First poll of 2009

Tomorrow’s Sun has a new YouGov poll, the first of the year. The topline figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll, are CON 41%(-1), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 15%(+1). There is no significant change from the YouGov polls before Christmas, despite the flurry of high street retaillers being forced into administration that one might have expected to sour economic confidence. However, it does suggest a consolidation of the previous slight move back towards the Conservatives that YouGov was indicating.

The Sun’s coverage refers to several other questions about things like whether economic plans would work, what areas should bear any spending cuts and so on – there aren’t any detailled figures however, so I’ll update when the tables are available on YouGov’s website.


49 Responses to “First poll of 2009”

  1. No change then since the last You Gov poll though I note this has moved the WMA which now has Tories as the largest party in a hung parliament.

    Hopefully there might be a few polls to come in the next week or two.

  2. as the ukpr average is the same as this poll, is the ukpr average the average of THIS years polls. ie just this 1

  3. I’m sure Anthony will answer but I would have thought it’s based on the last few polls, regardless of the fact that we’re in a new year.

  4. There is a time decay on the weighting that means it includes polls in the last 20 days or so. Because there was a big break over Xmas with no polls, it is almost entirely made up of this YouGov poll, with the final ComRes poll of last year just sneaking in their with a very low weighting.

  5. Anthony,

    Would you mind posting a link to my blog on your excellent site?

    Thanks

    Richard
    http://richardwillisuk.wordpress.com

  6. i don’t think we will see any big changes untill the true scale of what dave camoron and gordon grown has sunk in as both of there policys have now changed the conservatives have moved back to the cut tax cut spending line that they have secratly been trying to get back on for the last six months or so and gordon brown is as he normally is spend spend spend your way out, i can not see why votes came back to labour at the end of last year are they thick or are they just dumm, if labour gets voted back in again then anybody who votes for them should have there brain checked for damage, but on the other hand what im also seeing is the you made this mess you sort it out pattern that kept the conservatives in in 1992, lets not beat around the bush gordon a bustted PM and dave is wroungfully not being listerned to even on the back of well worked out and good but not brilliant policys.

  7. Stuart: i can not see why votes came back to labour at the end of last year are they thick or are they just dumm, if labour gets voted back in again then anybody who votes for them should have there brain checked for damage.

    You didn’t need to be rude. I don’t think that I am thick, neither do I need my brain testing (not in that department anyway)! That’s the great thing about a democracy – you should be able to support whoever you like without repercussions.
    I don’t think this poll was a surprise. Do you think that any party would form a Government with the Lib Dems because of all of their proportional voting lark? I think both Labour and The Conservative’s would be very silly to agree to that as no party will ever get over 50% but to be honest I doubt they would agree with that anyway.

  8. JACKR

    so true it was not a surprize but as i said we will have to hold on for some time yet before a true picture comes together ahead of the local elections in june, but i can see the prospect of a growing CON lead as the year goes on. decembers 4.3% average CON lead was no one off month, but you have to think in 1996 the labour lead was anything from 20 to 40% and in 1997 the labour land slide saw the vote for labour hold up at around the mid 40’s range all through the election if the conservatives are ever going to get back in they need to be much better placed than now, it is realistic to win with a 7% lead if the votes change in the right region’s and the right seats, but what is clear is that voters want the PM to clean the mess up that was mostly not all his fault in terms of not protecting the country againest such faliures in the world market, it happened in 92 and it happened in 08-09 leasons were not learned from 1992 which is the last time the country was in such a mess, and to refer to the above comment i made about it not being all labours fault this is beacuse the last conservative govenment should have put in place the fram work for protecting bank savings and savers from such a problem as we have now if the fram work had been put in then at least saver would have had a bit more protection, but the under regulation of the banks mixed with national debt being as high as it is and over spending by people on both side of the atlantic ment the perfect storm had come at the right time and to top it all the housing market went up the shoot and no matter what the BOE try people will not start spending untill thing settle down, and people have more money in there back pockets, and with projected national debt still exspected to go up more and more, tax cuts seam the only way forward and less spending on govenment dept’s that have wasted money and time in made up jobs this would save no end of money in the long run, and could? help to cut red tape. (to maney non job robs in govenment dept’s)

  9. Stuart, Punctuation/spelling I’m not fussed about but if you don’t use paragraphs, or any kind of page break at all, it makes it bloody hard to follow your thread!

    I would agree that the ‘red tape’ and general government waste is a serious concern and find it exasperating that the Tories haven’t used this line of attack to more effect. I can only assume they don’t want to put off the, I reckon growing, number of public sector workers thinking of voting for them.

    It’s a fine line to tread, no doubt, but I can’t help thinking that a more aggresive attitude from the Conservatives would widen the poll gap a little more quickly.

  10. The problem with the attack on red tape question is part 2…

    Asked should the government cut back on red tape the majority always says “Yes”. But asked if they think an incoming governments attempts will be successful the public answer “No”.

    The idea that we cut back tends to be popular but not always believed.

    In the theory of how it works a deterrent has to have the three “C’s”. They are capability, credibility and communications. If you want to deter Russia by destroying Moscow if need be than you need a weapon system that can do it, a scenario where it would be appropriate and to get that message across.

    You can apply the same three “C’s” to any policy from an electoral point of view in that they are in a way weapons against your opponent.

    So if it is to be used effectively by Cameron he needs to do three things.
    Show the (preferably new) method that he would use to do it, make that method look convincing to people, and get that message across.

    Few if any governments have been that successful in doing it and indeed some of the most enthusiastic of proponents most notably the likes of Reagan in the states ended up spending far more.

    What’s more the people who most want to see the Tories do it happen to be die hard Tory voters and you don’t win elections by preaching to the converted ( unless they make up 51%+ of the voters).

    Peter.

  11. This Poll fails to offer dramatic evidence that Anthony’s hypothesis is correct-at least not that his proposed correlation occurs quickly.

    I suppose there is time yet-and in fairness given the apocalyptic & unprecedented nature of what is occurring now, it might seem reasonable that prior patterns of behaviour may not be repeated.

    Brown will welcome as manna from heaven, the Obama stimulus proposals. Together with the effect of collapsing Tax Revenues, these could take current year US deficit to 10% of GDP.

    This at a stroke chimes with Brown’s twin prescriptions of Big Government Spending on an International basis, and “The Conservatives are wrong”

    If Big Global Government Spending and near zero interest rates are the answer to Little People Saving, Obama at least offers the chance that we shall soon know whether it looks like working.

    Meanwhile others voice concern -Legal & General said “what lenders need more than ever are savers deposits-and they are not going to get them if they can offer only paltry rates of interest”.
    Council of Mortgage Lenders has voiced identical opinions.
    Jean-Claude Trichet, ECB president, said” interest rate cuts already announced and government rescue packages should be allowed to take effect” – and warned of the risks of cutting borrowing costs by too much.

    The Times “MPC” yesterday split 6:3 in favour of interest rate cuts.At the extremes were Anatole Kaletski-“Punish Savers and make them spend money” (!) , and Sir Steve Robson-” Cutting interest rates is having little effect other than to destabilise sterling”

    The Times leader yesterday described Darlings revised view of the length of the recession (post the PBR) as “incompetence, cynicism & an admission of failure”. Today it invokes a hypothesis that Labour Governments don’t survive devaluations-and reminds Brown of a chastened Callaghan saying” We used to think you just spend your way out of a recession. I tell you in all candour that option no longer exists”

    There are polarising opinions everywhere at the highest level – is it any surprise that voters are frozen in the headlights of the oncoming recession constantly calculating if they are winners or losers, and without any idea of who offers the right political solutions.

  12. Scottish figures are;

    Labour 42% (+4%), Tories 20% (+3%), LibDems 8%(-2%), SNP 27%(-3%), Others 2%(-3%).

    That looks good for Labour and the Tories but as a sample this size will bounce about a bit it and polls are jumpy around Christmas this really doesn’t tell us much.

    The next few weeks may well be odd as the debate in Scotland will be dominated by the SNP’s budget discussions (including the possibility of the government falling if it doesn’t get through) so the public focus North and South of the border may diverge for a bit.

    Peter.

  13. Since early 2006, the Conservatives have been ahead in the polls consistently, excluding a three month ‘new leader honeymoon period’ that was widely predicted.

    The conservatives were consistently over 40% for almost the whole of 2008 – a level of support not seen for them since the 1980s. We are still over 40%.

    We have recently suffered the largest economic shock since the 1930s, during which our Prime Minister apparently ‘saved the world’ – even being asked by French journalists whether he was ‘some sort of superman’.

    Yet still the Conservatives are over 40% and 7 points ahead.

    Brown’s big hope is/was for an early election on the back of an economic bounce, before the true horror of the forthcoming economic meltdown really hits home.

    That window has closed (in fact, it never really opened). His only hope now is to cling on until 2010 and hope for more ‘events’ – but he has had the economic ‘event’ that could have been written as the perfect one for him, and it wasn’t enough. What odds on another one that works for him…?

    Bear in mind, the media narrative is extremely important here. And media narrative is already that the ‘Brown bounce’ is over. That is the prism through which coming events will be reported.

    From the Sun yesterday, under the heading ‘Cameron to seize power':

    “Premier Gordon Brown has been hogging the TV headlines for months because of the credit crunch.

    “Yet the Conservative lead remains steady over the past month….

    “The survey shows the PM’s “Brown bounce” seems to have run out of steam as he has failed to close the gap since before Christmas.”

  14. I can’t argue with any of that last post – but then ‘we’ are on the same side of the fence!

    Great to have the first poll of 09. Now we need a few more to see if there really has been no change over Xmas or if the AW thesis is holding.

  15. Anthony

    What do you make of specialist polls like this Comres poll of ‘leading businessmen’?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brown-goes-from-boom-to-bust-1242579.html

  16. PaulP

    oops – that accidental ‘we’ in paragrpah two rather spoiled my attempt at a non-partisan analysis, didn’t it!

  17. did anyone see the poll from com res today which said the support for the governments handling of the economic crisis had almost halved in business leaders from 42% TO 28% No comparison though with the boy wonder and Cameron unfortunatly

  18. This may be obvious, but does anyone know the dates of the Poll? I couldn’t see them anywhere. I would think that Polling dates are more important now than ever due to the increasing severity of bad news reports.

    It’s also worth noting that only in the last day or so have office based and IT roles come under attack directly (I believe barclays indicate 400 IT jobs to go etc). I’d be interested to see if that changes people mind set. Now not only does this sector have to worry about negative equity , but now the very real threat of actually losing their jobs – I know it made me sit up and take a bit more notice.

    I would also be interested to find out how the country is recieving Brown’s “tour of the poor” – I know several people who are most vexed that this is yet another attempt by Gordon to appear to be talking to the people whilst actually having very carefully managed PR events. That friend was just made redundant and thought the “we need to be ready for the upturn” comment was especially worrying when we could be talking 2 years minimum.

  19. I’ve been looking at the swing in the latest polls from the polls just before the 2005 election and they are suggesting around a 6% swing toward to Conservatives, which would give a small (8 seat) majority.

    This seems to happen because most polls just before the 2005 elction had Labour on around 38%. They then went and got only 35.3% in the election. Are there any reasons why this shouldn’t happen again (weather, voter apathy among Labour supporters assuming anotehr win etc), or should this be factored into any GE predictions?

  20. Nothing exciting in this POLL – the real fun will start as we get into February and onwards.

    I am excited for Gordon Brown though – pretty soon he will be able to make the headlines each day without repeating old policies and meeting world leaders by being part of an elite minority – someone who has a job ! lol.

  21. Peter
    “Asked should the government cut back on red tape the majority always says “Yes”.”

    Funny you should mention that because only recently at work I attended a meeting about ‘reducing beurocracy’. A staff questionnaire had suggested that people felt there was too much red tape. However, the result of the meeting was that no-one had any specific examples and therefore nothing could be done.

    On thing about yes/no questions that people don’t seem to realise is that you must ask them both ways to determine if they are loaded e.g. “do you feel that there is too much beurocracy?” asked the other way becomes “do you feel there is not enough beurocracy?”. No-one is ever going to say ‘yes, i want more red tape as part of my job’.

    Normally, the perception is that there is too much red tape, but when asked for concrete examples, people will tend to struggle to produce one.

  22. That post brings back memories of the Yes Minister episode when the Dept of Administrative Affairs was threatened with the chop…

    Woolley suggested ‘red tape holds the nation together’ and some other slogans I can’t remember right now.

    Top stuff.

  23. STUART: “i don’t think we will see any big changes untill the true scale of what dave camoron and gordon grown has sunk in ”

    Good to see that even Cameron supporters are beginning to refer to him as Camoron . . .

    I also like the idea of Gordon Grown – could the unconscious voice be any clearer??!!
    :-)

  24. “but he has had the economic ‘event’ that could have been written as the perfect one for him, and it wasn’t enough. ”

    A worldwide economic downturn isnt what most PM’s dream of. It only became a boost for Brown because it highlighted his strength against Cameron’s weakness.

    From my point of view, I am not uncomfortable with where the polls are at the moment, I wish they were better but during the summer when things looked disastrous a poll like this would have seemed like a dream.

    I think we are in for a long haul but the more the focus is on the economy the better it will contrast the relative merits of the two men hoping to lead the country forward from 2010.

    I dont think an increase in the Tory lead over 2009 is impossible with Labour strengthening their position in late autumn / winter. Governments usually improve their position as the election looms and there is no reason to expect that couldnt happen again.

  25. Its funny, before I started following this blog a year and a half ago, I was sorely tempted to vote conservative, but the constant attacks on all they despise have changed my mind!! (even worse was that time I stumbled onto the blog on the Spectator website – it still gives me chills!!). :)

    The problem for the conservatives is that despite what their fans may think, they haven’t really articulated any policies, and this has helped the government to pull back in the polls. I have no real clue what Tory plans are – on the environment, on Europe, education, on defense, on the economy. They tried to rely on ‘Gordon is dour Scot, Blair invaded Iraq .Vote for us’. It worked a bit, and the tiredness of the government allowed it. The Tories are obviously still in the lead, but they need to pull some real policies out of the bag, and sort themselves out over Europe!

  26. Toby>
    “Governments usually improve their position as the election looms and there is no reason to expect that couldnt happen again”

    Actually, it is more accurate to say that the Conservatives improve their position as an election looms.

    It has happened at every general election since and including 1983. The Conservatives (not the Government – it happened in 2001 and 2005) always do better in the G.E. than the polls suggested.

    Odd, but true.

  27. “I have no real clue what Tory plans are – on the environment, on Europe, education, on defense, on the economy.”

    Funny that-I was just thinking the same about Labour!

    Maybe we should both do more reaerch?

  28. James: “It has happened at every general election since and including 1983. The Conservatives (not the Government – it happened in 2001 and 2005) always do better in the G.E. than the polls suggested.”

    Really? Even in the 1997 and 2001 meltdowns? Happy to be enlightened

  29. “I have no real clue what Tory plans are – on the environment, on Europe, education, on defense, on the economy.”

    Funny that-I was just thinking the same about Labour!

    Maybe we should both do more research?

  30. Osbak/James

    Actually, the numbers suggest that Labour do far worse in elections that the polls suggest.

    In 1997, the average of the previous 10 polls suggested con/lab votes of 30.2%/48.6%. The election results were 30.7% (+0.5%) / 43.2% (-5.4%).

    In 2001, the average of the previous 10 polls suggested con/lab votes of 31.0%/45.5%. The election results were 31.7% (+0.7%) / 40.7% (-4.8%).

    As I mentioned before, Labour were polling around 38% in 2005 and then got 35.3% in the election. For whatever reason, Labour have struggled to turn their poll support into votes.

  31. Osbak

    I believe so – Anthony, I believe you have commented on this phenomenon before?

    Over on policitalbetting dot com it also forms the basis for Smithson’s Golden Polling Rule: namely that when, for a Lab-Con contest, you are presented with a spread of conflicting opinion polls, the most accurate are always those that give the worst position for Labour.

    Apparently this holds true for every general, european, mayoral and by election since the 1980s.

    http://politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2008/12/17/should-gord-be-consulting-the-golden-polling-rule/

    I don’t have the polling figures vs election results for 1997 and 2001 (someone on here must…??), but my understanding is that, while the Conservatives did very bdly, they didn’t do as badly as the polls suggested that they would.

    In the 1980s and early 1990s, th statistics seemed o show that ‘governments’ always suffered mid-term blues, then recovered somewhat for the election.

    Since 1997 and the advent Labour government, bizarrely it is still the Conservatives who dip in the mid-term, and recover for the general election.

    So the true ‘mid term blues’ trism should be that the conservative Party always suffers mid-term blues, then pull back in time for the election (even if not enough to win).

  32. Mark M

    Thanks for those figure. Your post has snuck in while I was writing a longish post of my own that is now awaiting moderation because I put a weblink in pointing to Mike Smithson’s ‘Golden Rule of Polling’ – which corroborates your point.

    Interesting stuff…

  33. (figures)

  34. Mark,
    ‘Labour have struggled to turn their poll support into votes’

    If you can’t be bothered to go out and work for a living then I assume you can’t be bothered to go out and vote for the party that best looks after your interests either!

    A cheeky stereotype but perhaps more true of some sections of Labour ‘support’ that for the other main patries ;-)

  35. patries=parties

  36. It’s no E = mc2 Ivan, but it’s not far off :)

  37. “I have no real clue what Tory plans are – on the environment, on Europe, education, on defense, on the economy.”

    Funny that-I was just thinking the same about Labour!

    Maybe we should both do more reaerch?

    – Fair point

  38. Are these not the parties positions?

    Environoment
    Lab – Green taxes
    Con – Green taxes, plus an awful logo

    Europe
    Lab – Pro Lisbon
    Con – Anti lisbon, unless it gets passed in which case inactive on Lisbon

    Education
    Lab – Grade inflation and no reform, lots of funding
    Con – Labour funding, otherise tbc

    Defense
    Lab – Expensive america led wars in the middle east
    Con – tbc, were for iraq at the time

    Economy
    Lab – No more Tory boom and bust, instead Labour boom and bust
    Con – Boy george and ‘sound money’

    Of course, I am willing to be corrected if I’ve got any of their positions wrong

  39. One main policy difference that makes me trust the Tories more is;

    Lab- Refusal to accept they have done anything wrong for 10 years

    Con- Acceptance that Labour have done many things wrong for 10 years

    I require no further numbers or policy ‘fleshing-out’ to decide which view is correct!

  40. Ivan-nice summary.

    Hope you don’t mind a little fleshing out-just to test my own understanding:-

    Education.
    Labour-Maintain State Control via LEAs/Non-selective secondary education & whatever else is producing the current educational outcomes.

    Conservatives-Remove State Monopoly by opening supply side to new providers with state percapita funding/Introduce streaming by ability.

    Economy.
    Labour-Borrow for Fiscal Stimulus till 2010.reduce interest rates .Maybe put more into Banks-win GE-then put up taxes & cut spending.

    Conservatives-Cut spending now for use as (different )Fiscal Stimulus-reduce interest rates. Don’t put more into Banks, but introduce £50bn Government Loan Guarantee Scheme.-win GE then pray a lot.

  41. Excellent summaries everyone.

    For both I would add ‘bury head in sand at approaching environmental and resource crunches and pretend no one told them’

  42. Mark M and James: thanks for the numbers. Interesting stuff . . .

  43. Ivan the terrible:One main policy difference that makes me trust the Tories more is;
    Lab- Refusal to accept they have done anything wrong for 10 years
    Con- Acceptance that Labour have done many things wrong for 10 years

    The Conservatives are hardly going to say “oh yes, didn’t Labour do a splendid job, bravo old chaps!”

  44. As a long-time Labour activist I can confirm that getting our vote is always hard work. As a very rough rule it appears that the ‘civic duty’ element is far stronger amongst Tory voters, whilst ours often have to be cajoled into the polling station. Hence why we are so keen on postal voting. It also means that we have to work harder in often the less pretty parts of our constituencies. Losing great swathes of our activist base has not helped either.

  45. COLIN-

    my drains are getting blacked again muct be labour trying to find ways to throw money away

    JULIAN WARE LANE

    labour has always been bad in local govenment beacuse it can not hold its vote as well as the lib dem or conservatives, well i say lib dems. they did have a good election winning team at one point now they don’t

    OSBAK

    glad to see that there is still some light haerted comments on hear its been quite resently

  46. that blocked not blacked

  47. …waiting for Obama’s inauguration…