Tucked away in the Observer there is also news of a YouGov poll for Compass which shows broad support for a one off windfall tax on “oil companies recent profits”. 67% supported a windfall tax, 13% opposed it.

Full tables for the poll are here and also include a voting intention question. Topline figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll, are CON 48%(+3), LAB 26%(+1), LDEM 16%(-2).

51 Responses to “22 point Tory lead from YouGov”

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  1. ‘Tucked away’ is spot on … another enormous Tory lead ‘Tucked away’ in The Observer. On top of that of Tories have improved their standing by 3 points.

    Typical of the Guardian/Observer.

  2. Actually is it news in the Summer months?; another poll showing the normal type lead.

    ‘Tucked away’ is unfair-it’s in the lead story of the paper and the website. It’s only ‘tucked away’ in that the attack on Brown for not agreeing a windfall tax is more newsworthy for the majority of people. To me ‘tucked away’ would be buried in the middle of the paper. Yes, we here like polls so believe they should all be the key story but we are not representative–and it’s certainly in the key story.

    I think there is a little bit of anti-Guardian paranoia here…

  3. Not convinced Jack … especially at the time of the supposed ‘Beijing Brown Bounce’ and the summer months where polls are supposedly kind to Labour.

  4. Thanks Anthony for finding this poll. Shame it does not change the narrative… yet! :D

  5. The Scottish sample figures are;

    Labour 26%, Tory 19%, LibDem 14%, SNP 34%

    From a sample of 156 on the 14-15th Aug .

    That compares with the SNP poll on the 6-8th with a sample of almost 1,100 of

    Labour 29%, Tory 18%, LibDem 13%, SNP 36%.

    So even with the small sample size I think the subsample gives as a good guide to when or if things might change. I wouldn’t go on just one or quote any to within more than 3%, but I still think that they are a good indicator of where things are.

    Though I doubt Anthony can justify doing a seperate Election calculator it might well be that the situation in Scotland will throw out anything produced by a UK wide one. Although all universal swing models are pretty much blind to real world regional variations.


  6. Been a surprising amount of polling this August…

    Anyway, as summer comes to a close it certainly appera that the Tories are maintaining a very strong advantage over Labour. As we move into autumn and increasing economic difficulty, you get the feeling the Conservatives are building up an unbetable lead.

  7. ‘Not convinced Jack … especially at the time of the supposed ‘Beijing Brown Bounce’ ‘

    But what supports the above idea? Yes, we did well (first time for a 100 years, so what have we been doing? We may well have ‘beaten’ Australia but they have a 1/3rd of the population of GB – that means we should have won something like 40 Gold medals to equal them…), but when politicians link to something like this I would suggest most smell a rat…

    At most I would suggest a very temporary boost on the day of the bus Olympic tour of London before hip pocket nerve (‘I’m out of a job!!!’) makes the polls go back to normal.

  8. I think, (with the exception of the very knowledgeable Peter Cairns), we do tend to over-analyise the Scottish sub samples a bit too much, and, they of course fluctuate because they aren’t weighted, and are too small to weight reliably.

    My general thinking on the Scottish situation is the SNP honeymoon (aswell as some gravitas from winning) vs some swing back to Labour for Westminster politics will largely cancel out to produce a General Election result quite like the May 2007 result.
    I think the Tories might have a chance of adding a point or two since then.

  9. 33-33-18-13-3


  11. Somebody above mentioned “a Brown Olympics boost” – i would think quite the opposite will happen after Mr.Brown appeared at the end of Olympics to take advantage of the British success there – along with the quivering bottom lip.

    All this will show to the public is the British stiff upper lip in action by our athletes in the Olympics during a time of unprecedented decline of the standard of living back home in the UK.

    There will be no POLL boost for Labour after the Olympics – the gap will just get wider and wider.

  12. Why a Brown Olympic boost? Surely aBoris Olympic boost – he will presumably be hosting the triumphal tour. GB will not be pleased.

  13. There were only two reasons for watching the closing ceremony – Boris and Jimmy. Both did us proud…

    Why no comment about ‘windfall taxes’ – of corse people will ‘vote’ for them as they seem a pretty cosy way of the Government taking money without taking me. They are however: 1) Distorting of the market (fear of them pushes up prices and margins); 2) Unfair (how do we define ‘windfall’ and ‘recent’

    The only circumstances where clawing back profits might be justified would be where that extra surplus derives directly from an action of government.

  14. This idea of the Beijing Bounce isn’t going to happen. At a time when people are struggling to pay for their food shopping, pay for the mortgage and have no idea how they’re going to pay the gas bill this winter, the Olympics are a distraction at best.

  15. I’m quite staggered that the Conservative figure is as high as 48% – that’s only 1% less than at the immeduiate aftermath of the local elections.

  16. The one thing that is guaranteed by a bounce is that it will eventually fall to the ground, a spent force. I doubt Gordon Brown will ever be considered anything than a spent force himself, he lacks gravitas, sincerity and original ideas.

  17. The party conference season is nearly upon us and what an interesting prospect that looks set to be certainly so far as the Labour one is concerned. A year ago I put the odds on a recession as no better than 20% but now it is probably only 20% that we WON’T have one. Now that recession if there is one may indeed bottom out by this time next year but even optimists in the Labour party can clearly see that any recovery will not have time to seep through to the electorate in time for the general election.
    So increasingly the question for Labour is –what does it gain us to hang on until the last moment if the verdict of the voters is likely to be the same whenever the poll is called? Better perhaps to take defeat on the jaw this autumn let Cameron sort out the mess and become unpopular doing so whilst we work out in opposition what went wrong and where we are headed.
    But of course we already know that Brown will never call an early election so none of this can happen unless Labour find a way of getting rid of him and to me that means that a leading figure-step forward Jack Straw -has to stand up at the conference and challenge Brown. Has anyone got the guts?

  18. As Iain Dale pointed out last week virtually the whole Scottish media is hammering the SNP all the time at the moment. It goes without saying that the Union supporting media (virtually all of it) is the last effective defender of the Union in Scotland and were it in any way balanced the Scottish figures would look very different.
    I expect there will be shading off of the SNP figures over the next immediate period until the public realise what is going on and the repetitive attacks on the SNP lose their effectiveness. I think the SNP is sitting with a full house hand at the monent but won’t put it in play till this little firestorm burns out.

  19. Nick, I fancy they will ditch Brown late this year, have a leadership election election through winter, with a new leader crowned Feb or March. This will lead to a general election being called spring, probably for June 11th 2009.

  20. GIN

    all gordon brown will do is move his team around to suite him and him alone but we must not rule out an election if as predicted gordon brown dose get the boot however unlikely the new leader will call an election as soon as he or she can, but if an election is called for say june 2009 then the govenment will be wiped out the only hope for them is to call an election i 2010 when the economic weather is better and asy we got throught this in tact vote for us if the economy dose go into a full down turn then nothing can save labour from a kick in the balls by the votes of this country who want change for the better

  21. Sorry if I’m missing something but as almost everyone agrees GB is not going to go wthout a fight! If as Nick Keene suggests Jack Straw goes to him and tells him the Cabinet won’t support him I have to say I’d be very surprised if GB meekly says OK organise a leadership election.

    Maybe I’m misjudging the man but I think he’d be absolutely furious and take action to destroy his critics. He could call an immediate GE and the result would, of course, see the end of him but unlike the possible scenario postulated to him by Jack Straw it would destroy the Blairite wing almost completely. The Labour party would then be able to reconstruct itself in its heartlands and whether that’s good or bad others can judge. But as far as GB was concerned he’d be out of office (but that would happen anyway) and he could take his pension, his loss of office cash benefit and could write his memoirs in peace, whilst watching Cameron cope with the mess he’s left It has its attractions don’t you think?

  22. Peter:

    “I doubt Anthony can justify doing a seperate Election calculator”

    Would YouGov do that for a separate country? Do we lose YouGov in 32 months time? Should we stick with the Union because (although you could still visit your Granny after independence) YouGov will cut us off?

  23. ‘This idea of the Beijing Bounce isn’t going to happen. At a time when people are struggling to pay for their food shopping, pay for the mortgage and have no idea how they’re going to pay the gas bill this winter, the Olympics are a distraction at best.’

    Agreed. Brown talks a bounce as he wants ‘Britain’ to exist as he talks as a Scot and so wants Britain to exist as he then keeps his job. Let’s just consider the 6 nation rugby, the inability to hold Scotland / England football matches… Devolution is a process… ask the Slovak republic…

  24. I think that a regions & nations poll can be justified if the political situations seem to warrant it.

    I think that the rise of the SNP and Plaid Cymru are relevant deviations from the uniform swing model, as they are strong parties, yet highly localised (I assume that no SNP or PC candidate will stand outside Scotland/Wales).

    I think, as opposed to Peter, that the uniform swing model is, on the whole, effective (see its past record) but cannot account for regionalised parties, so when they become stronger, they deviate from the model.

  25. To continue my theme. I feel that the coming Labour party conference sort of resembles a wine bottle standing on a table alongside a corkscrew. If somebody of substance has the courage to take the corkscrew and attempt to uncork the bottle anything could happen-we would be in uncharted waters. Of course Brown won’t go quietly but he may have no choice if his cabinet deserts him.
    As for the Tories it would be best for them if Brown hangs on until May 2010 even at the cost of a larger majority since that will give them ample time to straighten out the economy by 2015. Although I detect an impatience to get back into power after 11 years in the wilderness they can surely sit it out for another 20 months. I just don’t think taking power now is really in their interests.

  26. Nick,

    I agree with your analysis BUT I was looking at what was likely to be the most attractive option from GB’s position. Of course from DC’s perspective a delay until 2010 may well be better. However what neither of us know is what the Labour Party will do. My instinct is that they will hang on if only because avoiding unemployment will probably seem more attractive!

    However the other problem with that is whether the Trade Unions will fund the Party without getting something significant in return. What effect that might have on the scale of the Labour loss is open to debate but it could certainly increase it! In short it seems as if the Labour Party is between a rock and a hard place and IF this morning’s paper is anything to go by GB doesn’t seem inclined to submit to Union demands!!

  27. There’s another reason for not calling an election now, and that is that the Labour Party has not yet convinced itself that it can’t win in 2010.

    The gloom descended rapidly over the last twelve months. Triumphal “old-right” voices have since emerged with ideas such as school vouchers, and tax breaks for the wealthiest are already in the offing.

    Do these voices really reflect the mood of the electorate, when a poll suggests 67% in favour of what can only be described as an “old-left” policy of relieving the energy companies of a large portion of hteir profit?

    I reckon Brown thinks he can win.

  28. John TT

    I think in general terms people are in favour of a windfall tax because they feel ripped off on gas and oil prices. I don’t think they feel that way because its an “old left” policy.

    On the windfall tax – I would be very surprised if The Government actually go for this. Firstly there’s a fair chance they would lose in court if the companies weren’t inclined to pay up without a fight. The circumstances are very much different to the last windfall tax. Secondly, it sends the wrong message to business and the companies caught by this may well just decide to relocate elsewhere which would cost an awful lot in future tax revenue.

  29. Oh and GB is totally deluding himself if he believes there is even the remotest chance of him winning.

  30. KTL – I bow to your wisdom re Brown’s so-called self-delusion.
    I had thought over the top remarks like that were non grata here. Forgive me for not joining in.

    On the windfall tax, your explanation is clearly of an “old-left” style policy. Hit the profiteering, powerful big private companies in the pocket and hand the proceeds out to the deserving public. I don’t see what is not “old-left” about that.

    You seem very confident that the Conservatives will win the next election. No doubt there are similarities with 1997 – a tired greying government blown away by a younger, media-savvy party.

    The main difference is that Blair had a big idea – “Spend Money on the Public Services” – and the electorate agreed.

    Cameron doesn’t have a big idea for us to agree with apart from that he is not Gordon Brown, and that we’d better all jolly around local charitable activity and sort ourselves out.

    Is that really enough to carry him through another two years?

  31. A windfall tax is generally popular because it gives the impression that ‘someone else’ will pay, even if that gives companies an excuse to raise the prices they charge customers and increase their profits at the public expense.

    Until a general election is called all parties have a chance of winning because there is still the window for a major turnaround and the likelihood that events will impact upon popular opinion – it may be remote, but the Greens or BNP could sweep to power, though it’s not that the circumstances of their victory would suggest a positive situation for the country.

  32. Windfall tax is something which sounds catchy, but is a sticking plaster job.
    What we need to do is create some genuine competition in the industry.

  33. john tt
    Why do you say Cameron has to get through the next two years without a big idea?
    First of all it ain’t two years until the next election has to be held but more like 20 months. Constitutionally the government could hang on until June 2010 but almost certainly any poll that year will be held on the first Thursday in May to coincide with the local elections. To try to persuade party workers to continually campaign for up to 2 months would not be sensible.
    Secondly not only would an election called for around 1 May 2010 have to be announced as early as mid March but the country would have been in election mode since Christmas-and I suspect that most people will have long made up their minds which way to vote by then.
    Lastly even Neil Kinnock could have won the 1997 election with no more policies than a promise to knight the then Welsh rugby team. It’s an old axiom-oppositions don’t win elections governments just lose them.

  34. Nick – so you agree he doesn’t have any ideas, you just (quite correctly) point out that May 2010 is closer than August 2010.

    Blair promised to spend a lot of money on public services, and he promised there’d be a minimum wage.

    The electorate hasn’t obviously changed its collective mind on either of those things.

    Even Alan Duncan is describing the windfall tax idea as “old-fashioned socialist anger” driving policy. And yet 67% of the public are in favour. Are you suggesting they can be persuaded otherwise?

  35. Sorry, that last para was addressed to KTL’s remark earlier.

  36. john tt

    Don’t all Labour governments enter office promising to increase public spending on health education and social services? The only thing different about Blair is that he froze any increase for the first two years.
    So who needs a big idea? As a Socialist you presumably believe that government should run our lives whereas I believe that government should interfere as little as possible. From that it stems that you place more value on the big idea than I do. All I want the Tories to do is run the economy properly,look after the vulnerable and sick in society and stay out of unwinnable wars.

  37. Nick – you presume wqrong.

    When you say “all Labour Govts” – I’m only thiinking of the last one (the previous one entered office in the mid-seventies and was a different party from the 1997 version), and it also promised a minimum wage.

    Its idea was the opposite of what the Tories offered, which was more to do with tax breaks and vouchers to encourage participation in US style healthcare, and education vouchers and tax breaks for those who “chose” to top them up with payment for education.

    If the tories decide to give Redwood economics another go and revert back to their 1997 policies, you certainly won’t get the first two of the three items. The challenge for Labour is to succeed in spelling out the facts.

    As for entering unwinnable wars, it would be intereesting to know how many people trust Cameron’s foreign policy on that than Brown’s.

  38. And why is it that the current means of insulting the intelligence of some-one who is neither a neo-LibDem or far right Tory is to use phrases like “as a Socialist, you…” It doesn’t get anyone anywhere, apart from perhaps making you feel more righteous

  39. “It doesn’t get anyone anywhere, apart from perhaps making you feel more righteous”.

    Absolutely, play the ball, not the man. This is not a venue for political debate so we shouldn’t be having any “you’re a socialist you think this”, “you’re a tory you think that”.

    The guide should alway be that we are hear to discuss what we think the polls suggest will happen, not what we’d like to happen or what should happen.

  40. Thanks – I’m sure I’ve crossed that line in the past.

    It can get confusing though, as there is a balance between logos (reason), ethos (character of politician) and pathos (character of sampled voters).

    Ideally, they all are up for discussion, but without slagging each other off.

  41. Whilst trying-as we all do-to obey your rules for your site Anthony, could I be permitted the observation that Nick did not “slagg” anyone off.

    Use of the epithet ” Socialist”-whilst used in a context which breached your rules , was not in any way “insulting”-misdirected maybe-but the term is an honourable one which describes a given set of political beliefs.

    I think Nick used it in that context.

  42. Colin – he didn’t no, I just meant it more that once we all get into our own bunkers and start lumping the other side together as socialists or tories who therefore think this, it becomes an us vs them argument with the other side.

    Nick wasn’t using it in that context, but it’s just a good general rule.

    None of us are here representing Conservatives or Labour supporters, we are just representing ourselves and discussing things we all find interesting, not scoring points off the other side.

  43. Sociaist is a bit of a dirty word – that’s why Alan Duncan used it to slag off the “old-fashioned socialist anger” of those 67% who appove of a windfall tax.

    I’m not among that 67% myself, so I’m clearly not a socialist in Alan Duncan’s book. I wonder how many of them are? Probably not many, but he clearly meant it pejoratively.

    He addressed the character of the polled sample (and presumably the character of the politicians who suggested it) rather than the issue itself – a constant complaint of mine, which Colin and I have discussed (largely in good nature) many times.

    Instead of saying why he thought it a poor idea, giving (boring) detail which might enlighten that 67%, he came up with a sound-byte. Most depressing.

  44. I am puzzled that my use of the word “Socialist’ in this context could be construed as slagging anyone off. That’s not my game as those who regularily use this site would hopefully concur.
    You could I suppose also argue that it is offensive to describe the Conservatives as “Tories” because if my memory serve me well the word “Tories” was the name given to a bunch of brigands and highwaymen operating in the north of Britain some centuries ago.

  45. “because if my memory serve me well the word “Tories” was the name given to a bunch of brigands and highwaymen operating in the north of Britain”

    That will be me then…….


  46. “Oh and GB is totally deluding himself if he believes there is even the remotest chance of him winning.”

    John TT – I don’t believe this comment is over the top and was not meant to be a political point.

    With the election campaign now only 18 months away at its furthest and the polls fairly static it would take something of a miracle for GB to win.

    Our own esteemed host – AW – described GB , in his opinion, as being “finished” as long ago as last Christmas so I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here.

  47. KTL

    it is only a few weeks before the party conferance season and if my reading of the papers and news is right GB is in for one hell of a hard time nd DC will be in heven by the end of his conferance season, the only real change will be a swing in the polls to DC & NC over the next month. looking forward after that the local election are not far away june next year at the latest and labour are not looking good in their normal areas to the north if they fall it will almost be the end of labour as we know it today.

  48. Nick (and KTL) – I do find some of the comments a bit OTT and didn’t agree with Anthony last Christmas. He, in contrast to some people on this site,though, didn’t use phrases like “everyone knows” when giving his opinion. Nor does he describe people who disagree as extremists of any hue.

    Tory has never in my lifetime been used as a dismissive pejorative. Socialist is, especially when capitalised and used in the context of “as a Socialist, you presumably”.

    A more comparable phrase would be “as a far-right winger, you …”. Perfectly reaasonable position to be sincerely on the far-right, but clearly offensive if used by me at the start of a comment.

    All of this of course distracts.

    In my opinion Labour would not have won in 1997 if they had had in their manifesto wholescale re-nationalisation, unilateral nuclear disarmament and a rise in income tax to 98% for the most well off. I certainly wouldn’t have voted for them.

    Likewise, The Tories won’t get in in 2010 if they have 1997 policies in their manifesto.

  49. Peter
    Now there I was thinking you would prefer to be labelled as a reincarnation of Rob Roy…but at least your remark shows that you have retained a sense of humour. May others follow your example and chill out.

  50. Nick,

    Historically Rob roy was originally a cattle thief before he found rebelion more profitable, so on two counts the Tory label fits him pretty well too.


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