The first poll of 2010 is actually the last one of 2009, since it was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday. The YouGov poll in the Telegraph has topline figures of CON 40%(nc), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 17%(-1).

Given the dates of the fieldwork there was potential for really wacky results here, but it’s actually almost exactly at the mod point between YouGov’s other two December polls this year.

The “feel-good-factor” (that is, the proportion of people who expected their family’s financial situation to get better over the next 12 months minus that who expected it to get worse) was up to minus 13, actually the highest that YouGov have recorded since the recession began, though only just and it may be the result of seasonable optimism!

Asked about their expectations for 2010, 63% thought the Conservatives would win the election, 67% expected house prices to rise again, though only 40% expected the economy to grow and 24% expected a further bank collapse. Only 18% expected their family to be better off.

Just 12% expected progress towards peace in Afghanistan, 7% thought crime would fall and an ever optimistic 8% expected the England football team to win the World Cup (since someone will ask, that included 1% of Scots… or at least, people living in Scotland).

Full tables are here


112 Responses to “The final poll of 2009”

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  1. Happy New Year.

    I know that the scottish sample is too small to mean anything, but before OldNat has a coronary: Lab 46 Con 21 Lib Dem 17 and SNP 13 is a bit silly – although it would make for a very strange electoral calculus projection…

  2. Happy New Year to everyone!!

    Looking at this particular poll it would appear the Lib Dems are losing ground at the expense of Labour and the Tories are holding steady with a 10%. Not much change heading into the New Year. The key to this election will be the marginals. It will be interesting to see if there are any polls from these battlegrounds.

    I would anticpate the likely outcome would be

    Conservative 40-42%
    Labour 27-30%
    Lib Dems 17-20%

    The Lib Dems doing well in the North at the expense of Labour and a sea of blue south of the Midlands. A Tory majority of between 36-50 seats.

  3. Labour’s vote has definately hardened in the north. Labour has almost their whole cabinet from Scotland or right outside Scotland in northern England. The iraq war hurt Labour in the north a little last time and helped lib dems. I think Labour will do surprisingly good in the north and might not be too far off their last election. The ICM even though the sample was small also had Labour up 16 percent in the north. The tories in september were 32-28 over labour in the ICM poll and in the december ICM poll labour was 44-28 up in the north.

    I think this election will have a big difference in geography with labour doing well in the north and poorly in the south. Blair played much better in the south while Brown’s personality is much more fit for the north. That is why the swingometer for individual seats won’t mean much. In the south the swing could be greater than the overall poll while in the north there might not be any swing at all. Overall this isn’t good for the tories because it is very hard to win any majority without getting the seats they need in the north even if they do well elsewhere. It will probably leave the election in a mess with Tories the biggest party in a hung parliament and Brown determined to hold on to power.

  4. It seems to me that we are at the “beginning” or is it the end of the beginning of the election campaign. What will count now is money. The tory chest is brimming over and the effect of continual resorces to the marginals will now begin to take effect. While I am not a party to the Liberal resources, both Labour and UKIP are broke. If they have any sense UKIP will concentrate on Buckingham, where they will get more ” bang for their bucks”(no pun intended).
    Labour,however will concentrate theirs on their core vote,deserting the middle ground so hard won by Blair.
    My personal best quess now is:
    Con 42-45;Labour 26-28;Liberal 16-18. Other no more than 8-10.

  5. @ Jason 1.40pm

    ‘Brown’s personality is much more fit for the north.’

    What an unkind thing to say of the people of the North. Either you are suggesting they are like Brown in character, or that they deserve Brown. None of us deserve Brown, not even the Labour party, as is evidenced by some desperate efforts to prevent his accession, (failed) efforts to remove him ever since, and continued discussion of having Labour decently led into any election.

  6. What is the huge discrepency with the weighted and unweighted samples. Is it going back to how people voted last election? I have heard that as an example. I don’t understand why that should change the sample.

    Take for example last election in the u.s right after obama won they polled people and asked who they voted for and Obama had double the win he had during the election. Now of course people didn’t forget who they voted for. It’s been stated that agnus reid doesn’t change their sample based on how people say they voted last election. It will be interesting what polling model turns out to be right.

  7. Happy New Year to everyone and here’s to a very exciting period ahead.

    This poll still pints to a workable Tory majority – I’m guessing around 40-50 seats once all is said and done.

  8. What I find telling here is the “Who would make a better prime minister” question, as they don’t filter out the “Don’t Knows” as they do for voter intention. It gives us a much better view of exactly how many floating voters there are. Expect some analysis of that on my blog once I’m more awake today.

  9. Jason – if there is a larger than normal difference is probably is down to the timing of the poll, doing it during the Christmas holidays could have produced a sample that was required more weighting than usual to make representative.

    YouGov do not weight by past vote, they weight by party id, but all the other companies apart from MORI do.

    People do indeed incorrectly report who they voted for – call it forgetfulness or lying or answering a slightly different question, whatever. We can basically be certain that it occurs from panel studies – i.e if you ask people how they voted straight after an election, then go back to the same people a couple of months later and ask them again their answers will have changed.

    The difference with Angus Reid is not that they do not weight by past vote – they do – it is their attitude to this false recall. ICM, Populus and ComRes take into account false recall and weight past vote to shares slightly different to the actual 2005 results, on the assumption that some people will inaccurately report how they voted. In contrast Angus Reid weight to the actual 2005 result.

  10. Tam

    I’m writing this from my bed in Intensive Care … :-)

    I’m sticking to my prediction that the SNP in 2010 will have a larger vote share than in 2005, but perhaps less than in 2007.

    I don’t see many Scottish seats changing hands in 2010.

  11. Can anyone tell me what the WMA is when this poll is added and how this translates into seats.

  12. Though it is just a subset, the SNP vote in the Scottish line is alarmingly small. Do we think this is just a blip or signs of the Megrahi / Blogging issues beginning to seriously affect opinion north of the border?

  13. The voting percentages are still fairly static around 40/30/20 +/- MoE.
    It seems the key to the election result will be the marginal seats. If it is true that money spent in marginals gives a result in the spending party’s favour, then the Cons should turn a hung or close result (as indicated by the percentage share figures) into a workable majority.
    This would be sweet justice if Brown is determined to continue his tawdry ‘class/money war’ campaign.

  14. That Scottish sub is utterly bemusing.

  15. As promised, article up at http://ukelectiontrend.blogspot.com/2010/01/last-poll-of-2009.html

    I’ve introduced a new statistic I’m going to follow there, as an estimate to how much movement there could be from “undecided voters”

  16. I am surprised to see the Tories 20 points ahead in London. Historically a Labour stronghold, and with it’s very large ethnic vote it would not seem to be good territory for the Tories.

  17. Ignore those regional subsets… really no point in looking at them.

  18. NEIL A-yes I understand that message.

    But “The North” does seem to indicate resistance to Cons in the face of significant dissatisfaction with GB as PM, and his Government’s record.

    If Cameron can dissipate some of that resistance there is considerable upside for Cons.Even though he beats GB on “best as prime minister” ( and gets very close in North), don’t knows are very high on this question.

    There is certainly work to do on this, and the TV debates could be critical to it.

    There is still upside for Cameron through the Campaign. I can’t see where it exists for Brown.

  19. Neil A,

    Individual subsets from individual polls are certainly too small to be indicative, but one can easily discern patterns across a month or so of such subsets from different pollsters.

  20. “7% thought crime would fall”

    This just goes to show what a poor grip on reality most of the electorate have. Crime has fallen every year for a decade and a half, yet 93% of people think it won’t fall this year.

  21. @ JAKOB
    I think the point is Jakob people do not believe government stats which “prove” crime is falling. I know I dont. Between career
    driven Chief Constables and cheating politicians, the public do not fall for a word of it.

  22. @ Roland – I couldn’t have put it better myself.

    The only thing that is falling is detection rates, convictions and prison sentences – unless off course you find yourself defending your property against thugs in which case the system suddenly comes down on you like a tonne of bricks.

  23. @Roland Haines & Andrew Myers

    Crime stats aren’t based on detection rates, convictions, or prison sentences. They’re based on a survey of a random sample of the population, much like voting intention polls.

    Can I ask what base your belief in rising crime on? The rise in newspaper articles about crime? The rise in pub-based anecdotes?

  24. TAM

    If I were Old Nat I wouldn’t get too worried about the YouGov sub samples for Scotland

    The other pollsters with December sub samples were showing the Nats at 34% (Populus), 33 per cent (Angus Reid), and 26% (Comres).

    And the last real poll for Scotland MORI (1 December ) showed 34-32-15-12 for SNP,LAB,TORY,LIB.

  25. Re the debate between Peter O and Neil A the December polling figures indicate that Neil has the rights of it.

    For example the Scot Nat vote in December ranged from 34% to 13 % across four sub samples for four pollsters.

    Also the Tory vote ranged from 24 % (Comres) to 9 per cent (Populus) and the Liberal vote was at 7% on Angus Reid!

    In other words be patient and wait for the next proper Scottish poll.

  26. Ex-Pat,

    I think there are far more subtle ways to look at the Scottish figures then “let’s see what the four different polls were”. For starters the questions asked were different, the sub-samples are of differing sizes, the samples were taken at different points…

  27. Crime is an interesting stat – by all measures (polling , police and actual reported rates) crime has fallen by around 25% in the last decade, yet there is a perception that this is not true. I wonder if that has a lot to do with the increased penetration of media in the recent years. As for the political polls, it is static at 40% Tory 60% anti-Tory – all depends on how the anti Tory vote splits, and if the Tories continue to slide, especially as we move out of recession. We are heading for a hung Parliament at the moment – and I am looking forward to our next local by-election, as real votes are very different to polls

  28. As ever, You Gov seem consistent with the WMA. In my view they have current position of the parties pretty much bang on.

    @Old Nat, I agree with you on Scottish seats – I expect only a small net movement.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  29. Harfield Girl.
    I understood Jason’s comment and can see where he is coming from.
    Rightly or wrongly Blair’s accent alone made him more appealing to Southern voters than Brown and again rightly or wrongly Cameron will appeal less to many Northerners distrustful of smooth operators prefering a fllawed but WYSIWYG Brown.
    Also, the Thatcher legacy has made it difficult for any Conservative in the North – remember the 80-82 recession hit the North and Scotland most.
    Your opinion of Brown is…. well your opinion and nothing else.
    A big question for me is Wales as I believe they will ease back towards Labour as the GE approaches and Con gains there will end up being minimal but I may be wrong.
    In the Midlands and the South outside London however, the signs are that Labour will do far worse than UNS which will be enough to make the Tories the largest party.
    This for me leaves the GE turning on London which up to now has shown a lower swing than UNS (Boris gaffes maybe, immigrant voters perhaps) but if this subset is repeated in further polls this may move more Tory.
    (Also whether LDs can hold most of their SWest seats could be critical)
    Still reckon Con 30-50 majority likley but hung parliament a possibility.

  30. @ ERIC

    Happy new year all.

    Why do refer to a tory slide when the polls have a fairly consistant 40% (except one 38% which seems to stand alone)?

  31. Interesting note from the tables. Less than half of LibDem voters think Nick Clegg would be the best PM.

    I did also blog about the indicators for the reversal of tactical voting in the same question.

    I had to plug it :)

  32. This does seem a fairly sensible poll result, some signal of the drift back to the incumbent that usually occurs with very unpopular, worn out governments as polling day approaches. The fact of an upcoming election is not a surprise and thus people’s minds become more focussed on making a real decision rather than on a hypothetical question about an election “tommorow” that isn’t.

    Labour doing well in the North is to be expected even in these post-industrial times, unless a Labour disaster is envisioned (which may still happen, but the chances are dwindling)

    As always, the battleground is (mostly) the Midlands.
    It does not look likely this will change anytime soon.

  33. @Eric,

    Although on a purely semantic level it is correct that 60% of voters are “anti-Tory”, its not really a helpful way to describe the non-Tory vote. It rather suggests that for all of that 60% of voters the defeat of the Tories is their #1 objective, which is probably not true. Perhaps 40-45% of them might be truly anti-Tory, and may be looking around for ways to defeat Cameron. The rest may well consider other options (bar a majority government for their own party) worse than a Conservative government. The whole “if only the Left could unite then the Tories would never get into government” business is an old Canard that helps noone. The LibDems, though hard sometimes to pin down, are basically centrist and would not fit neatly into a semi-permanent “Left Coalition”.

  34. Neil A

    “The LibDems, though hard sometimes to pin down, are basically centrist and would not fit neatly into a semi-permanent ‘Left Coalition’.”

    Except that was exactly the situation envisaged by Dewar/Campbell for the Scottish parliament. It even worked – for a while.

  35. @Ian S

    The Lib Dems are still a bit divided on Clegg, following a very close and heated leadership contest. But I doubt that will translate into them voting for someone else, as a Lib Dem voter will still prefer Clegg to Brown or Cameron.

  36. UKIP, BNP, Plaid, SNP are all to a degree “anti-tory” but they’re also anti-Labour. They won’t rally to Labour to beat the Tories. That’s 10% out of that 60%.

    Of the remaining 50%, they are, at a certain level, anti-Tory. But, given a forced choice, almost as many Lib Dems would prefer a Conservative as a Labour government.

    So, you’re left with Labour, the anti-Conservative Lib Dems (many of whom will want to stick with the Lib Dems) and the Greens (many of whom hate Labour) to try and construct your anti-Tory coalition, at the same time, hoping none of the Others will vote tactically for the Tories.

  37. I am actually surprised that the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg are not more popular than they are.

    Give me Nick Clegg over Brown any day.

  38. 30% isn’t bad for Labour given everything that’s happened. I’d expect them to be down in the mid-20s.

  39. Well: what an intriguing poll to mark my departure from this ‘Sceptered Isle’ for two weeks in the Topics.

    Along with ComRes and others, at the start of 2010 we are now clearly back into tiny Tory majority (what in the olden days was called ‘unworkable’) or Hung Parliament territory….

    @Mark R
    I think you’ll find that the most recent ‘north’ poll puts Labour clearly back in the lead (FT). In my ‘subregional’ neck of Yorkshire/Humber woods the Tories are completely invisible and the emerging threat (to both Labour and Lib Dem) is BNP with pre-existing threat of Greens.

    Rural and Suburban Southern and Eastern England a ‘sea of blue’??? The Tories can continue to pile up vote upon impotent vote there: not a single one is going to have any impact on the result of the election !!

    @Keith
    “As always, the battleground is (mostly) the Midlands”

    Spot On

    @DavidP
    “I am surprised to see the Tories 20 points ahead in London. Historically a Labour stronghold, and with it’s very large ethnic vote it would not seem to be good territory for the Tories”

    That will include all the suburban areas of GL. The BME vote- while not exclusive to inner constituencies- is concentrated there in the inner London Boroughs. But the BME vote is not and never has been uniformly Labour voting. But inner London has been a Labour stronghold historically. For impact/ significance of Outer suburban London voting see my response above to @MarkR concerning rural/ suburban Southern England

    @Colin @Glenn OTTO
    ‘Campaign resides on a war chest and Labour have no money ergo Tory win/ no upside whatsoever for Brown in the campaign ergo Tory win’

    Chums:

    – This campaign takes place at a time of acute economic worry and job fears (what the Yank political consultants call a ‘mummy election’/ ‘mommy problem’). It is almost entirely going to depend upon who gives the clearest and most believable narrative on the economy and public debt and public services going forward: what their *detailed* approach towards it entails. In a very real sense it is dependent upon ‘events dear boy’ and how economic data and economic news decorate the context of the campaign and voting day. The Tories can continue to bombard families and addresses with irritating phones calls and garbage bumf materials in the post all they like. It’s not going to make a serious difference from now on in. So much for the war chest.

    On economic policy ‘detail’ we had quite a lot from Labour in the PBR seven weeks ago and they took a polling hit for it (which appears empirically to now be reversing over last 2-3 weeks). We have not seen the same economic policy detail from the Tories yet and expect them to take a polling hit when we do. That will be a key moment in the campaign and delivered by Osborne.

    – Are you totally mad (or just biased and indulging in wish fulfilment): no upside at all? I think you’ll find events/ policy platforms being discussed and proposals being dissected will favour Brown as both sitting PM and ‘serious man of detail for serious times’. Whilst on the other hand his raised profile on TV and Radio will remind people of why they think he is weird- a downside. Cameron may well ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’ and appear as an intellectual, statesmanlike colossus (ditto Osborne). On the other hand he might increasingly give the appearance of a boy applying (with that irritating sense of Etonian entitlement) for a man’s job i.e. the campaign will remind people of their original doubts about him.

    The campaign has both upsides and downsides for both Cameron and Brown (and also Clegg). It is open in terms of the final seat tally- all is to play for.

    In policy terms it is all about the “Economy stoopid” and geographically it is the (east and west) midlands and the north west (of England) where it will be won and lost.

    It’s going to be fascinating, bizarre, bemusing and full of surprises.

    As a political junkie I cannot wait.

    ** And with that campers I leave you- without my laptop- for over a fortnight to go to a place with bright blue sun drenched skies/ clear blue water (no pun intended) and temps of 25- 31 over the last week !!

  40. I accept that not all the non-Tory 60% are not anti-Tory, but they are unlikely to become Tory, and I think that unless we have another economic maelstrom Cameron has peaked and will either stay steady or decline. The fun thing about the small margins that are now appearing is that UKIP may now play a part – David Cameron is strongly pro-EU and has called for its expansion – a sizable chunk of Tory voters are anti-EU but return to the fold for national elections; however a small % do not – and this small Tory exodus to UKIP could be his undoing and steal a victory from him.

    However the main issue remains economic confidence, as we move out of recession, and with unemployment now expected to peak at below the 3 to 3.5 Million predictions, waverers will return to Labour. So I expect a steady improvent in Labour vote, a steady decline in Tory vote, such that the minority parties will have a serious impact on the results.

  41. No Copenhagen effect either way; or would this poll have been too early for that?

  42. It is possible that improving economic confidence will bring voters back to Labour, but fairly questionable. Firstly, I am not at all convinced that there will be a clear and unobstructed “path to recovery” for the UK to follow. There will be bumps along the road, such as the reintroduction of VAT, the ending of the car scrappage scheme, and potentially a resurgence of inflation. If Labour plants their flag too firmly on the “recovery” there is a danger that a setback will topple it over. And even if the economic outlook does improve dramatically, its worth remembering that far from being the cause of Labour’s poll problems, the credit crunch actually helped them considerably. The massive 20%+ leads the Tories were enjoying were BEFORE the recession not as a result of it. It may actually turn out that improving economic news gives people the confidence to put the Treasury in the hands of George Osbourne when they would have been too scared to do that in the depths of a downturn.

  43. ‘ this small Tory exodus to UKIP could be his undoing and steal a victory from him.’ sums up the bizarre UKIP lot; they’d much rather return Labour who are more pro-Euro (so is UK Business I point out) than return a party which at least in part supports their views.

    UKIP are the equivalent of the 1980s labour ‘Militant Tendency’- better to be out of power and ‘pure’ than actually be in the real world.

    (UKIPs economic policy is just laughable-if we spent a decade stuffing up the EU by withdrawing from it there is no way the EU would bother with us, they’d keep us out of the enlarged market; our business would be left out on a limb and wither and die. The USA wouldnt care-their concern is with China.)…

  44. I look forward with glee to following the pearls of wisdom from Lord Pearson of Rannoch during the GE campaign.

  45. @ IAN S

    I think the Lib Dems would have been better with Vince Cable as leader ( not that I am a Lib Dem supporter ) but he is respected cross party by MP’s and is also repected by the general public. The problem with Clegg is he appears young, debonnaire and breath of fresh air. The only problem for him is that Cameron does it better. Lets face it Cameron looks more a PM than Clegg.

  46. Oh dear.

    Whatever happened to democracy?

    Thatcher failed to have a majority of the people. Blair failed. Brown has not even gone to the polls and now, as things stand, the Conservatives look likely to win a clear majority in parliament with the support of only 40% of those who vote.

    In other words, they will govern on the support of a mere 30% of the adult populace.

    Surely it’s time the UK electoral system was changed?

  47. “The YouGov poll in the Telegraph has topline figures of CON 40%(nc), LAB 30%(+2), LDEM 17%(-1).”
    My personal guess is:
    CON 40-44%,LAB 26-30%, Liberal 17-18%.

  48. On these figures I think we’re looking at something like a 1992-style result this year. But that would be based on a uniform swing.

    I do think the Conservatives have been rather low-key ever since the party conference season, whereas Gordon Brown seems to be on the news nearly every day. Is this a deliberate tactic on both sides? Cameron seems to be saving up something, while Brown is trying to keep up his personal profile at all times. Once all the parties are in focus, it will be interesting to see what happens.

  49. @Andrew

    I think if I was David Cameron I would also be low key. Lets face it he doesnt have to do much. This government are knocking their own nails into the coffin one by one without that much help from anyone else.

  50. David in France

    ‘Whatever happened to democracy’.

    Some valid points. However, a Cameron Government with 40% appears more representative and democratic than New Labour on 36% in 2005.

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