The voting intention figures for YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph have finally surfaced. The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s previous poll in mid-August, are CON 42%(nc), LAB 26%(-2), LDEM 18%(nc).

Once again, not much change in the figures. It puts the end to a month of largely static GB polls, all painting pretty much the same picture. All the pollsters have the Conservatives between 41%-43%, everyone has Labour in the mid 20s and the Lib Dems 17%-19%.

The Telegraph’s report highlights the economic confidence figures – they are sharply rising in the polls, with net economic optimism now at minus 14 (compared to minus 67 last year). We’ve seen a similar turnaround in economic optimism from Ipsos MORI, but neither company has shown this translating into a boost in the number of people backing Labour.


88 Responses to “YouGov’s monthly Telegraph poll”

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  1. I think the economic recovery will only translate in to votes once unemployment stops shooting higher. As a lagging economic indicator, that is why I think Brown is toast (amongst other reasons of course….)

  2. The worry for Labour is if they cannot get any benefit from economic confindence up-tick now they may never get it.

    I totally agree with Iain Dale last night on SKY NEWS paper review

    Petrol is on course to be £1.20 litre by April after the already announced further 2p to be put on at the 2009 April budget,a fact lost with the headlines of the masssive deficits,Darling put on 2p every year for 5 years.

    If oil is only $71 a barrel now,experts say they expect 90-100 by May for future contracts in New York & we are already now going to pay over £1.05 litre,what happens if the world economy has a growth spurt?in fact after a decline in world GDP some might say that is more probable than not,oil could get to $140 easy,that would cripple motorists here.

    The Tories win on this issue also,inder their plan we would have instead of paying 80p a litre when oil was low,we would have payed a £1,front loading the revenue,now instead of petrol prices going to £1.20 a litre they would stay at a £1 as the revenue was front loaded,helping the recovery.

    Labour recessions seem to be pain when in recession,pain when out of recession,just like borrowing in good times,borrowing in bad times,when are the good times under labour economic policy?

    Also the BOE’s main task is price stability under the tories plan they can give so much more accurate predictions,they cannot with petrol prices all over the place.

    The tory plan is an excellent one,why can Brown & Darling not grasp simple economics?

  3. Wood

    At the height of the expenses scandal 3 months ago we had a little contest about the way the polls would look come August The predictions were if I recall correctly something like

    Wood–Con 35/36 Lab 27/ 29 LD 18/19

    Nick—-Con 42 Lab 26 LD 18

    Chris ( Newly )–dismissed my forecast as rubbish but made none of his own
    I was spot on. The reasons for my confident forecast firstly lay in a glance at the polls before and after previous Euro elections and secondly in the continuing disenchantment with Labour which I believe has long ago passed the tipping point. Thirdly as Enoch Powell once said ‘ once voters decide to get rid of a government they will inevitably vote for the party most likely to achieve that aim’- which in this scenario must mean the Tories.
    I did not doubt that the vote for others would start to decline in late July and I predict that it will continue to to do so. My only doubts back in June concerned the Lib Dems as-other than-unfairly I might add- poor old Ming Campbell-fewer of their MP’s were perceived by the public to have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. It has really surprised me that their ratings failed to improve.
    I am not inclined to challenge you to a new contest Wood until nearer the time of the election still some 8 months away. Till then don’t get depressed and remember ‘what goes around comes around’ Labour have had their longest run in office ever-there is nothing to be depressed about.

  4. Anthony

    My comment is awaiting moderation?!!! What on earth for?

  5. @ Rich – “Labour recessions seem to be pain when in recession,pain when out of recession”. I found this a somewhat odd comment. All recessions involve pain, both during and after. Putting aside the blame for this recession for a moment, what is striking about the government response is that they have been moderately successful in keeping some of the pain under control. I know you are heavily biased against Brown, but I feel it would be more mature to acknowledge credit where its due. To date, unemployment and home repossessions are both well below predictions, and schemes like the car scrappage scheme and VAT cut have had positive effects. I think most sensible people would agree that judging from Cameron and Osborne’s policy statements, they would not have taken such an active approach during the recession, and as a consequence the pain now would be significantly greater. Although seen as a harsh and uncompromising approach, this is a classic Tory approach to recessions as we have seen before, and has some merit in terms of providing a recovery less burdened by government debt.
    I think its immature merely to abuse a party on selective grounds. Labour has done rather well in terms of mitigation of the worst of the recession – the question is whether this was worthwhile in the long term, and this is a much less clear and nuanced debate than you give credit for.

    On your point about oil prices – get ready for it. July 07 at $147 was a taste of the future. We either have recession or oil going to $200. Take your choice. This will change our economy forever, and it will happen very swiftly. Forget government petrol taxes. Any rise in fuel prices hammers the taxpayer as we have to heat schools and hospitals, and maintain vast fleets of fire engines, tanks, ambulances etc. The western world hasn’t even begun to realise what the fuel markets will be like in 5 years time. My business is environmental consultancy, with a heavy emphasis on renewables and enery efficiency, so on one hand I’m very happy, but I don’t fancy the social consequences much.

  6. Rich, also don’t forget the pump prices will go up again when the VAT reduction ends after Christmas! They exempted them from the cut putting up duty to offset the VAT reduction, so when the rate cut ends the extra duty will still be on it so the price will go up another 2-3p/litre.

    The polls seem to have converged and I think that the GE vote shares will be broadly similar to these figures. The impression I get is that people have more or less made their minds up.

  7. The Impartial Observer

    Yea you’re right!

    In respect of my above comment before Labourites respond there were good times,i mean non credit fueled good times,non Government debt fueled good times.

    A economy growing at 2-3%(boring) with a balanced budget or surplus.

    Incidentally exactly the economy labour inherited in 1997.

    Food for thought,on debt graph trends in 1997,if labour had kept on the same spending path as the tories,debt would have been 12% of GDP by 2007.

  8. Andy’s Election General Election Forecast: End Aug 2009

    Here is the second of my forecasts for next year’s GE using past data. I have collated opinion poll data for the 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections (courtesy of this site) and am looking at the variance of the Conservative lead in the polls to their actual lead at the election and also the Lib Dem share of the vote compared to the actual result.

    Every month from now until the election I will publish my forecast and then we can see how accurate it is come next May.

    The following data is from the previous elections. For each year the first number is the variance of the Tory poll lead (or defecit) versus their actual result. A positive number means that they did better in the election than in the poll and vice versa.

    The second figure is the difference between the LD result and their poll result – again a positive figure means they did better in the election than in the poll.

    For each month I have taken the last 6 polls.

    So the results for end Aug are as follows:
    Base Data: 1992 +9.83/+1.97; 1997 +10.67/+3.13; 2001 +7.83/+4.80; 2005 -1.17/-1.57

    Average: +3.86/+2.08

    Note that the first figure is a weighted average (50% 2005, 30% 2001, 15% 1997 and 5% 1992)

    Most recent 6 polls show a Tory lead averaging 16.17 points and a LD poll rating of 18.17%

    The average Tory lead has gone up by 2 points since last month.

    My prediction for the GE is a Tory Lead of 20 points and an LD poll rating of 20%.

    Assuming that the three main parties poll the same as in 2005 (90%) would give the following split between the main parties:

    Conservative 45% : Labour 25% : Liberal Democrat 20%

    Giving a Tory majority of 178 seats.

    Forecasts to date
    July-09 Con 43%: Lab 26%: LD 21%
    Aug-09 Con 45%: Lab 25%: LD 21%

  9. My view is that for Labour to have any hope at all they need to be on at least 30% with 6 months to go before an election. It looks like they may not even manage that target in time, which is probably a bare minimum in terms of where they need to be at that time.

  10. @Andrew Myers – I would be very surprised if the Tories got as high as 45% and Labour as low as 25%. I’m not sure whether the logic of using the last 4 elections as a predictive base for 2010 is valid, largely due to the fact that the situation is now completely different. Tories are popular, and in the lead by a large margin. There should not be an issue of ‘shy Tories’ and may in fact be the reverse. For all of those 4 previous elections Labour also had significant fears on polling day that the result was such a foregone conclusion possibly leading to their supporters not being bothered to vote. Whereas in science you can repeat an experiment and come up with a prediction with 95% margin of error, that is dependent on maintaining precisely identical conditions. The political landscape is now so different in so many ways to even 2005, let alone 1997, that I seriously doubt any great validity to your methodology.

  11. @Alec

    It’s an experiment – I’m not saying it will be accurate I’m just interested in how close it will be.

    Personally I would expect the Tories to hold 41-42% by next May and Labour maybe 27-28%

    My gut feeling is for a Tory majority of 53 seats, something I have always felt given the (lower) relative popularity of David Cameron vs Tony Blair in 1997.

    We shall see!

  12. Alec

    I will use my economics degree to try & explain to you in a way you can understand economics.

    The reason there have been smaller numbers of home reposessions in the UK is thanks to the tories Alec.

    Lets take the two countries UK/USA at the heart of the credit crunch,how do they differ?

    1999 the tech boom & bust ,the UK had sound public finances but the US was running a large defict.

    Then 9/11 occured

    As with the situation with the UK now,the US then & now had to lower interest rates to 1%

    Greenspan kept these interest rates at 1% for a long time allowing some 15m mortgages to be given at rates that were un-reasonably low in historic terms.

    In the UK however at the end of 1999 going into the millenium Labour had only just come off Tory spending plans,due to this the UK did not go into recession either with the tech bubble burst or more importantly after 9/11(the only G7 country not to do so).

    The UK therefore did not have to lower interest rates,they stayed in their 5-6% region.Due to this every mortgage that was taken out post 9/11 to 2007(start of the CC)in the UK was already done so using ‘normal’ interest rates & people did not face huge 4% mortages payment resets.

    This is why the USA has had some 5m foreclosures to date(what we refer to as reposessions) & we are expecting only 50k.

    Labours own mortage help scheme Alec is not even up & running yet.

    To date Labour’s own figures say all the schemes they have in place have helped only 15 families stay in their homes.

    So not immature Alec just facts,not slander and name calling just facts.

    The problem we should all be worried about is our condiction is now indicative to the US after 9/11 as regard debt & our interest rats.

  13. sorry for those typo’s at the end there.

  14. I think there is an outside chance that Labour may go as low as 25% but if they do it will because they have lost votes to UKIP, Greens, BNP and SNP to various degrees, so I don’t think the Tories could win 45%.

  15. Bear in mind that the standard margin of error of 2% could see the Tories at 45% based the recent MORI poll so it is not out of the question.

    Personally I would find it difficult to imagine the Tories as high as 45% but you never know.

    Of course this is based on there being an election tomorrow and not in 8 months time.

  16. I think it’s fair to say that most people are expecting Labour to recover to at least 30% by the start of the election campaign in April. But maybe they won’t. Sometimes the unexpected does happen.

  17. Sorry if I’m being a little repetitive but from a Labour perspective I think the effect of a VAT increase, impacting on top of annual increases on petrol etc (and on everything else) plus increasing unemployment as announced between now and a GE in May plus the publication of the exceptionally high National Debt will prevent any recovery in Labour’s share of vote.

    If the Tories are effective in targetting marginal constiuencies (and I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary) then we really could be looking at a very substantial landslide if Brown delays and goes for a GE next Spring!

  18. andrew myers-

    your forcast is on the same lines as my own at 170 seat conservative majority however i base mine on a predicted increese not past vote i.e from previous elections.

  19. @Rich – thanks for your insights. I’ve also got some economics qualifications, but regardless of the somewhat condesending tone of your opening line, your last post smacks of the traditional political line of ‘everything bad that happens is down to your lot, but everything good is because of my lot’, even if they haven’t been in power for 13 years. Of course, everyone knows that the foundations for the NHS were almost entirely down to Disraeli. Oh dear.

    The mortgage assistance scheme has been poorly delivered, but is not the relevant factor here. Firstly, the linkage with economic stimulus and slower growth in unemployment is significant – redundancies have risen slower than predicted, so far helping more people to keep their homes. Second, quick steps were taken to provide debt relief advice – this has been largely unoticed but has had a positive effect in encouraging negotiations with lenders. Thirdly, the government has held extensive talks with banks and reached agreements to try to limit reposessions. The very low interest rates are also a factor, but I give the government no credit for that.
    All I am saying is that if the same government approach to the last recession was applied to this one there would, at this stage of the cycle, be more redundancies and more repossessions, which in fact was the case.

    On the polls, it will be very interesting to see if the improvement in economic confidence has any impact on the polls. I’m tempted to go with those who say Labouor’s credibility is shot and people have made up their minds, but voters are individuals and there are bound to be some who see reason to return to Labour if there is a perceived improvement. I guess if there is going to be any noticable effect it should become evident in the next 2 – 3 months if previous lags between economic and political polls are anything to go by.

  20. there is still a long way to go before we get to a genaral election and a week is a long time in politics, but with8 months to go it is looking like the game is up for labour, if my current prediction is right based on projected increese in vote since the last election then labour will be wiped out in most of england, and based on this prediction the current prediction is:

    PARTY VOTE CHG SEATS CHG

    CON 43.6 +10.4 414 +204

    LAB 24.0 -12.1 174 -175

    LD 17.4 -5.2 33 -29

    OTH 15.0 +6.9 29 0

    if this were to happen and at this point i see no reason why it should not, it would be one of the biggest swings in terms of the vote for a long time and one of the biggest swings in terms of seats as well and with an 11.2% swing from labour to conservative minsters would fall we would be talking of the same sort of wipe out that was handed out to john major in 1997.

    however this could also be much more than just a stright forward swing from labour to conservative even if it representsa big change in the election map of the country, it could be that city seats swing more than the polls are predicting and labour lose inner city seats in the north like in manchester and liverpool even the labour hartlands of the north east, it not im possibal and could happen as did in 1997 when the tories had nearly no seats in the big city’s and metropolitans.

    i will update this prediction after the first week in september

  21. Stuart,

    whilst not arguing with your figures to any extent,you fail to recognise the fact that the encumbent Liberal Democrat MP’s will not lose many votes to the Tories and that any would possibly balanced by Labour votes switching.
    A few will lose their seats where the labour vote cannot be squeezed any more but the Liberal Democrats could pick up a few Labour seats.

  22. One thing that will hold Cameron back is the suspicion he would prefer to raise taxes rather than cut spending. Another is the increasing stories of Tories being greedy / incompetent.. As a leading Tory has said there is no deep affection for Cameron.

  23. Rich – please can you use your Economics degree to explain how we got in to negative equity and lots of home repossisions in the early 1990’s.

    Was is Wilson/Callghan to blame or maybe the ERM. (maybe Attlee)

    As far as the polls, no change of course and if labour are going to recover it will not be yet as the improved optimism (lower pessimism) needs to feed through in to more spending for xmas and less personal debt reduction. Any improvement will be too little and too late anyway unless Cammo messes up some how which I think is unlikely although GO may halp Labour a bit.

  24. JIM JAM

    Before my time i am afraid ,i was at school,more interested in Grange Hill than recessions & economics in 1990.

    It is interesting how you do not want to talk about the Party that has occupied #10 for over 12 yrs however.

    I do know we didn’t have China keeping interest rates low & giving us the ‘nice decade’ as M King called it.

    Alec

    So you now want to mention the NHS,come to my neck of the woods W-Mids i will take you to see what 48hrs to save the NHS looks like, Stafford Hospital.

    you wrote

    The mortgage assistance scheme has been poorly delivered, but is not the relevant factor here

    Really ?£500m spent and 15 families helped i think that is very relevant.

    lets expand this we could have give 15 families £1m posh pads each and still saved £485m for the taxpayer.

    Lets see what we could have done with that money again my neck of the woods W-Mids,it is relevent to your other point.

    you also wrote

    and schemes like the car scrappage scheme

    I agree the foriegn firms love the scrappage scheme,but when LDV Vans asked for £50m pound there was no money,again refer to the £500m spent above,i will take you to the now closed factory with the 800 jobs that went with it.

    In 2008 Brown when meeting the Chinese President gave him a gift of £50m from the British people for investment in green technology,nice to see he gets his priorities right.

  25. Jim Jam,

    As with so many things, it was largely Nigel Lawson’s fault. First he underestimated the demand-side effect of a supply-side stimulus from October 1985 onwards after money-supply targeting was, disastrously, abandoned. It was boom and bust economics at its finest: the economy overheated and by 1988 inflation and deficits were a growing problem.

    Since the Tories were never into directly targeting inflation at its source (money-supply growth) they raised interests and tried to get into the ERM, which of course would have meant following the ultra-monetarist German system. Inexplicably, a lot of people on the centre-left as well as the right liked this idea, which suggests either that the 1980s centre-left liked German conservative economics (unlikely) or they didn’t understand economics but loved Germany (likely).

    Extremely high interest rates can be just as bad as extremely low interest rates and this was all too apparent in the early 1990s. I would say it was the opposite problem to the last seven or eight years, when interest rates have been too low and the housing bubble was allowed to inflate and then pop. A good chancellor would have slowly deflated the housing market, which would otherwise have almost certainly crashed no matter how well-regulated it was unless.

    The three devils of the British economy have been Keynesianism-without-the-clandesteine-gold-standard (1971-1973), Greenspanite imprudence (2002 onwards) and Nigel Lawson. It looks like the Tories in 1992 are going to be the one government to have allowed such stupidity and gotten away with it, since the green shoots don’t seem to be helping Labour at all.

  26. @ JIM JAM
    “the improved optimism (lower pessimism) needs to feed through in to more spending for xmas and less personal debt reduction”

    Why on earth should less personal debt reduction be desirable?
    After the shock that over borrowed individuals have received when their lenders changed from being Robin Hood to Scrooge, they will be wise to continue their current conversion to Prudence.
    Companies too are raising Equity funds at record levels-despite low interest rates-because they can’t/don’t want to rely on debt any more.

    These factors should continue-they will help us get back to a more stable economy. They will of course reduce consumption until that correction is accomplished, and Government has to follow suit .

  27. Various people keep mentioning a possible (probable ?) Lab recovery to 30% as the election approaches. It strikes me that this is mutually reinforced wishful thinking.

    Before Brown became PM, Lab were languishing in the low 30s, and up to 10% behind Cons. On becoming PM, Brown achieved a big “bounce” which saw him briefly take Labour into the lead, only to see it disappear again after he bottled the election.

    Brown’s rejuvenation in the financial storm last autimn gave Labour a boost, taking them back into the mid 30s, but never once did they overtake Cons in the polls (closest was a Con lead of 1. Yes in theory this might have given Lab a small majority under UNS, but I doubt that it could have been relied upon.

    Since the start of this year the polls have moved in only one direction in terms of recovery of the Con lead which has now been consistently in the upper teens.

    While it is true that Lab have recovered from their nadir in the polls at end May / early June, that is entirely attributable to the expenses furore whose effects are now wearing off. Yet Lab has not even reached the level they were at in April – unlike Cons, while the most recent polls appear to show Labour slipping back again.

    While one can never dismiss the possiblity of a scene changing event, it is difficult to see where any recovery in Labour’s position will come from and why.

    Moreover, Labour has clearly lost a lots of working-class support to fringe parties and not just Cons. It should not be assumed that this support will somehow magically swing back behind Labour. These people feel betrayed by Labour, why would they reward it just to keep Cameron out ?

  28. Colin,
    I was not advocating but trying to analyse and the truth is that at present we have too low a MPC as even people in ‘safe jobs hold back on spending. Of course a return former levels of aggregate debt would be unhelpful.
    But regardless of whether spending should increase if it does the optimism may help lift labour a bit but I would not put my (very low rate) mortgage on it.

  29. I think Jim Jam has a point about possible poll changes if economic confidence continues to rise. The economic outcomes have been consistently misjudged by the experts – firstly by a collective failure to spot either the crisis, then by misreading how fast and deep the crash would go. Now there have swung too far the other way, and despite clear evidence that the recovery is swifter and stronger than they predicted, there is still an overly pessimistic view. However, there are now increasingly loud voices suggesting a sharp V shaped recovery and recent global data supports this.
    UK house prices were predicted to fall by 20% this year – it now seems probably they will rise, possibly quite sharply. Rising asset prices will help build bank’s capital ratios by reducing their debt exposure, and if this reduces the need for write downs we can say the credit crisis is over, although with Libor rates now very low some already think it is. Goldman Sachs is now predicting a big bounce in world and UK growth in 2010, with a solid start in Q3 this year.
    I think the big question now is whether the recovery, which is already underway, will help Labour. In 97, the recovery didn’t help the Tories. Why not? Possibly because the recesssion felt like it been long and drawn out, the government’s attitude was very hands off, and the key part of the recovery – crashing out of the ERM – was actively resisted by the government, rather than a calculated part of the solution. If the much more active approach this time round is perceived to have helped a recovery, the government will reap a better political reward.
    A second point is that although the public borrowing will be bad, possibly very bad this year, it is likely to recover quicker than most forecast in March. I believe that the need for massive long term spending cuts will look much less severe by next May. I have said before that I thought Cameron has made an error in going so big on the cuts message. Brown’s attack on this issue was illogical, but perhaps by the GE will look a little more inspired.
    Please don’t write me off as a communist/leftie/Labour party mole. I’m an (ex) economist and a business owner, who just happens to think most of the City and the media behanve like headless chickens. When word gets out that ‘it’s over’ they’ll go into positive headless chicken mode, and those who predict Labour at 25% at the GE might be surprised. I think Cameron has probably done enough to get elected, but his increasingly strident tone now might unravel somewhat over the next 9 months if and when the mood turns.

  30. @Colin and Jim Jam – I watched a BBC news report last week when a women said she had booked a last minute holiday ‘because my house has gone back up in value’! We all know it’s crazy, but hell – we’ve got to live with these people!

  31. I hate to burst the bubble of the optimists but we are going to borrow the entire GDP of spain,the 10th largest GDP nation of earth & spend it with nothing really to show for it & no plan to pay it back.

    Escuse me if i am not jumping for joy.

  32. Alec-I don’t know if Brown will gain any credit for the upturn-assuming it shows itself in a way which is meaningfull to the electorate before the GE.

    The Polls-as Anthony again reminds us in this thread-suggest otherwise.

    However-even if a recovery worth the name is demonstrable in time for the GE campaign, and even if that changes Brown’s current inability to convert increased optimism into increased Labour votes-Brown will NOT be able to say that Government Borrowing has suddenly become sustainable.

    IFS have repeatedly explained the numbers & identified the large structural element which will not respond to increased economic activity.
    It will have to be dealt with.
    We will not return to the taxation streams from Financial Services which pertained before the crash.

    Of course we will emerge from the recession at some point-but no one knows what sort of GDP growth will emerge .It is very unlikely however to look like it used to, until the economy is re-structured in a more balanced & sustainable way.

    And while that is happening, The State needs to reduce those of its functions which soak up resources & push up pay inflation in pointless & unproductive activity. It needs to reduce its debt, and the cost of servicing that debt well before higher interest rates return ,so that taxes can be reduced & the wealth creating sector can start motoring again.

    And there is no reason at all why vital Public Services cannot be sustained whilst Government gets back to sensible, sustainable budgets….just like real people are having to do.

  33. When I wrote yesterday that in reponse to the end of the hols and the fuel duty rise Yougov would possibly show Labour on 24 I didn’t expect a poll from them so quickly. Still this poll today showing Labour having a 2 point drop from their last poll is in line with what I would expect.

    Colin, I think that perhaps the most significant in terms of Labour’s support will be the VAT rise in January. The VAT drop last Autumn is likely to have been a big factor in Labour’s considerably improved support. It is logical to suppose that the opposite might occur when they put VAT back up again.

    There now seems to be a good chance that the recession will end before the GE. But there is also a good chance that more people will recognise that the real cost has only just begun to be paid for it.

    A crucial factor in Labour’s electoral success at the last GE has been the belief that they can be trusted with economy – no more boom and bust. This trust has been like armour deflecting people away from their vunerabities and weaknesses.

    Ironically, it is Labour that will have to do battle without this armour. And never has Labour’s vunerabilities and weaknessess been exposed to the public thanks largely to Brown’s leadership.

    Opposition leaders will have to be boldy honest while remaining positive to capitalise fully.

  34. I think we need to look at the polls after conference season to be sure where we are heading although I doubt we will see much of a Labour recovery. The elecorate has now disengaged with the government and no amount of stimulus pumped economic green shoots will help it now. Much the same as the last throes of Major’s premiership (and the economy was much much better then under Clarke)

  35. I does not seem particularly likely that the economy will have improved by May in terms of people’s perceptions of it. Unemployment may have gotten closer to 3 million.

    Labour seem to be totally out of touch when it comes to fuel duty. I think the continual increases in fuel costs will cost them big time as it will alienate pensioners and families who will find it incredibly hard to cope with the rises. Furthermore they dont really seem to give a dam about it and are saying all their planned rises will continue.

    They would probably do better to raise income tax on high earners or put a windfall tax on oil comapnies which would probably be much more widely supported amongst Labour and Lib Dem voters and may Tory voters as well.

    So on the policy side Labour seems to be bent on taxes which disproportionately affect the vert people they claim to represent.

    Personally I think they will lose seats from both sides. I would expect them to lose a dozen or so seats to the LDs in northern cities and will undoutedly be wiped out by the Tories from the South up to the Midlands.

    Labour are lucky that the boundaries are generally favourable to them staying around the 200 seat mark.

  36. IMHO Frank Field has it spot on -just cut public spending by £100 billion

  37. I have lived in the West-mids all my life,i have never seen a area turn against labour more than the West-Mids,i guarantee labour will be wiped out here.

    During the Local Elections i was in the kitchen & someone came up to my letterbox like a mouse lifted the letterbox like it was attached to a bomb & carefully put in a labour leaflet,then scurrried away,nobody i know had labour candidates knocking on doors & asking for votes they were to frightened of the reaction.

  38. I don’t think high unemployment in 2010 will affect Labour’s chances. Elections are very rarely lost due to the unemployed, since (a) even 3 million+ people are a small portion of the total population and (b) the only other way the unemployed would be electorally signficant would be if they were concentrated in marginal seats, which they aren’t.

    On the other hand, the fact that increasing economic optimism hasn’t correlated with any sort of recovery in the polls should worry Labour.

    I also think that by mid-2010 we’ll be starting to see a rise in CPI without significant economic growth, which will be the first signs of the long stagflatory period that we’ve got to look forward to until a government goes on a Kamikaze mission by dealing with the deep economic problems of the UK.

  39. I think it’s too early to write off the chance of an economic confidence led boost for Labour. If you recall, when the economy crashed, the confidence indicator dropped sharply but it took much longer for Labour support to fall. I would expect the reverse here.
    I also suggest that a recovery could be fast and big. If (only if) Goldman Sachs are correct and we are going to see 4% global growth next year with UK growth not far behind, that’s a huge turnaroud – I mean a huge turnaround. Bear in mind also UK is almost certainly out of recesssion now. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if UK unemployment registers a fall before election day if these circumstances are correct.
    In such a scenario, the worst debt predictions will be seen as hysterical overreactions, and while there will be debt issues, they will not be of anything like the same scale as previously expected. I still don’t know if Brown’s credibility is such that people just won’t vote for him, but I would caution the Tory posters here expecting a further Labour collapse to look carefully at the forward economic numbers – they are pretty much all unrelentingly positive. Nine months is a long time, but then 16% is a big poll lead.

  40. @BILL PATRICK.

    “until a government goes on a Kamikaze mission by dealing with the deep economic problems of the UK.”

    It can be done-there is a model for Cameron-the wonderful, fantastic, retired RE teacher, and directly -elected Mayor of Doncaster-Peter Davies.

    He is showing how to dismantle a bloated Labour administration -and he is not a Tory!

  41. Alec do you have a link to that Goldman Sachs forecast? Their website doesn’t seem to link to it and my abominable Googling skills have failed me.

    I am curious as to what they see being the drivers of that strong growth. Personally I can just about see a growth in asset prices (property and shares) but in an atmosphere of tight credit and increasing unemployment I can’t see a huge boost for consumer spending anytime soon, and certainly not a boost in manufacturing investment. It will be interesting to see which products they predict will be “flying off the shelves” next year.

  42. Neil A

    The “products .. “flying off the shelves” next year” will be books on how to live within a tight budget !

    There is no economically rational basis for a V recovery, while there is a strong likelihood of a double dip W, with a long slow L as the most probable scenario.

  43. ALEC

    UK Manufacturing is back in recession!

  44. NEIL A
    Just Google Goldman Sachs in Google News & you will find plenty of alternate views & critics of the GS assessment.

    Here is GS on China quoted on Bloomberg yesterday :-

    “China stocks remain “a bright spot” among global equities because of the nation’s strong growth potential, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.”

    Here is a China assessment in The Times today :-

    “Wall Street, oil prices and European shares all fell yesterday as concerns about the ability of China to power global growth spread around the world.
    Share prices in Shanghai slumped by 7 per cent yesterday amid fears that the “China effect”, which has helped to stoke growing global economic confidence in the past six months, is about to fizzle out.
    The stampede out of shares came amid reports that the authorities in Beijing may be planning to protect state-run companies from their trading mistakes by allowing certain companies to default on derivative contracts struck for oil, coal and other commodities.

    The massive stock plunge, which was driven chiefly by Chinese retail investors, also reflected concern that coming days will bring a litany of disappointment through official economic statistics. The slowing of bank lending and stimulus measures, some analysts warn, may show that the Chinese recovery has become an “unsustainable paradigm”.

    Take your pick!

  45. There is now a real chance that the UK could come out last from the recession ,in fact it may be probable.

    Lat week & this we got economic news that dosn’t give an upbeat picture at all.

    Uk business investment expected to fall 3% fell 10%!!!

    This was the worst month of the year,recovery?

    Today Manufacturing shrank shocking the markets,while every other major countries improved.

    And also today for the first time of record ever!! the personal debt of the UK shrank as people payed off debt,good for the country in the medium term not good for growth for a struggling Government.

    All this data puts serious doubt into GDP growing in 3rd Quarter.

  46. Thanks Colin, but its the actual report itself I can’t find. Wanted to see what the basis for their optimism (ie 4% global growth) is. I will try googling around.

  47. @Rich – “Today Manufacturing shrank shocking the markets” – absolutely wrong – read the reports more carefully. UK manufacturing output in August rose at the fastest rate since Dec 07, and stocks of finished goods shrank at the second fastest rate ever. The CIPS figures edged just below th 50 mark – 49.7 – indicating a possible future very small contraction, but no, manufacturing is not back in recession – it continues to grow at a healthy rate. Incidentally, a comparable survey from China out today shows an increase from 53.3 to 54.0. UK Q2 manufacturing figures were also revised upwards slightly to -0.2%.

    In terms of the Goldman Sachs report, I was quoting from Jim O’Neil, GS Chief Economist “Now it’s looking like V for victory over recession” in The Times, 31st August. He predicts 4% world growth in 2010 and believes although UK is slightly weaker the global growth will drag us along with much higher than expetced GDP increase.

    The mortgage and debt figures are frankly excellent. Personal debt levels are at their lowest for 16 years – exactly what Colin wants – while there has been a net repayment of mortgage debt, which is fantastic news for bank capital balance sheets. Meanwhile, new approvals are continuing their upward path. In other words, more new mortgages are being approved to help keep the housing market moving, but those with existing mortgages are paying back large amounts, which can then be leveraged by banks to maintain good lending levels into a market that will see rising asset values. We’ve also just seen the biggest percentage 2 month gain on the stock markets since 1987.

    Yes, there are downsides and the post recession period always throws up some contradictions, but for some time the direction of travel has been pretty clear. The unwillingness of some people to see any positive signs is less about economics and more about political beliefs I feel. I will however, repeat my caveat – I’m not sure this good news will help Brown.

  48. Under 50 on manufacturing is recession,the market was expecting 52,a technical recessision is 2 consectutive quarters i agree,but the person in the street just sees contraction.

    If we get 3rd qtr GDP growth then contraction in the 4th that makes my point.

    The debt repayment is good news but not for growth,if people are paying off debt they are not spending it in the shops.

    Total debt reduction in the uK has never happened so this makes a mockery of the feel good factor you talk about.PEOPLE ARE SCARED!

    You didn’t mention my other point UK business investment dropped 10% reported on Friday it was expected to drop 3%.

    My points are facts yours are theory.

    The pound has dropped from 84p to euro to 88p,the pound has dropped from $1.68 to $.162 in a week.

    Someone out there agrees with me.

  49. @Rich – my understanding is that the CPIS index you quote is the forward looking index, not the historical figures, which still show manufacturing growth. Also bear in mind the debt figures are from July, so are a month out of date, and before some of the better news in the housing market was reported. Even so, reduced debt now suggests a faster spend rate once consumer confidence goes positive again, which is the point I (and Goldman Sachs) are making. Investment falling is not good news – as I say, its not all one way traffic. Falling pound – very good news in the short term as global activity picks up and UK exports get cheaper.

    “My points are facts yours are theory” – that’s a very silly thing to say. We’re all talking ‘facts’ – its the interpretation of those facts we’re debating.

  50. ALEC

    We have had 15 months of contraction in manufacturing,the only growth was 50.2 in fact a small revision may say it was below 50,as we are now back under 50 that should be expected.

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