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. @ERIC GOODYER
    Eric, I am sure your support for Labour is deeply felt ect ect, however the contortions are getting dafter by the week.
    Comments about the Conservatives going backwards when they are clearly the most stable of all major parties, is not going to make it happen. They are looking set for a nice little majority, not to big and not to small. If the Tories were not coming from so far back, Labour under the present leadership would be in long term difficulty. Things may still turn out that badly for Labour anyway.

  2. OldNat

    “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.

    It lasted as long as Dewar/Campbell/McLeish/Steel/Wallace and it would be a fair conclusion that it was possible because of a group of people including John Smith but not Gordon Brown most of them graduates of Glasgow University over a remarkably short period of years.

    A vintage crop of exceptional quality, which also included members of your own party.

    It never included GB

  3. The Scotsman reports that SNP membership continues to rise contrary to the long term trend of other large parties.

    While that is clearly connected to the general rise in support for the SNP, and may have important doorstep consequences, it is of greater interest because it could illuminate speculation about trends if one could know where these new members came from.

    Are they young people, not previously involved with another party? Are they from the body of opinion who think all politicians of the UK governing parties are out of touch and corrupt? Could they be defectors from another party? Are they drawn to politics for the first time because they are impressed with the SNP’s record in government.

    Surely it can’t be that they have been persuaded by the case for independence, for there is nothing new in that. Perhaps it is only the result of better organisation and the collection of subscriptions.

    The likeliest reasons are that it is either defection from Labour, or a generalised trend of no particular class of supporter.

    I can see why many disheartend Labour supporters will have given up on NewLabour because of almost all that the issues that have differentiated the brand from traditional Labour values. Equally, it could be a surge in rural areas where Labour was irrelevant and the SNP government has been particularly impressive in addressing a huge number of niche issues of no interest to Labour or Conservative and the urban readership addressed by the press.

    If Labour defectors are significant, this is nothing new except in scale, but it has important consequences for Labour in Glasgow. If rural growth is the reason, then it shows the loss of support for the LibDems is not only because the SNP is now the best buy for the negative voter pour encourager les autres.

    If the new members are the young, then a generational change will eventually budge the flatlining support for independence which till now has been resistent to any improvement in the SNP’s popularity.

    If it is only the result of improved administrative efficiency, then the doorstep effect is the only significant consequence.

    My guess is that it is rural, rather than urban and predominately in industries such as agriculture, East coast fishing, and (more generally) the NHS.

  4. Roland Haines

    “Comments about the Conservatives going backwards when they are clearly the most stable of all major parties, is not going to make it happen.”

    Unforetunately the statement you make above is absolute nonesense.

    The Conservatives share of the vote has, over the past 2 years fluctuated between 46 – 37%.

    It is true to claim that the Labour share of the vote has fluctuated wildly, however the Conservatives have fluctuated between the “Crucial” 40% mark and 37% for the past few months.

    The Conservative vote has been fairly stable, while the Labour vote has been a little more volatile.

    Nevertheless, it is not just the volatile nature of the vote share for each of the Parties that is important, more important is the “Long Term” trend of support for the Parties.

    It is an undesputable fact that the “Long Term” Trend indicates support for Labour being gradually, but steadily on the increase while support for the Conservatives is at its very best broadly static, but realistically marginally on the decline.

    Furthermore, another factor muct be added to the mix: the nature of the support that each Party has. Whether the level of support is mostly “Hard” or “Soft”.

    It may well be argued that with the Labour support at 30%, the Party has for some while “Bottomed Out”. That a large majority of the 30% comprises of “Hard/ Core” voters. Indeed most people posting comments here have said that the Labour vote is “Hardening”.

    In contrast, the Conservative support is more soft than it appears. It is the case that while the Conservatives have for some while hovered around the 40% mark, they have on numerous ocassions fallen to 39, 38 and on one ocassion to 37%, particularly when the Party’s policies have been under close scrutiny by the Media.

    The fact that the Conservatives have seen a sharp decline in support in the North should concern the Party Hierarchy in Tory HQ since there are a large number of “Key Marginal Seats” in the Region that they must win to obtain an Overall Majority. Seats such as:
    – City of Chester
    – Bury North
    – Pendle
    – South Ribble etc…

    It is an untruth to claim that the Conservatives can win an Overall Majority without winning in the North.

    The Conservatives need to appeal to and win in the North of England as much as Labour needed to appeal to and win in the South of England.

  5. @ NORTHAMPTON JAMES

    “It is an undesputable fact that the “Long Term” Trend indicates support for Labour being gradually, but steadily on the increase ”

    What do you mean by “Long Term”?

    The way Anthony’s post GE2005 Voting Intention Graph looks to me is steady decline from then-with one proviso:-
    Since the summer of 2009 Labour support has increased from it’s all time post 2005 low.
    It’s two predecessor increases eventually reversed to resume the post 2005 decline.
    We don’t yet know whether this one will also do that, or whether it will turn into a sustainable reversal of the downward trend.

  6. John B Dick

    I wholly agree with your estimation of that particular group of politicians.

    As to GB, I’ve always felt that his development was affected by Kirkcaldy High’s experiment of fast tracking a group of very bright pupils, and his going to Uni at too young an age. It would be interesting to find out what happened to the rest of his class!

  7. Hatfield girl

    This is an intelligent non-partisan discussion,

    If you want to bash “Liebour” then go on The Suns forum

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

    I can’t agree in the slightest. Tories on 40, no matter how unpopular Labour have been.

    They can’t make any further gains if you ask me. Only party likely to make further gains anywhere are Labour

  9. @ Northampton James

    Not sure that the Tories need to make too many in roads in the North to win the election and have a majority. The Tories are never going to win places like Manchester Central or Sedgefield and not sure they need too. They will win a lot of marginal seats in the north from Labour and so will the Lib Dems.

  10. I’d like to know what the hell YouGov/Telegraph thought they were doing polling in the middle of Christmas? There was a time when Holiday polling was big no no.

  11. @ Davey

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

    —————

    Yes.

    But only just.

    You are talking about, say, 30% of the electorate voting Conservative in 2010. And 27% voting Labour in 2005.

    Clearly neither party moves the majority of the population.

    Or, indeed, anything close to the majority.

  12. @ David in France

    What you say about the majority is true. But its the only system we have. Labour and the Tories wont bring in proportional representation any time soon. That leaves the Lib Dems and lets face it they wont be in power for a very long time. So we are stuck with what we have.

    Your best bet is to hang out for a hung parliament but in honesty I think that is diminishing by the day.

  13. @ GIN

    “I’d like to know what the hell YouGov/Telegraph thought they were doing polling in the middle of Christmas? There was a time when Holiday polling was big no no”

    I know what you mean but politics doesn’t stop for anyone, not even Santa Claus!!

  14. Anthony

    I’ve been having a retrospective look at 2009 in the Scottish polls of TNS/System 3.

    Figures in brackets are differences from the 2007 election.

    Holyrood Constituency
    Party, 2007, Apr 09, Jul 09, Nov 09
    Lab, 32%, 29% (-3), 32% (0), 32% (0)
    SNP, 33%, 41% (8), 39% (6), 40% (7)
    Con, 17%, 15% (-2), 12% (-5), 13% (-4)
    L-D, 16%, 11% (-5), 11% (-5), 11% (-5)
    Other, 2%, 3% (1), 4% (2), 5% (3)

    However, I noted that in their poll in April 2007, they overestimated SNP and Lab by 6% and 2% respectively, while underestimating Con and LD by 4% and 5%.

    Does face-to-face polling exaggerate support for the largest parties, or some other methodological problem? Or is the explanation more likely to have been a highly volatile group of voters between SNP/Con/LD which no polling could be expected to pick up – those who made their final decision in the polling booth?

  15. @NORTHAMPTON JAMES
    You can stick pins in a David Cameron dolly all you like James, the Tories are 10 to 12 points ahead in the polls. People are gloomy about the future, unemployment is not going to improve any time soon and Labour, in the shape of those in senior positions during the Iraq war, have yet to suffer Tory/Lib Dem attacks, (it was’nt just Blair.)
    You dont like the idea of Labour being cast out so you clutch straws to hang on to hope.

  16. @ Roland Haines

    Let them clutch onto straws. Many people know that this government are on borrowed time and those that dont are not living in reality. Cameron will have the last laugh.

  17. I think most polls in the next couple of months will tell us little more than how close things are between Labour and the Conservatives. With the Lib Dems it’s so much harder to pin down and they appear to be varying in the different polls quite a bit.

    My thought is that Nick Clegg’s performance in the leaders’ debates will be absolutely crucial for the party. A Newsnight exercise at the 2008 party conferences showed he has the capacity to be more endearing to the public that the other two leaders – if he can pull that off in the debates that could not only provide an uplift in support for the LDs but could have impact on the Tories’ ability to get a majority.

    The Conservatives certainly have the money to plough into a big campaign. What has surprised me is that they’ve not been getting higher poll numbers. This close to an election I’d expect things to narrow a little between the two largest parties and with the Cons failing to get much more than 40% at the moment, they’re going to need to use that money wisely.

  18. Roland Haines

    The conservatives are clearly the most stable party.

    Er really?

    I think there are a lot off them seething and Dave has got quite a job on his hands to keep them quiet.

    eg, the eurosceptics, climate change sceptics and anti NHS faction to name just a few awkward squads. This lot could erupt at any moment.

  19. I think labour will find it hardest in the run up to the GE for two reasons. Firstly they have to shift some of the 40% Tory to themselves. Second, they have to decide whether to say ‘the country is in a mess but its not our fault’ or ‘the country is not in a mess’ and neither of these positions are easy to defend

    However, both the Tories and LDs can say the Country is in a mess and if you change to us we will get you out of it.

    Neither VAT nor stamp duty will win friends and as has been suggested re political betting, petrol prices may play a part also.

    In the end it will fall to either Clegg or Cameron to be inspirational in the debates, and at the moment I think Cameron will win. However good Brown is in the debates, he will have the toughest task, for reasons already stated. If he matches the other two and gets away with a draw, that will be an excellent performance. Cometh the hour… maybe or maybe not.

  20. Lion:
    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%.

    That’s a whole load of rubbish ! I could just as easily say

    My personal guess is:
    CON 36-40%,LAB 30-34%, Liberal 17-18%.

    It would be just as scientific as yours.

  21. @ CHRIS

    “This is an intelligent non-partisan discussion,

    If you want to bash “Liebour” then go on The Suns forum”

    Indeed it is.

    However, you completely ruined the comment with a clearly partisan…

    “I can’t agree in the slightest. Tories on 40, no matter how unpopular Labour have been.

    They can’t make any further gains if you ask me. Only party likely to make further gains anywhere are Labour”

    Or does partisan only count if it is a negative comment about the party you support?

  22. @ MIKE R

    “I can’t agree in the slightest. Tories on 40, no matter how unpopular Labour have been.

    They can’t make any further gains if you ask me. Only party likely to make further gains anywhere are Labour”

    I dont think so somehow. I think you will find Labour will be humiliated at the GE and in my opinion rightly so.

  23. @Andrew Myers – “Well rumour has it they have just unveiled their secret election weapon – none other than “Ms” Harriet Harperson ”

    HH gets a ludicrously bad press, based in large part on her valiant attempts to question some of the more ridiculous and patently discriminatory aspects of our society. The Sun hates her as she had the courage to speak out against the puerile practice of showing breasts on page three, she has long campaigned against pornography and abuse of women in the sex trade and she has a fine history in asking the simple question of why women can’t get paid the same as men for doing the same work. More recently, she was involved in a positive policy announcement on domestic violence. Sometimes it is easy to sneer at people who believe in a cause, but getting back to the polls, HH might not be too bad for Labour. Cameron’s front bench is painfully traditional in appearance, and the last polling evidence I read suggested women are less sure about him than men.

    I’m sure Harriet H has made mistakes, and there may be many issues we can variously agree or disagree with her on, but I can’t see that making unfunny gags about her long campaign to end discrimination against 50% of the population (the 50% to which you don’t belong) is either useful, or says much positive about you as an individual.

  24. @Surbiton

    “My personal guess is:
    CON 36-40%,LAB 30-34%, Liberal 17-18%.

    It would be just as scientific as yours.”

    Not sure where you are coming from on this one Surbiton. I think you will be very disappointed if you believe your figures to be correct (even if they are only a guess). Sounds like you are actually posing as Gordon Brown under the name of Surbiton!!!!

  25. I reckon that the latest YouGov poll is very interesting and not far off the mark. If correct these figues would
    give the Tories a majority of 10 but lets face it there is a long way to go —and twenty six weeks in politics is a
    very very long time!
    I don’t wish to be rude but have some of
    the contributions come from very young people with
    little history?

  26. @David Greybeard

    “I don’t wish to be rude but have some of
    the contributions come from very young people with
    little history?”

    David, my thoughts exactly! While it would be foolish to describe this election as wide open (the polls clearly say the Tories are favourites), just a small % swing either way could have anything from a Con landslide to a Labour 4th term minority.

  27. Mark R

    Since you take a profound interest in whatever I write, you, as usual, have entirely missed my point.

    Indeed my observation is totally unscientific, but only as unscientific as Lion’s, which you, of course, conveniently ignored as it suited your own bias Tory interest.

  28. @ Mark R

    Please re-read my post! The words in quotation marks are not my opinions…

    I was quoting someone else and pointing out (or trying to) that you shouldn’t complain about another person being non-partisan then being partisan yourself.

    Personally, I don’t think Labour will be annihaliated due to the bias in the electoral system, though I can’t see anything other than a Tory win as realistic. However, I anticipate a victorius Conservative government will work hard at changing this.

  29. The end of the last post should read:

    *changing this bias to something more balanced.*

  30. Alec
    You have highlighted a number of harriet h’s qualities. If Labour were to fight a positive campaign of inclusivity and support for the most deprived in our community she would be an excellent spokesperson.
    However, if labour fight a negative campaign, and she leads an attack on middleclass/middle England, this may backfire particularly as she is a niece of a Lord, and from a privileged background that few can match.

  31. @ Alec

    I believe in total sexual equality so why does that not say anything “positive about [me] as an individual”?

    HH on the other hand clearly does not judging by some of the ultra-feminist PC nonsense she has been spouting over the last few months.

    Don’t quite get your logic there my friend.

  32. Do we think Harman’s chances of bolstering Labour will be negatively affected by her impending prosecution for using a mobile phone whilst driving, immediately before a car accident at which she failed to comply with the requirements of the Road Traffic Act?

  33. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6924166/Harriet-Harman-attacks-BBC-for-getting-rid-of-older-women.html

    I rest my case!

    Campaigning for sexual equality is one thing, having an almighty chip on your shoulder is quite another.

  34. POLL ALERT

    More snippets from Scottish Conservative internal polling in the scotland on Sunday. They conducted the fieldwork in the 11 seats which David McLetchie has previously said they are targetting (listed 2-3 weeks ago in the Scottish press).

    “The poll also found that Cameron was backed over Gordon Brown as the better leader, by 54 per cent to 46 per cent.

    The 11 Scottish seats polled – which the Tories are targeting in Scotland – include the constituencies currently held by Chancellor Alistair Darling and Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy.

    The Conservatives claimed the polling showed they stood a “real chance” of winning across the country.

    But Labour last night said the Conservatives had pointedly failed to publish details on how people would actually vote, saying Scots remained unwilling to vote Tory.

    In the polling data released by the party, 53 per cent of voters agree that it would be good for Scotland if there were more Conservative MPs from Scotland elected at the next general election.

    Meanwhile, 73 per cent said they agreed that the Labour government looked “tired and failing”.”

  35. According to the Sunday Times Scotland the sample size was 1,010 and the Scottish Conservative Party used ORB as the pollster.

    Note: ORB are a member of the BPC, so the detailed data must be published within 2 working days.

  36. @Andrew Myers – “…judging by some of the ultra-feminist PC nonsense she has been spouting over the last few months”. That’s the point. I haven’t seen any ‘ultra-feminist PC nonsense’ coming from HH over the last few months – just some straightforward attempts to gain pay equality for women and stop them being beaten to death by their male partners. [I think on average there is one women a week murdered by their partners – stopping this isn’t PC nonsense].

  37. Hattie is widely perceived to be anti-man and therefore not exactly electoral gold for the male vote. The question is to what extent perception is reality. She is also comically ill-equipped to carry out a class-based electoral strategy.

  38. Have to agree with you SHOPKEEPER MAN.

    The latest effort at “equality” is to pronounce that the Dimbleby chairing QT is an example of “male preserves” at BBC.

    I have no doubt that her feminist objectives are well intentioned, but she does tend to project as a disliker of men, rather than a supporter of women.

    I think what she is trying to achieve is prejudiced by the way she tries to do it.

    Absolutely fascinatinr Marr/Brown interview this morning. Can’t wait for those TV debates.

    Looks like the LibDems are flavour of the month too!

  39. Sadly I think Harman falls slightly the wrong side of the line between “equality of opportunity” (which all right thinking folk should support) and “equality of outcome” (which is unachievable without some pretty Stalinist interventions).

    There are natural preferences and biological imperatives at work which will mean that men and women, young and old, gay and straight etc will never be found in exactly the same proportions in every career, income bracket and position of authority.

    So long as a particular individual with the right talents is able to achieve what another individual with the same talents (but different gender, age, sexuality etc) is able to achieve then that is “equal” enough for most of us, even if it means 90% of engineers are men, 90% of primary school teachers are women and 90% of air stewards are gay (I am just illustrating, not casting aspertions here..)

    Harman gives the impression (or rather the press presentation of Harman does) that she’d like to take state action to restrict the number of male engineers, for example, without restricting the number of female teachers or gay air stewards. That is why she is seen as anti-man rather than pro-woman.

    As for domestic violence, I think it is wrong to treat that as an equality issue. It is a law and order issue first and foremost. The single biggest factor in perpetuating it is the unwillingness of victims to end relationships with violent partners. There are plenty of improvements that could be made to the system for dealing with it, but women are not dying because of sexism.

  40. @VALERIE
    Re my comment the Tories are stable, your comment below,

    “I think there are a lot off them seething and Dave has got quite a job on his hands to keep them quiet.”

    In the first instance David Cameron is not suffering talk of replacement every 2nd Tuesday like some party leaders, and in the second case my comment referred to stability in the polls
    (which is what we discuss here) compared to Labour or LD.

  41. Anthony – sorry this is going back a long way in the thread, but you say that Angus Reid is different because of “their attitude to this false recall”.

    With regards to false recall, is it something that affects only certain parties voters or does it affect all parties equally? By that I mean is it only, for instance, people who did vote Labour previously but who have switched to the Conservatives who will say they also voted Conservative last time, or does it affect all parties (so someone who did for Tory last time may think they voted Labour)?

    Past voter behaviour is something I’m looking at for vote transition on my blog so it would be interesting to know more about false recall.

  42. @DAVID GREYBEARD
    Well, thanks David for agreeing the YG jobby is about right rather than a Rupert Murdoch stitch up. The poll is relevant because although there are up to 26 weeks to go, the Tories have been in front for the last 26 weeks and unless some major disaster over takes them, there is no good reason to suppose things will change drastically.
    Why do you think we are all kids? I am deeply flattered but sadly
    I was born in 1946.

  43. @ Surbiton

    Since you take a profound interest in whatever I write, you, as usual, have entirely missed my point.

    Indeed my observation is totally unscientific, but only as unscientific as Lion’s, which you, of course, conveniently ignored as it suited your own bias Tory interest.

    Yes I know you were responding to Lions comments ( I can read ). I dont believe his estimations deserve the comment of being rubbish since his estimations are much closer to the mark than yours.

    And by the way I dont specifically target or follow your comments its just that they stick out like a pro government sore thumb!!

  44. Harriet Harman is an impressive woman who has combined family life with a career at the forefront of politics.She has maintained a principled position on a number of issues and she is a real asset to the Labour Party. The misogynistic rants of people who call her ‘harperson’ are beneath contempt.
    In my opinion the election could be won by either of the two major parties. The latest opinion poll shows that 34% of people don’t know who would make the best Prime minister. This gives Brown some hope.

  45. @LIN REES
    Let me make it clear that I have no particular feelings regarding
    “Harperson” any more than Jack Straw or Peter Hain as examples of tedious time servers in a discredited government.
    However, can you not see that bringing hatred of women into jocular political banter, as in “Harperson” you demonstrate the typical humourless sour puss reaction which many people find deeply embarrasing about the woman herself.

  46. @ NEIL A

    “Sadly I think Harman falls slightly the wrong side of the line between “equality of opportunity” (which all right thinking folk should support) and “equality of outcome” (which is unachievable without some pretty Stalinist interventions”

    Very well put Neil-it neatly expresses a fundamental difference in political philosophy.

  47. It neatly expresses a trite distinction made only by navel-gazers is what it does. Making Equality of Opportunity the only legitimate equality is used to justify the most egregious deprivations of freedom, while Equality of Outcome is just a straw man.

  48. Ian S – ICM and Populus’s theory is that false recall normally results in a higher proportion of people saying they voted Labour than actually did, and a lower proportion saying they voted Conservative and (especially) Lib Dem than actually did.

  49. Does anyone know when we might see the first rash of 2010 polls?

  50. Thanks Anthony – I guess the effect of that is that it would appear as though Labour were losing more votes than they actually were.

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