YouGov’s tables in the Sunday Times are now online here. As usual the Sunday Times asked about an interesting range of topics. Looking at the trackers and the economic figures first, Gordon Brown’s approval rating has jumped significantly – up to minus 21, its highest since April. David Cameron stands at plus 12, his lowest since February 2009. Asked how much they trusted each party to reduce government borrowing without endangering country’s recovery from recession, the two main parties were neck and neck: Brown and Darling were trusted by 31%, not trusted by 64%. Cameron and Osborne were trusted by 30%, not trusted by 63%. People’s impression of the current state of the economy had improved very slightly – 74% thought the economy at the moment was bad, down from 77% in January and the lowest since way back in June 2008. However, people were not particularly optimistic looking forward, with 51% saying it was likely that the country would slip back into recession this year.

YouGov also asked about Conservative and (rumored) Labour plans on social care, and found they had exactly the same levels of public support. 34% said they would support a 10% inheritance tax to pay for long term care, 34% supported the Conserivatives’ voluntary “insurance” scheme.

Asked about Gordon Brown’s interview with Piers Morgan, respondents were pretty evenly divided over whether this sort of interview was a good thing or not – 44% viewed politicians talking about their private lives positively, 48% negatively. Very few people however said Brown’s interview would make any difference to their vote. 10% said it made them more likely to vote Labour, 8% less likely. Regular readers will know my concerns over questions like this, and in this case I expect if the interview does have an effect on votes it would be an indirect effect of people generally being more open minded towards Gordon Brown, rather than a direct “He seems okay, maybe I’ll vote for him after all” effect.

Finally YouGov asked people what they thought the Liberal Democrats should do in the case of a hung Parliament where they could support either Labour or the Conservatives – should they form a coalition with Labour, the Conservatives, or remain in opposition (the question said form a coalition with, which isn’t really perfect since they are probably more likely to support a minority government, but there goes). The public as a whole split pretty evenly three ways, but the responses of party supporters are quite interesting – a large majority (72%) of Labour supporters would want the Lib Dems to form a coalition with Labour. Conservative supporters were slightly less enthusiastic, only 59% said the Lib Dems should back the Tories, with 29% preferring them to stay in oppostion. Amongst the Liberal Democrats own supporters 34% would like the party to back Labour, 33% to remain in opposition, and 22% to back the Conservatives.

Asked if there should be a second election in the event of a hung Parliament, 34% said yes, 53% said there should be a full length Parliament with the parties working together. Once again, there were interesting (if not wholly surprising) party splits. A majority (51%) of Tory supporters thought there should be a second election to try for a clear decision, a majority of Labour supporters (54%) thought there should be no further election, and an overwhelming majority (78%) of Liberal Democrat supporters thought there should be no second election.

This evening/tonight we will be getting the YouGov figures for today’s polling and ICM in the Guardian.

72 Responses to “More from YouGov’s Sunday poll”

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  1. @neil A – “The question is, do any of us actually believe that Christine Pratt is lying about having had contact from the PM’s office”. Personally, I’m seriously wondering about this. I wasn’t aware that helplines routinely ask who people work for, she claims to have used their website to track people’s workplace down, and her story has shifted almost hourly, apart from the unfathomable breach of trust she committed.

  2. This closing of the polls is going to make the marginals all the more important.

  3. I would like to know why Ms Pratt has contradicted herself so many times.
    All four Patrons have resigned now because of the breach of confidentiality.
    I beleive Ms Pratt should resign in order for trust to be re-established in the Charity.

  4. @Alec,

    Well in fairness working out where an email’s come from isn’t rocket science in most circumstances. Without knowing what’s in those calls/emails (which hopefully we never will) its impossible to say. After all the calls may not have been anonymous. Having dealt with quite a number of Childline-originated cases when I worked on a Child Abuse Investigation Team there was quite a lot of variety in the information people would offer to the call handler.

    My point is that you’d have to be borderline insane to launch into something like this on a complete fabrication. Maybe she is, I don’t know. I just really, really wish she hadn’t opened her mouth.

  5. AL J


    What’s your prediction now?”

    Actually, only slightly modified.

    37 – 32 – 21. But with one proviso. Whatever the Tories’ believe will be the “extra” swing in the Lab/Con marginals, will be negated in the Lib/Con marginals. Also, the Tories will increase their wasted votes both in Scotland and in the shires.

    I predict a virtual tie in seats. Libs holding on to around 60 seats.

  6. Thanks Surbiton

    I enjoyed your prediction. I’m going to come up with one too before the election.
    I wonder if Anthony will organise a competitiion -would be fun.

  7. I think that on balance, Mrs Pratt completely believes the allegations she has made, does not see any contradiction in what she’s been saying, does not think she breached confidentiality, nor sees anything wrong with directing people who call her charity to her paid consultancy firm or having discussed it with the conservative party before making the allegations. You do not have to be a liar, part of a conspiracy, or mentally ill to be wrong, just human.

  8. The ICM poll is interesting (and surely terrifying to the Tories) not for the 7 point gap but for the fact it put’s the Tories at just 37. There has been so much talk about the psychological 40 – when they fell to 39 many pundits predicted serious wobbles and here they are.
    I think any suggesting they are “crumbling” refers to this.

  9. @Jay,

    Yes, “wrong” in the sense that she shouldn’t have said anything, but “wrong” in the sense that her outfit never in fact had any contact from the PM’s office? Surely she’d have to be either lying or mad in those circumstances?

  10. I suppose I could ring the help line tomorrow and tell Mrs Pratt I work for David Cameron and Im being bullied. I wonder how she would respond. Ring the BBC? Or the Sun?

  11. Hehe Valerie I bet you the phone would be engaged!!

  12. Anthony:

    You missed this

    George Gardner

    “The bottom line is that the allegations shows Gordon Brown is unfit to be in the position that he is in.”

    Allegations are the same as proof?

    The rest is a partisan rant too.

    The Left would rather “see this country collapse into a chaotic generation of depression as opposed to let the Conservatives now turn the country’s fortunes around.”

    The Left may be completely wrong about economics but i’m sure that they don’t know that and don’t accept that the Conservatives have all the answers. If they did, they wouldn’t be in the left would they?

    There is no explanation offered why the Left (Is that Brownite NewLabour, by the way? The back-handed complimnt would suggest it’s not Blairite NewLabour.) would prefer their own economic failure to their opponent’s success. They live in this country, unlike Lord Ashcroft.

    It’s not just partisan, its daft.

    I’m not in favour of electing daft people or parties supported by daft people whether looney left or looney right.

  13. Sun You Gov 39:33:17 *NOT* a 12 point lead…..

    REUTERS at 1:46am this morning.

    LONDON (Reuters) – The Conservative Party’s lead has tightened in recent days, making a hung parliament look increasingly likely, two opinion polls showed.

    The Guardian/ICM poll published in Tuesday’s edition found support for the Conservatives down 3 points, at 37 percent, while Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party was up 1 point from last month at 30 percent.

    The Liberal Democrats, who could hold the balance of power in the case of a hung parliament, fell 1 point over last month to 20 percent.

    If these results were repeated in an election due by June, the Conservatives would lack an overall majority in the House of Commons.

    A separate YouGov poll published by the Sun on Tuesday put the Conservatives on 39 percent, Labour on 33 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 17 percent.

    Both surveys suggest allegations that Gordon Brown intimidates his staff have yet to damage a Labour poll recovery. The projections show the Conservatives’ lead has shrunk to its narrowest gap in recent months.

    ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,004 adults by telephone between February 19 and 21 for the poll, the Guardian said. The Sun poll was conducted on Monday.

  14. @Alec

    Last year Bloomberg News a reputable news source published a story on Brown’s leadership.

    In the story they had muliple sources of aides saying Brown throws pens, staplers, and phones at them and of Brown throwing a printer on the floor. They described a poisoned work enviornment and brown’s bullying tactics.

    Brown and Mandelson have once again worked their magic and made a publicty hound like Pratt the issue and not claims from a reputable news source like bloomberg news.

    These rages happened in the summer of 2008 when Brown’s political hopes didn’t look good. It is alleged in the new book and I will say alledged because I don’t hold the author in the same light as bloomberg news that Brown went into a rage when his cleaning expenses were revealed. The author talks about Brown stabbing a pen to a seat in front of him and leaving marks and of Brown stapling his hand. The author talks of Brown bullying low level staff and striking a seat with an officer in front.

    Once again Mandelson and Brown have taken a serious issue and instead found a scapegoat in a publicity hound like Pratt. And it is working once again Brown is being made out to be a victim.

    I just wish the media would for once make Brown and Mandelson answer to the claims made by a reputable news source like bloomberg news who had multiple sources about brown’s bullying.

    The story should be Brown answering to bloomberg news claims not about Brown and Mandelson sidestepping the issue and finding a scapegoat in a publicity hound like Pratt.

    I got to give Mandelson credit though he sure does work magic to turn this story into a positive for Brown.

  15. “The prime minister, 58, has hurled pens and even a stapler at aides, according to one; he says he once saw the leader of Britain’s 61 million people shove a laser printer off a desk in a rage. Another aide was warned to watch out for “flying Nokias” when he joined Brown’s team

    Far easier for Mandelson and Brown to go after Pratt than for them to go after Bloomberg News.

    Pratt is a publicity hound but she isn’t the issue unless the media starts poking holes in bloomberg news credibility.

    When Bloomberg ran this story last year I couldn’t believe it wasn’t a bigger story and yet the media is once again focusing on a scapegoat in pratt instead of the real issue.

  16. @ JASON

    It’s strange isn’t it.

    Itseems to be one of those nasty little “secrets” which the Press know about-but dare not tell the children in case we get excited.

    I thought their supine acceptance of the Mandelsonian finger wagging & barked “got it?” was pathetic.

    Today’s Times cartoon says what they all really think-they just won’t put it into words.

  17. Colin – the press have hardly held back, have they? And the TV has been carrying Brown the Bully stories for years.

    They put it into words (and cartoons) all the time. Their problem is that there’s no hard evidence that the caricature is true, and lots of hearsay evidence pointing in both directions.

    The systems to counter bullying in offices are much better now than they used to be. The culture now is one of fear of being sued by the bullied rather than the traditional fear of the bully.

  18. Colin – this from the FT :

    A survey last year found 7 per cent of staff in the Cabinet Office had been bullied, lower than the 10 per cent Whitehall average.

    Extraordinary high figures! but not singling out the cabionet office (which includes number 10)

  19. I think the Hung Parliament question may be somewhat misleading in that it is unlikely that the LibDems would have a choice of whom to support as thet would only have that option if Labour and Tories were very close in seats total.

    It is likely that Tories will have many more seats than Labour if not an oversall majority and therefore the LibDems may only be in a position to support Tories (if asked by Cameron) or to stay in opposition.

    Again the second election question/problem would probably only apply if Tories just short of a majority or possibly Labour just short of a majority because frankly I believe that in both these scenarios, the big party would soldier on in the hope it was not brought down and stay in power May-February calling a second electon fro March 2011.

    Perhaps this is my wishful thinking although I try not to be influenced by my preferences generally but truly I believe we may see 2 GEs in May then March.

  20. @peter election follower

    “I think the Hung Parliament question may be somewhat misleading in that it is unlikely that the LibDems would have a choice of whom to support as thet would only have that option if Labour and Tories were very close in seats total.

    It is likely that Tories will have many more seats than Labour if not an overall majority and therefore the LibDems may only be in a position to support Tories (if asked by Cameron) or to stay in opposition.

    If it’s a HP Brown as PM gets first dibs: he may decide that he cannot credibly take that course (though somehow I doubt it!) but the LD’s won’t touch a Brown led Labour party with a barge pole (brand contamination and all that for the October election). The only exception would be if Labour actually got more seats than Tories and were close to or higher in votes. Both of which- I say with regret- are unlikely thought if current trends continue it is a (distant) outside possibility

    So very quickly after election day it will be Cameron PM with or without a specific LD pact: my gut prediction would be a pact to support on certain issues (but not early spending cuts) but not across the board. Oh and in this scenario Brown will fall on his sword/ be pushed out within 72 hours: a la Thatcher with visits from all senior personalities left standing and of course Lord mandy.

  21. @Colin

    I wish the press would ask Mandelson if the Bloomberg news story with brown’s aides on background was also some conservative plot. The press allows Mandelson to get away with so many lies.

  22. Yes Rob I can see what you describe happening after the first GE presumably May.

    However I think October would be too early for Cameron to go to the country. This is only 5 months; at least in 1974 it was 7 months.

    Minor point: as you probably know when we used to have October elections, there was a brief Liberal Conference in September 1974 but no Labour or Tory Conference.

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