YouGov’s monthly poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, of CON 41% (nc), LAB 31% (nc), LDEM 17% (+2). Quite clearly there is nothing major here, with the two main parties static and the only change being a small increase for the Lib Dems.

The poll also showed increases in the approval ratings of both Brown and Cameron. Gordon Brown’s net rating remains heavily negative on minus 25, but this is significantly up on last month. David Cameron meanwhile enjoyed a net positive rating of plus 29, with 59% of voting saying he is doing a good job. The Sunday Times suggests this may be partially a result of public sympathy after the tragic loss of his son, Ivan, and I expect there’s some truth in that.

The Sunday Times normally do questions on quite a variety of subjects. From what’s online so far I can’t see anything else, but if anything else interesting pops up tomorrow I’ll do an update.

28 Responses to “YouGov Sunday Times poll”

  1. I will be interested in what Cllr Cairns has to say about Vince Cables comments regarding whether an Independent Scotland could have afforded supporting RBS – and please Peter no answer saying that an SNP government would not have let RBS take those risks in the first place. Please just admit that sometimes being in a bigger union is economically helpful.

  2. Perhaps they would have done the smart thing in that case and let RBS go bust.

    (Sort of related although not really: As much as the English and Scots like to playfully tease each other, one thing us English have to acknowledge is that Scotland gave the world Adam Smith. What did we give the world? The despicable John Maynard Keynes.

  3. no real changes as per normal at this time, im still thinking labour will fall back again as the camoron steam train gets going again and in this weeks PMQ’s we should see a slight sharpening up in the conservatives, due tothe time camoron had off and the PM’s heart fell emotions in respect to the sad death of iven he has made ground up, as i think people now see brown as less of a Mr heartless, but normal service should be resumed this week.

  4. MIke – no he won’t, this is not the place for debates about Scottish Independence. I’m turning a blind eye to the thread in “things you may have missed”, since it’s stopping it infecting other threads, but it’s off topic here.

  5. No change for both Lab and Tories (andf a net 2 point reduction in the gap since a month ago) is I would suggest better news for Brown than for Cameron if it means the rot has stopped. Obviously that’s insufficient to turn the tide but if I were a Labour supporter I’d be happier today than yesterday.


    Voters ditch SNP over referendum
    Alex Salmond’s insistence on an independence vote has backfired amid the credit crunch, a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times reveals


    Holyrood Constituency (changes compared to YouGov/Sunday Times 29-30 Jan ‘09)
    SNP – 35% (-3)
    Lab – 34% (+2)

    Holyrood Regional
    Lab – 34% (+6)
    SNP – 32% (-2)

    “It would give Labour 49 seats (+3), the SNP 44 (-3), the Tories 18 (+1), Lib Dems 15 (-1) and Greens three (+1).”

    Lab – 37% (nc)
    SNP – 27% (nc)

    Lab – 36%
    SNP – 29%
    Con – 18%
    Lib – 11%
    Oth – 6%

    Yes – 33% (+4)
    No – 53% (-2)

  8. I for one am. Ten points behind at this point under these incredibly bad economic circumstances is not hopeless, and it’s not impossible for Labour to make up five points in the 14 months left or during the short campaign to return to their 2005 share.

    There are signs of the media looking for “bottoming out” / green shoots of recovery stories, and despite the current G20 summit I am optimistic about a successful G8 next month with Obama’s visit a potential ratings plus for the PM.

  9. There is also a Yougov/Sunday Times Scottish poll . The article does not give complete results but a small shift from SNP to Labour ( within MofE IMO ) is headlined as bad news for Salmond .

  10. Stuart,

    Thanks for the breakdown of Yougov’s Scottish poll. Just one figure to add to what you put down though – for Westminster intentions, Conservatives are on 20%.

    These polls – specifically the Holyrood poll – are the lead story for the ST here in Scotland, but the article is annoyingly structured and gives incomplete data for much of voting intentions – no mention of LibDem figure for Westminster.

    Chris C.

  11. It is possible for Labour to draw some comfort from a poll like this, in that despite everything that’s happened their vote is only down 5% on the last general election which gave them a resounding majority.

  12. Stuart Dickson, the regional figures I posted on Political Betting are wrong (that’ll teach me to copy from SNP Tactical Voting). The figures provided by Max at PB are:

    Holyrood Constituency (changes compared to YouGov/Sunday Times 29-30 Jan ‘09)
    SNP – 35% (-3)
    Lab – 34% (+2)
    Con – 14% (+1)
    Lib – 12% (nc)

    Holyrood Regional
    Lab – 32% (+4)
    SNP – 30% (-4)
    Con – 15% (nc)
    Lib – 11% (nc)

    Lab – 37% (nc)
    SNP – 27% (nc)
    Con – 20% (nc)
    Lib – ?

  13. Stuart those stats are rather damning- it seems to back up my understanding that support for independence remains on its core of 25% round abouts.

    Surely on the light of these stats and the economic downturn there is no appetite or demand for independence never mind the expenses of a referendum?

  14. The latest polls suggest that the Conservatives are really struggling ‘ to do a Blair’. Every time one poll shows an edging up to the late 40, the next polls show a falling back. I wonder if this is because the last Conservative Government was actively disliked by floating voters whereas this Labour Government may be seen as incompetent but isn’t actively disliked except by activists in the other parties. Perhaps left-wing parties have to try harder to be disliked because most people (who are unpolitical) think the left-wing heart is in the right place. If this isn’t the answer I really struggle to see why a Government in the spot this one is in is maintaining its share, unless the tribal vote for Labour is really unbreakable.

  15. The government isn’t in anything like as deep a hole as it was last summer. A 10 point deficit this far before an election isn’t exactly the end of the world – the Tory vote is still a protest against the government rather than a vote in favour of whatever it is the Tories will propose to do eventually.

    I still think this will come down to economic policy – who offers the best fix for the problem which will still be alive and well by the time we get to the election. Cameron has admitted major failings in the Tories polices of the past (cheering on the government every step of the way, only criticising their regulation for being too harsh not too lax) which may well make his “you failed” attack work about as well as Tory attacks over Iraq did.

    So, everything to play for and with world opinion behind Brown and not Cameron Dave will find it hard going once his policies are created and put under the spotlight. Much has been made of the Merkel press conference yesterday where she “said no to Brown”. Did she? He called for a coordinated worldwide stimulus – having spent more of German GDP than we have our own I think she’s right to argue that she’s already done a lot.

  16. I get annoyed when people talk about economics and nationalism; nationalism is never an economic affair, otherwise half the countries of the world would never exist .

    Nationalism is a blend of a sense of difference, a separate language, different culture etc (and I write this whilst the 6 nations are on, surely an indicator at least that we are not one nation, as is the inability to play home football matches…)

    Nationalism is a state of mind; not an economics argument; those who argue about economic validity of a country totally miss the point (as such, they should look at their perceptions as to why they think economics is a valid argument; is it because they can find no other argument against nationalism?)

  17. Independence at the expense of the welfare of the people is wrong.

    The reason we talk of economics when discussing independence and nationalisms is becasue the “mere beancounting” matters more than any state of mind.

    Jack, if you prefer to prioritise states of mind over whats in the best interests of the people, in terms of standard of living, average income per capita etc then thats your perogative. Just please don’t think the rest of us will do the same, to some of us people come before ideologies.


  18. Please leave debates over Scottish independence and things around it to threads specifically on Scottish polls – otherwise in the past they have tended to infect every single thread.

    (For clarity, that means any comments about it on this thread, I’ll delete – so don’t waste your time making them. I’ll put up a thread about the new Scottish poll shortly where you can all knock yourselves out about it)

  19. I am being oppressed…..


  20. Unfortunately the economy isn’t going to bottom out for a while.
    It is a more severe downturn than I thought likely.
    I’m afraid GDP will fall at least 5% and could quite easily be up to about 7%.
    That kind of thing develops a momentum downhill before it can be turned around.

    Nevertheless, a lot of this is a necessary process given how inflated the economy was.

    Supporters of the government here may draw attention to the slow Tory response, but need to ask themselves why the FSA model proved to be so useless. The truth is it was no regulation atall and was designed to curry favour with the City, mistaking it for business as a whole.

    There is some comfort for Labour in this poll – but I never expected them to crash down to near 30% or below in a General Election anyway.

  21. Bernanke saying US recession might end this year!

    Hold your breath-and your nerve !

  22. Colin – a couple of things to bear in mind. The US went into recession in Dec 07, so is heading for a two year recession IF it comes out by the end of the year. The UK is about 6 months behind which would suggest that we’d be coming out around May/June 2010 but wouldn’t know until a few months later when the stats become available. So to all intents and puposes the election will be fought in a recession.

    The second thing is the word “might”. The rate of decline in the US is still accelerating – i.e. things are still getting worse faster month on month. The bottom has not yet been reached let alone any sight of recovery.

  23. Perhaps we should mention:-
    BNP 4% (no comment)
    SNP/Plaid 3% (bear in mind my previous posts about regional polls)
    UKIP 2%
    Greens 1%
    I cannot believe that the Greens will only get 1% where they stand, but the accuracy of polls near the statistical floor is dubious, and people may not think about the minor parties until election time.

    With reference to previous comments on this thread concerning RBS, one might point out that Chancellor Darling is MP for Edinburgh Central, their historic headquarters, whilst if I recollect rightly Alex Salmond used to work for the company.

    There are two big polling issues at the moment which don’t seem to be getting mentioned:-
    1. Will outcomes of the G20 have significant psephological effects, in which case polls in the meantime are of limited relevance?
    2. Polls are asking about Westminster voting intentions. But shouldn’t we be concentrating at the moment on trying to predict the European Election and forthcoming local election results.? There is mounting evidence that people will vote different ways in different elections because of the different voting systems and because of the different parties currently represented, e.g. there are Green MEPs from the UK at present, although on current data their jobs are in serious jeopardy.

  24. The Liberal vote increasing back to 17%. It seems thats their minimum expectation nationally- but can they reciprocate the ComRes and Populus (I think) 22% surge? If they do then it means those results weren’t just freak incidents.

    Personally despite being a Tory, i’m extremely fond of Clegg (I really like Orange Book Liberals). If they could actually ever ben within a change of government I’d definately support them….

  25. Frederic Stansfield,

    1. G20 – as has been commented above and elsewhere, this is likely to be a damp squib. There is a risk for Brown in trying to puff it up in that it could backfire. Sustained improvement in Labour’s position as a result of a global jamboree is unrealistic.

    2. Indeed, the Euro and County Council elections will definitely happen on 4th June, while the date of the next GE is uncertain – though it too could be on 4th June. So far we have had only one national Euro Poll and one Euro question in a Scottish poll.

    Historically, minor parties have generally done well in Euro Elections – often because these may be perceived as a cost-free way of sending a protest message. Leaving aside SNP/PC, I would expect the minor parties to register well into double figures in aggregate, though UKIP will definitely lose seats, the Greens may well struggle to hold theirs, and the BNP could possibly gain their first MEPs.

    For the County Councils, the common expectation is that Labour will do badly, and are likely to lose their last remaining Counties. Bear in mind that these are predominantly in rural England, so will not really tell us anything new. Also, projections that Labour will lose 100s of seats are wide of the mark since they are only defending some 600 seats out of 2400 in total. (LDs have 500 and Con 1200).

  26. A general question to you politicos out there from a newbie on a quest for some knowledge to fill a gaping chasm…….

    In the event of the Tories winning by a majority of 20 or 30 seats would the 100 most marginal seats [ie the 100 cons’ target seats quoted here] be the ones to fall?

    Alternatively, are there significant regional vatiations which may result in Labour retaining a particularly vunerable seat or conversely losing a relatively “Safe” one.?
    How many upsets really occure?

    Any thoughts on surprises this time round?

  27. Newbie Nick, the short answer to your question is that you cannot just read off the 100 most marginal seats from Anthony’s list of target seats.

    There are perhaps two major issues:-
    1. Scotland, in particular, and Wales behave differently, and again this is for two reasons. Firstly, the issues have always been different in these nations, and this is the mnore so now that the Westminster parliament is no longer responsible for services such as Health and Education there. Secondly, in Scotland and Wales there are four major parties, because of the Scottish Nationalist Party and Plaid Cymru: obviously if there is a swing from one major party to the nationalists they may lose sufficient votes to forfeit a set either to the nationalists or to another party which holds onto (or increases) its vote.
    In the 1950s, England and Wales swung (e.g. in the 1959 election) to the Conservatives, whilst the Tories lost a number of seats to Labour in Scotland. More recently, in 1987 Labour made little progress compared to 1983 in England, but achieved substantial swings and won seats (for example Cardiff West) in both Scotland and Wales.

    The position is complicated, even in England, because not all the seats on the Tory target list have Labour in second place: in some the Liberal Democrats are second. In addition, it matters how strong the third party’s vote is: the more votes the third (and subsequent) candidates got at the previous election the more possibility there is for tactical voting.

    Liberal Democrat gains and losses cause particular problems. At the moment, it appears likely that overall LibDem strength at the next election will be not dissimilar to last time; but if there is a swing away from Labour it is likely that the LibDems will on balance be winning seats from Labour and losing them to the Tories (and the LibDem target list has fewer Labour seats that Tory ones). Unfortunately, few opinion polls question enough voters to identify where the LIbDems are likely to be gaining or losing. And LibDem gains and losses tend to have more to do with local or specific issues (e.g., last time, student loans) and the qualities of candidates than do seats changing hands between Tory and Labour.

    Unfortunately, the BNP will be targeting a select number of seat next time. Current conventional opinion is that their voters are predominantly disaffected ex-Labour voters. A BNP candidate even getting a few per cent of the vote may mean the Tory gets in on an apparently larger swing. There are even a few seats in which a swing to the BNP may have the effect of returning a LIbDem MP instead of a Labour one. SImilarly, it may make a difference whether a Green or UKIP candidate is standing, or gets a changed proportion of the vote: Green votes tend to be from electors who might otherwise vote Labour or LibDem, UKIP voters otherwise being mostly Tory.

    Traditionally, in England the swing, in either direction, tend to be bigger in London, particularly, and the South East than in the North: a reason for this is that more electors move in and out between elections around the capital.

    Having said all this, in England the swing tends to be fairly uniform. If, for the sake of argument, the Tories won a hundred seats in England I would expect them to have won (I am thinking on my feet here) almost all their first seventy five English targets, whilst Labour would hold almost all the seats beyond a hundred and twenty five on the target list. But this does leave room for upsets.

    The famous upset in recent time was Labour’s Stephen Twigg’s gain of Enfield Southgate from Michael Portillo in 1997. In the same election, Labolur won Crosby on a huge swing. Again in 1997, the LibDems’ win in Carlshalton was surprising.

    To express thoughts on surprises next time is just too risky for credible commentators. In addition, it has implications for political betting.

    Back to sobriety, it appears likely that the swing at the next election will be even more uniform than usual, because the economy is so overwhelmingly important as an issue at the moment, and of course it is a national issue.

    I hope that is enough for you to be getting on with!