tables are on the YouGov website here. The full voting intentions are CON 43%(nc), LAB 29%(+2), LDEM 17%(+1).

The other standard trackers all paint an equally bleak picture for the government, on the forced choice question (which I always tend to think of our best indicator of which way tactical voting is likely to go next time round, given that there are no regular tracker questions that ask directly about it) the Conservatives now enjoy a 12 point lead over Labour, they have an 8 point lead as the party most likely to run the economy well, David Cameron has an 8 point lead as Best Prime Minister. Gordon Brown’s net satisfaction rating is at minus 40, Alistair Darling’s at minus 42.

The poll is unremittingly awful news for the government on every level. I initially thought it showed that people were not blaming the government for the economic problems facing the country (consciously at least, I have no doubt that the ‘feel bad factor’ is damaging support anyway). Looking at the detailed tables though even that isn’t true.

The figures in the Telegraph suggest only 22% of people blame Brown’s past and 8% blame his present policies for the present economic problems, with 52% blaming it on the worldwide credit crunch. Looked at alone those suggest people aren’t blaming Brown… except that on the detailed tables we see that YouGov then asked people what the second biggest reason was – and found and additional 16% of people blamed Brown’s past policies and 22% blamed his present ones. In a separate question only 22% said they thought the government seemed to be handling the situation properly, 59% said it wasn’t.

Perhaps the only slivers of comfort Labour supporters can gather from the poll is that that there is still not huge enthusiasm for the Tories. 22% of people say they would be delighted if David Cameron formed the next government, 33% wouldn’t mind and 32% would be appalling. The Tories do seem to be ahead by default, not because people are excited by them, but because they think they would do a better job than a government the large majority (64% to 21%) are disatisfied with: this poll shows 38% think David Cameron and the Conservatives would do a better job, with only 24% thinking they’d do worse.


70 Responses to “Details from YouGov’s monthly poll”

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  1. Anthony-aren’t there two more Shadow Cabinet members with Government experience?-

    Alan Duncan-PPS
    Oliver Heald-PPS/Parliamentary Under Sec. of State

  2. I don’t think Oliver Heald is a shadow minister any more and I wasn’t counting PPS. If you do, then Donald Dewar and George Robertson also both had prior experience as a PPS.

  3. Can anybody honestly see Gordon Brown resigning? I mean, come on guys, he hasn’t waited all these years to give it without even fighting a general election.

    The only time he will give is if his health/psychological health lets him down, otherwise Labour’s stuck with him and will just have to hope for the best.

  4. Can anybody honestly see Gordon Brown resigning? I mean, come on guys, he hasn’t waited all these years to give it up without even fighting a general election.

    The only time he will give up is if his health/psychological health lets him down, otherwise Labour’s stuck with him and they will just have to hope for the best.

  5. I think Labour did scrape a couple more from Jim Callaghan’s government (in 1997) by getting them from the Lords…..

    Dr John Gilbert was a Defence Minister – I think until he retired around 1999. (MP for Dudley E before).

    Bernard Don’hue was never a minister in the 1970s, but worked for Callaghan and Wilson at No. 10.

    But I found this summary above very useful – thanks for that. Tory experience from the last government is fading though – partly because the size of our defeat in 1997 was considerably larger than Labour’s in 1979.

  6. And no I can’t see Gordon Brown resigning. Of course not. They will soldier on and hope they can squeek a fourth term. They might – partly because the 2005 result contained a protest Lab to LD vote – some of which may come back with a Tory threat,
    but their position must be very fragile.

  7. Joe et al
    A mere 6 months ago it was Cameron’s position that looked fragile; and even a couple of months ago it looked as though there might be an upswing in the polls (even one “rogue” Labour lead in January). All I am saying is the polls have shown quite large movements over the last year, and what happens over the next year is still guesswork (or hope!) – and depends to a large extent on forces that are mostly outside the control of this or any alternative government.

    Another important factor is that the Tories were like headless chickens before, and for a long while after, the defenestration of Mrs T – and there are still deep divisions over e.g. the EU and the general direction of the party that could come to the surface again. (They began to do so for a while 6 or 7 months ago when the polls looked very different). On the other hand, apart from the personal clash between Brown and Blair (now almost ancient history), the Labour Party still remembers the self-inflicted wounds from disunity in the 70s/80s and, having been near the edge over Iraq, it shows no sign of fracturing under the pressure of the last few months of bad polls and sour media.

    It is still a marathon, not a sprint, to the next election. So I’ll continue to keep my fingers crossed, and whistle a happy tune for a year or so before I give up hope and demand a new electorate :)

  8. The problem is that the volatility can be easily explained by just one thing.

    Look at the polls and the head-to-head ‘named’ polls over the last 2 and a half years and you get a significant Tory lead since virtually when Cameron became leader – bigger with Brown as leader both now and under Blair.

    The only exception is a couple of month ‘honeymoon’ that Brown had. Strip away that and the polls are pretty steady and consistent. The public said all along that they wouldn’t vote Labour under Brown, now Labour are led by Brown and the public is saying they won’t vote Labour.

    The electorate is consistent. That is the problem for Labour.

  9. Thanks Anthony-your list is very interesting.

  10. The previous comments about Scotland are appropriate in particular because on these figure seats such as Edinburgh South West look very much up for grabs if one looks at the list of Tory targets. The same is true for Welsh seats like Gower and Bridgend. But I have commented before that Scotland and England, in particular, cannot properly be sampled as a homogeneous population, to use statistical terminology.

    Politicians tend to look at the seats they need to gain or keep a majority. I think the Telegraph article accompanying this poll reminded us that from a Labour perspective this includes a disproportionate number of seats in Essex and North Kent. However, this and other recent polls suggest that Labour is likely to lose these seats so comprehensively on the national trend in 2010 that targetting or local campaigning is unlikely to change matters. Apart from the polls, these seats are likely to hard hit by a mortgage crisis as they have considerable numbers of voters at the bottom of the mortgage ladder in small modern owner occupied houses. In addition, seats like Dartford have considerable numbers of commuters to low level jobs in the City that now look insecure. Even away from London, other marginals such as City of Chester and South Ribble have similar lower middle class profiles and vulnerabilities.

    The seats that now look like having small majorities next time are places like Dover (Tory target 90), Bolton North East (94), Plymouth Sutton (95), Dudley North (103), Reading West (107), Tynemouth (108), Ipswich (109) and Chatham and Aylesford (113). Many of these are old friends to those of a psephological inclination: they were marginals in the 60s and 70s. They particularly represent older working class seats in England, and specifically Southern England. Their loss would, as in 1983, represent a near complete wipeout of Labour in England outside the North and the major cities ( e.g. Birmingham and London). Whereas Labour survived this after 1983, it is doubtful whether they would do so after 2010 particularly as SNP and Plaid might well be seen as the only realistic alternative to the Tories in Scotland and Wales.

    In 1997, Labour did not trust the polls and campaigned in the marginals they needed to gain a small Westminster majority at the end of the campaign. A number of Tories held on with small majorities in concentrated areas such as rural Norfolk. If Labour had targetted the seats that actually had small majorities, they might have reduced the Tory rump still further, and made it harder for the Conservatives to come back.

    To the people who have raised the issue of Gordon Brown’s position following this and other polls, the answer is surely that there is no point from a Labour point of view in replacing Brown if they are going to lose anyway. In this scenario, Labour are better to select a new leader uncontaminated by defeat after the next election. One may suspect from Brown’s appointment of a number of younger MPs to ministerial, including cabinet, posts that Labour is already looking to rebuild.

    If Labour loses seats much beyond the ones I have listed in this comment they will be reduced in England to a rump in the North, Birmingham and London. The two Southampton seats are examples of ones which would go if the swing gets worse for Labour than present polls. In this case, I do not see how Labour, with its loss of ideology, could survive. As in 1987, when the real issue in the General Election was who would come second, the most important outcome of the next election, presumably in 2010, may be whether or not Labour is fatally wounded, as opposed to having a hope of regaining office.

  11. Anthony

    I bow to your superior knowledge when it comes to the past experience of members of the Shadow Cabinet noting, in passing, that by 2010 it is possible, as you suggest, that there will be very few left with actual government experience.

    On a totally different matter, there’s going to be a substantial Polish/East European/new immigrant vote in some constituencies and I wonder whether ther’s any research on how this might split; this group will make up a significant proportion of the electorate in some places.

    Frederick Stansfield

    I think it is very unlikely to be a Labour 1983 style wipe out in 2010 as the lingering distrust of the Tories is likely to put a cap on their lead and I would expect labour, even uncer GB, to regain some ground in a campaign. Worth noting that a 40(C)/34(L)/18(L)8(O) outcome would according to Electoral Calaculus leave the Tories with a small lead over Labour and well short of an overall majority.

  12. David – I suspect most polish people living in the UK won’t be becoming British citizens, so they won’t be able to vote in General Elections. Local elections are a different matter, since all EU citizens are allowed to vote so the Polish vote could have an effect.

  13. David Bowtell

    Worth noting that a 40(C)/34(L)/18(L)8(O) outcome would according to Electoral Calaculus leave the Tories with a small lead over Labour and well short of an overall majority.

    Is this your belated application to the Zimbabwean Election Committee…? Tut, tut, tut!

  14. ITV Teletext is reporting a new poll from ComRes with: Lab-38%, C-31%, LD-17%.

  15. Fluffy Thoughts (EDP)

    “Is this your belated application to the Zimbabwean Election Committee…? Tut, tut, tut!”

    A very ‘fluffy’ comment….check out the figures for yourself……..if you think the percentages are unlikely, well I don’t looking at previous mid-term/end-game trends.

  16. Andy, that really would be a surprise, but no – the Independent is saying a 7 point Tory lead, not a Labour one.

  17. ComRes give: Con 38% Lab 31% LD 17%

    Now that’s slightly better – moving in the right direction, anyway – down from an 11 point lead last month :)

  18. Fair-play JohnH, not a bad poll. However, after reviewing the past six-months of ComRes data, my advice – for what it is worth – is to keep your money in your wallet, and not in the bookies hands….

    Lets look forward to the next ComRes poll. Then we may glean more of a trend.

  19. Sorry I got my figures mixed up there. I was concentrating on the numbers rather than the parties.

  20. In response to David Bowtell, I agree that there is lingering distrust of the Tories. However, for various reasons including current economic indicators I think Labour would be unwise to assume that current opinion polls are pessimitic for them in relation to their likely performance at the next General Election. They might do better, but they might also do worse.

    In relation to EU voters at local elections, I doubt how many such voters actually register. However, if there are increasing numbers of local election voters not eligible to vote in general elections, this is something that will need to be taken into account when using forthcoming local elections (including the London Mayoral election) for predictive purposes. I wonder how far psephologists have taken this issue into account yet.

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