There is also a new YouGov poll in the Sunday Times. I haven’t had full confirmation of the numbers yet, but various sources have them as CON 41%(-1), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 17%(-2). As with ComRes’s poll earlier tonight, it suggests an advance for Labour – go back before the conference season and YouGov were normally showing Labour around about 27%.

The Sunday Times normally commission questions on a wide range of topics, so I’ll update later on tonight or tomorrow with anything else interesting. One other thing YouGov asked abour was whether the BBC were right to invite the BNP onto Question Time – 63% said yes, 23% no.

70 Responses to “YouGov show Labour up to 30%”

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  1. ‘MIKE R
    “A minority Tory govt would have access to the books. This is the cathartic moment Labour are dreading.”
    It’s not just Labour that are dreading it. I sincerely hope there are no major cover up’s in the nation’s finances that will mean a hike in income tax…’

    So? Most of mainland Europe has a higher income tax than we do. It’s not the amount of income tax which matters; after all direct income tax is the most efficient way of gaining tax. It’s how it is spent which is the issue… (No to ID cards / Trident aircraft carriers / pointless wars…)

  2. I don’t believe a minority Tory Govt is quite as likely as some people on here seem to think – even if the Tories were the largest party in a hung Parliament.. If the result is of the order of – say – Con 295 – Lab -270 – LibDem 50 SNP/PC 12 – I would expect Brown as the incumbent to try to carry on as a minority Government with LibDem support for an agreed legislative programme including a Referendum on Electoral Reform. Only if he failed or was defeated on the Queens Speech would he resign and make way for Cameron.

  3. Latest polls may show a slight improvement for Labour, but i dont think it would make much difference in the seats that truly decide the election. They are facing obliteration in the south and all the marginal seats on the commuter belt .The line can then be followed up through the east midlands and Birmingham into the north west. All polls in these seats are suggesting “Blairs babes” of 1997 are heading back behind their social services desks. I think Labour need to consistently cut the lead to around 6 or 7 before it gets really interesting.

  4. Dead right Danny but at least for straw cluthcing Labour supporters there is a glimmer of hope of the 6-7% you mention.
    If these polls are correct in aggregate it can’t be that the swing is 3-4% more in every marginal and 1-2% less in every safe seat to balance but I agree that there will be a bigger swing in many marginals and that an 8% lead will produce a workable majority and 6-7% may be a small one.
    The key will be Tories targets from Labour in the 100-150 range, maybe up tp 175, so bigger swings in 0-75 won’t matter as apart from friends of the sitting MP (if restanding) there won’tbe much effort put in to retaining by Labour.


  5. Graham,

    It would be, as far as I know, totally unprecedented to have a minority government which didn’t have the largest minority of seats. Not only would such a move potentially cause a constitutional crisis, it would result in a government that would (a) be vulnerable to massive political and public backlash and (b) be very easily defeated by a vote of no confidence. I would be astonished if the Lib Dems were foolish enough to prevent (b), given that it would give the Tories a massive and heavy stick to beat them with.

    Gordon Brown, like Tony Blair before him, is a man very much concerned with how he will be viewed by history. I doubt he wants to go down in history as the “prime minister who tried to survive an election loss” and I know for certain that no-one in the Labour party would let the party’s long-term future suffer for Brown.


    I hadn’t thought of that, but in general I think Labour would have trouble with an non-incumbent stance in my (hypothetical) October 2010/2011 election. Definitely there is room for some “saucy announcements” by the Tories, even if these aren’t based on substantial data. Far be it for me to cast aspertions on the character of either the Labour or Tory leaderships, however: I’m just saying what I would do if I was cunning and ruthless enough to be in that position.

    Glenn Otto

    That was my impression as well. I’ve heard many things said about the expenses scandal, but it’s only the political class and their parasites that have made the curious non-sequitur from “expenses scandal” to “voting reform”.

  6. @Danny Boy and Jim Jam – My recollection from AW’s analysis of the most recent major marginals poll was that Labour is doing better in marginals than nationally. This seems to be forgotten?

  7. Agree with your assesment JIM JAM. It will continue i’m sure throwing up polls that conflict with each other. In my region, the north west, there are a number of key seats including the one in which i live Bolton West. I am certain that this will turn blue not just because of the unpopularity of the government but because of the unpopularity of Ruth Kelly, who has announced she is standing down voluntarily before the electorate make the decision for her.Conversely, our neighbouring seat Chorley has been won by the party that has formed government at every election since 1964 but Lyndsay Hoyle’s popularity locally is suggesting the Conservatives may have a real fight on their hands to take it. Janet Anderson in Rossendale and Darwen appears to be struggling to hold on with the way things stand, a seat which she won in 1992 when John Majors government held on with a majority of 17. Bury North and Bury South, Bolton North East, Pendle and Colne Valley all seats expected to fall in Tory hands but in think it will undoubtedly be the Conservatives toughest challenge on their winnable region list. Time will tell.

  8. @Danny and others. Re my earlier point – BNP are strong in the Midlands and North West and could influence the outcome of a number of seats even if they don’t win any at all (which seems likely).
    I wonder if, like the Greens, their ability to influence marginal seats will force the major parties to incorporate some of their policies even if in modified form?
    It could be argued that this is already happening to some extent – e.g. Brown’s ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ speech, even though this is illegal under EU law.

  9. Bill Patrick,
    I am afraid you are wrong on this. The 1923 Election produced – Con 258 Lab 191 Lib 158. Despite the fact that the Tories had 67 more seats than Labour the Liberals put Labour in to form its first minority administration!
    Another point that is very relevant here is that the LibDems rely on tactical Labour votes for success in the former Tory areas that most of them hold. If they helped the Tories into office these votes would be lost!

  10. Alec – you recollect wrongly! :)

    In the national YouGov poll conducted at the start of the fieldwork for the marginals poll there was a national swing from Lab to the Conservatives of 8.5%.

    In the majority of Con-vs-Lab marginal seats the poll found a larger swing to the Conservatives than this, 10-12% in the South, going up to 12-13% in the Midlands. The most notable exception were marginals in London, were there was a swing of only 6-8%.

  11. Well that would indicate my gut feel of about 6/7% Con lead would give a small overall majority.

    I remember in the early months of 1992 just assuming that even if the parties were matched on around 40% each, the Tories were pretty assured of a majority, because in 1987 they had done well in marginal seats, whereas Labour had just piled up votes in their own areas, and not repaired much of their 1983 damage in the south.

    So although my prediction of a Con 4th term by about 20 turned out to be right, it was in fact wrong in an important matter – the Tories were 7.6% ahead – not level pegging, but this time Labour had actually done much better in marginal seats, and have continued to have an advantage until now,

  12. AW – thanks for the correction. I must have been mistaken, but I had thought that the actual seat projections from the marginal polls showed a smaller Tory majority than the national swing calculator.

    At the time Statto posted this on the discussion thread “Alec – the poll shows the Tories doing worse in the marginals not better, with a predicted majority of 70 against a swingometer prediction of 92 based on the 41/27/19 national figures at the time. Looks like the LibDem vote holds up much better in seats where they have a chance.” and it wasn’t corrected. I’m happy to accept I have been confused by this.

  13. Not sure where he got 92 from. On a uniform swing those shares give a Tory majority of 80. The difference is all down to personal vote and tactical voting producing a lower swing in the Lib Dem vs Con battleground though, the Conservative swing in the Con-vs-Lab marginals is larger than average.

    It’s clearer looking at the projected seat totals in each:
    For a uniform swing on those figures the seat projections would be CON 365, LAB 213, LDEM 42
    On the marginals poll it was (once Great Yarmouth is corrected) CON 361, LAB 198, LDEM 55

    I’d be slightly wary of putting too much reliance on the comparison though, since the marginal figures do rely on a different question, and we don’t know what the national figures would be if we asked that question. I expect they’d show a higher Lib Dem level of support nationwide, since asking that way boosted their support in Lib Dem seats, but didn’t knock it down much in seats where the Lib Dems were nowhere.

    (Comparing to the 14 point lead is being parsimonious too. That was conducted in the first couple of days of the PoliticsHome fieldwork. On the final day of the PoliticsHome fieldwork a second YouGov poll, the first of the daily ones for Sky, only had a 9 point Labour lead. I think that one looked a bit kooky, since it immediately went to a 12 point the day after, but even so, it suggests the national Tory lead fell during the fieldwork for the marginals poll).

  14. Graham,

    Your comparison with 1923 is illuminating, but not in the way you may think.

    The modern day equivalent would be if the outcome were something like:

    C 270; LD 170; Lab 150, others 50 and Lab propelled LDs into government.

    This is unlikely to be the case in 2010, but could be the case in say 2011 or 2012 under Bill Patrick’s scenario.

    For Clegg to keep Labour in power in 2010 would be strategic suicide for LDs. It would demolish a decade of slow but steady progress in positioning LDs as an alternative to Labour in their Northern heartlands, while completely alienating centre-right voters they need not just in their LD/Con marginals, but in those urban areas where they need to rely on soft con support to overhaul Labour. (This includes Clegg’s own seat in Sheffield)

    Clegg may not be the most capable /astute leader the LDs have had, but he is not that stupid.

  15. Graham

    A good point, but I think it’s hard to compare elections in the 1920s with today. For one thing, most people now seem to vote for prime ministers, not local candidates.

    One consequence of the presidentialisation of Westminister and the gradual decline in importance of MPs has been that many seem to conceive of the UK as being a gigantic constituency, with first-past-the-post operating on a national level. Both the appeal of PR and the concept of an “unelected” prime minister depend on this idea, and very few people I have encountered are beyond endorsing at least one of those ideas.

    For a very modern example of dead-heat politics, look at the last Scottish election and consider how enraged people were at the idea that the Lib Dems and Labour could keep the SNP out of office by forming another coalitioon.

    As Paul points out, a national anti-Tory coalition by the Lib Dems would be political suicide and would probably be the beginning of the end of what is already a declining and faded party.

  16. Some points on this discussion.

    Firstly, in response to Wes White, the newpapers don’t usually quote the “Don’t Know” figures, but quotes the percentages of those who would vote for any specific party who would vote for each specific party (if you see what I mean!). Looking at the data for this poll, the table linked to Anthony’s next thread says that for this particular poll 8% of respondents said that they would not vote, and 13% did not know how they will vote. I confess I have not done it (yet?!, life is short) but it would be interesting to know if changes in the “won’t vote” and “don’t know” percentages correllate with changes in the “Other” voting intentions (in general and for particular parties).

    Secondly, people have discussed whether the Labour vote is increasing. If there is a rise, it is small, and on the boundaries of sampling error for individual polls. But the slight increase is being repeated in a number of polls (and incidentally this one has a good sample size of over 2000), so I think it highly likely that a couple of percent more of the electorate now intend to vote Labour than was the case, say, a month ago. I have pointed out, e.g. on threads for individual seats, that there a lot of “safe” Labour seats clustered so that they are marginal whilst the Labour vote is in the 20%s. Therefore a small recovery for Labour at this point may make quite a big difference in whether the Tories get an overall majority, and if so how big it is.

    Disicussion about a minority Government on this thread has overlooked the West Lothian question (the original one that is, not the one recently raised on the Dartford constituency thread about a Scottish Prime Minister and Chancellor proposing to sell off the Dartford crossing whose Southern end is in Kent, but not the Forth Bridge, which is in public – albeit Scottish parliament – hands and whose Southern end is in what was West Lothian. Disgraceful descrimination against us Kentish).

    If the Tories do fail to get an overall majority Uk wide, voters’ intentions would have to change a long way from their current position for the Conservatives not to have an overall majority of English seats. And the SNP, laudably, do not vote at Westminster on English-only matters such as Health. So, as we could not practically have one Government for matters only concerning England and one for things like Defence and Foreign Affairs that are UK wide, the minor parties will have no realistic opinon but to support a Conservative administration. Which arguably means that non-English voters will be disenfranchised on such matters where a majority of UK MPs are opposed to what the Government is doing. Afghanistan strikes me as a likely, important, issue on which this could be a problem.

  17. I think the question of what would happen in a hung parliament is a very interesting one, even though I do not think a hung parliament is very likely.

    Assuming that Libdems, Others and NI get about 85 seats between them, that leaves 565 for the Conservatives and Labour to scrap over. I think the minimum figure for Conservative seats that is even plausible is 300, which would leave Labour on 265. In this scenario, Labour would not be able to enter into coalition with the Libdems (265+50=315) and of course to do so would be political suicide for both parties in any case.

    The Conservatives could quite feasibly run a minority administration with support as follows: 300 Cons; 2 UUP; 12 SNP; 8 DUP = 322, with 323 being the number required for a majority in the absence of Sinn Fein. The approximately 5 PC members could also be brought on board as necessary. It would be tough going, but one defeat in the Commons and an election could easily be called – and an October 2010 election would probably be called in such a situation anyway. As Bill Patrick rightly points out, Labour would not have the resources to fight a second election campaign so soon, and the Conservatives would probably gain more seats in any case.

    The Libdems could easily be excluded from government – and one trick would be to enter talks with the Libdems, purportedly with a view to forming a coalition, then when the talks inevitably break down to call another election on the basis that a working government cannot be formed.

    Does anyone know if there is a minimum period of time between 2 UK General Elections?

  18. There is no defined minimum period between elections. The reasons that the monarch may deny a request for a general election are if the current Parliament is “still vital, viable, and capable of doing its job” and that “[he] could rely on finding another Prime Minister who could carry on [his] Government, for a reasonable period, with a working majority in the House of Commons”

    To give the only recent example, Heath requested the dissolution in Feb 1974 and lost his majority. Having failed to get Liberal support he then resigned. If instead he had tried to get a Queens Speech through the Commons, failed, and requested a second dissolution it would have been refused as the Parliament was still viable and the monarch had the alternate option of asking Wilson to form a government.

  19. As far as I remember, in theory anyone elected to the House of Commons is a potential PM if he can gather together enough support, in this extreme case potentially every MP would get a go at forming a government. Even if this is done concurrently – and there is no reason to believe this would be a simple matter if so – this would necessarily take some time. If not done concurrently, then I can imagine this taking a long time.

    However I think in practice beyond the three major parties I think any futher attempts would be too obviously futile to be warrant serious consideration. Thus, another election would be necessary.

    As far as I’m concerned I doubt the next parliament will be hung. This mild increase in Labour support isn’t enough to call a surge (yet) and next week they’ll probably blunder into some other disaster.

  20. Anthony, surely it is not quite, although nearly, true that there is no minimum time between elections.

    Firstly, it has never happened so far as I know, so I wouldn’t be sure what legality is involved in dissolving a Parliament before it has even met. I think it is unlikely. I think the convention is that if there is deadlock forming a new Government the old one will continue in office until it is defeated in the new Government, which would at the earliest (and likeliest) be at the end of the debate on the Queen’s Speech, four days after Parliament has been summoned to meet. I am not anorak enough to know the exact timetable, but I think that’s about three weeks after the General Election.

    Secondly, when Parliament is dissolved and the writs issued for the next parliament (technically two separate events, in theory the Crown could continue without Parliament until the Army Act, which has to be re-enacted annually, needs to be renewed) the law specifies a fixed timescale for submitting nominations and holding the election itself. Again, I am not anorak enough to know the exact timescale (it is easily enough found in any manual about running elections, such as the major parties provide their officials etc.), but it is again about three weeks.

    So the answer to Neil’s question is that the minimum time between General Elections, in terms of legal requirements alone, is slightly less than two months.

    I suspect that if necessary the major parties would find the resources somewhere to fight another immediate election. The parties’ debts are rather an illusion since the major parties are backed by vested interests with far more money than it costs to run an election, but actually it suits party backers to keep the party machines in debt between elections, for obvious reasons. A more important point is that the electorate would not thank the major parties for not at least trying to operate within the (lack of ) mandate resulting from the first General Election, and would be liable to vote accordingly at the second one.

    I think that if the election is in May or June, October would in practice ordinarily be too early for a second election. By the time you take out the Summer recess Parliament would have hardly met. Parliament would probably have to run to December or February. However, the likeliest scenario for an early second election is that a minority Tory Government might be defeated in its attempt to introduce an emergency budget. Presumably the Tories would try to introduce a budget in June, before the Summer recess, so such a defeat would give no choice but to have an unprecedented Mid-Summer (July or August) election. And given the current state of UK finances there would be a huge economic crisis.

    The Tories have indicated that if they form a Government they will immediately introduce a budget to implement huge spending “Cuts”. And Labour believe such “Cuts” would be economically totally disastrous (incidentally I agree, although I think Labour’s use of debts for untargeted spending is disastrous too). This could raise Labour and the other minority parties a very big dilemma as to whether to defeat what they would see as disastrous plans by a Tory Government, and whether to support a budget despite their enormous misgivings because of the economic wreck an election following a budget defeat would cause. And as psephologists we should be wondering how the electorate would react to such a scenario. I think that in practice the electorate would give the Tories a second chance, and so Labour etc. would back off. Perhaps to the disappointment of anorak psephologists!

    In 1910, the one time there was a deadlock in Parliament from the start (because if was immediately clear the Lords would not pass the Liberal budget). the first election was held in January and the second in December which tends to agree with my suggestion above that in practice a second election would be unlikely to happen in much less than a year. Yes, in 1974 the elections were held in February and October, but this was possible only because the first election was held immediately before the budget. Is Labour likely to call a February 2010 election? I suspect not unless they have a leadership crisis, which I personally do not think is likely to happen.

    I am not sure Neil has taken on board my point that in future a minority Government will have to be able to command assent for a workable programme both from MPs in all UK constituencies and also from MPs in English constituencies alone. Only one of the major parties is likely to be able to meet this criterion, so actually it will be clear quickly which of Brown or Cameron is to be Prime Minister, and there will be correspondingly little scope or leverage for negotiation.

    Even if Labour gets an overall majority, they will be in difficulty if they do not have a majority of English MPs. This is the situation raised by “The West Lothian Question”.

    There are really only two possible coalition/minority Government scenarios:-
    1. The Conservatives have a majority in England, but not the UK. There will have to be a Tory Government with LibDem and/or Nationalist support for UK-wide legislation.
    2. Labour have a majority in the UK, but not in England. Labour will have to form a Government with LibDem support for English-specific legislation.
    There is a third unlikely scenario in both cases: a “Grand Coalition” of Labour and Conservative.
    A further proviso is that a party might be so near a majority that it could get by with help from a couple of independent or small party candidates.

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