A third new poll today, this one from YouGov in the Daily Telegraph. YouGov show a further narrowing of the Conservative lead, with topline figures of CON 38%(-2), LAB 31%(nc), LDEM 19%(+1).

Unlike MORI’s poll the changes are well within the margin of error, but it’s a further whittling away of the Tory lead. This is the smallest Conservative lead from YouGov since the Labour conference (and one needs to go all the way back to December 2008 to find a smaller one).

The Telegraph’s own report of the poll isn’t up yet (this is from Reuters), but hopefully we will get the normal YouGov/Telegraph trackers and will be able to see exactly what affect the end of the recession had on economic confidence, and whether that might have contributed to the narrowing polling lead.

UPDATE: Here are some of those economic figures I was waiting for. YouGov’s economic optimism figure is up to minus 10 from minus 13 a month ago, so up since December but not actually by very much. There was a more significant rise in the proportion of people who thought the government’s measures to tackle the recession had begun to work – up to 22% from 15% a month ago.

105 Responses to “YouGov show Tory lead cut to 7 points”

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  1. Anthony, YouGov gave the Tories a 7% lead just after the Obama Summit in early April 2009, more reliable than the 7% given during those silly Conference tracker polls.

  2. Well this does give a nice clear trend, no divergence of evidence.

    Frankly, whomever’s right this is interesting, either the lead is 7% or 17%! They can’t even agree on how the Lib Dems are polling, 16% or 19% is barely within the margin or error.

  3. Cameron has not had a good few months yet the Tories have to focus on him because they know he’s more popular than the rest of them. His personal ratings have been in decline for 9 months now and its starting to show.

  4. Looking forward to the next offerings from Populus and ComRes. I love the way most of the polls change from time to time but Angus Reid just keeps giving us the same results.

  5. It is interesting to me that this poll appears to bear out the results of the Ipsos MORI one. The sheer unchanging consistency of Angus Reid’s figures make me very suspicious, but I am not going to sit here & tell you all it’s all lies; it could be true for all we know, the real votes are in the ballot box. Clearly however there is now plenty to play for for the Labour Party. A Tory lead of 7-8% would mean a number of seats being saved which everyone has been confidently predicting as Tory gains.It’s now up to Gordon Brown & other ministers to keep the pressure well & truly on. The next poll if similar to this one would show a definite trend.

  6. Sounds a bit bizarre. why would things have spun ? certainly not on the “end of the recession”. Pehaps two rogue polls on the trot.

  7. “I love the way most of the polls change from time to time but Angus Reid just keeps giving us the same results.”

    It is quite comforting. I’m also loving all these polls, three a day, it feels like the election campaign!

  8. Mike Smithson wonders whether this is the poll which might prompt Brown to call an early election.

  9. An early election looks less and less likely to me. Sure this poll might make some in the Labour camp a little happier but it does seem to be inconsistent with the majority of polls.

  10. @Andy

    No early election, that would mean Brown making a decision. No evidence he can do that.

  11. I

  12. I note that our predictions are now matching up, and both of us are now predicting a hung parliament with a Conservative minority government on the cards.

  13. Ken,
    I agree totally.

  14. Intersting times.
    I notice that the GE projection on the right says Hung Parliament. That’s the first time i’ve seen that! (maybe i’m just don’t look too much} – still i don’t think its going to happen (and this is coming from a vaguely pro-labour man!)

  15. Sorry about previous. I am totally confused, is it nuanced questioning or what?

  16. @Jay Blanc
    Who are “our predictions” I’ve yet to read anyone on ths board who agrees with your predictions.

  17. @BRYAN COOMBE……my Morse isn’t what it was !

  18. @Ken

    I hope you are up to to dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot.

    Takes me back to my boy boy scout days (-;

  19. All more grist to the mill that shows since November the Tory lead being remorselessly (if very slowly and by small amounts) reduced…also in a week when more information on Tories approach to economy has been available (“expect austerity from us”; “if it means a double-dip so be it”)

    **The last 6 polls (excluding- obviously- the poll from space cadets AR) now give us**

    Con = 39.7
    Lab = 30.2
    LD = 18.7


    at UPR Tories 2 short (first time I have *ever* seen that at UPR since I started using it……….)

    at EC (not using their TV option) Tory majority of 10


  20. @Bryan Coombe

    Both my model, and Anthony’s GE Prediction, are predicting a hung parliament with a Conservative holding the most seats. You may have forgotten that this isn’t a ‘message board’, it’s Anthony’s site.

  21. @Bryan Coombe

    “@Jay Blanc
    Who are “our predictions” I’ve yet to read anyone on ths board who agrees with your predictions.”

    er, having followed ‘Electoral Trends’ and their excellent LTMA and scattergraph for the last 3 months I’d say they are becoming more and more credible.

    You really should try it before knocking it Bryan: though I can understand your reticence given the message it is sending out is one that is uncomfortable for your team.

  22. @Jay Blanc
    I forget little.

    Even a stopped clock tells the time twice a day.

  23. @BRYAN COOMBE………..it’s what Gordon sends to Mandy whenever he sees an Angus Reid poll.

  24. What I think is interesting now is that if you take this polling, and add in even a modest amount of LibDem tactical voting, it turns from 10+ seats shy of majority to 30+ seats shy of majority.

    A large amount of tactical voting could even push enough seats around to allow for a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition, even if there was an 8% national lead for the Conservatives.

  25. @Rob Sheffield

    My team is the glorious Tottenham Hotspur ???

    Now at the risk of not seeing the….
    ‘Electoral Trends’ and their excellent LTMA and scattergraph !

    The polls aint change a jot over the last few moths.

  26. @ Ken


  27. This is going to make predicting the outcome very interesting.

  28. @Bryan Coombe

    “The polls aint change a jot over the last few months.”


    ‘shurely shome mishtake’

    Again- look at the data (and the graph)…..

  29. @Rob

    Now I admit a purely random sample in the last eleven polls, too sleepy to do maths.
    The tories have only once been below 40% and the Labour have only once managed 32%.

    Not scientific I agree.
    But not much change !

  30. Let’s put “the conservatives aren’t going below 40” in campaign context…

    This month has been the Conservatives launch their campaign. They’ve announced what they intend to focus on economically, in making cuts to bring down the deficit. They’ve announced big Social issues they want to tackle. And have grabbed headlines with speeches about how broken the UK is…

    Meanwhile, Labour are beset with controversy, the worst brunt of the expenses scandal, and even worse press from the Iraq Inquiry. With only a sliver of a recovery to show, and otherwise unable to generate much good press for themselves.

    And yet, the Conservatives haven’t made any gains on polling and may even be slipping, while Labour have continued to improve their figures.

    This is hardly a good situation for the Conservative Party.

  31. Dear Jay,

    Why do you think the conservatives are slipping ? whilst Labour are improving there figures

    Where is your evidence.

  32. Just lost everything I wrote because of captcha code.

    Briefly: it is just a matter of time before the public are made to appreciate the significance of the very poor growth in the last quarter for this country. And when they realize how poor we are doing relative to other leading countries then it must have political consequences for Labour.

    When Brown takes his seat before the Iraq inquiry then is the time that Labour is likely to suffer in their popularity as a result of it.

  33. Jay Blanc

    Interesting post. I find I have less of a “feel” for this election than previously.

    With a different party in Government here and our domestic issues being on a different cycle, I wondered if that was the issue. However, the more I look at patterns outwith Scotland the less sure I am that that is the cause.

    It seems that the Party loyalists in Lab/Con think that what enthuses/disgusts them will have a similar effect on voters. If you are right (and I think you probably are) then there seems little enthusiasm for anyone.

    The expenses scandal may well have engendered an even deeper cynicism than has been assumed.

    When asked by pollsters as to whether they are likely to vote, and if so for whom, people may give an answer. However, perhaps the pollsters need to ask a question as to how enthusiastically they will vote for one party or another.

  34. @Bryan Coombe

    Step 1. Click on link contained in name on this comment.
    Step 2. Click on the graph.
    Step 3. Note moving average plot, and the trend lines.
    Step 4. Complain that I don’t include Angus Reid.

  35. Sorry Jay
    Not going to give your site any credibility.

    less said the better.

  36. @oldnat

    I think you are right (and Jay Blanc) that none of the main parties has a strong following outside of the ‘base’ of loyalists/ activists.In general people are not enthused by ant party at the moment.

    I also think this hard core base that still does exist has shrunk over the last few elections and- rather like USA- it is ‘independents’ or as we say swing voters who run the table. Expenses certainly has a lot to do with this.

    As you say it makes it extremely difficult to predict possible outturns as ‘indies’ and swing voters can switch their vote in a matter of minutes over an issue, a statistic, a mispoken comment, a newspaper headline, a family experience etc

    The current trend- and has been for several months- has been for a slow and small narrowing of the Tory lead, and for the Tories to fluctuate between 39 and 42. Most Independents are giving the Tories their support in opinion polls which given economic context and 13 years of NL is not too surprisng.

    Because of all of this I think the campaign in 2010 will actually make a difference this time- which would be a refreshing change.

    It’s incredibly difficult to call: it could be a big Tory win on the one hand or Labour as the party with most seats in a hung parliament on the other.

  37. I think perhaps the strengthening of Labour’s figures is previous Labour voters deciding to go back to the party instead of staying home on election day. In that regards, it’s become a battle over which party has the biggest enthusiasm gap.

    It would explain why Conservative Campaigning appears to be shrinking their lead. It’s scaring reluctant Labour voters into returning to the party, while not drawing people to vote Conservative.

  38. I wouldn’t have believed the MORI if YouGov wasn’t getting a similar result.

    But I won’t be certain that LAB is really gaining ground until Angus Reid poll moves in their favour. That’s the last bastion of CON confidence. I’m looking forward to AR’s next poll.

  39. Historically, the popularity of governments tends to grow as elections get closer.

    1979 Election – At the beginning of 1979, polls showed the Tories ahead by as much as 20%, but they won by only 7%.

    1983 Election – In 1982, during and just after the Falklands War, some polls showed the Tories in the 50’s, but they got about 43% on election day.

    1987 Election – Not too sure about this one….

    1992 Election – Labour were ahead in almost every poll from about 1989 to the election, apart from when Major had just taken over. But the Tories narrowed the gap and won by 7%.

    1997 Election – Many polls showed Labour ahead by 30-40% in 1995/1996, but they won by 12%.

    2001 Election – The Tories were actually ahead by as much as 8% in 2000. Labour won by 9%.

    2005 Election – Didn’t really happen this time, but one poll did show a 5% Tory lead around when Blair called the election.

  40. I’m not at all convinced that this is a trend. the WMA is 39:29:19 and there is no statistically significant trend in the WMA on a 1 or 2 month basis. 2 polls in a row 3% below the WMA is not too unlikely on random variation: I expect the next one will be at or above a CLead of 11.

  41. A bit OT but if anyone has any thoughts or answers on this one, I’d be interested to know.

    I caught part of a Radio 4 programme the other day. Two people were being interviewed – I didn’t get their names but they were there as experts on politics/elections in some capacity. Anyway, one of the observed that under our current constituency system, if the vote share was to be evenly spread (which obviously it never is), our system massively favours Labour. The figures she gave to illustrate this were:

    if the Tories got 40% and Labour 30%, we’d have a Tory majority of 8

    if the vote share figures were reversed and Labour got 40% and the Tories 30%, we’d have a Labour majority of 128

    This was confirmed as correct by the other interviewee.

    Obviously that doesn’t accord in the slightest with most people’s understanding of democracy, even under the FPTP system.

    So my questions are these: how is this situation allowed to persist? Could there be a legal challenge to it? Aren’t there EU rules on electoral fairness that this violates? And if not, why not?

  42. James,

    In a nutshell the situation exists because the Tories prefer FPTP to any form of proportional representation. That means the only tinkering they can really do in their favour is to redraw boundaries to catch with demographic changes. The other potential change is to designate constituencies based on their average turnout at elections, rather than their actual electorate (most of the Labour advantage accrues from the fact that “their” seats have low turnouts) but this would be pretty unfair and probably won’t wash.

  43. NBEALE may be right. Two out of three polls means it’s too early to tell if this is a genuine trend, especially as the IP poll movements were set against their last poll which seemed to give an inflated Tory lead. Having said that, many here seem to regard YouGov as the most accurate and stable pollster, so there will be some worried Tories I’m sure.
    PHILIPJW may also have a point. I don’t think these polls are reflecting the GDP announcement – it’s too soon. The poorer than expected figures may still have a story to tell, but I suspect probably not. As I said on an earlier thread, these are retrospective numbers about the collective economy, whereas I would expect polls to be moved more by individual voters economic confidence looking ahead – this is still rising.
    I also previously wondered whether Brown’s relatively poor ratings in terms of dealing with the recession would improve if general economic confidence improves (ie people retrospectively changing their view of his performance). This poll suggests that might be happening, which would help Labour rebuild credibility again.

    Earlier this month I said I wouldn’t be surprised to see some polls with a 5 or 6% lead before long. On balance, I still hold that view, but I don’t pretend to know what will happen in the GE.

  44. Trouble for Labour is, Conservative supporters are twice as likely to get themselves out to vote as Labour supporters, and after the election they regret it.

  45. Why does Bryan Coombe insist that this is a no-change poll? The Tories are down, Labour is up.

  46. I suppose because it still sits within the general 40/30/20/10 split we’ve been seeing for some time.

  47. James – the electoral “bias” is explained here:

    Bobby – no, they don’t (or at least, they’ve haven’t recently – if you go back to the 198s and before they do). In 1992 and 1997 it wasn’t a recovery, it’s that all or most of the polls were wrong, in 2001 you’ve cherry picked the fuel strike, and in 2005 it didn’t happen. I go through it in more depth here

    All – I would point out that the projection on the front page is very much NOT my general election prediction. It is a projection of what a uniform swing would produce if my average of the polls was repeated at a general election tomorrow, and that it all it is.

    I don’t particular rate averages of polls, or expect a UNS and there is not an election tomorrow. I expect I will make some prediction, but much, much, much, much closer to the election.

  48. Anthony, is there any polls appearing in the Sunday papers this week do you know?

  49. The Ipsos Mori poll shows a significant change in support since their last polling numbers but this could be an over-correction from their previous level of Labour support which, as Anthony pointed out, seemed to be a bit of an outlier. I’m not sure we’ve seen anything from these two polls which we can confidently claim proves the settled 40/30 model has shifted. Though I imagine this might be the hurry up which Tory HQ badly needs.

    My sense is that if there has been a slight shift from the Tories to Labour then it has very little to do with news of the end of recession, which was greeted with ridicule more than anything, and more to do with a lacklustre start to the unofficial campaign and a weak period for Cameron himself.

  50. Cons must keep that floor of 40%

    Two slippages down to 38% recently??

    Wait for more Polls-again.

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