A new YouGov poll in the Sunday Times is the first to test public opinion since the G20 meeting. The poll went live on Friday morning, so respondents would have had chance to see the news coverage of the conference.

The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, are CON 41%(nc), LAB 34%(+3), LDEM 16(-1).

Labour have enjoyed a small boost from the G20, but it seems to be at the expense of the Liberal Democrats and others rather than the Conservatives. This actually makes some sense – as I posted here, during the increase in Labour support at the end of last year that resulted from Gordon Brown’s domestic recovery package we also saw support for others fall away. My guess is that we are seeing people who would normally be Labour supporters drifting over to abstentions and protest votes when the government are in trouble, and then returning to Labour at times when Brown and Labour are seeming more effective and competent.

The questions now are, firstly, how large this recovery is – polls vary, and it can take time for the public to react to events, so it could be larger than it appears here – and, secondly, how long it lasts. Will it be a brief blip on the back of positive publicity that rapidly vanishes again, or will it change the media coverage and perceptions of Labour enough to be the springboard for a wider and longer recovery? Time will tell.

It’s worth remembering that, while the tail end of ComRes’s fieldwork for their last poll would just have caught it, this is also the first poll taken after the bulk of the coverage of of Jacqui Smith’s expenses claim and her husband’s blue movies. For now, that doesn’t seem to have damaged the government (or if it did, it has been cancelled out by the G20 effect).


34 Responses to “Labour boost in first post-G20 poll”

  1. It’s interesting that Labour’s increase in popularity seems to be from others because it ties in well with my observation of acquaintances. Those who don’t like Labour and are likely to vote Conservative or belong to the Liberal Democrat core voter base seem to talk a lot about Jacqui Smith and her “expenses”. In contrast, those who support Labour or might revert to Labour point to the fact that Gordon Brown appears to have chaired the G20 Summit well. I think I’m fairly unusual among Tory supporters in being prepared to say that Brown’s chairmanship of G20 seems to have been successful.

    I loathe Gordon Brown’s approach and I don’t think it will work but I can’t deny that he’s achieved his international objectives at the summit. I hope his approach works but I fear that it will cause ’70s style stagflation in the longer term, though possibly have some short-term gain.

  2. What majority would this poll give on a UNS?
    Must be getting close to hung parliament.

  3. Anthony’s swingometer does predict a hung Parliament!
    Con 312
    Lab 281
    Lib 28
    Nat 11
    Irish 18
    Others 3

    I suspect the Lib Dems would do better than that – nearer to 38. This would probably knock 3 to 5 off both the Tory and Labour totals – giving us a very Hung Parliament indeed!

  4. An argument that may be employed by the Lib Dems is that this extra stimulus of one trillion dollars is equal to the financial cost of the war in Iraq for America. For Britain the cost must have run into billions of pounds.

    I will be very surprised if the Lib Dems don’t point this out. As the months pass and Brown’s ‘achievements’ don’t appear to have achieved anything it could prove to be a potent point.

  5. Correction – Nat figure of 11 includes Others

  6. Labour should be pleased that they have received a boost from the G20 (which was an international success for Brown). One more tick on Mandy’s strategy for a June election perchance ?

    Conversely, the fact that the boost has been at the expense of LDs and others, and Cons maintained their position over 40% should dampen likelihood of Brown agreeing an early GE. Even if subsequent polls show Labour getting to mid/high 30s, if Tories stay above 40% Brown will wait until the very last moment.

  7. Weighted Moving Average 42:31:17 not much change so we shouldn’t get too excited. There is no evidence yet of a G20 boost. Logically there should be some, but really nothing much we acheived and it won’t make much difference in the UK – unless we have to go to the IMF.

  8. I think this was expected but once the press coverage dies down and the realisation dawns that nothing has in fact changed for the people of GB coupled with the budget things will level out. Unless the budget cuts taxes and starts giving money to everyone, I would expect the 10 point lead al least to be back by the beginning of May by which time new unemployment figures and another possible cut in interest rates would reaffirm the message that nothing in fact has changed.

  9. So, in a week’s time will this conference be remembered? Two week’s time when you are unemployed? or your children?
    Let me guess.

    A current huge pile of media time; but the funeral of Jade Goody had even more time on the rolling news channels today….

  10. I seem to remember an interesting article a few months ago from Anthony about the ‘Tory voters strike’ and how it has now ended. With this in mind, I don’t think Labour can overtake the Tories, though maybe they will close the gap (again).

    Since Gordon Brown will never call an election if he is behind in the polls, even to lessen the damage now rather than be heavily beaten later (potentially!), I think June 2010 has to be odds on for the GE.

  11. PKBESO,

    While Gordon was hoping to have a budget give-away to implement the global fiscal stimulus to be agreed at the G20 – that after all was why he delayed the budget – his plan has come unstuck for two reasons:
    (a) The G20 did not agree a fiscal stimulus;
    (b) The Chancellor and BoE have made it clear that there is no scope for further fiscal loosening in the UK. Forget tax cuts, it is spending cuts that will be on the agenda ( tax rises will have to wait until next year).

    Mike R

    Personally, I don’t think Labour will even close the gap this time – though it may shrink to 3-4% in a poll taken over the next week or so. After the budget the gap will widen again, so yes, Brown will then wait.

    But he would be very foolish to cling on to 10 June 2010, the last legally possible date. The local elections on 6 May 2010 are the biggest set in the cycle and cover all the Metropolitan areas and almost all the shire county districts. In other words, practically everyone in England (but not Scotland or Wales) will have a vote. Can you imagine the impact on party morale when Brown announces that he has finally sought a dissolution the week after Labour have been absolutely slaughtered at loacl level ?

    So, if Brown does not call for a dissolution by 5th May this year, expect him to go to the Palace next Easter to ask for a dissolution a year today.

  12. i work on a month by month basis which means at this point i only have one poll but i have curnched the numbers in three diffrerent polling programes and the result would be a hung parliment with the conservatives 10 seats short.

    on the brown G20 bounce he won’t make the same mistake as last time and let people think there will be an election this damaged him last time and would fatally wound him if he did it again so there will be no non election this time around and as has been said with the conservatives on a solied 40-42% it makes no sence to go tothe polls in june this year, the true test for labour will be the up coming local elections and this is where the programe for labour is, trying to save seats so that the have members to play with come a june 2010 election maybe combined with local elections again, and i am sure that the conservatives would gain seats. the lib dems will be back and will make back ground as we move into a more UK based agenda, and finally i still think we will see a 60-70 majority at the next election with the lib dems gaining a few seats hear and there mostly from labour in northern city areas like oldham and sheffield maybe even hull, but they could lose seats in the shout which now looks very likely in any case even if labour win (unlikly i know) the lib dems will get hammered in the south along with labour.

  13. @Silent Hunter – well done for keeping to a good crowd of people. Unfortunately there does appear to be a large amount of mad people still prepared to not only vote labour, but to be unflinchingly loyal (even people who are directly effected by the recession).

    One person I know has changed recently who was swayed by GB’s inexperienced youth attackes on DC. She has now decided that actually GB is mad to keep quoting the RPI when the real problem is that inflation is still climing and now much faster in real terms for those effected by the recession.

    PS – I love Hoon – well done for giving another story to completely obliterate Labour’s boost – the next few polls will really be interesting.

  14. I can understand why some people are wondering where all this Labour support is coming from, only 2% down on the last election on 34%. It’s certainly a valid point, given the fact that for example in Scotland, one of Labour’s strongest areas, the party is certainly not doing well at the moment. It would be interesting to see a regional breakdown of Labour’s vote and the change in share of the vote in each region compared to 2005, because if Labour is down in Scotland they must be holding steady or even going up slightly in other regions, which doesn’t really seem credible.

  15. one thing is sure 34% for labour will not last long, most of the up turn in labours polling has come from the other so may go back to them or more lkely as we get nearer an election move back to the lib dems or conservatives, my best guess is a major split in the vote say 50/50 between lib dem and tories thus giving both lib dem and conservative an extra 2%. but i think after the budget we will see labours vote come down again as they tear up the per budget and previous budget and wright a new one again!! the tories will say.

    1. anotheru-turn on the budget from a weak govenment

    2. more tax rises and in a time when the country is going down the s**t hole

    3. more meaningless change from a dead duck prime minster and a dead duck govenment

    4. what he means maybe warm words but inside all the chancillor has done is put up tax more and more and the people of britan should now see that the govenment has run out of ideas and has run out of time and money, national debt is to high and the country will go to the wall if the govenment keeps spending more and more money it dose not have.

    5. and finally Mr speaker. the govenment has talked a good game but when we look at the detail it all falls apart as just another tax con on the people of this proud nation, and we can also conclued that this govenment has run its course, had its time and ran out of ideas money and time and the public have noticed that that every thing he touches turns to dust, the same as he will leading this band of money grabing dead duck MPs tha should be voted out of office and out of sight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. The most interesting thing about this poll is not so much the small post-G20 boost for Labour (which I think most of us expected) but where it’s come from. Conservative support now seems fairly solidly in low 40s territory, which dispels the myth that Tory support is “soft”. As Anthony says, the Labour boost is largely at the expense of the Lib Dems and his explanation seems right to me – that this drift is explained by semi-disaffected Labour voters blowing hot and cold and moving back and forth between Labour and the Lib Dems according to current circumstances.

    That’s bad news for the Lib Dems because it suggests that a proportion of their share of the vote is very soft indeed. My guess is that when it comes to a general election, many of these fluctuating voters will return to the Labour fold when push comes to shove. So the Labour share of the vote at election time may well be a few points higher than many polls suggest.

    On the downside for Labour, we’re again seeing that boosts and bounces still leave them trailing the Tories.

  17. A lot of people seen to be jumping to all kinds of conclusions which are based entirely on pre-existing views set in stone rather than the facts on the ground.

    This is one poll and as such no conclusions at all can be drawn untill its shown if its a blip or a new trend.

  18. Yet again we have to endure the tedium of another Labour ‘boost’.

    What is interesting is that these boosts only occur when SuperGord is busily saving the world, but never on domestic issues. It is irrelevant whether Brown maintained a gaffe-free hosting of the G20 summit or not because, after all, it is the government’s handling of the domestic economy that matters at GE time.
    I don’t expect this boost will last for long and unless Brown can conjur up a few more global economic summits between now and the next GE, then we are looking at the long awaited Conservative victory.

    To put it into context, I have recently returned from The Philippines and there the news coverage was all about Obama’s whistle-stop tour of Europe and the Far East. What was interesting was that the coverage given showed Obama as the driving force behind the G20 summit with little or no mention of Brown. Therefore, before Brown can be considered as credible a statesman as Blair is clearly seen as throughout the world, including The Philippines – which is quite significant given the comparison I’m making here – then Brown first needs to be seen globally as an equal partner to Obama. If he is unable to even register as a footnote to Obama’s coverage, then Brown is a long way from being the hero that the UK myopically views him as.

  19. @Stuart Gregory

    You make some good points (I think), but I wonder if you could run your comments through a spelling and grammar checker before posting?

    I’m not trying to be pedantic, but I genuinely find it hard to extract the meaning from your comments.

  20. I take great exception to being implicitly described as “mad” simply because I support the Labour Party. As a Socialist who else can I reasonably be expected to support? We are in a crisis of capitalism, not socialism, and for me and many others like me the idea I have to vote Conservative is quite ridiculous. I know that the present Government is not a Socialist one, but there is no serious alternative. Certainly not Respect with their reactionary communalism – yes that’s “communalism” not “communism”.
    I also fail to see why a boost in a poll for Labour is “tedium”. Surely a constant Tory lead of 11 – 13 % as for several previous months is hardly wildly interesting, although clearly it would be to the taste of several of your contributors.
    NBeale predictably says that “there is no evidence yet of a G20 boost”. Well in weighted average there isn’t, but in this poll there clearly is. The big question is will it be sustained, or even improved upon. One poll, like one swallow, doth not a summer make. I will be interested to see the reaction when I go out on to the doorstep this afternoon.
    I’m sorry to go on so long Anthony but some of the comments seem particularly partisan today (perhaps some of you got out of bed on the wrong side this morning?) and I felt the need to refute some of them.

  21. @Barnaby, agreed; I’ve never described Tories as “mad” just because of their Party loyalities (occasionally their actions, but that’s a different matter), and agree too with Ian Bailey that too many today are writing off this poll because of previous ones and expressing certainties based on no evidence.

    @Tony K – sorry us Labour people are not giving up and you have the “tedium” of Labour carrying on the contest for the next election, but hey that’s politics ;-)

    Let’s wait till this cycle is over, see what boost it shows, and then see what next month’s cycle shows in terms of any return to the fairly consistent 42/30 pattern of recent months. Only then can we make any predictions about a June election and what the result *might* be.

  22. Surely some of you must be sensible and experienced enough to know that there are no certainties in politics. One man’s saint is another man’s sinner – to make comments that Labour are wrong and anyone who votes for them are stupid is the height of arrogance and blinkeredness – didn’t Tory posters learn that lesson from the mid 90s?

    The reality is that both sides have a substantial core vote. Floaters blow in the wind and do not share the inbuilt bigotry of the core vote towards their opposition. Calling them stupid for going one way or another is surely a way of driving them away from your party to the other party?

  23. I’m mad too as have a left of centre outlook where else can I go? For me and many others even a, perhaps, disappointing Labour party is better than the party of Thatcher, Tebbitt , Monday club et al despite Cammos detoxification, he puts up with Osborne and the IHT policy shows the priority group and he slaps down Clarke for being sensible and trying to appeal to the centre!!!
    I don’t call Tories selfish or misguided or uncaring on here so some Tory posters should be more respectful.

    I think James Ludlow has it right will Anti-Tory LD voters move back or over to Labour at a GE when faced with the reality that voting LD will often be an indulgence. What will Rory Bremner and other Anti-Iraq war LD voters do?
    The meaningful non-Tory vote (taking out no hope others) is always over 50 including SNP and PC.
    As long as the cons don’t beat 42 they may not win depending on how votes split.
    In seats where LDs are incumbent of course their vote will hold up well as long as the same candidate in standing.

  24. Brown will be worried by the solid Tory 40+ but cheered by the rise in Labour support.
    Much, much more significant than the G20 effect is the overall media narrative. In a previous post I mention an altogether much more positive reporting tone in the Sun. Today the Sunday Times has two full pages on ‘Reasons to Be Cheerful?’ and is reporting suggestions that the housing and credit markets are moving again, particularly in London. They even picked out Cameron’s assertion that the bank bail out had failed set against evidence that credit is beginning to flow again. If that happens, it will open up Osborne/Cameron to charges of inexperience and could see some of that 40%+ drift away.
    Contrast this months reporting of house prices with last month. February’s reported rise by the Halifax was ignored by the Nationwide’s fall. This month it was the reverse, and the media focussed on the rising indicator. Bad news never holds for long and I think times are changing.

  25. Jim Jam
    “The meaningful non-Tory vote (taking out no hope others) is always over 50 including SNP and PC.”

    This may be true of those that care about the world of politics but I’m not sure the Tories carry the same stigma with the public at large as they did.

    I often am amazed by the total lack of political understanding many people have. I suspect half the female population under 30 couldn’t tell you which party was ‘left’ and which ‘right’ for instance.

    The key for the Tories is to grab the votes of the newly ‘politicised’ as the ressecion takes it’s toll, just as Thatcher did initially.

    You’re never going to convince those who still mumble on about ‘the miners’ and want ‘progress’ with ‘social equality’ etc but who needs ’em?

  26. Brown got got good headlines for spinning a mouse at the G20. As more considered analysis comes through in the broadsheets, we see how that over 90% of this “new” money is previously-announced commitments or smoke and mirrors (without any guarantees of delivery).

    I believe that Brown will have got some bounce from the sycophantic headlines in the tabloids. If, however, the tabloids decide to report the deconstruction of the spin (and who knows the mind of a tabloid editor) then he could suffer a backlash.

    A small bounce from good headlines. No guarantee that it will last, and even the potential for a reverse.

  27. One thing we can be certain about, if we do get a result at the next GE along the lines of this latest OP, is that we will be in a constitutional crisis. I think it is very likely that whatever the final voting %’s, the Conservatives will clearly have won the popular vote by a considerable margin. If the gap narrowed to say a 5.5% win for the Conservatives, we would have a Labour minority Government, but with NO mandate from the public what-so-ever to run the Country.

  28. ‘If the gap narrowed to say a 5.5% win for the Conservatives, we would have a Labour minority Government, but with NO mandate from the public what-so-ever to run the Country.’

    Alternatively, of course, one can argue the democratic will was that the majority wanted anyone but the conservatives to run the UK; an equally valid democratic interpretation.

  29. @Jack.
    “Alternatively, of course, one can argue the democratic will was that the majority wanted anyone but the conservatives to run the UK; an equally valid democratic interpretation.”

    On that logic you’d have to conclude that no party ever has a democratic mandate unless they poll over 50%, which means that we have been dictated to by the minority for umpteen years. I presume you favour STV over FPTP?

  30. Leslie,

    Dictatorship by a minority is the most common form of government at any level – from the family unit right through clubs/societies; small / big business; to local / regional / national / supranational governments.
    In any group activity, big or small, if unanimity were always required before any form of management action were taken, nothing would ever be achieved.

    What democracy seeks to do is secure widespread support or consent for the delegation of decision making, subject to the ability to withdraw that delegation if the authority is abused. Democracy relies on voting systems to operate, and one can debate the relative merits of alternate systems, but ultimately there will always be at least a minority who did not vote for the winners.

    As such, democracy is a flawed system – except that as Churchill said, it is less flawed than all the other systems which have been tried.

  31. I see this poll as pretty close to the final election result.

  32. A tiny change if that with margins for error
    Labour will not get 34 per cent at any election unless there is a major change in things
    The summit will be long forgotten by the time of the next polls – and as above with margins for error they may not have got any credit from voters anyway
    Also Labour always do worse than opinion polls suggest and I seem to remember they are doing much worse in polls in marginal seats in any case