YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph has topline figures, with changes since the YouGov poll for the Mirror a fortnight ago, of CON 42%(nc), LAB 33%(-1), LDEM 15%(+1).

The Lib Dems are marginally up, Labour marginally down, but shifts of a single point are insignificant: as with ComRes earlier this week this is a “no change” poll. That in itself is interesting, since we’ve had two shifts in the political scene that could potentially have made a difference to the picture – firstly there has been a return to “normal politics”, with subjects other than the economy sneaking onto the news agenda, and secondly the affair of George Osborne and the Russian billionaire (of course, theoretically both these things could have happened and cancelled one another out!).

Looking at the underlying figures in the poll, the picture is pretty mixed. I’ve highlighted in recent weeks the constrast between questions asking which party people trust most on the economy, and which they trust to deal with the economic crisis right now. Here we get both questions. Labour have a narrow 1 point lead on being the party people would trust to get us out the present crisis, but asked which party they trust on the economy in general the Conservatives continue to lead by 34% to 30%.

Brown is still considered to have handled the crisis well by a narrow plurality of people (48%), with 45% thinking he has handled it badly. Worse is that now more people (27%) are saying their opinion of Brown has gone down in recent weeks than up (21%). Even so, while people might say their opinion of Brown hasn’t risen, his approval ratings in all the polls in recents months speaks for itself (I haven’t seen the figures in this one yet, but I’d be amazed if they weren’t up from the pre-crisis figures!)

YouGov also asked about George Osborne and Peter Mandleson and both are damned by the public, albeit it appears that Mandleson has come off marginally worse – 63% think his behaviour was “wrong and also very foolish” compared to 53% for Osborne.

30 Responses to “YouGov’s October Poll”

  1. “63% think his behaviour was “wrong and also very foolish” compared to 53% for Osborne.”

    So much for the media narrative!

  2. This poll suggests that the Labour revival has levelled off at about the time many of us expected. How fast it drops away may be influenced by the result of the Glenrothes by election which is too close to call.
    I await the next Populus poll with interest.

  3. Again it seems that the media momentum is still with Labour. Reaction for this poll from The Telegraph, or Torygraph as it is sometimes called “Credit crunch slashes Conservative lead” even though as Anthony posts it is actually a slight rise in the Conservative lead from the last Yougov.

    It shows how much the media momentum has turned when you consider that the Telegraph runs what could have been used as a positive for its favored party as a negative.

  4. TJ – There’s quite a contrast between the Telegraph’s main coverage of it, which paints it as a good poll for Brown, and Tony King’s analysis, which paints it rather negatively for Brown (strangely enough given how a lot of people accuse Tony King of being pro-Labour when he appears on the telly).

  5. Anthony, yup. The Telegraph have done that odd thing that papers always do, whereby they ignore other papers and therefore create their own narrative with polls. The one they have picked to compare this with is, I think, nearly five weeks old. But the most recent YouGov is by far the more useful comparison, rather than the last YouGov the Telegraph happened to do. Not trying to say this a purposeful attempt to skew the narrative, but it is careless.

  6. no real change again but as with the above comments leveling off but i would say that the conservatives have done well to stay this high, i exspect to see a up turn in the conservative poll rating next month nov prediction

    CON 44%
    LAB 29%
    LD 16%
    OTH 11%

  7. Frankly, I think the Tories are lucky not to have fallen further, with Osborne.
    They need to do more to sharpen up their economic critique.
    Labour has failed to advance further, but holding around a third of the vote does give them a chance.
    Lib Dems up 1% – where’s our friend Thomas – must be very excited.

  8. I think this poll was reflected perfectly in the action of PMQ’s: Cameron correctly critised Brown for being wrong, Brown counters by stating correctly that Cameron doesn’t have a plan and would be no better, followed by Clegg struggling to make an impression.

    Really the current situation should be an opportunity for the third party, but it seems they are hindered by a structural bias against them which is stoking opposition to all three Westminster parties and the general system of politics we have in this country.

    It is interesting that the number of others remains strong and the number of DKs appears to be gradually rising – which means the outcome of the general election is definitely uncertain.

  9. I must confess that I am having doubts that my guess that Labour will be averaging 25% by the end of November will prove true.

    The Queen’s speech this year will be on the 3rd of December. It will be interesting to see what impact that will have on the polls.

    I am sure that the last twelve months of polls demonstrate that there is around about 7 or 8% of the voting population who have not made a firm decision about which party is best. This segment of society’s support for any party should be regarded as fragile.

    At present most of this approx. 7 or 8% is siding with Labour. But this could change fairly rapidly.

  10. The media coverage seems justified, on the grounds that everyone already hated Mandelson, whereas most people didn’t realise that Osborne was only 10 percentage points worse than him…

  11. Anthony – I thought that strange, headline negative for Conservative, report negative for Brown. The again, apart from poll geeks(…er is that us?)most people will just read the headline, look at the nice graphics and think that the Conservative lead has been SLASHED.

  12. Just the lull before the storm – this is as high as Labour will go in the POLLS – already there are bad headlines and comments from financial pundits about what a bad decision it was to hand over billions of pounds to the banks and watch them swallow it up and still hand over big bonus’s to the boards of the banks.

    If this is the best taht Brown can do after so much media coverage & the suffocating of the Tory conference – then that is as best as he can & will do !

    Double figure leads again in November – they always look better in the list – lol.

  13. (strangely enough given how a lot of people accuse Tony King of being pro-Labour when he appears on the telly).

    But surely no-one whose views are worth listening to says that?

    Isn’t the Mandelson/Osborne thing simply explained by people’s pre-existing views of them both – Mandelson is very unpopular, Osborne essentially unknown except for those for whome inheriting a lot of money was the most important thing in life and for whome he is very popular. So from that base it’s bad for Osborne.

  14. The interesting thing to observe over the next few months is whether Brown’s handling of the crisis will be viewed in such a popular light. At present no-one is experiencing the cost of having bailed out the banks to the tune of billions. But that money has had to be borrowed and interest will be clocking up on it right now. With falling tax receipts, no apprent cuts in public spending we seem to be heading for ever more borrowing and ever greater future debt. The point at which this all begins to dawn might just be the point that Brown’s reputation is really sunk for good.

    I would also just ask a question (this in not directly related to the polls but I’m sure the intelligent contributors on here could answer it) I have heard no-one else ask in recent months and it is this. Over the last few years when large companies have faced particular financial problems (eg Rover Group) we were told that no help could be given because it would contravene EU laws on state aid. In the last few weeks every EU country has bailed out its banks and Italy has continued to prop up ALITALIA. So has the law been changed without anyone hearing about it or was the law never really that hard and fast and just another EU urban legend???

  15. I think the states aid rules have a clause covering situations where the national interest overides competition concerns, but the EU did formally have to approve the UK bank bail outs.
    I think these polls show tat the Tories have secured a good level of fairly solid support, but Labour have now recovered from a dire position to a merely bad one. I still feel that the economic situation may still have some surprises in store for the political scene. There are some very tentative signs that UK house price falls are slowing, and the US economic numbers were better than expected this week. There is a long way to go, but everyone expects the economy to be a disaster zone by the next election – if it is better than that Brown will claim – and possibly get – some credit. Borrowing doesn’t win or lose elections – its the effects of borrowing that voters decide on, and these can be years down the track.

  16. *
    These Polling Figures Are Percentages of Percentages,

    CON 44%
    LAB 29%
    LD 16%
    OTH 11%

    That Above 100%
    Equals Less Than 50%
    Of The Registered Electorate


    The Apathetic Voter Is In The Ascendancy


  17. In answer to the question regarding financial help to private companies, the difference between say Rover and the banking institutions is that the whole economic stability of all the countries in the world is under great threat at present. To do nothing would mean economic catastrophe for every person and every country not just a few thousand people who work in say Rover. The Government has a responsibility for protecting economic stability in a crisis and this is what they did. Firstly they had to get the approval from the EU which was granted. It would not of course be granted to say, help Rover or the local shop.

    Each of the political parties have their own way of handling economics, some may chose to let institutions go to the wall and others may chose to do what they can to help, both courses of action can of course also lead to economic problems of their own as most of us will realise! Sometimes it’s a choice, millions on the dole or borrowing lots of money, which in turn will lead to fewer millions on the dole than otherwise but is likely to put up tax in the long run. On the subject of tax I was wondering if the Tory proposals for fuel duty, which would mean an extra 5p on a litre of petrol right now becasue of the drop in oil prices would prove popular with the electorate and bolster their support? Whichever party we may support, sound economics are based on sound policy and there seems to be a yawning gap on that from all directions at present.

    I note that, in my opinion, despite the Telegraph’s incorrect negative headline, the poll in the Telegraph shows a good result for the Tories but also a Labour figure only 3% less than they polled at the last GE. Some may think it strange under the circumstances that Labour are still polling at that level.

  18. Scotland figures are;

    Labour 40%, SNP 30%, Tory 19%, Libems 8%, others 3%.

    Gordon Browns popularity has gone up by 36% compared to a Uk 21% and instead of going down 27% it has only fallen by 19%.

    Not great for us with only a week till Glenrothes, still there is still time left and I am down there tomorrow.


  19. I see this ‘story’ about a convicted drugs dealer who was released from a 17 year jail sentence after just 11 months in 1996 alleging Michael Howard was paid a bribe has surfaced again (Telegraph Online). This type of negative publicity story is the sort of thing that knocks a few percentage points of any political party whether it is true or not. Both main parties have probably suffered from unproven claims at some time or other but this sort of thing can be the difference between winning and losing public support.

    I bet there are a few angry people out there at the moment at Millbank.

  20. …and some embarrasment in Victoria Street at this evening’s resignation by an SAS commander in Afghanistan, because of the “chronic underinvestment” in equipment by the Ministry of Defence which he says was to blame for the death of four of his troops.

    “Spending our way out of recession” doesn’t sit comfortably with that accusation.

  21. Peter

    On a strictly personal level I hope you make it there this time. :)

  22. I’m inclined to think his poll is pretty accurate – YouGov usually are. It shows that the gains made by Brown over the Banks/Financial crisis have stuck and been maintained.It also shows that Labour haven’t eaten any further into the Tory lead.

    So where do we go from here? – With all the negative economic news in the pipeline I still can’t see how Labour can go up from here. My gut feeling is that they are at or close to their high point before falling back. However given the recent Brown mini-bounce I’ll be surprised if they fall back as far as 20 points behind again.

    Looking forward to an interestng winter of politics with the Glenrothes by election and the pre budget report both upon us in the next couple of weeks.

  23. I think this poll is pretty accurate – it feels about right.
    We’ll just have to see if
    i) this turns out to be pretty much the General Election result,
    ii) whether Labour can chip away further on the Tories as they come under the spotlight, or even overtake them just (I don’t think we’ve done very well over the last 6 or 7 weeks – but nor have we seen our lead collapse),
    iii)or whether the government struggles politically as the domestic recession takes hold, away from the glamour of rescuing banks etc and outside events.

  24. I haven’t posted here for some time but things seem to be much the same as usual. For example:
    * Too many contributors assume that, like them, everyone else is a Tory supporter and will share their glee when things go badly for Labour and start to worry when poll results shift away from them.
    * Also assume that it goes without saying that Labour ministers are corrupt, incompetent, or both
    * That Gordon Brown is not only both the above, but also an obvious loser.
    * That the media – including especially the BBC – are part of an anti-Tory conspiracy.

    Well, I won’t try to be a rival “Oracle” but I will just point out that:
    1) there will be no election for many months, probably not until 2010. And a year is a VERY long time in politics.
    2) On several recent poll results, including this YouGov, Labour are at least within reach of spoiling the smooth progress of smooth Cameron into No.10 The Tory hopes for a 1997-type landslide have evaporated. Their best hope might be as the largest party in a hung parliament – and there is at least a possibility that Labour could win a 4th term.
    3) Tories may froth at the mouth at the thought, but it is not obvious to the British people that the world-wide financial problem was caused by Labour (despite Osbourne’s mantra of repeating ad nauseam the phrase “Brown’s recession”)
    4) Nor – see section above this – is it clear that the electorate have much affection for the conservatives or have been convinced that Labour is just as sleazy.
    5) There is no obvious reason – apart from wishful thinking – to expect the huge Tory poll leads (and the resulting Labour panic) will return. It is far more probable that this will be a long drab spell of more normal “mid-term” politics, with small movements in either direction rather than any knockout.

  25. John H – er… on point 4, did you read my most recent post, the one above this. There is very good reason indeed to think the electorate think Labour are just as sleazy. In fact, the semi-regular pair of YouGov questions about whether they see the parties as sleazy has consistently shown a greater proportion of people think Labour is sleazy than do the Conservatives since 2002.

    This month’s figures were particularly notable because the proportion of people who think Labour are sleazy has fallen by a sizable proportion since last year… but it is still the case that significantly more people think Labour are sleazy than do the Tories.

    It isn’t clear that people have any particular affection for the Tories, but on the specific point os sleaze Labour have been seen as the sleazier party more many years: Brown appears to have started to pull that back, but still a long way to go.

  26. “but it is not obvious to the British people that the world-wide financial problem was caused by Labour”

    I think this statement qualifies as a “straw man”.
    No one has suggested it …have they?

    Perhaps you meant to say “it is not obvious to the British people that Labour bears no responsibility for the UK financial problem”…and you would be correct.

    In the 27/29 October YouGov Poll 75% thought that Brown “bears some or much of the responsibility for allowing lending and borrowing in this country to get out of hand in the first place.”

  27. JohnH,

    “* Too many contributors assume that, like them, everyone else is a Tory supporter”

    Do you have anything approaching a fact to back that up. I wouldn’t disagree that there are probably more Tory voters than anyone else at the moment and that there are a few regulars who like tend to froth at the mouth a bit.

    By and large I suspect that if someone did a count we might well see the breakdown as something like the current polls; 40, 30, 15, 15 although as one of the last 15% I probably single handedly blow that out of the water….

    more importantly if you only counted one post per person I suspect that you’d find a good mix although to small and self selecting a sample to find any real meaning.

    Mind you if we assume we are all panel members and log in using the same e-mail as our panel access maybe Anthony could get us the details on the make up of posters, although i suspect it’s probably confidential.



  28. How about a third explanation for the financial and banking crisis.
    (Than the two options repeatedly offered)

    It’s international because it’s affecting several countries, but we are one of the ones that contributed to it.
    Really I think the explanation for this is the banks gave loans irresponsbily, and this has exposed different flaws in the regulators in different countries.
    I’m not asking for complex rules, but the housing inflation (mainly M3) should have been part of the Bank’s remit.
    Also, there have been a number of failures in the FSA which show it lacks teeth separated from the Bank.

  29. John H

    “The Tory hopes for a 1997-type landslide have evaporated. Their best hope might be as the largest party in a hung parliament – and there is at least a possibility that Labour could win a 4th term.”

    At this point Labour could still win a 4th term and the Tories could still win a landslide.
    However based on the last years polling and with a recession about to bite even a neutral would have to say that a Tory landslide is more likely.

    Bookies don’t often get it wrong – take a look at the odds currently being offered on the GE result on

  30. Glenrothes and Fife Result

    52% of The Registered Electorate Voted
    48% of The Registered Electorate Did Not Vote
    100% of The Illiterati Did Knot Vote

    Old Labour In New Double Brown Brand BlairVision2012 Won The Seat

    The Apathetic Voter Won The Day

    The Sitting Member In Parliament Is Supported By Less Than 20 % of The Constituency Population