YouGov’s final poll of the year for the Telegraph has topline figures, with changes from their last poll, of CON 42%(+1), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 14%(-1). It was conducted between the 16th and 18th December.

Clearly there is no significant change on the last YouGov poll, though collectively their last few polls have been showing a slight trend back to the Conservatives. That trend is not, however, supported by any of the other polling companies, so I’d be slightly wary about reading too much into that just yet.

53 Responses to “YouGov show a 7 point Tory lead”

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  1. I think you will find thay YouGov had the nearest figurers at the last 2 elections.

  2. I’m actually quite surprised as I thought Labour would benefit slightly by the fact it’s Christmas and a disproportionately higher number of wealthier core Tories would be out doing their shopping.
    I would agree with John Smith, however – YouGov was also almost spot on with the race for London mayor while other pollsters were suggesting Livingstone would win.

  3. The LibDem figure is astonishingly low – YouGov were showing them on 24% in the run up to the 2005 election.

  4. Andy D

    When views get polarised (You either love this Government or hate em) its sort of inevitable that the LDs will get squeezed.

    I’d be surprised if the LDs poll that low in a GE but its not impossible.

  5. I gather that there is one last pre Christmas poll to come and that this will be from Com Res in the Indy. Given that the last two polls from Com Res have shown Tory leads of only 1% then it would come as no surprise if the latest effort produced a Labour lead.
    I know Anthony that you have asked Com Res to explain why they have altered their 2005 base which may or may not explain the narrowness of the Tory lead and why they are out of line with the other polls. Pleading Christmas and flu they did not immediately respond to your queries but I don’t see how can they issue another poll without answering your points.

  6. this poll could be the first set of realilisation seting in with the british public that the govenment has used up its last few (real ideas) and is now out of steam, in the post xmas polling sesion i exspect that we will see a widening of the CON-LAB gap in the polls and another drop in lib dem voe to 12-14% by the end of JAN-FEB, but moving on to the year as a whole its been a good one for the conservatives and a bad one for labour and the lib dems.

  7. A 7 point leads seems about right though maybe each party should drop 1% to the LD’s.

    Both GB and DC can take some comfort from this poll. I concur that I would not be surprised to see Labour level with the Tories in the Com Res poll.

  8. I still have difficulty understanding that a 7 point lead for the tories would see them short of a majority by about 15 seats.

    It really is an affront to democracy.

  9. Wills is right, although I think the Conservatives could win an overall majority with a 7 point lead, bearing in mind the swings are generally likely to be bigger in the marginals.

  10. Wills
    Would you prefer to replace the “first past the post” system by one or other types of proportional representation? It would certainly be fairer (for voters) – and Blair/Jenkins nibbled at the idea for a while in Labour’s first term. And the “unfairness” arises, at least partly, because the “left” is more fragmented than the right.

    A fairer voting system would almost certainly result in very few (if any) majority governments for either Tory or Labour. And because the Lib Dems tend towards the left (well, on the whole they are less inclined towards the right), you would probably see very few coalition governments that included the Tories.

  11. The Weighted Moving Average is 40:34:16 which gives the smallest CLead since Feb (so contra Anthony there is no evidence of recovery). The only recent polls that have been “rogues” have been ICM 26/11 and ComRes 30/11 which have been out by +6.6 and -6.4 respectively. Note that these errors have cancelled themselves out as we would expect.

    ComRes has no systematic bias pro or anti- Tory but it shares with Mori the dubious distintinction of being the most erratic of the pollsters, with a Std of 3.5. So we should read even less into a single ComRes poll than into any other single poll.

    Although in theory a 7% CLead would not give them a majority, in practice it would because democracy doesn’t do uniform swings in that kind of situation.

  12. The way to counter the ‘affront to democracy’ charge would be to have list systems and allocate seats on the basis of national poll share percentages. This would, I think, be less democratic as it would leave selection of MPs in the centrist hands of political party managers. The personal local choice would be removed and it would abolish parliamentary constituencies. Whatever the deficiencies in the present boundary system, it is probably the best we can devise. I believe that in the 60s to 80s the Conservatives benefited disproportionately from it.
    PR would surely result in the unwieldy decision making and horse-trading that we sometimes witness in the EU.

  13. Glad to see predictions fulfilled and this poll – showing a Tory lead – being lauded as the true reflection of the British public, whilst others like ComRes are written off as skewed due to everyone being out shopping / drinking.

    A 7 point lead being an affront to democracy? Leaving aside the very valid point about there having been no complaints when the electoral system benefited the Conservatives, remember that it is quite feasible for the Tories to govern the UK with a mere handful of seats in Scotland, Wales and the North, whereas Labour has to win many seats in the South East to gain a majority.

  14. Of course, British democracy is a sick joke! Labour had only 30% more votes than the Lib Dems and yet had 300% more seats!

    Colin, I was interested to read about predictions concerning high inflation returning sometime next year.

    Rising unemployment impacts relatively few directly but rising inflation affects everyone. And so if inflation does rise considerably I expect Labour’s popularity suffer accordingly.

  15. We need fixed term Parliaments, with an effective boundary review during each Parliament working to the fixed timetable.

    It is ludicrous that the PM (regardless of Party) can have so much leeway in deciding when to hold an election.

    The only time an election should be held early is in the event of a vote of no confidence in the Government – that way it is possible for Parliament to vote for an early election, but it is not desirable for the incumbent Government to seek to gerrymander a vote for one!

  16. Warren: The question of whether a poll is an outlier compared to the Weighted Moving Average has nothing to do with political preferences: indeed as I noted the last two “rogues” have been out by over 6% in opposite directions. No individual poll will give you a very reliable number: empirically the 90% confidence interval is about +/-5%.

  17. Nice to see a number of the UKPR rules being used almost immediately.

  18. I am still amazed that Labour even have a double figure in the POLLS – I thought only Blair had the spell on the British public – looks Brown has picked up the magic spell.

    Watching a news channel the other night they were reading out some emails from the week – one of them said ” Why are so many people criticising Mr.Brown when he has reduced mortgage repayments and lowered the price of petrol” – the mind boggles – these people actually have the vote !

    So – no ! I am not surprised that he is only 7 points behind – never mind PR or first past the post – we should have the old Rhodesian political knowledge based voting system.

    Now that would see a change in voting results !

  19. “we should have the old Rhodesian political knowledge based voting system” – votes for whites only (with a few token minorities thrown in), Mr Oracle?

  20. Anthony. I know BPIX is not part of the “Club”, as it were, and should not be included in your comparative comments. However, I presume that the poll is run by serious academics and I believe it would be helpful to include their results on this site, with whatever qualifications you wish to put, rather than ignore them altogether. Can you explain why you disagree?

  21. In terms of making the political system fairer to the Tories the simplest solution would be to have the Boundary Commission work using population projections (like they do for council seats) not census figures which are already years out of date before the Boundary Commission start and then more years before the election is held on them. The boundary changes that have come in for the next election are based on 2001 census so could be 9 years out of date before the first election is held on them.

  22. Mike,
    “we should have the old Rhodesian political knowledge based voting system”

    Hmm, depends who’s writing the questions in the test! With all the best will in the world if I were given the task I’m sure that those deemed ‘fit to vote’ would have a slight bias to the ‘right’. Not very democratic.

    I think there’s something rather comforting about people voting selfishly (even if devoid of wisdom) rather than on party lines. It ensures that those in government are kept on their toes.

    If you believe, as I do, that Labour policy will result in economic and social collapse as it always has in the past then a good result for the Tories is guaranteed.

  23. andy d ,we dont live in a democracy?
    we have an unelected pm,a police force controlled by labour,and a party in power who have increased taxes by the largest margin in history,but pledged not to do so.

    in real life this lot would be in jail.

  24. Would S. Johnston have made the same charges against the Major government of 1990 – 1992?

  25. Oh dear,my UKPR rule of totally ignoring the poll and ranting about the government seems to be taken to the extreme.

    Mike, I actually think you do the Labour Party some good, as people like you are still there in the majority in the Conservative Party, so when you scratch only slightly beneath the top layer of DaveCam’s new Conservatives, the old party is still alive and kicking.Keep up the good work.

    The poll itself could indeed be the start of a change, a change has to start somewhere.However, there needs to be a few more polls producing a movement towards the Conservatives to say it is actually a shift. Taking into account what time of year it is, we wont get them for a few weeks.That doesnt even take into account Anthony warning not to overdo the results of polls near Christmas.So I can see the ComRes being a justifyer of this poll or a “we should ignore it as it is out of step with the others” poll.Depending how much bias of your own politics you use when looking at i it’s results.It will e funnty to see the majority of the posters on here lord it if it shows a big lead for the Conservatives, seeing the last few week they have been slagging it off for not showing one.We all know it will happen if it does.

    The first few in the new year will almost tell you if there is going to be an early election or not.

  26. One thing that has been biased towards Labour is the number of shops highlighting the reduction in the VAT in a good light.

    Marks and Spencers, not a store that I would have thought would be pro Labour, actually advertises it as a major plus for buying more and ends with the words “Thank You Darling”.

  27. “Would S. Johnston have made the same charges against the Major government of 1990 – 1992?”

    In terms of unelected PMs, not necessarily. John Major did at least have a contest with Michael Heseltine and Douglas Hurd.

  28. re the early election question – it’s almost too late to have an early one. Either spring or autumn next year or hang on till the end.

    I don’t see things getting rosy quickly next year so in theory, no sign of the solid stable labour need to think about calling an election.

  29. Ivan The Terrible

    You say:

    “If you believe, as I do, that Labour policy will result in economic and social collapse as it always has in the past then a good result for the Tories is guaranteed.”

    Well I totally disagree. ‘Economic and social collapse’ are the hallmarks of Thatcherite Conservatism……

    Who was it that presided over 3 very serious recessions, 3 periods of substantial unemployment, destroyed mining/ manufacturing communities, privatisation of public assets, extolled the supremacy of the individual over the whole/ collective and embedded the neo-liberal orthodoxy in the UK from 1979 to 1997???

    Granted Labour has adopted essentially this orthodoxy…thats why we are in the serious economic and social mess we are in today. Unforetunately Gordon Brown could be said to have a confused message, but at least both he and Blair tried to modify its effects. See ‘Sure Start’ initiative, ‘Minimum Wage’, new school buildings and hospitals, the ‘Banking Bailout’.

    Incidentally, for what it is worth I would put my money on an Autumn General Election.

    Sorry about my partisan reply Anthony, but I felt I needed to make a contribution to balance Ivans comment !

  30. @ JohnC – unfortunately Labour rather brought the “unelected PM” charges upon itself when it bypassed a leadership contest and instead anointed Brown as premier.My parents are lifelong Labour Party members and campaigners and even they were horrified by the undemocratic, almost monarchial way in which power was transferred from Blair to Brown.

    Major, I seem to recall, succeeded Thatcher only after a hard fought leadership contest.

  31. Tony Jones: “Mike, I actually think you do the Labour Party some good, as people like you are still there in the majority in the Conservative Party, so when you scratch only slightly beneath the top layer of DaveCam’s new Conservatives, the old party is still alive and kicking.Keep up the good work.”

    Tony you really really demean yourself by this comment. I wonder if you are married to a Labour minister (have you seen the news today?).

    Trying to suggest a majority of Tories believe this kind of crap is despicable, and demonstrates you completely underestimate your political opponents. I am a Tory activist, whilst also having friends who are Lab and Lib supporters – I have respect for people of most persuasions, with the exception of people like you and Mike “The Orifice” who obviously rarely step outside your own bubble!

    As to the polls, slightly balanced view might be that there is good and bad news for both GB and DC, and very bead for Mr Clegg

  32. Partisans ( like me I suppose!!) will always choose the poll which best reflects the state of the opinion in the country as they would like it to be. it’s called wishful thinking.
    However when the polls are wobbly as they have been since the banking crisis broke then it is as well to look at the wider picture and ask yourself if the fundementals have changed and if they have not why the eventual result of the upcoming general election should be any different from what was predicted 3 months ago. Clearly the bookies and the pundits have done so and concluded that nothing has changed. Labour supporters should chew on that for a bit before going off and making noises about the possibility of an early election . I simply don’t believe we will have a contest until May 2010.

  33. sorry should say very “bad” for Mr Clegg

  34. Going back to the voting system, if we accept that we will probably stick with FPTP – the problem is that Labour seats are generally smaller than Tory ones. As I understand it, the boundary review does not attempt to project future population movements, just to reflect past ones, which means that by the time new constituencies come into force, they are out of date. A more aggressive approach of reviewing constituencies based on future population flows may be worth trying – it might occasionally get things wrong but could in general be better than the current approach.

  35. True – Major was elected – by an electorate of 300+ individuals out of a franchised population of 40 million. Very democratic! Perhaps we should have a presidential system – as they do in the US.

  36. Major won a leadership contest to become PM, and then took over 14m votes in the 1992 election around 500 days after he took over.

    Brown didn’t face a leadership challenge and hasn’t had an election, having been PM now for over 500 days.

    I wouldn’t say either of them was ‘unelected’, but Major certainly held more of a mandate than Brown currently does.

    Back to the polls. I’ve been looking at some figures from past elections. What do Labour supporters have to say about the fact that opinion polls in the last 4 elections overestimated their share of the vote by 5% (’92, ’97, ’01) and 2% (’05) in relation to the latest polls? Am I a Tory clutching at straws, or is it actually something that Labour have to think long and hard about if polls start to show Labour might just win an early election?

  37. I still have difficulty understanding that a 7 point lead for the tories would see them short of a majority by about 15 seats.

    It really is an affront to democracy.


    I can see why you say that but it really isnt as simple as those headline figures make out.

    For example, in a safeLabour seat, the turnout will be a lot lower than in a safe Conservative seat. Now repeat this over 100 safe seats (for both parties) and that explains something like 2% to 3% of the discrepancy.

    Or, again, consider the size of the average Labour and Conservative constituency. Labours are usually a little smaller. But it would be rather incongrous to bring a few rural villages from a larger safe Conservative seat into a safe Labour seat just to balance these figures up. And, again, you can discount 1% to 2% of the discrepancy on this measure.

    And so it goes on – more or less.

    The actual ‘democratic deficieny’ is more like 2% to 3% and not the 6% or 7% which is often bandied about.

  38. John C – technically the American President is also elected by 538 individuals out of a franchised population of so many million ;)

  39. ‘I still have difficulty understanding that a 7 point lead for the tories would see them short of a majority by about 15 seats.

    It really is an affront to democracy.’

    Oh no it is not. Because it should be that the majority get their wish. If the majority do not want the Conservatives (say, Tories on 40% others 60%) then it is fair that the Tories, although even possibly the largest party, do not become the government.

    Yes, there are issues about who piles up ‘wasted’ votes in safe seats, or whether a country should be PR, FPTP or preferential or any other system (they all have strengths and weaknesses) but the essence is the same.

    The majority should get their way.

    If the Conservatives ended up with over 50% of the popular vote and they did not win government then we have a situation like the first time Bush was elected when the majority voted against him. Resolution- change the system at that point.

    To argue that it Tories should get a majority of seats if they are ahead in a poll ignores the fact that there are many other parties–it is not just a two horse race. It is a question of majority will that matters…

  40. And the results from the SKottich jury……

    Labour 38%, Tory 17%, Libdem 10% SNP 30%.

    pretty much settled down here too, Labour doing well, SNP second, Tories slipping a bit and the LibDems a poor fourth.

    Was down in Glasgow at the weekend and met up with my brother who had been talking to someone very senior in retailing ( My brother is chief exec of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce) , there verdict,

    “We’ll get through Christmas and then there will be a bloodbath”.


  41. FPTP works so long as the constituencies are reasonably even, therefore each MP represents the same number of people. I’ve been looking at the results of the 2005 election and I believe there needs to be a boundary review.

    The average electorate size in Labour-held seats is 66.6k. In Conservative-held seats, it is 72.7k. That is, the average Conservative MP represents around 6,000 more constituents than the average Labour MP. This should be far closer (ideally it should be zero but that will never happen in the real world). It’s entirely possible at the next election that the Conservatives could represent more constituents yet have fewer seats than Labour.

  42. Mark M,

    “FPTP works so long as the constituencies are reasonably even, therefore each MP represents the same number of people.”

    That’s not the case.

    If you have 100 constituencies with 100,000 voters, a party can get 51,000 in 51 seats but 1 vote in the other 49 seats. They then get 51 seats with 2.6m votes while there opponent gets 49 seats with 7.4m votes.

    An extreme example, but it shows how winning marginals counts more than weighing votes in seats you hold.


  43. It works in general then Peter. The only problem with any attempt to make things more proportional is that you always end up with coalition governments unless, by some miracle, you can get over 50% of the vote for one party – very unlikely in a multiple party system.

    I would like to see the constituencies continue but would rather see use of STV votes to decide on an MP to reduce tactical voting. A voting system should encourage a person to vote ‘for’ something rather than ‘against’

  44. Thanks, Anthony. I think you are stretching credibility somewhat. Technically, one person, the Queen, appoints the British PM when she invites him/her to form a government.

  45. Com Res show Conservatives 5% up.

    At least it will stop all ignore Com Res comments.

    Do they get back into the poll of polls in Conservative eyes now????

  46. Mark M,

    “The only problem with any attempt to make things more proportional is that you always end up with coalition governments ”

    So why don’t we have one in Scotland?


  47. Anthony,

    I wanted to look at the Yougov Scottish sub samples over 2008 but I can’t access them from the archive. Do you know where can I can get access to them.


  48. ‘It works in general then Peter. The only problem with any attempt to make things more proportional is that you always end up with coalition governments ‘

    The conservative governments in Australia have been coalition governments since time began. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the principle of a coalition government, the practice of course, may be different.

  49. FPTP works so long as the constituencies are reasonably even’

    Of course the weakness of a FPTP remains — all you need is one vote more than the next highest and you win, even if the vast majority of the people may loathe you. The 2nd weakness with FPTP is that it magnifies the winner’s seats (hey, they always could win each seats by one vote more than the 2nd and so wipe out the opposition). 3rdly FPTP destroys the chances of serious parties but no where good enough to get seats (such as Greens) and so ‘disenfrachises’ many voters.

    It’s the reason for an elected Upper House but using a system of voting totally different from the Lower House Like in many countries such as Australia where parties such as the Greens / real fringe parties can get into the Senate when they can not win lower house seats so encouraging all voters to be involved in politics, not just those who are in marginal seats like in the Uk.

  50. Well, from a Scottish perspective I have to say that PR seems to work better here than FPTP for the UK.

    I’d prefer to see the end of the mixed FPTP/List system something like 18 seats of 7, or 14 seats of 9, but you can’t have everything.


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