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. On the question of “bias” in the FPTP boundaries, the “affront” to democracy is not that one party could gain more seats than another with the same number of votes, but the degree of skew.

    According to the swing calculator, if both Labour and Conservatives are level on say 37.5%, them Labour come out with 82 more seats, nearly one third more, giving them a working majority of 20. That is bad enough, but what is worse is that if the Conservatives are 5% ahead – on say 40% to 35%, then Labour are still 7 ahead on seats (albeit short of a majority.

    One could accept Labour picking up say 10-20 more on the same share of the vote due to smaller average seat size, or effective targetting of marginals, but 80+ more for the same number of votes is unfair.

    If we actually had a result whereby Labour retained a majority, despite being 4-5% behind in votes, that really would be an affront to democracy.

    However, the calculator assumes “uniform national Swing “, which in practice is unlikely. FWIW, my view is that much, but by no means all, of the skew will unwind under the new boundaries. There are two reasons for thinking this.

    The first is that many of the figures are “notional” and we may find that actually several seats do not vote as expected (this could work either way) . There is evidence of this in Scotland in 2005 where the new boundaries (which are actually even worse for the Tories than the old ones) led to some very uneven changes in vote shares between the parties across the country, even within the same region.

    Secondly, and more importantly, there was definitely an impact from anti-Tory tactical voting in 1997, most of which was still present in 2001, but had started to dissipate in 2005. If there is widespread tactical voting next time, it is more likely to be anti-Labour, and so could result in many more Labour seats falling than the swing calculator migfht suggest. As in 1997, the prime beneficiary will be the main opposition, but the SNP should gain some seats in Scotland, and LDs could pick up a dozen or so – but far fewer than they are likely to lose to Tories.

    Brown would be ill-advised to think that he could dash for victory in a snap election on the back of a handful of polls showing the parties neck-and-neck, still less a handful of points behind.

    Final word of caution for those who assume that the polls always swing back to the government as an election approaches. T’aint so ! Experience over the past forty years, with exception of 1974, is that the polls move to the Conservatives during the campaign.

  2. We need electoral reform ie STV. Pure and simple.

    It is wrong that any Political Party can win power often with substantial majorities on a minority vote. Furthermore there is something very wrong with an electoral system – FPTP – where the UK Government is essentially elected by a small number of ‘Swing’ voters in a small number of marginal seats and where Party’s can rely on a large number of ‘Safe Seats’.

    In the meantime I will enjoy analysing the current electoral system we have!!

  3. “Furthermore there is something very wrong with an electoral system – FPTP – where the UK Government is essentially elected by a small number of ‘Swing’ voters in a small number of marginal seats and where Party’s can rely on a large number of ‘Safe Seats’ ”

    This is a very flawed point – completely missing the point that people are also elected in safe seats because lots of people have voted for them.

    However, I take the point that is a matter of regret that so much of the emphasis is about marginals, and what swing voters want.

    Nevertheless, both main parties have had occasions in the last 25 years where seats they thought were safe no longer were.

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