A YouGov poll in the SUnday Times has topline voting intention figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 45%(-4), LAB 25%(+2), LDEM 18%(+1). The poll was conducted between the 15th and 16th of May, so after the announcement of the increase in personal tax allowances in response to the fuss over the 10p tax rate.

Labour have narrowed the gap significantly, but the Conservatives remain 20 points ahead, still their second largest lead for decades. The previous poll was taken almost immediately after the local elections and Boris Johnson’s victory and, I suspect, was a result of the aura of victory around the Tories at the time (for another example look back at Lib Dem support straight after Brent East when they got up to 31% briefly). They are still above where they were prior to the local elections, so it will be interesting to see where other pollsters put them.

The recovery could also, of course, be a result of that increase in tax rates, but the other questions in the poll suggest that went down badly. 47% thought it was a cynical ploy to bribe voters in the Crewe and Nantwich election (more on that later), with only 36% thinking it was a sensible move to correct a mistake. 47% also thought it made the government look weak, with only 23% thinking it made them look strong enough to admit mistakes.

Opinions of Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling were dire – only 17% thought Darling was up to the job of Chancellor, only 21% thought Brown was up to being Prime Minister. The percentage thinking Brown was doing a good job was 17%, with 78% thinking he was doing a bad job. Cameron and Osborne now have a 18 point lead over Brown and Darling as the team people would most trust to improve their family’s standard of living.

YouGov also re-asked the same series of questions they used back in 2007 to measure the public perceptions of Brown and Cameron’s qualities. The only one of Brown’s ratings that has held up at all is honesty – 22% thought him honest in October 2007 (after the announcement of the non-election) and 22% think so now. In October 40% still thought him strong, now only 17% do. In October 27% thought him good in a crisis, now only 10% do, in October 20% thought him in touch, now it’s 10%. The biggest transformations though are decisiveness and leadership. In October 2007 37% thought Brown was decisive, now that figure is a derisory 8%. In October 17% thought Brown a natural leader, now it is only 3%.

In contrast, despite having been in the role for over two years now David Cameron’s figures are rising. Apart from honesty, where he is down to 17% from 20% last year, and in touch which is unchanged, he has risen on every other measure. Most noticeable was “a natural leader” up from 14% last year to 26% now. He appears to be growing into the role.

So, if Brown’s perceptions have sunk so low, what of his future? 59% of people think Brown should stand down before the next election (though we’ll have to wait and see the partisan split there, Tory supporters always say they want a Labour PM to go, it’s the Labour split that’s interesting). Asked who they would like to see succeed him if he did go, Jack Straw and David Miliband were the two frontrunners, picked by 14% and 12%, though all this really tells us is that they are the more recognisable names.

25 Responses to “20 point Tory lead from YouGov”

  1. This must be very depressing for Labour MPs.
    The “re-launch” appears to have had no effect and Gordon Brown is losing the last vestiges of respect he had.

    What are we to make of the 32% who answered “Not Applicable- I don’t work” in the question about fear of losing your job? Are these Housewives + Unemployed? It seems a very high proportion.

    Anthony could you correct -“Cameron and Brown now have a 18 point lead over Brown and Darling as the team people would most trust to improve their family’s standard of living.”-whilst Brown might be wise to join the Conservative Party, I can’t see it happening!

  2. Good grief, with an horrific poll for Labour! The last poll was conducted in the glow of the locals and Boris triumph in London. This poll is conducted after an extended period of reflection, and Labour’s fightback. So for Labour to still be 20% behind and just 2% up on the last YouGov (which is within the margin for error) is simply catastrophically bad. All the money spent. All that time Brown spent doing interviews. All for nothing. Labour are past the point of no return now, IMO.

  3. keep brown in the job thats my advice he’s doing a fantastic job!!!!!. the county elections in a years time will see labour lose lots of seats and even some northern country’s that are NOC at this time, but cameron could shoot him self in the balls or a MP or two could drop an unwanted boomshell, i my self would like to see the conservatives get 50%+ of the vote at the next election.





  4. Colin – some are housewives and unemployed, but most will be pensioners.

  5. Calm down Stuart, calm down! Great poll but there’s still a long way to go on the ground. There are big jobs to do rebuilding the organisation and getting enough folk to mount a good campaign. What will be good news is that Labour MP at the back end of the target list (150-200) will be getting twitchy and wil start behaving like they’re in super-marginal seats. Result less flexibility and less focus on the main marginal seats.

  6. It comes as no surprise that the Tory lead is no longer at 26 points, for how could such a lead be sustainable – but for it to have dropped by only 6 is absolutely catastrophic for Gordon Brown and the Labour Government! It is quite clear that Brown and the Labour party ARE totally out of touch with the public, for why else would they believe that the electorate would be so readily seduced by a desperate tax correction. Together with Brown’s now permanent sardonic smile, that looks as genuine as one painted onto the face of a clown; his endlessly repeated mantra of how he ‘feels’ our pain when we go to buy that mysterious substance called ‘food’ in those mystical places called ‘shops’ and the genuine belief amongst his advisors that impersonating Sir Alan Sugar on TV, all serve to show Labour’s total mis-reading of the general public, Labour and non-Labour voters alike. This will, inevitably, condemn Brown, Darling and all to the derisory general election defeat that they now well deserve.

  7. Anthony, apparently theres another poll in the Sunday papers showing Labour 19% behind. Any ideas?

  8. GIN – there is a ComRes poll that shows a 17 point lead, but I can’t find a 19 point lead anywhere.

  9. I suspect this ComRes survey is the one people are refering to on PB. Thanks Anthony. :)

  10. It is becoming clear that the negative campaigning masterminded (I use the term very loosely) by Mr McCabe for New Labour is having a consequent ‘negative’ reception amongst even core Labour voters in Crewe & Nantwich.

    You only have to read one of their blogs, like ‘LabourHome’ to get a flavour of the distaste and despondency that Labour voters are feeling.

    This whole ‘class war’ thing is fighting the last century’s battles all over again.

    Someone should tell Labour that times have changed and that the message that the electorate are sending is that the Labour Party are now an irrelevance.

    Time to GO!……….in other words.

  11. Thanks Anthony-yes of course, silly me!

  12. Anthony – Are these the lowest results on comparitives/competence that YouGov have ever polled for an incumbent Government/Prime Mnister/ Chanellor etc ?

  13. the leader of the house seams very un-easy about the C&N by-election next week when ask do you think you will lose she replied is a by election no one knows what will happen, person asking question say’s: you have been putting things on your web site like this and he showed a picture of a top hat and dicky bow and then went on to other things the leader of the house went on to different subject about you guested in the economy and how labour (blar blar an more blar) so on that she think labour will lose next week and if polls are right the conservative will have a strong majority.

  14. KTL – questions like that are normally pretty ad hoc, with options just written at the time, so can’t normally be compared. This particular question YouGov have at least repeated several times using the same wording… but only since last year, so we can only compare Brown now with Brown then, not with earlier Tory and Labour leaders.

  15. I wonder if the momentum of a Tory victory at Crewe and Nantwich would give the party another boost in the national opinion polls in late May/early June, as Brent East did for the LibDems in 2003.

  16. Should, as expected, the Tories win the C&N by-election and the questions become more focussed concerning Brown’s tenure as Prime Minister, would Labour be wiser to stay with Brown for the long-haul or prepare for a leadership change? If so the latter, who would possibly be best qualified to get Labour out of their current morass – if that is at all possible?

  17. martin luther king once dreamed of people being judged by the content of their personality and not the colour of their skin.

    i dream of a labour party not judging people on their background but their personality and ability.

    their campeign in crewe reminds everybody of racism and the labour party of old.did they ever change,was it a facade?

  18. 17 point lead for the Tories two weeks after the locals. Terrible for Labour and I now think we are now past the point of no return. I mean if they get a new leader it would not change things. The People have had enough!




  19. Alex , only a few months ago your post would have met with a torrent of replies-Labour supporters telling you that Cameron’s lead was slim & fragile-Cautious Conservatives ( like me!) telling you not to count your chickens-many a slip etc.

    But -against my gut instinct for caution-I think you may be justified in saying ” we are now past the point of no return”

    I would prefer to see how things look in six months time though, at the Party Conferences.It was at that time last year that Brown’s courage failed him & Cameron found his.
    The Party Conferences this year will tell us all we need to know I think.

  20. The Scottish figures seem just plain weird. I had my doubts about ComRes and with a sample of only 88 I dismissed the LibDem figure of 19%. However Yougov has results of;

    Labour; 25%, Conservative; 28%, LibDem; 14%, SNP; 30%.

    That would be a Tory jump of about 10% since last month, and i just don’t buy it. I am still in doubt that we are ahead of labour, but it’s believable. I don’t doubt that the Tories are doing better than recently and have said in the past that they could reach 20%, but I just don’t think 28% is credible.

    The last full poll had Labour 34%, SNP 30%, Tories 17%, LibDems 14% and as here it shows Scots far more supportive of Labour and Brown that elsewhere in Britain. On these figures labour are at the same figure in Scotland as the UK in general and that just doesn’t add up with the answers for the other questions.


  21. The government is unquestionably in a worse position than the Tories in 1990.

    It is not in as deep a hole as September 1992 to 1997.

    It’s somewhere in between.
    Make of that what you will.

  22. Peter, with that youGov sample the Oracle will be predicting about 20-30 Tory seats and not just the 11 he has already predicted!!

  23. Peter
    “I don’t doubt that the Tories are doing better than recently and have said in the past that they could reach 20%, but I just don’t think 28% is credible”

    You mean they couldn’t – from one month to the next – increase the number of people supporting them by 87% for no obvious reason? They wouldn’t need to do that for many months in a row would they. Its impossible.

  24. There is an explanation why current Lab losses, (to Con in England) are to SNP rather than Con in Scotland.

    In Westminster as a whole, or looking at England only, FPTP delivers an essentially two-party result. Considering Scottish constituencies alone, this was formerly the case too, but one party, the Conservatives, has been in unremitting decline for half a century.

    More recently, the tide has turned aginst Labour too, but it is as if the Conservatives were no longer there. Their place as the alternate governing party has been taken by the SNP.

    Why the ScotLibDems did not fulfill this role is something for them to ponder, but it may be that they were seen as too close to Labour; just another London-led party; a too-rural party.

    Elections are lost, not won. The SNP gains are nothing to do with Alex Salmond’s charisma, a desire for independence, or Scotland’s Oil. The Conservative gains do not reflect the electorate’s desire for tax cuts and privatisation, nor are they due to Dave Cameron’s captivating charm.

    They are simply the result of a generalised feeling that (to use the SNP’s slogan in another context) “It’s time.”

    Time’s up for Labour. There is nothing remarkable in that. For them, or anybody, three terms is enough. Governments get tired, lose their way, lose contact with the electorate, with the real world.