According to the Press Association (and Vincent Moss!) there is a new YouGov poll in the Sunday Times. The topline figures, with changes from YouGov’s most recent poll just over a week ago, are CON 41%(nc), LAB 27%(nc), LDEM 18%(+1).

Clearly there is no real change here, with the Conservative lead sticking at 14 points. There is also a ComRes poll due out tonight. I don’t have the full figures yet, but Henry Macrory has twittered that it too shows a Conservative lead of 14 points (their last poll had a 13 point Tory lead).

UPDATE: The ComRes poll is now up on their website. The topline figures are CON 39%(-1), LAB 25%(-2), LDEM 17%(-1).

The same 14 point lead as YouGov, but all three parties are slightly lower and “others” are up by 4 points to 19%, the highest level of support for smaller parties in any poll since June (and significantly higher than anyone but Angus Reid – other than them no one has had them above 15 since September). It breaks down to Green 6%(+1), UKIP 5%(+2), BNP 3%(+1), SNP 3%(nc), PC 1%(+0.5%), so the biggest increase was UKIP, but all the minor parties have increased.

ComRes asked some questions on Afghanistan, showing the now normal lack of public support, but more interestingly they asked whether people thought the Sun was unfair in its treatment of Gordon Brown’s letter to the mother of Jamie Janes – 60% of people thought it was.


74 Responses to “Conservatives remain 14 points ahead”

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  1. Does anyone really think that the EU issue is really important in a westminster election? That’s gone bar for a few UKIP / BNP / far-right Tory extremists . It’s about local issues such as jobs, the economy generally for the vast majority… People vote for Westminster on Westminster issues as they understand them to be. EU is dealt with be people in EU elections. And Lisbon never concerned the average voter no matter how many people here chatter otherwise.

    I agree with eric though that there is potential for the EU to cost tory votes–if the polls say easy tory win then the extreme right tories may well waste votes giving them to the fringe groups such as UKIP. There goes, what, 2%? There goes an easy Cameron landslide down to just a win…

  2. This far out I will predict the following at the GE:

    Con 38%
    Labour 32%
    LD 18%
    UKIP 2%
    BNP2%
    OTHERS (SNP, PLAID, NI ETC) 8%

  3. Richard,

    It’s is in the utmost interests of the Tories that most people forget that Thatcher ever existed. That’s not to say that a sizable portion of the British population don’t have a lot of admiration for Thatcher (as well as some die-hard worshippers) but those people are going to be voting Tory anyway. What is more important for the Tories is that every possible fragrance should be imbalmed upon the party to make it easier for marginal voters to hold their noses and vote Conservative come June; the last thing they need is the marmite smell (some love it, some hate it) of Thatcherism all over them.

    The concomitants of the new (old? newer that Heath but older than what new would be?) Tory line on the EU are impossible to predict. Even if we assume that people are willing to switch their intention based on EU-affairs (and haven’t already done so) there are presumably some potential Tory voters who were put off by the European policy, but are now more at ease with the “We’ll look for a good deal within the Lisbon Treaty” line. Perhaps they cancelled out any Lisbon fallout. Perhaps Lisbon was never an issue. One thing is for sure: if the Tories were going to suffer from the Czech signing, it would have happened by now.

    Eric,

    Where are the undecided voters? I’m perhaps misunderstanding the polls, but I don’t see where they fit in. I’m not aware of any election-changing undecided voters. If Labour or the Tories are going to extend their shares, it will have to be by taking them off other parties, which is probably why the polls have been so static for so long.

  4. The Times this am claims that Labour have given up on their 60 closest marginals (under 3000 maj). This is in order to spend more on firmer Labour territory to avoid a rout on May 6th. We all know they are very stretched financially.
    What was also interesting to me, was a lady poster suggesting that their affairs in Scotland were far from rosy in certain marginals. This poster went on to say the recent Glasgow east end result was very specific and in no way typical of Scotland.
    I think this later point was already made clear by “Scotsperts”
    on this post.

  5. Jack
    “Does anyone really think that the EU issue is really important in a westminster election? That’s gone bar for a few UKIP / BNP / far-right Tory extremists . It’s about local issues such as jobs, the economy generally for the vast majority…”

    What many people don’t seem to realize is that the majority of our laws are now made in Brussels, not Westminster. Those who don’t like this situation might vote in the most anti-EU way available in their Westminster constituency. This could be UKIP, BNP or some even smaller party.

  6. Pete B,

    If a significant number of people are planning to vote that way, they haven’t shown up in the polls yet. On Comres, the Greens are more significant than either UKIP or the BNP.

    For someone to vote UKIP or BNP at the next election over the EU, it would have to be such a big issue for them that it would be more important than giving Brown and Labour a kicking. I’m not sure that many right-wing people are like that.

  7. @Bill Patrick
    I absolutly agree Bill I was about to say somthing similar.
    I am a Tory voter who is anti federal Europe but I am certainly not going to waste a vote on UKIP. Change of govenment is just to important.

  8. The two most succesful PMs in recent times have been Mrs Thatcher and Tony Blair. Mrs Thatcher was better at retaining her vote , polling 42.3% in the third election, while Tony’s last poll was 36.1%.

    Today both tory and labour might be happy with these percentages.

    I suppose the word thatcher may galvanise the old labour vote that has deserted labour, particularly across the borders.

    DC’s wishes to present a different face of toryism to strengthen his support in the north, scotland and wales. However, I do not think it is accurate to portray Mrs. T as a big vote loser, particular in the FPTP situation.

    Her name will always be highly unpopular with most on the centre and extreme left, just as I suspect the name of Brown has become equally unpopular with those on the centre and extreme right.

  9. Many of the moderate’ left dispise Thatcher as well.
    Andy (re North-east) and King Harold segue nicely in to a discussion some of us have been having on some (Teesside part) of the NEast threads.
    60 seats as per KH report of the Times does not seem enough to many of us and seats up to 100 or so should perhaps be given up (with a few exceptions).
    In the NE, for example, should Labour try to hold Stockton South (123 target) they may lose Middlesbrough S and E Cleveland (174) as well to a small majority which they could have held if all local resources were focused there.
    In essence should Labour accept defeat and try minimise the damage.
    For now they should probably continue to put human effort in to those seats around the Tory overall majority level (100-150 targets) but if the poll lead is 14pts in mid March a re-think will be necessary. (may be earlier if the polls get worse).
    Seats 150-200 target need support now or else a change of tack in March maybe too late.
    FWIW, In think S South and Tynemouth will go Con and Labour hold on in MS&CE, just.
    It must be ‘fun’ for party stategists of all shades in areas of the country with lots of marginals.

  10. Davey,

    Hating Thatcher was never about being right-wing or left-wing. Many left-wing people, like Gordon Brown, have a deep and loving admiration for Margaret Thatcher, because many (but not all) left-wing people are power-worshippers. Equally, many right-wing people, like almost every right-wing person I know, despise Thatcher at the bottom of their hearts.

    What’s the key factor then? Regions. Prior to Thatcher, British politics was very much class based. I can remember reading a political science book from the 1960s which featured the line “The most apparent feature of British politics is that it is divided on a social, rather than regional basis; almost all of its regions are stunningly uniform.”

    Thatcher’s revolution (apparent from beginning New Consensus politics) was the ultra-regionalisation of British politics, most clearly in Scotland, where the Conservatives are generally only found in graveyards. Now, Cameron will pick-up some Scottish seats in 2010 (he has the right name for it, if nothing else) but only if people in Scotland can force themselves to forget- if only for the first Thursday of the month- he’s a member of the party of Thatcher, Tebbitt and Lawson.

    Thatcher is a danger because she puts off marginal voters and at the end of the day we are the masters of the UK electoral system. Most marginal voters are broadly centrist: they’ll have voted Conservative at some elections, Labour at others, maybe even Lib Dem once or twice.

    However, even if Thatcher died in the next 7 months, I don’t think it would have a bigger impact than slashing the Conservative’s potential majority a little. Indeed, if Brown comes under pressure to give her a state funeral, it could actually end up costing Brown some votes.

    The variables are uncertain, but what is certain is that the current political climate is working for Cameron, so any change is an unnecessary risk. The Cameron plan- keep mum until Oct 2009 then lay out a big set of policies with a “I promise you blood, sweat and tears” theme- has worked very well so far, but the consequences of another big political moment are very unpredictable and thus I suspect not in the Tories’ interest.

  11. Details of the latest YouGov poll now up on their site.

    England and Wales only (ie taking out the Scottish political system) figures are

    Party, %
    Con, 42.6%
    Lab, 26.7%
    LD, 18.5%
    Other, 12.6%

    16% Tory lead over Lab.

  12. @Bill Patrick
    We may not be twins politically Bill but once again I agree. It has taken me a while to understand that region is King nowadays.
    Its not what your father did for a living any more, its where you grew up. Certainly in the under 40s a Bank Manager’s kids from
    Merseyside are Labour and a digger drivers kids from St Albans
    are Tory.

  13. Bill Patrick,
    “If a significant number of people are planning to vote that way, they haven’t shown up in the polls yet.”

    It’s small numbers I know, but aren’t ‘Others’ holding up rather better after the euro elections than was expected?

    “For someone to vote UKIP or BNP at the next election over the EU, it would have to be such a big issue for them that it would be more important than giving Brown and Labour a kicking. I’m not sure that many right-wing people are like that.”

    The numbers are small, true, (left, right and centre by the way), but those few who realize that most laws affecting employment for instance are made in Europe might still vote for a minority party. As may the probably greater number who feel let down by the lack of a referendum.

    And to those who are indulging in a bit of ritual ‘Thatcher-bashing’, please remember that she rescued the country from bankruptcy (IMF called in), and social disintegration (mass strikes all the time). Before I am attacked, I am not saying that she was perfect, just that she did achieve a lot of good things which seem to be easily forgotten.

  14. Pete B

    Your comments on Thatcher (which I agree with) merely illustrate the type of argument that would dominate any election should Mrs T pop her clogs in the coming months. There would be endless raking up of the past, and for every positive aspect, there will undoubtedly be a negative comment. The result will be the re-opening of many old wounds, and for David Cameron I fear it could knock his campaign off the rails a bit, simply because of the inevitable Tory bashing that the news coverage would bring. This, in spite of the many comments like your own that will be supportive of Mrs Thatcher’s premiership.

  15. I think the hatred of Thatch is overstated somewhat. For every working class voter in the Welsh valleys, South Yorkshire pits or Tyneside dockyards that she repelled there was a working class voter in other parts of the country that loved her (and abandoned Labour as a result). There is quite a lot of “it’d never have happened under Thatch” sentiment out there, and the fact that almost nothing that she did in office has been reversed after 12 years of Labour says quite a lot. If loss-making steelworks are such a great thing, why didn’t Labour open any? If privatisation was such a disaster, why did Labour keep on doing it? And contrast the “Thatcher” way of going to war with the “Blair/Brown” way. I think if Thatcher were to become a news item (for any reason, lets not be morbid) then the effect would unlikely to be any worse for the Tories than “neutral”.

  16. King Harold,

    I haven’t divulged much in the way of my political opinions on here (and not at all besides economic policy) and I’m unfamiliar with yours, but I like to think that this is a site that deals with facts and therefore agreement between people of widely different values is possible.

    Pete B,

    Possibly, but if a significant number are going to do that, they aren’t turning up in the polls.

    Neil A,

    The problem for the Conservatives re. Thatcher is not that the country hates her. She, after all, won 3 elections and the opinions that brought her down on Europe were vindicated on Black Wednesday when the ERM proved indeed to be the Eternal Recession Mechanism.

    HOWEVER, no-one (aside perhaps from a few of the 4% or so who want to vote UKIP) who loves Thatcher is going to vote Tory because they are reminded that Thatcher was a Conservative. On the other hand, many would probably have problems “holding their nose and voting Tory” if David Cameron had recentely been singing her praises on TV. It would probably be a nothing-to-win situation for the Tories.

  17. ICM poll in Guardian tonight shows

    Cons 42%
    Lab 29%
    Libs 19%

    Bit of a boost for Labour but not much to shout about but the worrying thing for him is the underlining intentions of the voters polled. Most would welcome a Tory victory in comming election and a far bigger % say cameron is more decisive and stronger than brown and thats even with lab voters

  18. Anthony,

    I can’t seem to post anything in the thread about the Green Poll on Scotland in the Archive.

    The questions are now up on the YouGov site and I have some serious concerns about the wording used, particularly for the questions about the Trump application and the Forth Bridge.

    Personaly I don’t like the idea of using CPO’s for the development as if a developer can’t get someone to sell that is there problem, not the Councils.

    But I have my doubts about the validity of the answers given the questions asked.

    Here they are.

    “Aberdeenshire Council earlier this month refused to rule out the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to remove people from land which Donald Trump wishes to use for a housing and golf development.

    Compulsory Purchase Orders could therefore be used to force residents to leave their homes.

    Supporters of the CPO claim that the resort would be a welcome investment in the local area and could create more than 1200 new jobs, whilst the residents argue that use of CPOs undermines their right to remain in their homes.

    To what extent do you support or oppose compulsory purchase orders being used to evict local residents from their homes to accommodate Donald Trump’s housing and golf development in Aberdeenshire in this instance?”

    and

    “As you may know, the Forth Road Bridge is deteriorating, and action will need to be taken to ensure a continued road link across the eastern Firth of Forth.

    The Scottish Government has proposed building a new bridge at an estimated cost of up to £2,300m which it will pay for using public Scottish funds, but borrow initially from the UK government in order to help spread the cost.

    According to a report by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority, the existing Forth Road Bridge could be repaired, rather than replaced, for an estimated cost of up to £122m.

    Those in favour of REPLACING the bridge argue that it needs to be widened, to reduce congestion, and that a new windshield should be built to protect travellers.

    Those in favour of REPAIRING the bridge argue that replacing the bridge altogether would put an unnecessary burden on public funds.

    Which ONE of the following statements comes”

    Peter.

  19. Your analysis of regionality and Thatcher is spot on.

    I have said the SNP can only reasonably expect to get half of the 20 seats they target but I’d revise that upwards by two seats if there was a state funeral for Thatcher organised by a Labour government in the two months before the election..

    The BBC probably have the programming worked out in detail already and will use hours of cheap programming from their news archive with a face to camera link and voiceover, with four cheap retired politicians in the studio.

  20. Bill Patrick

    There is regionality within Scotland.

    Labour won an election in Glasgow. Is the Pope still a Catholic?

  21. @ Pete B
    “The figures for the Midlands are interesting. Didn’t there used to be an adage that the Midlands acted as a bellwether for the whole country in GEs?”

    In what way are these figures interesting? They have absolutely not statistical significance!

    “What many people don’t seem to realize is that the majority of our laws are now made in Brussels, not Westminster.”

    And what you don’t seem to realize is that this is utter rubbish!

  22. Jack,

    1) Figures can be interesting without being statistically significant. It just means that you don’t draw definite conclusions from them.

    2) I’ll be more specific. Open Europe have a report that says that 72% of the cost of regulation in the UK is EU-derived. Not quite the same thing I know, but it’s the best I can find.

    Here’s the link, but it’s quite a long post.

    http://openeuropeblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-many-of-our-laws-are-made-in.html

  23. The YOUGOV poll is totally off the wall. Many who participate as members of the panel with Yougov have been disinfranchised. They send a survey and before answering, they say it is invalid. I would seriously question the veracity of Yougov polls from now on.

  24. BGARVIE,

    In order to get a balanced representative sample YouGov like other pollsters asks a lot more people to participate than it actually needs.

    Once it has the numbers it needs it closes the Poll as they no longer need more people to vote and as its paying them that doesn’t make financial sense to do so.

    Most of us from time to time have had a survey e-mail and when we go on it has been closed.

    The creditability of YouGovs polls can be judged by both their accuracy, which appears to be amongst the best and the fact that they have a growing clientele of satisfied customers.

    Peter.

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