The positive coverage of Brown’s speech was very short lived, being rapidly replaced by almost wall-to-wall coverage of the Sun’s attack on Labour. It seems to be reflected in the polls – today’s YouGov figures are sharp reverse of yesterday’s with the Conservatives back to 40, Labour back into the 20s.

Topline figures are CON 40%(+3), LAB 26%(-4), LDEM 20%(-1). Interesting to note the Lib Dem’s still holding up at 20%, still very early days indeed, but some of that conference boost has at least extended beyond them being on the news screens.

The Sun yesterday said that Labour has “lost its way”. Asked if they agreed, a large majority of YouGov’s respondents did (63% to 27%). However, they were far less enthusiastic about the other (admittedly, rather more over-the-top) side of the Sun’s argument, that “the Conservative leadership can put the great back into Great Britain”. Only 29% of people agreed with this – unsurprisingly hardly any Labour or Lib Dem supporters did. 75% of Tories did, with most of the rest unsure.

Finally YouGov asked if people thought newspaper endorsements were important when it came to how people voted at the election. Opinion seemed to be that they were important… but to other people. Most people (61%) thought they were important in general, but only 12% said it would be an important factor for them personally.


74 Responses to “YouGov Daily Poll – 40/26/20”

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  1. So there we have it, after the over the top and childish ‘we all hate the sun’ mantra at labour’s conference we can all see that in fact it does matter. Perhaps they should have held back on the ‘sun’s readers are stupid’ diatribe having forgotten that they backed labour once and they were ok people then so long as they vited for them. really was a case of sour grapes and perhaps the suns readers are a little more savy.

  2. Thank you for a most interesting analysis, and a website providing by far the best source of polling information available.
    The difference between yesterday’s poll and today’s is remarkable. Either statistical error is involved, or we have to believe that 3 to 4% of the electorate will vote on the basis of a headline in the Sun newspaper.
    The article in the Sun was eloquent and persuasive (I read it on-line), but I wonder how many readers appreciated the finer points on page 1 as they moved hastily to the finer points of page 3.
    I suspect statistical error, and the improvement in Labour ratings yesterday to have been an illusion.
    If not, we have to draw the equally worrying conclusion that at least 3% of voters will support Gordon Brown on the sole grounds that he has a nice wife.

  3. Well, well what a surprise! Even without the Sun we would have got a poll like this in a few days anyway. It just happened quicker because of it.

  4. After Lady Meddlesomes’ gloating yesterday that Labour were only 7% behind the Conservatives, I would have loved to have seen what shade of grey his face turned after hearing of todays poll figures. tee hee.

  5. Weighted Moving Average 39:27:21 – as I supected the last YouGov seems to have been a bit out (though being occasionally out by 4 points isn’t too bad given a Standard Deviation of 2.5).

    Deperessing that Sparrow in the Guardian misreported yesterday’s poll so stupidly.

  6. Blimey, that’s a pretty fast shift back to business-as-usual. I thought the Labour bounce would at least last until the Conservative conference got underway.

  7. As an avid reader but my first comment, can I ask if there is any information to indicate which of the polls are most accurate? There have been many You Gov polls recently and it appears to have skewed the average of the polls or is the recent change purely down to Conference boosts?
    Are the various polls weighted for previous accuracy (comparisons with previous actuals) when calculating the average figures?

  8. One interesting point is that the next election may be the first since 1959 where the combined Labour and Liberal/Alliance/LD vote falls short of 50%. Most polls at the moment seem to be indicating that may happen.

  9. I wouldn’t be too sure yet. I think we’d need at least another day to tell whether yesterdays or today’s polls were off the trend, so to speak. The Lib Dem bounce has done some strange things after all.

    Still though, not a good mark for Labour.

  10. If labour are already down to circ 26% what could they got to with a successful tory conference – maybe 3 rd place is back on the agenda

  11. John Bracewell – you can look at their past records at general or other elections, or you can see with methodologies you find convincing. For the rolling average on this site, past accuracy is one of the factors – click on the “MORE” under the average for the details.

    Dynamo – my guess would be that’s its not so much the Sun’s own coverage, but the massive coverage of the Sun’s decision by the broadcast media.

  12. Is anyone willing to venture what might be in the Conservative conference as far as policy goes. They have been very quiet these past few weeks so I have my suspicions they have been working hard to get a blinder across next week.
    I’d guess something big in regards pensions to be announced especially in regards to the plundering of them by brown when chancellor, possibly a number of areas where cuts could be made like quangos and Whitehall and also on personal allowances and the lower range of tax. Be interested to hear what others think and how it will influence voting

  13. It is dangerous to assume that these 2 polls show any “Sun effect” . It is quite possible that opinion has been static over the last 2 days and the changes are simply down to sampling M of E of a 38.5/28/20.5 position . .

  14. 40/26/20 certainly isn’t a bad position for the Tories to go into their conference with. If it goes well those figures could be transformed into something like 45/24/18.

  15. Thanks, Anthony, for the information.

  16. I wonder whether people think that the newspaper endorsements matter not because they exercise an influence, but because they capture and give vent to a mood.

  17. I think it just gives the tories much needed momentum.! People love nothing better than to back the winning side!

  18. @Stephen

    I’d like to see the abolition of tax credits, and raising the basic tax threshold to the same figure as the minimum wage. This would be much more efficient (no need for a huge separate department), and though every wage-earner would benefit, it would be disproportionately more beneficial to the low paid, and would encourage people to get off the dole.

    I don’t have easy access to the figures, but I should think it would be more or less cash-neutral for the government.

  19. Well on the latest poll that gives the tories a majority of 64,that will do me and them also i would think.That will change out of all proportion closer to the election in Tory favour obviously,my thoughts being that after the massacre[see little big horn]the blood letting will commence,ending with a split Labour Party,well whats actually left of it,smashed,deflated,broke and finished.I being 52 have seen the last Labour government of my lifetime ,and i dont intend going anywhere for a very,very long time,bring it on!

  20. Wonderful non-partisan comment from Glenn demonstrating an objectivity from which we all could learn!

  21. I’m inclined to agree with Mark Senior, and suspect we are seeing sample variance around a 39-28-20 position. Still, a very interesting experiment to follow, and I look forward to seeing the inevitable fluctuations next week (or tomorrow for that matter!)

    I would also like to see a non You-Gov poll before drawing any conclusions about trends.

  22. Wow ! II

    If the Tories are that far ahead before their conference next week then Labour must be in complete meltdown ?

  23. I seem to remember a left-wing commentator about five years ago claiming smugly “The parents of the next Conservative Prime Minister have not yet been born” or similar.

    I can’t trace it via Google, but I wonder how confident they feel now.

  24. This poll shows the timing by the Sun to show their support for the Tories has completely cancelled out the attention of Gordon’s Brown speech. To go into a Tory conference with around a 10+ point lead is nothing short of a gift for them and a utter disaster for Labour! Only a disaster at the Tory conference or a major world crisis will save Labour now!

  25. ‘ALEX RICHARDSON
    This poll shows the timing by the Sun to show their support for the Tories has completely cancelled out the attention of Gordon’s Brown speech’

    No, logically it is also possible that world events impacted on the Brown speech but just local petty tabloids; the Sun is not that important that it blots out all other news. I mention Samoa / Indonesia / Cricket etc as possible other news stories which negated the Sun… To assume that the Sun dominates all is very poor logic.

  26. ‘ANDY
    Wow ! II
    If the Tories are that far ahead before their conference next week then Labour must be in complete meltdown ?’

    Calm down dears…how much change in this conference season do you believe in that is fixed? Can we at at least wait for a week till this boring season is over to see if any permanent shift has happened.

    I do not know the conference statistics well enough but I do remember each year everyone gets excited due to the rapid changes and then we get the normal polls after a week or so when it all goes back to what it was before the silly season started…….

  27. ‘SIMON HEPWORTH
    I seem to remember a left-wing commentator about five years ago claiming smugly “The parents of the next Conservative Prime Minister have not yet been born” or similar.
    I can’t trace it via Google, but I wonder how confident they feel now.’

    Urban mythology, you cant beat it….

  28. @James Ludlow

    “Blimey, that’s a pretty fast shift back to business-as-usual. I thought the Labour bounce would at least last until the Conservative conference got underway.”

    …sh** don’t bounce.

  29. As David Bowtell says in his own words and un-partisan way!!!! that Labour supporters have never lorded it over the Tories for the last 12 years,oh no i’m sure they hav’nt!!!.
    As i said yesterday i thank the Sun for pushing up my shares in English Fruit Farms ,as the amount of Sour Grapes sold at the Labour Party congress will keep mein Krug and Truffles right up to the election

  30. A year ago (2-Oct-08) the Weighted Moving Average was 42:29:17 – now it’s 39:27:21. Not much has changed then.

  31. stephen So we should be walked over by a paper that wants to propagandize right wing ideas to working and middle class people.
    Labour people should hate the sun.

  32. I detest the sun it wants tax cuts for rich people and to cut public services. It is right wing propaganda by rich people.

  33. @Andy, I’d be surprised to see cons hit 45, they’re already around 40, a lot harder for them to win (possibly temporarily) 5 more on top of a relative high for a decade or two than it is/was for lab to win some (possibly temporarily) of what they’d lost to go to a 20 year low. Anything over 40 I think is good for cons when things’ve settled back down, but it really depends on the split of the others. 41 24 23, or 41 30 18…..in the later brown can hope for shy labourites, being unpopular, giving another hidden 2 or 3, and the outdated boundaries giving some more…..and it’s all still to play for, in the former it becomes a race for 2nd place. In reality I suspect the WMA is fairly accurate.

    @Glenn, talking of worrying about seeing the last of something being in your 50s….would you like to buy some Cialis™?

    I’d say two wrongs don’t always make a right, some person predicting sillily a few years back that the tories were never coming back (sooo many howard walking dead jokes) doesn’t make predictions of labour crumbling into ash any more sensible now.

  34. To be honest Tories doing well, can make me feel good about myself.
    I can be proud in my moral indignation, knowing that I must be nicer and less of a greedy bigoted idiot than the rest of the population.

  35. “Dirty Euro

    I detest the sun it wants tax cuts for rich people and to cut public services. It is right wing propaganda by rich people.”

    I doubt it. If you want to guarantee getting no tax at all from rich people, and no entrepreneurship necessary to create jobs and pay taxes to fund those public services, then you need pragmatic policies to keep the rich here and being productive… all those posh cars are paying for working class jobs on factory lines remember.
    Public services are going to be cut anyway, because there’s no money to pay for them – despite increased investment. Everything has to be paid for by someone – whose it gunna be? If there’s no rich people making money and spending money, then there are less jobs for middle and working class people to do, and less tax raised, and less money for all these delicious services.
    That’s not propaganda, it’s maths.

    You do no-one any favour by giving them hand-outs… give them hand-ups instead. Yeah, you could restore the 10p rate of tax, or raise the annual personal tax-free allowance, but at the end of the day, benefits benefit no-one in the long run… people, families, and societies rot like old dears in nursing homes… their brains on daytime telly; and their bodies on fast food. People should have the “manky sofa” of benefits thrown on a bonfire, and given a bike to get on and earn and learn, and live life, and stop whinging… most of the rest of the human race has to, just thank your lucky stars you weren’t born in Liberia or Burma… you’ve got choices and opportunities they can only dream of, divvy.

  36. NBEALE:
    “A year ago (2-Oct-08) the Weighted Moving Average was 42:29:17 – now it’s 39:27:21. Not much has changed then.”

    I think these figures confirm what I thought regarding Nick Clegg, which is that he was certainly the best choice the LDs could have made when selecting their leader. He comes across fairly well, as the Newsnight focus group showed a few months ago. I think the LD vote will fall at the next election but there won’t be the sort of collapse which might have happened under a different leader.

  37. “I can be proud in my moral indignation, knowing that I must be nicer and less of a greedy bigoted idiot than the rest of the population.”

    That must give you a warm conceited glow inside.

    Why don’t you look up what the word “bigot” actually means?

    A bigot is someone who stubbornly refuses to reconsider their opinions or perceptions in the face of new information; who is intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

  38. You are joking Andy?! I bet they could put any of their MPs up as leader and do at least as well, if not better. His Dougie Hurd voice gives me the willies, and he prattles on like Nicky G.

  39. I don’t think the drop in the Labour vote can be put down to the Sun’s change. I think that the bile that emitted from every member of the Labour hierarchy was far more important.

    The bitterness and hate that Labour *chose* to *broadcast* in front of the TV and newspapers was accurately reported, and people saw, from every part of the news media, the ugly side of the nasty party. And voters didn’t like it!

  40. If the Sun does have such influence then it confirms the end of democracy, even if the vestiges of it existed before.

  41. If this poll isn’t a deviation at all, it’s very surprising. I wouldn’t read too much into one poll, but it seems almost unthinkable that Labour’s post-conference boost could be so ephemeral. Perhaps there was no boost at all and the poll that indicated it was a rogue.

    That would be the biggest indicator possible, at this time, that we’re not looking at hung-parliament territory, let alone a possibility of Labour winning.

    Given that the best Labour hope of avoiding disaster is now the Tories finding a Kinnock-esque way of messing things up (which is a live possibility) the appropriate football analogy would be that Labour have just given the ball away after not having possession for a long, long time. Maybe it was the Sun (and the resulting Labour bitterness) that did the interception, but I’ll leave that speculation to the experts.

  42. If Labour polls 30% (no more) in the General Election,
    the Tories 40% (no more),
    and the others rise to about 12%, then the LD figure would be 18%.
    If the Tories move to about 42%, and/or Labour 31%, then the LD figure could be 15-16%.

    The LDs polled 17.2% in 1997 at a time when the Tories were defeated in a landslide, so the LD figure could be lower next time, unless they get votes from somewhere else.

    I think Labour will claw back some ground from core voters because there is bound to be some contest over the economy and harsh spending decisions, between the incumbents and the main opponent.

  43. Normally the Labour bounce would last until the Conservative conference got underway. Of course “It’s the Sun wot did it”.

    On the other hand the LibDem bounce seems to be holding up, I suspect also until the Conservative conference. For LibDems the Labour party is irrelevant and the Conservatives are where the challenge now comes from.

  44. I am almost as suspicious of this daily poll as I was of the last couple. Surely the main lesson is “daily polling during a conference is stupid”.

  45. @ Philip Walker – “I wonder whether people think that the newspaper endorsements matter not because they exercise an influence, but because they capture and give vent to a mood”

    Great point and I think that’s probably exactly it.

  46. I thought so that Brown’s speech’s impact will not last long on people. And I don’t think newspaper endorsements is important…

  47. As has been pointed out, polls during the conference season are so volatile that they’re almost pointless. Wait a few days until after the last conference and give the dust a chance to settle. That headline-grabbing stuff about the Sun changing allegiance (lead story on the Radio 2 news after it happened, how’s that for free advertising?) has only distorted things further.

    I’m currently reading Andy Beckett, ‘When the Lights Went Out: Britain in the 70s’, which starts off with the 1970 election campaign. It confirms what I thought a year or two ago, namely that the 2010 election could have strong parallels with the contest of 40 years earlier. People may have their doubts about the Conservative leader for PM (Heath/Cameron), but a combination of low turnout and an unpopular, complacent Labour government hand the opposition victory by default. The major difference being that I suspect Brown (Gordon, not the late George) is probably rather less complacent than Wilson was.

  48. BACK to the topic…

    The initial presumption (at least here) is that it’s the “Sun Wot Won It” again, for the rapid shift back to status quo ante bellum.

    But what if it wasn’t just that? Every mainstream newspaper I’ve read (Telegraph, Times, Guardian) have described the speech as “business as usual”, and nothing more. Whilst few voters actually watched the speech, many more will have read the articles afterwards or the BBC/Sky reporting, where Brown had a couple of hissy-fits.

    Surely having a hissy-fit in front of millions is going to affect people a lot more than a “business as usual” speech? And, since we’ve got them, we could compare Sun voters’ intentions now and before to see what kind of impact it has really had…

  49. It always find it fascinating with these daily polls that one person will call one daily poll a massive indication of the political mood but the other one is a “rogue. Why is yesterday’s a rogue but today’s indefinitely not. I am not saying that either is a rogue or indeed presume to know the actual place of the electorate. All i know is that daily polls in the conference season are pointless in helping us work out who might win the general election or what the majority might be.

    Can i just AW, what is UKPR’s relationship with YouGov. I am not accusing you of any impropriety, just curious!

    Jack x

  50. UKPR is wholly owned and run by me, in that sense it doesn’t have any relationship with YouGov… however, in my non-blogging existance I work for YouGov – hence the “in association with”.

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